Author: Roshani Chokshi, Evelyn Skye, Sandhya Menon
Series:
Series #:
Genre: romance
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: yes

The town of Moon Ridge was founded 400 years ago and everyone born and raised there knows the legend of the young woman who perished at the stroke of twelve that very same night, losing the life she was set to embark on with her dearest love. Every century since, one day a year, the Lady of Moon Ridge descends from the stars to walk among the townsfolk, conjuring an aura upon those willing to follow their hearts’ desires.

“To summon joy and love in another’s soul
For a connection that makes two people whole
For laughter and a smile that one can never miss
Sealed before midnight with a truehearted kiss.”

This year at Moon Ridge High, a group of friends known as The Coven will weave art, science, and magic during a masquerade ball unlike any other. Onny, True, and Ash believe everything is in alignment to bring them the affection, acceptance, and healing that can only come from romance—with a little help from Onny’s grandmother’s love potion.

But nothing is as simple as it first seems. And as midnight approaches, The Coven learn that it will take more than a spell to recognize those who offer their love and to embrace all the magic that follows.


Review

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!

“Byron Frost might have the name and face of a poet, but he had the soul of a mechanical pencil.”

The BANTER oh my god.

AND THE NAMES IN THIS BOOK. MR. BRIGHTSIDE IS MARRIED TO ROSS GRIMJOY.

“Alexander the Great-Looking”!!!

“’Since no one got all ten right, no one gets the extra points. Alas. Maybe this upsets you, but I have found that bitterness only enhances the sweetness of existence…’ Mr. Brightside paused to look dramatically out the window.”

I am literally keeling over in stitches.

“Practicing my lurking. I’m interning with Krampus for the holidays”

I literally…cannot breathe.

And then you had beautiful lines like,

“She made him feel all five senses at once, and the bright light of her spirit consumed him.”

“Even though she was scared of the house, Ash swore he could smell the beginnings of Halloween magic in the air — clove and honey with a hint of moonlight to come.”

“The words dissipated from her suddenly dry mouth like fog burning up in the sun”

“I think Orion Parker may be my ‘solid, mortal man’ and I may indeed prefer him to the centaur I was holding out for”

This book was amazing. Normally I don’t like YA contemporary romances. But THIS BOOK. I was smiling and sighing all the way through it. I cannot explain how cute and atmospheric it is. This will be the perfect fall/Halloween read.

I loved ‘The Coven’ and their friendship. I like how supportive they were of each other, and in general I felt that the authors did an incredible job of selling both the friendships and the romances. I feel that their styles merged so wonderfully together, as they already had similar styles. It was a seamless blend that just hit the right tone and spot.

Plus, all the amazing one liners in the books. Onny’s story was definitely my favorite (I have a soft spot for “enemies-to-lovers” and grumpy hero. This was just so adorable and I can’t stop loving it.

A PERFECT witchy read for October.

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Author: Foz Meadows
Series:
Series #:
Genre: fantasy, romance, queer
Age Group: adult
ARC?: yes

Velasin vin Aaro never planned to marry at all, let alone a girl from neighboring Tithena. When an ugly confrontation reveals his preference for men, Vel fears he’s ruined the diplomatic union before it can even begin. But while his family is ready to disown him, the Tithenai envoy has a different solution: for Vel to marry his former intended’s brother instead.

Caethari Aeduria always knew he might end up in a political marriage, but his sudden betrothal to a man from Ralia, where such relationships are forbidden, comes as a shock.

With an unknown faction willing to kill to end their new alliance, Vel and Cae have no choice but to trust each other. Survival is one thing, but love—as both will learn—is quite another.

Byzantine politics, lush sexual energy, and a queer love story that is by turns sweet and sultry. A Strange and Stubborn Endurance is an exploration of gender, identity, and self-worth. It is a book that will live in your heart long after you turn the last page.


