Tag Archives: gargoyles

stone cold banner

Book Review: Stone Cold, by H.B. Jacks

I picked up a copy of H.B. Jack‘s Stone Cold as an Amazon freebie.

stone cold cover

Three massive stone gargoyles. Monsters all. And now I belong to them.

I didn’t ask to be rescued. I was doing fine on my own, even if I had just lost my job, dumped my ex and taken a wrong turn down a dark alley.

So when Cararr thinks I need saving and sweeps me up in his huge claws, what am I supposed to do? Say no to this damaged, vicious and sweet as candy gargoyle who only wants to prove to his mates he’s worthy of their love?

Mates who include Viriroz, one growly grump of a gargoyle, all dominant and possessive, and the sinful Garaz who looks at me like he wants to eat me. Whole.

These are powerful monsters with a dangerous job to do, protecting the human world from the things that slither in the dark, but they need a final female mate to complete their roost and produce their heirs.

All of which means I have to decide whether to stay with these delicious, feral males who love to share a bed and each other, or whether to condemn the rest of the world the world to the darkness.

But I have to make the choice, because the war is coming and it might just rip us apart before we even begin.

my review

Think Gargoyles, the TV show, but spicy.

I dislike the cover, but I decided to overlook it and give this book a try. It started out really well with three male gargoyles in a very affectionate, committed relationship. I liked each individually and had high hopes for when the why choose element was brought in. But the book deteriorated fairly quickly into weird sex-based power dynamics and a sloppy, predictable plot full of far too many coincidences.

Let me start with my biggest disappointment. The three males were in a pre-established relationship, and they needed a female to join them in order to have children. But this left Lara feeling like a fourth wheel, the three of them in a relationship that had a female instead of the four of them in any sort of equal partnership. I really like that the three men were involved and continued to engage with one another even after she arrived, but she was never integrated enough into the dynamic to feel like a true part of it. This was very much reinforced by the weird power relations of sex.

Penetrative sex is referred to as being bred, even between men, and penetrative sex is used as a punishment. Don’t get me wrong, everyone who was penetrated seemed to enjoy it. But it is referred to repeatedly as punishment and used as such. These two facts infer, upfront, that penetration is tied to procreation, and there is something shameful about being penetrated. It is shameful to be the receiving partner in the sexual act. Sound familiar?

Plus, there seems to be rigid penetration politics involved. Alpha Viriroz can penetrate everyone. Garaz can penetrate Carrarr and Lara. Carrarr can only penetrate Lara, and Lara penetrates no one. (This isn’t just an observation, Garaz says at one point how glad he is to never let Carrarr breed him. It’s explicit.) It’s of note here that Carrarr is the most female-coded of the three gargoyles.

This ranking of who penetrates and who is penetrated seems to correlate almost exactly with authority in the relationship as a whole. The end result is that one’s place in the hierarchy reduces with proximity to femaleness, with being the receiving sexual partner as the proxy signal and being deserving of punishment (shameful) as the reason for one’s social position.

Taken together, all of this starts to look a whole lot like familiar patriarchal, misogynistic bullshit that reduces women to sexual toys and broodmares and then deems them of less worth because of it. I want none of this anywhere near my romance books, but especially in a why-choose romance that one reads largely to subvert such puritanical standards. (As a side note, I wonder if the author even knows they did this or if it is so internalized as the norm that they didn’t even notice.)

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect every book to be a feminist masterpiece. A lot of what makes dark romances fun is that they play with the very cultural norms feminism fights. As women, these are our reality, and it can be satisfying to engage them from a position of control. (I can shut a book at any moment, and there is a compact between the author and reader, then the heroine is really safe, no matter the current plot point.) But I adamantly dislike books that do so uncritically, that feed the reader raw patriarchal, puritanical mythos as romance. There is nothing subversive here, and I find nothing in female oppression erotic without it.

Plus, a lot of the sex scenes were repetitive (both in the acts and the language used) and defied photo of stone coldthe limits of human capacity. I know it’s fantasy. One always has to suspend their disbelief. ButJacks so threw out any limits to what the female body can accommodate to pull me, the reader, right out of the scenes, the last one especially.

Add all of this to the convenient and often unexplained coincidences and Dues ex Machina solutions to problems, and by the end of the book, much of my hope had simply evaporated, and I was glad to be shot of it.


Other Reviews:

Review: Stone Cold (Monster Prey Mates, #1). ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

deceived by the gargoyles banner

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.

deceived by the gargoyles photo


Other Reviews:

Deceived by the Gargoyles by Lillian Lark

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

 

Review of Shannon Phoenix’s Guardian of the Abyss

Guardian of the AbyssI got my copy of Shannon Phoenix‘s novel, Guardian of the Abyss from the Amazon KDP list.

Description from Goodreads:
Buried at sea by the sorcerers who created him, Abaddon is a gargoyle unable to heal himself and unable to replenish his energy. He has lived here for longer than he can remember, with no hope of escape. Time is against him as the sea eats away at him, body and soul.

When her diving partner tries to kill her to take over her company, Sarah finds herself trapped beneath the waves and dying. Having brought light to Abaddon’s dark existence at last, only she can grant him the courage to do what must be done to escape his watery prison.

Abaddon must sacrifice his wings to save her. Sarah must come to terms with being trapped with someone she has been raised to believe is a demon, and face the betrayal that nearly destroyed her and the company she built. Together, they must take on the ocean and their own fears. The consequence of failure is death.

Review:
Guardian of the Abyss wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. Most of it took place in the cave under the sea, which means it was just Abaddon and Sarah alone in the near dark. There were a lot of awkward getting to know each other moments, a few rushed sex scenes, and a couple of sweet passages, but almost no action at all.

Once they reach dry land, at last, things pick up a bit, but I also felt like the story started to unravel a little bit. All of a sudden, werewolves, vampires, goblins, etc were introduced, and I was left wondering what the society looked like. There had been little previous indication that it was other than modern American up until that point. Plus, despite no introduction to her abilities, Sarah suddenly seemed all-powerful and awe-inspiring. It didn’t feel like she deserved half the praise she received since she didn’t seem to work at anything. It all just came so naturally. She had no fear of any of the paranormals she suddenly encountered, boldly chastised a powerful gargoyle, and somehow brought peace where none had been for hundreds of years. Not to mention save a species (and we’re never told what makes her special). It was all just too easy for her.

I also had a little trouble with small details like the fact that Abaddon was 2,000 years old, had been stuck in a cave for 400 years, and didn’t know what a door knob was, but I had no trouble describing something as sub-atomic. Some of his ignorance of modernity was pretty funny though.

For all that, it was still a fun little read. Abaddon was extremely honourable and I enjoyed that aspect of his personality. Sarah was stubborn to a fault and more than willing to take charge and demand what she wanted. You don’t see that in PNR heroines too often. Together they were a cute, if occasionally inept couple. Final call: it might not top my favorites, but I enjoyed it all the same.