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    REVIEW: Not All Himbos Wear Capes by C. Rochelle

    Villainous Things: Not All Himbos Wear Capes – C. Rochelle

    PLEASE NOTE: Full list of Content & TWs can be found in the front of the book and at c-rochelle[dot]com.

    Xander

    Big City is supposedly the place where dreams come true. As someone just trying to live my life, I can tell you, it’s more like a recurring nightmare where dreams get c*ckblocked at every turn.

    Especially if you’re a supervillain like me.

    The irony is that I have zero powers, despite coming from purebred villain stock, but try telling that to Big City’s beloved hero, Captain Masculine.

    This himbo is ruining my research, and if his firepower doesn’t kill me, the sight of him in Lycra surely will. Luckily—or unluckily, in my opinion—my bestie just signed me up for the Bangers dating app and found my perfect match.

    If this isn’t the start of my villain arc, I don’t know what is.

    Butch

    It’s hard feeling like I have to wear a mask every day—that the only value I bring to the table is the sparkling image others have created for me.

    Such is the life of being Captain Masculine, Big City’s greatest superhero. This is the existence I was destined for, and I will gladly defend this city against every threat to its people.

    Except Doctor Antihero.

    I’ve seen countless villains come and go, but something about Antihero intrigues me more than the usual hero-villain encounters should.

    It’s because of him that I impulsively signed up for a dating app, hoping a meaningless fling with a local normie will help get my head back in the game. The truth is, what I really want is someone who sees me—the man behind the mask.

    But that’s a luxury no superhero can afford.

    Not All Himbos Wear Capes is an MM romance between a superhero and a villain. Our men find other men in tight supersuits incredibly attractive. Sometimes, they keep these supersuits on while engaging in explicit extracurricular activities with each other (and sometimes they even use bad words!).

    This is not your kid’s superhero book. This is Sin City and The Boys having a love child with extra spicy Spideypool and is meant for 18+ adults who can handle such things.

    The Villainous Things series contains standalone books (each with HEAs) that feature interconnected characters and an overarching plot.

    *FULL LIST OF Content & TWs can be found in the front of the book and at c-rochelle[dot]com*

    CONTENT & TROPES:
    • MM romance
    • Dual POV
    • Superheroes/villains
    • Grumpy/sunshine
    • Star-crossed lovers + fated mates
    • Lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers (yup)
    • Hurt/comfort + found family
    • D/s dynamic that’s more bedroom than lifestyle
    • MM romance (in case you missed that part)
    • Plus suspenseful plot + save-the-world epicness for pizazz

    POTENTIAL TRIGGERS:
    • Sweary dialogue
    • Naughty irreverent humor
    • Extremely morally gray characters with moments of psychotic ideation
    • Extra spicy extracurricular activities (see inside book and c-rochelle[dot]com for specifics)
    • Minor gore in villain lair and during hero/villain battle scenes
    • Controlling + neglectful parents with some physical (superpowered) abuse
    • Lack of autonomy + indentured servitude
    • Restraints (not the fun kind)
    • Detailed descriptions of humans’ negative effects on coastal wildlife (specifically with pollution and including a seagull autopsy with details of the contents of its stomach)


    Heroism and villainy as a matter of perspective, or in this case, a matter of signing the contract, is a frequently explored theme in superhero stories.

    Villainous Things, by C. Rochelle, is another take on the subject. The series opens with Not All Himbos Wear Capes, an enemies-to-lovers secret romance between Big City’s golden boy, the cheese-tastically named Captain Masculine, and Doctor Antihero, a member of the infamous villain clan, the Suarez family.

    The world here is divided between normies and supes. The supes are considered different species and shouldn’t procreate with normies because their abilities might harm ordinary humans. They are expected to form strategic alliances with other prominent supe families to create more supes.

    The supes are further divided between superheroes and supervillains. The heroes are backed by the government and signed contracts to protect the city from the bad guys.

    Cap Masculine and Doc Antihero first met as Butch and Xander via an online dating app. They immediately hit it off on their first date. Still clueless of each other’s alter egos, they continued dating until things became serious between them.

    Then Xander invited Butch to meet his family. Only for Butch to realize Xander is from the notorious Suarez clan, having recognized his sister as Ultraviolent, and his mother as Glacial Girl. Xander still remained the clueless loving boyfriend, while Butch tries to find the right time to tell him. 

    Also, his family has arranged for him to marry a girl from another famous superhero clan, treating Butch as nothing more than a breeding stud. His entire life has been mapped out since birth and Butch is used to following orders.

    The plot starts simple enough as a secret identity romance, where the supposed villain shows his caring side and the hero discovers his kinkier desires. There’s also a grumpy/sunshine aspect, Xander being the growly top and Butch as the sunshiny himbo.

    I’m not a fan of the romance because it’s mostly boring daddy/boy foreplay with cringy dirty talk. Outside the bedroom, they were okay, mostly just there as eyes to see the world through. In short, I don’t care for the MCs. I just like the things happening around them. 

    Because bigger things are happening than just a forbidden love affair. Cap Masculine’s blinders fell off, and he took a stand against the indentured servitude his famous superhero parents signed him in when he was born. As they and the rest of the superheroes have signed such contracts.

    At this point, the plot became a convoluted game of political machinations, supe rights, family upheaval, and unlikely allies where power is challenged, and murders are committed to maintain the status quo.

    I wished the Saurezes came on page much earlier because they were the more interesting characters. Xander has a complicated relationship with his family. He says they’re all psychopaths and stays away from their house. They appeared halfway in the story, and made things a hell of a lot more chaotic and exciting. 

    Apocalypto and Glacial Girl have five known children, Violencia, Wolfgang, Baltazar and twins, Gabriel and Andre. Xander is the secret baby because he didn’t show any superpowers. His high IQ gave him multiple PhDs and nifty inventions, which he used to save the ocean. These inventions were hijacked by his evil dad into dastardly gadgets.

    Wolfgang, a.k.a. Hand of Death, practically stole the show, when he made his move to secure the Suarez family. One of the most powerful villains and a sly psycho who will protect his family at all costs, but is also surprisingly vulnerable, he’s my favorite character and happily, his book is next.

    The rest of the books feature the male siblings and continue the overarching plot so the books must be read in order.

    At first blush, Not All Himbos Wear Capes is a fun, raunchy take on the superhero trope. Then it goes grey and gritty the more we know about Big City and its secrets.

    While not really saying anything new about heroism and villainy, it still gave us an intriguing world that is fun to explore through the eyes of its superheroes and villains. Overall, heroically kinky, villainously wears its heart on its sleeve.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Villain
    Artist: Ado
    Album: Ado’s Mitattemita Album


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    REVIEW: Where the Devil Says Goodnight by K.A. Merikan

    Folk Lore: Where the Devil Says Goodnight – K.A. Merikan

    — Forgive me, Father, for I will sin —

    Adam. Catholic priest. Celibate. Does not yield to temptation.
    Emil. Sinner. Seducer. Snake. Hot as hell itself.

    After a sheltered childhood ruled by religion, all Adam wants is to be a good priest and make his parents proud. But it’s hard to stay virtuous in a big city like Warsaw, and when he makes one slip up, his life spirals into ruin. He is sent to a tiny mountain village where he hopes to live down his shame and work on restraint.

    But staying celibate becomes far from easy when he meets Emil, a local man with long dark hair, a mysterious past, and as little morality as he has luck. Emil has no qualms about flirting with a priest. Worse still, he seems hell-bent on tasting forbidden fruit and unearthing the desires Adam has always kept hidden.

    The odd village hides secrets far more sinister than Adam’s insatiable lust for Emil. Old Slavic magic looms everywhere. Superstition mixes with reality. Someone is watching his every move. Someone follows him in the dark, lurking in the shadows of the ancient forest. Adam is plagued by disturbing events, and Emil could be his only salvation even if he is the devil himself.

    Can a priest shepherd the black sheep to safety or has he been the wolf all along?

