Kiss, Marry or Kill: 25
Unexpected smut is the best smut! Plus catfishing 101, why you might NOT want to use a gift guide, getting on Home Repair-tok, and more low-fat dietary B.S.
This is my weekly series for subscribers only, where I’ll share things that caught my eye this week in a fun and flirty way (kiss), a sustainable way (marry), or a not-so-good way (kill). And yes, this trendy game is technically “f***, marry, or kill” but we run a family-friendly-ish show around here.
Kiss (things I like right now)
The Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros
Okay, I almost don’t want to do a detailed review here, because I went into this book blind and it was a delightfully jarring experience. However, if you’re not into smut (ahem, I mean romance) you may not enjoy this (but you might! keep reading!), so let’s dive in.
I saw this on the Amazon Top Ten Books of 2023 list. I bought it for my Kindle (thus the photo of the real book I took in Target) without reading anything in the description. I had seen the cover plenty on TikTok, plus it screamed “Young Adult Fantasy,” and I love that genre. I assumed it would be like Red Rising, a 5-book series I read years ago and have recommended to so many people. And it was… kind of.
First, the writing is fantastic. (The complete opposite of Twilight, which reads like it was written by a horny 14-year-old boy.) The story follows the quirky, beautiful, and fragile (but tenacious AF) Violet Sorrengail in her quest to become a dragon rider—the most elite and dangerous position in the land. Quickly, you’re also introduced to the impossibly hot and ruthless Xaden Riorson, her sworn arch enemy, who vows to kill her as soon as he gets the chance.
You see where this is going, right?
The story alone could easily have carried this one along, but the chemistry and tension between Violet and Xaden was delicious and perfectly held. (Adult romance novels could take a lesson!) Still, I was already three-quarters of the way through the book, and the most these two had done was steal some insanely hot and breathless kisses while channeling the energy of their mating dragons. (I KNOW! I loved it.)
Then at 71% completed (per my Kindle), the word “clit” was unceremoniously dropped into the story, and I was like “wait what?” Then I realized this was a fantastically told story… with smut. A penis (they do not use that word). A pair of hypersensitive nipples. Lots of throbbing. Literal lightning strikes driven by the powerful magic rippling through her as she orgasms. (As one does.)
I’ll be honest, it felt like a weird flex. Usually, the smut comes in much earlier, and more of the book is focused on sex scenes, because you don’t really read smut for the story? (Okay, I don’t.) But this was far more developed storyline with a side of smut. It threw me, but I wasn’t mad about it! Again, the story is SO GOOD. The writing was phenomenal, and although the heave dose of cliches was a little wearying at times (okay, we get it, Xaden is A PERFECT CHISELED SPECIMEN), I tore through it and immediately started book 2 of the series (Iron Flame).
If you’re looking for a tremendous story with a healthy side of smut, ding ding, winner! If you’re looking for a tremendous YA fantasy tale and don’t care much about the smut, it’s truly easy to bypass. I’ll report back after Book 2, but I can very much see why this one was a bestseller in 2023.