Mini Reviews: Desire Me Now, The Choosing and Shadow Fires

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Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: Out now
Reviewer: Has

He charged out of the darkness to her rescue . . .

Amelia Grant has just escaped her lecherous employer with nothing but the clothes on her back. In the predawn hours of London, a horse and carriage come barreling down on her, and a stranger rushes to her aid, sweeping her off her feet . . .

There is something dark and dangerous about Nicholas Riley. With eyes gray like flint and hard as steel, he’s unusual … beautiful. The intensity behind his gaze makes her feel like the only person in the world. And then he whispers . . .

“I want your complete surrender.”

*Blurb taken from Goodreads*

Earlier this year I was recommended to watch out for a historical romance trilogy by a friend. It was set during the Victorian times and had the premise of a boss and secretary theme. This is one of my favourite tropes, especially in this setting, and I also loved the fact that the hero was not an aristocrat and was a self-made man. So when I saw the book was up on Edelweiss, I jumped at the chance to review it.

The romance starts straight off in the beginning of the book when the heroine, Amelia Grant, is rescued from the streets after escaping the lecherous advances of her previous employer who wanted more from her other than being a Governess to his children. Nicholas Riley is a rich business man with an intriguing past. With his first encounter with Amelia, he is soon fascinated by her and her past.

I love historicals that deviate from the usual aristocratic dukes and earls, and I really liked that Nicholas was a successful businessman despite his humble and murky beginnings. He was also very protective towards Amelia who has a brother determined to arrange an awful marriage for her. Even though Nicholas is serious with his pursuit to Amelia, he does give her time and space and it’s a slow tempting seduction with their romance who finally manages to breathe and feel free. Tiffany Clare really engages this premise really well which for me is a cracklicious trope.

However, I wished I had the sequels on hand because the ending was really abrupt and this felt like it’s the first half of a three part book and I felt very frustrated because I suspect the second book will have a similar ending. But overall this was a satisfying romance that was enjoyable!

I give Desire Me Now a B-

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The Choosing by Lucy Varna

Reviewer: Has
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: Out now

Ziri Mokuru has lived her entire life in the rural village of Arden Hollow on the planet Tersi. While her parents are off having adventures and being Very Important People, she’s struggled simply to find a place where she belongs. One night, she investigates a disturbance in her home and discovers an armor-clad man sorting through her belongings. Her first thought is for her parents’ safety, not to question why this man is in her home late at night without even the courtesy of knocking. After all, no one among the trusting Tersii breaks into someone else’s home without a good reason.

Ryn abid Alna has an excellent reason for sneaking into Ziri’s home. After years spent scraping together enough vud for the bride price, he’s finally ready to steal a wife. One look at Ziri’s sweet smile and Ryn decides no other woman will do. She can fix anything she touches, so why not the loneliness he’s lived with since he was enslaved as a young boy?

Though Ziri longs for love, she’s not so sure she’s ready to settle down with the man who kidnapped her, especially after he jumps her into a nest of Sweepers, a sinister alien race bent on mayhem and destruction. As the day draws near when she faces Ryn’s family on the Choosing field, Ziri ponders the hardest decision of her life: Fight for Ryn and the place he’s made for her in his heart or choose another man as a life mate and risk never knowing love.

*Blurb taken from Goodreads*

I was so glad that one late night while browsing on Kindle Unlimited, I came across this book. The Choosing surprisingly a really great SF romance with a sweet romance and engaging characters.

Ryn comes from a world where women are rare and he on a mission to find a woman to bride-nap. Now you would expect with this premise would have a half naked alphahole who goes all caveman when he sees his mate. In The Choosing there was a bit of a twist and I really liked how Lucy Varna tackled this premise, which was was full of humour and a beautiful, slow-build romance that was really sweet.

I loved Ryn’s character and he was a wonderful beta hero who knows that kidnapping his bride is a traumatic experience, so he ensures he gets all her possessions, and gives her space and time to adjust to the idea of being married to him. Ziri, who is obviously upset that he has taken her from her friends and family and travelling to a strange planet, soon warms up to him. I love how she starts to open up and start to have feelings for for him, although she plans to return back to her home world.

Yet it’s not all plain sailing with Ryn’s seduction as they end up being attacked by a lethal and violent alien race who is a growing threat in their galaxy. As well as battling marauding aliens, Ziri also has to fight for Ryn, and prove that she will be good wife for him. I thought that was an interesting twist to this trope because Ziri had her own agency to decide whether she wanted to marry Ryn, despite being kidnapped by him.

There were a few issues such as the world-building which I really liked and Varna added a lot of details that made the world and setting come alive, but I wanted more on the background on the aliens and more information about Ryn’s world. I also felt the pacing was a tad off in the middle, but this was a truly wonderful and sweet romance that these became minor niggles. I really enjoyed the romance and I am definitely going to check out the sequel.

I give The Choosing a B-

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Shadow Fires by Catherine Spangler

25537608Reviewer: Has
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: Out now

Jenna dan Aron, a Shielder, lives a solitary existence, shunned by her people because she has visions and can see the future. She’s even foreseen her own destiny: to be a human offering, a mate for a savage Leor warlord. When two Shielder colonies need to be rescued, the Leors who are their only hope demand a bride for their leader in return. Knowing she can’t deny fate, Jenna steps forward.

The Leors are a hybrid race and only part human. Arion of Saura finds mating outside his race abhorrent, but he has no choice, as his kind faces extinction. His life is ruled by hard logic and physical prowess, with no room for softness or emotion. Bound to him, Jenna faces a life of barbarism with a mate who seems more beast than man. In the relentless heat of the wild Sauran desert, Jenna and Arion wage a battle of wills, until they discover that the heart is mightier than any weapon—and that love can forge shadow and fire together.

*Blurb taken from Goodreads*

I read the Shielder series years ago and I was really glad that Spangler re-released the series recently in ebook format. I really enjoyed these books because it had great worldbuilding with entertaining romances, but my favourite book was Shadow Fires. Not only did it focus on a couple from two different cultures and worlds, but that Arion was a true alien with his appearance as well as his culture which is deemed harsh and unforgiving by the Shielders. I also liked the Shielders who are a psychic race, which makes this world vivid and colourful.

Jenna, who is a shielder, has the gift of foresight but it’s more like a curse. She has a vision that marrying Arion will be very important for the survival of the Shielders, as well as for his own race. While their relationship starts off cool but respectful, there are few bumps and misunderstandings during the evolution of their romance. Arion, who is really stoic and aloof, is perplexed by Jenna. I liked that despite their differences he caters to her comfort because they have differing biology; he is cold-blooded while she is human. These nuances really stood out for me and made the Leor race feel alien and I liked how Jenna accustomed herself to a different world and culture.

While I really loved the world-building, I did think the main conflict at the end didn’t work as well for me and the second time I reread the book highlighted that for me because the build-up with the bad guy was brief and his introduction was too convenient. But I found the world-building intriguing with an appealing romance. I hope Catherine Spangler will continue to write in this world, because she has created a rich tapestry.

I give Shadow Fires a C+

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