4 star review

Review – The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

Book of the Unamed Midwife

Philip K. Dick Award Winner for Distinguished Science Fiction

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.

In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power—and the strong who possess it.

A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men’s clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she’ll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.

After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.

This was a hard review for me to write. I did read it a while back, at the start of my slump when a change seemed as good as a rest (and I enjoyed it), but then I struggled to find what to say about it. It’s the end of the world as we know it, and no one feels fine. The titular heroine of the story, the unamed, gets sick in a world going mad and wakes up at the literal end of the world. Women are mostly dead, dying, or enslaved. Babies aren’t being born. And men are grabbing all the power. Into this world the unnamed goes forth hidden as a man.
The tale is mostly told in epistolary form, and it actually mostly worked for me. The book starts 100 years in the future with scribes recopying the unnamed’s diaries. And with that introduction we are jolted into this world. It is dark, gritty, sad, and much of the time horrifying. Realistic is probably the right word. Don’t expect a happy ending, or romance. Don’t expect reunited lovers. This isn’t this book.
What it is, is a “smart” book that delves deeply into gender role, survival, and the slide into superstition when science is lost. And I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of the book, but there is really no one to root for and you already know no one is getting their happy ending. So if you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary as a palate cleanser, then this is worth a look. Now, I understand there are other books in the series, but this one I think ends in the perfect way, so there is no sense that you actually need to read the sequel if you don’t want to, and I probably won’t.
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere, #1)

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5 star review

Review – Ashwin by Kit Rocha

Ashwin

The first book in the follow-up to Kit Rocha’s bestselling BEYOND series…

Gideon’s Riders, Book One

Lieutenant Ashwin Malhotra is a Makhai soldier–genetically engineered to be cold, ruthless. Unfeeling. His commanding officers consider him the perfect operative, and they’re right. Now, he has a simple mission: to infiltrate Gideon’s Riders, the infamous sect of holy warriors that protects the people of Sector One.

He’s never failed to execute an objective, but there’s one thing he didn’t anticipate–running into Dr. Kora Bellamy, the only woman to ever break through his icy exterior.

When Kora fled her life as a military doctor for the Makhai Project, all she wanted was peace–a quiet life where she could heal the sick and injured. The royal Rios family welcomed her like a sister, but she could never forget Ashwin. His sudden reappearance is a second chance–if she can manage to touch his heart.

When the simmering tension between them finally ignites, Kora doesn’t realize she’s playing with fire. Because she’s not just falling in love with a man who may not be able to love her back. Ashwin has too many secrets–and one of them could destroy her.

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.

Do you know what I have been missing in my reading life? Legitimate joy. Joy which I finally found again. I have been waiting for this man’s book since his very first appearance. He is all kinds of chilly and just my kind of damaged hero catnip. Seriously, I referred to him in my last review as “my cuddly wuddly little Maiko shark“. I am not saying there is nothing wrong with me, I am just saying that Ashwin is one stone cold heart-breaker in the best of ways. If you are a fan of Nalini Singh’s Judd, Kaleb, or Vasic, this will be right up your alley too. He’s colder and more pragmatic like Kaleb, but dropped into the emotional and caring culture like Judd was, with a little more depth like Vasic.

Now, this IS the start of the spinoff series, and I think you CAN read this one apart from the other series (though I think everyone who likes erotica should read the other series), but it does add a little something to it if you have read the other series. However, if the more in depth erotica-ness of the previous series wasn’t your cup of tea, then jump on in over here, because the water is nice and warn…but not too warm. No menages, no voyeurism, none of the overt BDSM elements, just good old fashioned super smexy times romance (but not boring smexy times either if you know what I mean).

So what is going on is this. The previous series chronicled the start through the end of the war in a post-apocalyptic dystopian. It was kind of like the Hunger Games in that there was a greedy capital that sucked the life out of the other sectors and pitted them against each other. Now we are seeing the rebuilding phase of this world. Basically that is all you HAVE to get from the previous series, though Kora and Ashwin were minor albeit integral characters in the other series.

