It was great to read the story of how Gideon and Savannah met. I must say that they are one of my favorite Breed couples, and I always wondered how thIt was great to read the story of how Gideon and Savannah met. I must say that they are one of my favorite Breed couples, and I always wondered how they got together. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn't like it quite as much as I wanted to though. I think that was because Gideon is so sex-bombalicious nerdtastic in the other books, I wanted to see more of his oh-so alluring geekiness. Instead, he was much like the other Breed males in his demeanor although there was a cool part about him creating a precursor to the laptop we know and love today (cause guess what I'm typing this review on right now?). Thus, this book didn't really stand out that much from the other books. That was probably my biggest issue and why this wasn't higher rated. Also, I didn't like (view spoiler)[how Gideon promised not to fight in the field because of Savannah's fear of it. To me, it makes her into the bad guy to take that away from him. Fact is, they live in a world with a lot of violence, and I think that Gideon's status as a warrior is honorable and something to be proud of. Yes, there is risk, but he's very good at what he does. I wouldn't want to take that away from him. It does answer why he doesn't fight, but since he had a bullet stuck in his head, that was just as good a reason for him not to fight (hide spoiler)]. Even though Gideon wasn't as geeky, I still liked him a lot. I love his typical British colloquialisms, which we see in this novella as well.
What I loved was getting to know Savannah. I really, really like her. She's very young, but she has a maturity that I respected about her. She's a very intellectual person with a keen mind, and I could see part of why they were drawn to each other. Also her strong sense of right and wrong, and that traditional heroic urge, which is addressed in the novella. When she gets a vision of Gideon by touching his sword, you could instantly feel that bond begin between them, and when they meet, the rest is inevitable.
One thing that stood out to me was that Adrian stays grounded in the 70s setting throughout this book. The scene when Gideon tells her to call the Order, she has to grab coins out of her purse and run outside to a pay phone. That was really well done. At first, I expected her to pull out her cell phone, and I would imagine that would be Adrian's gut instinct to write that, but she remembers that they don't have cell phones at that time. I was instantly reminded that this is set about thirty-odd years in the past. She didn't have to keep hitting me over the head with descriptions of bell-bottoms and stuff like that either.
Ultimately, if you're a fan of the Breed series, I don't see why you wouldn't like this. It has the same feel and intensity of the other books. I think the biggest draw was getting to see Gideon and Savannah's backstory on paper, and although it was a short novella, it was well done and I believe in their love, past, present and future. Of course, it was awesome to see more of Tegan, 'cause I just love him!
And I'm really happy to see a popular paranormal romance novelist who is upfront and comfortable with depicting a loving, committed interracial relationship in her books. Kudos for that, Ms. Adrian.
A respectable four star read for me. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I am not overstating to say that the release of the new Black Dagger Brotherhood series book is a highlight of my spring, and I view it as JR Ward's pI am not overstating to say that the release of the new Black Dagger Brotherhood series book is a highlight of my spring, and I view it as JR Ward's present to me for my birthday! That said, let's get to my review:
**Disclaimer: This review is as spoiler-free as I could make it!
Wrath, Son of Wrath and Beth Randall have come a long way since Dark Lover, and it's been my pleasure to accompany them on the ride!
When I first read Dark Lover (about eight years ago), I will be honest in saying that my biggest draw was not Wrath or Beth, but the world and the storyline of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and the strange world within a world of Caldwell, New York. While I enjoyed their relationship, it didn’t blow me away, and neither character is my favorite in this series. However, I knew I was going to keep reading the series, and boy am I glad.
With The King, I feel that an immensely important chapter has been closed in the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and it makes me happy because I feel that all the Brothers and their Shellans have found peace and the close bond of family, drawing close friends into their net. I also feel a sense of excitement in knowing that the storyline can continue and branch off in different ways and directions, and the waters seem uncharted. While there are tendrils that Ms. Ward has planted in this novel, I honestly don't feel I can predict too much about what is coming next. It's going to be fun to see where the story leads, and I am in no way ready for this series to end.
I feel we got to see some added depth to Wrath that was very good for expanding my view and appreciation of the King. He came to terms with some major hurts and issues he was facing, and I felt the flashbacks were a crucial aspect of the storyline. Wrath always regretted that he could not save his parents and he divorced himself from the concept of family and his legacy so long out of a sense of fear and guilt. In this book, he came to terms with his past and how his future did not have to be governed or hemmed in by fear. I loved his evolution as a King and what that responsibility came to mean for him. It was joyous for him to get everything he needed, but didn't even realize he wanted. Even though I know things didn't end well for his parents, their powerful love for each other and their son was still inspiring to me.
Beth's storyline was thought-provoking. She was all over the place emotionally, and I understand why. I feel that she was at some of her deepest lows and her highest highs both in this book. While the story is about her, as Wrath's shellen, I think that more of the story was about Wrath. Her role seems more peripheral, but in a pivotal way. I still enjoyed reading about her character journey in this book. Beth is the best Queen for the race, and I can think of no other shellan to stand at Wrath's side.
Beth and John Matthew
I think this book explored their relationship in a more satisfactory fashion than any of the proceeding books. They know they have each other's backs, and the readers as well. Also, it shows that although you may have your desired life partner, you also need the connection of family (blood and found). I almost thought the thing Ward said would never happen was going to happen, but it turns out that it wasn't necessary. I like the way the story unfolds instead. That John Matthew remains his own person, and his relationships with others aren’t hinged on his secret heritage.
Xcor remains a complicated male, not quite likable in many moments, and captivating and deeply sympathetic in others. Since I like my characters complex, he definitely has my interest, and he may turn out to be a new favorite of mine in this series. He remains a wild card in this new series arc, his behavior not the slightest bit predictable. To his great surprise, his feelings for a certain Chosen have opened closed off parts of his psyche, and this cannot be a bad thing at all. I think he will have a potential enemy in his own nest, but he’s not unaware of that.
Layla is on shaky ground, but she is making her own choices and defining herself as a female. In her own way, she may have helped to avert a war that wasn’t going to end well, and that’s a good thing. I’m happy about that. I’m very excited to see where the story leads her next.
Assail and Sola
Assail is probably the most amoral of the lead characters in this series to date. His behavior chilled me at times, but he was also very sweet in others to Sola and her grandmother. It’s hard to know what to make of him. I hope we see more of his viewpoint. I can’t believe their road ends here. Sola’s in a place where she has to deny the desires of the heart. How long will she be able to tune out the siren call of her unwise feelings for Assail, who logically seems like a ‘very bad man?'
The Shadows: Trez and iAm
I am jubilant at the expansion of their storyline. These two promise to be a gamechanger in the series. We will finally explore the world of the s’Hisbe, and what a fascinating world it is. Trez has been running from his past for a long, long time, dragging his brother iAm along for the bumpy ride, as iAm has ever been his self-appointed guardian. iAm will soon step out of his brother’s shadow and find his own destiny, since Trez must soon face the music. Trez’s character is both repellant and alluring. He breaks my heart in many ways, but I feel hope for his future. I am drawn into this exploration of the dark path he has walked. The Shadows, once merely loyal allies of the Sympath King, have their own grand tale to be told.
I didn’t expect her secret struggle at all. Another case of ‘keep reading’ to see how she will get her happy ending. And she had better!
The Usual Suspects
It's always a pleasure to see the various characters who have had their books, and at the same time, I want more of them. I don't think the WARDen could ever sate my desire for enough of each character, honestly.
JR Ward, like every other author, has her own distinctive voice. There are aspects to her storytelling that turn off some readers. While I can see where she can overdo some of her affectations (like the brand name dropping and the copious use of slang), I love reading her writing. I feel that her depiction of the ancient culture of the vampires and their various subspecies is very poetic and dramatic, like an epic in its own way. Her romantic exposition lushly romantic and deeply sensual. It wraps around me like the dark spices her bonded males exude for their mates. Her tendency to adapt an urban vibe doesn’t bother me, because I think it’s an interesting juxtaposition to the very antiquated rituals of the vampires. While I can’t deny that the Black Dagger Brotherhood is at its heart a soap opera (not a bad thing in itself), it’s an enthralling one that draws me in and doesn’t let go of me until I read the last page (although the stories and characters continue to linger deep in the recesses of my imagination long after I finish the books). I feel like the Brothers, their shellans, and their friends/associations are part of my family, and each book release is like a yearly family reunion that I don’t dare miss. If only I was as excited to go to my real life family reunions!
I’m sure that I could nitpick about the things I felt could have been better written, but I don’t want to. It won’t make me feel I wrote a better review, and I’m not sure it would change my rating at all. I just want to bask in the glow of a new release of one of my top three series. I don’t drink JR Ward Kool-Aid, but I certainly enjoy her fine literary comestibles.
