Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#270): Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

Seafire by Natalie C. Parker
Book One of the Seafire trilogy
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric's armed and armored fleet.

But when Caledonia's best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all...or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for? 

Good timing to have this scheduled to be a WoW feature - the cover was just revealed yesterday! The book already had me hooked based on the synopsis, but with a gorgeous cover like that, I'm 10000% sold. I can't wait to read it!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (4)

Happy Tuesday! Today I've decided to participate in Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today's topic is: 

Books I Could Re-read Forever

Here are ten of my favorite YA books I love to reread!

    Brightly Woven
The Dark Light  My Life Next Door

There is something comforting about rereading your favorite books, especially your favorite books that are so rereadable. 😍 I have a list a mile long, for both YA and adult, but these are just the first ten that come to mind. Aaaaand now I want to reread some of them for the millionth time!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Preorder Blitz and Giveaway: Make Me Want by Katee Robert

Happy Monday, bibliovores! Today I'm sharing preorder information for Make Me Want, Katee Robert's upcoming novel with Harlequin Dare. This is the first book of a new series, part of a new line of steamy romance novels published by Harlequin. Enjoy!

About the Book:

Make Me Want by Katee Robert
Book One of the Make Me series
Publisher: Harlequin Dare
Publication Date: March 1, 2018

Official Summary:

“I want everything.”

She’s taking control. And it’s driving him wild!

Lucy Baudin’s ex did a number on her self-esteem, but it’s time for her to regain control. In her job as a lawyer she’s bold, confident. But in the bedroom she needs inspiration to reawaken her inner seductress. Asking her friend Gideon Novak for help seems wrong…yet so deliciously right! 

About the Author:

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension." When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

The Excerpt:

“What the fuck, Lucy?”


“You know exactly what I’m talking about.” He pulled her dress up, though he didn’t need the confirmation. “You come in here with that cock tease of a dress and you aren’t wearing panties.” Jealousy and desire twisted viciously through him. “Were you going to give Aaron a little show?”

“Oh, please. Give me a little credit.” She lifted her chin. “I’m proving a point. You, Gideon Novak, don’t get to make my decisions for me. I appreciate your help, but that’s where it ends.”

She didn’t want him.

He was good enough to fuck but not good enough to listen to.

He kept a white-knuckled grip on his temper because having a knock-down, drag-out fight here and now wasn’t an option for either of them. Not to mention the fact that he didn’t have a right to be pissed. She’d laid out the terms that first day and if he chose to ignore them, that was on him—not on Lucy.

It didn’t make how shitty this situation was any easier to swallow.

Gideon stepped back. “The table. Bend over it.”

Her eyebrows inched up. “You can’t be serious.”

“As a fucking heart attack. I told you what would happen if you showed up like that, and you were all too eager to pick up that gauntlet. Choices have consequences, Lucy. This is one of them.”

She backed toward the table. One step. Two. “The consequences being that you’ll spank my ass red and then fuck me right here.”

She wants it.

It didn’t soothe his temper. If anything, it ratcheted it up a notch. She might want it but she didn’t want him. “The table.”

Lucy turned and, prim as a princess, bent over the table. She seemed to consider and then lowered her chest further until the top half of her body was flush against the polished wood. The position left her ass in the air and had her skirt riding up so he could see how turned on she was by this.

“Which part is getting you?” He stood between her and the door and pushed her dress the last few inches to bare her completely. “The spanking, the defiance, or the fact that we’re in an unlocked room where anyone could walk in—including your fucking date?”

She tilted her ass up, just a little, an offer that made his mouth water. But it was her words that sealed her fate. “All of the above.”

Copyright © 2018 Katee Robert

The Giveaway:

Enter to win one of five (5) ebook copies of Make Me Want

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Review: Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre
Book One of the Honors series
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by publicist

Summary (from Goodreads):

Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.

What I Liked:

I was expecting to love this book, because it's science fiction, and I adore Rachel Caine's books, and I adore Ann Aguirre's books, and this book sounded really great in general. How awesome is it that these two powerhouse authors collaborated to create this story! Honor Among Thieves was thrilling, shocking, and nail-biting, and I am hooked and ready for more.

This book starts with Zara Cole stealing a rich woman's purse, and some unintended consequences follow. She is hiding from the rich man who is the father of the woman from whom she stole, when she (Zara) is notified that she has been selected to be an Honor. An Honor is a person selected to board a sentient alien ship to explore the universe while working with the ship to help the ship learn more about humans. At first, Zara refuses, but what choice does she have? Becoming an Honor seems safer than waiting for Deluca to hunt her down. But she quickly finds out that being an Honor is infinitely more dangerous than it's made out to be. There is something sinister out in the universe, and Zara may find out about it the hard way.

