Tag Archives: Mars Needs Women

entered in the alien bride lottery

Book Review: Entered in the Alien Bride Lottery, by Margo Bond Collins

I picked up a compilation of the first three books and a bonus short story in Margo Bond CollinsKhanavai Warrior Bride Games series as an Amazon freebie. Here I’m only reviewing the first one, Entered in the Alien Bride Lottery and the Christmas short Christmas for the Alien Bride Lottery. I ended up reading this now because the short qualified for my 2022 Winter Reading Challenge.


There are a million ways to end up in the Alien Bride Lottery. But it takes only one.

Every unmarried female human over the age of 21 gets entered once a year. You can also accept extra entries for legal infractions—instead of paying a parking fine, for example, you can request an extra entry. Lots of women do that. I mean, why not? The chances are astronomical that your name will get chosen to be one of the hundred or so women who get shipped off to space every year.

And even if your name is drawn, the odds are slim that you’ll match up with an alien who’s looking for a mate.

Most of the lottery-drawn women come back to Earth every year and resume their lives as if nothing changed.

But some don’t.

And no matter what, getting drawn in the Lottery means you have to compete in the Bride Games.

Guess that’s where I’m heading now.

I only hope I can avoid catching the eye of one of the giant, rainbow-hued brutes whose mission is to protect Earth—and who can claim me as a mate.

All because I was Entered in the Alien Bride Lottery…

my reviewI have and read this as part of the The Alien Bride Lottery Volume 1: The Khanavai Warriors Alien Bride Games Books 1-3. However, I do not think I’ll read any more than this first story.

I generally like the Mars Needs Women trope, in a cheesy sci-fi sort of way. And I’ve read Margo Bond Collins books before. They’re usually fluffy, silly fun; nothing deep but enjoyable. And this book was competently written. However, I did not like it. Partly because I didn’t like what Collins did with the story and partly because there wasn’t enough development that I could come to accept what Collins did with the story.

Here’s the thing. It’s not at all uncommon that the women in a Mars Needs Women trope get taken from their life on Earth to live among the aliens. That’s kind of the whole shtick. And some authors pull it off well enough that it isn’t quite as rage-inducing as it can be. And some author make a hash of it, such that you can’t ever come around to forgiving the alien for what they did to her. And some, like Collins here, do something even worse, in my opinion. They make their female character decide they want to give it all up to go pop out babies for their alien husbands. And, in order for this to be worth a plot, the woman has to have something to be giving up. it doesn’t work if she has no life to speak of.

And this is what I didn’t and don’t like. Collins gives us a woman who is in university, has goals, dreams, and a life plan. And then she very quickly decides to give it all up to run off and play broodmare to an alien. But the underlying message is the same old patriarchal claptrap women are always subtly fed. Those goals of education and a meaningful career aren’t really women’s true purpose, being a wife and mother is her proper role. And this is reinforced in these stories by how quickly the female characters see the the error of their ways, see how much better life would be as a wife and mother instead educated or with a career and course correct, by giving up their own hard earned lives to play second fiddle to a man.

No matter how you restructure the plot in various books, this is the moral of a lot of romance stories and it crops up frequently in the Mars Needs Woman trope. The trick for the author is to make it not so blatant that women (like myself) who value education and a career don’t feel slapped in the face for our “wrong choices.” *Insert eye-roll.* Collins failed in this.

[Spoiler ahead] She tried, I’ll give her that. The H is lovely and wanted to find a way for the h to accomplish her goals. And they did find a way for her to finish her degree as a distance student, which is more than some authors offer their female characters. But what good would that really be on an alien planet? And in the end it doesn’t negate the fact that we were given a female character who has to choose between the educational goals she set for herself and has worked entered in the alien bride lottery photohard for and a man. Then, without a second thought, tossed her own goals aside to take up the mantle of support to a male. (The finishing of the degree did not come up until after she’d made this choice.)

*Yawn.* Yawn because it’s been written a million times before in support of patriarchal norms and yawn because it required exactly zero creativity. Collins seems to have made exactly zero effort to give us anything new and interesting.

