Lover At Last

Lover at Last: Number 11 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) Grete’s Review

When I heard that Blay and Qhuinn would have their own story I was overjoyed.  Then, once I knew it was due out, it was a mix of joy and worry about how J.R. Ward would handle the relationship of the two males.  Would she gloss over the passionate parts which she usually wrote so well, or would she focus on the romance more than the physical side?  I must admit when I had the book finally in my hands, I did feel some trepidation.

Having finished it the day it arrived and being completely unable to put it down, I wonder why I was worried.  J.R. Ward is fearless and if I wouldn’t look silly doing it on my own I would stand up and applaud her.  While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I felt these two characters deserved as much sexy time as any of the others had, and oh my was it hot!

As I finished the last page and closed the book I was crying, and the only word I could think of was… perfect.  It was everything I’d hoped for, and more.

There are many things Ward does extremely well and one of those is writing an emotional scene so well that it resonates strongly with me.  She can make me laugh and cry with well turned words and this book made me do both.  I love the characters of Blay and Qhuinn so much and theirs is a story that has been on the sidelines for several books so for me it has been a long time coming.

The plot, true to form, was very good, although there were quite a few threads running at the same time.  The Band of Bastards continue their plans to take over the throne but I’m hoping we are seeing a chink in Xcor’s psyche.  The Lessening Society are back with a vengeance and it was oddly good to have them involved again, as horrible as they are.  There is a huge OMG moment which I won’t spoil but suffice to say it even had me a little shocked.

Layla, the Chosen is such a sweetheart, I’m glad she is finding her voice and I really felt for her.  Payne is a rockstar in my eyes for what she did, as I think the impact on Layla and Qhuinn would have been huge otherwise.  I do worry what the consequences for Payne will be though.

The pace of the story was excellent, the battle scenes fast and furious with some heart in mouth moments and then utter hilarity.  It was a really well written blend of everything I have come to love about the Brothers.

Some new players were introduced  and while they are quite interesting, they didn’t get to do much so I’m guessing they will play a larger role in the next book.  I love the way Ward can keep it fresh but also give us new characters to love and hate.

All in all, I loved this book so much I would rate it more than a five if I could!  The Black Dagger Brotherhood series goes from strength to strength and long may it continue!

Tracey’s Review

As with Grete I awaited this book with some trepidation but for different reasons. I have never read, or had any desire to read m/m romance, and while I have absolutely no problem with people’s sexuality whatever it may be, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read about it in graphic detail (which is what I was expecting based on previous books). I needn’t have worried however, at the end of the day a love story is a love story whoever is involved and I thought the sex scenes were well written without being OTT and in your face. As a true romantic at heart it was great to see Blay and Qhuinn get their HEA and I agree with Grete that the ending was perfect.

There were lots of side plots running through this book (some that make absolutely no sense but I’m sure will soon become clear) and a lot of loose ends left hanging, but that only makes me want the next book even more!! A whole year to wait! One thing I did think was missing were the interactions between the brothers and their shellans. Usually they need to be surgically separated from each other but there were few scenes between them.  I guess with the new people introduced and the expansion of characters who previously had minor roles there was no room, which is a shame.

It seems fairly clear who Xcor is going to have as his heroine and I am intrigued to find out how Ms. Ward is going to manipulate that one – I’m sure she has it all mapped out somewhere!

Overall another great addition to the BDB, although my rating would be 4.5 stars to Grete’s 5.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (11)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Our Week In Books – Week 13, 2013

TraceyTracey

This week I found myself unable to let go of the Cynsters quite yet, so started with another couple of books which I enjoyed immensely.  The Perfect Lover and The Ideal Bride both get 4 stars from me.

I then decided to move on from the Cynsters but stayed with the historical romance genre and picked up The Devil’s Web by Mary Balogh. Usually I absolutely love Ms. Balogh’s books, but for some reason I found myself not liking the protagonists very much and as a result my enjoyment of the book was affected. I felt James was totally self-centred and selfish rather than as tortured as I think he was meant to come across, and Madeleine was just not likeable. The story however was okay and I would give it 2.5 stars. It was a much darker romance than I am used to so if you are not really into the hearts and flowers type romances, you may enjoy this one more. There were some very intense and emotional scenes especially towards the end when they accept their love for each other.

A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan was my next pick, a solid romance designed to make you feel warm and fuzzy (which of course it did). Sarah Morgan is probably my favourite Mills and Boon author, I always feel happy after reading her books even though she usually manages to make me cry at some point, and this book was no exception! 4 stars.

Then what should pop through my door except Lover at Last – well no prizes for guessing what my next book was.  I very quickly finished it and loved it, this series is showing no sign of fading. Watch out for a joint review later this week.

Until next time!

