Fantasy, New Adult Romance, Romance

My Review: A Touch of Darkness (Hades & Persephone #1): by Scarlett St. Clair

Publish Date: May 23rd, 2019
Number of Pages: 353 Pages
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre(s): Fantasy, New Adult Romance

Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars

Hades chuckled, leaning in so that when he spoke, his breath caressed her lips. ‘Oh, darling. You don’t know what I’m capable of.’

– Scarlett St. Clair, “A Touch of Darkness”

What It’s About:

The official blurb:

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows – and it’s forbidden.


This was a total mood read, and while there are plenty of things that I thought could’ve been way better about it, it still at least served its purpose and entertained me as a reader. While some aspects were underdeveloped more than I cared for, what this story did give me was an erotic romantic tale with a sprinkling of fantasy elements added on top, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing so long as that’s something that you’re looking for.

I’ve been in the mood for some greek mythology related stories, and I’m usually really drawn into novels that get compared to the retelling of the classic tale of Hades and Persephone, so I’m so incredibly sad to say this wasn’t the best out of the many in that regards. It was still good enough to keep me interested and had me reading late into the night, but the romance factor was the main reason for that along with just having the whole classical mythology aesthetic on top of it all.

The writing was very so-so; It felt a little amateurish and choppy in some parts…not to mention there were a few typos and names mixed up…

This version of Persephone wasn’t the greatest portrayal of her character…

The sex was hot!

The Gods/Goddesses live amongst us!

The worldbuilding was simple, but effective!

Overall it wasn’t a bad book by any means, but I have similar feelings to it as I did for Laura Thalassa’s Bargainer series…I’d only read the first book for that, but the story focused mainly on the romance, had a simple world constructed with the possibility of more to explore as you read on, but not enough of the other aspects to make it a greater fantasy-genre book were developed as much as they could’ve been. It felt like I was just reading another version of the 50 Shades millionaire romance stories but the guy’s name just happens to be Hades this time around. At least from my perspective, I can say it felt like this story was less problematic than the franchise by EL James was…

With all that said, I can praise the romance factor that this book offered. I thought the author did a splendid job at it with the sexual tension that was built up between Hades and Persephone! At least, I can say I personally enjoyed it. It wasn’t the greatest, but it was still keeping me reading on. Some could argue that some of the lovemaking scenes felt out of place or excessive, but c’mon…..lesbehonest, we all know the smut is one of the main reasons people are drawn to these books to begin with. I certainly did not think this way!


‘Let me worship you,’ he said.

She remembered the words she had whispered to him in the back of the limo after La Rose. You will worship me, and I won’t even have to order you. His request felt sinful and devious, and she reveled in it.

She answered, ‘Yes.’

– Scarlett St. Clair, “A Touch of Darkness”

What I Liked:

  1. The Slow-Building Sexual Tension! The sparks between Hades and Persephone were (of course) a major highlight of the book. The author really did a good job of giving their relationship a slow burn that made the moments whenever they gave into their lust and passion all the more satisfying! Side note, but I was also such a fan of the scene later on in the book when the two of them are freakin’ couples goals when they had a movie night in their sweats and baked cookies…
  2. It’s an Unorthodox Retelling! So not everyone will like this retelling simply because it doesn’t necessarily follow the original story to a T. Things have definitely been switched around, or completely different ideas have been sprung forward to at least make it feel like something completely new. I just know there are certain readers who are really sensitive to that sort of thing, and will strongly dislike something if it doesn’t perfectly match up, kind of like when a book gets turned into a movie or TV show and doesn’t follow the book all that much.
  3. The Modern Day Greek Gods Living Amongst Us! The worldbuilding was honestly more on the mediocre side, but it still worked rather well for the sake of the story. In this world, The greek gods and goddesses live among us, and they’re very much still in charge. They’re like the A-list celebrities a lot of us idolize: Hades runs the night-clubs and casinos, Dionysus has the world’s best wine vineyards, and I think you get the picture…There’s a red carpet scene with all the glitz and glamour and paparazzi cameras flashing as they all make their appearances, and it made me think how much more fun even events like the MET Gala would be if we could see deities like Apollo, Aphrodite, and yes even Hades making appearances at these sort of events. Overall, this aspect of the whole book was very fun!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Grammar/Spelling/Typos…It happens at the very beginning, but there are some noticeable errors along these lines that were a big turn off…I mean, if something is published—traditionally or independently, I’d hope there wouldn’t be something like this in the book itself. I’m not reading someone’s fanfiction on Wattpad, this is an actual published book! I don’t know, it lessened my expectations and made the quality of it go down in my eyes.
  2. The Smut is Overhyped…I’m glad to see how many people like this book, or even this whole series, but I will admit that the actual sex scenes didn’t fully live up to the hype for me. They were good, but I was thinking they’d be better based off so many glowing reviews this book has. I was also maybe hoping for something…darker and more erotic and tantalizing, and maybe with more magical abilities put into play to spice things up a bit…
  3. Not Sure How I Feel About the Villain…This is the first time I’ve seen Demeter set up as the villain in the whole story revolving around Hades and Persephone, and while I say this is a more original take, I’m not sure how I feel about it to be honest. In the story, Demeter is always known as the caring and doting mother, but this time she’s painted as cold and manipulative and just an all around frigid bitch! I don’t know, I think the idea of having a positive mother/daughter relationship is always a better way to go, but that’s just a personal preference to me. I’ve just seen shitty parents used as the outer conflict for a character in the romance-genre way too many times, and it’s just so cliché for me too.
  4. Very Little Magic…Some other reviewers on Goodreads say this, and I have to agree: there were times this felt like just another millionaire romance, and not really something that has the legendary Greek God as the main character. It did feel almost like a “50 Shades of Grey” + Greek Mythology kind of setup quite a few times. At least this time it’s a little less problematic. There just wasn’t as much magic as I was hoping, it was very underdeveloped, but maybe more will happen in the later books! Fingers crossed…
  5. Persephone Isn’t All That…I wasn’t the biggest fan of Persephone in this particular story. She was headstrong and fierce at times, and more power to her for that, but she was also just pure plot convenience too. She was just way too naive and there was just WAY too much miscommunication with her in order to add conflict into the story for my liking.


