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The legacy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues in a spin-off series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author…

Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.

And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.

13 pages, Audible Audio

First published December 1, 2015

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About the author

J.R. Ward

191 books48.5k followers
J.R. Ward is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. She lives in the South her family.

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Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.8k followers
Want to read
February 20, 2015
OMG!!! This is a new Black Dagger Brotherhood series focusing on the ORIGINAL brothers!!!!! We're talking Wrath, Rhage, Z., V., Butch, Tohr, Phury, Rehv, etc.

Message from JR Ward : I miss the Brothers. The original ones. We're talkin' the ones who started it all... Z., V., Butch, Rhage, Wrath, Tohr, Phury, Rehv, Etc.

I miss that scene, in DARK LOVER, when Fritz kindly asks the Brothers, if they're going to bloody the human, please take him outside.

I miss Sox hats and grey Goose, Tums and Tootsie Rolls, Biggie Smalls in the Escalade, and Wrath putting a dagger into the wall next to Hollywood's head.

As much as I LOVE the BDB series where it is now, and as much as I'm psyched to keep writing it and will continue to do so, I miss the good ol' days.

The issue is that the nature of a series is that it must continue to grow, and change, or it dies. The Black Dagger Brotherhood books started off with the original Brothers, but after their meet-and-greets with their shellans were told, by definition, they had to background it in subsequent books: With a world as big as the BDB one, you have to train your "camera lens" in a controlled manner, or you run the risk of a given story bleeding out for too much extraneous stuff.

(Something I've been tagged with doing from time to time, and it's certainly a fair point.)

So when my boss (my editor) and I were chewing on things last spring, I told her... hey, I got this idea.

I have a lot of ideas. She's used to this.

I described to her a new series, where the BDB training center is reopened to a new cast of recruits, and THE ORIGINAL BROTHERS teach these FNUGs wassup. In the process of the new recruits falling in love and getting into a sh*t ton of trouble, THE ORIGINAL BROTHERS could be shown with their shellans, their Brothers, their people in the mansion, in a more prominent way than I'm able to do in the BDB books.

Paperback, yo. Not hardcover. Traditional PNR, just like DARK LOVER was in the old days.

Sex. Lot of sex.

As in, you might need your BBQ tongs. Maybe a flame retardant suit.

Maybe a fire truck on standby out in your front yard.

My boss, who's brilliant, was like, wow, that really doesn't suck. (Okay, that's paraphrasing.)

So... we have the first of the Black Dagger Legacy books, BLOOD KISS, coming out this December.

Now, let me say this: the ORIGINAL BROTHERS are still going to show up in the BDB books. Hell, yeah! And from time to time, a BDB book is going to be about them and their mate if there's a big thing going on in their lives (think THE KING.) I am NOT taking a step away from the Brothers at all- if anything, I'm bringing them further to the forefront with the Black Dagger Legacy books.

But I miss my boys :( I want to show you where they're at. I want to take you back to them- in their new roles as... well, role models and teachers.

Before you ask, yes, they will still be colossal a&&holes- I mean, let's be clear. Things haven't changed THAT much. (As an aside, Doc Jess and I were talking the other day, and she was like, I'm so impressed with your ability to be offensive with your heroes. LOLOLOLOL)

This is not to say that the Black Dagger Legacy books will solely be about the Brothers, however. The book will have a lot of the Brothers in them, but the Legacy books will feature a main romance between a couple, and the Brothers will help that along.

eHarmony the BDB way.

Jeez, I gotta be insane for signing up for this. Can you imagine V offering dating advice? "Well, sh*t, just get her some black candles and dog collar, true? Then order her to pop up her ***** **** * * ******* * * * ************** At that point, you're going to want to inform her, that you'll tell her when she can beg."

Great. Really looking forward to this.


Anywho, the first Brother who's up?

A certain cop. From Boston. Who's going to have his hands full with the new recruits- two of whom you'll meet in THE SHADOWS.

A cover reveal is coming soon- but I couldn't sit on BLOOD KISS any longer!!!!

Gahd, I suck at keeping secrets. But come on now, don't lie. You've missed those leathers, those sh*tkickers... that golf cart... the Pit.

V nakey in the shower.

Don't lie.

I know I have!

Happy Reading, and thank you for all your support, J.R.
April 12, 2023
4 Pedestal Stars

First read 2015
Reread 4/18/2017
reread 2023

*Some Spoilers*

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“Don’t put me on a pedestal. All I’ll do is fall from grace.”-Paradise

Blood Kiss is the first book in the spin-off series Black Dagger Legacy from the Black Dagger Brotherhood world. In this series we meet the new trainees for the Brotherhood as well as check in and refall in love with couples from the BDB. This book is about Paradise and Craeg as well as Butch and Marissa. What I loved about this book is that it was just from the two couple's pov not a million other peoples pov like the last few BDB books have been. It really cuts down on the confusion and chaos of jumping from story line to story line and it felt more intimate. More like her earlier BDB books.

“Before you speak, be very aware that I love you. I love you with everything I have and all that I am. But if you do not get real with me, I’m going to go back to the Pit, pack a bag, and move to Safe Place for a while.” She held his stare with unwavering eyes. “You and I are not going to survive long term, regardless of love or bonding, if you keep airbrushing things. If I keep airbrushing things. It’s not a good strategy for us—and if this makes you feel like you’re on the spot? As if I’m giving you an ultimatum? I don’t care. If anything gets in the way of our relationship, anything, I will mow that shit down—even if it is you.”-Marissa

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“Do you like playing with fire, girl?” he growled. “Because if you keep looking at me like that, I’m going to burn you to the ground.”-Craeg

I felt the two couples complemented each other well as they were very much alike. Marissa and Paradise both are good girls, from good bloodlines, founding families, members of the glymera. Both don't like the restrictions of their births. Both fall in love with blue collar commoners. Both are sweet, brave and smart. Butch and Craeg are both common, poor hard working men. Both feel they are not good enough for the women they love. Both have dark past that effect who they are. Both are men of honor, and both are sexy as hell! I loved Craeg and Paradise together. They had great chemistry. I also really enjoyed getting reacquainted with Butch and Marissa. I loved that they are still very much in love with each other and that they seen the problems they had and worked on them.

“I can’t pretend to be sophisticated, or worldly about sex, but I know damn well that the need to diminish others when one is threatened is the mark of a coward, not a hero. Have a good rest of the night. I’ll see you tomorrow—if you decide to show up.”-Paradise

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“If I kiss you,” he growled, “there’s no going back. I might not fuck you right here, right now, but I’ll have you on your back the instant I get the goddamn chance.”-Craeg

I felt like both couples had the same underline problem which was the men putting the women on a pedestal. But I felt that both couples were sexy and sweet in their own right. I really liked the other trainees as well. Especially Novo and Axe. I can't wait to read their stories. I also can't wait to get some more of V and Doc Jane. The girls movie night part was so damn funny. I adored the girl bonding and thought it was too cute how the men freaked out over the girls watching Magic Mike XXL. Lassiter God Lassiter was funny as hell I really need Lassiter to get his own book, but truefully I have no clue who would make a good mate for him. I have to say I was a little sad that I didn't get any Z in this book as he is my favorite and I always want some Z, but over all I loved this book and can't wait for the next one to come out! Below I leave my favorite part of the whole book:

Wrath inhaled like he was about to break the news of a death in the family. “They’re having a movie night.” Butch rolled his eyes and went over to his chair. Yeah, it was a little weird to sit down without his Marissa by his side, but for crissakes, it was nothing to go Prozac over. Besides, he was glad his woman had friends in the house— “They’re watching Magic Mike,” someone said. “Is that a children’s show?” He sat back as Fritz put a heaping plate of lamb in front of him. “Thanks, man—oh, thanks, yeah, I’d love a drink. I’ll take a Lagavulin on the rocks—” Butch stopped talking as he realized the entire table of males was looking at him. “What?” “You haven’t heard about Magic Mike?” Rhage demanded. “No.” He leaned back again as his drink was delivered. “Thanks. Is it like Barney?” “It’s about strippers,” Hollywood countered. Butch frowned and lowered the glass from his lips. “I’m sorry?” V came in from the pantry with a thick pouch of tobacco, a pack of rolling papers, and a scowl like somebody had stripped his favorite sex toy of its batteries. “Naked,” Vishous muttered as he sat where Marissa should have been. “Buck-ass naked. And they’re humans. Christ, it’s like being shown up by a pack of dogs.” “In thongs,” someone else bitched. “Dogs in thongs.”-The brothers

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Profile Image for Christy.
3,817 reviews32.4k followers
December 7, 2015
5 stars!

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When I heard that a spin off book from the original BDB series I couldn’t contain my excitement. The BDB is one of my favorite series of all time. This book was amazing. It was one of the best BDB books I’ve read in a while. It felt like one of the original BDB books in the best way possible!

Over the last couple of books, we’ve met Paradise, an aristocratic daughter who’s father works for the King as his first advisor. Paradise has plans. She wants to join the BDB’s training program and learn to fight for herself. Very few make the cut, and she is strong enough and determined enough to do it. She meets Craeg who is also in the training program. He’s in an entirely different class than Paradise. He’s from more of a working class and he’s lost his family to the raids. Could an aristocratic female fall in love with a civilian male? Even if he is the most worthy man she’s ever met, she knows it wouldn’t be approved by her father…

This book focuses on two couples (I was SO impressed how focused Ward was on just these two couples). The second is Butch and Marissa. Butch is one of the brothers who is leading the recruit program, and his mate, Marissa, runs Safe Place. There is a bit of a suspense in the plot that they’re connected to. I loved getting a new couple, then getting more of an older couple. It was a great balance.

Everything about this book was wonderful. Paradise is my new favorite female of the group. She’s strong, humble, and fearless. I loved how much humor was woven into the story. Lassiter is always good for laughs and the Magic Mike scene with the females cracked me up. For lovers of the BDB I can’t recommend this book enough! A full 5 stars from me!!!

