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

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rt booklovers convention

IMG_2101.JPGSo, I have been slightly MIA the last couple of weeks. Not because I haven’t been reading. And not because I don’t have some recipes in my back pocket. It’s because I’ve been spending the last few weeks furiously preparing for the RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas, TX. And it’s here!

This is my first convention/conference of this nature IMG_2094.JPGand it’s not related to my day job. Already, I’m having a great time! My brother and sister-in-law surprised me and picked me up from the airport. The hotel looks awesome. And I’ve already met an author, Carrie Ann Ryan and a cover artist Charity Hendry!

So, bear with me. We will return to our regularly scheduled program next week, post convention, when I will have new knowledge, new books, and new insights to share. Stay tuned!
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black lies, by alessandra torre

black liesI read this book a while ago. And much like the baked chimichanga’s I love, it’s better after sitting over night–or in this case, a few months. Clever, is one word that comes to mind to describe the story. I also used that word to describe Gone Girl and I hated that book. (And yes, I know I’m in the minority on that one. Don’t care.) Black Lies, however, I did not hate. Did not love. But I could appreciate it.

On the surface, Lana is a beautiful and bored socialite who takes her volunteer work very seriously. Brant is a handsome, polished, highly successful and rich business man who owns a small empire, if there is such a thing. Lee, is a rugged, sexy, broke landscaper. And Lana falls for both of them. Here’s where the trouble begins…

This is a story about a very twisted love triangle. Brant is madly in love with Lana and wants nothing more than to devote his life to her. Lana, feels the same way about Brant–oh, and Lee too… Who is also in love with Lana and comes to resent Brant and all of his money and power, as well as his feelings for Lana and hers for him.

To further complicate matters, there is a secret overshadowing this sordid tale of romance. And that’s where my challenge with the book comes in… I was fine knowing there was a secret. I was also fine with the secret not being revealed right away. What I was not ok with was the secret being referenced, all the time (it felt like every other page) throughout the majority of the book.

Torre’s story is different. It’s not BDSM. It’s not some over-the-top insanely jealous billionaire who’s out of his mind trying to control some 20-year old naive school girl. These are adults, who yes, have a lot of money–well, 2 of them do; who have careers and wants like marriage, kids, etc. And the twist to the plot is actually something I haven’t seen done before, which is why I was so hopeful for this book.

To be fair, that is really the only issue I have with the book. While it did make for a frustrating read at times, I understand Torre was building up the suspense aspect for the reader. I just wished it could’ve been written a bit differently. Overall, if you’re looking for a love story that’s off the beaten path–give this one a try. Clever…

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mean streak, by sandra brown

MeanStreak

I’ve read one other book by Sandra Brown, years ago. And while I can’t remember which book, I do remember liking it and thinking, I should read something else by her. Well, years later, Mean Streak is it.

This book was briefly on the NY Times Best Seller list and I was in desperate need of a read, so it seemed like a good option. Then, I picked it up. I had serious reservations from the start–I thought it was going to be Gone Girl-esque. Yes, I am the only person on the planet who did not like Gone Girl. I can appreciate that it was cleverly written, but at the end of the day, I need to like a character or two. In Gone Girl, I liked NONE of the characters and at page 12 of Mean Streak, I feared it was going to be the same situation. Thankfully, I persevered because I wound up truly enjoying this book.

Dr. Emory Charbonneau and her husband Jeff have a troubled marriage. They’ve just had a serious argument and to top it off, she’s heading out-of-town for the weekend to train for a marathon. After an accident on her run leads to a mysterious man and 4 days that turn into far more than the weekend she bargained for, danger and mystery become a natural part of Emory’s life.

Mean Streak was a quick and enjoyable read. While the title of the book is incredibly misleading, the twists, turns, story-line, and writing make up for it. There were passages I had to read multiple times because, “I didn’t see that coming!”

In addition, to the mystery and suspense, there’s a bit of a love story weaved in. I can honestly say that even though there were several layers to the plot, it wasn’t too much or overwhelming. Brown did a very nice job of intermingling characters and plot-lines so they made for a cohesive and well-rounded story. I think I may have to pick up another Sandra Brown book.

heart rating:

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Book Review: Jagged

It feels like forever since I’ve reviewed a Kristen Ashley book. She is by far, one of my most favorite romance writers and authors in general. So when I found out that she would be writing another novel in her Colorado Mountain series, I marked my calendar! Literally…I wrote the release date on my calendar; which was November 5th and I finished Jagged yesterday, November 6th. Without a doubt, it falls into my top 5 Kristen Ashley books. Up there with Motorcycle Man, Sweet Dreams, Mystery Man, and I can’t choose what would round out the 5th and those are by no means in order by love (I can’t do that either). Alas, let’s dive in.

Jagged tells the story of Graham Reece aka Ham aka Reece and Zara Cinders. We met Reece in Ashley’s For You (which could be in my top 5…but so could At Peace…but I digress). Reece has been a bit of a rolling stone for the majority of his adult life. Zara has been a Gnaw Bone, CO staple the entirety of hers. She was married. He was married. Both divorced and having fulfilled each other’s emotional and ‘physical’ needs for years, things begin to ‘shift’. 

During the recession–yes, THE RECESSION–Zara loses her house to foreclosure and her small business goes under, all in the midst of her divorce. She finds herself in an unsafe apartment complex, working for minimum wage at the local home store. Reece/Ham rides back into town–yes, he has a Harley–and takes up residence at some posh condos seeing as how he’s the new manager at The Dog. Let the fun begin! Reece and Zara are so down-to-earth and relatable, you almost feel like you know them. Well, if you hang out with super hot biker/bar managers–my personal dream.

Unlike some of Ashley’s other books, there is no kidnapping and nail-biting suspense in this book, but that doesn’t make it any less an intriguing page-turner. (Did I mention I read it in a day???) Your heart-strings play a symphony for all that Zara has had to endure, abuse, loss, etc. And Reece as well, his problems with women, while extreme, are understandable. Ladies–we aren’t perfect and men really do have feelings. There are ups and downs throughout the book and of course, some steamy bedroom (and various other room) scenes. For almost 300 pages, this is a quick read. The characters pull you in, you see some familiar faces that are always entertaining. I think I’m going to have to go back and re-read some of those ‘old’ Kristen Ashley novels…

Kaleidoscope is next in this particular Ashley series and my calendar is already marked for its February 4th ebook debut!