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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Rant, Review

Review: Witch Please by Ann Aguirre (2021)

Fix-It Witches, Book #1

Heat Factor: She climbs him like a tree, so that’s fun…but I would have liked a little more communication beforehand

Character Chemistry: They were so not on the same page but also so into each other

Plot: So many drama shenanigans 

Overall: Oof

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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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Rant, Review

Series Review: Krish / Before Krish by N.J. Bhogayta

Heat Factor: It’s…extremely steamy.

Character Chemistry: It’s pretty electric and from the start you know they’re going to even though…they probably ought not.

Plot: Nicole is a driven, well-regarded, successful up-and-comer in finance and acquisitions when she’s forced into working for Raphael–one of the biggest players in the industry, kind of a bully, and very very sexy. She’s got major baggage (yikes!), he’s one of those guys everyone warns you about (not a good idea, honey) and it’s crisis after sexy crisis for these two.

Overall: I can’t review the entire plot arc, because I’ve only read books 1 and 2 out of 3–but there’s some major red flags AND some major steam in this series that I’ll happily pick apart for you.

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Rant, Review

Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry (2020)

Heat Factor: I was expecting chick-lit level steam (so not much), and I was wrong

Character Chemistry: When it’s good, it’s good. When they’re struggling, I wanted to SCREAM.

Plot: She’s having a quarter life crisis. He’s a tortured soul. They’re both writers and neighbors on the lake in Michigan.

Overall: I am seriously not on board with January assuring Gus that she’ll stick through the messiness when Gus is scared to try a relationship and then immediately bailing in a meltdown when things get messy. Seriously. Not.

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