Erotica, Romance

My Review: Sea of Ruin: by Pam Godwin

Publish Date: July 1st, 2021
Number of Pages: 465 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre(s): Dark Romance, Erotica, Historical

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

Love isn’t a decision. It arrives unannounced, breeds madness, and leaves a sea of ruin in its wake. Hate him or love him. Either way, he’s in certain hell.

– Pam Godwin, “Sea of Ruin”

What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

Bennett Sharp is on the run.
Wanted for piracy, she fears neither God nor death nor man.
Except Priest Farrell.

The unfaithful, stormy-eyed libertine hunts her with terrifying possessiveness. Nothing will stop him from coming for her. Not his unforgivable betrayal. Not when she’s captured by the ice-cold pirate hunter, Lord Ashley Cutler.
She must escape Ashley’s prison and Priest’s deceit. But can she walk away from their twisted desires?

Two gorgeous captains stand on opposite sides of the law. When they collide in a battle to protect her, the lines blur between enemies and lovers.
Passion heats, secrets unravel, and hearts entangle until they break.
Can love prevail in the sea of ruin?

~~~

First posted book review of 2023!! And it’s also one of the top books of 2022 for me too!

This book actually really surprised me with how much I really enjoyed it, Pam Godwin really sucked me in with her writing and the story that she put together here. This was my first book by her, but it’s also the first book of hers that really intrigued me enough to really want to dive in–pun slightly intended–and read what this book was all about. It gave me Pirates of the Caribbean-meets-Outlander kind of vibes a little bit, just without the fantasy aspects that go with the epic, swashbuckling Disney adventure series. Don’t let that draw you away from this book though, the story is still quite an adventure.

The story is about Bennett Sharp, a high society darling turned woman pirate captain–think very much Elizabeth Swan vibes–who’s currently on the run not only from the King’s Navy, but also her Pirate Husband! Well, soon to be ex-husband? He was caught cheating in an affair, she’s devastated, and was like “Peace out, Bitch,” and sailed off into the sunset, but not necessarily with a happily ever after… Priest Farrell, the accused cheater, isn’t just letting her go without a fight though.

At about 25% into the story, she’s captured by a feared Commodore, Ashley Cutler, and is taken aboard his ship as prisoner. And that is where I’ll cut off my recap of this experience of a book, so definitely give it a read if you want to see what possibly happens next!

This is a book that’s better going in as blind as possible, which is of course ironic with the many trigger warnings that go with this story too, but I say do your research and if this is still a story that sounds like one you’d enjoy, hopefully you don’t see spoilers because how you discover how things come to be is truly part of what makes this such a fun read! I mean, you can kind of guess some based off the synopsis, BUT there’s still plenty more to find out!

~~~

Love prevailed, not in the windless calm of life, but in the ruin.

– Pam Godwin, “Sea of Ruin”

What I Liked:

  1. The Dialogue Sounded Historically Accurate! One feature I noticed and really enjoyed was the dialogue and how it sounded so historically accurate! Well I mean, I’m no historian so don’t take my word for how accurate it actually is, but what I mean is it didn’t sound like everyone was just speaking modern day English like a lot of novels do these days. Not that that’s a bad thing for me or makes or breaks a book, but I do like when a book actually does sound like it comes from the time period it takes place in. It also still sounded natural too in this book, which I also appreciate!
  2. Lots of Spice! Need I say more?…If you’re looking for a spicy, piratey adventure story, you’ll get that here!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The FMC Is In Danger….A LOT….As a female Pirate Captain, Bennett gets into pretty hot water, like, A LOT of the time. Like, seriously….a lot. Half the book is her threatened to be assaulted, or worse she actually gets assaulted…like damn! Lets give her some time to breathe maybe? Or not have to worry about almost every male character and where his penis goes…I bet this is maybe pretty historically accurate what with how much rape is in Outlander….but even I’m like “Okay…this is getting a tad excessive” by a certain point. I think we’re supposed to marvel over the strength of the FMC and all that she overcomes, but YOWZA does this author really put her through the wringer…I guess at least she has her two hotties to make up for it?
  2. LOTS of Trigger Warnings…I’m not an easily triggered reader, so the only reason I really have this listed on here is really for it to be my warning to other readers to look into the triggers that go with this book, and that because of the many warnings, I know I can’t recommend this book to others and be able to talk about it with others…..I know, woe is me, right?