    POSSIBLE SPOILERS:
    Genre: Dark, paranormal M/M romance
    Erotic content: Scorching hot, emotional, explicit scenes
    Themes: Occult, witchcraft, Slavic superstition and myth, folklore, priest, forbidden love, hurt/comfort, metalhead, little town, temptation, religion, paganism, cult, old gods, possession, demons, magic, homophobia, bigotry, prejudice, coming out, fish out of water, soul mates, mysterious man, tease and denial
    Length: ~ 120,000 words (standalone)

    WARNING: This story contains scenes of violence, offensive language, self-harm, and morally ambiguous characters.


    I’ve wanted to read this ever since they unveiled that gorgeous cover. The thing is, K.A. Merikan is a hit or miss with me. It took two tries before this book finally stuck.

    Where The Devil Says Goodnight has a setting rarely seen in MM romance. The story mostly took place in a small Polish village of Dybukowo, picturesque, eerie, and timeless in a way that feels jarring whenever they mention modern technology like internet or cellphones.

    Father Adam, a young priest caught with a porn mag in his room, was sent from Warsaw to the village to keep him away from temptation. But temptation came in the form of a tattooed metalhead and village pariah Emil. At first, Adam tried offering just his friendship, but the lure was too strong, and with a dark entity giving him all his deepest, darkest desires, it wasn’t long until Emil and he became secret lovers.

    I was ready to dive deep into everything the story promised to offer. Occultism, Slavic paganism, dark magic and how they blend and clash with Catholicism is fascinating to someone whose own country, halfway across the world from Poland, is similarly influenced. These are the best parts of the story, and they made the horror elements extra creepy.

    Sadly, the book didn’t delve deeply enough into these, just touching the surface. The plot straddles the line between paranormal and horror. The midnight church scene scared me the most when narrator Wyatt Baker used special effects for his demon voice. Man, it gave me a jolt! And that was when I fully committed.

    The paranormal elements were mostly lowkey, the kind that Adam would shrug off as his imagination or thought he was being gaslighted. I preferred the paranormal to be more overt, just so there would be excitement to keep the plot from dragging. The story moved slowly, with only the narrator’s energetic delivery to keep me going. And it’s a long ass book too.

    I am not a fan of religious officials as gay romantic leads because they tend to be miserably hard on themselves. The story is in dual POV. Adam’s internal dialogue is childishly naive, self-flagellatory and mistrustful, making him pathetic rather than sympathetic. The man willingly sleeps with Emil, then gives me whiplash with his denials and accusations right after.

    I hate it when people, cheaters especially, don’t take responsibility for their actions. Instead they blame the “seducer,” the “tempter,” or the devil for leading them into sin. Almost always after they do the deed, Adam would blame Emil for leading him away from the righteous path, even accusing the poor guy of putting a spell on him. Dude, you can always say no and walk away. Emil wasn’t holding a gun to your head.

    Emil is the more interesting character, a country bad boy who’s more worldly than the virgin city mouse while also a cinnamon roll of sorts. The villagers consider him as a cursed good-for-nothing. He comes from a family of whisperer women, a kind of witch or shaman dealing with the old gods of the land. His most loyal companion is his black stallion, Jinx.

    Emil tries his hand at various endeavors, from palm reading to wine making, so he could earn enough money to leave. The man really tried but with his abysmal bad luck, there’s always one reason or another he cannot leave the village. A lonely gay man with few options and a non-believer, he has no qualms sleeping with a closeted priest he soon fell in love with.

    The romance was my least favorite simply because I wasn’t convinced it would work. There’s too much lack of trust for them to function as a couple. But I’m glad I stuck around till the end, because when Adam let his beast out, and a fabulous beast he is, he was way more likable. I wish he did it earlier, because it was almost too late, but he and Emil finally convinced me they were it.

    Where The Devil Says Goodnight was a tough read but worth it in the end. The almost unconvincing romance and unlikable MC was offset by the atmospheric setting, the fascinating glimpse into Slavic culture, and a satisfying conclusion that made all the difference. YMMV but all in all, a mix bag of blessings and curses.

    Rating:
    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Tethered Bones
    Artist: Talos
    Album:


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