Tag Archives: erotica

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.

Review of Branded by Flames (Dragon Soul #1), by Sean Michael

Branded by FlamesI received a copy of Sean Michael‘s Branded by Flames from Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
For years, dragon-shifter-slash-firefighter Jake has been searching for his mate, but he’s beginning to tire of the search. Maybe soul mates are only for the lucky few. 

Then he meets Shae. 

A former navy welder, Shae is handsome, talented, into power play and rough sex, and covered in dragon tattoos. All of this suits the shape-shifting dragon just fine—until he finds out that Shae literally has Jake’s family crest already tattooed on him. A coincidence? Or something more… 

Jake must convince Shae to trust him as a man and as a Dom before the heat between them burns out of control. Becoming a dragon’s mate is not without danger, and Shae will need Jake’s guidance—and love—if he’s going to make it through alive. 

This has dragon shifters. Dragon shifters! I should have loved it. But I’m afraid I just didn’t. The book is too long by half and it’s all sex. I mean ALL SEX.

I understand that it is erotica, not romance. (Though, I didn’t realize that when I requested it from Netgalley.) So, it’s fine that the focus is on sex not relationships, but it is not enough to carry such a long book. I got so tired of sex scenes. You wouldn’t expect them to bore a person, but when it’s just the same thing on repeat, that’s what it is, boring. I literally fell asleep at one point!

And it was painfully repetitive. I mean, there are only so many ways to describe two men having sex. The word ass is used 168 times and cock 202 times, in the novel. Now, the book is 216 pages long. That means that once you take out the front and back matter, it’s basically once per page. So, you can estimate how much non-sex plot there is. Hint: essentially none. It might have worked for 75-100 pages, because Shae and Jake are likable, but not 200.

It also uses one of my personal pet peeves. I hate the whole ‘boy’ thing in BDSM books. Totally personal, that; probably doesn’t annoy others like it does me. But it’s nails on a chalk board, as far as I’m concerned. Maybe it’s because I’m from the American South and, while there is definitely a traditional power play involved in the term, it’s not one I find sexy in the least. In fact, I always unconsciously read it with an unnatural emphasis that rips me right out of a narrative. I just really hate it.

I also disliked that Shae started the book as a somewhat butch, tattooed, pierced, ex-Navy welder and as soon as Jake showed up, he turned into a rather camp ‘queen.’ Either would be fine, but the personality shift was jarring.

Outside of these irritants the writing is fine and there is some humor in the book. Plus, I rather enjoyed Jake’s uncertainties, though I also thought they didn’t match the rest of his character. I appreciated that Shae was supposed to be almost 40. It’s so rare to find older romantic leads. And, of course, the whole this is about dragons, which is always a plus for me.

In the end, I think this may just be a case of a poor pairing between a reader and book.