Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep (Review)

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Title: Web of Lies by Jennifer Estep
Published: May 25th 2010 by Pocket Books
Page Count: 400
Where’d I Get It: Purchase
Rating: 3 stars (Maybe like 2.5. I’m not sure.)

Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon.

I’m Gin Blanco.

You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I’m retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren’t aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I’m a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn’t made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.

 

The short story, Web of Death, in between this book and the other one felt, for lack of a better way to describe it, as though that was supposed to be the beginning of this novel and the author scrapped it, but instead of throwing it away, just kept it as a little extra something something. I’m fine with that, I suppose, considering how the plot for this book played out.

Gin’s now in charge of the Pork Pit, and with it all the problems that having an establishment in not quite the bad part of town brings with it. She gets on the bad side of Mab Monroe’s lawyer when his troublemaking son tries to steal from her and she takes matters into her own hands. Granted, that’s just the small time plot for this book, leading into the main dish, but also potentially causing issues in later books, considering how she dealt with the problem.

The main thing Gin is dealing with is Fletcher’s legacy and his former best friend, who is being worked over by a coal mining dwarf businessman. The threats go too far when they’re centered at the man’s granddaughter, and Gin steps in, offers to deal with the coal miner, Tobias Dawson.

This is where everything gets a little far fetched. Donavon Caine is still around as the love interest, and Gin is still pining for him. They end up boning in the rain this time, but only after Gin somehow convinced the squeaky clean cop to break into Dawson’s mining operations. No, the cop hasn’t changed his view on Gin, though he was holding out hope once she said she was retired that things could be different. Nope, he’s still the lamest excuse for a romantic interest I’ve seen.

The one thing the romance scenes have going for them is they do make an effort to have safe sex, which is not something regularly seen in, well, most media. So, kudos for that, keeping expectations on safety first and proving that that can also be attractive and sexy.

Oh! And Gin gets a new love interest! His name is Owen and he also has super special colored eyes. This time they’re violet. I know that because the prose told me probably about seven times and he’s only in like three chapters. I don’t know where that romance is going, if anywhere, but anyone is better than Donavan Caine.

Okay, off of boners and back to the plot for a minute. I found the entire premise a little far-fetched. And this is coming from an urban fantasy novel. It’s pretty hard to get far-fetched at that point, but this book felt that way to me. A lot of the plot was just meh and totally undeserving of Gin’s time or attention. The entire thing where some big money mogul is going to bully someone off their family’s land? I get that Ashland is supposed to be like an urban fantasy, contemporary wild west where the law is corrupt and you make your own way, but man, it was hard to swallow this time around.

Then there was a whole chunk of plot where Gin had to pretend to be a prostitute to get close to Tobias Dawson to kill him. None of that went the right way and she both somehow hid a body on the super dangerous Mab Monroe’s property, didn’t lose her blonde wig after getting punched unconscious and drug around (I bet it’s also a lace front fantasy. Someone, please get me those magic wigs for cosplaying, thanks.) and didn’t get immediately murdered by either Mab Monroe or Tobias Dawson. Like, none of that logically makes sense, but I guess I’ll give it to her? I don’t know. It was just like waaaaaaaaay too out there.

Then the final showdown between Tobias Dawson. I get that that’s where the author wanted it to be, but why would he bring her there? Why would he just allow her to mess everything up? He didn’t seem that dumb. I don’t know, this final showdown was way less intense or interesting than the previous one with Alexis.

Whatever. So, this book was a little weird and not a very strong showing overall for either Gin or plot. But, I’m still in love with Gin and Jessie says that it really picks up soon. So, I’ll give everyone the benefit of the doubt and just place this weird plot back in the hole Gin so conveniently made for it with her special stone magic.

Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

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Title: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep
Published: January 26th 2010 by Pocket Books
Page Count: 395
Where’d I Get It: Purchase
Rating: 4 stars

My name is Gin, and I kill people.

