Category Archives: books/book review

Double the alpha title

Review of Double the Alpha: A Paranormal Menage Romance, by Amira Rain

Doubel the Alpha audio coverI came across an Audible code for Double the Alpha: A Paranormal Menage Romance, by Amira Rain at some point earlier this year. I listened to it as I did housework today.

She knew she could handle one alpha, but could she handle TWO?”

In an apocalyptic future, Ellie Miller realized that the only way to keep her people safe was to do a deal with the nearby wolf pack.

In exchange for protection, she would offer them the only thing she could offer…

Herself.

And that was something that the alpha Eric McCormick would gladly accept.

However, when Ellie arrived at the pack she found there was a twist. Eric had joined forces with another alpha named Ryan.

Now Ellie must be mated to both of them or the deal was off….

SPOILERS!!!!

This failed on so many levels, but the biggest one is as a romance. The next is as a menage, then as an attempt at erotica, and also as an attempt at not-zombie-but-might-as-well-be-zombie apocalyptic fiction and fantasy.

Let’s start with the romance and menage aspects since they are entwined. [I’ll warn you again, SPOILERS.] You CANNOT introduce the reader to two mates, spend 3/4 of a book building this relationship up and then suddenly have the female decide she doesn’t actually love both men and one man conveniently turns out to be a treacherous betrayer (all within some shockingly short amount of time). It WILL leave the reader feeling disconnected and dissatisfied at the end. I hadn’t been given the chance to truly engage with and come to have any feelings about the couple. NONE. Which meant the ending hit the ground with a giant splat. What’s more, if that’s the way an author wants to play it, they shouldn’t put “menage romance” on the cover because that’s not what it is when all is said and done

Further, the sex scenes were stale and pitiful. The sex was spoken about as if it was sooo transgressive and kinky, but literally, the female felt “filthy” and kinky because she liked being called a “naughty girl” and having sex on her knees. There isn’t anything wrong with relatively vanilla sex in a book, but to have the narrator talk about it like it’s something else always jars me. It’s like a nun trying to titillate. It just clashes and they don’t have any real grasp of how little they know. (Or I should say the stereotype of a nun, because in real life they may all be porn addicts for all I know.)

Then there were the not-zombies and fantasy aspects of the book. The not-zombies were literally just window dressings, there but of no real importance. The same can be said for the wolf aspect. The men could have been alpha-like soldiers and the book would have read exactly the same. What’s more, the author gave the main character a superpower and then left her home baking cupcakes, never giving it purpose.

Actually, as much as I complain about the sex scenes or ridiculous plot drift that resulted in the menage being reduced to a couple, my biggest irritant about the book was how the “males” were always being spoken about as active in protection, and work, and decisions, etc and the “females” were never truly included as anything but after-thoughts—pretty little baubles to be left at home while the men-folk were out being important.

Lastly, the author needs to do a search of her manuscript for repeat words, “community” and the phrase “or something” especially. Every character says “or something” constantly. If it was one character I’d call it a character quirk, but as it’s all of them it’s just noticeable and annoying repetition in the writing.

All in all, I’m awful glad to not be listening to this anymore.

Any old diamonds KJ Charles

Review: Any Old Diamonds, by KJ Charles

Any old diamonds KJ Charles I purchased a copy of Any Old Diamonds, by KJ Charles last October but never got around to reading it. Then, later, bought an Audible copy, which I listened to.

Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes is the younger son of the Duke of Ilvar, with a bitter grudge against his wealthy father. The Duke intends to give his Duchess a priceless diamond parure on their wedding anniversary—so Alec hires a pair of jewel thieves to steal it.

The Duke’s remote castle is a difficult target, and Alec needs a way to get the thieves in. Soldier-turned-criminal Jerry Crozier has the answer: he’ll pose as a Society gentleman and become Alec’s new best friend.

But Jerry is a dangerous man: controlling, remote, and devastating. He effortlessly teases out the lonely young nobleman’s most secret desires, and soon he’s got Alec in his bed—and the palm of his hand.

Or maybe not. Because as the plot thickens, betrayals, secrets, new loves, and old evils come to light. Now the jewel thief and the aristocrat must keep up the pretence, find their way through a maze of privilege and deceit, and confront the truth of what’s between them…all without getting caught.

It took me a while to get into this book, but I eventually did and enjoyed it. I very much appreciated the way both men tried to be good to the other and the way Jerry insisted on clear boundaries and obeyed them. They were definitely perfectly matched in desires. However, I also thought there was a tad too much sex, it cluttered the plot. (It was hot though.)

The close bonds outside of the main pairing were also appreciableJerry and Lane, Lazarus, the siblings. There were tons of platonic relationships and connections and I thought it enriched the story. Plus, it was fun to get an indirect peek at some of the characters from another Charles book!

All in all, I wouldn’t call it my favorite Charles book, but as always I enjoyed reading it…or listening. Cornell Collins did a fabulous job with the narration.

 

i-know-how-this-ends-banner_orig

Review: I Know How This Ends, by Imogen Markwell-Weed + Giveaway

I Know How This Ends
by Imogen Markwell-Tweed
Genre: Sweet M/M Paranormal Romance

 

Alone in the woods of West Virginia, Tabbris lives a quiet life. He tends to his garden and communes with the bees and feels the presence of holiness in his every small, humble action. A fallen angel with the ability to see the future, Tabbris tries his best to stay out of humanity’s sight.

In L.A., Daniel is the life of the party. Loud, abrasive, desperate for approval and companionship, Daniel never sits still — and he’s never alone.

When Daniel gets a large research grant to investigate cryptids, he sets off for West Virginia. What he thought would be a good prank and a fun conference paper turns out to be an adventure he never saw coming.

Tabbris’s quiet life is uprooted by a mysterious man falling across the borders of time and into his front yard. Daniel is not supposed to be here! But there’s something intriguing about this man, beyond his surprising appearance and penchant for mythological creatures. When Daniel keeps showing up, Tabbris is plagued by the possibilities that the man ignites in him.

The only problem is that Tabbris can see the future. And he already knows how much pain they have in store. He knows how this ends.

**Only .99 cents!!**

This is a super sweet story. Honestly, I don’t usually review short stories here on the blog. However, I didn’t realize that’s what this is when I accepted it for review. I just knew it was by Markwell-Tweed and I liked the last book I read by her, so I figured there was a good chance I’d like this one. I was right about that at least.

I was initially disappointed to discover it’s only 48 pages long (well below my informal 100 page minimum for the blog). But this story doesn’t need any more than that to be told and still feel satisfying and complete. I fell in love with Tabbris in those 48 pages and it was enough. I’ll be looking for more of Markwell-Tweed’s writing, for sure.

 

Imogen Markwell-Tweed is a queer romance writer and editor based in St. Louis. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her dog, IMT can be found putting her media degrees to use by binge-watching trashy television. All of her stories promise queer protagonists, healthy relationships, and happily ever afters.

 

 

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