#BookReview #Fantasy #FantasyRomance // A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire
Blood and Ash #2
Jennifer L. Armentrout

Sing along –

And nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all
The needle returns to the start of the song
And we all sing along like before….

Having spent several hours reading this, and boy did I feel everyone of them, even thought it’s a DNF for now, I do feel I’ve read enough to comment. And that comment is “congratulations on winning first prize for the most boring and repetitive book I’ve read in years!

I got to approximately the 50% mark, but seeing 6 – 7 hours of reading time left in the book just crushed my soul. It shouldn’t have, because the author’s voice is beautiful, her characterisation is good (though not so good in book 2 as it was book 1) and I enjoyed her world building. What IS an issue is the waffling inner monologue that she insists on. As a result the pace slowed to such a crawl the plot is in actual danger of going backwards! In all the hours I spent reading this there was no real movement, metaphorically or physically. We had 7 or 8 chapters of story s-t—–r——-e——t——c—–h——e-d over two or three times that figure.

Yeah, I’m seriously wishing I’d read reviews for book #2 BEFORE starting book #1. The pacing for that was bad enough, but I could forgive a first book in the series being slower to allow for all the world building, introduction of characters etc. But lord above, how the hell can you spend 300+ pages in the same place? I’ll tell you how!!!!! BY GOING ROUND AND ROUND IN BLOODY CIRCLES THAT’S HOW.

There is something seriously wrong when you see you have over 5 hours of reading time left in a book and all it does is make you want to cry. Honest to god I was in despair at the though of having ro read another sentence that involved Poppy stabbing someone, Casteel dragging his fangs over his lip, Poppy’s uncontrollable lust for him or how Casteel smelled. The answer to which is variously like fruit, earth, smoke and various other things that sounded stupid. I’d rather it had been Brut 45 or Old Spice 🤣🤣🤣.

Really, unless you enjoy being bored out of your skull avoid this at all cost.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Fantasy Romance

Age 18+, Contains violence and sex scene



A Betrayal…

Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice…

Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…

But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.

// REVIEW \\ Dark

(The Boyne Club #1)
by Vi Carter

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Sometimes life is just too short to waste on a book that isn’t hitting the mark. I feel I gave this one a good go but at 64% I just can’t do it to myself anymore.

Unlike some readers the “darkness” in this didn’t bother me – particularly as it didn’t really seem to bother the heroine either. Despite being technically raped anally and vaginally she put up all the fight of a week old well-fed kitten. Jeez this book, and heroine, had my eyeballs rolling so much I’m surprised they didn’t fall out of my head. If I had a pound for every time she decided she would fight back/say no/take control and then promptly folded like an undercooked souffle I’d have enough to buy me a book or two with strong heroines.

I get this is fiction, so I’m prepared to give the plot some leeway but this one sailed so far from the shore of anything believable that reality is a tiny dot on the distant horizon. There is absolutely nothing likeable in the least about Gerald, and to be honest nothing sexy either. He is a murderer and a rapist and has yet to demonstrate either the tiniest morsel of remorse or show any real care towards Cara. The only positive is that it was a Kindle Unlimited borrow, so I didn’t waste any money on it.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Genre- Dark Erotica

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51333664-dark

A debt is owed, and he takes me as payment.
When my father runs up too much debt, I pay the price. I’ve been sold. Sold to a man who vows to break me. A man who keeps his face hidden from me, even as his dark desires awaken mine.
It wasn’t my debt to pay, but he took me, anyway. He said he would have his payment, even if it cost me my soul.
I run the club. If someone steps out of line, they either work for me or disappear. But when a local man runs up too much debt, I take his daughter as payment. She is mine to do with as I please.
I will have her completely; mind, body, and soul. Nothing would please me more than breaking her. I didn’t think I would feel for her. I didn’t think I could love again.
Now I might be the one who ends up broken.

INFERNO by Yolanda Olson

A disappointed – ‘Where was the story?’ 1.5 stars

I was going to start my review by saying that this is a ‘marmite book’ – you’ll either love it or hate it, but actually I felt quite impassive about it. Whilst I knew there wasn’t any romance, that there would be no HEA and that I was heading into the very depths of darkness and depravity, I did expect a cohesive story that lead me from A to B. Call me old fashioned but I also expect the blurb to have some relevance to the plot too.

I never felt as though this was ever really a story. It didn’t really contain any of the things I’m looking for in a book – connections, purpose, entertainment, thrills. There was very limited character building and the only character we ‘hear’ from (Joce) felt quite inconsistent. The story was also full of contradictions – at one point it was suggesting all the 3 had been picked and taken by Pater, then we discover they are all his natural children.

