Review of “How to Love Your Elf” (The Embraced #4, Embraced by Magic #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Sparks, Kerrelyn. How to Love Your Elf. New York: Kensington, 2020.

Paperback | $15.95 USD | ISBN-13: 978-1496730046 | 328 pages | Fantasy Romance

2.5 stars

How to Love Your Elf is the first Embraced title under a new publisher, hence the new series title, Embraced by Magic. But upon finishing it, I wondered whether the higher price point and longer wait due to contract stuff while Sparks made the transition were worth it, as this one felt phoned in.

It’s a running joke that lots of fantasy female characters tend to fall into stock types, and while I think this is greatly exaggerated, it is definitely the case for Sorcha. Her defining trait is that she’s supposedly fiery because she’s scarlet haired? Is it my imagination, or did the other girls have more substance than this?

And while the series premise does present a lot of opportunities for hidden identities, I felt the Woodsman wasn’t as well developed to make the reveal of his identity worth the suspense spent on it. And I never felt connected to him in the same way I did to Rupert, the hero of book two, who also has some revelations made about his identity.

I do enjoy the plot developing with the Chameleon, and the involvement of Gwen’s estranged birth mother, bent on revenge. Evil as they are, I wanted a book about them! The chapters from her perspective nearly saved the book for me.

This book isn’t horrible…I did get through it, and it was just a much down to Sparks’ writing style a the glimmers of a good plot. But it just doesn’t feel as good as the previous books, especially with the re-use of tropes that were done better before and characters tht don’t inspire much in the way of emotions. However, I am open to reading the next book, as Brody remains my favorite character, and there is some brief foreshadowing of how he has to end his affliction in the next book.

In short, this is a book I would recommend waiting to buy on sale or borrowing instead of buying at the list price. It does have its charms, and as always, this is just my opinion (and reviews do seem to be mixed on this one), so definitely keep all that in mind while making the decision.

Buy it here: https://amzn.to/2TGeuIE

Review of “Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon” (The Embraced #3) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Sparks, Kerrelyn. Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2018.

Mass Market Paperback | $7.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-1250108258 | 429 pages | Paranormal/Fantasy Romance

4 stars

Given the news that came out not too long ago about the change in publisher for the remainder of the Embraced series and the resulting delay in release till early 2020, I’m glad my habit of delaying books led me to put off reading Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon until now, just a tad bit closer to release date, although upon finishing, I now find myself unable to wait to return to the world of the series again, and can’t wait for it to be February already.

Because this book, like the prior books in the series, is nothing short of charming. There are some predictable plot elements, but they are executed in such a fun way, that I don’t mind that much. The only one that really bothered me was that Gwennore took that long to figure out who the dragon was. I mean, the promotional material makes it pretty obvious to readers, but given that she can communicate telepathically with the dragon, wouldn’t his voice give it away?

The romance also didn’t feel as compelling this time around, with it definitely being a case of insta-love, but I did find enjoy the characters on their own, particularly Silas. I loved getting a peek into his motivations as his secret connection to everything going on was slowly revealed, and he is one of those protective alpha males who I actually found easy to root for.fAnd Gwennore, in spite of the aforementioned faults(?), was a great heroine, as I enjoyed seeing how she came to develop the strength to help the people of Norveshka with her gifts, as well as learning the secrets of her origins.

This is a delightfully fun paranormal/fantasy romance, and as I said before, I can’t wait for more. I would recommend this to fans of paranormal (especially shifter) and/or fantasy romance.

Review of “So I Married a Sorcerer” (The Embraced #2) by Kerrelyn Sparks

Sparks, Kerrelyn. So I Married a Sorcerer. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017. ISBN-13: 978-1-250-10823-4. Print List Price: $7.99.

4.5 stars

Kerrelyn Sparks proved to be a great new discovery of mine with the first book in the Embraced series, How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days. And the second installment proves to be just as good as the first, with (literally) enchanting characters,  great world-building, and a rich plot.

Rupert and Brigitta are both compelling characters, and I like that Sparks takes the time to let develop the relationship between the two, so even though not a lot of time has actually passed, you actually feel connected to the characters and invested in their relationship as things become more intimate between them, and the stakes rise that could keep them apart.

Brody also remains a fun character, and his banter with Nevis at one point has me eagerly awaiting the possibility that either will receive their own book.

While I did like the way Brigitta’s brother Gunther changed by the end, I felt it would have been much better if the story was more focused on him as a the main villain. The reappearance of the villain from the end of the first book, while tying the series together, was too predictable this time around, and I hope he does not pop up at the last moment of every book in the series.