It has been 6 months since the end of the war. Kora had left her cushy but emotionally unfulfilling life in the capital to work as a doctor in the Sectors. Her and Ashwin were parted at the end of the last series and Kora has grieved for Ashwin while she has been working in Sector One. When he pops back up it was, needless to say, quite the shock. And it hasn’t exactly been the most fun 6 months of Ashwin’s life either. Ashwin is there to join up with the Riders, the protectors in the religion that Sector One had come up with and what has turned into the stabilizing new force in the post war culture. Sector Four’s irreverant devli may care attitude was enough to push for and win the war, but what is needed now is more a culture of home and family and peace. This naturally causes some consternation in what is left of the capital, and decisions have been made to monitor and perhaps influence the growing power. So there are intrigues and conspiracies, and the left over power structures in the capital aren’t as neatly severed as one might like. And we can definitely start to see where the future conflicts are going to come from in the world at large.

As far as relationship conflicts go though, this one was kind of a doozy, and Ashwin screwed up royally. Can I blame him? Not exactly, because there is a ton of subtext and personal past history going on, but then, I am not the one he screwed over either.

Dude, I am screwing this review up though, because all I want to do is squee and gush over the entire plotline…which would completely spoil things. So I will just say that I LOVED it. I loved how Kora has plans and hopes and dreams for herself separate from any man-and that she has plans to continue her path even with Ashwin in her life. I love how she gets MAD. I loved Ashwin, from cold and hard to emotional as he changes and grows; and I want to see more of that arc in future books. And I loved how they were together. They were sexy and sweet and they fought and made up, and they knew that it would be building a family, that their relationship would take work. And they are all in on making it work.

I have actually re-read this one already, and foresee rereading this many happy times in the future. So seriously, buy the book, here are the links; I am not an affiliate I just really want people to buy and read it.

 

Ashwin (Gideon's Riders, #1)

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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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4 star review

Review – 2113: Stories Inspired by the Music of Rush by Kevin J. Anderson, John McFetridge

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18 exhilarating journeys into Rush-inspired worlds

The music of Rush, one of the most successful bands in history, is filled with fantastic stories, evocative images, and thought-provoking futures and pasts. In this anthology, notable, bestselling, and award-winning writers each chose a Rush song as the spark for a new story, drawing inspiration from the visionary trio that is Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.

Enduring stark dystopian struggles or testing the limits of the human spirit, the characters populating 2113 find strength while searching for hope in a world that is repressive, dangerous, or just debilitatingly bland. Most of these tales are science fiction, but some are fantasies, thrillers, even edgy mainstream. Many of Rush’s big hits are represented, as well as deeper cuts . . . with wonderful results. This anthology also includes the seminal stories that inspired the Rush classics “Red Barchetta” and “Roll the Bones,” as well as Kevin J. Anderson’s novella sequel to the groundbreaking Rush album 2112.

2113 contains stories by New York Times bestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson, Michael Z. Williamson, David Mack, David Farland, Dayton Ward, and Mercedes Lackey; award winners Fritz Leiber, Steven Savile, Brad R. Torgersen, Ron Collins, David Niall Wilson, and Brian Hodge, as well as many other authors with imaginations on fire.

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.

Dang, just dang, this is a ton of stories. I picked this up because I am fond of Rush, and because of the Mercedes Lackey story. Anthologies are difficult to review, especially when there are this many stories, so I’ll try to leave brief comments on them individually as I go along. But overall this anthology is filled with gems and you don’t need to have any familiarity with rush at all. I’ve underlined my favorites for ease of reference. Continue reading

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5 star review

Review + Giveaway – Beyond Ruin by Kit Rocha

Beyond Ruin.jpg

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.

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

This is a series that I adore. Dark and gritty, sensual with a biting edge, and in my opinion, feminist erotica. Post -pocalyptic dystopian, which I can’t get enough of. And characters you just have to love set in an intricately built political world. You really can’t just jump in here at the 7th book. It won’t work. Start at the beginning and dig in. Fair warning, the first ones are skewed mostly to the erotica side, but as we go along Kit Rocha builds this whole world and political system that is kind of a darker, and way sexy, Panem.

And this particular story is one that we readers have been clamoring for. For one thing these are some of the most mysterious characters, and for another, after the triad the authors pulled off, how would they pull off a quad? Mad, Dylan, Scarlet, and Jade have serious demons, and this particular story is erotic /fic in just about any configuration you can think to make. And it is intense, and explicit, and not to be missed or skimmed over, because it redraws the terms and boundaries of their relationships and their souls. And for just how sexy it is, it also feels a bit like a cuddly puppy pile, especially at first, because it is also about comfort and caring. And the remarkable thing is that they analyze why they are broken, and what in them is “them”, and what in them is what they were made to be. And as a quad they are whole, and they shore each other up, and they SEE each other, because some things you simply can’t fix…you just have to live with who and what you are now. So it is heady being inside their heads.