Review

WOW. What do I even say about this book? I don’t think it is at all possible to encompass how much I loved this book. I could not put it down. I may or may not have spilled enchiladas on my arc as I was reading it…

This is my first book by Meadow’s but I’m going to have to go back and find more of their work. Because it was stupendous. I mean, it was two things I love:

a) queer and

b) fantasy!

I mean…what could be better?

Enemies-friends-romance trope? Check.

Super inclusive? Check.

Witty banter? Check.

Great dialogue? Check.

Interesting supporting characters? Check.

Interesting plot? Check.

This book checks off all my wants and needs in a book. A Strange and Stubborn Endurance will not leave my brain. I can’t do anything but think about it. It is my new obsession. I just LOVED the characters in this book. I mean ughhhh. I cannot even think because this book just was amazing.

You know how hard it is to write a review and list everything a book has done that you loved? Yeah, that’s me right now. I need like thirty special editions of this book. SERIOUSLY.

Vel was the best.** I loved reading his POV. Cae was amazing too. Just, Vel I felt for him. I wanted to keep him safe. Hug him. Vel and Cae’s relationship? It was one of the best developed romances that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Meadows did a great job on that, and the balance she maintained between the romance and the plot? Excellent.

The plot was much more political intrigue and action than I expected. But it worked so well.

As mentioned this book is inclusive, and while one country feels very much like ours, the other is very open and accepting and normalizes being queer. We have relationships of all types, of all genders and it is incorporated seamlessly. There is also disability representation – one of the characters is mute! And the others learn sign language to communicate with him.

If you are looking for a queer fantasy? This is it. A huge round of applause for Foz Meadows because this book is going to be in the top of my top books of the year. I kinda want a sequel? Can I get a sequel? I mean I feel that the world building in this was such that there is so much to explore.

I will say that there are some content warnings to be aware of:

These include: rape, attempted rape, violence, gore, punishment, homophobia, suicide, suicidal ideation

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Author: Ava Wilder
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: contemporary, romance
Age Group: adult
ARC?: yes

Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen soap has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme… faking a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity, but for very different reasons.

Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, his struggles with drinking, and his grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, he’s slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.

Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armor to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing?


Review

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

I was expecting a pretty lighthearted book based on the cover and synopsis as well as the comp titles. What I got was something different than that. This book tackles issues (such as alcoholism, fatphobia, and death) in the overarching plot of the story. This book is a fake dating book – but they also do have an age gap, if that makes anyone uncomfortable. 

I enjoyed the writing style of this book as well as the pace. To me it read easily and with interest. Sometimes you get books that are hard to get through because of the writing style, but I quite enjoyed it. The style did feel light and airy, despite the fact that it dealt with some darker topics. 

There is quite a bit of will they won’t they in this book. At times I felt that there wasn’t chemistry between them, and at other times I did. I think that was partially because the characters themselves were trying to resist the romance between them. And then sometimes they just lacked chemistry together. I liked the banter Grey and Ethan had, I thought it was amusing at times. At others I felt it was a little forced. 

This book has some lighthearted moments, but it is a very angsty book. This isn’t a light fluffy book – but it still works. I don’t want people to go into this book unprepared; this is not one of your beach reads or rom-coms or light hearted, it is a much more intense romance. 

As far as being angsty goes; there are some scenes in this book that are just frustrating. I get that there are supposed to be obstacles, yet at times I felt like it was drawn out unnecessarily. 

I did like some of the side characters though. I enjoyed Nora and her relationship with Ethan, as well as Renata’s relationship with Grey. I liked seeing the differences between Ethan’s relationships vs the relationships that Grey has. 

The book is still good though. It flows well and tackles sensitive topics accordingly. I wasn’t as invested in this book as I wanted to be. At 56% I was wondering what else the author was going to throw at them – they’d hit obstacles, overcome them, and then???? More obstacles! I am not good with super angsty reads, and this one definitely was on the fence of being too angsty. 

In the end, I think the resolution was good. Overall, I’m not quite sure how I feel about this book. I wasn’t expecting it to be as angsty as it was. 

This book was 3.5 stars for me. 

