How to Love Your Elf (Embraced by Magic #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Read: 8th – 13th February 2020
Publication Date: 25th February 2020
My Overall Rating: 4/5
Plot: 5/5 – Flow: 4/5 – Character Development: 4/5 – World Building: 4/5
Quote from How to Love your Elf
“When she [Sorcha] loved, she loved, she loved too desperately. She loved without reason. She couldn’t be practical like Luciana, trusting like Brigitta or clever like Gwennore. When her loved ones were in danger, she was overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness. Love didn’t make her strong as it did with her sisters.”
How to Love Your Elf is the first book (approx. 336 pages) in the fantasy romance series Embrace by Magic. A continuation of the highly popular The Embraced series. The books are set on the planet Aerthlan. A world inhabited by humans, dragons, elves, shapeshifters and the Embraced. The Embraced are a small section of the population who have paranormal powers. Being born during the eclipse of the planet’s twin moons creates their magical gifts.
The series has romance, humour, action, adventure, suspense and sword-fights. It’s a medieval-type world with lots of laughs and more romance. Think Game of Thrones meets The Princess Bride.
I focus my reviews on how the story was told rather than the plot itself. I’m looking at the author’s writing style, how they paced their plots and how well they constructed their characters and setting. Therefore, my reviews don’t contain spoilers or reveal plot twists.
Here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story.
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 . . .
FLAME AND FORTUNE
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 . . .
So, before we get into what I thought about this book, I was given an unedited digital version of this book for free from the publisher (Kensington Books) after making a request via Netgally.com in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my review or influence my thoughts. These are my words and I’m giving you my candid opinion.
I’ve only read one other book by Kerrelyn Sparks, Eight Simple Rules For Dating A Dragon. Therefore, she’s still a new-to-me author but I’ve really enjoyed both books. I like her writing style, find her stories easy read, her plots gripping and her characters engaging.
I haven’t read any other books in The Embraced series. However, Ms Sparks descriptive prowess and adventurous plot catapulted me into the world of Aerthlan with ease.
Ok, so those of you that have read my reviews before, will know that I enjoy a story more if the lead female character is intelligent, resilient and is self-reliant. Sorcha is smart, witty and has plenty of gumption. She has a strong moral code and a loyalty that makes her put the needs of others before her own.
Family is everything.
I enjoyed the character development around Sorcha, the mysterious Woodsman and the Woodwyn citizens. Loving that a couple of them became instant favourites in my mind while others grew to become so. I love it when the supporting characters end up holding as special a place in my heart as the main characters.
It’s also fab when there’s a villain you can hate and rally against. I wasn’t disappointed here.
Ms Sparks weaved lots of twists and turns into her tale. She kept me on my toes and the little grey cells working overtime trying to work out the clues and guess what would happen next.
I know that this book had me hooked because of all the emotions I felt. I had a few lone tears trickle down my cheek, my blood boiled with anger and indignation. However, it wasn’t just yells and tears. I was also chuckling out loud, had tingles of titillation in all the right spots *blush* and my old romantic heart bloomed.
I really enjoyed this story. However, I must confess to have rolled my eyes a few times at some of the melodramatics of a couple of female characters. Ugh! The climactic battle and immediate threat by our protagonists’ enemies are dealt with by the end of this book. However, there are a few threads left to continue into the next and final book in the series.
I’ve read some confusing reviews about the series change of name. Kerrelyn posted this on her website to explain the situation:
You may be wondering why there is such a long wait between books 3 and 4 of the Embraced series. The answer is simple—the publisher who published the first 3 books declined to finish the series. I was determined, however, to complete the series for my readers, and that meant I had to find a new publisher. I did—Kensington! I am grateful that they were willing to pick up a series midstream, but of course, whenever an author goes to a new publisher, he/she is automatically placed at the end of a publishing schedule that has been planned far in advance. So, book 4 ended up with a release date in February 2020. Fortunately, book 5 will not have such a long wait.
Since a new publishing house will be producing the last two books, they needed to change the name of the series. The last two books will be part of the Embraced by Magic series, books 1 and 2 for the new publisher. But for the rest of us, they are the last two books of the Embraced series. Thank you for your patience as we wait for How to Love your Elf (Sorcha’s story) and the final book, which will belong to Maeve and Brody.
I really enjoyed this book.
How To Love Your Elf has everything that I look for in a great read; adventure, mystery, action, great characters, humour, banter, romance and passion.
There are scenes of explicit sexual content and graphic violence in this book. Therefore, I’d only recommend it to adults who aren’t offended by scenes of this sort.
If you love well written tales of magic, betrayal and mystery. Played out as a backdrop to an entertaining romance I think you’d enjoy this book. It’s a perfect mix of paranormal, mystery, romance and adventure.
Has my review of HOW TO LOVE YOUR ELF (EMBRACED BY MAGIC #1) encouraged you to find out more? I hope I have. Click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself. Keep reading to find out more about the author.
Buy HOW TO LOVE YOUR ELF (or catch up with the whole series) in print and eBook formats through the usual sources, including:
I’m part of various affiliate programmes to help with the costs of running a self-hosted bog. Consequently, when you use my links to buy a book, I’ll get a (very) small % from the sale.
Click HERE to read my full disclosure statement.
Kerrelyn Sparks apparently has issues with reality. After writing more than a dozen books about vampires, she has now completely gone off the deep end and wound up on another planet. But how thrilling that she can share this magical new world with her readers! Although she is best known (so far) for the Love at Stake series, which has hit as high as number 5 on the New York Times list and 22 on the USA Today list, she hopes her readers will love The Embraced as much as they did her merry band of vamps and shifters.
Kerrelyn loves hearing from readers, even those who howl at the moon.
Thank you for stopping by and for taking the time to read my review. Have you read it yet? If not, I hope that my review has tempted you to add this book to your ever growing TBR pile. 😉
Bye for now.