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Profile Image for AJ.
2,871 reviews932 followers
December 18, 2015
4 stars

I have been waiting such a long time for this book! The spin off to the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, JR Ward promised that this book would take us back to the original brothers, but also bring in some new blood by re-opening the training centre. And that’s exactly what we get - a bunch of new, young recruits with their very own hot romance, and a storyline for originals Butch and Marissa. Definitely a must-read for fans of the series, I wouldn’t recommend diving into this one without having read the BDB books first.

Paradise has appeared in the last couple of books. She is the daughter of Wrath’s advisor, and a member of the glymera – the vampire elite - who dreams of more than the aristocratic life stretching out before her. When the Brotherhood re-open their training program, she signs up hoping to learn not only how to fight, but to discover who she is and what she wants from her life.

Craeg joined the training program for a completely different reason. As a member of the vampire ‘blue collar’ class, he wants revenge on the people that he blames for the death of his family. He wants to become a warrior, and he will let nothing get in his way – not even his beautiful and tempting fellow trainee.

Individually, I really liked Paradise and Craeg, but I didn’t feel their relationship as much as I usually do with the couples in this series. There wasn’t as much focus on them, and their relationship seemed based purely on their physical reaction to each other, and developed slowly with a start/stop thing as Craeg battled with his commitment to his training and his growing feelings for Paradise. And when they did interact, it wasn’t exactly deep and meaningful, but usually full of Craeg’s growly warnings to back off or lust-filled declarations.

“Do you like playing with fire, girl?" he growled. Because if you keep looking at me like that, I'm going to burn you to the ground.”

“If I kiss you,” he growled, “there's no going back. I might not fuck you right here, right now, but I'll have you on your back the instant I get the goddamn chance.”

There’s no denying they were smoking hot together, but as for the actual ‘romance’…. yeah, not feeling it. But Paradise was the big surprise, and OMG, I love her! She’s a total badass! Not that’s she’s cold-hearted, she’s actually a real sweetheart, but she’s completely together, and emotionally strong and isn’t prepared to put up with any shit. She has been raised in the glymera with little expected of her but to mate well and look pretty, but damn, there’s so much to this girl! She struts into training with a ‘never quit’ attitude, and when Craeg starts jerking her around, she doesn’t let him get away with dismissing her and acting like an indecisive douche.

“This is getting us nowhere,” he muttered after a moment.
“You’re absolutely right. So fuck off. Have a nice life—hope all your holier-than-thou keeps you warm during the day.”

The female is fantastic, and I have a total girl-crush on her!

It was the other romance that felt like the main focus of the book, and which saved this book for me. I LOVED getting the chance to revisit with Butch and Marissa – their original story was fantastic, and I really enjoyed checking in with them again. They are still very much in love, but they have been together for a while now, and some issues are starting to appear. I thought it was very realistic considering who they are and everything they’ve been through, and I thought the way they dealt with it was fantastic! They didn’t hide from it, they worked on it, and they solidified their bond and fell even deeper in love with each other.

“I still think that every time I see you, after I’ve spent some time away from you. Thank God … he’s here.”

Butch is a great character. His human past brings a wonderful dynamic to his character, and I liked that we got to see him still adjusting to that. But the big surprise with them was Marissa! The woman is a fierce!! She has really grown from the gentle, innocent aristocrat, and though she maintains that part of her, she’s also strong and passionate and not afraid to stand up to her man. She was so amazing in this book!

“You and I are not going to survive long term, regardless of love or bonding, if you keep airbrushing things. If I keep airbrushing things. It’s not a good strategy for us—and if this makes you feel like you’re on the spot? As if I’m giving you an ultimatum? I don’t care. If anything gets in the way of our relationship, anything, I will mow that shit down—even if it is you.”

The two relationships fit together really beautifully, with both couples having to sort through similar issues (and both females kicking ass!). Of course, they all get their HEA, but I have to admit that I was feeling it more for Butch and Marissa than I did with Paradise and Craeg. One storyline was so emotional, detailed and well-resolved, and the other was just…. not. But it all ended up in a good place, and I was happy with that.

True love didn’t mean effortless, and ever-after wasn’t about cruise control. You started with the attraction, and then you opened your heart and your soul—but all that, which was no small thing, just got you to first base. There were many, many other trips to take to deeper levels of greater acceptance and understanding. That was where you found the happy. And the ever-after was the work you were always willing to put in to stay close, to learn, and to grow as people together.”

Running alongside the romance is a murder/mystery storyline that I thought was really well done, and worked well as a catalyst for things that unfolded throughout the book. I liked the introduction we got to the other trainees, and am looking forward to seeing more of them in the future. And in exciting news, there are no lessers, no BoB, and the story is kept very much focussed on everything that happens between the two couples, with only their dual POVs telling the story.

There were lots of light and funny moments. Any scene with Lassiter was great, but seeing the whole group of original characters was absolutely sensational! Butch and V together continue to be amazing – their teasing, slightly flirtatious friendship is both sweet and absolutely hilarious . The highlight for me was the scene where the girls all watched Magic Mike while the guys pathetically lamented their females looking at half naked humans. Freaking hilarious!

The hallway beyond was filled with males of the house, the Brothers and other fighters and Manny sitting on the floor with their backs to the bare walls, their legs stretched out, propped up, crossed at the knees or crossed at the ankles.
Apparently there had been quite a bit of drinking going on, bottles of vodka and whiskey littered around them, glasses in hands or on thighs.
“This is NOT as pathetic as it looks,” her Butch pointed out.
“Liar,” V muttered, “It so fucking is. I think I'm going to start knitting for reals.”

God, I love these characters! I was so thrilled to be back in their world, and can’t wait for more.

4 stars.
Profile Image for Alex is The Romance Fox.
1,461 reviews1,089 followers
December 19, 2015
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I’m thrilled and excited…………The Black Dagger Brotherhood world is back!!!!!
Thank you….. photo 708e8afc82d6f57dd092f65bffa492c8_zpsdlexuct0.jpg
Since the 1st book I read in your incredibly amazing BDB Series…..I have been hooked, addicted, obsessed, possessed, passionate…damn…..there are not enough words to describe how much I feel about the world and characters that you have created…………..you now have a fan in me for life…..
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Why did I ever doubt that you would be able to continue that BDB magic?

Okay, let me just write down my thoughts and feelings about Blood Kiss, the 1st book in the Black Dagger Legacy Series, the spinoff of the original BDB Series.

I’m not going into the storyline here….by now, all the BDB fans and others know it….so, let’s get to what I loved about the story.

What a brilliant move! Not only do we connect with the brothers and their shellans that we have come to adore – bonus…. but we are now introduced to the new warrior recruits wanting to join the BIG TEAM!!!

And even when we have glimpses of past favorites, the storyline is told by only 4 different POV’s……..Craeg & Paradise (new recruits) and Butch and Marissa!! The focus is on these two couples which is really great….giving the readers an in depth look into these characters and their relationships.

The first couple….Craeg and Paradise, were really sweet and endearing. Paradise, glymera royalty, daughter of Wrath’s First Advisor and Craeg, a commoner. When the two meet during their training, more than sparks fly. Both feel a deep connection with each other and Craeg tries to fight his feelings for her because he believes he’s not good enough for someone like her. But Paradise wants more from the life that has been mapped out for her….
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The more Craeg fights the feelings he has for Paradise, the more she pushes him…..I loved that their relationship wasn’t one of those insta-love things…..it grew with time and with both struggling to overcome the obstacles that faced them….
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I adored Paradise…never mind that I thought her name was a bit “naff”…..she had strength and determination to do something worthwhile with her life, she had focus, and she was caring and looked out for the underdog. I loved her grit, willpower and her purpose to wanting something more than just being a spoilt and cosseted member of the glymera.
And the fact that she was not afraid to kick Craeg’s butt…….when he continued with his “I’m not good enough for you” shit….you go girl!!
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I liked these two as a couple. I found them very engaging and endearing…..although…yes, there is one of those…..I wanted a bit more zing, more heat when they gave in to those emotions…you know what I mean….okay, the encounters were a bit….let’s just said…I wanted to feel the HEAT we have become familiar with of the BDB couples. Nevertheless, I enjoyed their moments together….
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Now, onto Butch and Marissa…….
Butch is still a lovable character…still loves his designer wardrobe, which he doesn’t mind sharing with Craeg, who doesn’t have a wardrobe at all!!! He still kicks ass. He continues his connection and funny interaction with Vishous and he’s still totally over everything in love with his princess…Marissa. He still sees her as this Madonna…..in that high pedestal.
Their relationship is still strong but there are a few cracks that show up here. Their love for each other is really beautiful….
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Marissa has truly grown and become a really strong person. She wants Butch to see the real her instead of the person he’s placed on a pedestal. I grew to love her even more….how she dealt with her estranged brother, Havers, how she dealt with the death of an unknown woman in the Safe House and how she’s coming out of her repressed shell….

My all time favorite scene in this book………the girls night….what a time the shellans had together watching…..yes, wait for it…MAGIC MIKE XX3
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And the guys waiting outside the room……..discussing what the girls were doing? I was rolling on the floor…laughing my head off….
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Oh, that’s Butch chasing Marissa after the movie!!!!
Loved the 1st training exercise that the brothers devised for the new recruits!!! Whew….action, unexpected surprises…..totally wicked….and of course Lassiter had a part in it too…
I love this angel!!! Please can we get his story SOON?????

The mystery serial killer subplot??? Yeah….a bit weak!!!! That’s probably the only “peeve” I have!!!

I so liked this book…….and I can’t wait for some more!!!

Profile Image for Jen Davis.
Author 7 books700 followers
December 6, 2015
4.5 Stars
This is the best Black Dagger Brotherhood book I've read in years. I've struggled with some of the later books in the series, as JR Ward started including too many secondary storylines in each installment. There were so many threads happening in each book, it detracted from the main romance, which ended up rather lackluster as a result. Not here. Yes, there is a secondary storyline. One. And it ended up merging with primary story quite organically. I didn't get bored. I didn't want to skip anything. And both main characters made it alive to the end of the book. Progress.

