Book Review: Electric Idol

cover-electric idolTitle: Electric Idol [Dark Olympus 2]

Author: Katee Robert

Genre: Fantasy, Urban, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

He was the most beautiful man alive.

And if I wasn’t careful, he was going to be my death.

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Psyche and Eros that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there’s always a price to pay. Psyche knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s ire eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.

Eros has no problem shedding blood. But when it comes time to take out his latest target, he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he marries her. Psyche vows to make Eros’s life a living hell until they find a way out of this mess. But as lines blur and loyalties shift, she realizes he might take her heart after all…and she’s not sure she can survive the loss.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I was so thrilled to get a chance to pick up this book before its release – I’d read the previous book in the series, Neon Gods, and loved it, so I had high hopes for this one. I wasn’t disappointed. The author did a fantastic job of putting a dark, urban edge to a familiar myth. The story was full of political machinations, danger, and sultry romance.

The characters in this book really shone – I loved the clever Psyche and dangerous Eros, they made the perfect pair in an unexpectedly heartwarming way. It was nice to see a plus-sized character that didn’t carry a depressed “woe-is-me” attitude as her sole personality trait. Psyche was caring, but also deceptively intelligent in a way that surprised most of the other characters – including Eros. I do wish Eros hadn’t taken as much of a backseat to Psyche, though. He was described as cold and deadly, but most of the book was spent in his headspace where he constantly thought about his love for Psyche. That isn’t a bad thing, but I feel like we didn’t get to see enough of his dark and dangerous side to get a real feel for who he was before he fell in love with Psyche.

The book itself was incredibly well-written. The story flowed effortlessly and was easy to sink into. I was reading an ARC copy, so I did run into quite a few typographical errors, but I’m sure those will be ironed out by release. This is perhaps the best series I’ve tackled in the past year as a reader, and if you liked the first book, but found it perhaps a little too risque, this might be the perfect read for you. It’s sexy without pushing the envelope too far, and I think a lot of readers will find it a little easier to enjoy. Overall, I’d highly recommend this one. The world-building and political intrigue were stunning, and the romance was on-point. I can’t wait to read the next one.

Free Fiction Friday #271

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: RANDOM!

THE FREE

fff1fff2fff3fff4fff5fff6fff7fff8fff9fff10

THE BARGAINS

bar1bar2bar3bar4bar5

Book Review: Barbarian’s Choice

cover-barbarian's choiceTitle: Barbarian’s Choice [Ice Planet Barbarians 12]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

I might be the only unmated female in my tribe, but it doesn’t mean I’ve given my heart. I’m waiting. I want resonance, and I won’t settle for anything less.

But when an alien ship lands and a handsome stranger steps out, I know he’s the one. His name’s Mardok and he’s fascinatingly different – and distractingly appealing. But Mardok can’t stay on the ice planet, and he says he can take me with him.

Now, I must make a choice. Do I stay and lose my mate forever? Or do I follow him to the stars and leave behind everything I know?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This may be one of my favorite books out of this series thus far – I didn’t even mind the alien sex this time around. Like the majority of books in this series, the story was well-written technically speaking. There weren’t any noticeable typos or glaring mistakes. The writing was fast-paced and flowed well. I was sucked into the story, and despite the sometimes crassness of the erotic nature of these books, it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story. The author does a spectacular job of not only furthering the world-building in little increments as the series goes on, but manages to change little things with each couple’s romance and sexual preferences that make it so each story is something new, even if familiar.

Farli and Mardok were something new to the series – this is the first time the author delved into the advanced alien cultures outside of the main planet of Not-Hoth and brought some of the Sa-Khui decedents back into the mix. It was fascinating to see the differences between the two cultures, separated by location, and how that informed who they are as a people based on their environment and circumstances. It was also refreshing to meet some more cynical characters that aren’t “stranded” on the inhospitable planet.

Overall, I enjoyed this story, much more than I expected to after the last one, and I’m interested to see more of Farli and Mardok as things evolve.

Book Review: Barbarian’s Hope

cover-barbarian's hopeTitle: Barbarian’s Hope [Ice Planet Barbarians 11]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Seasons ago, I resonated to the quietest of tribesmates, a male content to love me from afar while I was the center of attention. We could have been happy. Despite our differences, I loved him and he loved me.

But then a terrible thing happened…and my world was never the same again.

