Book Review · Omegaverse

#TBRChallenge2022 – Post #1

Donovan’s Girl (The Sacred Omega’s)
by Merel Pierce

This hadn’t actually been on my kindle for all that long, though I had pre-ordered it many months ago. However, it is one of those books that I would have promised myself I would read next, but never quite gotten to.

This was a much shorter read than I had realised, it took less than an hour to complete, so it fits the “quickie” bill perfectly.

The price and page length are clear indicators that this is a short book, so I held no high expectations of reading a deep or complex story. What we do get is more of an extended scene, a brief introduction with Donovan and December followed by the main body of the tale.


We only get Donovan’s point of view, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and as far as Alpha’s go he was pretty decent, respectful and caring. If the book had been any longer I would have wanted the heroine’s viewpoint too but I could appreciate why the author chose not to use it on this occasion.


Overall it’s quite a beautiful and touching story, one that definitely left me frustrated and needing more of this pair. Both protagonists are more mature in years, which is always a bonus for those of us who won’t see 35 again! As long as you go in expecting a quick read rather than a layered story you won’t be disappointed.

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59749547-donovan-s-girl

Genre – PNR/Omegaverse

Synopsis
No one should be alone on Christmas…
When Donovan checks in on the widow of a recently-deceased enforcer, he gets more than he bargained for.
Liv is alone, grieving, and going into heat.
Worried what she might do and unable to resist the instinctive need to care for the sweet, damaged Omega, Donovan decides to stay and see her through it. Whether she likes it or not.

~*~
Donovan’s Girl is a short Holiday story set in the world of The Sacred Omegas. Specifically, December’s world, and features appearances by several characters in the series.

Book Review · Fantasy

#BookReview #FantasyRomance // The Rising Wave series by Michelle Diener

The Rising Wave (#0.5), The Turncoat King (#1), The Threadbare Queen (#2)
by Michelle Diener

A princess intent on escape . . .
Ava has everything ready for her last chance at escape from her years’ long imprisonment. She knows if she doesn’t succeed this time, she will die. When an injured warlord is thrown into her cell with her, upsetting her plans, she faces a dilemma . . . leave him to die or try to take him with her.
A warlord intent on rebellion . . .
Luc may lead a rebel army, but now he’s at the mercy of his enemies, and they have no mercy to give. All except the woman imprisoned with him. She not only has mercy, she has a plan to escape. He just has to convince her to let him come along . . .
A partnership forged in adversity . . .
Unable to leave him behind, Ava includes Luc in her plans, but escaping the castle where her cousin has imprisoned her is only the first step. Hunted by their enemies, she and Luc will have to trust each other, no matter how many secrets they’re keeping.


The Rising Wave

Well this totally and utterly ensnared me, I shall be immediately jumping into The Turncoat King, book #1 of the series.
For such a quick read the author packed in world-building, character development and plot, plot and more plot. I totally fell in love with Ava and Luc and cannot wait to rejoin the adventure and find out what happens next!

The Turncoat King

Having loved the introductory novella The Rising Wave I had quite high expectations for The Turncoat King and on the whole I wasn’t too disappointed. The story held my attention from start to finish, the pace was excellent and the prose flowed smoothly. What did let it down was how very easily the conflict was resolved at the end, particularly the fact that three men held off a whole city full of people and guards. I also wondered why the author kept making a big thing of Ava’s secrets as no one seemed too bothered by the truth when it was revealed.

Almost too perfect for words, Ava and Luc both still managed to make me adore them and were a big part of what drew me into the story. They are decent people with strong morals and steely determination. I found them immensely likeable, particularly enjoying the scenes where they were together. Neither experience too much in the way of adversity during the timeline of the story, so whilst both were well-rounded there wasn’t much evidence of character growth or learning. The fade-to-black sex scenes didn’t bother me, though the very instant-love nature of their relationship did take rather a suspension of disbelief.