If you've been away from the BDB books for a while and you are wondering if you can jump in here, the answer is an unresounding yes. You only need to be aware of the basics in the Marissa/ Butch/ V relationship. That, and the fact that the hero and heroine met once before, as he asked her for an application to join the Brotherhood and she gave it to him. Now you're ready.

The whole premise of this quasi-spinoff is that the Brotherhood is opening its doors to trainees. The core romances will circle around these new characters. But this didn’t feel like a spinoff because it’s steeped deep in the core characters from the early original books. Especially Butch and Vishous. But almost everyone is there from Wrath to Rhage, even Bella and Z.

But as promised, our main couple consists of two members of the training class. Paradise (whose name may be the worst thing in the book) is the daughter of Wrath’s First Advisor. She is pure pedigree glymera, but she wants more from her life than to be a cosseted child, with no rights or choices. Craeg is a working class vampire, who has joined the training program after the deaths of his family. He is attracted to Paradise from the beginning, but fights it. Obviously, it’s a fight he loses, but it’s fun watching him fall.

A lot of time is spent with Butch and Marissa, who are a good parallel for Craeg and Paradise. The major themes in the book include the elitism of vampire culture and way the glymera treats its women. Marissa is still struggling with how that affected her past as Wrath’s betrothed and how it led to her break with her brother, Havers. Add to that, Butch’s tendency to put her on a pedestal and she has some stuff to work through, especially when a battered young woman lands on her safe house doorstep, and she has to turn to Havers for help.

I really liked Paradise as a heroine. She is strong and takes control of her life in a society where that is very difficult for a female to do. She goes after what she wants, while still maintaining her empathy and humility. Craeg is sexy and strong, but in a lot of ways, has more growing to do than Paradise does. I liked the tension between them and thought they were a good match, despite the differences in their history.

My only niggle: I thought the bad guy was pretty obvious from early on. You’ll figure it out long before the big reveal. But it didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of the story. I will definitely keep reading for the next installment. I’m curious which recruit will be up next.

Rating: B+/A-

*ARC provided by publisher
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,020 reviews12k followers
December 5, 2015
3.5- 4 Stars

Do you like playing with fire, girl?" he growled. Because if you keep looking at me like that, I'm going to burn you to the ground."

The BDB series is sentimental for me. It's the series that got me into reading in the first place. It began what was to become what I refer to as my PNR binge of 2009. I was obsessed with that series...until I hit book 6. Then it slowly but surely began to lose some of its luster for me. By book 11 I had given up. It became too muddied with too many secondary POVs that the romance began to wane in the background. I missed the original brothers, the romance, the true BDB, true? So when I heard that JR Ward plans to come out with a new series that will be back to what the first few BDB books started off as with the original brothers; Wrath, Z, Butch, V, Rhage? Well, let's just say I knew I'd part with an ovary to get my grubby little hands on it.

I'll start my review by answering two questions first:
Is Blood Kiss like the BDB used to be?
Almost. It was probably the best Ward book I've read since book 8, and that's saying a lot.
Is this a true spin off?
Yes and no. Black Dagger Legacy focuses on a whole new slew of characters in the form of BDB trainees. But all the original brothers are also front and center. While the author does a good sum-up of important details, readers that haven't read the BDB series (or at least the first 5 books) would not enjoy it as much. It's set heavily in the BDB world, and you don't get much detail about the world building. The original BDB is what sets that up, so I highly recommend reading that first. So let's call it a quasi spin-off.

Blood Kiss follows two couple story lines; Butch and Marissa and Paradise and Craeg. I'd estimate it to be about 60/40 with no additional POVs to be found. Just the four. I'll give you a moment to contain your shock...
The two story lines run flawlessly together and drive the story line for the other. I, of course would never complain about getting more Butch considering he's one of my favorite brothers.

Paradise is a fully blooded daughter of the king's First Advisor who also happens to be one of the Founding Families of the glymera. She's expected to follow the protocol of the females of the glymera, but she wants nothing to do with it. Instead, she joins the BDB training program, to learn how to protect herself and her race. While growing up sheltered in the aristocratic society, I was happy to see that Paradise wasn't the stuffy, formally speaking heroine I anticipated her to be. She knows her own mind and while she may be sheltered on some things, she can kick some ass in her own right. And she definitely proves that when she's tested to her limits in the rigorous and and intense training program. Her one distraction comes in the form of the one male that should be hands off for her; a civilian.

Craeg is a nobody that came from nothing. After a brutal tragedy leaves him with nothing but thoughts of ahvenging it, he joins the BDB training program. Having handed his application to Paradise when first applying, he thinks that she's just a simple secretary. But he still knows that he's not good enough for the likes of her. He has nothing to offer and so no matter how enticing the female may be, he does his damnedest to push her away...even as he lusts for her at the same time.
If I kiss you," he growled, "there's no going back. I might not fuck you right here, right now, but I'll have you on your back the instant I get the goddamn chance."

In the midst of this story line you get Butch and Marissa who are dealing with issues of their own. Butch continues to put Marissa on a pedestal that she doesn't want to be on. After the glymera turned her back on her, her sole focus has been the Safe Place and her hellren. But there's a piece of Butch that he's still keeping hidden from her and she's determined to find out what that is.

I absolutely loved getting more Marissa and Butch. Their story line felt like a natural progression of their relationship without feeling like drama was being contrived. Butch's issues and Marissa's unresolved feelings with her estranged brother were bound to hit, and they hit here. I think I liked Marissa even more in this book than I did in her own. She truly grew into her own and became a strong heroine. As for Butch? What can I say about my favorite Southie? The man never fails to get my ovaries to flutter.

I have to admit I was a lot more invested in the developing storyline between Marissa and Butch than I was with Paradise and Craeg. Paradise and Craig's relationship was a tad too stretched out for my particular tastes and I was just itching for them both to get on with things. That being said, I did like them as individual characters. They just didn't quite have the intensity as a couple as some of the original BDB ones did for me. That's not to say it was bad, but I'd say that Marissa and Butch were the glue that held the story together.

The suspense story line came in the shape of a bad guy that wasn't a lesser for once. Admittedly I was a bit underwhelmed by this as well, as I had figured out who it was pretty early in the story. It was a bit too predictable and I wished for a little bit more on that end. I also didn't quite form a connection to any of the secondary characters that were introduced as new trainees here. They all had their uniqueness but none drew me like the original brothers did. But then again, it is hard to live up to the greatness that was the first 5 books so I may be judging unfairly.

I was happy to have a book with just four solid POVs that finally felt like the PNR it started out as originally. While it didn't quite blow me away, it was a great beginning to a series that I'm hoping will stay with the same formula and get even better with the next installment.

ARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review

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2,434 reviews4,573 followers
September 12, 2016


What an amazing story! It had everything I was expecting and more! J.R. Ward proved once again what a talented author she is! I was super excited about this one, it was one of my most anticipated books for December. I loved the story and I liked how it developed with half of the book about Marissa and Butch, if you have read the other books from BDB you already know Marissa and Butch. And the other half centered on Craeg and Paradise! This story was captivating, funny, mysterious and hot!


I liked Craeg and Paradise, I felt their chemistry and I enjoyed how their relationship was progressed. There was palpable tension between them and it made their story that much more interesting. Paradise is an amazing heroine. She is strong and I liked that she takes the control of her life. Also, she isn’t afraid to show how she feels. Craeg is super hot and strong.

“I shouldn’t be touching you like this,” he said softly. No, she thought. He shouldn’t. “Don’t stop.” His head angled up, and his eyes met hers. “This is not a good idea.”


Marissa and Butch weren’t one of my favorite couples but I like that they were included in this one, and I can say that, I now feel more connected to them.

Overall the story is refreshing! It felt like the first time I read a book by this author! If you are a fan of J.R. Ward you know how brilliant her stories are!
July 27, 2019
Rereading just because I need a J.R. Ward fix!!!! 29 more days till we get The Beast!!!!!

* Just as awesome the second time around!!!!

Originally read & reviewed: Dec 2015

Blog post: http://www.sweptawaybyromance.com/201...

5 Classic BDB Stars!!!!

I'll start by saying that I'm a devoted BDB die-hard fangirl and I have loved each and every BDB book, obviously some more than others but nevertheless I love them all!! I was extremely excited when I heard that The WARDen was writing a spin off series that will have more of the original brothers featured as the Brotherhood will be re-opening the Training Center to anyone (commoner, civilian, or aristocrat) and the Brothers would be front and center!! The initial test of endurance was intense!! Out of sixty candidates, only seven make it through, and they are a very diverse set of potential fighters. These seven will begin their training to fight, in the ongoing war...but I'm thinking there will be more to their roles because of the circumstances surrounding the Butch/Marissa story line and the investigation...we shall see.

This first book in the BDB Legacy Series Blood Kiss focuses on two couples: Butch & Marissa and Craeg & Paradise and, the similarities between these couples, was not lost on me. In Blood Kiss, Paradise, is from one of the founding families of the Glymera and is the daughter of Abalone, First Adviser to The King. She's expected to follow protocol that all blooded daughters of the Glymera follow, however, she wants nothing to do with it. Instead she desperately desires to join the training program, she wants to learn how to protect herself and her race. While growing up she was sheltered by her beloved father but she is far from a stuck up Glymera socialite, she's definitely not the heroine I was expecting. She knows her own mind, shes determined, stubborn and, she knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it, she is definitely one determined young lady!! Best of all, she can kick ass, she proves it during the extremely intense training program.

Do you like playing with fire, girl?" he growled. Because if you keep looking at me like that, I'm going to burn you to the ground." ~Craeg

Her one distraction is Craeg, they have an very intense attraction and are definitely aware of one another. Craeg is a “commoner” and after a brutal tragedy his main focus is the desire to avenge the deaths of his family, so he joins the BDB training program. Having first come into contact with Paradise as the receptionist at the Kings Audience House when he picked up an application to enter the training program and he believes she's a commoner too while Paradise keeps her status to herself not wanting to be looked at differently.

