Tag Archives: erotica

Review of Into the Mist (Falcon Mercenary Group #1), by Maya Banks

I borrowed a copy of Into the Mist, by Maya Banks, through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Hostage recovery specialist Eli Chance has a secret. He was born a shifter. A freak of nature.

While on a mission, Eli’s men and their mercenary guide are exposed to a powerful chemical agent, and suddenly his secret has become easier to hide. Now he’s not the only one with the gift. But for his men, this “gift” is becoming more and more of a curse.

Tyana Berezovsky’s brother Damiano was the guide for Eli’s team and was the worst affected by the chemical. As he grows increasingly unstable, Tyana fears she’s going to lose him to the beast he is becoming.

Tyana will do whatever it takes to help him, even if it means using her body to go after the one man she thinks holds all the blame—and possibly the cure. Eli Chance.

Review:

Anyone who has read my reviews very often will have come across at least one in which I’ve said that I used to think I hated the romance genre and refused to read it. Then, one day, I Realized that it wasn’t actually romance I hated but the gender representations common in romance books. I’ve learned that if I’m selective, I can quite enjoy romance. 

Into the Mist is not one of those books. It is full of all the gendered BS that I hate and avoided for so very long. Tyana is supposed to be strong and talented and skilled, but she’s a walking disaster of TSTL. Her primary character development is being a rape victim as a child. And sadly, that’s more than anyone else in the novel gets. 

The paranormal aspects of the book are so sketchy and poorly thought out that I finally just decided that they’re there as window dressing to world the characters live in. And that world is so ill-defined that I didn’t even know if shifters were out or not. So, basically the world existed simply to give the characters different places to have sex. And the sex wasn’t even that hot. 

All in all, as my first Banks book, I was disappointed. Additionally, the narrator did a fine job. However, I hated the fragile, breathy way she played Tyana. It only exacerbated my frustration with the book.

Review of A Demon and His Witch (Welcome to Hell #1), by Eve Langlais

I picked up a Kindle copy of Eve LanglaisA Demon and his Witch, quite a long while ago. And I upgraded to an Audible copy on my recent audio-book buying binge.

Description from Goodreads:

Burning alive is nothing compared to the heat of his touch.

Roasted at the stake as a witch, while her lover watches, Ysabel sells her soul to the devil in return for revenge. A fair trade until her ex-boyfriend escapes the bowels of Hell and she’s forced to team up with a demon to fetch the jerk back.

Remy’s seen a lot of things during his long tenure in Lucifer’s guard, but nothing can prepare him for the witch with the acerbic tongue–and voluptuous figure. Her mouth says ‘Screw you’, but her body screams ‘Take me’. What’s a poor demon to do when his heart makes things even more complicated by goading him to make her his, forever?

Before he can decide if his demonizing days are done though, he needs to catch the bad guys, save the girl and then find a way to convince her to love him and not kill him.

Welcome to Hell where you’re screwed if you do and damned if don’t. And just so you know, Lucifer’s got a special spot reserved for you… 

Review:

I picked this up expecting a funny, fluffy, sexy romp. What I got instead was an entire book of the heroine forcefully saying she wasn’t interested and a ‘hero’ who never backed off, groping her when unconscious and such. The book is just CONSTANT innuendo and icky rape-culture insistence that regardless of what a woman says, if a man persists he’ll get the girl. It even uses several of the stock phrases, like, “her voice said no, but her tone said yes.”

If I’m honest, there was probably a time (years ago) when I could have read this and only noticed the funny bits (and there are some) and think, “it’s so hot he wants her so bad.” But growing up and learning to think even minimally critically about what I read blitzed it. This is frankly just gross. Which is a shame. I’ve read Langlais in the past and not hated it (here, here and here, all in 2013). Now I have to wonder if those books were better or I was just oblivious to their badness.

Mindy Kennedy did a fine job with the narration, but I wonder how many times she had to take a break and step away to keep her voice steady. I didn’t sense a single eye-roll in it.

