Book Review: Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward

The third book in the “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series follows the story of Bella and Zsadist.
We’ve seen Zsadist in the two previous books, and Bella in “Lover Eternal”, but they had minor roles in the story. In this story, we get to see more of Zsadist’s trauma and the kind of life he’s gone through that resulted in how he is at the beginning of the story.
This book is easy one of my favourite in the series. The pair has to learn and grow and change through progress of the story, both of them have to overcome abuse in many levels, and face the prejudice that society throws their way. For Bella, that is her status as a female from a good family that has slept around, and for Zsadist is his scarred visage that marks him as a monster in the eyes of many people.
It is a story that contains strong language, sexual abuse and its aftermath. That makes it for a very emotional ride for the reader.

Zsadist is one of those ‘tortured hero’ kind of characters. His own twin calls him ruined and warns Bella to stay away from him.
And rightfully so.
Zsadist has been through so much since the day he was born, is so broken that it takes the whole length of the story for him to get himself back together piece by piece. Trauma doesn’t just go away overnight, and that’s highlighted in the book. The whole topic of Zsadist’s backstory, his growth, and his eventual redemption and salvation are earned and fought for, even when Zsadist himself is resisting it every step of the way.
A shell of the male he could be, Zsadist has every right to be afraid of contact, both physical and emotional, but by the end of the story, he has grown into a protective and caring male, especially when it comes to his shellan.
Also, Zsadist has a loyalty in him that most people don’t expect, or even believe. He’s loyal to Wrath as his king, to his Brothers, his twin, his shellan.

Bella is a perfect counterpart for Zsadist. A strong, intelligent woman, who isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind and shake him up whenever he needs to be so.
She is also a survivor herself, and she has to overcome her own trauma.
She possesses great courage and she’s a very good example of a female character who isn’t a warrior and yet she can be strong and protective of her male.
And yet, she’s a rounded character. Through the story, she gets frustrated and angry, and she knows to walk away when she needs to walk away for her own sake.

It’s hard to talk about Zsadist without bring up his twin, Phury. Zsadist’s twin has spent the majority of his life either looking for, protecting, or taking care of Zsadist. He carries a lot of guilt over what happened to Zsadist, what he had to go through, always thinking that things would have been better if he had been the one to endure these things.
His guilt shows in the story, as he goes out of his way to do everything his twin needs him to do, even if those are things that break him inside. He’s even willing to sacrifice himself, if that will give Zsadist a well-deserved shot at happiness.

We see more of the reappearing characters, in bigger or smaller roles, and I’m a fan of that, as I get the feeling that I learn more and more about the world and its people.
This is, for me, one of the best – if not the best – books in the series, and Zsadist remains one of my favourite characters even in later books, with other things that happen to his character (no spoilers).

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

Dark Lover | Lover Eternal | Lover Awakened |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Dark Lover by J. R. Ward

“Dark Lover” is the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward. When I first read this book, I looked high and low to get it, and I still had to wait some time before it was finally shipped to me.
*makes grabby hands*

The book starts off with a very interest premise: The black dagger brotherhood is a band of vampire warriors and they are the only thing that stands between their race and the Lessening Society.
Wrath, is the only pure vampire left, an unwilling King to his race, as he refuses to assume the role.

The book kicks off with a murder, and a death wish. It all boils down to Wrath’s loyalty to one of his closest friends.
As the story goes on, as Wrath and Beth interact more and more, Wrath changes from a cold, unbending warrior, to a King. It is a fascinating change to see.

“Your language is beautiful,” she said.
“There are no words worthy of you.”

Beth is a half human/half vampire, who has lived in the human world all her life, unaware of what goings bump in the night. Until she bumps on Wrath that is. She was a strong, well-rounded female character, curious and headstrong. I love her. Sometimes, in books like this, the male or the female character will be lacking, but not this time. Wrath and Beth are a very good match for each other.

We are also introduced to many more characters, but we only get little hints of them, as they show up as the main couples in later books. And those little hints are enough to spark interest and curiosity.
The world J. R. Ward has created is alive, breathing, and slapping his chest like some King Kong and I want to get more of it.