P1030285Grete

Yes, it’s time I finally joined in on this weekly blog post and while I’m not the demon speed reader Tracey is, I have been getting through some of the books I have badly wanted to.  My week has also been weirdly spaced out with my husband being on holiday although he has been enjoying some quality time with the xbox which has left me free to read.  I do confess I was caught up in some games too so it’s not ALL been reading *blush*.

With the final book of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) being released at the start of the year, I really wanted to catch up on the last four or five books, finish the series and find out how it all ended.  My memory for books just isn’t what it used to be so that means it’s re-read time!  I finished Book One, The Eye of the World, and was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  I remember it being good but as I first read it in 1992 and a lifetime ago I wondered if it would stand up to today’s fantasy.  I will do a review for it soon as older books need love too.

A Graphic Novel came next – Dragon Age: Those Who Speak by David Gaider, Alexander Freed and Chad Hardin.  This is the collected sequel to Dragon Age: The Silent Grove and continues the story of Alistair, Isabella and Varric.  Just as good as the first one and a solid 4 stars.

Lover At Last by J.R. Ward arrived and I was so excited to read it!  I have been waiting for Blay and Qhuinn’s story for ages and it did not disappoint.  I couldn’t put it down and loved it SO much!  As Tracey said, our joint review will be up this week 🙂

I’m now reading The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan, Book Two of The Wheel of Time and it is pretty good so far.

That’s it from me, see you next week!


Our Week in Books is a regular blog post from Tracey and Grete, catching up on everything they’ve read recently.

Envy

Envy: Number 3 in series (Fallen Angels) Envy continues the story of Jim Heron and his brother fallen angels. The task? To try and save another pivotal soul that hangs in the balance between good and evil.

I felt Jim came into his own in this book which was really good.  The last two he was helped and guided a lot more by Adrian, Edward and Dog as he was still learning what he could do.  I don’t think he is yet fully aware but he is damn impressive!

I loved Tom ‘Veck’ Delvechio, he was a solid character that was really well created.  I must admit I found him very attractive, flaws and all!  Likewise with Sophia Reilly.  I liked that while she was good at her job, she lacked other skills that heroine’s in other books seem to have.  Mainly that she can’t cook!  It made her seem so much more human and more accessible by not being able to whip up a fantastic meal in a jiffy.

As a couple they were scorching, the dance they start was full of lustful frustration and it was one of the things that kept me turning the pages, even after they get together.  Love is never easy!  I have to say J.R. Ward writes amazing sex scenes, whether a threesome or male/female, there is just something about them that is exciting and fresh, even after so many books.

The plot was intriguing and really good, the bold statement at the start made me go “woah”, and it didn’t really stop from there.  There is fallout from the events in Crave, the previous book in the series, and it does affect Jim and the others.  I can’t help feeling for them though and there is one event in particular that just made me cry and choke up every time it was referred to.  I am still shaking a virtual fist about it!

There were a few twists and again, this is something Ward does very well but doesn’t drag them out too long in the build up.

I think Envy is a worthy part of the Fallen Angels series and packs as much of an emotional punch as the previous stories.  I can’t wait to pick up Rapture, the next book and one I happen to have right here!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Fallen Angels (3)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

A New Year Give-away

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!

Twenty shades of steamy stories!

You don’t have to read Erotica to find steamy sexy stories!  Since 50 Shades of Grey exploded onto the book scene there has been a renewed interest in books from the erotica genre. A whole new group of people who may not have picked up a book in years, are now reading again. Anything that gets people reading has to be good!

What I want to bring to your attention is, if you are looking for a story where the sex is hot hot hot, you do not need to buy pure erotica to find it. Have a look through some of my reviews on this website and you will notice I refer to sex a lot in them – yes, I enjoy a good sex scene as much as the next person.

Devil's Bride: Number 1 in series (Bar Cynster) While I enjoy an erotica novel, I often find that the story line is not very strong and too often the book relies simply on sex. I do like a good story with sex which is where your more mainstream novels come along. Surprisingly historical fiction can be one of the best for steamy sex scenes and definitely leave you needing a cold shower to cool down; what those Regency men and women get up to behind closed doors – phew! Authors who I would recommend if you want to delve into this genre are,

If your tastes go a bit further afield, have you considered paranormal romance? This can involve anything and everything from vampires to fairies to werewolves to ghosts.  Authors I would recommend as having excellent story lines as well as excellent sex scenes are,

  • Sherrilyn Kenyon – Start with Fantasy Lover from her Dark-Hunter series!
  • Larissa Ione – Read her Demonica Series before the Lords of Deliverance.
  • J.R. Ward – I highly recommend her Black Dagger Brotherhood series – Dark Lover is the first book.

Dark Lover: Number 1 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) If you fancy branching out your reading check out the above authors book reviews on this site. we try to ensure there are no spoilers so should not ruin the book if you decide to read it.