There wasn’t really any flow or build to the tale either. It felt as though both the beginning and end had been removed, leaving behind a random section from the middle to read. As though the author had arbitrarily picked a number of really bad things to write about and then just loosely tied them together. As though the entire purpose was to shock and push boundaries just for the heck of it.

I’d heard great things about this book (and series). Indeed I read it as I know a few of my ‘go to’ authors are writing their own books in this world. I also recently read Martyris, Yolanda Olson’s offering in the Cavalieri Della Morte series. Despite being quite a strange read, I loved that one so had high expectations for this. However as well written, as twisted, dark, evil and malevolent as this was, it neither entertained nor evoked emotion in the way I needed it to.

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35399884-inferno

The Black Door by JL Massey – 1.5 stars

I’m an avid reader and have found quite a large number of indie authors whose work I adore. I’ve been lucky enough to become an arc reader for many of these writers. Those books make up the majority of my reviews on this blog.

Over the last few years I’ve found my reading tastes have changed and as a result I have dropped out of some arc teams, whilst joining others. I’m now generally reading books by authors who write on my wavelength. This has meant that my average rating has increased from 3.5 to almost 4.

Now last week I grabbed a book in KU which was a follow up to one I had read a couple of years ago. I loved the first book, and enjoyed the story line in the second one, but other factors led me to DNF it rather late in the day.

So this left me in a quandary. Do I blog about this book? After all it wasn’t an arc so there’s no obligation to. Or do I post my honest findings of a book that I picked up for virtually free? Well I do claim that this is a place for honest book reviews so I AM going to share with you my review of what was a rather problematic story.

THE BLACK DOOR by JL Massey – 1.5 stars

There were parts of the book I really enjoyed, but by about 68% I was just so hacked off by some of the characters that I DNF’d it. Usually this would be an automatic 1 star but good writing pushed it closer to a 2.

I’m probably going to sound like some uber feminist by the end of this, which believe me I’m not. However this book perpetrated that idea that any woman who puts her own needs and wants first MUST be a bitch, which really disappoints me given the author is (I presume) also female. 

So lets start with the ‘hero’ Colby. He seemed ok at first, if a little hard to pinpoint what his exact character was meant to be. However his continually treating Becca like a mushroom (keeping her in the dark and feeding her s**t), keeping secrets and repeatedly lying by omission was just not on. He was a douche of the grandest order and really didn’t deserve Becca. In fact I spent a chunk of what I read hoping Becca would wise up, dump his ass and take up with Sledge, who appeared to be the only decent male character in the book.

Colby ‘I want you in my life forever’ manipulated and manoeuvred Becca like the worst of abusers. He kept two humongous secrets. #1 – legally they were married (even though there had been no ceremony but as FBI he’d managed to fiddle the paperwork) and #2 – he’d been married before! 

Now Becca understandably was a little upset by secret #1, so what did our big hero do? He sulked because Becca wasn’t overjoyed by the news and then threw himself at one of her only friends!!! Then when a clearly upset Becca went off with Sledge he thought she was being unreasonable and out of order. No apology for his dickish behaviour. No Becca was a bitch because she didn’t allow a man to walk all over her. Secret #2 she just took in her stride, she only found out via eavesdropping a conversation when he was drunk but was fine with it. Why when he demanded total honesty from Becca?

Don’t get me started on Calvin. Every time that guy breathed I wanted to shoot him. He repeatedly told Becca she was a selfish bitch, even after knowing that she’d had to fake her death in order to stay alive! Even knowing that SHE HAD BEEN SEX TRAFFICKED, REPEATEDLY RAPED, ABUSED, BEATEN and was no doubt suffering from PTSD. No because poor little Calvin had been so traumatised by how upset his partner Jackson was by Becca’s ‘death’ (Jackson and Becca are siblings).

Excuse me you poor little tiny wiener of a man but this is a girl who had recently been rescued from the most horrific and traumatic abuse you could ever experience. Not surprisingly she was struggling a little with life and not really thinking straight. But clearly Calvin believes sympathy is only found in the dictionary between shit and syphilis because he certainly didn’t have any for an abuse survivor who was still massively traumatised.

I wanted to demand he walk a mile in her shoes THEN he could judge her. Yeah that guy pissed me off big time. Especially as he was a fairly selfish ass himself, as were many of the MALE characters. But apparently it’s OK for the man to be a selfish prick, but if a woman ever puts her own needs first she is a bitch.

Becca I really loved, as I did Petal. Two strong, independent and tough women who owned their choices. They, along with otherwise a decent story line, are what kept me reading as long as I did. However I read for relaxation and enjoyment, sadly this wasn’t giving me either of those things, hence the eventual DNF.