Ice Planet Barbarians (Ice Planet Barbarians #1) by Ruby Dixon

Its hitting almost -40C today here in Montreal so it felt suitable to review a book set in an icy planet. Ice Planet Barbarians is the first book in a science fiction erotica series. Of course, I was two steps too slow and didn’t realize that barbarians would mean erotica so here we are.

Ice Planet Barbarians
by Ruby Dixon

Ice Planet Barbarians

You’d think being abducted by aliens would be the worst thing that could happen to me. And you’d be wrong. Because now, the aliens are having ship trouble, and they’ve left their cargo of human women – including me – on an ice planet.
And the only native inhabitant I’ve met? He’s big, horned, blue, and really, really has a thing for me… – Goodreads

So…I’m feeling a little embarrassed after I just used the Goodreads synopsis. To be fair, Ice Planet Barbarians sounds so incredibly cheesy and still, there are quite a few redeeming points to it. You didn’t expect that, right? Ruby Dixon creates a very adequate and vivid image of where these 22 year old girls have landed from the description of the first group of alien to these ice planet barbarians. The land they tread and the monsters that roam in it are all very well described. With that said, the well-written description also expands into describing the characters and their feelings as they use two different voices of the main girl Georgie and the alien Vektal. There are some downfalls that I will touch on a little later. However, its easy to almost see who these characters look like especially the hulking alien here even if some of the description comes into somewhat of a suspense as we learn why they keep referring to “khui” and “resonance”. With that said, good on Ruby Dixon to also give us a pretty self-contained story here which helps that in her sequels, it focuses on other human and alien pairings with other characters as I had a chance to take a glance at snippets of the beginning of the other books in the series. Another good part here is that the erotic scenes here work very well. It is expected as she has a great way with her words and while some of it can get a little cringy (as these books do), there is a certain satisfaction to it still, call it a guilty pleasure if you will.

One of the main issues here is really the character themselves and how they actually talk. Yes, I know they are different species and its not to do with the fact that they lack proper communication via spoken language. The character, particularly Georgie is actually really annoying to read. She starts off like a pretty spoiled character and her inner monologue which is what we read as one of the voice is hers, is just grating to read. She does take leadership but its more like she has no other choice in the most self-indulged way and she doesn’t really do much. However, I do have to say that the redeeming part here is that she does acknowledge the whole Stockholm Syndrome deal here and tries to prevent herself from letting sex get in the way of her mission, at least there was an effort in it. On the other hand, Vektal is a pretty good character. Awkward and weird in his own alien ways which is all part of the learning curve of his species and their beliefs. My only issue with his part was the writing of making his understanding of Georgie in jumbled English so you had to decipher it whenever you read it even if he didn’t understand it. I get the purpose. At the same time, his side is somewhat repetitive. There’s a lot of terms like “mate” and “my resonance” and “khui” and repetitive writing over and over again which I’m not a huge fan of it. It got a bit irritating to read.

Overall, props on world building, good erotic scenes and character design however not a huge fan of the writing style and Georgie. It comes midway for myself. I’m not exactly sure thats enough for me to keep reading the series. We’ll see if ever it shows up on my radar.

Never Kiss a Bad Boy by Nora Flite

Remember in the haul post yesterday when I said that I had to get a book because its original trilogy format was changed to just one book and I had to make that purchase, this is said book. It was originally called For the Thrill but now its just called Never Kiss the Bad Boy. If this was the first title I had seen, I would have passed over it but oh well, it is what it is. I don’t like feeling like I didn’t finish a book so it just had to be done.

Let’s check it out!

Never Kiss a Bad Boy
by: Nora Flite

Never Kiss a Bad Boy

Could you fall in love with a killer? How about two?When hiring a hitman, it’s important to remember two rules.
One: Pay in cash.  And two: Don’t sleep with him. –Goodreads

 I’ve reviewed a few erotica novels here this past year. Its definitely a whole different ball park. Before this year, the only erotica I had read was Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and I think it was before I wrote book reviews here. Suffice to say that erotica is a tricky genre to appreciate. I feel that everyone has a different idea of what they are looking for when they read adult fiction. If you have read some of my previous reviews, I haven’t been particularly happy with them because most of the time, the female character is somewhat unfairly portrayed, making it lack somewhat of the realistic feeling of what I’d like to see. As I mentioned before, I started Never Kiss a Bad Boy when I was reading For The Thrill which is the first book of the trilogy it was before it was put together into one book. While I appreciate the move, I actually had more fun reading For the Thrill in itself than finishing up the entire book. The story took somewhat of a predictable turn by the end but to be fair, I did really enjoy the characters and the fact that it used all three main characters to narrate different chapters so there was a good grasp of who these people were and gave them time to charm the reader and like them even in the most odd way of having this three way relationship. The only complaint I did have with this one is that the incredibly well constructed and extremely steamy sex scenes overpowered the story beneath of finding a killer and seeking revenge which with a better balance would have made this book have much more substance. Don’t get me wrong though. I love steamy sex scenes that don’t make me cringe because they are so fun to read and this one has a ton of them. I just also was intrigued by the story behind it that could have been built a little more if it was for a sex scene every other chapter.

With that said, I need to talk about our characters. The “bad boy” here are actually “bad boys” because it features two ex-hit men who just finished their last job: the calm and calculated Jacob and very social butterfly Kite. Together they make a great team. In fact, they even have a blood brother bond which leads into their last job attracting the attention of Marina who was tracking down the man they killed to find the lead of who murdered her family when she was a little girl. Because of that, she went on a hunt for these hit men to help her. They agree after some manipulation but to their surprise, they start falling for each other. Marina is a tough girl and very focused. Her life is restricted and lonesome (much like Jacob and Kite) because she is haunted by her past and wants to have the revenge in order to hopefully let it go even if it means that she’ll die. She’s extreme that way, but as we learn more about her, you can’t really blame her. Somehow, Marina, Jacob and Kite form a connection. Well, its hard to resist to hot men but Jacob and Kite are portrayed as something more, whether its their mysterious personality or their story, it pulls them all closer together and because of the blood brother bond, Jacob and Kite finally decide that they only way they can be with Marina is having her together and of course she agrees and from there, the story keeps going. Expect lots of threesome steamy sex scenes in this one. The fun part of this book though is that the characters do act a little different from what we’d expect and that gives them a fun element and something to think about because each of them are changing because of meeting the other, whether its Jacob or Kite changing because of Marina or Marina changing because of them. There’s always a question whether there is a bigger hidden agenda that might twist the story around.

Overall, Never Kiss a Bad Boy has a lot of great moments and a pretty nice story and well-built characters. The sex scenes are fun and steamy, but never cringe-worthy (which is actually quite rare) because it builds on the character’s chemistry. While the erotica is done well, the story that drew these characters together gets lost in the romantic story which is a shame because it would have been nice to see a little more of it and explore a little more of what Marina could have achieved in this mix. For what it is, Never Kiss a Bad Boy is pretty good.