Dueling Review, Monster Mash Smashdown, Recommended Read

Monster Mash Smashdown: Books by C.M. Nascosta

Morning Glory Milking Farm

Heat Factor: Violet really wants that big bull dick (and meaty balls).

Character Chemistry: We’ve got some bossy daddy energy going on here.

Plot: Broke millennial takes pharmaceutical job “milking” (*wink*) minotaur bulls for the benefits and living wage then falls for a client.

Overall: Don’t be scared by the title or the premise. This book is *delightful*.


versus


Girls Weekend

Heat Factor: There’s a lot of sex (even kinky sex), but we wouldn’t call this book high heat because the plot banks the flames. 

Character Chemistry: There are a lot of moving parts here (pun intended) so it’s hard to generalize.

Plot: Three friends go to an orc nudist colony for some casual hookups, two find guys and catch feelings.

Overall: Even though it’s literally a girls weekend at an orgy town, this book is so much more than “SPRING BREAK! TAKE OFF YOUR TOP!!” It’s weird. In a good way. And it might not be a genre romance?

Continue reading “Monster Mash Smashdown: Books by C.M. Nascosta”
Dueling Review, Monster Mash Smashdown, Rant

Monster Mash Smashdown: Non-Humanoid Alien Week

I Married a Lizardman by Regine Abel (2021)

Heat Factor: Y’all remember when Khal Drogo needed to be taught how to do it face to face by Khaleesi and then their marriage did a 180?

Character Chemistry: “You may look weird, but I find you oddly attractive.”

Plot: Benevolent colonialism + how to start seeds + sexytimes

Overall: We have some THOUGHTS about the politics of this book.


versus


A Winged Embrace by S.J. Sanders (2021)

Heat Factor: “Let’s start this whole marriage thing slow.” *sees giant alien penis with alien penis accoutrements* “Just kidding, let’s bone against the wall.”

Character Chemistry: Fully 30% of the book is him embracing her with his wings.

Plot: Jewel thief agrees to be a mail order bride to get out of jail and ends up married to a gargoyle-alien cop. Freak outs and boning ensue. 

Overall: Fresh and fun, but you’ll never look at spaghetti the same way again.


Both of these books feature the same basic premise: a human woman agrees to be a mail-order bride to an alien, sight unseen. She is not entirely honest with her spouse about her background and/or motivations. Her apex predator partner is a giant cinnamon roll who wants nothing more than to please his new bride. And while both books end with love and alien babies, there are some glaring differences between how these books present the alien Other. Let’s dive in!

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Dueling Review, Rant

Dueling Review: Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata (2018)

Erin really wanted to rant about this book, but while Ingrid might not enthusiastically recommend it, she isn’t about to agree with Erin that it’s rant-worthy. Clearly, we needed to review this book together. 

Welcome to Dueling Reviews

Moderated by Holly, who had no interest in reading this book but still asked a gazillion questions.

Erin’s Take:

Heat Factor: Not much heat. Mostly yearning.

Character Chemistry: I both like and hate their chemistry at once 

Plot: Luna has a really weird relationship with both of her bosses, but one’s like her dad and the other she has a crush on

Overall: I’ve read this more than once because I really like the idea of it, but every time I get into it I am totally enraged

Ingrid’s Take:

Heat Factor: Zapata starts fires with sticks, really

Character Chemistry: It makes sense. I stand by that.

Plot: Luna spends her life making everyone happy except her boss, Rip

Overall: I mean, it’s a classic Mariana Zapata–so it’s messy, sure. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t satisfying.

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Dueling Review, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (1995)

This month, as part of talking about morality chain romances, we all read Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. It comes up frequently as a “canon” romance, but none of us had read it before. Spoiler alert: we all really liked it.

Scoundrels, Book #3

Let’s start by each giving our metrics for the book:

Holly

Heat Factor: Purple prose alert!

Character Chemistry: Sarcasm abounds. Also, she tells him that he’s sensitive and he’s baffled but she’s not wrong. 

Plot: Jessica must rescue her brother from the clutches of the Marquess of Dain. He compromises her. She shoots him. They get married. 

Overall: ZOMG. The plot gets a little saggy towards the end, but I still had a blast.

Erin

Heat Factor: Kissing in the RAIN! 💕 But yeah, standard histrom fare albeit on the steamy side

Character Chemistry: She’s competent AF and he’s a man baby, and they’re both super besotted, so it’s pretty excellent, in fact

Plot: antagonists → spouses → exasperated (Jessica)/emotionally constipated (Dain) → lovers

Overall: Bottom line, this is simply a very fun read

Ingrid

Heat Factor: Oh, my.

Character Chemistry: Had Dain been with any other woman, I would have hated it…but since he was with Jess…swoon.

Plot: Dain is fully committed to a life of debauchery when he meets Jessica, who is a spinster and really doesn’t have any time for his nonsense unless he’s got her pressed up against a wall. Once he ruins her and refuses to do the right thing, she shoots him, they negotiate, and they’re pretty much in a bout of emotional fencing until the book ends.

Overall: Obsessed.

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Dueling Review

Dueling Review: Ashwin by Kit Rocha (2017)

Erin recommended a bunch of Morality Chain books to Holly this week, so that Holly would understand the greatness of this trope. Ashwin did not convince Holly that Morality Chain is the best trope, so we decided to review it together.

Gideon’s Riders, Book #1

Erin

Heat Factor: I mean, I think it’s designed to be erotic romance (or adjacent thereto), so a lot of the connection between the protagonists is sex-related

Character Chemistry: Heavily based on yearning

Plot: Ashwin is on assignment to infiltrate a powerful sector leader’s guard but, OOPS, his only emotional connection EVER got adopted by the sector leader, too, and that’s really throwing a spanner in the works

Overall: The morality chain aspect was probably my favorite part of the romance/relationship component, but overall I was more drawn to the Riders and the political intrigue. 

Holly

Heat Factor: So many multiple orgasms

Character Chemistry: Kora makes Ashwin feel, and since he has been conditioned (read: tortured) to not feel, that is a problem

Plot: Ashwin is infiltrating an elite bodyguard biker squad, and Kora is making him feel things

Overall: The romance was ok, but I was very distracted by all of the questions I had about the worldbuilding

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