I know that last week I forgot to post my usual book reviews, but it was Canadian Thanksgiving and all the turkey and Ukrainian food was calling me (it’s not Thanksgiving for me if I don’t eat my weight in perogies). To make up for it, today I’ll be featuring two reviews: One of a book that I won in a mini contest and ending up really enjoying, the other a newly released short story that I loved. So without further adieu, let’s get started! The first book on the docket is Beauty in the Beast by Elyzabeth M. VaLey, a fellow Weekend Writing Warrior author.
Light will become shadow. Love will become hate. Good will become evil. The Darkness is here. There will be no escape.
Morgana Wiles has spent her life, alongside her mother, fighting against the arrival of the creature known as The Darkness. Unfortunately, neither of them were able to stop him and now he’s here, ready to destroy all that is good in the world. Morgana must face him, but now that the time has come, she finds that things are not as simple. Her mother is gone, self-doubt is creeping in, and her visions are unclear. To make matters worse, a man with evil intent has entered her life and is bent on complicating her mission. Will she be able to resist him in time to fight The Darkness or will she succumb and become that which she despises?
Christopher Bexley is no gentleman. He enjoys trickery, deceit, mischief and above all seduction. Sexual intercourse is the greatest source of power there is or at least there was, until he heard about the Gem. Now that he has discovered there’s a stone that can make him the most powerful magic user of all time, he must have it. The only problem is that the only other person that might know where it is, is a stickler for rules and being good. Morgana is too innocent for his liking, and there’s only one thing he can do to change that: corrupt her.
Considered weird by normal standards – what is normal anyway?- Elyzabeth M. VaLey enjoys making up songs about mundane things, doodling stars and flowers on any blank sheet of paper, talking to her Lab whenever he feigns interest and coming up with love stories to make readers dream.
From contemporary to historical or fantasy, she enjoys writing stories about good and evil, love and passion and all that comes in between happy ever after.
Historical romances aren’t usually my thing. It’s not that they can’t be good, many of them are, it’s just not my cup of tea… No pun intended. When I read romances, I want the breath-taking passion, gentle caresses, fiery kisses, and maybe a little bit of steamy bedroom action. Historical romances, to me, are usually more about politeness and adhering to society rules rather than sweep-you-off-your-feet romance. Some people might like that (there’s a reason Pride and Prejudice is famous), but I don’t go out of my way to find them.
All that said, when VaLey offered me her newest release to read and review, I was very excited, and couldn’t turn it down. And I am so glad I didn’t. Beauty in the Beast is the kind of historical romance I enjoy: The bad boy versus the good girl. It’s a steady, teasing, enticing romance that draws two powerful individuals together and tests their personal wills, strengths, and their ability to see through the layers of each others desires. Having followed VaLey on Weekend Writing Warrior, I knew her writing was very good and left a lot to the reader’s imagination, something I love when I read. I was surprised at how much I didn’t want to put it down!
The story was interesting, and while magic was at the forefront of the character’s problems (mostly), it wasn’t the sole heart of the story. More on that later. Beauty in the Beast is technically part of a series, but it holds up well as a standalone. That said, I would likely encourage other readers to hunt down the other books and give them a read before making their way to this one. While I understood everything that was going on, I would have liked a little more detail about Morgana’s past against the dark force she’s destined to face, and wanted a little more understanding of the world.
That said, if you’re on the hunt for a romance where opposites attract, VaLey has you covered. Her characters––slightly naive Morgana and devastatingly charming Christopher––are the foundations of the story. Morgana is a strong willed young woman who finds herself undeniably attracted to the brooding, mischievous Christopher, and I really enjoyed watching her talk a peek at the wild side of romance. As much as I like her, I was rooting for Christopher the whole time. From his very first scene, I was completely under his spell. He’s the epitome of wicked and sexy, and I loved his determination to win over stubborn, innocent Morgana. He had great development and I couldn’t wait to know more about him.
The chemistry between the two is electric. Sure there are other side characters who are important to the story, but Morgana and Christopher are a powerhouse together. I loved each one of their interactions, whether through conversation or passion, and could only ask for more!
Honestly, that was my only issue–– once the story was over (not a long read), I was sad because I wanted more! And as I’ve said countless times before, if a good book leaves you wanting more, it’s often not a bad thing. The opposite. I would definitely recommend Beauty in the Beast to all romance readers, especially if you’re inclined to books lightly inspired by Beauty and the Beast.
Now, onto the next review!
It’s Halloween at Mythos Academy, and Gwen Frost and her friends are ready to have a little fun. But when a mythological monster shows up, the night turns out to be more trick than treat.
Halloween Frost is a short story by Jennifer Estep. Long time followers will know how much I love this author and her many, many urban fantasy books (if you ever wondered how my favourite author in the genre is, now you know), and I’ve been waiting years to read this story. It was originally part of an anthology I couldn’t get my hands on, and I cried a little inside because it was part of the Mythos Academy books, a series I love to pieces. But finally, Estep self-published the story and made it available for readers. And for a 6500 word story, it blew my mind.
I can’t go into a lot of detail, because it’s so short and the story will mean the most to fans of the series who will see almost all of their favourite characters return. But what I can say is that for such a short story, Estep puts in a lot of heart! It was just pure fun! Diverse characters going trick-or-treating and getting more than candies or chocolates. It’s a breezy read, an hour long max, but it’s perfect for the season. I planned to wait until Halloween to read it, but I couldn’t resist, and am so glad I didn’t. A definite recommend for anyone needing a break from Halloween horrors, or for readers who want a taste of what is one of my favourite YA urban fantasy series.