Novel Review: Consort of Secrets by Eva Chase

Yesterday, I finished all my homework for the week (a day ahead of schedule). As a reward, I decided to take on a book. I had my first request to Netgalley in over 5 years approved and got granted Consort of Secrets by Eva Chase. The cover was nice and sparkly, as you can see below. What attracted me was the potential for hot, steamy sex. Oh… and it was also paranormal. You know how I love the combination. Before I get on with the review, let’s get a little blurb action:

Consort of Secrets CoverA steamy new gothic-flavored reverse harem paranormal romance from bestselling author Eva Chase.

Every witch knows the rules: Stick to your own kind. Never reveal your powers to outsiders. Take a consort from the witching families or kiss your magic good-bye forever.

For years I’ve been quiet, obedient Rose Hallowell. I accepted the man my stepmother chose for me. But I never stopped missing my long-ago friends.

Now we’re back on my childhood estate to arrange my marriage. The boys I grew up with? They’re still in town—and they haven’t forgotten me either. And damn if they haven’t grown up well.

They’ve got no magic, no place in my life. But they’re charming and sweet and infuriatingly hot, and I can’t seem to stay away. The more I try to resist, the more secrets I uncover about my family, my betrothal, and everything I thought was true about the witching world.

I’ve been lied to. I’ve been betrayed. So to claim my magic and my happiness, I’ll break every rule there is—and then some.

Don’t mess with this witch. Every rose has thorns.


The Story Line

As I mentioned, I was looking for a steamy romance… hopefully something that leaned toward erotica. To be honest, I thought I’d picked out the wrong book when I started reading Consort of Secrets. The book had a definite young adult feel to it. You see, Rose Hallowell seemed to be completely controlled by her father and step-mother. In fact, the opening scene had her riding in the car with them, heading into the driveway of her old family home… and not because they picked her up from the airport either. Rather, she seemed to be living with them, family style.

Rose’s “boys,” a she called them also had a young feel to them. They climbed trees, talked about getting into trouble with her parents, snuck around, things I’d expect from high schoolers and younger. I found early in the story that Rose and the “boys” were actually 24/25 years old adults.

Rose, I could attribute her immaturity to culture. After all, I didn’t know what the typical witching life was like. The “boys,” not so much. I got the impression they were in the United States or possibly even Canada. Rose talked a lot about Portland, which I assumed was Oregon. That being the case, at least one of them would have behaved like North American boys, right?

If Eva Chase took out the sex completely and just left some light kissing and a bit of high school sexual tension, I think this would have made a decent young adult book. It really had that feel to it, even the story line ran in the direction of young adult. The characters seemed more investigative in a kid detective mischievous kind of way than the way I’d expect adults to uncover oddities.

Overall, I think the story line was okay. It didn’t really fit into to the adult genre (style-wise), in my opinion. On the other hand, the sex excludes it from the young adult genre. I think if the stakes were steeper and it’d been a young adult book, I would have been more receptive of the book and liked it a lot more. My expectations were hot and steamy adult romance and I feel like I got a young adult story line with some sex thrown into the mix.

The Major Players

Let’s talk characters. 🙂

Rose was our heroine. I think I missed the part in the description that it’d be a reverse harem. I thought Rose’s personally worked well with the concept of a reverse harem. I honestly didn’t get the impression she was that invested in the boys. Rather she seemed to be the type of gal who simply wanted the attention of men. After all, she’d been MIA over 10 years without any contact with her boys but wanted to step into her old role. She also seemed to view other witching men as tools to accomplish her purpose. It gave her a bit of a shallow feel. However, I think it worked, particularly if she was leaning toward having a harem of men.

At first, I thought Ky was her leading male. This was before I realized it was a reverse harem. He entered the story first and even had his own chapter early on. It wasn’t until later that I caught on that each of the boys would have their unique role in the story. Of all the guys, Ky seemed the most generic. I found him easy going, with a bit of generosity and practicality. He seemed to set a baseline, where all the other boys deviated.

Seth, Ky’s brother, was the stick in the mud… a naysayer, really. He had a ready counter to anything that was suggested. I think his apprehension and inability to take a step forward really made him miss out in some situations. It gave him a bit of a lackluster feel.

Damon was our resident bad boy. I wanted to like him. I have a thing for underdogs, particularly when they have a story behind their rough edges. In the end, he didn’t draw me the way I’d have liked. I also found him sloppy, careless, and inconsiderate when it came to sex.

My favorite was Jin. He was thoughtful, caring, and selfless, not just in his actions but also his thought patterns. It seemed like Eva Chase left his personality for the last when finally giving detailed introductions of the boys. I think this was an awesome strategy. If she’d given us Jin first, I’d have had a hard time accepting any of the other boys into the picture. Jin’s tender devotion was beautiful.

