Title & Author: Hell Squad series (Books #1 – #4, Marcus, Cruz, Gabe, Reed), Anna Hackett
Genre & Publication Date: Sci-Fi Romance, April 19, 2015
Book Description: *From Book One: Marcus* “In the aftermath of a deadly alien invasion, a band of survivors fights on…
In a world gone to hell, Elle Milton–once the darling of the Sydney social scene–has carved a role for herself as the communications officer for the toughest commando team fighting for humanity’s survival–Hell Squad. It’s her chance to make a difference and make up for horrible past mistakes…despite the fact that its battle-hardened commander never wanted her on his team.
When Hell Squad is tasked with destroying a strategic alien facility, Elle knows they need her skills in the field. But first she must go head to head with Marcus Steele and convince him she won’t be a liability.
Marcus Steele is a warrior through and through. He fights to protect the innocent and give the human race a chance to survive. And that includes the beautiful, gutsy Elle who twists him up inside with a single look. The last thing he wants is to take her into a warzone, but soon they are thrown together battling both the alien invaders and their overwhelming attraction. And Marcus will learn just how much he’ll sacrifice to keep her safe.”
First Line: Her team was under attack.
My Take: Oooookay, I read four books of this eleven book (soon to be 12 book) series. Usually when I review a series I read everything that’s out but *rubs eyes* I had to stop. I’ve read so much sex with this set that I’m starting to feel like that episode on Friends when Joey and Chandler somehow got free porn on the TV and never turned it off until they noticed it began to warp their minds. So, yeah, in my ongoing exploration of the Sci-Fi Romance genre I read four books in this highly popular series–which I didn’t realize were crammed full of erotic situations. I now understand that I should’ve figured this out by the book covers alone.
But I’m rambling and not reviewing so let’s get it on–I mean, get on it–I mean, get–you know what I mean.
Warning up front: I dig into the XXX rated stuff included in the series so if that bothers you, please skip this review.
The plot, outside of the intertwining, hit on the good Sci-Fi expectations for a post-apocalyptic alien invasion, followed by an alien occupation. A group of military and civilians are hunkered in a defensible mountain military base that the aliens haven’t found. They send out teams to rescue additional civilians, as well as gathering intelligence on where to strike back. They’re trying to figure what brought on the invasion and what exactly these aliens want from Earth, especially when they start noticing that the aliens are abducting human beings. Each book moves the story along and they discover more and more about what’s really going on.
That part of the books is really interesting. If only there was more plot and less bouncing on bed springs, I’d probably have read more of the books but I’m afraid the sex (which wasn’t all that great–we’ll get to that) occupies most of the page space. We’re talking three scenes or more in each book, scenes that take up more time than the actual story itself, especially since these books aren’t very long. To be fair, I will say that the author does really well playing up the longing and tension between the two meant-to-be characters prior to the heaving and panting. I like that their emotions are involved and they actually fall in love. Call me traditional, but I like it when the characters that get together actually have feelings for one another.
The characters are likeable enough as well but the men have a bit too much of the Alpha male for my taste. A little brooding goes a long way. The author offsets this a bit by having the women MC’s be intelligent and capable, but still they fall in love with the possessive, bullish male military archetype. Layers needed there.
All right, I can’t review this series without actually commenting on the wham-bam that went on. As frequent and explicit as things got, those scenes were really…bland. Oh, there was plenty of heat and fervor, but I noticed a lack of description in the subtler things–the stuff that makes it lush and vibrant. Does that make sense? I mean the small intimacies like the scratch of an unshaven cheek or drawing lazy patterns on warm skin or tracing fingers over broad shoulders or even (possibly entering TMI territory) the feel of a man’s weight against you. In other words, the acts were there but vividness of the experience wasn’t. It was also repetitive as hell. Every encounter was essentially the same across the books to the point that I started to wonder if all these guys read the same playbook when it came to moves. For books that are pretty much centered on those scenes, it could’ve used more imagination. In particular there was one move that ALL of them did that read really awkward. I mean, how can he slip his hand there right when he’s slamming–Okay, breaking it off here because that’s definitely TMI territory.
The Magical: I liked the alien invasion plot and the missions they went on. Lots of action and adventure on that front.
The Mundane: Could definitely do with less coupling action but something tells me that people are buying these books for that purpose.
Summary of Thoughts: The first book, Marcus, is FREE on Amazon if you’re curious about the series. I think book one was the best of the bunch because the author was busy with worldbuilding more than in the other books. Simple, straight-forward prose, these stories are good for a quick (and dirty) read. Although without much substance and easily forgettable, they’ll entertain you but don’t expect to be moved. They’re kind of like the literary equivalent of chewing bazooka gum–the flavor is gone pretty quick but it’s good enough if you’ve got nothing better.
I’m giving what I read of the series three stars on the whole for the decent Sci-Fi plot and because I know a lot of my dislike is personal preference. Those who enjoy reads centered on the erotic side will likely enjoy it.
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