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REVIEW: Sureblood by Susan Grant

REVIEW: Sureblood by Susan Grant

Dear Ms. Grant,

I admit, with a certain amount of chagrin, that there was a time when I would gobble up any romance or story with romantic elements that was set in space. I think I once told someone “A hero farts in space? I’m there and A+!” and I meant every word.

But that was a long, long time ago…

Sureblood by Susan GrantAnd from then to now, there has been an explosion in space-themed romance (thank you authors, and hallelujah) so I no longer feel the desparate need to read every outer space/other space/other planet romance that hits the shelves. I did read both The Star King and The Star Prince and remember liking them. However, with TSP, I also recall being frustrated by a scene where the H/H had 30 seconds to live and managed to have the boink of a lifetime in an escape pod during that time. Not that I think a quickie is a bad thing…but for some reason, I think that was their first actual boot knockin’ session. Which brings me to Sureblood: the key term here is frustration.

As the daughter of the head of one of the strongest pirate clans in the Channels, Val Blue is determined to prove her worth when she takes a command position during a raid on a mining vessel. But the pirates aren’t only looting for cargo; they’re trying to keep other pirate clans from getting the goods first, which means that the Blues must beat the Surebloods to the punch when they raid the ship. The raid goes wrong and the Blue raiding party is forced to work with the Surebloods to make sure they all get out alive and escape with the booty. Val is drawn to Dake Sureblood, the leader of the Sureblood clan, like a robot to a black hole.

The Surebloods travel to the Blue’s planet to try to make peace and Val and Dake get it on during the festivities, even after numerous obstacles are thrown in their path. However, there is so much mistrust and resentment going on between all of the clans that you know this party isn’t going to have a happy ending. Before the last orgasmic shudder fades, all hell breaks loose and Dake is accused of killing Val’s father and Val is forced to assume a precarious leadership position. Dake leaves the planet to investigate a suspicious accident involving Val’s brother and Dake (this is not a spoiler; it’s on the back cover) is abducted by the Drakken, an imperialistic group of slave drivers conscripting soldiers for their cause.

While all this sounds very exciting, the pacing of the book is unbelievably slow, the villains (along with their motives and their next moves) are totally transparent, the heroine has a massive lack of growth and the hero spends at least 1/3 of the book in miserable captivity. I was ready to toss in the towel. At the point where Dake is abducted, I almost fainted when I realized that I had more than 200 pages left to read.

As a hero, Dake is actually great. He puts his clan before everything else and truly believes he can not just initiate change, but begin a new and prosperous era for the pirate clans by uniting them. He realizes that everyone isn’t just going to capitulate to his charisma, and I think one of the issues I have with him as a “leader” is that he doesn’t seem to realize that the odds of any of this working ar really against him due to the ingrained distrust between the clans, and doesn’t seek to find a way to prove himself or his clan. On the positive side, his feelings for Val never waver (sure, you say, she wasn’t the one that was kidnapped…but we’ll get there in a moment) even after having his life shredded by the Drakken.

Val made me want to throw up. Like Dake, she has blinders on too, but her tunnel vision is so limited to raiding that her mother could have killed her father and she wouldn’t notice that things might be slightly awry. She blindly trusts people, allows questionable clan members into positions of power and never investigates things. When Dake disappears, she automatically assumes that he left her high and dry…but NONE of the Surebloods show up after that, and Val and the Blues take rumor as fact that they’re still fighting for the same turf. For someone who is supposed to be a clan pirate captain, Val’s massive self doubts and total lack of leadership outside of a combat capacity should have crippled her and quickly forced her out of the position. I’m actually shocked that she didn’t turn into the warrior I expected, but rather a wimpy shadow of what she was. Perhaps that was the one surprise in the book. D

~ Shuzluva

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REVIEW: Alien Revealed by Lilly Cain

REVIEW: Alien Revealed by Lilly Cain

Alien Revealed by Lilli CainDear Ms. Cain:

I asked for all the erotic romances published by Carina Press in June because I have been desperate for a good erotic romance. I don’t know where they have all gone. Yours was sent to me with a number of others and I read all five in a row. Alien Revealed is about 100 pages long and is a futuristic. Because of its length, I think the story suffered in terms of sufficiency. What I mean by that is a futuristic requires world building and its hard, I think, to create a fully imagined future world and a great romance in under 100 pages.

Alinna Gaerrii is an Inarrii agent who was sent to observe humans on earth and report these findings back to her people in advance of treaty overtures the Inarrii would like to make. Her observation pod crashes near an understaffed military base which is currently playing host to Major David Brown and his team of pilots who were training for a Starforce mission. Brown’s team, however, must receive the okay from a psychtech. Brown’s base is informed of downed military crafts and is sent out to search, rescue and investigate.

So many questions arose. Like why did Brown only have command of pilots. Aren’t pilots trained to do one thing and there are other soldiers trained to do other things? Why would a bunch of pilots be sent for a search and investigation of a downed military aircraft? Wouldn’t that be better suited for people trained to actually conduct searches and investigations? I know that you mentioned that the station was understaffed but I admit I figured a crew would consist of some group of people other than just pilots.

When Brown and his inept crew of search, rescue and investigate arrive they find Alinna and immediately assume that she is Dr. MacPherson, the psychtech. If Brown and his crew are responsible for Earth safety, we are all doomed because even after Brown figures out that Alinna isn’t who she says she is, he still wants to bone her. (But she’s a good alien so all is well).

Alinna catches on quick and through her superior alien technology is able to hack into the base’s mainframe and download into her memory bank. Inarrii are touch sensitive creatures and can absorb people’s memories and thoughts.

Alinna is instantly attracted to Brown and finds that he could pass as an Inarrii if only he had the L’inar. Alinna is a highly sexual creature. Sex helps the telepathic Inarrii to relieve stress and control emotions.   The L’inar are like veins that run around the body, forming tattoo like impressions on the skin and when the men are aroused, the lines rise in tight ridges. I found it a little incredible that something so distinctive to the Inarrii wouldn’t be a big deal in terms of attractiveness for Alinna. Growing up with a certain standard of beauty, one would think that an Inarrii would find those ridges to be a desirable trait and would actually miss those lines if they were missing. But Alinna doesn’t ever think about that.    There was another point where David was running his hand over the curve of her buttocks, tracing her L’inar lines.

Unlike some Inarrii women, she had several stray lines curling over her ass cheeks to trial down to her sex from behind.   Few Inarrii men thought to stroke them, and David’s touch delighted her and teased her with its primal focus.

I thought this was pretty unbelievable.   A race of creatures who have sex all the time and whose L’inar are sexually stimulated wouldn’t have thought to trace all these lines on her body a hundred times? I get that we were supposed to see David as this superior being but these types of things actually reduce credibility of the story.     Then there was the fact that Alinna had never heard of having anal.   David had brought something new to her table.   But really?   Again, not believable.

Alinna and David engage in sex. First, though, its only dream sex. Then it is actual person to alien sex. And yes, it is hot and sexy but the conflict surrounding the story sped by at hyperspeed as so much is attempted to be shoehorned in such as Alinna’s backstory, the need for the Inarrii to connect with humans, the bad aliens who are attempted to destroy the Inarri (and other peaceful people). Some of the story is relayed through a convenient transfer of memories so we, the reader, are filled in on all kinds of information when Alinna obtains memories or thoughts through David or Alinna passes thoughts and memories to David.

There were too many questions that the worldbuilding left unanswered and the sexual attraction seemed more of necessity, particularly for Alinna, than one born out of love.      I liked the voice and wonder if a full length novel would have resolved so many of the problems I had with this story. C-

Best regards,

Jane

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