I received an ARC copy of Forbidden: Part One from the author, in exchange for an honest review.
OK, where do I even begin… Forbidden by Emilia Emerson was my first Omegaverse read, and in my opinion, was a fantastic introduction to the genre. The story is set in a dystrophia world, where Alpha’s pretty much run everything and the government is becoming more and more corrupt, and trying to take away what little freedoms Omegas have.
Alphas are controlling, manipulative, and the top of society, Omegas are seen as weak, overly emotional, and only exist to serve Alphas, and Beta’s are considered the lowest class of society.
Josie, our FMC, has been through so much in her life. Her parents despise her, she struggles with constantly being told she’s overweight, and a failure, the “boarding school” they sent her to was absuive, and she experienced unthinkable things during her time there. When she finally made it out, and away from her parents, her main goal was to keep her head down and survive.
Unfortuanetley, as the Government continues to take control of the world she lives in, Josie is forced to choose a pack. Something she has taken black market measures to ensure she avoided for years.
When faced with an option of choosing a pack her parents selected, or choosing one that an unlikely ally has recommended, Josie chooses the lesser of two evils in Pack Ashwood.
Josie is basically fighting for her life while also dealing with serious body image and self love issues ingrained in her by her parents, while trying to adjust to being a part of a pack and trusting her alphas and the way that she feels being around them.
Around the 40-50% range, I started feeling like “what now?” Kind of like the plot sort of disappeared. Things were going well, Josie was getting comfortable with the guys, and that was about it. It felt like I was waiting on the other shoe to fall.
The focus on Josie’s pack adjustment phase, although it was only a week or two (I think) seemed a bit drawn out. I know she needed to adjust and omegas are seen as “needy” and “emotional” but there were moments where Josie frustrated me with her neediness and needing reassurance constantly. The guys were obviously head over heels obsessed with her, but because of her past, she struggled believing almost anything they said. Like I said, this was my first Omegaverse, so I’m not sure if that is typical of all Omegas, are just Josie and the Omegas in the Forbidden world.
As the story progressed, that looming feeling of something disastrous coming kept popping up in my head, and there were several times where I felt like Pack Ashwood were walking into a trap, and everything would fall apart, and I was wrong every single time, until the cliff hanger of an ending! I knew something was coming, but I definitely did not expect the turn that the story took as the book came to an end. And now I’m left sitting on pins and needles, waiting for Part Two to release, so that I can know that everything hopefully turns out ok.
For a debut novel, and as my introduction to Omegaverses, I think the author did a great job. The characters were well developed, the world and the government were explained well, and the spice was descriptive and steamy without being cringey or predictable. There were some moments that felt a little slow, pace wise, but I resonated so much with some of Josie’s self love and body image struggles, and seeing the way her pack loved and cared for her, even in a world where she was considered “defective” and not good enough, to me, made up for the occasional lull in pace.
I can’t wait to start Part Two in the coming weeks!
**I received an advance review copy of Daughter of the Underworld for free, through BookSirens, and I am leaving this review voluntarily**
Disclaimer -This is an Adult Greek Mythology Retelling. Please make sure to be mindful of your triggers.
Triggers include profanity, sex, death, and rape
Melinoe, daughter of Persephone and Hades, wants revenge against the god who harmed her family. With unreliable magic and a handsome prince her parents arranged for her to marry, Melinoe must make her way through the Land of the Living to discover who she really is— a goddess unable to protect herself, or someone much more powerful?
Castor, the mortal Prince of Sparta, wishes he hadn’t made a life-altering deal with a vengeful god. When love gets in the way of fulfilling his side of the bargain, will Castor save himself or the goddess he’s sworn to protect?
Hecate, Titan of witchcraft, dreams of reuniting with the god she once loved. As she travels from the island of Crete to Mount Olympus, she finds her strength is a threat to those who would use her as a pawn for power. Her only solution is to hide in plain sight until the time comes to reveal her true intentions. Will she succeed in bringing the past and present together to achieve her end goal?
The Underworld and a gorgeous cover?? I was sold before even reading the blurb. Although this story wasn’t what I expected, it did not disappoint.
