Serena’s Review: “To Kiss a Wallflower”

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Book: “To Kiss a Wallflower” by Jen Geigle Johnson, Heather B. Moore, & Anneka R. Walker

Publishing Info: Mirror Press, June 2022

Where Did I Get this Book: from the publicist!

Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat

Book Description: THE WALLFLOWER’S DANCE by Jen Geigle Johnson

Lottie Hughes likes people, as long as they aren’t too close. Does it bother her that no one asks her to dance? Yes, but she’s not sure how to drum up dance partners when she has almost no dowry, no title, and freezes up when anyone tries to talk to her. When she suddenly inherits a huge amount and is the new center of attention all over London, her secret dreams might come true but also her worst nightmares. Suddenly everyone wants to talk to her. Men ask her to dance. And she is inundated with interested suitors. She fights to stay close to the few friends she knows are true. One man saw her before her life changed forever. But does she want to accept his help when he, too, might be insincere?

LETTERS TO A WALLFLOWER by Heather B. Moore

Ellen might be beautiful and considered a diamond of the first water by Society, but she is so very tired of the pressure to marry a titled gentleman so that her beauty won’t go to waste. When her cousin Dinah dares Ellen to attend a ball with no frills and to stand with the wallflowers, Ellen takes on the dare. What’s in the wager for her? The prize cuttings of her aunt’s extraordinary roses. But what Ellen isn’t expecting is Lord Ravenshire to engage her in the most interesting conversation. When she confesses to him of her opposition in marrying for a title, he confesses his distaste of the London scene. They strike a bargain together, one which will either push them apart or lead to a future sweeter than either of them could have imagined.

TO MARRY A WALLFLOWER by Anneka R. Walker

Charlotte Winters is destined to spinsterhood until she turns down an unwanted proposal and everything changes. With gossip rampant, her father attempts to salvage her reputation by betrothing her to another. Soon she is sent off to her aunt’s to meet Lord Templeton, her intended. Anxiety-ridden, Charlotte begs her aunt to let her observe Lord Templeton from afar before their introduction. She never planned to pretend to be her fictional cousin to learn more about him, or to fall in love with Lord Templeton’s friend in the process. Lord Templeton dreads returning to the empty halls of Newcliff Manor. When his father’s old friend, Mr. Winters reaches out for assistance, Lord Templeton finds himself returning home engaged to a woman he has never met. Desperate to learn more about Miss Winters, he befriends her cousin. He wouldn’t have spoken to her, or lied about his identity, if he’d known the quiet woman would sneak into his heart.

Review: A few months ago, I participated in a blog tour for this book and posted an excerpt here on the blog. Well, today I’m back with my full review of the collection. Since there are three entirely separate stories contained within this book, I thought I’d split my review into three mini reviews, one for each story.

“The Wallflower’s Dance”

This is your classic friends-to-lovers romance, and it covered every base you want to see in this type of story. The friendship between the hero and the heroine was believable, as was the fact that it seemed understandable that each was so caught up in this type of interaction that it would take a certain sort of jolt to shock their systems into seeing each other in different ways.

I did struggle a bit towards the end of this story, however. It seemed that that solid foundation of friendship was easily undercut with doubts about the other’s intentions. This would have felt believable with other characters, but with two people who have known each other for so long, it was a bit hard to buy their sudden decision to believe complete strangers over a longtime friend. There was also one last shot of complete insanity on the heroine’s part after the truth was made known to her. It was only one paragraph, which honestly made it all the more frustrating. Just take that one bit out and nothing would change in the story, except a better opinion of your heroine!

That said, I still had a fun time reading this story.

“Letters to a Wallflower”

This was another classic romance trope: the fake dating/courtship romance. As is implied by the title, there’s a brief (luckily very brief!) period of time when our hero and heroine set-up a correspondence to get them each out of the eyes of pestering mothers and society and back to their beloved country abodes.

To be fair, this one plays fast and loose with the whole “wallflower” theme. Ellen is in fact a very beautiful, sought after young lady who tires of getting asked to dance too many times. So she makes a deal with her friend to try to hide as a wallflower and see if she is asked to dance at all. Unfortunately for her, Lord Ravenshire sets out with the purpose of dancing with all of the wallflowers. But through this mishap they hit on the idea to fake a relationship.

There were a few anachronisms early in this book (the word “hairdo” and an ordering of earl as one of the highest ranks, which is incorrect), but overall I think the writing in this book was the best. After I got past the first few errors, I really enjoyed this one, and it was probably my favorite of the three.

To Marry a Wallflower”

We wrap up our regency romances with the “secret identity” trope. For all that this is the trope I picked in our recent romance tropes bookclub theme, it’s probably one of my least favorite. All too often I have a hard time believing the essential lie at the heart of these kind of confusions wouldn’t do more lasting damage than they seem to. So, I was the most nervous going into this one of the three.

Honestly, I did struggle a bit with this story. There was a lot of terrible advice given out, and I thought the excuse to pose as different people was a bit weak for both Charlotte and Luke. Their interactions were sweet and I did become invested in their relationship as the story continued. But I could never fully get past the secret identity thing that tinged every moment. The reveal itself was a nice payoff, but I think I would have enjoyed this one more if it hadn’t been this trope to begin with. But that’s a purely subjective opinion, and fans of “secret identity” romances may love this one!

As a whole, I think this is a really solid compilation of clean, sweet Regency romances. This is part of a very long series of Regency romances made up of short stories, so fans of those are sure to enjoy this. Readers who are also looking for a low commitment, sweet romance read should also check this out. They’re the perfect reads for someone looking to whip through a romance story in one night’s time!

Rating 7: I was left wanting just a bit more from all three of these stories, but they were also fun and satisfying reads on their own which are sure to appeal to fans of clean historical romance stories!

Reader’s Advisory:

“To Kiss a Wallflower” is part of the Timeless Regency Collection Series.

Serena’s Review: “Ten Thousand Stitches”

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Book: “Ten Thousand Stitches” by Olivia Atwater

Publishing Info: Orbit, July 2022

Where Did I Get this Book: from the publisher!

Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat

Book Description: Effie has most inconveniently fallen in love with the dashing Mr Benedict Ashbrooke. There’s only one problem; Effie is a housemaid, and a housemaid cannot marry a gentleman. It seems that Effie is out of luck until she stumbles into the faerie realm of Lord Blackthorn, who is only too eager to help Effie win Mr Ashbrooke’s heart. All he asks in return is that Effie sew ten thousand stitches onto his favourite jacket.

Effie has heard rumours about what happens to those who accept help from faeries, but life as a maid at Hartfield is so awful that she is willing to risk even her immortal soul for a chance at something better. Now, she has one hundred days – and ten thousand stitches – to make Mr Ashbrooke fall in love and propose. . . if Lord Blackthorn doesn’t wreck things by accident, that is. For Effie’s greatest obstacle might well prove to be Lord Blackthorn’s overwhelmingly good intentions.

Previously Reviewed: “Half a Soul”

Review: I really enjoyed “Half a Soul.” I think I read it in maybe two sittings? That made it all the sweeter being able to look ahead to the summer and see two more books of the same style by Atwater coming down the pike. Frankly, it was very difficult to even wait until now to read the second book! Of course, given the highs of the first book, there was a lingering question whether this book could live up to that first outing!

As a housemaid, Effie has resigned herself to a life of invisibility, only noticeable to the very few for her fine embroidery work. But one day, a young man of nobility smiles at her, and she’s lost. As luck would have it, she shortly thereafter runs into a faerie with mission: Lord Blackthorn wants to go forth and do good in the world. However, being a faerie, he’s still restricted to bargain -making and so he offers to help Effie marry her lord if she completes a stitching project for him, one stitch for every minute spent on her lord-marrying plot. Things are going along well (or as well as they can with a bumbling faerie who really doesn’t understand the first thing about humans), but soon enough Effie begins to question whether she’s really after the right man.

So far, we’re two for two! While I think I liked the first book a shade better than this one, it’s such a small distinction that it’s barely worth noting. I’ll get to that reason in a bit. But first, there are many things to praise about this book! For one thing, the author’s blend of fantasy, comedy, and class commentary is still excellent. I loved getting to explore more about the faeries of her world and the land of Faerie itself. We also got to see some familiar faces here, which was excellent. I don’t want to spoil it, but there was a character in the second book who only popped up in the final quarter but stole the show the moment they did. And they were back here in all of their glory!

And, again, the author has done an excellent job of using her magical elements to highlight and explore the injustices present in British society during this time period. The first book explored it from the view of nobility being forced to confront the underbelly of their glittering world. But this book focuses on Effie, a servant, and the constant anger and powerlessness she feels in the face of poor working standards and a lack of bargaining power. Through her experiences, we see how much of a servant’s life is dependent on the chance goodwill of the masters of the house. And in the face of a bad home owner, she sees practically no recourse for improvement. Even leaving the situation is impossible if you can’t get a good letter of recommendation. I also liked how the magical elements weren’t a simple wand-wave to make the conditions better. I won’t spoil how it all worked, but, again, it was a perfect marriage of fantasy alongside very real world dilemmas and solutions.

As someone who embroiders quite a lot myself, I always enjoy fantasy stories that focus on the magic of stitching and sewing. Again, no spoilers, but I was really surprised with the way that Effie’s sewing came into the story. From the description, I thought we were heading down much more of a “Rumpelstiltskin” path with an impossible task, but that really wasn’t the case.

I also really liked Effie and Lord Blackthorn. Effie’s anger and determination were both excellent, however foolish she may have been with falling in “love” with the first nobleman to smile at her. She endures through much, and slowly begins to learn more about herself and the role she wants to play in the world going forward. Lord Blackthorn was everything that is endearing, being a very good-hearted faerie but very ignorant of basic human facts. Their relationship was charismatic and adorable, especially the moments where we begin to see the tingling feelings of suspicion that they may each be barking up the wrong tree in their original arrangement.

However, my one qualm did come down to the romance. While overall I really loved it, it’s a hard balance to have your romantic hero also play the main comedy role. It was just a tough part to fit, with some of his bumbling playing for great laughs and “ah shucks” moments, but then those same aspects of his personality directly conflicted with the more typical romantic hero vibes you may be expecting. However, that’s not to say that all romantic interests must be the same. It was more that some of the more childish aspects of his faerie self played at conflict with the adult romance he was also supposed to be within. But, like I said, I still very much enjoyed this part of the book too, so it definitely wasn’t a deal breaker, just the reason I prefer the first book to this one.

All in all, this was a great second outing! Atwater has a strong writing voice and it meshes perfectly with her light-hearted, but important-issues-focused stories. I’m very excited to check out her third book this August!

Rating 8: While comic relief and romantic hero may be a hard combo, this story was just as sweet and fun as the first book!

Reader’s Advisory:

“Ten Thousand Stitches” can be found on these Goodreads lists: Stitchwitchery

Serena’s Review: “Dragon Unleashed”

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Book: “Dragon Unleashed” by Grace Draven

Publishing Info: Ace Books, June 2020

Where Did I Get this Book: from the library!

Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat

Book Description: Magic is outlawed in the Krael Empire and punishable by death. Born with the gift of earth magic, the free trader Halani keeps her dangerous secret closely guarded. When her uncle buys a mysterious artifact, a piece of bone belonging to a long-dead draga, Halani knows it’s far more than what it seems.

Dragas haven’t been seen for more than a century, and most believe them extinct. They’re wrong. Dragas still walk among the denizens of the Empire, disguised as humans. Malachus is a draga living on borrowed time. The magic that has protected him will soon turn on him–unless he finds a key part of his heritage. He has tracked it to a group of free traders, among them a grave-robbing earth witch who fascinates him as much as she frustrates him with her many secrets.

Unbeknownst to both, the Empire’s twisted empress searches for a draga of her own, to capture and kill as a trophy. As Malachus the hunter becomes the hunted, Halani must risk herself and all she loves to save him from the Empire’s machinations and his own lethal birthright.

