Thursday, August 13, 2009

Recent Read

Beyond the Rain by Jess Granger

Why this one: Not really sure why. I love Sci Fi Romance and this one just seemed to call my name

Steam Level: Although there were only two love scenes, and not all that explicit, still I would call this very steamy overall.

Blurb: In a universe torn apart by civil war, a warrior and a slave must fight for their freedom, for their lives, and for a love that may destroy them both…

After five years behind enemy lines, Captain Cyani is ready to retire to her homeworld of Azra as one of the Elite — the celibate warrior sisterhood that rules the planet. But first she must complete one final mission to rescue her fellow Union soldiers. The last thing she expects to find is a prisoner, chained and beaten — but radiating feral power and an unbroken spirit…

Soren is a Byralen, an enigmatic people who possess a unique hormone that they use to bond with their mates — and that is sold as a sexual narcotic in the shadow trade. For years, he has endured torture at the hands of his captors as they leeched his very essence. The last thing he expects is to be freed from slavery by a beautiful warrior woman with radiant blue eyes.

Driven by her rigid sense of honor, Cyani frees Soren even though her life hinges upon the success of her mission. But after so many years in bondage, his hormones are so unbalanced that he will die if he does not bond with a woman. Can the lovely but distant warrior be the woman he needs to survive, or will the forbidden bond destroy them?

My Thoughts: In the baseball vernacular, I love, just love when a new author hits the ball right out of the ballpark in her first at bat and to my way of thinking, Jess Granger has done this with Beyond the Rain. This debut book is Very Good – Very Good Indeed! And how so you ask?

First of all, the world building is excellent. I always admire authors who write SciFi Romance/Futuristics because to me they start from scratch more then any other genre. Whereas a medieval or a historical or RS already has a basis on which to start a story, a good Futuristic starts from nothing. The author literally has to create a whole new world. And I believed the world that Ms. Granger created.

And what is a Very Good - Very Good Indeed book without a heroine and hero you can grab hold of? Cyani is an excellent heroine. Trapped in a destitute environment, she is taken away from it and trained at great cost and pain, to be a warrior without feeling. The only reason she can justify for going through what she has had to is the knowledge that she is saving the life of her twin brother and parents. She has one last mission to accomplish before she heads back to her home world for a life of solitude and silence. But on her last mission, just as she is ready to head back with a group of prisoners she has rescued, she discovers there is one more. When she sees him, chained and masked so he can’t see, with all the damage done to his body, she sends her crew away rather then risking their lives and stays and rescues this mysterious man. She is a woman of strength and honour, compassion and loyalty.

And Soren, the hero – WoWzErS – what a hero he is! He is one of those tortured heroes I love so well. While not an alpha in the traditional sense, neither is he a beta hero. He combines the best of both and is a hero onto himself. He is willing to risk his life over and over in order to give Cyani her choices. He respects and admires her, not just for rescuing him from a life of hell, but because he understands her. He is one of the most noble heroes I’ve read in a very long time. And not only that – he is one of those yummy virgin heroes. But since he comes from a very sensual race, he makes for a very good partner. I can’t say enough good things about him.

In addition, the secondary cast of characters are equally well done. There is one in particular who just screams out for his own story. I don’t see any mention of it on Ms. Grangers web site – but I hope she has something in the works for him. I’m not always like this with secondary characters, I can be just as happy with stand alone books, but this is a real exception.

Now I better warn you because I know this theme isn’t for everyone, but I really enjoy it, this is one of those bonded mate stories.

When I close the cover and want to go back and read it all over again, I know I’ve found me a good one! I hope the buzz on this one continues to be good; Dear Author has this as one of their recommended reads for August, as I think there are many readers who will think this one Very Good, Very Good indeed.

Grade: 5 out of 5


orannia said...

Great review Kristie! And even though I'm not a fan of warrior women (I so can't relate :) it does sound very good. And I like sci-fi :)

I'll keep an eye out for it :)

Kristie (J) said...