So, I think I’m done with this series.

***

I also read the short story Christmas for the Alien Bride Lottery. (It was included as a bonus with the compilation). It was barely anything at all. Another girls gets called up for the lottery, immediately decides she likes the look of one particular alien (who has also decided she’s his mate), they have a brief holiday experience, and a fairly bland sexual encounter and wham, bam, thank you ma’am, and live happily ever after. I wasn’t impressed. But I do think even this condensed version was was less rage-inducing that book one of the series. I felt like this heroine didn’t have a lot going on earth-side, looked at her options, and decided going with the alien worked for her. She didn’t throw away all her plans and hard work for it though. Plus, she was the initiator for a lot of the story.


Other Reviews:

Thrifty Thursday Review: Entered in the Alien Bride Lottery (Khanavai Warrior Bride Games #1) by Margo Bond Collins

 

 

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Book Review: Alien Abduction for Beginners, by Skye MacKinnon

I had a couple hours worth of mindless, repetitive type tasks ahead of me. So, I sought out a short audiobook to get me through. Which is how I ended up borrowing Alien Abduction for Beginners, by Skye MacKinnon through Hoopla.
alien abduction for beginners

Not all aliens are good at abducting humans.

Havel, Matar and Xil have failed too many times to count. Luckily, there’s help available for failed kidnappers: a diploma offered by the Intergalactic University. To complete their course, these three sexy aliens need to abduct a human female – and they’re graded on it.

The problem is, the human female has no intentions of being abducted, not even to help them get the universe’s most recognised abduction qualification.

my review

I picked this up knowing it was going to be a silly, sexy space romp and I was cool with that idea. I wasn’t looking for anything more.

But it pretty much fails. It has too much plot to be erotica and, frankly, not enough sex. But there isn’t enough plot to be called a romance, even an erotic romance. The comedy aspect is almost entirely of the cultural misunderstanding sort and falls much closer to stupid than endearing. And while I liked the males, I couldn’t really tell them apart most of the time.

Plus, I disliked Jake Bordeaux’s narration. It was stiff and gave me a vague sense that he was making fun of the story even as he narrated it. Bridget Bordeaux did a better job with the female characters. But much less of the book is from a female perspective. All in all, it got me through my chores, but that’s about it.

alien abduction for beginners photo


Other Reviews:

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Book Review: Beautiful Thing, Beautiful Lies, Beautiful Agony, by Ever Nightly

I am kind of enamored with the whole idea of blue aliens. I mean, why blue? I even wrote a whole blog post about it once. Plus, I truly enjoy cheesy sci-fi sometimes. No shade. So, I picked up the first book in this series Beautiful Thing (by Ever Nightly) as a freebie, just for the fun of it. Then I bought the Beautiful Lies and Beautiful Agony. I wrote each of the following reviews as I finished each book. You can kind of track my disillusionment.


beautiful thing cover

About the book:

Just out of college, I’m recruited for a top-secret linguistics job. Easy, right? Translate for a few foreign prisoners and I’m home free. But when I arrive at Area 51, I’m swept into a world of secrets and lies. And the prisoner? Yeah, he’s not even human. His name is Specimen-One and he’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. But he’s an alien, so not exactly boyfriend material. I’m not sure he agrees, though. He wants something, and I have a sinking feeling that something is me…

My review:

You know, sometimes you dive into a book knowing it’s gonna be all sorts of bonkers. But you do it anyway because you want a little bit of silly fun. That was me and Beautiful thing. I knew the story wouldn’t be deep, the plot complex, or the events believable. But I figured it be a fun Sci-Fi romp. And I was right.