Previously Reviewed: “Phoenix Unbound”

Review:I really, really enjoyed the first book out in this trilogy. Not only was it a great fantasy story (who doesn’t like fire mages??), but it was a great enemies-to-lovers romance. Reading that one, it was also clear who the leading lady was going to be in this one, the mysterious healer Halani whose travelling trade family participates in a side-deal of grave robbing. I was also excited to see what the author did with dragons, another fantasy staple that is a fan favorite. Let’s dive in!

It has been widely know that the last Draga died many years ago. But Malachus knows differently, being the last of his kind. He’s travelled the earth for decades in search of a needed artifact to complete his transformation into an adult Draga, and the longer he is denied the more volatile his magic becomes. After a violent attack, Malachus is taken under the wing of the free trader and healer Halani. As she nurses him back to health, Malachus begins to see that perhaps not all humans are craven, bloodthirsty souls. And for her part, Halani is more and more intrigued by the powerful but kind man with the mysterious past. But as their secrets begin to clash, Malachus and Halani realize they must fight for their own future, either together or apart.

There was a lot to like about this book! While I haven’t been a fan of everything Grace Draven has written (sometimes her protagonists fall short, other times they knock it out of the park!), these first two books have been right up my alley! To start with, I really liked her version of dragons. The Draga are long-lived and, essentially, shape shifters who can turn into powerful dragons at will, though they also have a human form they live in. However, the process to become an adult Draga is a centuries long ordeal and requires a very specific ritual to complete. If it isn’t done, the Draga magic begins to self-destruct. This leaves our hero, Malachus, living life as a very real ticking time bomb.

I also liked the history of the Draga and how that has formed Malachus’s experiences with humans. This is very much a world where history has been told by the winner. When we finally get the truth of things, it’s as heart-wrenching as you might expect. Between this dark history and the fact that a the necessary artifact to complete his transformation has been stolen by craven humans, he looks at the world of humanity with a very cynical eye, seeing the entire race as almost a hopeless case. His story is very much about coming to realize the beauty and kindness that can be found in short-lived humans, as well.

Halani’s story is a bit more straight-forward. She largely plays as a role model of the best of humanity for Malachus. However, we also see her make choices that go against her own moral compass, and the balancing act she is always making with using her powers for good…or just for the good of her greedy leader. There is a particular moment when Halani and Malachus’s worldviews clash where I think she has one of the best lines/small speeches about the care that must be taken when thinking we have the right of things and judging others.

The romance between these two was also a very sweet, slow-burn story. They each begin from a point of basically idolizing the other, and their true love for one another is only born once they are forced to confront the flaws in the other and themselves. That they have lived lives, made choices, and are only complete people for all things taken into consideration, not just the best parts. There was also an intense action scene towards the end of the book that really served as a neat bow to the love story itself.

I really enjoyed this book. I think any fans of Draven’s are sure to enjoy it, and those who liked the first book will definitely want to check this one out. We even see a few familiar faces! I was also able to spot the main characters of the third book, and man, I can’t wait to read their story as well!

Rating 8: A unique version of dragons paired with a sweet love story and you have yourself a great read!

Reader’s Advisory:

“Dragon Unleashed” can be found on these Goodreads lists: Dragons and The Best Adult PNR.

Blog Tour: Excerpt of “To Kiss a Wallflower”

This post may contain affiliate links for books we recommend.  Read the full disclosure here.

Book: “To Kiss a Wallflower” by Jen Geigle Johnson, Heather B. Moore, & Anneka R. Walker

Publishing Info: Mirror Press, June 2022

Where Did I Get this Book: from the publicist!

Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat

Book Description: THE WALLFLOWER’S DANCE by Jen Geigle Johnson

Lottie Hughes likes people, as long as they aren’t too close. Does it bother her that no one asks her to dance? Yes, but she’s not sure how to drum up dance partners when she has almost no dowry, no title, and freezes up when anyone tries to talk to her. When she suddenly inherits a huge amount and is the new center of attention all over London, her secret dreams might come true but also her worst nightmares. Suddenly everyone wants to talk to her. Men ask her to dance. And she is inundated with interested suitors. She fights to stay close to the few friends she knows are true. One man saw her before her life changed forever. But does she want to accept his help when he, too, might be insincere?

LETTERS TO A WALLFLOWER by Heather B. Moore

Ellen might be beautiful and considered a diamond of the first water by Society, but she is so very tired of the pressure to marry a titled gentleman so that her beauty won’t go to waste. When her cousin Dinah dares Ellen to attend a ball with no frills and to stand with the wallflowers, Ellen takes on the dare. What’s in the wager for her? The prize cuttings of her aunt’s extraordinary roses. But what Ellen isn’t expecting is Lord Ravenshire to engage her in the most interesting conversation. When she confesses to him of her opposition in marrying for a title, he confesses his distaste of the London scene. They strike a bargain together, one which will either push them apart or lead to a future sweeter than either of them could have imagined.

TO MARRY A WALLFLOWER by Anneka R. Walker

Charlotte Winters is destined to spinsterhood until she turns down an unwanted proposal and everything changes. With gossip rampant, her father attempts to salvage her reputation by betrothing her to another. Soon she is sent off to her aunt’s to meet Lord Templeton, her intended. Anxiety-ridden, Charlotte begs her aunt to let her observe Lord Templeton from afar before their introduction. She never planned to pretend to be her fictional cousin to learn more about him, or to fall in love with Lord Templeton’s friend in the process. Lord Templeton dreads returning to the empty halls of Newcliff Manor. When his father’s old friend, Mr. Winters reaches out for assistance, Lord Templeton finds himself returning home engaged to a woman he has never met. Desperate to learn more about Miss Winters, he befriends her cousin. He wouldn’t have spoken to her, or lied about his identity, if he’d known the quiet woman would sneak into his heart.

Note: Thank you so much to Laurel Ann for reaching out to me with the opportunity to participate in this blog tour! I love working with other bloggers to help promote books that may not get as much attention on their own. It’s also a great way of meeting other bloggers out there who are doing some excellent work! Today, I’m going to feature an excerpt from this book. I’ll likely post a full review at a later date. Enjoy!