Oh - she wasn't a warrior in the sense that you might be thinking!! She came from a very civilized place - at least the part of the world she lived in after she was "rescued". She wasn't anything like Xina - Princess Warrior for example. It was more like she was in the 'military' with her own squadron of men. Except it was a space ship. More along the lines of Captain Janeaway - but younger and more naive in the ways of love and happiness. She had been 'trained' for years to hold all emotions in check. And then when she meets Soren, she's not sure how to handle her feelings for him thinking she can't allow herself to feel anything for him since she has plans for the rest of her life that definitely don't include any kind of relationships.
I should have added all that to the review *g*.

Aymless said...

You've sold me. *sigh* Looking for change in couch now.

btw: what is WoWzErS?

Kristie (J) said...

Aymless: ROTFL - it's wowzers made fancy and wowzers is just that much better then Wow!!
I think Inspector Gadget says it - or some cartoon character. I tend to use cartoon character sayings a lot. My favourite one is Bug's Bunny's "What a maroon" for someone who does stupid things. He used to call Yousimitie Sam that a lot. Pinky and The Brain also have some great ones "What are we doing tonight Brain?". As did Foghorn Leghorn. And of course Alf!! Though of course he wasn't a cartoon - although, come to think of it - I think there WAS an ALF cartoon - I just never watched it.

Aymless said...

LOL! Thanks Kristie.

Book Junkie said...

Hey girl, I gave you an award on my blog, you deserve it so go check it out ;-)

Wendy said...

Boy. That chick who doesn't like bonded mate stories? She sounds like a bitch. Why do you hang out with her?

Anonymous said...

"Now I better warn you because I know this theme isn’t for everyone..."

Hmmm...I wonder who that could be? LOL, you two crack me up.

This cover is beautiful! I love the colors and the guy...he ain't too shabby either, lol. Paranormal/Sci-fi novels are hit or miss with me. I either really love them or really dont, there's usually no in between.

I'm glad you loved this one, Kristie!!

nath said...

Sounds very interesting, Kristie!! Great review!! :)

I'd definitively be out there, rushing to find a copy... if only it wasn't in trade-size ^_^;

Tumperkin said...

I loooooove the sound of this! I'm not big on the bonded mate thingy but tortured virgin heroes are For To Die. Plus I love the whole subversion of her rescuing him - total sucker for that sorta thing.

As a reader, I'm in romance for the characters and I just love the way your reviews are way about the characters, Kristie.

Kristie (J) said...

Tumperkin: And not only is he rescued by her - he admires her for her strength in doing so! He's not one of those heroes who has to prove he is more macho.
And thank you *g*. It's all about how I react to the characters. That's why I'm so seldom taken out of a book by things that can drive other readers crazy.

Nath: We-ell, if you order it online, it's ever so much cheaper. And someone mentioned earlier about another place you can order books at good prices - even in Canada. If I can find it, I'll add it in another comment.

Barbara: The first year Wendy, Sybil, Jane and I were roomies in Dallas, we had a long discussion on soul mates. Jane and I love them - Wendy, to put it mildly (heh, heh, heh) did not. So I figured I'd better warn her about this one.

Wendy: LOL - I wouldn't say she's a bitch - just a fellow romance reader with different tastes. And that's what makes things so interesting.

BookJunkie: Thank you!! I've been out all night (no, not a date) and it was a busy day at work - but I'll stop by now.

Kelly said...

I picked this book up today on the strength of your review and the first chapter I read on the author's site. It was a delicious read (I finished it in a couple of hours) and I'm definitely putting Jess Granger on my list. :)

Nicola O. said...

Hmm. I kind of hate the premise, per the blurb, but your "5 out 5"s are rarely a bum steer.

I will check it out.

Kristie (J) said...

Kelly!!! I'm so glad you found this one delish!! Isn't Soren a to-die-for hero?? Mmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm

Nicola: I often find the cover blurbs don't do the story justice. Although parts of this one appealed to me I admit - this little bit in particular
"For years, he has endured torture at the hands of his captors"
*chuckle* That was enough to sell me.
But the story inside is very, very good ;-)

orannia said...

Oh, thank you for the explanation Kristie. It sounds even better now (if that is possible :)