Book Review: Beautiful Beast by Kyla D. Knight

When Axis accidentally puts the beautiful stranger Layna in danger, he invites her to stay in his castle where she'll be safe, but Axis, a shifter, has lost control of his wolf form, and that could put Layna in an entirely different dangerous situation when the two of them start falling for each other. Meanwhile, Layna knows Axis is keeping secrets and wants to figure them out and help Axis recover from his traumatic past.

Book Review: Beautiful Beast by Kyla D. Knight | reading, books, book reviews, fantasy romance
Title: Beautiful Beast
Pages: 411
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*

I have to admit, this was a little outside my normal preferences when it comes to books, but I could not resist such a gorgeous cover. But sometimes cover reads turns out well, and fortunately, though I did have some issues, I enjoyed a lot of things about this too.

First things first, the writing itself was great. It flowed smoothly enough to make me forget I was reading a book, and the characters had voice and personality.

Speaking of the characters… Layna had a relatable, sarcastic voice at times. She was also a very strong-willed, compassionate, understanding person. The only thing I didn’t like was how Axis was doing this huge favor for her, and she repaid him by snooping around and acting like she deserved to know all of his secrets.

Axis was the quintessential brooding paranormal hero. He was kind and compassionate to people, but he was damaged from a dark past and had a temper and mood swings, and he frequently pushed people away and emotions down. He also struggled with depression and suicidal impulses. His emotions and flaws were dramatic (as these things often are in books) but complex. (And his mental illnesses and emotional struggles weren’t automatically cured by love.)

Supporting characters Tristan and Gareth were great. Tristan could be prickly but had a good heart, and Gareth was a big, ol’ sweetheart who was always trying to lighten the mood and smooth things over between everyone.

There were also relationship complexities, like Tristan being in unrequited love with Axis but being in a relationship with Gareth. I was uncomfortable with Layna telling the gay men their relationship turned her on (to her, these were real people in a real relationship), but aside from that, I enjoyed seeing the way all four characters interacted and the way their relationships with each other grew. It brought some good angst and tension, and some sweet moments, to the story.

As for the romance… I’ll be honest, I tend to prefer books where romance is a subplot because I don’t like a lot of romance tropes, and while I didn’t feel it was fair to dock my rating too much since I think these are “me” things, I did have a couple issues there. I felt like the romance and love happened really fast, like they knew about each other but didn’t really know each other yet. They were also really preoccupied by sex, and there were A LOT of sex scenes. There were a couple other tropey things that bothered me too, like Axis’s need to claim Layna and the way he felt like having sex with her was the way to do that. But what I did like was how there was maybe a bit of a role reversal—or at least a more equal balance than what I’m used to seeing in M/F books—with the woman being the one to say and initiate the sexual stuff, to give sexy speeches, to be dominant sometimes, etc. And the man was the one who usually felt more emotional. And both enjoyed submission and being treated a bit roughly.

There were also some intense, heavy moments in this book because of Axis’s inability to control his wolf form, his use of drugs to counteract that, and his traumatic, abusive childhood. The author wrote the intense moments really well.

So overall, I had a couple issues, but they were mostly about personal taste. I still enjoyed the writing, the character relationships, and the intensity, and I think this one that a lot of paranormal/fantasy romance fans will like!


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  1. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    This one DOES have a gorgeous cover. The characters also sounds pretty good – sarcastic and relatable and strong willed and compassionate are always great. Axis also sounds good and I do like that love didn’t cure anything. I hate that trope.

    The romance though would probably annoy me. I don’t like instalove and I don’t like cringy stuff. I don’t mind sex but I don’t need it to overpower the book.

    Overall this is interesting and I’m really glad you liked it! Great review.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It really does! And yeah, I do like strong-willed and compassionate characters 🙂

      I’m the same. I don’t mind sex scenes either, but I generally don’t like too many of them.


  2. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

    I was still staring at the cover and thinking “this doesn’t seem like a usual Kristen read” when I saw your comment about it being outside your norm. 🙂 It’s great when you take a chance on something different and end up enjoying it (even if it isn’t necessary a 5 star read). I like the sound of the main characters and it seems like there was a pretty strong supporting cast as well. Glad this was mostly a win for you!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol you know me 😛 Not every book has to be a 5-star read, and honestly some of my 5-star reads have actually been the books I was unsure about! So it’s good to take chances sometimes. Thanks!

  3. Wren

    Ooh this looks like something I would enjoy! I do enjoy books where roles and stereotypes in relationships are reversed. I enjoy fantasy romance and sex scenes so I will definitely add this to my goodreads tbr.

  4. Angie Elle

    Glad to see you enjoyed this one. I have to admit, snooping or pressing for information before the other character is willing to give it is a huge pet peeve of mine, too. As if we’re entitled to other people’s feelings.

    Great review.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! I did find that aspect frustrating because yeah, just because she was in his home, that didn’t make her entitled to all his feelings. But other than that, she was a good characters. Thanks!

  5. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Wow, just saw the page count for this, that is long! But it’s standalone, which is good. Not sure how I feel about it, it sounds really interesting but the romance issues kind of put me off a little. Glad that a cover buy wasn’t a total let down, though. I find too often they are and that’s always heartbreaking.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I was going to say that I’m not sure kindle page counts are always right since this felt more like 400 pages, and I just looked at Amazon, and the page count changed since I made this post. Now it’s 411, so I was close 😛 Anyway, yeah, sometimes cover reads are risky lol, so I’m glad it turned out alright too.

