Thursday, 5 April 2018

Review of An Heir in Shadow by Sofia Drake

An Heir in Shadow
Book One of The Shattering Darkness
Published 24 November 2017
"Morrigan has spent decades hiding in plain sight as a celebrated agent for the Bureau of Preternatural Creatures. As the most powerful fae spell caster alive, she has long stood against the rising tide of evil stalking the innocent people in her home city of Baltimore. When her cover is suddenly blown, Morrigan must finally decide to either embrace the duty of her heritage or to abandon the people she has come to love to one of the greatest enemies she has ever faced."



I won An Heir in Shadow in an author giveaway on Twitter and while it wasn't a requirement to write a review, I'm writing one and saving it for when I need a break or an emergency review. Every girl needs a backup, right? As always, the following review contains my opinions and mine alone.
Sofia Drake provides a prologue (roughly 2 pages) that explains the alternate reality that An Heir in Shadow takes place in. The most powerful spellcaster, Freya, sister to the King of the Light Court, is mated to the cousin of the Queen of the Night Court, right as a war between the courts begins. When her mate is struck down during the final battle, Freya casts a spell, cursing both Courts.
Hundreds of years after the battle between the courts ended, we meet Morrigan Ni Cathalian, a fae-dragon hybrid who passes herself off as a fae-human hybrid working as an agent of the Bureau of Preternatural Creatures and hiding from both sides of her family, her uncle, King Tristan of the Light Court, and her grand-uncle, the Prime Male who took over the Night Court. When the Prime Male requests assistance from the BPC and specifically requests Morrigan, she knows the jig is up. She panics and her boss and friend, Connar, reassures her that she doesn't have to take the job. And then, Morrigan is attacked at home by the Prime Male who confirms, yes, everybody knows she's doubly royal. Then she accidentally-on-purpose transports herself out of danger - and Baltimore. When Connar comes to pick her up, she explains what's what and Connar finds his new queen a dragon-tutor in Rosalind, an exile from the Night Court and unafraid of the upstart Prime Male.
Normally, I'd tell you about the first half of the book and leaving you wanting more, but, well, the action starts like right from the very beginning. So y'all get the bare minimum of whatsits and whosits. *sigh* I guess you'll just have to get your own copy and see what happens. But I will tell you my thoughts and ideas.
I like Morrigan's character a lot. She's the reluctant heroine, you know, the one we rarely ever see but always hope to encounter. She wasn't really wanting to take on the Big Bad, but somebody has to do it and she's the one with the birthmark so it's kinda gotta be her. Morrigan's also one of those people who can get people to like her, even people who dislike her. She's the Great Hope of the halfbreeds and women of the once matriarchal Night Court. As she goes along in the story, she accumulates her own Court made of fae, dragons, and hybrids alike. She's not bigoted towards the halfbreeds like so many of the preternatural world and that's pretty cool. Her motivation to take her crown is to help the downtrodden and she's a tad bit sadistic when it comes to dealing with her ememies.
I love Rosalind too. She's very headstrong and loyal to those she swears loyalty to, even going against her own family. And, my favourite, she doesn't take any crap from anybody but she is willing to give second chances. She and Morrigan develop a fast and strong friendship that is pretty much #friendshipgoals if you want to put it into plainspeak.
I had originally hoped for a little love between Connar and Morrigan, but not every ship can sail. But I do love Connar. Again, he's extremely loyal but he's also pushy and anchoring at the same time. I can definitely see why Morrigan makes Rosalind and Connar the first members of her court.
One of my favourite scenes comes later in the book, I won't tell you too much about it but I will tell you this. Morrigan decimates the bigoted council of puffed shirt male dragons who don't think she or her mate belong in charge of the Night Court. I admit, there was cackling while I read this scene. I also really loved that shelter for battered dragons she sets up towards the end of the book. That got me right in the ticker.
Overall, I give An Heir in Shadow a 5 out of 5 stars and 2 out of 5 flames of sexytimes because I truly enjoyed reading it and it was a nice change of pace from the regular seemingly orgiastic dragon/fae books I've encountered throughout the years. But, I do wish there had been some periods where things slowed down and everybody took stock. Once everything started happening, it didn't take a break and I ended up having the worst time finding a spot to pause and check in with reality, walk the dogs, sleep, whatever. I can't wait for book 2 to be available and I hope y'all check out An Heir in Shadow.


Sofia Drake is an up and coming author who's yet to be recognised by the literary world at large. (can we fix that, please?) An Heir in Shadow is her first published book. She is currently at work, writing the anticipated sequel, Rise of the Queen. You can contact her or stalk her (politely, not criminally, please) on Twitter and Facebook.

The artist behind An Heir in Shadow's cover is Anna Shoemaker. I'm in love with her work and really think y'all should show her some love on Instagram.


I hope y'all enjoyed this review and want to get your hands on it. Charity linkage for today is THORN, Ashton Kutcher's not-for-profit project which helps combat the sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking of children.
Until next time, dear readers, have a happily ever after!


ARC Review of Howl for It

by Shelly Laurenston & Cynthia Eden
Republishing Date 30 January 2018
Published by Kensington Books

"They hunger for your pleasure. They growl for your touch. And in these sizzling stories by New York Times bestselling author Shelly Laurenston and Cynthia Eden, these sexy wolf shapeshifters are lust at first bite. . .



Like A Wolf With A Bone by Shelly Laurenston


Quiet little Darla Lewis couldn't be happier when the most-feared member of the South's rowdiest pack kidnaps her. A girl gets real tired of being overprotected by her own shifter family, and there's nothing like an oh-so-big bad wolf to start a pack feud, unleash her instincts--and have her surrender however and whenever she wants. . .

