PJV Quickie: If you are looking for a quick new adult story with a little bit of romance and a little bit of mystery this could be the one for you.
Review: Play Me by Blue Ashcroft is the first in an episodic novella series and is just under 100 pages. It follows a group of characters that are gamers. Kira, the main character, reunites with her friends after running away from an abusive boyfriend. This book was a really quick read. I enjoyed that the characters were gamers which isn’t something I can personally identify with, but there wasn’t a lot of specifics where games are concerned. Ethan and Ollie were definitely my favorite characters and I don’t think there was enough of them in the story. I liked the small romance between Kira and Alex, but there wasn’t that much in the story.
My problem with this book is the pacing and lack of story development. I get that this is meant to be an episodic series where a new book comes out every few weeks, but I feel like the books need to be more complete and resolute. Not much happened and when the story did pick up it ended. I feel like that was a pacing issue with it only being 90 pages. Also the characters mentioned a lot of events and people that didn’t get explained or touched upon enough.
Overall I found this to be a fun read. I would really like to see where these characters go. I recommend this book if you are looking for a quick NA contemporary read.
PJV Quickie: I’m a huge Kit Rocha fan and when I got the opportunity to review the latest book in their Jealousy series, I jumped on it! Beyond Jealousy is a sex-fueled tale that takes us back to the O’Kanes and Sector 4, where life is hard but can be very, very good, and love can be found if you’re willing to fight for it. Although not my favorite in the series, Beyond Jealousy ended with a bang that ultimately left me satisfied and ready for more O’Kane action.
Rachel Riley was raised in Eden, always doing the right thing, which included working for her father’s illegal brewing company. When things went bad, she took the fall and was exiled from Eden. Rachel’s father had contacts with Dallas O’Kane, the leader of Sector 4, and he arranged for Riley to go there.
Lorenzo Cruz has been programmed to be one of Eden’s elite soldiers since he was a small boy. Being exiled to Sector 4, he still has contacts within Eden and is loyal to the O’Kanes. He can get all his wildest urges fulfilled in Eden, but his feelings for Rachel are new and he doesn’t know how to deal with them. Nor does he know what to do about his feelings for Ace, who’s tied to Rachel in a complicated knot that none of them seems to know how to unravel.
Ace Santana is Sector 4′s tattoo guy, and a dirty, dirty boy. After a cage fight with Cruz that ended with erotic undertones, he’s having a sort-of-relationship with Cruz, but he still has complicated feelings for Rachel and wants her too. He knows the three of them could be good, at least until they’re done with him… because with a past like his, no one would want him for keeps.
When it’s discovered that bootleggers are passing off poor-quality hooch as quality O’Kane liquor, the hunt is on to discover who the culprit is. It’s a dangerous business, and before it’s over, people will get hurt.
I love the world Kit Rocha has created in their Beyond series. Sector 4 is a dark, dreary place full of outlaws, but they’ve managed to carve something of a sanctuary for themselves where pleasure is plentiful and consentual, in other words: HOT! That being said, I have mixed feelings about Beyond Jealousy; for me, the first half was kind of slow but the second half flew by.
I liked Rachel, Ace and Cruz in previous books and have been looking forward to their story; I wasn’t expecting Cruz to be the ‘Alpha’ of the trio and that was a pleasant surprise. All of which makes my next statement seem a little strange: the reason the first half of the book was slow for me was that there was just too much sex. It kind of went on and on; it was hot and sexy, but didn’t do much to advance the plot.
Now, don’t get me wrong - No one writes hot, dirty, sensual sex scenes like Kit Rocha. I liked the sex, especially the angry shower sex scene between Cruz and Ace, and the ‘tattoo sex’ between the trio. And once the bootlegging plot did move along I was fascinated. I’ve said in previous reviews of this series that I wish we could see more of the O’Kane world and feel that way again about Beyond Jealousy. Seeing the tentative relationship between Sector 4 and Eden, and how each faction takes what they need from the other is fascinating to me. I found myself wondering things like, how do they get hot showers? And wondering about the chemicals fed to the general population that are mentioned in the story.
Of course there was conflict that made a HEA seem unobtainable, and I thought it was well-done: the self-destructive actions from one character was both realistic and heartbreaking. There was also some drama near the end that had me holding my breath and wondering about the repercussions of certain promises that were made.