Overall, I liked but didn’t love this book, but it certainly filled the need for some Greek Mythology related fiction that I’ve been kind of craving as of late. It focused more on the erotic romance and less on the grandeur of having the powerful and magical gods among us, which is fine, but I want to see more stronger fantasy aspects going forward!

I recommend this book, and possibly this series, to those who really enjoy authors like Sarah J. Maas, Laura Thalassa, and even Jennifer L. Armentrout. This author’s writing isn’t as up to par with these other names, but the overall themes and aesthetics of the story and what is given attention to within the plot will appeal to those who enjoy their books.

The big question I had going forward was which book to read next in the series. Technically, there’s two options: A Touch of Ruin which follows after this book and still follows Persephone’s point of view, or there’s also A Game of Fate, which is actually this book all over again, but this time it’s told from the perspective of Hades! Do you go forward, or see everything from the other side of things? Maybe I’ll try and read the beginning of both and see which one I want to read first? If you’ve read these books already, what do you suggest? Let me know!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

My Review: A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1): by Amanda Bouchet

Publish Date: August 2nd, 2016
Number of Pages: 441 Pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance

Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars

So while I am a big fan of any sort of steamy romance, but has an actually engaging plot on top of it. It’s not just sex scene after sex scene, not that it’s a bad thing to have sex scenes, but hey! I like an actual story driving it forward. Give me a plot, and I’m happy to say that this title is definitely that!

I remember I’d had someone I used to work with at a previous job was talking it up during our lunch breaks; a fun, action-packed, well written fantasy epic with a romantic subplot that doesn’t overtake the actual storyline. Lately, I’ve been reading a little more romance, and it gets tiring when you read the same thing over and over again…my biggest annoyance is when there’s angst for the sake of angst and literally all the issues could be fixed if the two main characters just got their heads out of their asses and COMMUNICATE…This story has none of that, it’s more like an odyssey with two stubborn, alpha characters fight an undeniable attraction for each other for good reasons.

What I find refreshing in a lot of tales like this is when the author gives us a little switch: that the woman is the aloof, not willing to be vulnerable one afraid of love, but the guy is all ready for it and tries to convince her it’d be worth it.

Reading this book, I enjoyed all the action that took place, the alpha males and their dynamic as a small group of elite warriors in a found family sort of situation, and a strong & sassy female lead to put them back in their place. She’s not the most memorable MC, in fact she’s a bit irksome with how much she makes it a point to remind them she’s an independent woman and every male is considered beneath her and they gross her out…I swear, I was almost expecting her to say something along the lines of boys having cooties…

It wasn’t blow-my-mind amazing, but it was fun and had a lot of elements that I enjoy in any book, plus it’s only the first book in a trilogy, so I bet it only gets better in the next titles!

What It’s About:

This story revolves around Catalia “Cat” Fisa, who is disguised as a healer and magician in a traveling circus. There isn’t much known about her other than where she came from, and most of the story revolves around all the mysteries that surround her and who she is.

This story takes place in a land named Thalyria with three kingdoms within that control the realm: Fisa, Tarva, and Sinta. Fisa is in the North and is where Cat ran away from. Tarva is the central kingdom ruled by a brother and sister combo, the later incredibly power hungry. Sinta can be found in the South and was overtaken by a Warlord and his family. In this world, there are two types of people: Magoi and Hoi Polli. Magoi are the magical beings with extraordinary abilities and are usually the rulers of the kingdoms. Hoi Polli are the people who are usually low class or even slaves.

Back to that Warlord in Sinta, he’s also where the story really begins. His name is Griffin, he’s a Hoi Polli, and traveled with his three best men (who are also his best friends) to visit Cat’s circus and steal her away. He claims she’s the Kingmaker: a magical being that has the ability to be able to tell truth from lie. One comes around only once every few hundred years, and Kings of the past have sought out people like her to use them as powerful weapons in court, and Griffin had the same idea so that the other Magoi royal families think twice about butchering him and his people, until he unexpectedly starts to fall for her.

Most of the story involves the journey Cat, Griffin and his men (Kato, Flynn, and Carver) take in order to bring her back down to the South towards Griffin’s newly won kingdom, and of course, the growing attraction between Cat and Griffin.

What I Liked:

  1. Greek Mythology Infusion! The world the author created is their own idea, but there is a heavy influence of Greek Mythology that comes into play. The Gods, Goddesses, and Cerberus get little cameos throughout or are mentioned, and Cat is even the goddaughter of Poseidon. Some aspects may be questionable, like did Hades really cheat on Persephone with Selena, one of the characters? You may have to have an open mind with some of it, but I love Greek Mythology, so I enjoyed this aspect a whole lot!
  2. The Romance! I love a good romance, and it was undeniable for me that their where some sparks between Griffin and Cat throughout. It was a really slow burn, and there weren’t as many love scenes as you’d probably think there are (there’s probably going to be more in the later books). While I enjoyed this aspect, I can recognize that other readers may respond to how their relationship develops as problematic. Basically, their relationship starts because he kidnaps her from her newfound home, and things get pretty physical–in terms of combat and verbal abuse on both sides. Some may interpret their dynamic as abusive, but I honestly didn’t…they’re both strong, proud, and stubborn individuals. For the longest time, she acts like she doesn’t feel anything for him, even acting grossed out if he kisses her and tells him to stop, but internally she is squirming in the best ways possible…I don’t know, some people still view that as him being persistent and predatory, but she gave plenty of hints about actually meaning the opposite, and I honestly had no problems with any part of their dynamic.
  3. The Banter! The dynamic between the main men of the story: Griffin, Kato, Flynn, and Carver is filled with a lot of testosterone but also plenty of teasing and humor (For any fans of Sarah J. Maas and her alpha-males in her fantasy books, it’s very similar and just as enjoyable). Kato, a gorgeous but cocky blond warrior, was my absolute favorite, but Flynn was a big ginger badass turned softie once he put down his weapons.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. The Heroine Is So Whiny…Cat is supposed to be this sassy, feisty, attitude-fueled alpha female, and she can hold her own in any fight in more ways than one, but I have to agree with others who’ve reviewed this book and said she complains a lot. She really does, and after about 75% of the book she lets up a little bit of it, but for the most part it just made her sound more juvenile and immature and I was not here for it. Hopefully she does some major growing up in the next books!
  2. The Not-So-Secret Big Reveal…Without giving too much away, the author put a lot of emphasis on a myth or prophecy in her plot, and she wrote it in a way that it’s basically showing us a major reveal with gigantic, flashing lights…It’s pretty obvious, especially with how many times it’s brought up. It wasn’t revealed in this title, but when I finally read that “big, shocking reveal,” I actually won’t be pretty surprised by it. It’s almost like the author gave us a major spoiler for her own book, which cheapens the experience for me.


An adventurous tale filled with action, Ancient Immortal beings, bloody battles, political intrigue, and of course slow burn romance–It’s kind of got a little of everything! Cat and Griffin are two great MC’s to get behind, and feel incredibly well fleshed out with relatable flaws and clashing personalities. Their relationship and how it develops can be seen as questionable to some readers, and I hate to admit that how you personally view it can dramatically change your entire perception of the story. For me, I thought it was scorching!

I recommend this to anyone who loves romance-centric fantasy-genre tales. It’s not perfect, but is a solid start for what can be a fun, lesser known trilogy. The author didn’t info dump too much when building her world and explaining it to us. Even though it doesn’t take place in Ancient Greece, the use of notable characters in Greek Mythology add to the fun and magical essence of the book; I hope I see more names added in the later books!

I can definitely say I will gladly be looking for the next titles in this trilogy!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell