Tag Archives: K.F. Breene

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Book Reviews: Deliciously Dark Fairytales #1-4, by K.F. Breene

I purchased e-copies of K.F. Breene‘s A Ruin of Roses, A Throne of Ruin, A Kingdom of Ruin and A Queen of Ruin.


a ruin of roses coverAbout the book:

I could save him, but he would ruin me.

The beast.
The creature that stalks the forbidden wood.
The dragon prince.

He has suffered a fate worse than death. We all have. A curse put upon us by the mad king.

We are a kingdom locked in time. Shifters unable to feel our animals. Stuck here by a deal between the late king and a demon who seeks our destruction.

The only one keeping this kingdom alive is Nyfain, the golden prince to a stolen throne. The last dragon shifter.

He’s our hope.
He’s my nightmare.

When he catches me trespassing in the forbidden wood, he doesn’t punish me with death, as he’s entitled.

He takes me, instead. Forces me back to the castle as his prisoner. Seeks to use me.

Apparently, I can save him. I can save the whole forgotten kingdom, locked away by the demon king’s power.

But it would mean taming the monster beneath his skin. It would mean giving myself to him.

It would mean my ruin.

my review

I enjoyed this quite a lot, though the second half significantly more than the first. I thought a lot of the humor in the first half—before the main characters had much of a relationship—fell flat and the whole thing felt a little silly. However, once Finely and Nyfain met things took a turn for the better. Her humor worked a lot better when it had a foil, someone to bounce off and return.

The steam factor isn’t all that high in this first book, though it’s my understanding that it picks up in book two. There is quite a lot of sexual tension and ‘almosts’ though. So, if that’s your cupcake, you’ll be happy with this book.

What I like most though is the way Breene is playing with gender tropes. Nyfain is physically bigger and stronger, true, but Finley is the hero of this book, hands down. I mean the last a ruin of roses photosentences kind of make the point excellently: “If he wanted to play hero, I would. And I’d make him my damsel.”

And Breene manages to make Finley the hero(ine) without emasculating Nyfain or stripping Finley of any feminine traits. She’s butch, yes, but she’s not the dreaded ‘man with tits’ we see some authors sculpt when the only way they can think to make a female character strong is to write her as a man, even as they describe them as a woman. No, Finley is going to save the day and she is going to do it as a woman. The question is just what the journey there will look like.

All in all, I’m looking forward to book two.


a throne of ruin cover

About the book:

The only thing protecting me from the demons…is the beast.

Nyfain, the golden dragon prince, tried to set me free. But there is no freedom in this kingdom. Not for anyone.

The demons have sought me out. They want to trap me. To use me against Nyfain.

It’s only a matter of time before they call in the demon king.

Nyfain thinks I should save myself. That I should barter with the demon king to escape this place.

But can I give myself to the creature responsible for torturing the people I love?

In order to save them, though, I might not have a choice.

my review

I liked this even more than the first one. Finely continues to be a super badass heroine who is clearly going to save the day and I’m completely here for it. Nyfain showing his softer side and being ready and willing to submit to and support her authority was endearing. And the two of them exploring fantasy and kink together was great. For me it wasn’t even about the sex—though there is plenty of it—but seeing them open up and talk about things that, outside of their singular situation, would be awkward and embarrassing was a a lot of fun.

a throne of ruin photoI did think there were some inconsistencies. For example, the first time the two came together sexually he was so ‘big’ they really had to work for him to fit. But this was never an issue again, not even when they did anal. And I thought Finely became just a tad too competent and confident. At one point she took on seven powerful demons at once, without being a life-time warrior, and defeated them with ease.

But all in all, I’m still all in to see how the series continues.


a kingdom of ruin cover

About the book:

Never sell your soul to the Demon King.

Too late.

In an effort to save all that I love, I have to finish the job Nyfain started… and ruin myself.

I’ve made a trade with the most cunning creature alive.

Me for them.

