Editorial Articles, Writing/Articles

List of Book Boyfriends: Part 2

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Click HERE to see Part 1 of my Book Boyfriends List!

Hello Readers!

It’s been awhile since I made my last list, and I’ve met plenty more since then of some seriously eligible male characters who I absolutely loved to read and kept me entertained in multiple ways. I decided to make a Part 2 because there’s so many more to add, maybe this is partly why I’m single because I could never make a decision to narrow it down if I had to pick just one!

Hope you enjoy the list and maybe get some ideas of some new books to read because of it, and let’s talk if you (yes, YOU the reader) think I’m missing someone who belongs amongst all these other men too!

This list is in no particular order.

***Please note: I own no rights to any of these images, if any of the owners see this article and wish for me to remove them, please contact me and I will gladly do so!***

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Casteel Da’Neer (Blood and Ash series)

Image courtesy of artist Dominique Wesson, Instagram: @dominiquewesson

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, the second book in this addicting series, was by far my favorite book of 2020, and Cas made it to the top of this newer list even before I finished the dang book! Jennifer L. Armentrout sure knows how to write an ahhhhmazing book boyfriend, and I only hope I help introduce more readers to him and these books that I’m obsessed with lately. He’s got the charm, the dimples, the body, the teeth; he’s pretty much perfect!

Matthias Helvar (The Grishaverse)

Image courtesy of artist Coralie Jubenot, Instagram: @merwildandco

Matthias was one who I may or may not have liked at first, but he definitely grew on me as I read the Six of Crows books by Leigh Bardugo that are a part of her multi-series Grishaverse. He was a more stoic, big-blond-brute character but was a total cinnamon roll when he could no longer deny his feelings for Nina. I love their whole dynamic so much; how romantic is it when a witch hunter ends up falling in love with the very thing he’s been trained to hate?

Jericho Barrons (Fever series)

Image courtesy of the actor’s IMDB profile

Another (possibly) shocking choice to some, but Barrons is another one who really grows on you as you read on in the series. He’s tall, dark, and obscenely handsome, but he’s a big grump too and doesn’t change despite how crazy he is about Mackayla Lane. He’s a complex character as you get to know him more and more with each book, and the actor/model Marco Dapper is my personal fancast choice for him since there isn’t very much fanart out there of him.

Reid Diggory (Serpent & Dove series)

Image courtesy of Salome Totladze, Instagram: @morgana0anagrom

Reid Diggory was am incredibly likeable character who was also frustrating as hell because he had such a black and white way of looking at the world he lived in. He has a somewhat similar dynamic with Lou as Matthias and Nina did in Six of Crows: a witch hunter has been raised to believe witches are evil creatures and the hate them, but of course he ends up falling in love with one because love works in crazy ways like that. He’s a natural leader and a total Gryffindor and always shows massive bravery with a sense of doing the right thing and bringing justice.

Christian Mackeltar (Fever series)

Image courtesy of the actor/model’s IMDB profile

Who doesn’t like a sexy scot? Christian was someone I liked immediately in the series by Karen Marie Moning. As the series went on, I felt so bad for him as he really gets the short end of the stick in what felt like so many different situations, and he got even hotter when he almost went dark there for a little bit, but ultimately stays the same good guy that he is! Andrew Biernat is a model on Instagram and my fancast choice since there’s not really any fanart of anyone from these books unfortunately.

Kell Maresh (Shades of Magic series)

Image courtesy of artist Tara Spruit, Instagram: @taratjah

Kell reminded me a little bit of Newt Scamander from the Fantastic Beasts but less socially awkward…he’s got excellent taste in outer wear, and while I haven’t read the other books after the first one in this series, I can already tell that Kell will be a favorite of mine throughout the entirety of it all.

Jamie Canning and Ryan Wesley (Him duology)

Credit to owner

These two are a package deal because why not? I loved their friends-to-lovers, second chance love story; Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen write some adorable and equally steamy romance, even better for me personally when it’s between two hockey playing jocks!

Hunt Athalar (Crescent City series)

Image courtesy of artist Kris, Instagram: @faeriereverie

BIG shocker that yet another Sarah J. Maas male character makes the cut based off my last list, right? Hunt was an amazing character in House of Earth and Blood, and his slow burn with Bryce was incredible to read and I am so excited to see where this series goes. I think I fell for him in the scene when he’s in a backwards baseball cap and grey sweatpants (a gay man’s weakness) hanging out in Bryce’s apartment; there’s just something about that homey-domestic image, adding the fact that he has the reputation of being this deadly warrior, that really got my heart racing. He did have one major slip-up, but he definitely redeemed himself in my eyes, all in one book!