On the political/societal front, things come to a massive head. Outright war is on our doorsteps. But sometimes that isn’t even the worst of it. The lives Eden twisted and destroyed and turned into their twisted playthings are PEOPLE under it all, not nameless, faceless things, people…and as I’ve said, sometimes people can’t really be fixed. But sometimes they can remake themselves, and that is often the theme in this series. And if Ashwin Malhotra doesn’t get his ever loving redemption, if not a full-fledged happily ever after, then I WILL freaking riot.

But that is a side thing (but I am serious Bree and Donna, so, so serious), and we have to focus on the now.

And here is what I mean by this being feminist erotica. Yes, there are sexual power plays, and yes, some characters ink collars and cuffs on each other (and that is predominantly women). And yes, there is a ton of sexual submission going on, and what some might argue is coded language. But the flip side to it is, who has the power if sexual submission is what you like and want? And that isn’t all women are in this series. The sexual games are titillating, but if you care to look, the rest is often powerful. Women can be healers, and power brokers, and powers in their own rights. Women can be Sector Leaders, and some of that is because even in the midst of the chaos women can teach their daughters powerful lessons “…how to tell right from wrong, and how to use whatever power she had to protect those who had none….because her mother had loved her enough to tell her she could do anything.” And the powerful men in this series don’t take that for granted, they don’t diminish it, and whatever sexual games they might play-they recognize that the sex (submissive or otherwise) isn’t the defining feature of the women. And there isn’t any BS about the men having to have equal outside power to count, or holding extra internal power to compensate, they just are who they are and they respect each other.

And the love story here of 4 broken individuals who remade themselves, and reshaped themselves-for themselves- somehow made themselves into pieces that fit together perfectly, a puzzle that might not make sense to anyone but them. I’ll admit, I had my doubts about how well a quad would work, how they could balance so I felt that everyone gave and got what they needed, so no one was lesser. But it turned out beautifully, and I can see this relationship working for all of them.

That ending though, war, and not everyone has made it out alive so far, and the future looks pretty grim. We have a title, Beyond Ecstasy, and our two new main characters are revealed. But so far, no date, though it is listed as 2016, so hopefully not too long, I can’t wait.

If you haven’t picked this series up, here’s chance to score a digital copy of a bundle of the first 3 in the series.

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BEYOND SHAME (87,000 words, 354 pages)

All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain. But ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms.

Those ruins house the corrupt and the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. He’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life, but no fight prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet.

Her innocence is undeniable, and so is their attraction. But if she wants to belong to Jas, she’ll have to open herself to a world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.

BEYOND CONTROL (100,000 words, 398 pages)

Alexa Parrino escaped a life of servitude to become one of the most influential people in Sector Four, where the O’Kanes rule with a hedonistic but iron fist. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for the gang–and for its leader. But she bows to no one, not even Dallas O’Kane.

Dallas fought to carve order out of the chaos of the sectors. Danger threatens his people, but his liquor business is flourishing, and new opportunities fuel his ambition. Lex could help him expand his empire–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.

BEYOND PAIN (89,000 words, 350 pages)

Live fast, die young–anything else is a fantasy for Six. She’s endured the worst the sectors had to throw at her, but falling in with Dallas O’Kane’s Sector Four gang lands her in a whole new world of danger. They’re completely open about everything, including their sexuality–but she hasn’t survived this long by making herself vulnerable. Especially not to men as dominant as Brendan Donnelly.

Bren is a killer, trained in Eden and thrown to the sectors. His one outlet is pain, in the cage and in the bedroom, and emotion is a luxury he can’t afford–until he meets Six. Protecting her soothes him, but it isn’t enough. Her hunger for touch sparks a journey of erotic discovery where anything goes–voyeurism, flogging, rough sex. He has only one rule: he won’t share her.

In Bren’s arms, Six is finally free to let go. But his obsession with the man who made him a monster could destroy the fragile connection they’ve forged, and cost him the one thing that makes him feel human–her love.

