Monday, August 5, 2013

Megan's Mark by Lora Leigh

Synopsis: In the first book of her erotic new series, Lora Leigh invites you to an intriguing world where genetically altered Breeds and the humans who created them commingle - and sometimes cross the boundaries of desire...

Cursed with the extraordinary power to feel other peoples' emotions, Megan Fields has tucked herself away in a remote corner of New Mexico, working as a small-town sheriff's deputy. She finds solace in the silence and heat of the desert. But when Breeds begin dying on her watch, Megan realizes that the secrets from her past can't stay buried forever. Someone is out for blood - her blood.

An arrogant Feline Breed, Braden Arness broods with feral intensity. His mission to solve the mysterious murders brings him to Megan, a woman who accosts his senses like no other. Only with him can she let down her guard - and surrender to the insatiable hunger that wracks her body. But as they team up to hunt the elusive killers, Braden and Megan find themselves becoming the prey...

My Thoughts: I've had this book in my TBR for what seemed like forever. This series was recommended to me by another paranormal romance lover so I bought it and several others in the series. It sat on my shelves for a long time because I kept hearing from fans of the genre opinions that greatly varied from LOVED IT!!!! to HATED IT!!!! with not a whole lot of in between feedback. I finally thought I'd take the plunge and this is what I thought of it. With some good and some bad I found this to be right in the middle on the enjoyability scale.

What didn't work for me: According to the back blurb this was marketed as the first in a new paranormal series yet after further research (which I wished I'd done before purchasing this book) I found this is actually the 6th full length novel in the Breeds series. The first 5 were released under the publishing company of Ellora's Cave which is an erotica publishing company. As this book was released by a more mainstream publishing company (Berkley) I thought it would be tamer than it's erotic book brethren. If this is indeed tamer I probably will not go back and read the EC books because I'm not a big fan of erotica.

I think pointing out this is NOT the first book in the series is important. I often read romances out of order but I do it by choice. To be misled by the publishing company irritates me beyond measure. There are other readers who absolutely will not read books out of order so use this as a gentle warning to potential Breed series readers.

Now for the I mentioned I'm not a fan of erotica but went into this book with an open mind and did not hold that against this book. What I am holding against it is that the sex completely overshadowed a very awesome kick butt suspenseful plot. It is entirely possible for an author to write an exceptional book using the sex to enhance the story without making the sex the purpose of the story. Each love scene was at least a dozen pages and there were quite a few of them. When the characters were not having sex they were talking about sex, thinking about sex or catching the scent of wet panties which we read about a lot. I'm actually surprised Megan didn't get some kind of infection from running around all the time wearing them.

So, lots of sex. Got it. It just could have been so freaking awesome to have had a stronger plot besides the destined Mated we have to have sex all the time or you'll practically die of horniness plot. Another aspect of the sex I did have issues with was that for paranormal romances and sex in particular to work for me and most women the characters have to essentially be humanoid in appearance (ie: the penis better look like a man's penis and not have some weird cocklebur that shoots out the end upon climax.) Braden is a Man with Lion DNA so even though he looks like a man he has some cat features (google cat barbed penis you'll get what I mean). In addition to that all the lionmen appear to have glands under their tongues that secrete stuff when kissing their mate. This completely grossed me out because all I could think of was secreting boils on his tongue and now, so will you.

Ok enough about that....What worked for me: Megan was actually an awesome character who was so strong despite her often debilitating empathic gift. She didn't need Braden to come to her rescue and was more than capable of defending herself and taking out enemies who were genetically far advanced than she. Her joy in utilizing her training and instincts was contagious and I loved reading about her in action in the field.

The action and suspense was excellent. I really wish Leigh would have used this as her primary plot device instead of the uncontrollable mating one.

The world building was satisfactory despite this not being the first book in the series. I had a firm grip on how the Breeds came to be and which groups were good and which ones were not. I did find I had some unanswered questions regarding a lot of Braden's background and what went on in the labs where they were created but I suspect that many of those questions are answered slowly throughout the entire series.

As secondary characters go, there is only one that really intrigued me because Jonas is extremely complex. Everyone he works with seems to be intimidated by him and the reader just can't get a grip on if he is a good guy or a bad guy. I'm hoping that we learn more about him throughout the rest of the series and because of this and the killer action I'm going to read more of the series.


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