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If I kiss you," he growled, "there's no going back. I might not fuck you right here, right now, but I'll have you on your back the instant I get the goddamn chance." ~Craeg

We get a look into the relationship between Butch and Marissa. Butch and Marissa love each other, but their relationship is put to the test when a girl is brutally assaulted and ends up at Safe Place in Marissa’s care. Marissa is still struggling with things from her past involving her failed betrothal to Wrath and her brother Havers setting her out, along with Butch’s tendency to put her on a pedestal therefore not treating her as a true partner and confiding in her.

“You and I are not going to survive long term, regardless of love or bonding, if you keep airbrushing things. If I keep airbrushing things. It’s not a good strategy for us, and if this makes you feel like you’re on the spot? As if I’m giving you an ultimatum? I don’t care. If anything gets in the way of our relationship, anything, I will mow that shit down, even if it is you.” ~ Marissa to Butch

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I would have loved more time with Craeg and Paradise, but I loved Butch and Marissa's story too and I can't wait to see which trainee will be featured in the next Legacy book! I'm so happy that we are given a glimpse into our original beloved BDB characters. We get alittle everyone from Wrath to Rhage, V, Mary, Manny, Bella, Nalla, Z and our favorite (halirous) Fallen Angel Lassiter, Now I have to wait till The Beast released in April 2016 for more of my beloved BDD.

One of my Favorite Scenes:
Girl's night for the mated women watching "Magic Mike" in the compounds theater. The bonded vampires are extremely possessive of their females and just the thought of them watching a stripper movie with sexy men......very entertaining!!
December 29, 2015
Blood Kiss is a story about some new recruits in the training center that the Brotherhood is putting on. It's also a story that focuses on Butch and Marissa's relationship. There's also a murder and believe it or not, JRW works her magic and manages to twist the story lines together and bring it to a satisfying conclusion.

Since this is supposed to be a spin off series, let's talk about that for a minute. There's really not much differences from the prior books. The one thing that is missing is all the POVs which was a much needed change, as well as, some fresh "blood". JRW gets to dwell on only two different couples, one new and one old, and give us some interesting insights.

Now for the problems...I'm not a big fan of Butch and Marissa as a couple so I wasn't too excited for more of their story. But I do like Butch so I was interested in seeing where JRW would go with him. It was okay...maybe some unnecessary drama but drama that brought them closer together. And the big problem for me was that their story took away from Paradise and Craeg who I really liked.


So Paradise and Craeg....a much younger couple who for the most part didn't know what in the hell they were doing! I mean, don't they know anything about the bonding scent and the possessiveness? Obviously not! But I loved how they couldn't resist each other...I just hated that it took so long for things to happen and then *boom* the book was over.

One of the funniest scenes was when the girls got together for movie night....and the movie just happened to be Magic Mike XXL! It was hilarious...those poor bastards! and yes, my opinion of them did change...not sure if that's a good thing! ;) But what was up with all the not naming names? "Somebody yelled this" and "somebody said that"...I think it would have been better saying who said what!

And I loved getting little scenes with several of the older characters although I missed Wrath! :( Lassiter was a blast though but I was definitely left wanting more Rhage and JM!

I wasn't really impressed with the new recruits either except for Paradise and Craeg, what a band of misfits! Oh well, I guess it will just make things interesting.

Of course, there's nothing about who the next book will be about but I'm guessing either Peyton or Novo or Peyton and Novo. And as far as the prior couples go...Rhage and Mary should be out since the next book is about them and Wrath and Beth just had a book. That leaves a whole lotta other couples it could be but I'm thinking we need a V and Jane fix, true?


Favorite quote:

♥ “Anywhere you take me, tonight and always.”

(Prior to review...)

ETA: I'm more excited to read this book after reading The shAdoWs!
Profile Image for Laura.
471 reviews557 followers
December 5, 2015

“I still think that every time I see you after I’ve spent some time away from you. ‘Thank God … he’s here.’”

Blurb: Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.

This is the best Ward has written in a long time. Guys, what a great time to be alive.


BDB is really important to me—not only I’ve spent almost the last 10 years in company of the Brothers but it was my first PRN and Erotica encounter and it has brought me so much joy… but it’s not a surprise it kinda had lost its mojo and while I continue giving them a 5 stars rating and crying my eyes out, it’s not the same.

So, color me surprise when I started reading Blood Kiss and found kinda the same feeling I had while reading the first books. BDB earlier books were such a blast. They were funny, sexy, fast-paced, action packed and a lot of great things I’ve missed in the last books. I really adored this story. Was it perfect? No, but it was much needed.


Alright, this book follows to couples: Marissa/Butch and Craeg/Paradise.

Butch and Marissa are having some troubles communicating and they��re letting their previous lives get in the present and I think everything flew naturally. Like, we never expected their lives to be perfect all out of the blue and Butch was one of the Brothers who changed the most and I can’t begin to tell you how much Marissa’s life changed so this progression had to have some issues along the way and I was happy to see that.

Marissa is dealing with her broken relationship with his brother and all the years the glymera spent talking shit about her, putting her down and being downright assholes so when she found an almost dead girl outside Safe Place, she took things a bit too personal. The thing is, she didn’t deal with anything. She just swept it under the rug and tried to have her happy ever after.

I never disliked Marissa even though I shipped V and Butch big time I still kinda do and while a lot of people found her boring, I appreciated her character a lot but this book? She totally rocked the fuck out of it. She has grown so much and we hadn’t seen it until now and I’m so proud of her. Not only she started to make amends and try find some peace but she stood in front of Butch and demanded things from him.

“You and I are not going to survive long term, regardless of love or bonding, if you keep airbrushing things. If I keep airbrushing things. It’s not a good strategy for us—and if this makes you feel like you’re on the spot? As if I’m giving you an ultimatum? I don’t care. If anything gets in the way of our relationship, anything, I will mow that shit down—even if it is you.”


Marissa has found a new voice and I just can’t wait to see more and more of her.

Now, with Butch things were totally different because while I never struggled with understanding what he wanted, I did not what the heck he was doing. I knew it had something to do with his dead sister, since that wound never healed, but I was afraid he was becoming an asshole.

Come on, he was doing to Marissa the same thing she escaped from and kinda belittling her. Granted, he just wanted the best for her but still. So, learning how he felt about his previous human life and his job as homicide detective and, like I said, transitions aren’t easy and while you can be happy you will still have some scars and that’s something I’m glad Ward showed.


Butch had Marissa on this pedestal and it wasn’t really fair to her but that’s because of his insecurities. I know Butch is waiting for the time when Marissa “realized she can do better” and while a little be of worry is healthy, it will not lead him to a good place.

And that deal with not letting Marissa suck him off? I was so sure it was going to be all about what the Omega did to him. Remember how he was after that in Lover Revealed? But his reason was unexpected and expected at the same time. I mean, we all know and love Butch but I’m happy he and Marissa talked about it and I’m happy he’s getting some closure about what happened to his sister and I know his relationship with Marissa will change for good.

Well, Paradise and Craeg were kinda tricky to swallow. Let me tell you why.
It’s not that I didn’t feel the connection between the two of them but everything happened in a really weird pace.

Sometimes it was fast, sometimes it was slow and I wasn’t really sure, towards the end of the book, if they were going to make it and I was kinda worried things were going to be left unsolved and then I had to wait for the next book and all of that so when things got solved, I can’t help to have this bittersweet feeling? Like, everything was rushed at the end and all that angst that was built during the whole book was fruitless?


So that was really the only thing I didn’t like about the story because I fucking loved Paradise.

Guys, I’m in love with this girl. I ain’t kidding.

I have such a crush on that woman and my respect for her was out of this world. Not only was she able to get into the training program and kick ass but she wanted something, err, someone, and she took it. It didn’t matter she was a virgin, it didn’t matter if she was an aristocrat, it didn’t matter what wasn’t relevant to her. She knows how the glymera operates and she wasn’t scared.

Gods, she was so sexy and she knew what she wanted.


With the grace of a dancer, she put her ass on the counter … then she drew her knees up and propped her high heels against the narrow walls of the alcove.
Giving him a stunning view of her black thigh-highs and her smooth, slick, bare sex.
“You know what I want,” she said. “And for once, it’s not your mouth there.”

Paradise was so incredible cool, you have no idea how much I enjoyed reading her and how much I admired her. She was fearless in so many ways and she was decided type of girl who only wants her father to be proud of her and live her life on her own terms and you just can’t help but loving her.


She’s such a strong addition to the books and such a fresh female.

“This is getting us nowhere,” he muttered after a moment.
“You’re absolutely right. So fuck off. Have a nice life—hope all your holier-than-thou keeps you warm during the day.”

Sometimes we overlook things for the people we love but that’s not healthy and I’m glad to read something like this.

Now, Craeg was difficult and while I sympathized with him in some ways, I couldn’t fall for him the way I wanted. I fell for Paradise, as you can tell. But I think he is going to be better as the books go, even though he won’t be a MC anymore, at least we’ll see some of his progress and that’ll be cool.


What happened to him and his family was horrible and reminded me of everything that happened with Lash and all the things we don’t see anymore on the BDB books.

As for the rest of the trainees, I can see the potential they all have and I’m really excited about Novo.

Here’s the thing: I’m so used to this shitty ass way some authors have to put woman against each other and so I was worried Novo, who was obviously built to that kind of training, was going to be a bitch to Paradise and she was going to see her as a threat but no. Gods, that was so not the case and I fucking loved it.

“Lady and gentlemales,” Peyton said. “We have our Primus.”
“Don’t call me that,” she gritted before any kind of applause could happen. “Ever.”
“Why?” Novo challenged. “You beat all of us. You lasted the longest. You should be fucking proud of it.”


She encouraged Paradise and she was downright great. I can’t wait to see more and more of her.

