Smolder by M. Morel

The third novel in Melina Morel’s Institut Scientifique series, Smolder is an interesting read.

Vengeance has its price.
But you pay for passion forever…

Descended from werewolf hunters, Catherine Marais has vanquished countless of their vile kind-including the one that slaughtered her father. Her debt of blood and honor was fulfilled-but her heart is empty.

The only one who ignites Catherine’s passion is Ian-a handsome, elegant vampire whose seductive touch she cannot resist. But when he offers her the dark temptation of eternal commitment to each other, Catherine must look within her heart-and her truest desires-to find the answers she seeks…

I’m not really sure what I think about Smolder to be honest.  There was always something about the telling that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but I think I figured it out.  Morel’s writing is very much like a story telling and not a story “show and tell”.  Does that make sense?  We’re told everything that is going on and while I don’t have a problem with the storyline or the characters, it does give off a detached sort of feeling.  Like you’re not fully there or you’re reading an accounting of an event.  The story itself is intriguing, but…there’s a lot of words.  It seems like there are a lot of extra events that, while some do go hand in hand with the end goal, there are others that I really can’t see why they were included.  It’s as if Morel is trying to develop other characters than the two we’re suppose to be focusing on in anticipation of future novels.  If I think of it this way, I can see that.  After all, we get more information on Catherine and Ian in the two previous books then we really did on the couples and now their story is coming to an end.  Or at least their romance.

As for the relationship between Catherine and Ian…there’s nothing really there that I haven’t seen in the previous two novels.  The only thing new is the multiple nights of sex they have and every night involves screams of “oh my god”.  I swear Catherine doesn’t know of any other phrase than that.  It’s almost as if the novel is suppose to be a romance, but the story didn’t want to be.  That the sex scenes are forced into the story, which results in small, repetitive scenes that are really easy to skim through.  We get more information (and what visuals there are) on the chases as well as plotlines that don’t really involve Catherine or Ian directly (they assist, but no more), instead of seeing Catherine and Ian get together, furthering their relationship and ultimately get to the point where it’s very obvious they are going.

As for the plot, it was good, but again the detached feeling is very much there.  It’s almost as if we’re seeing what is going on through the television or on the news channel without having the visuals.  We’re told point A and point B happened, that they are connected by this and that point C results from it, but that’s pretty much it.  Now, it definitely wasn’t bad as it did keep my attention all morning.

Overall, Smolder is an interesting read, just don’t expect to get captivated by it; don’t expect to get lost in the book and lose track of time.  The novel is good, but it was lucky I was in a reading mood.  I could very easily see myself setting this book down in order to do something else without pause.  I would definitely come back to it, but it just really doesn’t inspire my imagination or desire to be a part of the characters lives. Smolder is one of those novels I would recommend getting at the library before deciding to purchase.

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I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.


  1. Uh oh, telling not showing is a very bad thing indeed. I have major issues with this. I’m surprised Morel’s editing didn’t notice this.

    I also hate reading “forced” sex things thrown in just because.

    Thanks for the review. This is one series I will pass on.

  2. I think I see what you are saying. Now I’ll have to read the first one just to understand better:) The problem with sex in a book is it seems to be really good, or not, with no middle ground. I find that once a couple is together it’s not necessary to be detailed about EVERY night together. Do you know what I mean? It’s hard to explain, but it can’t have the feel of “plugging” the scenes into the book just to have them.

    Thanks for the review!

  3. I read Prey when it came out and stopped there. Your review convinced me that am going to do exactly what you suggest and go to the library and check out the other 2 if want to ever finish the series….

    Thanks for the review of Devour and Smolder, very helpful in making me save some bucks…

    Jackie B Central Texas

  4. I don’t think I’ll be checking out this series – I was already on a I-don’t-know-what-to-think-about-it basis, leaning into a dislike of it. I appreciate the review. :)

  5. I’ve seen this novel around too and was already leaning into a dislike of it from numerous reviews I’ve read. Not one for a detached writing style. Maybe I’ll check it out in the future, but it’s not at the top of my TBR list!

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