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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mix of all of my paranormal favorites: mystical powers, futuristic aliens, crafty shifters and steamy romance., August 3, 2010
Bookaholics Reviewer (Bay Area, California) - See all my reviews
Body Master by C J Barry
Paranormal Romance - August 3rd, 2010
5 stars

Body Master is an astonishing beginning to an exciting and new paranormal series. Clear writing and an intensely involving plot made this a story not to be missed! The complex relationship between the 2 main characters kept me turning the pages as sworn enemies became passionate lovers.

In this series aliens have crashed on earth. The problem is they pose a real threat and most of earth's population is unaware that they exist. These aliens have the ability to assume the DNA of humans and shift into the identity of any individual. But what makes them scary is that many of them feel earth is their personal playground. As a result, rashes of human murders by the aliens have created the special government agency XCEL. XCEL's sole purpose is to capture aliens and keep them contained but also to prevent them from being discovered by the general human populace. But the aliens' super strength and ability to change their identity makes them deadly and difficult to catch. To make matters worse, the aliens have been slowly building power by killing humans with money and influence and taking their DNA to impersonate them.

Seneca Thomas is the best agent at XCEL. But she has a secret. Her Native American heritage has given her special powers to detect the shifters even in their human form. She can also force them to shift back which makes them vulnerable and easier to capture. But she must touch them to do so. On her latest mission she wasn't able to reach the dangerous shifter she was assigned to capture and as a result her partner died. Guilty, angry and sick at heart Seneca is pissed when she discovers she has already been assigned a new partner. A partner who is a shifter named Max Dempsey. She is sure Max has only joined for nefarious reasons and will eventually betray XCEL. As a result, Seneca wants no part of him but her boss tells her she has no choice. If she doesn't work with Max their agency will lose their funding. Resentful, Seneca decides not to make it easy on her new partner and is blatantly hostile. There is no way she has to be civil to the creep, even if he is sexy.

But Max is willing to put up with her suspicion and antipathy because he does have an agenda of his own. And he needs the help of XCEL and their top agent if he wants to get his personal mission accomplished. The bottom line is he doesn't need his partner to like him just to give him what he needs. Both of them don't plan on actually caring for each other and even if they did have a relationship it would doomed.

The developing relationship in this novel is one of the best I've read. There is real hostility especially on Seneca's (I really enjoyed Seneca's tough attitude.) part until she sees Max as an individual and not just one of the dangerous shifters that have killed her partner. I enjoyed Seneca's slow and realistic development of feelings for Max. What I mean was Seneca didn't immediately like Max like most heroines do in romance books. It was also intriguing to see Max's point of view as he begins to realize that Seneca is not only a means to an end. Their transformation and the deep change in their attitudes and views of each other made for great tension and an extremely absorbing story.

The author also has several secondary characters that were equally 3 dimensional and had their own secret agendas that furthered the story. I was particularly intrigued by Seneca's crafty grandmother who tells more than she reveals. How does she already know about the shifters and where do her powers come from? The paranormal aspects made sense and flowed easily in the story adding a rich background that only made the story all the more fascinating. I hope this series goes past the usual 3 books that most authors write because I feel there is so much room for this series to grow. The original take on shifters and the Native American humans with their own special powers and is a sure fire hit!

This is a captivating new series! A mix of all of my paranormal favorites: mystical powers, futuristic aliens, crafty shifters and steamy romance. But it is the way the author seamlessly brings them together that makes it so satisfying a novel. My only regret is that it ended too soon!

Reviewed by Steph from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely LOVED it!!!! Such a FANTASTIC book!!!!, November 9, 2010
I loveeee C.J. Barry's sci-fi romance books and loved her Unearthed series. When I heard about this book I was itching to get my hands on it and now that I have, and read it under a day, I've got to say the book was absolutely fantastic!

This book is the perfect balance of action, romance, the paranormal element (in this case being the aliens) and a touch of humour.

I won't go into full detail about this book as the other reviews have more or less covered that but what I will say is I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this to any sci-fi romance lovers out there, you will not be dissapointed!

EDIT: IMPORTANT BEFORE YOU BUY READ THIS! - Forgot to say that you shouldn't judge this book by it's cover. This book isn't an erotica, it's not even close. It has one sex scene near the end of the book (69% to be exact) and a smaller one shortly after. It builds up the relationship between the two main characters, which is what I liked anyway, reminded me of an Urban Fantasy novel in fact, the cover should have looked like one.

But anyway just an FYI for those of you who may assume this is an erotica/or book full of sex, it's NOT so don't buy this book assuming that because you'll probably be disappointed. Would hate for this book to get any negative reviews because of that, because it's such a great book, so just a heads-up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun mix of genres, this alien paranormal romance kicks off a new series, August 19, 2010
I've always wanted to try a book by author C J Barry, and Body Master, a fun mix of paranormal and alien romance, was right up my alley.

