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.

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.

Cold Seduction – Zoe Ashwood

This book contains:

  • Mentions previous cheating in a relationship
  • Very detailed descriptions of domestic violence (emotional and financial control, not physical abuse)
  • Brush with death
  • Description of a massacre.

Hanne escaped her prior relationship by finding a place on the expedition to Rendu. In a bid to keep the freedom she’s found, she chooses to stay on Rendu and make a life for herself. She’s incredibly stubborn and refuses to allow others to help her, even when she desperately needed, thanks to the trauma she’s experienced in the past.

Lhett is an army general, stoic, very closed off and doesn’t talk much. He doesn’t feel like he deserves to have a happy life, but does everything he can to ensure the safety of those he loves and cares about. While we don’t find out why he’s as scarred and closed off as he is until right near the end, he has a very good reason for keeping to himself.

Hanne has decided not to return to Earth and begins making a life for herself on Rendu. She’s fighting her attraction to Lhett in every way and is finally giving in when her past catches up to her and threatens everything she’s achieved and possibly even everyone on Rendu.

Lhett is consumed with guilt for actions in his past but also can’t seem to keep himself away from Hanne even though he doesn’t understand her at all. He just wants to keep her safe, yet everything he does seems to push her further away.

As the final book in the trilogy – and long awaited too! – we round off the partnering up of the ad Naals brothers with yet another tricky situation that could put the new alliance with Earth in danger. Only this time the danger isn’t an orchestrated political game, it’s a personal vendetta.

To begin with, it was just your regular two stubborn characters refusing to communicate to find their way to each other. But as we learn more and more about each of them, the drama unfolds and suddenly you’re sucked in and can’t put the book down because you don’t know how they’ll work through it.

I was a bit worried that because of how much time had passed between the first two and this final book, it might be a bit disjointed and might not have the same political intrigue, action and romance as the others. But I shouldn’t have worried. Zoe pulled it off and I could barely put it down once I started it.

Captured in Love – Zoe Ashwood

This book contains:

  • Explicit sex scenes
  • Attempted murder
  • Conspiracy to commit murder.

Nora, Levi and Raphael are a team made up of two witches and a vampire competing in a secret competition. Throughout the first book (Cursed in Love) they find a way to be together and work together.

Now, we add in the complication of Isak, an Icelandic sea dragon who’s competing in the same competition but also somehow features in Nora’s life.

Nora, Levi and Raphael travel to Iceland to find and complete the second task in the Balendial Trial in their quest to bring witches knowledge into a more accessible forum.

Only problem is, they need to somehow access some underground cavern and survive the tortures the witches have planned for them.

I’m sorry. I love reading Zoe’s books. I love that I’m in her advanced readers list.

BUT I’M NOT SURE HOW MUCH LONGER I CAN TAKE HUGE GAPS BETWEEN BOOKS WHILE SHE WRITES THEM!

You know that feeling you get when you read a book and go “OMG I need the next book now!”?

Now, imagine you read a book, get that feeling, and you know the authors only just finished writing this book and hasn’t even started the next book…

It’s hard.

So hard!

I love Zoe. I love her books.

But at the same time I really wish she’d write a full series then give it to us all at once because she writes such amazing stories I can’t wait to keep going but I have to. How awesome would it be if I could just smash out a whole series in a couple of days?

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.

Deep Sea Love – Zoe Ashwood

This book contains:

  • Kidnapping
  • Attempted murder.

Nia’s brother went to Norway and instigated a bunch of murder and drama in the previous book. Nia is a completely different type of which to her brother and is just trying to get her families grimoires back, so her coven won’t kill her. Her powers aren’t as strong as her brother, and she doesn’t want anything to do with the mystical world.

Magnus is the brother of the murdered sea dragon from the first book. He’s all seriousness, no fun and just trying to be the best leader he can be to his people while avoiding his murderous mother.

Nia arrives in Norway and runs into Magnus in the bar. The next day she almost literally runs into Magnus while he’s in sea dragon form forcing him to have to intervene to make sure she didn’t expose their secret. Cue being kidnapped and held against her will until Magnus decides what to do with her and whether he trusts her or not.

The time and acceptance Nia and Magnus experience with each other is profound. Especially given the experiences they’ve each suffered at the hands of the other species. I enjoyed reading them accept each other, test their boundaries and generally grow into better versions of themselves as part of a couple.

My only wish is to have had an ending where we got to see Nia in the archives, doing what she loves and seeing what she might find in there. It’s such a small thing but I really wish that one little thing happened!

To find out more about Zoe and the books she’s written, head on over to her author page.

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