Excerpt:

The Wallflower’s Dance

by Jen Geigle Johnson

Chapter One

Despite Lottie’s mother, who wished to know and be known by all and sundry, Lottie was still of the opinion that few people were required for happiness. Three things were needed: her closest friends, a good book, and lovely walks in the park. 

And perhaps a husband. 

Someday. 

If he too preferred little company, books, and walks in the park. 

She brought her brush, thick with paint, over the wood of a new table. She’d found a particular shade of lavender and knew it would go well in her sitting room. The lovely rich color covered the white beneath it completely. 

Lottie smiled. Once this coat dried, she could add embellishments, flowers, a trailing vine of green, whatever she liked.

Her mother peeked her head in the door to her art room. “Lottie.” The higher-pitched energy that exuded from her mother any time of day only felt companionable when Lottie too was full of energy. Which was usually reserved for the late hours of a ball. Something about the middle of the night filled Lottie with adventure. By then, her mother was typically nodding off in a corner somewhere.

“I’m painting, Mother. Come see this shade of purple. It’s like nothing I’ve ever used before.”

To her credit, she stepped into the room and glanced at the painting. “Very nice. Now. If you could take a break, we need to be stunning, absolutely beautiful for a walk in the park.”

Lottie perked up at walk, but when the gleam in her mother’s eyes sharpened and Lottie paid attention to stunning and beautiful as requirements, she knew this was going to be less about walking and more about being seen. “Perhaps you and your friends could go without me this morning? I’m hoping to finish up this coat.” She knew her excuse sounded weak and her mother did too, judging by the dismissive wave of her fingers.

“Oh come, word has it that Prinny will make an appearance, which suddenly turns a casual walk in the park into a major event of the Season. This is your chance for more introductions, more doors opened to you. Who knows, you may even meet a duke!” The wide, hopeful eyes at the doorway were evidence that Lottie was not going to be able to avoid the park. She left her brush in water and stood, wiping fingers on her apron.

“Should I wear the violet?” 

Mother was about to give Lottie’s maid very detailed instructions as to her appearance anyway, so she might as well ask her before choosing a dress herself.

“No, too dark and bold for a walk in the park. Wear a pastel. But a colorful bonnet. Don’t worry, I’ve instructed Dorothea in all the particulars.”

Dorothea, Lottie’s maid, very obviously worked for her mother. She could never be convinced to alter the prearranged instructions on Lottie’s presentation. But no matter. Lottie moved obediently to her bedroom and the preparations began, starting with an intricate hairstyle that would be hidden underneath her bonnet. But Lottie knew better than to discuss her opinion on the particulars. She watched Dorothea in the mirror. Perhaps they would be able to have some entertainment to enliven them both. Entertainment in the form of another maid, reading aloud their latest favorite novel. Lottie’s eyes met Dorothea’s. “Will Penny be able to slip away?”

“I believe so, miss.” Dorothea smiled. She enjoyed the books as much as Lottie, and if Lottie was to be sitting in this chair for hours, they may as well be entertained.

Lottie had discovered the rare occurrence of a servant who knew how to read. Even though she sometimes stumbled, she did less so now that she’d been tasked with the very important assignment of reading to Lottie while she prepared for the day. Penny slipped in through the servants’ entrance. “I’ve just come from the kitchen.” Her mischievous smile made Lottie laugh.

“Are they missing you?”

She waved a hand. “Not at all. Cook has an army of people in there, helping. I’ve finished all my other chores.”

“Excellent and, of course, I called for you. That should help.”

Both servants shared a look, which she took to mean that she had little clout in the servants’ eyes. Well, no matter. “Please start at the beginning.”

Penny nodded, her eyes gleaming with the same hopeful expectation Lottie herself felt. And then she began to read. 

“The Family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex.”

Serena’s Review: “Half a Soul”

This post may contain affiliate links for books we recommend.  Read the full disclosure here.

Book: “Half a Soul” by Olivia Atwater

Publishing Info: Orbit, June 2022

Where Did I Get this Book: ARC from the publisher!

Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat

Book Description: Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.

If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.

Review: I was so excited when I received an ARC of this book from Orbit (thank you!). The book description alone checks so many personal favorites of mine that it’s kind of ridiculous. It’s also been a while since I’ve read a good faerie story, so I was particularly excited to revisit this fantasy fan favorite topic.

As a young girl, Theodora Ettings, or Dora, fell prey to a malicious faerie curse. In the blink of an eye, she lost half of her soul and along with it all the sharper edges of emotion. As a young lady, while unconcerned herself with others’ dismay, Dora recognizes that her strange ways and habit of blurting out whatever she is thinking will likely prohibit her from every finding her own marriage match. She’s content, however, to simply help her beloved cousin and make a home with her as a slowly aging spinster. But life takes an unexpected turn when she stumbles into a strange mystery leaving children cursed in a comatose state. Also on the case is the prickly and antisocial Lord Sorcier. As they work closely together, each begins to question their pre-established views of their own futures.

In my opinion, the biggest question with any historical work, be it fantasy, mystery, what have you, is whether the author has a decent handle on the language of the time. Poor word choice, stuttered style, and anachronisms are the surest way to immediately lose me as a reader with this type of book. Immediately, I was relieved to find that not only did this author have a solid handled on this aspect of the story, but she was adept at inserting witty turns of phrase and leaning on some of the inherent ridiculousness of pairing faeries and magic with proper Regency language. This clever writing style was present across prose and dialogue, and there were several laugh-out-loud moments for me during this read.

I also really enjoyed Dora and the effect her curse has on her life and her interactions with the people around her. If you try and think to hard about how the curse truly works with limiting her emotions, you can likely run into a brick wall of confusion, as we do see Dora forming strong attachments to characters throughout the book. But given the explanation that Dora herself gives at one point, I thought it made enough sense for me. Plus, I was having too much fun with the way her curse was playing out on the page, as well as the slow-burn romance that was developing between her and Elias, the Lord Sorcier, to ever feel the need to question or complain.

