Review: Desert Blade

Reviewed by Jen

An attempt by the government to create a biocrop has gone horribly wrong and shifted the world into a near-apocalypse. Hunger has prompted widespread riots in the street. And it’s in a flare of violence that Derek loses his arm. As a Guardsman, he seems a perfect candidate for a special prosthetic, armed with a deadly blade.

Dr. Lidia helps him through the surgery and the first part of his recovery. The two grow to care for one another in their week together. But when it’s time for Lidia to evacuate, Derek doesn’t go with her –opting instead to stay behind to bury his foster mother.

10 years later, Derek finds Lidia again. He needs her skills to help a sick boy in his camp. Together, they face the dangerous landscape to get to the boy. And in the process, their feelings reignite and reach new levels.

I enjoyed the story, but it’s awfully hard to believe that Lidia has pined for Derek to the extent she has after only one week together. Everything moves quickly in the story, which I’m sure has a great deal to do with the fact that it is so short. I would have liked to spend more time with the characters, especially in the romance department. The sexy times we did have were pretty hot… I just wanted more.

I liked it, but I would have liked it better had it been a bit more fleshed out. A little more than 3 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Desert Blade
by Ella Drake
Release Date: April 23, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press

Review: Jaq’s Harp

Reviewed by Jen

Jaq’s sister is dying. And if she doesn’t steal a cure for her, there is no hope. So Jaq sneaks her way onto the floating island that the Giant corporation calls home. There, she runs into her ex-fiance, Harp, who is on an undercover mission to take down the company and its corrupt owner.  And of course, the heat between them ignites all over again.

This is a short story, only 67 pages. So there’s not a lot of room for anything too deep. Basically, you’ve got two questions that play out: Can Jaq & Harp escape with the antidote and evidence they need? And can they get over the issues that drove them apart to find their way back together? It’s not too much of a leap to figure out what the answers will be, but it’s a fun enough ride to get from Point A to Point B.  It’s just hard to care much for the characters when we have so little time to get invested in them. (And Ella Drake adds a fairy tale twist, with a brief nod to Jack & the Beanstalk by incorporating magic beans and a “Giant” into the novella… but it does little to add or detract from the story when all is said and done.)  3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Review: Silver Bound

Reviewed by Jen

About 50 pages into this book, I was pretty sure I didn’t like it.  The story centered on a woman named Jewel who was turned into a sex slave. She had been trying to escape her crime lord husband with their son, but he caught her. He had her memory erased –and had nanobots inserted into her, er, erogenous zones. Then the scientists were supposed to synch his DNA with the technology on her body to force her to respond to his urges.  But Jewel’s real true love, Guy, gets to her first. She’s halfway through the procedure (called silvering), so he can’t stop it, but he has her matched to his DNA first… because he knows he’ll never abuse her. So now she’s his sex slave until he finds a way to free her from the chains of the technology.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on the book, because it did get better. My biggest complaints initially were that I couldn’t make myself care about Jewel and the plot device of the silvering seemed heavy-handed.  Well, as the book progressed and Jewel began to regain her personality, that helped me with my first issue.  And once we got to the first real love scene, frankly nothing else mattered, because it was HOT.  All the love scenes were hot. Big thumbs up there.

The setting was kind of futuristic-western… kind of reminiscent of Joss Whedon’s “Firefly,” but with hot sex.  There was some terminology it took me a little while to completely assimilate, but it wasn’t insurmountable. Overall, a short and fairly good read, though it took me a little while to make a connection.  3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley