Her Orc Warrior – Zoe Ashwood

This book contains:

  • Homelessness from childhood
  • Thievery
  • Attempted murder
  • Domestic/close relationship abuse.

Hazel is a single mum of a 4-year-old little girl doing her best to make the best of her life. She’s resourceful, quick and determined making her potentially difficult for others to work with.

Vark is an Orc we’ve met in the previous 2 books, but now he’s finding his own love. He’s still coming to terms with the trauma he experienced in the first book, Her Orc King, but he’s doing his best while also trying to accept a mate that he wasn’t expecting at his “lowest” point in life.

Vark is surprised to discover his mate in the back of his wagon, almost as surprised as Hazel is to find out that the wagon driver is an Orc!

Because of this surprise for them both, things heat up, get complicated and of course, drama ensues. Together, they need to find their way to clear communication, safety and security for them both and a future together.

In some ways, this felt a little slower than some of Zoe’s other books, but in others it felt perfectly paced. For those that like fast paced books, I can understand why this might not be for them. But I really enjoyed the slow character development and reveal for both of these characters.

Since we met Vark back in the first book, it felt right that everything happening between Hazel and Vark was careful, considered and measured. We of course had our moments of erotic fun, because how could it be a Zoe book without some smut?

Although in the grand scheme of things, this was still very tame for Zoe!

Her Orc Guardian – Zoe Ashwood

This book contains:

  • Death of parents (discussed)
  • Criminal accusations.

Poppy’s world turned upside down when her father got sick and it was clear her stepmother wouldn’t do right by her (in a very Cinderella vibing kinda way). So she sneaks off in the middle of the night with a letter from her father to find his friend Streagor who will help her start anew, away from her stepmother. While she’s got limited resources and a long way to go, her ingenuity, smart wits and confidence stay with her, even after finding Streagor.

Streagor is one of King Gorvor’s trusted soldiers and while he’s quiet, he’s fiercely loyal and upholds the orc values even to his detriment. If you’ve read Her Orc King, you’ll recognise Streagor as one of Dawn’s guards and boy does his fierce personality come through even more in this book!

Poppy has travelled across the human kingdoms all the way to the Black Bear Clan’s lands to find Streagor, a man her father has assured her will help her after his death. The only problem is, when she does find him, she’s caught stealing food supplies from him and he’s not a man, he’s an orc. A very large, green, scarred orc.

Streagor to his credit reads the letter her father wrote him and immediately takes responsibility for Poppy and does everything he can to set her up for a prosperous future. Including interviewing eligible men to marry her, with a significant dowry provided as well.

My biggest disappointment with this is that there were a few spots I would have enjoyed being more fleshed out. While what we got was amazing, there were a few scenes that I would’ve loved to have seen more of to get more depth for the characters.

I know it’s hard to get that when there’s a fair bit to pack into the book, especially because Zoe’s book tends to be a fairly consistent length so it’s hard to add in the extra’s. But I really would’ve enjoyed this one being just a little longer than it was to give those scenes the attention that I think they deserve, and I know Zoe can write.

Otherwise, I loved little miss feminist and all the ways she embodies equal opportunities while also respecting the thoughts and feelings of those around her. Where possible, she was thoughtful, considerate and compassionate; all while standing up for what she believed to be right for her and her future.

I know I don’t normally share this, but my absolute favourite scene in the whole book was when she comes into the common room in the inn to find Streagor interviewing all the village men. Classic! I loved it!

Thank you Zoe for writing such a fun scene between such strong characters!

Her Orc King – Zoe Ashwood

This book contains:

  • Slavery
  • Kidnapping
  • Attempted murder
  • Treason and betrayal.

Dawn has worked and supported herself for some time, until she was kidnapped and sold as a slave. Although she’s now considered property, she doesn’t give up her fighting spirit and insists on continually trying to find a way to escape her new orc owners.

Gorvor is the Orc King of the Black Bear Clan and it’s his duty to ensure the continued prosperity and safety of his clan. With his brother and mate both arriving in the same week, he needs to carefully manage the goings on at the Black Bear Clan to make sure he keeps Dawn safe.

Dawn was kidnaped in the human town she worked in before being sold as a slave to orcs that live under King Gorvor’s rule. Little does she know they purchase slaves in order to free them, so while she’s doing her utmost to escape the brutes and get to the safety of a human village, they’re just trying to give her a chance at a second life.

But with Gorvor’s brother also visiting the Black Bear Clan, things aren’t as simple as it appears.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know I love Zoe’s books. Yet going into this one I actually thought it might be the first book I wasn’t going to enjoy.

