Kit Rocha-Beyond-The People

Thursday was a brief overview of the world of the Beyond series. Today it’s all about the people. I’ll probably end up talking the most about the people of Sector 4, just because I love them so much. I love this series, it’s one I read, reread, and then read some more. I’ll go straight through the entire series and then the sequels and spinoffs. Yes, I am that person. I won’t talk too much about couples, just because I don’t want to give any spoilers away so it may seem like I gloss over some people. I’m also going to have to be careful because if I’m not, just this part will end up as 17 parts. I think I may just end up naming a few of the really key players. Of course, they are all key players, but… It’s so hard to write this post, you don’t even know! I mean, do I list all my favorite characters and couples? Do I list every single main character? Do I list them by books? I think that I will just list a few, and talk about more as I talk about the various stories. That’s probably the best way to do it.

Really, the characters are so good and so layered, and as each book goes on, we learn more about old friends and meet new ones. You can’t pick up the novels and read them out of order, but there are novellas that you can check out.

No discussion of the sectors can be complete without talking about Dallas O’Kane. He is the barbarian king of all he surveys. He rose up from nothing and created an empire on the back of his liquor. His real name is Declan, and he came from a ranch in TX, run by his mom. He eventually made his way to Eden and the sectors and started carving out his place. He took over leadership of 4 because he really needed to and now leads it as well as he can. He’s a responsible leader and does what he can to make the people of his sector have a good life. Dallas’ parties are legendary, for good reason. They turn into orgies. Really, the O’Kanes are into touching and affection, whether that means fucking or not, and there is A LOT of fucking, in any way that you can think of. Don’t let all that fool you though, Dallas is wicked smart and has a plan. He also has his queen, Lex.

Alexa Parrino, don’t call her that though, she will cut you, was born in Sector 2 and sold to Orchid House to be trained as a courtesan. Orchid House has always led 2, which means Cerys was the leader when Lex was there. Lex ran away as a teenager and lived on the streets of 3 as a thief. She was trained in just about every way you can manipulate a man, anatomy, politics, how to cut a bitch, all that kind of stuff. She is smart, tricksy, astute, and can read you in 10 seconds or less. She doesn’t just exude sex, she is sex. Dallas may be the power, but Lex is the finesse. Without either one, you don’t have the O’Kanes. She helped him build it up, after she got caught stealing from him. People who underestimate Lex end up with her knife being the last thing they see. I really want to be Lex if and when I ever choose to grow up.

If Dallas is the king, and Lex is the queen, then Nessa is definitely the O’Kane Princess. Nessa was born on Dallas’ family ranch, and he thinks of her as a little sister. Nessa and her grandfather followed Dallas up from TX. Nessa and her skills are vital to the O’Kanes and their success. She is the key to their fortune and is protected, sometimes a little much, by every O’Kane out there. The guys tend to run off anyone she’s interested in. She is their distiller and has been making the O’Kane booze since she was a teenager, taught by her grandfather. There are times that things have to happen to her alcohol that causes her pain. I like Nessa, mostly because there are things about her that I really connect with, in particular, her habit of trying new things until she gets bored, and then moves on. I’ve BTDT, and I’m pretty sure I may have made the t-shirt before I got bored.

Jasper and Bren are Dallas’ right and left hands. Jasper came out of the farms, having been sold to a farmer when he was a child. Jasper was given to Dallas and has been his good right hand and chief enforcer ever since. Bren is about as different to Jasper as you can get. He was Military Police in Eden, but was framed and kicked out. He is patient, careful, and methodical. If Dallas needs a sneak job or an assassin, Bren is the man to do it. He’s also really into pain, as in on Fight Nights, he lets he opponents beat on him for a while and then a willing volunteer takes her place in the cage with him.

Taken as a whole, the O’Kanes are a family, led by Lex and Dallas. Whether they came out of Eden, like Cruz, Noelle, Rachael, Bren, or out of the sectors, like Mad, Jade, and Ace, or out of other places like Jas and Six, they have all managed to come together and turn Sector 4 into a home and the O’Kanes into a family who accepts them and loves them.

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Kit Rocha-Beyond-Eden and the Sectors

Kit Rocha is a pseudonym for Donna Herren and Bree Bridges. They have another one as well, but that’s a subject for another day. Today we are looking at the cheerfully filthy world of the Sectors and the O’Kanes.

