Book Review: Her Ex-Boyfriend’s Werewolf Lover

herexboyfriendswerewolfloverTitle: Her Ex-Boyfriend’s Werewolf Lover

Author: Cassie Alexander

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Erotica

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

I loved Vincent and he loved me. Undoubtedly, incontrovertibly, with the fire of a thousand suns.
But before me? He loved Max. The man who broke his heart, and the reason he had a wolf print tattooed upon his chest.

I didn’t expect Vincent to get gunned down, but Vincent knew he was in danger — and he knew only one man could save me from dying too. He threw me into Max’s strong arms from beyond the grave.

Max and I both want to avenge Vincent, more than anything — and Max is capable of it because he’s a freaking werewolf.

The only problem is, he needs a mate, and I’m just human me.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I should have known from the title alone this one was going to be weird. Honestly, the mafia man, werewolf, ex-prostitute pairing was a bit much for me. The book was clearly heavily weighted to erotica – which is fine, but it felt like the weird amalgamation of characters was an unnecessary addition to the plot.

I don’t think I was the right audience for this book. There were a lot of flash-backs and scenes re-hashed through multiple perspectives, and all of it just felt like a lot.

Overall, the book was entertaining, but I struggled to take it seriously, and I can’t see myself recommending it to other readers.

Book Review: Barbarian’s Bride

cover-barbarian's brideTitle: Barbarian’s Bride [Ice Planet Barbarians 20]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Nora says she’s happy.

Dagesh isn’t so sure. He loves his pretty human mate and wants nothing more than to bring a smile to her face…so she’ll go running into his arms. When he asks the tribe what she’s missing, someone suggests a wedding.

All right, then. He’ll throw the best barbarian wedding ever.

So how does Nora tell her determined, thoughtful mate that what she wanted wasn’t a wedding…but something a little different in bed?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad this series has finally ended. Although I loved the series as a whole, it was clear as it went on that the later books were little more than the author going down a list of characters and checking them off as romantic side stories. There was no plot to this, and if you haven’t read the previous books in the series, you won’t even understand this story let alone like it. Even if you have read the previous books, you could skip this one and you’ll lose nothing.

Dagesh and Nora had very little personality between the two of them and didn’t stand out as characters. I mean, sure, their romance was sweet, but they were probably the most lackluster couple of the group – even with Nora’s predilection towards rough sex.

Writing-wise, the story was fine. It was easy to read, the narrative was flawless and invisible as it should be – but that’s about the only real positive I have to say about this story. I read it, but I feel like I wasted my time doing so. Overall? Skip this one, unless you have a particular soft spot for finishing every novel in the series

Book Review: Barbarian’s Treasure

cover-barbarian's treasureTitle: Barbarian’s Treasure [Ice Planet Barbarians 19]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Everyone knows Megan and Cashol hit it off the moment they resonated… didn’t they? But when Josie goes into labor, an off-hand comment makes Megan point out to her friend that no, things weren’t always so smooth. Just because resonance is immediate doesn’t mean it’s immediately perfect.

But also…just because it’s an instant bond doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Sometimes it’s very, very right.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

There’s a lot I liked about this book; Megan and Cashol were both complex characters, and their relationship was full of tension, but also sweet, endearing moments. I found it impossible not to like them, both as individual characters and as a couple. The writing itself was clean, easy to read, and paced well. I have no complaints there – and overall, the book gave me a warm, cozy feel having read it.

It wasn’t perfect though. Like some of the previous books in the series, not much happened in this one. The book mostly contained a flashback to when Cashol and Megan first met and the ensuing couple of weeks of strain between them. There wasn’t any outside conflict really, and all of the conflict was in Megan’s mind and Cashol’s misunderstanding of how to deal with her anxiety. You could easily skip over this book and miss nothing – and if you haven’t read all the previous books, you won’t gain anything by reading this one.

In the end, this book was okay. It wasn’t fantastic, but it wasn’t awful either. I’m glad I read it, and that’s all that matters.

Book Review: Barbarian’s Seduction

cover-barbarian's seductionTitle: Barbarian’s Seduction [Ice Planet Barbarians 18]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Marlene’s not like the other humans. They weep while she smiles. They look at us with fear, while she entices me with a come-hither look.I…have no idea why such a bold female resonated to a male like me. I am the most reticent of all the sa-khui tribe, a hunter that never expected to have a family of my own. But resonance chooses, and it has chosen her for me. And Marlene is quite determined to seduce me…and who can say no to such a woman? This story explores the long-awaited romance of Marlene and Zennek. Even though it is a ‘flashback’ to the beginning of the Ice Planet Barbarians series, it can be read out of order. Enjoy!

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I never thought this day would come, but I’m giving this book 2 stars. That is an incredibly rare rating for me to hand out because it means that I read the entire book, but I still didn’t like it. Here’s the thing; writing-wise, the book is fine. The narrative flows well, it’s easy to read, there aren’t a lot of errors, and I don’t dislike the characters.

I was incredibly bored.

There was no real tension in the relationship between Marlene and Zennek. There was an ice storm that kept them separated for a week, but those are incredibly common on the planet, and certainly not something new. Nothing happened. We didn’t learn anything, and nothing in the world-building or characters was expanded upon. It was just a cozy little romance, and that’s it.

As this series gets closer and closer to the end, it’s easier and easier to tell that it’s nearing. There are flashbacks in every book now (which I am not a fan of), there’s no action, no big changes to the world of the Sa-Khui, the metlaks and other creatures barely make an appearance. The series is just… floundering. This was another one of those books where you could skip it entirely and not miss anything.

Book Review: Barbarian’s Beloved

cover-barbarian's belovedTitle: Barbarian’s Beloved [Ice Planet Barbarians 17]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

My tribesmates don’t understand her. The other humans think she’s weak. But no one knows my mate like I do. They don’t see her gentle heart or her brave spirit. I know why she struggles. I know how strong she is. And I know I’ll do anything to make her smile.

But can I convince her that she can be happy in this strange new world with me?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

There are some things about this book that I liked; I loved the characters, their sweet romance, and the author shining a spotlight on what Anxiety is like… because it is awful and debilitating. I suffer from it myself, and there were a few years where I couldn’t step outside my front door without having a panic attack. It is incredibly hard to live with, and having a character with Anxiety that can’t just go get a bottle of medication… well, was certainly a challenge. I felt deeply for Ariana and was happy that the author showed several different reactions from other characters. It was well done.

As far as the writing itself, like the rest of the series, the book was well-written. Even if this book wasn’t my favorite in the series, the author did a fantastic job of sucking me into the story. The narrative flowed easily, was well-paced, and there weren’t a lot of obtrusive errors. The only thing I didn’t like, was the flashback-like sequence of events – but that was more of a personal issue for me. I like timelines to be linear.

All of that being said, the book wasn’t perfect. There wasn’t a lot of action, and what little there was, was done off-screen. There wasn’t a lot of tension between the characters, or anything else to push the story forward except Ariana’s anxiety – and I don’t know that it was enough. I also was a little miffed that the characters previously barely introduced in the last book were shoved along in the timeline because their stories took place outside the series. It felt like a little of their story got spoiled.

Overall, the book was okay. It wasn’t the end-all-be-all book in the series, but I don’t regret reading it. Again, this is one of those books that you could probably skip and not miss much.

Book Review: Barbarian’s Tease

cover-barbarian's teaseTitle: Barbarian’s Tease [Ice Planet Barbarians 16]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

It should have been a one-night stand.

I never intended to seduce Taushen, but things happened. I don’t dwell on the past and while it was great, I’m not looking for a relationship. Of course, try telling that to Taushen. The big blue alien’s in love after one night, and it’s making things darn awkward. We’ve got bigger problems than whether or not I’m his woman, like the ‘cargo’ of the space ship that landed here.

But Taushen’s not giving up. He thinks I’m his mate.

