Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha

WARNING: CONTENT FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

Browsing through NetGalley, I came across Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha which was offered in anticipation for the release of the sequel, which came out March 2013. I always have an eye out for a fifty-shades fix, so I willingly immersed myself into Kit Rocha’s world.

15830843All Noelle Cunningham has ever wanted is a life beyond–beyond the walls of Eden, where only the righteous are allowed to remain, and beyond her stiflingly restrictive existence as a councilman’s daughter. But only ruins lie outside the City, remnants of a society destroyed by solar storms decades earlier.

The sectors surrounding Eden house the corrupt, the criminal–men like Jasper McCray, bootlegger and cage fighter. Jas clawed his way up from nothing to stand at the right hand of Sector Four’s ruthless leader, and he’ll defend the O’Kane gang with his life. But no fight ever prepared him for the exiled City girl who falls at his feet.

Her innocence is undeniable, but so is their intense sexual attraction, and soon they’re crossing every boundary Noelle barely knew she had. But if she wants to belong to Jas, first she’ll have to open herself to the gang, to a dangerous world of sex, lust and violence. A world where passion is power, and freedom is found in submission.

This book had two extremes for me: it had a really good meaty plot and really crazy, kinky love scenes. Let me explain.

This book is basically a dystopian adult novel, which has my name written all over it. I loved the world that Rocha created and the rules and dangers of the society with the gritty characters living outside the city filled with fancy rich people.  I enjoyed the fast pace of the story and the violence and action with the gang wars. Rocha made her world so believable, I never doubted it for a second. I love stories that I can just immerse myself in them without too many questions.

I loved Noelle and Jasper. Their relationship had so much tension — good sexual tension. It had this lamb in the lion’s den feel. The romance progressed in a natural but exciting way and Noelle grew as a character really finding herself by the end. I really enjoyed it.

This book has meat to it, meaning without the sex scenes the story stands on its own, but with the sex scenes? Oh my! This book was steamy! I’m sure my eyes bulged out of my skull a time or two. There were scenes with multiple partners, which quite honestly made me uncomfortable (not my thing) but the sex scenes overall were hot with some sizzling dialogue. My biggest complaint with this book was the directing in the sex scenes. At any given time (and with so many ‘partners’), I didn’t understand what exactly was going on. There were all these weird positions that I couldn’t figure out so the rest of the sex scene didn’t make any sense, which made an uncomfortable love scene just plain confusing. All I know is that it was hot!

Naturally, this book isn’t for everyone. If you like your sex scenes kinky, think fifty shades with multiple partners then you’ll enjoy this. However, even if the kinky sex isn’t your thing, the plot itself is exciting and original with an endearing (but dirty) romance that will leave you swooning.

The sequel, Beyond Control, has been released, with another sequel Beyond Pain coming out soon. It’s definitely on my to-be-read list.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Thank you NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Requiem by Lauren Oliver is the finale in the Delirium Trilogy. I LOVED Delirium and Pandemonium. (Don’t read any further if you haven’t read the first two books to avoid inevitable spoilers.) Oliver is known for delivering heart-pounding cliffhangers, so it’s safe to say that I’ve been chomping at the bit for this one.9593913

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

A dark cloud of disbelief passed over me as I turned the last page of Requiem, followed by denial and anger–all the stages of grief except acceptance. I couldn’t bear to accept the way Oliver ended this dearly loved series. Without spoiling anything, I can only say its a very open ending. In other words, the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers, meaning there will never be closure. I spent hours reading review after review to see how other readers were coping. I read every interview I could find from Lauren Oliver and, no, she is not planning on writing another Delirium book. That’s when acceptance came creeping in…and after this review, I will place Requiem on my shelf and grieve until the pain subsides.

Okay, a little melodramatic but Oliver crushed me with her last book. I was initially disappointed this book didn’t start off right after the ending of book 2. I mean, ALEX! He’s alive!  However, he was way too broody in this book and it wasn’t until practically the last page before there was any clarification. Also, Julian was a bit too soft, always trying to prove himself. My biggest issue with this love triangle is that the love was completely gone. Readers were just left with this awkward triangle. Where was the romance? the heat? The whole point of this series is to fight for the ability to love and it’s missing in this last installment!

I really enjoyed Hana’s perspective. She’s cured, or so she thinks, and following her storyline was a lot more exciting and heart-stopping than Lena stomping through the woods. The reunion of Lena and her mom was really endearing and believable. I’m glad she got some answers. However, my favorite character revisit was Gracie. I wanted her to play a bigger role, but honestly, I’m just glad she’s okay.

So what are my final thoughts on this book? I strongly disliked how it ended but Oliver’s genius writing was still there and her characters are all amazing. There wasn’t any resolution so I’ll be ingesting rebound books like candy trying to get over it. It’s still a great series and a great read but Requiem is my least favorite book in this trilogy.

STARS: 3 out of 5

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs

Here we are, book 7 of the Mercy Thompson series brought to us by the wonderfully talented Patricia Briggs. Frost Burned was everything I’ve come to expect from Briggs.

13413589Mercy Thompson’s life has undergone a seismic change. Becoming the mate of Adam Hauptman—the charismatic Alpha of the local werewolf pack—has made her a stepmother to his daughter Jesse, a relationship that brings moments of blissful normalcy to Mercy’s life. But on the edges of humanity, what passes for a minor mishap on an ordinary day can turn into so much more.

After an accident in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Mercy and Jesse can’t reach Adam—or anyone else in the pack for that matter. They’ve all been abducted.

Through their mating bond, all Mercy knows is that Adam is angry and in pain. With the werewolves fighting a political battle to gain acceptance from the public, Mercy fears Adam’s disappearance may be related—and that he and the pack are in serious danger. Outclassed and on her own, Mercy may be forced to seek assistance from any ally she can get, no matter how unlikely.

Every time I read Briggs, I wait for her books to get more formulaic and predictable, but she always surprises me. With every book, something comes out of nowhere to test Mercy, but her relationships are still rock solid with the same, steady characters. However, at times, it’s a little too out of left field. I have to wrap my mind around all the new concepts before I can run with it.

Mercy is the same badass coyote. In this book, her man is in danger and she’s going to do whatever it takes to get him back. I really liked how this book focused on the complexity of Mercy having a stepdaughter and how that relationship affects her relationship with Adam. The politics are ramping up with the werewolves out in the open and Adam and the pack are in the forefront of it all.

The best part of this book is the “battle” in the end. I call it a battle because I don’t know how else to describe it and I don’t want to give anything away. Compared with the beginning of the book, Mercy’s just doing a lot of running around town looking for clues. The ending is where the action is and where Mercy’s true colors can shine–her stubbornness and how everyone underestimates her power. We get to watch Adam and Mercy’s relationship grow and they learn how to be a normal couple even with the many dangers that surround them.

I always enjoy Briggs and this book is no different. However, some of her books have been better. The character development overall was kind of lacking. She spent a bit too much time world-building, which at this point in the series should be pretty set. With that said, I will continue to read this series, it’s one of my all-time favorites.

STARS: 4.5 out of 5