The Ideal Man – Julie Garwood

 

Expected Publication August 9, 2011

3 stars

This was an enjoyable story. I enjoy Ms. Garwood’s suspense more than her historicals. For a romantic suspense book however, it wasn’t very suspenseful. There were two completely different suspense story lines so neither one was really done justice. Neither one was particularly suspenseful. There was a lot going on in her relationship with her sisters and other family members.  The scenes with them concerning her sister’s wedding seemed to slow down the story and negate any suspense that was gathering.

There was this bad guy who had terrorized her her entire life. The first time he shows up, they capture him and eventually shoot him. Problem over. Same with the second suspense plot. The bad guys decide she is not a threat so they cancel the hit on her.  Even though the assassin decides to ignore the cancellation, he is pretty lame and gets caught.

After that, there were several unnecessary chapters that felt like epilogues. There was a small side story with one of her sisters being pregnant and not being able to find the Navy SEAL father to tell him. And I thought aha! next book! But no, in the weird epilogish final chapters, she has the baby and he shows up and apologizes and they get married.  The side story was not developed enough to carry much weight and it was just odd that it was wrapped up at the end of the book.

The book felt like it meandered a bit and the plot was not as tight as others of Ms. Garwood’s that I have read. The characters were pleasant but not well developed.  The hero especially seemed a bit one dimensional.  The love between them happened without a lot of development. The love scenes were nicely done however.  It was a pleasant story and kept my interest but was not, in the end, very memorable.

This book was provided to me free from the publisher for review.

So Many Cyborgs So Few Women

Discovery: The Forgotten by Kaitlyn O’Connor

#16 for the SFR Challenge

4 stars

Another good sci fi romance from Kaitlyn O’Connor. This, like most that I’ve read from Ms. O’Connor, is a menage book. In this one the heroine is a human woman who crashes on a planet filled with male cyborgs who have never seen a woman. I will admit that I laughed out loud in a couple of places as the men try to figure her out. In this one there were a few problems with the men. For one thing you never get any idea of what the alien men/cyborgs look like other than that they are humanoid but just a little more “exotic”. What color is their hair, skin, etc? No physical descriptions. Also one of the guys she ends up with, I just didn’t like much. He seemed sneaky or something and one of the guys was pretty beta even though the heroine, Danielle, tells us all the cyborgs are alpha males. He just does’t act like it though.

The plot was interesting, involving a large galactic war. I did have some problems with the sci fi element in this one. I don’t expect great sci fi writing in these sorts of books as a general rule but this one bugged me too much not to mention. The ships were ridiculously fast even with the use of worm holes. Also, the author says that humans have settled the entire Milky Way Galaxy. And the creators of the cyborgs were originally from a different galaxy. So the heroine and the heroes shoot over there to check out the home planet. I’m not sure Ms. O’Connor has any idea how big our galaxy really is. Plus there is instantaneous communication across the galaxy. Either put in realistic numbers of settled planets and reasonable time for messages to get places or just leave that stuff out. The important thing is the romance anyway.

Don’t make me think too hard about your sci fi portion of the story because I don’t want to have to wish I was reading straight sci fi. Does that make sense? I’m giving this type of book a gimme on the sci fi stuff but I can only carry that willing suspense so far. And that brings me to my last quibble. I don’t care how many nanos are involved, I’m not buying you got pregnant through backdoor sex. And yet I still give it 4 stars because Ms. O’Connor writes a darn good yarn.

Cyborg Seduction Romance

Melting Iron – Laurann Dohner

#13 for the SFR Challenge  

4 stars

Another great entry in this sci fi romance series by Laurann Dohner. This is a character who was in the first book and wasn’t a particularly pleasant character in that one so I wondered how this would be. I really liked it. The stories are getting better and better. One of the best elements of this story was the character of the heroine. She was a mechanic who had been stolen off of a transport in order for more of the cyborg males to find human females since there are so few cyborg women. She was strong and didn’t take any guff from Iron. It didn’t take her long to fall in love with him. I wondered briefly about Stockholm syndrome, after all her had her locked in his room for weeks. But I just didn’t see it. She was too level headed and was kind of a pushy broad and got what she wanted and it was pretty much him and he ended up falling in love with her of course.

