Review // Wed to the Ice Giant, What is Love?, The Midwinter Mail-Order Bride, and The Wastelander

April 25, 2024

Hello and Happy Thursday and I hope your week is going well so far. I should have posted this yesterday, but my life's a bit messy which is messing with my schedule. I'm sharing four books I read and quite enjoyed and maybe you'll find something here to read this weekend.

Wed to the Ice Giant by Layla Fae

Arranged Monster Mates #1
Paranormal Romance, dual POV, explicit heat, 137 pages

As king of the ice giants, I must have heirs. But our customs do not satisfy me. I do not want a giantess who will bear me a child and then leave to be with another. I would much rather pursue a union the human way: find a partner who will share my bed, bear my children, and stay by my side.

Until death do us part.

One drop of blood is all it takes to get a match. And when I see her, my cool blood rushes faster in a daze of heat. Only one thought is clear in my mind: she belongs to me. I must claim her before my subjects to prove once and for all this female will not take lovers. She will be mine forever.

I will show her vigorously how different I am from puny human males. And once she knows what it means to be with the king of the giants, she will never want to leave.

Rating -

I love when a new-to-me author is a discovery worthwhile. I easily fell in huge like with the world created here, no matter how odd I found it. Aldrig was an ice giant who wanted to eschew the mating ways of his people. There are so few female giants that they have their pick of the males and often take on several. Aldrig wanted someone who would be his alone. Lucy was a desperate maiden who grasped onto an opportunity to better the lives of her loved ones. All she has to do is marry the ice giant who is easily twice (maybe three times) her size. I even liked how ill-matched they seemed to be, at least sexually. The author didn't spare the details and I was definitely entertained.

What is Love? by Jen Comfort

Answer: From the Latin word for crossroads, this is knowledge so common as to be obscure, the pursuit of which engages millions daily. Question: What is trivia?

Trivia is the magic in the mundane, the connection in the commonplace, and Maxine Hart’s second-favorite pastime. A self-proclaimed Brooklyn street rat and a high school dropout, Maxine has never been a fan of formal education, but thanks to her ADHD “superpowers,” she’s a glutton for knowledge—and a good fight. And when Maxine enters the trivia game show Answers!, her brilliance, coupled with her penchant for big bets, devastates her competition. Even record-holding, 76-time-winner Teddy Ferguson.

Or was it their kiss the night before they faced off that threw the buttoned-up professor off his game?

Now, Maxine and Teddy cross paths again in a high-stakes tournament against all-time Answers! winners, including undefeated champion Hercules McKnight. With nothing in common but an insatiable appetite for knowledge and a desire to win, Maxine offers Teddy a deal: combine their strengths to shore up their weaknesses. She’ll push his tolerance for risk and improve his buzzer speed, if he’ll find creative ways to fill in the gaps in her education.

Except neither one of them foresaw just how scintillating learning could be…

Rating -

Romantic Comedy, dual POV, vague heat, 345 pages

As a monthly pick from Prime Reads, this is the first winner I've come across. After many years, I found a story I could enjoy!

Harsh, I know.

But very true.

And while I didn't love this story, I found plenty to like. Okay, that's a lie. I really liked Teddy. For someone so uptight, he was a lot of fun. Mostly because Maxine was there to stir him up. And while it was hard to like Maxine for most of this story, I enjoyed the combative relationship between these characters. It made for an entertaining book. I don't think I've come across a story that focused so much on trivia and the world, real or imagined, behind a game show and its entrants. I didn't know who I wanted to win (that's another lie because it was Teddy, of course), however, I'm a fan of the way it all worked out.

The Midwinter Mail-Order Bride by Kati Wilde

The Dead Lands #1
Fantasy Romance, dual POV, explicit heat, 180 pages

Some might call Princess Anja of Ivermere brave for offering herself up as a bride to Kael the Conqueror, a barbarian warlord who'd won his crown by the bloodied edge of his sword. It was not courage that drove Anja from her magic-wielding family’s enchanted palace, however, but a desperate attempt to secure a kingdom of her own — even if she has to kill the Conqueror to do it. She expects pain beneath his brutal touch as she awaits her chance. She expects death if he discovers the truth of her intentions.

Raised in the ashes of the Dead Lands, Kael fears nothing — certainly not the beautiful sorceress who arrives at his mountain stronghold. And no matter how painful his need for her, he has no use for a bride who would only tolerate his kiss. Yet the more of Anja's secrets he uncovers during their journey to return her home, the more determined he becomes to win the princess's wary heart.

Rating - 1/2

I wanted more. King Kael was a possessive, aggressive, warrior of a man. But his heart was solid gold. He knew what it was to be oppressed and refused to allow anyone in his kingdoms to suffer that fate. All he needs is a bride... too bad he didn't know it. With subtle manipulation, Princess Anja enters his life. She grew up believing she was nothing, but to Kael she was everything. And he wasn't afraid to share it or show it. I really liked this couple and would have kept reading if there was more to their story. Hopefully they make an appearance in the other books of the series.

The Wastelander by E.S. Luck

Book #1
Post-Apocalyptic Romance, dual POV, explicit sex, 356 pages

Born in a secure compound amidst the ashes of a world long dead, Claire Ainsley knows her place in the world: work her assigned job, live with her assigned husband, and keep her head down and her mouth shut. She knows what every compound resident has been the world outside is a Wasteland, and the only thing more terrifying than leaving the compound is being forced to confront those who live outside—the ones left behind.

But her safe, contained life is destroyed when she narrowly survives an attack conceived by a conspiracy from within the compound itself. Only by fleeing into the terrifying Wasteland, a vast wilderness peopled by bloodthirsty, cannibalistic Wastelanders, can she escape a violent end at the hands of her fellow compound dwellers.

Captured by the very savages she feared, she is saved by John Madigan, a mysterious and capable survivor—and a Wastelander. She tries to deny the instant chemistry she feels with a man that is one moment terrifying, the next patient and caring, but eventually, neither of them are able to resist the blazing passion between them. But the Wasteland is harsh, and her time with John fleeting. As his own personal mission comes to an end, he must return to his ancestral homeland, leaving her with little choice but to learn to survive without the man whose protection is her only salvation in a harsh, uncompromising post-apocalyptic landscape.

The Wasteland of this world has not been kind to those unchosen.

Rating - 1/2

The world as we know it is over and the only home Claire knew was behind the walls of a compound. She was sheltered and didn't know how much until she was shoved out of her safe haven and had to figure out how to survive in the Wasteland. When she was attacked and taken by cannibals, John saved her and brought her to his own slice of safety out in the wild. There she learned true survival and her warped views on those who lived beyond the walls she called home started to change.

I will admit that Claire's prejudice skewed my opinion of her for most of this story and I was just glad that by the end she had learned to appreciate how wrong she was. It didn't make up for everything she said or did, but it did give me hope for the future of this series.

The world they live in is a dangerous place and I can't begin to imagine what happens next as they travel to John's real home.


  1. I haven't heard about these books before. The Wastelander sounds very interesting.

    1. The Wastelander was a good read. I love when new-to-me authors deliver :)


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