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Fantasy Romance

The Awakened Prince by Elise Marion

The Awakened Prince*

Returned Prince Fights Battles on Many Fronts

Prince Serge, the second son and prince of his land, awakens after a one-year coma to find that his younger brother has become king after the battle that placed Serge in a coma killed their elder brother, Lionus. Damien, the new king, feel guilty about taking what he sees as his brother’s position and offers Serge a new option: Marry their dead brother’s wife, Isabelle, and rule with her in her land of Barony. Serge has loved Isabelle for a long time but feels guilt about his feelings and doesn’t want to wed her, knowing that she had loved and still loves his brother.

Because of an old woman’s predictions about dire consequences and her own dreams, Isabelle after some waffling decides to marry Serge even though her heart belongs to Lionus. For a very brief time, the two are happy until Serge confesses his love for her. Isabelle does not react well to this and confesses her emotional quandary to her lady’s maid, which Serge accidentally overhears. Relations between them become strained for a long while they continue to have sexual chemistry.

But much more is going on in this book besides their personal problems. War threatens. When Serge goes off, Isabelle decides to join and train with a band of female warriors.

Will Serge and Isabelle resolve their differences? Can she–and he–move past feelings of guilt about their relationship? Will this queen of Barony fight alongside her warriors in the looming battle?

This was a page-turning read. The only part I didn’t like was that Serge and Isabelle were at odds for so long.

There were several things I loved about this book. I enjoyed the first part when Serge comes back from his coma. The author did a good job showing his disorientation and his struggles. He is haunted by the images of watching his brother be killed in battle as well as the mistreatment he had at the hands of the enemies. He struggles physically and mentally with his battle wounds, as well as mentally with the guilt for what he feels for Isabelle. Once they marry, he is blissful but just a little guilty until it all crashes around him when he overhears her. You could sense his despair at that moment. The author does an excellent job in the sections about the women warriors. It is so unusual to have female warriors in a romance in general, but I’ve rarely seen a whole regiment of them. It was lovely to see this band of strong women work together and fight with their queen beside them.

If you enjoy fantasy romance with strong female characters, you might enjoy this book.

Winter’s Dragons: Draconic Affairs by Eva Brandt

Winter's Dragons: Draconic Affairs*

Getting to Know the Dragons Before They Met Cheimon

If you read the other two books in the Winter’s Dragons part of the Harem of Season’s series, you’ll find this little book–which is mostly about the dragons’ lives before their arrival to the winter realm–a fun bit of backstory about Cheimon’s dragons. The three main chapters that take up over half of the book are each narrated by a different dragon; the author was able to give them each a unique voice. The first chapter shows their meeting as young hatchlings while the following chapters look at their other encounters as dragonets and then adult males. The epilogue, which is a substantial portion of the book, is told from Cheimon’s perspective.

I enjoyed seeing how the dragons interacted before they knew Cassia. It illustrates how much has changed since they’ve become the soulmates of the avatar of winter. The first chapter did a good job showing the learned prejudices of the different races of dragons that is so ingrained in draconic culture that young hatchlings are not immune. I found the epilogue to be particularly humorous. My goodness, what the dragons made her do in the bailey!

If you enjoyed the other books in this part of the series, you would enjoy this peek into the background of Cheimon’s dragons.

A Dragon’s Heart by Tina Glasneck

A Dragon's Heart*

Jilted Bride Finds New Life in Magical 18th Century France

What a remarkably well-done book! We meet the heroine, Mia, as she is being jilted on her wedding day. Worse, her affianced has run off with her stepsister.

Mia is a tour guide in a French castle, and she has a great affinity for her Norse heritage. Having nowhere to stay now that her groom has run off, she convinces those at work to let her stay in the castle overnight until she gets herself sorted out. Not one but two people at the castle suggest she should wish on the full blue moon. She thinks it is silly but does anyway. She wakes up in 18th century France, thinking at first she is part of an elaborate modern-day war re-creation. As the plot progresses, she realizes that she is taking on some aspects of the life of the ancestor she was named after. She meets Lord Dumont, whose portrait back in present times she had often admired with some degree of longing, and their adventure to save themselves in this historical and mythical old-time France begins. Will they be safe? Will changes be wrought in the past that can change the future? What happens when Mia goes back to her time?