The mystery around the children was interesting as well. Through this portion of the story, the author shines a clear light on the terrible working/living conditions of the poor living in London at this time. Not only did she highlight the challenges facing this population, but she neatly described the vast distance (partly physically, but mostly through intentional looking away) between the classes and the unwillingness of those living a comfortable life to turn their eyes to the despair surrounding them. There was also a pretty great twist towards the end of this mystery which really added to the story as a whole.

This was a light-hearted, fast-reading romantic fantasy. Fans of Regency romance are sure to enjoy it, as well as those who want a more playful look at faeries and faerie courts. I loved the heck out of this book, and now am even more excited to check out the next one coming out from this author later this summer!

Rating 9: A purely joyful reading experience all around!

Reader’s Advisory:

“Half a Soul” isn’t on any Goodreads lists yet, but it should be on Regency Fantasy Books.

Book Club Review: “Payback’s A Witch”

This post may contain affiliate links for books we recommend.  Read the full disclosure here.

We are part of a group of librarian friends who have had an ongoing book club running for the last several years. Each “season” (we’re nerds) we pick a theme and each of us chooses a book within that theme for us all to read. Our current theme is “Romance”, in which we each picked a book that is a romance, or has elements that fit romance tropes to a T. For this blog, we will post a joint review of each book we read for book club. We’ll also post the next book coming up in book club. So feel free to read along with us or use our book selections and questions in your own book club!

Book: “Payback’s A Witch” by Lana Harper

Publishing Info: Berkley, October 2021

Where Did We Get This Book: The library!

Where You Can Get This Book: WorldCat | Amazon | Indiebound

Romance Trope: Hometown Return

Book Description: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina meets The L Word in this fresh, sizzling rom-com by Lana Harper.

Emmy Harlow is a witch but not a very powerful one—in part because she hasn’t been home to the magical town of Thistle Grove in years. Her self-imposed exile has a lot to do with a complicated family history and a desire to forge her own way in the world, and only the very tiniest bit to do with Gareth Blackmoore, heir to the most powerful magical family in town and casual breaker of hearts and destroyer of dreams.

But when a spellcasting tournament that her family serves as arbiters for approaches, it turns out the pull of tradition (or the truly impressive parental guilt trip that comes with it) is strong enough to bring Emmy back. She’s determined to do her familial duty; spend some quality time with her best friend, Linden Thorn; and get back to her real life in Chicago.

On her first night home, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov—an all-around badass adept in the darker magical arts—who is fresh off a bad breakup . . . with Gareth Blackmoore. Talia had let herself be charmed, only to discover that Gareth was also seeing Linden—unbeknownst to either of them. And now she and Linden want revenge. Only one question stands: Is Emmy in? But most concerning of all: Why can’t she stop thinking about the terrifyingly competent, devastatingly gorgeous, wickedly charming Talia Avramov?

Kate’s Thoughts

I was the book club member to finish off our Romance cycle, and I knew exactly what I wanted us to read when we decided on the theme this time around. I had my eye on “Payback’s a Witch” by Lana Harper around the time it came out, so this was the perfect opportunity. I picked it because I kind of like the whole ‘return to your hometown and discover/rediscover love’ trope, and this one has that, but also Sapphic Witches! How could I NOT pick it?

And for the most part I enjoyed it! I thought that Harper built and created a pretty well done mythology and background for the town of Thistle Grove and the magical people who live there, with a clear history and some clear systems in place. I liked how that combined with the small town politics of low key feuding families as well, and how that enters into our main plot as Emmy returns home to find that her ex has been cheating on Linden, her childhood best friend, with Talia Avramov, her childhood semi-crush, and they decide to prevent him from winning the big tournament that determines the family power in town. It’s rudimentary but that’s fine, because it flows well and is enjoyable as it all plays out.

In terms of characters, I thought that Emmy was fine, but I REALLY loved Talia, her love interest. She checks all my boxes: she’s cool, she’s snarky, she has a heart of gold under a biting exterior, and her family is the family that is basically the necromancing communicators with the dead. I MEAN COME ON! Emmy and Talia have pretty okay chemistry (admittedly there isn’t that much sexytimes in this book, as one member was quite irked by), and while some of their stumbling blocks are a bit silly a little conflict makes a romance more high stakes. And besides, two witches falling in love is always going to get high marks from me.

I enjoyed “Payback’s a Witch” and I absolutely intend to continue in the series! BRING ON MORE AVRAMOVS, PLEASE!

Serena’s Thoughts

I can basically repeat all of Kate’s thoughts and opinions, only tone down the excitement one slot for me. It was still a fun read, but I knew going in that it probably wasn’t going to be totally for me. I think partly because I’m the exact opposite of Kate in my romance trope preferences, with the “home town returnee rediscovers their ex/crush” theme being one of my less favorites. I just have a hard time with all the glossed up nostalgia over home-towns. I haven’t lived in mine for over twenty years now, but I do go back every year. And while I love visiting and have happy memories of the place, I also have no qualms in saying that if I met any of my exes or crushes from when I lived there, I’m sure they would be totally different people, just like I am now.

That said, Talia was an awesome love interest, so regardless of the the trope itself, she worked well as a partner for Emmy. Like Kate, I very much enjoyed her more than Emmy. I had a hard time taking Emmy too seriously, honestly, as I felt her reactions to leaving and then coming home to be overblown. I mean, your highschool ex cheated, like ten years ago, move on! Gain some self-respect and perspective as an adult!

I did like what we got for the magical elements as well. This was a more fun take of the magical families battling than the battle royale that I fairly recently read in “All of Us Villains.” The various families and there different styles of magic was very “four houses of Hogwarts,” but so many things in fantasy are derivative of the bigger titles that that can hardly be a complaint.

Overall, this was a fun quick read. For me, the main character held that book back the most, but she was made up for by her love interest. I probably won’t continue with the series, but fans of fantasy romance, especially those looking for a saphic romance should definitely check this one out.

Kate’s Rating 8: Super fun, super witchy, super creative. I really enjoyed this book and man oh MAN is Talia just the best.

Serena’s Rating 7: Purely subjective rating as this wasn’t really my type of book to begin with, but Talia and the magical houses were definite bonuses.

