05 July 2010

ARC Review: Lauren Dane - Insatiable

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Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (July 6, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425235262
ISBN-13: 978-0425235263

Genre: Futuristic, Erotic Romance
Book #3 in Federation Chronicles & Book #1 in Phantom Corp
Main Characters: Daniel Haws & Carina Fardelle
Book origin: Won an e-copy on Twitter fro the author.

Cover Summary:
Desire is the most dangerous sensation of all.

With tensions between the Federation and Imperial ‘Verses rising, one woman may hold the key to victory. The dangerous mission to smuggle her out of Imperial Territory falls to Daniel Haws and his team, the ultra secret Phantom Corps. This elite squad of the Federation Military is the only one trusted and skilled enough to remove her from under the watchful eye of her father, the Supreme Commander of the Imperial ‘Verses.

Carina is used to wearing a mask. Her father and his men think her little more than a pretty prize to be won by a man more ruthless than the rest. When he announces his intention to marry her to one of his henchmen, a man known for his cruelty, Carina knows she has to move as soon as possible to get out. But getting secret information to the Federation has served her well for years and she appeals to them for help.

She expected rescue from a man who’d been her enemy. But she wasn’t prepared for just how intense her attraction to Daniel Haws would be. Born as adversaries into different ranks, and on the run for their lives, they now need each other to survive–by holding on to the only thing they have in common: a growing desire that is dangerous, irresistible, and insatiable…

My review: By the time I closed this book I looked at the cover of INSATIABLE and all I wanted to say was; It’s me, not you, in why I struggled with your story. The fact remains though that I did struggle with this story and the main irritation for me was Carina. The story begins with the separate introduction of Daniel Haws and Carina Fardelle, and at that moment I had no problems. Daniel came through as a skill-honed Phantom Corp warrior who was preparing himself for a dangerous mission and Carina, in her initial situation, showed resilience. A prim and proper royal woman of her Verse but inside she was screaming for what the rules of her Verse were forcing her in to. The beginning promised a story that I could revel in…that was until Daniel and Carina met and I gradually started to dislike Carina more and more.

It wasn’t the body chemistry but the personalities that didn’t mesh for me. Carina’s actions or thoughts were emotive at times to reel me back in but then as fast as she got on my good side she would do or say something that would completely aggravate me. Like telling Daniel he has fluff for brains, or that he is silly, or that he has to stop pouting or shushing him in an argument. Carina probably meant it in a different tone but I just didn’t pick it up that way. Or the moment she was thinking of his butt - and how she had her hands on that butt while he fucked her - in the middle of a dangerous fight. In such a situation I would think your mind would be else wise occupied. She just rubbed me the wrong way but then I thought; Okay Daniel she gives you attitude, show her your ‘in-charge’ attitude and give her something to chew on! I mean, a skill honed and high ranked warrior doesn’t seem like the man who would pout. Instead I got a man who was endeared by her, almost overpowering, persona and that’s where they lost me.

If I would look at Carina through Daniels eyes she is bossy, regal, sassy, hard, smart, serious and innocence wrapped up in a curvaceous package to savor. What he found sexy or sweet I just found plain annoying and I just never gained his perspective. I felt Daniel was a man who had two sides to him. One who is commanding and a deft warrior, and the other side is caring and sexy, but pliable. He is a likable hero but most of the times he couldn’t push my buttons.

So here I was, drawn in and pushed out of the story in rapid succession because yes, there were also good things. It was my struggles however with the main couple that created a domino effect to the romance. I read them falling for each other but I wasn’t feeling the love or drawn in their romance that made my heart beat a bit faster. The kind of romance I know Lauren Dane can deliver for me! This is also an erotic romance and the sexual desires were more naughty of tone then anything else which included some voyeurism, self masturbation and M/F bed play.

The plot was embedded in a chase where their adversary was an evil man doing diabolical deeds who send his Skorpios men for the chase, but these Skorpios were faceless and very much in the background. The enemies’ actions were mentioned more than actually shown and I didn’t get the chills and thrills of; will they make it, or won’t they? It does have some tension filled moments where they find resistance and the only way through it is via a fight. With the last third of the novel focused on the more political aspect of the plot.

Romance and plot might not have blown me away but Lauren Dane has the writing skills that make the Federation/Imperial world come to life. She effortlessly provides information how this culture lives, rules, and how their world works. Not only does the main couple matter, the supportive cast of family, friends a fellow Phantom Corp member’s breath their essence in to this story. I loved the quiet, rock steady Andrei, Wilhelm Ellis mysterious persona who got under my skin since the moment I met him in UNDERCOVER and I was so glad Roman and Abbie got to play a significant role. They flesh out this story, allow the overall plot to become a critical part of the story too, and each of them have their part to play.

With INSATIABLE, Lauren Dane ups the ante with the troubles in the Verses and to add the Phantom Corp to it as a focal point is an intriguing move. It allows many new characters to come in to the picture, joining the strong characters I already met in the previous novels; UNDERCOVER and RELENTLESS. I may have my issues with Daniel and Carina but they still added their own perspective and flavor to the already colorful cast. Daniel loved Carina, and Carina loved Daniel, of that much I was convinced by the end of the story… I’m only bummed I was irked by their personalities rather then excited and couldn’t get swept up in their romance enough to be touched by it.