Conclusion:

Overall, this was quite an adventure filled with dark perils and forbidden seduction that absolutely rivets you to keep on steering forward at a purposeful pace. I really enjoyed it, I loved the danger and how I actually worried about the well-being of the main characters, and Pam Godwin’s writing felt so smooth and natural and flowed so extremely well, she’s definitely a pro at the craft.

If you like the following: Pirates of the Caribbean, Outlander, the New Camelot Trilogy by Sierra Simone, or something that’s kind of a mix between all three of them: definitely give this book a whirl and see what you think!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Erotica, LGBT, New Adult, New Adult Romance

My Review: Show Me (Extracurricular Activities #3): by Neve Wilder

Publish Date: March 21st, 2021
Number of Pages: 318 pages
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre(s): LGBT, Erotica, New Adult Romance

***Warning! This book contains spoilers for the previous books in the series, so continue reading this review at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review for book #1 – Want Me – Click HERE

To see my review for book #2 – Try Me – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

You’re ridiculously simple at times and incredibly complex at others. I can’t pin you at all.

– Neve Wilder, “Show Me”

What It’s About:

The official blurb:

Two Roommates. One Camera. A whole lot of action.

I get crushes the way some people get seasonal allergies.
And sharing a house with four hot roommates is like being stuck in permanent spring.
Too bad I keep getting friend-zoned.

But it’s senior year now, and I’m done pining for the impossible.
Time to live it up and go out with a bang.
Or a lot of bangs.

And I’m definitely, definitely not getting attached to anyone.
Especially not my straight, gym-loving, football-player roommate Sam whose impressively large… smile I caught a glimpse of once.
Or several times.

That’s why, when Sam asks me for help with a very special, very NSFW project so he can make a little cash, of course I agree. In the name of friendship.

And if it turns out that Sam’s more than just muscles—that he’s sweet, and smart, and a little bit filthy, and a whole lot less straight than I thought—well, that’s neither here nor there, because this time I’m gonna be smart. This time, I’m friend-zoning myself.

We’ve got a list of deliciously hot scenarios, a camera, and Sam’s huge… smile. What could possibly go wrong?

From the author of Want Me comes the third new adult college romance in the Extracurricular Activities series. Expect low angst, high heat, plenty of laughs, a flustered redhead, a gentle giant of a football player, and enough BDE to power a mid-size city.

~~~

Sometimes you just need a book NOT because it’s some literary masterpiece or because it’s the latest trending title on social media or because it’s some epic, grand adventure with an exciting plot…readers like me sometimes just seek out books for the hot sex scenes! I have no shame in admitting I’m a spicy smut reader, and this trilogy has been just a total delight in this sense! Neve Wilder is now one of my go-to’s when it comes to me looking for sexier books that I know will have some absolutely scorching scenes to enjoy.

If you liked the first two books of these, you most likely will appreciate this one too, and I personally thought the author didn’t disappoint with this final installment into this college romance story.

This final book revolves around Jesse and Sam. There’s a prequel scene at the beginning of the guys back in freshman year, and Jesse discovers his boyfriend in a compromising position with someone else…thus making him to believe he has the absolute worst luck in love…It makes him twice as snarky, and The Great British Bakeoff fan vows to have a smutty good time when it’s back to present day, senior year, and all the other guys in the house have surprisingly all gotten in serious relationships but him. Then there’s Sam: large, boy next door, football player, seemingly straight, and literal human golden retriever who has a secret of his own that Jesse finds out about…

I especially enjoyed both Sam and Jesse equally, I think they both felt fleshed out and had great personalities that fit each other well. There was definitely some chemistry there from the get go that only becomes more obvious as they keep hanging out and become closer as friends and more.

Was this book as strong as the other books? Yes and No.

The sex was hot as all the other scenes, but if I’m being a little critical, the actual relationship didn’t feel as strong as Nate/Eric’s and Chet/Mark’s. There wasn’t as much actual ROMANCE involved or tender hearted moments to make you swoon. I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all, and like I said Sam and Jesse defs have some chemistry between them, I guess it’s more that the author just doesn’t really show it as well this time around. Heck, even some moments only fade to black in the back half of the book which didn’t make the most sense.

I would say as far as content goes: this book is right up there with the others in terms of spice rating (which it gets a 4 peppers from me), but if you’re someone who likes to see deeper connections and have your heart feel like its fluttering out of your chest and want to read relationships that make you think true love is real…this might not be the one.

Personally, I didn’t have a problem with that in this story because by this point I knew what to expect in the overall tone of these books, but I can see other readers maybe turning away because out of them all this feels like the weakest of the connections.

I guess you’ll have to read it yourself to see what you think! Besides the fade to blacks, I immensely enjoyed this book!

