Book Review

That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon by Kimberly Lemming

TW: OMG you guys, SO MANY.

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Graphic violence, mild BDSM, threats of rape, slavery (of demons), death of a sibling (discussed), men hitting and pushing women.

That Time I Got Drunk And Saved a Demon is a mood, people. This book is impossible for me to grade – either you are down for it or you aren’t. But personally, I rather enjoyed this bonkers story about a woman whose family owns and operates a cinnamon farm, the demon she rescues, and the false goddess they team up to take down.

You should be able to discern immediately whether or not this book is for you from the fact that the heroine’s name is Cinnamon Hotpepper (her siblings are named Chili and Cumin, and a deceased sister was named Cherry). Cin (nickname) is wandering home, tipsy after enjoying a local festival, when she comes across a man who seems to have been trapped by debris from a landslide. She frees him, he turns into a demon, he chases her home, and informs her and her family that the goddess they’ve been worshiping, Myva, is actually a lich, who uses her powers to enchant demons so that they exist in a hypnotized, nonverbal, and mindlessly violent state. The smell of cinnamon counteracts Myva’s magic, because, of course it does.

The demon, whose name is Fallon and who usually takes the form of a very attractive man with horns growing from his head, needs Cin to go with him to find all of Myva’s temples and break her enchanted goblets, thus ending her powers. So they go do that, and human/demon romance develops along the way along with a lot of steamy foreplay and, eventually, explicit sex.

First of all, you should know that the violence in this book is pervasive and graphic, although it’s also a bit cartoony. When a human character shoves Cin, Fallon breaks his arm in a bloody fashion and Cin has to stop him from following that with a lethal stab wound. Cin has to coach Fallon not to murder people (until she is threatened with rape, in which case, to Fallon’s delight, she says, “Please kill rapists”). I found the violence against humans to be unsettling at certain points in the book because the humans are so helpless against Fallon’s demon super strength. Later on some humans are on the receiving end of violence that I thought they fully deserved (they had benefited from years of enslaving hypnotized demons) but I worried about innocents who might be caught up in it. When the violence consisted of pitched battles between fairly equally equipped parties, it didn’t bother me at all.

The book is set in your basic Fantasy World 1.0, the kind with taverns, meads, wagons, axes, swords, gold coins. However, there are some references to more modern things, like nachos, and a lot of modern slang. Usually these took me took me right out of the story, but I admit that I snort laughed at this exchange between tavern owners whose competing taverns are on opposite sides of the same street:

In the window, I could see her pick up a wooden sign of her own and scribble something down before putting it in the window. “KOLE FERRY’S NOSE IS SO DEEP IN THE HAPPY DUST HE CAN’T SNIFF A WARTHOG’S ASS FROM A ROSE BUSH!”

Upon reading the sign, Tyrice grew beet red and stomped his foot. “You leave my father out of this; you don’t know what he’s been through!”

Without missing a beat, Usha opened the window and shouted, “Coke! He’s been through a lot of coke!”

I don’t usually comment on covers because the author usually has very little control over a cover and the cover may or may not have anything to do with the book. However, the author of this book painted the cover herself, and it is delightful to see a dark-skinned woman on a fantasy cover. Black and Brown women remain under-represented in fantasy. I also loved that Cin is THRILLED not to be the chosen one! She consistently wants to go back to her family farm and just eat cheese and alligators which, by the way, she is capable of spotting and killing an alligator in the middle of her bath (in the river) and then cooking it for dinner. Cin is intelligent and resourceful and, while I can’t relate to being able to kill alligators and cook them, I could easily relate to her initially very mixed feelings about Fallon, her sense of humor, her love for the ordinary good things in life, and of course her love of excellent cheese.

This is a silly, silly book, but I found it to be pretty fun. Fallon is as alpha as possible, but Cin more than holds her own, so it feels like a real match of equals despite the fact that Fallon could physically overpower Cin with ease if he wanted to. The humor is a bit over the top and cheesy, and sometimes morbid, but it worked for me once I settled into the flow of things. In addition to having phenomenal chemistry, Fallon and Cin clearly work well as a team and really care about each other. This book was perfect entertainment for my stressed out brain, and I was definitely rooting for those two wacky kids to have their HEA.

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That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon by Kimberly Lemming

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  1. Courtney M says:

    This was totally a SQUEE rating for me, and I don’t necessarily disagree with any of the points here; the book just made me so happy while reading it I can’t really be objective. I also enjoyed the second book in the series: “That Time I Got Drunk And Yeeted A Love Potion At A Werewolf” (I mean, the name ALONE). I could read fantasy romances with heavy dashes of snarky humor any day of the week, but there just aren’t enough of them.

  2. Kit says:

    This book (and book 2) is in KU so worth trying if you are a member.

  3. TinaNoir says:

    A – This sounds awesome and I am very interested to give it a try.

    B – to the point of the violence against humans. One thing I have noticed in some supernatural fantasy esp. on tv is that some creators are juxtaposing the scariness of a supernatural being/situation to that of humans and often it is the humans who can be as terrible and scary than the supernaturals if not moresoe. I noticed this in Lovecraft Country, The Watchmen and most recently in Stranger Things.

  4. Darlynne says:

    Carrie S, I read this book for all the reasons you mentioned: the title, especially for the second book, which meant I had to read the first; the cover (huge points for the author creating these herself) and its representation of a dark-skinned woman; silly beyond belief and so welcome right now. I’m definitely getting the second book because I can’t remember the last time I saw “yeeted” in a title. *snort* I am so glad you enjoyed this.

  5. Maureen says:

    I haven’t read the review yet-but at first glance I thought the title was That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Lemming. HA!!

  6. Emma says:

    Kimberly Lemming is even funnier if you know the nitty gritty of romance tropes and subgenres. In the 2nd book in the series, the lead woman has a personal library of romance novels. The kind with with hilarious SEO-ed subtitles like “Rejected Fated Mates” you see with self-published stuff on Amazon. And then her werewolf LI is like “why would you ever reject your fated mate” and she gives a panicky explanation about how “the romance game was different” back then hahaha.

    I was not bothered by the cartoony violence, but then again, I watched Inuyasha religiously as a elementary schooler. Speaking of which, I’d say that if you like Sesshoumaru, you will like Fallon.

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