Tag Archives: romance in space

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Book Review: Fractured Stars, by Lindsay Buroker

I purchased a copy of Lindsay Buroker‘s Fractured Stars.
Fractured Stars cover

McCall Richter finds criminals, con men, and deadbeats better than anyone else in the empire.

She’s proud of her success and that she owns her own spaceship, especially since she struggles to understand human motivations, can’t tell when people are lying to her, and is horrible at recognizing faces. Being autistic in the empire is frowned upon—and there’s a handy normalization surgery to correct it—but she’s managed to prove her worth and avoid irking the tyrannical regime.

Except for one thing.

Two years ago, she liberated the android, Scipio, from an imperial research facility where he was treated worse than a slave. He’s become her business partner and best friend, but if the empire finds out she has him, a “normalization” surgery will be the least of her worries.

When her ship is confiscated by a cyborg law enforcer needing to transport prisoners, McCall knows she and Scipio are in trouble. Worse, the enforcer’s pilot is a former bounty hunter and business competitor she beat to the prize many times in the past.

Soon, he’s snooping all over her ship and questioning her about her past.

And there’s something strange about him. He knows far more about what she’s thinking than any human should.

It’ll only be a matter of time before he discovers her secret. And then what?

my review

This was fine, I suppose. I’m really torn. I’ve liked everything I’ve read by Buroker a lot more than I liked this. On paper, I should have loved this. Late 30s/early 40s, autistic hero and heroine in space… heck yeah. Fashionista android…I’m on board. Rescue dog…yes! I should have loved this. Instead, it kind of fizzled for me. I didn’t hate it. I don’t think it was bad. But it didn’t light me up as I expected, either.

Part of the reason is that I bought and read this after reading the prequel short story Junkyard, where the heroine and her trusty android solve a mystery and save a pooch. I wanted more of the heroine/android (and dog) antics. Instead, the android and dog are basically not in the book. They make cameos, but that is all. So, the very thing I read the book for wasn’t there. Instead, we were given a pretty bland escape-the-prison-planet plot. Meh.

The writing and editing are perfectly readable. I just didn’t love it.

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Book Review: Bonded to the Alien Warrior, by Kyla Quinn

I picked up a copy of Kyla Quinn‘s Bonded to the Alien Warrior as an Amazon freebie.
bonded to the alien warrior cover

An abducted human female. An alien warrior on a secret mission. A bond created by the stars.

I have a sneaking suspicion aliens abducted me last night. My first clue? The muscular blue guys with horns and tails. My second? I’m locked in a room, and I can see two suns in the sky outside the window.

I’ve no memory of how I reached this planet, and neither have the women with me. One thing’s sure—we’re stuck. Nobody tells us why we’re here, or what happens to the women who are taken by the guards and never return.

The guards are sleazy assholes, and I’m glad I can’t understand what they say to me when they leer. Apart from one. There’s something strange about the way he protects me from the other guards but pretends he doesn’t. When this fierce alien touches me my blood runs hot, and the physical effect I have on him is um… obvious.

But instead of taking what he wants, this guard offers me something I never dreamed of—a way out.

Will escaping with my alien warrior save me, or am I walking into a worse situation? Because this domineering blue guy tells me I’m his mate and that if I want to stay alive, I must do exactly what he says.

Exactly what he says? This should be interesting.

my review

This was a failure for me. I’ll grant it is competently written, even if it was a competently written story that I did not at all enjoy. For one, it’s written in the first-person PRESENT tense. No judgment to those who might enjoy this, but I HATE it. Honestly, I read this book as part of an author alphabet challenge and needed a Q. I might have DNFed very early otherwise.

But outside of the first-person present tense issue, I also make a concerted effort to avoid rape in the books I read for enjoyment. And while there is no on-page rape here, the WHOLE BOOK is basically just having to read the disgusting comments of rapists about the women they are going to rape (the game of it), the groping and torment of the women, the women’s fear of being raped, and the complete discord of an author trying to convince readers that some of these men are honorable while allowing this to happen around them. That’s it. That’s the plot…all of it. There is NOTHING in that for me to enjoy, sadly, not even the romance.

Jex is complicit in the whole rape situation and would have remained so, except that he found his fated mate among the victims. But he makes it VERY CLEAR over and over again that he only cares about protecting her (not the other women) because she’s his mate. This leaves the reader painfully aware that, if not for this mystical connection, he’d leave her to be raped and bred, just like every other woman. There is nothing romantic about that! There’s also no build-up or getting to know one another. So, the whole thing hinges solely on the instant mate bond. Again, nothing to go “aww” about. But there also is very little sex (and only at the end), so there’s also nothing satisfyingly steamy either.

All in all, I pretty much hated this. Do you know what it felt like? It felt like it was written by a man. If you know what I mean, you know what I mean. It was 100% the wrong book for my bonded to the alien warrior phototaste.

On a side note: The cover says book 1, and I read it as such. But according to GR and Amazon (and the fact that we meet the previous couple in this book), this is actually book 2 in the Fated Star Mates series. This annoys me because I apparently even have the previous book, but being labeled book 1, I didn’t even search my shelves to check if I had a previous book. So, now I’ve read it out of order.


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What Evie is Reading

 

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Book Reviews: Draekon Warrior & Draekon Conqueror, by Lili Zander & Lee Savino

In December of last year, I picked up a freebie copy of Draekon Conqueror (by Lee Savino and Lili Zander). Only later to discover it’s book two in a series. (Yeah, I don’t always pay enough attention. I know.) In March of this year, book one Draekon Warrior popped up in my feed as a freebie. So, I grabbed it too.

I chose to read them now as a little bit of a cheat. You see, I need a Z for my yearly alphabet challenge—where I read at least one book by an author with a last name for each letter of the alphabet. I’m swapping the order of Savino and Zander and calling this my Z…or at least a Z.

draekon Warrior cover

About the Book:

Captured in space. Imprisoned. Sold to the highest bidder.
But my biggest problem is the bossy, aggravating, impossible, alien who’s supposed to rescue me.

The bossy alien I kissed.

That might have been a mistake.

Kadir is dangerous. I’ve seen him fight and his body is littered with scars. He’s a soldier. A warrior. And when he loses control, he turns into a big scary dragon and breathes fire.

Everyone’s terrified of him. I’m not. No, call me the biggest fool in the galaxy, because I’m attracted to the big jerk.

When I first met the small human I was sent to rescue, she punched me in the jaw.

And broke her wrist in the process. Irrational woman.

Then she insists that the two of us set out immediately to find her missing friend.

No, what I have to do is get Alice Hernandez to safety.

She’s soft, yet she’s strong.

Fragile, yet so brave.

She’s everything I’ve never known I wanted.

Everything I can’t let myself have.

When the scientists tortured me, they broke me. And when Alice finds out the truth about the fearsome, raging dragon inside me, I will lose her.

You know, I’ve seen quite a lot of discourse lately on why people enjoy monster romance/smut. And a lot of it comes down to how monsters in such books are often bigger, scarier, more powerful than the female main character. But they are also almost always very obviously conscious of this fact and go to great lengths and courtesies to reduce themselves as perceived threats…to mitigate any risk they pose. They’re often super conscientious about consent and big ol’ cinnamon rolls underneath the scary exterior. (And how many parallels are there to real world men and their perceived threats in that paragraph, hmmm?)

Kadir is honestly too humanoid to qualify as a ‘monster,’ but he shares many of those same qualities. Not least of which is seeing himself and feeling himself perceived as a monster. And he is every bit as careful and considerate of Alice as any monster, even before he sees her as mate material and the real romance starts. It’s sweet.

The story isn’t complicated. There’s no more to it than any number of other alien romances. But it’s well done and sweet enough that I’m happy to have book two on my kindle.

drakon warrior photoI did at some point realize that this must be a spin-off series, as characters started showing up that were obviously pairings from other book. Turns out it’s a spin-off of the Dragons In Exile series. However, as much as this normally annoys me, I have to say this one stood alone well enough that I noticed but wasn’t too bothered. I didn’t feel like I was missing too much information having not read the previous series. There were also a couple minor consistency mishaps. But all in all, I enjoyed this.


Draekon Conqueror cover

About the book:

I’ve lived an eternity. I’ve killed thousands. Destroyed worlds. I thought I’d seen everything. I didn’t think there was anything left in the galaxy that could surprise me.

Then I met her. Lani Dennison. A human woman. My mate.

My mission was simple. Find Lani Dennison.

Zorahan scientists tortured her. I killed them, of course.
Okaki pirates abducted her. I tracked them down and infiltrated their ship. Routine stuff. Nothing that presented a problem to a trained soldier that could shift into a fire-breathing dragon.

I expected her to be smart. You’d have to be, to survive the Okaki pirates.

I didn’t expect her to be lovely.
I didn’t expect her to make me laugh.
And I definitely didn’t expect her to be the one woman I was destined to be with, the missing piece of my soul. My mate.

Now what?


I enjoyed this for many of the same reasons I enjoyed the first book. The Draekon is marvelously solicitous to the human mate. Everyone is careful about consent. There aren’t any needless misunderstandings or mind games. Everyone is delightedly straight forward.

But I admit that I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as book one. I didn’t find Ruhan quite as charismatic a lead male. Sure, he’s cocky and cock-sure to cover his brokenness, which hits you in the feels. But I just didn’t like draekon conqueror photohim as much as I did Kadir from the previous book. That’s not to say I didn’t like him, just not as much. Similarly, I didn’t find Lani as multifaceted as Alice. I liked her. But I didn’t think she had quite the depth.

But the real question is whether I would read another book in the series and I would. In fact, book three, which involves pirates, looks especially tempting. I don’t have it on my Kindle yet. But I look forward to reading it in the future.


Other Reviews:

In Between the Pages: Draekon Series Reviews

Scary Mary Hamster Lady: Book Review: Draekon Conqueror