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.

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

Beyond Control by Kit Rocha

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the author(s) via NetGalley.  Plus I enjoyed the first book, Beyond Shame.
What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  She refuses to be owned.Alexa Parrino escaped a life of servitude and survived danger on the streets to become one of the most trusted, influential people in Sector Four, where the O’Kanes rule with a hedonistic but iron fist. Lex has been at the top for years, and there’s almost nothing she wouldn’t do for the gang…and for its leader. Lie, steal, kill—but she bows to no one, not even Dallas O’Kane.He’ll settle for nothing less.Dallas fought long and hard to carve a slice of order out of the chaos of the sectors. Dangers both large and small threaten his people, but it’s nothing he can’t handle. His liquor business is flourishing, and new opportunities fuel his ambition. Lex could help him expand his empire, something he wants almost as much as he wants her. And no one says no to the king of Sector Four.Falling into bed is easy, but their sexual games are anything but casual. Attraction quickly turns to obsession, and their careful dance of heady dominance and sweet submission uncovers a need so deep, so strong, it could crush them both.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Following on about 4 weeks after the events of Beyond Shame, Dallas finally makes his move on Lex.  Or, possibly, Lex makes her move on Dallas.  That part wasn’t quite clear to me.  But either way, moves are made and the pair are soon scorching up the sheets.

March Round Up

on Paper/eBook

Tortoise Interruptus by JL Merrow – B+  This very short (27 pages), very cute and fun story features a tortoise shape-shifter who is tortoise-napped from his sister’s cafe on the Isle of Wight and his adventures, romantic and otherwise, in getting back home.  Very funny with Merrow’s trademark humour.  I liked it a lot.  Buy it on special though because it is pretty short.

Beyond Denial by Kit Rocha – B+  Free short/extended deleted scene from Beyond Control which was released by the authors during the DABWAHA March madness contest. Features Jared and Ace and sexytimes and gives a glimpse into what’s going on with Ace and Rachel and snippets of backstory of our dear Ace. A lot of fun and very hot but won’t make much sense if you haven’t read the other 2 books. 


Coming Soon

My review of Kit Rocha’s Beyond Control will be up soon, as well my review of Irregulars by Josh Lanyon, Astrid Amara, Ginn Hale & Nicole Kimberling.

Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha

Why I read it:  I saw the Twitter buzz (especially from Angela James, Carina Press editor who said it was super dirty) so I hoofed it over to NetGalley and was happy to be approved for the title.  I’ll just say here too that the copyright information at the front was pretty classy I thought (basically that it’s okay to lend, but keep within your peer group and lend like you would a paper book.).
What it’s about:  (from Goodreads)  All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond–beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain, and beyond her stiflingly restrictive existence as a councilman’s daughter. But only ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms decades earlier.

The sectors surrounding Eden house the corrupt, the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. Jas clawed his way up from nothing to stand at the right hand of Sector Four’s ruthless leader, and he’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life. But no fight ever prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet.

Her innocence is undeniable, but so is their intense sexual attraction, and soon they’re crossing every boundary Noelle barely knew she had. But if she wants to belong to Jas, first she’ll have to open herself to the gang, to a dangerous world of sex, lust and violence. A world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Angela James was right.  It’s super dirty! 😀  In the wild west environment of Sector 4, anything goes (so, expect some f/f action as well as multiple partners and a little BDSM play).  Dallas O’Kane rules the sector and he makes sure the women under his protection are free to choose what that they do and with whom, just like the men.  In Eden, woman (I gather) are ornaments for their fathers and later, their husbands; sex is not allowed and certainly not for fun.  Noelle does the rubber band thing a little – going from one extreme to the other, until she settles at what is comfortable and happy for her.    But, from the first, when she literally falls into Jasper’s arms, she feels a special affinity for him and he for her.  It takes a while for both of them to realise that their attraction is based on more than him being her white knight that day.
I *really liked* how there was no slut shaming in this book by the people of Sector 4.

“Do you think I’m a harlot?”

She could not be serious. “No. I think maybe you’re a lady who likes to fuck.”

Noelle’s lips twitched. A laugh bubbled up, and she jerked her hand from his leg to cover her mouth. “You say it so easily, like it’s not the same thing at all.”

“Because it’s not. No one here is going to think you’re a bad person.” Seeing her mouth covered was a travesty, so he pried her fingers away and rubbed his thumb over her lower lip. “I’ll show you tonight, and you’ll see.”

It takes a while for Noelle to understand that along with the power to say “yes” to things, she also has the power to say “no”.  Ultimately, I think Jasper’s earlier reticence about Noelle was about this – if she only said “yes” did that make the word meaningless?   
Jasper’s insta-love didn’t bother me as much as it usually would have (though generally it’s not a trope I love) and I can’t really put my finger on why.  It was just an accepted fact in the story very (very) early on.  I did believe he feels for Noelle something he hasn’t felt before.  I liked the way he’s clearly fairly alpha but he wasn’t uber possessive of her either.  It seems even after their HEA they will still have many sexual adventures.
I liked Noelle’s journey (now she’s free, what’s she going to do with it?) and I liked the glimpses we had into Dallas (rowr!), Lex, Ace (more rowr!), Rachel, Bren ( ro…  are you sensing a theme here?) and Six.  I think I’m going to like Maddox too as the series progresses.
Dallas in particularly is a very interesting character (absolutely ruthless but with a unassailable sense of honour) and his dynamic with Lex is something which outshone Noelle and Jasper from time to time.  For some reason, I didn’t mind though.  🙂
Because of the way the story was set up, with bits of Dallas, Lex and others, there was a sense of the book being somewhat unfinished.  This was a satisfying read, but it’s clear there is a LOT more to tell.  
I also liked that Noelle didn’t just cave into Jasper at the end, she actually thought about it – valued herself and him enough to sit back and make a decision.  I also liked that she took responsibility for her part of the relationship and didn’t expect hearts and flowers and perfection – that she undertook to make it work too.
Jasper had hurt her. Whether through good intentions or carelessness, it didn’t matter. He’d crushed something fragile, and while doing it had damaged her trust. She couldn’t close her eyes and believe that he’d always know what she needed, that he’d always be there, giving it to her, no questions asked.
But maybe it had been the wrong sort of trust. Open, passive trust, the kind that was reckless to give and easy to shatter. The girl who’d been thrown through the gates of Eden had trusted blindly because she hadn’t had any other choice. That kind of trust meant as little as one more yes from someone who never said no.

This time would be harder. She’d have to trust Jasper, knowing he was human. Knowing he could hurt her, even when he didn’t mean to. She’d have to trust that he’d do his best, and make amends when his best wasn’t enough.

What else?  I appreciated that the book wasn’t overwhelmed by world building, while at the same time being curious about some aspects which weren’t explained.  All in all though, I’d rather the less is more approach I think.  I’m curious to know more about the world – I got the sense that the authors know the answers even if they’re not actually in the book (as opposed to some books where I’ve felt that no-one has a clue or “they’re making it up as they go along”), so I’m happy enough to go along for the ride.  I’m definitely looking forward to finding more about this world and I can hardly wait to find out more about Lex and Dallas and the other Sector 4 characters.

Grade:  B

Kit Rocha (who is the alter ego of Moira Rogers – aka the writing team of Bree and Donna) have a most cool promotion on at present, where you can sign up and join the O’Kane gang – complete with (temporary) tattoos. You can also grab a badge just like this one to show your allegiance.  Very fun.
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