Returning from a Reviewing Hiatus
My last review for my blog was May 10, when I hit a stress bubble in my offline life and had to let something go for my sanity. I kept on reading and writing 140 character reviews on twitter but I didn't have any time to just think and write. I am on vacation right now in Maunabo, and for the first time in months actually felt like I could coherently write something again.
I have a review for the fantastic Gambled Away anthology almost ready to go but I am waiting to finish one last novella in it before I hit publish.
I'm stilling writing my reviews for RT so I am planning on linking to those in my next review. RT is going through some major changes so I have drastically cut down the number of books I read for them as I wait through the transition to see if it still works for me to review for them.
Although the blog has been hiatus and I've been turning down ARCs for most of the last month I have been reading a ton.
I indulged in Kindle Unlimited subscription and have read dozens of books on KU, mostly bikers, shifters and aliens and have dug through my TBR to read books I had forgotten I bought. I have been playing around on a bookish app called Litsy ( a cross between Instagram and Goodreads for booklovers)
I read all the Ice Planet Barbarians books by Ruby Dixon, which had been repeatedly recommended to me by Michelle Mills and Elisabeth Lane (their book choices rarely overlap so for both of them to recommend them, meant I had to try them eventually).
My favorite of them all was Barbarian Alien. A traumatized Ice Barbarians kidnaps one of the human women he resonates with (they have a symbiote that alter their body to survive the harsh environment of the planet and it that identifies their mate, and amps up the mating drive) to ensure no one takes her from him. Despite the whole alien abduction, symbiote driven mating drive the books are really good about consent. The tension in the books is about having the character's feelings for each other catch up to their bodies ramped up lust, while overcoming language and cultural barriers. Over all the heroes tend to be very protective and possessive but what I loved about Raahosh comes to understand Liz's need to be independent and learn to provide for herself in this new planet. Ruby Dixon's worldbuilding was pretty great, and I was amused by how subtlety she tweeked our understanding of how resonance and mating work in the books to provide different conflicts and tensions for later couples.
After reading all the Ice Planet Books I read Ruby Dixon's Shift that collect five bear shifter novellas. These novellas were very cute and fun. Bear shifters find their inconveniently human mates and respond in a variety of ways.
I also tried Ruby Dixon's Bedlam Butcher series. I enjoyed Off Limits about the unlucky-sister of the Biker club's president, Lucky and Solo, the one partner-less biker in a band of bikers who are somewhat obsessed with the buddy system. When Lucky is targeted by a gang of white supremacists, Solo rescues her and together they bait the other gang into exposing themselves. I enjoyed the suspense plot in the later books, but ended up skimming them because I couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to sink into the later books that are all menage.
No KU binge can be complete without trying Alexa Riley again. I had read and hated Mechanic and Coach, but I discovered that I very much enjoyed their Fairy Tale Shifter books. All the elements that make me recoil from their contemporaries, work for me in their paranormals. They write over-the-top uncomplicated books full of insta-love, possessive mates and mating urges, and I find I can only enjoy that when reading about shifters or aliens.
I quite enjoyed Suzanne Wright's Phoenix Pack and Mercury Pack shifter books. The books had very interesting political pack dynamics and I enjoyed how blood thirsty and powerful the women in the series were. The romances were fun, with a lot emotional push and pull but I laughed and laughed when I realized that all the books had anal sex scenes because although almost all the characters had previous sexual partners they had saved anal sex for their true mate. What I didn't enjoy was the high-mortality rate for the female exes and how often sexual rivalry drove the suspense conflict.
I'll be back to ARC reviewing in the next few weeks!