Tag Archives: erotic romance

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Book Review: Deceived by the Gargoyles, by Lillian Lark

I purchased a copy of Lillian Lark‘s Deceived by the Gargoyles. Well, actually, my husband always gives me his Amazon Prime credits to buy ebooks (for the family library technically, but I’m the only ebook reader). And I bought this book with his credits.

A curvy librarian looking to start a family, a clan of gargoyles, and the deception that starts it all.

My family has always found me lacking. From the way I dress, how I look, to the type of magic I have. My family name is full of pomp and prestige, and I want nothing to do with it.
I’m a witch that knows how to set a goal and I have one in mind.

I want a real family.

Dating is a travesty. All the suitors I meet are looking for a connection to the family name I left behind. I need help.

Enter the matchmaker. It seems too good to be true that I can give her the list of traits I want in a partner and have my deepest desire answered, but I’m out of options.

Love comes along in the most unexpected ways.

From the very first moment I meet Elliot Bramblewick, I have hope. But he’s tricky.
I’m not expecting him to be hiding two other mates. Mates who are as alarmed and intrigued by my presence as I am by theirs.

He thinks I’m a perfect fit for them, but can I open my heart and discard my list long enough to see if this is the family I’m looking for?

None of my lists and plans prepared me for being courted by three gargoyles.

my review

This is my first booktok made me do it book. I bought it after seeing it recommended on Tiktok (which I’m new to). And I thought it was very sweet. I didn’t love it as much as the recommender, but I didn’t dislike it either. I thought it a perfectly passable fluffy read, with no need to be more than that.

I loved the body and sex positivity of it. I very much appreciated seeing a group of people all being conscientious and simply kind to one another. All of the tension building drama is from outside the group. In that sense, I can see this being a comfort read for some. I liked all of the characters individually and the world seems an interesting one.

However, I thought the villain and his motivation super clichéd. I thought it overly long, and the sex (which it is heavy one, being romantic/erotic fantasy) is very insert giant rod A/B/C into tiny slot V. The titillation seemed entirely dependent on the FMC adapting to be able to take massive and/or multiple cocks, with the climax (pun intended) being her ability to perform/endure double penetration with big ‘men’. It’s very focused on what went where, when and how. So, quite explicit, but not particularly erotic, in my opinion. But the men’s general care for boundaries and self-acceptance was sweet.

All in all, it was an enjoyable read and I’d read more of the series. But I’m not rushing out to buy the next (or previous) book.

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Other Reviews:

Deceived by the Gargoyles by Lillian Lark

Deceived By The Gargoyles (Monstrous Matches #2) by Lilian Lark

 

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Book Review: Blood of the Pack, by Cassie Alexander

While it wasn’t on the blog, Sadie’s Spotlight’s Insta featured Cassie Alexander‘s Dark Ink Tattoo series (Blood of the Pack, Blood at Dusk, and Blood at Midnight). However, I didn’t get all of the books at the same time. I had book one, but not the tail end of the series. So, my plan to read all three and review them together, in a single post, crumbled to dust. I’m just too much of a mood reader to allow so much time between books in a series. But since I have read book one, I’ll post it’s review and give the other books their own post when I get to them.

blood of the pack

Angela, Dark Ink Tattoo’s owner, has a secret – she’s a werewolf who used to run with the Pack, a dangerous drug-dealing motorcycle gang that services Vegas’s seedier side. She’s been free for the past seven years, ever since her ex-boyfriend (and Pack leader) Gray went to prison – but when the Pack starts threatening her shop and son she realizes she’s on borrowed time.

Dark Ink’s best artist refuses to show up before sundown – because he’s a vampire. Vegas is the perfect place for Jack – it’s an endless buffet of strangers to bleed. The only thing that haunts Jack more than his hunger is Angela.

Welcome to Dark Ink Tattoo, Las Vegas’s premier 24/7 tattoo studio, where needles aren’t the only things that bite….

my review
Sooo, this isn’t a romance. It’s erotic fiction. Sex is the point and there is a lot of it. I’m not complaining about the fact. I’m just stating it, in case anyone needs or wants the knowledge/reminder before jumping into this series.

