Dueling Review, Recommended Read

Dueling (?) Review: Glitterland by Alexis Hall (2013)

Spoiler Alert: We all loved this book. So this is more of a long discussion post than a duel.

Spires, Book #1

Holly:

Heat Factor: Sex first, emotions later

Character Chemistry: I’m not entirely sure why Darian puts up with Ash, but I’m glad he does

Plot: One-night stand becomes something more

Overall: I finished this book and immediately made Erin and Ingrid agree to read it because I needed to talk to someone

Erin:

Heat Factor: There’s a lot of sex, and the sex does a lot of work, but it’s poetically rather than graphically written

Character Chemistry: “It doesn’t make any sense, but something in you speaks to something in me.”

Plot: Ash puts himself way outside his comfort zone and challenges himself to embrace the happiness he finds there

Overall: This has been on my TBR for a while, and I had a couple false starts because Chapter 1 was really uncomfortable, but the rest of the book was really beautiful

Ingrid:

Heat Factor: It’s kind of like eating dessert first, and then getting a little uncomfortable, so when you get the real food you’re kind of relieved/grateful and also just deeply satisfied?

Character Chemistry: This is probably a healthy dose of sexual healing mixed with a serious case of the ole grumpy + sunshine

Plot: Ash meets this glitter pirate, Darian, who just oozes joy at a stag party and tries really hard to pretend this man isn’t leading him into a life where he can find his own happiness and it DOES NOT WORK.

Overall: This book is absolutely like that song you hear on the radio and you’re like, oh god I’m not going to be able to stop humming this later, and that’s exactly what happens but you really love it…

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Dueling Review, Rant, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Your Dad Will Do by Katee Robert (2020)

Erin made us buddy read Your Dad Will Do because she likes to make Ingrid uncomfortable. Which means it’s that time again: time for a dueling review!

A Touch of Taboo, Book 1

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

Erin:

Heat Factor: It’s … imaginative

Character Chemistry: Indisputably they have sexual chemistry

Plot: She found her fiance cheating, so she gets back at him by making a move on his dad

Overall: Well it’s definitely hot, but the interpersonal dynamics are…concerning

Holly:

Heat Factor: Yup, it’s sexy. And they like being watched, so the reader-voyeur is helping make it sexier. 

Character Chemistry: I am so glad that they each found another person who shares their kinks! 

Plot: Revenge sex turns to love

Overall: If you like Daddy Kink and Sexy Sex, read this book! It’s well written. If you don’t like those things, then don’t read this book, because the entire plot is sexy sex. 

Ingrid: 

Heat Factor: I mean, it’s pretty much entirely written to BE hot from start to finish

Character Chemistry: They definitely seem like peanut butter and jelly in the bedroom

Plot: She starts out seeking a revenge hookup with her ex-fiance’s dad and ends up in a whole thing

Overall: If you like daddy/kinky/revenge sex this is probably right up your alley.

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Dueling Review, Rant, Recommended Read

Review: A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole (2006)

All three of the Smut Reporters read A Hunger Like No Other. Erin and Ingrid loved it, but Holly was a little meh on the whole thing. Which means it’s time for a Dueling Review!

Immortals After Dark, Book 1

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

Erin

Heat Factor: There was a point I told my husband to stop talking to me because I was in the middle of some hot, bitey werewolf/vampire sex

Character Chemistry: For the first few chapters I was extremely concerned by his anger and her cluelessness, but they turned it around.

Plot: Innocent, sheltered vampire tames powerful, fierce werewolf

Overall: Hahaha, Yaaaaaaas!

Holly:

Heat Factor: Never accept a blow job from a vampire. 

Character Chemistry: “I hate you! But you’re my mate! I am so confused!”

Plot: Uh, all the magical creatures are being forced into confrontation so that they can kill each other off. And that means that this werewolf finally finds his mate and she’s a vampire and he hates vampires. And that’s just chapter 1! 

Overall: This book was well-executed, but epic paranormal romances are so not my jam. 

Ingrid

Heat Factor: I really can’t deny the steam factor in this one.

Character Chemistry: It went from “Omg these guys need therapy. Separately.” to “They’re going to have 10 babies and I love it so much” in pages. PAGES.

Plot: Ok, well…she’s really green about the fangs and he’s got some centuries of torture issues going on and then they turn it all around and heads come off and furniture gets broken but like, in a hot way.

Overall: I had a few spots where I was like, oh no I don’t know if this is going to work, but then it was extremely diverting and I ended up really liking it.

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Dueling Review, Let's Talk Tropes

Trope Duel: Two Views on Second Chance Romance

We haven’t done any buddy reads in a while, so for this installment of Dueling Reviews, Holly and Erin share their thoughts on Second Chance Romances. Holly thinks they’re great. Erin thinks they’re nothing but nonsense. Moderated by Ingrid.

Ingrid: Let’s start this Trope Duel with a definition of the “Second Chance at Love”:

This romance trope can play out in a number of ways. Perhaps a couple breaks up only to reunite decades later. Maybe they have been deeply hurt in the past, and have spent years avoiding any kind of romantic relationship. Now they will meet and learn to give love another chance. This is a hopeful trope that readers enjoy because it enforces the theme that “it’s never too late.”

Annnnnd…GO!

Erin: Okay, so now we all have the definition … of malarky. The problem with Second Chance Romance (henceforth SCR) is that the characters have fantastically wasted huge amounts of time and then they’re coming back to a relationship that didn’t work in the first place and somehow magically whatever’s wrong is not a problem anymore, which is ridiculous because things and people don’t really change. 

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Dueling Review, Rant, Recommended Read

Dueling Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (2019)

If Holly were to review this book, she would call it a Recommended Read. If Erin were to review this book, she would write a Rant. Clearly, we needed to review this book together.

Welcome to Dueling Reviews.

Moderated by Ingrid, who stirs the pot.

Erin’s Take:

Heat Factor: No heat in the traditional sense, but Khalid and Ayesha throw sparks

Character Chemistry: There’s a lot of “I shouldn’t but I still want” between these two

Plot: Pride and Prejudice retelling from a Muslim immigrant viewpoint

Overall: My rage at some of the plot points really detracted from the romance

Holly’s Take:

Heat Factor: Very chaste

Character Chemistry: Who knew that a brush of the finger tips could be so sexy?

Plot: Pride and Prejudice, but Muslim, with some extra side plots to make the central relationship more complicated

Overall: Enjoyable

Continue reading “Dueling Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (2019)”