Tag Archives: romantic fantasy

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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


Book Review: An Emperor for the Eclipse, by Eris Adderly

I bought a second-hand paperback copy of Eris Adderly‘s An Emperor for the Eclipse at Savers. (Though the spine looked like it’d never been cracked, if I’m honest.)

an emperor for the eclipse cover

He was expendable. He was a sacrifice. He was the emperor.

Raothan Ga’ardahn wants to take his own life. Twelve years in exile have a way of beating a man down, and the shameful secrets of his past, no matter how far buried, weigh enough to keep him that way. The last thing standing between him and oblivion is a sign from the gods. That, and a unit of Imperial Guard trooping onto his farm one late summer’s afternoon.

Across the continent, the Taunai heed the warnings of their dead: act to correct an unforeseen fracture in the Pattern of events, or face annihilation. Niquel, their bravest Questioner, accepts the challenge to descend into the dangerous lowlander capital for the good of her people. A journey alone away from her snowy mountain home awaits. Any worry about the strange man in her dreams will have to come later.

When the paths of the two outsiders cross on the steps of the imperial palace at Protreo, the fate of the empire shifts. One the Novamneans call ‘exile’, the other they call ‘witch’. Neither will ever be the same.

my review

Ho, I found this book beyond frustrating. Because I almost loved it. I would have loved it, except the sex! Now, before anyone calls me a prude and asks me why I’m reading sexy fantasy if I don’t like sex in my books, let me say I have no problem with sex. I read quite a lot of it. Outside of the rapes (which I do generally try to avoid in the books I read for fun and sometimes get pissy about), I don’t even have a problem with any single element of the sex in this book. It’s just that the sex the book contains doesn’t AT ALL fit the story the book is telling.

The first one is full on m/f master/slave kink play with spanking, anal pegging and anal sex. Involving a character we’d just met long enough to have a work conversation going home to have sex with his wife, who is only introduced for the purposes of him having sex with her (and she basically isn’t in the book in any meaningful way after). Nothing in the book, up until that point, was even remotely erotic. The scene literally came out of nowhere. I spent that whole VERY LONG sex scene (12 pages) wondering what the point of it was. The characters were not important ones. The reader wasn’t invested in them or their relationship. The sex wasn’t stitched into the plot. The whole thing was jarring and out of place.

The second scene was a m/f gang rape. The third was coerced f/f sex, in which one was straight and the other basically owned her. The fourth was (m/f) forced fellatio, so rape. The fifth was another f/f scene, in which the previously straight woman ostensibly entered willingly, but only because she was told someone would kill her nieces if she didn’t seduce the other woman—so, basically another coerced scene. And the last was finally a sweet, gently love scene between the main characters (the only sex scene between the main characters).

The point I’m making is that the main couple basically have a very sweet VERY LOW STEAM romance and then the author shoved all this jarring, unpleasant sex into the plot with other characters. They didn’t fit together even a little bit. It’s not even that they were badly written. They weren’t. It just felt like the author took the sex scenes she wrote for an entirely different book and shoehorned them into this one in order to make it steamier and IT RUINED THE BOOK.

I can’t even reason that maybe she was trying to create a purposeful contradiction because nothing in the story or plot supports it. So, I’m just left scratching my head and super frustrated.

Outside of the ruinous sex, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters. The world is complex and multilayered. There’s some humor. The writing and editing is good. I would have 5 stared this book if the author hadn’t forced it from fantasy romance into erotic fantasy. (Not erotica necessarily. The sex isn’t the point of the plot. But definitely a higher erotic rating that the story needed or, more importantly, supported.)

an emperor for the eclipse photo

Other reviews:

Book Review: Emperor for an Eclipse by Eris Adderly

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Book Review: Dangerous Magic, by Monica Fairview

I borrowed an audio copy of Monica Fairview‘s Dangerous Magic through Hoopla. It was narrated by Jennifer M. Dixon.
dangerous magic monica fairview

Elizabeth Bennet is stunned when the Royal Mages come to her peaceful country home of Longbourn to take her away. She is even more bewildered when she is commanded to marry a powerful mage by the name of Fitzwilliam Darcy. She has always dreamed of marrying for love, and an arranged marriage with an arrogant stranger was never part of her plans.

But Darcy and Elizabeth have no choice in the matter. Uniting their two forms of magic is essential if the Kingdom is to defeat Napoleon’s mages. They may dislike each other on sight, but Darcy and Elizabeth have to overcome their differences and find common ground before it is too late. Fortunately, it is not long before the sparks begin to fly between them.

Join the author of ‘Fortune and Felicity’ in this enchanting Jane Austen Variation, a story of determination, love, and hope against all odds.

my review

I’m not entirely certain why I downloaded this book. I’m not a particular fan of re-tellings, be they fairy-tales or Jane Austen. I think maybe I just wasn’t paying enough attention to notice the subtitle at the time.

I am of two fairly disparate opinions about this book. On one hand I think it would have been a perfectly readable story without the gimmick of tying it into Pride & Prejudice. And on the other hand I feel that if it hadn’t been ham-stringed by following Pride & Prejudice‘s plot (even loosely) it could have grown into a deeper and more compelling story.

My main emotion while listening to this book was boredom. I felt like nothing happened for the vast majority of it. Then suddenly Darcy’s feelings for Elizabeth changed out of nowhere and then hers did too. Then there was a fairly vague battle, some drama in the background, and ardent declarations of love. I didn’t feel engaged or engrossed in any of it.

Further, While I understand that as a re-telling Fairview was somewhat constrained in character portrayals, but I’d be thrilled if we could all stop writing stories where all the men are lovely and trustworthy and all the women (if there are any at all) are jealous and duplicitous.

The writing itself seems perfectly fine. It seemed to pass as Austen-like and was certainly easy to listen to. All in all, I think this will work for others more than it did for me.

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Other Reviews:

Dangerous Magic by Monica Fairview

“Dangerous Magic” by Monica Fairview, review + giveaway

Dangerous Magic: A Pride & Prejudice Variation (Mr. Darcy’s Magic Book 1), by Monica Fairview — A Review