Review of Promises and Pomegranates by Sav R. Miller

Promises and Pomegranates: A Dark Contemporary Romance (Monsters & Muses Book 1) by [Sav R. Miller]

Synopsis:
Elena

To most, Kal Anderson is a villain.

Harbinger of death, keeper of souls, frequenter of nightmares.

Doctor Death. Hades incarnate.

They say he stole me.

Usurped my fiancé and filled the cracks in my heart with empty promises.

Imprinted his crimson fingerprints on my psyche and tried to set me free.

They’re not wrong, per se.

Except it was my choice to stay.

Kal

To most, Elena Ricci is an innocent.

Goddess of springtime, lover of poetry, angel of my nightmares.

Little one. Persephone personified.

They say I ruined her.

Shattered her virtue and devoured her soul like a succulent pomegranate.

Embedded my evil as deep as I could possibly get and tried to set her free.

They’re not wrong, per se.

Except it was she who ruined me.

Review:
I was worried when I started this book because I’d just finished the fourth book in a series I adored and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to fall into another world but I was instantly thrown into that world. There was definitely passion but a lot of darker kink things that I don’t personally find attractive (blood play)- but to each their own. The story itself was a good connection between Hades and Persephone and the real world; I think it made sense that they were both so damaged in order to fit together.

Hated her parents, loved her sisters, loved Elena, and quite liked Kallum.

Would recommend, but again, there is some major darkness and kink in there that if you aren’t interested in/okay with I would say steer clear.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Blood be Damned by Kel Carpenter

Blood be Damned: Magic Wars (Demons of New Chicago Book 3) by [Kel Carpenter]

Synopsis:
When the Underworld burned, I thought that was the end. Turns out it was only the beginning.

Lucifer’s death was a shot heard around the world. The sudden loss of magic turned the tides for the first time in over two decades.

The humans are rallying. Rioting.
It feels like the stirrings of war.

As if that wasn’t enough, Bree isn’t the sister I remember—and her desire to return to Hell is creating more fires than I know how to put out.

Things are changing. Lines are drawn. Everyone must choose a side.

Even me.

Sometimes the world needs a hero. In a city that’s already gone to hell in a hand basket, it might just need a demon.

Review:
This book was awesome. Piper had to really become introspective to think about what caused the strife and heartache she had in life and how to move on. There were interesting twists and turns, and seeing her further develop both herself and her relationship with Ronan was nice. It’s always good when a heroine has flaws, ones that they recognize and try to work through. Did not see the ending, but very much looking forward to continuing the story when Forged by Fury comes out February 11th.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Fairy Godfather by Melanie Karsak

The Fairy Godfather: A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (The Chancellor Fairy Tales Book 3) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
What happens when a fairy godfather falls in love?

With my excellent track record as a fairy godfather, the elders sent me to Chancellor on a mission to help Alice, the quirky owner of the local bagel shop, find her Prince Charming. No one has managed to find a match for Alice. Where they failed, I will succeed.

The only trouble? My head isn’t in the game because I’m too busy falling in love with my best friend’s sister
.
I’ll need to get my feelings in check before I blow it for Alice. The upcoming Cherry Blossom Ball should give me the perfect venue to make a little magic happen. Can I pull it off before the clock strikes midnight on both our dreams?

Join Rayne in The Fairy Godfather, book 3 of The Chancellor Fairy Tales, a modern day retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale.

Review:
This book was such a sweet one. Of the three in the Chancellor fairy tales series it had the most connection with a commonly known fairytale, Cinderella. That being said I loved the fairy angel, and I loved Rayne. All the characters were believable and enjoyable to watch as they worked and grew. It was great seeing Alice go from stock-best friend to fully fleshed out character during the series. It was also neat how while there might be a fairy godfather, Dorothea is also very similar to a fairy godmother, trying to keep the Hunter line well taken care of. All in all, loved this book, but of the three, I still think The Cupcake Witch may be my favourite.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Cupcake Witch by Melanie Karsak

The Cupcake Witch: A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (The Chancellor Fairy Tales Book 2) by [Melanie Karsak]

Synopsis:
They say the course of true love never runs smooth. That’s nothing a magical cupcake can’t solve.

Buttercream. Vanilla. Fondant. Dark chocolate. Strawberry crème. Brown sugar. Lemon curd. Molasses. Baking has always been my true love. But it wasn’t until I unexpectedly inherited Serendipity Gardens that my bliss called me. Bittersweet.

Everything’s going to work out perfectly as long as the local land baron and his annoying but undeniably handsome son don’t bulldoze my dream first.

I’m going to need a little magic to win this battle, but in Chancellor, a pinch of enchantment is always in plenty.

Review:
This book was brilliant. While there was no real “fairy tale” attached, I think that’s why I loved it so very much; it was a magic all of Karsak’s own. Like the first book in the Chancellor Fairy Tale series, this one also deals with loss. It’s interesting how sometimes it takes losing things for you to find something worth holding on to.