Wed Or Dead by Cynthia Eden

Gage Ryder knew his human bride had a wild side. But spending their honeymoon night on the run from hunters out to finish him and his pack is sure not the kind of fun he was looking forward to. No problem--Gage will do whatever it takes to lay bare Kayla's secrets and find the truth. If he can keep from being captured by his own seductive game. . . "




While I already own a copy or two of Howl for It, I was given an advanced copy of the republished edition from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The following review consists solely of my opinions and no one else's.

I love and worship Shelly Laurenston so when NetGalley showed a republication of Howl for It, I nearly poured a bottle of water on my laptop to click the request button. Howl for It is a duet anthology consisting of Like a Wolf with a Bone by Shelly Laurenston, Book 0.5 of the Pride series, and Wed or Dead by Cynthia Eden.

I can’t not gush about Eggie Ray Smith, he's one of my favourite characters from Shelly Laurenston. I’ve been in love with Eggie Ray Smith’s character since reading about needing to call Uncle Eggie in to deal with some issues in The Beast in Him. He's fearsome and overly protective of anyone he deems 'his'. And, as soon as he set eyes on Darla Mae Lewis, she was his and he'd do anything to keep her safe. Which means when Darla Mae is attacked by a squad of full-humans trying to kill her, Eggie does what Eggie Ray Smith does best. He starts the killin'.
Most shifters in the world are terrified of Eggie Ray Smith, even his fellow packmates aren't comfortable around him and aren't exactly bending over backwards to invite him to sit a spell with them. Which makes little Darla Mae none too happy when she finds out. Eggie's a fearsome shifter to be sure, but he's not a bad guy. He begs for his mother's help to take out Darla's stitches because he's worried his hands are too rough to touch Darla. He tries to change himself for Darla but Darla is quick to tell him she likes him just the way he is.
Darla Mae Lewis is one of those people I'd love to have in my life, she's loving and trusting but she's also an assertive woman who will kick ass if she feels she has to. She's very loyal and defends Eggie Ray several times, even against her own sisters. Darla Mae is also a well-travelled and highly educated pastry chef, working at Van Holtz Restaurants all over the place and even having her European culinary education funded by her boss. Best of all? Darla Mae Lewis is a bona fide all-inclusive feminist. Yes, she's an apex predator shifter who shifter males know not to mess with, but she understands all women need equality and does the marching and protesting just like we are today.
In Like a Wolf with a Bone, we get to see how some older characters from Laurenston's shifter books were as 'new adults', Blayne Thorpe's daddy, Sissy Mae's and Smitty's parents, and, of course Dee-Ann's parents. We also meet Sara Morrighan's parents at a Woodstock-style party in the mountains.
With Like a Wolf with a Bone, I always enjoy reading the story. I think I actually have it memorised. Every part of the story had a beginning, a middle, and an end. Nothing was left unresolved. As a standalone and not a paired book, I'd rate Like a Wolf with a Bone, as 5 out of 5 stars because it's one of my favourite Laurenston books and it needs more gushing since it's a short story.

Wed or Dead
I admit it. Before this ARC, I'd actually never read Cynthia Eden's half of the book. So, this was actually my first time reading Wed or Dead. I enjoyed Kayla and Gage's story, but it wasn't really my kind of book. I'm not a fan of the 'genetically compatible for breeding mate' trope, women are not incubators and that's always what this trope says to me.
I did, however, enjoy the beginning of the story which starts with Kayla convincing herself to walk down the aisle of a Las Vegas strip chapel to her waiting groom, Gage. And then, we have a wedding night and meh. But that morning after routine was pretty amazing with the whole "can I really bring myself to kill the person I just had sex with, my newly wedded spouse?". The escape out the window was shocking and exhilarating from my spot in my safe bed with my cosy pupper under my head. Don't ask me to jump out the window to certain death, but I'll totally read or watch it.
The way the story played out, the betrayals and the enemy of my enemy is my friend thing? I liked it but some of it (the Big Bad) was too bad for me. Not on a literary level but on a moral level. There are just some things that you don't do and The Big Bad did it. Like, can I just slip into the story and be a little homicidal on The Big Bad?
While Wed or Dead wasn't very memorable for me, I did like reading it. I'll even go read the other Cynthia Eden books I bought just because they were there. Don't judge. I like to have options. But because it wasn't very memorable and it played on a trope I have no love for among a few other things you'll probably notice if you read it, I'm only giving it 3 stars.
Overall, I give Howl for It (both Like a Wolf with a Bone and Wed or Dead) 4 out of 5 stars and 3 out of 5 flames. I especially enjoyed reading Howl for It because the sexy times are limited because the stories are short in order to provide a full story for us readers to enjoy.



Originally from Long Island, New York, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelly Laurenston has resigned herself to West Coast living which involves healthy food, mostly sunny days, and lots of guys not wearing shirts when they really should be. Shelly Laurenston is also The New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author G.A. Aiken, creator of the Dragon Kin series. For more info on G.A.’s dangerously and arrogantly sexy dragons, check out her website at www.gaaiken.com.



Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller.  Cynthia is also a three-time finalist for the prestigious RITA® award . Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over eighty novels and novellas.
Cynthia is a “hybrid” author. She has published extensively with New York (her New York publishers include Avon, Kensington, Grand Central, and Harlequin), and she has also enjoyed success in her indie writing career.
Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate.  Her favorite hobbies including hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.
You can find Cynthia chatting daily on Twitter or on her Facebook page.


In the end, I hope you consider adding Howl for It to your TBR list. Buy a copy, rent a copy, donate to World Literacy Foundation, whatever. Until next time, dear readers, have a happily ever after!