The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell

The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

A charming everyman and a mysterious something-under-the-bridge cross paths in a short fairy tale by the number one New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and the Simon Snow series.

It’s fate when a man accidentally drops his phone off the bridge. It’s fortune when it’s retrieved by a friendly shape sloshing in the muck underneath. From that day forward, as they share a coffee every morning, an unlikely friendship blooms. Considering the reality for the man above, where life seems perfect, and that of the sharp-witted creature below, how forever after can a happy ending be?

The Prince and the Troll is part of Faraway, a collection of retold fairy tales that take the happily-ever-after in daring new directions. Whether read or listened to in one sitting, prepare to be charmed, moved, enlightened, and frightened all over again.

I’ve been checking out a lot of Amazon Original Stories recently, and I’ve always been a fan of fantasy and fairy tales, so it was a no-brainer to check out Rainbow Rowell’s short story addition to the Faraway Collection, The Prince and The Troll. Less than an hour in audiobook form or about 30 pages on an e-reader, Rainbow Rowell does a good job spinning the classic fairytale of the troll under the bridge. Narrator Rebecca Lowman did a good job bringing the story to life with her performance in the audiobook.

When I went into the book, I admittedly expected the prince referenced in the title to be an actual prince, but that’s not quite the case. It’s a modern day fairytale, where the “prince” is more of an average person rather than someone living in a literal castle. I did appreciate the gender-bent aspect of the story, as the troll in this is a female. The romance is clean and well-written, so that’s another plus.

One major drawback of the story (and a large part of the reason why I couldn’t give it a full five stars) was how much Starbucks was mentioned in this book. It’s 29 pages, and I’m pretty sure they went through the entire menu of drinks. I realize that the original coffee the ‘prince’ brings the troll is integral to the story, but the level detail they used in describing each drink was excessive and detracted from my enjoyment of the read. The other major drawback was the ending, as it was a bit confusing and didn’t really leave me feeling like I had closure with the characters and the story as a whole.

Overall, it was a good story, and I don’t feel like the time I spent reading it was wasted. If you enjoy modern retellings of fairy tales with a genderbent twist, this would be a good choice (especially if you have Kindle Unlimited).

Full Contact by Cassie Cole

Full Contact by Cassie Cole
Publisher: Juicy Gems Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

I never had a thing for football players.
That is, until I met the three of them.

I normally don’t like college parties.
I only went that night to keep my roommate company.
Yet when the sexiest, most muscular man I’ve ever met started flirting with me?
Well, let’s just say I didn’t go back to my dorm room that night.

But the devilish rogue who took me home isn’t just another student.
He’s Danny Armstrong, the star quarterback of the football team.
And getting into my pants isn’t the only thing on his mind.

He and two of his teammates need a physical trainer for the season.
Someone to monitor their workouts and help them avoid injury.
And as a kinesiology student, I desperately need the work credits that come with the job.

Danny Armstrong, the clean all-American with a steel jawline and sexy blue gaze.
Lance Overmire, a goofball wide receiver with washboard abs and an “I just thought of a dirty joke” grin.
Fernando Martinez, the dark-and-handsome place kicker from Chile who pronounces my name like it’s an exotic meal.

I’ll be working with them every day for the fall semester.
Watching them lift weights in the morning, monitoring football practice in the afternoon.
And giving them far more specialized physical therapy in the evenings.
Can I be the physical trainer that helps them go to the playoffs?
Or will they end up falling for me along the way?

Ever since I got a Kindle Unlimited subscription, Cassie Cole has always been one of my favorite indie authors. Her reverse harem romance books are great choices for when you want to curl up under a warm blanket with a book you can finish in one sitting. Normally, I’m more of a fan of her TV drama-esque romances (featuring firefighters, military members, office romances, etc.). I finished her tennis themed book Match Point and loved it. One of her other sports romance releases is Full Contact, which I picked up even though I’ve admittedly never been a big fan of football. While it had her trademark steamy scenes and was entertaining and well researched, it lacked the same ‘oomph’ and awe factor that some of her other books had for me.