The Beyond series is post-apocalyptic and dystopian. In this series, the world as we know it ended in a series of solar flares, which pretty much killed off anything electrical, and pretty much ended the world. There was one city in the US which was prepared. Of course, it was prepared because they had some warning that this was happening. It was the city of Eden. Eden was supposed to be the most perfect, magical, wondrous thing ever. Of course, it wouldn’t be dystopian if that were true, now would it?

Outside of hygienic, self-righteous, sanctimonious, and puritanical Eden are the sectors. The sectors are dirty, gritty, run by different leaders, filled with gangs, and just about everything you could think of. There are 8 of them, and each one has its own flavor and its own thing.

Sector 1 is run by Gabriel Rios, the grandson of the Prophet. It’s run as a religious republic, full of love, light, and other sunshiny, sparkly things. There are a lot of artisans and crafters who live in Sector 1. Sector 1 also has Gabriel’s Riders, a group of fighters and enforcers who do Gabriel’s work. More about them later.

Sector 2 is run by Cerys, head of Orchid House. Sector 2 is all about courtesans and training girls to be courtesans. There are different Houses, specializing in different things. Generally, a House takes a young girl and spends years training her up until she gets sold to her patron. Lex was trained in Orchid House and Cerys wanted her to be her successor. We’ll learn more about Lex later too. Let’s just say Long Live Our Queen.

Sector 3, when the first book opens, is run by a guy named Trent. Pure fucking asshole. Sector 3 used to be one of the manufacturing bases for Eden until they got too uppity and Eden firebombed them. Now they are pretty much a pile of rubble. Dallas has to deal with the leaders though since the grain for his whiskey often comes from farms outside of 3.

Sector 5 makes medication and suchlike. They also make a lot of street drugs. The leader, whose name I can’t currently remember but who becomes more important in a couple of later books, is a right fucker. He likes to get young women strung out on his drugs and fuck them. He also makes sure that there is an ingredient that makes the drugs more addictive, even if they don’t need to be.

There isn’t a lot of difference between Sectors 6 and 7. They are both farming sectors, providing the majority of the food for Eden. Whatever is left, the farmers are welcome to have. However, Eden is greedy, and they want more and more and more, leaving the farmers with less and less and less.

Sector 8 is the head of tech and manufacturing. It’s run by Jim Jerrigan, a wily man who plots and schemes. We really don’t ever learn too much about him other than that, or spend much time in 8.

Outside of the sectors are the communes and illegal farms. The communes are another way for Eden to get food. Unlike Eden, which pumps contraceptives into the water, having babies is important on the communes. The more babies, the more people to work the farms and the more people who work the farms, the more Eden gets. It doesn’t matter if women wear themselves out working and having babies with the fertility drugs they are given, there are always more. Yeah, the people in Eden are a whole lot of fucking hypocrites. The illegal farms are just that. They’ll deal with just about anyone.

Outside of that, there is pretty much a wasteland. There are other people around, but there aren’t a lot of them and there aren’t a whole lot of settlements. Trade exists, but it’s hard to do, making imported goods really, really expensive.

You may have noticed if you were paying attention, that I skipped Sector 4. I did that for a reason. That’s because Sector 4 is where the majority of our stories take place. Sector 4 is led by our King, Dallas O’Kane. He’s a bootlegger and a damn good one. He has made a fortune by selling whiskey, good, better, and the absolute best ever. They also make some other kinds of liquor, but whiskey is what O’Kane is known for. He has Lex, his Queen, to help him. They met back when she tried to rob him and he caught her. But, she did help him build up his power base.

Dallas has a gang, the O’Kanes. They help him to run the sector. They are also all casually and cheerfully debauched. I take that back, some of them are debauched like it’s their job. All the O’Kanes wear tattoo cuffs around their wrists, laid by Ace, who is obscene, filthy, and talented. He uses the O’Kane logo for part of the cuff and then designs the rest of it depending on the person getting the cuffs. Each tattoo is different. Whenever a new O’Kane gets their cuffs, they drink in and have a helluva party.

The O’Kanes have a compound in which they live, make the booze, have fight night, and have their bar, the Broken Circle. The bar not only is a bar, but it’s also the setting for all kinds of shows, stripping, sex, whipping, so on and so forth. Then there’s Dallas’ party room. That’s where the O’Kanes let loose and really party. Those parties make Roman orgies look tame. Pretty much anything goes, as long as no one gets hurt more than they want, and it’s all consensual. You can have sex with anyone you want, any way you want, and in any number you want. If you want to play with a group, you can. If you want to be watched, you can. If you want to watch, you can. Basically, if it feels good, do it.