I’m giving the first half of the book 3 stars, and the second half 5 stars, averaging 4 stars. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, Beyond Addiction.
I think fans of dystopian romance or erotic romance will love this; there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Other books you might like, similar to ‘Beyond Jealousy’:
Kit Rocha is actually two people—Bree & Donna, best friends who are living the dream. They get paid to work in their pajamas, talk on the phone, and write down all the stories they used to make up in their heads.
Beyond Shame was their first dystopian erotic romance. They also write paranormal romance as Moira Rogers. You can find them on the web at the following places:
PJV Quickie: I feel like Jessica Clare’s “Games” series is one of the best-kept secrets in Romancelandia – this is such a fun, sexy series; I just can’t get enough of it!
Zara Pritchard was an Olympic ice-skater whose star has fallen very, very far. At the 2002 Olympic Games, she was a shoe-in for the gold, a cocky 14-year-old with an amazing career ahead of her. Then she fell during her performance, walked off the ice, and flipped off the audience when they booed her. Needless to say, she lost all her endorsements and her coach, and now she’s a has-been who gives skating lessons to 4-6 year-olds at the local rink and skates around in a dinosaur costume for extra cash. When one of the skaters on Ice Dancing with the Stars gets pregnant, the show invites Zara to fill in.
Ty Randall is a MMA fighter who recently had a bit of bad publicity due to the fact that he bit an opponent’s nose in his last fight, earning himself the nickname “Ty the MMA Biter”. His agent is working on image control and decided Ice Dancing with the Stars was a good place to start. Ty is not interested in doing the show and plans to ‘skate by’ (<–heh, see what I did there?), doing as little as possible.
Zara is determined to win the competition and use this chance to revive her skating career, but Ty is not interested. Then, by way of an unfortunate accident, Ty reluctantly agrees to help Zara. The more time he spends with the feisty, talkative skater, the more he thinks maybe she’s not so bad, and maybe, just maybe, they can win this thing.
I know I just did a review for book 2 in this series, Playing Games, but I feel like shouting from the rooftops what an awesome series this is – so cute, funny, and very sexy. I can’t believe more people aren’t raving about these books.
I thought Zara was a sympathetic heroine – she made a mistake at a young age and 10 years later is still paying for it. She’s thrilled to be given this second chance and doesn’t want to blow it. Her nervous chatter was cringe-worthy and I could totally relate. It took me a bit longer to warm up to Ty, but the more I read him the more I melted. I really liked them together – they didn’t get off to a good start but as the story progresses their relationship moves along at a good, believable pace. Their personalities are different, yet similar, as they are both athletes with a competitive spirit: once Ty sees how things are stacked against them, suddenly he wants to win too.
There’s quite a bit of humor in Ice Games – you can tell that Ty really, really doesn’t want to wear sequins, and Zara is a *bit* superstitious. The bites at the beginning of each chapter were funny yet sweet. The Ice Dancing with the Stars setting was a fun way to throw these characters together, and I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes cattiness between all the characters – these skaters have been competing against each other for years and a TV show isn’t going to change those relationship dynamics.
My only complaint is that it was too short – it was a fun read and I didn’t want to stop!
Ice Games is perfect for fans of sports-themed romance and/or MMA-fighter heroes, reality tv junkies, and contemporary romance fans. I don’t watch reality tv and I have loved all three books in this series.
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PJV Quickie: I don’t know why I picked Fading to review – on the one hand, it’s an amazing book and I want to tell everyone to READ IT!! On the other hand, it’s hard to put into words my feelings and reactions; Fading ripped my emotions apart and then put them back together again, one page at a time.
Review: Candace Parker is starting her senior year of college, hoping/planning for a career in ballet. She spends most of her time working at an indie coffee shop, studying, or practicing ballet. She does not have a good relationship with her wealthy parents, who view her ballet dreams as a fanciful whim and regularly ask when she’s going to get married. They’re constantly comparing her to their friends’ children and she doesn’t feel like she measures up. Candace decides maybe she’s been too serious and standoffish and decides to accept a date from Jack, a friend she knows through her parents. Although she’s not really ‘feeling it’, she accepts a second date with Jack in the hopes that she’s just not giving him enough of a chance. She ends the night in the Emergency room, brutally raped, beaten and unconscious. Fading is the story of After.