Nikolai Lantsov (The Grishaverse)

Image courtesy of artist Kevin Wade

Nikolai is someone I kinda hate to love, only because he’s one of those cocky, overly-confident guys who I know I would roll my eyes at every chance I get if he was a real person. He’s definitely not all bad, I especially enjoy his rebellious spirit and how he’s a wandering pirate captain while he’s also royalty! He was a major highlight of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, and I plan to read King of Scars starring him very soon too as the Netflix show releases to the public.

Gideon Cross (Crossfire series)

Credit to owner

Gideon Cross is a much better written Christian Grey, there I said it…He’s an enigmatic billionaire who has a dark past that’s caused him to have a pretty depraved, private sex life, and it only takes meeting that special someone to change everything! Sure, I can admit he’s incredibly over protective and has some alpha hole tendencies that border on possessive maniac-like behavior, but I also see how in his mind it’s all to protect the woman he loves. Their relationship may or may not be toxic to some readers, but I will admit that I fell for him either way. Henry Cavill is my fancast pick for him as there isn’t really any fanart of him.

Tharion Ketos (Crescent City series)

Image courtesy of artist Salome Totladze, Instagram: @morgana0anagrom

I’ve always had a thing for mermaids, and Tharion is no different with that AND he’s written by Sarah J. Maas. He gives me Finnick Odair vibes a little bit with his obvious confidence, but he’s also got an otter that sends messages to people above land that I can’t help but fangirl over! I was happy to hear he becomes a bigger character in the second Crescent City book, I say give me as much of him as we can get!

Bennett Ryan (Beautiful Bastard series)

Credit to @Reading_Is_Sexyy

This was such a fun series, and it starts off strong with Bennett being featured in the first book. He’s definitely not perfect, and he perfectly fits the title “Beautiful Bastard” in some instances, but he does mature and grow up a bit to become a better man. Besides that, he does have his charming moments, looks great in a suit, has a killer business ethic, and knows how to have sex in tons of different public places!

Ruhn Danaan (Crescent City series)

Image courtesy of artist Kris, Instagram: @faeriereverie

I liked the idea of Ruhn being a character who rejects his whole “Chosen One” reputation he’s been given for as long as he can remember. Most of us are tired of that trope, Ruhn certainly isn’t a fan of it either, and it’s a fresh take on it at least! He’s a moody and broody character, like a lot of other SJM male characters are, but he grows a ton in the book and shows many hidden depths, he’s also incredibly courageous when he gets an extra push, even if he might disagree with my statement.

Cage York (Seabreeze Series)

Image courtesy of the model/athlete’s Instagram profile: @brian_pruett

Cage York actually stars in the third book in this New Adult romance series, but I read it before any of the others and I instantly fell for this cocky, charming, sexy college baseball player. He’s a total manwhore, as most male romance novel characters usually are, but he meets someone who changes everything, and he’s a total goner. He’s had a difficult upbringing, so the cockiness and attitude is all a front, and it’s endearing to see he’s just a guy who wants someone to love him!

Noel Kahn (Pretty Little Liars series)

Image courtesy of the actor’s IMDB profile

Believe it or not, but the book version of Noel Kahn is actually a whole lot better of a guy than how he was portrayed in the TV show. He’s still a lacrosse playing high-school jock who’s “one of the bro’s,” but he’s actually a sweet guy despite all that and becomes a great boyfriend for Aria later on in the series. I still use Brant Daugherty as my image for him because look at him!

Lor (Fever Series)

Image courtesy of the model’s Instagram profile: @philippe_leblond

Lor was a pleasant surprise because when you first meet him in these books, he just seems like another handsome henchman who isn’t much more than that. Once I read chapters from his perspective in book #7, Burned, I can’t lie: I liked him! Sure, he’s yet another manwhore, alpha-hole character, but I liked some of his one-liners and his protectiveness for Dani on a purely platonic level shows he’s a decent guy no matter what. Model Philippe Leblond is my fancast pick since there isn’t any fanart of him anywhere.

Drew Baylor (Game On Series)

Image courtesy of the model’s Instagram profile: @dennisboeer

I have a weak spot for college athletes in New Adult romance books/series, because Drew is another name to add to the list who falls in that category. His relationship with Anna in The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan was amazingly done, and his perseverance to show her how he was serious about his feelings for her and all he did to show his devotion was what made me fall for him. Their chemistry was electric and from the first time they hook up to all that they go through, Drew is for sure a keeper! Drew Boeer is a german model I found on Instagram whose also my fancast pick since there’s no fanart of Drew.

