Wednesday, May 10, 2017

[Review]: "Ashwin"

romance novel covers, dystopian romance, Royal Pick, Ashwin by Kit Rocha
Ashwin by Kit Rocha
Publisher: Kit Rocha (March 7, 2017)
Series: Gideon's Riders, 1
Genre: Dystopian Romance

The first book in the follow-up to Kit Rocha's bestselling BEYOND series...

Gideon's Riders, Book One

Lieutenant Ashwin Malhotra is a Makhai soldier--genetically engineered to be cold, ruthless. Unfeeling. His commanding officers consider him the perfect operative, and they're right. Now, he has a simple mission: to infiltrate Gideon's Riders, the infamous sect of holy warriors that protects the people of Sector One.

He's never failed to execute an objective, but there's one thing he didn't anticipate--running into Dr. Kora Bellamy, the only woman to ever break through his icy exterior.

When Kora fled her life as a military doctor for the Makhai Project, all she wanted was peace--a quiet life where she could heal the sick and injured. The royal Rios family welcomed her like a sister, but she could never forget Ashwin. His sudden reappearance is a second chance--if she can manage to touch his heart.

When the simmering tension between them finally ignites, Kora doesn't realize she's playing with fire. Because she's not just falling in love with a man who may not be able to love her back. Ashwin has too many secrets--and one of them could destroy her.

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My Review:

I held off on reading Ashwin because I didn’t want to leave this amazing world (you know, while waiting for the next release) but after two shitty books in a row, I had to break open the emergency Rocha Book. So damn glad I did, as Ashwin was everything I had hoped it would be, everything I’ve come to expect and love from Rocha.

"Seeing her sad is . . . unsatisfactory."

"Unsatisfactory, huh?" Deacon laughed, genuine amusement coloring the sound. "Do yourself a favor--find a better fucking way to tell her that."

Ashwin fits in my new favorite Hero Type (think Nalini Singh’s Psy/Arrow heroes): cold, deadly, scary to everyone around them – but utterly devoted and caring and loving to his woman. Plus the whole awkward how-do-I-act-like-regular-humans-I-don’t-understand-all-this scenes and jokes, which I also adore.

She’d started telling him knock-knock jokes as a way to loosen him up, something to say just to break the distant silence. It had always confused him more than anything, because silly little jokes and highly trained, lethal warriors didn’t exactly go together. 

Somewhere along the way, somehow, he’d made the effort to figure them out. 

She wanted to kiss him. Smooth her fingers through his hair and thank him. Cry.

And, much like Singh’s heroes, Ashwin is ALLLLLL about putting 200% of his Very Intense Concentration into pleasing Kora. And I am 1000000% here for their smoking hot chemistry. (Again, no surprise, as this is Rocha, and I’d expect nothing less!) I’m not sure what I loved more: him giving her four orgasms in one scene before they even have intercourse or the tub scene or the cabin-standing-up scene or . . . Hell, I love them all. So. So. Sooooo. Much.

“It’s not about being complicated.” He brushed glancing, maddening touches over her back and the line of her spine on his way to the clasp on her bra. One efficient twist of his fingers and the fabric went loose, one strap slipping from her shoulder. “It’s about being thorough. A man who wouldn’t be meticulous in devising the best way to give you pleasure is a man who doesn’t deserve to touch you.”

*swoons* Give me a minute. Or twenty.

But their relationship development isn’t just about the sex, and I loved all of that, too. Who wouldn’t fall for a hero who can turn washing clay off her hands into an erotic experience? Or a hero who spends years filling a safehouse with things that she’ll love? Oh, Ashwin. (happy sigh)

“Does it bother you so much to deal with my injuries?” 

“Treating you? No. Knowing that you were hurt?” She shrugged, suddenly self-conscious. “Yes, it does.” 

He studied her for a few seconds, then inclined his head. “Then I’ll avoid it as much as I can.” 

It was so absurd she almost laughed. He wouldn’t avoid taking a bullet to save himself the physical pain and injury, but he’d do it because she didn’t like the thought of him being shot. 

The only thing that kept her from laughing was knowing that he was dead serious."

Besides the romance, sex, and feels (oh yes, there are Definitely Feels involved as this big, dangerous Super Soldier finally breaks down, opens up, and admits that he doesn’t know what he’s doing but he has All The Feelings for her), I loved the story here. I loved seeing this world again, post-war, loved seeing peeks at a few old friends (Rachel/Ace/Cruz and the babies! ), loved seeing how Rocha is setting up for future plots and characters. And the brotherhood dynamics here with the Riders were great! I’m not sure who stole my heart more: Zeke and his jokes and seemingly carefree attitude, Deacon and his So Serious attitude (and also Ana! I need their book today *whines*), quiet Ivan . . . Really, I just love them all and how they mess with one another but also have each other’s backs 100% -- yes, even Ashwin. #BromanceFeels

"Don't mind him," Gabe said from the table, where he'd resumed sharpening his blade. "He has a habitually sarcastic mouth. It's why everyone keeps punching him in it."

"Or because you're all jealous of how pretty it is." Zeke waggled his eyebrows at Gabe.

If I have one complaint – and note it wasn’t enough to take down my 5 star rating because everything else just made me that damn happy -- it’s the fact that Ashwin keeps the secret of Kora’s birth/past until 80%+ in the book. I’ve never been a fan of keeping the secret, no matter the reason, until so late in a relationship (and book). But, like I said, I’m still not really MAD at this because I loved everything about this book otherwise. Admittedly, I have a huge soft spot for this world Rocha has created, and their writing, so I’m not always as critical/unbiased as I should be with my ratings, but IDGAF. There are some authors/books that you just love unconditionally and they can do no wrong. This is one of those for me and I won’t ever apologize for it.

"Will you teach me how to do this right?” His expression was so serious. So earnest. “How to love you?” 

A person could live a thousand years and never be worthy of those simple whispered questions. “I can’t,” she admitted. “I’ve never been in love before. We just have to learn together."

He smiled--honest, open, without hesitation or artifice, and it was the most beautiful thing she'd ever witnessed. Her heart skipped, then started to race as he brushed his lips over hers.

Love could only exist when it was given freely, without reservation, but trust like this was another matter. She’d have to earn it, day after day, moment after moment, with every earth-shattering decision and the tiny, mundane details that made up a life. 

And it would be worth every single second.

Ashwin kicks off the new series with a bang (and plenty of flames 😉) and I cannot wait to see what Rocha brings us next. You could read this one without having read the Beyond series, but since I will never NOT recommend the Beyond series to everyone I come across, I’ll still recommend you read those books first, to get a feel for this world, what happened before the final battle, and who some of the other characters are that are mentioned in this one. You’ll thank me later, trust me. 😊 (Note: Beyond series MUST be read in order, especially for the later books!)


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I received an e-ARC of this book from the author, via NetGalley.

*Note: The quotes used belong to Kit Rocha; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim them. Any mistakes or typos in the quotes are my own fault.

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If you want to read more quotes that I highlighted, check out my Twitter!

Remember, since this is a Royal Pick, come back on May 25th for a chance to WIN an ecopy of your own!


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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