I just finished Sweethearts and Savages, the second book in Grace McGinty’s Eden Academy series. I really want to talk about this book in particular, and not just because it is sort of the culmination of all of her other works to this point. They’ve all been driving to this destination. You could read this one without having read any of her other works, but I wouldn’t recommend it – a LOT of world and character building has gone into these. Like many romance authors, McGinty has lots of references to characters and events that happened in previous works, but this book is very much about its main characters. It is not just an excuse for additional time with previous main characters.
The real reason I want to talk about Sweethearts and Savages is because of the relationships between the main characters. I feel like McGinty has achieved a minor miracle in many ways. It is a why choose romance where there is clear communication between the characters, jealousy is not really an issue because of the open communication, and it is still delightfully spicy and filled with kink of a wide variety. Not everyone in the relationship is physically involved, but they are very much a part of the unit together. The lead alpha male protagonist is very much NOT an asshole, but is still a dominant force of nature. Another member of the relationship is an asexual lesbian and is somewhere on the autism spectrum. The way the author manages to include her in the physical relations of the cis portion of the poly unit is an integral part of the spice. Emotional baggage is recognized and dealt with on all sides. I just really felt like this is proof that it can be done.
If there is a let down (and there is, unfortunately), it’s the action portion of Sweethearts and Savages. I saw it coming from a mile away and it felt kind of forced to me, like they added it purely because they wanted to make sure there additional people available to have sex with. I did appreciate that McGinty was trying to have an actual plot and not just an endless string of sex scenes, but I felt like it was definitely the less successful portion of the book.
In short, don’t read this book by itself, BUT if you like reverse harem or why choose romance with a supernatural/preternatural bent, I do recommend that you read her catalog. It is fairly easy reading, super spicy, amusing, and even deals in thought provoking ideas about faith. Seriously. One of her series features the seven deadly sins, angels, archangels and Lucifer himself. There are other series available that concentrate on shifters and vampires respectively. I think over all, my favorite series was the Dark River series, but they’re all good.
I’m giving this one a 4 star rating. I’d rather give it a 3.5 star, but it’s better than 3 stars and shouldn’t be penalized since we don’t have half stars available.