They call me the Spider. I’m the most feared assassin in the South — when I’m not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don’t use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I’m out for revenge. And I’ll exterminate anyone who gets in my way — good or bad. I may look hot, but I’m still one of the bad guys. Which is why I’m in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I’m battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction… especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

It’s taken me so long to even pick these books up. What a mistake. I enjoyed the first one immensely and can’t wait to jump into the rest. You can expect me to be here in Urban Fantasy Appalachia for awhile.

I will admit, halfway through reading this book, I took a deep breath, stopped and went immediately to find the novellas (most of which are free on the author’s website, praise the powers that be!). So, I read those before going back to the book. I will include small blurbs about those as well, but I would consider them more vignettes than novellas. They were still great additions to the overall storyline.

Poison is from a young Finn’s point of view, illustrating his feelings about having a new person in the family who overshadows him, culminating in his feelings for Gin shifting when she protects him from an early demise. Web of Deceit is from Flecher’s point of view, a look at Gin’s first assassination contract and overwhelming feelings for Gin herself, the job, and their (still yet mysteriously) intertwined past. Spider’s Bargain was about Gin’s job killing Caine’s partner, which is the main romance conflict in the book. Overall, the novellas themselves didn’t take away from the book, but the book could also have been read without them. It just added some extra words and interesting tidbits overall.

I will admit. I was burned out on paranormal romance and urban fantasy pretty early (reading Anita Blake in high school will do that to you), and so switched over to Ann Aguirre and then young adult books. I’m glad to be coming back and reading more of the genre now. It’s really just what I needed, something familiar but fun.

Gin’s an assassin. She has latent elemental powers which allow her to control stone and is also less adept at ice magic. The magical system in this book overall is very interesting. What people can do with their elemental affinities is varied and keeps you guessing, yet never feels overwhelming or gimmicky. She is hired to take out a man who has been accused of embezzling funds.

She is hired to take out a man who has been accused of embezzling funds. The money is too good to pass up, and so Gin takes it, even though she a) just got back from a job, and b) really could use a vacation. Her handler and father figure, Fletcher wants her to retire, but hey, the money is still too good to pass up. She could retire immediately with this payout. So, Gin takes it the job, and that’s when everything goes pear shaped. Double-crossed, on the run from the law, with Fletcher dead, Gin has to clear her name and get revenge.

The book itself takes a logical path, information gathering and so forth. There’s some close calls, and an unlikely romance with the grumpiest police officer, Donavan Caine, who has to battle with his feelings for Gin, and his need to get revenge on his partner’s killer, who also happens to be Gin. It’s the perfect cocktail for a rage boner. I can’t wait to see what comes next with them.

This book was just fun urban fantasy. I had a good time reading it. I liked Gin’s somewhat lax sense of fashion, her crass sense of humor, her weird sexual monologs about tight pants. Really, I just enjoyed the whole package and I’m going to go start the next one right now.

Top 10 Tuesday (2)- Spring TBR

Top 10 Tuesday has been on hiatus for a few weeks, and the few weeks before that it was all about romance and like, I literally was drawing a blank on those. I read -specifically- romance sometimes, but I usually stick to Maya Banks’s stuff, so pretty much all of those would have been exactly the same, over and over again.

But it’s back now, and it’s something I can do a list about. My top ten 10 on my spring TBR.

10. Finishing up V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series. I had to actually go through my last media box (that I hadn’t unpacked in the six months since moving) and dig A Gathering of Shadows out of there. I had absolutely forgotten that I had gotten the character cards with it and also a Black London bookmark. That was a nice surprise. I had only read the first 50 pages when I received the book, stymied by people telling me there was such cliffhangers, not to do it. Now the last book is out and I can just binge them together.

9. Starting Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series. I really need to read these books. That’s all there is to it. I’ve been putting them off forever and now there’s like 15 of them.

8. Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller. Jessie recommended this book, having alpha/beta read part of it. I ended up grabbing an ARC of it, so I can jump in any time. I also have a pre-order. I should probably also find her book blog and read that.