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

Dark Lover | Lover Eternal | Lover Awakened |

Book Review: Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward

The second book in the “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series follows the story of Mary and Rhage.
We still get a glimpse of Beth and Wrath as the story goes on and we are also introduced to some new characters, or see more from characters we’ve already met.
The author doesn’t need to set up so much of the world anymore, which gives her plenty of time to focus on the relationship between Rhage and Mary, a relationship that seems doomed from the start for too many issues. Both protagonists are saddled with their own personal problems and issues, that are enough to tear any normal couple to pieces.
But not them. They have their ups and downs, but they power through it.

Rhage is a character that is described as drop-dead-gorgeious, and he carries a beast inside that bursts out whenever he hits a low point, whether that is due to anger, or pain.
He is also though, a funny character. With no filter between his mouth and his brain, Rhage gives the reader some of the best lines in the book. He is also romantic and lovable, and he wants nothing more than to ditch all the casual sex he has to do to keep the beast at bay, for a meaningful relationship.

Mary on the other hand is a character who has had nothing but hardships in her life, and those hardships have left her on the floor, a mess.
She has no self-esteem, she sees nothing good in her, and she can’t even comprehend how a man like Rhage can have any short of interest in her.
She is though, a deeply compassionate character, a strong, independent character that reaches out to help the other people around her, whether that is John Mathew, Zsadist, or Rhage himself.
She has an incredible inner strength and she is a very relatable character. Even when she does the sometimes typical heroine thing, where she pushes the hero away, she has a valid reason for it, and a reason I can relate with and understand.
Nobody wants to be a burden or pitied after all.

It’s a very good story, albeit a sad story. Some points get heavy and depressing, but I can’t see how the story could be any different, with how many issues the protagonists have.
It’s a worthy continuation of the BDB series, a book that makes you want to read more, and get to know the characters and the world better.

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

Dark Lover | Lover Eternal | Lover Awakened |

Book Review: Slave to Sensation

Nalini Singh has written a wonderful book. “Slave to Sensation” has everything you’d expect and want in a paranormal romance book. The Alpha male, the interesting female protagonist, the angst. Emotions run high in the story, especially between the two protagonists, Sascha Duncan and Lucas Hunter.

Sascha is a Psy – a creature of immense telepathic abilities – and her people have long ago decided that they will have no emotions, because they get in the way. Driven only by logic and cold calculations, the Psy have made themselves the rules of the world.
But Sascha isn’t like that. Sascha feels and even though she can conceal her ‘defect’, she knows it won’t be long before they find out and she’s rehabilitated. Everything she is will be gone just like that.

Sascha is an interesting character, complex, relatable, and throughout the story, the reader sees her grow, mature and overcome all her handicaps and perceived flaws. She is smart and sassy, which I always like.

Then there is Lucas Hunter, a leopard changeling. His race is complete opposite from the Psy, they embrace emotions and sensations. But now their two races – who have managed to co-exist somewhat peacefully – are on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women at the hand of a Psy serial killer.
I won’t lie, his name is a bit on the nose. A predator named Hunter? Nalini Singh could have gone for a more subtle name. Overall, Lucas is an enjoyable character, though he doesn’t break the mold of the Alpha male in paranormal stories. He’s not anything I haven’t read before, and for the majority of the story, it felt like he was taking a second seat to Sascha. The descriptions in the book, make him a bit of a cookie-cutter paranormal character: he’s sex on legs, he’s the hottest thing she has ever seen, he’s protective and possessive, and with a dark, bloody past.
Not much mold-breaking there.
Still, he works as a character, for the story he is in, and he and Sascha get some very heart-breaking moments between them, as they fall in love and the world pulls them apart.
I’ll admit, it brought a tear to this fool’s eye, and I’m not one who cries easily.

The world that Nalini created is lively, intricate, and immersive. It breathes and pulses, it feels organic. There is the inevitable info dump here and there, given the nature of the book, but that doesn’t affect the story, the pacing, or the entertainment factor. If you are into the genre, you should definitely pick it up and give it a try!

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

 

Book Review: Countdown to killing Kurtis

“Countdown to killing Kurtis” by Lauren Rowe is – simply put – a phenomenal book. I loved it from the beginning to the very end. This is also a book you don’t want spoiled, so I will try and refrain from as many spoilers as I can.

