Erotica, New Adult Romance, Paranormal

My Review: Tricky Princess (Tricky Magic #2) [ARC]

***ARC Review***
Publish Date: September 13th, 2022
Number of Pages: N/A
Publisher: Self Published
Genre(s): New Adult Romance, Paranormal, Erotica

***Warning!! This review contains spoilers to the previous book in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!!***

To see my full review of book #1 – Tricky Magic – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

Even though she was sad, she had love. They whispered it to each other every morning and night and when they were wrapped around each other so deeply that their magic became one.”

– L.L. Campbell, “Tricky Princess”

What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

A Shadowborn Prince of Hel and a feared, all-powerful Trickster Witch will learn once again that not everything is as it seems in this second installment of the Tricky Magic series.

Travel to Hel with this steamy dark romance that has all your favorite things: Shadow play, supernaturals, loveable characters, and some tricky magic.

Rosier, crown prince and commander of Hel’s four armies, has been desperately avoiding his destiny as a ruler. When his father kidnaps Ellea, the Trickster Witch who gave him something worth living for, he has no choice but to return home. He must leave the comfort of his secluded life to journey to Hel—a path that is full of monsters, beasts, and terrible memories.

Nothing will stand in his way of saving Ellea—not his father, not Hel, and not the Gods. The funny thing is, he will be reminded once again that she never needed saving.

Ellea never saw herself stowed away in a castle, surrounded by the dead, sleeping Gods, and demons. While navigating her powers with her captor and newfound friend, she realizes that Hel itself needs work. She misses Ros every second they’re apart, but she can’t shake the feeling that she is exactly where she belongs.

A string of attacks will disrupt Ros and Ellea’s magical and steamy reunion. Only Ellea can stop her parents from ruining the balance between mortals and supernaturals, but she may have to give up a piece of her soul to do it.

Tricky Princess is a dark paranormal and mythological romance that contains detailed sex scenes, violence, swearing, and emotional trauma.

~~~

First off, I want to personally throw out a big THANK YOU to Lexi for sending me out an E-ARC copy of this book! It was so sweet of her, I’ve really liked chatting with her and getting to know her and show support for an indie book series that I’m really enjoying. Of course, this also means I want to reassure and say this review is ENTIRELY my own!

…now THIS is what I’m talking about! I love it when a sequel surpasses the first book in a series. I fairly enjoyed Tricky Magic, but Tricky Princess felt enhanced in almost every way. I read through this sequel much faster as more was happening and the plot has certainly thickened with how book 1 ended. There were more battles, bloodshed, intrigue, and of course spice!

This time around, you get more side-to-side perspectives from both Rosier and Ellea, but what I mean is it really feels like both characters really went through some change this time. I felt like Ros especially got a lot more attention this time around which I appreciated.

So the story starts off immediately where you were left off: Ellea has been kidnapped by Asmodeus, King of Hel and Ros’s father, and brings her to the underworld, and Ros and the gang set out to rescue her and bring her back. The road to Hel is a long and dangerous trek, and is filled with terrible obstacles…little do they know is that Ellea is being her usual Ellea self and casually wins the heart of the land and feels a sense of belonging down in Ros’s homeland!

The story felt more urgent and the raised stakes with Ellea’s parents starting a war with the supernaturals and even the worry of Belias and what he could possibly be up to—I also don’t remember if it was mentioned at all in book 1 but I thought it was cool that his father ended up being Beelzebub—but overall the pacing felt faster which really helps make you read through this one quicker.

The sex scenes were OF COURSE a major highlight, the author is really good at writing paranormal smut. I especially loved the scene of how Ellea wakes up Ros one morning…..you’ll have to read yourself to see what I mean 😉

~~~

She was goading him, trying to take back some control with her dirty mouth.

‘The goal is to make you not walk.’ He said it with a snarl, snapping his hips hard, enough to bruise, but she didn’t flinch, didn’t balk.

She smirked. ‘Then I would go harder.’

What a brat.

