Tag Archives: fantasy romance

the dark king banner

Book Review: The Dark King, by Gina L. Maxwell

I received a copy of Gina L. Maxwell‘s The Dark King through Netgalley.
the dark king cover

I thought a weekend away would be the perfect escape. Until I woke up married and trapped…by the king of the Dark Fae.

For Bryn Meara, a free trip to the exclusive and ultra-luxe Nightfall hotel and casino in Vegas should’ve been the perfect way to escape the debris of her crumbling career. But waking up from a martini-and-lust-fueled night to find herself married to Caiden Verran, the reclusive billionaire who owns the hotel and most of the city, isn’t the jackpot one would think. It seems her dark and sexy new husband is actual royalty—the fae king of the Night Court—and there’s an entire world beneath the veil of Vegas.

Whether light or shadow, the fae are a far cry from fairy tales, and now they’ve made Bryn a pawn in their dark games for power. And Caiden is the most dangerous of all—an intoxicating cocktail of sin and raw, insatiable hunger. She should run. But every night of passion pulls Bryn deeper into his strange and sinister world, until she’s no longer certain she wants to leave…even if she could.

Soooo, I didn’t love this. Granted, I didn’t hate it. But it elicited exactly zero feels from me or endeared itself to me in any way. Now, the writing is fine. It’s easy to read. The editing seems clean. So, this is largely a personal taste sort of ‘meh.’ I can acknowledge that it’s a finely written book, while also saying it wasn’t one to light me on fire.

I did actually like the characters. I especially liked that Bryn stands up for herself consistently. And the world seems interesting. My issues were that I just never truly felt Caiden and Bryn’s love. It’s instant and then we’re more told about it than shown it. I didn’t think that the BDSM aspects were well integrated into the plot. So, it always seemed to stand out to me as artificial. the dark king photoAnd it doesn’t live up to it’s own hype.

Caiden is supposed to be sooo dark and dangerous. He goes on and on about how she could never handle his kinks. Heck, the book is called The Dark King. But it’s actually quite sweet, the kink is on the mild side, and the book isn’t even that spicy, comparatively. So, I felt like it built up a promise it didn’t keep.

All in all, it’s a meh for me. I didn’t hate it. But I probably won’t remember it next week.


other Reviews:

One More Book: Review – The Dark King

 

speak easy banner

Book Review: Speak Easy, by E.S. Barrison

In May, when the SCOTUS leak first dropped, before the Supreme Court actually made their appalling ruling on Roe vs Wade, Charlie Nottingham organized a #ReadForOurRights event over on Tiktok. She and several other authors agreed to donate the proceeds from book sales that month to campaigns fighting to reestablish and/or protect women’s rights. I ordered several books from several authors during this event. (Something like 17, if I’m remembering right.) E.S. Barrison‘s Speak Easy  was one of them.

speak easy cover

Victors, they say, write history.
Too bad the victors can’t write.

After her father passes away, Nanette hops on a caravan to the neighboring country of Rosada to join her sister. Yet Rosada is in the grip of a deep fog: magic is banished, storytelling is outlawed, and the Order reigns. With her sister grown complacent over the horrors of their new home, Nanette takes matters into her own hands to protect stories, no matter the cost.

With the help of a loud-mouthed cabby, Nanette forms a plan to reignite the storytellers in Rosada. But it’s not safe to tell stories, even in the shadows.

With tensions rising and storytellers vanishing, Nanette must decide: are stories worth her relationship with her sister?

Are stories worth risking her life?

my review

Let me start by saying how stunning I think the cover is. Now let me move on to the content underneath it.

I have two primary and opposing feelings about this book. On one hand I think it’s a really timely read, being primarily focused on the suppression of truth and rise and destructiveness of propaganda (or ‘state-sanctioned stories.’) And I acknowledge that Barrison added a lot of recognizable, real-world issues. The main character is bisexual. There’s a trans character happily living their life. There’s a diabetic struggling with the cost of his insulin (thought they don’t call it that in this magical realm). There’s a government being eclipsed by religious insurgence. There’s police abuse and ongoing experiences of trauma. (Plus more I’m leaving out because it would be spoilery.) So, I think this is a book of the times.

However, I also found the storytelling very straightforward and not overly engaging. There are no red-herrings, twists or turns, or unexpected events. Problems crop up and are immediately and easily mended. (I found the sister’s sudden change of attitude and miraculous save toward the end especially convenient and unbelievable!) The story is very linear. This happens and then this happens and then this happens. It’s simplistic in the extreme, as is the writing itself. Which is unfortunate, especially in a book about the importance of storytelling.

speak easy photoFor this reason, despite the fade to black sex scenes, I think it would be best for the younger end of young adults—those who aren’t yet looking for too much complexity in a story. I see the book labeled as intended for 18+. But I don’t think that matches the reading experience.

All in all, I’m not sad to have read the book. But it wasn’t a favorite either.


Other Reviews:

Ashley’s Reviews

 

the beast banner

Book Review: The Beast, by Jenika Snow

I purchased a signed copy of The Beast, by Jenika Snow.

the beast cover

What if the Beast never turned into the prince?

My father had just sold me off.

Bartered my body to erase his debt to the very devil himself.

A Beast of a man. Literally.

A creature whispered about amongst the villagers and feared by all.

He was a beastly visage at three times the size of a man, his monstrously huge body covered in fur. Sharp fangs and eyes that held an unearthly red glow. He had pawlike hands tipped with claws and horns that arched back from his inhuman face.

I was to live with him, to be his in every way—all ways—he saw fit.

I was to be his wife, and so I offered myself up as the proverbial sacrifice to the very devil himself.

I just didn’t expect to enjoy being with a monster as much as I did.

my review

Meh, I didn’t love it. I picked this up because I’d seen it raved about over on Tiktok and thought the idea of Beast, from Beauty and the Beast, remaining beastly was intriguing. But there’s just not much to it. Which might be find (erotica doesn’t need much of a plot), except what is there doesn’t even try to be original in any way. It just feels like poorly done Disney fan fiction.

So, if the minimal plot didn’t interest me, that left the sex. What a reader likes in a sex scene is super individual. But, for me, this was far too focused on how he was going to hurt her and she’d beg for more. (Plus all the spitting…and leaking…wasn’t my jam). Which means the sex wasn’t a big winner for me either.

Thus, to say it again, I didn’t love it. But to each their own.

the beast photo


Other Reviews: