Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read Resisting Maxu

Read Resisting Maxu (Clecanian, #6)

Being kidnapped by aliens and whisked away to another planet isn’t always a bad thing…

Meg isn’t like the other alien abduction survivors. She doesn’t missmuch of anything from her former life—least of all her deadbeat husband. Her Clecanian rescuers gave her a fresh start, and she plans to enjoy it. Being recognized as a mate is not on her agenda. Too bad a grumpy, possessive, and all-kinds-of-sexy alien has other plans for her…

Maxu never expected to find his fated mate. But he recognized Meg at first sight. Sadly, she’s not as pleased with the match as he is. She’s guarded in a way he doesn’t entirely understand and pushes him away at every turn.

Meg can run, but she soon realizes there’s nowhere to hide—not from a hunter like Maxu. But that doesn’t mean she’ll give in easily. If he wants a happily ever after with her, he’ll have to fight for it.

That ending! The politics picked up in this one which I think was a good choice. It opens up some more exciting plotlines for the next few books.

Meg had the intensity to match Maxu, though I don’t feel they addressed the issue of her lack of choice. They had some funny confrontations.

The opening premise seemed sus — would this society really lock up someone who just recognized their mate?

Maxu came off pretty selfish and self-centered in a lot of his choices, especially the things he stole.

It was fun to take a tour of the other cities and explore so many different cultures. It seems weird that their cultures and genetics would remain quite so distinct — makes me suspect they need more intermingling of genes and cultures to help resolve their reproductive problems.

I appreciated having a lesbian couple as a subplot, though I would have liked them to have had more screen time/ banter together, or maybe more nudging of both individuals by their friends.

Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read Dark Class + Bonus Epilogue

Read Dark Class (Class 5, #5)

Waking up alone . . . Ellie Masters comes out of a coma to find herself the only inhabitant of an eerily empty moon station. She’s not on Earth any more, she’s not even in the right solar system. So when someone reaches out to her, tells her he’s her friend, she’s happy to believe it. The alternative is to be stuck alone with an enemy.

The hunt of his career . . . Grih Battle Center captain, Renn Sorvihn, has been chasing a rogue Tecran ship for over a month, convinced its captain is simply trying to delay his inevitable surrender and punishment. But when Renn follows the Tecran ship into an unchartered sector, and realises the Tecran have been working their way to a secret moon base for weeks, he suddenly understands things are most definitely not as they seem.

Caught in the crossfire . . . When the Tecran arrive, with the Grih hot on their heels, Ellie finds herself the catalyst for heightened danger to everyone. The Tecran see her as evidence of their military’s crimes, the Grih see her as a massive diplomatic complication, and her presence brings the whole confrontation up several thousand notches.

But Ellie isn’t alone, and her new friend has ways to help her. Time to outclass them all . . .

This was fun and fast-paced, and just what I was hoping for after a streak of bad reading picks. I also liked this better than book 4.

I loved Ellie and the little droids. I thought Diener did a good job conveying all the AIs as somewhat childlike but also capable, so their participation in the action didn’t feel inappropriate.

The romance was light in this one, more of a building attraction that they commit to following through on.

I really liked Ellie’s handling of the ending.

The bonus epilogue was a neat little addition, which I appreciated was from Ellie’s POV, but also thought was wise not to include in the main book. It was meatier than I expected, and gave a nice round-off to the series, tying up political loose ends, bringing all the couples together, and setting up the future for them.

Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read Her Warrior from the Stars

Read Fated Mates of the Atari by AG WildeAG Wilde

When I get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to go on a luxury space cruise, I jump at it.
This cruise is the beginning of something amazing, and nothing is going to stop me from going.
But when things go wrong shortly after departure, it’s clear I have made a mistake.
Suddenly thrown into a world where I have no way of defending myself, the last thing I expect is an Atari warrior coming to my rescue.
This cruise has been full of surprises…but the Atari is the biggest one of all.
A version of this story was previously published in the Claimed Among the Stars Anthology. This extended version includes 30K words more of story and fun.

I read the short version of the story in Claimed Among the Stars.

