Tag Archives: reverse harem

Book Review: Chosen by Villains, by Eva Chase

I believe I purchased my copy of Eva Chase‘s Chosen by Villains during a signed book author event.
chosen by villains cover

Three brutal monsters came to my rescue. Now who’s going to save me from them?

Every beat of my heart is the tick of a time bomb, reminding me to squeeze as many thrills out of life as I can. Still, the last thing I expect is a horde of nightmarish monsters descending on me in the night, eager to tear me apart.

So when three more demonic figures leap out of the shadows to defend me, my choices are trust my unexpected champions… or die. Not exactly a tough decision.

The beastly men wrench me away from my home, claiming they’ll keep me safe. They say there’s something special about me—something the others want to devour and they mean to protect.

My monstrous saviors are just as brutal as the creatures they fought off, damaged in ways I’ll never understand. I can tell they’re hiding things from me. But the more we dig into the mysteries surrounding my existence, the more I catch glimpses of tenderness beneath their vicious exteriors.

And the touch of their fangs and tentacles makes me feel so shockingly alive, it’s hard to remember why I ever feared them…

Until I discover the real reason they’re protecting me.

my review

Meh. This was a pretty bland read for me. To start with, I didn’t know beforehand that it is set in the same world as the Flirting With Monsters series. Maybe it’s a spinoff (the characters from that series make an appearance). I don’t know the specifics. I do know that there is so little worldbuilding in this book that if I hadn’t read the Flirting With Monsters series in the past, I would have been lost.

I do not feel that I got to know the characters. (Not that I really needed to. The men are clones of the men from Flirting With Monsters.) I did not feel any chemistry between the lovers. I don’t honestly think there was enough time for any to develop. The plot is simple and predictable. Mostly, it all simply coasted along at just good enough. Never did the book get good and grab my attention. But never did it ever get quite so bad that I decided to DNF. I was mostly just kind of bored with it. Meh, bland.

The writing and editing are fine. The cover is pretty (though I don’t think it matches the tone of the book at all), and I did appreciate all of the disability rep. Honestly, this is probably a case of just not the book for me. I’ve liked other Chase books a lot more.

chosen by villains photo

Other Reviews:

The Heart of a Monster Series by Eva Chase


Tate james banner

Book Review: Hate & Liar, by Tate James

I purchased copies of Hate and Liar, by Tate James.
hate and liar covers

“Madison Kate Danvers was murdered tonight.”

Those words changed my life, and not for the better.

They were wrong, of course. I wasn’t dead. But I was set up.

After being charged with a string of offences–and made an example of by my political minded father–I’m eventually released back into Shadow Grove with one thing on my mind.


Someone is going to pay for derailing my carefully laid out future. Someone is going to catch the full force of my hate. How very convenient that someone just moved into the bedroom down the hall from me.

Archer D’Ath and his boys messed with the wrong chick and they’re about to learn just how cold Madison Kate’s hate can run.

my review

I did actually write two reviews for these books because after finishing Hate, I didn’t think I was going to read another. But on a whim, I decided to give Liar a chance. So if you really want, you can see them on Goodreads. But I’m going to combine them here for brevity’s sake.

The writing is fine. My issue is that I hated everyone in these books. I spent a full 80% of Hate, angry and indignant on Madison Kate’s behalf. But also not liking her either. She has the emotional range of a walnut, and, frankly, I have 2nd hand embarrassment for her. She talks smack constantly in situations of true life or death and then follows her threats with pranks of the swap the salt for sugar variety. *cringe*

I find that I can’t root for this romance because I hate the men involved. HATE. (They are all in their early 20s, but they act younger but really should be older for them to fit the roles the author is trying to give them.) They (Archer especially) are needlessly cruel to MK repeatedly and knowingly. They lash out to gleefully emotionally skewer her over and over and over again. Then, when she rationally gets upset, they dismiss her as throwing a princess tantrum. I hate them all. I can’t even get down with the hate-fucking because all I see is her giving them another win. I dislike everyone involved.

At the 80% mark, there is some minor improvement in two of the men and a cliffhanger hook to tempt me into thinking things might improve in the next book. People seem to love this series. So, I keep thinking there must be something somewhere, and maybe it’s just later in the series.

I get that this series is enemies to lovers. I do. But there is a point, as a reader, at which the enemies have done too much harm for me to forgive them and reassign them the lover role. And at the end of Hate, I suspected this series passed it. I like an anti-hero as much as the next woman. But there has to be some hero aspect to being an anti-hero. All I see are overbearing bullies who enjoy hurting the person James is trying to convince me they secretly love. It’s not working for me.

The problem is that the sunken cost fallacy is a powerful thing. So, I decided to chance reading Liar to see if the series improved. I didn’t hate all the characters quite as much as in book one. But it was only a minor improvement. I guessed the cliffhanger ‘twist’ about halfway through Hate. So, there was no surprise there for me. And the spice didn’t really alleviate my dislike. Honestly, I thought about half the scenes didn’t even make sense. James didn’t quite sell it well enough for me to believe Madison Kate would choose to sleep when the men at the moments that she did.

I’ll admit that having finished Liar, I find myself in the same predicament of wanting to give the next one a chance to finally turn things around. But fool me once, and all that…

hate liar photos

Other Reviews:

Madison Kate Series Review

alpha queen series banner

Book Review: Alpha Queen Legacy series, by Laurel Night

I picked up Laurel Night‘s  Wolf Shunned, the first book in the Alpha Queen Legacy series, as an Amazon freebie. I then bought the omnibus of the series so that I could read Pack Claimed, Queen Crowned, and Legacy Fulfilled.

alpha queen covers

It’s amazing to be a powerful wolf… if you’re male.