Wrath (Kingdom of the Wicked series)

Image courtesy of artist Coralie Jubenot, Instagram: @merwildandco

So in actuality the Prince from hell is maybe not a great option for an actual significant other, but I had to add him just purely for the hotness factor. He’s full of darkness and a secret yearning for cannolis once Emilia turns him onto them, but he was a fun character who added a lot of sex appeal to this first book in Kerri Maniscalco’s series. Sure, the ending may sway a few people in the opposite direction, but go read the From Blood and Ash and get back to me on whether a enemies-to-lovers-back-to-enemies romance can’t have its happily ever after!

“King” Aren Kertell (Bridge Kingdom series)

Image courtesy of artist Dominique Wesson, Instagram: @dominiquewesson

Aren is my last pick on this Part 2, and he definitely ends it on a strong note! He’s smart, strategic, loyal, brave, and has a great enemies-to-lovers romance dynamic with Lara in this New Adult Fantasy-Romance by Danielle Jensen. He goes above and beyond to ensure the safety of his people and kingdom and is so selfless in his actions to face his enemies and protect those who cares about.

Click HERE to see Part 1 of my Book Boyfriends List!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

New Adult, New Adult Romance, Paranormal, YA Fantasy

My Review: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1): by Shelby Mahurin

*For the Barnes & Noble Edition*
Publish Date: September 3rd, 2019
Number of Pages: 528 Pages
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre(s): YA Fantasy, Paranormal, New Adult Romance

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

I’m happy to say I’m starting off the new year on a high note! Based off other reviews I’ve found, along with its impressive Goodreads rating, the gorgeous cover, I had a feeling this title was going to leave me happy that I’d decided to pick it up and give it a try.

With it being their debut novel out on the market, not much is known about Shelby Mahurin: what’s her writing style? How is her character work? Story pacing? Would I care about her characters?…It’s a bit like going on a first date with all the jittery butterflies in your stomach with the excited nervousness of uncertainty whether the relationship–you and a new author and book–will work out or not. Believe me…there’s been plenty of times where I’d thought I’d be taking a book home to meet the parents–so to speak–and ended up in disappointment: my easiest example in recent memory was my final thoughts on The Priory of the Orange Tree.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I’d found myself enjoying this story as I’d gotten further into it. I was up late into the night on multiple occasions in order to get further along and see what would happen next instead of getting a decent amount of sleep, and thats always a sign that the book was a hit for me; needing answers instead of sleep is a guaranteed thumbs up from me.

This book brings something new to the table for the YA Fantasy genre, which is great considering how littered it’s gotten over the years with what feels like a lot of the same clichés, story arcs, etc. There’s just too many copies of the same things done over and over with just slight variations in order to avoid of plagiarism lawsuit, and while there’s still a bit of the familiar within this title, it at least presents it all in a way that’d felt new. Instead of the Fae or “The Chosen One” who’d lost their parents, and learns their the future heir of a long lost throne or whatever to change the course of history, this story brought a subject that hasn’t been touched on as much: Witchcraft. There’s been a few books and/or series released over the years, but nothing that’s really popped or kept it’s momentum to make it a more popular theme in YA Fantasy literature, which is a damn shame…I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity for some new and interesting stories to be told with them at the forefront, and not just an ally or sidekick to vampires.

Now, as far as YA Fantasy goes, I feel like this title doesn’t necessarily fit either of those categories. It feels more like a paranormal romance since the love story between the two main characters takes center stage and drives a lot of the story, and it also feels more like New Adult with how the characters develop, and because theres a more descriptive sex scene within. I’m not saying I’m a prude, but I know we live in such a trigger society and I just recognize readers who are 16+ in age will probably enjoy it more than a 12-13 year old.

In all honesty, read whatever the fuck you want to read, censorship can go shove a pole up it’s butt in my opinion...

This title has been out for a few months at the time I’m typing this review, and one thing I love about books and their fandoms is the art that gets created! I love to see what others think the characters look like, and it just adds so much to the story and my interest from a purely aesthetic point of view–hell, I’d discovered the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas from finding random fanart on Pinterest before I’d even known what it was, and now it’s one of my favorite series of all time! Serpent & Dove is still fairly new, so there’s not a whole lot of fanart out there quite yet, but the particular piece below so far has to be my favorite, and of course it’s by one of my favorite artists that I follow on Instagram!

Check it out:

Fanart by Gabriella Bujodosó

Her profile on Instagram is @gabriella.bujdoso and I seriously suggest giving her a follow, her artwork is simply amazing! Now, onto the story:

What It’s About:

The Official Blurb:

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc had fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could find and steal. Unfortunately, witches like Lou are hunted by a special police force that has sworn to catch every last witch they can find, and burn them back to hell on a stake.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one that goes back many generations, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies are hatching a plan to bring a fate worse than fire upon their enemies. As Lou and Reid struggle to try and ignore their growing feelings for each other, she must hide her deadly secret of being the very thing that he absolutely despises and hunts.

