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Carnal Cryptids: East Coast by Vera Valentine

Light plot spoilers below because I simply cannot express my love of this book without talking about their weird dicks.

Blurb: Desiderata needed a drink. After a long day of dodging darts and heckling tourists from her balloon game booth on the Wildwood boardwalk, she just wanted to forget her looming housing angst for an hour. When heavy flirtation and a cocktail from a suave substitute bartender shakes up her evening, things are looking up.

Until, of course, she catches him making out with a hot college guy not five minutes later.

In an attempt to forget the sinfully sexy stranger from the night before, Desi agrees to a dinner date with the eyeful of tall, dark and handsome that shows up at her job the next day. There’s just one little catch: he’s apparently already dating the two guys from the bar.

For JD, a shift behind a Jersey shore dive bar was always the same: predictable, boring, a little bit sticky. So what was it about this gorgeous brunette that instantly had him on the rocks? One look at her brought out the beast in him - and a desperate hope that she might be what he and Penn need to save Will for good. After over a century of struggle, they were due for a win - and someone who really believed in them.

One night. That’s all they’ll need to get Desi to agree to. But it’s going to be one hell of a night.

Review: Oh boy. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Vera Valentine, what have you done?

Carnal Cryptids is bonkers. Absolutely bonkers. It's full of monsters and mayhem and weird penises and folk lore. And I am positively obsessed with it. I cannot even begin to fathom how Valentine was able to conjure up this concept in her head but I am absolutely certain I want to rent out a portion of her brain and live there, just watching all the insanity she must think about on a regular basis.

The whole idea of creatures brought to life by the words we speak and share was really cool. I'm not sure if any of y'all watch Supernatural (but if you're into monsters and hot dudes then I'm not sure why you wouldn't) but there's an episode where they're fighting the ghost of an axe murderer but it turns out he wasn't real, he's just a figment of imagination brought to life by story-telling on a folk lore website. And that's the similar idea with this book. The creatures--Concepts--live because people believe in them. And they need people to keep believing in them in order to stay alive.

Enter Desi. Desi is a Believer--with a capital B--which makes her a real boon to creatures who need belief in order to live among us. So our trio of men--Penn, Will, and JD--convince her to come over for a dinner date. But it turns into so much more for Desi who becomes utterly terrified when the men shift in front of her (oh, yeah? Did I mention they feed on terror?). It gets a little dubious consent-wise when they chain her to the bed so she can't flee, but they never do anything physical without gaining verbal consent from her first.

These men are spectacular. They're all already dating and fucking each other (which is fabulous) but they're also all into Desi is well, so it ends up being like...a super weird orgy with a hooved demon creature, Mothman, and a sea serpent creature. Everyone has a weird dick (or tail) and shit gets positively wild.

But somehow the book remains romantic. The men love each other deeply, but they worship Desi whose very existence means they can continue to exist. There's a deep, emotional bond created between them all. Some scenes were pretty dark and twisted, but then Valentine balanced them out with scenes so sweet it'll make your teeth hurt.

Anyways, I highly highly highly recommend this to any and all monster romance readers because it's gonna hit the g-spot. Click here to peep some reviews and get your hands on this beauty.

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Oct 26, 2022

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