~~~

“You’re the first person I look for in any room. I hear you louder than anyone else. Even when you’re quiet. Sometimes especially when you’re quiet. I’ve never wanted to be with someone else as much as I want to be with you. Making you happy makes me happy. I’ve never felt that way with someone else either. Everything about you makes me feel impulsive and excitable, and it’s both scary and exhilarating as hell.

– Neve Wilder, “Show Me”

~~~

What I Liked:

  1. Neve Wilder Writes Really Good Smut! This author skyrocketed up my list of authors whom I know will add the fire and steam to their stories! And the fact that it’s MM makes it even better! If you’re looking for hot, graphic scenes between younger and eager college age guys, these are an excellent option!
  2. Sam is Total Book Book Boyfriend Material! I totally adored Sam in this book! I’m a sucker for the big muscles, bigger smile, slight himbo jock vibes that he gives off and how he’s probably one of the most easy-going characters I’ve ever come across…I didn’t think much of him when he was a background character in the previous books, but once the spotlight shined upon him, oh did it ever shine so brightly!
  3. Surprisingly No Angst About Queer Self Discovery! With Sam being so go-with-the-flow and super chill about literally everything, he was even this way during his journey of self discovery. Before him and Jesse start going at it, he’d never done anything with another guy or really even thought of it, but then he realized he had feelings and just kind of shrugged and went “Well… I guess I’m bi or whatever.”

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Either Needed to Be Shorter or It Needed More Conflict… If I’m going to be critical–I’m a Gemini and we ALWAYS have something to say–I would say maybe this book could be a little shorter, or if not shorter, maybe it could’ve actually added more angst or conflict to the story. I’m good if it’s not about gay discovery since Sam seemed actually pretty chill about all that, but maybe Neve could’ve added more drama with Jesse’s ex or something to maybe push the story a little faster?
  2. Later Sex Scenes Were Fade to Black…the first chunk of the book is phenomenal, but then the last bit feels a little rushed in this sense and the spicy scenes start to fade into the background, literally…for some of the scenes, it felt like a real missed opportunity.
  3. There’s Not Much Actual Romance…While there is a LOT of sex–no complaints there–there’s not actually a whole lot of softer moments that make you really believe that its a deeper, more serious relationship…Personally I didn’t mind this too much, but I can see other readers being disappointed by this.

Conclusion:

Overall, this was another great addition to a smokin’ hot MM college romance series that Neve Wilder has come out with! Sam was an absolute favorite of mine, and Jesse was a great fit with him too with his sassy snark. It couldve ended on a stronger note, but I think this book is still perfectly fine for what it is: a spicy new adult college romance.

Neve Wilder has totally gained a fan in me for these books now, and you can definitely bet I’m going to be exploring other titles too!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Erotica, New Adult, New Adult Romance

Exodus (The Ravenhood #2): by Kate Stewart

Publish Date: July 31st, 2020
Number of Pages: 450 Pages
Publisher: Independently Published
Genre(s): New Adult Romance, Erotica

***Warning! This book contains spoilers from the previous book in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!***

To see my review of book #1 – Flock – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.5 Stars

Until we meet again. Until we can feel the rain on both our faces. There has to be a time for us in the next life. I don’t want any part of a heaven where I don’t see you.

– Kate Stewart, “Exodus”

What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

Can you live a lie?

It’s a ghost town, this place that haunts me, the one that made me.

It’s clear to me that I’ll never outgrow Triple Falls or outlive the time I spent here.

I can still feel them all, my boys of summer.

Even when I’d sensed the danger, I gave in.

I didn’t heed a single warning. I let my sickness, my love, both rule and ruin me. I played my part, eyes wide open, tempting fate until it delivered.

There was never going to be an escape.

All of us are to blame for what happened. All of us serving our own sentences. We were careless and reckless, thinking our youth made us indestructible, exempt from our sins, and it cost us all.

I’m done pretending I didn’t leave the largest part of me between these hills and valleys, between the sea of trees that hold my secrets.

It’s the reason I’m back. To make peace with my fate.

And if I can’t grieve enough to cure myself in my time here, I’ll remain sick. That will be my curse.

But it’s time to confess, to myself more so than any other, that I’d hindered my chances because of the way I was built, and because of the men who built me.

At this point, I just want to make peace with who I am, no matter what ending I get.

Because I can no longer live a lie.

