Review of Glow by Raven Kennedy

Synopsis:
The Booktok hit: The Plated Prisoner Series continues in book 4. This dark adult fantasy romance is inspired by the myth of King Midas and the gold-touched woman who realizes her true worth.

“I was nothing but a road to Midas. A means to get to where he wanted to go, and I paved that path in gold.”

My life has been made up of gilded lies. But death has been shaped from rot.

Like a phoenix caught fire, I will need to rise from the ashes and learn to wield my own power. Because my wings may have been clipped, but I am not in a cage, and I’m finally free to fly from the frozen kingdoms I’ve been kept in.

Yet the world doesn’t want to let me.

That’s the thing when you turn against a king—everyone else turns against you.

Good thing I have a different king in my corner.

But even with the dark threat of Slade Ravinger, the other monarchs are coming for me.

So I will fight for him and he will kill for me, and if we need to become the villains, then so be it.

Because so long as I live in this world, I won’t be used again.

Please note: This is an adult fantasy series with dark elements that may be triggering, including past emotional and physical trauma, violence, adult language, and explicit romance. Read at your own discretion.

Review:
Firstly, this book was SLOWWWW. 700 pages. And 10 chapters where we learn about the past, and spend so much time wondering about Auren. It did make the book feel like a bit of a drudge at the beginning with a small pacing issue, especially given how long the novel is. I think Kennedy did an admirable job in representing a repressed person and what trauma responses they can have, as well as how hard it is to work back up to being functional both with a disability/part of you taken away as well as not being oppressed anymore.

I very much enjoyed getting to see more of Slade and understand more of how he came to be in Orea as well as why he can be so dark. It was good to see a few more characters having a bit more time to shine, and I definitely enjoyed learning more of Rissa and Polly. It was also quite neat having Argo so close all, as well as those who he is used to; something I can relate to because often times people are scared or nervous around horses.

The spice in this was very well written, detailed, and why I’m also going to be tagging this under “Romance”. Definitely prefer Slade over Midas, that’s for sure!

Book 5 is due out in June, so I’ll probably be rejoining this world around then!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Prince of Never by Juno Heart

Synopsis:
A fae prince with a poisoned heart. A mortal girl with a magical voice. Neither one believes in fairy tales.

City waitress Lara has the voice of an angel and no idea she’s marked as the fated mate of a silver-eyed royal from another realm. When she falls into Faery and meets an obnoxious huntsman who mistakes her for a troll, she’s amazed to discover he’s the cursed Prince of Air in disguise. Ever’s mother, the queen, is less than impressed. The opposing court of techno-loving Unseelie wants her as their very own pet. And an evil air mage wishes her dead.

Held captive by Elemental fae in the Land of Five, she’s certainly hit rock bottom.

But songs wield power, and Lara happens to be a true diva. Now if only she can use her newfound magical skill to make the Prince of Never a little less attractive. The first thing she wants is to find a way back home, and the last is to fall in love.

Prince of Never is book 1 in the YA enemies-to-lovers Black Blood Fae series. Each book has a HEA and stars a different cursed prince and his human fated mate.** Now contains an extended, swoony, all-the-feels love scene that isn’t included in the audio book. No longer fade-to-black due to popular demand! If you have the previous version, contact me to read the new scene.

Review:
This book was interesting. It seemed a little bit too good to be true in the enemies to lovers/insta-love sense. The characters didn’t really take the time to get to know each other that well, and while we are shown they start spending more time together, they never seem to really get to any depth of each other, except realizing that they care for each other. While I didn’t mind the story, I did find that there wasn’t really any bite to it- no stakes that the reader worries about. I hadn’t realized that there was previously a fade to black love scene, though I did think that the “steamy” part was a bit lackluster and didn’t really enrapture me. The word play and teasing back and forth between the main characters was fun, just felt like there should have been something more. There is also no real reason ever given as to why Lara’s singing is so powerful. It wasn’t a hard read, and I did read it rather quickly. Not quite sure if I will continue the series but if enemies to lovers if your MO then go for it.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of A Taste of Poison: A Snow White Retelling by Tessonja Odette