Which leads me to the motherfucking highlight of the book: The women.

Ward redeemed herself on the thing I’ve always complained about her books and that’s the lack of female friendship.

Yes, they’re all friends but take and Mary and Bella. They were friends before they met Rhage and Z and after that? It was like the other didn’t exist. And yes, I know Ward’s prime focus if the Brothers but she needed to give the women more playground.

They’re all absolutely wonderful and so unique that the force they can be in the books… amazing and it was wasted and it’s like when people suddenly forget their friends because they now have a relationship and we all hate that so it was the same thing. And that only happened to girls.

Maybe it was Selana’s death that made Ward wake up and give the women the attention they deserved or I don’t know what it was but thank you. That chapter with the girl’s movie night and they being all wonderful to each other and having fun and the guys freaking out… I couldn’t stop laughing and it reminded me of the fun I used to have with the series and I’m glad we’re getting that back.


Now, what do I expect from this spin-off and from Ward in general?

• Bring the funny times back. We need to relax a little and she needs to get back to her roots.
• Since this book was a pretty cool start, I’m hoping as the story goes, the books get better and better.
• In the years to follow, and because she’s writing again about the original Brothers, I’m hoping she can bring back what we loved about them and also give them some closure already. I will miss having more books about them every year but I rather have them a fucking nice ending than prolong the story and have them vanish little by little and this Legacy spin-off it’s the perfect opportunity to do so.
• The Band of Bastards need to disappear. They worked while they were threat and that was for about two and half books. Now they do nothing but helping prolong a story that can only give so much.
• Assail, Luchas and the rest of the characters like that need to be grow up or die already.

So, overall Blood Kiss was a really good start with great female characters, a solid storyline and with all the potential of the world.
Profile Image for Jacqueline's Reads.
2,771 reviews1,472 followers
December 2, 2015
5 Recruit me Stars

I love JR WARD and I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) series. Blood Kiss is a spin-off from the BDB series. You do not need to read the BDB books, however you get the full effect if you do. Blood Kiss is part of the Black Dagger Legacy. These books will focus on the new recruits to the BDB. You still get plenty of the original characters and of course a new love storyline. So it’s like having your cake and eating it twice!

Most of the book is about Paradise and Craeg, but just like JR WARD fashion she writes heavily on secondary characters and a huge chunk of the book is focused on Butch and Marissa. Again, I totally loved this.

Paradise is an aristocrat, but she’s not the typical one. She doesn’t want to simply keep house clean and make babies, no, she wants to fight, protect and serve. She recruits into the BDB training program and lands a coveted spot.

Craeg is a commoner, he has no title or status, but a chip on his shoulder. He’s strong and has the presence to be a leader. He makes it into the BDB training program and out of the two females that made it into the group he only has eyes for Paradise.

I gobbled this book up like mad. I couldn’t put it down and I read it in one sitting. JR WARD has a way in sucking you into these fantastic worlds. Like I said, I love the BDB books and Blood Kiss held up to any expectations I had. Blood Kiss felt like it got back to the original BDB roots, where everything is fresh and the drama is there, but at a minimal.

I adore Paradise. I love how strong, independent and strong-minded she was. I loved that even though she’s very rich and she could have any guy she wanted, she had a crush on Craeg. I couldn’t get enough of Craeg, he’s charming, and a mean guy and the Hero you want to punch and suck faces with at the same time. He doesn’t want anything to do with Paradise because he doesn’t do relationships. He’s on a mission and nothing is going to stop him, but Paradise’s kindness and persistence is hard to say no to.

Paradise and Craeg’s attraction towards each other was off the charts hot. My favorite thing about JR WARD books is all the tension she creates! I was salivating as I was reading. I enjoyed the explosive chemistry they had.

“Do you like playing with fire girl? … Because if you keep looking at me like that, I’m going to burn you to the ground”

During all of this Butch and Marissa face some relationship obstacles and it doesn’t drive a wedge between the two, but it definitely creates friction and yummy story-line. I love that JR WARD continued the couple’s story and it made the relationship in my eyes more real. Butch still has issues in never feeling good enough for Marissa and Marissa deals with Butch sometimes irrational behavior.

Overall, this book was delicious. I am completely 100% satisfied and it just makes me want to reread the BDB series again.

An ARC was provided

Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy, #1) by J.R. Ward Blood Kiss - > AMAZON

Profile Image for UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish.
1,166 reviews1,600 followers
December 17, 2015
3.5 stars

For years now it’s seemed that the WARDen (J.R. Ward) has been taking the Brotherhood down a different path, a path I found myself less and less inclined to follow. The stories became more Urban Fantasy than Paranormal Romance and, as became painfully clear in The Shadows, the WARDen’s idea of true love and happily ever afters was morphing into something I wanted no part of. But being a loyal fan and unwilling - or unable - to give up, it was with some trepidation and a whole lot of cautious optimism that I began reading Blood Kiss because, after the debacle that was The Shadows, I wasn’t sure I’d ever enjoy a Black Dagger Brotherhood novel again. I didn’t preorder, I didn’t read reviews, I didn’t chat it up with fellow BDB lovers…I avoided any and all discussion as much as possible. Until, that is, I peeked at my Goodreads’ friends comments (thanks, Beanbag and Lenore) and decided to bite the bullet and give it a chance.

I’m so glad I did!

Perhaps because Blood Kiss is the first in the new Black Dagger Legacy spin-off series The WARDen was able to return us to the Brotherhood we all came to know and love way-back-when. Maybe she finally quit the Rice Krispies and went with a higher fiber cereal… who’s to say. Whatever the reason, I’m thrilled to be able to say that I really enjoyed this story and page after page saw shades of the Black Dagger Brotherhood that I love and have missed over the past several books. There were moments that felt New Adult-esque, and at other moments I thought the writing was simplistic, but the truth is, it’s not the writing that's simple, it's that this story isn’t complicated and all over the place. We’re back to a single couple happily ever after, while also spending quality time with Butch and Marissa, and Vishous.. The other Brothers and their shellans made appearances, too, and I loved that!

The bottom line? Blood Kiss isn't perfect but it's an entertaining story and a solid start to the series. If things continue on this way, I think fans of the original books will enjoy the Black Dagger Legacy!
Profile Image for Mandi.
2,300 reviews721 followers
November 30, 2015
First - spoiler alert! The heroine actually lives in this book. After The Shadows, you never know. (I'm still bitter - I can't help it. But I really liked this book so I'm moving on.)

Blood Kiss is the first spin-off book of Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood book. It's 100% set in the BDB world, in the training center and lots of brothers and their shellans are in the book. But unlike some of the recent BDB books, this one has two main focuses - Butch/Marissa and Paradise/Craeg. As the fight against the lessers increases and after that horrible massacre, the Brothers have decided to bring in some new recruits. Sixty applicants apply but after a night of intense hazing, seven remain standing. Paradise is one of two girl trainees and the one that stays on her feet the longest during the first night. I don't always love JR Ward heroines, but I enjoyed Paradise. She comes from an aristocratic family - her father is an advisor to Wrath, so it is expected for her to grow up, marry, and be the perfect hostess. But she doesn't want that. When most of her family dies during the raids, she decides she wants to train to fight. Her father reluctantly agrees, but is a good support for her throughout the book.

Craeg is another trainee. His father was killed during the raids and he has a grudge against the aristocrats. He is grumbly and growly and tough. Craeg and Paradise have a pretty immediate connection, but he wants nothing to do with a relationship. He wants to learn to fight and that's about it. We meet the other trainees as well, as I assume all will get books. I like them all - Novo is the other female, and she reminds me a bit of Xhex. Axe is a goth/scary mofo who intrigues me. Peyton is Paradise's best friend - annoying but likable too.

What I like best about this training center scenario is that it allows us to have fresh characters yet still have the brothers play a big role - but nothing is too muddled. Rhage, V, Butch all have pretty big roles in this book, as they put the trainees through their courses. They have to act all menacing and tough to intimate the green recruits - and it's fun. They are there eating dinner with their mates, or just passing through. It felt very warm and family-like. Lassiter is in the book a lot being....Lassiter. At one point he uses a selfie-stick to make a semi-naked calendar of just him. What I love about the BDB - the goofiness, the brotherly camaraderie, the bad-ass, sarcastic, leather-wearing men who are all gooey with their mates - it's all here. This made me very happy.

While 50% of the book is Craeg and Paradise, the other half is Butch and Marissa. Don't worry - nothing major goes down with these two. Butch acts like a typical Brother by putting Marissa on a constant pedestal. All Marissa wants to do is be a little more dirty...not as prim and proper and Butch won't hear of it. But they talk it out through the book and work out their differences. There are some very sexy scenes with them. I adore Butch, so I'm really glad we get a "part two" to his HEA, and also that it's nothing horrible or stressful.

The other part of the story is an unnamed victim of abuse who dies and Marissa is determined to find out who the girl is and what happened to her. Butch helps out with this mystery. It worked well within the story.

My only complaint about the story is that the "I love you" between Paradise and Craeg felt rushed and forced to me. I definitely felt their chemistry and I like how their relationship was progressing, but it felt no where near the I love you stage. I really feel they barely get to know each other in this book. Craeg has that bonding scent released and his fangs out anytime anyone gets near Paradise, but it felt rushed to me.

Otherwise, Blood Kiss is a fun book. It has that BDB humor I enjoy and lots of sexy times. Blood Kiss reminds me why I love spending time with the brothers.

Grade: B
Profile Image for Debra.
2,002 reviews231 followers
February 12, 2016
I'm torn between 3 and 3.5 so maybe 3.25 I liked but didn't love it stars?

After being pleasantly surprised by The Shadows I decided to go for this one. I really have missed the focus on the "original" brothers and was glad to get some more face time with them. It was all of the domestic variety rather than the slaying variety, but that was fine by me. This will probably be less of a review and more of a like/dislike.

The part of the story focusing on the trainees had a very New Adult feel and the beginning of the book took me forever to get through for some reason. I liked it but didn't love it. I liked all the new recruits enough and would like to get to know them more. Paradise and Craeg worked more for me as friends and teammates. The are both strong and would be great co-leaders of the team. Sadly, I just didn't feel the chemistry between them (to me she had more chemistry with Peyton). I do like that both Paradise and Novo are strong, independent women doing more than just holding their own with the guys. I loved the way Butch related to Craeg and Axe. He is the perfect mentor for these two men and I hope the next books will continue with that relationship.

Butch, V and Marissa get lots of time in this one. Marissa has really come into herself as a character. Her bonding time with V was something I was glad to see since he is so intertwined with Butch. Their issues weren't earth shattering, but normal long-term couple needing to reboot and communicate better. I would have liked to see more resolution of her relationship with Havers and I would really love to see Butch working toward establishing a police force. It was also nice to see all the females spend some time and bond and be supportive of each other.

Finally, we have Lassiter! Can we please find Lassiter a man. I love it every time he is on the page. Put him together with Axe or, even better yet, he could probably do wonders for Saxton - that would surely get the glymera's tongues wagging!

Overall it was a good but not great story, a lot more focused than the last few BDB books with the 1001 storylines, but enough potential to keep me reading the next one.

Pre-release thoughts: After The King I knew I was pretty much done with the BDB. The Shadows isn't even on my TBR at the moment. If this really is everything I loved about the series in the early days without everything I've come to loathe about the latest few books I will be a very happy girl.
Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,457 followers
December 17, 2017
Paradise and Craeg

Here comes the next generation! New kids in town…
The training centre is open again and all the vampires are welcome.
There is no discrimination, if a vampire wants to join.
Females and Males are welcome. Lowly vampires as well as arrogant glymera royalties are welcome.
Everyone can become the next warrior against the lesser.
Everyone can become the next Brother.
As long as they are willing to be beaten to death, to almost die, to almost drown, to be humiliated, to walk until they fall on their face, to push every limit they have. And all these will happen to them, before even they start training.

“Doesn’t mean I’m happy about introducing a bunch of children into the war.”
“We either make the intros, or the war will find them on its own terms.”

So, everyone will be here to test their limitations.
Peyton, Axe, Boone, Novo, Anslam, Paradise and so many others…
But where is Craeg?

The sound of a door closing made her glance over her shoulder—and she gasped before she could help herself.
There he was, the one she had waited for, the one she had hoped to see again.
Paradise patted at her ponytail, some estrogen-linked receptor going bat-shit, sixteen-year-old as the male walked over to the sign-in station.

Paradise wants Craeg.
Peyton wants Paradise.
Craeg wants to finish the training program because this is the only future he can have.

“You can’t do both?”

Obviously Craeg’s iron will won’t last long. I absolutely loved their first time together. It was sloppy, without thinking and they behaved exactly like two horny 20something kids in love should behave.

“Are you sure?” he mumbled. While he started undoing the front of his jeans.
“Do you want me to beg?”
“No, because I’d start coming right now.”
He glanced around and didn’t see any cameras. But that didn’t mean the fuckers weren’t somewhere hidden. “I wish there was another place we could do this.”
“Like I care where we are.”

Overall, I absolutely loved glymera sweetheart Paradise and poor but honorable Craeg together!
I am so happy that Ward has added so many young and interesting characters and this new spinoff is definitely a success.

P.S. The book also includes an update on Butch and Marissa’s life as a couple. Always nice to meet again the main characters from BDB.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,855 reviews846 followers
January 3, 2016

Blood Kiss
was an exciting start to J.R.Ward’s new spinoff series, Black Dagger Legacy, and we still get our favorite Black Dagger Brothers, as well!

Paradise, the blooded daughter of the advisor to the King would like to break free of the restrictive life she’s used to. As a daughter of privilege and wealth she’s expected to mate with someone from her own class and have children, but Paradise has other plans. Enrolling in the Brother’s Warrior academy she wants to train to protect her people from the Lessers and any other threats. The training is physically and mentally challenging, but Paradise is determined to succeed and excel. She hadn’t planned on finding love, but she can’t keep her mind and body from straying to one of her teammates, Craeg.

Craeg has enrolled in Warrior’s Academy to train and avenge his father’s murder. His gorgeous teammate, Paradise, is a distraction he doesn’t need or want. Craeg struggles with the overwhelming pull she has on him and his protective and possessive instincts come raging to life anytime Paradise is around.

Butch and Marissa love each other, but their relationship is put to the test when a girl is brutally assaulted and ends up at Safe Place, in Marissa’s care.

I was immediately sucked into both of these stories, because really this is two stories unfolding at once: Craeg and Paradise’s trials and romance as they try to survive the academy training and Butch and Marissa’s marriage mating in crisis. Both stories were compelling in their own way. Craeg and Paradise are the younger set. You could put them in the New Adult age range, so I guess J.R. Ward sort of wrote her way into that category with Blood Kiss, but thankfully that’s where all similarities with NA end. No unnecessary drama or angst; just two people trying to succeed under pressure, all the while fighting a deliciously intense attraction. Such a wonderful build of sexual tension! They had some roadblocks to navigate; a mystery filled with danger, as well.

I felt Butch and Marissa’s story acutely, because there is never a HEA that you don’t have to work at and every relationship must grow and overcome obstacles. I enjoyed watching Butch and Marissa work through issues, with all the messy emotions, and come to a deeper level of understanding and connection, because these two really do love each other!

In the past, with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I’ve struggled to read the Lesser’s chapters, mostly I just skimmed through them. So I was thrilled there was no Lesser POV in Blood Kiss!

J.R. Ward’s world of vampire warriors with its rules of feeding, bonding, mating and hierarchy is riveting! She made a fantasy come to life with real world emotions and trials that anyone could relate to. I think Blood Kiss will be a thrilling, fresh exploration of the Black Dagger world for established fans, and an enticing start for any new readers.

A copy was kindly provided by Signet in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Annie .
2,442 reviews812 followers
January 28, 2016

What were your first thoughts when you learned that Ward was going to be returning to the training centre and giving us stories about new trainees?

Annie: I was excited! J.R. Ward is my all-time favorite author and I knew that going back to the training centre would give readers an intimate and in depth look into how the Brotherhood worked. And although Ward essentially went back to basics, it was the most natural course to take in this series with the brewing war with the Lessers.

These new recruits all have their own set of experiences that have molded and defined them and they bring that to the program every time they train. I have my favorites already and can’t wait to see what Ward has planned for them next!

Francesca: So excited! My favorite moments in this series go back to the training center with JM, Blay and Qhuinn and being able to revisit that while seeing some of my favorite brothers as the head of the program was like a dream! I think although she’s going back to the concept, she’s doing it in a fresh new way as this training center is nothing like it was then. We are not dealing with inexperienced pre-trans here and it was a lot of fun to see. I think fans will be very pleased.

What did you think of the other trainees? (Anslam, Peyton, Novo, Axe and Boone)


Anslam: Ugh.

Peyton: He can be a jerk but a guy’s guy kind of character, the one that doesn’t like to admit he likes something unless it’s cool to do so. But I have a feeling that Ward will bring him to his knees :)

Novo: Love her! She reminds me a lot of Xhex so I’m wondering if in her book if we will see more of Xhex and JM.

Axe: This guy also reminds me of one of the Brothers, V. There’s no doubt that the two of these guys would get along well. I can only hope that we’ll revisit more of V and his kinky side.

Boone: This guy is an easy one to forget but I am not fooled for a minute that Ward doesn’t have something up her sleeve with this character.


I don’t want to give too much away but I can already see how some of them mold after other characters we already love. I especially loved Novo because she’s the other female to make it into the training program and she’s very much like Xhex. I have hopes for a romance between her and another one of the recruits…

The rest of the guys are quite like the current BDB. There’s a kinky one, a buff one and a couple of pretty boys. But I KNOW with Ward things are not always what they seem and I can’t wait to explore more of them all.

Which of them are you most excited about?

Annie: Definitely Novo and Axe. Novo seems like a tough as nails character from what we have seen of her so far, but she also has that playful side as well that is open to anything. I can’t wait to see what Ward has in store for her.

Axe is probably the one I’m most intrigued about. Ward dipped into his backstory a little bit but I’m dying for more. Who would’ve thought that a kinky Goth would excite me?

Francesca: Like I said before, I’m most excited about Novo. We know from first impressions she’s tough and can hang with the boys easily but as the book progresses she lets us in to her softer side, even as a romantic with her matchmaking skills. I can’t wait to delve deeper into her character and see how she will bring her male to heel.

What did you think of Paradise and Craeg? Did you like their romance?

Annie: They were a great pair. Ward builds their romance in a believable manner and this is something to note because one, these characters are younger so they are a little more hesitant with conveying their emotions and two, IT’S NOT INSTALOVE! After all the books that seem to jump into love so quickly, I love that Craeg has his reservations about Paradise. He thinks she’s too good for him and there are a bunch of reverent lines that absolutely melted my heart. I also liked that Paradise had no problem telling him off when he was being too stubborn.

Francesca: I think they were so adorable. Great first pairing in this new “series”. Their romance is a constant presence throughout the story even when it takes a while for them to get together. I liked that slow pacing, although I would’ve preferred a little bit more of meat between when they first got together and their I love yous. Craeg is just the best. He’s determined and a fighter. In everything he sets his mind to. I loved him! And I think Paradise is one of Ward’s best heroines from the start. She’s got balls and smarts. She goes after the male she wants and she won’t let anyone push her around, not even him. You can definitely tell they are younger characters but that didn’t take anything away from the way they perfectly fit with the Brotherhood.

Alongside Paradise and Craeg, Butch and Marissa are the other main couple featured in BLOOD KISS. What did you think about their storyline?

Annie: For me, it was natural to see Marissa and Butch sharing the page time with Paradise and Craeg because their stories aren’t that different from one another. The females are born into a world filled with position and power but because of their sex, they are boxed in with expectations and traditions, preventing them from making their own decisions about their own life. Craeg is very much like Butch too. He’s from a different world than the one Paradise was raised in. He knows that and yet he can’t seem to resist her.

When Ward said she was revisiting some of the past couples we’ve come to love, I was a little worried about what might happen. I was glad that Ward didn’t break them down only to put them back together. But as with any relationship there are rough patches and that is what Ward explores here. Some distance is created but it isn’t something that can’t be dealt with with some communication. In this type of situation, I was happy for the swift resolution. It’s not to the point where the author is milking everything from her characters just to produce a book. Butch and Marissa’s storyline is the perfect compliment to Paradise and Craeg’s main dish.

Francesca: I completely agree with Annie, they were the natural choice to place in this book. I was more than a little giddy to see Butch heading the training program and in doing so, we had to revisit with him on a more personal front. Marissa has always seemed one of the weaker heroines in the series, with her coming from the glymera and being pushed aside by Wrath for so long. I needed to see her find her stronger self and Ward did an amazing job at that in this book. I may have wanted to throttle Butch a time or two but good for Marissa for showing the male how things should be done and handled. This resolved some long pushed down unfinished business and it only makes the series stronger to see that side of their relationships. Perfect!

Do you have a favourite scene in the book?

Annie: Oh, it has to be the Magic Mike XXL scenes. I literally laughed my ass off while reading those parts. Of course Ward had to put her man, Channing in her book, right? It was nice to see all the girls together, just having a good time. Doesn’t hurt to see the men sulking either, does it.

All in all, BLOOD KISS exceeded my expectations. Once again, J.R. Ward shows the world how Paranormal Romance is done!

Francesca: I know this is so not about the main couple of anything but I have to say Lassiter and his calendar. The jokes about the selfie stick and Kinkos just about did me in. I absolutely love him, can I keep him?

BLOOD KISS is very much another book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood. It didn’t feel like a separate series, which I was worried about. Ward knows how to give fans exactly what they crave and this hit that mark for all of us long time fans of the series. Giving us everything we loved from before mixed in with enough of what we love now. Still to date, the best paranormal romance author out there.
Profile Image for Auntee.
1,282 reviews1,382 followers
December 20, 2015
I think I waited a bit too long to review this since I feel like I lost some of the feeling I had for the book after I finished...but I'm going to try and get it back.

I know I enjoyed it a lot. I liked the set up of having the Brothers starting a training program for recruits in the fight against the Lessers. There's lots of potential here, and after the first arduous training class (that was the physical/suspenseful highlight of the book) we're left with just seven recruits. So surely there'll be more classes and we'll have the potential to read about even more characters, because this battle against the Lessers is going to be a long one...

The book focuses on two couples. Our new 'couple', the 'uptown' aristocratic 'good girl' Paradise and her 'downtown guy', commoner Craeg. They get to share the pages with old favorites, 'downtown' Butch and 'uptown' 'good girl' Marissa. Interesting how the author focused on two couples with similar backgrounds...

Butch and Marissa have hit a bump in their marriage, and we get some insight about why Butch has her high upon that pedestal, and wonder if Marissa will ever get to come off it.

I liked reading about Butch and Marissa, problems and all. I remembered loving Butch's book (and had a great desire to go back and reread his story!) and it was nice to revisit these characters. I never had any doubt that they could work things out, so their plot wasn't all that suspenseful. They did have some pretty hot moments, and I liked seeing Butch open up to Marissa and treat her like a true partner, rather than like someone he has to constantly protect. By the end of the book I felt they were solid as a couple, and would continue to share everything with each other.

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I liked reading about Paradise and Craeg as well. It's harder to feel the same connection to them because we don't know as much about them--they haven't really been featured in books like Butch -and to a lesser extent, Marissa- were before they got their own book, so we have to get to know them--fast. And while Ward does a pretty good job at giving them both an adequate back story, it's hard, really hard, not to compare them to the other main couple in the book. I did like their chemistry, but I felt that maybe the ILYs came a wee bit too fast? I thought maybe their story arc would carry over to the next book, or maybe their ILYs would, if that makes sense. I guess I'm used to those big long BDB books, and not used to Ward writing a tight, concise romance!

But for the first in a (spin-off) series? Very well done. I see some potential in new recruits Peyton, Novo, Axe, and Boone and look forward to their stories. Same Ward writing style, same touches of humor (Lassiter had me lol more than a few times!), and seeing (and hearing) most of the Brothers? (But especially Butch and V?) That's enough to tide me over until March and The Beast.

4 1/2 stars
Profile Image for Jen.
1,654 reviews996 followers
December 3, 2015
Oh...MY....GOODNESS!!!! This book has had me so darn excited!!!! And I have to admit that it has been far too long since I have enjoyed a book quite this much! Also, far too long since I have felt that passion I use to when I first started reading the BDB series!! In my opinion, this new "spin-off" series is classic JR Ward. You know, back when the BDB books were, sexy and exciting, and let us not forget....so damn funny! In this particular book there is a scene that had me literally laughing out loud so hard that I disturbed my hubby's tv watching!!! LOL I think he began to think I was crazy!!!
Let us just say that the scene consisted of a girl's night for the mated women.....and what were they doing???? Well, watching "Magic Mike" of course!!! Remember that bonded vampire males are extremely possessive of their females....LMAO!!! You get the idea...The one liners, and everything that transpired was amazingly entertaining and I won't ever forget it!

I kind of got off track! This series is about a younger generation of vamps that are participating in a training centre program run by our favorite Brothers. Out of hundreds of candidates, only seven make it through, and these seven will train to fight in the war that has developed after the tragic raids that happened in the BDB world.

In this installment we watch Paradise, who is the daughter of Abalone fall in love with a "commoner" vampire named Craeg. They are both recruits at the training centre and they have an intense attraction to one another. Woven in between their romance is a closer look into the relationship of Butch and Marissa. I found these two couples to be a perfect fit for this book as we have both men who are considered from a "lower class" than their females. The parallel between Butch/Craeg and Marissa/Paradise is a genius move on JR Ward's part and she couldn't have done it better in my opinion.

So, not only do we get the treat of meeting exciting new characters; but we are given a glimpse into our beloved BDB characters who I feel like I have known for years!
I LOVED it! I loved every part of it, and the only thing I really grumbled about was it ending! This book has reminded me of why I love to read! It also reminded me that when you have a very talented author writing a story, I become transported into the story as if I'm right there beside the characters. I have honestly missed that in my reading for quite some time. It doesn't mean that I haven't read some good books, it just means that there are a very few that literally captivate me like "Blood Kiss" did.

Were there some flaws??? Maybe just a few. I would have loved more page time between Craeg and Paradise...He had his walls up pretty high for a big portion of the book, and it would have been nice to see him fight his attraction to paradise just a little bit less. The thing is though, I was so enjoying Butch and Marissa's page time too...so all in all I won't complain too much!

This is a MUST read for BDB lovers. For the readers that have left the series because it was getting way too confusing and complex....Give this one a try! I think you will be won back, as this is a reminder of why we fell in love with the Brotherhood in the beginning! This book will remind you of the magic we all experienced way back with Wrath and Beth!!

I can't wait to see which trainee is next! I am going to sit and enjoy my renewed excitement for my BDB family!!!
Profile Image for warhawke.
1,298 reviews1,956 followers
March 17, 2018
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Type: Book 1 of Black Dagger Legacy series
POV: Third Person

As a daughter of the Founding Family, Paradise was brought up in a gilded cage. She was expected to be prim and proper, and adhere to the aristocratic standard. Desperate to break free, she decided to do the complete opposite by joining the Black Dagger Brotherhood training.

Craeg lost everything during the tragic period of their race. With a single focus on mind, he joined the training to prove his worth and the last thing he needed was a distraction from his goal.

I still have catching up to do with the BDB, but I can't help by being curious of this series, so here I am lol!

“Do you like playing with fire, girl?” he growled. “Because if you keep looking at me like that, I’m going to burn you to the ground.”

I love Craeg. He had that typical brooding male persona that appeal to me. He was also an alpha without having too much of the "in your face" attitude.

Though I don't like the name Paradise (lol!), I do like her as a character. I like how she fought for her independence and wasn't afraid to put her foot down.

“You have never had to worry about where your next meal is coming from, you live in a fucking museum showcase of beautiful things—and pardon me, but you don’t know what it’s like to have people look down on you because you lost the DNA lottery!”

One notable difference in this book compared to the BDB series is that the storyline was much simpler. Instead of a wider story with the happenings in their world, it focused more on the main characters' relationship, with the original BDB couple Butch and Marissa as the secondary couple.

"I literally have nothing waiting for me. So I won’t let anything or anyone get in my way.”

The underlying matter in this book was the differences of social status between both couples. I like seeing how each of them handled the issue.

Blood Kiss is the first book in the Black Dagger Legacy series. Looking forward to get to know all the new characters and be reacquainted with the old BDB favorites.

Note 1:
Axe is my favorite but I need to catch up with the original series before reading it :(

Note 2:
Lassiter is probably the most lovable annoying character haha!

Books in the series:
Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy, #1) by J.R. Ward Blood Vow (Black Dagger Legacy, #2) by J.R. Ward Blood Fury (Black Dagger Legacy, #3) by J.R. Ward

For more reviews/reveals/giveaways visit:

Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,954 followers
August 4, 2016
Forgive me Ward lovers, for I have sinned.

My thoughts were of an impure nature.

Sadly, it was not in the way that you're supposed to be thinking impure thoughts while reading romance.

At times while reading this, I felt like cheating on Ward for another book.

Don't get me wrong. Blood Kiss was good - more than good enough to get 4 stars out of me, which isn't as common of a rating on my end as it used to be. But I think I'm one of the few people who wasn't giddy over BK. The romance felt one-note/generic and a bit rushed (I expected a longer time before Craeg admitted to feelings after the way he acted in The Shadows), the "conflict" between Butch and Marissa came off as reaching , and the entire scene with the Brothers moping in the hallway was a huge turn-off to me rather than an "aww" moment. Rant incoming about that scene :

It was great to see the females bonding more though.