Sara’s review here (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…) hit’s the nail on the head when she says “When the book was good, was in the midst of a scene. I was easily captivated by what was occurring in the story. The author excels at pulling me into the moment and holding my eyes wide open. It’s when I step back and think on the logic of things that this story doesn’t feel as well written.”


Despite all that I still really enjoyed this book. As I was reading I didn’t want to put it down, it fully held my attention. As such I do recommend it and also fully intend to continue with the series.

The Threadbare Queen

The Rising Wave pretty much picks up from where The Turncoat King ends. That, along with The Rising Wave, must be read before this book for the story to be fully understood.


Whilst this isn’t quite as gritty, tough or imperfect as my preferences run to, there is something rather captivating and engaging about the author’s voice. Within a few pages I found myself caught up in the story and, unlike other books I’ve read recently, it readily held my attention from start to finish. I very much like Ava and Luc, yes I would rather they not be quite so perfect, but they are still great characters who are easy to understand and get behind.


After the far too easy resolution last time, I did feel as though the author had attempted to make life a little tougher for our protagonists in this book. However, I get the impression that she is far too nice a person to go down that route of killing off a side character or two. This means the books are fairly low angst, but sometimes that is what this reader wants. And with such excellent prose, I find this a very enjoyable and engaging series. I for one can’t wait to read the next book and am happy to recommend this series to others. It’s particularly good for those who hate cliffhangers as each book has its own complete story arc.



A thirst for revenge . . . Ava is committed to vengeance against the man responsible for the death of her parents. The same man, the Queen’s Herald, kept her prisoner for two years, until she escaped with Luc, a warlord bent on vengeance just as fierce as her own. He’s forged a powerful army of people from all through the region, called the Rising Wave, to march on the Kassian royal family and smash its corrupt power under the weight of their anger. But for Luc, just as for Ava, his true motive is a lot more personal.
A hidden magic . . . Luc suspects Ava has magical abilities, suspects he’s benefited greatly from them, but he’s no stranger to the burdens of power, and he’s prepared to let her tell him in her own time-after all, she’s his heart’s choice and he will give her all the time she needs. Except time is running out for both of them. As they near the Kassian stronghold, forces from within their own camp and without will use every trick they have to stop both Luc and Ava and tear them apart.
A secret laid bare . . . Luc knows Ava has a secret she’s keeping from him-but what he doesn’t realize is she has many. And when those secrets are exposed, everyone will have to grapple with the consequences. Ava is prepared to sacrifice her happiness and even her life to save the Rising Wave and Luc-but she would prefer to use her heart and her head to outwit her enemies instead.


A conqueror’s victory is never assured . . .
The Rising Wave may have taken control of Kassia, but hot on the heels of their victory, Luc receives word from one of his spies that the Jatan, emboldened by the Kassian army’s withdrawal, have crossed the border. More worryingly, they haven’t just moved into northern Kassia, but also east to Luc’s home region of Cervantes, and with all the Cervantes warriors with Luc in Kassia’s capital, Fernwell, cementing their hold on power, his home is vulnerable and defenceless. Luc has no choice but to leave securing Fernwell to Ava, gather forces, and head north, to try to push the Jatan back to their side of the mountains.
A queen’s safety is never a given . . .
Finally, after months of trying, a minion of the Speaker of Grimwalt’s court manages to snatch Ava from under the noses of her friends and allies, off the streets of Fernwell and onto the back roads to Grimwalt. Ava has to struggle against an insidious assault on her vitality and magic, fighting a power that isn’t just strong, but malevolent.
And nothing is set in stone . . .
As Ava tries to escape her captors and Luc races to defend his homeland, they draw closer and closer to each other, until finally their paths cross, as they always seem to do. As they once again face their enemies together, they will have to use all their strength to salvage the victory they’ve worked so hard to accomplish.