~~~

dfgdfbh…

…That’s it.

That’s my review of this book.

No I’m totally kidding!

…But in all honesty, I have NEVER needed a cigarette more than after I read this book…or therapy. And lets be clear: I DON’T SMOKE CANCER STICKS, but after this book…… I get it now!

I couldn’t wrap my head around all that happens in this book and the emotions it all brought with it. I started reading these books to hopefully get over this reading slump I’m in, but little did I know I was going to put myself in an even WORSE book hangover after this book! Holy Moly….

The last time I remember feeling this whack after taking in some sort of media (movie, tv show, book, etc) was when I watched the infamous Tiger King documentary series on Netflix and couldn’t help but crazy laugh to myself at how crazy the story got and wonder what could possibly happen next and how things could possibly get worse, but they somehow do!

This book immediately picks up where “Flock” left off where Cecilia and us meet the big head honcho in charge of the operation: The Frenchman. Everything we thought we had figured out from the first book is completely out the window and everything has changed. Like you literally have no idea what to expect if you’re going off just the previous book. It’s so chaotic and mindboggling!

At this point it’s almost needless to say Cecilia’s (and YOUR) lives are flipped upside down.

Kate Stewart really surprised me with this one; the tone was a lot darker and instead of a seemingly normal new adult summer romance, this all of sudden turned into a dark mafia story…that’s all I’m going to say about that. Actually, I’m going to say just a little bit more because honestly, it’s hard to talk about this book without getting spoilery, so really I say go check out what I liked and disliked but beware of spoilers….

~~~

We love rainy days don’t we baby?

– Kate Stewart, “Exodus”

~~~

What I Liked:

  1. The Tone Got More Urgent & Dark! The tone in this sequel got a lot darker and things are moving at a much faster speed and overall just so much more is happening…so much so that it’s actually a lot to take in. More than I was honestly expecting. All of a sudden I’m reading a dark mafia romance and there’s worry of people getting shot! It was chaotic, but I liked it! I was definitely hooked!
  2. More Spice! Awwwwwww yeahhhhhh just what the dick-tor ordered! (I’ll see myself out for that one)
  3. The Story Goes So Deep and EVERYTHING is Connected! I was majorly impressed with how well Kate Stewart connected everything within the story and how literally ALL the characters had a specific role in how things played out. I love it when you discover that every character served a purpose like that, even if it doesn’t happen in present time within the book.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Weird How Dominic and Sean get Shafted…I liked Sean, and I was a sucker for Dom, but wow did I feel like they got the biggest brush-off in this book! The Frenchman, Tobias, swoops in and shakes things up even bigger than Rhysand did in A Court of Thorns and Roses, but luckily the two guys didn’t get reduced to being two Tamlins…still, I was hoping they’d play a bigger part in this book than what we actually got.
  2. That Death…It was definitely one of those scenes where I had to triple check I’d just read what I actually read…this reminded me of when I first read Finnick Odair’s death in Mockingjay and part of me was inwardly panicking as to what just happened and if it was somehow not true….but it was, and wow did it hurt right in the chest.
  3. I’m VERY Torn on Tobias…I’m just gonna start this one off and say that Tobias isn’t a good guy. And his relationship that develops with Cecilia is definitely toxic. I’m not sure if they’re actually meant to be, but damn does Kate Stewart write them to convince me that they are! Honestly, both of them are complete messes, but they certainly did have a unique kind of dynamic that I don’t see a whole lot of in books, so that was really refreshing! I loved the whole “hating you-to-loving you” dynamic with lots of spice. It was dark, but I was here for it. Tobias just was also a very unlikable character which is also interesting, and I was torn on whether I liked him or not. I both liked it and didn’t like it, but again, I did like how it kept me guessing on his motives and what his true feelings were. The romance genre is unfortunately a fairly predictable genre to read, so the fact that this book and this character were anything but did make me appreciate it more!

