Tour’s Books Blog

February 2, 2010

Short Reviews: Erotic Romance Novellas

I could be wrong, but I seems to me that the vast majority of erotic romances these days are novellas – often sold as short novels.  A few of these ‘novellas’ have been outrageously priced – like Tymber Dalton’s Steam which sells for $4.50 for just under 29,000 words for an ebook.   Sometimes I have to wonder what possess publishers.  It is stopping me from buying, I’ll tell you that.  Had Ms Dalton’s latest release been correctly priced, I would have bought it happily.  As it stands, not a chance.  I seem to be saying that more and more often.  Ah well, here are some that I did buy!

  • Title: Ringo’s Ride
  • Author: Regina Carlysle
  • Type:  Erotic paranormal romance
  • Genre:  Angsty werewolf mating; the ‘princess’ and the dark and dangerous cowboy battle rogue werewolves
  • Sub-genre:  I am unworthy of a mate, even though we both have only one chance
  • My Grade: C+ (3.2*)
  • Rating: x
  • Length and price: Novella – sold as a short novel, about 32,000 words for $5.20 as an ebook
  • Where Available: ebook available from Ellora’s Cave
  • FTC Disclosure: Purchased from publisher’s website

Ringo’s Ride, the third installment of Regina Carlysle’s werewolf series picks up where Lone Star Lycan left off.  As Joe McKinnon and his mate Quinn celebrated their Consummation Ceremony, rogue weres, lead by attacked and made off with unmated females for their pack.  They were led by Ramona, Joe’s former lover and wannabe mate to the pack Alpha.  She ran after her unsuccessful attempts on Quinn’s life, but returned with the rogues to steal the unmated females.  One of those females was Rayne Poteet, the only daughter of well to do pack members.  As Ringo walked into the party, he and Rayne formed the psychic bond that only happens between mates.  In wolf form, he goes after her captors while Joe handles the rogue Alpha.

The rogue weres split up and so do the men who are tracking them.  Ringo goes after and catches up before the rogues can rape her.  He hauls her off to a line shack (pretty nice for a line shack) where they spend the night with each other.  Despite the pull of the bond and the great sex, Ringo refuses to claim Rayne.  His father challenged for Alpha and was killed by the former Alpha.  His mother committed suicide.  He was taken in and raised by the Alpha, but he always felt tainted by his father’s treacherous actions.  The dark and dangerous Ringo, Joe’s second in command, has always drawn Rayne and she’s happy he’s her mate, but less thrilled that he refuses to claim her.

Ringo knows that by not claiming Rayne, she is left unable to shift and defend herself, and that she will never find another mate.  He feels unworthy of her, but he can’t stay away either.  She can’t get pregnant until she’s claimed, and the urge to do so is demanding.  It’s his own internal battles that are keeping them apart.  He and Manuel are asked by Joe and the Supreme Alpha to pretend to be traitors to infiltrate the rogue pack.  Rayne knows nothing of the plan and defends him when he and Joe play out their little drama in the local bar.  That night, Ramona comes back and kidnaps Rayne.  She already has 2 other young girls, not part of the pack, but unmated female weres like Rayne.

The action moves at a not very believable pace to the were hide out in Mexico where the big denouement takes place. There story developed no real tension in this part as Ringo and Manuel go undercover.  It’s absence was a big negative.  The dispersal of the weres went way too fast and easy.  I wondered why it took them so long to come up with such a simple, easy plan to get rid of them.

Overall, Ringo’s Ride was not as good or complex a story as Lone Star Lycan.  Ringo’s whole angst thing about his parents actions was the only major issue and harping on it got really old, really fast.  The story need more than that single point of conflict and the resolution with the rogues and Ramona was far too simple.  Not bad, just not very good.

Was it worth the $5.20 price?  Not to me.  It’s a short, simple, uncomplicated plot with little to distract from the ‘molehill into mountains’ point of conflict with Ringo’s past.  If you enjoy this series, and I really liked Lone Star Lycan, then try Ringo’s Ride as an ebook, but don’t expect much.  If you want a better read, try Lone Star Lycan, it was worth the price.

