devil’s cut, by j. r. ward

Fans of the wildly successful Bourbon Kings have been waiting a year for the final installment in this captivating trilogy. The anticipation was quelled a little over two weeks ago when Devil’s Cut was released to well-deserved praise. Readers will easily be drawn back into the world of the rich, powerful, and incredibly dysfunctional. There were so many loose ends to tie up:

  • Edward was in jail for killing his father, William Baldwine
  • Sutton had been banished from Edward’s life and was stepping into the role of CEO of Bradford’s rival in the world of Kentucky bourbon
  • Chantal was pregnant with her recently murdered fathers-in-law baby
  • Lane had blackmailed his best friend into becoming CEO of Bradford Bourbon Company (BBC), while reconnecting with the love of his life Lizzie
  • Miss Aurora has succumbed to a coma as a result of her rapidly spreading cancer, complicated by her age and sickle-cell
  • Let’s not forget Gin’s marriage made in Hell to Richard Pford, in spite of her heart belonging to Samuel T., who we found out is Amelia’s father
  • And why has the black sheep of the family, Max, come home?

Rest assured, Ward delivered in bringing resolution to all outstanding cliffhangers–except for why that finger was buried in the yard? If anyone comes across the reason for that, please let me know. On the whole, this finale to the series was just as enthralling as the first 2 books and I for one am sad to see the series end. (Though rumor has it NBC has purchased the rights to make it a tv series. Fingers crossed on that one–pun intended.)

There are twists and turns a plenty in the book, with threads of humor, and Ward’s classic style of keeping you on the edge of every chapter by alternating story arcs throughout. In the end, the result is a cohesive tale that holds true to the essence of all of the characters we’ve come to love and hate, and some whose opinion may even swing from one side to the other.

I have to admit that I loved this series far more than I thought I would and found myself anxiously awaiting each book. A child of the 80’s, I was a huge fan of Dynasty, Knots Landing, and the original Dallas so this plot line was right up my alley. You see that money can’t buy peace of mind and certainly not morals. It also doesn’t shield anyone from hurt, feelings of inadequacy, mental or physical abuse. I guess the rich really are just like “us.”

It goes without saying to make sure to get your hands on this book as quickly as possible so your friends don’t start revealing spoilers. While a year can sometimes seem like forever when it comes to books, the wait was definitely worth it in this case.

 

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.

rating:

the-edible-bookmark-rating.pngthe-edible-bookmark-rating.pngthe-edible-bookmark-rating.pngthe-edible-bookmark-rating.png

bloodkiss by j.r. ward

bloodkissThe Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) is one of my most favorite series ever. And, as evidenced by this blog, I don’t read a lot of paranormal series–2 if you’re counting.

Bloodkiss is a spinoff of the original BDB books. The story is focused on a younger generation of fighters but The Brothers are an integral part of the storyline. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Paradise and Craeg were introduced to us in the Warden’s (as J. R. Ward is affectionately known amongst her devotees) last BDB book, The Shadows. Paradise is the daughter of Abalone, adviser to Wrath. She was working as an administrative assistant to her father when last we saw her. She was interested in the training program The Brothers started to train civilians to be part of the fight against the Lessers. With her father’s approval, Paradise applied to the program and was accepted. And so was Craeg.

Craeg is your quintessential vampire from the wrong side of the tracks. He’s joining the training program for very personal reasons–revenge. But the chemistry between him and Paradise is a distraction that could derail his plans.

Bloodkiss is reminiscent of BDB books of old. The sub-plots aren’t overwhelming. You get the essence of The Brothers who are in the book, there’s humor, and there’s a real-world thread weaved in. The new adult genre is definitely benefiting from this addition to its shelves.