Book Club Questions

  1. What did you think of the town of Thistle Grove? Did you think it was well conceived?
  2. What were your thoughts on the magical systems and mythology in this book?
  3. Emmy left Thistle Grove with little intention to return, but when she did she made connections with people and places. If you don’t live in your home town anymore, how do you think it would be to return?
  4. Did you like the relationship between Emmy and Talia? What did or didn’t work for you?
  5. The four magical families who run Thistle Grove all have distinct magical abilities and connections. Which family would you want to be a part of?
  6. Were there any characters you’d want to follow in future books in the series?

Reader’s Advisory

“Payback’s a Witch” is included on the Goodreads lists “Sapphic Witchy, Ghostly Books”, and “Popsugar 2022 #16: A Book About Witches”.

Serena’s Review: “Where the Lost Wander”

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Book: “Where the Lost Wander” by Amy Harmon

Publishing Info: Lake Union Publishing, April 2020

Where Did I Get this Book: from the library!

Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat

Book Description: The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually… make peace with who they are.

Review: Great authors are hard to come by. It’s especially exciting when you come across one who excels in one of your favorite genres. But the magical unicorn great author is one who seems able to write excellent novels in almost any genre! Authors like Sylvia Moreno Garcia and Naomi Novik come to mind. Amy Harmon turns out to be yet another of those authors. Everything she writes is a solid, individual piece of art, and yet she flits from genre, time period, and theme with the ease of an author who has written twenty books of the same ilk before. It’s so impressive. All of this to say, I was very excited when I saw she had written a historical novel about the Oregon Trail. There aren’t too many books out there (at least that I’ve found) that tackle this period of time, so I was excited to see what Harmon had to bring, knowing full well that she was more than up to the task of delivery something great once again!

Like others who came before them, Naomi and her family brave the dangers of the long trip out West on the promise of a new life to be found by the end. For Naomi, a young widow, this opportunity to begin again is precious to her. But like all travelers of the trail, Naomi and her family need the benefits offered by a knowledgeable guide. For this, they turn to John Lowry, a half Native American man whose familiarity with the territory is sure to help their journey run smoothly. Along the way, Naomi and John feel themselves drawn closer and closer together. But disaster and tragedy strike, and, now separated, John and Naomi must fight to return to each other.

So, beyond being excellent, I think I can also say that Harmon always writes books that will pull at the heartstrings in some way or another. As much as I’ve loved all of her books, this one included, I haven’t managed to get through any of them without tearing up. And this one had big time tears! Not to say that this is a bad thing. Indeed, it speaks to the power of Harmon’s writing that you will quickly find yourself so immersed in this world and story that the sheer power of will found in our main characters is enough to pull at your heart. Not to mention the very real dangers and tragedies they each must face in the course of this story.

Harmon doesn’t shy away from portraying the harsh realities of this time and place (she also has an excellent author’s note at the end about her own family’s history and her approach to researching and writing this story.) For his part, John clearly doesn’t fit into either of his parents’ worlds. Not that of his Native American mother with whom he only lived the first few years of his life. Nor the white settlers who continually side eye him even though he has lived and worked alongside them his entire adult life. There was no neat solution or simplistic “good” or “bad” guys. Instead, Harmon took a nuanced look at the life and experience of an individual in this role. For her part, Naomi’s life is not straightforward either. She’s a young woman (though widowhood does offer a certain sort of freedom) in a time period where she has very little agency over her life and choices. Instead, she must work within the strict options given to her, often having to make heartbreaking decisions just to survive.

The romance itself was lovely. It was a slow-burn romance, and we had plenty of time to get to know both John and Naomi individually. And then they are separated, and we have to get to know them once again when they must rise to the challenges set before them. When they come together again, it’s bittersweet and lovely. Like I said, there’s a lot of tragedy in this book, but the for its part, the romance itself is completely satisfying.

This is definitely a challenging read, so readers picking it up should be prepared to read some darker themes, both of violence against women as well as death. But all of the tragedy is balanced with beauty and a clear-eyed look at life during this time period. Fans of historical fiction, specifically the time of the Oregon Trail, should definitely check this one out!

Rating 8: Beauty and heartbreak are equally balanced in this lovely work of historical fiction.

Reader’s Advisory:

“Where the Lost Wander” can be found on these Goodreads lists: Historical Fiction 2020 and Amazing Books that are Barely Known.

Serena’s Review: “Phoenix Unbound”

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Book: “Phoenix Unbound” by Grace Draven

Publishing Info: Ace Books, September 2018

Where Did I Get this Book: from the library!

Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat

Book Description: Every year, each village is required to send a young woman to the Empire’s capital – her fate: to be burned alive for the entertainment of the masses. For the last five years, one small village’s tithe has been the same woman. Gilene’s sacrifice protects all the other young women of her village, and her secret to staying alive lies with the magic only she possesses.

But this year is different.

Azarion, the Empire’s most famous gladiator, has somehow seen through her illusion, and is set on blackmailing Gilene into using her abilities to help him escape his life of slavery. And unknown to Gilene, he also wants to reclaim the birthright of his clan.

To protect her family and village, she will risk everything to return to the Empire and burn once more.

Review: For the most part, I’ve really loved Grace Draven’s books. Nothing has quite lived up to “Radiance,” but it’s definitely a win when I’ve read a good number of books from one author and never actively disliked any of them. This trilogy (comprised of three stand-alone books set in the same world with overlapping characters) is due to be finished up this coming November, so I thought it was a great time to dive in and set myself up to review that last book when it comes out (if all goes well with the first two books, of course!) And I’ll say, if the second one is like the first, I’m definitely already excited for November to come!

It is the Empire’s cruel tradition: each year, every village must sacrifice one of its women to travel to the capitol and be sacrificed on the pyre for the entertainment of the masses. But one village has been able to escape that fate, for they have a fire witch, a woman blessed with fire abilities and able to survive this doom. Only to have to relive the horror each and every year. But this time, when Gilene travels to the city to meet her fate, she is unmasked by the famous gladiator, Azarion, and he has a deal for her: together, they will escape this awful place and he will reclaim his birthright. But Gilene knows that whatever this man promises, she must return to her village before another girl is sent to her death.

