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: Dhampir by Barb and J.C. Hendee

413814Title: Dhampir
Author: Barb and J.C. Hendee
Series: Noble Dead #1
ISBN: 0-451-45906-7
Publisher: Roc
Pub. Date: January 2003
Source: Library
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Paranormal
Pages: 384
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:  SHE HUNTS THE REALMS MOST DANGEROUS GAME.
HER FEES ARE EXORBITANT.
SHE’S WORTH EVERY COIN SHE RECEIVES.
OR IS SHE?
Magiere has earned a reputation as the most formidable vampire slayer in the land. Villagers far and wide welcome her with both awe and disdain, grateful to her for ridding their towns of the undead menace, but finding themselves made poorer for their salvation. Magiere has always known she’s dealing with simple folk who only wish to have their superstitions silenced, and she’s never seen anything wrong with exploiting them for profit.
Now, tired of the game, Magiere and her partner, the half-elf Leesil, are ready to hang up their weapons and settle down in a place they can finally call home. But their new found peace will not last. For Magiere has come to the attention of a trio of powerful and dangerous vampires who recognize her true identity — even if she does not — and who fear the birthright that flows through her veins. And they will stop at nothing to keep Magiere from fulfilling her destiny.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Dhampir is about the travels of a half-elf (Leesil), a dog (Chap), and a half-vampire (Magiere).  The story begins during their last job.  Magiere and Leesil con villages into giving them money in exchange for her hunting services.  This involed Leesil disguising himself as a vampire and Magiere pretending to kill him in front of the villagers.  Before performing her services, Magiere would convince the town to give her almost every penny they had as payment.  After this last job Magiere and Leesil move to Miiska and open a tavern (really just a bar with a faro table).  Before arriving, Magiere and Chap fought and killed a vampire, although they mistook him for a crazy villager.  When they arrive, the vampires residing in town are out to kill Magiere before she can kill them.  However, Magiere is done with “killing” vampires.  All she wants is to live a quiet life, running her tavern.  But all those rumors she and Leesil spent so much time and effort spreading about her hunting skills have finally cought up with her, and no one will let her live quietly.  She is a vampire hunter after all.
Magiere was raised in a small village by her aunt.  She was hated by the other villagers because her father was thought of as evil even though Magiere never knew him.  Magiere is very quiet and keeps her thoughts to herself.  On the outside, she is very hard and cold, but deep down, she is very caring.  Whenever a vampire threatens her, the half-vampire in her comes out.  When this happens she can’t speak or think coherently-its all instinct.
Leesil is Magiere’s half-elf companion.  He was born a servant warrior.  His past is so sad. The lord that owned his family made sure he was trained to kill-which he did.  When he finally escaped, he made his living stealing.  After meeting Magiere, they devised a plan to make money together.  Even though they’ve worked and lived on the road together for a few years, they barely know anything about the other.  They have a mutual agreement to keep their pasts in the past.  Leesil’s dog, Chap, is very protective of both Leesil and Magiere.  He was given to Leesil as a gift from his mother.  Chap has similar fighting and healing abilities as Magiere which baffles Leesil.  Chap is so adorable.  He is the perfect guard dog.  He is also the perfect lapdog.
The three main vampires are Rashed, Ratboy, and Teesha.  Teesha’s story was heartbreaking.  She had a great and happy life until she was forced to leave her home.  I was very conflicted in terms of which side I was rooting for:  vampires or Leesil and Magiere.  The vampires were the “bad guys” but I liked them.  Their pasts were so complicated and full of sorrow that I could not hate them no matter what they did.  However, I did not like what they did.  Most of the killing that took place in the story was VERY unnecessary.  The vampires think Magiere is out to get them when she doesn’t even know they exist.  Instead of hiding, leaving, or waiting to see what happens, they attack her before she can attack them.  In doing this, they reveal themselves to her and anger her.  Now she wants them dead because they threaten the peaceful life she wants.  So both sides resort to their natures instead of doing what they want.  It’s a whole he-said-she-said type situation.
I liked this book.  It wasn’t great.  I so badly wanted there to be at least a little bit of romance between Leesil and Magiere.  But alas, there was not.  The dialogue was very well written and natural.  The whole book was pieced together nicely.  The characters had in-depth histories and personalities.  The final battle scene was very suspenseful.  Throughout the first half, I wasn’t exactly turning the pages quickly.  Eventually it started to pick up-I was eagerly flipping to find out what happened next.  This book is very bloody and violent.  But there are funny moments.  This husband-wife writing team are not afraid to kill their characters.  I enjoyed it and will be reading the next book in the series.

