Tag Archives: urban fantasy

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Book Review: Blood On My Name, by K. Elle Morrison

I picked up a freebie copy of K. Elle Morrison‘s Blood On My Name. I think I maybe saw it on Tiktok originally. I happen to have downloaded it on my birthday. So, let’s call it a birthday present.

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Mara has nowhere else to run when she summons the ancient demon Vepar to make a deal. He promises to rid her of the man hunting her down for a price: Her name.

Vepar keeps to his word and erases Mara from her abusive ex’s mind, but Vepar is back to retrieve her only a day later with his twin brother at his side.

Mara must find strength within herself to survive… and fight the growing lust for the dark, sexy demon holding her hostage.

Zepar has found his place on Earth collecting the souls of wealthy and desperate business executives. His wicked ways are interrupted when Vepar ropes him into helping conceal Mara from their holy brethren and a Prince of Hell. But he quickly sees something within Mara that’s worth tearing apart Heaven and Hell to save.


Just because I stumbled across it, so I decided to share:

my review
Meh, there wasn’t really anything super wrong with this. It was slow and I never felt particularly immersed in the plot. But it was fine. But there just wasn’t anything that stood out as more than fine either.

There were a roughly equal number of things I appreciated and that annoyed me. I appreciated that Zepar wasn’t the ultra top dog, alpha a-hole. But I found the inclusion of BDSM references annoying and pedestrian, considering it wasn’t integrated into the plot at all. I liked the way Vepar was willing to step aside for his brother. But I also didn’t understand why he was so invested in the whole affair if he was so willing to step aside. I thought the Biblical lore was used interestingly, but also that the ending fell flat.

So, all in all, I’ll call this a middle of the road read.

blood on my name


Other Reviews:

@katherineguild Blood on my Name by K Elle Morrison @K. Elle Morrison – Author #kellemorrisonauthor #booktok #bookreview #bookrecommendations #bloodonmyname ♬ original sound – katherineguild

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Book Review: Dark Fate, by Karley Stafford

I accepted a review copy of Karley Stafford‘s Dark Fate as part of it’s book tour with Literary Book Tours. It was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight, earlier this year. So, you can hop over there for further information.
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I am the alpha’s daughter, the alpha apparent, heir to our pack. A position I never wanted. I wish I could relinquish it to Cole, my shadow and second. But my father would be devastated, and the pack would surely ostracize me.

My world goes to hell when my father makes a deal with the Cavell Wolves, known widely for their cruelty. The deal in which I will marry Jasper, the heir to the savage northern pack. The last thing I need is a male to be by my side to become the Alpha my father raised me to be. What he doesn’t know, I’m already in love with a witch whom I would burn the world down for.

After a night gone wrong, betrayed by someone I trust, I find myself at the mercy of Marrock, my heinous father-in-law-to-be. Learning first hand of the atrocities he’s willing to commit to get what he wants. But I will not let him break my spirit.

my review

I think that the best I can say for Dark Fate is that it was OK. Now, it was OK. I’m not saying it was bad. The writing was clean and easily readable. There’s clear plot progression and I liked the characters. But it’s all about as subtle as a sledge hammer to the head in almost every regard.

The cataclysm was set in motion because the characters just yelled at one another with no actual communication. The main character got angry and stormed around constantly, showing absolutely no capacity for deeper or varied thought. The ‘loves’ were entered into/dismissed all but instantly. The sex scenes with the male characters were blunt affairs that, while not bad, didn’t fit either the places in the book they existed or were the sort of sex to fit the situation or characters (either of them). The betrayal didn’t feel believable, based on the character up to that point or the other coven members after the fact. (And it was a huge missed opportunity to explore several themes that would have added depth and color to the narrative.) The loss that prompted the attitudinal shift in the main character was over the top for what was needed and wasn’t built up to at all. The villain was a generic sexual sadist with no shades grey. And overcoming him happened so easily that one has to wonder why anyone even hesitated to take him on, leading to the events of the book.