Synopsis:
A runaway princess wanted for murder.
A deadly huntsman who’s after her heart…

Half-fae Astrid Snow is used to being disliked. With magic that makes her mirror back one’s worst qualities, she has more enemies than friends. And when she’s accused of poisoning her father, her stepmother—the formidable Spring Queen—becomes her greatest enemy yet. Forced into hiding, she finds solace at the Seven Sins Hotel. It provides the perfect subterfuge she needs. For who could ever find an outlaw in a hotel famed for sin?

Bear shifter Torben Davenport lost everything to the gambling halls. To pay off his debts, he serves the fae royals as their personal Huntsman, locating hard-to-find fugitives with his scent-based magic. When the Spring Queen offers him a bargain that will erase his debts for good, he’s willing to do what it takes—even if it means finding the queen’s runaway stepdaughter and cutting out her heart.

Astrid won’t go down without a fight, even if her assailant is a strikingly handsome Huntsman. If she can evade the bear-shifter’s claws, maybe she can make him an ally. It’s easier said than done, especially after she accidentally gets herself handcuffed to her infuriating captor.

Can Astrid cut through Torben’s icy demeanor and convince him to help her find the real killer? Or will she lose her heart in more ways than one?

ACOTAR meets Kingdom of the Wicked in this standalone fairytale retelling of Snow White. If you like brooding heroes, just one bed, and grumpy sunshine romances, then you’ll love this swoon-worthy story in the Entangled with Fae series.

*NOTE this book is upper YA/NA featuring mature situations, moderate violence and gore, substance abuse, and some adult language. The romance is slow burn but leads to moderate steam.

A Taste of Poison is a complete stand-alone novel set in the same world as The Fair Isle Trilogy. Journey back to Faerwyvae or begin your adventure for the first time with this enchanting tale. Each book in the Entangled with Fae series can be read on its own and in any order. Happily ever after guaranteed!

Review:
Wasn’t completely sure how I’d feel about this one since Astrid was so interesting. I quite enjoyed how the Huntsman got caught up and found himself more involved than he intended. I also had figured out who our big bad was going to be which I am quite please with myself for! This story had such depth and I quite loved all of the different places and people we got to meet and experience. It was beautiful seeing Astrid learn to let herself be and feel, and I think that’s something a lot of us relate to. Emotions are hard. It can be very difficult to process them and many times you can find yourself stagnant and trapped by memories and bad things, be that by what you use to get away from it or the thoughts themselves, but it’s important in life to keep moving forward and growing and working through. Quite enjoyed it, and very much enjoyed the connection that Astrid and Torben have!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Kiss of the Selkie: A Little Mermaid Retelling by Tessonja Odette

Synopsis:
A handsome fugitive seeking a marriage of convenience.
A selkie with a lethal kiss sent to seal his fate…

To evade a vicious sea queen’s clutches, selkie Maisie hides on land surviving as a thief. But when she rescues a human from drowning and illegally brings him to shore, she must answer for breaking fae law. As punishment, she’ll have to hunt down the man she saved…and kiss him. But with a kiss that can kill, Maisie’s mission means more than seduction. It means murder.

Son of a notorious fae-killer, Dorian was never meant to survive the shipwreck that was orchestrated to assassinate him. Now that he’s on the forbidden fae isle, he’ll do anything to gain citizenship—even marry a fae bride. Desperate for a hasty marriage, he holds a bridal competition in the isle’s most theatrical city, where displays of frivolity aren’t just encouraged—they’re expected. And if Maisie can act like a proper debutante and join the pageantry, she’ll get near enough to deliver her fatal kiss.

But getting close to her target brings complications she didn’t expect. As she pretends to compete for Dorian’s heart, it starts to feel less like an act…and more like falling in love.

If Maisie doesn’t deliver her kiss by sunrise on the last day of the competition, she forfeits her life. But if she succeeds, Dorian dies. When the pageant ends, will there be a true victor? Or only death and broken hearts?