I mean… it’s orcs.

When you think about Lord of the Rings and the orcs there… how could that be sexy? How could anyone want to be with them? How could a human even SURVIVE?

Well. I should have trusted Zoe to work her magic and create a whole different type of orc that is so far removed from those in LOTR that you don’t need to worry at all!

In fact, grab the book, grab some popcorn or whatever snack you like and just enjoy! With a good balance between the romance, sex, sassiness, action and mystery; you’ll be sure to find something you’ll love in this book.

Pirate’s Protector – Lisa Kessler

This book contains:

  • Murder
  • Torture
  • Mind control
  • Theft
  • Manipulation.

Duke is the loyal and protective First Mate of the Sea Dog crew. He’s steadfastly avoided romantic entanglements for the past 200 years, even with many of his crew mates falling in love, because he doesn’t want to watch them grow old and die.

Annika is a mermaid that’s been around on Earth for a couple thousand years, and yet has maintained minimal contact with humans until now. After some incidents that happened with her family, she’s pretty much alone on Earth and was quite happy like this until she met Duke and he somehow managed to sneak past her defences.

Annika seeks out the Sea Dog after following it in from the Atlantic at the end of the previous book (Pirate’s Paradox) thanks to the Atlanteans giving her comb to them. When she can’t find it, she’s forced to confront someone on the crew in the hopes of finding it, which turns out to be Duke’s position.

After Annika shoots Duke in an attempt to get her comb back, he offers to help her in exchange for answering questions about mermaids. After accepting his offer of help, Annika and Duke work together to find an unlikely enemy, unexpected returns and the missing comb.

Another highly enjoyable and exciting read where Lisa adds twists to old folklore and myths to create her own universe. My only fault with the details is about the chemical make up of Neptune.

If it’s a gaseous planet, made up of the same gas components as water but in a gas form. How do the mermaid swim? And how do they breathe underwater?

And another one that just bugged me coz I’m odd. How do they sleep underwater?

All probably irrelevant and don’t impact the story but my woozey brain as I read this while quite sick struggled to comprehend and make the connections, or just move on from these details.

In terms of the story itself, it was full of twists and turns with a major development that I didn’t see coming. Well, I did, but then Lisa added a comment that made me change tack and it turns out I was right initially. So, I got a small shock when that was revealed!

After learning more about Captain Flynn in this, I’m now quite excited for his book to come out so I can find out what happens on his romance/relationship front!

Pirate’s Paradox – Lisa Kessler

Diana is a psychic local to Savannah who’s helped the crew in the past, even if only a couple have met her before. She’s strong willed and refuses to let a man get in the way of what she wants from life, especially after the stunt her ex pulled on her in college.

Caleb is the Sea Dogs navigator and has his head 100% committed to science and the tangible world. With multiple doctorates in a range of fields, he considers himself an expert in many areas. Yet when he starts getting dreams he can’t explain, his answer is to stop sleeping to avoid the nightmares.

Diana and Caleb are getting very similar dreams that are pushing them out to sea by some unknown force. Diana convinces the crew of the Sea Dog to go to some coordinates in the middle of the Atlantic telling them it’ll stop the tsunami that she believes is coming to Savanah.

From all the research they’re all doing to try and understand what’s out there, it looks more and more likely that Atlantis has something to do with it.

I was a bit hesitant about how I felt about this in a few ways, but then in others I quite enjoyed it.

The hint of something to do with Atlantis had me suckered in, but then the development of Caleb and Diana’s relationship felt odd to me. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. There was just something that kept niggling at the back of my mind that I couldn’t quite place.

In the end I think I enjoyed the Atlantis vibes more than the romance. That seemed to intrigue me so much more than the romance did. Or maybe I’d been on a binge of romances at the time and so the Atlantis stuff just caught my attention more coz it was a bit different. I’m not sure.

Still a great book, and it reminded me I still haven’t gone back to the start of the series to read those. Hopefully in 2022 I will get around to doing that.

Pirate’s Promise – Lisa Kessler

Greyson is a Scottish pirate who’s over 200 years old and has been living in Savannah since their ship sunk just off the coast. He loves his crew and will do anything to protect then, which is how he first ran into Aura.

Aura is an Agent for Department 13 and hates Greyson after he blew her last mission. Since then, she’s been desperate to prove herself and secure hew position in Department 13 since she feels like it’s on edge and could be taken away at any moment since Greyson blew her cover.

Greyson and Aura are teamed up together to find the elusive blade that thirsts for blood and has been discovered missing from the Department 13 vault. Since taking a mythical sword that can cut through any material on an international flight from Scotland to DC wouldn’t be smart, let alone challenging to get through customs, they sailed the Sea Dog all the way from Savannah to Glasgow.

