A Very Nice Fantasy Romance

Altered Destiny – Shawna Thomas

4.5 stars

 

This story is a fantasy based on a completely different world. It doesn’t have any elements of “high fantasy.” In other words, there are no elves, wizards or magic etc. There are two races on this planet. The humans and the Svistra. They have a long complicated history and are presently at war. The story involves Selia, a tavern keeper who saves the life of a Svistra, Jaden. When soldiers take her gentle brother away to be a soldier, Selia goes after him to rescue him. She is having problems though going through the wilderness. Jaden finds her and helps her make it to her brother. Along the way they develop a friendship and come to care for each other. They feel more than just friendship though, but their “interracial” relationship seems doomed.
The book is fully developed. The two are tangled up in political maneuverings while trying to escape from both humans and Svistras just to survive. Very well written. The romance is an integral part of the story but is not explicit. There are no love scenes. The pace of the story is good and the secondary characters are well drawn. The plot made sense. There was plenty of description so you could see the place and actions. Both of the leads were very well developed. Jaden was an honorable man and Selia a strong competent woman but one who was not too proud to ask for and accept help when she needed it.

I would be more than happy to read more books set on this world.

I received this book free from netGalley for review.

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Another Sci Fi Romance

Captive Surrender by Linda Mooney

4 stars

On the whole I enjoyed this sci fi romance. It seemed like a long novella in length. It’s hard telling sometimes with Kindle. 

There was a decent attempt at world building. It suffered a bit from “space sprawl.” Many new or casual sci fi authors tend to make their civilizations too big. Instead of a rational number of star systems, there were references to galaxies which would just be too unwieldy for any empire to rule or govern or police. But the actual planets and destinations within those planets were fairly vivid with some drawn more clearly than others. Space ship tech was largely ignored. No effort made to convince me any thought had been put into how ships would move through space with or without FTL.

The cultures of the hero and heroine are basically not explored at all which was a bit of a disappointment, as it made it difficult to understand the characters as well as I could have.

Captured for forced alien sex is a fairly typical set up and I can usually be tempted into giving it a read. This one held up better than some motivation wise. It was basically for revenge and greed. Sex scenes were fairly explicit and hot.

Our two protagonists were both police officers of a sort. The forced sex caused them to break the intergalactic law against interspecies sex. I liked how the author chose to include that and her rationale for making the law. If she chooses to revisit this universe with other characters that set up could be a background for many more relationship stories.

The relationship was nice but could have been much richer. The two of them decided to make the best of the forced sex thing and during the 2 down times developed a certain sort of caring for each other. My belief in that relationship would have been greater if more time had been spent on this portion. If they had had more than 2 or 3 days to fall for each other before they escaped. It would have made their trying to get back together more believable also. I

I was actually looking forward to their learning to live together and finding a spot for themselves in a universe where their love was forbidden but the story didn’t go that way even though it seemed like it was heading there. The whole idea of no cross species sex was just dropped even though the reason for the ban was not solved in any manner. These two ended up together and that seemed hunky dory after all the hoopla about no interspecies sex so that crossbred horrors would not result. That was one of the biggest oversights of the book.

The biggest problem I had with the book was that the heroine was just too powerful. She was a bit of deus ex machina all on her own. She was a psion. So basically she could shut down whole space and/or energy fields, stop bullets, put people to sleep and spy on the minds of a whole planet looking for someone who’d seen the bad guy. Come on, put some limits on your power and show me your writing chops by having your characters work with what they have. They ought to have to sweat a bit. Give her one power not 10, not whatever power she needs just at that moment.

The hero was a bit under developed. There was no POV from him. He showed signs that maybe he thought he was dominate but the author didn’t do him justice. I liked him but I would have liked him to be more fully realized.

So on the whole it was an entertaining read and I felt like it was a solid SFR effort. I’m thinking this author can only get better.

I received this from netGalley for free to review.

Shape Shifter Romance That Didn’t Quite Live Up to Its Potential

Redemption by Eleri Stone

2 stars

I was really looking forward to this shifter story as it was based on the South American jaguar mythos. But it failed in execution. This was just okay. The shifter world was not explained very well. Some of the motivations of the characters were vague. The whole story just seemed like it was missing sufficient detail. There was very little description of the actual physical setting or the characters.

The hero has been exiled from his clan or what have you for something that totally didn’t make sense. It was all very vague. And somehow stealing this relic and selling it for money would win his way back to the tribe. No explanation of why this would get him back in the clan. When he does finally get back in touch with the clan, the king says words to the effect that his exile had only been political and that seemed to come out of left field too. No further explanation.

There was a big story line with some secondary characters and a research grant they were vying for. That seemed important since so much page time was devoted to it and it was kind of interesting but this whole situation was dropped after the big I love you scene. Maybe she didn’t need the grant anymore but the situation should have been wrapped up.

There were some sex scenes and they were nicely done. There was some talk of mates and marking that were inferred but not in any way explained.

The heroine was enjoyable and was perhaps the best element in the story and her reaction to the reveal of the shifter world was at least thought out.

On the whole though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. Given the nice love scenes and the enjoyable heroine I would be willing to read further books in a couple of years to see how this author progresses.

I received this book free from netGalley for review.

A Couple of Harlequins Romances

Mr Right There All Along by Jackie Braun

4 stars

 

This was a very nice friends to lovers story. I loved how the hero kept telling the heroine all along that she was perfect and didn’t need to change a thing. She was preoccupied with getting all skinny and dolled up to go to their 10th year high school reunion. Well written and sweet it took place over 6 weeks and was a series of scenes showing her determination to change herself and his efforts to help her even though he thinks she’s already perfect. This was a chaste story with only a couple of kisses and one aborted (non explicit) love scene. Very enjoyable. I would try this author again.

I received this story free from netGalley for review.

 

 

 

The Husband She Couldn’t Remember by Maggie Shayne

5 Stars

This was a really good one for my amnesia mania. It had all the great elements, a lot of angst, a little mystery, young love, a grieving husband and high drama. Well written, fast moving. It might not have been the most believable story line ever but it hung together and made sense. And let’s face it, we don’t read these things for believability. 🙂

The heroine was spunky and sweet but definitely had a back bone and knew how to use it. The hero was just as sweet as he could be. He had loved the heroine since they were in grade school and stood by her through thick and thin.

I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series now about his brothers.

This book was provided to me free from netGalley.