Speaking of events leading up to the conclusion—and this is spoilery, be warned—Stafford at no point acknowledges (or even seems to notice) that for all the tragedy and death, or the importance put on how the main character wouldn’t bend to the will of another, etc. She ended up doing 100%, exactly what was wanted from her to begin with, mating Jasper. One conversation with…damn near anyone and there could have been a resolution. (And no, that wasn’t the point.)

dark fate photoHaving said all that. I think it’s all just basically the foibles of a first book. Stafford shows a lot of potential here and I’d read another of their books. The only real, rage inducing complaint I have that I won’t chalk up to First Book Syndrome is what I deem queer baiting in the first quarter of the book. While I appreciate a bi-sexual/pan-sexual heroine and there was actually F/F sex, this was ultimately a MFM menage book and, to me, the F/F start felt like baiting because of how it all worked out by the end. (Though it does very narrowly avoid the Bury Your Gays trope.)

So, all in all, I’m calling this OK. I don’t discourage anyone from picking it up. But I also don’t suggest diving in expecting a well fleshed out masterpiece.


Other Reviews:

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Book Review: Edge of Magic, by Jayne Faith

I picked up a freebie e-copy of Jane Faith‘s Edge of Magic on Amazon, way back in 2020.

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My name is Tara Knightley, and I’m on the Fae mafia’s hit list. My childhood crush just rode back into town, too, and that may spell even bigger trouble . . .

My talent for sensing magical objects has made me a damn good professional thief for the past decade. But it’s also what got me into a blood oath with notorious Fae mob boss Grant Shaw.

My relationship with Shaw is rapidly souring, and I need to break free before it turns deadly. The solution? I must steal a magic skull from Shaw’s biggest rival and deliver it to him, and then he’ll nullify our blood oath.

Just as I’m set to go after the skull, my childhood best friend and crush, wolf shifter Judah McMahon, shows up asking for help. It’s been ten years since the falling out that ended our friendship, and I know I shouldn’t get involved.

But Judah’s life is threatened. How can I say no? The catch is, helping Judah will cost me the chance at freedom from Shaw . . . and possibly my life.

my review

I have very middle of the road feels about this book. On one hand, I liked the characters, the world seemed interesting, and—barring a few editing mishaps—the writing is pretty good.

On the other, the plot meanders. There is quite a lot of time dedicated to things that aren’t particularly plot relevant. (I’m thinking the knife throwing training session and, honestly, the whole sword side-quest.) It wasn’t until the very end that something resembling an actual single plot appeared.

The love interest is supposed to be super regretful for leaving her a decade ago and we’re expected to root for a re-ignition of romance. But I didn’t feel it. He had 10 years to come back, or just call/text/email. He’d even been in town several times. But he never contacted her until he needed something. I don’t feel any desire to see that romance bloom. How guilt-ridden and sorry could he truly be?

Further, I’ve gotten to an age that I’m just kind of done with plot in which women are in desperate financial straits and a man swoops in with his money/resources/connections and fixes everything for her. I think Faith needed to decide if she was writing a contemporary, second chance romance or a fantasy romance, because the whole Judah plot-line felt disconcertingly contemp romance and out of place in the fantasy plot. And it sure took up too much page time.

But worst of all, I’m 100% sick of reading books that don’t end. A cliffhanger in which some threads wrap up and others are left open is one thing. This book literally just abruptly stops. I edge of magic photoflipped the last page back and forwards because I hadn’t sensed any sort of drawing to a close and basically felt like I walked into a wall with the sudden, “Look for Echo of Bone, the next book in the Tara Knightley Series by Jayne Faith!” In fact, the plot looked to finally be starting to settle into a single trajectory and ramping up. So, the precipitous ending felt especially unforeseen and jarring.

So, meh. I’d probably read the next book if I found it free. But I feel no need to go buy it.


Other Reviews:

Edge of Magic by Jayne Faith – A Book Review