Once there, they need to find and retrieve the sword, without getting killed.

I’m really enjoying this series. The development of the characters, the levels to their personalities and the trauma they’ve experienced in the past is so well thought out. While I haven’t read all the earlier books to get a sense of whether their personalities and histories are consistent, I certainly got the sense they were.

Even the little details Lisa includes about how they became the person they are today is amazing. I really should go back and read the first three books, and of course keep an eye out for the remaining books!

Freed in Love – Zoe Ashwood

This book contains:

  • Murder
  • Physical and psychological torture.

Nora and her three men (Levi, Raphael and Isak) are back for the final instalment and their relations are pretty strained to begin with.

Nora is struggling to come to terms with the revelations at the end of Captured in Love but Isak (sea dragon) is at her side supporting her. Meanwhile, Raphael (vampire) and Levi (witch) are desperate to find Nora again and try and rekindle their relationship before things go too badly.

Nora, Levi, Raphael and Isak are racing into the final challenge in the hopes of winning the Ballendial Games. As they find their way to Greece to face the final challenge they’re confronted by mythology and other creatures they never anticipated but have to overcome.

I’m so in love with this series!

This was SUCH an amazing ending to a thrilling adventure. The sheer level of adversity they need to overcome, not just to win the Games, but also to find happiness is gargantuan.

As I got closer and closer to the end I didn’t want it to end. I mean, how could I possibly be happy with the ending given how much amazing action was happening?!

And yet, Zoe didn’t fail me and rather than leave me on yet another cliff hanger she gave me a satisfying ending that was beautiful and exactly what all four of them deserved.

Cursed in Love – Zoe Ashwood

This book contains:

  • Graphic sex scenes
  • Sex between two men and a woman
  • Attempted murder.

Nora and Levi are the focus of our story, although Raphael joins in along the way and Isak is a little on the periphery of their adventure.

Nora and Levi are powerful witches that have left their coven for their own reasons. Nora’s mission is to create an online library of spells that any witch from any coven can access for free so that no one has to suffer or die because their coven doesn’t have centuries of knowledge at their disposal. Levi on the other hand is trying to protect Nora and absolve himself of the guilt he feels in relation to Nora’s mum’s death.

Raphael is an old flame of Nora’s back from college days. He also somehow seems to have the perfect knowledge to help them in their adventure.

Nora and Levi enter a witch competition to win access to their century’s old library for 24 hours. As part of it, they find themselves up against witches who’re willing to kill the other competitors. The competition requires them to travel to three locations around the world, find and win their tokens and return to the witches coven within 28 days.

Nora and Levi choose Egypt, Iceland and Greece, with Egypt being their first stop. On the way from Scotland to Egypt, they stop off in Paris and pick up Raphael to help guide them through Egypt.

Almost immediately after starting this book I started to get some serious Da Vinci Code and Matthew Reilly with a touch of XXXX vibes. The balance of the action, romance, sex, drama and life-threatening situations was about as perfect as I can imagine them getting.

I also love that this trilogy is in the same world as Sea Dragons of Amber Bay and Norse Sea Dragons series. The intricacies Zoe has created deserve to have more stories told!

I honestly can’t wait to read the next two books in this trilogy. I know Zoe is taking her time writing these to make sure she keeps the quality as high as I’ve come to expect. So while that means that I need to wait for the next book, I’m hoping it’ll mean it’s epic!

To find out more about Zoe and the books she’s written, head on over to her author page. And don’t forget to get a copy of Jinxed in Love by signing up to her mailing list!

Jinxed in Love – Zoe Ashwood

Nora Moss is the oldest daughter of the leader of her coven. Her powers are focused on influencing people. Pretty cool sounding power right?!

She’s also a typical college student with typical boy problems that stem the point of this short novella.

Nora is home from college on spring break. During the one week she’s home, she finds herself having some interesting thoughts from just one night.

In terms of Zoe’s normal writing, this wasn’t as great as normal.

BUT!

If you read it and then immediately start Cursed in Love, it’ll be way better, and I think it’ll actually enhance Cursed in Love. I think the fact that this is seriously setting up Cursed in Love does this one a disservice as a stand alone novella, but, as the little tease to whet your appetite, it’s awesome!

To find out more about Zoe and the books she’s written, head on over to her author page. Or, if you’re interested in getting Jinxed in Love, you’ll need to sign up to Zoe’s newsletter as it’s free for anyone who’s signed up to her mailing list.

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