Last night, I realized I didn’t have enough to say about today’s book. Luckily for you, I have been on a minor erotic romance novella binge, so I present some mini reviews for short works.
Warning: Spoilers below.
Title: Alien Revealed
Author: Lilly Cain
Genre: Science fiction romance
Series: The Confederacy Treaty 1
Read on: August 17, 2012
Synopsis via goodreads:
Inarrii agent Alinna Gaerrii was tasked with observing the Starforce base on Earth. Crash landing her observation pod onto the base was not part of her mission briefing. Neither was making “m’ittar”–mind contact–with Major David Brown, the human who discovered her amongst the wreckage.David thinks she’s a psychologist sent to evaluate his Special Forces team, and Alinna goes along with his misconception, seizing the opportunity to observe humans up close. But their daily contact has unexpected side effects, and Alinna soon invades David’s dreams. Through their intimate mental connection she allows him to express his forbidden physical desires.Alinna delights in the sensory exploration and grows excited by the prospect of a treaty with the humans and a potential life mate in David. But an attack from an unknown ship sends the base into chaos, and Alinna may be forced to reveal her lie, erasing all hope of a successful treaty, and driving David away forever…
This synopsis sounded awesome. I love sci-fi romance, and I was intrigued by the life mate thing being initiated by the heroine. For the first quarter of the book, when Alinna and David are separated, I even enjoyed myself. I loved how unassumingly egalitarian Cain’s future is, with women being just as powerful as men. Then Alinna and David met, and my love evaporated.
My latest blogger crush, Kelly has used the term “I hate you except when we kiss.” It’s a common trope in romancelandia, and I think it can be done well. In a scant 100 pages, many of which have to be spent on elaborate dream sex scenes, it is impossible to make this work. At least, it didn’t work for me in this case. David mistrusts Alinna from the get-go, possibly because she is the worst spy ever, and is a terrible liar. This, of course, means Alinna swoons for him.
When things finally reach their climax, David does something unforgivable that I didn’t even know still happened in romances. He gives Alinna booze. She’s an alien. The booze affects her strongly, and only then does David seduce her. She was clearly OK with it, but ugh. I thought that made him a total douchenozzle.
Alinna was problematic for different reasons. I had problems with the whole premise of her character, because I would have thought that someone meant to observe without getting caught would have a better ability to lie under pressure, even if it’s not innately something her people do. I also wondered why she didn’t just give herself up after the first dream sex scene. Her character is basically cast as completely helpless, and I found that annoying.
I loved the idea of this book. First contact is my favorite sci-fi trope, and I love cheesy vaguely humanoid aliens. But this book’s execution was terrible.
Title: Angel Bound
Author: Jana Downs
Genre: paranormal romance
Series: His Guardian Angels
Read on: August 23, 2012
Synopsis from goodreads:
Madigan has a successful career as co-owner of a bakery and has never really been passionate about much else. His mother has always claimed that he was the son of the Archangel Raphael, but he’d never had reason to believe her. That is, until Madigan finds himself hunted by angelic fanatics who see him as an abomination. His father has assigned him guardian angels to act as his protection from the hunters. The five men desperately search for a solution for Madigan’s protection and find only one viable option. Madigan must become Angel Bound, married in angelic terms, to all of his guardian angels. Now Madigan has gone from having no relationships to having five simultaneously. All of the men will have to learn to balance desire and duty in order to ensure Madigan’s safety and happiness above all things. [Siren LoveXtreme Forever ManLove: Erotic Alternative Paranormal Ménage Romance, M/M/M/M/M/M, angels, HEA]
I forget why this came up, but someone I adore on Twitter, who knows who she is and therefore I won’t name and shame her, sent me a link to Siren Publishing’s Lovextreme imprint. After goggling about how inaccessible the website was, I eventually settled in to see how many lovers one person could have. In my meanderings, I found this book. Y’all know my tendency to read cracky erotic romance, so onto my Kindle it went.
This book was exactly as terrible as I knew it would be. Madigan is such a girl. Normally, I’m OK with that in M/M romances, because I read them for the fantasy, and because some authors can write sweet, somewhat effeminate men that I like. Not so in this case. Firstly, our hero goes by Madi, which I imagine to be completely emasculating. He also does a lot of quivering in terror, and his angels have various, vaguely girlie nicknames for him. The laid-back surfer angel calls him Cutie. The antagonistic bad boy angel calls him Bright Eyes. If anyone called me either of those things, I might want to punch them.
As for the angels, they’re sketches. But then, I didn’t think it was possible to draw five fully realized characters in less than 100 pages. We have the leader who is driven by obligation. We have the laid-back surfer dude angel. There’s the gruff, shy dude (who I secretly adored because the “no one can ever love me” trope is my cryptonite in a hero), There’s the bad boy. And then there’s the other guy, who shows up halfway through and tells them they all have to have an orgy to protect Madi from the bad angels. (Come on, you guys, that is not a spoiler, given the synopsis.) Also, all the angels have silly names. Michel and Uri work for the archangels Michael and Uriel respectively, and then we have Cross, which just packs a whole wallop of anvilicious symbolism, Bren, and, lastly, my boy Dex. I am trying to picture in my mind how a passage from this version of the Bible would read. “And thus an angel came down and said unto them, ‘Behold, for I am Dex.’”. And I laugh. A lot.
So yeah. Aside from the novelty, there’s not much to this story, and while its silliness amused, I’m not sure it did so in a way the author intended.
And, to end things on a positive note:
Title: Veiled Desire
Author: Alisha Rai
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Series: Veiled 1
Read on: August 24, 2012
Synopsis via goodreads:
Look, but don’t touch… Leyla Karimi can’t keep her eyes off the hunky guy living in the house behind her. How could any woman resist ogling Dr. Mason Barrett, especially when he makes it so easy by parading around in his skin and skivvies? If it was only their age difference, she would have made a move a long time ago. Except Mason is more than a neighbor. He’s her baby brother’s oldest friend. It’s not like they can have a casual fling and walk away in the morning. Mason’s been doing a little lusting-okay a lot-for quite some time. When he catches Leyla peeking, it’s a sure sign she could finally be ready to heat up his nights with loving. One taste of her lips, though, and he doesn’t want a “little” of anything. He wants it all. Unwilling to jeopardize a lifetime of friendship for a one-night stand, Leyla is reluctant to throw caution to the wind. When he’s kissing her senseless, though, it’s hard to remember all the reasons why she should hold back… Warning: Contains a hot hero who doesn’t mind baring it all in the name of love, a heroine who doesn’t settle for less, a sweet romance, steamy sex in a car and more good lovin’ in bed.
I liked this one. The story is quite simple. Woman lusts after hot guy who is her brother’s BFF all grown up. He lusts after her, too. She ogles him. He knows. They hook up. Rai lets us get to know these two, though. By the end of the book, they seemed like people I might run into anywhere. Their dialogue felt real and natural, and I loved their interactions. The conflicts are relatively un-earth-shattering, but they were real issues anyone would have. The sex scenes were fun and steamy.
That said, I’m not sure it’s the kind of story I’ll remember. It was a pleasant way to spend an hour or two, but it’s easily forgettable. I’d try Alisha Rai again, particularly if she wrote something longer, and I might pick up the second book in the series.
Up next: A book everyone in the blogosphere seemed to have loved but me. How sad.