Review: Dark Dealings

Reviewed by Jen

I’ll give Kim Knox credit for this: Dark Dealings is definitely different. It’s dark and edgy… a little disturbing and not always pleasant to read, but strangely compelling at the same time.

Ava is a thief — though not in the traditional sense of the word. She hungers for flesh and bone, and for that, she is an anathema to the Mages who surround her.  All expect for Reist. He took her in when she was just a teen. Took care of her. Made her his protege.  And she fell in love with him. But the feelings were one-sided.  He never looked at her as a woman.  As the story begins, Reist is starting a relationship with a female mage, and Ava has had enough.

When she learns that sexual energy can feed her and fill her with magic, she makes a deal with a Heyerdar. She agrees to trade sexual encounters with the powerful elemental, and with the magic she gains, she hopes to lure Reist to her bed, while sending his new woman into Heyerdar’s waiting arms.  In the meantime, Ava and Heyerdar must work together to track down a band of thieves who have gone on a killing spree in the territory.

Ava was a really downtrodden heroine. It was hard to watch everyone kick her when she was down.  No one gave her respect or kindness.  Even Heyerdar didn’t treat her well, though he sure did enjoy her body.  He ordered her around and treated her like a dog.  Reist used her and ignored her.  And everyone else treated her like she was a contagious disease.  When Heyerdar finally does come around (at the very, very end,) it just doesn’t ring true.  Are we supposed to believe he cared for all along? Pfft.

The imagery surrounding the depiction of the thieves was mighty gruesome.  They sucked people’s insides out and left a husk of skin.  When Ava gets mad, she wants to rip the skin from people’s bones.  It’s not a… comfortable read.  But the world-building was unique and interesting.  And even though parts of the book bothered me, I didn’t ever think about putting it down.  Maybe it was morbid curiosity, but I wanted to see how it would all end.

If a bit of darkness doesn’t bother you and you don’t mind watching the heroine take some hard knocks, you might enjoy it.

Rating: C+

*ARC Provided by Carina Press via NetGalley 

Click to purchase: Amazon
Dark Dealings
by Kim Knox
Release Date: November 2012
Publisher: Carina Press

Review: Bitter Harvest

Reviewed by Jen

I like sci-fi/ futuristic romance stories and I am known to enjoy the sexy goodness of some m/m loving –so I thought this novella would give me the best of both worlds. In this future/ alternate world, a computer generated mutation has taken over humanity, turning almost everyone into mindless sex machines. There are a few patches of survivors here and there, but it seems like they are only fighting off their inevitable fall.

Sutton is one of those left uninfected. He has a special immunity, of sorts, which allows him to withstand the super-mojo pheromones of the sex-zombies. (To be fair, they’re not actually zombies. They’re more like the Borg, but go with me on this.) When Rider stumbles into his camp, it’s clear he’s been altered by the nano-technology, but he clearly has disconnected from the sex-zombie hive mind. Sutton fears Rider is more likely a next-generation carrier, rather than someone who managed to escape. But when all the tests on him come back negative, he is allowed to stay in the camp.

Sutton’s body wanted Rider’s from the moment he laid eyes on him, but he fights the attraction. He manages to stay out of Rider’s pants for about half the story, but really, that’s only about 40 pages. Once they give in, well, I have to leave something unspoiled. But I will say that it’s odd.

Honestly, the whole thing was kind of odd. Even those who aren’t sex-zombies are all holed-up, humping each other like bunnies. And everybody wants to hump Rider. And most do. Which makes it hard to completely swallow this uber- connection he has with Sutton. What’s so special about Sutton to make him the one, not just in the want-to-hump him way, but in the epic way that I can’t talk about because it will spoil the end of story?

It’s one of those books that you just can’t take too seriously or question too deeply. It was entertaining, though, and it had some solid sexual tension and good sex. And if the idea of a sort-of a Skynet produced sex-Borg future sounds good to you, then you’d probably enjoy it. 2 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley 

Click to purchase: Amazon
Bitter Harvest
by Kim Knox
Release Date: March 19, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press

Review: Synthetic Dreams

Reviewed by Jen

Kim Knox has created an interesting and unique world in this sci-fi novella. In a futuristic/ alternative Britain, people spend much of their time in a virtual world. Many use glamours to enhance their looks, but the good glamours are often illegal. Vyn is badly scarred in the real world.  She used her own skills to create better glamours for herself in “the Mind,” but she was busted and sent to live her life in the slums.

It’s been seven years since then, and now Vyn has almost perfected a new device that would allow someone to change their appearance completely in the Mind, without the threat of detection. But just as she makes her breakthrough, a Mind security officer named Paul tracks her down, demanding she use her skills to help him find his brother, who was kidnapped by the government. There’s definitely a spark between them, which intensifies throughout the story.

The novella really drew me in. It was fresh and I liked the writing style. The story moves quickly, with equal parts action, intrigue and sexual tension. My only complaint is that I found myself fuzzy on the tech elements of the book more than once… and by that, I mean all the logistics of the computer stuff. But I made a choice to just put all that aside and let myself enjoy the story. And I did. I liked the way the action arc progressed as well as the relationship between Vyn and Paul. Almost 4 stars.


*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Synthetic Dreams
by Kim Knox
Release Date: February 27, 2012
Publisher: Carina Press