ACOTAR meets Bridgerton and The Selection in this standalone fairytale retelling of The Little Mermaid. If you like enemies-to-lovers romance, bridal contests, and snarky fae royals, then you’ll love this swoon-worthy story in the Entangled with Fae series.

*NOTE this book is upper YA/NA featuring mature situations and some adult language. The romance is slow burn but leads to moderate steam.

Kiss of the Selkie is a complete stand-alone novel set in the same world as The Fair Isle Trilogy. Journey back to Faerwyvae or begin your adventure for the first time with this enchanting tale. Each book in the Entangled with Fae series can be read on its own and in any order. Happily ever after guaranteed!

Review:
I absolutely loved this book. In truth, there was a small element taken from The Little Mermaid, but it was a fully story and then some on it’s own. A completely well flushed out and brilliant story about characters we come to care about. Maisie isn’t your typical princess, and it’s interesting to see how her unconventional upbringing has warped her senses of both propriety as well as morality. We already knew there was something unusual about Maisie, but I loved learning more about Podaxis and all of the other multitude of characters within this story. I absolutely love how this other gives such depth and vibrancy to all of her characters and lets you get to know so many while keeping the knowledge organic within the story. Maisie’s connection with the sea witch is absolutely brilliant, and I very much adored the slow burn enemies to lovers heat and passion between Maisie and Dorian. Highly recommend, and cannot wait to start the next in the series!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of A Dreadful Splendour by B. R. Myers

Synopsis:
Be careful what you conjure…

In Victorian London, Genevieve Timmons poses as a spiritualist to swindle wealthy mourners—until one misstep lands her in a jail cell awaiting the noose. Then a stranger arrives to make her a peculiar offer. The lord he serves, Mr. Pemberton, has been inconsolable since the tragic death of his beautiful bride-to-be. If Genevieve can perform a séance persuasive enough to bring the young lord peace, she will win her freedom.

Soothing a grieving nobleman should be easy for someone of Genevieve’s skill, but when she arrives at the grand Somerset Park estate, Mr. Pemberton is not the heartbroken lover she expected. The surly—yet exceedingly handsome—gentleman is certain that his fiancée was murdered, even though there is no evidence. Only a confession can bring justice now, and Mr. Pemberton decides Genevieve will help him get it. With his knowledge of the household and her talent for illusion, they can stage a haunting so convincing it will coax the killer into the light. However, when frightful incidents befall the manor, Genevieve realizes her tricks aren’t required after all. She may be a fake, but Somerset’s ghost could be all too real…

A Dreadful Splendor is delicious brew of mystery, spooky thrills, and intoxicating romance that makes for a ghoulishly fun and page-turning read.

Review:
Oh my GOSH! This book had me enraptured from the very start. Victorian? Check. Spiritualist/Medium/ghosts? Check. Unexpected twists and turns from every direction? Check. There were several times I thought I’d figured out a bit of what was going on in the past from how people were acting towards Genevieve and their feelings about the bride to be, and just when I would think I had things all sorted out: revelation from the ghost herself! I, like Genevieve, kept thinking that this had to be some sort of weird peculiarity, with ghosts and such odd happenings. I didn’t see the ending coming, though there was never a point in time where I felt disconnected or as if what was happening wouldn’t have/didn’t make sense. Everyone has their motives, desires, and so forth, and as Genevieve’s maman would say, sometimes you need to let the heart fill in the rest. Absolutely adored Mr. Pemberton, and quite loved Genevieve. If you’re into Victorian fiction, Jane Austen but with a mystery twist… ah… this book is just perfection in so many ways. There was one point where I literally had to stop at a twist and just said, aloud, “WHAT?!” Cannot recommend this enough. Couldn’t put it down, and am still so sad that I finished it already.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Little Black Dress by Piper James

Synopsis:
Never underestimate the power of a little black dress. Especially one as lucky as mine.

