Tag Archives: Fae

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Book Review: Stariel Quartet, by A. J. Lancaster

Before I get to the review, a quick housekeeping note. I’ve returned to university and am now working on a Ph.D. As such, the time I can give to reading fiction (my favorite thing) is sadly constricted. It will likely take me a little while to find my feet and my new normal. But at the moment, I’m experimenting with reading and reviewing series instead of individual books. (I even made a whole post asking for omnibus recommendations.) This makes for longer posts a lot of the time but also allows for more time between postings. But I also acknowledge that I don’t usually tend to be quite as detailed when I’m reviewing several books together.  So, I may not stick with it. But for now, expect series reviews more often than individual book reviews.

OK, on to the review.


I initially saw A.J. Lancaster‘s Stariel Quartet recommended on Tiktok. It was on my radar. So, when I saw book one, The Lord of Stariel, come up as a Kindle Freebie, I nabbed it. Then I bought the rest of the series (The Prince of Secrets, The Court of Mortals, The King of Faerie, and A Rake of His Own) one by one as I finished each preceding book.
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The Lord of Stariel is dead. Long live the Lord of Stariel. Whoever that is.

Everyone knows who the magical estate will choose for its next ruler. Or do they?

Will it be the lord’s eldest son, who he despised?

His favourite nephew, with the strongest magical land-sense?

His scandalous daughter, who ran away from home years ago to study illusion?

Hetta knows it won’t be her, and she’s glad of it. Returning home for her father’s funeral, all Hetta has to do is survive the family drama and avoid entanglements with irritatingly attractive local men until the Choosing. Then she can leave.

But whoever Stariel chooses will have bigger problems than eccentric relatives to deal with.

Winged, beautifully deadly problems.

For the first time in centuries, the fae are returning to the Mortal Realm, and only the Lord of Stariel can keep the estate safe.

In theory.

my review

I binged these books, reading them back to back with nary a breath between. So, I’m just going to go ahead and review them the same way. In a sentence, I adored this series. I will 100% be looking for more of Lancaster’s work.

I love a practical heroine, and Hetta is eminently practical. She’s also strong, loyal, brave, and witty. In fact, the whole cast (and the narrative itself) has a dry, witty character to it that I enjoyed. It startled more than one laugh out of me. I think it’s the narrative tone that I liked most about the books.

I also can’t tell you how much I loved the characters. Even the ones that I didn’t initially care for, such as Jack, I came to like in the end. (And the bonus book about Marius and Rake was a joy.) Family is important to each of them in their own way, and the reader feels this. I’d like to see a few other side characters get their happily-ever-afters.

The mystery was a little easy to predict, the villain overcome a tad too easily, and the pacing is a little off at times. But overall, I’m not sad to have read the series. In fact, I’ll miss it now that I’m finished.

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Other Reviews:

River.Me – Stariel Series Review

 

 

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Book Review: Of Boys and Beasts & Of Beasts and Demons, by Mona Black

Of Boys and Beasts, by Mona Black is a freebie on Amazon. I then chose to purchase a copy of Of Beasts and Demons in order to continue the series. This second book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight earlier in the year.

of boys and beasts

About the book:

One’s a werewolf with an ax to grind
Two’s a vampire with a heart of coal
Three’s a demon with a taste for pain
Four’s a fae with a past of woe
Five’s a girl who will take them down all
In revenge for the pain they’ve sown
So what if they’re gorgeous? They must atone…

My name is Mia Solace. You know, the girl who will take them down all? That’s me.

When my cousin is returned to us by Pandemonium Academy in a glass coffin, in an enchanted sleep she isn’t expected to wake up from, I grab her diary and head to the academy myself.

Because her diary, you see, tells of four cruel boys who bullied her and broke her heart until she sought oblivion through a spell.

Four magical boys, because that’s the world we live in now, heirs of powerful families attending this elite academy where the privileged scions of the human and magical races are brought together in the noble pursuit of education.

As for me, I cheat to get on the student roster, and once I’m in, well… it’s war, baby. I’ll get those four sons of guns, steal their secrets, make them hurt. I’ll transform into an avenging angel for my cousin, for all the girls they’ve wronged, and I bet there are plenty of those.

While growing up, my cousin was my only friend. Now I’ll be her champion.

Only these boys aren’t exactly as I pictured them. Devastatingly handsome, deliciously brooding, strangely haunted, they’re getting under my skin and through my defenses.

Kissing them surely wasn’t part of my plan…

Getting into bed with them even less.

my review

I was invested enough to want to read book two and see where the series goes. So, I can’t claim to have entirely disliked it. But I think I was also invested in the story in the same way one is a train wreck. It’s a mess, but I couldn’t seem to look away. Also, the book doesn’t conclude. I won’t call it a cliffhanger. It’s just another book that doesn’t end. I cannot tell you how much I resent this trend. But I decided to give the second a chance to redeem itself. You’ll notice I stopped at two.