  6. Sophie

    So romance has to be subplot he? LOL I understand what you are going at LOL Excellent review and my god the cover is so pretty!!!

  7. Bookworm Brandee

    Ha! The first thing I noticed was the cover! It is lovely. 🙂 I’m happy the story behind that cover was pretty good. I like the sound of the characters and you know me, I don’t mind romance being the focus. 😉 Axis (and his wolf) sound like a hero I’d like and Layna seems like a heroine I’d like for the most part. I do understand your issues with the story though. I still may check it out sometime though, even though high fantasy is not a genre I regularly read. PNR is. 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      How could anyone not notice it, it’s so gorgeous! I do think there’s a chance you’d like this more than me. It’s not super high fantasy, it’s just that it’s set in another world.

  8. ShootingStarsMag

    Sounds like a good one overall, though sorry it had a bit TOO much of the romance for you. That can definitely happen. I do like when stereotypes and “roles” are turned on their head a bit too though. It mixes things up!


    1. Kristen Burns

      The cover is so gorgeous! It was kind of a BatB retellings, which was part of what interested me, but it doesn’t actually say that anywhere, and it was kind of a vague retelling with a beast and a castle and a curse being the only similarities, so I decided not to mention that.

  9. Lindsi

    First, I am in love with that cover — it’s stunning! I almost want to frame it and hang it on my wall.

    It does sound like this one has a lot of darker, more intense moments, and I’m glad you thought the author handled them well. Rough sex? Does his inner wolf come out to play during all of these sex scenes? That would definitely make things interesting, haha. I love that she initiated some of the more intimate moments, and that they were both able to play that role. I’m definitely adding this one to my list, so I’m happy you stepped out of your box. 🙂

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s so beautiful, right??

      His inner wolf does come out a little bit lol. I did like that they kind of reversed roles sometimes since I feel like I’ve rarely seen that. I hope you like it!

  10. Gayathri

    I love to read books where romance is the main feature but not all the time. That is why I mix them with a lot of mystery/ thriller / horror. I am not a fan of the stereotypical roles in the books I read but as long as the plot moves fast, I am ok with it, Great review !

  11. Cee Arr

    Did she tell them the m/m relationship in general turned her on, or were they like, making out in front of her? Cos I can forgive the latter, but the former… ew.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It doesn’t specifically say, and it first came up after after one kissed the other on the cheek, but the way the whole thing is written, it sounds to me like she’s talking about m/m in general. I don’t think she’d have felt the same if it were a m/f couple. And I’m not here to police what anyone is turned on by, but I feel like enjoying a certain type of erotica, for example, is one thing, and telling an actual real life couple (because to her these weren’t characters, they were real people) something like that, when they’re just trying to live their lives, is crossing a line. (It sounds like I’m arguing with you even though I’m agreeing lol. I was just explaining my thoughts further.)

      1. Cee Arr

        Ha, no, that’s fine.

        And there’s def. a difference between erotica and irl, ofc. It’s just that if someone walks up to you and is like, ‘your same-sex relationship turns me on’ it is f**king creepy – but if you’re getting down and dirty in front of them, and they’re like, ‘wow, that’s turning me on,’ that’s a different context, y’know?

        Like, by telling them in a situation which is pretty non-sexual, all she’s doing is asserting her power to refer to them as objects without fear of repercussions or consideration of how they might feel about her words, and how uncomfortable she may be making them feel.

        That’s more about power than it is about turn-ons. I feel like she would’ve kept her thoughts to herself, or at least been more discreet, otherwise.

        1. Kristen Burns

          Honestly I think it’d be creepy even if someone said that to a m/f couple. I wouldn’t want someone, especially someone I’d just met, to say that to me if I were in a relationship. But yeah, it’s worse for same-sex couples who already have to deal with things other couples don’t. And I agree w/ what you’re saying about how the situation makes a difference. But this was like, there was a cheek kiss, and then one of the men was worried Layna wouldn’t be ok w/ their relationship, so she was basically like, “I don’t mind, I think it’s hot,” and then remembered a time when she saw a play where two men kissed and found it erotic. Then later on she was talking about her sex life with one of them, and the man asked if she was fishing for details about his sex life, and she was like, “I told you it turns me on,” or w/e.

          I actually used the word ‘objectifying’ in my review at first but then changed my wording cuz I wasn’t sure of myself. I don’t get the feeling that the author had bad intentions or meant it to be about power, but I didn’t like how it sounded. I agree it would’ve been better had the character just kept those thoughts to herself.

  12. Olivia-Savannah Roach

    I do like it when I see the usual roles reversed because it puts a different spin on things! This one sounds a bit like the usual though, what with the guy being worried about his powers ruining or harming the girl he wants to be with. But the characters sound good and it sounds like there are good elements to it? A lot of sex and a very fast romance would bother me though, because I’d feel like they were lacking the chemistry and intensity that a slow burn romance would be able to muster.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It is nice to see some role reversal! But there was also a lot of the regular PNR type tropes too. Yeah, I would say the characters were the good element for me.