And while I’m also not complaining about this second point I’m about to make, it was more eyebrow raising for me. Angela and Jack are not the people between whom the sex is happening. In fact, they’re not even on page together at all, past about page 50 of the book! Maybe they’ll get together in future books; their separate plot-lines are definitely connected. But do not go into this expecting Angela and Jack as a romantic pairing (like I did).

The plots are interesting looking, if a little unimaginative. The rough, evil biker gang…even the rough, evil werewolf biker gang is hardly original. Anyone who reads in the paranormal genres will have encountered it before. But both plots hold together, even when only sprinkled lightly between innumerable sex scenes.

About the sex (since it’s the point, after all), I appreciate that Alexander gave us some variety in both partners and activities beyond plain old P-n-V. I won’t go listing them all, since that would ruin the fun of discovering the various pairings for yourself. But I liked that some peoples that you don’t often see in sexual setting are given sex lives here. And I loved that Jack is assiduous about consent and unwaveringly kind to his partners, even when the kink is rough or the sex meaningless.

I didn’t love Angela’s ‘I want to be used, dominated, and “put in my place” by a man’ sex as much as Jack’s various liaisons though. For her it wasn’t play, as it was for him, for example. It felt 100x more cliched and unoriginal. It felt, in fact, like a male character was allowed variety beyond societies assigned place for him (bisexual—if not pansexual—and allowed to have varied sex). While Angela (as a woman) is still only allowed the one male partner and the sex still has to meet societal (read porn’s) approved scenarios (ie: rough, with the appearance of being demeaning, or at least subservient). Now, I’m not saying it wasn’t hot. I’m just saying it didn’t feel anywhere near as fresh as it could have.

All in all, however, for a one-handed read, I enjoyed the book and I look forward to the next one.

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Other Reviews:

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Book Review: Solstice Surrender, by Tracy Cooper-Posey

I picked up a copy of Solstice Surrender, by Tracy Cooper-Posey, way back in 2013 and it’s been chillin’ in my cloud ever since. This year, I thought the solstice might be holiday-like enough to be included in my holiday reading challenge.
solstice surrender cover

For Special Investigations Agency Operatives Destiny Tremayne, Jenna MacDonald and Nur Aydan, Christmas isn’t all about celebrating.

Jenna MacDonald, cynic extraordinaire, flees to Banff, Canada, for the holiday season to lick her wounds in private after an assignment takes a tragic turn. But trouble manages to find her even in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. A mysterious stranger called Rhys Cellyn exerts a powerful influence over her mind and body, while Jenna struggles to stay afloat in the mythical world he plunges her into. Time is against her, for at the moment of the winter solstice she must make a fateful choice. I’m going to get housekeeping out of the way first. I read this as part of my Holiday Reading Challenge, thinking that being set during the solstice might give this a bit of a holiday theme. But it really doesn’t. The solstice is important to the plot, but not in any sort of holiday-related way, not even a solstice holiday. So, it’s kind of a failure in that regard.

Moving on to the review itself, I knew I was in trouble when I read the note in the introduction that mentioned that this book had originally been written as a novella for an Ellora’s Cave anthology. Ellora’s Cave had a pretty predictable story format—lots of sex, very little plot. Cooper-Posey said she’d expanded the novella into a short novel, but I didn’t expect the sex to plot ratio to change. I was right, it didn’t. And while there was a time I quite enjoyed such books (that’s how I knew what to expect from Ellora’s Cave), now is not the time. So, I spent a lot of this book skimming.

I will assert that this was better than most of what I read from Ellora’s Cave, but it wasn’t very good when judged on its own. The writing wasn’t the issue. Other than a disconcerting and anachronistic tendency to use “for” in sentences, the writing is actually fine. The editing had a few hiccups, but nothing egregious. It’s just that the plot is so very thin and there is so very very little character development, world-building, romantic build-up, etc that the story barely holds together. And then there is a ton of sex to further destabilize it all.

So, I’m just gonna have to go with “Meh” for this one.

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Come backlater this afternoon. I’ll be reviewing Charley’s Christmas Wolf, by C.D. Gorri and tomorrow when I’ll be reviewing The Problem With Mistletoe, by Kyle Baxter and Fighting For Us, by Bella Emy. Yeah, I’ve had to star doubling up to fit them all in by Christmas.