Tuesday, July 31, 2018

So, I got sucked into a bit of a reverse harem vortex there at the end of June into the first half of July...erm, and further. I don't regret it, but I definitely should have stopped while I was ahead. It's a relatively new subgenre and there's just not a whole lot of good out there yet. And reading the YA versions made me feel a little squicky at times. Why did I keep reading them, then? Because with love triangles, you have to pick a side or a team, if you will, but with reverse harem, everyone gets a happy ending!

Okay, okay. But honestly, I read some real stinkers this month. More than I've read in awhile...or at least it feels like that. But thanks to my bestie, I did take a bit of a hiatus from reading for a few days to binge Younger, a fact that I don't regret in the slightest, especially since it made me want to get back to reading. But that's a post for another day. ;) I did a lot of re-reading again this month, too. Did those old favorites hold up? Read on to find out! :D

And without further ado, here's what I've been reading lately...

(More on why I've gone to this format here in lieu of traditional reviews for each.)

Y O U N G   A D U L T

CURSE OF THE GODS series - Honestly, I hesitated which section to put this series under. It starts off as young adult but veers off into new adult territory as things heat up in the third book, and it is a reverse harem fantasy. But the language is modern -- other than a few changes to "add" to the world-building -- and the characters, at least the human ones, are around 18. And they act like 18 year-olds, so I guess what I'm saying is read at your own caution.

Trickery - I seriously almost DNF'd this book. The main character was so annoying, so clumsy, so grating at first, that I just didn't think I could do it. I don't know that she actually changed much, at least not till much later in this book, but she definitely grew on me. And then there were the brothers and the curse and while it wasn't quite what I was expecting, it was actually pretty funny at times, which I really wasn't expecting. I'm glad I took a chance on this one.  πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Persuasion - This second book is where all the gods stuff really comes into play. And the world-building is less basic because there's more mythology to instill in the story. Also, the bond between the brothers and Willa really starts to intensify, which causes some problems but also means more of the humor from the first book. Also, there are five brothers and it was a little harder to keep them straight before, but this book helped with that. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Seduction - This is why I should really do my research before just downloading a book to my Kindle Unlimited library. If I'd done that, I'd have known this was an unfinished series and I would have waited on the off chance that I'd enjoy it and want to binge it. Which I do but that also means the agony of waiting for the next book. In this case, that's only till the end of the month, and it's not like book 3 ended on a major cliffhanger. But still. There's going to be more than four books...so more waiting. The reverse harem aspect was on full display in this installment, to which I say FINALLY. But also, I was happy to wait. I liked the bond that was developing between Willa and her Abcurse brothers, and it had to be just right before anything further happened between any of them or it would have just felt wrong. As it is, I really, really like the note this book left off on, and I can't wait to read the next one. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Strength - Gawd, this series is just so compulsively readable. And fun. And sexy. I think it's the humor that keeps me coming back, though. I've laughed a lot while reading these books. I do wish there'd been a little more recap in the beginning of this installment since there was a bit of time between finishing the third book at the beginning of the month and reading the 4th book which released late in the month, but it came back to me quickly enough. Now, I'm just waiting to see when my favorite Abcurse will get his time to shine. ;) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

SERAPH BLACK series - This one is definitely more YA, with god-like gifts being bestowed upon mere mortals. It's not really mythology-based, but the Zev society hidden among humans does have its own mythology, if that makes sense. The summaries for these books just do not do them justice. They are a thing unto themselves and it only gets crazier as the series progresses.

Charcoal Tears - So, after trying several reverse harem stories and ultimately being disappointed by each, I wasn't expecting much from this book. Especially since it was considered young adult and I was searching for something more akin to the Alex Lidell series I read last month. But Charcoal Tears was really quite good! The characterization, the plotting, the pace, the lingering questions...all were fantastic and kept me captivated. I wasn't even through with this first book before I was downloading the rest of the series on Kindle Unlimited. Truthfully, I read these books back-to-back-to-back over the course of the weekend, so I can't really differentiate between them at this point, but they're good, really good: humorous while also tackling some really awful truths, well-written, and super-intriguing.  🌟🌟🌟🌟

Watercolor Smile - I think I suspected who the Messenger was in the first book, but this book cemented it for me. However, that made the creepy rhymes and cruel deaths no less sinister. The Messenger's efforts did manage to push Seraph and her bondmates closer together, though, and this is how I want to see this type of romance play out: getting to know one another, forming connections, and then moving on to the physical stuff. But it's been pretty tame so far, which I appreciate because YAY the tight-knit closeness of this group but which I also loathe because FOUR BROTHERS. Ahem. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Lead Heart - In this third installment, you could just feel Seph's solace, the sense of betrayal and her inability to trust pretty much anyone. It just leaks off the pages. But you can't blame her, considering everything she's been through. I think Lead Heart is a very apropos title. Big changes in this book, but it's late in the series and I feel like anything I say might be spoilery. Just...if you've made it this far, you've got to read the final book. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