There was a substantial amount of gore in this. I was not necessarily expecting descriptions of blood splashing on her face in my romance 😬

This story has a twist in that all the women in it were physically disabled. There’s some horrifying commentary on ableism that Earth is given an opportunity to offload some of its most burdensome and it’s all disabled women 🤦‍♀️

What I find confusing in this story and many like it is that the worldbuilding is pretty progressive (there’s also health care commentary), but the relationship is mega heteronormative — the hero coming to rescue fair maiden who he’s never met from a horrible life as an alien sex slave 🙄

It irritates me that the women are always sold into sex slavery. Yes, ok, that’s the worst thing that could happen to you (though this story tried to one-up it 👀), but it’s tropey and gross.

I imagine expanding this story (as the author has done) would give more opportunity for the heroine to befriend the other women she meets. Unfortunately it sounds like the revision altered the romantic relationship to a fated mates sitch, which I frankly had appreciated that the relationship was *not* in the version I read. I wonder if she thought she could get away without it in an anthology, but caved to market demand for the full length book she’s selling on its own?

Categories
Music

2022 in Music

collage of 16 top played albums from 2022, including albums by Islands, Tame Impala, Ladytron, Fleet Foxes, Dent May, and Nine Inch Nails
Top played albums of 2022 per Tapmusic (Artists top row l-to-r: Tame Impala, OK Go, Islands, Nine Inch Nails; second row l-to-r: Islands, Abney Park, CRX, Fleet Foxes; third row l-to-r: Islands, The Bird and The Bee, Brave Shores, Dent May; bottom row l-to-r: Goldfrapp, So Below, Gaspard Auge, Ladytron)

What I Listened To

  • 4508 unique tracks
  • 1800 artists
  • 2905 albums
Categories
Romance Science Fiction

Read 2 Claimed Among the Stars novellas

Read Claimed Among the Stars

Hearts in zero gravity are free to fall, and destiny awaits unsuspecting heroines far across the galaxy. Whether you love a trip that’s nice and easy or dark and intense, this collaboration of more than fifty bestselling authors is guaranteed to please.

Scarlett and the Alien Savage by Liz Paffle 
Tarzan in space. Heroine somehow dense as a brick. Mystical “important” artifacts didn’t really pay off. Very abrupt ending that I didn’t think worked.

Reaver’s Kiss by Elin Wyn 
Liked this well enough though it ended suddenly. I was surprised that no one in his community came to look for him, and they took months (I assume since she learned his language and they tanned leather to make clothes) to figure out a way off the “island.” Their encounter with alien tech didn’t turn into anything.

Categories
Fantasy Romance

Read For the Throne

Read For the Throne by Hannah Whitten

Red and the Wolf have finally contained the threat of the Old Kings but at a steep cost. Red’s beloved sister Neve, the First Daughter is lost in the Shadowlands, an inverted kingdom where the vicious gods of legend have been trapped for centuries and the Old Kings have slowly been gaining control. But Neve has an ally–though it’s one she’d rather never have to speak to again–the rogue king Solmir.

Solmir wants to bring an end to the Shadowlands and he believes helping Neve may be the key to its destruction. But to do that, they will both have to journey across a dangerous landscape in order to find a mysterious Heart Tree, and finally to claim the gods’ dark, twisted powers for themselves.

This was a very frustrating read, and I don’t think it stuck the landing. The solution didn’t make a whole lot of sense. I didn’t believe the heroine would choose what she did. The resolution between her and the antihero was weak.

There was no need for this to be 500 pages. There were seriously like five dream sequences. At least one other POV could have been cut. I would frankly have cut all the other viewpoints besides Neve. I thought it very odd to have one chapter each from the sisters’ love interests.

Honestly the story just didn’t quite work. It wanted to be the story of two sisters, and it wanted to be a romance, and it wanted to be epic fantasy. Unfortunately, by not choosing one it did all three poorly. It probably should have focused on the sisters instead of the romance, based on the ending.

At the halfway point, I started skipping all the other viewpoint scenes until the climax. They telegraphed too much, without adding value. Knowing the end, I don’t think they paid off. The author used them to create tension by keeping you away from getting resolution from the main storyline, which I feel is a bad sign when the tension isn’t enough on its own and you have to stall.

Categories
Comics Science Fiction

Read Saga Vol. 10

Read Saga, Volume 10

At long last, Hazel and her star-crossed family are finally back, and they’ve made some new…friends?

Art is just as beautiful as ever.

Lying Cat remains the best.

Panel of Lying Cat calling out The Will

I liked the decision to make the story time skip the same duration as the hiatus.

This series is pretty damn brutal. I’m bummed about how the previous book ended, and this book was dealing with the emotional fallout from it.