Of course, mainstream novels do not generally go down the route of BDSM and group sex (well not the ones I have read anyway!) so if it is that aspect of erotica you are particularly interested in stick with it, otherwise consider branching out into territories unknown, you might discover a whole new world!

Lover Reborn

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)

 

Lover Unleashed

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)

Lover Mine

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)

Lover Avenged

Lover Avenged: Number 7 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) Zerosum is the hub of Rehvenge’s turf.  Drug-lord, pimp and half amoral symphath, Rehvenge looks after what is his very well and takes care of anyone who threatens that.  Struggling to keep his darker half subdued, he is approached by one of the council aristocrats with a contract to kill Wrath, the King of the Vampires.  If his dual natured secret was leaked, he would be arrested and deported to the Symphath colony.  After meeting Ehlena, a Nurse at Havers’ clinic who causes his vampiric half to become ascendant, he realises things have to change.

With the council in a panic over the recent spate of murders by the Lessening Society, the Brotherhood and Wrath being hard pressed to protect the civilian population, it only seems to be a matter of time before they suffer another loss.  Emotions run high when someone they thought they would never see again returns, but will he be able to stay?

When I realised the central character of this book would be Rehvenge, I wasn’t sure what to think.  As a minor character throughout all the other books, his actions weren’t always good and at the time I picked up Lover Avenged I didn’t particularly like him.  I thought it would be a major task for J. R. Ward to turn him around for me, maybe too major.  One day I’ll learn!  History plays such a big part in making anyone who they are – what they’ve been through, what they’ve achieved and a common theme for paranormal romance, what they’ve sacrificed.  Learning Rehvenge’s history and all the things he has done for his family and friends made me re-examine what I thought I knew of him.  I can’t say I ended up loving him as much as the rest of the Brotherhood but definitely as someone worthy of affection and respect.

Rehvenge is a character that on closer inspection is neither a good nor bad guy because he can’t be,  his dual nature ensures that.  What he is though is someone who cares deeply about those he is close to, tempers his darker side as much as he can with his vampiric half and while his choice of career may not be what can be termed as ‘good’, within it, he makes it as safe and looks after everyone as much as possible.  Except himself that is.  When you learn what he has to do to keep his secret and his family safe, your heart goes out to him.  Ehlena I liked from the beginning and her situation and father’s illness made me sad for her.  I couldn’t help but admire her guts and backbone which, along with her compassionate nature and ability to see Rehvenge through unbiased eyes, made her an awesome female character.  Their interactions were really well written and I found myself hope it would work out for them, even when I was sure it wouldn’t.

I also have to say, this book is almost a two in one.  There is a lot more side story going on with the Brotherhood and several threads that have been brewing over the last few books are resolved here.  The book itself is about twice the size the others are and I can only assume they were threads that needed to come into play but not enough on their own to be in their own novel.  Whatever the reason, it worked and while there were a lot of things being resolved, several new ones have been put into play and I can’t wait for the next one!

A special thank-you as well to J.R. Ward for Tohr.  I was in tears anytime he came up!

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (7)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Lover Enshrined

Lover Enshrined: Number 6 in series (Black Dagger Brotherhood) Phury, twin to Zsadist is slowly killing himself.  His drug habit is spiralling out of control, he’s in love with his twin’s wife and he’s hearing a sadistic voice in his head.  It’s only a matter of time before he self destructs completely.  Having sacrificed his freedom already for Vishous’ happiness, he is now supposed to be the Primale, the Vampire race’s primary male to help refresh the gene pool with the Scribe Virgin’s Chosen.  Yet he remains celibate, as he has been since the vow he took when he went to rescue his twin.  Cormia is the Chosen who has been put forward as his primary female, having lived and grown up in the Scribe Virgin’s domain, never having been to the ‘other’ side, she is confused by the role that has been placed on her.  She finds she wants more than the simple life laid out for her but can Phury put enough of himself back together to fulfill his duty or will Cormia be sent back to the Scribe Virgin’s domain and resign herself to never living out her dreams.

I actually found this book very bittersweet.  Phury has been such a constant presence in the series and witnessing him slowly spiral out of control has been very sad.  Until now he’s always managed to pull himself back from the edge and I thought it would end up being resolved very quickly at the start of this book so that other events could take place.  I was wrong and it ended up being a very powerful and poignant journey with Phury and the fight for his life and mind.  Cormia is such an innocent having grown up in the scribe virgin’s realm and had never experienced life as we know it.  It was refreshing seeing certain things anew through her eyes, even such a simple things as colours.

At times I did want to shake both of them and point out the obvious but really, those parts were well done given what both characters had been through and their individual insecurities.  It’s easy to see what is right in front of someone else’s face, your own, not so much.

By the end I felt I’d read something special and been through an emotional journey that had sorrow, joy, sheer guts and above all, love.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.R. Ward
  • Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood (6)
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)