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Author: Alice Oseman
Series: n/a
Series #: n/a
Genre: romance, LGBTQ+
Age Group: young adult
ARC?: no

This is the funny, honest, messy, completely relatable story of Georgia, who doesn’t understand why she can’t crush and kiss and make out like her friends do. She’s surrounded by the narrative that dating + sex = love. It’s not until she gets to college that she discovers the A range of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum — coming to understand herself as asexual/aromantic. Disrupting the narrative that she’s been told since birth isn’t easy — there are many mistakes along the way to inviting people into a newly found articulation of an always-known part of your identity. But Georgia’s determined to get her life right, with the help of (and despite the major drama of) her friends. 


Review

First off, this is the first novel by Alice Oseman I’ve read. I’ve been reading her Heartstopper for years now. This book called to me because it had ace rep, and I’ve yet to find a book that does ace rep right. Or the learning about themselves right. Especially since so many of them are set in high school, and I didn’t find that relatable at all. This one did.

I’m ace – and I used to say biromantic. But after this book it has me questioning my own identity – am I actually aro too? 

Georgia was a relatable character for me. Like her, I was into the idea of romance/love/sex – but not necessarily featuring me. It was interesting that that was incorporated into the book because I felt that in my bones. I was like yes, this is me. Then the aspects of “friends” or family questioning if just because you haven’t experienced something yet, how do you know if you don’t want it? Georgia says she feels it, which I do too. For me, her realization that there was a sexuality beyond LGBT was important. I didn’t discover ace until college. It wasn’t even on my radar. But once I learned about it and researched it, like Georgia, I couldn’t believe it was true…that I could be this. Wasn’t there something wrong with me? I loved that Sunil was there to support Georgia; I loved that he helped her and wasn’t condescending. 

This book also brings up the important topic of denying ace and aro people space in queer spaces. Sunil’s passion about it was important to me. The thought of never belonging is terrifying. 

I also appreciated how Oseman worked in friendship. Because friendships are so important, and I loved that Georgia realized her friendships could be just as satisfying as romance. For anyone that should be important. 

I enjoyed Oseman’s relatable writing and the book flowed well for me. The chapters were short and self-contained which made the pace of the book go by quickly. 

I loved all the characters in this book. I wanted to cuddle them all and tell them I loved them. I wish more books depicted being ace like this. 

And as I mentioned in the beginning of the review, it’s made me rethink who I am now…and how variable being ace/aro is. 

Loveless was a wonderful book and I would absolutely recommend it to everyone. 

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Author: Scarlett St. Clair
Series: Adrian x Isolde
Series #: 1
Genre: fantasy, romance, erotica
Age Group: adult
ARC?: No

Their Union Is His Revenge.
Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. ⠀
But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. ⠀
Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrain. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. ⠀
The answer will shatter her world. 


Review

I knew what I was going into when I picked this book up – and I enjoyed it. I called it From Blood and Ash Lite. I thought I was funny. Really, the only similarity is vampires and the fact that it is paranormal fantasy. With ~~~spice~~~. Which, if you know what this is going in, you won’t be disappointed. I’ve seen quite a few reviews panning this for what it is, so just be aware going in, a lot of the book is explicit as romance is the center piece of this book.

I enjoyed the book for what it was. It was a fun book to read, and while it wasn’t very plot heavy, there was enough plot that it was still enjoyable. The plot looks like it is going to really start going in the next book to be honest. This one felt more like a setup for the future books.

I liked the side characters in this story as well. Sorin was one of my favorites as well. And there were queer characters incorporated nicely, I thought.

I liked the relationship between Isolde and Adrien well enough, but at some parts I was slightly frustrated with their interactions with each other. I know there was a point to it, but some of those interactions just bothered me.

I can’t explain why I didn’t love love this book, but enjoyed it. I’m not sure what it was, maybe the characters weren’t just as fleshed out as I would like.

One thing that was supremely well fleshed out was the worldbuilding. And as we went along we learned more about the world that Isolde and Adrien live in. There is a bit of political intrigue in this book, but not too much.