7. Anne Bishop’s The Others series. Look, I know this series is supposed to be great and all, but maybe I read her original Black Jewels trilogy and it was full of magical cock rings and I’m not ready to deal with something like that again. I put it off. I know there’s probably not magical cock rings in this, but some things stick with you, you know? I do need to start reading it, though. There’s a surplus of them now.

6. Rachel Aaron’s Eli Monpress books. Okay. So, I have the first four of these. I started reading book one, but ARC obligations got in the way and then I forgot to pick it back up. That’s something I should get on ASAP.

5. Injection Burn by Jason M. Hough. I’m in need of a good space opera.

4. Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller. I have an ARC of this and someone on Tumblr was singing its praises. I probably should read it sooner rather than later, honestly. Before I forget about it and it gets buried in my Kindle.

3. The rest of the Kit Rocha books. Holy moly. Get in my eyes.

2. The Ship by Antonia Honeywell. New adult dystopian stuff and a boat of doom! I’m ready for it.

And last but not least, 1. The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey.

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Hot damn, you guys. This takes place in the same world/timeline as Girl With All the Gifts and I’m so ready for it. I think we may have nabbed some ARCs, but I have to wait with baited breath for the mail and see if we actually did. Even if Bry and I didn’t, the book comes out in MAY, which makes it my most anticipated book for the whole Spring. I’m so ready to dive back into this world. I can barely sit still.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley (Review)

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Title: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
Published: August 2nd 2011 by Berkley
Page Count: 338
Where’d I Get It: Purchase (Audiobook)
Rating: 3 stars

The year is 1881. Meet the Mackenzie family–rich, powerful, dangerous, eccentric. A lady couldn’t be seen with them without ruin. Rumors surround them–of tragic violence, of their mistresses, of their dark appetites, of scandals that set England and Scotland abuzz.

The youngest brother, Ian, known as the Mad Mackenzie, spent most of his young life in an asylum, and everyone agrees he is decidedly odd. He’s also hard and handsome and has a penchant for Ming pottery and beautiful women.

Beth Ackerley, widow, has recently come into a fortune. She has decided that she wants no more drama in her life. She was raised in drama–an alcoholic father who drove them into the workhouse, a frail mother she had to nurse until her death, a fussy old lady she became constant companion to. No, she wants to take her money and find peace, to travel, to learn art, to sit back and fondly remember her brief but happy marriage to her late husband.

And then Ian Mackenzie decides he wants her.

I listened to this on audiobook and it took me way longer than it probably should because I kept setting it aside for podcasts about murder (like I do). So, honestly, how long it took me to get through this book is not really indicative to how much I enjoyed the book. I just get so wrapped up in murder sometimes.

Really, though, if I was reading this in paperback or on my Kindle I probably would have read it much faster. That being said, this was one of the first times I’ve listened to a romance novel on audio. I’ve done urban fantasy, but nothing with the breadth of bawdy bedroom scenes that this had. Nothing quite like listening to erotic literature on some Bluetooth headphones while your kids are in the room. I suppose the same could be said about listening to it in public or just generally around people. It’s a little weird. Anyway, I got over that hurdle by the end of the book. It was all par for the course by then.

The narrator was nice to listen to. She had a soothing voice and did the Scottish accent well. I actually don’t have any complaints about her at all. Top notch. I wonder if she does the rest of the series or not?

The book itself is rather predictable on many accounts. Lord Ian Mackenzie has Aspberger’s Syndrome. It manifests in plenty of little ways. He can’t meet people’s eyes. He has perfect recall. He’s often a bit of a weirdo in social situations. And, yes, the main romance plot is for someone to teach him to love, which the book does really well. While Ian Mackenzie originally sees Beth Ackerley as a conquest, albeit one that deserved preferential and deferential treatment, he eventually learns to get over his fears and his disability and love her.

Beth Ackerley herself is a widow of a vicar, given an immense dowry by an old woman she cared for in the woman’s last days. Ian Mackenzie is set on snatching her up as wife, both because he finds her pleasant, and to keep the men of low standing from taking advantage of her new found money. Beth’s already found love once in her life, and though thrown into a whirlwind of romance and bedroom acrobatics with Ian, she finds herself falling for the man, and his family, vowing to keep them safe with all her power.