Review of Claim The Wolf King (Wickedest Witch #0.5) by Meg Xuemei X

I borrowed an audio copy of Meg Xuemei X‘s Claim the Wolf King through Hoopla. 

Description from Goodreads:

It’s a one in a million chance that the sexy-as-sin and savage wolf king finds his fated mate–me, the curvy warrior–on the most hostile alien planet. But you can’t call him one lucky bastard.

I can’t be his–I’ve sworn a blood oath to another. And I haven’t the time for mating when I have to lead a gang of the worst criminals to fight off the vampire hordes, cannibals, and Akem’s creatures of nightmare to find the veiled portal to go home.

The mating call doesn’t care for my difficult situation. It affects me with a fever like no other. Its frenzy bursts in my bloodstream, tormenting me with lust more than I can endure. But if I fail to resist it and break my vow, I’ll doom not only myself but everyone I protect, and we’ll never escape this inferno.

The ruthless, red-blooded wolf king isn’t one to listen to reason. And he has no intention of preserving my virtue and honor. He wants to mate with me more than his life is worth, and keep me as his forever. Nothing and no one can stop him on his way to claim me.

Review:

I’m going to be honest. I picked this book up expecting it to be complete shit. (I mean look at that cover!) But it was December 17th and I’d not yet read an X-authored book for my yearly alphabet challenge, didn’t even have one available to me. So, I grabbed this in a bit of a panic when I saw it. Any X would do at that point. 

For about half the book I was happy with it. Pleasantly surprised that, while the sex talk (and actual sex) was just as overwrought and cheesy as you’d expect, the main character was self-possessed and refused to kau tau to the normal cliches of shifter erotica. In fact, I thought the author was making a point to avoid them and was thrilled to find an author who did. But then she (the author) seemed to lose her way.

[Spoiler in this paragraph] Up until about 2/3 through the book, I’d have called it a 3-star read. Then the most cliched of cliched erotica tropes was dropped like a pile of loose shit on the plot. The only female shifter to be included in the book at all turned out to be the violently jealous ex of the hero. She waltzed into the plot and tried to kill the heroine, while claiming she would take the man back. As I said, this is extremely cliched and over-used. But it’s also insulting to women everywhere (as it is almost every time this plot point is used, and pretty much EVERYTIME it’s the only woman of a group). As if we only exist in relation to a man. As if we can’t trust each other. As if we are in constant competition for a man’s attention. As if we have no value if we can’t re-claim it. Right there I dropped a star. Probably would have DNFed the book if it hadn’t been for a challenge. 

What’s worse, in this case it went contrary to the world-building too. If finding your fated mate is so big a deal, I don’t believe anyone would think they could step between it. I don’t believe anyone would allow the ridiculous challenge she threw. Plus, after going on and on about how he’d kill anyone who threatened her, the hero just let the woman who literally tried to kill his mate and the man who facilitated it walk away. 

Adding to my feeling that the author floundered and didn’t know where to go with the plot, so she took the path most traveled, was the fact that the sex scene after this was full of his dominance and her submission (the heroine had not been the submitting type at all) and described with such violence that I had a hard time envisioning it as sexy and not just painful. In fact, the author even used the phrase ‘the assault of it’ at one point. It seemed to be ranked on how erotic it was by how many times the word ‘cock’ could be used. 

All in all, this was almost a good read. I honestly think the author set out to write a strong female character and avoid a lot of the misogynistic bullshit that often hides openly in erotica. But she didn’t seem able to avoid falling into the same pit as so many authors before her. I finished it rolling my eyes (literally) and disappointed. 

Felicity Munroe did a fine job with the narration. I have to give her props for getting through those sex scenes without sounding ridiculous. 

Addendum: When I posted my review on Goodreads, I realized I’d read another book by this author (The Siren). I laughed because I read it on Dec. 15th. So, I imagine it was the same end of the year, scramble for an X-authored book as this year. It made me laugh when I saw it.