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May Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

Rear view of a woman walking into a snow storm in a city, a bright light ahead of herSolar Fury by EA Chance, narrated by Eva Kaminsky – C+ I came across this book recently and saw it was available via Audible Plus with a trusted narrator so I decided to give it a try. The premise was really fascinating; a solar flare causes society to falter and suddenly nothing works anymore. No satellites, no GPS, no phones, no internet. The lead character is Dr. Riley Poole. She’s an orthopaedic surgeon who’s at a conference in Washington DC with her young teenage daughter, Julia, when the solar flare occurs. Riley is a widow with 3 children – that’s right -3. The other two were left at home in Colorado with her parents. The other two children don’t feature strongly in the book, apart from being the motivation for Riley to get home to them. It was also unclear exactly why Riley took Julia with her given that poor Julia had to spend her days in the hotel room while Riley was the conference. They did eat meals together and did some sightseeing after hours but as holidays for a teenager go, it wasn’t ideal. At the conference. Riley meets Dr. Neil Cooper (“Coop”), a respected heart surgeon and they strike up a flirtation. After the solar flare, Riley, Julia and Coop, together with a young girl whose parents are missing, go on the road trying to make it to Riley’s family in Colorado.  Over the course of the book, Coop and Riley become closer and there is a romantic HEA for them by the end. (That’s not really a spoiler – there are 2 other books in the series and the blurb for book 2 makes it obvious.)

I’m not an expert on solar flares but the setup seemed authentic to me and made for an interesting post-apocalyptic premise. But from there, things fell down a bit.

Beyond Ruin by Kit Rocha

Beyond RuinWhy I read it:  I received a review copy via the author.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Adrian Maddox fled his royal life—and tragic past—in Sector One, choosing instead to join up with the O’Kanes. For years, he’s lived by one rule: love fast, love hard, and always be willing to walk away. He’s managed to guard his heart, keep it whole and untouched—until now.

They couldn’t be more different—Dylan, the brilliant, burned-out doctor from Eden who drowns his pain with drugs and self-destruction. Scarlet, the sensuous, sexy rocker from Three, a woman unafraid to embrace the world. And Jade, the whore turned spy from Sector Two, who battled addiction and came out stronger than anyone he’s ever met.

Separately, they make Mad long to open his heart, to tumble head-first into a sea of possibilities and wild love. Together, they make him burn, inside and out, with lust and unbearable, unimaginable pleasure.

Then one fateful moment shakes their world to its foundations—and leaves the sectors on the verge of all-out war with Eden. It’s the biggest fight the O’Kanes have ever faced, and Mad and his lovers are at the dead center of it. They could end up with everything they never knew they wanted—or lose it all. Including their lives.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I was behind on the series so I’ve just binge-read Beyond Addiction, Beyond Innocence and Beyond Ruin all in a row. So I’m all caught up on who’s who and what’s happening in the Sectors. Things are changing fast and the advice I got from other readers was correct: read the series in order. You can skip over the novellas but the full length novels have too much world-building stuff to read out of order.

Hold by Claire Kent

Hold Claire KentWhy I read it:  I bought it after positive reviews from trusted bloggers. 

Note: This book was previously published by Ellora’s Cave under the same title with the author’s pen name being Zannie Adams. This is the self-published version which has been “substantially revised and re-edited”.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Find the strongest man there. Give yourself to him in return for protection. It’s the only way you’ll ever survive.

Convicted of a minor crime, Riana is sentenced to a prison planet—a dark primitive hold filled with convicts vying for power. Her only chance of survival is with Cain, a mysterious loner who has won his territory in the prison through intelligence and brute strength. Sex is all she has to offer, so she uses it. She’s under no delusions here. No one is ever released, and no one ever escapes. Survival is all she can hope for—until Cain.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Set in a future dystopian world where the galaxy is ruled by a corrupt and somewhat amorphous “Coalition”, this novella certainly packs a punch.  Thrust into a prison where there are no rules and it’s very much survival of the fittest, Riana gets a piece of advice by a sorta-friendly guard:  “Find the strongest man there. Give yourself to him in return for protection.”  The guards don’t really guard.  They don’t spend time in the hold really.  There is no patrol to keep order. They drop the prisoners in and that’s about it.  Every day food gets dropped down a kind of chute and there is a fight to see who gets to eat and how much.  Even though Riana is no pushover, she is no match for tens of males who forgot the rules ages ago. She might have been able to hold her own against one, maybe two, but not against all of them and not for long.

