Categories
Fantasy Romance

Read Wicked Beauty

Read Wicked Beauty (Dark Olympus, #3)

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Helen of Troy, Achilles, and Patroclus that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In Olympus, you either have the power to rule…or you are ruled. Achilles Kallis may have been born with nothing, but as a child he vowed he would claw his way into the poisonous city’s inner circle. Now that a coveted role has opened to anyone with the strength to claim it, he and his partner, Patroclus Fotos, plan to compete and double their odds of winning.

Neither expect infamous beauty Helen Kasios to be part of the prize…or for the complicated fire that burns the moment she looks their way.

Zeus may have decided Helen is his to give to away, but she has her own plans. She enters into the competition as a middle finger to the meddling Thirteen rulers, effectively vying for her own hand in marriage. Unfortunately, there are those who would rather see her dead than lead the city. The only people she can trust are the ones she can’t keep her hands off—Achilles and Patroclus. But can she really believe they have her best interests at heart when every stolen kiss is a battlefield?

Of the three books in this series, this plays the loosest with the source material overall, but then clings a little too close in other spots. Some things seemed to be included just to show that it was referencing the Iliad (Ajax), but would have been more powerful if those roles had been expanded (Hector).

The romance in this was a bit messy, starting with an established partnership in an open relationship and adding a third person, with some hurt feelings and bad behavior on the way. For the romance, I would have appreciated one more chapter at the end — it would have been good to hear from Patroclus again, and I never felt like Achilles and Patroclus resolved their mutual secret “you’re going to get tired of me and leave me” issues.

This set up some big pieces for the overall story of the city, but left too much unresolved IMO. There’s a big question about one of the plot pieces that we’re I guess just supposed to accept will be explained in the next book.

Using a golden apple on the cover when Atalanta is in the book but not the love interest is a weird choice for a series devoted to retelling myths, where readers may be familiar with the story of Atalanta’s footrace.

Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read Plummeting Hearts

Read Octavia Kore Books | Venora Mates

Venora Mates is dealing with a war with the Grutex and humanity in which we are losing. Venora Mates Series Guardians Of Inore Guardians of Inore is a spin off from Kept from the Deep.…

Another novella from Claimed Among the Stars.

New to me author, would read again.

I appreciated that this took the tropes of sci-fi romance and expanded on them: yes she’s a nurse, and so are the love interests; yes there’s a mating fever, and they both hold out through pain to be sure there’s full consent and they can include the third partner; yes there’s two men and a woman, and the men are in love before ever meeting her, not just in love with her; yes there are fated mates, and they choose their third who’s not fated; yes they crash land from a space cruise, and are with a group of other survivors who they work with to help.

Feels like real representation of the Filipino character, pulling in pieces of Filipino culture and lore.

Also introduces an intriguing world that’ll probably be a spinoff series — it’s not explained enough (why haven’t the aliens powered up their fancy old tech in so long?), but feels alien in nature.

Categories
Romance

Read Crown of Stars

Read Crown of Stars by K.A. Knight

The Crown Princess of Zyria was born to wear the crown….but what if she wants more?

My life was organised since birth until the carefully constructed plans exploded like a supernova. The lick of flames began when I decided to sacrifice myself for my planet and my people.

Abducted into the stars I dreamed of, I have no choice but to embrace the part of me I have always hidden—the fighter, the warrior, and the imperfect, crass woman who doesn’t resemble the impeccable princess I am expected to be. Instead of using my silver tongue to fight my battles, I now hold true weapons, and for the first time since the crown was placed on my head, I feel whole.

Evil is flooding the galaxy, and for some reason, destiny has chosen me to stop it. The only problem is, I don’t know how. Luckily, I meet some men along the way who are willing to follow me on this mission. If the king could see me now, draped in leather and wielding pistols and knives rather than wearing ballgowns and reading old scrolls, he would collapse onto his golden throne.

Now, I fight my way across the cosmos to try and stop the destruction of everything we know.

I was ready to give up my life, my future, and my body, but I never expected to lose my heart along the way.

Stars, don’t let me fail now.

This wound up feeling very drawn out, with the ending seemingly starting in the 80% mark but there was denouement after denouement, with like five “endings”. The opening was much faster paced, albeit a bit generically evil bad guys who look scary and break their word and are into raping women and blowing up planets for funsies. Lots of action in the plot, driving forward pretty fast, so that created quite a juxtaposition when they suddenly weren’t doing anything anymore.