Like many of Cassie Cole’s other books, Full Contact was well researched. Even though I’m not a football fan (I really only watch the Rose Bowl and the Super Bowl), it was easy to understand how Fena, Danny and Lance fit into the team and what their roles were. It was also easy to follow the various kinesiology terms Roberta used, and get a sense of how those exercises had a tendency to develop into more spontaneous and fun activities. I always appreciate the details that help craft the world and the images the author is trying to paint in the reader’s heads, and there are a lot of them in this book. Overall, I was entertained enough and hooked to the point that I kept reading.

The part of the book where I struggled was the plot. While the writing was there and it flowed well, there was no balance between the actual storyline and the smuttier scenes. Football was either at the forefront of what was going on or a minor note in the background. While reverse harems are known for jumping into smut fairly quickly (and it was very entertaining once we did hit those scenes), I would have enjoyed a bit more build up or foreplay. There were also some missed opportunities with some of the side characters, as I would have loved to learn more about the rival teams the guys were facing (especially Nicky vs Danny) as well as their backgrounds. It was very surface level stuff that was being gone through – Fena’s family sounds super cool, and I would have loved to see more scenes with Lance’s grandma, Babs.

Despite the minor hiccups, Full Contact was an entertaining book. I just don’t think it was the book for me. I needed more from the story to fully enjoy the read. To be clear, I will definitely be picking up more of her books in the future. I just think I’ll take a step back from sports romances for the time being.

Cruel Seduction by Katee Robert

Cruel Seduction by Katee Robert
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Erotic Romance, LGBTQ, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

Aphrodite has never flinched at getting her perfectly manicured hands dirty, and she’s not about to start now—even if that means marrying Olympus’s enemy number one, the new Hephaestus. She has a wicked plan to keep her deadly new husband off-balance, seducing the one person he seems to care about most in this world: Pandora, a woman as beautiful as she is sweet.

Two can play the seduction game, however, and Hephaestus is all too happy to put his new wife in her place. Her ex, Adonis, seems like he’ll do the trick. It doesn’t hurt that he’s gorgeous in the way of fallen angels, either.

The only problem with using seduction as a weapon? Hearts are all too quick to get involved. With Hephaestus and Aphrodite trading venomous strikes that feel a whole lot like foreplay, lines become blurred and emotions entangled. But a broken heart may be the least of their worries. With unrest in Olympus reaching new heights, these bedroom games may have deadly consequences for themselves, their city, and everyone they’ve come to love.

As someone who enjoys anything related to Greek mythology, I’ve been a big fan of Katee Robert’s ongoing Dark Olympus series. One of the latest releases, Cruel Seduction, centers on the Aphrodite and Hephaestus myth. A very loose re-imagining of the original story, the author does a great job honoring the tone and heart of the source material while still weaving in their own trademark spiciness and complexities.

If you had to sum up Aphrodite and Hephaestus’ relationship in one word, it would be complicated. In almost every version of the myth, Aphrodite was not exactly thrilled about getting married to her husband. That holds true in this book as Aphrodite (formerly known as Eris) is forced to marry the new Hephaestus in order to secure his cooperation in working with the other members of the Thirteen for the good of Olympus. Those who have read the previous books in the series know that both are very talented when it comes to manipulation and politics. Since they can’t physically hurt their spouse, they choose to go for the emotional jugular and seduce their spouses’ former lovers (Adonis and Pandora, respectively). Romance readers who pick their books by trope will be pleased to know that the ‘marriage of convenience’ and ‘second chance romance’ feature very heavily in this book. The whole situation between Hephaestus and Aphrodite gets very complicated very quickly (turning into what the author terms as a ‘polyamorous knot’) and it was quite entertaining as a reader to follow along.