Beyond Jealousy by Kit Rocha

beyond jealousyWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from the author.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)   She’s been looking for the perfect man. She found two.

When Rachel Riley sacrificed a life in Eden to protect the O’Kanes, she earned her place in the powerful Sector Four gang. But the former crime princess is tired of being everyone’s sweet little sister . It’s time for her to get wild, to embrace her fantasies as only an O’Kane can—with a delicious exiled soldier and the gang’s wickedly sinful tattoo artist.

A saint…

Lorenzo Cruz is a warrior, taught by his commanding officers in Eden that involvement equals distraction. Emotion is a liability, and desire a sin. In Sector Four, he finds decadence, shameless sex—and his own dark urges. No battle strategy prepared him for how Rachel makes his heart race…or the way his rival for her affections sets his blood on fire.

…and a sinner.

Ace Santana has a dirty reputation and a mind to match, especially where his new lovers are concerned. He’s eager to help Cruz embrace his dominant side, and to explore the lines between pleasure and pain with Rachel. But corrupting them quickly becomes an obsession, a need he can’t deny—and a love he never imagined.

Three hearts on the line means a hundred ways their ménage a trois could go wrong. After all, even O’Kanes do forever two-by-two. One of them could be the missing piece that makes them all whole…or a temporary diversion destined for a broken heart.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I think it’s fair to say that for fans of the series, this book is much anticipated. Ace and Rachel circled around each other for a while and things were looking pretty promising, when, inexplicably, Ace backed away.  Then Cruz joined the O’Kane Gang and he and Rachel looked set to have something going on but then she backs away from Cruz and next thing you know, Ace and Cruz are double-teaming women and Rachel is on her own.

They’d been living alternate lives, crossing just close enough to grind salt into the wounds because neither thought the other was bleeding.

Marked by Kit Rocha, Lauren Dane and Vivian Arend

markedWhy I read it:  I received a review copy from Kit Rocha.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lauren Dane takes you into a brand new world in ALL THAT REMAINS. Summer Killian falls fast and hard when Charlie arrives in Paradise Village. But the heat turns all the way up when she learns Charlie is also with Hatch – the man she loved three years before. While she’s not sure she’s cut out for a triad, neither man is going to give her up.

Take a ROCKY RIDE with New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Vivian Arend as she leads you back to the Six Pack Ranch. Anna Coleman might be the law around Rocky Mountain House, but bad boy Mitch Thompson knows that under the stiff RCMP uniform is a woman with a passion for speed and pleasure that matches his own, and he’s not giving up until she’s his.

Kit Rocha returns to Sector Four in BEYOND TEMPTATION. A promise to a dying friend backfires when Noah Lennox finds that the girl he was supposed to rescue is all grown up–and wearing O’Kane ink. He wants to protect her from the secrets of their past, but she wants him. And an O’Kane woman always gets what she wants.

Beyond Temptation by Kit Rocha: Taking place between the events of Beyond Pain and the soon-to-be-released Beyond Jealousy, Temptation features O’Kane member Emma Cibulski and the mysterious tech expert living underground somewhere in Sector Three, Noah Lennox.  Emma and Noah both have history in Sector Five and Noah has a hard-on for revenge against Five’s leader Mac Fleming.  He blames Mac for his best friend (Emma’s brother)’s death.  For reasons which are a little less clear to me, Mac is after Noah too and Noah has distanced himself from Emma for the past 4 years so as to protect her.  She’s all grown up now and seeing the tough kickass woman she has become, Noah can no longer keep away.  There is a secret to do with Emma’s brother that everyone except Emma seems to know and when it is revealed, it does throw a spanner into the works of their burgeoning relationship.    The story ends with definite HFN/HEA but Noah’s journey to take down Mac Fleming is only just beginning and I expect we will see more of it revealed in the next book.   The sex, as usual, is smokin’ hot and super dirrrty. There is also definite connection between Emma and Noah.  When Noah sees what Dallas and Lex have, he wants it with Emma – that partnership and equality of exchange.  The Beyond series is way more female positive than many post-apocalyptic books and I am enjoying the developing world building of the series as well as the great characters and dirty, inventive sex.  Spending time in the Broken Circle is always fun and this novella was no exception.  Grade: B

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