Every time I’ve worn my favorite black dress, something good has happened. I’ve talked my way out of speeding tickets––and into a date with the cute cop––and I’ve found money on the ground, won cool prizes on the Las Vegas strip, and even got a cushy job with an even cushier paycheck.

It’s my lucky dress, and in it, I can’t lose.

Until I did.

Thanks to an enthusiastic bidder at an art auction, the dress failed me when I needed it most. I disappointed my boss and got fired, even though it wasn’t my fault. It was his. The man who writes thirty-five million dollar checks for ugly, ridiculous paintings.

Now, I’m unemployed, broke, and incredibly close to losing the life I’ve built for myself. When I score a job as an assistant to a billionaire casino owner, I’m over-the-moon happy. Hoping there’s still some luck left in my little black dress, I wear it on my first day to meet my new boss…

Jared Hart. Owner and operator of The Black Hart Casino.

And the insufferable, grumpy, gorgeous jerk who got me fired in the first place.

I want to tell him to take his job and shove it, but I need the money. Plus, being his assistant might give me an opportunity to exact a little payback.

Game on, sir.

Oh, and I’m setting that dress on fire the first chance I get. Its luck has obviously run out.

The Little Black Dress is a steamy romantic comedy with enemies who turn into lovers, lots of laughs, stellar friendships, and it brings all the heat. You might want to keep a fan nearby while you’re reading.

Review:
This book was absolute perfection. The characters were well fleshed out, and it flowed very well. There was never a point where I wanted to set the book down. It was an amazing grumpy/sunshine enemies to lovers style book and I highly recommend it. It had a very slow build up but it was done right; the tension was there, the stakes clearly outlined. Seeing these two get to now each other and find if there is something more than meets the eye was a treat. Highly recommend!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Fae King’s Dream by Jamie Schlosser

Synopsis:
The first time I meet Damon, he rescues me from a nightmare. Literally. I’m stuck in a coma, and my mind is forcing me to relive the horrific accident that put me in this state over and over again. The gorgeous fae king is the only one who can give me peace.

As if the dream can’t get any weirder, he tells me we’re soul mates. He says he can fix my banged-up brain. He wants to be my hero.

Little does he know, I just might end up saving him. Because once I wake up, the real challenge begins. A bunch of vengeful witches want him dead, and they’ll stop at nothing to seal his fate.

But I’ve got plans of my own. The coven has caused too much tragedy, and I’ll defend my newfound love, even if it’s the last thing I do. And it just might be, because if Damon doesn’t survive, neither will I.

The Fae King’s Dream can be read as a standalone novel, though it’s interconnected with the other books in the Between Dawn and Dusk series.

Review:
This book lost me. There was such potential, but no real development and growth for the main characters. Their instant love was very much an excuse to think all sex all the time, which might work in some cases, but this was almost like an explicit movie with very little plot. The main character cared far too little about the life she lost/her parents, and merely fell into the fae life entirely as if she’d never lived a life prior. When we did get some story building and content it was good, but having sex constantly be at the forefront of the main characters mind, with no lead up/anticipation/build up of a relationship between them was frustrating. There was specific mention of a saddle horn stimulating the heroine, which is ridiculous because even riding double you would not be against a saddle’s horn. If you’re looking for pure smut, I’d recommend A Lady of Rooksgrave Manor by Kathryn Moon instead (Amazon link to that here, and my review of that here).

Star rating: ✯✯✯

Review of Cruel Princes by Jillian Frost

Synopsis:
I hate the princes of Devil’s Creek.

Luca, Bastian, Marcello, and Damian.

For most of my life, no one wanted me… not until they needed me. Turns out I’m the lost heiress to a multi-billion dollar fortune and a pawn in their game.

They keep me locked in their seaside estate, completely at their mercy. All four of them are bullies, taking out their hatred for me in the form of punishments, each with their own reason for keeping me around.

I’m sick to want them.
It’s dangerous to need them.

I think I’m finding my place among these depraved monsters.

Except there’s one small problem.
They’re not the only men who want me.

