Born of Embers by Harper Wylde

Phoenix Rising, #1

I always knew I was different. I’d thought it had to be hidden - to stay a secret. I didn’t know my secret would become the key to my survival. Turning eighteen and getting accepted into college brings me everything I need to escape from the nightmares of my past but I never could have imagined my nightmares - and dreams - were just beginning. Finding myself thrown into a world of fantasy, politics, friendships, and rules that are nearly impossible to understand, I feel like I’m drowning in a world of shifters I never knew existed. As I struggle to find my place and prevent my nightmares from tearing me apart, I find myself surrounded by an unusual group of sexy men. With Hiro, Killian, Theo, Damien, and Ryder I’m trying to become the woman I’ve always wanted to be, if my past, and my future, will let me.

I think I've overdosed on too many Reverse Harems lately where the woman is escaping an abusive past. It doesn't help that toward the end of the book there just was something rushed, fake feeling about the lust scenes and it was downright awkward? Language could be over-pronounced and the exclamation marks didn't help. ...!!! Gives it a YA vibe in the strangest moments, and trust me when I say that doesn't work for the rest of the stuff the author was going for.

There is something fake about this book and I became bored with so many of the same-old, same-old tropes being used - beyond gorgeous girl who everyone wants, the trademark characters of the men being "types" that are seen in other RH novels (sweet guy, flirty and funny guy, tech, etc.) I will admit the rabbit stuff was downright amusing though. What the men are - and the phoenix thing - deliver the best parts of the book.

With the level of abuse the girl had just been through, it wasn't realistic how much she bounced back so quickly. It was inconsistent on when and how she handled things - she'd go from withdrawn to skittish to suddenly joking, smiling and bonding. It was the Jekyll and Hyde of trauma.

I didn't mind the guys reaction since it fit into the world-building on how quick they latched on, but the instant bonding she felt seemed off. I prefer the slow burn, build-up scenarios with this stuff. When they are already start oggling each other, I don't care about them enough yet to care about that.

And another thing, a lot of POV shifts, which I mainly despise in romance novels. *shudders*

It wasn't hard to guess what she was - I mean, duh - but no one seemed to figure it out until the big reveal.

With the main character seeming so plastic and fake, overdone tropes, inconsistent age level, too instant to rushing attraction, and downright silly pursuits and stalking from family members - have to give this one a failing grade. I'll give 2 stars over 3 due to some of the humor working, the writing style isn't bad for the most part, and the fun friend team with Mel tagging along.

Tack on cheap gimmick cliffhanger hell.