The cyborg world building and plot continue to grow and it is a very interesting story and shows a lot of thought in its construction. My only caveat is that even though this is definitely an erotic romance, there was just too much of it especially considering the actual world building, sci fi and romance elements were so strong. I would rather have more of that and fewer generic love scenes.

Touching Ice – Laurann Dohner

#14 for the SFR Challenge

5 stars

I think this is my favorite of the cyborg seduction series so far. The emotional punch of the story was the strongest yet. There was some series angst/pathos here. Megan is already enthralled with Ice before the story begins so there isn’t any question of Stockholm syndrome. (All of the stories in this series so far have involved captured Earth women in one way or another). Even though Megan is not a real kick butt heroine, neither is she a wimp. She is a computer programmer who is a bit naive but very intelligent. She is scared of the cyborgs because she knows that humans are their enemies but she’s not brainless about it. The book is told in 3rd person mostly from Megan’s POV but some from Ice’s POV. There is a new threat to the cyborgs introduced in this book. I don’t know if they will be an issue in further books. The next book is seamlessly set up in this one also. The character was introduced in the 3rd book and also appeared in this one. He was used to further the plot in each book and was not just wedged in so good job Ms. Dohner. The writing is getting tighter and the plotting of each book gets better. The romance element is the focus of the book but the sci fi is strong enough to fit the stories without being hokey or unbelievable.
Stealing Coal – Laurann Dohner

#15 for the SFR Challenge

5 stars

The fifth installment in the Cyborg Seduction series is a winner.  This is the story of Coal who had been kept as a breeding slave by a planet full of Cyborg women.  When he finally gets free, he sacrifices himself for another cyborg male and his woman.  Coal ends up back in the hands of human traders who plan to sell him to a cage fighting planet to fight until he dies.  Jill, a human woman who is making a living on the edge of the blackmarket with only a couple of droids for company, rescues him.  Jill has an unpleasant history with sex as does Coal but he at least knows that it can be a pleasant experience.  She had an abusive ex husband and so wants nothing to do with sex.  Coal decides that since she has saved him he will fix up her shuttle for her and also fix up her sexual hangups while he’s at it. Eventually, these two broken people fix each other up and fall in love.

There was good honest emotion here.  The heroines of these stories keep getting better and better.  They are strong women who have the compassion and openmindedness to fall in love with cyborgs who most humans either despise or fear.  The characterization of both the hero and heroine are deep and well developed.  Coal is damaged and he knows it.  He worries about being a good enough man for Jill.  I like that the two of them cleave to each other.  They don’t doubt once they have declared their feelings.  When Jill is kidnapped, she knows he will come for her and he knows that even if it seems that way, she did not leave him willingly.  No silly misunderstandings just a sweet love story.

Good sci fi romance.  Looks like the next one will be Councilman Zorus.  Boy, he’s been a bad bad cyborg throughout the series.  Can’t wait to see how Ms. Dohner turns him around.

Kissing Steel by Laurann Dohner

#12 for the SFR Challenge

4 Stars

Another good one by Laurnn Dohner. The cyborg world is interesting and our knowledge of it is expanding. We got a good glimpse of the females of the cyborg race in this one.

The characterization of Rena was very well done. She had a difficult life and was doing the best she could with it. When she is captured by the cyborgs she doesn’t spend a lot of time fussing about it and trying to escape. She’s realistic and knows that she is unlikely to get away since she is so far from home, she doesn’t know how to pilot a space ship and the cyborgs have no reason to put themselves in danger taking her back to Earth. She looks around and decides that Steel is her best bet for staying safe in the cyborg world and does everything she can to stay with him even though he doesn’t want to own a human. I like it when heroines look realistically at their situation and try to make the best of it. Being sassy and difficult just for the sake of the plot gets old.

Steel wants to marry a cyborg so that he can have a family and have children. He however is a very honorable man and does his best for Rena. He is not nearly as cruel as Flint in the first book. All of his decisions have a rationale behind them.

I found the relationship pretty believable in this one. You could definitely see the progression here of Steel falling for Rena. Looking forward to getting the next one downloaded and getting started on it.