The worldbuilding of each book in the series works off of the foundation that previous books have laid. I’ve really enjoyed getting to learn more about how the city works, and what forces are working against it. While the plots of each book are constructed such that they can be read in any order and independently of each other, I do recommend reading it in order for the best experience. If you read this and subsequently start reading more of Katee Robert’s books, you will also notice that her different series are interconnected. I highly recommend checking out their graphics on Instagram to see the different connections. As a side note, for those who might be going into this as your first Katee Robert read, I do want to warn you that the spiciness rating is very high; multiple explicit and intimate lovemaking scenes are scattered throughout the book.

Overall, this was an excellent read that’s left me excited for more. Audiobook narrators Alex Moorcock and Zara Hampton-Brown did an excellent job bringing multiple perspectives to life with their performances in the audiobook version of the story. I’m super excited for the next installment in the series (due out January 2024), which features Charon, Eurydice, and Orpheus.

Match Point by Cassie Cole

Match Point by Cassie Cole
Publisher: Juicy Gems Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

For the past decade, I’ve put my love life on hold to focus on tennis.
Now I’m retired and ready to relax.
Until three swoony men from my past come walking back into my life.

First there’s Dominic deGrom, the chiseled all-American boy who stole my heart when we were teenagers.
Then there’s Tristan Carfrae, the tall Australian whose serve is as undeniable as his quick smile.
Finally there’s Gabriel Moreau, the suave French player whose cocky attitude is completely at odds with the softer personality I see behind closed doors.

These three tennis pros are competing against each other at the biggest tournaments in the world,
While fighting for my love off the court.
Can I choose which of them I want to spend the rest of my life with?
Or will all three of them end up winning the match point?

Cassie Cole has always been one of my favorite authors with books available, and her latest release Match Point was another smash hit. The book starts with our four main characters as teenagers at a tennis academy, where the guys all share a single kiss with heroine Miranda during a party game. Sadly, nothing happens at that point and things fast forward fourteen years to where Miranda is a tennis pro who recently decided to retire after earning the #1 ranked spot. By some happenstance of fate, Miranda runs into all three of her past crushes (within days of each other) and they have to figure out how to make things work now that they’re all grown up.

For those who might not be familiar, a reverse harem romance is a book where a single female protagonist has three or more male love interests. It can also be referred to as a why-choose romance. In terms of spice, I would rate this at around a 4 or a 5 (descriptive and explicit intimate love scenes, bordering on intense).

As opposed to other authors in the reverse harem genre, Ms. Cole’s books always include a great plot and show evidence of lots of research being put into crafting a believable story. I don’t know much about tennis or sports in general (outside of what watching the Olympics or playing on the Wii has taught me haha) but Ms. Cole made it easy to follow the scenes with lots of technical descriptions. There were also a lot of names I recognized as other real life tennis pros and real life tennis tournaments (i.e. Wimbledon and the US Open) being referenced in the book which was cool. All of the characters in the book had a part to play and were amusing to read about, and I really enjoyed how the ending turned out for the quartet.

Overall, Match Point was another stellar read from Cassie Cole. Her books are a perfect choice for when you’re looking for a fun and steamy reverse harem romance you can finish in an afternoon. If you’re not into reverse harem stories and are looking for a more traditional romance read, I highly recommend checking out her pen name K.T. Quinn where she writes monogamous happily ever after romance stories (with the same amount of spice).

Nanny for the Firemen by Cassie Cole

Nanny for the Firemen by Cassie Cole
Publisher: Juicy Gems Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

I finally landed a date with the swooniest, most gorgeous fireman in town.
But just when our date was going well, he got called back to the firehouse.
Turns out, a baby was left on the fire station doorstep.
And since they’re clueless about taking care of a baby, they recruit me to help.

Now I’m crashing at the firehouse with them.
Three hulking, chiseled heroes in suspenders.
And even though I came here to take care of the baby, they soon turn their sights on me…

I spend my days taking care of the baby,
And at night, the firemen take care of me.
Can we control the attraction spreading through the station like wildfire?
Or will our entire situation go up in smoke?

NANNY FOR THE FIREMEN is a scorching Reverse Harem love story filled with humor, emotion, and enough excitement to leave you sweaty and breathless. HEA guaranteed!

