Synopsis: Grace is forced to enroll in the Infernal Trials–seven rounds of brutal competition–with the goal of becoming a demon so she can be with Apollyon forever. Fearful of what demonic existence would mean, Grace searches for a way to avoid it, while Apollyon investigates his origins. The two of them experiment with each other’s kinks, using intimacy to survive the horrors of Hell. But the Infernal Trials are filled with vicious contestants who will do anything to win. (Season 2 of Interior Design for Demons)
Review: In some ways this book was brilliant. I loved the continued relationship with Apollyon and Grace, but I absolutely hated how everything went down with Rath. Grace was very smart in how she got what she needed for their plan but was very conscious of her humanity, which makes sense being in a competition to give it up entirely. While I absolutely love Apollyon and Grace, I do not really enjoy the idea of things that were predestined and had to happen/were going to happen/were known to be in the future. It takes away a bit of the connection and the magic of two people finding each other if they were always going to be together. That being said, this was still a good book, and a great send off for this duology.
Synopsis: For readers of C.N. Crawford, Laura Thalassa, and Jennifer L. Armentrout. Interior design student Grace and twelve other humans are forcibly recruited to participate in a contest, redecorating various rooms in Hell–which haven’t been redone since ancient or medieval times. The winner gets a lucrative contract, a few extra decades of youth, and one soul reclaimed from The Pit. With sexy demons Razenath and Apollyon distracting Grace from her goals, can she avoid being eliminated after each round?
TW: doubtful consent related to kissing, touch; some physical harm/abuse; reference to family murder/suicide; gore, horror, demons, monsters; torture; child neglect; cannibalism
Review: Wow. I was drawn in from the beginning as we travel with plucky Grace into a contest she didn’t want to be a part of. I quite enjoyed Grace’s relationships with other contestants and Razenath and Apollyon, especially how they grew and developed. There was a lot of hellish description that one really has to be ready for before reading this. I personally didn’t feel that any of the hellish tortures were done in such a manner to trigger me, but that line will be different for everyone. I quite loved the depth of different backgrounds and sins the contestants and their families had. There was clearly a lot of influence from other things in the naming and characterization of some characters, but very fitting. The interior design aspect of the book was not skimmed over but detailed and quite enjoyable to read. I am very much looking forward to seeing what more might happen in Rebecca F. Kenney’s Hell.
Synopsis: Veronica wants nothing more than to find her brother, who sailed away years ago. But when Veronica’s ship is captured by pirates, she’s determined to save her own skin, while keeping her magic and her gender a secret. Disguised as male, she finagles a spot as a cabin boy aboard the buccaneers’ vessel–which is bound for Ravensbeck, a stronghold where the Pirate King holds sway. He may have the answers Veronica seeks–but getting those answers could cost her more than she’s willing to pay.
Review: This book… was slow burning and great. I loved the way Veronica worked as a cabin boy, and how her relationships develop from Nick to Veronica. She is so capable and becomes so strong, so while she does have disadvantages that she has had to deal with her whole life, it is great to see her overcome what she perceives as her own shortcomings. I did quite enjoy this book and fell asleep several nights, stopping to sleep when my eyes were blurring. I quite loved how she was challenged regularly by her male counterpart, but her inability to realize how much attention he kept on her and how much he was pushing, that he had to care, was frustrating and annoying. It was also hard to empathize with her feelings for her brother as well, but the connections she made and her journey on sea and with the pirates certainly made up for it.
Synopsis: When her father surrenders to an invading kingdom, Amarylla doesn’t realize she’s part of the treaty until it’s too late. Drugged to prevent resistance, she’s swept away to the dark, tortured kingdom of Terelaus, where she is forced to marry the Fiend Prince. When Amarylla holds a dagger to his throat on their wedding night, she and the Prince come to a tenuous arrangement of their own. But he may not be the greatest danger lurking in the Cursed Palace.
Review: This book. I grabbed it because I saw a Tiktok about Captive of the Pirate King and it wasn’t available for a few days! This book looked equally interesting and honestly I am so glad I read this first! I absolutely loved this book, finding Amarylla to be a damsel, who isn’t in distress, and can definitely handle herself. While she might have been betrayed previously, she didn’t let her previous preconceived notions about people and why they did things stop her from becoming compassionate and working for what is right. She’s a great heroine and I loved all of the tension (especially the dancing!!) and the spice between her and her Fiend Prince.
Update: I forgot to add that I also loved how this book made the heroine face mortality.
“He’s going to die.” “As we all are,” said Onwe, “And those closer to the grave deserve love just as much as those with years of life left ahead of them.”