July 8, 2013

Diamonds and Toads: A Modern Fairy Tale by K.E. Saxon

Together, sweet Delilah and wicked Isadora make the perfect woman. But the Perrault family fairy is a troublemaker and imbues diamonds upon one sister and toads upon the other. Now up is down and down is up in a world where no good deed goes unpunished. Leather, blindfolds, and handcuffs purge sweet of all reserve. A few misspoken words of lust gives wicked a whole new meaning. 

Once upon a time, there were two sisters, one cursed and one blessed by fairy magic… 

Bibbidee-bobbidi-boo, They’re naughty. How about you?

My Thoughts

First off, I would like to thank Net Gallery and the publisher, Passion Flower Publishing, for this interesting read. I was offered this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Now, my honest opinion, well . . . I loved the Toads part but didn't like the Diamonds part much. I have to say, overall, not my favorite book. I think if the author had or took more time developing the characters and plot, it would have been ten times better. I really like the humor though she has in her book and I love Isadora, even though she's a snob. 

However, this book needed, at least, two more rounds of editing. The whole story felt rushed and predicable with stereotypical cardboard characters. The snotty stepmother, the beautiful but snotty sister, and the voluptuous but very self-conscious and seemingly shy Delilah.  

You know why I love Grimm so much? Or Once Upon a Time? Because they bring a whole new modern twist to the fairy tales. Especially Grimm. They take the classic Cinderella and make her seem like a privileged, spoiled brat.

I know, Cinderella, right?

Once Upon a Time brings the old timey characters and breathes new life into them with a modern twist. Don't get me wrong, they still pay their dues and give a nod off to the original story but they still give a twist that is unexpected. Especially in Grimm.

So what am I trying to say? I was expecting the same sort of twist on fairy tales in this book that Grimm and Once Upon a Time tv series accomplished almost flawlessly. Unfortunately, I did not get that modern feel to the story or any new twists.

Sure, the author gave the characters some interesting sexual twists, but there was so much more she could have done to make it fresh. 

There are a few positives in this retelling of a fairy tale, so I'll address it in this breakdown.

Characters: Like I said, there are 2 dimensional cardboard cut out characters with very to little twist at all. There was just no freshness to it. She literally took the characters out of the fairy tale, slapped them on her page, gave them a bit of a sexual make-over and called it finished.

And that's not how you do them justice. 

Additionally, I feel like Delilah should have been more confident. Not all BBW (Big Beautiful Women) are self-conscious about their weight. And it sounded like, to me, she wasn't fat at all anyway. Especially if you look at the cover. I mean, which one is suppose to be Delilah? 

Delilah just didn't have the depth that I think the character needed. I could see that the author put a lot of thought behind her sexual presence but not into everything else. 

So why didn't the character have that depth everywhere else in her life? Sex isn't everything, even in a romance book.

I liked Isadora a lot more than I liked Delilah. Why? Because, it seemed to me, she had just a tad more depth than Delilah. Besides, she's kinda funny. Not on purpose though (I'll explain later). 

Additionally, the pov (point of view) switching was driving me bananas! I literally ignored the guys point of view after a little while since she kept flip-flopping from one character (for like a page) to the other.

Now granted, I've read quite a few books that have managed the flip-flopping successfully, like Dearly, Departed. The author decided to switch between like five characters and it really didn't bother me much. Why? Because she gave them their own INDIVIDUAL chapter.

Unfortunately, this author only gave each character like a page at the most, and at the shortest, a paragraph, which is just jarring to the reader. So did she pull it off as Lia Habel did in Dearly, Departed?

Absolutely not.

Dialogue: I liked Isadora's slip ups, even thought I wish they weren't sexual ones. Like she would think one thing, but say another. Usually with a sexual twist, which I liked a lot.

Granted, the author didn't get me laughing out of my seat but she did get a smile or two.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for some humor. 

Other then that, the conversations were realistic but not like something I would pay close attention to.

Plot: Too rushed. I know she was writing practically two novellas but still. She should have spent more time developing the plot. 

Diamonds needed more attention toward character development than plot, but it was still too predicable probably because of the lack of character development. We all knew what Chas would pick eventually. We all knew what Delilah would have found out, eventually. We all knew what was going to happen at the very end. 

The only thing I didn't predict was the sexual parts. And I'll address that later.

Toads needed more time on dialogue and plot as well. I think she let Isadora off the hook WAY too early. Let her build more frustration, let her really get the message about her behavior and how inappropriate it is. Let her kinda feel the intensity of not being able to be understood clearly.

Another problem I saw with plot was the descriptions. There were WAY too many of them. I get it, you need to tell us the background story, but there was way too much of it for my taste. I think if she would have cut down on description and worked more on the characters, it would have helped move the story forward a lot better and help with pace.

Also, the chunky paragraphs were driving me bananas. You guys know how I feel about chunky paragraphs.
Which I know has nothing to do with plot, it needs to be addressed.

Now onto the sex scenes. It felt like the author was going in the erotic direction with the sex scenes but didn't achieve the feeling of erotica. Like for both stories, Diamond and Toad, they both started with the sex first, then love later. Which is pretty much erotica up and down. But the thing that killed it, was the descriptions. The guys could be rock stars in bed, but if I don't get the feelings of the characters, then there aren't any erotic feelings.

And of course, the pov swicthing in the middle of intercourse ruined it for me. Like if two characters (or more) are having sex, there should be only 1 pov duirng the entire time. Unless, at the very end, one of the characters has an epiphany then I would allow the switch AT THE END ONLY!

Now some authors can do this exceptionally well, the pov switches, and the only one that comes to mind is Kate Douglas in her epically long series, Wolf Tales. Love those books.

Anyway, I think the author should have stuck with EITHER romance or erotic romance. It just felt like the sex scenes fell somewhere in between or failed in the erotic romance part. Just pick one!

Ending: Predicable, but good. I did like Toads ending a lot better than Diamonds, even though they both did a good job of adding a bit of a twist. But still predicable. 

Overall: Would I recommend this book?

It depends.

If half of the stuff I mentioned doesn't bother you, then feel free to read it.

If the list of problems I had with it would bother you, then don't read it.

As for me, I don't think I'll be reading anything else by this author. There are just way too many problems in one book that makes me question. There is a lot of potential in this author to do great, but I don't know.

I would have to think about it, read the blurb, then read the first chapter of the book to see if I would read it or not. Then read the reviews. I just don't know if I could trust the author with my money to read her books.

It's really a gamble. I could say that this book was just her way of combining two stories that maybe she just wasn't ready for and in her other books, she's just focusing on one story that maybe the quality will improve.

Overall, I would say try it but tread carefully.  

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