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Book Review: Blue Ruin Series

I read this entire series in a week, but didn’t do my usual review system for them, because of a lack of time. This is also the first time I’ve read a Katrina Strauss book.

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Blue Ruin #1

Blurb: Derek Graves’s desire for the perfect sexual “prisoner” has left him with a dark reputation and a string of jilted lovers. He needs a partner who wants the pleasure and the pain he can give. After his search lands him on the wrong end of the fantasy at the hands of ruthless predator, Derek returns to his accustomed hunting ground of Blue Ruin with one purpose in mind: revenge.
He gets it, but he also ends up rescuing the predator’s next intended victim, a homeless blue-haired waif who is just Derek’s type. He brings the incoherent young man home, needing to find out what he saw, and ensure he won’t tell anyone. The scenario couldn’t be more perfect to service Derek’s dominant fantasies —
Shane “Blue” McGowan wakes up groggy, blindfolded, and chained to a stranger’s bed. Upon finding himself in luxurious surroundings, the cunning Blue realizes two things: he has no desire to return to a life on the streets, and his handsome captor stirs strange and unfulfilled longings in him.
Manipulating the terms of his own “imprisonment,” Blue swings a place to stay in exchange for his silence about a second stranger left beaten and unconscious behind Blue Ruin. To sweeten the deal, Blue agrees to become Derek’s submissive. But as their relationship progresses, Derek finds himself wondering whether Blue is truly at Derek’s mercy, or is Derek at his?

Rating: ★★★★

Review: I loved this! It’s my first book by Katrina Strauss and I was sad to discover her after her retirement from writing.
Saying that, this book was amazingly good. I wasn’t sure about it at first, because the subject matter was quite dark and obviously not leading anywhere good, which is why it’s only 4 stars. I did contemplate after the first chapter, whether this was the right book for me, but I’m so glad I kept going.
By the time I’d got to know Blue and Derek, I’d fallen in love with them. Make no mistake, this is no light and fluffy, sugary sweet romance. This is a hard core BDSM Dom/Sub relationship that was sometimes just a little uncomfortable, especially in the beginning. But the relationship and character development were gold! So well written, well plotted and presented that I literally couldn’t put it down.
I also kind of love that both boys are damaged, in quite a bit way, because they come together and heal each other, over time. It’s not rushed, it’s not love at first sight. It’s an instant attraction that blossoms into something intense and overpowering.
I’m so looking forward to book 2. Having read the blurb, I just know I’m going to love it.

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Blue Ruin #2

Blurb: Blue finds pleasure in playing pet to Derek, but is eager to pursue goals outside of their relationship. When Blue starts GED classes and expands his social circle, Derek affords him room to grow, trusting their love is enough to keep his restless pet in line. That love is put to the test when Cameron Carter reappears in Blue’s life. An abusive crush from Blue’s school days, Cameron is a reformed adult now and seeks absolution for old wrongs. While Blue must find it in his heart to forgive Cameron, the greater challenge lies in keeping his unrequited desire for the former bully at bay. Derek’s torn between enforcing boundaries and allowing Blue closure to heal old wounds. Meanwhile, Cameron struggles to forgive himself for the pain he once caused the boy he secretly loved. As Cameron and Blue begin the road to recovery, the sizzling chemistry between them can no longer be ignored. Caught between two strong-willed men, can Blue prove his loyalty to one while denying his attraction for the other, or, is it maybe just possible that Blue can have them both?