Saffron (not an ideal name for a princess imo especially shortened to Saff or Saffy) is good at bossing people around which works surprisingly often for her. She’s pretty badass if naive.

The smut is kind of over the top, with Saffron going rapidly from “it’s my duty to stay a virgin and marry whoever my dad says” to “I’m gonna bang two guys at the same time for my first time” 😳 I have only read one other reverse harem before and I think it’s not for me. Too many POV characters, too many character arcs, not enough time to do all the relationships justice so a lot of instalove. This was over 500 pages to try to give her enough one on one time with everyone. I feel like reverse harem is trying to collect one lover of all types and get all the sci-fi romance tropes in (reptile-influenced alien, warrior, cyborg, brothers) so there’s something for everyone? The creepiest was the older (200 year old???) bodyguard who fell in love with her when she was 16 (grooooooosssssss even though chaste).

This was an exciting space opera but weighed down by lengthy declarations of love, too many sex scenes, and a dragging ending.

Really pretty cover. Maybe looks a little YA though, and it decidedly is not 😉

Categories
Romance

Read The Threefold Tie

Read The Threefold Tie

Shy Civil War veteran Jack never expected to be involved in an affair du coeur. It seemed like a minor miracle when he and his comrade-in-arms Everett became lovers – and a painful return to reality when Everett married his sweetheart, Sophie. And the situation is only more complicated now that Jack has fallen in love with Sophie, too.

When Everett found himself in love with Sophie, the proper thing for him to do was to end his dalliance with Jack and marry her. But even though everyone says it’s impossible to be in love with two people at once, Everett has never really gotten over Jack.

Sophie’s unconventional family has shown her that love is not always simple. But she’s still startled to find herself responding to Jack’s very obvious crush – and to realize that Everett, too, still has feelings for Jack. How can they navigate nineteenth century romantic conventions and still find a satisfying arrangement?

I really enjoyed Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray, so I’ve been meaning to read more of her work and finally got around to this novella, now I’ve got a Kindle Unlimited subscription I’m trying to maximize. While I didn’t like it quite as much as Briarley, I thought it was well done.

The storytelling style felt different than I’ve read before, moving between the present and past quite a lot, but not in a confusing way.

The Civil War and post-Civil War seem to be a neglected time period for historical romance (Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League series was fantastic), and I’d love to see more.

Though this was short, it felt a good length and had a satisfying ending.

Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read Stolen Desire

Read Stolen Desire (Planet of Desire #3) by Robin Lovett

My people call me the Sex God, but I, Koviye of the Fellamana, am so much more. I read their every desire and satisfy them with a mere touch of my hands. I’m sworn to share my powers, and this thing humans call monogamy is biologically impossible for me, or so I thought until I met the human, Jenie, Lieutenant General in the rebellion against our mutual enemy determined to destroy us. Now, as though Jenie has some power over me, I cannot think of touching anyone but her.

I’ve dreamt of Koviye every night since I landed on this sex planet where every breath I take is an aphrodisiac to my blood. I am not fully human, I am part alien, and the planet has awakened my body’s instinct to find a mate. The next person I have sex with I will form an attachment for life, which is impossible for the Sex God. I have a rebellion to lead. Mating a polyamorous alien would ruin me. I can never have him, no matter how much I burn for him.

But I need his help. My best friend was taken prisoner by our enemies, the Ten Systems, and the only person with a ship fast enough to save her is Koviye. And all those dreams I’ve been having about him aren’t just dreams, he tells me. They’re real. He can dream walk, so if I can’t have him while I’m awake, at least I can have him in my dreams—as if that will ever be enough.

I enjoyed this but am not sure how I feel about the ending. Plot-wise I thought it worked but emotion-wise I’m a little iffy on how things worked out for the hero. Is monogamous sex really a requirement of her mating bond, or just monogamous emotions? The earlier books are about getting in tune with your sexuality and becoming less judgmental about sex, I thought maybe this book would include learning more from the Fellamana culture instead of turning them into kind of closed-minded isolationists? Not that everyone suddenly becomes exhibitionists but it might make sense in the context of the story to learn to appreciate a different culture and attitude, especially the culture of the man you love?