And he’ll do anything to keep me.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I’ll be honest, this wasn’t my favorite book out of the series, but it also wasn’t the worst. The thing is, this book didn’t present anything new. There are a lot of misunderstandings, more “kidnapping” of a potential mate, more people being added for the sake of continuing the story. The intrigue of the new colonists was held off-screen or in other stories, so most of the story was just Brooke and Taushen together in a cave.

Again. It felt as if this book was written as an obligatory ticking off of a pair on the long list of characters, but for the most part, it was all done before.

Like the other books in the series, this one was well written. The narrative flowed well, there weren’t a lot of errors, and the characters were easy to empathize with (well, Taushen was… I didn’t really care for Brooke). This is one of those books in the series that didn’t have a lot of action to it.

Overall, it was okay, but it’s one of those books you could probably skip over and not miss anything.

Book Review: Barbarian’s Rescue

cover-barbarian's rescueTitle: Barbarian’s Rescue [Ice Planet Barbarians 15]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Bad day? Try mine on for size.

Rogue slavers have landed on the ice planet and captured the tribe. The only ones not snatched? Me, a walking human motormouth with no skill except that of incoherent babbling, and Warrek, who’s as silent as he is attractive. Two more unlikely people have never been paired together.
And now we’re supposed to form a rescue team.

Saving the others is either going to bring us closer together – or drive us completely apart. I’m pretty sure the feelings I’m having for my alien companion are as unrequited as they are inappropriate, but since we aren’t going to make it out alive, what harm is one teeny, tiny kiss?

Who knew that one kiss could change everything?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I am so glad to sink into another book in this series that has some action. I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of the books in the series where nothing really happens. It feels like there isn’t enough world-building on the little ice planet with very little vegetation or wildlife to handle a plot where two people spend all their time in one location and nothing outside of their relationship takes place. I loved that Summer and Warrek spent a lot of this story just stewing in their tension and cooking up plans to save the rest of the community.

I didn’t have a strong impression of either Warrek or Summer at the beginning of this book – because Warrek is so silent, and Summer rambles endlessly about nothing – but by the end of it, I felt like both were incredibly well characterized. They made such an unpredictable pair, and I was surprised by Summer’s intellect and Warrek’s quiet kindness. I adore them as a couple.

On the technical front, the book was well written – even if you aren’t heavily into erotic-leaning romances, these books are easy to sink into. The book flowed well and had a steady pace that kept the story ticking on. I liked the characters and most of all the new development of the slavers arriving on the planet. There’s a heavy sense of foreboding in what’s going to happen next in the overall plotline, and I am here for it!

Overall, it was a good book. It wasn’t my favorite in the series, but it had a lot going for it, and it had a lot more action to the plot than most of the others in the series.

Book Review: Barbarian’s Lady

cover-barbarian's ladyTitle: Barbarian’s Lady [Ice Planet Barbarians 14]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

You’d think a tall woman would fit in on a planet of seven-foot-tall aliens, but even on the ice planet, I’m still a weirdo and an oddity. I’m everything all the other cute, dainty human women aren’t.

One guy in particular – the alien Harrec – is determined to embarrass me by pretending he’s interested. He’s a jokester that flirts like mad and hits on me constantly just to make me feel foolish. He gets under my skin. He makes me so frustrated I want to scream.

When a side-trip to a glacier turns into a nightmare and the two of us are forced to survive alone, I see another side to the enticing blue alien. Even with no one else around, his compliments keep coming and I start wondering if the attraction between us… is real.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Honestly? This book was okay. Harrec and Kate had a very different dynamic to their relationship that the other couples in the series, and it wasn’t my favorite. Though I liked their characters, I didn’t get warm fuzzy feelings from their pairing, and outside of a thrilling scene in an ice crevasse, not a lot happened. They sat in a cave. They walked in the snow. They adopted a kitten. There wasn’t much to the plot, and there wasn’t anything new to the world building.

Overall, the book was well-written technically speaking, and there wasn’t anything overtly wrong with the characters or their romance, but it just didn’t hold my attention like some of the other books in the series. This is one of those books that you would be completely fine skipping over up until the epilogue, and you wouldn’t miss anything. I’m glad I read it, but it wasn’t at the top of my list as far as the series goes.