The dungeons will be my new home. Dolion’s destruction will be my new goal.

I just have to get out of here and back to my golden dragon. Preferably alive.

my review

While I’m still enjoying the characters and the series. This particular book wasn’t a comparative winner for me. It felt very much like a middle book, which (in a sense) it is. What’s more, what I’m enjoying about this series is Finely and Nyfain together. And they are apart for most of this book. In fact, Nyfain is barely in it at all.

In a way, this is still Breene playing with expected gender roles. Finely goes off to save the day and Nyfain is left waiting and worrying at home. I recognize and appreciate the fact. But I still a kingdom of ruin photomissed their banter and the progression of their relationship.

What I got instead was quite a lot of legitimate humor in the book. Especially in the form of Hadriel and Leala, and the new dragons (Vemar was my favorite.) I laughed a lot. And I enjoyed the heck out of that.

I’ve pre-ordered book 4 and I’m hoping it’s the last of the series. Not because I’m not still liking it, but because I fear it will jump the shark before too long if it doesn’t wrap up.


About the Book:

a queen of ruinI thought once we released the curse, I’d only have one enemy to contend with.

Wrong.

The queen lives. Not only that, but she knowingly hid herself from me and the rest of this kingdom until the moment the curse was broken. Now she is back, and her desires aren’t clear. Neither are her motives.

Will she try to take the throne for herself?

We can stop her…unless she had a hand in that curse. In which case, will we need to battle her and the demon king before we can finally live in peace? Or has this all been for naught?

Regardless, we have very little time before the demon king returns to wipe us out.

my review

There’s a spoiler below.

Well, this series wrapped up well. I’ll admit that this last book was not my favorite. I didn’t feel like it had as much of it’s own plot as some of the other books. It felt very much like it was just wrapping up the threads of past books. (Though one thread never snipped was the blacksmith’s sword. I really wanted to see him give the sword over.)

a queen of ruin photoMostly though, I thought the whole baby and happy family was a pat and unimaginative way to provide a happily ever after. I’m not opposed to it being a plot point, but when it IS the happy ending I lean toward bored.

Despite that, I enjoyed spending time with the characters (Hadriel and Vemar especially) and am happy to have continued the story until the end.


Other Reviews:

A Queen of Ruin (ARC review) – Massive finale (literally and figuratively)

Feeling Fictional: Deliciously Dark Fairytales Series

 

 

 

fate of perfection breene

Book Review: Fate of Perfection, by K.F. Breene

I borrowed a copy of K.F. Breene‘s Fate of Perfection through Amazon Prime Reading.

fate of perfection kf breene

In a corporate-controlled future where the ruling conglomerates genetically engineer their employees, Millicent Foster is the best of the best.

Physically perfect and exceptionally intelligent, Millicent is granted the uncommon privilege of breeding. But her daughter inherits more than superior genetics…little Marie has a rare ability that the world has never seen, and her conglomerate, Moxidone, will stop at nothing to have sole possession of the child.

Teamed with Ryker, the formidable master of security, Millicent must risk everything in a life-and-death struggle to tear her daughter away from the ruling force who wants to own them all. The odds are stacked against them, but Moxidone will learn that the pursuit of perfection comes at a perilous cost—and that love can’t be bought at any price.

my review

I enjoyed this. It’s pulpy sci-fi romance, so no one would call it great literature. But I still enjoyed it, even as I see flaws in it.

Ryker was an alpha a-hole, which I didn’t appreciate. But he also decided to protect ‘his family’ and went about doing just that, which I did appreciate. I also liked that for a lot of the book he, Millicent, and Marie are a family by virtue of a baby between them. That means they are a family unit because they decided so, not because of any romantic connection or a legally binding marriage, etc (that comes later and is a super weak—though not insignificant—part of the plot-line). Ryker and Millicent are two adults who decide to function as a pair because they have a child to protect. It ticked a lot of emotional boxes for me.

Trent’s sarcasm cracked me up and, though not all of Ryker and Millicent’s banter was a bullseye for me, I generally thought it amusing. The science was super hand-wavey, but the book didn’t really need much more. All in all, a winner. I’ll happily read another.

fate of perfection photo


Other Reviews:

Review – Fate of Perfection

Fate of Perfection (Finding Paradise #1) By: K.F. Breene

Leveling up 1-3 kf Breene

Book Review: Leveling Up (#1-3), by K.F. Breene

leveling up 1-3 k.f. breene

After seeing them recommended in a Fans of Urban Fantasy group, I picked up copies of K. F. Breene‘s Magical Midlife Madness, Magical Midlife Dating, and Magical Midlife Invasion while they were free on Amazon.

magical midlife madness

Description from Goodreads:

A woman starting over. A new house with an unexpected twist. A cape wearing butler acting as the world’s worst life coach.

“Happily Ever After” wasn’t supposed to come with a do-over option. But when my husband of twenty years packs up and heads for greener pastures and my son leaves for college, that’s exactly what my life becomes.

Do-over.

This time, though, I plan to do things differently. Age is just a number, after all, and at forty I’m ready to carve my own path.

Eager for a fresh start, I make a somewhat unorthodox decision and move to a tiny town in the Sierra foothills. I’ll be taking care of a centuries old house that called to me when I was a kid. It’s just temporary, I tell myself. It’ll just be for a while.

That is, until I learn what the house really is, something I never could’ve imagined.

Thankfully forty isn’t too old to start an adventure, because that’s exactly what I do. A very dangerous adventure that will change my life forever. I have a chance to start again, and this time, I make the rules.

my review

I adored this. Yes, a couple jokes felt forced. As much as I loved Jessie giving the men how-to-be-better-for-women lectures they felt a little didactic at times. The idea of a magical house choosing a keeper isn’t new, and Jessie was just a little too flippant in her confidence sometime. But…but…but…but I just loved her and the story. I laughed so hard and so often reading this book that I couldn’t even steady my wine enough to sip it.

As a 43yo woman I could relate to so much of her struggle. I appreciated that she didn’t want getting a youthful body back to be the solution to middle age, especially for a woman. She liked herself as so many of us want to like ourselves in our older, more experienced bodies. The side characters cracked me up. The suggestion of romance was on a back burner and not focused on sex.

All in all, I had a hoot with this and can’t wait to jump into the next one.


magical midlife datingDescription from Goodreads:

The decision has been made. Jessie has taken the magic, and all the weird that goes with it. Including wings.

There’s only one problem – she can’t figure out how to access them.

Through a series of terrible decisions, Jessie realizes she must ask for help. Gargoyle help.

But she could’ve never predicted who answers her call – he’s an excellent flier, incredibly patient, and a good trainer. He’s also incredibly handsome. And interested.

Maybe flying isn’t the only thing she needs help with. Maybe she needs help getting back on that saddle, too, emerging into the dating pool.

Except, the new gargoyle is also an alpha, just like Austin, and the town isn’t big enough for two.

Turns out, flying is the least of her problems.

my review

I liked this one, but not as much as the first book. I understood her desire to get back in the ‘dating’ saddle again (really she just wants to try sex for the first time since her divorce and I respect that), but I didn’t understand why she didn’t call D on all his RED FLAGS before she did. I still adore the friends-for-now relationship she has with A though.

I was massively disappointed that, after saying in book one that she didn’t want getting a more youthful body to be the solution to middle age, especially for a woman, she essentially did just that. Maybe she didn’t go whole hog and get her 20yo body back, she just got some aspects of it back. But the way the book moved from her wearing chucks and no make-up in book one to slinky red or sparkly dresses, heals and smokey eyed make-up in this one negated the goodwill book one developed on that front. I almost felt it a betrayal. Whats more, it was just rude that she took those upgrades and didn’t think to do the same for the guardians who are all well past 40yo.