Cassie Cole’s books have always been some of my favorite romances available on Kindle Unlimited, and Nanny for the Firemen was no exception. Clara has come home for a while to help her mother at their restaurant after the passing of her father, and one of the highlights of her week is the weekly delivery to the three hunky firemen at the fire station. She’s thrilled when one of them asks her out on a date. However, their night out is interrupted after a baby is surrendered at the station. Clara gets roped into helping take care of the baby while the four of them do their best to get him into a good home. Lots of fun relationship growth ensues, as Clara and her firemen lovers work to hide the baby from everyone (including her overbearing Italian mother who is desperate for grandbabies).

As opposed to other authors in the reverse harem genre, her books include a great plot along with the steamy scenes, and I really connected to this one in particular. I really appreciated and took note of how much care went into researching the safe haven laws, as well as highlighting some of the current failings of America’s foster care system. All of the characters were fun (especially Clara’s mother) and I really enjoyed getting to see Billy get what was coming to him.

Overall, Nanny for the Firemen was another great read from Cassie Cole. Her books are a perfect choice when you’re looking for a fun and steamy reverse harem romance you can finish in an afternoon. If you’re not into reverse harem novels, I also recommend checking out her pen name K.T. Quinn where she writes monogamous happily ever after romance stories (with the same amount of spice).

Warlock by Marteeka Karland

Warlock by Marteeka Karland
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

Warlock: Love didn’t stop me from killing my ex when I had to — wasn’t a choice I made lightly, but more lives than hers were on the line. Black Reign gave me the second chance I didn’t deserve, and never again would I put a woman above my club.

Then along comes this little vagabond who claims my mother left me to her in her will. Is that even possible? And to top it off, it looks like my mother pulled some strings and got us married. Without my consent. Still, I think I’d rather be married to the crazy woman my mother foisted off on me than play Santa at the club’s annual Christmas party. Yeah. Not a role I’m made for.

Hope: Christmas magic being what it is, maybe I can get my fondest wish this year. To say Warlock isn’t happy to find out he’s married to me is the biggest understatement in the history of understatements. Still doesn’t make me want my fantasy lover any less.

Warlock represents everything I’ve ever wanted in life. But the fact that I achieved my dreams through more manipulation — even if it wasn’t of my doing — means I have to give him up. But first, Warlock has to see beyond his past and embrace a future he never wanted.

Mother knows best.

Or at least she thinks she does, in Marteeka Karland’s Warlock, the ninth book in the Black Reign motorcycle club romance series. Maximilian ‘Warlock’ Wagner’s life has been shitty as of late, and Black Reign has offered him the second chance he so desperately needs. When Hope comes along stating that Warlock’s mother gave him to her in marriage through her will, both of their lives become infinitely more complicated, and they must decide what they want their future to look like (and whether they want the other person in it).

I’ve been a fan of motorcycle club romances for a while now, but what drew me to this book was the premise. The idea of someone’s mother willing their adult child to another person in their will sounded too outrageous not to check out. In theory, one of the lawyers or officials involved in the process should have noticed that Warlock was not there to consent to the union. However, I was very shocked to learn that no one did and that their union is legal (still not sure how that would hold up in real life though).

Hope and Warlock are both very damaged souls. Warlock spent a good chunk of his life loving someone who didn’t love him back, and after making an unthinkable choice to exact justice he’s spent the time since filled with regret and anger. Hope, on the other hand, has never had a family and was naively optimistic that everything with Warlock would end up in an immediate happily ever after. Thankfully for both of them, motorcycle clubs are a very welcoming and tight-knit environment full of people willing to help them work their issues out.

Motorcycle club romance fans looking for a short holiday romance will enjoy this book. As a note, this book is part of a series, but I didn’t have any issues understanding what was going on without having read any of the previous installments (this is the first book I’ve read in the series).