**The countdown has begun until next year’s release.**
I loved the brotherhood bond between Cal, Gage and Fox. They had been friends for a very long time, and you cYay! I finished it!
Thoughts on the Story:
I loved the brotherhood bond between Cal, Gage and Fox. They had been friends for a very long time, and you could see that that bond was titanium and strengthened by their horrific mutual experience and legacy. I liked how they were three very different men, and I could see a distinction in their personalities throughout this book. I loved how the book started in the past, where we see how horrors begin in Hawkins Hollow, but also the three main characters as kids. It made me think of Stephen King's "It", "The Body", and also "Needful Things" and "'Salem's Lot". While I saw sort of an homage to King, I think Nora Roberts distinguished herself very well and gave this story her own stamp.
Additionally, I liked Quinn, Layla (writing this makes me laugh because I always thought of the Black Dagger Brotherhood when I heard their names in the same sentence, which also has a Quinn and Layla, although Quinn is spelled differently), and Cybil. I liked how their characters complemented Cal, Fox, and Gage's characters. While the other characters don't get as much page time, I got a sense for the local color and the world in which the main characters lived, how they related to their friends and family. I am a huge fan of small town fiction, and I think Roberts did a great job with creating this small town which seethes with dark secrets, anguish, but also loving families and friends, who are suffering with a difficult legacy and curse.
One of the best things about this book was the horror element. Roberts spectacularly imbues this book with a dark, horrifying atmosphere. I suppose this is a romance more than anything, but it really stands on its feet as a horror novel. The scary scenes were vivid and quite effective. I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil anyone, but wow! Stephen King would probably give Roberts a pat on the back.
I have to say that the horror aspect engaged me more than the romance. I liked the romance, but I didn't feel any strong bond or connection to Cal and Quinn as a romantic couple. It could be that I like my romance intense and this wasn't that intense. It was more everyday to me, like when you see your friends meet and get together, and eventually get married. Nothing wrong with that. Just not as enthralling as the horror aspect of this book.
I had mixed feelings about the narrator. He made some of the characters sound kind of goofy, but I liked how he made Gage's voice really deep, and how he did Giles' Scottish accent. I didn't like the way he did the female character's voices. They sort of sounded like men in drag. I think I might have connected more with the females if they sounded more authentically female. I think he did a good job of making each character have a different voice, so points there. On the good side, I loved the sound effects and music. It added to the eerie feel of this story. I listened to this at bedtime, late at night, and I had a couple moments where I questioned the rationality of that. Since audio is a good way to get a book read and still stay on my reading schedule, I'll probably get the other two on audio as well.
Overall Thoughts: I liked this book, but I didn't love it. I think the horror part makes this a higher rated book for me. As I said above, the romance was sort of average to me. Not a big draw in this book. I did love the bonds between the characters and the small town feel, so that's another plus. I want to see how this series concludes, so I'll keep reading. It was a pretty good way to spend some hours listening.
*Disclaimer*--I have endeavored to make this spoiler-free, but beware anyway.
It’s been a long time coming, but readers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood*Disclaimer*--I have endeavored to make this spoiler-free, but beware anyway.
It’s been a long time coming, but readers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series finally get to see the culmination of the romantic entanglement between Qhuinn and Blay. While I wouldn’t have called myself Team Qhuay, I had hopes that their love story would be satisfying, and I can gladly say that it was! I am very much in love with this series, and each year, I look forward to reuniting with the Brothers and their loved ones, allies, and associates (and antagonists), and spending time in that busy little city of Caldwell, New York. While there was a great deal of nervousness of how this book would hit me, I am a happy reader. I found that I couldn’t give it less than five stars since I enjoyed it so very much. A book that has my eyes and attention stuck to the pages like Super Glue and happily (or otherwise) talking to myself and the book has to be a five star one in my mind.
Qhuinn is an acquired taste. His ‘don’t care’, abrasive personality and highly promiscuous behavior did not endear him to me, although I did respect his loyalty to John Matthew and Blay, and as a result, to the Brothers. He evolved beautifully over the course of the series, growing into the worthy male he always had the potential to become. With this book and the previous two, Ward showed me that his personality was shaped by a childhood of being denied what every person should have in this life, loving acceptance from his parents and family. Qhuinn more or less raised himself. I do have to say that when I take this into account, it’s amazing he turned out so well. Deep down, he is a very wonderful male with a good heart. It’s interesting that some of the gentleness that calls to me from a male of worth was first brought to light in his relationship with Layla. While I never saw them as a future mating, their interactions showed a strong bond of friendship and caring, and the courteous way he treated Layla warmed me to Qhuinn, as well has his loyalty and bravery in fighting for the Brotherhood. With this book, I felt as though my heart was scraped over with sandpaper as I saw truly how it was for Qhuinn in his life. The mindless sex didn’t work for me, and it still doesn’t. But I can see that this was just a way to hide from the pain. In the end, Qhuinn made me cry and showed that he deserved Blay’s love. I was happy to go through his journey or realizing what truly was important in his life, and the one consistent in his life was his friend and beloved Blay, even though he couldn’t admit for a long time that his heart desire to love and be loved by Blay. I literally hurt for him, as he looked back on his past actions with excruciating regret. I know we all wish we’d made different choices, and our hearts cry out for acceptance and unconditional love. I felt so much for Qhuinn as he went through this painful process. At the end of this book, I realized that I truly loved Qhuinn, he has become one of my favorite characters in this series, which is saying something!
I have always loved Blay. I loved him just as much now. He has so much to offer others, and his center is strong and complete. Being around someone like that is so good for you, because we need that pillar of strength in our life. Qhuinn certainly did. Even when he wasn’t being very kind to Qhuinn. I can certainly understand why. It’s very hard to keep loving someone who clearly doesn’t want your love, or at least that is how they act. Despite that, Blay still showed love in his intent and his uncalculated actions, which speaks volumes. The acts he does on behalf of Qhuinn definitely speak of unselfish love, and even when he was being nasty to Qhuinn, I could look past that to the why of his behavior. I didn’t find his viewpoint as strong as Qhuinn, but I guess that Qhuinn is just a more vibrant character in the end. I think that it’s because Blay has known who he was for a long time, and what he wanted. He just had to wait until that person was ready to be claimed. But for what I saw of Blay, he remains a beloved character for me. I feel that his steady nature complements the windstorm that is Qhuinn.
As before, I feel sad about Saxton. I think they both knew it wouldn’t last, because Blay’s heart was elsewhere. But I still pain for Saxton that he had to let go of Blay, even though he had fallen in love with him. It was the right thing to do in the end. I hope high hopes that Saxton will get his happy ending. He deserves it.
If there was a couple who weren’t more meant for each other than Qhuay, then I can’t name them. Their love has traveled some tough roads, with lots of pain and anguish along the way. But anything forged in fire is built to last. I feel that way about Qhuinn and Blay together. Like most of the other Brotherhood couples, they have found their place on the shelf in my heart as I smiled at their happy resolution at the end of this book. I do feel that Ward did them justice.
We get more of a snapshot of all the Brothers in this book than anything else. Instead of focusing on the established characters, Ward spends most of her attention on the newer characters and of course, Qhuinn and Blay. However, I just love catching up with the Brothers. They have me laughing and sometimes crying. They watch out for each other and love each other, even if it’s in a dysfunctional way. To me they are real people. Maybe that’s sad, but I can’t feel any regret about my psychotic belief that these are real people!
Layla is a character that many feel conflicted about. I like her. I like her just as much as I did before. I do like that she is taking measures to root herself in newly found autonomy. There were moments in this book that I cheered her on seriously, because she showed the potential I felt she always had. While she is not Qhuinn’s true love, I really like their relationship, how she sees the good in him and loves him dearly. She had faith in him when I didn’t and probably few others did. That means a lot. But more than this, she is her own person with her own destiny to fulfill outside of Qhuinn or her Chosen status. I’m glad she grabbed for that with both hands. I am so glad that things are going okay with the situation that arose out of the last book. I can say no more without spoilers.
When I read a book, I go through a period of wondering where an author is going with a storyline, but I am willing to take the ride. With this book, there was a fair amount of that initially. Especially with Assail and the Band of Brothers. While Assail was intriguing in the first book, he is doubly so now. That male is fierce and very, shall we say, ‘antiheroic.’ His interactions with a certain lady and some of his shameless comments definitely had my heart beating fast. He has that pull I look for in a romantic hero, for sure. Let me just say I am eagerly waiting seeing where things go next with Assail. He is turning out to be quite the character.
The Band of Brothers storyline is another one that is in flux. I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of it, but I am definitely feeling the Xcor/Layla connection. The scene in the car made me feel so deeply for them. The writing was so good on that scene. The imagery embedded itself in my consciousness, and I felt this aching poignancy of that moment. Call me Team Xcor/Layla! As far as the BoB’s war against the Brotherhood, this promises to be intense. I love the Brothers, but I can’t say I want to see the BoB hurt. I am feeling kinda invested in these guys. I don’t think of them as full-on villains right now, but more like antiheroes. Maybe that’s good that they aren’t so cut and dried. But more layered and complex in their motivations.
I am gratified to see Trez’s storyline develop. At the same time, I wonder, what about iAm? I guess Ward has to pick her battles, and she chose to work with his story first. The Shadows have me very intrigued, and I want to find out more about their origins. Trez is definitely in the hot seat. While I don’t like his method of dealing with it, I definitely can understand his feelings of being trapped by his destiny.
Summing Things Up
I haven’t followed reviews of this because I don’t like to let that affect how I view a book. I tried very hard to avoid spoilers before I read this. In all honestly, the new Brotherhood book is a highlight of my year. And I was not disappointed. While many dislike JR Ward’s writing or have become dissatisfied with the series, I am not one of those. I felt that she showed that she cares about these characters as much as I do, and puts a lot of energy and creativity into writing these books. I’m happy with the result. I’m back on the merry-go-round, because now I am starting the year long wait for the next book. It’s hard work being a Black Dagger Brotherhood fan, but there are payoffs! ...more
**spoiler alert** ***Bigtime Spoiler Warning. I can’t write this review without them. Sorry! ****Super-duper Long Review Disclaimer! I have so much to**spoiler alert** ***Bigtime Spoiler Warning. I can’t write this review without them. Sorry! ****Super-duper Long Review Disclaimer! I have so much to say!
When I started reading this series back around 2005 or 2006, I was drawn into the dark, seductive, dangerous world of JR Ward’s vampires, and something took root in me. I knew I would come back for more when I finished Dark Lover, and so I did. Again and again. Every year, I look forward to a new book in this series, and rightfully so. I believed the culmination of my love for this series would be Lover Mine, since John Matthew and Xhex are two of my favorite characters. While that book will always have a special place in my heart, I am happy to say that I still believe this series has more to offer me with every book.
I knew I would enjoy Lover Reborn, but I had some anxieties about it because it’s a pivotal entry, and a difficult storyline to read about (and to write about, from Ward’s perspective). So many expectations! I am happy to say I believe that Ward has stayed true to who she is as a writer with this book.
Tohrment always seemed like the most grounded, stable, mature member of the Brotherhood. When this series began, he was a family man, happily mated to Wellesandra. He was the voice of reason in the Brotherhood, and many looked to him for advice, leadership, and moderation. All that disappeared in a single act of violence, one that tore his beloved shellan and their unborn son away from Tohr, leaving a broken wreck of a male behind.
The opinions are varied. Many feel that it was too soon for Tohr to find another mate. Some believe he never should be mated again. Some want Wellsie to come back. As much as I love Wellsie, the realist in me didn’t expect her to be brought back. I feel that this would be way too fairy tale a resolution for this quite dark series. Personally, I would rather someone who had lost their wife/husband to move on and find love again. If I died, I would want my husband to be happy in this life. I believe Wellsie definitely felt the same way. Although I’m not a widow and I haven’t lost my soulmate, I have lost people that I loved, and grief is a part of life. It hurts like nothing else, and the loss makes a void in one’s life that cannot easily (nor should it be) be filled with anything else. Yet, over time, you feel those horrible claws of loss easing their way out of your soul and psyche, and you feel the healing begin. I for one feel that Ms. Ward did a very good job at portraying this with Tohr’s journey in this book.
There is no question whatsoever that Tohr loved Wellsie. But I loved the message that part of loving her was letting her go, and allowing her to go to her eternal resting place, and moving on and living his life. It felt right to me how the storyline showed that Tohr was actually keeping Wellsie from going to the Fade by his horrible, wrenching, unchanging grief. Although this is fiction, I do believe in the message about healing from grief being so integral to the process. And that felt so real to me.
My other concern was how Tohr and No’One’s relationship would develop. I didn’t want the whole book to be about how No’One would never measure up in his eyes, and that she was just a consolation prize, since Wellsie was gone. On the other hand, I didn’t want Wellsie to be forgotten about like being gone meant she didn’t matter anymore. That makes a very hard path to walk for a writer. For me, there was a lot of symmetry in how Tohr and No’One came together. It was naturalistic to the story, and I was satisfied with the outcome. Like most of the courtships in these books, there was a rocky road; but both Tohr and No’One both learn and grow from the experience.
No’One Many readers have speculated on her, and how she could end up being Tohr’s mated shellan. In Lover Mine, I learned enough about her to think that there could be a foundation between her and Tohr.
Although Tohr spent many years with Wellsie, and their love was the cornerstone of his life, he also had a very crucial relationship with No’One in his formative years. As a young vampire, he helped to save No’One when she was kidnapped and abused by a sympath male. He nursed and cared for her through her pregnancy, and he buried her when she killed herself, with his dagger. From a spiritual perspective, an unbreakable bond formed between them that is pivotal to the healing that is necessary for both. So it made sense for them to come together for me. She wasn’t just a random female that dropped out of nowhere.
Regardless, Tohr doesn’t make it easy for No’One to claim his heart. He is truly mean to her a couple of times in this book, and I wanted to slap him upside the head. And she hates herself so much, that she doesn’t feel she has the right to be loved. So No’One has to go through a sea change to claim her happiness in this world, this time around. It was painful to see how she hurt herself emotionally, how she denied her right to happiness, but that too was realistic. How often do we blame ourselves for the mistakes we make and the bad things that happen to us in this life, which aren’t our faults? We feel that we have to claim that misfortune and assume that we deserved it. No’One had an elephant’s weight of guilt sitting on her back, and until she divested herself of it, she could be no freer to love than Tohr was. There was balance in that.
Tohr and No’One Tohr is a really good guy. Despite all the horrible grief he suffered, he still tried to be courteous and to make sure that No’One had what she needed, as far as he could give it. Other than his two freakouts, which were pretty nasty, I think he treated her well. He didn’t make any false promises. I loved how he gave her a new name that he felt was worthy of her because she refused to go by her name when she was a young member of the Glymera. Autumn is a very fitting name, and I loved it. I liked how it tied into the cover so well. And it also ties into the whole storyline. People think of Autumn as the harbinger to the darkest part of the year. Autumn is a time of transition. It has a beauty all its own. It’s the season when the bright beauty of summer edges into the crisp purity of winter. Autumn is like a time of rest for the earth. To me, that is representative of what Tohr is going through. He is learning to live without Wellsie and to find joy and beauty in what had promised to be a very dark future.
The love scenes between Tohr and No’One/Autumn were very good. It showed that although Tohr’s first shellan had died, his heart didn’t have to die with her, nor his body and his capacity to feel desire for another woman. I liked that they eased into it over several months. I also liked how Autumn was able to see that she could have joy in a physical relationship with male. Being kidnapped and assaulted by the sympath male had made her feel disgust for males. With a gentle, loving male like Tohr, she was able to embrace the physical side of being a female. It felt right to me.
No’One and Xhex I loved the bonding moments between No'One and Xhex. They were able to meet as adults and to see each other outside of the fact that Xhex was conceived in a horrible way for No’One, and she had given up Xhex. Xhex realized how much her mother valued and felt pride in her, even though she didn’t meet the Glymera’s standards for beauty and success for a woman. These bonding moments made me happy because Xhex didn’t have a lot of people in her life to open up with and feel acceptance from, and she was going through a rough time with JM and how the Brothers tended to have a sexist viewpoint of her abilities in the field. They could meet on equal ground as women in love, and be there for each other. Those parts warmed my heart. I’m glad they found each other again.
Tohr and John Matthew Since Tohr views JM as his son, and vice versa, this was a crucial part of the novel to see them come together again. JM was able to help Tohr with his grief, and Tohr was able to give JM advice on his relationship with Xhex. Together, they faced the unresolved pain of Wellsie’s loss, and those moments affected me deeply. Their relationship is so important to this series, so I’m glad Ward came through in this manner.
Xhex and John Matthew I was kind of frustrated with the issues in their relationship. They had been through so much, I wanted them to have smooth sailing. Regardless of my discomfort with their relationship troubles in this book, I have to say it made sense. JM had to learn to deal with his issues with his mate going out in the field and risking her life, and how that affected his bonded male emotions. I like that he did get past those issues and respect the fact that the female he’d fallen in love with wasn’t the stay at home type. She was a warrior in her own right (actually for many years before JM). That was why he loved her, because she was a tough, strong, independent woman. Who was he force her to turn her back on that? From Xhex’s standpoint, I don’t think she was being unreasonable. She had the right to be herself, even if she was JM’s mate. And it was annoying how the Brothers and even Rehv weren’t taking her seriously because JM wasn’t dealing well with the idea of her being in danger. I felt bad for her, because she really does love JM, and wants to be with him, but doesn’t want to deny who she is, and she’s been through too much to let go of her sense of identity just because she was in love. I could also understand JM’s fears, especially seeing how Tohr losing Wellsie destroyed him. He didn’t want to go through that by losing Xhex, because she is his life. I’m glad that they were able to get past this. Since they are my favorite couple in this series, I loved seeing a lot more of them, even if there were some troubled times in their relationship.
Band of Bastards I wasn’t sure how things would go with the new storyline of the BoB. I have to say it was very interesting. I don’t view them as villains. I think that things will turn around for them to be allies with the Brotherhood, but it will be hard going. Xcor is a right b*stard, but he has grown on me. I hurt for him. I hope that he does find a female who finds him worthy, and hopefully that will be Layla. We’ll see. I was glad to get to know the other BoB, who now have names! Throe is still my favorite. He reminds me of Phury, in that he is a courtly male. That ain’t a bad thing at all, since I love me some Phury.
Qhuinn and Blay Honestly, Qhuinn has gotten on my nerves a time or two, but overall he is a worthy male and I do believe that. In this book, I really liked him. He has matured beautifully. I felt bad for him that he had to see Blay with Saxton, but in some way, the eating his heart out has been good for him. I think now he will fight for what he could have with Blay, and I’m looking forward to that.
Lassiter He cracks me up! I want to see more of him. I liked how he was a huge influence in getting Tohr and Autumn together and in helping them get past their issues. I want to see what this guy will be up to in the future, so I’m glad he’s sticking around.
Assail I have a feeling I will like this character. More please!
Where is Murhder???? I need some Murhder!
Now…..If there was one thing I hated about this book….. Why did Layla and Qhuinn have to sex because she went into her needing? It just felt all kinds of wrong to me. I am really unhappy about this outcome. If Qhuinn is going to be with Blay and Layla might end up with Xcor, what is the point of them having a child together? I just don’t see the blended family scenario working well in this series. I could be wrong. Maybe the WARDen will work it out. As for now, I am very unhappy about this! Sob! (Danielle admits that she thought about this all night‼)
Overall Thoughts Unlike some fans (and former fans) of the series, I wasn’t worried that this book would suck. I knew I’d enjoy it because I truly love JR Ward’s writing. I feel that she truly wanted to give Tohr a good story, and the end results show it. I’m sure it was a hard book to write, with many emotional struggles for Ms. Ward in the process of putting it on paper. Even though I don’t always like some twists in the stories, the whole package works for me.
This book touched me in so many ways. It had me laughing outrageously. It had me so sad that I couldn’t even cry. It made me happy. It was smoking hot as far as the plentiful love scenes, but it was also romantic. I felt she had given me resolution on some issues that were hanging out there in the air for me. I loved seeing some of my favorite characters who don’t get enough page time, like,….Phury. Too bad I didn’t get to see much of Cormia or Mary. I ain’t gonna lie, I would love more Rehv, but at least he was around in this book. It was great seeing Marissa again. I always feel great when I get to revisit my favorites, but part of me wants more! Heck, I think Ward tries. If she had pages of each of the characters, these books would be 1000 pages long, so I am not hating on her about it. I loved seeing all the Brothers stand up in support of Tohr in his difficult time. That was so necessary to this book. It warmed my heart big time.
So, for this reader, the magic is still there. I am afraid of the book slump I see coming since I have finished this latest BDB book, and the countdown begins for the next book. Next year. I can make it! I know I can!
Ascension took me a while to read, when I typically devour most paranormal romances. The writing style didn't grab hold of me and refuse to let me go,Ascension took me a while to read, when I typically devour most paranormal romances. The writing style didn't grab hold of me and refuse to let me go, which is a shame. However, I did like enough about this book to keep me wanting to continue the series.
What I liked *The concept of ascensions was captivating. I loved the idea that there were various Worlds accessible via dimensional gates that only a person who had ascended could pass through. This had some metaphysical aspects that appealed to me as a person with interest in the ethereal and the scientific. *I liked the mix of high tech science with fantasy aspects which are integral to this book. *The romance was strong and involving despite the dense writing style. The steam and attraction elements were well done. *I'm a sucker for a brotherhood of warriors. What can I say? (view spoiler)[I like the way Roane sort of makes fun of the seemingly obligatory aspect of the brothers going out to a club to get drunk, drink blood, and have sex with willing, nubile females. This has become quite a convention of the paranormal genre which I can’t say I’m in love with. I like that Alison talked about how sexist that was with Kerrick, because it’s a thought I often have when I read these books, even as an admitted paranormal addict. (hide spoiler)] *Good action sequences, and the displays of superhuman abilities were well done. I had these images of large-scale, majestic battles between winged warriors. She conveyed this imagery very well. *There's something about winged people that just does it for me. These aren’t angels, but I’d probably lump them into that category because of the whole ascended being with wings aspects. *Endelle is a character that totally stands out. Normally, you don't see these kinds of outre', unabashedly over the top alpha females in these books. She is a good source of humor and I love that her word is law, even to this group of very powerful warriors. *I liked the concept of the breh-hedden. While the fated mate theme is nothing new, I liked the way Roane presents her version. Although I'm not 100% keen on the idea of a hot warrior who is your fated mate smelling like fennel/licorice (Marcus, a secondary character smells like licorice to Havily), at least it's kind of unique.
What could have been better *Honestly, I think that this could have stood a very liberal edit, at least 50 pages. I felt as though there were excessive pages and words used than were needed to tell this story. This was quite striking considering that I had a question mark in my mind over the whole concept until about 300 pages had gone by. A surgical use of words could have conveyed more of what the author intended in a more concise fashion, and made for a shorter, easier read. Admittedly, I'm a reader who prefers more short and snappy writing. I can get past that with a really compelling read. However, in the case of this story, it just felt apparent to me that not all the words she used were needed. *I felt that most of the warrior brethren are still somewhat sketchy as far as characters. I can name them and give brief traits about them, but for all the length of the story, I would have liked a better integration of them in the narrative than I saw. This made the book have a samey feel in comparison to other popular paranormal series out there, when there is more than enough to distinguish this book from others in the genre. *The villain was a bit sketchy too. I couldn't feel his motivations. I was told rather than shown these, and it didn't quite ring through to me. I hope that he is better developed in the subsequent books.
After a rather slow, frustrating read, with some moments of brilliance that spurred me on to keep reading, I can say I liked this book, but I did not love it. I like the ideas, and I really want to fall in love with this book. I hope that I will feel more drawn in with the subsequent books since I have gotten a introductory feel to this world. For a first book in a high concept series, Ascension isn't bad. It is just one of those books that it takes patience and determination to get through.
I loved this second book with Team Three! This is one family I would want to have at my back. BeiReread from 7/28-8/3/12
I loved this second book with Team Three! This is one family I would want to have at my back. Being a sappy person who loves babies and gets jazzed with the inclusion of a pregnancy into the storyline, I was a happy camper with this book. And to think Ms. Feehan was able to successfully integrate this into a high-octane action romance, even better. The storyline takes the Whitney GhostWalker conspiracy to a different level, and it's kinda twisted with the creation of super-soldiers the hard way. I'm really glad that Kane and Rose loved each other and were able to get their baby free of that mess.
I adore Sebastian. His uncanny intelligence and awareness at a young age really worked for me. Reading about him was one of my favorite aspects of this book, along with the camaraderie between the Team Three family. I know, broken record.
Kane-- Such a great mix of tough alpha hero and sweet, loving hero. I love a guy who can kill the bad guys but also deliver his child and take care of the baby's mother so lovingly. Sigh! Kane has so much integrity and that shines through. I can see why Rose didn't want to give him up!
Rose-- Rose is tough and sweet. She's a mix of vulnerable and fierce. I loved her protectiveness of her child, but also the fact that she had a soft-hearted love for Kane, despite being raised only for being a soldier. She's one of my favorite women in this series, but that's saying a lot because I love them all.
