Beyond Surrender—the intense final story in Kit Rocha's epic Beyond series—is edgy, gritty, terrifying, and satisfying. It's everything a reader could want in the final piece of the story puzzle we've pieced together over the last three years. The Beyond series was the first erotic dystopian series I read, and it is still the most memorable. The hedonism, the controlled violence, the brotherhood and family. The sheer, uninhibited exhibitionism and sexual freedom. Beyond Surrender features Nessa—the O'Kanes' most protected sweetheart and the whiskey genius who holds the secrets of their lucrative liquor trade—paired up with Sector Eight's leader Ryder, a man groomed from childhood to lead the Sectors in their rebellion against Eden's brutal control. Ryder isn't an O'Kane, and his relationship with Dallas is edgy, so Beyond Surrender veers into new story territory while still delivering that thrilling erotic punch readers have come to expect from the series.
Where most of the O'Kane boys so far have been cocky and dominant, Ryder is unlike any previous romantic hero in the Beyond series. Part of what I enjoyed most about Ryder was his analytical mind, his cool control and the little bits of warmth and shyness tucked away under all that mmm mmm mmm man! He's controlled but gentle, at times rightfully smug but not arrogant, dangerous as all hell but doesn't flaunt it. This guy is smooth dark chocolate—quiet, vibrant, and deep.
And for Nessa, being the whiskey princess of Sector Four is about more than just nurturing and guarding the product that built Dallas O'Kane's empire. She has a connection with Dallas that predates their time in the Sectors, and I loved getting the little peeks into Dallas's past.
Some of the series couples are obvious pairings (or multiples), characters meant to be together and the authors made no secret about it—Dallas & Lex, Ace & Cruz & Rachel, Jas & Noelle—but Nessa's match isn't even hinted at until late in the series, and while Ryder isn't someone I would have picked for her out of a character lineup, they make a pretty darn perfect couple. And the underlying theme that surrounds them is freedom and unification—two people of different backgrounds and temperaments coming together to fight for the same greater good. And, of course, they steam up the pages as hot as any other O'Kane couple.
This was a really hard book for me to read. Aside from it bringing the end of a series I have loved and followed for several years, I personally connected with so much of Nessa—her essence and spirit and self-aware shortcomings. Seeing her flaws and fears and hopes laid out on the pages brought clarity to some of my own life choices.
The mystery of Eden and how it fits into our modern day Earth has been slowly teased out in bits and pieces throughout the series. The authors stay true to form here—you won't find any expository history lessons to tidily wrap it all up—but they do give us enough to satisfy those basic questions about the shining city and—finally!—its locale.
Beyond Surrender is a deeply satisfying ending to a vibrant, addicting series. The pacing is perfect, the build up beautifully tense, and the emotional arc carefully balanced and nurtured. Looking back across the series, I can't choose a favorite story. I just enjoyed them all so much. But this finale in the saga of The O'Kanes vs. Eden is definitely one of the most immersive and enjoyable. It's a rough ride, but it's true to the O'Kane spirit, and I loved it.
I'm actually not sad it's over. Sector Four and it's whiskey gang have earned their peace, and the setup for Gideon's Riders is mouth-wateringly tantalizing. Fans of the Beyond Series will adore this book, with its celebration of all things O'Kane, and hunger for the first Riders book to come....more
Greer Wilde is on a mission of revenge and he expects to die trying, or shortly thereafter. After the tight knit brotherhood of the Wilde brothers over the last few books in this series, and knowing their concerns for their missing brother Greer, the opening of Too Wilde to Tame packs a solemnly heavy punch and sets the tone for this gritty series finale.
Greer is a tough guy, but his girl keeps up and pushes back. Natalie is graceful and strong—a former ballet dancer—and her personal history gives her the perfect insight into how to connect with Greer in just the way he needs. One of my favorite moments includes a post-shower Greer in a towel, finding an unexpected audience as he slams back over to his apartment across the hall in search of some clothes.
The chemistry between Greer and Natalie is scorching, but the scenes—while hot—are respectful and sensitively worded. I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I’m pretty sure I read it in a single day.
Tonya Burrows’s stories are always so memorable and full of all the things that pull on a reader’s heartstrings—heartbreak, self-loathing, selfless heroism, soul-deep love, crazy hot feels, danger and suspense. Her books are the whole package and every time I read one I want to go on a ‘Burrows binge’. Ms. Burrows writes intense, hardass, vulnerable military men with explosive chemistry and serious skills…both in and out of the bedroom.
Too Wilde to Tame is a MUST-read story if you’ve already started the series. Seriously, it couldn’t have ended better than this. And to Ms. Burrows: Don’t even stress about how the Epilogue turned out, because it was PERFECT. ...more
I loved the premise behind this book—not only the Marvel-like enhanced humans, but also the idea that heroes are just people. People who are braver for just a little bit longer.
Finn is a regular human, no enhancements, but he has been so conditioned to believe he will be sabotaged and fail at anything he tries that he expects it as rote. His dyslexia puts him at a disadvantage in written tests, and his well-hidden sexual orientation paints a target on his back with his family. Why would the FBI treat him any differently? Finn is just an all-around good guy that most readers will instantly click with. He represents the can-do spirit, the never-give-up mentality, and he thinks as quickly on his feet as any other agent on the team.
Talon is enhanced, and the success of his newly-formed team—H.E.R.O. (Human Enhanced Rescue Organization)—depends on the performance of the only human agent on their team. Except Finn isn’t even a real agent. He didn’t score well enough on written tests to be considered for the FBI (which means he has zero training), and Talon is against ANY non-enhanced joining their team. The enhanced are shunned from society in ways that sadly parallel our own nation’s blatant fear and discrimination, and Talon’s men are all hiding secrets of their own. Secrets that would get them killed or locked up—or worse, experimented on—if the very government they work for found out. Of course, no one would come straight out and say that, and the very formation of Talon’s new team is a show, a decision hotly contested even within the agency.
I don’t know if this story was written with political commentary specifically in mind, but it is particularly relevant in the chaotic American social climate of post-inauguration 2017. The enhanced (think mutants with a Harry Potter–style lightning scar somewhere on their skin) are almost completely ostracized by government and citizens alike, and their struggle is a direct allegory for the many groups discriminated against in today’s national circus. Five Minutes Longer isn’t just a potent story about life as a minority, it’s a philosophical statement about basic human rights, and it paints a dire picture.
Victoria Sue’s writing is clean and enjoyable, and Five Minutes Longer is a powerful story simply told well. While I found that the American characters sounded a bit British in some of their thoughts and dialogue, the characters still ring true and the emotional arc of the story is strong. I felt like Finn played more of a damsel in distress role than FBI HERO, but I still enjoyed his scenes and the duality of his vulnerability and personal strength.
Five Minutes Longer is a recommended read for fans of gay romance, whether you’re into political undertones or just want to kick back and enjoy a great story....more