Chasing Earth: Saving Askara Part II by J.M. Link

Chasing Earth: Saving Askara Part II (Tori & Aderus #2)

Chasing Earth: Saving Askara Part II by J.M. Link

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

(This review is for both first books combined.)
I’m in that place of mind where I grab a book that says ‘sci-fi romance’ on the cover myself, and then promptly get genuinely surprised why the characters won’t stop thinking about sex.
This book has a multitude of interesting sci-fi premises, which tease the imagination and made me think that I would like this book more if any of them were actually addressed… but the characters have a lot of difficulty to find time to indulge in such things as providing more detailed worldbuilding, whether regarding the Earth history and why are they suddenly so friendly towards another race that they appear willing to fight their battles, or Askara, their ship, their war, multitude of briefly introduced side characters, any actual relationships between them, how their group operates, and so on… because they are too busy with all the angry sex. (At least the author stopped using the P word for the lady parts after the first time, it was a giant relief. Also made me glad that the hero wasn’t human and we avoided cringy language choices in that respect.)
The main character is entirely too unconvincing in her setting. She is supposed to be a medical professional, and enough of a professional to be the one sent into the midst of things when humans supposedly make their very first contact with extraterrestrials. Which kind of calls for an expectation that she must be a highly skilled, reputed, and respected medical professional. Instead, she gawks, gets injured, is too embarrassed to properly talk about reproductive system, rushes head first into unprotected sex with aliens without thinking about any kind of consequences, and doesn’t really do anything medicine related for 80% of the story but ‘go on rounds’ with the alien medical professional which are never shown in detail, and are only mentioned as a background setting for characters to think about sex or actively try to not think about sex.
I have a strong nagging I should be feeling like an idiot for trying to take these books too seriously. I was trying to read it as a sci-fi, when it probably was written mostly as a PWP (the ‘plot what plot’ variety).



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Laird of the Mist by Paula Quinn

Laird of the Mist (MacGregors, #1)

Laird of the Mist by Paula Quinn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Would be a good comfort book of romance variety if it wasn’t for rather unfortunate quality of writing, at times bordering on cringy, and undeveloped/missed story opportunities that stand out like thorns. Also, very unfortunate cover design that is likely scare people off. If you can ignore the writing and cover problems, then you might discover some interesting side characters and a heroine who seems to know what she wants and listens to people around her for a change. I think the main thing about this book is that it avoids a lot of angst by featuring people who are actually willing to think for themselves and change their mind about things, without remaining stubbornly blind for too long.



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Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling, #1)

Slave to Sensation by Nalini Singh

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Another one of my ‘I needed more books and wasn’t really paying attention to what I was buying’ episodes. When I skimmed the description, I ended up under impression that, despite of its title, this would be more of a contemporary fantasy thriller set in universe divided onto three major races–humans, shifters, and psy; and involve unusual alliances and hunting serial killers. With some romance as a bonus.
However, the first impression I got when I started reading is that this was going to be a book where characters think about sex 98% of time, and then somehow maybe find time to do something else in between…like hunt a serial killer, or build a housing project (which everyone seemed to completely forget about less than half way through), or hack the psy network. I don’t know if it got better or I just got used to it, but it did stop bothering me eventually.
What didn’t stop bothering me is the less than stellar quality of writing… Constant head-hopping, poor wording choices, same thoughts repeated over and over again, and unfortunate ‘romance’ related narratives that mostly enticed a lot of eye rolling. After first 6 or so chapters I felt that if I had to see words ‘sensual’ or ‘predator’ one more time my eyes would bleed.
Also, the rather disgusting habit of the main male character (and some other characters) to call the main female character pet names. ‘Kitten’ I can live with, but all the ‘darlings’ and ‘sweetcheecks’ or whatever it was… More than a bit disturbing, really.
All of the ‘mysteries’ were a bit too obvious. The main characters identity, the serial killer’s identity, the answers to many of their problems, all of it was amazingly easy to predict half way through the book. Though, to be honest, right now I appreciate the simple answers and non-angst happy ending more than I would have things being more complicated.
All in all, this book has a lot of flaws you could pick up on. But there are also some interesting ideas and story elements that maybe just enough to ignore the other uncomfortable stuff, and I personally am currently grateful to any book that actually deals with its angst and puts emphasis on such ideas as loyalty, honor, love.
P.S. No Russian would ever call their daughter Nikita, only western people do. Some research before assuming would be nice.



