Historical Romance

Review: Subtle Blood by KJ Charles

02:30

Title: Subtle Blood (The Will Darling Adventures #3)
Author: KJ Charles
Genre/Themes: Historical, MM romance, Mystery
Release Date: 23 June 2021

Author's links: Website / Twitter / FB Group / Goodreads

My rating: 4 Stars

Blurb

Will Darling is all right. His business is doing well, and so is his illicit relationship with Kim Secretan--disgraced aristocrat, ex-spy, amateur book-dealer. It’s starting to feel like he’s got his life under control.

And then a brutal murder in a gentleman’s club plunges them back into the shadow world of crime, deception, and the power of privilege. Worse, it brings them up against Kim’s noble, hostile family, and his upper-class life where Will can never belong.

With old and new enemies against them, and secrets on every side, Will and Kim have to fight for each other harder than ever—or be torn apart for good.

Review


This is a great ending to a great series!

I absolutely loved the romantic aspect - following the ups and downs and Will and Kim's relationship, over 3 book has given me deep insight into it and love it. They are arguably my favourite KJ Charles' couple - opposites who complement each other perfectly and who learn how to be together through trial and error.

We see then build something genuine and long-lasting despite the lies and manipulation it started on. It's journey for both of them, time of change and growth, much of it forced by circumstances outside their control. It can be exciting but also scary, their hesitance, their trepidation felt natural, they both change and grow, each one dealing with their emotional baggage.

The suspense plot is engaging as always with KJ Charles' books. We have a strong focus on families here, in particular on Kim's truly awful family. We see entitlement in its worst, couple with greed and stupidity. It does not make a winning combination in the end though it sure causes enough havoc. suspense plot. Here is also my only niggle with the story, some of the main elements of the suspense plot and its resolution felt too similar to the previous book in the series. It made sense and felt organic, just a bit repetitive, we have already seen it play out.

Everything about Kim's family highlighted how previous Will and Kim's relationship is - the hard-earned trust in each other, the deep care and readiness to sacrifice oneself for the happiness of the other person - total opposite on the relations in Kim's family.

The declarations of love and commitment in this book are like no other and I loved them so much. We get to see both Will and Kim being vulnerable in their honesty. In this book it was Will who had to make the choice and do the things that scare him the most.

Overall, wonderful series, greatly recommended!

CW; violence, verbal abuse, homophobia, blackmail

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Erotic romance

Review: Neon Gods by Katee Robert

02:30

Title: Neon Gods (Dark Olympus #1)
Author: Katee Robert
Genre: Hades and Persephone retelling, erotic
Release Date: 1 June 2021

Author's links:

My rating: 3 Stars



Blurb

He was supposed to be a myth.
But from the moment I crossed the River Styx and fell under his dark spell…
…he was, quite simply, mine.

Society darling Persephone Dimitriou plans to flee the ultra-modern city of Olympus and start over far from the backstabbing politics of the Thirteen Houses. But all that’s ripped away when her mother ambushes her with an engagement to Zeus, the dangerous power behind their glittering city’s dark facade.

With no options left, Persephone flees to the forbidden undercity and makes a devil’s bargain with a man she once believed a myth...a man who awakens her to a world she never knew existed.

Hades has spent his life in the shadows, and he has no intention of stepping into the light. But when he finds that Persephone can offer a little slice of the revenge he’s spent years craving, it’s all the excuse he needs to help her—for a price. Yet every breathless night spent tangled together has given Hades a taste for Persephone, and he’ll go to war with Olympus itself to keep her close…

A modern retelling of Hades and Persephone that’s as sinful as it is sweet.

Review 

I picked this book for two reasons - it's Hades and Persephone retelling and a close friend highly recommended the author's Disney Villains series which I haven't read yet. While I enjoyed some elements of the story, in the end it was not what I expected and I was not wow-ed by it.

It's a modern day retelling of the Hades and Persephone myth told in first person present tense dual POV which didn't quite work for me. It made the MCs sound juvenile, spoilt and immature.

I found the first quarter really slow, too descriptive, while at the same time giving us very little insight into Persephone and her world. The world building was very superficial (we get more details .about Hades' world later on but Olympus remained sketchy and insubstantial to me till the end).

I did like the romantic and sexual relationship between Hades and Persephone. The way it progressed, the way their kink was presented - it all worked for me (from my outsider's perspective). I very much enjoyed the sense of play and joy involved in the kink representation and also appreciate being nervous and hesitant about trying new things. Here the consent played a central role, it was not just empty words, there is an actual moment of one MC changing their mind about something sexual they wanted and this was totally OK and respected by the other MC. It was these little moments of insecurity and uncertainty in Hades and Persephone that I liked the best. It made them feel real and relatable to me.

The last quarter of the story was very much action packed, lots of lies and deceptions happening, seeing more of the other characters, making them more than cardboards on the page. I liked the final resolution thought it felt a bit rushed. A pet peeve of mine is badly drawn villains and this was the case here which I found rather disappointing.

I am curious about the next book in the series about Eros and Psyche and still might read it despite really not liking the writing here.

CW: violence, attempted assault, murder, arson, 

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