After… Candace takes refuge with her BFF Jace and his boyfriend Mark. She’s trying to forget her attack; some days she succeeds, but most days she fails miserably. She’s withdrawn from her friends and is having trouble with ballet. Then she meets Ryan (a friend of Jace and Mark) and slowly gets to know him over a period of months. He’s patient with her (she has a lot of PTSD), and she likes him, but she knows if he ever finds out what happened to her that he won’t want her. As Ryan’s feelings grow into more than friendship, he knows she’s got secrets and he’s patient because he knows she’s worth it. The problem is, does Candace know she’s worth it?
I can’t remember how I stumbled across Fading. I think I was just in the mood for a dark read and it caught my eye. At first I was all, “Nah – not another New Adult book with this same theme”, but I took a chance and am so glad I did. It’s an amazing story of pain and fear and the long, difficult road to achieving a new normal.
I’m not going to lie – the beginning of the book is brutal. It’s painful to read. But the way Ms. Blair writes, I found myself unable to turn away. While I have never been in her situation, I still found Candace relatable and fell right into her story. I can’t say I felt her pain, because again, I have not had been in her situation, but I can say it was portrayed in a way that made me believe it was real. Did I find myself frustrated with her character? Absolutely – I wish she would have made some different choices than the ones she did, but I thought the author did a good job of explaining why she made the choices she did.
I loved Ryan. Loved him. We’re talking book boyfriend material here. He was patient and kind and the sort of man any parent would choose for their daughter. (Except, of course, Candace’s parents.) Candace’s friends Jace and Mark were also marvelous characters. I thought they were three-dimensional and written as supporting characters who just happened to be gay, their sexuality did not define their characters. They were fiercely protective of Candace and I loved them for that.
There may have been a loose end that was tied up little too neatly, and sometimes I thought to myself, “she’s crying AGAIN?”, but other than that I have no complaints. I had so many feels while reading Fading: horror, sadness, hope, and happiness, and the ending made the journey so very worth it.
Fading would be a good pick for someone who enjoys dark reads, new adult, and sensitive, emotional romance. If reading about sexual violence is a trigger for you, however, you might want to skip this one.
I only review one book a week here at PJV, but I read many more books than you see here at the Romancing the Weekend feature. I hit a streak of some pretty darn good reads lately and thought I’d share:
Title: Love Irresistibly (FBI/US Attorney #4) Author: Julie James Type: Contemporary Published: April 2, 2013 by Berkley Source: Purchase
A former football star and one of Chicago’s top prosecutors, Assistant U.S. Attorney Cade Morgan will do anything to nail a corrupt state senator, which means he needs Brooke Parker’s help. As general counsel for a restaurant company, she can get a bug to the senator’s table at one of her five-star restaurants so the FBI can eavesdrop on him. All Cade has to do is convince Brooke to cooperate—and he’s not afraid to use a little charm, or the power of his office, to do just that.
AND WHAT HE WANTS IS HER.
A savvy businesswoman, Brooke knows she needs to play ball with the U.S. Attorney’s office—even if it means working with Cade. No doubt there’s a sizzling attraction beneath all their sarcastic quips, but Brooke is determined to keep things casual. Cade agrees—until a surprising turn of events throws his life into turmoil, and he realizes that he wants more than just a good time from the one woman with whom he could fall terrifyingly, irresistibly in love . . .
My new favorite in this series!! Loved both Cade and Brooke. Funny dialogue, a sexy hero, and a heroine who knows she’s smart and doesn’t pretend she’s not. This is what contemporary romance should be. <3<3<3<3<3
Title: Rush Me Author: Allison Parr Type: New Adult Published: April 8, 2013 by Carina Press Source: Purchase
When post-grad Rachael Hamilton accidentally gatecrashes a pro-athlete party, she ends up face-to-face with Ryan Carter, the NFL’s most beloved quarterback.
While most girls would be thrilled to meet the attractive young millionaire, Rachael would rather spend time with books than at sporting events, and she has more important things to worry about than romance. Like her parents pressuring her to leave her unpaid publishing internship for law school. Or her brother, who’s obliviously dating Rachael’s high school bully. Or that same high school’s upcoming reunion.
