Tag Archives: Fae

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Book Review: Monsters of Faery #1 & 3, by Mallory Dunlin

I picked up my copy of Mallory Dunlin‘s Captured by the Fae Beast as an Amazon Freebie, and I think I received Claimed by the Flame of Faery from the author. I’m usually very good at keeping track of such things. But I have admittedly been a little distracted with school, and my logging system has kind of fallen apart. I suspect I probably owe an apology for taking a while to read the book because I had no record of having accepted an ARC. That is 100% on me. I dropped that ball. (I really hope it’s the only one.)

Those who are paying attention will also notice that this is books 1 and 3 of the series. (They all stand alone, so I don’t know that the numbers matter.) But I only read these two because I only own these 2.

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About Captured by the Fae Beast:

I never intended to become a princess. Or make a deal with a monster.

Lost in the wilderness, I thought the handsome stranger was my salvation—until I looked into the eyes of a beast.

They say not to bargain with the fae, but there was no other choice.

The deadly prince of Stag Court claims I belong to him. I only have a year and a day to convince him to let me go before I’m his forever.

He’s without mercy, known as a ruthless killer. Yet he protects me. Defends me. Tells me his secrets. In front of the Court, he’s the Beast, but behind closed doors he gives me the chance to choose him, or not.

The fae Court is a dangerous place, and the prince isn’t the only terror lurking in the shadows. But I’m stronger than his enemies give me credit for. Together, he and I might be each other’s salvation… or ruin.

My Review:

I must begin by acknowledging that this book was not at all what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a dark fantasy romance. So, imagine my surprise when I got into it and found that it is actually incredibly sweet. I’ve been tempted more than once, even to go so far as to call it cozy. Though not an actual cozy mystery, it at times has that everything-will-be-right-with-the-world coziness.

Dain stole the show for me. He has all the markers of an alpha a-hole hero but just isn’t. The way he learns to ask plainly for what he wants is completely heartwarming. I think watching him brave hope (the most dangerous thing, really) made my heart grow two sizes. I liked Leah, too, of course. I liked that she was attuned to Dain’s quirks, willing to give him grace when he messed up, and simply a good person. But I was team Dain, all the way.

I did think Leah accommodated to living in a new world far too easily. She took on the duties and skills of the fae court (and war) with an ease that belied belief. I also thought the villain’s motives were incredibly cliched. We’ve all read some version of it too many times to consider it interesting. In fact, considering how deftly other aspects of the book were handled, I thought the overused villain type and their motives an odd departure. Lastly, the book meandered a little at times, feeling padded and overly long.

All in all, however, I enjoyed this and can’t wait to read more of Dunlin’s work.

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About Claimed by the Flame of Faery:

I meant to slay the dragon—not save him.

All my life, I’ve known what it means to be a human in Faery, and I’ve always fought back. But when my father attacks a half-dragon duke – and fails – I make the only bargain I can think my life for my his.

I expect to be treated like a slave, but my new master keeps me in luxury. There’s no escape from the beautiful, deadly fae duke—and I’m determined to use my position to help the other mortals in Faery.

But the more I learn about him, the more I want to know. He’s fascinating. Passionate. Every time he touches me, I want to beg him to never stop. There’s far more to the Flame of Faery than I ever expected.

His secrets bind him like thorned vines. His enemies lurk in the shadows. They know how to deal with a dragon… but they don’t know how to deal with me.

If I save him, my debt is paid. But I’m starting to fear that I’ll never want to leave…

My Review:

I had a mixed opinion of this book. On one hand, I was amused. I enjoyed spending time with the characters. I liked them, and I liked that Dunlin presented us with a male lead that gleefully broke a lot of the expected male characteristics. On the other, I didn’t really feel the chemistry between the two, and I didn’t particularly believe that Varistan would have avoided telling her the big secret as long as he did when he was given every incentive to do so. In fact, it was a solution to the one impediment that Bells kept saying was the reason she wouldn’t be with him. Further, when the secret came out, and she was predictably hurt by it, I do not feel like Varistan made anywhere near enough reparations. It felt very much like he shrugged and then just stood around and waited for her to get over her hurt. It was not enough for me by a long shot.

All in all, however, I liked this a lot and will be looking for more of Dunlin’s work.

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Book Review: Captured By The Fae Beast

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Book Review: The World Behind series (#1-3), by W.R. Gingell

I purchased e-copies of W.R. Gingell‘s The World Behind series. Well, I preordered the 3 that are currently available to order—A Whisker Behind, Behind Closed Doors, and Wet Behind the Ears. (Goodreads says there will be 5 in the end.) However, I somehow forgot that the third one wasn’t out yet when I started reading book one (and then two). So, I held off posting this until I could review all three together.

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Searching for redemption in the shifting realm between the human and fae worlds, not-so-reformed fae steward Athelas seems likely instead to find death, dismemberment, and deadly magic…

Exiled, excommunicated, and with a bounty on his head, Athelas is lying low in Seoul for exactly one reason: he has a wedding to attend. Whether or not he’s welcome is another matter.

