Review Revisited

Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh (2007)

I started reading Nalini Singh’s psy-changeling series after Erin binge-read them all and then texted me every day about how amazing they were. I thought the first two were mildly entertaining, but I promised Erin I would read up through Book 3 before I gave up on the series. 

I think I’m giving up. So here are some notes on Caressed by Ice from someone who didn’t love it. 

First, I do agree that the worldbuilding is excellent, and I love that Singh expands out what we know about both psy and changeling politics in each book. If I were to read another book, it would only be to follow the continuing story of the psynet. (However, I thought the one-book mystery of who was killing pack members was underdeveloped—the villain wasn’t actually a real character, so I didn’t care when he was revealed.)

However, the gender essentialism in this series is…a lot. So if you feel your skin crawl when characters say things like, “Well, you know that women are more in tune with their emotions than men” (ugh, Faith Nightstar, ugh), then this book might not be for you. If you hate it when characters refer to “her innate female sensuality” or “his male dominance”, then this book might not be for you.

If neither of those things are dealbreakers, then read on for Erin’s enthusiastic take about how awesome this book is.

Continue reading “Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh (2007)”
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!

Continue reading “Monster Mash Smashdown: Non-Humanoid Alien Week”
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

Continue reading “Dueling Review: Ashwin by Kit Rocha (2017)”
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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Recommended Read, Review

Review: Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh (2007)

Psy-Changeling, Book #3

Review of Psy-Changeling, Book #1

Heat Factor: Judd destroys furniture with his mind while banging because it’s so intense 

Character Chemistry: So, the drama of “he really wants to be with her but if he engages in their emotions one of them will die” (not joking) is AWESOME

Plot: There’s a lot going on with all the Psy/Changeling politics, but also Brenna is recovering from being kidnapped and tortured, and Judd is desperately trying not to break Silence and become a serial killer.

Overall: This book totally sealed it for me. I stan Psy/Changeling now.

Continue reading “Review: Caressed by Ice by Nalini Singh (2007)”