***********************************************************************

  • Title: Kidnapping Casey
  • Author: Laurann Dohner
  • Type:  Erotic paranormal romance
  • Genre:  Aliens kidnap earth women for mates because Earth girls like sex
  • Sub-genre:  She’s pissed and he doesn’t get it
  • My Grade: C- (2.8*)
  • Rating: xx
  • Length and price: Novella – sold as a short novel, about 32,000 words for $5.95 as an ebook
  • Where Available: ebook available from Ellora’s Cave
  • FTC Disclosure: Purchased from publisher’s website

Sometimes you have to wonder how aliens races survive without good, old oversexed human females.  Here we have another version, without ménage, of alien males – all of whom are tall, slabbed with muscle, and handsome (though these guys growl a lot and have pointy teeth) – looking for earth females as mates.  Kidnapping Casey is the second book by Laurann Dohner and the second in the series under Ellora’s Cave AEON imprint.  There’s actually a lot to like about this book, and things to dislike as well.

Casey is pulled over by the cops – again.  Her ex-boyfriend is now sheriff, and after arresting her last week and nearly raping her in his office while she was still handcuffed – then explaining her screaming and fighting as “rough sex” – he’s sent his apparently brainless deputies after her again.  She runs, but gets caught and she’s down on the ground and they’re cuffing her when this huge man appears and roars at them.  The deputies end up out cold and she gets carted off to a cave on her land where this ‘Bigfoot’ is staying.  She knows the cave, it’s on her property.

He doesn’t talk, but he seems to understand her.  The lack of communication doesn’t stop her from having sex with him immediately – and often.  Now, if you’re like me, you’re going, “What the hell?”  I guess the logic of erotic romance defies, well, logic.  Common sense too.  (Did I mention he has pointy teeth?  And the sex was unprotected?)  Anyhoo, after the fun in the cave, the ‘bigfoot’ gets Casey to leave with him and she ends up an unwilling passenger on a spacecraft.  A small one.  Then they transfer to a larger craft and, thanks to an electronic translator, Casey learns her kidnapper is a Zorn warrior named Argenon.  She’s also is enraged to learn she’s been kidnapped and like it or not she’s off to a world she wants no part of.  A world where women have no equality and apparently, no real rights, and males must have sex 5 times a day and won’t use condoms for reasons we learn later.

Anyhow, the small craft meets the ‘mother ship’ where Casey attempts escape and ends up chained to Argenon’s bed.  He’s got some D/s kink going too.  The ship gets attacked, she’s nearly raped, fights to free herself and in the process of getting to the safe part of the ship, the pirates attack the and  Argenon gets injured.  His injury ends up in a coma and she nurses him – he is the only person she knows – until they reach Zorn.  Because the electronics are down, she can’t communicate, so she really doesn’t know what’s happening and she’s stressed and nervous.

After landing, she’s separated from Argenon and the fear really starts hitting.  He’s told her what happens to woman on his world when they have no protection and it isn’t pretty.  Frankly, I didn’t like the Zorn or their society one bit.  She tries rejecting him but can’t because she’s carrying his child.  Another Earth woman who is mated to Argenon’s older brother, Ariel, explains a lot and gets her husband to agree to grant her protection in his household.  Casey is busying making a huge issue about the 3 women Argenon had as ‘house helpers’, the equivalent of concubines, who he sent to other houses as soon as he was able.  This is the same woman who had unprotected sex with a male with pointy teeth who couldn’t talk and she mistook for a “bigfoot”.  Go figure.  There is a sries of ‘accidents’ that seem aimed at injuring, possibly killing, Casey going on as well.  They just seem thrown into the plot and that whole storyline needed more development.

I have to give Luranne Dohner points for finally making a heroine that isn’t thrilled to trade her life on Earth for frequent sex with a hot alien.  She’s pissed, and rightly so.  She tries to escape and doesn’t appreciate his dictatorial attitude.   That’s the good part.  The bad part was her turning the whole incident with how he’s revived from his coma into something it just wasn’t.  Her hurt was disproportionate, especially in light of the fact Argenon had no time to make arrangements for the females in his household.  She never really articulates her fears, just yells about his ‘women’.  Man that got old fast.  This is one of those times when the plot would have been better served but junking about 20 pointless pages and moving along.

Kidnapping Casey certainly had some very good moments, but it also had some very annoying ones too.  In total, the bad and the mediocre out weighed the good and the best that could be eked out is a ‘Meh”.  Was Kidnapping Casey worth $5.95?  Nope.  Give it a miss and spend your money elsewhere.

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