2,5 stars

“Gods above and below, you undo me.” He said it not as a complaint but with wonder, and she threw herself into his arms again. She burrowed against him so tightly it was like she tried to get inside his skin. Where if he had the right words he could tell her she already dwelled within him. Holding her like that, so small and totally, utterly resilient, he let himself breathe, truly just let go of his anxiety. This was what he had been missing: the sense of return. Not just coming back to Ravena but returning to someone, something bigger than simply himself. She was his place to come home to, the reason to return.

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  1. OHHHH its that sexy cover from months ago! NOM!! I hate when characters irritate the crap out of you taking enjoyment away from the book as a whole, most heroines do that for me, i could bitch slap many and more lol!

    great insightful honest review, thanks Hun!

  2. The cover is so pretty! I am not a fan of this type of book so I skipped, but darn it, the cover needs to be framed LOL. Very nice review Leontine. :)

    1. My sentiments exactly!

  3. YAY finished rough draft of my review so I read your review and...
    This book is the perfect example of how something can have a different effect on two different people. Because even though I have the same irks regarding Carina and plot as you did, for me it was just slight annoyance and not enough to truly affect my overall opinion of the book. True, for me it was a lesser installment than RELENTLESS and definitely less intense than UNDERCOVER. I'll leave it at this not to hijack your comment thread (I explain extensively in my review, coming Wednesday *wink*)

  4. (my brain is overheated due to the heat of the last days and my time in the reviewing cave this afternoon...)

    Pff forgot to tell you that I do think you wrote an awesome review...especially as the book didn't work as well for you as you wished.

  5. I read the first book in this series not realizing it was scifi (I don't normally read that) and enjoyed it. I've got to get on track and read the 2nd book. Between your review and Pearl's comments I'm intrigued...

    Nice, honest review!

  6. Wow, fabulous review, hon! You made me understand precisely what didn't work for you! What a waste of that delicious cover for you, it would've looked so much better on a book for the keeper's shelf. ;D

  7. @Sparklybearsy - Yes, I still remember the cover that went around the world a couple of months was this one. I still heart the cover AND the series, just this one didn't work for me so well...

    @Fiction Vixen - I'm not an avid reader of the futuristic genre either but this series just had me from the start :)

    @Pearl - I'm so looking forward to Wednesday then! And you're right, Carina wasn't my kind of heroine personality but that doesn't mean she can't work for someone else :)

    @Patti - Relentless is great and perhaps Insatiable will work for you too and you've got two fantastic reads on your shelves ;)

    @Janna - I'm so glad I articulated myself well in what didn't work...I often have it that something was wrong but I couldn't pinpoint it exactly. The moment the irritations began to add up I started to take extra detailed notes. I'm glad that paid off because Lauren Dane is a great author in this genre and I really wanted explain where I was coming from :)

  8. Oh goodies I was waiting for someone in my reading sphere to review this one. Sometimes Dane's books can be a hit or miss with me, you'll never get a badly written book but some stories are better than others.

    Fab review L.

  9. Oh no! Sorry this one didn't work out for you Leontine. Thanks for organizing your thoughts on why though. It gave me a really good idea of how this story read for you. Great job!

    You know, I'm beginning to develop a new peeve when it comes to my reading and its having trouble connecting to the characters. I can't stand it and it looks like your lack of connection really brought the book down for you. I haven't read Dane yet, but I'm still interested in her. Perhaps I'll just avoid this particular book of hers.

  10. Excellent review Leontine. I still have Relentless to read but thoroughly enjoyed Undercover. I know what you mean though when you can't connect with the characters it really makes the overall enjoyment of the story difficult.

    Thanks so much for sharing! I've been eyeing this cover art for months! lol

  11. Hmm...I had no idea what this book was about..LOL. I've definitely heard mixed opinions. Lauren Dane is an author I want to try but I think I will start with her other series.

  12. I could have sworn I left a brilliant and witty comment yesterday humph.

    I think I mentioned that Lauren Dane's books can be a hit or miss for me but you'll never get a poorly written story.

    So far my favorite has been Laid Bare.

  13. @Smokinhotbooks - This one was a miss with the characters unfortunately but there are plenty of new characters I'm excited about in this series :)

    @VFG - For me a lack of connection did deminish the overall enjoyment of this novel :( I can wholeheartedly rec both Brown Siblings series and the Federation Chronicles, LD has more series but haven't read them yet. Just check out her backlist and take one that speaks to you...that's how I got hooked onto these two series :)

    @lea - I've been ogling the cover for quite a while too :) I loved UNDERCOVER, it's still one of my favorite LD novels!

    @Mandi - I've only seen glowing reviews for INSATIABLE so far...

    @Smokinhotbooks - Yeah, you left a comment before hun, but blogger haz been pms-ing or something with the comments :(

  14. I want to hug that cover!

    Great review Leontine.


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