I think that many people end up feeling like Julie and Horatio at some points; it can be hard to find your path when someone older that you respect has tried to lead you one particular way. I loved how this book tied in so many characters from the last, and now we have a bit more understanding why everything might be happening how it is in this town. So glad for how everything worked out, and I absolutely loved it.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of The Glass Mermaid by Melanie Karsak

Synopsis:
I’m the last mermaid.

On the shore of Lake Erie, I spend my final days hunting beach glass, making jewelry, and waiting for my mermaid glamour to leave me. Then it will be over. I resigned myself to the fact that there’s nothing more for me. Until I saw Cooper.

He comes to the beach every day to paint the sunrise and sunset. Nothing in this vast world has sparked my attention as much as him. I have no business falling in love with a human. Not now. And Cooper seems to have secrets of his own. I should leave him alone, but the curious mermaid in me can’t let that shiny bauble go.

More than anything, I want to be part of his world…before it’s too late.

Review:
This was surprisingly deep for such a short read. This book went through grief, and how people deal with it, how scary and tragic situations can be, and how sometimes you have to be willing to give up everything to help those you love. One of my favourite parts of this novel is how the fairy tale element is clearly there, with one of our protagonists being a mermaid and all, but it isn’t just a retelling. Also the back and forth between Kate and Cooper’s point of view was perfectly executed. All in all, loved it, and think it shows a deep understanding for people going through hard times.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of the Playboy series J. Sterling

Review:
Starting on: Avoiding the Playboy
So it finally happened. I didn’t vet my kindle books as well as I should have, and a “cliffhanger” freebie took residence for free. Am I disappointed? Yes. Would I recommend this book? No. Is this book even a “book” at all? Not really. It isn’t like James Patterson’s “bookshots” (aka novellas/short stories) where he tries to strip it down to 150 pages for $5 but you get a complete story- Sterling is not even giving a full story at all. It’s splitting a book into three books when you could have just sold one for 3.99 instead of the first one free, second one .99 and third 2.99.

The book itself is decent. I enjoyed the descriptions and characters, but I felt like I was just getting into it when it was abruptly cut off. It wouldn’t have phased me at all were this one story and I’d already purchased this, but this is almost like you thought you were getting a story and instead you’ve gotten the sample. Now, I am very torn, I quite like what I’ve read so far, but I’m not certain it justifies buying two more books. Reader, I did it. I bit the bullet and bought the two books.

The following was written after finishing books 2 and 3:
Do I regret it? Yes. Would I do it again? No. The second “book” is around 40 pages. Only 40 pages of this story. The books are padded to appear larger by having bits of her other books tucked into the end. The relationships are unrealistic after book 1. In book 1 there was indifference and the war between what you should and shouldn’t do. Books 2 and 3 have conflict that is instantaneously fixed, with no real barriers or stakes because as soon as an issue pops up suddenly it’s all better, whether or not that’s something that would happen in the real world. I wish I had posted the above two paragraphs instead of insisting to myself that I needed to read the whole thing before telling others I wouldn’t recommend it. At least I can say that while a HEA (happily ever after) IS achieved, it is nothing but a superfluous waste to purchase and read these, even if the sex scenes are decent. I feel so strongly about not recommending these, that I will not be linking to them.

Star Rating: ✯✯

Review of Mr. Hired Boss by Lindsey Hart

Mr. Hired Boss (Alphalicious Billionaires Boss Book 4) by [Lindsey Hart]

Synopsis:
He is the WRONG guy!
I brought the wrong guy home to mummy and daddy…
#FML

I met him the night I swore men off forever.
And proposed to him right there and then.
Pretend to be my boyfriend for the weekend!

Yup, I hired a stranger as my escort.
I had my reasons, okay.
Plus him, love, and all that drama shit? Not going to happen. Ever!
All the pretend stuff? Child’s play.
Sharing my bed with him? Easy peasy.
My family? They are totally going to fawn over him.

See all-round perfect.
Why?
Because he is gay.
Except… you know…
Well, he is being a little too perfect in his job.
So perfect that I’m not sure what is fake anymore.
So perfect that I’m seeing heartbreak written all over him.
And that is most definitely not what I hired him for!

Review:
Disappointing. This book had such potential to be great. It had good characters, an interesting premise, but for all that lead up only had one sex scene that wasn’t written well. I quite enjoyed the characters and the heat and intensity between them as their story unfolds and they pretend to be in a relationship, but the actual intimacy wasn’t gripping. If this was classified as a sweet romance, it’d be five stars (and that one scene would likely be omitted) but as it isn’t, I’ll give it three. Plotline and characters were great, language was a bit weird with the word “farging” being used instead of the curse word “fucking”, but the “romance” part… not so much.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯

Review of Close Quarters by Emily Deady

Close Quarters: Enemies to Lovers (A Brekka Romance Book 1) by [Emily Deady]

A forced engagement. A cramped ship. Two hearts that refuse to bend.

When Ceola’s father arranges her marriage to Tuav Strand, she’s furious. Not only is she in love with someone else, she’s tired of sacrificing everything for her father’s political career. But when her father offers her a handsome sum to spend three months with the man before she calls it off, she gladly accepts the deal. That money means freedom.

