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!!!

Book Review: Lover At Last

I declared my love for the Black Dagger Brotherhood series in this blog a while ago. That hasn’t changed. The latest book, Lover At Last, number 11, came out (you’ll get the pun later) a few weeks ago. For anyone who has read the books, they know that for many readers this one was a long time coming. Each book usually focuses on one of the ‘brothers’ or someone in their world and then has another story arc or two going along side it. This book was about the long-awaited (for many) love story of Quinn and Blaylock (Blay). The twist on this pairing–Quay as devoted fans call them–is they are gay. While both are warriors within the Brotherhood, this book was not a heterosexual story–and for me, that was tough.Lover-At-Last-J.R.-Ward-e1339202451444

All of the books are known for being steamy, to say the least, and this one, while a bit tamer, did not disappoint in that area–but it was male on male. I found that I did not enjoy this book as much as most of the others. I applaud J.R. Ward for giving readers what they want and for tackling the tough subject matter. I think she did an exceptional job staying true to the characters, story lines, and her writing style. The tender moments between Quinn and Blay felt real, as did the way J.R. Ward incorporated their long history. I also think she knew that she was heading into touch territory (no pun intended). As such, I think J.R. Ward tried to over compensate for the readers that were not as appreciative of the gay romance by adding significantly more story arcs than normal. This book had not 1, 2, or even 3 other story lines going on, it had 7; yes, SEVEN–in total.

  • The Quinn and Blay love story
  • The budding romance between Sola and Assail
  • Xcor’s determination to take over the throne
  • Xcor’s love for/and connection to Layla (and vice versa)
  • Layla’s pregnancy
  • Beth’s ‘curiosity’ with Layla’s pregnancy
  • Trez’s avoidance of his prearranged marriage and what he and iAM were doing to manage that, including Trez’s infatuation with The Chosen, Selena

Of the reviews that I’ve read, quite a few readers found the other arcs extremely distracting. And to a degree, I agree. But I have to say I welcomed them and look forward to where some of them are headed. (I read that the next book, due in 2014, is going to be called, The King, and will be about Wrath (my all-time favorite character in the series, marginally inching out Zsadist) and Beth trying to have a baby. I am beyond excited for that one!!! I’m also intrigued by Assail. And Xcor’s love for Layla makes me not hate him as much–though he continuously plots against Wrath, so my distaste for him is only mildly squelched. I would be remiss in mentioning that J.R. Ward has a habit of bringing back characters that people often forget about. Several books ago, she brought to light a love story between Xhex and one of her past lovers that went insane and is now haunting an old bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere. Clever J.R. Ward, I haven’t forgotten…

On the whole, this book was not one of my favorites, but I am excited for what’s to come. I do miss seeing more of the brothers and their interactions because quite frankly, they’re hilarious and I love them. This book also strayed from the action and fighting we usually see with the Lessers; which normally, I can do without but, come on, this is about a vampire war going on. J.R. Ward has done a great job of keeping the series fresh, adding new characters, extending story lines, and keeping her loyal and devoted fans wanting more. I didn’t devour this book in 2 days like I’ve been known to do with this series, but 2014 and the next installment can’t get here soon enough!