Book Review · Fantasy · Omegaverse

#BookReview #PNR #Omegaverse // The Heiress and the Orc by Finley Fenn

The Heiress and the Orc
Orc Sworn #2
by Finley Fenn

The Heiress and the Orc is an unusual mix of well-written fantasy and erotic romance. One doesn’t normally see the level of world-building, character complexity, and multi-layered plot in a book that is so sexually raw and, well, filthy! There are chunks of this book that really are NOT safe to read in a public place, delightfully erotic and so hot my kindle was in danger of combusting.


Ella’s early decisions do have the possibility of alienating some readers. Despite what she witnessed at her engagement party, as a woman Ella has no real autonomy in her society, so I empathized with her thoughts. The only way to retain all that she has left, all that holds meaning and security for her, is to marry a man of standing. So I could fully understand her seemingly “selfish” choices – would you really allow everything your father had worked for to be given to a stranger? Would you happily give up your beloved home just based on a possibility? Especially when you have been practically brainwashed for the last few years of your life into believing it is the right thing to do. Sometimes we have to allow the head to overrule the heart!


Natt was harder to pin down, mainly because the book is entirely from Ella’s viewpoint. I did feel as though I knew his core character, but clearly, he had motivations and reasons to which we were not privy. That said he was solid and consistent, there were no abrupt about turns with Natt and his adoration of Ella was impossible to miss. This is quite a long book with, at times, a meandering pace. Some of this is to allow us to discover more about the characters and as a character-driven reader that suited me well. However, for someone who is more about the plot, this could feel slow.


The author does a wonderful job of foreshadowing throughout, whilst throwing enough smoke and shadows to leave the reader shattered by a totally unexpected curveball thrown at the end of the book. Whilst I didn’t quite ugly cry, I definitely shed tears for poor Ella. Despite how betrayed she had been, despite how hurt, she didn’t sully her love for Natt by acting the woman scorned, she remained the better person, she accepted her fate and she was bloody amazing. Did Nattfar need to grovel more? I don’t believe so because he was willing to sacrifice all that he had worked so hard to gain, finally (and possibly a touch late!!!) ready to give up everything to protect Ella. So despite him having been the most selfish, manipulative piece of work I’ve ever met as a hero, I found it as easy to forgive him as Ella did. Though he definitely owed her big time!


If I could wish for one thing, it would have been to better understand the origins of the conflict between Orcs and Humans. That may have been explored more fully in Book #1 (The Lady and the Orc), however in a book marketed as standalone this kind of detail needs to be creatively woven into each story. This was definitely good enough to make me interested in reading more of the series and is perfect for those who love their romance on the very steamy side.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fantasy Romance

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50935559-the-heiress-and-the-orc

Synopsis
Once, he was her dearest friend… but now he’s a brutal, terrifying monster.
In a world of recently warring orcs and men, Ella Riddell is determined to ignore it all. She’s the wealthiest heiress in the realm — and soon, she’s to wed a lord, and become a real lady.
Until the night her engagement-party ends in utter disaster, and Ella runs for the forest — and straight into the powerful arms of a hulking, deadly orc. And it’s not just any orc. It’s Natt. The orc Ella made a secret, foolish pledge to, many years past…
He’s huge and shameless and vicious, not at all the gangly, laughing daredevil Ella remembers. And he’s here with one shocking, scandalous aim: to wreak vengeance on Ella’s betrothed. With her. With her hunger. Her surrender. Her undoing…
Ella knows she should run, even if this deadly enemy was once a friend. Even if his scent drags up a dark, forbidden longing. Even if his kisses are the sweetest, filthiest thing she’s ever tasted in her life…
But will Ella truly risk her perfect future, for an orc? Will she face the bitter truths of the past, and brave the terrifying Orc Mountain, before more war rises to destroy them all?


A dark, angsty, full-length, friends to lovers fantasy romance. Comes after The Lady and the Orc, but also reads as a standalone. Happily ever after guaranteed.




Book Review · Omegaverse

#BookReview #Omegaverse // Captured By The Alpha by Liliana Carlisle

Captured By The Alpha
by Liliana Carlisle



This is a fairly quick read, and I always struggle to rate and review stories of this length as it’s impossible for them to have the depth of story that I normally look for. Maybe it was the brevity of the book but I actually found myself totally caught up by Ivy’s and Darian’s tale and did enjoy the story.