 

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Dhampir (The Noble Dead Saga, Series 1, #1)

Book Review: Blood of the Maple by Dana Marie Bell

Title: Blood of the Maple
Author: Dana Marie Bell
Series: Maggie’s Grove #1
ISBN: B004RQD3XO
Publisher: Carina Press
Pub. Date: April 2011
Source: Net Galley
Genre: Paranormal/Paranormal Romance/Supernatural/Fantasy/Romance
Words: 78,000
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads: A seduction-gone-wrong leaves vampire Parker Hollis with a new vegetarian lifestyle and on the run from a vengeful witch. Moving to small-town Maggie’s Grove, Parker meets a redheaded dryad with green, leafy blood that draws him in a way he hasn’t experienced in decades. His new neighbor smells divine, and it isn’t long before craving gives in to need.
In a unique community of supernaturals, tree-loving outcast Amara Schwedler has never quite fit in. She’s scarred by a traumatic incident and feared by the local townsfolk. She’s convinced Parker will look elsewhere for a mate once he discovers she’s not one of the O-positive set, and can’t believe it when Parker finds her irresistible.
When the witch who’s been plaguing Parker’s life discovers the newfound attraction between Parker and Amara, she takes out her anger on the town. Can the supernaturals of Maggie’s Grove accept Amara and band together in time to withstand the assaults of the enraged witch?

My Reveries and Ramblings: I had such a hard time rating this book.  There were so many things I really liked about this book, but at the same time there were plenty of things that I didn’t like.  Blood of the Maple is about a playboy vampire, Parker, who moves to Maggie’s Grove with his best friend and ghost, Greg.  Maggie’s Grove is one of the only, if not the only, towns in the US that is completely supernatural.  Shortly after arriving, Parker meets Amara, a powerful dryad who lives next door.  They fall in love, but their relationship, and the town,  is threatened by Parker’s ex, an obsessive crazy witch who has been following Parker for years.
Amara is a really powerful dryad who was raised by a kind woman.  For reasons unknown to Amara, but revealed later in the book, the townspeople avoid her.  When they are not ignoring her, they are outwardly horrible to her.  Even though most of Maggie’s Grove hates her, she has a few friends, but she is still very lonely.  Amara spends most of her time in her garden and conversing with her tree.
After escaping from his ex, who was trying to make it so he could only drink from her blood, so they will be together forever, Parker is stuck drinking plant-like blood.  Before Amara, Greg would make a smoothie with a few drops of his blood mixed with certain plants.  After Greg dies and becomes a ghost, they move to Maggie’s Grove, where Parker falls in love with Amara and the final showdown with his ex takes place.
Maggie’s Grove is such a quant town.  It’s like a supernatural version of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls.  Everyone knows everyone.  The beings that inhabit Maggie’s Grove are shapeshifters, vampires, psychics, witches, dryads, etc.  When Parker’s ex threatens the town to get to Parker, everyone comes together to fight her.
I loved the fresh take on the supernatural.  The problems I had with this book had to do with all the random sex scenes.  Some were appropriately placed but I felt that others were just unneeded.  Yes, I know this is a paranormal romance-stressing the romance, but still. Having said that, I still liked this book and will definitely be reading the sequel when it comes out.

