Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changelings 1), by Nalini Singh

4 Stars

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I ignored this recommendation for months. I mean, for realz, yo, look at the cover art. Read the title. This must be nothing but trash. I’m so glad for my habit of reading titles because they look awful. Sometimes it leads me to some real gems, like the Psy-Changeling books. This series is told in the style of J.R. Ward and Kresley Cole, detailing an over-arching plot through the individual tales of different couples. It’s most definitely paranormal romance, but the story surrounding it is just so fun and original… and also broken up with explicit sex scenes.

The Psy are a cerebral species, connected to a neural network and possessing psychic powers. This made them all batcrap crazy, so they got rid of emotion 80 or so years ago. The Changelings are shape shifters that exist in packs, based on their animal. Changeling leopard Lucas strikes a deal with Nikita Duncan and is intrigued by the warmth he feels from her daughter, Sascha. When a neighboring pack is certain a Psy has taken one of their own, Lucas must work with Sascha to catch the villain before war breaks out.

Lucas is a definite alpha male and Sascha is a bit too weak at times. The language can be a touch redundant as well, but these issues are standard for the first installment in a series. The overarching plot is unique and the characters are enjoyable. This is a great beginning to a paranormal romance series.

Review Word Count: 247

Psy-Changeling series order (sans novellas)

1. Slave to Sensation
2. Visions of Heat
3. Caressed by Ice
4. Mine to Possess
5. Hostage to Pleasure
6. Branded by Fire
7. Blaze of Memory
8. Bonds of Justice
9. Play of Passion
10. Kiss of Snow
11. Tangle of Need
12. Heart of Obsidian
13. Shield of Winter
14. Shards of Hope

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The Troop, by Nick Cutter

4 Stars

the troopEvery five years or so, I decide I’m capable of reading horror…

… and I am always wrong.

For some reason, I read that Stephen King found The Troop horrifying and immediately thought “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!” In fact, this title reminded me a great deal of a King novel, particularly through characterization and imagery.

“The sky was salted with remote stars. The beach was a bonelike strip unfurling to the shoreline. The sea advanced up the shore with a series of minute sucking inhales.” pg. 111

For realz, y’all, he made a beach sound eerie. As far as the brand of horror, though, this is mostly a creepy crawly, mindfuck story.

“11:42 Subject blindly consuming own stripped flesh.” pg. 151
“The… stomach split soundlessly, like Saran Wrap, groin to rib cage.” pg. 167

Unlike King, Cutter’s side tangents were brief and rare. However, while they served a purpose in characterization and story line, I felt the animal abuse anecdotes were excessive. I admit it. I skipped the kitten story. I saw the word “kitten” and the word “Borax” and nope. Flip, flip, flip. It was at least five pages long. Dude, not necessary.We get it. The kid’s fucked up.

In addition to the animal abuse, the central plot of this tale is the horrifying first person deaths of several 14-year-old boys that are written like 12-year-olds. It was tough for this substitute teacher to take, but Cutter’s mission was certainly accomplished. I’ll never go camping again. Though, there was never much of danger of that anyway.

Review Word Count: 249

Claimed (Brides of the Kindred 1), by Evangeline Anderson

1 Star

claimed

The most important part of writing a book review is to consider a title solely within its own genre, taking care not to compare East of Eden to The Hunger Games… and Claimed still gets one star. Intended as campy sci fi erotica, this isn’t the next Star Trek, so much as the next Deepthroat Nine… and I was cool with that. The problem was that, even after pinpointing the author’s target, Claimed was still one of the worst things that has ever happened to me (of course, I recommend it as a Hate Read).

The tale opens with some vague back story, about how the Kindred saved Earth from the Scourge for the low, low price of our ladies. There exist three species of Kindred. Beast Kindred are larger, angrier, and have penises that swell up so they get stuck to their gals while they Forever Bond. Tranqs are basically alien vampires. Twins are exactly as kinky and incestuous as they sound. Alrighty. Let’s have some alien sexy times… or not.

While there were a few sex scenes in this erotica, it’s mostly just angst. The heroine is completely unwilling and hateful, despite having feelings for the hero. The hero is heartbroken that he’s unwanted. The household appliances are alien creatures… and that’s about it. We get just a glimpse of the villain, because he’s not sexy, but mostly we read about how miserable the leads are, which is not even hawt on a completely ridiculous alien spaceship.

Series Reading Order
1. Claimed
2. Hunted
3. Sought
4. Found
5. Revealed
6. Pursued
7. Exiled
8. Shadowed
9. Chained
10. Divided
11. Devoured
12. Enhanced
13. Cursed
14. Enslaved
15. Targeted

Review Word Count: 250