What I Liked:

  1. There’s Many Great Romance Tropes! We’ve got the good ole classic enemies-to-lovers trope, we’ve got the “only one bed” trope, we’ve got marriage by convenience, we’ve got one of them hides a deep secret that they never want the other to find out, and we’ve also got the sexy banter between them as a cherry on top. Overall, the romance was the big selling point for the whole story; the most exciting scenes–besides a few exceptions–were where Reid and Lou were with each other and fell in love with each other over sticky buns, sexy and witty banter, and both discovering how things are shades of grey and not just black and white in regards to the bloody history between the Church and the Witches.
  2. The Awesome Side Characters! Some people would argue that a story is only as great as its weakest character, and I agree to a point, but luckily there’s a vast array of minor/side characters that do nothing but add to the overall story that surround Reid and Lou. First, there’s Ansel, who’s a Chasseur in training, who’s more shy and introverted and sensitive when compared to his fellow officers of the church. I personally really connected with him and his inner turmoil of self doubt and low self confidence and how he learns to stand up for himself. Him and Coco, who’s Lou’s best friend, add a great dynamic to both main characters, even though their views of the world are completely different. So I guess that means I should mention Coco, a bloodwitch who quickly became Lou’s bestfriend as they’d scavenged the streets of Cesarine in order to survive. Another character was the Archbishop. He’s absolutely vile with his sexist and puritan mind-set, and reminded me of those judgy, ultra-religious folks that look down at everyone who doesn’t meet their standards…however, he does become more interesting as the plot thickens, so don’t just cast him aside and regard him as a token antagonist for the sake of throwing one in. One last character worth mentioning is Madame Labelle. She’s the head operator of a brothel in Cesarin, but don’t write her off either; there’s plenty of secrets she’s hiding that you’ll be begging to find out!
  3. Great Character Development! Besides their growing romance, Lou and Reid both go through an incredible amount of personal growth within themselves and become wiser and more mature characters by the end. At the beginning, they’d both hated each other and what they thought the other represented. Lou is bold, courageous, defiant, and loves to ruffle the feathers of the members of the church, Reid included. She’d narrowly escaped from a vast tragedy, and then grew up on the streets, so it makes sense how all that had caused her to put up some major walls and not let anyone in, and hide that fear behind snide remarks and a quick temper. The thing I loved most about her was her ability to not see anything in black and white; she realizes there’s depth in all aspects of the world she lives in, and discovers that even more as she gets closer to the Chasseurs and Reid. Reid is the exact opposite: he is uptight, stuffy, prudish, a rule follower, and looks down on the “heathens” who litter the streets, human and/or witch. Lou pokes at his bravado, infuriates him to no end, but finds a spirit much like her own underneath his own exterior. Reid becomes self sacrificing, and becomes more aware of those around him and their motives, and while he may not initially accept their differences, he can understand them more. Together, they both crack down the walls they’d built around themselves and are shocked to discover how much they mean to each other, and makes you believe in love conquering all. Also, total side note, but those that have compared Lou and Reid’s dynamic to that of Nina Zenik and Matthias Helvar from the Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo are spot on!

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Lack of WorldBuilding. So, what I’d gathered is how this story basically takes place in a fictional 17th Century France…but not really. People speak the French language, the clothing is similar to the times of when Marie Antoinette ruled with a heavy oversized wig, but it felt like France just got renamed to Cesarine so that it wasn’t just a historical-paranormal romance like Outlander. While most of the story didn’t need a richly thought out and creative fantasy-genre setting, the location did feel like an afterthought compared to other aspects of the book that had gotten more attention, like the history and lore behind the bloodbath of a feud with the Church and the Witches.

Conclusion:

For a debut novel, Serpent & Dove is an impressive work of fiction. While it’s considered YA Fantasy, I’d say changing it to New Adult Paranormal Romance is a much more accurate genre depiction. Shelby Mahurin has created a wicked, twisted, dark, entrancing, and fun world filled with many unpredictable twists and turns, scorching romance, and sacrificial magic that glows golden amber in the dark of the night.

I’d recommend this title to anyone who’d enjoyed The Folk of the Air trilogy by Holly Black, Any titles written by YA Fantasy queens like Leigh Bardugo or Sarah J. Maas, or to anyone who especially enjoys the more romantic side of the Outlander franchise in both the books and the hit TV show–Reid Diggory is certainly a swoon-worthy ginger man much like Jamie Fraser.

As of right now, Serpent & Dove is going to just be a duology with its sequel, Blood & Honey, expected to–hopefully–release sometime later in 2020. I personally cannot wait to see what happens next for this story and the characters, especially with how this book ends. While I’m relieved it wasn’t a purely evil cliffhanger, it still leaves the deadly promise of much more to come!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell