Jan 222014
 

Styxx (Dark-Hunter World) So another year is behind us and in spite of the personal life stuff going on resulting in the dearth of reviews, reading was still going on behind the scenes.

So what books made us sit up and beg?

Grete

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett – The fantastic third book in the Demon Cycle.

Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole – Military sci-fi with superheroes.  This second book was an excellent addition to the Shadow Ops series.

Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey – This series needs to be on either the big or small screen – any screen!  Until then it’s an amazing sci-fi story and this third book was a brilliant addition to the Expanse.

Parasite by Mira Grant – An amazingly creepy but riveting novel. If you liked her Newsflesh trilogy, you are going to love this!

Kevin HearneThe Iron Druid Chronicles was a series that entranced me so much, I ended up romping through and didn’t take time to review.  It’s a fantastic series and one I will be re-reading, slower this time, so I can actually do reviews!

Bound by Night by Larissa Ione – The first in a new series by Larissa and just as exciting as her Demonica/Lords of Deliverance.  Speaking of which, the next book in that series, Reaver, is on this list too as it was utterly fantastic and had my jaw dropping several times as things were revealed.

Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones – This is another series I love so much that I keep racing through them and end up not reviewing.  It’s a habit I really have to stop as my memory is just not up to it these days!  Charley Davidson is one of my favourite paranormal heroines and I just can’t get enough of her!

Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon – I loved, loved, loved this book.  I cried, I laughed, I may have shouted a few times.  A worthy companion to Acheron and a brilliant addition to the Dark-Hunter’s series.  It does take you through the wringer though!

The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty – I absolutely loved this light hearted approach to the paranormal and look forward to the next one, out this year!

Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan – A gritty and powerful epic fantasy debut.  I loved the magic system he devised and I hold high hopes for the second book.

Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin – First in a new series by Gail and it’s off to a promising start.  I loved her two previous series a lot so it had a lot to live up to!  Looking forward to book two!

J.D. Robb – Thanks to Tracey, I discovered the In Death series and devoured the whole lot one after the other.  It amazed me how good they are and how, even 35+ books in, they are still extremely enjoyable and great reads.

Watch Your Back by Karen Rose – So many of Karen’s books have characters that appear or are related to people in other novels and this one felt like it had been a long time coming.  It was utterly amazing and prompted me to go back and read ALL the previous books!

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan – This book honestly surprised me and I’m annoyed at myself that I didn’t do a review after I read it, as it so very much deserved it.  It’s an amazingly gritty fantasy, written with a single focus and I urge anyone who loved David Gemmell’s work to pick this up.  I will be re-reading this (and reviewing this time, dammit)!

Unseen by Karin Slaughter – Every time I think Karin has outdone herself, she releases the next book and raises the bar even higher.  I can’t get enough of Will Trent and Sara Linton!

Lover at Last by J.R. Ward – The latest book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series was hotly anticipated and I was not left disappointed!

Tracey

While my list has some similar ones to Grete, I also have some totally different genres to her.  Being much more of a romantic sap, it will come as no surprise that I have a number of romances on my list.

The books I share Grete’s love for are :

Styxx of course – the most anticipated book of the year for me and one that did not disappoint. Probably my book of the year!

Reaver by Larissa Ione – another eagerly awaited novel that ticked all the boxes for me.

The In Death series by J.D. Robb – I read all 35 books in 4 weeks and absolutely loved them.

For me though the year was all about romance! There were books from my favourite romance authors: Stephanie Laurens, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean and Sarah Morgan.

I really cannot express all the books that I loved this year, I read well over 100 of them! Since I tend to read books I know I will enjoy, it is so hard to only pick a few.

If I was to recommend a few books to other readers I would go with the following:

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan – I have been a fan of Ms. Morgan for many years, reading all her Mills and Boon books and it was great to have a longer book to enjoy. This is romance at its best and a great start to a new series.

Nora Roberts has featured heavily in my reading this year but a trilogy I particularly enjoyed was the Key Trilogy – Key of Light, Key of Knowledge and Key of Valour. This has a paranormal slant with Ms. Roberts’ usual excellent romance story.

Sarah MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels series is recommended reading, particularity if you enjoy historical romance. I have loved all the books in this series and look forward to the next one hopefully coming in 2014!

Will definitely be doing more reviews this year, even if only a few lines, there are so many great books I want to share my love of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 052013
 

Happy New Year everyone!  I can’t believe it’s 2013 already, I’m not even sure what happened to 2012!  Without going over it all, last year was a pretty sucky one for me personally with health issues, life and family bereavement.  BookThing suffered as a consequence but this year I am determined it’s going to be better.

We have a lovely new Logo commissioned by my husband as an awesome christmas present, and Tracey and I are raring to go :)

What better way to kick off the New Year than with a give-away?

Lover Reborn: Number 10 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) One of our most hotly anticipated paranormal romance books for this year is, without a doubt, Lover at Last by J.R. Ward.  It’s being released in March but just in case you haven’t read the last phenomenal book, Lover Reborn, this is your chance to get a free copy!

We have 8 to give-away courtesy of the lovely people at Piatkus but because of postage costs, it is UK only.

To be in with a chance to receive a copy, please leave a comment on this post telling us what is your most anticipated book for 2013.  As always, you need to use a valid email address (no need to create an account, leaving a comment is easy!) It will not be used other than to inform the winners.  The Give-away will run for one week so you have until 11pm GMT Saturday 12th January and winners will be drawn at random.

Good Luck!

Mar 272012
 

Lover Reborn: Number 10 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) I found Lover Reborn really interesting and a bit different from the rest of the series.  It has all the facets I’ve come to expect and love about J.R. Ward’s work but it felt like she’d put something extra into Lover Reborn.  Several threads from the last couple of books get resolved and while yet more open, they are in a direction I didn’t expect.  I have the utmost respect for Ward in doing this as I couldn’t see quite how the usual good guys vs. bad was going to keep going book after book.  Don’t get me wrong, it has worked perfectly up until now, but it felt time for a change, and Ward has delivered that.

This book is mainly about Tohrment and his grief over the loss of his wife, a few books before.  The impact that loss had on him and the Brotherhood was huge and has been a very poignant note as time has gone on.  When I heard this would be his story, I couldn’t wait to read it, wondering if there was anything that could heal his shattered heart or give him the will to live again.

It’s a story about cycles and redemption, of grief and coming to terms with who you are, not just for Tohr but other members of the Brotherhood and their extended families too.  It was beautifully written, emotionally charged and several times my heart was in my mouth over events I didn’t think could or would happen.  The new threads coming into the story are gripping and make me feel a fresh love for this series all over again.  There are so many possibilities and directions the next book can go in that I honestly don’t know what will happen.  With previous books I could hazard a guess but I am truly in the dark about it now.

As always the characterisations are just so well done, I feel like I know them, that I experience their stories with them instead of watching them via words on a page.  My heart has bled for Tohrment for so long, for John Matthew, for Blay and Qhuinn, for No’One and her tragic existence.  Just so much emotion and passion accompanies these warriors, whether they are fighting to save their race or being with the loves of their lives.  Another point I have to note is the humour and camaraderie Ward gives to the Brothers.  The banter is often crude but hilarious with one liners coming out of nowhere and it makes you feel part of them as they trade funny insults and release much built up tension.

Without a doubt one of my absolute favourite series’ and J.R. Ward delivers a stunning read every time.  I can’t recommend it enough!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (10)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Jun 082011
 

Lover Unleashed: Number 9 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) With Payne paralysed in a freak accident sparring with Wrath, only the best surgeon can give her the chance to walk again.  Dr Manuel ‘Manny’ Manello, is the best in his field and agrees to give Payne that chance.   Discovering a whole hidden world he never knew about he finds a bond he certainly wasn’t looking for, and an old friend he never thought he’d see again.

This book is a little odd in that it doesn’t just focus on Payne and Manny.  Vishous and Jane have their story continued as well which was good, as it was obvious that there were still issues left unresolved in previous books.  It could have ruined the story and been better being released as two books but there is such a close link between Vishous and Payne and the fact they are twins that it worked, and worked well.

I am always amazed at the quality of Ward’s writing, the emotional depths to which she goes for the much loved brotherhood, and Lover Unleashed is no different.  One facet that was different from previous books is that the Lessening Society were more of a footnote than a cause and we are introduced to another set of warriors that have their own agenda.  It was really interesting and opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

I didn’t expect to like Payne as much as I did.  When we first got to know her in Lover Mine, I found her a bit annoying, but here she really comes alive as a character in her own right.  She is a complex mix of the grace and sweetness of the Chosen but with the ability to fight with the best of the Brotherhood.  As the twin of Vishous but with a completely different and sheltered upbringing, she is nothing like him yet has a bond that is purely him.  I had been waiting for the story with Dr ‘Manny’ Manuel Manello since Lover Unbound and Vishous had the word ‘brother’ sound in his head.  I knew there would be something big for him and it was great to see that come to life.  He is very much like Butch, in attitude and personality but with the skills and abilities of  a top class surgeon.  Adding another human to the mix could have caused a lot of problems and weakened the group as a set, but I thought Ward worked him in beautifully.  As for the surprise at the end, that was just brilliant!

Vishous and Jane, oh how I love thee both.  The problems they experience in this book were both sad and sweet.  Vishous had never really dealt with his issues, he was just able to bury them when Jane came along.  Having his sister there and then Manny kicked up a lot of memories and the outfall could have been very bad.  It’s a testament to the couple and how well they are written that they affected me emotionally as well.

The hints with Blay and Qhuinn are so tantalising and Qhuinn’s realisation was agonising, knowing he still wasn’t going to do anything about it, even with a solution staring him in the face so to speak.  I’m really hoping they will have their own story because I love their characters a lot.

Lover unleashed is definitely a book about the characters and less about fighting, although it couldn’t be about the Brotherhood if there wasn’t at least a little combat.  It is a powerful story, emotionally engaging with some very hot scenes.  And it’s very, very good.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood is a firm favourite and J.R. Ward is simply a genius in the genre.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (9)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Jan 052011
 

There are so many books in already established series’ I am looking forwards to reading this year, not to mention new ones I have yet to discover.  Here is a selection that I really can’t wait to get my paws on :

Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

January

A Hard Day’s Knight (Nightside) by Simon R. Green (Ace Books)
Kitty goes to War (Kitty Norville) by Carrie Vaughn (Gollancz)

March

River Marked (Mercy Thompson) by Patricia Briggs (Orbit)
Invincible (Chronicles of Nick 2) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (ATOM)
Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood) by J. R. Ward (Piatkus Books)

April

Ghost Story (Dresden Files 13) by Jim Butcher (Orbit)
Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Orbit)
Born of Shadows (League 4) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Piatkus Books)

June

Hunt the Moon (Cassie Palmer) by Karen Chance (Signet Books)
Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy) by Mira Grant (Orbit)

July

Kitty’s Big Trouble (Kitty Norville) by Carrie Vaughn (Gollancz)

August

Pale Demon by (The Hollows) Kim Harrison (Harper Voyager)
Retribution (Dark-Hunter) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Piatkus Books)
Downpour (Greywalker) by Kat Richardson (Piatkus Books)

October

Envy (Fallen Angels) by J. R. Ward (Piatkus Books)

Fantasy

March

Land of Painted Caves (Earth’s Children Book 6) by Jean M. Auel (Hodder & Stoughton)
Twilight’s Dawn (Black Jewels) by Anne Bishop (Roc)

April

Shadow Chaser (Chronicles of Siala) by Alexey Pehov (Simon & Schuster)

Chick Lit

February

To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell (Headline)

March

Summer of Love by Katie Fforde (Century)
Kiss and Tell by Fiona Walker (Sphere)

May

Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson (Corgi)

Crime

January

You Belong to Me by Karen Rose (Headline)

May

Virals by Kathy Reichs (Arrow (Young))

Oct 282010
 

Crave: Number 2 in series (Fallen Angels) Jim Heron, fallen angel and potential saviour of mankind is sent back to earth to try and help redeem his second soul.  Isaac Rothe, a fellow XOps member has been targetted for elimination for attempting to escape the clutches of the brutal black ops team, just as Jim had.  Jim had originally been charged with the mission but with his apparent demise, someone else had been assigned the task.  When Isaac gets into trouble with the law, he is assigned a public defender, both beautiful and compassionate and she feels compelled to try and save him from himself.  Just as Isaac fears, she becomes a target too and it’s up to Jim and his brother fallen angels to try and save them from Matthias, the boss of XOps who seems hellbent on revenge.

J. R. Ward has certainly raised the bar in Crave.  Her writing is just as emotional, gripping and passionate but I felt this book had a darker edge to it in comparison to Covet, the first book in this series.  The edginess is not a bad thing and it definately gave the story a richer feel.

Jim Heron returns as the fallen angel who has been chosen to try and save mankind.  I loved his character in the first book and due to that darker feel, he felt more solid, tangible and flawed;  I loved him all the more for it.

I was glad to see that the two other fallen angels, Adrian and Edward, returned to lend a hand here.  Both characters are just as complex as Jim’s and it was good to find out a little more about them.  I love the banter between the three of them and the times when things turned serious, it brought a lump to my throat.  I also have to mention Dog who we know isn’t just a dog, I’m just not sure quite what he is yet.  He’s a bit of an enigma and hopefully will be explained in later books.

I thought it was good, if a little bittersweet, to see the four ‘british’ gentlemen angels again.  They are integral to Jim’s mission and add some welcome humour but because their hands are tied and have to play by the rules they can be frustrating.  However, as frustrated as I felt at times, there is one point which was very well played and made me want to cheer.

There were a few twists in the story that I really didn’t see coming which I always like and while the ending turned out kind of how I expected, the cost was surprisingly high and quite sad.

All in all I couldn’t put it down and was thoroughly engaged right til the end.  It was wonderfully character driven and what action there was, was brutal.  One scene in particular was both spectacularly written yet horrifying at the same time.  The love scenes were very hot and, as I’ve come to expect and love from J.R. Ward, well written and emotional.

I honestly can’t wait for the next book, I NEED to know who the next soul will be!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Fallen Angels (2)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Jul 032010
 

The first book I read by J. R. Ward was actually the start of a companion series to the Black Dagger Brotherhood books.  Covet impressed me in many different ways and I was curious about what her other more established series was like.  Having now finished the Black Dagger Brotherhood series for a second time and having enjoyed it even more, I can’t recommend this amazing series enough.

So why should you read J. R. Ward?

The characters Ward creates are just phenomenal.  The main cast are the Brothers and their individual stories are the focus for each book.  What makes the series truly outstanding is the presence of the other major players through each one.  You can’t have one Brother without having them all!  Sometimes those appearances are brief and often they are integral to another’s story.

The series begins with Dark Lover and you are introduced to a world of vampires living alongside humans in secrecy.  The Black Dagger Brotherhood are a group of elite vampires, engineered by breeding to be the most powerful and best warriors to protect the race not only from exposure to the humans but also from their unnatural predators – the Lessening Society.  I love Ward’s slant on the vampire mythos, that the traditional view is mostly hogwash spread by the human media with a few truths hidden within the fiction.  The truth is humans have nothing to fear from vampires.  They can’t sustain themselves from human blood so basically, they are just another race that share the planet but in ever decreasing numbers.  There is a war on, between the lessers and the vampires and the Brothers fight night after night to keep the remaining vampire population safe, often at personal cost to themselves.  They are powerful, larger than life and very very hot!

While the plot of each book might mainly be about a character unexpectedly finding their true love (they are romance novels after all), it’s the characters that make them as engaging as they are.  J. R. Ward has such a clear and vivid way of writing that you get to know them so well and the mere mention of a name conjurs up their image in your mind and how they might act and react in certain situations.  I also have to say not once in ten books have I read a scene and thought hang on, he wouldn’t do that!.

You can feel the love and sometimes exasperation Ward has for her Brothers and in turn, shares those things with the reader.   They are all so fundamentally different and you just can’t help falling in love with them, cry for them and your heart bleeds at the sacrifices they have to make for the good of the race.

The females of the series are just as much of a revelation and again so very different from each other.  Each has their own strengths and weaknesses that make them the perfect foil for the jaded and battle-weary Brothers.  Sassy, fierce, loving and brave, each one finds her way into your heart just as easily.

So if you love amazing and emotional stories with flawed yet solid warriors (did I mention they were also hot?) and the females that are more than a match for them then you should read J. R. Ward.  I dare you not to fall in love with them!

May 122010
 

Lover Mine: Number 8 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) Having grown up in the human world, a place he didn’t fit in nor understand, John Matthew is finally finding his place within the Brotherhood.  Trying to put his brutal and abusive past behind him, he finds brief comfort from an unlikely source.  Xhex, whose own troubled past haunts her and being half symphath drives her to keep everyone at arms length.  Being kidnapped by Lash, the vicious son of the Omega is the last straw and she wants vengeance.  Even though John’s brief relationship with Xhex had left his heart broken, he vowed to either find her and bring her home or avenge her death.  Fate has played a cruel hand in both their lives but was there a chance for both of them to find peace, or would they continue along their paths alone.

I had mixed feelings when I started Lover Mine.  John has been present in the series for a long time, starting before he hit his transition into full vampire and while his history was sad, his present was getting messed up through bad choices, bad memories and a whole lot of attitude.  Understandable but it still made me want to smack him upside the head.  The same with Xhex too.

Now having arrived at his own book, I was soon drawn right into the story and a lot more made sense about who he has become and why he made some of the choices he did.  He had started to feel whiny, sulky and annoying in Lover Avenged and I was really pleased to see him grow out of that.  Xhex was a much more layered character than I expected and it didn’t take long before she had claimed her own corner of my heart, along with the other females of the series.  She kicks serious ass too which I think makes her the perfect match for John!

I thought the flashes of the history of Darius and Tohrment were a really nice touch and I should have seen where that was going but it still came as a surprise, maybe because so much else was going on in the book.

I’ve probably said this in every review of the series but I still absolutely love that the other major characters from the series appear, which isn’t that surprising since it’s a tight knit group but it’s great (and sometimes painful) to see how they are doing.

I don’t know where to even start with Blay and Qhuinn.  They SO belong together but while Blay accepts who he is, Qhuinn is still in denial and thinks he should be doing the female and baby route that his lineage has programmed into him.  They are both so hot together and even though Blay might have moved on, I hope there is a future for them and their own book because they are brilliant characters.

The book as a whole was amazing.  I absolutely loved it and even with the often horrifying and disturbing events the characters have been through, the emotion, grit and sheer balls of all the characters mean I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I need more, now!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (8)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Feb 122010
 

Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of the pioneers of supernatural romance.  I’ve loved her work right from the first book I read and she remains one of my absolute favourite authors.  Her characterisations and stories are amazing and I have no idea how she keeps the plotline running through 19+ books but she does and and the results are outstanding.

So what do you do when you have devoured everything she has written?  Here are some recommendations for other authors in the same genre or with a similar style who I also love, and hopefully you might too!

J. R. Ward

Another author with a long running series, who has an amazing ability to bring her characters to life and into your hearts.  Features vampires, hot men and sassy women, who could ask for more?

The following authors also write supernatural romance/urban fantasy but they are not quite as epic in scope as Sherrilyn Kenyon or J. R. Ward.

Keri Arthur

Keri Arthur’s ‘Riley Jensen’ Series are a great addition to the genre, with a gutsy, sexy heroine who is half-werewolf, half-vampire.  The ‘Nikki and Michael’ vampire series has action as well as romance and the ‘Damask Circle Trilogy’ are definitely recommended reading too.

Patricia Briggs

For some werewolf love, Patricia Briggs brings the ‘Mercy Thompson’ Series to life and  is an excellent, engaging, action packed read.  Recently she has started on the ‘Alpha and Omega’ series from the same world, with two great characters who started out in a short story and are proving just as engaging.  Lighter on the romance side than Kenyon but the story makes up for it.

Karen Chance

The ‘Cassie Palmer’ clairvoyant series has a bit of mystery going on, even with the numerous supernatural elements and makes for an exciting, sometimes heated mix. In addition to the main series, Karen Chance has recently begun a spin off series featuring the daughter of one of the main cast, which is shaping up to be a good read.

Kelley Armstrong

The ‘Otherworld’ series is going from strength to strength and Kelley Armstrong has a great way of telling stories through different character’s viewpoints.  It starts with werewolves in Bitten and goes through several great characters who are witches, demons, sorcerors and necromancers.  I love how she crosses their paths with other characters and often sets up the scene for following books as minor plots in the current one.

Rachel Caine

Two excellent series so far – ‘The Weather Wardens’ and their abilities to control the elements along with the enigmatic Djinn and her Young Adult series ‘The Morganville Vampires’.  Both are excellent reads and highly recommended.

Kim Harrison

Witches, vampires, pixies oh my!  The ‘Rachel Morgan’ series is a  good solid read, inspired titles, humerous at times yet has its extremely poignant moments.  Fast paced, full of action and definitely one to read.

Karen MacInerney

‘Tales of an Urban Werewolf’ are an easy, interesting and fun series to read.  Doesn’t take itself too seriously but packs a punch when it needs to.

Carrie Vaughn

The brilliant ‘Kitty’ series (a misnomer since it’s about werewolves) just keeps getting better and Carrie Vaughn brings kick ass Kitty to life with style and panache.


If you have any other authors or books you feel would be enjoyed by people who loved Sherrilyn Kenyon, feel free to comment on this article with your recommendations.

Jan 052010
 

About J. R. Ward

With law school, working in healthcare and chief of staff of an eminent academic medical centre in her background, she is now one of the most loved writers of paranormal romance.  A woman of many passions – Writing, her husband, her golden retriever and her coffee pot!

http://www.jrward.com/

My Comments

Having read and reviewed Covet, I decided to delve into what else J. R. Ward had written.  I like to start at the beginning of a series, even if it isn’t strictly necessary, just because I like to know where a character has come from or what has shaped them into the person they are.  The Black Dagger Brotherhood books are very tied in together and while you could read them out of order, it would be a shame to miss out on the multiple plot threads running through from where they first started in Dark Lover.  It was actually a book that surprised me a lot and clicked with me right from the start.  The characters are powerful, sexy, rough and ready and very appealing,  the writing style very crisp and clean, easy to read and very engaging.  Add in a good story to that mix and you have a set of books you will want to read right through one after the other and be left wanting more.  Superb paranormal romance at it’s finest!

Bibliography

Black Dagger Brotherhood

Fallen Angels