Tag Archives: erotica

Level Up: Level One: Headshot

Book Review: Level Up: Level One: Headshot, by Alexa Sommers

Level up Alexa SommersI managed to grab an Audible code for Alexa SommersLevel Up when the author was handing them out on Twitter.

about the book

“You have the hands of a rogue, the mouth of a bard and I’m pretty sure you’re at least half cleric because you have me ready to scream… Oh God.”

Dillon Strands is not your typical college co-ed. While other’s are chasing down parties and partners, living out their dreams of debauchery, Dillon and his friends are studying, gaming and stuck in a rut, their social lives hanging by a thread. After a semester of continued promises to step out of their comfort zone, the five friends find themselves exactly where they started.

Enter Suzanne Andrews, a gamer girl with a plan.

He may be at the top of his class but when it comes to the art of pleasure, Suzie Andrews is an A+ student.

my review

Meh, it was OK. I actually really liked all the main characters and thought the geekery was really well done. I admit I don’t have quite enough geek-cred to get all the references, but I certainly snickered and smiled more than once. I appreciate that the guys got the girls, so to speak, while managing not to be at all sleazy. Dillian’s confusion in the face of bliss were my favorite parts. But I thought the villain (for lack of a better description) exceedingly cliched. Similarly, the introduction of female characters only to have them become sex kittens that throw themselves at the main character on meeting him was disappointingly cliched, dare I say boring in it’s predictability. I get that this is more erotica than romance, but it was still worth an eye roll.

The writing was pretty sharp, though even in audio I caught a couple probable editing errors “gouge her response,” instead of gauge, for example. Hard to tell where to lay blame for that in an audio book though. And lastly, I thought there was some inconsistency in the POVs. All in all, not a bad read (or listen) but a better NA humorous romance than a erotic romp. I rather wish the author had stayed the course, though it’s my understanding that she is known as an erotic writer so…

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Review of Alien Captive, by Lee Savino & Golden Angel

I picked up a copy of Lee Savino and Golden Angel’s Alien Captive from Amazon, I think on a free day.

Who knew reading sexy alien abduction stories could get a girl into trouble?

Or that an e-reader could also be the gateway to another galaxy? I definitely didn’t… but here I am anyway, mated to the Tsenturion High Commander just like the unwilling human heroines in my favorite sci-fi romances.

The Commander demands obedience. He intends to claim me, train me, and turn me into his perfect little pleasure trophy.

He doesn’t believe in love. I don’t believe in giving in without a fight.

There’s no amount of discipline or ecstasy that could break me to his will… I hope.

Alien Captive is a hot alien abduction romance, starring one feisty human and the Tsenturion Warrior strong enough to master her.

Utterly ridiculous, but not taking itself too seriously either. Meta enough to make it interesting, as Dawn is well aware that her predicament is predicated on her favorite fictional erotic books (which are just like this one), but that fantasies aren’t necessarily what one wants in reality.

Unfortunately, the book lacks in connection. Several of the important conversations that need to be had either aren’t had or are had with the wrong person. Essentially, Dawn and Gavrill may speak to others, but when together they’re entirely inside their own heads. They don’t have conversations, they just fuck. I couldn’t feel their love grow in the slightest. Further, all that sex got boring. It’s not just that there’s so much of it (I would expect that in an erotic novel). It’s that it’s all basically the same and eventually it felt redundant. Lastly, Dawn’s ‘misunderstanding’ felt forced and artificial. It’s been done better a thousand times before.

The writing is pretty sound though. And I feel like the authors tried to grapple with the fact that the ‘brides’ will be enslaved, even if that word isn’t ever used The reader is supposed to understand they love their situations. I never could quite make the leap, personally. I also thought some of the BDSM tropes felt shoehorned into the plot, honestly.

All in all, not great. But not a horrible version of what it is either.

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Review: Haru to Aiden, by Alexia X.

Last night I read Haru to Aiden. I see that since I picked the book up in December of 2019, it’s gotten a new cover (several, it seems) and the author, Alexia X., is now going by Alexia Praks. However, I’m going to stick with the cover I have because that means I read an X-authored book for my yearly Author Alphabet Challenge. I would normally call this cheating, except that I honestly didn’t know about the name change until I went to download the cover to write this post. So, I legit thought this was an X-book when I decided to read it. I’m running with it.

Eighteen-year-old Haru Ono has been in love with his stepbrother Aiden Davis since he was in middle school. Trying to keep his feelings under wraps is annoyingly hard when they’re living under the same roof in such close proximity, more so since Aiden is so caring and selflessly showers him with kindness.

Haru knows that family is important to Aiden, who has been shouldering the burden of raising five younger siblings, and it’s best Haru never reveals his feelings to Aiden. Then again, an eighteen-year-old boy with raging hormones can only bottle up so much until everything starts to burst.

I think this book will have a very select and limited audience, but that audience will likely love it. I found myself not hating it, but not loving it either. There was a time I was very into Yaoi (and if you don’t know what that is, probably don’t blindly pick up this book) but maybe I’ve outgrown it. I think being an existing fan of the manga style/genre is probably a prerequisite to enjoying this light novel, which is essentially a Yaoi manga in literary format. And here starts my issue.

I don’t think it works as well as a novel as a visual media. I just don’t. So, there’s that. I also thought the whole thing read like it was written by a 15-year-old fujoshi, especially the sex scenes, which were exceptionally cringy. It was surprisingly well-edited. Not perfect, but not the hot mess you’d expect if Alexia X. really was a 15-year-old otaku.

I did appreciate Haru and Aiden’s struggles, though the plot progression has been lifted from a million other similarly themed manga. Plus, the support of all the other brothers and friends was lovely. I did have to wonder how the two kept it a secret from each other when so many other people seemed to know. All in all, I’m not regretful to have read it (especially since it means I can mark an X-authored book of my yearly author alphabet challenge) but I’m not in any rush to read any more of the series either.

It’s also worth noting, in case anyone uses this as a gateway to further Yaoi that, while this book is very careful to ensure we know Haru is 18 (the Western age of consent), many of the manga written originally for non-western audiences don’t make this consideration. So, the whole genre could be considered super problematic by American standards. Just know that going in, so you’re not shocked.