Rating: ★★★★

Review: ** THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS **
Okay, so I have mixed feelings about this story. Really, it’s a 3.5, but I’m marking it up to 4, because I love Derek and Blue so much.
I’m not a fan of cheating in books. Especially not in developed relationships that I’ve invested time and emotions into, like here with Derek and Blue. I also don’t like characters justifying kissing or anything more than that, but less than sex, as not cheating. It is. At least, it is to me.
I was kind of disappointed in Blue, in this story. It’s not his fault, because I could see why he was doing the stupid things he was doing. The disappointment came from not knowing or understanding his previous relationship with Cameron well enough. In book 1, we had a flashback mentioned, never shown and we never really found out all the details about it. That didn’t bother me, when I thought it wasn’t that important. Well, it’s important to this story and we still don’t get all the details.
I don’t understand this intense attraction to Cameron, because I never saw them interacting back when he was being a bully. There’s no justification for Blue’s feelings except that he fancies the pants off a guy who used to treat him like dirt. That part of the story doesn’t work for me.
Also, the ‘crime’ element, which I’m guessing is a theme throughout the series, is a little weird. I love a crime element and I love how it was done in book 1. I had no clue what was going on there or who to suspect. Unfortunately, I did suspect the person in this book, though it was a little…shall we say ridiculous? I’m really not sure what other word to use. Far-fetched might be better. It made no sense and there was no logic or history behind it, other than one mentioned event in the past that was downplayed. That didn’t made any sense to me, either.
I’m also a little disappointed with Cameron, who was hyped up by Blue, after they met again. Cameron kept saying he imagined things, that he was being silly -> who wouldn’t get angry with someone who kept saying that? Especially at the important moments that Cameron does. Yet, we see no mention of Derek believing or not believing him, which was a disappointment. I choose to believe that Derek knows him well enough to know that he’s not a naturally over-reactive person.
But, saying all of that, the relationship between Derek and Blue is just as great as before. I’m hoping that this Cameron thing has made it stronger (and that we never see Cameron again – sorry, but I don’t like him). I’m looking forward to seeing how they recover from this event and who the copycat killer is, because I know Blue is right and there’s one out there. 🙂

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Blue Ruin #3

Blurb: As Blue’s master, Derek has plenty of toys and ingenuity at his disposal, but his high-priced loft isn’t the best environment for raising Blue’s BDSM training to the next level. If only he had a basement and the proper “hardware…” Blue has other worries. Still conflicted between his love for Derek and his feelings for Cameron, he’s due to face a killer in court and the accompanying publicity storm once the press connects the star witness to his powerful father. Seeking a break from the real world, he expresses his darker fantasies to his master. Blue should be careful what he wishes for. Blue lands himself in the clutches of the Balkan mob, and Derek must negotiate his freedom. The highly dangerous, very sexy Sasha offers the couple playtime in his private dungeon during Blue’s stay. The catch? In exchange for Blue’s release, Sasha gets to supervise.

Rating: ★★★★

Review: ** THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS **

Okay, so this one made me love Blue a little more, since the last book had me questioning his loyalty to Derek. This one made sense of all of that. I really began to understand that what Blue was looking for with Cameron was closure, while in this book, he gets a little snuggly with Sasha, looking for someone who will push his boundaries, the way Derek isn’t willing to.
That totally makes sense to me.
I love that we get both sides of the story; that we see how conflicted Blue is and Derek’s struggles. I know what the whole supermarket scene is about and where that’s going to lead, which is exciting, and I think if it goes well, it will make Sasha very happy, too. 😉
The ending was well done, but I had a few niggles with believability. The dungeon and bath sex scenes were a little difficult to swallow, with some run on sentences that made it hard to keep up and some movements that don’t seem possible. How can they be standing in the bath, with the water around their knees? That would have to be one really deep bath. Even then, some of the movements are incredulous; the way Derek was sort of ‘float’ to his feet from an awkward position, while lifting an entire person off his lap in the process. The crime element was also a little incredulous, towards the end, but it’s fiction, so I’m going with it.
The niggles are what take this down to 4 stars instead of 5. This one, of all the series, had the most potential for a 5 star, but it did leave me scratching my head at moments, wondering how they was possible.
Saying that, I’m really looking forward to the next two books.