It took me some to get into this story - maybe the first hundred pages or so. But when Zara is ready to go on the Tour with the alien ship and another Honor (Bea), then I started to get more interested. The first couple of chapters are very necessary to the story, to get a peek into Zara's background and also her desperation to follow the safer path. Once Zara and Bea get started on the tour with the alien ship (Nadim), things start to pick up.

This story relies a lot on secrets and hidden information that Zara is determined to find. The alien ships - called Leviathans - are very secretive and as much as Nadim wants to reveal information to Zara, he can't - not without punishment from the Elder Leviathan. So there is a lot that a reader won't know, because Zara won't know, up until the last few chapters. I was reading intently, trying my best not to peek at the ending (I didn't!), but I really wanted to know some of those secrets! The authors set up the reveals well and I didn't feel clueless or lost throughout the story (in terms of the "missing" information that we as readers and Zara are not privy to, until the end).

Zara is such a bada** chick! She is tough as nails and made of iron, from the start. She has had a difficult upbringing and my heart broke for her, over and over. I love how deep her characterization runs (as heartbreaking as her backstory is). In science fiction, you don't always see heroines or heroes with so much depth. Zara has had emotional trauma in her past and it has stuck with her throughout her life. But it has made her stronger; she is so fierce and fearless!

Bea is a secondary character but just as important to the story. Think of her as a copilot - she is the second Honor chosen to be aboard Nadim. Bea is unsure and a little timid at the start, but she really grows into her own fierceness and strength as the story goes on. She becomes a great friend to Zara (and vice versa).

Nadim is the alien ship - yup, he's a ship. But he is made of "flesh and blood", like a human, except he is an alien creature that is a ship. He is sentient and what is cool is that Zara can feel him, like an emotional connection, and that is new to him. Nadim is really cool.

This book is a bit of a long one, and it's told in parts. The conflict builds slowly, but the pacing of the story is never too slow. I struggled just a little bit in the beginning, but things really pick up in space, and it wasn't too long before I couldn't turn pages fast enough. The world-building is really cool! I would never have thought about this type of concept (alien ships, Honors, sending humans on Tours and Journeys in the alien ships). Caine and Aguirre have created an intriguing (and sometimes terrifying) world in outer space!

There is technically no romance, though others have mentioned Zara and Nadim as being a romance. They share a very deep emotional connection, which was fascinating to read about. It's pretty cool! It's emotional and not sexual in nature. They are a good match as pilot/ship and work really well together - and their bond is undeniable.

The ending of this book isn't super cliffhanger-y, and I suppose it could end like a standalone would, but I'm glad there will be more books to come (or at least one more, right?). There is a lot out there in space that Zara, Bea, and Nadim haven't encountered, so I'm sure they will be encountering such in the next book(s). I'm ready!

What I Did Not Like:

The only thing worth mentioning on my part is how I had a little bit of a hard time with the beginning of the story - maybe the first hundred pages or so. It was a little slow for me, even if the actual events weren't. If that makes sense? I didn't really get invested until Zara begins her Honor training. But that's okay because the rest of the book really makes up for the slowness of the beginning!

Would I Recommend It:

Any YA science fiction fans out there? You might really enjoy this book. The comparison of "for fans of Illuminae" is a good one. Anyone who likes that series would enjoy this book. And with such a talented duo behind Honor Among Thieves, it's no surprise that this book could be compared to Illuminae (also written by an incredible duo). Even if you're not into YA science fiction, this might be a thrilling ride for you! It's science-y but not too specifically science-y, which is good for non-science-y readers.


4 stars. I really enjoyed this book! I've been in a bit of a reading slump over the last couple of months, but this book was the action-packed story that I needed. I can't wait for more!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Stacking the Shelves (#270)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, February 18th to Saturday, February 24th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

In the mail:

Nothing this week! 

From NetGalley:

I had no idea this book was on NetGalley! Until I saw everyone with it this past week, and I was like ME TOO! Thank you, Flatiron!

Reviews from this week:

(Click on the cover to go to my reviews!)

