TBR Challenge Review: Mesmerized by Lauren Dane

Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Berkley Heat (Penguin)
Pub Date: April 2011
Length: 294 pages
FTC: Purchased myself

The blurb:
Andrei Solace delivers death on silent feet as an assassin for the Phantom Corps. Mercenary Piper Roundtree thought she was over him. But against the backdrop of an impending war, their passion is rekindled. Now the lovers must join forces- in more ways than one-to save the Known Universe before the Imperialist enemy hurls it into irreversible chaos.

I'm a little late today getting this review written because...um...I just finished the book. Which I started today. This month's TBR Challenge theme was "spicy." I picked this book up at the RT Convention signing back in April. (Along with about 50 other books from the signing and convention.)

I'm struggling to give a grade to this book. It was compelling enough to read off and on all day. I didn't feel the urge to walk away from it. But I also felt really disconnected from the two main characters. I didn't plug-in to their emotions in the way I prefer. I'm not sure if it's something about Lauren Dane's voice that didn't click with me or if I was just too hung up on the Star Wars/Star Trek parallels.

We have the Federation (Star Trek) and the Imperial forces (Star Wars).  Moving on...

After a brief 20-something page introduction of young Andrei where I was flailing around trying to understand the world building Dane attempts to describe, we meet Piper...a smuggler on a desert planet.

(More beloved science fiction standards: smuggling, desert planets...)

Piper involves herself in Andrei's mission to discover just what the Imperial forces are up to. What follows is a series of action/adventures interspersed with steaminess. For once, I didn't feel like the sex scenes were unnecessary or poorly timed (with a notable exception when Piper and Andrei get it on while waiting for pickup from their back up teams...on a planet that had been bombed.)

Even though my nerdy brain kept coming up with obvious parallels in the Star Wars and Star Trek universes, I liked the mix of politics, special ops, and futuristic touches. I just wish I could have spent more time in the lead characters' heads or tapped into some angsty emotions.

My Grade: B-

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