Melinoe is a fiery little goddess and I loved her immediately. Although she had some initial moments of brattiness, my heart hurt for her and the struggles she was dealing with regarding her self worth and lack of magic. It even felt like her parents assumed her to be powerless and in need of protection.
Castor… He can handle everything Melinoe and Hecate can dish out. I was honestly holding my breath waiting on him to be a complete jerk, and although he had his moments and unfortunately was forced to choose the lesser of two evils, I think he may be everything Melinoe needs.
Pollux was probably my favorite character due to his carefree attitude and the relationship he forms with Hecate and I can’t wait until Daughter of War and Witchcraft comes out to hopefully get more of him.
I was originally expecting a bit more about Hades & Persephone, but that story has also been done several times over in many different way, so I really enjoyed getting a different perspective of the Underworld than what I was use to.
The one thing that did stand out to me were the spells because they were in Greek (I’m assuming here) and the flashbacks. The spells felt very true and authentic to the story, but at times, they felt a bit much to me and caused me to skim over them. The flashbacks in the beginning had me so confused, but they were also a pretty crucial part in Melinoe finding herself and discovering who she really was and who she was meant to be.
All in all, Daughter of the Underworld was well written, and kept me holding my breath throughout the story waiting to see what happened next. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Daughter of War & Witchcraft when it releases!
“I am the embodiment of Heaven and Hell. Light and dark. Good and evil.”
“Become what you were meant to be—my little witch”
“Keep fighting, even if the chains are stronger than you. You keep fighting. Every. Damn. Day.”
“I’m the nightmare that haunts your sleep,”
Check out Daughter of the Underworld by Jenn Lynn Adams if you’re looking for ✔️Greek mythology retelling ✔️Arranged marriage ✔️Enemies to lovers ✔️Slow burn ✔️FMC discovering her power
Disclaimer -This is a New Adult Fantasy book. Please make sure to be mindful of your triggers.
Triggers include explicit monster-form sex scenes, adult language/cursing, violent/disturbing imagery, murder/blood/gore/death, human sacrifice, illness, loss, & grief of a parent, Non-consent (not between FMC & MMC), flashbacks of sexual assault, and potentially triggering thoughts/depictions of mental health-related topics.
Luciana The forest is my refuge from the lies of my people and the wounds I keep hidden—but the forest is changing and no one is safe. A monster saves me from the brink of death, his midnight eyes promising more than I ever thought to find. When my father falls ill with a mysterious sickness, I have to race against the clock to find the connection between the secrets of Hellhind Wood—or lose him forever. But my beast has secrets too, with the power to ruin everything.
Dorran As the firstborn son of a cruel and greedy lord, my soul was already forfeit. Our crimes enraged an enchantress, cursing everyone I love to a fate worse than death and leaving Hellhind vulnerable. Cursed and surrounded by evil on all sides, I must fight to free my family and right our wrongs. When I save my beauty, she sees beyond the curse, her soul just as broken and lonely as mine. I try to stay away, but our connection refuses to be ignored—and she may be the key to everything.
Although this was a Beauty and the Beast retelling of sorts, the world and the story that the author created was so much more than the original story we know and love.
It took me about 1/3 of the book to really get into it, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down and was constantly wondering if Lu was ok. I admittedly didn’t highlight or annotate much in this story, and it’s largely due to how connected I felt to the story and Lu’s journey. There is nothing like losing a parent, and reliving some of the pain through Lu’s journey was both painful and immensely healing in a way I can barely put into words. ** read the freaking trigger warnings! They are there for a reason! Loss of a parent plays a significant role in this novel and the character’s actions**
Lu’s father was the mayor of their quaint town, and came down with an illness without a cure. Theo was the handsome, reliable, golden boy that the whole town knew and loved. And then there was Luciana, an outcast of sorts in her small town. Whispers and rumors followed her seemingly everywhere she went. But after her mom left, everything Lu did was out of love. Her only goals were to protect her little brother Theo, and take care of him and their father in the only ways she knew how, at whatever cost.