Favorite Instagram post from this week:

A post shared by Alyssa (@theeaterofbooks) on

This week was a short week (with the holiday on Monday) but it felt like a long one, at work! On Monday I went shopping with a friend and bought new clothes, which I'm so excited about because I got some cute stuff and I needed the retail therapy. :D It's the little things!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Book One of the Mara Dyer series
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Purchased copy

Summary (from Goodreads):

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

What I Liked:

I decided to reread this book this year, and finish the rest of the trilogy, so I can comfortably read The Becoming of Noah Shaw and The Reckoning of Noah Shaw. The two series are companion series (ish), but I never finished this original series and I always wanted to do so. I adored The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, even after all these years.

This is the story of Mara Dyer, whose name isn't actually Mara Dyer, but that's the name she is legally allowed to share. Her friends were in a horrible accident, and Mara has been suffering PTSD as a result. She and her family move so that Mara can have a fresh start. Mara has no idea how she survived the accident that killed her friends; she also has no idea how to explain the strange things that she has been seeing - and experiencing. Is it the PTSD? Or is it something more? And why does it seem like the boy with the panty-dropping smile has something to do with everything? This psychological thriller is twisted and intriguing, and will keep you guessing until the last page and anxious for the next installment.

The first time I read this book was in 2011 or 2012, not long after the book published. Honestly? I didn't really understand the story, and I wasn't sure if I even liked the book. I was so confused about so many things, and I wasn't sure what to think of some of the characters. Still, I blown away by the concept and the execution, and the originality. I'd never read anything like this.

I liked Mara from the start, which surprised me because usually I feel disdain towards unreliable narrators. I liked Mara's spunk and honesty - she has a spitfire type of sarcasm that I really liked. Maybe I just like sarcastic heroines. Mara puts on a strong front but she is vulnerable too, and she doesn't like others seeing that vulnerability.

Enter Noah Shaw, the bad boy of the high school, the guy who seemingly sleeps with everyone, the cultured British boy with an accent and smoking hot good looks and an arrogance to match. This type of hero is sometimes hard to like, but I actually liked Noah. Even after having only read one book (of the three), I was confident that Noah was fairly misunderstood and maybe not as bad as everyone thinks. Still, he comes across as a f**kboy. You love 'em, you hate 'em.

There was an interesting set of secondary characters, most of which I felt ehh about but could still appreciate their presence. Daniel, Mara's older brother, seemed way too perfect but was incredibly supportive of Mara, especially with her struggle with PTSD, and her budding trust of Noah. Jamie, Mara's new best friend, is a gay black guy with a lot going on, past and present. He's cool but maybe a little one-dimensional. Joseph, Mara's younger brother, is a sweetheart. He is much younger and he has an innocence to him that I really liked.

The story is bizarre! Is Mara suffering from extreme PTSD? Is there something sinister going on? Something else? Is this a paranormal psychological thriller? There were a lot of unanswered questions by the end of the book. This could be a complaint, but I think this actually sets up the series well, and leads perfectly into book two. I'm not overly annoyed about being left with so many unanswered questions because I have a feeling the author will reveal more information as the story goes on.

But there is some strange things going on, including murder... or was it coincidence? You'll have to find out! Or I will, as I continue to read the series.

There is of course a romance, between Noah and Mara. It is a seriously fiery romance even though there is literally one (technically two?) kisses in the book. Noah and Mara have amazing chemistry from the start - lots of sparks and a ton of witty banter. I liked the dialogue between the two, and I loved how they set each other off.

This book is extremely well-written, debut or not. Michelle Hodkin clearly knows how to build a story, and write it. I am sure her writing will get even better as she writes more books. I'm excited for more, from this series and new stories too.

Overall, I liked this book, especially after reading it several times. Initially I wasn't totally sold, but the more times I read the book, the more I understood and the better it got. I am looking forward to reading the second book!

What I Did Not Like:

I mentioned that I had a lot of unanswered questions and confusion after reading the book, even several times. While I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, it's something that will definitely frustrate readers. But hang in there for the next books (I'm assuming)!

Would I Recommend It:

If psychological thrillers are your thing, then I highly recommend this debut novel. It is strange and almost sinister at times, and worth the hype. I'm sure opinions are varied in the extremes, but I found this story to be extremely intriguing, even when I didn't quite fully understand it (I still don't, to be honest). It's a debut novel worth trying, at least!


4 stars. I read this book about six years ago and it stunned me then - it still stuns me now. I really liked this book and I am kicking myself for not continuing the series. I think I was waiting for the series to be complete, since I knew book three would take more time to publish (and it really did). But I'm sure the wait was worth it, and I'm finally ready to continue.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Swoon Thursday (#265): The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting

This week, my swoon is from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin!