A Portrait of Pain - I am so, SO glad this was a completed series when I stumbled upon it. The only ones I've seemed to enjoy lately are those that are unfinished series and it's driving me crazy. Constant book hangover is no way to live one's life. Anyway...this final book was a big ole box of WTFs. The reveals! The sexy times! The near-constant refrain of how is this even going to work?!? I read it in one sitting, as soon as I finished Lead Heart and though I think the author maybe jumped the shark a bit here in this final book, I still maintain that it was a pretty great series on the whole. I did think it was odd that the author chose to showcase the mates voices in this last book, though. It was the first time you got to read from their perspectives, if I remember correctly, but it felt almost unnecessary at this point. The author did such a great job of introducing each Atma (mate) from the beginning and it felt understood how each would be feeling in the moment, so close were their bonds to Seph. Oh, and also, #TeamMiro. :D (I can't be the only one who likes the responsible leader. It always feels like that guy gets the shaft (ha!) because he's always putting duty above everything else.) 🌟🌟🌟🌟

MY PACK series - YA reverse harem series about wolf shifters that transitions heavily into new adult in the second book.

Finding My Pack - I took a chance on these books, even knowing the third one wasn't out and there's no fixed release date for it yet. That said, the main character's naïveté nearly made me give up in the beginning. A girl abandoned in a dumpster as a baby would likely be hardened by her circumstances, but apparently the wolf pack needed the innocence rolling off her in waves, so it is what it is. There are eight, YES EIGHT, potential mates in this series, and you would think that would get a little messy and hard to keep track of. And it was at first, but surprisingly, each guy really was his own character. I will say that the cliffhanger ending was completely unnecessary, especially having read the sequel and finding that there was an absolutely perfect spot to end at after only about a few chapters in. I almost didn't even read the second installment because it's been pretty predictable thus far...and yet, I let my curiosity get the better of me once again. 🌟🌟🌟

Keeping My Pack - As I said, the beginning of this book should have been the ending to the first, though I get that the author wanted to hook readers. There wasn't a whole lot of action to this second installment, but there was a whole lot of naughtiness. With eight mates, it was difficult to remember who got what and when, but it was pretty hawt most of the time. This might have been the single-most sexy book I've ever read...meaning there was so much of it and with so many different partners. But that's really all this book was, aside from another sorta kinda cliffhanger. I'm not even sure I care now if that third book ever releases... 🌟🌟🌟

SCARLET series - Re-read of a favorite that truly holds up to the test of time. πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe* - I've been waiting for this book for ages because it sounds amazing, but apparently I'm just not in the mood for it. Stopping at 16% and hoping to pick it up some other time. It's just not captivating me at the moment. I believe I started the audio on Friday before leaving work and I was just never compelled to pick it up again that weekend. Or since. So I'm saving myself the heartache of not loving it right now and putting it aside. DNF To Come Back To

A Dance With Darkness - Meh. About par for the YA reverse harem novels I've read thus far but definitely nothing to be impressed by. Really was just interested in it because fae stories are my forte. :P Undecided if I'll continue the series. 🌟🌟

THE REMNANT CHRONICLES series - Re-read so that I can re-familiarize myself with the world before diving into Dance of Thieves.  πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

THE IRON FEY series - I re-read this series on audio because I was bored...and I didn't have any other audio to listen to at the time because I was paused in my buddy-read/listen of Legendary. Plus, it was available as part of the Audible Romance Package, so I didn't have to pay for it. =) Well, apart from the monthly fee. ;) At any rate, I always wondered why I never picked up the companion series, which features the main character's little brother, and now I have my answer. I just really lost interest over the course of the series, and it didn't hold up with a re-read, despite the fact that I remembered really enjoying this series initially. Oh, well...at least now I know I can cull these books from my shelves to make room for others. :D 🌟🌟🌟

*ARC received from publisher for review purposes. This does not affect my review in any way.