There are quite a few beheadings in this book! Not super gory though, which is great for me.

If you like paranormal and spicy books with vampires then this will be a book you enjoy! (especially if you enjoyed FBAA)

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Author: Lynn Painter
Genre: romance, rom-com
Age Group: adult
ARC?: Yes

Things get textual when a steamy message from a random wrong number turns into a thrilling anonymous relationship in this hilarious rom-com by Lynn Painter.

Bad luck has always followed Olivia Marshall…or maybe she’s just the screw-up her family thinks she is. But when a “What are you wearing?” text from a random wrong number turns into the hottest, most entertaining—albeit anonymous—relationship of her life, she thinks things might be on the upswing….

Colin Beck has always considered Olivia his best friend’s annoying little sister, but when she moves in with them after one of her worst runs of luck, he realizes she’s turned into an altogether different and sexier distraction. He’s sure he can keep his distance, until the moment he discovers she’s the irresistible Miss Misdial he’s been sort of sexting for weeks—and now he has to decide whether to turn the heat up or ghost her before things get messy. 


Review

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

3 stars

There was nothing actively wrong with this book. I enjoyed it, and I definitely got a few laughs out of it, but it didn’t grab me by the throat and make me scream I LOVE THIS BOOK. I love the hilarity of all the accidents and the bad luck Liv had; but at a certain point it just started to fall flat to me, because just how much bad luck could she have?

And Colin’s POV did irritate me some because I wanted to shake him. I take that back, I wanted to shake them both at some points. I don’t know, I just didn’t fall in love with their romance as I had wanted to.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a super cute romance book that I think is going to appeal to a lot of people, it just ended up not being the perfect book for me. I felt that there was something missing, something from the heart.

So to end this review, it was an enjoyable book and there was nothing outright wrong with it, I just didn’t love it. I don’t even have that many comments to make because I just wasn’t feeling it. 

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Author: Raven Kennedy
Series: The Plated Prisoner
Series #: 3
Genre: romance, dark romance, fantasy, retelling
Age Group: adult
ARC?: no

King Midas made me the woman I am today. Notorious. Unattainable. His.

The thing about being confined is that you believe it’s to keep the bad out… Until you realize it’s about keeping you in.

I’m now in a strange kingdom surrounded by liars, with no allies of my own, but I won’t sit idly by and let myself wither. No, there’s something that’s bloomed from the pit of my repression. Something dark. Something angry.

But the last thing I expected was for my anger to call out to him. King Ravinger.

He’s sinister and powerful and entirely too seductive. I’ve learned my lesson with trusting manipulative kings, so why does my chest constrict every time he’s near? I need to tread carefully, or I’m at risk of losing much more than just my freedom.

Regret and revenge war inside of me, and I need to figure out a plan fast before I get tangled up in the schemes of kings and queens.

Because I won’t be caught in a cage again. No, this time, It’ll be me setting the trap… I just hope my heart comes out of this unscathed.


Review

This is my favorite of all the books so far. The payoff is totally worth it in this one. We finally see Auren become strong and sure of herself. We see her become the person we knew she was going to become. But we also get to join in on a little political intrigue between King Ravinger and King Midas. And the interplay between the two of them has some of the best moments in this book. Kennedy really shows off her writing talents in this one.

While I didn’t mind the pacing in the previous ones, in this we do get much better pacing, AND even better plot. I feel like the series is really picking up at this point. And I am definitely rooting for Auren. And Rip. Both of them. That was another great development is their relationship in this book. I feel that we’re finally starting to see them open up. And Auren realizes that she can trust and doesn’t have to be trapped in a cage. Their relationship is definitely swoonworthy.

This book is steamy in the best of ways (finally!) and I loved every moment of it. I loved how Kennedy wrote this book, her writing is as good as ever.

This book is almost impossible to talk about without spoilers – but if you can get past Gild, somewhat enjoy Glint, Gleam is where all the payoff is. This book has everything I could love and more. This was a total five star read for me, and has me eagerly waiting for the fourth book in the series. I think I may combust if I don’t get to read it soon.