I will keep this review short to avoid the Broken Record Syndrome. Anyway, loved my third reread, and super-excited to continue this series. This brings my epic Summer 2012 reread of the GhostWalkers series to a conclusion. Now I can read the next installment, Samurai Game, and keep my fingers crossed that Ms. Feehan will get to Javier and Rhianna's book sometime soon. That's going to be outrageous!
************************************************************* Addendum to Review for Audiobook--Completed 8/28/11:
Although I really dislike the narrator's voice (the same one as on Predatory Game), especially the manner in which he does the women characters, I couldn't resist checking this out from the library. I loved Kane and Rose's story the first time, and loved it this time as well. It took me forever to finish because I would listen to this at bedtime. Of course, I'd fall asleep, and the next night I'd have to rewind it to get to the part where I'd fallen asleep. My prior review of the book stands, but for the audiobook, my rating is slightly lower, because the narrator made some parts sounds cheesy, unfortunately.
I am a huge fan of Christine Feehan, although I can totally see why she wouldn't work for some readers. She is a bit repetitive in some of the language. That's something I can get past, because pretty much everything else works very well for me in her stories. I admit I would get really excited as I listened to some parts. The action was great in this book, so was the interaction between the characters, romantic and otherwise. The parts where Kane helps Rose have the baby and takes care of her just turned me into a molten pile of goo. When he cries as he holds the baby.... I was sighing like crazy. That's how I roll!
The book reminded me how excited I am for Javier and Rhianna's story. I hope that Ms. Feehan is working on it even as I write this review. I adore this series so much, and I will always snap these books up as soon as they come out. Even a less than satisfactory narrator can't ruin them for me.
Audiobook Rating: 4.25/5.00 stars My advice is to read these books first. Don't do the audiobook. You will think they are totally cheesy and that is so not the case when reading them. Book love rating: 5/5 stars
Original Review Below: ************************************************************************
Oh, dear! My jones for the GhostWalkers is much, much worse after this book. I love how each of these books is different. It makes sense, since people are unique, and therefore, each relationship would have different nuances to it. However, you would think when it comes to military men and the women they love, there would be a sameness to these books. To me, there wasn't. Each couple stands out differently to me. I had really high expectations for Kane and Rose's story. It's such an intriguing idea, since Kane and Rose were paired in "Mad Scientist" Whitney's GhostWalkers breeding program, and last we heard, Rose was pregnant and on the run. Poor Kane was clearly tortured about his part in that situation. I knew there was going to be some built in angst and tension. I loved the execution here. Instead of Kane and Rose being adversaries, at each others' throats, they were a united team. Pretty much from the beginning, it was clear they would stay together, come hell or high water; the problem was getting through a sea of adversaries to find their safe place together. But Kane knew something that Rose didn't. He had a team of men and women who would die to protect them and keep their child safe.
If you are a fan of pregnancy and baby storylines in romance, you will love this book. I certainly did. I especially loved how Ms. Feehan still managed to write a fantastic action-adventure story, but incorporate the heart-melting moments of mother, father, and child bonding. Kane is such a good daddy. He even delivered his child, even though he felt that being a rough soldier with no idea about parenting made him the least likely candidate for the job. All those bonding moments between Rose and Kane, Kane and the baby, and Rose and the baby, and the three of them, made this book for me. I loved Kane's discussions with his baby, regarding being a good soldier and taking out enemies, and how great Mommy was! Okay, this is probably not going to work for readers who don't like the whole happy family vibe. Kane and Rose and their child form a beautiful family, and it's not even in the traditional way that sometimes gets shoved down our throats by the conservative voice of the media.
I loved how Kane and Rose made sense together. It was great how their pairing turned out well for both of them. In a sick and twisted way, that Whitney is quite the matchmaker. He might have paired the GW couples for his own agenda, but the results turned out fantastic, nine times in a row. They had an intimacy that wasn't just about physical attraction. Kane is a very caring, gentle, loving man. He doesn't see himself that way, but I was glad that Rose saw that in him every early on, and it turned out that she choose him as her breeding partner for that reason, along with his formidable warrior prowess. They are both so loveable, and multi-layered people. Rose is totally kick-butt, but sweet at the same time. She might be pint-sized, but she is an incredible warrior in her own right. She totally earned my respect in how she handled herself in numerous dangerous situations her and Kane found themselves in.
As always, Ms. Feehan delivered high-octane, fantastic action sequences. I loved those parts of the book just as much as the romance and the family moments. Kane and Rose have more enemies than they can count on one hand. For those who have an interest in the escalating situation with the Mexican drug cartels, I think Ms. Feehan did a great job of integrating that into this story. I wish there were really GWs who could deal with those cartels and teach them what it feels like to deal with someone who won't stand for their bullying and terrorist tactics.
Of course, I was sold on the GhostWalkers books even after Shadow Game, but I was a little apprehensive when the story seguewayed over to a new team. However, I am eating my words. I love the Urban Warfare team. In a way, they are even more bad@$$, because they do their magic in environments that are fraught with obstacles. I am already loving the members of this team! Mack wasn't quite as abrasive in this book, and Javier really gets the spotlight. I am glad that we get to see Rhianna more in this book, and I am telling you, Javier and Rhianna's book is going to be smoking hot. I can already see the formidable chemistry between this pair.
I freaking love this series, and this book has made me love it even more. I was sad when I finished Ruthless Game. I just wanted to keep reading. I even reread a little of it last night when I should have been going to sleep. There are a lot of sigh-worthy moments in this book, and the action is crazy in all the best ways. I loved how Ms. Feehan didn't create conflict by breaking up this wonderful couple, but made the major source of conflict about them adjusting to their family life in a very dangerous world, where the GhostWalkers will always have powerful enemies, but nothing that they can't handle. None of those forces can prevail against the teams and the families that these unique men and women have formed together, and the powerful bonds of friendship, love, and unity. I can't say anything more without spoiling, but Ms. Feehan could write these book well into the future, with all the fascinating layers and story threads that are unfolding with each book. Let's just say that the world better look out for the next generation of GhostWalkers!...more
Let me start this review of Lover Unleashed with a letter to Manuel Manello, MD.
Dear Dr. Manny: Ah, Manny.**spoiler alert** Warning: Very Long Review!
Let me start this review of Lover Unleashed with a letter to Manuel Manello, MD.
Dear Dr. Manny: Ah, Manny. Why did you have to go and steal my heart? You are such a darling man. Just perfect for the daughter of the Bloodletter, Payne. You even gave her a horse as an engagement present. You truly know the way to a woman’s heart. And, did I mention that you are a fantastic doctor? The Brotherhood is very fortunate to have your services. So you found a long-lost brother, and boy do you have some things in common. Namely, you are both tough guys who are sweet as molasses down deep, and know how to take care of your women. And you’re both hot! (Clears throat and wipes glow away from brow.) Anyway… You really took all the vampires are real stuff in stride. And you have exquisite taste in women. You love a strong woman who can kick some serious butt, and a beautiful woman who glows (and I do mean glows) when she’s happy. It’s clear that you’d give her the blood from your veins, and all the sexual healing a woman needs. (yeah, you’re really good at that) And when you apply your doctoring skills to your patient, you really go the extra mile. And then there’s the fact that you are not at all scared of a six-foot, six inches tall brother who thinks his twin sister is too young to have sex, not to mention, doesn’t think any male is good enough for her. You more than proved your worth to him and the rest of the Brotherhood, in the trenches, and otherwise. Manny, Manny, Manny, can I add you to my ranks of favorite heroes, just because you are super-duper awesome? I had a feeling I would like you as the hero of your own book. Turns out I was right. Thanks for giving me such a fantastic story. I’ll have you know that your book is displayed with pride on my shelf with John Matthew and Rehvenge’s books. That’s a real honor. You deserve it. I hope you will be very happy with Payne. Love, hugs and kisses to you.
Your adoring fan, Danielle
Now Here's My Official Review!: Well, if you didn’t notice by reading my letter to Manny, I really loved this book. I admit I was a bit apprehensive because of some of the rumors I heard. But I was a happy camper in the end. The WARDen handled some tricky issues (for me) beautifully.
Vishous and His Relationships With Jane, Butch, and Payne I love the intimate, intense, multi-faceted relationship between Vishous and Butch. However, I am not one of the people who think that they are a better couple than Vishous/Jane and Butch/Marissa. I think Jane is absolutely perfect for Vishous. She understands him deeply, and loves him for who he is. I loved that Jane made some tough choices out of her love for Vishous, and she never resented Vishous and Butch’s close relationship. That’s a confident, strong woman for you. The right woman for Vishous. Hi Five to Jane for being awesome!
