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Search tags: Wounded-Hero-needs-healing-lurrrve
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review 2016-02-29 15:33
"Beyond Ruin" by Kit Rocha
Beyond Ruin - Kit Rocha

Since the beginning (Beyond Shame), the Beyond series has blown me away by being so massively compelling and entertaining even though, by all my usual benchmarks, these books shouldn't interest me at all. The Beyond books feature so many things I usually hate: a post-apocalyptic dystopian setting, a patriarchal social order, casual violence and addiction, and lots and lots and lots of casual and group sex. And yet the world-building is so strong, the characters are so likable, the plot so gripping, and the writing so smoothly compelling, that these books are like catnip for me. Whenever a new one comes out, I set aside whatever else I'm reading and dive in to the Sectors.


Now 7 books and several novellas into the series, I still love the world-building and the series-overarching plot about the building confrontation between the Sectors and the poisoned utopian city at their heart, Eden. Things on that front are really heating up in Beyond Ruin, and I can't wait to find out what happens next. (Warning: the ending of Beyond Ruin is more cliffhangery than previous books have been, but that's because we're now right on the cusp of the conflict the whole series has been developing.)


I have noticed over the last several books that the blush is coming off the rose a bit for me in terms of the relationships/romances that each individual book focuses on. Part of it is that every single couple seems to have the same kinks (a tendency toward BDSM, in varying degrees of intensity), which was hot in the early books but has become stale and less believable over time: these are different couples/polys, with their own issues, and I find it hard to believe that they all get off on the same kind of sexual play.


As to "Beyond Ruin" in particular, the relationship here didn't work for me because it's a quad between Maddox and Dylan (both men) and Jade and Scarlet (women). These two couples (M/D and J/S) were in relationships before they became a foursome, and the development of their group relationship just didn't gel for me. This isn't the first time the Beyond series has tackled a poly relationship -- Beyond Jealousy starred Rachel, Cruz, and Ace. Where that story worked, and Beyond Ruin doesn't, I think stems from the fact that all three of the participants in Jealousy have their own, equal bond with each of the others, whereas in Beyond Ruin, the men's relationships with each other works, the women's relationship with each other works, but Dylan bonds with Jade (and not so much with Scarlet) and Mad bonds with Scarlet (and not so much with Jade), and in every grouping it feels like someone is on the outside looking in. I read the whole book with a deep skepticism that such a foursome could really work, because there seem to be jealousy issues and loyalty issues and trust issues that will sabotage their happily ever after. Also, I found the use of pronouns in the sex scenes very confusing and awkward -- when you have multiple "hims" and "hers" in the scene, it was very hard to keep track of whose tab A is headed for whose slot B.

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review 2016-01-11 21:33
"The Rogue Not Taken" by Sarah MacLean
The Rogue Not Taken - Sarah MacLean

I really enjoyed this first installment in Sarah MacLean's new historical Scandal & Scoundrel series, which is nice because I haven't really been connecting with historicals in about a year. The heroine, Sophie, is the youngest of five daughters known collectively as the Soiled S's, 'soiled' because their father bought his earldom after making a fortune mining coal, and 'S's' because their names all begin with S. At a ton fete, Sophie catches her brother-in-law cheating on her pregnant eldest sister, and pushes him into a fishpond. One might think his reputation would be the one to suffer as a result of this scandal, but no, he is a duke and Sophie is a coalminer's daughter, so she is the one ruined.


Desperate to flee the humiliating scene, Sophie comes upon King, who is climbing out of a soon-to-be-married lady's bedroom window. No stranger to scandal himself, the Marquess is nevertheless unwilling to help Sophie, so she poses as one of King's footmen to hitch a ride home. (Just go with it.) Unbeknownst to her, though, King's carriage isn't headed to Mayfair: he's on his way to Cumbria to see his estranged father, having heard his father is on his deathbed. On the journey north, Sophie and King's misadventures lead, gradually, to the correction of the wrong assumptions each made of the other on their initial acquaintance, and ultimately to love, though trust is harder to come by.


Much of the appeal of this book, for me, stems from the fact that apart from the initial scene at the garden party, "Rogue Not Taken" is a roadtrip story. It doesn't take place in London's drawing rooms and ball rooms, but in carriages and curricles and posting inns along the North Road. I also appreciated that Sophie isn't truly of the aristocracy, nor does she aspire to be, but she is also keenly aware that her past life of comfortable anonymity, before her father became an earl, is no longer available to her either. She's truly adrift in that sense, without a community, which makes her a more compelling character.


King didn't really stand out from the crowd of romance heroes, to me, and yet I appreciated his character arc as he grows from someone who treats Sophie fairly badly early on, but ultimately comes around to be her champion.


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review 2016-01-02 16:27
Last Holiday Read of the Season?
Angel: an erotic short story - Victoria Dahl

I'd never read any of Victoria Dahl's historical work before, but this novella was free, so I gave it a whirl. This story, about an octoroon prostitute in New Orleans whose Irish client/lover offers her a fresh start out west, is short and tamer than the marketing might suggest, but it serves it's purpose in that I'll probably read on in the series.

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text 2015-12-18 18:19
Reading progress: 67%. That took way the hell too long.
Hold on Tight - Serena Bell

Finally, at the very end of Chapter 21, they tell the kid the truth about his dad--and then only because the kid caught them in flagrante delicto and started asking sticky questions. I am still really, really annoyed by this. 

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text 2015-12-17 20:02
Progress 38%: Tell the Truth Already!
Hold on Tight - Serena Bell

I am very frustrated by one aspect of this otherwise so-far very compelling, well-written book: Hero and Heroine are big fat lying liar pants! They had a brief fling 8 years ago while hero was on leave from the military, which of course resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. Heroine tried to find him to tell him about the pregnancy, but there's a bazillion Jake Taylors in the world, and she couldn't track him down. Fast forward to present day, and Jake (having served in Afghanistan and lost his leg in an IED attack) comes into the same physical therapy clinic where the Inadvertantly-Secret-Baby is getting PT after falling out of a tree.


Heroine recognizes Jake, practically chokes on her tongue, makes a big speech about how she's got to be honest with him and surprise, you're a daddy! See that little boy on the other side of the glass? He's your kid! Act casual!


But never, not in this initial conversation, nor over the course of the next several weeks, during which Jake and kid meet several times and have several excruciatingly awkward conversations about kid's MIA dad, and Jake and Mira have several excruciatingly awkward conversations about these awkward conversations -- NEVER DO THEY TELL THE KID THE TRUTH. Why? In fact, they both outright lie to him, over and over again, telling him that his dad was just a sperm donor.


This is making me crazy. I have two boys, 2 and 5, who actually do have a sperm donor dad, and they know the truth about their origins and have since they developed the ability to ask questions and listen to age-appropriate explanations. Jake and Mira's kid is 7, by far more able than my boys to process and understand, and yet THEY'RE SCREWING IT UP!


In many other respects, I am enjoying this book a lot, but I'm so pissed off about this issue, I'm not sure I'll be able to keep going.

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