But all the side characters still made me laugh. I still like the main character and am having fun with the series. I have book three and I’m looking forward to reading it.


Description from Goodreads:

Jessie is well on her way to learning her new life and settling in. The tough alpha, Austin, has joined her team, and she has painstakingly learned to fly. At the moment, life couldn’t get any better.

But it can get a whole lot…more irritating.

Her parents have decided to visit. They don’t know anything about magic, about Jessie’s new digs, or about the crazy crew living in and around Jessie’s house. She must do everything in her power to keep the truth away from them.

Which would be much easier without the unfelt presence lurking within Ivy House’s borders. It seems an enemy has figured out a way to magically bypass Ivy House’s defenses. Jessie is completely exposed.

The real battle, however, won’t be with the incoming force. It will be between Mr. Tom and Jessie’s mom, each intent on being the most helpful. Mr. Tom might have met his match, and he is not pleased.

Just when things were finally settling down, Jessie is in the thick of it again, and this time, the turmoil is all around her.

my review

I’m flying through this series and still enjoying it. This one, book three, felt very much like a middle book though. Things happen—the visiting parents provide opportunity for slapstick comedy, Jessie and Austin remain in each-other’s orbits, a battle, members joining the council, etc. But the whole thing kind of lacked series arc focus in the way so many middle books do, done with the introductions, but not moving toward any kind of conclusion yet. All in all, I read it, enjoyed it, and am looking forward to more, but book one is still my favorite by a mile (so far, anyhow).

I do want to make a note here of an experience I had literally minutes after I finished book two. I finished the book, put down my Kindle, and picked up my phone, so immediately after. I was checking in with the same Fans of Urban Fantasy group and someone had asked

Can someone please explain this whole paranormal women’s fiction thing of 40 year old women who have grown children, and no life at 40 (until their husband dumps them and they get a hot faerie bf, obviously)? As a 40-something woman myself, i am not finding I’m able to identify with this anymore than I can with the hot 22 year-olds who predominate in UF…

She went on to also mention women so often being inexperienced in sex. This prompted discussion, obviously, with responders all over the map from agreeing whole-heartedly to stating, “It’s fantasy, Karen.”

But as the debate rolled along, Breene popped in to comment. Now keep in mind PWF isn’t a particularly old genre. I don’t know a lot about how it came to be, but there seem to be 13 authors recognized as the originators and Breene is one of them. And while her response was NO WHERE near Author Behaving Badly level, she did say things like “But as the co-creator of pwf, I figured I’d better stand on the front lines and return fire.” And I just thought it was an oddly defensive stance, characterizing a reader discussion about preferences and dislikes in a genre as combat or an attack. In fact, that was my general read on her responses in generaldefensive, as if personally attacked, which wasn’t how I took the original post.

Facebook screen shotI made several comments (some of which I deleted because the commenters seemed to be starting to take sides and I didn’t want to find myself offending anyone by accident), one of which she ‘corrected.’

This was someone recommending Breene’s series to the woman who dislikes the divorce component. (Magical Midlife Madness starts with the heroine getting a divorce.)

Again, I thought it oddly defensive. Her clarification essentially said the same thing I did in the comment she was responding to. There had been a lack of good sex in the main character’s life. But the “ I won’t apologize for that” again seemed defensive. No one was criticizing her or even the book, nothing had been said that would necessitate an apology. The intent of my comment was solely to make sure the OP, who had just been recommend a book that contained the very element she stated she dislikes, knew that before picking it up. I wasn’t discouraging anyone reading it. In fact, I said I liked it.

As stated, I don’t think Breene was in Author Behaving Badly territory. But it was enough that I’d be cringing  and cautious if this post and review were a bad one. I’d wonder if and how she’d respond. Because she’s shown herself to be defensive, IMO, and willing to step into readers’ spaces to “return fire.” I’m noting all this here should I choose to pick up another of her series in the future. I probably will, I have enjoyed what I read of this one so far, but I don’t want to end up embroiled in any drama.