This book is told from Mia’s perspective. The author does a remarkably good job of getting inside her head, first as she goes through what could arguably be said is the worst day of her life (the near wedding day) and then through her harrowing adventures in fantastical 18th century France. Sometimes deep point of view is not done well by authors, who make it seem like too much navel-gazing or imbue it with too little action. Tina Glasneck is able to avoid both problems. What she did was create an exceedingly sympathetic character who felt real with her self-esteem issues, fears, and desires.

The book has some of the common issues with punctuation, grandma, and usage, but this did not detract from the story.

If you enjoy well-written fantasy stories with a touch of history written from deep point of view, you might find this book to be a good read.

Forbidden Desires Anthology

Forbidden Desires*

Fun Collection of Reverse Harem Firsts in Series or Prequels

This is a collection of mostly firsts in a series or prequels by RH authors. The stories range in concept. There are otherworldly ones: two with wolf shifters, two about royalty (one that’s more fantastical and one that’s more witchy), and one about alien shifters. There are also some contemporary ones that have to with business, the medical field, acting, and even a special camp.

The boxset introduced me to series and authors I didn’t know about and will now follow; it’s always fun to discover new authors! The collection didn’t seem to have too many issues with grammar, punctuation, or usage.

If you like or have an interest in the RH concept, you might find this small taste from a variety of authors will wet your whistle.

NOTE: This anthology appears to no longer be available.

The Demon King’s Destiny by C. A. Worley

The Demon King's Destiny*

Intriguing Dreamworld End of Series

In this final installment of the Imperium series, daughter Evelyn meets her mate, the King of the Demons. Interestingly, this book takes place mostly in the dream world. Evelyn first sees her intended mate in her dreams when she’s just a small child. She doesn’t see him often in her dreams after that until she is an adult. The king, Marrok, needs to wait to claim her until things are safer in his land. Groups of demons have gone rogue, becoming more dangerous. Some change in their quest for power while others have it thrust upon them due to old age or infirmity. Will Marrok gain control over his land so he can bring his mate home? What about the cause of other mysterious, ruinous events happening throughout the four kingdoms of Imperium?

This book had the common issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage. In particular, commas seem to be an issue, with the required one missing between independent clauses in a compound sentence. But the story was otherwise well written, so I was not overly distracted.

This world of the four kingdoms of Imperium is very complex and well imagined. The author did a fantastic job of worldbuilding over the course of the three books, and each sister was very much an individual and had a unique mate/story that suited her. I think each story could be read as a standalone, but reading each in sequence enriches understanding because it allows you to comprehend the interweaving elements of the books. If you enjoy steamy paranormal romance with a little bit of humor and danger, you will enjoy this series.

Savage Possessed by September Stone

Savage Possessed*

Reverse Harem Group on Quest at Behest of Mother Nature

In the second book of the series, Sophie and the men are on a quest. Mother Nature wants them to find Elowen. What will happen when they find the mage? Will they be safe from her magic? Will Mother get what she wants?

I found it interesting how the author was able to make each of the males very distinct. I was especially intrigued by Valor, the vampire. At the beginning, he was so withdrawn and penitent. You could sense the horror he feels at his past actions as he tries to atone in the tiniest of ways in all his actions and reactions. Hagan was also a surprise, especially at the end, but I won’t ruin that for you.

The book has some issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage, but they do not distract from the story. If you enjoy steamy RH fantasy, this book could fill the bill.

Winter’s Dragons: Frozen Flames by Eva Brandt

Winter's Dragons: Frozen Flames*

It’s Not Easy to Be The Queen

I thoroughly enjoyed Book Two of Eva Brandt’s new Harem of the Seasons series. I enjoyed Book One, so I’m not surprised I enjoyed this as well. The dragons are still protective and sweet. Cassia/Cheimon is still her demanding, ruling self, with all the expectations due to a monarch that implies.

What makes this and the other book stand out is the author’s ability to convey humor very well especially through Cassia (which seems unexpected given her exalted status). The book starts with a series of improbable events that are humorous for those looking in but are trying (on a variety of levels) for the queen of the winter realm. The book starts with one of her Yeti subjects petitioning for help with a love triangle. Soon, her mates’ parents show up. Her dragons hadn’t sent word to their parents about the fact they still live or their unique relationship with the queen. The fathers are all quite undone when they hear about it; dragon males don’t have those types of relationships. A dragon mom soon reveals a universal human hope, asking about the potential for hatchlings!

This is a fun and humorous reverse harem read. I’m looking forward to the next books in this series.