Outside of the romance itself, there’s also a murder mystery that needs to be solved, involving Ian MacKenzie himself, his brother Hart and some ladies of the night. There’s a few twists and turns, but most of the mystery itself is as predictable as the romance plot, considering there’s some pretty obvious culprits.

As my first foray into Jennifer Ashley’s work, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved a good chunk of the characters mentioned and introduced in the novel. I very rarely find that the small snippets in books of other characters spur me into a great love for them, at least until they get their own books, but Jennifer Ashely has set up Lady Isabella and Mac’s relationship so well that I honestly can’t wait to have the time to dive into Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage.  

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (Review)

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Title: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
Published: February 2nd 2017 by Faber & Faber
Page Count: 592
Where’d I Get It: Purchase
Rating: 3 stars

This is not about blood or love. This is about treason.

Nearly a year has passed since Amani and the rebels won their epic battle at Fahali. Amani has come into both her powers and her reputation as the Blue-Eyed Bandit, and the Rebel Prince’s message has spread across the desert – and some might say out of control. But when a surprise encounter turns into a brutal kidnapping, Amani finds herself betrayed in the cruelest manner possible.

Stripped of her powers and her identity, and torn from the man she loves, Amani must return to her desert-girl’s instinct for survival. For the Sultan’s palace is a dangerous one, and the harem is a viper’s nest of suspicion, fear and intrigue. Just the right place for a spy to thrive… But spying is a dangerous game, and when ghosts from Amani’s past emerge to haunt her, she begins to wonder if she can trust her own treacherous heart.

I will admit, I ordered the English version off of Book Depository because I was loath to wait a month. What’s up, I’m impatient. Plus it matches the cover for the original one. The US cover, not so much on the matchy-matchy there, eh publishers? And, to be honest, I really enjoyed Rebel of the Sands when I finally got around to reading it. While it had some cliche YA elements, I enjoyed it immensely, hence my impatience.

Traitor to the Throne, though, I’m not really sure where I stand. Parts of it immensely annoyed me, while other parts were both interesting and surprising. I guess I’ll just start from the beginning.

We pick up some months after the events of the last book. Jin is gone, having left after Amani took a bullet and he decided he didn’t like feelings, off on a mission for his Rebel Prince brother. She’s mad about it, and about the time he comes back, during some side character’s wedding, Amani ends up getting captured and sent to live in the Sultan’s palace.

Yes, of course, the Sultan know’s she’s both with the rebels and a half djinni. In fact, he uses her to summon her father and keep him in a secret room of the palace to, well, we don’t find that out until later.

Amani herself is stuck in the harem most of the time. And yes, that’s just as dull as it sounds. The girls in the harem are bitchy and clicky and Amani is bad at being a people person. The only person she seems to befriend is one of the princesses, who would rather build automata than have anything to do with the rest of the harem. Though, as the book wears on, we learn that a lot of girls in the harem just disappear, hence the pecking order. Amani also finds her cousin within the walls of the harem, 100% more pregnant than the last time she saw her on the train. With that pregnancy, she’s secured herself a position of power within the harem, and Amani uses that to her advantage, despite how awful they were to each other in the first book.

Tamid is also in the palace, having last been left by Amani whilst she was fleeing with Jin all those months before. His leg has been replaced by a contraption fashioned by the automata princess. She’s a bit infatuated with him, but he’s still on his path of being a holy healer type. He also proves to be somewhat of an ally to Amani in the palace, despite her treating him like literal dirt previously.

The book, as we established, is plodding along now, with mostly political maneuverings and cat fights within the harem walls. Amani meets a young gentleman who can walk through walls, who has taken her Blue-Eyed Bandit moniker. He doesn’t offer to relinquish it, but instead continues to use it despite Amani’s protests. She does convince him to join the resistance. Though, I think that’s part and parcel with his infatuation with Shazad, and not so much with anything Amani had to say.