Tuav is a sailor, not a politician. He won’t abandon his summer patrol for some spoiled girl from the capital, even if she is the Regent’s daughter. What he can do, however, is make her miserable enough to break off the engagement herself.

When Ceola arrives at the coast to spend time with the man she already hates, she finds him leaving on patrol. The only way she can fulfill her bargain is to join his expedition. Stuck on a confining ship with him, a lighthearted crew, and an old natural philosopher, her only respite is that in three months it will all be over. Or will it?

This sweet romance is an enemies-to-lovers tale full of banter, adventure, romance, and a happily ever after.

Review:
I quite enjoyed the development of our lead protagonists from naive children to adults that had to empathize with each other, and that other people have goals and ambitions in life. I thought it was incredibly realistic as I know I, for one, was (am) a hopeless romantic, and probably spent far too much of my time daydreaming about relationships that were never to be. Ceola really has to grow up and not act like a brat, and while Tuav finds himself learning more of the girl, it is really Ceola who develops.

The ending was nice, but seemed a bit lackluster, with a promise but nothing actually finished. I imagine that, like the Fairy Tale Royals books, you’ll learn more about how everything settles in the next book in the series.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯


On a side note, clearly once I read some books of an author I really like, I tend to devour a lot. Any recommendations from those of you reading?

Review of Dark Horse by Kel Carpenter and Aurelia Jane

Dark Horse (A Demon's Guide to the Afterlife Book 1) by [Kel Carpenter, Aurelia Jane]

Synopsis:
My husband killed me.

Instead of spending my immortal Afterlife pissed off and angry, I moved on. I became someone.
Sure, that someone was a demon with the highest track record of reform, AKA punishment, in Hell. But who’s bragging?

I’m right on my way to retirement behind the pearly gates. Everything was going fine . . . until the Risk Witches saw a terrible vision.

Three men. Each scarred in their own way, born with powers that haven’t been seen in eons.
Upper Management sent the best to correct their path. Angels. Poltergeists. Nothing worked.

These men were too stubborn. Too bad. Too untamed…

So they sent me.

Roman. Ezra. Dorian.
Combined, they have enough power to end the world—and they will.
Unless I find a way to stop them first.

Breaking people is my job. But this time…my job might break me.

Author’s Note: This is an adult paranormal romance series with multiple love interests and some dark elements. If you don’t like strong but flawed women and alphahole heroes that need to learn a thing or two about boundaries–this book is not for you. If you love works by Tate James, Ivy Asher, Raven Kennedy, Joely Sue Burkhart, and CM Stunich, then dive right in to the Afterlife. It’ll be one hell of a ride.

Review:
So, clearly I love books by Kel Carpenter, and this was no exception. I will say that I found the beginning very jarring and wasn’t sure if I was going to like it if that was the tone expected, but the surprise factor was indeed there perhaps because, as Fury would say, you can’t do what people expect. I really enjoyed the differentiation of abilities for the different species, and how they had their own special skills, and how that influenced Fury’s connection to them.

While I did enjoy this story and trying to figure things out, I found that it lacked a lot of the jabs and tension that most Carpenter books seem to entail, and it certainly lacked the intimacy that most books hold. I also found that the descriptions weren’t quite right in my head, though perhaps that’s because the word amber was used to describe both eyes and skin tone.

All in all, I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of The Villain: A Billionaire Romance by L. J. Shen

The Villain: A Billionaire Romance by [L.J.  Shen]

Synopsis:
Cruel. Coldblooded. Hades in a Brioni suit.
Cillian Fitzpatrick has been dubbed every wicked thing on planet earth.
To the media, he is The Villain.
To me, he is the man who (reluctantly) saved my life.
Now I need him to do me another, small solid.
Bail me out of the mess my husband got me into.
What’s a hundred grand to one of the wealthiest men in America, anyway?
Only Cillian doesn’t hand out free favors.
The price for the money, it turns out, is my freedom.
Now I’m the eldest Fitzpatrick brother’s little toy.
To play, to mold, to break.
Too bad Cillian forgot one, tiny detail.
Persephone wasn’t only the goddess of spring; she was also the queen of death.
He thinks I’ll buckle under the weight of his mind games.
He is about to find out the most lethal poison is also the sweetest.

Review:
There were times that I thought there was a bit too much repetition of Hades and Persephone, but honestly, this story was sweeter than a pomegranate. This story was perfectly woven together, with lots of delicious details and backstory of how we got to where we start with Persephone and Cillian. There is so much more than a love story involved; a development of deeper self, of one’s self worth, compromise, and so much growth. You’ll be rooting for this couple to somehow do the impossible.

Lots of modern pop references were used well, and it gave a great stream of consciousness as well as making it more relatable, and honestly, most were pretty amusing as well. Many of the quips Cillian makes are smart but also well deserved. While quite long, I found this book hard to put down. The game constantly changed and while the stakes kept changing, there was always something to root for.

Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