OK, I thought this was going to be a 2 parter, but I think it’s going to be a 3 parter, with part 3 on Sunday, talking about the newest book. Tomorrow is going to focus on the people of the Beyond series. Meanwhile, happy reading!

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Cari Silverwood-Claimed Possession

Cari Silverwood is becoming a frequent flyer here on In Between the Pages. I spend a lot of time in her books and her worlds. There are a lot of reasons for that. One is that I think Cari is an excellent worldbuilder. It’s easy to get involved in her worlds and characters. And the Machinery of Desire series is no different. I got dragged into the world and it wouldn’t let me go.

Claimed Possession is the second book in this series, and wow. It packs a punch. There are so many things to unpack in this book. I mean, you get the whole human slave in a slave world series, then you get the dark alpha hero/anti-hero and his journey, and then you get the heroine’s journey. I see layers, and I love layers.

OK, so let’s just jump right in here. Here we are, back on Aerthe. Aerthe is an Earth-like planet. There are three groups of people who live on Aerthe, the Mekkers, the Grounders, and the Scavs.

The Mekkers live in huge landships called the Swathe. There are a few swathes, each made up of more than one ship. They never stop moving, harvesting and mining as they move. The Mekkers are not native to Aerthe, and she hates them. Aerthe generates magic, and when the Mekkers stay in one place for too long, Aerthe gets after them. The Mekkers arranged the portal for the humans to be brought through. The portal shines the humans up real pretty when they come through. Their hair and nails are kinda glowy, so it’s quite obvious that they are humans. In the first book, the Mekkers ruled that humans are property.

Grounders and Scavs are both native to Aerthe. Grounders are settled into villages and other communities. Scavs are nomads, formed into groups led by the strongest leader, and they can and will challenge the leader for leadership. The Scavs tend to be pretty wild and will raid Grounder settlements and take/sell slaves. They also go scavenge through old cities that were destroyed in the war between the Mekkers and the people of Aerthe, back in the day.

When Emery, Fern, Sawyer and the other humans were brought through the portal, they were sent to different places. Emery was given to a master in Acquired Possession. (Right now only 99 cents on ‘zon, go grab it) Sawyer was given as a slave to the Grounders. So, let’s catch up with Sawyer.

When the book opens, Sawyer is in a caravan with a bunch of other slaves. He wants to escape, because of course he does. The caravan stops so that everyone can take a rest break. When the slaves are let out, Aribelle, the caravan owner’s niece happens to walk by. Sawyer, being a big of a dicklord, takes a piss at her feet and hits her shoes. He manages to get a key away from a guard so that he can escape, but Ari sees it and tells the guard. Then she orders Sawyer to be castrated. Right after she says that all hell breaks loose. Scavs are attacking. Sawyer drags Ari down and under a wagon and saves her. When the raid is over, Sawyer comes out and tries to get in good with the Scavs and tells them that Ari is his. The Scavs tell him that he will have to wait to talk to their leader.

You all know the routine now. I’m about to put a pretty picture up, and after that you get all the spoilery goodness. Sawyer is a very imperfect hero. He’s got some serious anger problems with more than a little desire for vengeance. That gets taken out on Ari, who both does and doesn’t like it. I think he may have gone a little far sometimes, but I totally get his point of view on it. He does question himself at times, and tries to figure out where morality on Earth and morality on Aerthe should lie and how he can live with both of them. There is some spectacular sex. There are spankings and more. There is a bloody cock. There is also a hard won HEA. This story is a great journey, not just for Sawyer and Ari, but also for JI, a recurring character. Like I said, layers on layers, so awesome. Cari is devious that way.

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If you came down here, then you must not be too worried about any spoilers I may drop from my fingertips.

OMG, the bloody cock scene. I got to read it in Cari’s group before I read the ARC and oh my fucking shit, it was hot. I mean, Ari didn’t like blood, Sawyer rubbed blood on his cock and made her suck it. It’s so wrong, and yet so completely right, and very much hot.

I like that Sawyer starts to realize that he cares for Ari, and that what he wants to do to her has gone past revenge, like it started out, and into he wanted her to be his forever. The fact that he freed Ari and then wooed her was really impressive to me. It let Ari have her own journey from an angry forced slave to a willing and eager submissive who wanted to belong to Sawyer.

