Book Review: Bound by Blood by Jessica M. Butler


A lonely soup maker’s bargain with a cursed blood fae for a magical pup opens the door to love, soup, and a chance for something special in the midst of loss.

Erryn lets everyone believe she lost her memory years ago through a deal gone wrong with the fae, but that’s because the truth is too painful to speak about. She lost everything. Her home. Her family. She took all of them for granted, then struck a bargain that left her with nothing. The last deal she made with a fae revealed there was nothing special about her. But she might reconsider to save this pup.

Ryul lost his whole family in a devastating battle against an ancient enemy and is cursed to never walk the land when daylight touches it. His magic limited and distorted from the fight, he accidentally creates an apparition that turns into an ugly little dog. If he doesn’t get it back, his magic will be depleted.

Now this wretched human wants to keep the apparition, and her love is already turning it into a real dog. She swears she can make soup that will replenish his magic if he’ll just let her keep the dog. Though he knows he shouldn’t, he makes the trade. He even offers her another deal in the event she falls in love with him (which she swears she will never do).

He doesn’t make this trade because he likes her. Or because he’s lonely. It’s just…well, there’s a good reason in there somewhere. He needs time to figure out his next step and making sure this strange, sassy, stubborn human doesn’t poison him seems as good a diversion as any.

Or is he about to lose his heart as well as the plan?


I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did. It was actually pretty good. There are a few instances that I didn’t enjoy, one of which being a specific word that I really don’t like being used. But other than that, decent.

Compared to the first book in this series of standalones (all by different authors) this one is much longer and therefore has time for real character and story development. It seemed like their backgrounds were a little all over the place at times, but they made more sense in the end.

It was so refreshing to read a book about the fae where the human woman is older than the male fae. That like never happens. You don’t find out exactly how old Erryn is, but she says she is a few years older than Ryul’s 24. 

I weirdly really enjoyed the scenes where Erryn makes soup. It’s so mundane but I’ve always enjoyed cooking scenes in books, probably because I love food so much myself. I’m not, however, a big fan of soup.

The world-building was pretty decent and it was fun to learn about the different types of fae. I think these books are all set in the same world so it’s cool to expand on the first one – assuming I’m reading these in the correct order, but I don’t think there is one.

The romance seems a little instalovey, but they do spend multiple evenings together, bonding over soup and whatnot. That makes this sound really boring, but you do find yourself rooting for them. The whole ‘I love you’ curse is weird though. I didn’t (and still don’t) fully understand what it is. 

Overall Bound by Blood was a very decent standalone fantasy. I like that each book is by an indie author and it’s cool to have a large expanded universe. I’d recommend checking them out if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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