Tag Archives: incubi

heartbreak-incorporated_de-campi_banner

Book Review: Heartbreak Incorporated, by Alex de Campi

While I didn’t officially sign up to review Alex De Campi‘s Heartbreak Incorporated, it was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight. I liked the look of it, and since everyone who participated in the tour received a copy of the book, I gave it a read.

heartbreak-incorporated_de-campi

Heartbreak Incorporated
by Alex de Campi
Published: June 22, 2021 by Rebellion Publishing / Solaris
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
Pages: 300

Evie Cross had big dreams of becoming an investigative journalist but at 25 and struggling to make it in New York City, she’s finally starting to admit that her dream is her side hustle and her day job is actually… her job. That is, until she signs on as a temp for a small consultancy whose principal, Misha Meserov, specializes in breaking up relationships. Misha is tall, infuriatingly handsome, and effortlessly charismatic—he can make almost anyone, man or woman, fall into bed with him. And he often does.

But the more Evie is exposed to Misha’s scandalous world, the more she becomes convinced that he’s hiding something… when a wealthy San Francisco tech CEO with a dissolving marriage starts delving into the occult and turns up dead, Evie has to decide between her journalistic desire for the truth and her growing desire for Misha.


My Review:

I really enjoyed this. We have a smart heroine, who may be struggling to find success and her place in the world, but is self-reliant and witty. We have a non-binary, bi-sexual hero who is badass, but not an alpha-asshole. He shows a remarkable amount of vulnerability, and like Evie, I adored him for it. The villains are suitably evil, the writing sharp, and the plot moves along at a good clip. But mostly I just had fun with it all.

I did think there was a bit of sag in the middle, when some otherwise important characters seemed to just get dropped for a while. And I found the descriptions of Misha inconsistent. Sometimes he’s sleek and slender, but also sometimes (especially with hands) he’s notably big. Maybe it’s just supposed to be that he’s bigger than Evie. Regardless, it’s a tiny complaint. All in all, I’ll be looking for more in this series (if there are to be any) and of de Campi’s work.

heartbreaker incorporated


Author Info

Alex de Campi’s mostly-indie career stretches from her Eisner-nominated debut Smoke (Dark Horse) through recent Eisner nominees Bad Girls (Gallery 13) and Twisted Romance (Image). Plus company work: she’s killed off most of Riverdale, twice, in Archie vs Predator I & II. Her next projects are YA adventure The Backups (Imprint / MacMillan, 2020) and a thriller with director Duncan Jones. Catch her YA adventure Reversal on her Patreon, and action-thriller Bad Karma on Panel Syndicate. She also writes for TV and film (the Blade Runner anime & more). She is on social media as @alexdecampi. She lives in Manhattan.

alex-de-campi author
Website
Twitter
Instagram

Rebellion Publishing Info
Website
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

heartbreak-incorporated_de-campi_banner-hosts

Follow the rest of the actual tour

The Black Garden

Book Review of The Black Garden, by John S. McFarland

I bought a paperback copy of John S. McFarland’s The Black Garden. He’s a Saint Louis author and I try to support them whenever I can, with a review if nothing else.

Description from Goodreads:

The year is 1882, and Perdita Badon-Reed, a sheltered Boston esthete, has just made the most momentous decision of her life. Having spurned a respectable suitor, she finds herself on a riverboat on the Mississippi River, steaming toward the strange French Colonial village of Ste. Odile to accept a teaching position at a girls’ academy and pursue her dream of becoming a stone sculptor. Of the many hardships that await her, the one she least expects looms in the form of Orien Bastide, an incubus who has conducted his seductive and parasitic existence for two millennia. Perdita soon realizes the full horror of Bastide’s intentions, and that she alone has the will to stop him. In order to defeat the treacherous Bastide and save future generations from his advances, Perdita must abandon her personal ambitions and, perhaps, her life.

Review:

Sooo, this is a book I’ve now read. I’ve finished it and that’s kind of the only feeling I have about it. It’s 470 pages long. The protagonist doesn’t meet the antagonist until ~page 300, doesn’t understand his nature until about page 400 and ALL of the action happens in the last few pages (and ends in tragedy) The writing is actually lovely, but there really needs to be a lot less of it. The book is too long by half. 

Beyond that, my only real complaint is how well-spoken EVERYONE is and how absurdly perfect Perdita is. At one point the antagonist says of/to her, “Hardly a new month arrives without some report of your exploits, of your compassion, heroism, even.” And it’s true. She’s far too perfect, even performing a rudimentary tracheostomy with a spinning bobbin at one point!

I won’t call this a bad book, and I’m glad to have read a local author’s book, but I’m kind of glad to be done with it. On a side note: despite the cover, this is gothic horror, not romance of any sort.

Book Review of Captive (Beautiful Monsters, #1), by Jex Lane

CaptiveI received a free ARC of Captive, by Jex Lane, in exchange for an honest review.

Description from Goodreads:
Matthew Callahan has spent seven years struggling against the insatiable hunger for blood consuming him. Unable to stop the vampire inside from preying on humans, he keeps himself confined to a lonely existence.

Everything changes the night he is lured into a trap and taken prisoner by High Lord General Tarrick—a seductive incubus who feeds off sexual energy. Forced into the middle of a war between vampires and incubi, Matthew is used as a weapon against his own kind. Although he’s desperate for freedom, he is unable to deny the burning desire drawing him to the incubus general he now calls Master.

Review:
Man, I hate being the first person to give a book a poor review, but I just can’t agree with the majority here. I did not enjoy this book. The writing and editing are fine, but I had some major problems. The first of which was a preference thing. I’m not into the master/slave thing. It’s not my kink. Watching a man be broken and then come to love his enslavement is just not something I enjoy. I personally find it abhorrent. Not morally or anything, I wouldn’t bring that into a review. But I don’t find anything about it sexy. I consider it torture porn and, again, not my kink. I wouldn’t have picked the book up at all if I’d really believed this was the plot.

But outside of just not liking the type of book this turned out to be, I also basically thought this was 200+ pages of Matthew being too perfect and that just got old really, really fast. He started out clueless and I liked him as a character. But as soon as he got a little information he excelled at everything. He was faster, stronger, smarter, sexier, wittier, etc than everyone else. And not just a little bit better, but four times stronger than any other vampire. Plus, he had additional skills that I won’t mention so as not to include a spoiler, but he shouldn’t be impossible. He could charge into a room head-on, outnumbered and over-powered and win every time. Well, knowing that it’s hard to feel any real tension in any of the numerous fight sequences.

I did not feel the supposed affection between him and Tarrick (even when keeping a mind open for lies of protection). Please, don’t mistake this for a romance just because there is sex in it. You will be disappointed. I did appreciate that Matthew and other characters had both M/M and M/F sex, but I was shocked to find incubi and succubi with such HUMAN sentiments toward sex and relationships.

Humans were shockingly disposable. The narrative frequently fell into long tell heavy passages, as time passed. Matthew accepted his situation with shocking ease. The answer to the ‘what am I’ mystery was painfully obvious. The book felt overly long and, worst of all, never really accomplished anything significant before concluding with an open ending.

All in all, while it might be a matter of matching a book to a reader, I was disappointed with Captive. I could see what the author was trying to create with it, but I don’t feel it ever really accomplished it.