"What would you do if I kissed you right now?"

I stared at his beautiful face and his beautiful mouth and I wanted nothing more than to taste it.

"I would kiss you back."

Noah parted my legs with his knees and my lips with his tongue and I was in his mouth and oh. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. I felt myself unfold, turned inside out by his insistent mouth. When Noah pulled back I gasped at the loss, but he slid his hand beneath my back and lifted me, and we were sitting and his head was dipping and our mouths were colliding and I pushed him down and lingered above, hovered before I crashed into him.

- Hardcover, page 377

I'm rereading this book, and finishing the series! I loved this book (even though it was so confusing). I need to read the next two books and hopefully the pieces will come together. And then I'll start the new companion series!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (#269): Mirage by Somaiya Daud

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm featuring:

Mirage by Somaiya Daud
Book Three of the Mirage series
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.

Doesn't this sound amazing? Science fiction for the win! It's a new one to me and I am really looking forward to reading it, hopefully sooner rather than later. =)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday (3)

Happy Tuesday! Today I've decided to participate in Top Ten Tuesday, formerly hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish, now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today's topic is: 

Books I’ve Decided I’m No Longer Interested In Reading

Here are ten YA books I'm 99% sure I'll never read!

King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)Of Neptune (The Syrena Legacy, #3)Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)
The Archived (The Archived, #1)  The Ship Beyond Time (The Girl From Everywhere, #2)Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King, #2)
The True Queen (The Impostor Queen, #3)So Close to You (So Close to You, #1)
Like a River Glorious (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #2)

Bonus! Here are a few more:

Witch's Pyre (Worldwalker, #3)Infinite Risk (Immortal Game, #3)
Sea Spell (Waterfire Saga, #4)Obsidian and Stars (Ivory and Bone, #2)

Don't you love how most of these are conclusion novels? I am terrible at finishing series. But usually what happens is I see reviews of the conclusion novel and I decide not to bother because 75% of the time, the conclusion to a YA series is really bad. So it's not all my fault!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Review: Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

Shy aspiring artist Imogene Chively has just had a successful Season in London, complete with a suitor of her father's approval. Imogene is ambivalent about the young gentleman until he comes to visit her at the Chively estate with his younger brother in tow. When her interest is piqued, however, it is for the wrong brother. 

Charming Ben Steeple has a secret: despite being an architectural apprentice, he has no drawing aptitude. When Imogene offers to teach him, Ben is soon smitten by the young lady he considers his brother's intended. 

But hiding their true feelings becomes the least of their problems when, after a series of "accidents," it becomes apparent that someone means Ben harm. And as their affection for each other grows—despite their efforts to remain just friends—so does the danger. . .

What I Liked:

It's no secret that I love Cindy Anstey's books! YA historical romance - how delightful! I am a huge adult historical romance junkie, and these YA HR novels are giving me LIFE. Suitors and Sabotage is Anstey's third YA HR standalone (all three books are unrelated, completely standalone novels and not companion novels), and it's safe to say that her books are all fun and swoony to read. I'm very excited about this new one being printed in hardcover! Anstey deserves this and more!

This story starts with Imogene's suitor Ernest Steeple arriving a day earlier than expected, with his younger brother Benjamin Steeple. Imogene is expected to accept Ernest's offer whenever the young man proposes, as he is her only suitor. She and Ernest barely know each other, hence why Ernest has arrived to visit. As Imogene gets to know Ernest, she realizes that she can't see herself sharing a life with the man. Instead, she sees Ben, the architecture apprentice, the charming, teasing young man who puts everyone at ease and makes all the ladies laugh. But someone is trying to sabotage Ben, and for what reason, Imogene and Ben can't understand. It's only a matter of time before something truly dangerous occurs... not unlike falling in love!

I was actually a little nervous about this one because I figured there would be a love triangle of some sort. But there really wasn't! Ernest is doing his duty in trying to find a wife, and the more Imogene gets to know him, the more she realizes that she would grow to like him... as a friend. There was never any competition or real "love triangle", because not once did Imogene develop feelings for Ernest, and Ernest, well, he wanted a wife but I'm not certain he specifically wanted Imogene. 

This type of romance is always tricky, involving two brothers and a woman. But I thought Anstey navigated it perfectly. I like forbidden romance but hate it when it involves two brothers. But this romance seemed to work; Imogene was never "unfaithful" to her suitor, but her feelings for Ben grew nonetheless. And Ben never betrayed his brother, but his own feelings grew.

