the beast, by j. r. ward

the beastI admit I was not overly excited about yet another book about Rhage. He’s not my favorite character, but I guess Ward can’t always write about Wrath and Zsadist. But wait, why not…Ok, I digress. Anyway, boy was I in for a treat! The Beast far exceeded anything I was expecting.

Rhage and Mary have been going through a difficult period in their marriage—relatable and one of the things I love about Ward’s books. Even though they’re paranormal, her characters have challenges and struggles that we humans face every day and can identify with. But still, the plots carry you away and allow you an escape.

what went right…
While immortal, Mary is infertile, and like any couple who have had the ‘should we have kids’ conversation, it can be a tough one. You have a pretty clear indication early on where things are headed, but it doesn’t matter. Ward handles the entire storyline with real emotions and care.

We also see quite a bit of Assail, who has become another favorite of mine. Yes, as always, there are quite a few story arcs going on simultaneously, but again, she Ward toned this down to manageable and engaging plotlines. Assail’s interactions with Vishous are filled with humor and provide a source of comic entertainment throughout the book.

There’s some fighting with the Lessers but that is not the primary focus. This is less about the ongoing war and more about the intricate relationships that have been formed between different characters, including Layla and Xcor. Now THERE is a story. And what she discovers… And what happens to him…

the verdict…
Really, I can’t say enough good things about this book. Ward has done it, yet again! She’s been on a roll since The King and I can only hope it continues. The Beast is a must read for any Black Dagger Brotherhood fan.

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one with you, by sylvia day

One-with-YouI’m a devoted fan of the Crossfire series and Sylvia Day, herself. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Day, and on top of being an incredibly talented author, she’s a very savvy business woman, and nice to boot. All of which is why it pains me to say this–I did not love One With You. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even like One With You. I have been a champion of the series’ continuation, beyond the formulaic trilogy, and in contrast to the many naysayers who thought it should’ve been 3 and done. I mean, if you love the characters, why wouldn’t you want more of them? Perhaps my expectations were too high. Or maybe I’m overlooking something that’s staring me in the face. I’ve waited a considerable amount time to post my review so I could truly reflect on it. I didn’t want to be rash but…

what went wrong…
Nothing gets resolved. Nothing. There is no closure. On anything. I would be fine if not everything was wrapped up with a tidy bow. But nothing? All of the answers you thought you’d get? Nope. Loose ends that you thought would be tied off? Not happening. AND to top if off, she throws in a very unnecessary twist. SO. NOT. NEEDED.

Eva and Gideon already had so much going on with their separation. Gideon’s ongoing conflict with his mother because she ignored his abuse. His parent’s conflict because his step-father Chris didn’t know. His newly forming bond with his sister Ireland. Eva’s resignation from a job she loved. Carey’s impending fatherhood. The tell-all Corinne was writing about her relationship with Gideon. You get the picture. Does any of that sound like yet another plot twist is needed?

I’m not sure what Day has in mind next. I realize this is the last book in the Crossfire series, but is it really? Does she have something else up here sleeve? It would seem to me that she has to, otherwise, wow, epic fail. Eva and Gideon spend the entire book reaffirming their devotion to one another, something we’ve known from Bared to You. And at that, it wasn’t even an intense affirmation. I mean Gideon, sexy billionaire, killed for Eva—he loves her, we get it.

the verdict…
Again, it’s killing me to say this but–don’t bother reading this book. I understand if, much like myself, you’ve been a loyal devotee and feel compelled to finish and see it through to the end. However, just know, that you could’ve stopped with book 4, drew your own conclusions, and had more closure.

Of all the books to get our lowest rating, I NEVER thought it would be this book…or anything from this author. UGH!!!

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last kiss, by jessica clare and jen frederick

last kissSo many series, so little time! My TBR (to be read) pile never dwindles! Last year I discovered the RT Booklovers Convention and what a windfall it proved to be in so many ways! New friends, great sessions, fantabulous authors, and books galore! It’s no wonder I will be back again this year in Vegas. One of the books that made its way into my over-weight suitcase last year, was Last Kiss, by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick and it was worth every penny.