Still, when Ryan’s rookie teammate attaches himself to Rachael, she ends up cohosting Friday night dinners for half a dozen football players.
Over pancake brunches, charity galas, and Alexander the Great Rachael realizes all the judgments she’d made about Ryan are wrong. But how can a Midwestern Irish-Catholic jock with commitment problems and an artsy, gun-shy Jewish New Englander ever forge a partnership? Rachael must let down her barriers if she wants real love–even if that opens her up to pain that could send her back into her emotional shell forever.
I really liked this – great characters, just the right amount of angst, a sports figure hero…all things that make me happy Were there some problems with the story? Sure. But I was so into it I didn’t care. I read the last page and immediately wanted more…..
Title: The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) Author: Richelle Mead Type: Young Adult Paranormal Published: February 12, 2013 by Razorbill Source: Purchase
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch–a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.
Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, the Bloodlines series explores all the friendship, romance, battles, and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive—this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone’s out for blood.
I know, I know: That awful “Who is Marcus Finch?” ad campaign was the worst. But I really liked the VA series and this spinoff has been good so I bought the book anyway. I’m so glad I did, it was awesome – I think this one’s my favorite in this series so far. I totally <3 Adrian!! And the ending – OMG… Adrian fans need to check this one out, pronto.
Title: Real Author: Katy Evans Type: New Adult Published: April 9, 2013 (Self-Published) Source: Purchase
A fallen boxer.
A woman with a broken dream.
He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…
Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.
He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .
But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.
I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.
If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?
Ohhhh – so good. I want to hold this book tight and just… *makes squeezy motions with hands* There were a few spots that I could nitpick, but overall, yesssssss. Sexy overbearing hero, great heroine. I couldn’t put it down.
Review: In a time where it’s dangerous to be a woman, Alexa “Lex” Parrino has not only survived but has come out on top. Facing a life in Sector 2 of being sold to men, she escapes and lives on the street, until she meets Dallas O’Kane, the leader of Sector 4. Life is good now, or as good as it can get: she has the love of Dallas, and she’s in a position to help people who can’t help themselves.
Dallas O’Kane has loved Lex since he first laid eyes on her. He wants her, all of her, to stand by his side and help him rule his expanding territory. But Lex won’t be owned, no matter how pretty Dallas makes it look. He wants her, needs her, and won’t rest until she’s his.
I’m not a smoker, but I’m sitting here trying to recover from Beyond Control, wondering if a cigarette would help. Holy hell this book is hot. Note to self: Have plenty of ice handy before reading anything by Kit Rocha. Beyond Control is a kinky, dirty adventure in reading. As I read through, I was seeing the scenes in my head as a gritty, edgy black and white movie a’la Sin City, and loving every minute of it.
I was fascinated with Dallas and Lex in the first book, Beyond Shame (my review here) and I’m happy to say Beyond Control delivers! We learn more about the world-building and the different sectors and players and I’ve got to say, I want more!! I was thrilled to get some of Lex’s backstory and although I feel like we still don’t know Dallas’ history, it’s okay because I really felt like this was Lexie’s book. I was surprised to find she’s softer underneath than I realized but she’s still one heck of a kick-ass heroine.
Relationship-wise, I found myself a bit confused at times by Lex and Dallas, but I think it’s because they were confused and didn’t know how to ask for what they wanted from each other without making themselves completely vulnerable – a dangerous thing to do in their dystopian future. Their scenes together were raw and intense and everything I’d hoped they would be.
It’s not just Dallas and Lex that make this book though; some of my favorite chapters were the ones where we got the view of one of the secondary characters. One of the wonderful things I’m seeing about this series is the continuity of the characters even as they move from primary to secondary characters – I was completely satisfied with how things are going with Jasper and Noelle from Beyond Shame, as well as catching up on other characters to see what they’re up to (hint: A LOT. I am SOOOO excited to read Bren and Six’s book next. 1st chapter here)
I’m looking forward to seeing how the actions set up in Beyond Control play out in future books – the intrigue and potential outcomes for various events that take place in Beyond Control are going to change the lives of the residents (and the men and women in control) of Sector 4.
Beyond Control will appeal to fans of Erotica and Dystopia. With many themes running through, the politics, relationships, and a fascinating setting, it can appeal to a wide audience, but be warned: there is a lot of sex and it is hot.
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