As is Anstey's style, the romance was sweet, adorable, swoony, and very subtle. There weren't passionate kisses or steamy chemistry, but there was plenty of rising interest and subtle tension. Ben and Imogene clicked, and they began a solid friendship, which turned into more.

Ben is an upstanding gentleman, and Imogene is a kind and shy lady. Their personalities worked well together, especially with Ben being so lively and fun, and Imogene being a quiet dreamer. Ben is studying to be an architect and Imogene wants to teach art - their passions are not always looked kindly upon, but they follow their dreams nonetheless.

The story was full of charm, subtle swoon, and a little bit of mounting drama! The drama being all of the "incidents" that keep occurring, of which Ben was in the middle. Someone is trying to sabotage Ben and he ends up getting hurt several times. But why?

Also worth noting is how Anstey's books are always subtly feminist and in a very positive but not-in-your-face way. I love that Imogene wants to follow her dreams of being an art teacher - and I love how Ben acts like this is the most normal thing in the world (remember the time period), and he can see his life with her and both of their careers. This was fantastic!

All in all, this novel was a delight to read. I had nothing to be worried about, and I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction romp. The ending is perfectly lovely and definitely a HEA, so no worries there either. I am continuously impressed by Anstey!

What I Did Not Like:

I so wanted a bit of a romance for a certain character (you can guess who), but I suppose I can create one in my head. Not a huge complaint, but it would have been nice!

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend this book and any of Anstey's novels, if you like historical fiction/historical romance. Adult HR fans will LOVE this YA HR novel. It isn't full of kisses and chemistry and passion BUT it is a fun and sweet romance novel set in the 1800s. These books are simply lovely to read, and I can't get enough!


4 stars. I cannot wait to read Carols and Chaos, Anstey's next YA HR novel! I'm excited that it will be publishing in September - a shorter turnaround than usual. Swoon Reads, please keep publishing Anstey's books! And keep up the good work with these A+++ covers.

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Review: Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks

Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon by Kerrelyn Sparks
Book Three of The Embraced series
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

From the brilliant imagination of Kerrelyn Sparks comes a bold new fantasy romance series in which passion and magic collide. Behold the Embraced…

Gwennore has a talent. An Elf able to track down the cause of an illness and heal it, she’s a valuable asset to her people. But when the kidnapping of a young girl thrusts Gwennore into the very heart of the realm of the dragons, she discovers not only a place of power and magic, but also a haunted land, plagued by an ancient curse that all but ensures extinction to the royal family. But when she meets the smoldering General Silas Dravenko, they strike a bargain—save the country from its cursed illness, and he will return the kidnapped girl. She’s been raised never to trust a dragon, but never did making a deal with the devil feel so good…

Silas has no way of curing the family he’s loyally served for years. But when a beautiful elf, long considered the enemy of the dragons, comes bursting into his world, Silas is awakened to passion and desire in a way he’s never felt before. But can he trust a sworn enemy to save the very existence he holds dear? And can their love survive those that threaten to tear them apart? 

What I Liked:

This is one of those cases in which I'm like, I enjoyed this book buuuuuuuut... I also didn't really care for it. It was an okay read and not terrible but definitely not a new favorite or anything like that. I'm sure others will find this a great addition to the series. But I had a hard time really caring about the female protagonist, Gwenmore, and that can kill enjoyment pretty quickly.

But I didn't totally dislike her. Gwenmore is one of the five adopted sisters raised in a convent on a lonely island, and she is the third to leave and face her destiny. One afternoon when she is playing with her little niece, she is captured by a dragon - only to be rescued by another dragon. The dragon takes her to the royal family of Norveshka, where she is taken in by Silas Dravenko, general of the royal army. When he realizes that she is a healer, he asks for her help in getting rid of a curse that has stricken his country for generations. Gwenmore never intended to stay in Norveshka, but how can she leave when she has fallen in love with the charming, smoldering general?

Overall I thought Gwenmore was an okay protagonist, though she really got on my nerves at times (see below). I liked that she began to trust in herself as the story went on - and she began to trust Silas (something she doesn't do easily). It was good to see her grow into her gift and herself. She is an innocent girl, with a great deal of power.