Favorite Lines

This book wasn’t as witty as some books I’ve read. However, I did pull out a couple of lines I liked.

  • “She didn’t leave her ribbon on the gate because she figured it needed some air.” (The ribbon on the gate was Rose’s way of contacting her boys.
  • Rose by mid-morning sunlight was my favorite Rose. (Like this thought, Jin had a wonderful way of showing his emotions.)

Overall, I’d say this was a middle of the road read. I think it could have used higher stakes and a more adult themed story to match the reverse harem concept. Even so, it kept me engaged enough to want to learn how the storyline panned out. I give Consort of Secrets a solid 3.

*I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley.

Novel Review: Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole

After reading 3 books in the last 4 day, I’m trying to convince myself to pace myself… to slow down. Then again, I won’t have as much time next week as I do this week, since I’m in a spring break session. 🙂 It’s been almost a full 24 hours sense reading Wicked Abyss. I’ve set reading aside a bit so I can catch up on homework. I’m enrolled in a different college in a different state than I’m teaching. Spring break for college was last week. Spring break for teaching is this week. Go figure. 🙂 I never really got a full break, but having a lighter load definitely has relaxed me. So, about this Wicked Abyss. Again, I didn’t take notes. I didn’t think to do reviews until after I finished this book. Next time around though… for sure. The blurb first.

Wicked Abyss coverThe terrifying king of hell…

As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster–just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.

Meets his match.

Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for eons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.

Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?

As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?

____________________

Lila, our heroine was a spunky one. She definitely had spice to her, and I loved it. She could not be cowed. Kresley Cole tends to write such strong lead female characters. I think that’s why I love her books so much… well, that and the men are big teddy bears to their mates, while being hardcore kickass and sexy as hell.. I love that too. Lila fit right in with the other female characters. In fact, I’d say she was more daring then some of the others… and smart. Brains and beauty. I love it. Unlike some of the other female characters, she couldn’t fight (physically) at all. Or at least, I don’t recall her even trying. She used her strengths (knowledge and intelligence) to her advantage.

Our demon boy, Sian was like a lot of Kresley Cole’s other men…. a bit broken in side. Not so much broken, but his self-esteem had been destroyed. However, he was all-powerful in his dominion. Interestingly, he seemed to cater a lot more easily than most of Kresley’s other male leads. He was the biggest pushover ever when it came to Lila, even when it didn’t seem like that to Lila. I’m torn… I’m not sure how well I liked him overall. He wasn’t awful. Rather, he just didn’t stand out as Kapow! in my mind.

The storyline was okay. When I think about it, there didn’t seem to be a lot at stake. This book seemed to build on the Morior… introducing characters and really giving a chance to know the other side. I like getting to know the Morior. However, I think it would be nice to push the story toward the Ascension also. This series has REALLY stalled. Ever since the characters ended up on Torture Island, I don’t feel like this series has really gone anywhere. Love the stories, but I’m eager to see some action that’ll rock the boat.

I’ll give this one a 4 also. The chemistry between the two was great and I’m still in the reading mood. Oh… I feel so me… the way I should be.

The next story in line is Shadows Seduction. However, I’m thinking I might skip it. It’s a M/M romance. I read the sample, and it doesn’t really pique my interest. I’ve read a few M/M romances and they can be hot. I’m not in the mood for now. Maybe another time. It looks like Kresley Cole has been releasing books in the Immortals After Dark series every year about this time. Hopefully she’ll have her next release soon. Fingers crossed!

Novel Review: Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole

Right after Dark Skye, I couldn’t stop myself from downloading Kresley Cole’s next book and begin reading. Again, I devoured it within 24 hours. I feel like my old, pre-2013, book-obsessed self again. Before I get to my review, which I hadn’t planned on doing before today, how about a blurb:

Sweet Ruin CoverA foundling raised in a world of humans
Growing up, Josephine didn’t know who or what she was—just that she was an outcast with strange powers. Protecting her baby brother became her entire life. The day he was taken away began Jo’s transition from would-be superhero…to enchanting villain.

A lethally sensual enforcer on a mission
Archer Rune the Baneblood never fails to eliminate his target. In his sights: the oldest living Valkyrie. Yet before he strikes, a vampiric creature pierces him with aching pleasure, stealing his forbidden blood—and jeopardizing his brethren’s secrets.

A boundless passion that will lead to sweet ruin…
Could this exquisite female be a spy sent by the very Valkyrie he hunts? When Jo betrays the identity of the one man she will die to protect, she and Rune become locked in a treacherous battle of wills that pits ultimate loyalty against unbridled lust.

_______________________

Reading this book made me feel like I could write again. I started to understand why I hated my Advanced Creative Writing course so much. The book I was writing was boring… dull… there was nothing at stake. Now Sweet Ruin, it had things at stake. It made me want to rewrite my entire novel and start over for my writing class. Enough about me, let’s talk about Sweet Ruin.