Berr’s Vow by Laurann Dohner

So Much Better Than the Previous One

#11 for the SFR Challenge

4 stars
Very pleasantly surprised after I really disliked the 3rd in the series. If I hadn’t already purchased this I might not have gone back to this series and that would have been a shame. Much better plotting. Good characterization. Even though the action happened over just a few days, the emotions seemed real. Berr was so unhappy in his marriage that he was ripe for a relationship with a decent woman. And I believed in her feelings for him because he was such a great guy, decent honorable and hot, really what’s not to love. He has been my favorite of the males in this series. The conflict of misunderstandings caused by their two different cultures was pretty well done and the ultimate conflict was true to the culture and the personalities set up over the series. I hope there will be more books in the series.

Tempting Rever by Laurann Dohner

Book #10 for the SFR Challenge

2 stars

I didn’t like it very well at all. I’m am reading the series in order and I didn’t find it as well done as the others in the series so far. There were times when it would be getting interesting and every time it just went south.

Characterization was just not there and the world building was lacking. Not only that but what there was didn’t really make much sense. Wasn’t very alien either somehow. I didn’t notice it being lacking in the last one. The author seems to have given up on developing an alien world. There was very little description or action which illustrated the alien world here. Hmmm.

I didn’t feel like the relationship was based on anything but attraction. They hopped in bed way too soon. Less than 24 hours anyone? and he was already married. Not happily but there was potential for him to show great honor and nobility by denying his feelings and holding to his vows. And her? She just went after him and begged this married man to f*** her. She wouldn’t take no for an answer. I guess it’s okay to go after a married man if his wife is a bitch.

Then he sees her only at dinner time for 5 days in the presence of his wife and housegirl. On that 5th day while he’s at work, the man she is promised to comes to pick her up. He’s very mean and treats her bad. I’m thinking oh maybe he’ll take her and there will be some potential for angst or something. But no, Rever comes home and catches him abusing her and calls his brother the judge to come and settle things. The brother says “no she has to go with the a**hole that’s the law.” And she’s crying “no don’t send me with this jerk I’ve never met just because he is the brother of the man who took me from Earth then died before we got to Zorn.” But apparently the only women who have any say so in their own living arrangements on Zorn are the house girls who live in for the Zorn guys to have sex with.

The brother and the bad guy go away for lunch and Rever decides to run with the heroine, Brenda, and live in the Outlander area where the wild Zorn men live. So then there’s this big escape scene during the middle of which they stop to have sex in the guard house after having knocked the guards unconscious. Smart, right?

So off to the wilds and I’m thinking well it will be interesting to see them try to survive in the wild. There’ll be some hunting and some fighting off of wild Zorn. And how is it that there are wild Zorn on a planet that has achieved interplanetary space flight? And we’re not talking tucked away on some distant isle but apparently within a days drive of the capitol. So gonna see some rough living. Some alien survival stuff. Right? Yeah, no.

The very next morning soldiers come and lure Rever away with some planted wild Zorn. Boy he’s a bright one isn’t he? Meanwhile the soldiers capture Brenda. I’m thinking maybe she’ll throw herself in front of a gun to save him and get shot and we’ll have some interesting developments but no. When Rever come back they tranquilize him with dart guns tough alpha that he is . And back they all go to the capitol.

Now there’s a big trial where the men all agree to ignore what Brenda wants and send her to live with an extra pissed off bad guy who has even more reason to dislike her than he did when he mistreated her the first time. So turns out, Tina, Rever’s wife screwed around on him the day Rever went back to work. According to the story that was after Rever and Brenda did it the first time. But everyone is all “Yeah! the contract is broken because Tina broke her vows first!” And Rever noble and honorable man that he is doesn’t fess up. So Tina is traded off to the guy she slept with and Rever is free to challenge the bad guy to a duel to the death. Which, oddly enough, he wins. So one week after they first meet, there’s a sex filled HEA.

Speaking of sex. There was a lot of it. It got in the way of the story and it wasn’t very interesting and certainly wasn’t hot. You know when they’ve consummated their wedding in the wilderness cave and then immediately start in again and the reader says “oh crap not again!” it can’t be a good thing. So I’m going to read the next one since I already have it and I hope it’s substantially better.