As Lu’s dads health starts to decline and the emotional turmoil her and Theo go through, I felt like I started to connect with her so much more than I could’ve imagined. I love when a FMC has the hard IDGAF exterior and keeps her vulnerable side shoved deep down for so long that the most unexpected person/being brings it out and she feels safe enough to be herself with all of her emotions, vulnerabilities, flaws, etc. Thats’s where Dorran or “Beast” comes in. Their connection was almost instant, and hit Lu hard. Where most would fear the monstrous beast, she felt no fear, and was uncharacteristically comfortable in his presence. Opening up to him in ways that she never could with others, not to mention the incredible spicy moments between them in the forest, it seemed like Lu had finally met her heart’s match.
Some moments did feel a bit predictable, but not enough to affect my overall love for the story. There were definitely unexpected plot twists that I did not see coming.
Heart Sworn was hands down one of my favorite reads of 2022. Cia, you did an outstanding job with this one, and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Luciana and Dorran in Hellhind Woods next!
“You alone have the power to destroy me,”
“I’m not a hero in anyone’s story, I was the villain. I still am.”
“Was it so selfish to seek any glimmer of happiness or spark of pleasure when everything else seemed to fall apart no matter what I did?”
“there was no black or white in our world. Nothing was purely good, and nothing was purely evil.
Check out Heart Sworn by Cia Petrichor if you’re looking for ✔️A Beauty & The Beast retelling ✔️Monster romance ✔️Touch her and you die ✔️A curvy FMC ✔️LGBTQ+ representation
Disclosure – All reviews and opinions, are my own. If you make a purchase through my referral links, I may earn a small commissions from Amazon, and/or other retailers at no extra cost to you.
Manipulated into a service contract, Davyna’s only goal is to find her father and find a way out. But when that search all of a sudden takes her down a path full of the things that chase her in her nightmares, she must decide whether to follow what is safe and easy, or follow the darkness and step into her power and save herself.
Disclaimer -This is a New Adult Fantasy book. Please make sure to be mindful of your triggers.
Triggers include grief, violence, blood, torture, death, PTSD episodes, emotion & physical abuse, sexual assault (mentioned in passing several times), difficult pregnancy contributing to the end of a mother’s life, profanity, and sexually explicit content.
Summary | “Hide-and-seek was a game Davyna loved playing as a child because she always won. But after the death of her adopted father, the game became her life’s mission to seek a blood relative to set her free from the cursed deal she made. When every lead turns up empty, Davyna is forced to seek help from the creatures that hide in the dark. What started as a quest for her freedom quickly turns into a fight for her life as Davyna navigates loss, lust, and love. But more importantly, as she seeks answers to who- or what- she is.”
I received an ARC copy of Hidden Beneath the Embers in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve been following Fay’s writing journey the majority of the year, and there were still unexpected twists and turns that I didn’t see coming.
Off the back Davyna gives off straight fiery, bad ass female vibes. Shooting whiskey and putting guards in their place within the first few pages? I’m here for it!
There wasn’t an extreme amount of world building, but enough for you to get your bearings on the world the MC was in and the things, places, and creatures she was experiencing and I personally appreciated that. Although world building is crucial in a fantasy novel, it can easily become overwhelming if too much info is thrown at you. Some of the pacing in the first part of the book, felt a bit inconsistent, but that could just be me being overly anxious to get to the meat of the story. Not enough of an annoyance to knock my rating, but worth mentioning. Once Davyna entered the magical realm, the pacing to me was much smoother, and I couldn’t put the book down.
Red flags were immediately being set off for me with one of the male characters, and he felt predictably untrustworthy, but the full extent of his assholeness did end up surprising me in the end.
“Let your fire shine bright… Let the world see you.”
“Don’t play with the Devil, Dearest. You’ll end up hating yourself for liking it.”
“Maybe he was the Devil, but right now, I would gladly sin to get more of him.”
“We can be painted as villains in anyone’s story, but even villains have a reason for the things they do.”
If you’re looking for
– Enemies to lovers – A magical realm & shapeshifters – A fiery, badass FMC, discovering her strength & power, with a smart ass mouth – A deliciously morally gray vampire – Spicy tension filled relationship – Touch her and you die vibes
Then I highly recommend grabbing Hidden Beneath the Embers when it releases on Oct 27th.