Gawain Unbound by Rebecca York

Gawain Unbound by Rebecca York
Unbound 2
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Erotic Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

When Killian returned alive after an enchanted captivity, his younger brother Prince Gawain was more than happy to step aside as heir to the throne of Abercarn. Now, though, Gawain is at loose ends — until Lady Catrin seduces him and secures his agreement to stalk Madrin, the evil magician who enchanted Killian and killed her father.

Posing as troubadours, the two battle adversity together and find that they are connected by more than their hatred of Madrin. Yet despite their growing longing for a life together, neither of them is willing to abandon their dangerous quest. Their confrontation with their powerful and wily enemy will be the ultimate test of their resolve and their love.

Heroes unite in the name of facing down a dark magician. Their disguise – traveling troubadours making their way through the region. What could go wrong?

On first glance at this book, without reading the synopsis or knowing anything besides the title and what the cover looked like, my first thought was ‘medieval’. Given the name of the main character (Gawain), I went into the book expecting something inspired by the King Arthur myth but that wasn’t the case. The book has a similar vibe and setting, but any inspirations drawn from that legend are loose at best. Gawain, our hero, is searching for his purpose in life after handing the heir to the throne position back to his brother following his return from magical captivity. When he encounters Lady Catrin, the physical tension is electric, and they make an agreement to take out the evil magician Madrin together. A task easier said than done, however, because there are a lot of obstacles in the way of securing their happily ever after ending (especially if they want one together).

I really enjoyed the way the story was structured. The author shows readers the world through Gawain and Catrin’s travels, and it was cool to get to see the region that way. It’s always fun to see heroes go undercover, especially when they pick a disguise of someone that is traditionally overlooked by those in positions of power. I also appreciated that the author chose to make them troubadours (an underutilized role in books) instead of something stereotypical like a servant or a handmaiden.

The sex scenes, unfortunately, were where the author lost me as a reader. As Gawain puts it, they went from conversation to fucking in a blink of an eye (translate that to less than 20 pages into the book). I can get behind characters jumping into bed together fairly quickly, but there was no set up or development to explain what was happening before it did happen. After that first encounter, I wasn’t really invested in their relationship and that negatively impacted my reading experience.

For those who might be curious, this is the second book in the Unbound series. There are some pieces of context and character backgrounds that you’ll get by reading the first book, Killian Unbound, but if you want to read this one first you shouldn’t have too many issues.

Overall, Gawain Unbound was a fairly enjoyable read. There were some minor issues, but the plot was enough to keep me engaged. If you’re looking for a quick (less than 150 page) romantic fantasy tale filled with action and adventure, this would be a good choice.

The Unforgettable Logan Foster by Shawn Peters

The Unforgettable Logan Foster by Shawn Peters
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

Logan Foster has pretty much given up on the idea of ever being adopted. It could have something to with his awkward manner, his photographic memory, or his affection for reciting curious facts, but whatever the cause, Logan and his “PP’s” (prospective parents) have never clicked.

Then everything changes when Gil and Margie arrive. Although they aren’t exactly perfect themselves—Gil has the punniest sense of humor and Margie’s cooking would have anyone running for the hills—they genuinely seem to care.

But it doesn’t take Logan long to notice some very odd things about them. They are out at all hours, they never seem to eat, and there’s a part of the house that is protected by some pretty elaborate security.

No matter what Logan could have imagined, nothing prepared him for the truth: His PP’s are actually superheroes, and they’re being hunted down by dastardly forces. Logan’s found himself caught in the middle in a massive battle and the very fate of the world may hang in the balance. Will Logan be able to find a way to save the day and his new family?

Shawn Peters’ debut novel The Unforgettable Logan Foster is a simply unforgettable read!

Logan Foster is a unique kid, and he’s sadly given up on the dream of ever being adopted. Despite being fostered out to Prospective Parents, or “PPs” multiple times, adults have never connected to his awkward personality, his love of comic books, or his other quirks (namely his photographic memory, being on the autism spectrum, and developmental coordination disorder). Things change for him though when he’s introduced to Gil and Margie, and he quickly learns that there’s more to his new foster parents than meets the eye.