Ava enters what is supposed to be a high security military facility, but it’s run with a laissez faire I’d be surprised to find in the academic back halls of a community college. Which means ridiculous things are allowed to happen that no serious reader would believe. It’s also very clear what they want and why Ava is there, but she’s somehow oblivious to it. Which would be impossible to believe it I was meant to take it seriously. The romance is of the insta sort. But none of it takes itself too seriously. So, the reader isn’t expected to either. Which is why it’s fun.

beautiful thing photoThere were some formatting inconsistencies that pulled me out of the story on occasion. For example, sometimes Specimen One was referred to as S1 and sometimes as S-1. Sometimes telepathic communications were italicized, sometimes they’re weren’t. Which meant I had to stop and figure out from context what I was reading—that sort of thing. It could have easily been cleaned up. It is also a cliffie of the sort so common these days. It ends in the middle of dramatic scene. I know it’s not just this book or author. It’s basically the industry standard now. But I cannot emphasis how tired I am of books that don’t end, just stop. *sigh* But I have book two. So, I’ll continue.


beautiful lies coverAbout the Book:

I’ve been kidnapped, and I’m completely alone. Area 51 has been destroyed, and S1 is gone. I’m left to sift through the pieces of what happened, and figure out how I’m going to survive. But as I dig deeper into the government’s secrets, one thing becomes abundantly clear…

Nothing is what it seems.

My Review:

Meh, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as book one. It’s very much a middle book. Ava and S1 spend basically no time together. Ava just reacts to whatever is presented to her, with no particular agency of her own. It ends abruptly and, since this book is only 136 pages long and the next 156, there is literally no reason it’s broken in two, making this a trilogy instead of (at most) a duology. I don’t just mean beautiful lies photobecause the number of pages make it possible, but also because this book feels really incomplete. It feels like half a book.

I don’t mind paying for books, obviously. But I do resent having to go back and buy a second book when the previous one feels so lacking in substance and completion. Like, just make it one book and price it accordingly. Otherwise, I feel like I’m paying for two half books. And I resent the hell out of that, even if the cost is the same in the end. Just saying.


beautiful agony coverAbout the Book:

To say the entire universe is against us is an understatement.

The government is hunting us, and I’m learning things about myself that are truly terrifying. In the last few weeks, my whole world has been thrown into chaos, and I’m not sure of anything anymore. Danger stalks my every step, and I’m not sure whom I can trust. S1 has secrets of his own. Secrets that could threaten everything we’ve built together…

It’s ironic, isn’t it?
S1’s love saved me, but it might just destroy me in the end.

My review:

*Sigh.* So, while I enjoyed the silly-fun of book one, and accepted that book two might not have the same spark, being the second/middle book. I expected the series to redeem itself, here in its conclusion—book three. It did not. The series started fun because it didn’t take itself too seriously, so the reader was free to laugh with it. It loses that freedom here at the end. It takes itself seriously and asks the reader to do the same. But it’s still silly Sci-Fi romance. (That’s not a dig, I love silly Sci-Fi romance). It doesn’t have the depth of plot, development of characters, or basic cachet to truly be taken seriously. So, it feels like a kid playing dress up.

But where the book (and series) really fails is in S1. I accept that his character wouldn’t develop much in book one. But then he’s basically not in book two. And in book three—where the author really should have given his character some character—she just doesn’t. He and Ava have one brief conversation. The rest is just sex and running around. So, by the end of the THIRD BOOK I still know essentially nothing about him…neither does Ava. So, what is their great, intergalactic love supposed to be based on? I don’t know. I still don’t know THREE BOOK IN.

beautiful agony photoThere are also plotting inconsistencies. Ava kills a man, for example, and it’s said that she’s in shock because she’d never taken a life before. I just went (out loud, I might add), “You shot a man in the throat—dead—in book two!”

The result of all of this is that the series finished with a pathetic whimper. The series lost it’s ‘don’t take me too seriously’ fun, but didn’t replace it with anything of any substance. Doesn’t give the reader a romance they can sink their teeth in. Doesn’t unfurl a plot that keeps us invested. Doesn’t create characters you know well enough to love. It’s all just sort of meh.


Other Reviews:

Scary Mary the Hamster Lady – Book Review: Beautiful Thing, by Ever Nightly