Now resonance is giving us a second chance, but…I’m afraid. What if what I have with my mate is too broken to be fixed? What if there’s no hope left for us at all?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

It’s hard for me to give a rating to this book – here’s the thing: if you’ve read the series up until this point, I wouldn’t skip this book, because it delves into the Metlak worldbuilding a little more, and we finally get to see some resolution to Asha and Hemalo’s relationship – and boy was that needed. But this book doesn’t work as a standalone. It’s short, it’s fast-paced, there’s a little bit of alien sex (which is just.. I dunno, odd to me when there are no humans involved, but that’s not a topic we’ll delve into), and then a whole lot of dealing with the death of a child. It’s a very triggering subject for some, and it isn’t an enjoyable topic. It’s an important one though. This isn’t the sort of story I think most people will enjoy, but I think it’s one that needed to be told, especially in context to the series as a whole.

The story was well-written in some ways, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say I enjoyed reading it. If the topic of the loss of a child bothers you, take this as a trigger warning, and skip to the following TLDR to save your sanity:

SPOILERS BELOW

Asha and Hemalo repair their relationship, treat some Metlaks with some kindness, and successfully have a second child. Asha also gains a best friend in Claire, Claire and Bek’s relationship as friends becomes less strained, and they celebrate some holidays.

Free Fiction Friday #270

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: Young Adult Romance!

THE FREE

fff1fff2fff3fff4fff5fff6fff7fff8fff9fff10

THE BARGAINS

bar1bar2bar3bar4bar5

Book Review: Barbarian’s Heart

cover-barbarian's heartTitle: Barbarian’s Heart [Ice Planet Barbarians 10]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

I’ve never spent a day without my mate since arriving on the ice planet. I’m happy and in love, and we have a beautiful child together. All that changed when the world shook.

My mate nearly died.

He wakes up from his coma…and he can’t remember me. Or our son. Every memory of the past two years is gone. And that changes everything between us. How can I love someone that doesn’t remember me?

How can I not, when I know he’s still my mate underneath it all?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

One thing I really appreciate about the books in this series is that no two are alike. It would be so easy for the author to repeat the same story over and over, especially since the world-building is so limited, but the author does a fantastic job of making each romance and the challenges the couples face, different.

This was a slower, less action-packed story than many of the others in the series, but it remained unique. And though, perhaps, it wasn’t as fast-paced or thrilling as some, it was heartwarming and full of emotional drama.

The book was well-written, and the characters had a lot of tension between them that kept the story moving. Although it may not have been my absolute favorite, it was still a good story.

Book Review: Echoes and Empires

cover-echoes and empiresTitle: Echoes and Empires [Echoes and Empires 1]

Author: Morgan Rhodes

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

Rating: 3 Stars

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Josslyn Drake knows only three things about magic: it’s rare, illegal, and always deadly. So when she’s caught up in a robbery gone wrong at the Queen’s Gala and infected by a dangerous piece of magic—one that allows her to step into the memories of an infamously evil warlock—she finds herself living her worst nightmare. Joss needs the magic removed before it corrupts her soul and kills her. But in Ironport, the cost of doing magic is death, and seeking help might mean scheduling her own execution. There’s nobody she can trust.

Nobody, that is, except wanted criminal Jericho Nox, who offers her a deal: his help extracting the magic in exchange for the magic itself. And though she’s not thrilled to be working with a thief, especially one as infuriating (and infuriatingly handsome) as Jericho, Joss is desperate enough to accept.

But Jericho is nothing like Joss expects. The closer she grows with Jericho and the more she sees of the world outside her pampered life in the city, the more Joss begins to question the beliefs she’s always taken for granted—beliefs about right and wrong, about power and magic, and even about herself.

In an empire built on lies, the truth may be her greatest weapon.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I have mixed feelings about this book. Let’s start with a caveat: I read an advanced reader’s copy of this book, and there were half a dozen errors – nothing too terrible, and likely cleaned up for the final copy, so we’ll disregard those. Overall, the writing was clean and easy to read, but the pacing was a bit slow in the first half of the book. The romance didn’t kick in until late in the story, and its appearance was abrupt. The romance subplot felt more like an afterthought, which was unfortunate.

The overall plot of the story was interesting, probably the best part of the book, honestly. Unfortunately, the worldbuilding was a bit unclear. There was a strange mix of modern technology, magic, and monarchy that made it hard to pinpoint the era of the story, but it had a very 1920’s feel at times with all the glitz and glamour, socialites, and nobility.

The most disappointing part of the story, however, was the characters. There was very little character growth for any of the characters that what little there was, didn’t appear until the very end of the book. Joss was insufferable as a main character. She was an entitled, bigoted socialite with few friends and too much snobbery. I greatly disliked her, and she made it hard to like the story. I very nearly DNF’d the book just because of her.