Honestly, I didn’t really look at the book description too much for this one before I went in. Part of that is due to my general comfort level with the author: Draven regularly writes romantic fantasy that is approachable and entertaining. The other part was…I don’t know, laziness? Either way, it made the reading experience interesting. For one thing, I’ll say this book was darker than I had expected. Yes, said skipped book description mentions the fact that women are regularly burned alive in some sadistic festival every year. But it fails to mention that the same women are offered to the gladiators the night before for their entertainment. Thus, our heroine’s yearly horrendous experience includes not only walking to her “death” with other women who she knows won’t survive the experience like she will, but she must also allow herself to be assaulted every year. And her magical abilities do nothing to lessen this part of her ordeal. So yes, that’s a dark thought. Even more so since Gilene is not the first fire witch of her village, and she doesn’t expect to be the last.

Her entire journey, even once she has escaped with Azarion, is about her single-minded focus on returning to her village to spare another innocent woman this fate. And knowing that another girl will be born who will have to be trained to take up this horrific mantle after Gilene becomes too old to accomplish it. Her courage in the face of this reality is incredible, but we also see her grapple with the anger that would come in belonging to a village that so fully takes advantage of her abilities. It’s a tough balance, because Gilene acknowledges the lack of real choice before her people, but also simmers with rage that her existence is so reduced to this object of torment to spare others who spend the rest of the year uncomfortably looking away from her with shame. It’s a very interesting exploration of humanity under the pressure of terrible choices.

I also really liked the romance at the heart of this story. It’s a true slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers story. While Gilene and Azarion aren’t necessarily true enemies in the basic sense of the world, they do have opposing goals and spend much of the first half of the book at odds with one another. Their growth to understand and care for each other feels natural and a product of the journey they take together. Each has been brutalized by the cruel Empress and her regime, but that alone isn’t enough to form a lasting relationship. Indeed, in some ways, each is less trusting than they would be due to the nature of their experiences. The growth and slow-gained love for one another is beautiful and heart-warming.

The story also doesn’t take the easy way out in its solutions for the problems thrown at our main characters. The world they live in is brutal, and the power structures they are up against are strong and persistent. I really liked the bittersweet nature of the final fourth of the book. There were no easy solutions presented, and each character remained true to themselves and their goals, neither sacrificing their core essence just because of their romance. But it also ended in a very satisfying way. I can also see easily who the next character will be in the second book, and am very excited to read her story! Fans of Grace Draven or romantic fantasy should definitely check this one out!

Rating 8: A bit darker than I expected, but with two strong main characters and a swoon-worthy romance, this one is definitely a win!

Reader’s Advisory:

“Phoenix Unbound” can be found on these Goodreads lists: Slow Burn Romances that are not YA or Erotica and Fantasy Romance

Book Club Review: “The Roommate”

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We are part of a group of librarian friends who have had an ongoing book club running for the last several years. Each “season” (we’re nerds) we pick a theme and each of us chooses a book within that theme for us all to read. Our current theme is “Romance”, in which we each picked a book that is a romance, or has elements that fit romance tropes to a T. For this blog, we will post a joint review of each book we read for book club. We’ll also post the next book coming up in book club. So feel free to read along with us or use our book selections and questions in your own book club!

Book: “The Roommate” by Rosie Danan

Publishing Info: Berkley, September 2020

Where Did We Get This Book: The library!

Where You Can Get This Book: WorldCat | Amazon | Indiebound

Romance Trope: Forced Proximity

Book Description: House Rules: Do your own dishes.
Knock before entering the bathroom.
Never look up your roommate online.

The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.

After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet

Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.

Kate’s Thoughts

I thought that this book had some good jumping off points for our book club discussion, which is good! But I think that part of that is because it seemed like it wasn’t overall well loved by our members. I fell into that camp as well. But I’ll start with what I did like, and there are two things that stand out for me. Firstly, I liked how this book tried to show that porn actors and actresses, and sex workers in general, are people who are doing a job and who deserve not to be dehumanized or stigmatized because of it. I liked that Josh enjoys his job, views it as a business that he excels at, and didn’t fall into any pitfalls of being shamed for his profession. Along with that, I liked that his acting partner and on again, off again girlfriend Naomi was ALSO a well thought out and interesting character, when she easily could have been used as a contrast to Clara and depicted in negative ways. Overall, I felt like Danan was doing her best to address sex positivity and the importance of remembering sex workers are people and deserve rights and respect, and not to be mistreated or shunned because of their profession. I also liked Naomi a lot as a character. As mentioned above, she isn’t used as a snide or antagonistic villain, and she was probably the most interesting character in the book.

I guess that kind of brings up the things that didn’t work as well. I thought that “The Roommate”, while setting out what it wanted to do, was kinda ho hum in other ways. Clara was fine as a main character, Josh was fine too, but neither of them were super interesting to me. I wasn’t terribly invested in their relationship, and I wasn’t terribly invested in the conflict that they met along the way. The sex scenes were serviceable and were written pretty well, but I didn’t get the kind of fun buildup I like in romance novels (however this is probably more about preference: like I’ve said in the past, I like a slow burn build up and a lot of cute and snarky banter).

I think that “The Roommate” does what it wants to do. I would have liked more oomph and chemistry between the main characters.

Serena’s Thoughts

Once again, I agree with everything Kate has already laid out. I think this book had lofty goals attempting to address sex positivity and destigmatize sex work. However, even here, I feel like the book brushed up alongside some of these issues but then didn’t really get into some of the real challenges. For example, there are a lot of factors that go into sex workers being forced into situations where they’re pushed back their comfort levels. Much of this has to do with power structures and stigmatization. However, here, we pretty much just had a “big bad” who, once dealt with, cleared the way to smooth sailing ahead. Likewise, Josh is conveniently not working when he meets Clara and then transition into a different role by the end of the book. So the author neatly sidesteps the issue of addressing sex workers who still work in the industry but are part of a committed, monogamous relationship.