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Blue Ruin #4

Blurb: Blue’s summer is heating up in more ways than one. When he befriends Dusty Sterling, he sees the opportunity to give his master Derek their first true threesome. But first, Blue must meet a requirement issued by Derek.
Derek is content with Blue as his exclusive lover, but when offered the chance to bring the beautiful Dusty into their bedroom, Derek can’t resist. He agrees to Blue’s idea under one condition — it’s Blue who must seduce Dusty.
Blind since birth, Dusty is proud, independent, and knows what he wants. In need of temporary shelter, he accepts an offer to stay with Derek and Blue. The fact that he finds them both attractive doesn’t hurt, but Dusty must let his hosts in on a secret – his unique and sometimes frightening way of seeing.
When Dusty’s nightmares reflect a pair of real life murders, Blue uses his connections with the police to bring Dusty in on the case. The friends grow closer both in and out of the bedroom, but their bond will truly be tested by the evil that lurks in plain sight.

Rating: ★★★★★

Review: This one was the perfection I’ve been hoping for, since I started this series. It hurts my heart to leave it behind and move on to the last book. This one actually made me cry.
Dusty is exactly what Blue says he is – something special. He’s strong, resilient and lightens the intensity between Derek and Blue, but it was nice to see all three of them together, as well.
This time, the crime element made total sense, Blue wasn’t a slut and everything just came together perfectly. There isn’t much I can say without giving it all away, but I was disappointed to see that Dusty didn’t end up with Sasha; that was my preferred solution for that situation, ever since I finished the last book and read this one’s blurb. But I do believe Dusty will love living in a little hick town, in a cute little house with a certain someone.
By far the best book of the series, so far.

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Blue Ruin #5

Blurb: Derek and Blue are settling down after their first eventful year together. To Derek’s relief, Blue’s managed to avoid kidnappers, mobsters, and murderers, not to mention he’s stopped suggesting those hot but complicated threesomes. Their love is strong, the BDSM play kinkier than ever, but the couple is learning the normal, everyday world comes with trials of its own.
Derek faces the crunch as finances grow strained. Blue struggles to accept his best friend Jodi’s new relationship with a sexy but questionable boyfriend. And then there’s their parents. Between a visit from Derek’s estranged mother, and a looming scandal with Blue’s high profile father, simmering tensions threaten to erupt.
When Derek takes an out of town job, he faces temptation in the form of the attractive young man “who might have been.” Meanwhile, Blue is left home to weather the brewing storm alone, and when a lie comes to light, it may well be unforgivable. As the distance between Master and servant grows by more than just miles, can their hard-earned love endure? Katrina Strauss concludes the Blue Ruin series with the fifth and final installment, Only You.

Rating: ★★★★

Review: This is a 3.5 for me. The story definitely needed any ending, for the series, but this wasn’t the one I wanted or expected. I’m afraid that I also don’t think it did the series justice.

Blue was pretty innocent this time, acting his age and letting the stress get on top of him. Derek was his usual charming self and I like that the story revisited the whole Adrian in incident. I also like that Sasha, Dusty and Cam made an appearance, for however long. It, unfortunately, felt more like the author was trying to answer all the unanswered questions of the series in one go and it just didn’t work for me. It didn’t feel natural for the story.

There was no crime element this time, as there was in every previous book, which might be why it read differently than the others. Sadly, though I still love Blue and Derek, their relationship sort of crumble in this book, with a hasty patch up job in the last chapter.

I was disappointed, after the perfection of book 4, that this one couldn’t carry that torch a little further. I rounded up my rating to a 4, purely because of how much I love the Derek and Blue pairing, their dynamic and the way they seem to understand each other, even when the rest of the world doesn’t.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Blue Ruin Series

  1. Thanks for the in-depth review. Might have to go check these out. Also, you said you used to write?

    1. Yeah, I write books and I just feel that it’s not how I would have done it, but that doesn’t make it the wrong ending. 🙂 Let me know what you think, if you do read them. x

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