Luckily, the book did get better as time wore on, and though I’d guessed most of the major plot points before they happened, there were a few surprises to keep me going.

In the end, the book was okay. Without Joss, it probably would have been better. I will warn readers: the ending is abrupt and felt very unfinished. If cliffhangers bother you, you are going to be upset. If you like magical realism, fantasy, and socialites, you might like this book. Emphasis on the socialites.

Upcoming Reviews: January 2022

Hello! New Month, New Year, new list of books! Here are the upcoming reviews for this month. (January of 2022).

echoesandempiresEchoes and Empires // Morgan Rhodes

Review Date: 01/03/2022

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Josslyn Drake knows only three things about magic: it’s rare, illegal, and always deadly. So when she’s caught up in a robbery gone wrong at the Queen’s Gala and infected by a dangerous piece of magic—one that allows her to step into the memories of an infamously evil warlock—she finds herself living her worst nightmare. Joss needs the magic removed before it corrupts her soul and kills her. But in Ironport, the cost of doing magic is death, and seeking help might mean scheduling her own execution. There’s nobody she can trust.

Nobody, that is, except wanted criminal Jericho Nox, who offers her a deal: his help extracting the magic in exchange for the magic itself. And though she’s not thrilled to be working with a thief, especially one as infuriating (and infuriatingly handsome) as Jericho, Joss is desperate enough to accept.

But Jericho is nothing like Joss expects. The closer she grows with Jericho and the more she sees of the world outside her pampered life in the city, the more Joss begins to question the beliefs she’s always taken for granted—beliefs about right and wrong, about power and magic, and even about herself.

In an empire built on lies, the truth may be her greatest weapon.

barbariansheartBarbarian’s Heart // Ruby Dixon

Review Date: 01/05/2022

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

I’ve never spent a day without my mate since arriving on the ice planet. I’m happy and in love, and we have a beautiful child together. All that changed when the world shook.

My mate nearly died.

He wakes up from his coma…and he can’t remember me. Or our son. Every memory of the past two years is gone. And that changes everything between us. How can I love someone that doesn’t remember me?

How can I not, when I know he’s still my mate underneath it all?

barbarianshopeBarbarian’s Hope // Ruby Dixon

Review Date: 01/10/2022

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Seasons ago, I resonated to the quietest of tribesmates, a male content to love me from afar while I was the center of attention. We could have been happy. Despite our differences, I loved him and he loved me.

But then a terrible thing happened…and my world was never the same again.

Now resonance is giving us a second chance, but…I’m afraid. What if what I have with my mate is too broken to be fixed? What if there’s no hope left for us at all?

barbarianschoiceBarbarian’s Choice // Ruby Dixon

Review Date: 01/12/2022

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

I might be the only unmated female in my tribe, but it doesn’t mean I’ve given my heart. I’m waiting. I want resonance, and I won’t settle for anything less.

But when an alien ship lands and a handsome stranger steps out, I know he’s the one. His name’s Mardok and he’s fascinatingly different – and distractingly appealing. But Mardok can’t stay on the ice planet, and he says he can take me with him.

Now, I must make a choice. Do I stay and lose my mate forever? Or do I follow him to the stars and leave behind everything I know?

electricidolElectric Idol // Katee Robert

Review Date: 01/17/2022

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Greek Mythology Retelling

In the ultra-modern city of Olympus, there’s always a price to pay. Psyche knew she’d have to face Aphrodite’s ire eventually, but she never expected her literal heart to be at stake…or for Aphrodite’s gorgeous son to be the one ordered to strike the killing blow.

Eros has no problem shedding blood. But when it comes time to take out his latest target, he can’t do it. Confused by his reaction to Psyche, he does the only thing he can think of to keep her safe: he marries her. Psyche vows to make Eros’s life a living hell until they find a way out of this mess. But as lines blur and loyalties shift, she realizes he might take her heart after all…and she’s not sure she can survive the loss.

barbariansredemptionBarbarian’s Redemption // Ruby Dixon

Review Date: 01/19/2022

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

For seasons, I have waited for her – my perfect mate.

In a tribe full of happy couples, I am alone. But I am not content to remain this way. There are no eligible unmated females left, so I will do whatever it takes to bring females back to our tribe…even if it means doing something wrong. Even if it means I must purchase my mate on the intergalactic black market. I will do anything to possess her, to claim her as my own.