Josephine, my gal was new to the Lore. Didn’t even know what she was, in fact. However, she was magnificent when it came to powers. I loved that she knew herself and was unapologetic about it. If you’re looking for a strong female lead, she’s it. She was so rough around the edges, she could cut you with a light brush.

My hero Rune was equally captivated. I’m starting to see a pattern with Kresley Cole male characters. The females seem to be stronger (mentally) than the males. I rather like it. It makes the males quite charming and vulnerable. They’re still incredibly masculine and macho, but vulnerably charming in a way that they need their egos stoked.

Sex between our stars was pretty hot, or rather the foreplay (you know how Kresley Cole is with making her characters wait). Josephine and Rune had major chemistry… explosively orgasmic. I really liked those two together.

The Storyline… I’m beginning to think Ms. Cole will never move the series forward. Though the characters and story were interesting, it did little to progress the Ascension forward. However, it did introduce some key players. Rather than the fight being between the Vertes and the other guys (the Horde? maybe), I see now it’s a much bigger fight. I’m beginning to think it’s between Nix and her Gaia (Earth folks) and The Morior (lead by Orion).

What I like about Nix and Orion is that they seem like worthy adversaries. A while back, I was big into the Blackdagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward. However, the villains were all idiots and had no chance. Likewise, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters series puttered out for me also, once Ascheron became all powerful. Even though Kresley Cole seems to be in a rut in terms of moving the series toward the big finale, she’s managed to keep it entertaining by keeping her characters pitted against worthy adversaries.

My rating for this book is more on the 4/5 side.

Update and Novel Review: Dark Skye by Kresley Cole

It’s been forever since I’ve reviewed a book and I’m totally out of practice. In fact, I’m out of practice with everything in the book world. I honestly don’t even know what’s hot these days. However, I have a feeling things are going to change.

First with the update. Long story short: Back in 2013, I fell into some troubled times.  I went out and got a job I absolutely hated, which drained. me to the point I no longer felt motivated to read or write. I honestly thought I’d never find the passion again. I wanted to want to read, but just could seem to pick up a book and get started. Writing… well, that was out of the question.

This year, I enrolled in an Advanced Creative Writing class to try to force some motivation back into me. So far, I’ve hated it.

On Tuesday, something changed. I went to the library to take a proctored Calculus test (one of the other classes I’m enrolled in). While I waited for the librarian to get me set up, I browsed Kresley Cole books and found the next unread book in the Immortals After Dark series. I figured I’d check it out and try to read it before it was due again. I even got in a few enjoyable pages before my exam started. By the way, I rocked that Calculus exam (100%). Right now, my B is so high, if we ended the course today, it’d round up to 90%. I might actually pull an A out of this course.

Now for my review, which was a turning point in my life. First the blurb:

Dark Skye CoverEternal Obsession
As a boy, Thronos, prince of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body—and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

Endless Yearning
Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

Can the heat of desire burn brighter than vengeance?
With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?


Dark Skye drew me in right from the start. I had some downtime before my exam and a terrifying hiccup during the exam (exam closed before my time was up) that gave me time to read a bit of this book while I waited. For the first time in I don’t know when, I actually didn’t want to put a book down. In fact, I didn’t. I devoured this book in less than 24 hours.

Unfortunately, I didn’t expect to review this book and didn’t take any notes. Alas, I’ll just tell you the feelings I had about the characters and the story.

Lanthe, our heroine. She was actually a pitiful one. The motto for her life was, Murphy’s law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Interesting, despite the writing showing she was an utter klutz at everything she attempted, I really didn’t get that impression of her. I think she stumbled her way through life fairly well. Most of her Murphy’s law incidents happened prior to the start of this story line.

Thronos is our hero of the story. He’s a goodie goodie, all righteous and shit. Honestly, his righteousness made him pitiful. What I loved about him is his brokenness… not spiritual or mental brokenness, but physical. Despite his injuries, he pushed through and I have to admit, that was so sexy. I can’t help but root for the underdog or someone who pushes through their challenges.

Storyline. I read back through my review of MacRieve. One of the complaints I had is the story didn’t move forward. This story picked up where the characters escape from Torture Island. To be honest, it didn’t really move the overall plot along either. However, I’ve been out of the reading realm for so long, I didn’t mind at all.

What I did like is it gave a nice introduction to some dimensions. I don’t remember if that was big in Kresley Cole’s previous books. We really did some traveling this time around. One dimensions, which I know we’ll see more of (I’ve already read the next couple of books) is Pandemonia.

I have a feeling I’m being generous, since I’m new to reading again. I’ve been pretty harsh in the past with my ratings. This was such a pivotal book to me, that I’m giving it 5/5 stars.