There are far more dangerous men looking for the heir to the Wellington fortune… which means I’ll be staying in their beds and under their protection for the foreseeable future.

Cruel Princes is a DARK enemies to lovers romance about four possessive men and one ruthless woman who will bring them to their knees. The main character will end up with more than one love interest.

Review:
I didn’t love this book. I picked it up because I’d seen it mentioned on Booktok, but honestly, I could have left this one alone. When it got there, the spice was done well, but I almost stopped reading after the first chapter. It was over the top, and while unbelievable set a bad tone for abuse and punishment. The princes are set to be unlikeable, and while they may become a bit redeemed, I was not enamoured enough with the harem style love scene(s) to be able to definitively say I intend to ever finish this series.

Star rating: ✯✯✯

Review of Copper & Ink by Mindy Michele

Synopsis:
A weekend camping trip with friends unveils their attraction. What will one week expose?

Brynn Harris lives an idyllic life until love deals her a wicked hand. Crushed, she returns to Seaside Pointe and barricades her heart. The plan works well for two years until a weekend spent around her brother’s former college roommate sparks a complicated attraction.

The tattooed and pierced Hayden Fox is nothing like the men from Brynn’s past, but their differences don’t lessen their chemistry, especially when Hayden spends one week in Seaside helping Chloe Lockwood on her flower farm.

Hayden has no plans for a happily ever after he doesn’t think he deserves, but when the tempting redhead shows up for a dinner among friends, desire wages a battle. Soon, the lines between physical and emotional blur. With relationships on the line, Hayden and Brynn must reconcile their damaged pasts. Pasts not yet finished with them.

This is the second installment in a four-book series. While the romance stands alone, the plot is a continuation of events that occurred in book 1: Blossoms & Steel. It is recommended you read the series in order.

Review:
I did like this book. We had characters that weren’t perfect, and were flawed, and had to work through their past trauma to try to find something for the future. I quite enjoyed getting to know Brynn, and I didn’t expect everything that happened to her especially towards the end. The same goes for Hayden, learning of his past, his life, and why he is how he is. The intimacy was well written and on the border of PG13; nothing too explicitly stated or detailed. That being said, the connection and heat was certainly still there. I do wish there had been more at the end– and perhaps there would be more mentioned offhand if you continued to read the series.

This read brought to you by BookswithSierra on TikTok.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of The Fae King’s Curse by Jamie Schlosser

Synopsis:
Kirian and I were just twelve years old when I pulled him from the icy waters of the creek behind my house. As he looked in my direction with unseeing lavender eyes, I quickly realized our age was just about the only thing we had in common. He spoke with an accent, he had pointy ears, and he was so beautiful it made my heart ache. Oh, and he claimed to be a fae prince cursed by witches who stole his sight.

I thought he was crazy from hypothermia. Turns out, he wasn’t, and for some reason he keeps coming back. But a day in my world is a year in his. Every time I see him, he’s older. Wiser. Hotter.

Over the past six years, I’ve tried not to fall in love with him because the terms of the curse are clear: If he doesn’t wait for his fated mate in all ways, including an innocent (or not-so-innocent) kiss, he’ll be blind forever.

So when Kirian kisses me and pulls me through the portal to his realm, I make it my mission to do some damage control. It’d be a whole lot easier if he wasn’t determined to marry me… And if someone wasn’t trying to murder me every step of the way.

The Fae King’s Curse is a full-length novel with no cliffhanger.

Review:
I will say this book has a nice slow burn, though some of the major plot twists were a bit obvious. I actually really loved how Quinn wasn’t your typical heroine; she had faults, and she didn’t think being transported to a magical place was going to make everything and everyone suddenly accept her–far more realistic than what happens in most novels. I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. The other world was brilliant and well described. While I did think there were several well done intimate scenes, the mention of constantly always being in need seemed a bit much and almost like an excuse to bring up sex when there was more pressing plot points going on.

I certainly have some expectations for Damon’s story and I look forward to reading on!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