I know that everyone is on the chopping block in this series but I’m gonna be really pissed if they hurt Ghüs. It may be too much of a bummer for me nowadays? It’s good but has lost the magic of when it was first published. I keep hoping for something, anything, to get better for these guys and these worlds, and instead it’s getting worse. There was one hint of hope towards the end of this volume then of course they crushed us with a massive emotional blow for the ending.

Categories
Romance

Read The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes

Read The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes (London Highwaymen #…

Marian Hayes, the Duchess of Clare, just shot her husband. Of course, the evil, murderous man deserved what was coming to him, but now she must flee to the countryside. Unfortunately, the only person she can ask for help is the charismatic criminal who is blackmailing her–and who she may have left tied up a few hours before…

A highwayman, con artist, and all-around cheerful villain, Rob Brooks is no stranger to the wrong side of the law or the right side of anybody’s bed. He never meant to fall for the woman whose secrets he promised to keep for the low price of five hundred pounds, but how could he resist someone who led him on a merry chase all over London, left him tied up in a seedy inn, and then arrived covered in her husband’s blood and in desperate need of his help?

As they flee across the country–stopping to pick pockets, drink to excess, and rescue invalid cats–they discover more true joy and peace than either has felt in ages. But when the truth of Rob’s past catches up to him, they must decide if they are willing to reshape their lives in order to forge a future together.

Liked this better than the first book. The epistolary opening is a total delight. Rob is great. I quite enjoyed it but found it a bit of a slower read usual for a romance — and I stalled out at 70% for a few days — I think because much of the plot is actually pretty incidental to the relationship.

I appreciated the way revelations were handled. I wasn’t sure exactly how the ending would turn out but it felt like a good landing. The drama at the climax I think needed to be explained better earlier on since it seems emotionally important.

A lot of bi representation seems like lip service but these two felt queer and the way they approached sex was non-traditional compared to a typical m/f romance.

Categories
Science Fiction

Read Stolen by the Alien Rogue

Read Stolen by the Alien Rogue (Fated Mates of the Zaarn, #0.5)

He’s a demon alien with a wicked smile and an even wickeder tail. And he claims I’m his fated mate.

Space was supposed to be better than my sitch on Earth. Yeah, right. I shoulda known. I wake from cryosleep surrounded by blobby aliens, unable to understand a word. They even throw me in a cage! Looks like I’m the newest pet in an alien zoo.

Then a gorgeous blue demon, complete with horns and tail, steals me from my cell. We go on the run, playing charades to communicate as we con our way through one sticky situation after another.

Zol’s hot as sin. He looks at me like no one ever has, like I’m the most precious thing in the universe. Growing up on the streets, I’ve learned to trust my instincts, and they say he’s the real deal. As things heat up between us and danger closes in, it turns out Zol wants to steal one more thing. My heart.

Stolen by the Alien Rogue is a steamy alien romance featuring a charming alien mercenary who’s all in and the street-smart heroine tempted to gamble on love. Strap in for a fun ride filled with adventure and toe-curling steam! This novella contains a complete love story with a HEA.

New to me author. I got her first newsletter and cackled at the sample text so I decided to give this free novella a try.

This is short but successful at telling a complete story in a tight space. I would have liked a little more backstory and explanation of how she wound up here but think it worked without it. Some funny parts and a cute telepathic pet. A variety of alien species hinted at a broader world.

I was hoping for a little more leadership from the street smart heroine, though she was plucky in following along. I appreciated that she was easy-going about everything — it seems like many SFR heroines get wound up in how weird and different everything is, while Frankie accepted right away that this was just another culture. There were a few references to sinning and wickedness that to me didn’t fit the character all that well but didn’t overwhelm or define her experience.

Categories
Meta Reflection

2022 Year-End Reading Review

What I Read in 2022

I read 212 books in 2022, compared with 175 in 2021.

2022 Reads by Type

  • 122 novels
  • 32 novellas
  • 39 non-fiction books
  • 7 graphic non-fiction books
  • 12 graphic novels and art books

2022 Fiction by Genre

Of the 154 novels and novellas I read, here’s the breakdown by genre:

  • 141 romance
    • 27 contemporary romance
    • 53 sci-fi romance
    • 23 fantasy + paranormal romance
    • 38 historical romance
    • 5 I missed when I counted and I’m not doing it again
  • 2 sci-fi
  • 6 fantasy