As a loyal fan of the superhero genre, I’m always happy when there’s a great new book to read. The book is action-packed and fast-paced. I loved how the author built comic books and superheroes into the worldbuilding of the story. I also appreciated how the big superhero organization in the book did not try to copy the Justice League or the Avengers. MASC (Multinational Authority for Superhuman Control) occupies a very different role in the world than the two other organizations do.

While superheroes are a big focus of the book, Mr. Peters also focuses on some more mundane topics like adoption and neurodivergence. Logan’s been somewhat hardened by the multiple failed fosterings, so he resists warming up to Gil and Margie (expecting he’ll be back in the orphanage before the month is out). Their initial awkwardness (due to hiding their secret identities as superheroes) doesn’t help matters. There’s also the issue of Logan’s quirks. Most are put off by the multitude of random facts he spouts (courtesy of his photographic memory), and his autistic nature makes some of the more nuanced social interactions in his new school challenging. Never fear though – things work out well in the end for Logan, and he even has his own “superpower” just like his new parents! You’ll have to read the book to find out exactly what I mean.

The only weakness of the book I noticed, and an area of confusion for me as a reader, was the connection to Logan’s (possible) sibling. Logan opens the book directly speaking to a sibling, and the book is pretty much a diary addressed to them. He even has a best big brother shirt that means a lot to him. However, said sibling doesn’t actually show up in the book. That was a letdown for me, so I’m hoping they’ll show up later in the series.

It’s reminiscent of a cross between Disney’s The Incredibles and Meet the Robinsons. If you or a young reader would enjoy a story filled with superheroes, friendship, found family, and lots of comic references, then pick up this book today! It would also be a great choice for those looking for a mainstream book featuring adoption and fostering. I’m excited to see what’s next for Logan in the sequel, The Unforgettable Logan Foster and the Shadow of Doubt (which comes out in January 2023).

Surge by Harley Wylde

Surge by Harley Wylde
Hades Abyss #8
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

Colette’s a sweet angel in need of saving, and like it or not, I have a hero complex. Marrying her seems like the right thing to do. Then my sometimes lover, Aidan, finds us together. The hurt in his eyes nearly guts me.

My club knows I’m bisexual. I’ve not hidden it from them. Doesn’t mean I’ve flaunted it in their faces either. So when I decided to claim Aidan and Colette, I’m not sure how it’s going to end. All I know is they both need me, and I need them too.

With human traffickers after Colette, a possible traitor in the club, and more chaos than I can handle, I do the only thing I can… I run with my new wife and husband. Once I figure out who wants Colette, I’ll do whatever it takes to destroy them. Until then, I’ll keep her safe, and Aidan too. Because they both mean more to me than I realized.

Those who love motorcycle club romances will be excited to read Surge’s story in the latest releases in Harley Wylde’s Hades Abyss series, Surge.

Surge never saw himself settling down the like the other club members. He’s been distant from his lover, Aidan because he can’t give him the things he wants. But when he crosses paths with Colette, his hero complex kicks in and he can’t stop himself from taking her under his protection. Will the three of them be able to work their relationship out, or will it end in heartbreak?

Insta-love is a must with a story of this length, and Harley Wylde makes it work for Colette and Surge’s relationship. While that portion of the story worked, there was a teensy bit of a disconnect for me with Aidan and Surge’s relationship, as I felt there was more on-page backstory needed. As a result, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the full polyamorous relationship, but I was pleased to see things work out for Surge, Aidan, and Colette in the end. Like all of the author’s other books, it’s quite steamy and that was fun for me as a reader.

My main complaint about this book was the difficulty in keeping track of all the different players and clubs in the world. The author has multiple motorcycle club romance series (Dixie Reapers, Devil’s Fury, Devil’s Boneyard, and Reckless Kings just to name a few), and there is a shared world between the different books. The different clubs do interact, and it was hard to keep track of who was doing what and who belongs to which club. I felt compelled to take notes to keep everything straight, which is no fun when you just want to sink into a story. It did impact my reading experience a little bit, but not enough for me to stop reading.