We finally also get some more concise worldbuilding and more backstory and secrets are revealed. I do feel like we finally get some payoff, and this was the most enjoyable book of the bunch.

Rip and Auren forever!!!! My heart beats for them. Also the entire Fourth. They are all so freaking amazing and I definitely would love to see more of them!

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Author: Raven Kennedy
Series: The Plated Prisoner
Series #: 2
Genre: romance, dark romance, fantasy, retelling
Age Group: adult
ARC?: no

For ten years, I’ve lived in a gilded cage inside King Midas’s golden castle. But one night changed everything.

Now I’m here, a prisoner of Fourth Kingdom’s army, and I’m not sure if I’m going to make it out of this in one piece. They’re marching to battle, and I’m the bargaining chip that will either douse the fire or spark a war.

At the heart of my fear, my worry, there’s him—Commander Rip.

Known for his brutality on the battlefield, his viciousness is unsurpassed. But I know the truth about what he is.

Fae.

The betrayers. The murderers. The ones who nearly destroyed Orea, wiping out Seventh Kingdom in the process. Rip has power sizzling beneath this skin and glinting spikes down his spine. But his eyes—his eyes are the most compelling of all.

When he turns those black eyes on me, I feel captive for an entirely different reason.

I may be out of my cage, but I’m not free, not even close. In the game of kings and armies, I’m the gilded pawn. The question is, can I out maneuver them?


Review

Glint is book 2 in the plated prisoner series. I liked the first one, but this one is where things really get good. This book is very slow compared to the first book. It feels a bit like nothing is happening at the beginning, but that isn’t quite the truth. Auren is slowly figuring herself out, but she has yet to leave that gilded cage Midas has set up for it. Auren is aggravating in turns. But honestly Rip is totally worth it in this book. He is probably my favorite character of them all. We also get some of the Fourth in this book and get to know more background characters.

We also get more worldbuilding in this one! Yay! I love good worldbuilding. Even if they are mostly trekking through a tundra…anyways. Yes, some of it was boring, but Auren finally starts to get some sense knocked into her. She is kind and she cares immensely, and she struggles to make friends with the saddles.

When a secret is revealed she has to make a bargain…and it doesn’t really benefit her. Auren is still stuck in her belief that Midas saved her – which is ANNOYING but we began to get a bit of romantic tension between Rip and Auren and that is amazing to read about.

Honestly, I liked this book because it was further developing all the characters. As we get towards the end of the book my suspicions begin to be confirmed. I will admit I was not surprised in the least at the reveal that we got at the end of the book. It was predictable, but it definitely wasn’t a bad thing at all.

I also enjoy the fact that the fae in this book don’t seem to be like all the fae in others. It is a nice difference.

Overall, I’m obviously really enjoying this series.

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Author: Raven Kennedy
Series: The Plated Prisoner
Series #: 1
Genre: romance, dark romance, fantasy, retelling
Age Group: adult
ARC?: no

The fae abandoned this world to us. And the ones with power rule.

Gold.

Gold floors, gold walls, gold furniture, gold clothes. In Highbell, in the castle built into the frozen mountains, everything is made of gold.

Even me.

King Midas rescued me. Dug me out of the slums and placed me on a pedestal. I’m called his precious. His favored. I’m the woman he Gold-Touched to show everyone that I belong to him. To show how powerful he is. He gave me protection, and I gave him my heart. And even though I don’t leave the confines of the palace, I’m safe.

Until war comes to the kingdom and a deal is struck.

Suddenly, my trust is broken. My love is challenged. And I realize that everything I thought I knew about Midas might be wrong.

Because these bars I’m kept in, no matter how gilded, are still just a cage. But the monsters on the other side might make me wish I’d never left.


