Book Review: Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

42898Title: Lover Revealed
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #4
ISBN: 978-0451412355
Publisher: Signet
Pub. Date: March 6, 2007
Source: Gift (B-day)
Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Urban Fantasy
Pages: 480
Rating:  3/5

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com): In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York there’s a war raging between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defender of their race. But now an ally of the Brotherhood is about to encounter his own dark desire…
Butch O’Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard living, ex-homicide cop, he’s the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world to engage in the turf war with the lessers. He’s got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, Marissa, an aristocratic beauty who’s way out of his league. If he can’t have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers…
Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he’s found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls Marissa to bring him back. But even her love may not be enough to save him…

My Reveries and Ramblings: Lover Revealed is Butch and Marissa’s story. Butch is taken by the lessers very early on in the book after saving a civilian vampire. He is tortured for information about the brotherhood, but never gives in (Go Butch!). However, something truly evil is done to Butch before he is left for dead in the middle of nowhere. After the brotherhood rescues him, they question his fate and allegiance. Butch is no longer the same “cop.” After healing from his stay with the lessers, he starts to notice some changes: his body is letting off an odd spice scent around Marissa, he is much more aggressive, he can suck lessers into himself, and his blood turns black whenever he destroys the lessers his way.
Marissa and Butch’s relationship had so many “aw” moments but there was one thing that seriously annoyed me; when Butch called Marissa “baby,” I cringed. I really don’t know why that bothered me so much. Other than that, everything was fine. Butch wasn’t my favorite character, even in the beginning, and this book didn’t really change that for me. Although, there were some aspects that really stood out and made me love Ms. Ward’s writing even more.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is a romance book series (just look at the titles). The characters in the series have so much depth, not often seen in adult romance novels. With each book, Ms. Ward astounds me with the way she skillfully balances the passionate love scenes with actual plot. In Butch’s story, just like Zsadist’s, the central characters grow and change through the story. Butch starts out insecure in his place in life. Later in the book, when Butch is telling Marissa about his past he comments, “I’ve always been different from other people, not just in my family but when I was working here on the CPD force, too. I never fit in…until I met the Brotherhood…I’ve been living on the fringes all my life…(p. 325).” As the story progresses, the Butch becomes a part of a family, a part of something he never had. Marissa also finds herself. Even though Butch and Marissa fought a lot in this book, I think it was appropriate. Neither were secure with themselves. After Havers forced independence on Marissa, she started to follow her “Rule Number One: Right or wrong, she made the choices in her life. No one else did (p. 402).” Of course, Marissa doesn’t become independent overnight. In fact, she moves in with the brotherhood. Slowly, she begins to become her own person. Her transition from flowing gowns and corsets to pants and turtle necks was very symbolic of her transformation from a push over, aristocrat to a fully independent woman, free of the cage her brother and the glymera had forced her in all her life.
Lover Revealed was definitely a huge step forward in the war between the vampires and the lessers. What happens to Butch changes everything. The Black Dagger Brotherhood have a whole new deadly weapon in the war. As the Scribe Virgin said, “Now the new era in the war begins (p. 399).”
In this installment, Vishous and John Matthews also share some narration time. Vishous has to deal with his confusing feelings towards Butch and Marissa. John Matthews has to come to terms with Wellsie’s death and Tohr’s leaving. Honestly, I felt bad for Vishous (his book is next!), but not John Matthews. Seriously, John truly annoys me. I feel like every time Ms. Ward writes a John Matthews part I have to fight the urge not to skip forward, mostly because all he does is whine! It’s all poor-weak-me. I’m not strong enough to beat up Lash. I’m so weak. Etc. *
While this wasn’t the greatest of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books, it definitely is worth the read. Fair Warning: like all the BDB books, there are quite a few graphic sex scenes, violence, profanity, and of course blood and gore. If you haven’t picked these books up yet, then I suggest you buy them…yes, buy them. They are too amazing not to purchase because you will want to reread them over and over again.
*note: I’ve actually read up until and part of the way through Lover Mine (John Matthew’s book) and I do like him, much much much better, in that book.

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Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #4)

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Book Review: Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Title: Lover Awakened
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #3
ISBN: 978-0451219367
Publisher: Signet
Pub. Date: September 2006
Source: Kindle
Genre: Paranormal/Romance/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, a deadly turf war rages between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion and terror his only passion-until he rescues a beautiful female from the evil Lessening Society.
Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for each other begins to overtake them, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past and find a future with her.

