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A book full of Beauty and the Beast retellings?? Don’t mind if I do! This is my all-time favorite trope and one that is so much fun to read over and over again. I enjoyed each and every one of the stories in this bundle, so I’ll take the time to go through each one below and let you know what I thought.
No Man Can Tame – Miranda Honfleur
Princess Alessandra is the unwanted princess, known for desiring an occupation beyond the mother of future royalty. Eager to get her off their hands, her parents give her hand to their kingdom’s fiercest enemy, in order to broker peace. Although Prince Veron stirs fear is Aless’ heart, she soon learns that he was forced into this marriage too. Bound by their circumstances, they must try to create their own future, and within it, find love and happiness. This story was my favorite of the group, because it reminded me so much of another book I love, Radiance by Grace Draven. If you love her work, you’ll love Miranda Honfleur. She created a wondrous world full of intrigue and politics, and it drew me in. Very engaging read!
In The Garden of Gold and Stone – Ryan Muree
Two human species live side by side and don’t even know it. That is, until one foolish young man steals fruit from a garden surrounded by high walls, and once caught, his brother takes his place as prisoner. Now the human Rowec must face a bizarre new society, full of women with scales and reptilian features. They require a man to continue their species, and it looks like Rowec is going to be that person. Unless Nida, a woman who looks more human than the rest, can find a way to save him. I was a bit apprehensive of this story at first – what could possibly be romantic about a reptilian heroine? I draw the line at reptiles. However, the author did a great job of showing the two species’ similarities, and Nida soon became just another human to me. I really enjoyed her bravery and her interactions with Rowec. It was a great story full of qualities sure to delight strong women of today!
Eye of the Beholder – Emily Allen West
After serving twelve years in the Marines and surviving a botched rescue mission, Burke Masters is scarred, crippled by PTSD, and determined to live out his life alone on his island sanctuary. If only his friends would let him. Seeking to help him in his recovery, they hire a new maid, Rose Benoit, to clean in the main house. Confident and spunky, she soon gives Burke a reason to live again. But danger has never left his life, and when her secrets find their way onto the island, Burke must work to save not just their newfound love but also their lives. I’m a sucker for military romance, and when you give me one set in a Beauty and the Beast trope…*swoon*. I love it! This definitely was at the top of my list for this bundle. Thrilling, action-packed, and romantic, it tugged at my heartstrings!
Excalibur – Emerald Dodge
Set in an age where superheroes are out in the world fighting the bad guys, this book is only loosely based in a Beauty and the Beast trope. It follows Heather Harris, a superhero who goes by the name Excalibur, who just wants to live a normal life and experience things that civilians take for granted. Unable to do so without defying the elders of the cult where she grew up, she is forced to take drastic measures. She and her superhero friends make a pact with a local group of boys who need street cred to protect themselves. If they pretend they have slayed the “Beasts” as the superheroes are known, then Heather and her friends can go live in peace with new identities. But Heather never counted on falling for her rescuer, and now it may be too late to take it back. Again, this book was really straining to meet that trope the bundle was based on. I liked the book and how it was written, but it didn’t feel like it fit with the others. It had a big YA feel to it, which is okay but not my usual read. Definitely would recommend this to YA or New Adult readers! Characters were engaging and unique, and the worldbuilding was top notch.
The Blooming – Katherine Bennet
Sophia Anuva is determined to save her father, after he is assigned to a dangerous Black Ops unit within their military. She volunteers to serve in his place, under the guise that it’s a position she’s always wanted, and soon she is thrown into very dangerous situations. Her commander, Niko Kalos, sees her as a burden and tries his best to get her to quit, but her stubborn spirit drives her to prove him wrong. Soon he realizes that she has something to offer to the team, even if it does seem like she was only given this assignment to appease his superior, who wants her for his own. I liked this story, even though I felt the worldbuilding could have been more solid. I was confused by what was going on in this world – who were the enemy and why, what war was going on, and why were they so technologically advanced? All these questions felt unanswered. I enjoyed the characters, and there was a lot of laughter for me as a reader. It’s a good addition to the bundle!
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**