The Demon Lover - I've never been a fan of Justine Eyre so I don't know why I thought I could handle her narration here. But even if the narrator had been different, I'm certainI would have still disliked this story. The main character was so dumb, so wishy-washy, and I pretty much loathed her from the beginning. The other characters were all so one-sided and transparent, which made the story even more predictable. I'd had this book on my Kindle for years and never got to it, so I thought maybe the audio would be the best way to finally get to it. Now I just want my money back. 🌟🌟

Stroke the Flame - So, apparently now I'm into reverse harem stories. Oops, how did that happen? This is only the second series I've started featuring that setup, but it's definitely my least favorite so far. When I'm reading a book about dragons, I expect there to be some Ye Olde language, some tie to a fantasy world. But the dialogue in this story was very much like you or I would speak today, and it only served to pull me out of the story more times than I can count. Also -- and I know I'm saying this as a newbie to this, erm, genre -- but I think I already prefer it when the harem members are already aware of each other and don't come off as stiff, unfeeling asses like those in this story because they can't get along. It also didn't help that there was such a lack of chemistry between the heroine and her would-be mates. At this point, I'm not sure if I'll continue the series. 🌟🌟

Hunted - This was so cringeworthy and awful and I don't know how I finished it. I think it's only because I didn't have another book already lined up that I did. It's supposed to be a fairy-tale retelling, but there's no world-building, no character growth, no romance. Just sex for the sake of mating, no bond or reason behind it except for an animal drive. And it was kind of gross. This is one series of stand-alone retellings that I will not be continuing. πŸŒŸ

The Sacrifice - There was nothing inherently bad about this book, but I just didn't connect with the story. Not with the characters and not with their supposed bond. It was just so much sex and so little getting to know the actual characters and it fell flat. I need a character-driven story, especially with a story like this where there are so many major characters, so that I understand their motivations and desires. I did appreciate that this was a fantasy story and the world-building was decent and that the language wasn't so modern as some of the recent "fantasy" stories I've read. But I don't think I'll be picking up the next book...unless I can't find anything else that strikes my fancy in the next little bit.  🌟🌟🌟

Shadow Kissed - Another foray into reverse harem but this time with much better results. If you like Supernatural but wish there was just a teensy bit more romance, this series is for you. One witch and five, yes FIVE, hot males all hailing from different aspects of the magical realm: a demon, a vampire, a wolf shifter, another demon, and oh, why don't we throw Death in there for good measure? Oh, and hunters -- not the badass kind like Sam and Dean but seriously sadistic dickwads -- are after all of witchkind. The main character has hidden her magic away after a tragedy nearly a decade ago, but it's time for her to come fully into her power and put an end to those arseholes. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Darkness Bound - This sequel was just as good as the first book, introducing a few new characters and giving some much-needed insight into others. It really ramps up the Supernatural-vibe, too. And the steaminess. *fans self* Neither aspect is too terribly graphic, though. At least, not in comparison to other things I've read, lol. And it definitely left me wanting more...I can't wait until the next book releases in September! 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Briar - This was not very good. I didn't expect much going into it, but still. Not. Very. Good. Nothing really even happens except that the female at the center of the harem -- who has an allergy to the sun -- discovers that her four new boyfriends are, gasp, vampires. The story was boring and cheesy and read like YA even though the main character is 22 and in grad school. But if you're thinking this means that I wouldn't be listening to the second book, you'd be wrong. Because I'm the moron who didn't have another audiobook queued up and didn't have time to search for one. πŸ˜­  🌟

Shadow of Thorns - At least this sequel was hotter? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  Um, there's a evil villain guy who gets a lot of play in this installment, and a lot of the vampire boyfriends' past is unearthed, but I'm still just not invested in these characters or this story in general. I don't read reverse harem just for the sexy times. I read for a deeper emotional connection. I want to see the bond and understand why it makes sense for them all to be together and for them to prove that it can be done without getting weird. And, like, none of that was really accomplished with this book. Needless to say, I'm done with this series. For real this time. 🌟🌟

The Hollow of Fear - Immaculate. The story. The characters. The mystery. All the threads, neatly woven and utterly unpredictable. Every bit of it was immaculate and perfection and ugh, I want the next book in my hands already! πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ

Heart of the Fae - Oh, this was a lovely BatB retelling. Just lovely. Except that when I downloaded the audio, I didn't think to check if the second book was available in this format. D'oh! So, now I have to buy the ebook of Veins of Magic and read it to myself. But I will because I'm 100% invested in this story. It was unique and full of Irish mythology, in addition to the Beauty and the Beast aspect, but was a bit more adult and feminist-minded than most BatB retellings tend to be. Not that I'm complaining. Actually, I should be thanking Goodreads users because this just popped up in my feed one day and I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I bought a copy on Audible. And though it appears that the second installment is the end to the BatB retelling, there are other companion retellings in the series...and now I want to read them all! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Find any new titles to check out? ;0)

Until next time! Happy reading!


  1. woah, you got a lot of reading in at least! And that's great you made some time for re-reading. I feel like I didn't read much in July, but that's probably because I had a couple larger books. I don't know...haha


  2. I neeeed to read The Remnant Chronicles! They look amazing!


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