My Reveries and Ramblings: First things first:  Black Dagger Brother series by J.R.Ward is OUTSTANDING! Okay, got that out of my system, now on to the review.  This book was hard to get through.  Zsadist rescues Bella after she was kidnapped in the previous book, Lover Eternal.  Zsadist was the only one who didn’t give up.  Everyone else assumed she was dead since she was kidnapped by lesser.  The lesser who kidnapped her, David, wanted her to be a replacement wife since she looked so much like his dead wife.  When Zsadist finally finds her, she is beaten to a pulp, unconscious, and has David’s name etched into her stomach.  The brothers bring her back to the main house.  There they try to get Zsadist to leave her alone, but he won’t.  He insists on caring for her.  After Bella awakes she tries desperately to get him to want her.  Zsadist does want her! His past keeps him from doing anything.  The other brothers are also hesitant to allow Zsadist to spend time with Bella.  The other story arcs are also in this installment.  Phury’s character and history are discussed.  J.R. Ward also shows life in the Wellie-Tohr-John Matthews family.
J.R. Ward wrote such amazing characters in The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. All the characters are so complex-especially in Lover Awakened.  For romance novels, these have a ton of depth.  Zsadist is a very tortured character. Having been a blood and sex slave (I’m leaving out all the gruesome details….and believe me its quite horrifying) before being rescued by Phury, Zsadist finds sex revolting.  He is mentally as well as physically scarred by his past.  The abuse he suffered caused him to think he was dirty, evil, and impure.  When Bella wants to be with him, he refuses.  He thinks she is too pure, good, and beautiful to be soiled by him.  Over time, however, Bella breaks down most of the walls that Zsadist built.  This huge change, from feeling hatred to love, causes Zsadist to become confused.  He spends most of the book sorting through his issues.  J.R. Ward also used a bit of symbolism in Zsadist’s eyes.  The eyes are windows to the soul.  His soul and state of mind were reflected in the irises of his eyes.  Phury, Zsadist’s brother, also loves Bella.  He is torn between his love for his brother and his love for Bella.  She is the only female that has ever threatened his vow of celibacy.  However, when he sees the transformation happening to Zsadist, he backs off, but not happily.
After being kidnapped, Bella has some issues, although no where near as terrible and complicated as Zsadist’s.  While she was being held captive by David, she prayed, hoped, and wished Zsadist would come for her.  After ending up with the brotherhood, Bella tries everything to be with Zsadist.  At first she’s not that successful because whenever she gets close to him, he pushes her away.
David, the main villain in this story, was sick and twisted.  Ugh!  I hated him….awful…terrible….evil…..I could go on forever.  Before becoming a lesser he was married.  He was physically and emotionally abusive to his wife.  When she died, his insanity got worse.  After joining the lessers he started looking for his “wife.”  One day while searching Mary’s house for her he saw Bella walking across the yard.  Since she looked like his dead wife, he kidnapped her.  He never raped her, because, well, he can’t really feel anything like that down there so it would be pointless.  But he did use her as a punching bag.  He’s very violent so whenever he was upset, or angry he would take it out on her.  He would then follow the abuse with an “I love you.”  Poor Bella.
This series is amazing!  I’ve been getting these books from the library, but after this one I’ve decided to go ahead and by the whole series.  Every time I had to return one of the books, I wanted to cry.  Lover Awakened is my favorite in the series so far.  Zsadist, who was more of the villain on the good side, turned into the true hero-so touching.  This book is very emotional.  You might find yourself crying, laughing, and screaming.  A side note:  Zsadist and Bella’s story reminded me of a rated R and slightly altered version of Beauty and the Beast.  I highly recommend this series.

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Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3)
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Book Review: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Title: Lover Eternal
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #2
ISBN: 978-0451218049
Publisher: Signet
Pub. Date: March 2006
Source: Kindle
Genre: Paranormal/Romance/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads:  The Barnes & Noble Review

J. R. Ward returns to the shadows in Caldwell, New York, and the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood in her second intense paranormal thriller that will have new fans and old begging for more.
Once again, the plot revolves around a band of highly trained vampire warriors who have been targeted for extinction by the Lessening Society, but this time the spotlight is on Rhage, the best fighter, the most voracious lover. As a result of a curse by the Scribe Virgin, Rhage is left with an inner demon unlike all others; Mary, the mortal woman he meets falls in love with, has been cursed by her own kind of inner demon — cancer.
Readers will love their evolving relationship, at turns passionate, tender, and fierce, as well as the heart-pounding pace as the two try to escape their enemies. Again, a glossary introduces the reader to the structure and history of this new world. Ginger Curwen