I really liked Ivy, she felt a very credible character, the length of story meant that Darian’s character arc was so rapid it fell somewhere between unbelievable and whiplash. I would love the author to expand this story to include more time and scenes between the H and h prior to her heat as well as a transition period between that heat and the event leading to the culmination of the book. This would allow us to see the connection between Ivy and Darian establish and grow, as well as allow the author time to convince us of both his change of attitude as well as their emerging feelings.


The fated mates theme allowed for the very insta-love aspects of the story, but it felt like a convenient way to avoid redeeming an antihero rather than a genuine, and vital, plot line. Overall this is an entertaining, high heat read and perfect for one you don’t want anything too heavy.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Paranormal Erotica

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55318456-captured-by-the-alpha

Synopsis
Good Omegas never disobey their Alpha. Too bad I’m not one of them. Everyone I know thinks I’m insane. That my own imagination pushed me to a life of solitude. But I know better.

The monster that’s been haunting me is very real and he’s finally captured what he wants… me. Darien Stone is used to taking what he wants. As the world’s most influential Alpha, his power and wealth have Omegas groveling at his feet. But I’m not like other Omegas.

I know exactly who he really is, and want nothing to do with his blood money. He thinks he can control me, that I’ll bend to his every desire. But he’ll quickly learn this seemingly perfect Omega won’t go down without a fight.


Captured by the Alpha is a dark standalone novella, complete with a HEA!


Book Review · Fantasy

#BookReview #FantasyRomance // The Girl Who Belonged To The Sea by Katherine Quinn

The Girl Who Belonged to the Sea
The Azantian Trilogy #1
by Katherine Quinn 



Had 50 – 70 pages had been edited out of the first half of this book it is highly likely that I would have rated this as 5 stars. Sadly the book suffered from a distinct lack of pace in the first half, enough to have had me considering whether to DNF’ing this at one point. The slower tempo would have been easily forgiven had it been the result of spending time on rich and powerful world building, but whilst the setting was well developed it wasn’t comprehensively detailed enough to justify the lack of forward movement for such a significant number of pages.


However that is the only issue I had with what was otherwise a great book. I adored Margrete and Bash, though I wasn’t particularly enamoured with his name. Both characters showed good growth during the story, were well rounded and immensely likeable. The chemistry between this pair was absolutely scorching and I was fully invested in their relationship.


Whilst I half suspected some aspects of the story there were simply far too many twists and turns for me to guess, or even suspect, them all. The last third was a non-stop rollercoaster of action and adventure. Despite the shaky start I am sold on this series and cannot wait for book #2.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fantasy Fairy Tales

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57574682-the-girl-who-belonged-to-the-sea

Synopsis
One woman chosen by the God of the Sea. A king hellbent on saving his mysterious island home. And a forbidden romance that could destroy them all.

Forced to marry the wealthy Count Casbian by her power-hungry father, Margrete turns to the gods, praying for a life free from the men who wish to rule her. Across the sea, a ruthless immortal answers…

Planning to use Margrete to reclaim a powerful relic stolen from his people, Bash, a devilishly handsome king, kidnaps Margrete on the day of her nuptials. Bringing her to his home, the mystical island of Azantian, it isn’t long before a devastating secret is revealed—one that ties Margrete to the gods themselves.

Drawn to the spirited woman he’s sworn to hate, Bash cannot stay away from Margrete and the passion she ignites within him. When the lines begin to blur, Margrete must make a choice between a fiery love, and saving the realm from the dangerous magic awakening inside of her soul.


The first book of this exciting fantasy trilogy is perfect for readers who love high-seas adventures, swashbuckling heroes, and forbidden, steamy romance. Fans of Danielle L. Jensen’s The Bridge Kingdom, and Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses will be enthralled.