And JI? I cannot wait to see what Cari is going to do with him. I liked him when we met him in AP, but he was basically a child, really. In CP, he’s a teenager and then adult. Now he’s a very, very devious, sneaky, and tricksy adult. With a cock.

I wonder, with Gio’s new portal skill, if more humans will be going back through the portal. I kind of hope not because I like Aerthe. I wonder what’s happened to Fern, Sawyer’s sister. Last we knew, in AP, she was stabbed and then thrown off the ship to die. But JI was able to give some of the mechlings medical training, so maybe she lived? I want to know. I need to know. I need to know more about Gio too. Obviously, she was there before Emery, Sawyer, Fern et al, so how did she get there? So many questions, so few answers.

Alrighty, I could go on and on, but then you wouldn’t need to go to Amazon and read this book, and you really need to do that. And grab AP while you’re at it since it’s on special for the next 4 days. Trust me, if you like dark, gritty, and spanky, this will do it for you.

Tomorrow we have a book from Summer Greystone, so keep an eye out for that. Meanwhile, happy reading.

Kate Daniels Reread pt. 2

My next-to-last post was all about the world of Kate Daniels and such. Today we’re actually going to get into the books. I’ve read the first three, but this review may or may not talk about all three. From now on, the reviews will just be about one book at a time. I just got ahead in my reading. So, without further ado, let’s start reviewing!

Magic Bites

Magic Bites is the first book in the series. In it, we are introduced to Kate, a merc. She’s sitting in her house in Savannah, GA, drinking when a vampire shows up to ask if she’s talked to her guardian lately. Ghastek was the one who was navigating the vampire. He and Kate are going to have an interesting relationship over the series, so remember his name.

She rushes to Atlanta to find that Greg Feldman, the man who was her guardian after her father died, has been gruesomely murdered. He was the resident Knight-Diviner for the local chapter of The Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid. The Order is kind of like modern day Templars, only slightly less merciful. They will provide mercy, but sometimes that mercy is provided at the edge of a sword. The Order was founded right after the tech fell and the shift started. It is very regimented. Greg did get Kate into the Order’s Academy, and she tested out at electrum level, which is the highest you can go, and there have only ever been like 8. However, she walked out and became a merc, which drove a wedge in between her and Greg. There will be more about the Order in reviews to come. Anyway, she goes to the head of the local chapter of the Order to get help and ends up with permission to work with them to find Greg’s killer.

On the way to the solution, she goes to the morgue and meets Crest. She goes to Unicorn Lane and meets Curran, greeting him by saying “Here, kitty, kitty.” She goes to the Keep and meets Derek Gaunt, faithful, teenage, werewolf sidekick. And she goes to the Casino and has to talk to Nataraja. More to come in the spoiler section.

Magic Burns

In Magic Burns, a seven-year flare is coming. A flare is several days when the magic is extremely high. It’s a high peak of magic that plateaus during that time. Saiman, Kate’s magical expert, metamorph, and deviant extraordinaire, calls it the time of the gods. And he’s not wrong. During the flare, shifters have a hard time controlling themselves, Navigators have a harder time controlling their vampires, and magic users and magical people, like Kate, get a huge power boost.

This book starts out with Kate doing a merc job partnering Jim, a were-jaguar and the chief of security for the Pack. They are trying to track down a madman with a salamander. A salamander is a magical creature that starts fire. Just as Jim and Kate catch their firebug, he gets shot with a mysterious black arrow. Then Jim gets paged by someone in the Pack and has to leave. Remember, with the Pack, it’s us against them, and for Jim, he will drop everything when the Pack calls. He’s the Alpha cat and the security chief, so he’s super-duper responsible.

Later, Derek comes to ask Kate for help because someone has stolen maps from the Pack. Their maps are uber-accurate, and highly sought after. This person poofed in, grabbed the maps, and poofed out. While she was trying to figure out how to help with the maps, she runs across a street shaman named Red who had helped her a little bit in the last book, and his girlfriend, Julie. Julie’s mom is missing and Red tells Kate to take care of her. More in the spoiler section.

Magic Strikes

Magic Strikes starts out a few months after the flare. Kate is headed home from her job at the Order. She runs across Jim and some other shifters picking up a dead body. She offers them help, Jim turns her down. When she gets home, she gets a call from Saiman, telling her to come pick up something of hers. It turns out it’s Derek, who has snuck into his apartment to steal some tickets to the Midnight Games. The Games are an underground fighting tournament. In it, teams go into the Pit and fight each other. Derek has been working undercover in the Games and has found a young woman he’s trying to help, Livvie. That’s why he wants the tickets. Saiman extorts Kate into going to the Games with him, and Derek asks her to give Livvie a note from him. While this sounds like a minor little thing, it turns out to be pretty important.

