2.5 star review

Review: Confessions by L.M. Mountford

**A copy of this eBook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review**

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When Mina returns for her stepbrother’s 21st birthday, she thinks her days of lusting after him are over. Caught up in the heat and passion of the moment, she is stunned to find them back in bed together; their feelings clearly far from resolved.

 

Well, where to start? Not much in the way of printed works causes me discomfort, but this short novella had enough taboo to skate the edges of social and personal acceptability. While the author provided a disclosure related to the consensual nature of the sexual acts contained, the events that played out seemed to hedge more along the lines of rape, than consent.

For the duration of this quick reading, I am sure my face was flushed with shock. The beginning was smooth, with a nice introduction to our main character, but quickly and unseamlessly fell into a dark pit of kink. I can get over the dalliances between the step-siblings, but the brutal scenes that unfolded soon after started to cross a line I didn’t know I possessed. I am all for an enthusiastic romanticized tryst, but the gang-attack of this 20-something model was a bit much. While I understand her initial stance was one of consent, Mina’s continual second guessing was enough to make me think that she wanted to withdraw that consent, but feared for her career.

Consent obtain through threat, is sexual assault.

This is my first experience with this author’s work so I can not comment on his writing abilities much more than I have already. For a dirty afternoon, or steamy evening read this would fit the bill. If you were hoping for complex character development and a solid plot,  you won’t find it here.

 

 

 

 

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5 star review

Review – Beyond Surrender by Kit Rocha

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The final book in the bestselling, award-winning series…

She’s the heart of O’Kane liquor.

He’s the brains of the revolution.

They’re facing a war that could end their world. Again.

On December 13th, the Beyond series comes to its climactic conclusion with Nessa and Ryder’s story–and the final battle between the sectors and Eden.

I received an ARC of this book from the author, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

This is book 9, and the final book in this remarkable, dirty filthy beautiful series. The first 8 books in the series are only 0.99 as a bundle for an extremely limited time. SO pick it up NOW.

Like many I was late to the party on this series, two years late to be precise. And I only picked it up on accident because I was picking up lots of anthologies early in my blogging hobby trying to broaden my reading horizons and book 4.5 was in it. I liked it so I went back and picked up the first book and proceeded to devour 1-4 in the course of a couple of days and after that I was a devoted Sector 4 junkie jonesing for the next hit. Fortunately for me, while my reviewing skills needed work (so very much work), the books were fantastic and only got better with a new one coming every few months. Beyond Addiction, Beyond Possession, Beyond Innocence, Beyond Ruin, and Beyond Ecstasy.

It was (if you’ll excuse my truly awful play on words) beyond anything I had ever read before. All the sex and kink I could possibly want, without the woman being powerless or overpowered. And all the freaking consent, consent is so sexy and this series proves the hell out of it. Plus menage that felt equal and balanced.

And the world building is truly excellent. I felt immersed in this world that took all the things I had been enjoying with YA/NA post apocalyptic dystopian, without the insipid things I couldn’t stand.

As each book has followed a particular relationship to further the overall plot arc, so too this one did. We FINALLY get the Sector Four princess, sweetie pie Nessa’s story. And her and Ryder are smoking hot together, even with the fact that objectively their relationship is the most vanilla of any in the series. I guess you could call it spare, or basic, but it fit them. They didn’t need the trappings of power and submission, they each hold their own shares of power albeit in different spheres.

More important than the relationship though is the conclusion of what has been a massive undertaking: war. The war that was ramping up in the last book culminated in this book, and the results are dire and heartbreaking. Not everyone got out alive and it effing HURT. We also got some background or a behind the scenes peek at some of the subterfuge that shaped the events in Dallas’ life, and a distilling of all the relationships in the Sector. When everything is destroyed, what you have left are the people, and that is the real strength in Sector Four. And in that, even with the individuals who died, the core of Sector Four endures. It is a bittersweet ending, but the sweet makes it worthwhile.

And while I don’t want to leave them, it is good that Kit Rocha is leaving them to live out their lives in what happiness they have found. I really do hate when authors keep jerking around beloved characters just to keep drama high enough to continue a series.