Overall, this was another entertaining motorcycle club romance from Harley Wylde. With regard to trigger warnings and content to be aware of, there are darker themes, explicit sex, lots of swearing, and some references to human trafficking. Please be aware that the book does feature a polyamorous relationship at its heart, but if that’s not your thing there are minimal MMF scenes so they can be easily skipped. It can get very dark at times but don’t get too discouraged because the book ends in a happily ever after (and there is no cheating whatsoever).

Seduced by a Selkie by Lauren Connolly

Seduced by a Selkie by Lauren Connolly
Folk Haven Book One
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

All Delta needs is a cozy home, an odd dog, and a coffee shop with good wifi. She does not need a shifter bent on seduction.

Delta Novac hates her house on Lake Galen. The old place in the small town of Folk Haven is a reminder of her father’s mental decline in the last few years of his life. She’s just come to town to clear the thing out and get it ready to sell. Delta never even planned to dip a toe in the water until a prone body floating has her diving in to save the swimmer.

A selkie will know their mate when they are rescued.

Calder MacNamara wasn’t in need of saving, but he certainly appreciates the effort. Especially when the hands on his bare skin warm him to his core. The moment he meets the woman’s piercing stare, his gut tells him she’s his fated mate. But he soon finds that if Delta feels anything toward him, it’s annoyance. Accidentally insulting her dog doesn’t help his case.

With Delta’s focus on the road out of town, Calder scrambles to discover what, if anything, could make her stay. He’s willing to use all means of pleasure at his disposal to convince his mate that Folk Haven is the perfect place to call home. Especially if you’re a mythical creature.

Lauren Connolly’s Seduced by a Selkie, the first book in the Folk Haven series is a short, entertaining romance read. If you’re a fan of Kresley Cole or Gena Showalter, or you’re just on the lookout for a quick, entertaining cross between paranormal romance and urban fantasy book then this one’s for you!

Delta has returned home to the small town of Folk Haven after the death of her father. After she gets there, she sees a body floating in the lake one day and immediately goes into action to save them. Things get very awkward, however, once she realizes the man is not in fact drowning and is actually teaching a swimming class. The chemistry between Delta and Calder is evident from the start, but Delta is not interested in staying in Folk Haven and Calder has his work cut out for him to make her believe in their mythical bond before it’s too late.

One thing I love to see in romance novels is an emphasis on the importance of consent, and Calder in particular is a consent king. The relationship between Calder and Delta is one of ‘fated mates’, and from the moment they meet, Calder’s focus is on Delta’s comfort and pleasure (which includes making sure she’s comfortable with everything they are doing). Once the consent is there, the romance is spicy and hot (bordering on erotic romance, given the detailed scenes). I would not recommend this for younger readers – mature adult readers only, folks!

I’m a big fan of mythology and fantasy, so it was exciting to see that this book features the lesser known selkies. For those who might not be familiar, a selkie is a figure from Celtic and Norse mythology who is able to change forms between a human and a seal. Mermen are definitely more common in urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and I was quite amused when Calder grumpily referred to them as “fuckboys” (he’s obviously not a fan). In terms of worldbuilding, the author did a great job painting the picture with the setting. She also did a great job explaining how the bond dynamics work. There was some missed potential, however, with the actual folklore surrounding the selkies and other mythical creatures present in the universe of the Folk Haven series. This extended to being lost at times with how the dynamics between the various “mythics” in Folk Haven works. I hope to see the worldbuilding expanded in subsequent books so it’s not an issue in the future.

The author does mention the trigger warnings at the beginning of the book (which is appreciated). Still, I feel compelled to note in my review that potential readers should be aware that the book includes discussions of parental death, hoarding, and drowning. If any of these are potentially triggering, please take caution while reading.

Overall, Seduced by a Selkie was an engaging and interesting book. This series seems to be a set of interconnected standalones, so I’m curious to see where the author will take the story in the next book of the series, Sucker for a Siren.