So, we’ll leave it here until the spoiler section, which, as this is getting long, is going to actually show up tomorrow, I think. I don’t like to read long blog posts, so I don’t want to write them for people.

There is romance in the series, but there isn’t really any in the first books. Kate and Curran get a little kissy face going on, but nothing else really. It’s not until the fourth book that their romance really gets going. In these books they are still dancing around each other and kind of confrontational. Really, I think foreplay for them involves arguing and physically fighting with each other, in a sparring way, not in a bad way.

It’s a good series, well-written and enjoyable. The way the books work, they build on each other. Each book adds more to the characters and to the world, so there is always something new to find out. I really love that.

So, here is where this quick overview of books 1-3 ends, and we get ready for tomorrow’s post, which is going to be spoiler-iffic. And I’m going to leave you with this beautiful picture of a Barbary lion, just because.

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Hell Squad

Ready to go to hell? Hell yeah, the Devil needs an ass-kicking!

Anna Hackett has several sci-fi romance series, one of which is the Hell Squad series. Hell Squad takes place on an Earth that has more advanced tech than we have, and where countries have banded together to form larger unions or coalitions. Think the EU or the Commonwealth, but with one common government. The US and Australia, among other countries, are in one such group.

The series takes place in Australia, where, incidentally, Anna Hackett is from. Dinosaur-esque aliens called the Gizzida have invaded the Earth, and killed large percentages of the population. They have taken other humans for terrible experiments. The majority of the infrastructure is gone, including reliable contact with other countries. Most of the military are gone, because of course, the aliens are going to attack military bases first, just to make sure that no one can fight back. Wouldn’t you? Anyway, there are some surviving members of the military who managed to escape to a secret, hidden base called Blue Mountain, located somewhere near Sydney. The base is run by a surviving general, Adam Holmes. The military survivors are broken up into small squads of 8-9 people who go out to fight the Gizzida, rescue people, etc. The premier squad is Squad 6, run by Marcus Steele, also known as Hell Squad. Through the series, we learn about other squads, such as Squad 9, which is mostly made up of women, and Squad 3, the Berserkers, who are made up of mercs, motorcycle club members, enforcers, and other people of questionable origins. The name Berserkers fits them, because they are quite wild, generally riding into battle on modified motorcycles and wearing minimal body armor. Crazy but fun.

The military survivors are broken up into small squads of 8-9 people who go out to fight the Gizzida, rescue people, etc. The premier squad is Squad 6, run by Marcus Steele, also known as Hell Squad. Through the series, we learn about other squads, such as Squad 9, which is mostly made up of women, and Squad 3, the Berserkers, who are made up of mercs, motorcycle club members, enforcers, and other people of questionable origins. The name Berserkers fits them, because they are quite wild, generally riding into battle on modified motorcycles and wearing minimal body armor. Crazy but fun. Later books focus on members from those squads, but the first books focus on Hell Squad.

While some of the other books I’ve talked about are kink and sex heavy, these books have minimal kink and fewer sex scenes. That doesn’t mean no sex scenes or that the sex isn’t hot because there are totally great scenes in these books. I mean, you get a bunch of Alpha males and strong women together, and nature is going to take its course. They aren’t insta-love stories, most of the romances are people who have known each other and worked together for some time, however, there are a couple of stories where people get into relationships shortly after meeting. None of the relationships start easy, with one person or the other fighting the pairing, for whatever reason. I’m looking right at you, Hemi and Cam. But each one ends in an HEA.

The books in this series can be read as stand-alones, it really isn’t recommended. That’s because there is an overarching storyline that builds on each book and characters do show up from one book into the next.

All the books in this series are on Kindle Unlimited, start with Marcus. They are nice, easy reads, with good plotting and good writing. If you like sci-fi and romance, these are a good choice. If you like Anna Hackett’s books, you can try  Phoenix Adventures, which aren’t on KU, and Galactic Gladiators, which are.

OK, next week will be urban fantasy week. UF is one of my favorite genres. Some of the books and authors started in the romance genre and are listed under both romance and urban fantasy. It’ll be fun, so make sure to check it out!