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4 star review

Review +Giveaway – Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

VT-MercuryStriking-RZanetti_FINALMercury Striking

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley and with Tasty Book Tours, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review. Additionally, there is a giveaway associated with this book blog tour, scroll down to the bottom of the review to find it.

            She fumbled in refastening her shirt. “I’ll teach you everything I know about the illness, and you provide temporary protection and one kill.” The mere idea she was contracting a murder banished the desire humming inside her and replaced the heat with a lump of cold rock.

            A veil fell over Jax’s eyes. “What makes you think we don’t know everything you do about the illness?”

            She shrugged, wondering if he knew what kind of information he might have stored away just from his ransacking labs. “The Internet went down fast, much faster than anyone would’ve thought, and the news and television thereafter. No way do you know what I know.”

            He watched her patiently, as if waiting to strike. “The Internet went down because of a guy named Spiral.”

            She blinked. Wow. So Jax Mercury had some seriously good intel. “True. He was infected with the illness and then reacted by creating a world-class computer virus. Figured if bodies died, so should technology, since it got us in this fix in the first place.” Her instincts hummed. Underestimating Mercury would be a colossal mistake. Suddenly, and for the first time in way too long, hope struggled to unfurl within her. “I still know more about the illness than you do.”

            “Probably.” He studied her for a few moments longer before cocking his head to the side. “What else?”

            She cleared her throat. “I assume you’ve scavenged the area you control?”

            His chin lifted. “So?”

            She swallowed, her body stilling. “Did you scavenge the emergency CDC outpost on the southeast side of L.A.?” Her blood pumped so fast she could feel a vein in her neck bulging.

            “Yes. Why?” he asked softly.

            The softness contained a deadly intent that rippled a shiver down her spine. Her fingers fidgeted. “They had the most recent research, and combined with mine, we might have hope.” They also had intel on where Myriad, the ultrasecret lab, might be located.

            He studied her. “We raided the CDC outpost and took all medical supplies and paper records. Our limited medical personnel went through the files looking for cures, but I have to be honest, none of them are researchers with your background.”

Lynne leaned forward. “I’m happy to go through all the information and decipher it for you.” Oh God. Maybe the risk of heading into Mercury’s territory would actually pay off . . . if she could find Myriad. “Could I look through the data?”

            He leaned back and studied her. “Sure. Are you telling me there may be a cure?”

This is the first complete book in Rebecca Zanetti’s new series The Scorpius Syndrome. The intro novella is in On the Hunt which I didn’t manage to get my hands on before reading this. However, I did read her Sin Brothers series, so I knew I liked her writing style. Plus, I am a sucker for post apocalyptic dystopians.

And this is a rather good one. A plague, plague ridden zombies (the science and the effects on this one are pretty novel and interesting) the scientist plague bringer, the rugged special forces former gang member hottie (who likes to cuddle), the government conspiracy, it all adds up to a compelling tale.

Analyzing my love with post-apocalyptic dystopians, I think part of why I enjoy it so much is that it gives a reasonable and concrete explanation for short cutting typical social mores, in a way that just irks me when it comes to contemporaries. Romances novels often take short cuts to feelings, but it feels irritating and contrived in contemporaries, whereas when the world is ending it just feels more reasonable. I don’t know, but it works for me, and Lynn and Jax are crackling together right from the start.

Jax isn’t remotely a nice man, but for the most part this works in the setting and the situation, but he isn’t a one note bad boy. And even the side characters are relatively fleshed out, enough so that the losses are a punch to the gut, and I teared up more than once. Lynn is a little more opaque to me, a little harder to figure out and empathize with, despite the fact that we spend quite a bit of time in her head. But YMMV.

The actual plot to the story was also pretty compelling. There are several stories going on tied up with one big story about finding a way for humanity to survive. There is also a ton of sequel bait, but it doesn’t detract from this story. And man I enjoyed this story. It has all my favorite catnip components. My only niggle, and it is very minor, is that there were a few places where the story lagged a bit.

It is books like this that make me hate starting a series when it is just coming out. I want to binge, but there is literally nothing but tenterhooks for me to wait on until the next book, and the next one isn’t even coming out until September. How can I wait that long? What if it doesn’t come? What if the series doesn’t continue? I’d be so pissed and despondent. But seriously, this is really good, if you like post-apocalyptic dystopians, action/adventure, and plagues and science, this is the book for you. 4 stars

Mercury Striking (The Scorpius Syndrome, #1)


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