Winter’s Dragons: Melting Ice by Eva Brandt

Winter's Dragons: Melting Ice*

The Avatar of Winter … and Three Man-dragons!

Strange things are afoot in the realm of eternal ice. When the queen of that realm, the avatar of winter, goes to investigate, she discovers three injured dragons have wreaked havoc on her land and her sister’s neighboring realm. The three dragons can shape-shift into men. Quickly, they swear to help protect her realm and repair the damage they’ve caused.

Cheimon is smart and sassy, an able ruler of her domain.  She is the first narrator of the story, and I like the way she conveys has an air of authority as she bosses her underlings around. The girl’s got attitude! It was fun to watch the switch over between narrators and see how the man-dragons viewed scenes quite differently than the queen. The man-dragons  were in competition before they landed in this realm, but now they decide to become allies in courting the queen.

I was not distracted by too many grammar, punctuation, or usage errors. I simply found this an enjoyable read because of the different narrators who had very distinct personalities. It was just fun!

The Prince’s Prisoner by Klarissa King

The Prince's Prisoner*

More Beast Than Beauty in this Very Dark Retelling

I am not quite sure what to make of this book. It says it is a dark retelling of the classic children’s story Beauty and the Beast but I did not find that it truly was. It is about the fae, as promised, and it is indeed dark. Very dark. So dark that there appears to be very little light or hope throughout the entire book.
 
Modern-day Callie goes to search for her friend who disappeared overnight after going to a forest frolic outside of a small town in Scotland. Callie finds herself literally thrust in the world dark world of the fae. An animal she finds after crossing that threshold told her that she must avoid four things to not be trapped there. The fae don’t play nice. One essentially forces her onto the dance floor, one of those four things that must not be done, and now Callie is trapped in the fae realm along with her friend. She attempts to bargain with one of the princes of the realm for her and her friend’s lives, but it doesn’t go as she had hoped. She is now well and truly trapped for reasons that I won’t go into.
 
I found the story for most of the book to be rather slow-moving and uninteresting even though all the things above were going on. The language is sparse; sometimes days or weeks go by with just a few words about what has past. Not much in the way of emotion is expressed to make us empathize with Callie beyond what we would feel for anyone in her position. There is very little action to speak of besides moving around rooms and occasionally going outside. The prince, Rain, I found totally unlikable and unredeemable. He is unkind and cruel, as one would expect from the Beast, but unlike the original tale, that doesn’t ever seem to change. The whole book, in all honesty, is a bit of a downer. You keep reading, hoping that something good will happen, that the bad guy will show the good but buried part to his personality, or that Callie will have some hope. But none of that transpires.
 
The cover is pretty, but I do not see how it relates to the book.
 
I found this to be a dark, gloomy read with not much to recommend it.

Kingdom Cold by Brittni Chenelle

Kingdom Cold*

Sassy Teen Princess Delights in YA Fantasy Romance

Oh, my gosh! I love Princess Charlotte! She’s a sassy teenage princess who is NOT pleased that her parents have betrothed her boring Prince Young to form an alliance. She attempts a hunger strike (oh, but for the hot-out-of-the-oven bread) and she shoots an arrow at the prince’s carriage when he arrives. She find Prince Young’s older brother far more interesting than her betrothed.

Everything changes on the day of the wedding but not in the way you’d think! The wedding is cancelled because the bad guys attack beyond the castle…and then they breach it; the king may be dead and Prince Dreamy (not his name) is captured. Oh, my! There are many twists and turns; the author was able to keep the suspense up for the duration. Prince Charlotte matures.

I have to warn you … there is no HEA, so if that is crucial to you, you will want to skip this delightfully written book. The ending is wistful and sweet but no HEA.

The author is very skilled at writing with humor (not easy), and she creates mini-hooks at the end of each chapter. The one that pulls you from two to  three had me laughing out loud. She alternates viewpoints by chapter, and each character has a very distinct voice and viewpoint. The bratty, snarky Princess Charlotte is a delight, and Prince Young has hidden depths of character.  The others…you will have to read and see!

If you’re a fan of well-written YA fantasy romance or just looking for a good read, this book may very well fill the bill.

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Disclosure

The asterisks (*) by the book title denote the source of the book copy.

One star = I received it as a free advance/review copy.

Two stars = I borrowed it through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Three stars = I’ve purchased the book outright (sometimes for free).

All Amazon links are affiliate links, which means I get a tiny percentage if you decide to buy one of the books.

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