My Reveries and Ramblings: I did not expect to love this book.  I guess I thought that it would be too similar to all the other books I’ve read, even though I loved the first BDB book, Lover Eternal.  I was so wrong.  Rhage is different from Wrath as well as the rest of the brotherhood.  He has his own demons to face, personality, and way of thinking.  The character depth in this installment surprised me.  There was definitely more of it in this book than in the first.
Lover Eternal is Rhage and Mary’s story.  Rhage meets Mary when she and her vampire friend, Bella, take John Matthews, a 23 yr-old mute guy, to see the brotherhood.  At this point Mary doesn’t know her friend is a vampire and that John Matthews will eventually turn into one.  Since John Matthews doesn’t speak, Mary goes to be the translator using ASL.  That is where she meets Rhage.  Rhage immediately falls for her, but Mary pushes him away because she has cancer and will most likely die.  Despite her best efforts, she falls for him and moves into the house.  They have a very bumpy relationship.  Mary is constantly having second thoughts, mostly due to her worsening health.  Rhage’s inner beast/curse wants to come out whenever he is around Mary, putting her in danger.  The lessers are also planning on taking Mary.
Goodness, I was gushing throughout the entire book.  What Rhage does to keep and save Mary was just so amazing selfless.  Now that’s true love! I’m not going to give anything away, but its just sooooo cute.  Also, the mystery behind John Matthews, the pre-change vampire with the mark of the brotherhood begins.  Zsadist story line with Bella starts out in this book and will continue in the next, Lover Awakened.  There were many moments in this book that tore at me emotionally.  I find cancer to be very scary, even though I’ve never had it.  Mary’s struggle with the disease was frightening.  Even though J.R. Ward didn’t go into too much detail with it, I still found myself getting nervous and scared.  Rhage was there for her, which was so nice.  Mary needed to stop pushing him away.  At one point, I remember saying out loud “Come on! Stop it already.  He loves you.  Deal with it.”  Rhage and Mary fought quite a bit, which annoyed me because he was trying to help her.  At the same time it was realistic because couples sometimes fight no matter how much they love each other.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is about love and fighting for what you believe in.  This isn’t just a romance novel (and series).  J.R. Ward created complicated characters.  That’s one of the best things about this series.  I haven’t read too many romance novels, mostly because the characterization is just not there.  Many have flat, clichéd characters.  The mythology surrounding the world J.R. Ward built is multifarious.  The characters inhabiting the world are full of personality and refreshing.  Their decisions are ruled by their past and who they are as individuals instead of a formula created by an outline of what is in a romance novel.  These books do have romance, don’t get me wrong.  There is plenty of erotic love for everyone.  But there is so much more to these novels then the sex.  This is what makes them unique.
I thought this book was fantastic.  I liked the first one a bit more, probably because it was the first and my introduction into J.R. Ward’s exciting and remarkable word of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  She created an engrossing story filled with love, pain, passion, and violence.

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Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #2)
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Book Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Title: Dark Lover
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #1
ISBN: 978-0451216953
Publisher: Signet
Pub. Date: September 2005
Source: Kindle/Paperback/Library
Genre: Paranormal/Romance/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing their enemies more than Wrath, the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood…
The only purebred vampire left on the planet, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But when one of his most trusted fighters is killed – orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate – Wrath must usher the beautiful female into the world of the undead…
Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of brotherhood and blood frighten her. But his touch ignites a dawning hunger that threatens to consume them both….

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Wow! I had heard a lot of really great things about this series, but I wasn’t expecting to love it this much.  It’s a romance book so obviously there’s more than a few graphic sex scenes.  However, the book dives deeper.  I was drawn into a world inhabited by vampires, humans, and lesesrs.  A world where vampires are heroes, humans are blissfully ignorant, and lessers are pure evil.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is about a group of vampire warriors who are as close as brothers.  They protect the civilian vampire population, as well as the humans from the lessers, people who sold their soul for immortality.  The lessers freaked me out.  They were so evil; it was difficult to read some of the parts that included them.  I found myself skimming over some of the Mr.X, the main lesser in Dark Lover, parts.  The lesser are led by Omega, a nefarious villain.  Dark Lover tells the story of Wrath, the Blind King, before he ascends the throne.  After one of the brothers dies, Wrath goes searching for that brother’s half-breed daughter, Beth.  Vampires cannot turn people to make more vampires.  They have to be born.  However, they are born as a “human,” and go through the change in their twenties. If Beth is going to survive the change, then she needs to be around and drink the blood of a male vampire.  Beth had a hard life, from being orphaned to foster care to being very nearly raped; she takes life day by day.  When Wrath shows up, she becomes captivated by him.  She sees the real Wrath under his hard exterior.  Wrath did not plan or want to fall in love with Beth, but he did.  She not only becomes the center of his life, but also the object of the Mr. X’s impromptu plan.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is addicting.  I loved Wrath.  Actually, let me correct that, I love all the brothers.  J.R. Ward is so talented.  These books aren’t only about sex, but also about love.  True love.  Love that lasts forever.  The lessers pissed me off so many times with what they did.  They were/are merciless.  Thank goodness the Brothers fight them.  J.R. Ward made the Brothers into real, three-dimensional characters. Each of the brothers has their own personal demons they have to face.  Those demons define how they act and what they do.  The BDB series has a feel similar to the Underworld movies- very urban fantasy with lots of guns and leather.  Ward changes POV throughout the book, even though the focus of the book is on Wrath and Beth.  I don’t know what I’ll do when the series ends, and there will be no more books.  I’m getting depressed just thinking about it.

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Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)

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