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REVIEW:  Beyond Jealousy by Kit Rocha

REVIEW: Beyond Jealousy by Kit Rocha

Beyond Jealousy (Beyond #4) by Kit Rocha

Dear Ms. Rocha:

There are so many things I really love about this series and it’s not primarily the sexual interaction. The series is set in a post apocalyptic environment focusing on the city Eden and outlying sectors.

Inside the city, people are taught that woman are chattels and sex is something to be endured. The sectors are like the Wild West with each region ruled by different gangs who impose their own rules. What kind of life you live depends largely upon the leader of your sector.

In Sector Four, Dallas O’Kane rules. He’s not a kind and benevolent leader but his sector offers four things: access to premium O’Kane liquor, sex shows, fight matches, and the freedom to live as you wish.

Beyond Jealousy is the story of Cruz, Rachel, and Ace.  Rachel and Ace have been dancing around each other for years but for some reason that remains a mystery to me, Ace pushed Rachel away.  Beyond Jealousy is one of those books that I think would be difficult to read on its own and even though I’ve read the previous books in the series, I’m still befuddled as to the actual emotional conflict.

Because Ace believes he cannot commit to Rachel, he hurts her and along comes Cruz. Cruz was a former military leader in Eden but defected to join Sector Four as an enforcer.  In previous books, Rachel and Cruz had a thing until Cruz and Ace got together.

When Beyond Jealousy begins, there isn’t a struggle with Cruz accepting a menage but rather it is focused on Ace’s inability to commit to the threesome because he believes he is unable to commit. For some reason. Ace’s internal emotional angst was confusing and forced.

The external plot is that someone is making subpar liquor and selling it under the O’Kane label. Rachel’s family in Eden is caught in the middle. O’Kane and his crew will have to ferret out the true enemy and Cruz struggles with his fear of either Rachel or Ace being wounded.

The world is so interesting and I read this series because I want to know what is going to happen to these people. What is the end game? How will they all survive? As Dallas O’Kane grows in power, what kind of person will he be?

That’s not to say that the eroticism isn’t a strong part of the series. It is and in this book one of the more powerful scenes is the angry love / sex between Cruz and Ace. They fight and then make up in a way that a woman and man could not.

But while I love the world and care about the people, the lack of a believable emotional conflict with Ace was frustrating. I also don’t understand why everyone in Sector Four has an exhibitionist kink. It doesn’t ring true for me and sometimes it makes me feel like the women are often performing for the male gaze. I don’t think I remember a scene where two guys are going at it for the entertainment of Sector Four. The guys fight in the right. The girls fuck. Even though this is a world about female empowerment, this part of the story sometimes bothers me.

It’s still an evocative series and it treats women and sex in a very positive way. There’s no shame in enjoying your body or someone else’s body in any number of ways and we need books like that in our genre. C+

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW:  Up in Knots by Gillian Archer

REVIEW: Up in Knots by Gillian Archer

UiK

Book two of The Pleasure Code

After the loss of her Dom and first love two years ago, the time has come for Kyla to again allow herself the pleasure of giving up control. She isn’t looking for anything serious yet, just the comforting embrace of rope and a firm hand on her body for the night.

Rope-top Sawyer is extremely skilled and he doesn’t do relationships—but he’s fascinated by the gymnastics instructor who approaches him at a kink con. By the end of the day he’s vowed to help her feel submissive pleasure again, and to introduce her to a few Doms she can choose from.

But as Sawyer breaks down Kyla’s emotional defenses, his barriers also come down. Soon he can’t imagine giving Kyla over to any other Dom—and Kyla can’t imagine being with anyone else. When their feelings are put to the ultimate test, they’ll learn that while taking risks in the bedroom is easy, taking risks in love is terrifying.

Dear Ms. Archer:

Kyla is struggling, her love, her Dom, Adam died two years ago, and since then, she’s been empty. Although she’s tried dating, she needs the comfort of submission to feel fulfilled and has decided it’s time to dip her toe in the water to see if she can find what she needs. She decides to approach a renowned rope-top named Sawyer. She knows that there will be no entanglements with Sawyer, as he’s famous for his one night stands. But Kyla is looking for someone who will dominate her, and the idea of Shibari, which Sawyer is well known for his expertise in, entices her.

Sawyer is immediately attracted to Kyla, she’s a former gymnast and her flexibility and willingness to play make her the perfect partner for an evening’s worth of fun. But when they go for a bite to eat to negotiate terms, he sees shadows in her eyes. And when he gets her to his house to begin a scene, and she breaks down in tears, he realizes that she won’t be a one-night stand. He can help her work through her overwhelming sadness at the passing of Adam, and help her get ready for a relationship with a new Dom. But as they grow close, and Kyla grows stronger, he realizes that she’s a woman who he could have a future with, if he’ll only take the chance.

This is a category length book, and while I enjoyed it quite a bit, I felt like it was quite rushed. Sawyer was interesting, but I’d have been so much more interested to know how and why he got into Shibari. He has a vague past and a bad relationship with his family that is alluded to, but never explored. I felt like more could have been done to make him more enticing to the reader. He’s obviously conflicted by what he feels for Kyla, but mostly, the reader is just told this, it’s never delved into, which I’d have liked to have seen. Kyla has siblings, who she is obviously close to, although they didn’t seem to serve much purpose on the story, except perhaps to show that she did have some support system. The story is mostly about her struggle not to become attached to Sawyer, which  of course happens in the end, because this is a romance.

The sex scenes are spicy and varied, and while I felt like they didn’t explore Shibari very completely, I attribute this partially to the shorter length of the book. For the most part, this book was an enjoyable read, although one that left very little impression on me. But I’m not 100% sure if that’s because of my preference for a longer length book, or if it’s because so much of the storyline was painted in broad strokes, rather than in detail. Either way, my final grade for Up in Knots is a C+.

Kind regards,

Kati

 

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