This book was a good chance to see deeper into the complicated world of Vishous, son of the Bloodletter. I loved Vishous in his book, and I love him even more now. He is one wounded guy. He doesn’t wear his pain on his sleeve like some heroes. Instead, he has buried most of it, and the other part comes out in his need for dark, twisted sex and in his formidable fighting skills against the Lessers. Since he found Jane, he realized that sex could be about love, and he put that (dark, painful sex) aside, although he still likes a little kink in his sex (which is okay with Jane). However, with his issues he faces in this book with finding out he had a sister that his mother kept from him, and with Payne’s injury and her despair about not getting better, he needs an outlet. How can he do that without betraying his vows to Jane? Also, why does he feel like he didn’t give all to Jane and show her exactly how much she means? Can this son of the Bloodletter, a dark soul who was completely rejected by both mother and father, really be worthy of a loving relationship, and still be true to who he is? All those issues were dealt with. At one point in this book, I was truly worried. I thought that V and Jane were going to fracture down the middle, and I really didn’t want that, because I love them together. I needn’t have worried. The WARDen came through for me. I was foolish to think she wouldn’t, for I know she loves these characters even more than I do.
It’s really hard to put my feelings into words here. There was something so touching about the bonds that V shares with Jane and Butch. I loved that he was able to be close to Butch without betraying his marriage bond with Jane. V and Butch have a fantastic, one of a kind relationship. I was worried about what needed to happen for Vishous at Butch’s hands, but Butch knew exactly what to do. He got right to the heart of the matter, and gave Vishous the release he needed (get your mind out the gutter).
The thing I love most about JR Ward’s writing is on evidence here. She does the interplay of emotions within and between her characters so well. She doesn’t go for the easy answer. She makes things tough for her creations, just like life is full of hard spots and crappy situations. But somehow, even though things can be bittersweet, she always gives us hope. With Vishous and Jane and Butch, I know that there is so much hope there. They will always have each other, just as Butch has Marissa (who also understands the bond between Vishous and Butch). And now, Butch and Vishous have a bond with Manny, very much about ‘brotherhood.’ In fact, this book shows that bonds of blood and friendship are what life is all about, because no man is an island. Bravo, Ms. Ward for bringing this theme to light so eloquently. Payne and Manny: I haven’t known Payne that long, and I met Manny briefly in one of the earlier books. But I liked what I saw of them as characters, and I liked the idea of them together when I heard that the WARDen had paired the two. I wasn’t sure how their relationship would play out, but I have to say that their courtship strikes me as one of the more romantic ones in this book series. There was a sweetness there, both characters star-struck by each other. To Manny, Payne is a beautiful woman not of his world, and way too good for him. He’d do anything to see her healthy and happy, even knowing he has no place in her world. To Payne, Manny is her beloved Healer. He is a gorgeous, worthy male, who has given her a new life. She doesn’t want to say goodbye to him, even though she knows he’s not of her world. Manny is such a gentleman, a hellren any female would want. Payne is a tough girl, but also elegant and beautiful, even if she doesn’t see herself that way. They both have insecurities that they have to deal with in order to find their way together, but they come to realize that love can make allowances for pretty much any shortcoming. I loved the sweetness of their relationship, but also the spicy sexuality of it. Talking about hot! Their short courtship steamed up my room as I read. I knew that there had better be a way for them to be together. Thankfully there was. I know that they are a couple that I want to see more of in the forthcoming books, but I also got to see them get their happily ever after, which was just what I wanted.
PS. I also like Manny’s relationship with Jane. They were both isolated people, dedicated to their professions, but they found a bond with each other in their past lives. It was good to see that this bond was renewed and strengthened in this book. Qhuinn/Blay: I like Qhuinn, but he annoys the crap out of me with his slutty ways. I realize it was a tremendous defense mechanism, but it got old for me. To be honest, I was glad to see Blay move on with Saxton, and stop eating his heart out over Qhuinn, although the romantic in me wanted to see these two souls get together. However, Qhuinn needed to do some growing up, and Blay needed to live his life not weighted down by his enormous unrequited love for Qhuinn. Once again, I feel the WARDen comes through here. Although there is not yet a HEA for this couple, Qhuinn is on his way to recovery. His eyes are open now. He understands that he can’t find what he was looking for in his destructive ways. He can’t hide behind the slutty, careless, Goth, playboy image, because the truth will hit him in the face eventually. Now, he has shed this hurtful façade that made it hard for me to like him, and is ready for a real relationship. However, he is willing to put his beloved’s needs before his own. This was the breakthrough I was waiting for. Now, I am eager to see these two get together. I know their book is going to be very awesome. I liked that in this book, Blay is the one who finally has someone. I think that Saxton knows exactly what’s up, and he’s okay with what he has of Blay, for as long as he has it. At the same time, he’s not unaware or unsympathetic to Qhuinn’s feelings for Blay. Sax is a good guy. I like him. It was interesting to see that Blay is the one who’s a little bit near-sighted here. He knows he still loves Qhuinn, but he also feels strongly for Sax. He feels at peace with what he has, even though his heart still beats for Qhuinn. Things are as complicated as ever, ala JR Ward! This chapter of the Qhuinn/Blay romance was very bittersweet, but I do feel optimistic for their future…finally! The Advent of Xcor and the Band of Bastards: Okay, at first I did not like Xcor. He’s not a nice guy…at all. And yet…..I’m drawn into his story. It’s my darned weakness for dark, dangerous guys. It gets me everytime. Already feel like the dude needs a love prescription. My mind is wondering where the WARDen will take this guy. I do like Throe quite a bit. He has the gentlemanly vibe I can’t resist. His sense of honor and justice is strong, and I like that about him. He might also be Xcor’s conscience. I like the loyalty he shows. And it’s clear that Xcor values him and the rest of his crew. He demands loyalty implicitly, but he shows that he is worthy of it, in his rough way. I definitely want to see more of these guys. Okay, a moment of honesty here. I admit, I don’t go for ménage in romance. It’s just not my thing. But let me tell you that the three way between Xcor, Throe and the prostitute was sizzling hot. Um, wow! Let’s keep that between us, okay. I don’t want to ruin my pristine reputation here. (very big grin)
Final Thoughts: I always worry before I start the newest book by one of my favorite authors. What if my high expectations for their writing are let down? What if the story and I don’t get along? I shouldn’t have worried here. I didn’t feel let down at all. In fact, If I had one complaint, it’s not even a fair one. If only these books could be longer. Even though I’m happy with what I get, I just want more. More romance, more magic, more everything, because she does it so well. I felt as though I only got teasing glimpses of the rest of the gang. It’s not enough. I just want more! That’s how she keeps us hooked, with the teases and the shots of her awesomeness. But that’s okay with me. I’m a loyal customer, and I can’t wait for the next book!
Best book of the series thus far. And better yet, it has built expectation for future books. I loved Nika even more than Madoc, which is saying somethBest book of the series thus far. And better yet, it has built expectation for future books. I loved Nika even more than Madoc, which is saying something. Nika might seem frail and in need of protection, but she is a tough little woman. Just the woman for Madoc. I loved the symbiosis of their relationship. Their relationship wasn't about one taking too much from the other, but an equal exchange between them both. I liked how things worked out with Madoc's lifemark and his dire situation as far as his soul. I loved the fact that Nika wasn't willing to give up on him. And her determination paid off beautifully for them both. Nika managed to be a determined, stubborn heroine without ever being annoying about it. She just didn't give up on what was important to her, and that was a good thing. I was glad she powered through all those obstacles that stood between her and Madoc and finding her lost sister, Tori. Now you need to know I loved me some Madoc. He's adorably fierce and grumpy, but so marshmallow for Nika. Just the way I like my heroes! It should be interesting to see how Madoc progresses as a character since he will now be happily bonded. Looking forward to it.
Can I say that the Sanguinars have me the most intrigued? I love me some Tynan. He is a brilliant mix of cunning, beauty, intelligence, and manipulative nature. He reminds me of an Anne Stuart hero. That's a great complement. I like Logan too. The part near the end with the kids had me all warm and fuzzy! I like the whole Sanginar angle, and it makes me so eager to keep reading to see what they have up their sleeves.
The secondary storylines as usual, were compelling. Some made me sad, and some very hopeful. But all curious about what happens next. There is a lot of intensity, anguish, and suffering in these books. I don't feel any sense of disconnection when I read, which is a very good thing. I love how Ms. Butcher builds excitement for the following books without making it into annoying cliffhangers. Those drive me crazy. It's more of an, "Oh, can't wait for the next book" rather than shaking one's fist and spewing bad language out of frustration.
