Review: Sweet Barbarian by Jayla Jasso

★★★★½ Sweet Barbarian by Jayla Jasso

Mild-mannered Karly has had a bit of a rough time. Between her job and her creepy, clingy ex, she has to find happiness where it comes. And sometimes happiness comes in the strangest of ways. When Karly’s dog begins barking at something outside her little cabin in the woods, she expects a raccoon or a squirrel, not a huge, half-naked man decked out in furs and leathers, bleeding and freezing half to death.

This is Valamir, a warrior from the year 483 AD. After suffering defeat and surrendering to a depraved priestess, he finds himself flung 1500 years into the future, to the year 2015, and straight into Karly’s backyard. Unsure of whether to call an ambulance or the police, Karly uses her skills as a linguist to coax the truth out of him, and she finds herself believing him, against all the odds. Together, the two begin to find something emerging between them, and soon an unlikely commonality becomes an unlikely romance…

Sweet Barbarian is Jayla Jasso’s third book, and subsequently her third foray into the wild blue yonder of romance, and she’s beginning to really make a name for herself. Sweet Barbarian is everything it promises to be, and then some. The book really goes above and beyond your everyday fantasy romance with an endearing plot and characters, and a way of really making you fall into the story as you read, even if you know the premise is far-fetched.

This is an erotic read at its core, so it will satisfy any dedicated reader on that front. There’s plenty of sex, and there’s a man in little more than a fur cloth with bulging muscles that will end up bedding together with the strong-yet-bashful intellectual woman who takes him in. Jasso is a skilled writer of erotica, which is an underappreciated art, as it can so easily go wrong. The novel some very hot scenes that, thankfully, tend to come at appropriate times for a relationship, not just the minute the two lock eyes.

After all, the book isn’t pure erotica, so there are moments where the two simply sit and talk, where Val is taught English, and even just small moments where Karly goes about her routines and Val curiously inquires about her day. Jasso may actually dwell too long in some of these parts, especially for those readers who are only looking to get to the action. However, it’s also these elements that elevate the book above others in the genre. The tender moments between Karly and Valamir make the book an immersive read, and appealing to those readers who may be on the tame side of reading erotic content – yet the book should satisfy those who aren’t tame at all, which is a fairly masterful balance for Jasso to make.

Overall, Sweet Barbarian is an endearingly indulgent read with an imaginative premise, and more humor and sweetness than you might expect from a novel in this genre. With a few twists and a lot of exactly what the cover promises, this romantic fantasy is entertaining, funny, sexy, and fun.

Content warning for explicit sexual content and some mild depictions of graphic violence.

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Sweet Barbarian