This is the 3rd book in the Hitman series and I will undoubtedly be going back to read the first 2 books and then the 4th. But, back to the book at hand…

Vasily is part of the Petrovich Bratva, (i.e. a family in the Russian Mafia), which has become unstable in the face of its leader, Sergei’s, recent assassination. Vasily is more than happy to lead the family, though power currently resides with Elena, Sergei’s sister and Vasily’s mortal enemy. Vasily has come to the table to gather the necessary support to end Elena’s reign, but before the other family members will support such a transfer of power, Vasily has to complete a near-impossible task, taking him out of Russia and off to Europe…

The errand leads Vasily’s path to cross with Naomi, who is more unique than most romantic heroines. While arguably a genius and able to withstand whatever is thrown at her, Naomi is unlike most leading ladies. But Naomi’s quirkiness and the unconditional love she and Vasily come to share for one another just goes to show that we all deserve love and acceptance. Their love just means sex clubs in Italy and people being assassinated.

There’s humor. Action. Suspense and intrigue. Are you sensing you should read this book?

Personally, I’ve been fascinated with the mob my whole life–which I’ve mentioned before. (Hmmm…should I say such a thing in the public domain? Oh well…) And while my intrigue, historically, has been with the Italian mafia the Russian mob is organized crime none the less, so why split hairs? It’s also equally as fascinating. This is the 2nd Bratva series that I have thoroughly enjoyed, the first being Kresely Cole’s Game Maker series–looking forward to the next release in that one as well!

Clare and Frederick have pulled off quite the sex, action-packed novel. Rooting for the bad guys never felt so good!

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dirty rowdy thing, by christina lauren

dirty rowdy thingIt’s no secret, I loved Sweet Filthy Boy–really, who didn’t? But, I’m no 20-something and while the book was a lot of fun, I have to say I was a bit reluctant to keep going. Ever think that some things are good enough to stand on their own? Well, friends and the grapevine talked me into pushing forward with the series and once again, I’m glad I did!

Dirty Rowdy Thing focuses on Harlow and Finn–aka, the gorgeous Hollywood rich chick and the super-sexy Canadian fisherman. Harlow, was in the forefront a bit more than Finn in the first book, but admittedly, she was not my favorite character. Also, I didn’t think I could love anyone more than I loved Ansel, right now, it’s a tie; and Harlow has pretty much redeemed herself.

Harlow, is dealing with the serious illness of someone very close to her. Finn, is working through the troubles of his family business. While the chemistry between the two of them is off the charts, I think you actually feel it through the pages of the book, the former husband and wife decide to be friends. Even though their hook-ups are smoldering, with all of the emotional angst they’re both dealing with, a new long-distance relationship is not what either of them need. But how long will that resolve hold…

Dirty Rowdy Thing was impossible not to adore. While some of the subject matter was heavy, Christina Lauren infused plenty of humor while not making light of the serious content. We came to understand Harlow better and appreciate that her heart is always in the right place. And Finn’s maturity, loyalty, and general super sexiness played to the reader’s love for book boyfriends. Who knew fisherman could be so hot!?!?

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There are 2 more books after this one in the series: Dark Wild Night and the recently released Wicked Sexy Liar.

 

the shadow, by sylvain reynard

the shadowThe Shadow is the 2nd full-length novel in the Florentine series and overall 3rd book. In a recent Twitter “author chat” with Sylvain Reynard himself, he confirmed that he is working on the 4th and final book in the series.

After reading The Raven, I was less than enthused about this next installment in the series, but because I am such a huge fan of Reynard’s writing, I decided to go forth and conquer. So glad I did! The Shadow, while incredibly sexy, didn’t belabor the bedroom scenes and ramped up the action, intrigue, and humor.

Raven and  William are together and stronger than ever. But the forces around them are trying desperately to pull them apart–and they may succeed. Raven is forced to confront her past, in more ways than one. Her mother, stepfather, sister, and the priest who sheltered Raven and her sister, Cara, when they were children, are all in the fold as old hurts and crimes resurface from the past.

In the meantime, while Raven is dealing with the emotional turmoil from her childhood, William is still in search of the traitor amongst his council; all while trying to protect his city from both enemies within the city of Florence and those outside.

The Shadow has redeemed this series for me and I cannot wait until the 4th and final chapter of this paranormal ride. The heroine was far less annoying than in the previous book, though really, is anyone THAT good of a human being? Anyway, and William is clearly a force to be reckoned with. This book reminds us of the depth Reynard creates in his characters, which makes us fall in love with them. (Even if they’re beheading someone…)

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