Fortunately, we don’t have to leave the Sectors. Kit Rocha will be returning next year, only this time to Sector One, and the writing duo heard my (and probably everyone else’s) pleas to give us more Ashwin Malhotra. The icy cold Makhai soldier is up next. Every time I saw Makhai I read it Maiko, and that is what Ashwin is, my cuddly wuddly little Maiko shark (sue me, I looove the damaged ones), and I so want to see him got his happily ever after. Ashwin can’t come soon enough for me.

Beyond Surrender (Beyond, #9)

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4 star review

Review – Beyond Ecstasy by Kit Rocha

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The O’Kanes have a reputation for working hard and playing harder—except for Hawk. He joined the gang with one goal: to ensure his family’s survival through the impending war with Eden. It’s been years since he had the luxury of wanting anything for himself. Now, he wants Jeni. From the first moment he saw her, he’s been obsessed with making her his. Not for a night—forever. Jeni’s been lusting after the former smuggler for months, but he keeps shutting her down. She’s almost given up on getting him in her bed when he offers her the last thing she ever expected—a collar. Accepting it means belonging to him, body and soul. It’s a reckless gamble, but Jeni can’t resist the chance to slip under Hawk’s armor.

The only thing more shocking than the dark, dangerous pleasure they discover is how right it feels. But falling in love is even more reckless when forever is far from guaranteed. Because they aren’t just at war, they’re out of time—and every breath could be their last.

I received an ARC of this book from the author, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

I adore this series. Life got in the way and I am a bit late, but don’t let that give you any hesitation in snapping this whole series right up. Here we have the next to the last book in the series, and I can’t remember ever having quite this same level of both excitement to see where the story is headed, and sadness to see a series go. I often harp on a series knowing when to let go, and man-oh-man is writing duo Kit Rocha pulling out well before I am sick and tired of them.

I initially found this series in one of the earliest things I read specifically for the blog. And then I devoured all the currently written books. And then I had to wait patiently for Beyond Addiction, Beyond Possession, Beyond Innocence, and Beyond Ruin to come out. It has been a busy two years and I can’t believe it is almost over.

*Disclaimer-this being the eighth book in the series, I don’t advise you to start here, this is a complex post apocalyptic dystopian series, you will be lost and never so lost as with starting here than any other point in the series. Start from the beginning so you know the players and the arena. And if that is too daunting, there are a couple of novellas you could start with to see if this is to your taste. So there will be spoilers for previous books.

And we’ll start those previous book spoilers now. Hawke and Jeni have been circling each other for a while now, so it is flat pure relief to have them finally connect. And really the first half of the book is their dance in the midst of prepping for the war that started in the last book. Unfortunately for Hawke and Jeni… Ashwin and that whole thing almost completely stole the show for me. I need Ashwin like my next effing breathe. But that is a personal thing, I really get hung up on the freaky damaged ones.

But there is plenty going on with Hawke and Jeni. THIS is BDSM that is safe, sane, and consensual. We have honest discussion of boundaries, safe words, letting go (with some series thoughts about what it all means), and some mentoring. And because on many ways the sex in this series is egalitarian, we have a woman doing the mentoring in dominance for a man. This to me is feminist erotica, and it works for me.

And there is quite a bit of calm before the storm narrative taking place, which is a good backdrop for watching their love story unfurl as well as lining out the finale.

Be ready though, because when it hits? It hits hard and rips your effing heart out. This was honestly one of the more uncomfortable conflict points for a couple in this series, but it resolves so sweetly you just can’t stay mad. It is a really good installment that moves the plot forward an amazing degree. War is here, and it is dirty and ugly, but at least now there is an end in sight.

Don’t be too sad seeing all this awesome and thinking about it ending though. First we finally have our Nessa’s love story. Then Kit Rocha is going to be taking us to Sector One soon, and I for one can’t wait! Especially if Ashwin is up next (please, pretty please guys…let me have Ashwin next!).

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DNF

Review – To The Moon And Back by Jocelyn Han

To the Moon and Back

After her father’s death, the last thing Ava Windsor wants is to leave Earth and move to an Elite colony on the moon for the next ten months. Nicolas Carter, a man she doesn’t even remember meeting, is to be her custodian until she reaches the age of twenty-one. Until then, she is not allowed to touch the money her dad has left her. Being the only child of a disowned Elite father and a common mother just got a lot more complicated.

