Tag Archives: Megan Erickson

Blood Guard

Book Review of Blood Guard (Mission #1), by Megan Erickson

I received a copy of Blood Guard, by Megan Erickson, through Netgalley.

Description from Goodreads:
Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change mydestiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

Sooo, I was not impressed. I swear I’ve read this book before. I’m not throwing out the big P word or anything. Good lord, nothing like that! But it just felt like a common plot, with a pretty common heroine and a fairly common hero and noting about it felt particularly new or fleshed out. When you really boil it down, this was a bog standard paranormal romance with nothing (good or bad) to make it stand out in any way.

What’s more it was about as subtle as a sledge hammer. Nothing had enough time to develop or for me to become invested in it. The book isn’t bad. It’s just not overly good either. But for a quick, you’ll-know-exactly-what-to-expect kind of read it’ll fill the bill.

Book Review of Mature Content (Cyberlove #4), by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

I received an ARC of Mature Content, by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell.

Description from Goodreads:
My life plan is to be brutally honest all the way to the bank. Don’t believe me? I run a popular YouTube channel called TrashyZane, and my claim to fame is oversharing about every aspect of my personal life. Sometimes while tipsy. Not everyone loves my style, but I have a long history of icing out people who can’t handle me. I have no time for judgmental foolishness.

Except, apparently, when it comes to Beau Starr. His channel is the polar opposite of mine, and so is he. Wholesome, inspirational, and clean-cut. Everything about him should turn me off, but when we hook up following a confrontation at a convention, my world flips upside down. Not only does Beau Starr turn me on, he uses the exact combination of dirty talk and roughness needed to turn me out.

But we still hate each other. I think. 

I liked it more than Hard Wired and less than Strong Signal or Fast Connection. So, I guess I’m pretty middle of the road on this, as much as I adore Hassell and Erickson’s writing. As always I found that writing lovely, if somewhat repetitive at times, and the sex was scorching. Plus, I liked that what they did together was characterized as ‘mild kink.’ I feel like a lot of authors write mild kink and then pretend (or honestly think) it’s super hard core. I liked that they acknowledged that they weren’t vanilla, but didn’t pretend to be harder than they were.

The complaints I have are generally personal ones. In the first couple books I really felt like the characters were dealing with deep intra-/interpersonal issues. Here we have two people who just don’t like each-other, but still want to have sex, plus a little bit of external drama. (See where the emphasis is?) Additionally, the first couple books were mostly about regular, relatable guys. Here (and in Hard Wired) we’re dealing with, and in the head of pseudo-celebrities. (I’ve seen the same trend in Hassell’s Five Boroughs series. They started out focused on blue color men and now seem focused on the rich and internet famous. I miss soldiers and dock workers and school teaches. That’s a large part of what I loved about his books. More sensational characters doesn’t necessarily mean a better book. I’m just saying.)

So, I didn’t connect with these characters or their situations anywhere near as deeply as I have past ones and thus, didn’t like the book as much. Now, not liking something as much as something else is a long way from not liking it. I liked the book just fine and recommend reading it, but I didn’t love it. I will continue to follow the series and the authors though. Hassell especially is one of my favorite romance authors.

Book Review of Hard Wired (Cyberlove #3), by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

I was sent an ARC of Hard Wired, but Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell.

Description from Goodreads:
My FallenCon agenda is simple: sit on a couple of panels and let people meet the real me. Jesse Garvy—mod of a famous Twitch channel and, if I ever come out of my shell, future vlogger. I definitely didn’t plan to sleep with a moody tattooed fan-artist, but he’s gorgeous and can’t keep his hands off me. There’s a first time for everything, and my first time with a guy turns out to be the hottest experience of my life.

But the next day, I find out my moody fan-artist is Ian Larsen AKA Cherry—someone I’ve known online for years. And he’d known exactly who I was while shoving me up against that wall. Before I figure out whether to be pissed or flattered, the con ends.

Now we’re back online, and he’s acting like nothing happened. But despite the distance between us, and the way he clings to the safety of his online persona, we made a real connection that night. I don’t plan to let him forget.

I love the Hassell and Erickson team and I’ve enjoyed the Cyberlove series. But I have to admit this wasn’t my favorite. I liked the characters and the story, but aspects of it made me uncomfortable.

Let me start with the good. The writing is stellar as always, the editing good (even for an ARC), the characters distinct, the sex hot, it’s funny and I personally liked the easter eggs. Yep, all good. And honestly, the one big thing that bothered me might be me making a mountain out of a molehill, but it annoyed me. A lot.

(This might be a little spoilery, but it doesn’t give the end away or anything.) One of the main characters’ goals is to become an animator so that he can create his own art that brings attention to and increases the diversity in media. Yeah? It’s a good goal. And I might have been able to look over how didactic some of it came across with the use of what I call hashtag terms (the ones you generally only see online or in book reviews talking about how authors have failed to include X or are guilty of shaming Y). Except that, well, both main characters are white. So are the parents, presumably the cousin/best friend, as it isn’t stated otherwise, the adversary and both people who will obviously be the couple for the next book. Off hand, I can think of one person Ian spoke to that was described as having a bow in her afro and Garvy’s co-worker was Filipino. That’s it.

Of course, race isn’t the only form of diversity and both characters are gay, they acknowledge the existence of bi-sexuality and one is neuro-atypical. But it still felt like an uncomfortable oversight. Perhaps someone will tell me I’m wrong or that it was actually meant to be illustrative, I don’t know. But once I noticed it I couldn’t not. The book was advocating diversity without including much obvious diversity itself.

And I almost didn’t mention it here, because I know these authors (know being a loose term for follow them online and have exchanged a comment here or there, but it’s enough that I have a general idea what to expect in their books) and I’m certain this is something that’s important to them. But I have to admit that here I don’t think they lived up to their best intentions. (And yes, I do see the irony of stating that I ‘know’ them, given that some of the drama in the book is based on fans thinking they know a whole person when all they really know is an online persona.)

Other than that one big issue, that kind of overshadowed the whole story for me, I generally liked the book. Yes, it was very angsty, I thought Garvy was a little too patient to be believed, the happy ending came a little too easily, and Ian’s trauma and protective measures sometimes came across as disingenuous simply because he seemed a little too introspective about his own psychoses. It made it feel almost clinical, instead of devastatingly emotional. But these last critiques are small niggles that are almost meaningless in the face of other aspects I enjoyed. I’ll definitely still be picking up the next book they write together and any books they write separately.