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Monday, March 21, 2011

Lora Leigh, Michelle Rowen, Jory Strong, Ava Gray: "Primal"

Authors: Lora Leigh, Michelle Rowen, Jory Strong, Ava Gray
Title: Primal  
Plot Type: a mix of SMR and UF

Ratings: See annotations below 
Publisher: Berkley Sensation (2011)

     Primal includes four novellas. Three of them are part of series with "mad-scientist" plots and two of them are erotic.

     Michelle Rowen's "Bleeding Heart" takes place just days after the ending of Nightshade, which is book 1 of her NIGHTSHADE series. If you haven't read Nightshade, this novella won't make much sense to you. This story is sandwiched between book 1 and book 3 of the series. In this novella, Jillian and Declan are searching for a cure for her fatal injection of Nightshade, a serum concocted  by fanatic para-scientists who are trying to eliminate all of the vampires on earth. Jillian was accidentally injected in the opening pages of Nightshade when Declan tried to take the sample from the chemist who developed it. Declan is a dhampyr (human mother-vampire father) who has spent his life hunting down and killing rogue vampires. At the end of Nightshade, Declan's delusional father  injected him with a drug that permanently suppresses his essential nature, ensuring that Declan is emotionallyand sexuallyimpotent so that he can focus solely on his duties as a hunter/killer.  If you plan to read this series, this novella is an essential part, so you don't want to miss it.  If you're not reading the series, it's an interestingbut very violentstory that includes some references that won't make complete sense to you. If you'd like to read my review of the series so far, click HERE. (Ratings: V5; S2; H1) (UF)

     Ava Gray's "Skin and Bones" is the story of Silas Gamble, a character in Skin Tight, the second book in her SKIN series. I have not read this series, so I'm reviewing this novella as a standalone. The primary villain seems to be the Foundation, which can trace its evil roots back to Nazi experimentation in the 1940s. Apparently, the Foundation kidnaps people with various psychic powers. Then, their mad scientists experiment on the victims and try to turn them into mindless hunters who go after more victims. That's the best I could figure out from this short novella. The hero here is Silas, who has escaped from a Foundation facility and is now in rural Ecuador. Silas's talent is that he can break human bones with just a thought. When an earthquake hits the area, he rescues a woman from the wreckage. Juneau Bright is a happy-go-lucky 30-something who drifts from job to job across the globe. The two team up and head for civilization. The other plot thread follows the computer geek who is the leader of the anti-Foundation resistance  team. He apparently has the ability to run computer programs with his mind and spends his lonely life sequestered in a secure location where he directs his agents from one location to another. Adventures ensue when the Foundation hunters track down Silas after he uses his powers to protect Juneau. This is a classic SMR story without too much angst. I plan to read the series now that I've discovered it, but I was able to appreciate the novella as a standalone. I love those mad-scientist plots (Ratings: V3; S3; H-2)

Jory Strong's "Angel Claimed" from her GHOSTLAND world is a mishmash of angels, fallen angels, vampires, witches, and djinn in an alternate San Francisco ruled solely by the vamps. The heroine (Sajia) is a servant for the Tucci vampire clan, and she must find the run-away girl that she has been charged with supervising. Addai is an angel who was mated to Sajia in her previous life, and he wants her back. Together the couple searches for the missing girl. Addai is über-dominant, and he wants Sajia to be as totally submissive as he remembers her, but this version of Sajia is a more modern woman who wants some independence. The sexual scenes are over the top and include quite a bit of dom-sub interaction. The plot is confusing, and it's sometimes difficult to figure out who's who and who's what in terms of creature type. Not my favorite story in the book. I have not read this series, and probably won't, based on this novella. In any case, this novella definitely does not work well as a standalone. (Ratings: V3; S5; H2) (SMR) 

     Lora Leigh's "Primal Kiss" adds another FELINE BREEDS story to her collection. This time the romantic leads are Breeds security officer Creed Raines, and Kita Claire Engalls, daughter of Horace Engallsthe brother of the evil Phillip Brandenmore, who has been torturing Breedmates as part of his "scientific" research to find his own personal fountain of youth. Creed has been working undercover as a bodyguard for Horace, and he has fallen in love with Kita. When Kita runs away from home, Creed follows her, knowing that she is his mate. Creed is one of the few of the Breed heroes who tries to keep from pulling his woman into the mating heat because he's pretty sure she'll hate him for being a Breed, but in the end, love conquers all. The plot line involves Phillip, who is in Breed custody but still manages to put Kita in danger. BREEDS is the archetypal mad-scientist series, and this is a typical BREEDS story, so if you love the series (as I do), this one's for you. Even if you're not familiar with the series, this novel should be fine as a standalone. If you'd like to see the BREEDS reading order as recommended by the author, click HERE. (Ratings: V3; S4; H-2) (SMR)

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