Conclusion:

Overall, I was not prepared for how much this book was going to sweep the rug out from underneath me! I was warned by my #bookstagram friends that it will tear me apart, to which I was cynical about, but I will say this book really took more out of me than I was expecting. I wasn’t a weeping ball of emotions on the floor, but I started these books to try and cure a reading slump I feel like I’ve been in this whole year, and little did I know that this one was going to put me into a whole other book hangover…But I can say I did really enjoy these and absolutely plowed through them like they were a fresh meal placed right in front of me and I hadn’t eaten in about a week!

It’s really hard to say “If you liked _________, then you’ll like these books too!” I can’t say I’ve ever read romance books quite like these before. I guess I should say if you’re not afraid of darker themes and the relationships somewhat–putting that mildly–toxic, and the characters VERY morally grey and not entirely likable, then this will be right up your alley! Good luck with therapy….

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Erotica, New Adult Romance, Paranormal

My Review: Tricky Princess (Tricky Magic #2) [ARC]

***ARC Review***
Publish Date: September 13th, 2022
Number of Pages: N/A
Publisher: Self Published
Genre(s): New Adult Romance, Paranormal, Erotica

***Warning!! This review contains spoilers to the previous book in the series, so continue reading at your own risk! You’ve officially been warned!!***

To see my full review of book #1 – Tricky Magic – Click HERE

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

Even though she was sad, she had love. They whispered it to each other every morning and night and when they were wrapped around each other so deeply that their magic became one.”

– L.L. Campbell, “Tricky Princess”

What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

A Shadowborn Prince of Hel and a feared, all-powerful Trickster Witch will learn once again that not everything is as it seems in this second installment of the Tricky Magic series.

Travel to Hel with this steamy dark romance that has all your favorite things: Shadow play, supernaturals, loveable characters, and some tricky magic.

Rosier, crown prince and commander of Hel’s four armies, has been desperately avoiding his destiny as a ruler. When his father kidnaps Ellea, the Trickster Witch who gave him something worth living for, he has no choice but to return home. He must leave the comfort of his secluded life to journey to Hel—a path that is full of monsters, beasts, and terrible memories.

Nothing will stand in his way of saving Ellea—not his father, not Hel, and not the Gods. The funny thing is, he will be reminded once again that she never needed saving.

Ellea never saw herself stowed away in a castle, surrounded by the dead, sleeping Gods, and demons. While navigating her powers with her captor and newfound friend, she realizes that Hel itself needs work. She misses Ros every second they’re apart, but she can’t shake the feeling that she is exactly where she belongs.

A string of attacks will disrupt Ros and Ellea’s magical and steamy reunion. Only Ellea can stop her parents from ruining the balance between mortals and supernaturals, but she may have to give up a piece of her soul to do it.

Tricky Princess is a dark paranormal and mythological romance that contains detailed sex scenes, violence, swearing, and emotional trauma.

~~~

First off, I want to personally throw out a big THANK YOU to Lexi for sending me out an E-ARC copy of this book! It was so sweet of her, I’ve really liked chatting with her and getting to know her and show support for an indie book series that I’m really enjoying. Of course, this also means I want to reassure and say this review is ENTIRELY my own!

…now THIS is what I’m talking about! I love it when a sequel surpasses the first book in a series. I fairly enjoyed Tricky Magic, but Tricky Princess felt enhanced in almost every way. I read through this sequel much faster as more was happening and the plot has certainly thickened with how book 1 ended. There were more battles, bloodshed, intrigue, and of course spice!

This time around, you get more side-to-side perspectives from both Rosier and Ellea, but what I mean is it really feels like both characters really went through some change this time. I felt like Ros especially got a lot more attention this time around which I appreciated.

So the story starts off immediately where you were left off: Ellea has been kidnapped by Asmodeus, King of Hel and Ros’s father, and brings her to the underworld, and Ros and the gang set out to rescue her and bring her back. The road to Hel is a long and dangerous trek, and is filled with terrible obstacles…little do they know is that Ellea is being her usual Ellea self and casually wins the heart of the land and feels a sense of belonging down in Ros’s homeland!

The story felt more urgent and the raised stakes with Ellea’s parents starting a war with the supernaturals and even the worry of Belias and what he could possibly be up to—I also don’t remember if it was mentioned at all in book 1 but I thought it was cool that his father ended up being Beelzebub—but overall the pacing felt faster which really helps make you read through this one quicker.

The sex scenes were OF COURSE a major highlight, the author is really good at writing paranormal smut. I especially loved the scene of how Ellea wakes up Ros one morning…..you’ll have to read yourself to see what I mean 😉

~~~

She was goading him, trying to take back some control with her dirty mouth.

‘The goal is to make you not walk.’ He said it with a snarl, snapping his hips hard, enough to bruise, but she didn’t flinch, didn’t balk.

She smirked. ‘Then I would go harder.’

What a brat.

– L.L. Campbell, “Tricky Princess”

~~~

What I Liked:

  1. More Spice! HOT DAMN do Ros and Ellea not know how to slow down! The amount of spice in this book is a major plus for people like me who enjoy lots of “flavor” in their reading material! They go at it with MUCH enthusiasm, and get very inventive in some circumstances too, spice lovers will very much enjoy these parts of the books!
  2. Lots of New Characters! Holy Characters, Batman! There’s a LOT of new characters who make for an interesting read for sure! Most notably is Asmodeus, who is Ros’s father and King of Hel. Another character to look out for is Florence, who is a demon who knows ALL the secrets–it’s why her hair is so big!
  3. The Worldbuilding Really Expanded! The world of Hel really opens up and has a unique version told in this book. Ellea explores this underworld and lets us discover it all alongside with her!
  4. Ellea’s and Asmodeus’s Relationship! Ellea had such a fun dynamic with Ros’s father as he trained her down in Hel and they grew closer, she got a father figure she never really had, and he had a possible future daughter-in-law that he got along with too! Plus she tried to come up with a cute pet name for him like Azzy, Mod, etc. It was also funny how when Ros eventually storms the castle and expects her to be tortured and hanging by her ankles in a dungeon, she’s actually sipping tea with his dad in the library!
  5. More Was Going On In the Story! Even though I still consider this series to be character-driven, it felt like a lot more was happening and the stakes definitely felt raised to drive the story forward in a faster pace.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. A Lot of Characters Didn’t Reappear…I was disappointed to not see a few characters return this time around, like Sybil and a lot of the other witches and warlocks. Sam, Devon, Garm, Billy, Belias, and even Ellea’s harem of boys make appearances, but some felt shortened and revolved purely around Ellea and Ros and their character development, which makes sense for the story. I guess I was just maybe hoping for more in this regard? Like I wish we got more from Belias even with his scheming, and I think it would’ve added to the story to see him get away with more or rage with his temper to make him feel like a bigger threat, just something to add more to his character would’ve really helped him.

Conclusion:

Overall, this was a fun sequel that really added to the whole story. The writing felt smoother, the excitement and pacing definitely picked up, and the spice got even hotter! I think those who enjoyed the first book will REALLY enjoy this second installment!

I would also say those who really enjoyed other books like Kerri Maniscalco’s Kingdom of the Wicked series and the Hades and Persephone books by Scarlett St. Clair (A Touch of Darkness) will also really enjoy this book! I feel like the readers who want more spicy details with Wrath and Emilia and wish Wrath would just rip their clothes off already……… well, you get what I’m saying. Obviously, just be sure to read the first book before this one…

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, New Adult Romance, Paranormal, Romance

My Review: Tricky Magic (Tricky Magic #1): by L.L. Campbell

Publish Date: December 18th, 2021
Number of Pages: 445 Pages
Publisher: Self Published
Genre(s): New Adult Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Erotica

Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars

Fears evolve and grow, welcoming another. One whose power will balance yours in destruction. You feed his fire as he feeds your chaos. You will turn worlds upside down,

– L.L. Campbell, “Tricky Magic”

What It’s About:

The official synopsis:

Ellea is a Witch, a mix of both the respected Seers and the feared Tricksters. On top of that, she has also spent her whole life in the shadows of her parents’ infamous attempted destruction.

After Ellea’s frequent and feared vision of the future shifts into something darker and more terrifying than before, she runs to a town that used to be a haven for her as a child.

But things are no longer as they seem. The world of supernaturals is so much more than she thought and after a run in with a mysterious hunter, she finds her and her powers spiraling.

Will the town of Glenover be the place she finally leaves her fears behind and embraces a new future? Or will her powers become destructive and result in her own destruction by the frustratingly handsome hunter?