Unknown to the general public, aliens walk among us. They are shapeshifters who take on the appearance of anyone as long as they have a DNA sample. Seneca is an agent on a secret task force and it her job to hunt down and capture dangerous shapeshifters. Seeing the worst of their race, her work has left Seneca with little love for the aliens. So she's less than pleased when, after losing her partner during a capture, she is assigned a new partner who is a shifter.

Max has wormed his way onto the task force, yes, he has the skills to take down his fellow shifters but his real purpose is to use his position to hunt down one shifter in particular - the traitor who was responsible for the death of many of his people and who murdered of Max's wife as well. Max will have to win Seneca's trust to find the fiend and then violate that trust to extract his revenge.

I really enjoyed Body Master, though if you think about it it's sort of odd to find the hero attractive when he's wearing someone else's body and when he could just as easily become someone else. However, on the whole I did the way the relationship developed between Seneca and Max once I got past the fact that Seneca's shift in attitude towards Max from hostility to acceptance was a bit too easy to believable. Max's change of heart from intending only to 'use' Seneca to 'wanting more from her' was better.

Other things I liked about Body Master: The background plot including the whole secret black market DNA dealing was interesting and I though Seneca's shamanish grandmother and her relationship with Seneca brought Seneca's character to life. But what I really liked about Body Master was that it was so different - what a great combination of sci fi and paranormal romance. I am really looking forward to the next book, terrificly titled, Body Theif.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Paranormal Romance!, January 22, 2011
Body Master is a clever mix of paranormal romance with a little bit of science fiction weirdness to make for a pretty intriguing novel! Fast paced action, sexy characters and a fresh take on the paranormal world make this a must read!

Seneca Thomas is an XCEL agent whose job is to capture rouge shape shifters that have recently invaded the planet. Shape shifters that have been stealing human DNA to alter their appearances and pass at humans, becoming completely undetectable. The humans in this government agency are finding it difficult to control the shifter population, but Seneca is not an ordinary human. She has the ability to distinguish a shifter in human form and she can also make them force shift with a single touch. When her partner is tragically killed on an assignment, Seneca is dismayed to discover her new partner is the enemy she's been fighting against...a shifter.

Max Dempsey isn't disappointed he's been partnered with the smart and sexy Agent Thomas. Seneca's cold disposition towards him is carefully overlooked because she's one of the best agents in the city. He'll use her and the agency so he can focus on his real purpose - to find his wife's killer. He knows it's another shifter in New York City and if XCEL agents are working to bring down the bad shifters, Max wants a piece of the action. Anything to get him the vengeance he's been searching relentlessly for. The more they work together to take down the shifter army and save humanity, the closer they become. Now vengeance may not be the only thing Max is living for anymore.

Body Masters is wonderfully fun paranormal read. Seneca is the resilient female agent who shoots first and asks questions later. Max is the strong, protective hero who keeps his emotions in check, even we he desperately wants to loose control. Their relationship starts out rocky because they fear trusting each other, but their story is about watching them overcome their prejudices. Understanding and acceptance of others who may be different is a big theme in this book. Seneca has to realize all shifters are not the evil creatures she thinks they are, which really shakes up the ideals she has been forced to accept as an agent. And Max has to realize Seneca is not a normal human, but something entirely unique and different. Whatever the case, they are an absolute delight to read about:

The book constantly keeps you guessing. You can't trust anything and just when you think you know how it will end, Barry surprises you with another twist. The story had its own unique spin that delivers danger an intrigue. Barry's crisp and fun writing creates new rules and a fresh world that readers won't want to leave. The action starts right out of the gate with this book and really doesn't slow down.

The only complaint is that the book was too short! You won't want this story to end, so thank goodness this is just the beginning of the series! Barry is definitely a name to watch out for in the genre of paranormal romance. Her story is clever, her writing is superb and her characters are wonderful. Body Master is a non-stop adventure and a definite keeper!

Overall Rating: 4/4
Heat Level: 4/4

Lisa @ Once Upon A Chapter
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful find on!, August 22, 2011
GramGarcia of Lithia (Riverview, FL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Body Master (Berkley Sensation) (Paperback)
I'd never read C.J. Barry before, but being a recent retiree and having time to indulge my newly found romantic paranormal reading habit, I took a chance and ordered Body Master. This book is very well written, the characters are fully drawn, the dialogue is truly believable and the story is layered, exciting and left me wanting more. I can't wait for November 1st and my copy of The Body Thief to arrive!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read, April 14, 2011
If readers are looking for a new reading experience that's full of action, intrigue, amazing world building and an unlikely romance between two characters as unconventional as can be, then grab a chair and hunker down with Body Master. Ms. Barry has exploded my senses with this book.