– L.L. Campbell, “Tricky Princess”

~~~

What I Liked:

  1. More Spice! HOT DAMN do Ros and Ellea not know how to slow down! The amount of spice in this book is a major plus for people like me who enjoy lots of “flavor” in their reading material! They go at it with MUCH enthusiasm, and get very inventive in some circumstances too, spice lovers will very much enjoy these parts of the books!
  2. Lots of New Characters! Holy Characters, Batman! There’s a LOT of new characters who make for an interesting read for sure! Most notably is Asmodeus, who is Ros’s father and King of Hel. Another character to look out for is Florence, who is a demon who knows ALL the secrets–it’s why her hair is so big!
  3. The Worldbuilding Really Expanded! The world of Hel really opens up and has a unique version told in this book. Ellea explores this underworld and lets us discover it all alongside with her!
  4. Ellea’s and Asmodeus’s Relationship! Ellea had such a fun dynamic with Ros’s father as he trained her down in Hel and they grew closer, she got a father figure she never really had, and he had a possible future daughter-in-law that he got along with too! Plus she tried to come up with a cute pet name for him like Azzy, Mod, etc. It was also funny how when Ros eventually storms the castle and expects her to be tortured and hanging by her ankles in a dungeon, she’s actually sipping tea with his dad in the library!
  5. More Was Going On In the Story! Even though I still consider this series to be character-driven, it felt like a lot more was happening and the stakes definitely felt raised to drive the story forward in a faster pace.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. A Lot of Characters Didn’t Reappear…I was disappointed to not see a few characters return this time around, like Sybil and a lot of the other witches and warlocks. Sam, Devon, Garm, Billy, Belias, and even Ellea’s harem of boys make appearances, but some felt shortened and revolved purely around Ellea and Ros and their character development, which makes sense for the story. I guess I was just maybe hoping for more in this regard? Like I wish we got more from Belias even with his scheming, and I think it would’ve added to the story to see him get away with more or rage with his temper to make him feel like a bigger threat, just something to add more to his character would’ve really helped him.

Conclusion:

Overall, this was a fun sequel that really added to the whole story. The writing felt smoother, the excitement and pacing definitely picked up, and the spice got even hotter! I think those who enjoyed the first book will REALLY enjoy this second installment!

I would also say those who really enjoyed other books like Kerri Maniscalco’s Kingdom of the Wicked series and the Hades and Persephone books by Scarlett St. Clair (A Touch of Darkness) will also really enjoy this book! I feel like the readers who want more spicy details with Wrath and Emilia and wish Wrath would just rip their clothes off already……… well, you get what I’m saying. Obviously, just be sure to read the first book before this one…

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, New Adult, New Adult Romance

My Review: These Wicked Lies (These Wicked Lies #1): by Miranda Joy

Publish Date: June 22nd, 2022
Number of Pages: N/A
Publisher: Self Published
Genre(s): Fantasy, New Adult Romance

Total Star Rating: 4 Stars

I’m not in the mood to murder someone tonight, but I must.

– Miranda Joy, “These Wicked Lies”

What It’s About:

the official synopsis:

When a princess with the ability to absorb and transfer life force energy discovers her mother, the queen, is manipulating her, she works with unexpected allies to steal the throne, battling magic-induced anxiety and unexpected attractions along the way.

Astrid is a vygora—a rare being that can absorb one’s life force energy and transfer it to another with a touch. Only two people know what she’s truly capable of: her best friend, Ilona, and her mother, the Queen of Hakran, a powerful myndox.

When foreign royalty and their handsome guard, Dashiel Dargan, show up unexpectedly with the ability to mute myndox manipulation, Astrid discovers she’s been a prisoner to her mother’s power her entire life, and she’s not the only one. Faced with a lifetime of memories built on lies, she’s caught between the story she thinks she knows, and the one she doesn’t remember.

But when she can’t trust anyone, how can she figure out which story is true?

~~~

This book actually already holds a special place in my heart because I’ve actually become a friend with the author on #bookstagram! NO, she’s not bribing me with this review in any way, shape, or form either…in fact, with this information I’m actually feeling more pressure NOT to make this a simply glowing review of the book.

BUT I can admit it’s become so cool to meet someone who’s published a book and that it’s totally a book you wanted to read too!

Okay so back to this review: For a debut novel, this was a pretty impressive story to get into. It was so easy to get wrapped into this world and meet Astrid, who’s more than just a regular Princess. She’s got some depth to her, and some morally gray traits to her personality. She’s got some fire to her spirit!

She’s feeling very conflicted in her position: Princess by day and lifeforce sucker by night. She disguises herself in a veiled costume and takes the life of a willing victim as a sacrifice in order to pass it to her mother in order to keep her alive and keep their whole island safe. The seeds of doubt were already planted that something more nefarious may be going on with all this, but it takes some foreign company visiting their lush island home to really set things in motion.

I’ll be honest, I got some major From Blood and Ash/A Shadow in the Ember vibes from this book, which isn’t a bad thing! If anyone reading this has followed my reviews on here, they should know the FBAA series is a big favorite of mine! I wouldn’t say this even comes close to copying it , TWL definitely still feels like it’s own entity, but I can definitely see some comparisons between the two or possibly the author even drew some inspiration from the story! Who knows?

Reading this book, I was easily sucked in to the exotic and tropical world the author created, and created fun and familiar dynamics between the cast of characters. Dashiel and Astrid had some great chemistry and lots of playful banter—think a similar vibe to Cassian and Nesta in the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas—and I really got into their slow burn romance throughout. Dash was an easy guy to like, and Astrid wasn’t afraid to humble him and put him in his place when he (maybe) needed it.

The midpoint got a little slow for me, only because we already knew about the Queen’s manipulation of Astrid and her people because it’s in the synopsis, so that part wasn’t all that shocking to see develop. There is a question of which side everyone is on exactly, and the unknown of what everyone’s intentions are definitely keep you interested. Astrid and her friend Ilona grow closer to Dashiel and Prince Zale, but also more weary of them as questionable behavior shows; there’s definitely more going on beneath the surface.

You meet Lex later on in the story, and once again complete and total mystery surrounds him, but he’s a major character believe me! He’s not just a random addition to the story at all…

The ending sequences are the piece-de-resistance of the whole book. I’ll admit I didn’t see it coming, and it certainly leaves you with a brow-raising expression, and the final page ends on a dark and sexy way that leaves you yearning to see what could possibly happen next, and also wanting the next book, like, yesterday.

Once again, even if I didn’t get to personally know the author, I’d say this is a pretty remarkable debut novel that shows so much promise for bigger and better things! Miranda Joy is certainly a name to remember if she keeps this up!

~~~

I hate how alluring his accent is. I hate how everything sounds good coming out of his mouth, even my impending death.

– Miranda Joy, “These Wicked Lies”

What I Liked:

  1. Astrid is a Morally Grey Heroine! I love it when the MC’s have a dark side to them, they just become so much more interesting of a character. Everyone complains that Superman is boring because he always takes the moral high ground, and I have to agree. Astrid has dangerous magical abilities, and she also isn’t afraid to get violent when needed. the anxiety of all that happens to her and all that everyone isn’t telling her really wears on her psyche, and even I can agree sometimes it can just drive you a little crazy and want to pull a dagger on someone *shrugs*
  2. That Twist Towards the End! I totally didn’t see this twist coming towards the end, and the best ones are like that but they also totally make sense when you think about it afterwards. Bravo to the author, it was wonderfully done!
  3. Dash! Helloooooo new addition to my book boyfriend list! Dash was hot, not much more to say. I will however say that I’m curious what kind of decisions he’s going to make in the next installment in this story. It will be a determining factor as to how this relationship between us is going to continue and if we can stay together…we’ll see!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. You Don’t Meet A Major Character Until Much Later In The Book…Their appearance into the story raised a lot of questions, which I suppose is a good thing to get the reader to keep with the book, but part of the questions had me wondering if he really was an important character at all to be begin with. Part of me wonders if maybe this character made more appearances throughout the beginning a little more, even if they were short and brief, that this could’ve made the last minute addition feel less confusing?
  2. The Twist With The Queen…Part of got a little bored with the middle because the mystery of the queen wasn’t really even a mystery: we knew she was evil/the villain even from the synopsis of the book. With that already revealed, part of the allure wasn’t there, and I feel like it would’ve made the story stronger if we (the readers) discovered it for ourselves.
  3. I Want More Spice…This isn’t really a critique, but more a hope/request/plea: book two needs more sex. And don’t worry, I did say this to Miranda, and she confirms there will be 😉

Conclusion:

Overall, this was such an entertaining read that I for the most part really enjoyed! The warm and tropical climate and how things get heated in more ways than one makes for a fun book that I think fans of Sarah J. Maas, Holly Black, and Jennifer L. Armentrout would enjoy. It definitely shares a lot of the similar elements that these ladies of romantic fantasy used to put their names on the map!

I will definitely be reading the next book in this series; Miranda Joy ended it in such a juicy way, how could I not?

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell