Tag Archives: romantic sci-fi

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Book Review: Choosing Theo, by Victoria Aveline

I purchased a copy of Choosing Theo, by Victoria Aveline.

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Being kidnapped by aliens is only the start of Jade’s problems. Thankfully, her rescuers, an alien race known as the Clecanians, are willing to protect her, but she has to stay on their planet for one year and respect the rules of their culture–including choosing a husband. Jade refuses at first but decides to play along until she can find a way back to Earth.

Theo, a scarred mercenary who prefers a life of solitude, is stunned when Jade selects him as her husband. After years of being passed over, he never imagined he would be chosen and neither did anyone else. Only one explanation makes sense…the curvy enticing female must be a spy, and Theo’s determined to break her cover using any means necessary.

As Jade and Theo are forced to spend time together, their chemistry becomes undeniable. But neither can afford to bring love into the equation, especially since Jade seems determined to go home. After all, she can’t possibly stay here, right?

my review

Meh, this was fine, I suppose. It’s just that I’d seen it recommended SO MANY times, and people rave about it. So, I expected a lot more than it delivered. It’s pretty standard Mars Need Women sci-fi romance. It’s not bad, per se. But it isn’t particularly special either. As fluff, it’s enjoyable; anything more, it is not.

The H/h don’t meet until past the 30% mark. Then there’s a lot of contrived angst based on mistrust anchored in the frankly ridiculous premise that no one in this planet’s administration apparently shares important information. There’s some didactic, moralistic rhetoric and an attempt to be transgressive.

It’s here Aveline really fails, in my opinion. She tries to paint the aliens’ forcing women into procreation as doing their best to save their species and, therefore, not like the patriarchy that similarly pigeon-holes women in the real world. Except that the arguments she presents are the choosing theo photoexact same ones said patriarchy lays out regularly. Maybe she gave it prettier window dressings, but it’s still the exact same thing she tries to pass off as something different (read: excusable). And, hey, I’m not reading Mars Needs Women tropes expecting a bastion of feminism. But when it’s pretty clear that the author is trying to accomplish something she’s not, it’s a bit cringe (as the kids say).

All in all, as long as I didn’t think too deeply about the plot, I enjoyed the characters and story—it gets very sweet—as predictable as it all is.

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Review: Choosing Theo by Victoria Aveline

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Book Review: Taken to Voraxia, by Elizabeth Stephens

I received a copy of the special edition of Elizabeth StephensTaken to Voraxia in a mystery box from The Story of My Life Bookstore.

taken to voraxia cover

Here’s what I know: aliens invade our colony every three years, hunt and claim the most beautiful of our women, then leave. Here’s what I don’t know: why the king of them is here this time, and why his black, glittering eyes are trained on me.

A hybrid with red alien skin and brown human eyes, I’m not pretty. I’ve got no family and no plans to ever have one – least of all with this monster of a male. I’m an inventor, a mechanic, a tinkerer. The alien king wants me for reasons I can only guess at, but I’m not about to be taken for a slave and his response to me is something I know I can engineer my way out of.

He plans to come back for me when I’m of age, but he’ll have to find me first. Our little colony is a scary, desperate place and I’m less afraid to face it, than to face him or the strange, alien sensations he stirs…

She is my Xiveri mate, yet she runs from me – straight into the horrors of her small, savage moon colony. Slaughtering in her defense is easy, while gaining her trust will be the true challenge.

She fears my kind and the horrors my treacherous general has inflicted on her humans. Does she not know that it is my blood rite to keep her safe against him and his even more dangerous off-world allies? No, she thinks herself my slave and in place of acceptance, offers me only pacts and bargains. Shamed by her pacts, I still take them all gluttonously, because though she knows only hate, I know only need.

Eventually, we will need more than just these pacts between us if I am to convince her that she is my Xiveri mate and if she is to take her place at my side, not as my slave, but as Voraxia’s queen.

my review

I was excited to read this book. I’ve seen it recommended several times. And, having read it now, I can say it’s fine. But that’s it. It’s fine. Maybe I wouldn’t feel so let down by that if I hadn’t gone in with such high expectations. Maybe that’s on me. But this was a serious case of meh.

There was quite a lot about it I liked, but honestly, there was just as much that I didn’t. I liked the characters, but nothing about them, their situation, or the plot felt believable (least of all Miari and Svera’s instant transformation from all but slavery to queen and advisor). I liked the taken to voraxia photointeresting world, but we see almost none of it. I liked that Raku (and supposedly his people) were made out to be so honorable. But Stephens’ kept putting Miari (and the other women) in positions to need protection that contradicted the honorable people the author was hawking. I liked Raku’s direct way of speaking, but I HATED that a few words were in another language (nox for no, for example). Why just these few words? So distracting!

All in all, I’ll call this a middle-of-the-road read. I have a few more in the series. I’ll probably read them eventually. But I’m in no hurry about it.

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ARC Review: Taken to Voraxia by Elizabeth Stephens

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Book Review: Olivia and the Orc, by Honey Phillips

I was feeling a little sassy the other night and picked up a freebie copy of Olivia and the Orc (by Honey Phillips) from Amazon.

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An orc guard. A kidnapped human. A treacherous journey…

The last thing Olivia remembers is celebrating a friend’s birthday. The next thing she knows, she and her friends are being marched across an alien desert by a gang of small lizardmen – and one very large and forbidding green alien.

He looks like a terrifying orc, but when they’re separated from the rest of the group, the fierce alien is the only one who can keep her safe. He can’t speak a word of her language, but there are other ways to communicate…

Baldric’s job as a guard for a caravan of Sleestik merchants is just the kind he likes – simple and uncomplicated. Until they discover a cache of precious females. The Sleestik plan to sell them, but he is equally determined to protect them – especially the small curvy female with the fiery hair of the goddess.

When a tragic accident leaves them isolated, he sees no alternative but to seek the assistance of the tribe he left so many years ago. But will his people be willing to help him? And even if they are, how can he return Olivia to her friends when all he wants to do is keep her with him forever?

my review

I finished this last week and apparently forgot to review it. I rather suspect that I finished this last week and simply immediately forgot it. It’s not that the book is necessarily bad. It’s just that nothing about it stood out as special, and much of it annoyed me.

I’ll start with a positive. Baldric is marvelous. He’s kind and patient and trying to do the right thing.

Olivia, however, annoyed me from start to finish. And mostly, it was the author’s fault rather than hers. It was the author who decided to make her go off and repeatedly do things too stupid to be believable.

I recently heard a quote that said, “I don’t need my fantasy to be realistic, but I do need it to be believable.” The idea is that I need to be able to read it and now be pulled out of the story too often with “I don’t believe that character would do that.”

This was the problem with Olivia. She impulsively ran off in suicidal endeavors so often that I grew to hate her. (The final straw was when she did so because she saw Baldric speak to another woman. The instant, ‘I’m jealous, going to misunderstand, and not speak to anyone before doing something monumentally stupid and suicidal’ stank so strongly of authorial manipulation of a plot and character that I literally almost DNFed the book).

All in all, I didn’t hate the book. I just hated the heroine. I might be willing to give other books in the series a try if I could find legitimately free copies. I don’t think I’d spend money on them.

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