Friday, February 28, 2020

How to Love Your Elf by Kerrelyn Sparks

Raised in isolation on the magic-shrouded Isle of the Moon, five girls became five sisters. Now women, they are ready to claim their places in the world—and perhaps change it forever...


Sorcha knew the mission was dangerous. Leaving the safe grounds of her brother’s kingdom and parlaying with the elves across their border... well, treachery seemed at least as likely as true peace. But to support her sister, Sorcha would brave far more than the underhanded ways of the elves. Or so she thought, before she was taken hostage.

Of course, her captors didn’t count on her particular abilities—or on the help of the Woodsman, the mysterious thief who made his home in the forest. He saw the battle from the trees, saw the soldier attacking against incredible odds to save a comrade—and then saw the valiant fighter revealed as Princess Sorcha of Norveshka. He can’t tell if he wants to kidnap her or kiss her. But despite Sorcha’s stubbornness, his inconvenient honor, and a rebellion on the cusp of full war, something burns between them that neither can let go...

This book is set in the same world as The Embraced series.

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.75 Stars
How to Love Your Elf was an interesting, if not slightly confusing, romantic fantasy story. I would have appreciated knowing that there were books that preceded this, prior to picking it up.

Apparently, in this world there are multiple kingdoms that are ruled by different types of beings (e.g., humans, dragons, elves), and the elves are the least liked in the world. When the Norveshka enter the elven lands, all hell breaks loose, and Sorcha is among the casualties. This story really picks up once we meet the Woodsman. The magic comes alive, and the characters all have a story to tell!

The world building was mediocre, some areas were well built while others were just okay. The action scenes were told rather than shown. The romance was quick to take, with both characters quickly falling for the other, but of course it's denied.

Overall, I liked this world and the characters. I enjoyed Sorcha's wit and sass! I am disappointed that I started in the middle of the series and I think I may just start The Embraced series from book one.

3.5 Stars

How to Love Your Elf is the first installment in the Embraced by Magic series, while also the spin-off of The Embraced series, listed as the fourth novel. Since I hadn't read its predecessor, I can confidently say I was prepared to go on a long diatribe in my review over how I found confusion, like I was dropped in the middle of a book, with events laundry listed for me, info-dumpage, which is what made me drop my rating to 3.5 stars. After reading and discovering this was the fourth installment, I do wish to go back and start at the beginning. BUT, and this is a huge BUT, I wish I had known that from the start.

My recommendation to readers who haven't read The Embraced series yet, go do that first to save yourself a ton of confusion, frustration, where you'll be emotionally connected to the story by starting at the beginning. This would add to the entertainment value.

Yet to figure out why authors/publishers do this to their readers.

It's been a good decade since I read a Kerrelyn Sparks novel, and I was more than curious once this debut in a brand-new series popped up (until I came to Goodreads to post my review, I didn't know it was a spin-off, to be honest). As I said, I'm swallowing down my need to vent over a mega pet-peeve of mine...

What to expect when reading Kerrelyn Sparks: romance, action, suspense, paranormal elements to bring the excitement, banter and push-pull between the hero and heroine. But the one signature element is humor. Sometimes it's cheesy slapstick, usually it's self-deprecating, with plenty of moments where the reader experiences secondhand embarrassment for the narrator. If this was Goldilocks and the Three Bears, I'd say the humor is Just Right.

Sorcha is stubborn and independent, which are good traits if not used to make a heroine who is willful and fiery at the expense of logical thinking. I'm all for an empowered heroine, because that always strongly resonates with me. But Sorcha's actions and reactions could be a bit difficult to swallow at times. Other than Sparks telling the reader that Sorcha is fiery in spirit, I didn't really see it. The traits didn't match her mindset and actions.

How about that Woodsman, eh? (blushing smirky face) (being vague to avoid spoilers)

While I was entertained, and mostly frustrated, I'm glad I read the novel, as it gave me a taste of an author I hadn't read in many, many years. It put The Embraced series on my radar, which I'll will eventually get around to reading from the start.

I do highly recommend to fans of the author, as How to Love Your Elf is a good representation of her writing style. I definitely recommend that you go back and read the original series first to avoid confusion.

A note to publishers and authors: STOP doing that bait and switch BS. If it's a part of another series, don't call it a debut and brand-new. Just saying... you'll lose readers like me who have that at the top of our pet-peeve lists.

Kerrelyn Sparks is best known (so far) for the Love at Stake series, which has hit as high as number 5 on the New York Times bestseller list and 22 on USA Today. Kerrelyn lives with her family in the Greater Houston area of Texas.

Connect with Kerrelyn

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of How to Love Your Elf (Embraced by Magic #1; The Embraced #4) by Kerrelyn Sparks to read and review.

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