I loooooooooved Silas. He is flirtatious and roguish, with a very strong sense of honor and selflessness. He never hesitates to save Gwenmore or anyone else, and always puts everyone else first. He may seem confident and full of swagger, but deep inside, he is lonely. I loved his charming self, but I also loved his more vulnerable self. He is persistent but respectful of boundaries. Silas is a good guy, and for the life of me, I wanted to strangle Gwenmore for being so poor to him sometimes.

I love all things dragons, and there is a nice amount of dragons in this story. I was curious to see how the author would work them in, and I was very happy about how she did it. Like you expect it, but it's still nice to see how it is worked in. The kingdom of Norveshka has a long and heartbreaking history, very much centered around its dragons. All of which is revealed in this book!

I adore Silas's officers, the male secondary characters! Dimitri and Aleksi are hilarious - honestly, the brotherhood in this book is awesome. They have such a great camaraderie, something I always like to see among males in any type of novel. I hope all of them get their own happily ever after!

The conflict of this book centers mostly around getting rid of the curse that plagues Norveshka - something sinister has been at work for centuries. Gwenmore is an extraordinary healer (she has interesting elvish gifts!), and she is confident that she can find the source of the curse. But there is a familiar evil standing in the way. 

The other part of the story is the romance, which was sweet and frustrating. I'll talk about the "frustrating" part in the next section. But for the most part, it was a sweet and sometimes spicy romance. I think I wanted more from the romance, but I also appreciated the progression of the romance and the tension. Mostly sparked by Silas, which was part of my frustration.

Theoretically I liked this book, but I finished it feeling rather dissatisfied, like something was missing. Or maybe I just wasn't that into it, like I was the other books. This wasn't a bad book, and I'm sure others will love it.

What I Did Not Like:

I got so fed up with Gwenmore around halfway through the book. You know the phrase "the lady doth protest too much"? Yeah. Gwenmore was seriously annoying. She rejected Silas over and over, despite the fact that internally she was telling herself to go for it, and physically she really wanted to in addition to mentally/emotionally, but she kept shutting doors in his face (literally) or running away (literally). This was not cute. This was not part of a merry chase. This was absolutely annoying, and also heartbreaking to see (on Silas's end).

You know what would have redeemed this crap? Silas, walking away from Gwenmore (rather than being the persistent guy that he is). And Gwenmore having to chase after him. That would have made her realize that a good man wanted her and he had no bad intentions when it came to her - and she was in the wrong by turning him down (knowing that she wanted to be with him, physically and emotionally). Gwenmore is kind of an idiot? I really wanted the ending of the book to have Silas leaving her after she rejects him one more time, and Gwenmore realizing that she's a complete dumba** and runs to him.

Does this happen? No. Of course not. Because Silas keeps trying to win her over - which is cool of him, but seriously? I don't love this. It's romantic but also kind of icky - men shouldn't be putting in all of the effort. The woman should be too (in this case we're dealing with a male/female couple), and Gwenmore didn't do any of this. She didn't fight for the relationship, she put no effort into it. Instead, it was all "omg Gwenmore is hot, I want her so much, I want to kiss her, I'm not going to stop trying to get her to admit she wants me, even though she keeps rejecting me", and then Gwenmore keeps rejecting him, until finally her hormones take over her common sense. Seriously? This is stupid. Gwenmore needed to put in some actual effort into the chemistry, and eventually the relationship. The chase wasn't fun because Gwenmore was so annoying with her constant rejections. She saw each one hurt his feelings and THAT made her sad, but she never did anything about it.

Authors. Do better. Let the girl chase. Get rid of this notion that a man should be the one doing all of the chasing. I like it sometimes, it works with some books, but really, let's not keep this up all the time. (I'm referring to M/F couples specifically, as is the case with this book.)

Would I Recommend It:

I recommend the series in general - the first two books are excellent. This one was okay for me but not super great, but I suppose I'd still recommend it to those who have read the previous books in the series. If you've read none of the series, definitely do not start with this one. Start with book one and go in order, even though they are standalone companion novels. The series will make more sense that way, and also I personally think this third book is the weakest of the three. But in general, this fantasy romance series is really good. The romances are sweet and passionate, the men are sweet, charming alphas, and the women are strong, innocent women. I like these match-ups!


3 stars. I wish I'd liked this one more, especially since we're dealing with a dragon (mmm, fiery), and an elf (magical!). I was frustrated with Gwenmore and the romance. But I adored so many of the other characters, and the story in general was pretty good. I'm definitely going to be reading book four (and book five). I hope we'll see cameos of Silas and Gwenmore, as we saw a lot of Leo and Luciana (and heard about Rupert and Brigitta) in this book!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!