The Warden has set up the next book nicely and I look forward to continuing this series and enjoying characters old and new. But while we wait on the next installment in this new adventure, the release of the next book focused on The Brothers is closing in. The Beast will be here April 5th. True.

read rating: 3 bookmarks

the edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark rating

the shadows, by j.r. ward

the shadowsThe Warden, as J.R. Ward is affectionately known by her many devoted fans, has done it once again. The Shadows, the edible bookmark’s first 5-bookmark read, was an emotional story that drew on the strong history and character development of those we’ve grown to know and love. And true to form, Ward left us chomping at the bit (pun intended) for more. I finished The Shadows over a week ago and I still get emotional thinking about it.

As has become the case, there were multiple story arcs in motion:

  • Luchas, Quinn’s now disfigured brother who’s just barely holding on to life in the medical facility at The Brother’s Compound. Quinn is faced with making even more life-altering decisions on Luchas’ behalf that could forever devastate their already fragile relationship.
  • Selena is fighting ‘The Arrest,’ which has taken the lives of so many of her Chosen sisters. This, in the face of the newfound love she and Trez have just acknowledged.
  • iAm may have finally found love, only to have it torn away from him as quickly as it appeared. And in the midst of pursuing his own happiness, for once, he still maintains ultimately responsibility for Trez and his obligation to the s’Hisbe.
  • Xcor and Layla continue to fight the mutual attraction they have until things finally come to a head with consequences that may not be reversible.
  • Assail is self-medicating his loss of Marisol by getting high on his own supply.
  • Something is brewing with Rhage and it’s not the beast within.

It sounds like a lot of story lines, and it is. But unlike some books of old in the series, there are enough to keep you engrossed and not too many that you can’t keep up. So if you’ve been on this journey from the beginning, you most assuredly will not be disappointed. And if you haven’t hopped on The Brotherhood bandwagon, it’s never too late!

Now, the bad news–we have to wait an entire year for the next installment! And I have no idea who I’m hoping it will be focused on. Assail? Xcor and Layla? I can never get enough of Wrath. But wait…there’s a spinoff!

Bloodkiss, the story of new characters, Paradise and Craeg, a younger generation, is coming out on December 1. Think that just might make the wait a little easier.

rating:

the edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark ratingthe edible bookmark rating

 

 

Book Review: The King

the kingAs many know, The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is the only paranormal series that I read and I LOVE it. I waited, anxiously, for the most recent installment to come out–The King–and I was not disappointed!!!

In a Nutshell
There were several story arcs in this book, but not nearly as many as books past. The primary focus is on Wrath–the king of the race and last pure vampire–trying to have a baby with his half human wife, Beth. Between the assassination attempts on Wrath’s life and his service on the throne being brought into question, repeatedly, this is one more life changing decision–should it come to fruition. The angst, however, makes for a good read.

Speaking of the assassination attempts–the last one was spear-headed by Xcor, leader of The Band of Bastards. His relationship with a very pregnant Layla, continues to bud. But there are new complications in their already challenging situation.

One of the story arcs I’m really looking forward to seeing continue is that of Assail and Sola. She is a small time thief and he’s a big-time drug dealer. Their feelings were explored in the last book, but circumstances beyond their control brought them to the forefront. But is it destined to become an unrequited love? And is his drug dealing within the vampire race really prudent?

Throw in Trez’s responsibilities to the Shadow race along with his infatuation with Selena; a revelation regarding his brother iAm; and that will about round out the book.

Tara’s Take
The King is without a doubt one of my favorites in the series. It’s also the 2nd book I’ve given 5 stars to on my GoodReads account. The author, J.R. Ward, was said to be aware that the first book she wrote that was focused on Wrath, Dark Lover–also the first in the series–was not as strong as some of the other books. This one is stronger by leaps and bounds and definitely delivers. Wrath has endured much over the prior 11 books, so it was nice to see his complex personality shine and take center stage.

Previously, some of J.R. Ward’s book had so many story arcs going on it was hard to keep up and remember what was happening from chapter to chapter. With fewer plot-lines to follow and the clear evolution of Ward’s writing, The King delivers on many fronts. I simply can’t say enough good things about this book. The stories, the character development… I really hate that it’s all over for 2014 and I have to wait a year for the next book. Ugh!!!