I think that the author doesn’t quite pull off what she’s aiming for. The boys, who are supposed to be dark, brooding bullies come across as broken children. It’s awful hard to find boys sexy, as we’re intended to. I’ll grant that the title is Of Boys and Beasts, but I have to admit to assuming that was just alliterative. Guess not.

Plus, the book is really bad about almost all non-main character girls being disposable sexual commodities. This isn’t uncommon in romance books, but the older I get the less patient I get with this authorial habit. In fact it kind of makes me rage. Can’t we do better by and for ourselves as women and female authors?

The premise is patently ridiculous. It’s fun in the beginning to see Mia’s blind determination. I honestly started to wonder if she wasn’t on the autism spectrum at one point, because of the way she plows of boys and beast photothrough so many social cues. I honestly think that would have been more interesting that what we were eventually given. Because the fact that Mia stays so on course starts to stretch the bounds of credulity.

Lastly, the book feels  a little to Young Adult, which be fine if it didn’t also feel so much like it is aiming for New Adult instead. Certainly the subject matter and sexual content is more NA than YA. So, there’s a disconnect.

But, as I said, I did buy book two. So, I can’t pretend nothing intrigued me.


of beasts and demons

About the Book:

Everyone now thinks I am a witch – a member of the Apollinari House. They couldn’t be more wrong since I was adopted when I was little, but they don’t know that and I won’t squander this advantage by telling them.

The boys have decided that they need a witch to help them fight the magical surges, and what better way to slip through their defenses and find out their dirty secrets?

Find them, expose them and get my revenge on behalf of my cousin who is lying in a deadly enchanted sleep back home. It shouldn’t be that hard. The boys, after all, seem interested in getting to know me better.

But that’s because I am a witch, someone they need. Which suits me just fine. Who cares why, right?

It shouldn’t hurt. I shouldn’t want them to want me for who I really am, to feel anything for me. That’s nonsense. I’m not here to court them; I’m here to hurt them.

So why is it so hard to go through with my plan?

After all, since when do I care for them?

my review

So, we have some serious magical Vajayjay going on here. And honestly it just took over too much of the plot. There was nothing new or interesting in it. The same exact thing happened with each boy, such that it just felt redundant and predictable. There was nothing left to keep me interested in that department.

What’s worse, the author’s continued insistence on having the character both playing the virginal ingénue and the whore, while also insisting to herself she was still out to hurt these boys while simultaneously being nothing but kind and falling for them stopped working looooong before the author gave it up. I realize she meant the character to be conflicted. But it just felt contradictory and like an artifice.

of beasts and demons photoI won’t say I was wholly uninterested. I’d like to read on to see what comes of the boy’s (and I do mean boys, despite the sex they all seem super immature) tragic backstories and the four of them coming together (which I found far more interesting than their obsession with Mia). But honestly, I’m not interested enough to buy the next book. If it popped up as an Amazon freebie or at the library, sure. But I don’t think I’d put more money into the series.


Other Reviews:

BOOK REVIEW: Of Boys and Beasts by Mona Black #reverseharem #paranormalromance #bookreview

 

Book Review: The Unseelie Prince, by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

I received a copy of Kathryn Ann Kingsley‘s The Unseelie Prince in last month’s Supernatural Book Crate.the unseelie prince coverThe throne is Valroy’s for the taking…but first, he needs a queen.

As the son of the Morrigan and heir to the vacant Unseelie throne, Valroy itches to shed the mantle of prince and take his place as King. To his great regret one ancient tradition stands in his way, demanding he first take a bride. With all the members of the Unseelie court proving to be insufferable, what is a prince to do?

Steal a human, of course.

Abigail often wonders if the townsfolk aren’t right in calling her cursed. Abandoned by her husband and with no family to call her own, everything in her life hangs by a thread. Never did she except her downfall would come by taking pity on an old hermit. Abducted into the dangerous world of Tir n’Aill, Abigail is thrust into a terrifying maze that defies all logic. There, she finds herself at the mercy of an Unseelie prince with a strange offer—survive his maze and he’ll give her the solution to all her problems…

If she can live that long.my reviewI am 100% torn about how I feel about this book. On one hand I love old-school fae who don’t conform to mortal norms and morals. They’re basically my favorite kind. And that’s Valroy in a nutshell. However, on the other hand, this is supposed to be a romance. And the romance aspect of this fell really flat for me.

Sure, I get anti-heroes. I understand dark romance. And I saw that Valroy’s attitudes were changing over the course of the book. But the fact remains that he legitimately didn’t care if she lived or died for the majority of the book. And that does not equal any sort of romance in my mind. So, for me, it was a fail on that front.

But there is the undeniable third hand in which I am curious to see where the story goes from here. So, I’m going to call this a middle-of-the-road read and hope that the romance strikes my fancy a little more in book two. the unseelie prince photo


Other Reviews:

The Unseelie Prince Book Review

February 2022 Wrap Up