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Warsworn by Elizabeth Vaughan

Warsworn (Chronicles of the Warlands, #2)

Warsworn by Elizabeth Vaughan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Excessively angsty, and so deeply unsatisfying it hurts

I honestly hoped to be able to give this book a higher review. I even thought I could dedicate a full star just for the letters from Simus… but that’s just it. Those letters are literally the only enjoyable thing about this book, and there are very few of them…
This book deals with sickness and death for its entirety. It heavy, it’s full of angst, and negative emotions I didn’t need to experience. There is too much faceless death, and also death that hit too close to home.
I can’t really say anything negative about the writing or world/character building.
It’s just that the decisions that were made regarding the events and directions of this book are so very deeply unsatisfying, unreasonable, and hateful.
And the negativity goes on and on. Just as you think that it’s about to let up, something bad happens again. And then again, but worse. And it continues in that manner all the way to the end. And even when you think something good is finally about to happen, someone prevents it. The characters that used to bring joy are mostly gone in one way or another. And there were many frustrating moments where much reasonable things could be done and said to stop more bad from happening, but they for some reason’t weren’t.
It feels as if the author was in a very dark place of mind, and then took it all out on this book and us, unsuspecting readers who thought we were reading a fantasy romance. Which is understandable, but not appreciated.
While I had already read the first book twice, and am likely to read it again sometime, I really don’t think I will ever want to put myself through torture of reading this volume ever again. (Maybe only Simus’s letters…)



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Radiance by Grace Draven

Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1)

Radiance by Grace Draven

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I thought I’ll love this book when I reached the part where human appearance was described from the ‘outside’ eyes in all its ugliness. I liked the touch.
In the end, I did love some things about this concept, but I can’t say I 100% believe that it was executed to its full potential. I feel like there was a big stress on differences between races regarding concepts of beauty, and such things as food, but then we hardly got to see any substantial cultural differences. I feel like there are human cultures that have more behavioral differences than humans and Kai have, and in that respect I feel like the concept was underdeveloped.
Also, in our day and age(of watching all kinds of aliens and fantasy races on tv), I do find this idea difficult to actually believe… Should we have been imagining Kai to look like Uruk-hai so it would be easier to get behind the idea of humans being repulsed by their appearance? Otherwise, I didn’t really find much reasons in the descriptions to understand why were they considered ugly by humans.

And minus points for the bloody ending. I find it’s very unfortunate where the ending makes you not look forward to the sequels.



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My Lady Mage by Alexis Morgan

My Lady Mage (Warriors of the Mist, #1)

My Lady Mage by Alexis Morgan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Remarkably simple fantasy romance with knights, horses, animal companions, disgusting villains, and mleh ending

I couldn’t stop thinking that this book held striking resemblance to something I would write when I was about 13-15 y.o. It ticked all those points – a heroine with magic power related to horses, a handsome knight on a black horse, an instant romance with the aforementioned knight, a group of overly protective and honorable warriors with animal companions, etc.
Unfortunately though, the villains in this book were a bit too villain-y and disgusting in the beginning, and then were thrown away in a mangled and abrupt ending in a rather disappointing way. For an ending like this, I really don’t see a point for building up the resentment towards them as much as it was built up.
Another point would be that the heroine could do with a bit more brains (as usual). I literally couldn’t stand the way she behaved and acted in last few chapters.
I think, that even for a silly fairy tale (with sex) for girls this book had some promise, until about 70% in, when it suddenly flew off the hinges and the plot was washed down the toilet.



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