But will my ruthless move turn my female against me before we ever meet? Can she ever forgive a male that bought her freedom?

blackoutBlackout // K. Monroe

Review Date: 01/24/2022

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

When Allie Castillo wakes up after a terrible car accident, with head injuries and zero recollection of who she is or what happened, one thing haunts the edges of her mind: the crash may not have been an accident.

Her body still bruised, she returns to a life she doesn’t recall, to a house that’s unfamiliar, and to a family that doesn’t feel like her own. School is another minefield—her boyfriend wants his girl back, her best friend wants to carry on their old partying ways, and the mysterious guy at the back of the classroom wants nothing more than to unlock the door to her forgotten memories.

As Allie learns about her notorious past, she grows to dislike who she was pre-accident. She’s determined to change, determined not to repeat the same mistakes. But when her life is put in jeopardy once more, Allie realizes that her only chance at survival is to remember who she used to be—even if that means abandoning who she wants to become.

barbariansladyBarbarian’s Lady // Ruby Dixon

Review Date: 01/26/2022

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

You’d think a tall woman would fit in on a planet of seven-foot-tall aliens, but even on the ice planet, I’m still a weirdo and an oddity. I’m everything all the other cute, dainty human women aren’t.

One guy in particular – the alien Harrec – is determined to embarrass me by pretending he’s interested. He’s a jokester that flirts like mad and hits on me constantly just to make me feel foolish. He gets under my skin. He makes me so frustrated I want to scream.
When a side-trip to a glacier turns into a nightmare and the two of us are forced to survive alone, I see another side to the enticing blue alien. Even with no one else around, his compliments keep coming and I start wondering if the attraction between us… is real.

barbariansrescueBarbarian’s Rescue // Ruby Dixon

Review Date: 01/31/2022

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Bad day? Try mine on for size.

Rogue slavers have landed on the ice planet and captured the tribe. The only ones not snatched? Me, a walking human motormouth with no skill except that of incoherent babbling, and Warrek, who’s as silent as he is attractive. Two more unlikely people have never been paired together.

And now we’re supposed to form a rescue team.

Saving the others is either going to bring us closer together – or drive us completely apart. I’m pretty sure the feelings I’m having for my alien companion are as unrequited as they are inappropriate, but since we aren’t going to make it out alive, what harm is one teeny, tiny kiss?
Who knew that one kiss could change everything?

Free Fiction Friday #269

Hello, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday! For those of you who are new to this blog, or who may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre, and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: Science Fiction & Fantasy!

LAST POST OF THE YEAR!

You guys, I did it. I didn’t miss a single Free Fiction Friday or Review post for the entire year. That’s a little insane. For reference, that’s 104 Reviews, and 52 FFF posts. Plus, we added in a few extra posts to preview the reviews at the beginning of each month. How many years did it take me to get consistent? Well, let’s not talk about that. I hope everyone has a wonderful new year, and here’s to looking towards 2022!

THE FREE

fff1fff2fff3fff4fff5fff6fff7fff8fff9fff10

THE BARGAINS

bar1bar2bar3bar4bar5

Book Review: The Girl Who Knew Too Much

cover-the girl who knew too muchTitle: The Girl Who Knew Too Much

Author: Tiffany Brooks

Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Thriller

Rating: 5 Stars

amazon1GoodreadsButton

Description/Synopsis:

Survivor meets Lord of the Flies in this fast-paced adventure with fascinating characters and pulse-pounding tension. Twenty teens are dropped off on a deserted island to compete for a cash prize. But Riley is looking for a vast treasure rumored to be hidden on the island. Only it turns out others also want the cache of riches and will stop at nothing to find it.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. Don’t get me wrong, the premise was interesting to begin with – a reality show of teens and a treasure hunt? It was a fun concept, and it’s definitely what interested me in the book in the first place, but what kept me reading was the characters and the mystery of the lost Incan gold. The book was filled with your usual teenage drama, without letting it get too out of hand. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes tension, secrets being kept, and odd behavior that doesn’t get sorted out until the end of the book – and that kept me guessing what everyone’s true motives were and whether any of the characters were reliable.

The writing itself was fantastic. The narrative flowed effortlessly without any major noticeable errors and did a good job of building the atmosphere without getting too bogged down by prose. The characters were well characterized and didn’t come across as too annoying or whiney. This isn’t one of those books where you’re going to find a lot of over-dramatic teen angst and stupid decisions, even if there’s a fair amount of misunderstandings and drama going around.

Overall? I loved the book. It was a solid read, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an adventure to sink into.