I do love my husband. To death. I love him so much that I’ve waited a whole year (minus one day) for Killing Kurtis Day to arrive. Tomorrow it will finally be here and I’m giddy with anticipation.

Don’t judge me, you don’t know the whole story. I reckon if you were in my shoes, you’d kill your husband, too.

The blurb of the book alone got me intrigued from the get go, though usually I do no like books that start off with a prologue chapter. A prologue chapter that ends up being a just regular chapter at some point in the book. But for this one, it works. It keeps the questions and the whys bouncing around in the readers head as the mystery unfolds and as the reader is trying to figure out why Buttercup wants to kill her poor husband so much.

The writing style is animated, engaging and buzzes with Buttercups personality, something that works perfectly with the 1st person writing.

One of the most important things for me was that I could understand where Buttercup was coming from, why she acted the way she did, why she was as she was. She felt real to me, as did the rest of the characters. She made sense even when I did not agree with the things she did or how she was thinking.

There is a big plot twist at the end. A plot twist that makes sense. Now, I pride myself in the fact that I see plot twists coming a mile away. As a writer and as a reader, after a while, you just know stories. It’s always nice when a book comes along with a twist that still manages to surprise you. Something you didn’t see coming.
It’s also better if that twist has been foreshadowed from the beginning of the book, and when it happens, all the pieces fall in place, everything makes sense.

I will stop here, because I really don’t want to step into spoiler territory with this one. Read it. It’s a very good book, entertaining throughout. I couldn’t put it down.

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

~ Harris

Book Review Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night

“Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s night” is the third book in the “Immortals After Dark” series by Kresley Cole. This series gets better and better with each book.

This story picks up exactly where “No rest for the wicked” ended, and it follows Bowen MacRieve and Mariketa the Awaited after the Hie, an immortal treasure hunt that takes place every 250 years.

Bowe wanted the trophy more than anyone else. The Key that could take him to the past, meant that he could return and saved the love of his life. But he lost the Hie to Kaderin and Sebastian.

Mariketa the Awaited joined the Hie before even freezing in her immortality. She has always been told that she has had great power and it is true. But it is power that she can’t control or summon at will. And a volatile power is no good. At the end of the Hie, she finds herself trapped in a temple alongside some other participants, because of Bowen.

The story starts when Bowen is made to go back and free her, or face the wrath of the witches he so loathes. The Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood are strong, especially in the beginning, when Mari has her cape. Their story is more balanced thant he two before it, between the action and the romance. The story has good pacing that keeps the reader engaged and interested.

The expanded universe and the reappearing characters give the story a familiarity, and we get glimpses of what characters we’ve already met are up to, like Lachlain.

Bowen is an old werewolf, set in his ways and in his hatred for witches. Mariketa is a young, passionate witch. A very well-rounded character as well, especially when compared to Emma and Kaderin. She’s sassy, smart, with insecurities that do not make her a push-over in any kind of way.
I was glad at the end of the story to see that Bowen didn’t demand that she change and be less than she is, but instead he accepted her with everything she was. As he should.

Now, on to the things that I didn’t like. Also spoilery stuff.

The ending. I didn’t like it. Let’s put it as simply as that. The resolution was out of the blue. Suddenly Bowen’s dead girlfriend wasn’t really the girl he was meant to be with, suddenly there is an all-powerful Goddess after Mariketa and she’s going to use Bowen to get to her.
It was all so very sudden. I would have accepted it better if there was some kind of foreshadowing or hint. But the only thing we got was that Bowen’s friends didn’t like Maria. The end.
I didn’t feel the last battle either. It was just a few pages long, and Mariketa had somehow learned everything she needed to know in a couple of days. I didn’t fear for her life at the end. Neither hers, nor Bowen’s. Everything was wrapped up in a nice bow, very quickly for my liking.

Also, Nyx. She is getting tiring after a little while. One would think that by now, the other characters would know not to trust her. They would know to be more careful of the riddles she gives them. But no. Everyone takes her words to heart and they don’t think more on them.

Overall, it was a very interesting story, ending aside. But it was also a story that I enjoyed more the second time I read it. The first time, I wasn’t that impressed.

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

~ Harris

A hunger like no other | No rest for the wicked | Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night |