I have to give the author credit for doing such an incredible job with world building. She made is seem effortless and convincing. Lately the word `shifter' in romance pertains to wolves and the big cats but readers are about to be treated to a huge change when they start reading about Max. Max is an alien from some other planet who has to adjust to life on earth. And man, do they adjust - it's more than attitude and custom, it's how they appear. I was constantly astounded as to the depth of detail that Ms. Barry wove into her story. The writing was brisk, exciting and well paced. The dialogue was enjoyable and lent tension and drama when needed. There was mystery and mysticism to spice up the wonder of it all. Ms. Barry incorporated so many fascinating aspects into her characters but revealed them through the course of the story as a natural progression of events. The author didn't dump anything on me or over-justified any of the facts. I found out when the heroine found out, I felt when the heroine felt- be it confusion, anger, fear or passion and I grew to respect each character as I got to know them.

Max, though alien, is still a male and a wonderful hero. He's intelligent, driven, focused and fights an internal pain and anguish that he thought could never heal. Once I found out what happened to him, what he was fighting for and the scope of what he was up against, there was no way I could put this book down.

Same thing for Seneca, the heroine - she's a spitfire and yet strangely intuitive to what is happening. Oh, she fights it and she's darned good. She's a woman on a mission and she thinks she knows what she needs to and her decisions are based on fact. Unfortunately for her, good for me, she faces more challenges to her belief systems, her faith in humanity and her heart. On top of that her facts are flawed with omissions. I commend Ms. Barry on creating a character I was interested in, cared for and was curious about. I also got a kick out of her special talent. It comes to play at critical moments during the story and I thought it was an awesome addition. In fact, it rates quite high on my "Very Cool!" meter.

Secondary characters abound but some of the strongest are the villains which have various degrees of nastiness. There are fatalities that occur and a couple stunned me. I know my jaw dropped a few times during the course of the book which naturally means the author took me by surprise with clever writing, misleading clues that sent me through a maze of emotions. My favorite secondary characters have to be Max's best friend Apollo and Seneca's Grandma. Ms. Barry was a true artist in her handling of Max's other friend, Carl. I have to say, he was involved in one of those jaw dropping moments and I can't even begin to tell you the number of goose bumps I got from that.

When Max and Seneca finally get past the many Herculean obstacles to their relationship, they do find love. It's a love hard earned and fought for but I came away with the feeling that they were going to make it. Max and Seneca really do have a future but I think it's going to be a bit bumpy. I also believe based on what I got to know of their personalities, they wouldn't have it any other way - which cracks me up.

Body Master is a credit to the creative genius that is Ms. Barry. She was able to merge science fiction and urban fantasy with an intense romance between two characters who initially wanted no part of the other. That slow transition from distrust and hate to understanding and awareness, from believing an alien equals an enemy to instead seeing a man with the strength of character a woman could fall in love with, made this story one of the best out there. Body Master has that high quality of writing that I look for and it's going on my keeper shelf. I had the best time reading this book and I hope other readers get a chance to find out what I found so great. This book deserves to be read.

Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing face-paced action, riveting emotion, high stakes, and wonderful wit, September 19, 2010
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BODY MASTER by C.J. Barry is full of amazing face-paced action, riveting emotion, high stakes, and a touch of C. J. Barry's wonderful humor. This is C.J.'s first book in a new series after writing several paranormal romantic suspense novels under the name Samantha Graves. I highly recommend all of her books, but I have to admit I'm thrilled she is back to the C.J. Barry pseudonym and futuristic romance. They are calling this paranormal romance, but IMHO aliens make it sci-fi romance--my very most favorite genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best stories I've read in months, September 3, 2010
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This review is from: Body Master (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book. The story is refreshing and well drawn. Definitely a keeper
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alens Have landed, August 3, 2010
I was hooked from the beginning. Great story and well written characters. Not all aliens are created equal, they are good and bad just like us.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent science fiction romantic police procedural, August 7, 2010
Secret government agent Seneca Thomas of Extraterrestrial Criminal Enforcement Locality (XCEL), New York City Division, provides a needed innate skill as she can identify the alien shapeshifters who live amidst mankind. The aliens were stranded on earth when their spaceship crashed two years ago in the Badlands. They use homo sapiens DNA to appear as human.

Seneca's partner Riley is killed in the line of duty while hunting for "Jack" a serial killing shifter. Wanting revenge, Seneca is outraged when XCEL leadership assigns her Max Dempsey as her new partner; Max is a dreaded shifter who offered his services to find the rogue killer. He conceals his personal agenda of killing the psychopath who murdered his wife and exposed their race to potential disaster even perhaps genocide. Worse he detests his attraction to his acrimonious human partner. Both are stunned with what they find.

In some ways mindful of Alien Nation, the opening XCEL science fiction romantic police procedural is a terrific manhunt (make that ET hunt) thriller. The story line is fast-paced with the shifters intermingled with New Yorkers coming across as genuine. With the two lead investigators forging a star-crossed relationship while going after Jack, but discovering so much more, readers will relish C.J. Barry's entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner
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Body Master (Berkley Sensation)
Body Master (Berkley Sensation) by C. J. Barry (Paperback - August 3, 2010)
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