Luckily for Athelas, several bodies have turned up with their soft insides gnawed out, whether by magic or Behindkind—and the latest of those bodies is at the very wedding hall he has been staking out. The Behindkind investigators suspect one of Athelas’ housemates: YeoWoo, a gumiho with a thirst for revenge and an even greater appetite for soft underbelly than Athelas. To buy herself time, YeoWoo barters alibis with the suspiciously quiet fae sharing her house, but to remain free, she must find the real murderer.

By joining the investigation, Athelas has exactly the chance he needs to prove that he is now a repentant, changed, and selfless fae, bent on atoning for former deeds…no matter how many Behindkind and humans he has to cut through to confirm that impression.

my review

You know, I didn’t think Gingell could top The City Between series with a spin-off, and I don’t know if I’d say this tops it. But man, is it right up there with it! I love what I have read so far, which is the first three books (all that are currently available).

The series does start out kind of slow and takes a little while to truly get invested in, even knowing and loving one of the main characters. But once it happens, there is a lot to love here. For me, the best part is the gruff, prickliness of both Athelas and YeoWoo that hides an absolute gooey center that both would deny until their dying breath…probably with their dying breath, actually. I ADORED them both! And seeing each paired with people who see right through them is a joy.

I do think there are a few phrases used too frequently (fancy and my dear come to mind). Though the humor and language are great, sometimes I wasn’t wholly sure what was happening. For example, a character would think, “Oh, I see,” and then the narrative would move on. But I was left going, “Wait, what do you see? I don’t see.”

Lastly, I very much enjoyed the glimpses of previous characters but was admittedly frustrated that those glimpses are all we get. All in all, I can’t wait for more. I admit, I originally thought it was going to be a trilogy. (I don’t know where I got that idea.) So, I’m both disappointed not to have reached a climactic conclusion and thrilled that I’ll get more time with these characters in the future. I have pre-ordered book four, Behind the Curtain.

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Book Review: Blade & Thistle, by Jacinda Hale

I accepted a review copy of Jacinda Hale‘s Blade & Thistle from Enticing Journey Book Promotions. The book was also over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there, where the author provided a playlist, score, and book trailer.

Her father’s army came to conquer their homeland, but the barbarians of the Harrows will be the ones to conquer her.

Vasenia has hated her life in Eretamia ever since her father, Imperator Supreme of the Sadoran Army, forced her to join him on his military campaign. The cold, gloomy, backwater colony provides none of the high society of the capital. When her betrothed retrieves her for their wedding in the imperial city, Vasenia assumes the gods have finally shined their favor upon her.

Until her caravan is attacked along the forbidden, northern border and Vasenia finds herself in a hell far worse than Eretamia at the mercy of three ruthless warriors. No, not warriors–Harrow demons.

Barbarians. Savages. Harrow demons. Warriors Marek, Gaeb, and Ryfin know their people, the half-fae Itheni, are known by many names. Few who live south of the magical border that protects their home understand the Itheni, least of all the Sadoran invaders.

But when the three warriors rescue a Sadoran woman on their trek home, they discover she’s more than just another invader. She’s half-fae too, a descendent of the lost women whose connection to their people was severed by a curse a thousand years ago.

When an ancient bond links her to them, Marek, Gaeb, and Ryfin realize they have no choice; they must bring their enemy home. But if they want to keep her, they’ll have to claim her and reconnect her to the fae by the only means they have: pleasure.

my review

I liked this quite a lot, but I didn’t love it. I think I might have loved what it could have been if it wasn’t Porn With Plot. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with Porn With Plot. I read a lot of it. I picked this up knowing that’s what it is. But in this case, Blade & Thistle has quite an interesting world and mythology sketched out, and by the end, when I had honestly gotten bored with all the sex, I found myself disappointed not to get more of it.

And really, that same sort of complaint paints several aspects of the book for me. I liked the characters a lot (most of them, anyhow). But all we really know of most of them is their caricature and what they are like in bed. I liked that Vasenia is self-sufficient and scheming. But eventually, it started to feel redundant all the times she reminded herself she was only doing what she was doing for the intel.

This is the first book of a series, so there’s a chance that some of the development I wanted will come in time. But the lack here did leave me wanting.

Now I want to have a little semantic rant. Let’s talk words. The writing here is lovely. I enjoyed it. But I want to complain about the word cunt. And before you imagine I’m clutching my pearls, let me assure you that’s not my complaint. I’ll admit it’s not my favorite, but it has its place in erotica. However, it is usually used in gritty scenarios to confer a certain admirable filth to a sex thistle and blade photoscene. But here, the Itheni consider sex and orgasm sacred acts of joining their goddess. So, the edginess of cunt felt horridly out of place in context. If it had been once or twice, I wouldn’t give a paragraph of a review to it, but it was frequent and pulled me out of every scene.

All in all, despite these complaints, I liked almost everything else about the book. I liked the openness of the Itheni. I liked the world. I’m invested in what happens next. So, I’ll be on the lookout for the next book.

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