~~~

This book had been calling to me for some time…

There was like this gut feeling or calling or siren’s song that had me drawn to it that I can’t entirely explain…all I can explain about it is that it was telling me to read this book for some reason.

Before doing so, I’d heard several mixed reviews about the book from my reading inner circle and a few others, but anything negative didn’t fully deter me, and I’m glad it didn’t because for the most part I did end up enjoying this book!

For some reason I was expecting this to be a medieval fantasy setting with the talk of witches, demons, and other paranormal creatures, but I was a little surprised to see that this actually takes place in modern, contemporary times. Not that this detracted me from the story at all, it gave me Vampire Diaries and/or True Blood kind vibes, which I love, so it works!

The story is definitely more character driven, so the plot will be slow at times, but theres plenty of spice throughout, and the slow burn between Ros and Ellea really drives the story forward, plus interactions with the rest of the cast make it actually kinda fun too! There’s Billy, who’s Ellea’s familiar in the form of a black dog and has a few zinger one liners and is supposed to be this ancient being with a lot of mystery surrounding her history, so color me intrigued…theres Belias, who’s Ros’s cousin who’s definitely got something wicked planned, watch out for him… there’s Sybil, an ancient witch who’s only in one scene, but leaves quite an impression…

Actually there’s quite a bit of characters who are only in a handful of scenes, and I have no idea if they’ll be important players later on in the series or if they’re just done now? It’s really hard to say right now, and hopefully reading book two answers that for me and–possibly–other readers.

And I’d actually add onto that saying that there’s actually A LOT that gets left up in the air that you may want answers to but you won’t get, all that is determined by whatever direction the author wants to take this story in, but consider me curious to see what happens next!

~~~

My life has been spent looking for ways to change, ways to control this monster that I am destined to become. And I am getting tired of it.

– L.L. Campbell, “Tricky Magic”

What I Liked:

  1. The Spice! Okay, there is a decent amount of spice in this book including a four way like right away kinda to my surprise, and another good thing about all of it is that it doesn’t feel like it overtakes the plot at all! Like, sometimes you can tell when an author makes a story total PWP (Porn Without Plot), but the author kept a decent balance here with it!……and the shadow play!!! Azriel fans will appreciate that part a whole lot!
  2. Rosier! Hello new book boyfriend addition! Ros is absolutely a new favorite of mine who I can’t wait to see more of his perspective in the next book! He’s grumpy, swoon-worthy, protective, cheeky, and isn’t afraid to get down and dirty in more ways than one!
  3. There’s LGBT Side Characters! Sam and Devon are a gay couple in this story, and their relationship seems so easy going and calming, aka the complete opposite of Ellea and Ros, so I’m here for them! I have no idea how important they’ll be in the series, but if anything happens to them…..oooooooooo we don’t want to go there!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Not Clear Magic System…With witchcraft and demon summoning and other supernatural creatures in the vicinity, obviously theres going to be a magic system involved right?…well technically there is, but it’s not really developed as much as some of you readers may like, and I felt like it wasn’t explored enough in the story. HOWEVER, for a large part of this book it also wasn’t completely necessary to use it, so maybe it’ll be more fleshed out in book 2!
  2. Pacing Can Be Slow…This story is character driven with mostly the development/growth of Ellea, so yes, the pacing is a bit slower in some beats. It’s not as action packed as some of us would perhaps like, so I can see some of you getting bored with it in this regards.
  3. The Unexpected Ending…This kind of continues off the pacing issue, but the shocking ending felt like it kind of came out of nowhere and I wasn’t expecting it, but only because I also felt like there wasn’t really the proper build up to it? It felt like it was slapped right into the end of the story and yeah, it did raise the stakes and make things harder for Ros and Ellea, but I felt it wasn’t the best approach…

Conclusion:

Overall, I did for the most part enjoy this book! It’s not heavy or dense, and it’s perfect for anyone looking for some spicy paranormal romance with a witchy aesthetic and a hot hot hot slow burn! The pacing was fairly slow, but the characters keep you interested, and the author certainly puts a few questions in your head about them and the plot of the story and where everything is going, so now it’s up to L.L Campbell to keep the ball rolling.

The series has some potential to get better with each and every book, for me it really depends on where the author plans to go with this series as you don’t get a lot of answers for those questions that pop up, so I’m definitely putting some pressure on the sequel coming out in Fall 2022 to pass the baton and keep things moving!

We Shall See!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell