How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days is Kerrelyn Spark's debut in Fantasy Romance. I have not read any of her previous work.
Luciana was raised as an orphan on an island off of the mainland. She and her adopted sisters (other orphan girls she grew up with) are all Embraced. This means that they were born when the two moons aligned and acquired magical abilities. It is not good to be Embraced in this world, because the Kings who rule on the mainland feel threatened by their powers. Luciana's world is turned upside down however, when a man who claims to be her father arrives on the island and asks her to come with him back home.
Because the man is in danger from the King, Luciana agrees to go with him despite having had no idea of his existence, because of her kind heart. She must marry a man called the "Beast" per the King's orders, or the King will have her father killed for treason. Leofric, the man everyone has termed "Beast", is the Protector of the Realm in Eberon. He is also Embraced with lightening powers which makes him a force to be reckoned with. His uncle, the King, feels threatened by him, but because of Leofric's powers, he can do nothing about it. Leofric immediately begins to feel a protectiveness over his bride-to-be before he even meets her. He senses foul plots afoot from the King, and takes a portion of his men with him to her home. It becomes a constant battle trying to keep Luciana and her father alive from the assassination attempts.
I disliked the way the fantasy world was handled. In the beginning she has a prologue that basically explains the world and it's magic system. In the fantasy books I've read, I liked learning about it as I go along. It made me feel like I discovered secrets little by little along the way. I did like the Embraced magic system however, because there are so many different forms the magic can take. The religious beliefs aren't too difficult to follow, and they tie into the magic system which is always a good dynamic for a fantasy book in my opinion.
The romance had parts that drew me in hard! I wanted to know how this couple would overcome seemingly impossible circumstances. However, the dialogue between the two wasn't very romantic. It was definitely sexy, but I never felt like I was falling in love with their chemistry. Then it starts to get to some intimacy, and I felt that if I was in Luciana's place I would have been more terrified than anything. However, they each had their own inner demons to face, and I liked how they were able to work through those issues.
I did like this book, but I wasn't crazy about it. I felt like there were minor flaws in both the romance and the fantasy aspects, but that's just based on my personal preferences. Kerrelyn Sparks' writing is very well thought out and flowed well. She has a lot of potential with this new genre for her, and I think she will do better as she goes. I would be interested to see what happens next in the sequel (which I was lucky enough to read a preview of in the back of this book)!
**ARC provided by Publisher**