Review

First off, Gild is my new obsession. I am literally obsessed with it (and the entire series). I was a little nervous going into it, but I am so glad that I read it. It has quickly become one of my favorite adult indie fantasies. It deserves all the praise that it gets, and rightfully so! This book does come with a lot of trigger warnings, so make sure you check them out before you pick this book up, as I am sure some of them will be triggering. Anyways, aside from that disclaimed I will rec this to people who love complex characters, fae and SJM/JLA books.

Auren is a prisoner to Midas. (We hate Midas FYI. We do not stan). Auren’s sitaution is terrible and untennable. I wanted to throw my kindle across the room on SEVERAL occassions because Midas pissed me off so bad. He’s a great antagonist, but a terrible person. Do not like. Auren is a great character. She starts off reserved and very weak, she believes Midas in everything he does. THey have a past together which is slowly revealed. Auren has to learn to be strong after a traumatic even leaves her essentially stranded and alone among people that dislike her. It’s at this point the book turns around.

I will admit, I struggled to get through the first half of the book – but I pushed through and am so glad I did, because we meet some of my favorite characters later in the series.

I did enjoy the worldbuilding in this book, but it wasn’t all that fleshed out, it left a bit to be desired to be honest. I will say some of it was interesting, but at other times it was a bit confusing. I think it could have used more refinement.

What I really did enjoy was the writing. I love Raven Kennedy’s writing style. It made the parts of the book I didn’t like go a lot faster, but the book was continually on the move and the pacing was well done. The plot was as well, it kept me hooked until the end.

I’m stopping my review here because I binge read all three, and I don’t want to include spoilers for book 2 on this review. Suffice to say, I really did enjoy this book overall, even with the parts that I didn’t like.

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Author: Harley LaRoux
Series: Souls Trilogy
Series #: 1
Genre: paranormal, fantasy, dark romance, erotica
Age Group: adult
ARC?: no

Leon

I earned my reputation among magicians for a reason: one wrong move and you’re dead. Killer, they called me, and killing is what I’m best at.

Except her.

The one I was supposed to take, the one I should have killed – I didn’t.

The cult that once controlled me wants her, and I’m not about to lose my new toy to them.

Rae

I’ve always believed in the supernatural. Hunting for ghosts is my passion, but summoning a demon was never part of the plan. Monsters are roaming the woods, and something ancient – something evil – is waking up and calling my name.

I don’t know who I can trust, or how deep this darkness goes.

All I know is my one shot at survival is the demon stalking me, and he doesn’t just want my body – he wants my soul


Review

Her Soul To Take is a great steamy paranormal romance, and was quite well written. This was another Lauren recommendation, and I’m so glad that I picked it up. It was a fairly quick read overall, and was on KU which made me happy. I originally gave this three stars, but on further thinking I think it’s between a three and four stars for me.

I have always loved paranormal romances and this one was a good one too! It involves summoning a demon and a woman. I really liked Rae as a character. I found her strong and endearing. And sometimes a bit in denial. But I just loved that she felt so empowered. She knows what she wants which is a nice change of pace from some characters who don’t.

Leon was a great demon. I loved his relationship with Rae and the world at large. He was a great character because he was a demon but not necessarily evil, which is a juxtaposition to the humans who are evil. I liked that take on it very much.

The banter between Leon and Rae is great, they have an undeniable chemistry and snark with each other. There are several parts that made me laugh out loud. And this book is SUPER steamy. But it also has a bit of a dark tone to it, so be sure you look at the trigger warnings before you read it.

There are a few side characters who are really awesome as well, and I enjoyed all their introductions in this book. I assume they will be in the later books?

The writing was really good. I found myself becoming absorbed in this world and drawn into it. Laroux crafted a world that is so good. But it is also highly atmospheric. You could get lost in this book. It felt so real – and I liked that about it.

I loved the plot – I was on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next, and if our leading couple would emerge triumphant. Sometimes you’re not sure with these dark romances…anyways, the plot was great. As I mentioned earlier the juxtaposition between good and evil in this book was creative, and I felt drove home the point that what you think is true is not always necessarily true.

I would recommend this book to those who like paranormal romances and are looking for something a little different and well written! 

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