Ward always tries to educate the reader by making points that are sometimes...well...pointless.

But there were great moments...

~ Lassiter. Duh. He better not tone down the crazy when he gets his own HEA.

~ The brothers. It's always fun to spend time with them, especially when they're off the battlefield. I don't necessarily agree with the general consensus that there was more brother time in this book because there are always scenes between the brothers in every book, probably equal in amount to here. It just often goes unnoticed or feels like less because the main series books are so huge and the focus is on 50 billion stories happening in that series, whereas over in this new series there was no other focus than on the brothers and the main couple. Although, I guess we could count the murder mystery too. I wonder if that's going to be a recurring theme for this series?

~ I enjoyed the training center antics. The first half of the book was the strongest for me. It was great to see the new trainees get thrown into the deep end of the pool. Literally.

~ We finally got to see a glimpse of something compassionate in Havers. I'm glad that Ward hasn't abandoned the possibility of his redemption.

~ As noted earlier with the women bonding over movie night, I can appreciate when the women aren't just background props. Ward is finally stepping out of her comfort zone and including characters who should have had more page space all along.

Overall, this was a promising start to the series. My complaints always seem to take more time to write about, but that doesn't mean that they carry more weight than the positives. I'm genuinely looking forward to further trainee adventures.

I think it's possible for readers to begin reading Ward for the first time with Blood Kiss, but I didn't feel that there was enough world info given to answer all of the readers' questions, so there might be a few things which could confuse a newbie to this world. The Scribe Virgin was mentioned in passing but not expanded upon, for example. So while starting here could be done, I wouldn't recommend it. A first timer wouldn't get the warm fuzzies about the veteran characters without knowing their history. Plus, all of the couples would be spoiled, so there would be no anticipation along the journey of wondering how each male would find their HEA.

Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,827 reviews2,187 followers
June 23, 2016
DNF at 56%

I had a lot of high hopes for this book and to say I am disappointed is an understatement. I didn't even know this spin off series existed until a week ago and the minute I saw it I wanted to devour it.

I will say what I liked was at the beginning this felt like one of the older BDB novels, with the focus on a few characters and not 20 in one book. I was excited for Butch and Marissa and the idea of new fresh characters.

My problem with this book? I was bored out of my mind reading it. 200+ pages in and it felt like the plot wasn't going anywhere, it didn't move forward. All we got for 200 pages was Butch and Marissa having problems and the new couple "fighting" their attraction for each other. On top of that I felt all the new characters were just rehashing of older characters.

So while this wasn't for me I can see why die hard fans of BDB enjoyed it. I'm just disappointed this PNR series is no longer sparking excitement for me to read it, especially since the beginning books are ones I love so much.

Profile Image for Maria Clara.
995 reviews506 followers
April 7, 2017
Realmente me ha gustado bastante!!! Ya añoraba a los hermanos y los nuevos fichajes prometen :)
Profile Image for Gavin.
863 reviews393 followers
January 18, 2016
I'm not sure what to say about this BDB spin-off book. I think on the whole it was a bit of a disappointment. It is a BDB book so it was still a decent read, but it had too many flaws and weaknesses to be considered to be one of the better books in the series. Most of the worst elements of the recent BDB books were included here, but few of the strengths were.

This felt a lot like reading the regular BDB books minus all the fun secondary characters, like Xcor and Assail, that we have grown attached to in the recent instalments. This book stuck to just five POV characters:

Paradise: We met her in the last BDB book and I found her a likeable enough character. Her only flaw was her poor little rich kid routine. Apart from the romance with Craeg and her participation in the training program she did not have much of a story arc.

Craeg: He was one of the dullest and least memorable of Ward's heroes yet. That said, he seemed a nice enough guy. We touched a bit on his family history, but that threatened to be more interesting than it actually was.

Peyton: Paradise's cousin and a fellow new member in the Brothers new trainee program. We only got tiny glimpses into Peyton as a character and he got more likeable as we got to know him better.

Butch and Marissa: I've always liked Butch and Marissa as characters so it was fun to revisit them in this one. I'm not a giant fan of the drama Ward tries to insert into her established couples, but at least it never dragged on too long and it was interesting to get a glimpse of Marissa at her work Safe Place and to see Butch take some training classes and dust of a bit of his old police training to investigate a murder.

All in all I felt like the tighter POV cast was a weakness rather than a strength. Another big problem Blood Kiss had was the romance between Paradise and Craeg. It was pretty crappy and seemed to be driven only by lust rather than the characters having anything else that drew them too each other. Perhaps the biggest weakness of the whole book was that almost nothing happened except from the Craeg/Paradise romance and us getting introduced to the 7 members of the training program. Butch and Marissa did investigate the murder of a girl who turned up outside Safe Place but I felt like the ending to that story arc was rushed and given a very anticlimactic conclusion.

We did meet some interesting new secondary characters in the instalment. Axe, Boone, and Nova were youngsters in the training program and all showed potential. Lassiter was his usual hilarious self in this one. The guy needs his own book pronto!

I'll read the next BDB Legacy book when it arrives, but if the focus is going to be as heavy on the main romance then I hope we at least get a good one!

Rating: 3.5 stars

Audio Note: Jim Frangione always does a good job with this series.

Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,205 reviews921 followers
March 10, 2016
I wasn't exactly certain how this series would differentiate itself from its parent. I'm still not quite sure but my best guess is that this is the next generation of the Brotherhood.

It begins with the new slate of potential recruits who vie to participate in the training school being started by the Brotherhood. It was the most exciting aspect of the story with some truly frightening episodes that determine who moves forward.

The central romantic focus involved the new and the old. Representing the new are Paradise, the receptionist and daughter of Abalone, the First Advisor to Wrath, and Craeg, one of the recruits. Their initial attraction reminded me of the earlier romances in the BDB series, having those inexplicable strong connections. I liked both but there was more time devoted to him fighting his urges rather than pursuing Paradise. There were some rather erotic phone conversations, however, that were quite interesting.

Representing the "old" are Butch and Marissa. Butch happens to be my favorite of the BDB so bear that in mind as I declare that I loved his and Marissa's part of the story. There's some unrest and their relationship evolves as he comes to terms with his "pedestal" worship of her and she finds her footing.

I enjoyed the story and find it to be a good introduction to the next generation of the original series. As always, I enjoyed Jim Frangione's narration and how he finds a way to deliver that campy dialogue in a manner that makes it sound almost normal. I'm looking forward to what comes next.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,164 followers
December 16, 2015
Yes!! After the disaster that was "The Shadows", we finally get back to some of the things I loved about this series in the first place. And, if you are a Butch fan, this book is soooooo for you because about half of the book is about him. The other half is about Paradise, who we met in The Shadows, and Craeg - some dude. Well, vampire dude.

But, here's the thing, this book had some amazing possibilities for some great female-power messages, and then it kind of crashed and burned at the end. So much potential, though...

First, we have Marissa dealing with hubby, Butch. He is all kinds of messed up with the Madonna/Whore complex about his wife. He feels like he can't "spoil" her in certain ways and it is starting to piss Marissa off. She was sheltered and treated like a golden breeder all of her life and wants a real and honest relationship with her husband. But, he's so caught up in his 1950's attitude that he won't budge. I liked how Marissa was pushing back to get off of the pedestal that Butch had her on. So much potential...

Then, we have Paradise who was born into wealth and also has a golden uterus. She wants so much to be more than a trophy wife who does social and charity events. She enrolls in the new training center that the Brotherhood is running. She also ends up doing really well - top of her class - the "Primus". Yay, Parry! She beats the guys and gives one to womankind. So much potential...

Then there is another female student, Novo, who is buff, tough, and makes no apologies for it. She encourages Parry to win their first test for class. She is never jealous, catty, or petty, but all about girl-power. I love girls like that!

"Ladies and gentlemen," Payton said. "We have our Primus."

(Paradise) "Don't call me that...ever."

"Why?" Novo challenged. "You beat all of us. You lasted the longest. You should be fucking proud of it."

That's right, girl! You go!

So what went wrong when we were on this mighty feminism train?
It got derailed because, boys. Yeah.

Yeah, feminism shmeminism. I need a man.

But, the book was still really good. It reminded me of the earlier BDB books when we had John Matthew, Blay, and Qhuin hanging out while they were training. The new recruits were all interesting and pretty well developed characters. I look forward to getting to know them better.

Also, there were a lot of funny moments. Lassiter, the angel, is always hilarious and he makes a spectacular entrance into a pool in front of the students.

He was wearing a scuba mask and snorkel set pushed off his handsome face... a set of flippers that slapped over the slick floor as he approached the pool's edge... a slingshot bathing suit that was hot pink... and a children's yellow and blue floaty around his waist.

There's a pretty picture as he does a cannonball into the pool!

Later, he tries to convince Marissa to buy one of his calendars.

"They're only five bucks. I have to cover printing costs. Good news? There was no photographer expense - I took the pics with my selfie stick."

"You actually made a calendar of yourself."

"Why do you think I had my pants off?"

There is also a girls-night where all of the ladies of the mansion get together to eat dinner and watch Magic Mike XXL. They laugh and make jokes and have all of the goofiness that women have when they let loose together. That was cute. The males of the house, though, took it pretty hard, and that was funny too.

All in all, the good parts of this book out-weighed the bad by a long shot. It is totally worth reading. :)
Profile Image for Elfina Renee.
611 reviews204 followers
December 20, 2015
Wow, freaking awesome, action packed novel and the recruits in training.... phenomenal! Excellent five star read. I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and this spin off doesn't disappoint. Incredible murder mystery of a slain woman, you'll wonder who done it and why. Butch leads up the investigation in this epic novel. Speaking of the form homicide detective, his mouth watering hotness shines, such a blast reading him again along with his partner in crime V. Long may you reign J.R.Ward!
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