Book Review: Barbarian’s Redemption

cover-barbarian's redemptionTitle: Barbarian’s Redemption [Ice Planet Barbarians 13]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

For seasons, I have waited for her – my perfect mate.
In a tribe full of happy couples, I am alone. But I am not content to remain this way. There are no eligible unmated females left, so I will do whatever it takes to bring females back to our tribe…even if it means doing something wrong. Even if it means I must purchase my mate on the intergalactic black market. I will do anything to possess her, to claim her as my own.

But will my ruthless move turn my female against me before we ever meet? Can she ever forgive a male that bought her freedom?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I had some reservations going into this book – Bek has always been one of the surliest characters in this series, and given that he ended the last book in the series asking slaves to be brought to Not-Hoth, I knew this was going to be a rather contentious storyline. It’s very hard for an author to work slavery into a plotline without making their readers loathe the characters involved… but I can’t loathe Bek. Despite what he did, and how terribly wrong it was, the author did a good job of making it very clear that Bek had no understanding of what he was truly asking – because Slavery and the miss-treatment of others isn’t a concept that Bek and the other Sa-Khui understand on a fundamental level. It is so alien to everything they believe and have experienced, that Bek was completely naïve to the situation – and that made it easier to forgive him because he was utterly destroyed once he did understand.

I really liked Bek as a character in this story, because despite his poor choices, he went through a lot of character development to become a better person, I think in part because he was paired with Elly. Elly’s characterization was a bit more wishy-washy. She was presented as being very clever and cautious, which then morphed to incredibly shy and broken, and then very determined and enthusiastic. She gave me a bit of whiplash with the way she was all over the place – and I’m not saying she can’t be all of those things, but I wish there had been a common thread to her character to be a constant to her ever-changing personality.

Outside of the characters, there wasn’t a lot going on in this story – most of it was spent in a single cave, and there weren’t a lot of outside forces or personal choices being made that lead to any sort of tension or furtherance of the plot. This was a very insular, romance-driven storyline, and other than introducing a few more characters, it didn’t do a lot for the overall plot of the series.

In the end, I liked the book. I really enjoyed how Bek was portrayed in this installment, but I do think the author could have done more with this one other than using it as a vehicle to add more women to the series.

Book Review: Barbarian’s Choice

cover-barbarian's choiceTitle: Barbarian’s Choice [Ice Planet Barbarians 12]

Author: Ruby Dixon

Genre: Science Fiction, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

I might be the only unmated female in my tribe, but it doesn’t mean I’ve given my heart. I’m waiting. I want resonance, and I won’t settle for anything less.

But when an alien ship lands and a handsome stranger steps out, I know he’s the one. His name’s Mardok and he’s fascinatingly different – and distractingly appealing. But Mardok can’t stay on the ice planet, and he says he can take me with him.

Now, I must make a choice. Do I stay and lose my mate forever? Or do I follow him to the stars and leave behind everything I know?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This may be one of my favorite books out of this series thus far – I didn’t even mind the alien sex this time around. Like the majority of books in this series, the story was well-written technically speaking. There weren’t any noticeable typos or glaring mistakes. The writing was fast-paced and flowed well. I was sucked into the story, and despite the sometimes crassness of the erotic nature of these books, it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story. The author does a spectacular job of not only furthering the world-building in little increments as the series goes on, but manages to change little things with each couple’s romance and sexual preferences that make it so each story is something new, even if familiar.

Farli and Mardok were something new to the series – this is the first time the author delved into the advanced alien cultures outside of the main planet of Not-Hoth and brought some of the Sa-Khui decedents back into the mix. It was fascinating to see the differences between the two cultures, separated by location, and how that informed who they are as a people based on their environment and circumstances. It was also refreshing to meet some more cynical characters that aren’t “stranded” on the inhospitable planet.

Overall, I enjoyed this story, much more than I expected to after the last one, and I’m interested to see more of Farli and Mardok as things evolve.