Dueling Review, Monster Mash Smashdown, Rant

Monster Mash Smashdown: Non-Humanoid Alien Week

I Married a Lizardman by Regine Abel (2021)

Heat Factor: Y’all remember when Khal Drogo needed to be taught how to do it face to face by Khaleesi and then their marriage did a 180?

Character Chemistry: “You may look weird, but I find you oddly attractive.”

Plot: Benevolent colonialism + how to start seeds + sexytimes

Overall: We have some THOUGHTS about the politics of this book.


versus


A Winged Embrace by S.J. Sanders (2021)

Heat Factor: “Let’s start this whole marriage thing slow.” *sees giant alien penis with alien penis accoutrements* “Just kidding, let’s bone against the wall.”

Character Chemistry: Fully 30% of the book is him embracing her with his wings.

Plot: Jewel thief agrees to be a mail order bride to get out of jail and ends up married to a gargoyle-alien cop. Freak outs and boning ensue. 

Overall: Fresh and fun, but you’ll never look at spaghetti the same way again.


Both of these books feature the same basic premise: a human woman agrees to be a mail-order bride to an alien, sight unseen. She is not entirely honest with her spouse about her background and/or motivations. Her apex predator partner is a giant cinnamon roll who wants nothing more than to please his new bride. And while both books end with love and alien babies, there are some glaring differences between how these books present the alien Other. Let’s dive in!

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Recommended Read, Review

Review: Strange Love by Ann Aguirre (2020)

Galactic Love, Book #1

Heat Factor: There is sex, but not the way we usually imagine it. 

Character Chemistry: Zylar is the kindest, gentlest, giant cockroach alien ever. He calls Beryl “Terrible One” and it’s adorable.

Plot: Zylar kidnaps Beryl, kind of by accident. And then they compete in a dystopian mating competition. 

Overall: This book is WEIRD AF and I am so glad I read it.

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Dueling Review

Dueling Review: Ashwin by Kit Rocha (2017)

Erin recommended a bunch of Morality Chain books to Holly this week, so that Holly would understand the greatness of this trope. Ashwin did not convince Holly that Morality Chain is the best trope, so we decided to review it together.

Gideon’s Riders, Book #1

Erin

Heat Factor: I mean, I think it’s designed to be erotic romance (or adjacent thereto), so a lot of the connection between the protagonists is sex-related

Character Chemistry: Heavily based on yearning

Plot: Ashwin is on assignment to infiltrate a powerful sector leader’s guard but, OOPS, his only emotional connection EVER got adopted by the sector leader, too, and that’s really throwing a spanner in the works

Overall: The morality chain aspect was probably my favorite part of the romance/relationship component, but overall I was more drawn to the Riders and the political intrigue. 

Holly

Heat Factor: So many multiple orgasms

Character Chemistry: Kora makes Ashwin feel, and since he has been conditioned (read: tortured) to not feel, that is a problem

Plot: Ashwin is infiltrating an elite bodyguard biker squad, and Kora is making him feel things

Overall: The romance was ok, but I was very distracted by all of the questions I had about the worldbuilding

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Review

Review: Persephone’s Curse by Sandra Bats (2018)

Persephone’s Curse, Book #1

Heat Factor: It’s pretty steamy—kind of like the warmth emanating from the alleyway trash can fires of this dystopian world

Character Chemistry: There’s certainly a “us against the world” dynamic that is immediate and satisfying

Plot: Elin is the only successful escapee from government run insemination labs created to attempt to evade a fatal virus called Persephone’s Curse. Jayden is an escaped soldier who has successfully created a haven for government outcasts in an old school. Together they try to save their sisters and their newfound family while they navigate a relationship in what is (TW) a pretty cruel world where rape has become a way of life.

Overall: I wish I had DNFed this book because I was really upset when I finished reading it.

The setting is a world almost entirely based around victimizing women, so I would advise those who have difficulty reading about rape and assult to skip this review (and book).

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Review

Review: A Viking’s Peace by Zoe York (2014)

Vikings in Space, Book #1

Heat Factor: Space Vikings are sex Vikings, in fact

Character Chemistry: ”These feelings are not appropriate for this mission.” → “My mate was brought to my planet by the gods.”

Plot: She’s a diplomat from Earth, He’s the son of the king of Midgard, and this diplomatic mission is not supposed to include any funny business.

Overall: I was entertained

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