Book Review: Hers, Untamed

review-cover-hers untamedTitle: Hers, Untamed

Author: Anna Adler

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Alyssa Cressfield always wanted a pet—a big, sexy man who would look impressive on a leash. Now, she is finally ready to realize her dream. She visits a pet training center, intending to buy a trained pet. Instead she finds Jax, a fierce human-alien hybrid freshly caught from space, still untamed and unbroken. Alyssa has never encountered an untamed pet before. She can’t resist temptation; she must have him.

On Silenia, it is customary for humans to keep other intelligent species as pets and sex toys. Alyssa is kind at heart, but she is a product of her society and therefore sees nothing wrong with keeping a man in a cage against his will. Jax, on the other hand, is a space pirate who now finds himself wearing a collar and being treated like property. He has no intention of turning tame and obedient, and a battle of wills ensues. Jax and Alyssa quickly discover their undeniable chemistry, but is it enough to reconcile them? What happens when the pet breaks out of his cage?

Note to reader: This is a standalone novel featuring a romance between a human and a human-alien hybrid. While not dark, the story is set in a dystopian society and contains some raunchy sex scenes between the main characters. Recommended for mature readers.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’m giving this story a rather tentative 3 stars. Here’s the thing: a lot of readers aren’t going to like this book. It’s firmly in the Erotic Fiction category—not romance as purported. There’s quite a bit of king, some taboo leanings, and there’s a lot of explicit sex. It’s going to be too much for some readers to handle, particularly if they go into the book expecting a romance. If those things don’t interest you, you’re going to want to move on.

That being said, I did have some gripes of my own. Although the level of kink and explicit sex in this book aren’t what I’m personally interested in, they don’t bother me. I read a lot of books, most of those falling squarely in the romance and erotica genres. What does bother me is the very clear association in this book with slavery and abuse. If this story took place in the real world, it wouldn’t be sexy—it’d be horrifying. There are many individuals in the book that are kidnapped, held against their will, mentally broken, and then forced to perform as pets for the wealthy. No matter how it’s justified in the book, it’s wrong. It’s hard for me to appreciate a book that relies on sex and romance to blind the reader to the fact that the main male lead has had his basic rights violated in this manner.

That being said, the book was well written. The romance was steamy, I adored the male lead as a character, and it had a happy ending. All of these are good things—but that doesn’t completely overshadow how intrinsically wrong the main premise of the story is. Even though I liked the book as a whole, I am very uncomfortable with the slavery aspect of its plotline. Because it’s fiction and everything worked out in the end, I’m willing to try to look past the less-than-savory aspects of the plot, but that doesn’t mean they don’t bother me. A lot of readers are not going to enjoy this book because of it.

Another thing I didn’t enjoy was the portrayal of the main female lead. Despite her purported intelligence and expertise, she came across as naïve, wanton, and rather airheaded. She was clever only when it served to thwart the main male lead, but refused to use her intellect to question her own society and their treatment of outside life forms. She questioned nothing that went against her own brainwashed utopian beliefs—and I find it hard to believe that someone so intelligent wouldn’t ask questions.

Overall, it was a fun read. There were definitely parts of the story I enjoyed and some I didn’t, but throughout, I was thoroughly entertained. This book isn’t for everyone. If you’re a sensitive reader, I’d recommend looking for something a bit more traditional, but if you enjoy a taste of the taboo, this is a safe way to be entertained for a few hours.

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Book Review: His Hostage

review-cover-his hostageTitle: His Hostage

Author: Anna Adler

Genre: Romance, Erotica, Contemporary

Rating: 4 Stars (3.5)

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Description/Synopsis:

Evelyn thought she was the luckiest girl in the world when she married Jack Moorland, the handsome heir to a software fortune, after knowing him only for a few months. The fairytale soured when Jack turned out to be selfish, controlling, and unable to perform in bed. Kind and weak-willed Evelyn finds herself trapped in a loveless and sexless marriage. She wants out of her gilded cage, but lacks the confidence to stand up to Jack, who has no intention of letting her go. Being kidnapped by the mysterious burglar Hal becomes a liberating experience. Is it Stockholm syndrome, or is this professional thief exactly the man Evelyn needs in her life?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’m going to give this book the benefit of the doubt and give it 4 stars – even though realistically, it was more of a 3.5 for me.

Technically speaking, the book was well written. There were no obvious typos, grammatical errors, or punctuation problems, and the narrative and dialogue flowed smoothly throughout. Zero Problems.

But, here’s the thing: There were moments in this book that stuck out to me as red flags. As steamy and even sweet as the romance between Evie and Hal was at times, there were definite moments when Hall threatened Evie with bodily harm and even rape…. and he was serious. I had genuine concerns at times that Evie wasn’t safe, and in real life, she would have been in serious danger – despite the couple’s attraction to each other.

On the other side of the coin, however, I know this is fiction. It is erotic romance, and for the most part, I think this book caters to readers who may share the fantasy of being kidnapped and seduced by a handsome, dangerous stranger. I get it. I do. Everyone has a dark fantasy or two in the deep recesses of their brain. That’s okay… but it didn’t keep me from wanting to cringe.

As far as the sex went, this book was steamy. There were a few tip of the hats to voyeurism, anal, oral, rough sex, and kidnap/restraint fantasies, and if that’s your thing… you’re going to enjoy this book. If, however, you are put off by anything mentioned above, you may find this book a little too hot to handle. Overall, I liked it. There were some questionable moments that made me cringe, but for the most part, it didn’t stop me from enjoying the story as a whole, even if it wasn’t entirely to my liking.