Bleh, okay, so the plot gets convoluted from here. The Sultan wants to use the djinni he’s captured to become an independent nation and destroy his enemies and Amani and her ragtag team are trying to stop it. There’s action and betrayals and plenty of murder, but by this point the book is about 75% done and despite my best effort, I couldn’t care about any of the deaths, even the public executions. There was just too much drudgery before it.

Oh, and Jin! I only mentioned him at the beginning of the book, because he’s not  in this book very much. I didn’t like him in the previous book. I don’t like him as the romantic lead. I can’t be expected to like every romantic lead ever. Sometimes you swoon and sometimes you don’t. You can’t tell me every romantic comedy Mark Ruffalo was in, we were expected to swoon over him. I’m pretty sure all  I did was, “Daww.” Anyway, I digress. Jin is not my ideal romantic lead and when he finally shows up in this book after brooding and giving Amani all the feelings, they decide they’re going to touch and kiss and at the most inconvenient of times. They’re a) trying to be discreet and b) trying to escape. It is not the time for romance! Get your hormones under control!

Not to mention that I absolutely hate the trope where the love birds are constantly separated. I think the only way to make this trope worse would be if Jin suddenly lost his memory (like Tuxedo Mask) or lost his memory and went evil (like Angel). I absolutely hate this trope. And I get it, it makes the plot more interesting, but talk about frustrating. Gah!

Anyway, I think I established that this book didn’t live up to my expectations. Yet another book to suffer from sequel syndrome. I can only hope that the trilogy ends with a bang and doesn’t disappoint me. Gosh.

Winter Halo by Keri Arthur (Review)

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Title: Winter Halo by Keri Arthur
Published: December 6th 2016 by Signet
Page Count: 339
Where’d I Get It: Purchase
Rating:stars

When the bombs that stopped the species war tore holes in the veil between worlds, they allowed entry to the Others. Now, a hundred years later, humans and shifters alike live in artificially lit cities designed to keep the darkness at bay….

The humanoid supersoldiers known as the déchet were almost eradicated by the war. Ever since, Tiger has tried to live her life in peace in hiding. But in the wake of her discovery that Central City’s children are being kidnapped and experimented on, Tiger’s conscience won’t let her look the other way.

The key to saving them lies within the walls of a pharmaceutical company called Winter Halo. But as she learns more about the facility, Tiger’s mission is derailed by a complication: Winter Halo’s female security guards are being systematically attacked by an unknown force.

Now Tiger must summon all her gifts to stop those responsible for both atrocities—no matter the cost to herself…

With as much as I loved the first Outcast novel, City of Light, I’m sad to say that I was only so-so on its sequel. There were a lot of contributing factors to this cause, and that’s super disappointing because the concept for this series is like nothing I’ve ever encountered before, a seamless blend of dystopian, science fiction, urban fantasy, and a little bit of paranormal romance.

The beginning of this book is really slow. A lot of the same as the last book, investigating rifts, talking about saving children, feeling sad about saving children, talking to ghosts. There’s a bit of new plot involved, but not an awful lot. Despite the action involved, the first part is pretty dull.

When Tig finally gets into Winter Halo, the book gets slightly more interesting. At this point, the book itself feels like there’s simultaneously not enough happening and too much happening at the same time. Tig is basically balancing two plots at once. She’s infiltrating Winter Halo as a regular employee, but at the same time boning Winter Halo’s accountant as a completely different individual. At least with the last book, the romance and the investigation were all basically one thread to follow. This separation makes the book disjointed and disorderly. Yes, I know that, technically, her sexual life is also an investigation into the same organization, but it doesn’t FEEL like it’s on the same wavelength. Her relationship with the mark will obviously continue into the next installment, though I’m not sure how useful he will be at that point, having been fired from his job that she wanted information about.

