This Series Just Keeps Getting Better

Taunting Krell

Laurann Dohner

5 Stars

Another great story in the Cyborg Seduction series. The series seems to have really hit its stride and shows no sign of letting up. I think the stories are getting stronger. They seem to be getting more plot driven and less erotica driven. Sex scenes are all very well and the ones here are lovely but I really want to know what’s happening with my couple and how the war with the Markus Models is going.  This was my favorite heroine so far. Cyan was a kick butt gal but she was very sensitive and loving along with it. She was physically and emotionally strong. Krell was also a great character. He was scarred and antisocial and was not a desired mate in the Cyborg world as a result. Watching him fall for her and realize she wanted him was sweet. I only wish the story had played out over a longer period of time to really allow their feelings to develop naturally. That would have involved more pages you say? I would have been happy if the book had been twice as long. The writing and plotting of this series is getting better and better. Can’t wait to see whose story is next and where the Markus Models will strike again.

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.

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.

I’ve Had Some Bad Luck Lately with Sci Fi Romance Reads

Pagan by Christina Stoke

1 star

Started off with a pretty good sci fi romance feel and then fled south as fast as it could run. There was some interesting world building going on at first that petered out. The two men involved seemed as if they might be pretty alpha barbarian types but turned into naive wimps. The girl who crash landed on the planet never developed beyond a cipher. The sex was pretty tame and never really went anywhere. Come on the girl had been captured to be sold as a sex slave. This is erotica I think, and if you have to guess then it’s not good erotica is it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Demon’s Captive by Stephanie Snow

2 stars

Rant, Rant, Rant. This book did not live up to its potential.

The author sets the scene pretty clearly as to the sci fi setting. The introduction of the hero as a man who enjoys killing and is sorry that the wars are coming to an end is vivid. The heroine has been running from the aliens for months and this guy for 6 days. Once captured she essentially gives up. I realize that she was out numbered etc., but her submission was extremely sudden. The hero takes her as a torture slave and heads off to torture her. But he doesn’t. And then he thinks of all the kinky sex he can have with her since she can’t tell him no but then…he doesn’t do that either. Then he gets mad at her for wanting to go back to her people and whips her. Then, big mean killer that he is, he is immediately sorry and is ashamed that she saw his stash of torture implements. And then whoops! he slipped and fell in love gosh darn it and told her how much he loved her and wanted to marry her. Then there proceeded to be page after page of them playing happy families, ruling Earth.

Umm, what happened to the killer alien? This guy put the populace of Earth to the sword but he luvs his little alien wife who is basically a nonentity. There was a hint that he was having problems pushing down his mean side and that the man he was now was not the man he really was inside. Aha! I think, some meat to the story, some conflict. But no, dropped that line of the story when he finds out that, holy miracle Batman! he’s knocked up the heroine. She pops out the baby and they all live happily ever after.

So the author dropped the ball on world building or making your aliens seem to be, oh, I don’t know, alien? Like different from humans? And what’s with setting this guy up as a mean MFer and then not including scenes to that effect and indeed the first/only time he raises a hand to her, he cries in his beer about how evil he was to the poor little angel? I don’t necessarily need a book to be full of graphic violence against the heroine. I love me some sweet gentle love stories when that’s what I’m expecting. But if you set the book up as, I’m quoting here  “Bondage, domination/submission, dubious consent, flogging, interspecies sex.” then you ought to follow through at least a little bit.

Okay end of rant.

A Disappointing SFR Read

Hunting Kat by  P.J. Schnyder

Expected Publication July 4th by Carina Press

#23 for the SFR Reading Challenge

2 stars

This started on such a high note. I was so excited to get to read it. It was full of potential that basically fizzled out. I was really getting into the sci fi feel of it, then it segued into a so so too long sex scene just when there should have been some further development in the sci fi world to better help you understand. The book overall lacked a real sense of time and place. It needed a lot more world building. The story jumped here and there oddly instead of one scene flowing into the next. The hero started out interesting but turned into a weak ass, an ass who was weak.

The romance was not believable.  But maybe it was just a hook up.  She was very leary of men, had been raped at some time in the past. (We got very little explanation of her past at all.) Then she takes a chance, gets with a guy she just met in a bar and has a good time. He finds out her friend checked him out for her. Just seems sensible. I myself was worried that she didn’t seem more leary of going off to have sex with a stranger given her past. Even if she is a shape shifter. Once he got her weapons off of her, he could have killed her with his before she shifted and she had to know that. So then he gets all bent out of shape and because he had a girlfriend in the past who Dear Johned him he accuses her and tops it off by telling her she was a lousy lay. Considering her past, do you think she’d ever feel good about being with him again? I don’t. This callousness on his part was basically never addressed again other than him smiling boyishly to charm her out of her dislike of him. He owed her a great big belly crawl.

The guys who attacked them, the felids, I was never quite sure what they were. Give me some description and some explanation. Were they aliens? Were they shape shifters? Were they from a race/planet of shapeshifters? What was their relationship to what the heroine was? I was never sure if the little cubs that were the subject of the rescue were baby shape shifters or were they actual cats? If they were shifters then the hero was not very heroic to actually participate in capturing them rather than saving them originally and I’ve lost all respect for him. If they were just cats then well that’s bad but not bad enough for alien men to follow and recapture them without some sort of explanation of why they were so important.

Then the author fell into the trap/crutch of having a secondary character explain the heroine’s background to the hero. And he didn’t even do a very clear job of it. I sort of thought huh? I got the gist of it but that was all. It is always stronger if the hero and heroine find out about each others pasts from each other. That is what adds emotion and real drama to a story.

It was too short for the story it had to tell. Novellas are fine if they are actually capable of telling the story within the short confines. This story needed about 200 more pages. The actual writing, the words and word choices were fine but couldn’t overcome the lack of world building and minuscule plot.

On a final note, I hated the ending.

I received this free to review from netGalley.

Back from Vacation

It’s amazing how hard it is to read books while you’re camping.  I did get two read though.  I took used paperbacks to camp out with.  But now that we’re back, I’ve been reading my ARCs on my Kindle again.

#22 For the SFR Challenge

3 stars

Collision Course

by Zoe Archer                                                                                                                                                    

A nice little SciFi romance novella. There wasn’t room to develop the sci fi element greatly but what there was was decent. There weren’t any glaring bits that made me grimace as sometimes happens when romance authors try sci fi. Attention was paid to piloting ships and description of space and planets in enough detail that it was firmly in the SFR camp rather than the futuristic romance camp.

However the gist of the story is the romance that develops between Mara, a smuggler sort, and Kell, a military man. Even though the story took place over just a few days, I felt like their emotions showed a progression. So even though they had the hots for each other immediately, the story was mainly about finding a compatible soul to go through life with. Mara was a competent woman who was in charge of her life and when the old one no longer suited, she was willing to make a new one that better suited her new desires. Kell was an honorable man. He was pretty kick butt. The author did a good job of giving just enough back story to justify the skills and actions of each of the main characters. I would be willing to try further stories in the series.

Romantic Suspense that Failed for Me

Trace of Fever

by Lori Foster

1 Star

It’s never good when you get to the end of a book and think “Thank God that’s over!” Had this not been an ARC I was reading from netGalley I would not have finished it. As is was it took me a long time to slog through it. I have enjoyed Ms. Foster’s contemporaries but I personally do not at all like her attempts at romantic suspense.

This was a revenge story. The heroine was out for revenge on the bad guy for something that did not really need revenge. She was going to kill the man who had kidnapped, raped and shared her mother. Her mother had kept her off the grid her whole life to keep her away from the bad man who didn’t remember or care anything about the woman or what happened to her. So the first thing you do after that upbringing is go straight to the bad guy to kill him? I had a sucky upbringing so I’m going to go kill some man who may or may not be my father? Is it that easy for a normal person to decide to go and murder someone? Didn’t buy it at all. Maybe if the mother had pounded into the daughter that “it is your destiny to revenge me!” But the mother had been trying to protect her for the whole of her life. I wonder why the mother even admitted who the bad guy was in that case. Can’t make contact with him if you don’t know who he is.

The hero was some sort of mercenary who was undercover to bring down the bad guy’s white slavery operation. His sister had been kidnapped earlier so at least he had a valid reason to be working against this. And he had training. But… he was thetrusted henchman of the bad guy’s after being there 3 weeks? Yeah…nope.

The whole thing took place in about 3 days and the heroine managed to be TSTL throughout most of it. And the hero just kept admiring her gumption every time she did exactly the opposite of what he asked her to do to keep her safe.

The characterization was weak. The only part I really enjoyed was when one of the other good guy operatives had to rescue the heroine while she was naked in the shower.

My point I guess is that Ms. Foster should stick to comedy where she is a very strong writer and leave suspense to others more suited to it. YMMV

Menagerie

by Lara Santiago – 2  Stars 

#21 for the SFR Challenge

Just okay. The writing was kind of stilted. The first half of the book was a little draggy. After she began to have problems in the second half of the book, my interest level picked up. There was quite a bit of sex in the story but it wasn’t particularly hot or memorable. Sex isn’t plot though and this story needed more plot. As I mentioned, the second half of the book had a lot more tension because there was more going on in the pages than just bed hopping. The sci fi element was okay if a little hokey but there was quite a bit of potential which was not fully developed.

Big spoiler below, read only after you’ve read the book.

[ if each of these men were actually just a different part of Dominick’s personality, why did none of them love her as much as Dominick did? I’d be pretty irate if I found out that some part of him was saying that he didn’t want to stay with her (Mark) or that he didn’t find her physically to his taste (Hauser)

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