When you’re a nineteen year-old girl who can beat the crap out of every wolf in your pack, suddenly it’s not so great.

Love isn’t everything, I know; but even the most powerful she-wolf submits to her mate. If you can’t be beaten, you can’t be mated.

And an unmated wolf has no place in the pack.

My one hope is the clan gathering in the Blackwood Fortress. Every wolf in the continent attends, and a few seriously sexy wolves catch my eye. I’m bound to find at least one who can match me, right?

Then there’s my other problem: My pack leader is a grade-A jerk. After treating me like a genetic freak my whole life, he suddenly decides to stake a claim. But I can’t refuse the challenge, and my wolf won’t back down. Either I submit to the pack leader and become mated to his skeezy pelt, or I win the challenge and my freedom… by taking his place as pack leader.

Only no one has ever heard of a female pack leader, and if I become one, I’ll never find a mate.

my review

With a few exceptions (which I will address), I really enjoyed book one of this series. I finished it excited to continue the story. However, that excitement wained as the series draggggggggs. Time went on. Days went by, in fact, where I just couldn’t seem to find the end. This despite the plot events slowing down and getting repetitive. I started dreading having to pick the book back up. I honestly think the author could cut enough chaff to reduce the series by an entire book! I never quite got to the point of disliking it. But I sure did get awfully bored.

The writing is clean and easy to read though, and I liked the characters well enough (individually and together). I liked that the men became family among themselves, as well as with Kali. A significant chunk of the books is about them learning to give up their toxic machismo, follow a woman, and come to accept that having some softness doesn’t make them weak. I thought Night addressed some surprisingly heavy topics in intelligent ways throughout the series.

There is surprisingly little sex in the series. It’s not fade to black, but there are not many sex scenes, and none of them are particularly explicit. I definitely wouldn’t call them overly erotic. (All but one of them is a virgin. So, no one knows enough to really get down from the get-go, and no single male mate gets more than one sex scene.) So, those looking for a Why Choose on the “cleaner” side could read this fairly comfortably. (But those looking for a spicy read will likely be disappointed.)

In the beginning, my biggest complaint was the age of the characters. They are all 19, weeks from turning 20. (Something important happens at 20.) Nothing about any of the characters feels 19. Most of them are the leaders of their clan, some having been so for years. They are experienced, jaded, and authoritative in a way that feels at least 35, not 19. This is addressed in the narrative with wolves maturing faster, etc. But it still yanked me out of the narrative over and over again because they so very much do not feel the age they are meant to be. (Plus, maturing faster means things like mating and bearing children are shifted back several years to accommodate, too, and that’s just icky. Especially since the characters are appropriately uncomfortable with 15-year-olds having babies, which counters the whole ‘matures early’ narrative to accommodate modern Western ideals.)

My biggest complaint, however, is not a plot point, per se (though it sure feels like one). I’m not making any allegations against the author, but I do want to acknowledge that there is something seriously hinky going on with race in the books. We’re repeatedly told the heroine is unusual and stands out as more beautiful than anyone else because she is fair-skinned, blonde, and blue-eyed. We are explicitly told that most people are dark (haired, eyed, skinned). So we have a ‘not-a-drop’ blonde who is more beautiful, powerful, and dominant than anyone else, coming to save (and rule) all the muddle skin/hair/eyed people. Read that as not white, though that terminology is never actually used. Even the single explicitly coded black man is never referred to as such.

And if this was just a time or two, I might not say anything. But this happens over and over again. The heroine has five mates, so there are five opportunities to talk about someone seeing her for the first time, narrative descriptions of the societies in general—five different clans, actually—and just a plethora of chances to admire Kali’s looks (imagine Kali from the Game of Thrones show and you’ll be in the ballpark) and talk about people and their looks.

I picked the pattern up fairly early and couldn’t stop seeing it. But then it got worse. [This is a little bit of a spoiler.] The main characters are post-apocalyptic, genetically non-human werewolves. At some point, the group discovers that there are, in fact, still some true humans secretly alive. And, you guessed it, while they aren’t as striking as Kali, their limited genetic gene pool leaves them all fair and blond, and their circumstances have them miles above and beyond the primitive wolves technologically. The only true humans in the book are blond/white (and Christian, as it happens), while the non-humans are not. In fact, Kali even asks if there could have been some intermating between the humans and the wolves since she looks like the humans more than the wolves.

I don’t know that the author made purposeful racial associations here, but she did make them, and it is not even subtle. Frankly, I don’t know if internalizing such racial biases to the degree they slip through into your writing by accident is truly better than doing it on purpose. Lastly, before you consider coming for me to argue such explicit worship of the blond doesn’t necessarily mean white, read some Tressie McMillan Cottom, who writes about blonde as a signifier of race. Or here, have a TikTok primer that crossed my feed with truly miraculous timeliness as I formulated this review:


♬ original sound – The Group Behavior Gal

I also thought that the wolf/shifter aspect of the plot was underutilized. The wolves play very little part in the story. As a result, I kind of feel like the characters could have been genetically modified in ways that would make a lot more sense—just stronger, or heartier, or bigger humans, for example—without going all the way to able to shift into wolves and it would have been a stronger plot element.

All in all, I was super icked out by the race issue, but otherwise enjoyed book one and was apathetic about the last three. I didn’t hate them, but they didn’t light me on fire either.

alpha queen legacy photo

Other Reviews:

Wolf Shunned by Laurel Night – A Reread Review