But surviving among the Luna Six Elitists who treat commoners as servants should have been the least of Ava’s worries. Nicolas Carter is nothing like she expected. He condemns the Elite lifestyle, he is a lot younger than her father, and he is definitely way sexier.
Ten months on the moon seem like an eternity if you know you shouldn’t be falling for your guardian… but just can’t help yourself.

A sweet, steamy romance novella for lovers of New Adult with a hint of Futuristic.

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

I picked this up because New Adult is just insanely ubiquitous, and I figured I can’t keep avoiding it like the plague. It sounded interesting, and while the falling in love with you guardian trope is not my favorite, I do tend to tolerate it more when it is in a non-contemporary setting. I was also hoping that having the hero be a bit older might make it a good transition into NA for me, and since the heroine is almost 21, and age gap wasn’t likely to bother me.

Stop now if you’d rather not be spoiled……………………………………………..

I got two percent in and found something that absolutely did bother me. Turns out the hero is her uncle. An adopted one apparently, but I have too many adopted family members to not get squicked out. Heck, I’m not even a fan of the step brother trope. Adding this to the guardian trope was just not something I could tolerate. So I took a look at other reviews to see if there was anything that would ameliorate this for me, and it turns out that this is a reprint or amended version or something to a work originally titled Fly Me To the Moon, which was published December 2013. Going by the reviews, in the original story he may have been her half uncle, but adopted is still kin as far as I am concerned. I went ahead and skimmed, but it looks like the hero/uncle is dating someone else for a good chunk of the time too.

So this really wasn’t the right book for me at all. I hate to DNF, but I really couldn’t read this one. From what I did read, it seemed well written and there weren’t any obvious editing flaws. This is probably a case of it being me rather than the book, but it is a detail I wish had been included in the blurb.

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3 star review

Review – Taming a Highland Devil by Kimberly Killion

Taming a Highland Devil

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

A CHOICE…

Laird Magnus Sutherland loves women. His prowess in the bedchamber has earned him the name Devil of Dunrobin, but no woman has ever stirred his heart. Magnus needs to provide his clan with an heir, which is the only reason he agrees to marry the neighboring chieftain’s sister. When his betrothed arrives, he discovers the chieftain has two sisters. If Magnus must bind himself to one woman, he intends to discover which is best suited to be his wife, for he wants more than a body to plant his seed. He wants a mate for life.

A CHALLENGE…

There are three reasons Lady Effie Reay refuses to vie for Laird Sutherland’s affections…

For one, she is thirty-two and would surely lose a competition to her beautiful, younger sister. Secondly, Laird Sutherland is a well-reputed rake, and she holds no desire to wed another faithless man. And thirdly, the sight of him makes her tingle, shiver and ache.

Will Effie be successful in thwarting Magnus’ advances, or will her body succumb to a temptation that can only lead to heartbreak?

It looks like this is a story that was previously published by Ellora’s Cave and the rights have since reverted to the author and she is now self publishing it. I don’t know, but maybe if I had known it was previously published there, it might have set my expectations a little better. Because, this was not what I was expecting.

Don’t get me wrong. This wasn’t a poorly written or executed book, and the erotica juxtaposed into a period where I as a reader tend to expect more purple prose than raunchy scenes was highly titillating. It was just a little startling is all, and I was expecting more romance and a little less erotica.

I actually really liked Effie and Magnus (his mother calls him Maggie, how cute is that?), I just really wished there was more story, and since this was almost all sex, there wasn’t room in the 69 pages for enough story to satisfy me. The characters weren’t just cut outs or stock characters, so we saw enough of them for me to be dissatisfied with the amount of story, conflict and characterization that we did get. They both have sad histories, and they both just fit each other really well, I just wanted more.

There were also two things that really bothered me, and there is just no way to get around explaining them without spoilers so stop now if you don’t want spoilers…………………..

I just couldn’t get over the fact that Magnus literally tried each of the sisters out ahead of time. And I really couldn’t get over who Effie’s sister’s real lover actually was. Those were two real problems for me. But again, if I had realized who the original publisher was, I might not have been so surprised or so bothered. So I admit, some of my rating is reader bias and expectations, but overall I am giving this 3 stars, because I am betting this is just the right book for someone else.

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