Tag Archives: erotica

Review of The Lurid Sea, by Tom Cardamone

I requested a copy of The Lurid Sea, by Tom Cardamone, through Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
A steamy bacchanal bending through time and space, replete with the occasional God, mythic creatures, and oh-so-many men. For centuries the godling Nerites luxuriated in a shifting sexual paradise, hopping from one bathhouse to another—from disco-era Manhattan to Feudal Japan and back to where it all started: ancient Rome. When the dark shadow of his half-brother, the sinister Obsidio, descends, his deadly kiss leaves bodies cooling in steam room corners. Nerites must adopt a new role: as defender of these hidden havens, his eternal orgy becomes a race across history itself.

I knew going in that this was an erotic book. (No pun intended.) But I suppose I’ve been spoiled by a softer sort of erotica. This starts out with, “The hot tub was a frothy mix of foam flecked with minuscule bits of fecal matter, white ribbons of semen and filmy water. I basked in this heady broth of hunger and lassitude.” That’s the first two sentences, and it never pulls back from the grit and grime of the bathhouse sex scene.

The writing is very pretty and Nerites is a lot more introspective than you’d expect from a man cursed to suck cock for all eternity. (He doesn’t seem to do anything else). And though it takes a good 1/3 of the book for anything resembling a plot to develop (just long enough to fear there isn’t one and that the Fellatiolympics is the more noteworthy thing about the book), one does eventually. Not much of one mind you, but one does develop.

This feels like someone from an academic background trying to make porny incest, pedophilia, slave sex and debaucheries intellectual. Like we’re supposed to read it as meaningful, instead of base and onanistic. And if you don’t like it, well, you just must not be intellectual enough to look beyond its purposeful prurience and “get it.” Or maybe not truly gay enough. Sure, ok, whatever. I see it, but It’s not really for me. Because even with the pretty writing and some hot scenes, 140 pages of blow jobs gets boring. I struggled to finish it.

In fact, I read 41% in one sitting, then went to bed. Having put it down, I really struggled to pick it up again, reading a chapter here, a chapter there and then forcing myself to push through and finish the sucker all at once. (Pun, again, intended.) My trouble came not with the amount of sex, number of faceless partners, frequency of orgies, the plot that just peeks out here and there, the incest, or the fact that modern ideals of age of consent don’t matter to Greek immortals. My problem sits in that first sentence.

I know this is a personal preference kind of thing. I appreciate having the fantasy of at least minimally hygienic, consensual sex preserved (or not trampled on too badly). There were just too many times Nerites sucked a cock and tasted shit—rolled it around in his mouth and considered it, even—got peed on, was the recipient in Bukkake, reveled in smegma, was borderline raped (though he’s always up for it), had sex on a corpse, etc. etc. etc. I know that for every thing that wrenched me out of what little story there was with a shudder, there’s someone out there for whom that’s a kink (and good for them), I just NOPED out on all of it in one book, after a while. I could have taken any individual thing, just not all of them all together. No doubt, that was partly Cardamone’s intent, to push people’s boundaries. But…

I appreciate the pretty writing. I read the afterward and appreciate how many books the author references (though he claims not to have done too much research, a statement contradicted by the those same recommendations). I liked Nerites as a character. And if I hadn’t so often been squinked out, I might have liked the book. In the end, I’m sure it will find it’s audience, it’s just not me.

Review of The Merman’s Kiss (Mates for Monsters #1), by Tamsin Ley

I received a copy of Tamsin Ley‘s The Merman’s Kiss from Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Even Monsters Need a Mate

After the death of her child, Brianna seeks to end her life within the ocean’s final embrace. Instead, she falls into the arms of a sexy, sleek-tailed monster. He’s wild, seductive, and sets her blood on fire every time he touches her, and soon she begins to need him for more than his magic to breathe underwater. He might just give her a new reason to live.

Zantu has evaded the mate-bond for thirty-five years, dodging promiscuous mermaids with vile intents. Unlike mermaids, mermen bond for life, and Zantu refuses to accept the heartbreak most mermen die of. That is, until the glint of gold catches his eye, and a simple salvage mission turns to passion. Now he’s bonded to a human, and begins to wonder if bonding to the right mate might not be so bad. The problem? A finless female won’t live long among the dangers of the sea.

Now Zantu must choose between keeping her at his side, and keeping her safe. Either way, he’s sure he’ll end up with a broken heart.

Wow, that was…um, um, um…not good. By the end of chapter one I had highlighted half a dozen passages and written ragey notes in my Kindle; most centering on the fact that the female main character was literally passing out from drowning, a merman came up and grabbed her arm, she bloomed into instant lust (while still drowning), and turned around to jumped on his cock. Which she could do because she was of course naked. Women always seem to end up naked before meeting their mate in this sort of book. I’m talking like literally five seconds start to finish, without even looking at him, while dying! Um, um, um…no! That’s a big fat NOPE for me.

And while the rest of the book wasn’t as bad as the start, it wasn’t great either. The two basically just wandered around in a pseudo plot that allowed them to have abbreviated sex in different places and left more questions than answers. Ok fine, it’s erotica. I shouldn’t expect much more. But I couldn’t stand the representation of the female mermaids. So, I had a hard time even tolerating the rest of the plot and world-building.

I admit I liked the idea as males as caretakers and how they nested and desired children. I thought Zantu really cute. But the characterization of all females except the main character as noting but aggressive sex maniacs just smacks of the good old patriarchal ‘women are nothing more than slave to their lust and have no use or character beyond their sex and their ability to bear children.’ Here they’re even stripped of any maternity, making them failures even in the minimal worthiness western society allows women. Maybe, MAYBE the author was trying to flip that script and engage the stereotype, but I rather think not. It just made me angry.

The mechanical writing is fine. The editing is fine. The book will probably appeal to some, but I was not one of them. On Goodreads, where I use star ratings, I gave this 2 stars (1.5 rounded up), that based on the fact that it is structurally adequate, and I feel I’m being generous.

Review of Shifted Under Construction, by C.E. Black

I snagged a copy of C. E. Black‘s Shifted Under Construction on Amazon when it was free.

Description from Goodreads:
Bedroom eyes and rock hard abs make for yummy eye candy, but Harper Mattox knows a bad boy when she sees him. She’s been there, done that, and refuses to buy the T-shirt. The scar was enough of a souvenir.

When Harper agrees to be the temporary secretary at H&V Construction as a favor to her best friends’ husband, Adam Hughes, she thought her days would be spent behind the desk, organizing until her heart was content. She had no idea she’d have to put up with the walking sex-on-a-stick Christian Viera. AKA, her other boss. No matter how many times she turns him down, he just oozes more charm in her direction, weakening her knees, as well as her resolve. And it’s only her first day!

When Harper’s life is threatened, Chris is ready and willing to protect her, showing off an animalistic side she never knew existed. She’s known violence in her past and has no room for it in her life now. Is the fiery passion between them enough to stick it out? Can she accept him? Fur, claws, fangs, and all?

This was entertaining enough for an evening read, but it’s one we’ve all read a couple dozen times by now. Abused woman meets shifter in the morning, insta-love, explosive sex before lunch, a little unnecessary drama to fill out the pages, more sex, and in love by dinner. Meh. Nothing special there, no world-building, character development, or base for the love.

I did like how Harper stood up for herself and how Chris was often described as looking panicked or confused. It was cute. But I disliked how he came on so strong from the moment he met Harper and wouldn’t back off, even when she clearly told him to. He felt like a player, which he’s supposed to have been, but the sort that pressures women into sex they don’t want to get him to go away. It did not make him endearing.

Further, everyone kept saying, “Yeah, he’s a player, but he’s really a nice guy” or “He doesn’t treat women well, but he’s a good person.” Um, how exactly can you take that aspect of his character out, exclude it and say he’s good. They are one and the same, there is no BUT. If he’s a dick to women, he’s a dick, period. He sure felt like one to me and never redeemed himself. He got what he wanted from Harper, pusher her away, got possessive, told her didn’t want a relationship but still wanted sex, then claimed her again. And she just went along with his every whim on this issue. Meh. I never came to like him.

For a quick read that you can go into knowing what to expect, get a couple chuckles out of this is worth picking up. Just don’t expect anything deep or well-developed.