It's official. I've found another addictive, highly explosive paranormal series to follow. Works for me!...more
I have gotten stingy with five star reviews. But I had to give this book one. It took me to this point where I couldn't stop reading this series if II have gotten stingy with five star reviews. But I had to give this book one. It took me to this point where I couldn't stop reading this series if I wanted to.
There isn't one thing that made this a five star book. But a culmination of things.
Zach--He is a real sweetie. A very worthy hero. His determination to do the right thing despite his own selfish needs. His complete commitment to following through. His tenderness and his fierce power together make him very drool-worthy. What a lovely combination. He is a hero after my own heart.
Lexi--Some aspects of her personality weren't my favorite. She's not trusting and she's hard about some things. Yet, her personality completely makes sense for someone who has led her life. I might be projecting a little. I know I am horrible at trusting people. When you have been let down, it's hard to open yourself up. And with a mother who always drummed into her head to run, to doubt, to reject, to project oneself from the ugliness and the evil in the world, it wouldn't make sense for her to be any other way. I can't expect anything less of her. What really shone through was that Lexi fought past this programming to do the right thing, to trust, to believe, and to sacrifice herself. I was so glad she came clean and she came clean when she needed to. That took some real integrity. I respect this girl. I really do.
Shannon K. Butcher has given us complex characters with so many angles to them. They feel realistic to me, their emotions. They aren't always pretty and pleasing to experience. But because I see the good and bad, that makes them come off the page to me. When a read a book, that's what I want. I don't want to be 'meh' or disconnected. I want to be engaged. Ms. Butcher has done a great job with this book.
The secondary characters in this series do so much to empower and endear this series to me. I am very intrigued by each and every one of them. I feel their pains and experience their suffering. I want to see their individual stories work out to their happiness and contentment. And there are several that I could name that I am eager to read more about, and none that I feel blah about. That's saying something.
The dire situation of the Sentinels is palpable in reading this book. It makes me want to keep reading to see the situation turn around. I love this concept of these men who are dying for women. Their whole civilization dependent upon it. Not that I derive a sadistic pleasure from the men suffering, but the idea of them needing a helpmate to channel their energy, to fight at their side, to heal and to keep them whole is what appeals to me. It takes the paranormal romance genre in a different direction. I know Christine Feehan's Carpathians have the idea of a male who needs his lifemate to keep him sane and whole, and I like it there. This is slightly different, and in an equally appealing manner, with its own distinct and organic feel. This series has a science fiction feel that I have to say works for me. I am curious about so much, and looking forward to seeing where Ms. Butcher takes things next.
Final Thoughts: I wasn't blown away with the first book, but I really liked the second book. It's safe to say I loved this book. This series is on fire for me now. I'm glad my sister gave me the push to read this one. She was right!...more
This book could have easily broken my heart. I've been waiting so long to see John Matthew and Xhex find their happy ending. Anyone who knows me, knowThis book could have easily broken my heart. I've been waiting so long to see John Matthew and Xhex find their happy ending. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I adore this couple. If it's even possible, I probably love them twenty times more now.
The WARDen is so good at writing stories about human nature, all the weaknesses, the vulnerabilities, the strengths. How, at the end of the day, all of us just want to feel special, to feel loved. And when we don't feel that, how it has the power to destroy us.
John Matthew had the worst start in life possible. He was born in a bathroom stall in a bus station. He was born without the ability to talk. He was horribly assaulted at a young age. He had no one to love him. And just when life started turning around, he lost two people he loved very much. And then he met Xhex. From the beginning, she was the one for him. No one can explain what causes us to fall in love with someone. You can call it hormones, fate, destiny, attraction, random coincidence. There is no concrete way to rationalize it. I for one, felt that pull between them. I knew it was going to be big and life-changing for them both. JM fell apart, big time in Lover Avenged. It was very painful to read, and his actions made me so angry. But, I realized that he had been driven to his breaking point, and he was acting out of complete despair. So, it was really good to see him pull himself together so he could save Xhex. And boy, did he! Oh, could John be a more worthy male? I don't think so. He's so sweet, but so strong. He has a protective instinct, but at the same time, he embraced Xhex's strength, and didn't try to change what made her the woman he loved. He came from nothing, but is full of so much. The WARDen made me fall in love with JM all over again.
I was so glad that the WARDen took a big, huge chance with crafting a heroine like Xhex. There are a lot of Xhex haters out there in the Black Dagger Brotherhood fandom. They have said some really ugly things about her. It bothers me, because Xhex is such a great character in my opinion. She has so much going on inside of her. She is so strong, yet she has the things that define a woman in my opinion. Some people think she's too manly or not feminine enough. If she can be who she is and have a man like JM totally in love with her, I say sign me up for her version of manly. I say that in a half-serious manner. But with all seriousness, if Xhex had not been the strong woman, the fierce warrior that she is, she would not have survived what she's been through in her life. She lived in a dark, bleak world, with little to support her. She had to be a strong person, to build a fortress around her inner self, or she would have been decimated. And had she been any less fortified, Lash would have destroyed her. It's pretty clear that I adore Xhex. I think she's sexy, beautiful, loving, intense, intelligent, empathetic, formidable, intriguing, the list goes on. She is now my favorite heroine ever. I felt she was the perfect complement to John. It gratified me that Tohr could see it, from the beginning. I didn't need the backstory of Xhex to love her, but I love her even more now. I didn't need to see her as vulnerable and broken as she was in this book to respect and love her. But, seeing her that way, well it just made the happy ending that much better.
I couldn't have written the ending better. It's like JR Ward took my wish list for Xhex and JM's story and wrote this book based on it. Oh, there were some really hard moments, but I kept the faith that things would work out for them, and boy was I rewarded. I finished this book yesterday morning, and I had to go and reread some of my favorite scenes. The interaction between John and Xhex was so powerful, it turned my heart to mush. The steamy moments really made up for the hurtful interactions they had in Lover Avenged. How unfulfilling their intimate moments were in that book. Their love scenes set my book on fire and singed my hands. Boy, this couple has some chemistry. But, even better, their love for each other had the power to heal them both. Verily, this book makes me believe in true love, and that there is someone for everyone.
Even though I'd love this book enough to light up a solar system just based on the JM/Xhex story, the other aspects also made it a wonderful read for me. The Qhuinn/Blay story line has progressed in a very good fashion. I was so happy to get more of Blay's viewpoint. Blay is dear to my heart. I love that male. It tore me up to see how much his love for Qhuinn was hurting him. Qhuinn had his heart, but he didn't know what to do with it, so he kept throwing it back. And Blay seemed to have no way to get away from his feelings for Blay. So I was glad to see Saxton come into his life. Saxton is one fine male. I liked him from the beginning. He is just what Blay needs. I'm not sure how long they'll be together, but it's good for now. Qhuinn showed some aspects of his character that I needed to see. I have to admit that I did feel for him, and his low self-worth because of being rejected by his family, but I didn't like his lifestyle. I didn't like how he was acting like he was blind to Blay's love for him, and how it hurt Blay for him to sleep with everyone but Blay. I realize that Qhuinn thinks he's not good enough for Blay, but he seemed oblivious to the way he was hurting Blay. I was surprised at how much it hurt to see Qhuinn hurt because Blay had moved on with Saxton. I thought I'd be gratified because he'd know how Blay felt all the time. But, it was so sad for me to read about, because Qhuinn had the opportunity to have Blay, but he was afraid to take the step. And how that must break Qhuinn's heart. I have hopes that things will work out for them, but right now, it's a painful journey. I do think that Qhuinn is going to take a step in a better direction in the forthcoming books. And Blay will get some love and affection like he needs, although his heart will always belong to Qhuinn. I definitely feel for the Qhuinn/Blay fans right now.
I loved the parts in the past showing Darius and Tohr's relationship. It really explained why Tohr took on JM as a son, because Darius had done the same for him. Darius and Tohr are such fine males. You can see how they helped shape and form the foundation for the Brotherhood that we see today. Tohr always came off as an admirable, honorable man that I cared for, but I have grown to love him even more. My heart is broken for his loss. I can completely understand how it nearly destroyed him. I was so glad to see him on the mend, and to see him and John Matthew come to terms. That close bond that was ripped apart by Wellsie's death has evolved into something very wonderful, as JM comes to see exactly how Tohr felt, and Tohr is able to understand why Xhex is so important to JM. And it feels to good to know that Torh approves of Xhex for JM.
There were some really great Doc Jane moments. Her expertise as a doctor, but her understanding of people and how to help them deal with illness was a very important part of this book, as she interacted with Xhex in the aftermath of her captivity with Lash, and also with Xhex's fear of hospitals.
I won't even pretend like this BDB fan girl didn't have some joy-joy moments seeing the other characters. Wow, it was pretty interesting seeing how the backstory with Butch and Xhex, and Vishous' animosity towards Xhex was dealt with. And of course, my smooth criminal, Rehvenge, was in this book enough to encourage me to reread his story again. What a man! I love his relationship with Xhex. And the Shadow brothers, Trez and iAm, have some good moments in this story, as well.
Payne's role expands in this book, and I could see the WARDen setting the stage for her book. Part of me sort of feared that this book would be the penultimate culmination of my love for this series, and it would go downhill, but I have a feeling that WARDen is just getting started. Payne is one heck of an interesting character. And her story is sure to enthrall me, based on how things unfold in this book.
And, can I say that Murhder has this fan reaching for the cold drinks? I can tell he's going to rock my world. I hope to see a lot more of this male!
I cannot do this review without talking about Lash. There are some pretty good words to describe him, but I don't want to be a potty-mouth. He is a perfect contrast to JM in almost every way. He was born with everything and threw it away. His heart is completely rotten, whereas JM couldn't have more goodness in his heart. The fact that he takes and harms the person that JM loves most in the world seemed almost fated, as they come face to face in a conflict that started when they were both soldier trainees. I have to say that he turned out to be a very good villain. I wasn't sure what to think about how the storyline with Lash ended. It needed to go the way it did. But I can't help feeling that there is more to be told on that front. But then, that's one of the things that I love about this series. The way the WARDen plants seeds in my consciousness, and I have questions that make me want to delve deeper into these books. More things for this BDB addict to ponder. Sadly, these characters and this world is frighteningly real to me. Is there a twelve step program for Black Dagger Brotherhood addiction? But then, even if there is a cure, I'm not sure I want it!
This book, oh, this book. I can't say how much I loved this latest installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. You know someone needs help when they start tearing up as they write a review. I am freaking hopeless when it comes to this series and this book. It made my dreams come true, but it also took me to some dark places. It makes me ponder fate, and how the ties between others are so convoluted, yet tightly wound, bringing us together and challenging us in ways we don't ever get to understand. This review will be too long if I keep saying everything I want to say. There is just too much to put into words. But I will say four words to Ms. Ward: Thank you so much!!!! And I'll say it twice: Thank you so much!!!...more
Yet another favorite for me in this series. I found Olivia and Aeron to be a great couple. I loved how Aeron just couldn't resist her, and how OliviaYet another favorite for me in this series. I found Olivia and Aeron to be a great couple. I loved how Aeron just couldn't resist her, and how Olivia was so drawn to Aeron, that she was willing to 'fall' for him, instead of killing him as she had been ordered to do.
As this series progresses, I am seeing more investment in developing the heroines. I liked Olivia's steadfast ability to love. Her determination to enjoy her time with Aeron, and for him to be happy. Even though Legion was a real pain, she tolerated her as much as she could, because she knew how much Aeron loved her. Olivia was a heroine who brought to mind 1 Corinthians 13, which explains what love is. For Olivia, her love for Aeron wasn't an easy thing. It wasn't simple, but complicated her life, and she knew that she wouldn't have him forever, but she was willing to be with him as long as she could. Truly, she was hesitant to define it as love because she didn't view it as a sacrifice (she was wrong about that). In the end, her love helped to save him. As you can tell, I really loved this heroine.
Aeron had closed his heart off from people, so that he could avoid the pain of loss. To him, dying and having those he loved die was the worst thing possible. He didn't seem to understand that it's more important to live the time you have to the fullest. In some ways, I could understand why he had boxed himself in emotionally. His demon caused him to harm and kill people for their sins, and he had seen so much death. He knew more than anyone just how frail humans were. When Olivia comes along, he does all he can to resist her. But even Wrath, the demon that possesses him, knows how important she was to him. Even though Aeron didn't realize it, his actions showed love. The way that he watches out for Paris, the tenderness and care he shows for Legion. He doesn't want to let Olivia in his heart, but when he does, she becomes so important to him, he's willing to do just about anything for her to be happy. And in the end, his true, deep love for Olivia causes him to make a great sacrifice, one that is very much rewarded by the One True Deity, the god that Olivia loves and serves.
I think the theme of this book was love. You could see this played out through the actions of the various characters. Interestingly, Legion truly believed she loved Aeron, more than Olivia ever could. But her actions showed a very selfish aspect to her love. Olivia, her nemesis, taught her a lesson about what real love was. One that I hope she takes to heart.
This book had some exciting twists and turns. The focus wasn't exactly on the war between the Lords and the Hunters, but on the issues that Aeron and Olivia faced instead. I liked that. And there was an unsuspecting angle that tied into Aeron's relationship with Legion. That was pretty interesting.
I was pretty surprised at how this one ended. I didn't expect things to unfold the way they did. It wasn't quite a cliffhanger, but pretty darn close. Things promise to get very complicated in the forthcoming books. But I have to say, I really did like Aeron and Olivia's happy ending. It was the best one so far--a silver lining to the dark cloud of how things progressed at the climax.
The Darkest Passion is my favorite in this series so far. I loved the romance aspects, and the underlying message about love. I think Olivia was a great heroine. And the love scenes were pretty darn steamy. I thought I liked Aeron in the previous books, but seeing him as the hero in this book showed me more depth to him that made me love him even more.
I will take a short break before reading The Darkest Lie, because I don't want to go too long without more Lords of the Underworld books. These books feed my paranormal endorphins, and my spirits took a downer when this book was over. What will I do when this series ends?...more
I liked Finding the Lost much more than I liked Burning Alive. I obtained a much better sense of the world and the storyline, which is expected. MoreI liked Finding the Lost much more than I liked Burning Alive. I obtained a much better sense of the world and the storyline, which is expected. More importantly, I felt a much greater connection to Andra and Paul. I admit a big part of my problem with the first book was the way a death of a character I really fell in love with was handled. But I honestly think it's also due to the fact that the author feels more comfortable with her storyline in this book, and the romance and the overall storyline are better integrated. I think the sexy/sensual elements were very well done, hot but romantic. I definitely felt the chemistry and the connection between Paul and Andra, despite the short time frame.
Andra and Paul were for the most part likable characters. Andra is tough and strong, but she isn't too hardheaded to be sympathetic. She's definitely a good match for Paul, even though she fought it more than I liked. I did get frustrated with how Andra seemed to reject her bond with Paul, but I could also understand why she couldn't give it the focus it deserved. So much of her life was about helping her sister, and finding lost children, because she couldn't let go of the guilt of her self-attributed failure to protect her sisters when they were attacked by the Senestryn. She carried that guilt like a weight on her shoulders that affected everything. Honestly believing she didn't deserve any happiness for her own outside of seeing her remaining sister, Nika, alive and well. So when she kept dissing Paul, I would feel upset with her, but I understood why. Also, I realized that it was due to Paul's unwillingness to be honest with Andra about how crucial their bond was to his well-being and life. He didn't want to put that pressure on her, and he had been rejected in the past by a bondmate, so he was sensitive to rejection and insecure about a woman wanting to stay with him as his bondmate. I got pretty frustrated with him for being so reticent about his vital situation. Maybe if he had been more honest, Andra wouldn't have made those stupid bargains to wear his Luceria for such a short time. That annoyed me, but I realize the problem wasn't just with Andra. She really didn't understand what she was doing to Paul by setting those short bargains.
As far as the action/suspense elements, I really liked them, but I felt that the story lost some cohesiveness towards the end, with some anticlimatic aspects that lessened the intensity of the storyline. It didn't ruin the story for me, but it didn't resolve as strong as it started in that regard. Overall, I am developing a strong connection to this story and series that I didn't feel with the first book. I can see why my sister is so enamored of this series now.
I admit a huge part of my liking for this story is the ancillary characters, such as Logan, Madoc, Nika, and Tynan, the other healer who helped Nika at the Sentinels home base. I have to say that Ms. Butcher writes heroes very well. They are very appealing, and strong, sexy, and I felt a lot of sympathy for their plight. I loved Paul and I thought he was a nice mix of alpha and beta, very endearing and sexy in his willingness to take care of Andra, and his honorable nature. However, I feel like I am going to love Madoc even more. He's definitely the tortured, edgy, scary type hero that I loved. I think his book with Nika is going to be very good indeed. I'm honestly looking forward to all the forthcoming books, and I especially want to read more about the Sanguinar people, because I find them very alluring and interesting.
I still have some questions about some aspects of this series, but I feel that reading the subsequent books will enlighten me about those. I have to say that I am glad I kept reading this series. I still feel grief about what happened in the first book, but I think I am at the stage where I can keep reading without that ruining the series for me. Happily, I can give this book four stars....more