There’s also some awful, what feels like, inconsistencies with the ghosts this time around.  In the last book, they had limited power, limited access to poltergeist activities, without significant numbers or rest. In this book, it just seems like they’re picking up weapons and bashing everyone over the head without any consequences at all. Yeah, it makes for a significantly easy way to move the plot forward when the heroine is stuck, but what about the already established world rules? *grumble, grumble*

There’s a lot of revelations in this book, some more interesting than others. The dynamic between Jonas and Tig being one of the more interesting ones. They’re finally expressing their feelings for each other, even if it, ultimately, doesn’t go physical. At least they’re not beating around the bush about it. Yeah, they’ve got some prejudices to get through, but at least they’re doing the thing and being adults about it. I mean, yeah, they did almost die together and possibly mixed DNA and powers, but at least that spurred them through their feelings.

Cat and Bear, despite the earlier indication where I was bashing on them for doing more stuff, are absolutely way more fleshed out in this book. They have more personality and are more independent, and help Tiger out a lot more than in the previous book (and they helped a lot). It was nice seeing them as individuals and not just ‘the ghosts’ that always hung around.

All right, so we’ve established that this book didn’t really do it for me this time around. I’m goign to just log this under sequel syndrome and hope that the next one is better. They found no children in this one, and they’re still out there and Tig is still looking for them, so hopefully that means that the series will be continuing soonish rather than later or never. Here’s hoping it only gets better here on out. I’m not giving up on it.

Ashwin by Kit Rocha (Review)

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Title: Ashwin by Kit Rocha
Published: March 7th 2017
Page Count: Who knows?
Where’d I Get It: Netgalley (eARC)
Rating: 4 stars

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.

Oh, gosh, okay. This appears to be a spinoff to some other novels? I was assured by the blurb at the beginning of the book that it doesn’t matter and I can start here. I felt pretty confident starting here, too. Sure, there’s some backstories there that I wish I had, but I guess I can always go fetch those later.

As a dystopian sci-fi romance, this book delivers well on all fronts. The worldbuilding appears to be top notch. Though, even though I was assured that I could just jump in at this point, I felt like there were some brushed over portions of the actual worldbuilding. That’s fine. I got the gist well enough. They live somewhere in the desert of post-flare USA. There’s predetermined areas where intensely formidable people rule over more formidable people. Everyone has a pretty intense personality. I guess dystopian wastelands will do that to you.

The science-fiction portion is interesting, though kind of cliche at this point. Growing supersoldiers to be the best killers, expecting them not to feel? Yeah, it’s a tired trope, but it works really well here. Kora herself is also genetically engineered, mean to feel too much, and is a great counterpoint here to Ashwin. There’s also a matter of tracking isotopes that is the basis of the climax to the story, and the extra bit of drama for our hero and heroine’s relationship. That was a fun little addition.

Before I go into the romance portion, I want to talk a little bit about the plot and the characters. As stated above, Ashwin is an unfeeling soldier who is tasked with infiltrating Gideon’s Riders, the group in charge of Sector One. Gideon himself knows this and allows it, because Ashwin is a super soldier, and even having one of those through weird means is better than not having one at all. Gideon is hoping Ashwin’s old feelings for the adept healer, Kora, will help bring Ashwin over to his side. He has quite the faith in it.

All right, plot points aside, the romance was great. The sex scenes were long and intense. The duo that makes up Kit Rocha doesn’t leave anything to the imagination and leaves no stone unturned. If you need a steamy romance, look no further. This book has you covered and provides surplusses.

I guess my only complaint is that the conflicts seemed easy enough to fix with a bit of elbow grease and ingenuity and some honesty. Which, overall, isn’t a bad thing, but I never felt like the hero and heroine were in either a) danger or b) in fear of breaking up, especially after they failed to forget each other previously. It was still a great set up for something that can prove to be a great series.

Now, I mentioned above that there’s a lot of strong characters in this book already. I’m actually pretty excited to hear that the second book tackles Ana and Deacon’s relationship. The short interactions that Ashwin and Kora had with both of them had me already super in love with Ana, so, I’m looking forward to that.

Overall, this book was just what I needed right now, an interesting enough romance in a rough and tumble world and I appreciated it a whole heck of a lot. Looking forward to diving into more, and maybe backing up and visiting the O’Kane’s point of views.