Also, like Kate said, neither of the characters were particularly enthralling. I didn’t actively dislike either of them, but I never felt invested in their individual arcs or their romance as a couple. The “romance,” such as it was, felt more like falling in lust than falling in love. By the end, yes, they get there. But like Kate said, without the buildup, it’s harder to really feel any satisfaction when the romance is settled by the end of the book.

Kate’s Rating 6: I feel like it sets out to do what it wants to do, and I liked the sex positivity. But overall it was kinda lackluster.

Serena’s Rating 6: Not for me. The romance lacked any real connection and while I liked some of the topics tackled, I think there were some other missed opportunities.

Book Club Questions

  1. Did you think that the forced proximity trope in this story worked well within this context?
  2. Did this book subvert any romance tropes (forced proximity or not) in ways that you liked?
  3. Besides Naomi, were there any side characters that you would have liked to see more of? Any that you’d read another book about?
  4. What did you think of Clara and Josh’s business idea of porn that teaches about giving women pleasure during sex? Do you think there would be a market for it?
  5. What were your thoughts on how this book handled the themes of sex work and sex workers? Do you think it would make people think differently about sex work?

Reader’s Advisory

“The Roommate” is included on the Goodreads lists “Radical Romance”, and “My Favorite Trope”.

Next Book Club Book: “Payback’s a Witch” by Lana Harper

Serena’s Review: “When a Princess Proposes”

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Book: “When a Princess Proposes” by Kerrelyn Sparks

Publishing Info: Kensington Books, April 2022

Where Did I Get this Book: NetGalley!

Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat

Book Description: All Princess Eviana needs is an escape. Possessed of an unfortunate and unusual Embraced gift, which she’s been banned from using, she required no training. Now, her overprotective parents want her to wed. As a result, the palace is crammed with obnoxious noblemen. . . . Until Quentin, the enigmatic eagle shifter and royal spy, maneuvers several of the unsuitable suitors into revealing their most embarrassing secrets before the court. Finally, Eviana has an excuse to free herself. If only her family knew the blow that’s shaken her: golden-eyed Quentin’s refusal to let her near . . .

Heroic, but low born, Quentin’s infatuation with Eviana is as inappropriate as it is unshakable. He must keep away from her, for his own sake. But after a series of suspicious deaths, and the princess’s narrow escape from kidnapping, Quentin knows that only together can they expose the danger stalking Aerthlan’s Embraced. On foot, in disguise, they’ll need trust and quick wits to uncover the vicious conspiracy closing around them. But finding the truth might break down their own defenses as well . . .

Review: I’m always trying to strike a balance between epic fantasy, often full of dark, depressing wars and political machinations, and the light-hearted fare to be found on the other side of the spectrum. I stumbled upon this book while browsing NetGalley one day, and thought it was just the sort of lighter read I was in the mood for. I realized that it was the third book in a series, but it seemed the sort of series that focused on new characters and stories with each book, so I thought it safe enough to jump in without reading the others first. And, while it turned out this was actually something like the fifth book in this series/world, it was still a fun enough read on its own, if not really what I was hoping for it would be.

The Embraced are those born on a particular day of the year, and with this date comes a magical gift. No one knows what their gift may be, whether it will be useful or silly, but the Embraced all have something. It is Princess Eviana’s curse that when her gift shows itself it’s of the sort that her over-protective parents see as more of a threat than a blessing. As such, Eviana has been kept home with her main social opportunities being only the ever-constant search for a betrothed. For his part, master spy Quentin has loved Evian from afar. While he knows that he is unworthy of her hand, he also knows that these supposed suitors are even worse. So when he reveals some of their duplicitousness, Quentin and Eviana’s paths finally overlap. Soon they find themselves on a greater adventure than either could have imagined.

So, like I said, I knew this was a book in the middle of a series when I picked it up. But, being a romantic fantasy series, I quickly noticed that there had to be far more than three books out already. And that’s because you could spot the previous couples around every single corner! It became a sort of game, picking out the various couples that featured as main characters in the other books. And while this book wasn’t really my favorite in the end, some of these other characters did intrigue me. So, who knows? Maybe I’ll go back and check out their stories.

This is definitely a more light-hearted fantasy story. There’s a lot of emphasis placed on characters with only the lightest touches on world-building and magic systems. More than anything, the Embraced reminded me of those with Graces in “Graceling.” The same random gifts bestowed on seemingly random people, some of them being immensely popular and some ridiculous to the point of uselessness. In this world, however, and with the known factor of the Embraced, the story lost me almost immediately with Eviana and her gift. I won’t spoil what it is, though it does come out pretty early on. But I will say that it’s of the sort that could in no way be the most powerful or most dangerous gift that has ever come about. It is definitely powerful, but its advantages seem to pretty clearly outweigh any supposed concerns there could be over it. All of this immediately makes the entire premise of the book a big question mark: that her parents have restricted her choices and life so drastically over this supposedly dangerous gift.

It may seem like I’m harping on a small bit of the book, but ultimately, this book lives and dies by its small moments. The plot itself is very straight forward and simple, which leaves a lot of room to think about these minor flaws. On top of the weirdness around her abilities, I struggled to really connect with either Eviana or Quentin. Everything felt too shallow and too low stakes. I never felt any true concern for either of them or any true investment in the various conflicts thrown their way. They’re perfectly fine characters, but that’s a “fine” in the most dull sense of the word: nothing offensive but nothing to inspire either.

The writing was fine in a similar sense. While the story flowed well enough, the style lacked any sense of flair and unique voice. Instead, it felt very standard and bland. Like the characters, I never felt myself feeling particularly invested in the outcome of the various plot points we move through the story. Honestly, I’m struggling to come up with much more to say about this book, so I’ll just leave it here. This author has quite a few books out, so there are definitely readers out there who will connect with this. And for those looking for a light-hearted romantic fantasy, maybe this will be for you. But for me there was just something crucial missing from the book.

Rating: Fine writing. Fine characters. Fine story. But with three “fine’s” comes a pretty poor reading experience, in my book.

Reader’s Advisory:

“When a Princess Proposes” can be found on these Goodreads lists: Humorous Paranormal Books.

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