Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Little Love in Space...

So my low-grade cold has turned into a high grade cold. On the up side, I've gotten quite a bit of reading done. On the down side, I'm achy and cranky and almost had a throw-down with the children's librarian because H-Bomb was late for Storytime. Seriously, I'm still fuming a little bit, and that says a lot for her rudeness because usually fuckwittery rolls right off my back.

Now that I'm feeling a little bit better, I've been catching up on all the post RWA blogging. I'm surprised not to see a bit more about the decisions regarding RWA publisher recognition and PAN status(if you are interested, see here for more info). I think it's for the best though, if the people affected the most just ignore it. I doubt it would affect reader purchasing decisions, and epublishers are definitely here to stay. A quick glance at my 2007 list of reads shows that some of my favorites of the year are from E-Pubbed authors (Michelle M. Pillow), or authors who got their start with E-Pubs (Christine Warren, Linnea Sinclair). I've definitely read some mediocre or downright shitty e-published books, but for each one of those, there's a Pillow, or Bonnie Dee, or Joey Hill. And though the past couple of E-books I bought were disappointing, I had a happy surprise with my most recent impulse purchase from Samhain, Starkissed by Lanette Curington.

Now, I would be lying if I said that my attention wasn't piqued by the Poser cover featuring a reptilian alien and a bitchy looking brunette in an awkward embrace. And I would be lying if I said that my interest wasn't further piqued by Samhain's warning: Graphic sex between a human woman and an alien male who is anatomically different from human men! A quick mental inventory suggested that I hadn't read any books with human/alien sex. They're always humanoid. Well, what was I waiting for? I bought it immediately, and then was concerned that I let my prurient interests get the better of my good judgment. But it was good! Quite good!

Starkissed is the story of Leith McClure, a human woman, and J'Qhir, a Zi male. They meet during a trade that is supposed to take place between Leith's family's shipping company and J'Qhir, the Warrior (the protector, really) of his people. Each is surprised to find the other quite interesting, rather than disgusting. After the transaction goes wrong (due to a typically cartoony romance villain who wants REVENGE and is pissed Leith won't let him into her knickers), J'Qhir and Leith are kidnapped and abandoned on an uninhabited planet. The planet is a protected sanctuary of sorts, and so no one ever goes there. As the two try to survive, they find their initial fascination deepening into friendship attraction and more. But can their burgeoning love survive when they are rescued?

This one doesn't skimp on the relationship development. The hero and heroine are not only different species, they come from very different cultures, and it is very interesting to read how they try to understand each other's ways of thinking. J'Qhir's people, the Zi, are a very isolated and insular culture, governed by strict rules. He is a conservative fellow, with a strong sense of duty, honor and responsibility, and his struggle to come to grips with his intense feelings for Leith, so alien (heh) from all he has ever known, is rather charming. Leith is less vivid to me, pretty much a typical young woman, intelligent and a bit impulsive. All in all likeable, except for a few annoying moments toward the end.

Yes, J'Qhir is not human, but rather reptilian. He was different enough that I didn't feel the author was wimping out, but not so much that it was squicky (know what I mean?). The genitalia thing wasn't too creepy or anything. I liked that during the love scenes, they didn't suddenly become porn stars. Leith is a virgin (she's 21), and J'Qhir is very inexperienced, and the sex scenes reflected that, as well as their deepening feelings for each other. It was a natural extension of their intimacy, not just thrown in for the sake of titilation. Leith was a little more forward than might be expected, but it went along with their respective personalities, J'Qhir being a rather cautious fellow, and a product of a repressive environment.

In fact, so much time was spent on them getting to know each other, and getting past their differences, it slowed things during the middle section a bit. Also, as I alluded to before, Leith acts like an ass for a bit towards the end, wanting J'Qhir to read her mind, when he really ain't that type of guy (or critter). Luckily, that doesn't last too long. I would've liked an epilogue or something more at the end, because they had some obstacles facing them, and I wanted to know how it all turned out. Otherwise, this was an unusual and satisfying read, and one I'll be revisiting. A solid B+ for Ms. Curington. I'll be looking to see what else she comes out with.

Oh, and a big ol' thumbs up for Finders Keepers. I may not give it a full review, but it was very good. Linnea Sinclair rocks!


Mailyn said...

OMG that is a horribly freaky cover!!! It will give me nightmares for sure. Oh and have you noticed he looks like one of the Coneheads [from Saturday Night Live]. LOL.

Mailyn said...

Dude I hope you are doing better.

Devon said...

Thanks Mailyn! I have a tendency towards sinus infections, and I think that the hmidity is making it worse. I feel like uttter crud. My head huurts!

P.S. The cover bites, but the book was good, I swear!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the great review! I'm glad you're happy with your impulse purchase. ;) I tried to find the right balance between truly alien and squicky, LOL, so it's nice to know I succeeded.


Devon said...

The balance definitely worked for me, Lanette.

Being a cheap person, I don't make a lot of impulse buys, so it's always a pleasure when it turns out well :)