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Blood of the Maple (Maggie's Grove, #1)

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Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Series: Paranormalcy #1
ISBN: 9780061985843
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pub. Date: August 2010
Source: Library
Genre: YA/Paranormal/Fantasy/Romance
Pages: 352
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.  But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.  So much for normal.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  I really enjoyed this book.  If I had to give a one word review for this book it would be AWESOME.  It was so much fun.  Kiersten White weaved together a fantastic story stuffed with action, suspense, a bit of mystery, romance, and just about everything paranormal.
Paranormalcy is told through Evie’s POV.  Evie grew up in the foster care system, never knowing her parents, until she was 8 years old.  That was when she was almost the victim of a vampire attack.  She freaked out in front of the vampire because she could see through his glamour to the dead corpse beneath it.  This ability caught the attention of the agent “bagging and tagging” the vampire.  No other paranormal or human can see through paranormal glamour.  Since Evie didn’t have a family, the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) adopted her.  Her mother figure, Raquel, makes sure Evie is tutored as well as trained.  At 16, she can successfully “bag-and-tag” a paranormal.  Even though the IPCA is much better than the foster care system, Evie still longs to go to a normal high school, complete with a locker and friends.  The only friend she has is a mermaid, Lish, who talks through a monotone communicator since she can’t actually speak English and lives underwater.  When a paranormal takes the shape of Raquel and starts looking through her office, Evie, who can see through his glamour, tasers him (with Tasey!).  When he drops to the ground unconscious, he turns transparent, like water, but still solid like a person.  Evie succumbs to her curiosity and starts spending time with “water boy,” Lend.  Evie has never seen a paranormal like him, neither has anyone at IPCA, and because of that (and the fact that he broke in) he is kept there.  Lend can change how he looks and can shift into other people easily.  One day is an adorable Chinese boy and the next, the star of Easton Heights, Evie’s favorite TV show.  He also enjoys shifting into Evie’s form.  Although he can’t get her eyes right.  As they spend more and more time together, Evie finds she has a crush on Lend.  Evie’s ex, Reth, doesn’t seem to want to let go.  Reth, a faerie, shows up randomly temporarily kidnapping Evie or burning her throughout the book.  Of course Lend is quite helpful during these visits, coming to her rescue, or at least trying.  Reth also doesn’t seem too concerned about the paranormals all over the world dropping dead.  In fact, he seems more concerned with spending uninterrupted time with Evie.
Evie was such an interesting character.  Her POV was so refreshing and so much fun.  Having grown up in the IPCA, she’s never been to a high school or had any normal human friends her own age.  She’s in her element when she’s on an assignment or inside the IPCA, but she really wants to live a normal teenage life.  After meeting Lend, she gets a taste as to what her life could have been if she wasn’t different.  After being plagued by dreams of a girl named Vivian and learning that she isn’t actually allowed to leave the ICPA, she goes through an identity crisis.  Evie learns that what you are doesn’t define who you are.  She learns that it’s the choices we make that choose our paths and who we are.
Lend helps Evie a lot in Paranormalcy.  While she’s going through her identity crisis, he is right there helping her figure it all out.  When Lend and Evie first officially meet, he doesn’t trust her enough to show her his true form, even though Evie and see it underneath his disguises (glamour).  He is insecure with who he is, as a paranormal.  He doesn’t know where he fits in since he’s one of a kind.  I thought he was so cute!  He was so admirable and such a great guy.  He and Evie were perfect together. They both complimented each other.  Evie could see Lend perfectly.  In fact, she even preferred his true self better than the main form he takes.  There is one scene later in the book when he shows her what he really looks like.  In it Evie thinks he is gorgeous and he is so shy about how he looks, my heart just melted.  When he spoke to her in that scene, Evie heard his real voice and told him that she didn’t think she could go back to hearing his fake voice.  It was such an intimate scene, probably one of my favorites in the whole book.   This theme of beauty on the inside is seen throughout.
Ah, Reth.  I’m not sure how to describe him.  He’s Evie’s ex-boyfriend (well, ex-almost-boyfriend).  Evie, who grew up feeling cold and alone, confused having a crush/like-liking someone with the faerie feeling Reth was giving her.  Reth would always fill her up with warmth, almost touching her heart.  This made Evie scared that he would steal her heart and soul after they “broke up.”  Reth has a terrible temper.  Get him mad and he might kill.  Threaten Evie, and he most definitely will.  He is extremely protective of her.  But Evie would rather never see him again.  I felt like his intentions were good, and I think he cared about Evie, but at the same time I’m not sure.  His actions were a bit on the sketchy side.
Paranormalcy was a delightful read.  I had a lot of fun reading it.  When Evie experienced “normal life” for the first time, it wasn’t odd or unbelievable.  Kiersten White didn’t make Evie naïve, ignorant, and gullible.  She also didn’t make her into that teenaged character who acts like she’s 25, not 16.  Evie was very much 16, but she wasn’t stupid.  Evie was very well aware of her situation and her surroundings.  It was very believable.  This skill made the story so much more engrossing.  I really cared about the characters and what happened to them.  I can’t wait until the next book, Supernaturally, comes out in August of this year (2011)!!!

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Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)
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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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Book Review: Seers of Light by Jennifer DeLucy

Title: Seers of Light
Author: Jennifer DeLucy
Series: Light #1
ISBN: 978-1936305032
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Pub. Date: February 2010
Source: Kindle
Genre: Paranormal/ Romance/ Fantasy
Pages: 396
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Lillian Hunt has never truly lived. Always sensing more to the world than is easily perceived, she fears that her instincts are stubborn flights of fancy, or worse, mental instability. But some things—disappearing strangers, tangible dreams, and visits from malevolent creatures—cannot be ignored. Before it’s too late, Lillian is ripped from the only existence she’s ever known and thrust into a reality that she always suspected, but could scarcely believe. She must learn the truth about who she is, the powerful beings that wish to destroy her, and the two men who would die to protect her.  Jennifer DeLucy has created a unique, enchanting tale of destiny and the ageless power of love in her debut novel, Seers of Light. DeLucy’s novel charms readers with quirky characters, while sketching a haunting portrait of one woman’s journey on the path of the supernaturally gifted. But be prepared. Once you’ve entered the world of Seers, you will never be the same.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Jennifer DeLucy’s Seers of Light is a journey of love, hope, and courage.  The story follows Lily, a pathcrosser and empath, who is saved by Christian from a vampire attack.  After a brief explanation from Christian, he takes her to Georgia to Abram and the other endowed people.  There she discovers who she really is and her destiny, to battle evil spirits and beings.  She trains with William, the vampire with a soul.  Before their first training session Lily decides to hate him for what he is not who.  He expects and puts up with her attitude stating that she can hate him all she wants just as long as she learns what she needs to survive.  As the training sessions continue, she starts to see the humanity in William.  Christian, seeing that Lily is being less hostile with William, becomes very clingy, even though they are not dating.  He starts to follow her around like a “golden retriever.”  When a coven of vampires located near her hometown starts to threaten Lily’s new happy life, she along with her new family, must defeat them, or die trying.
All the characters in Seers of Light were real.  I found I had a lot in common with Lily.  Although, I don’t think I’m quite as stubborn as she is.  After spending most of her life seeing spirits and being empathetic, Lily is more than happy to go where she is accepted and even admired for her abilities.  She is very kind, but also judgmental and a bit gullible.  Her love interest in the story is William Maddox.  I could talk about William for the rest of my life.  In fact, I’ve reread Seers of Light so many times that I’ve actually lost count, all because of William.  Even after reading it X amount of times I still feel my heart beat erratically whenever he walks in the room, or speaks, or is brought up in the conversation.  Jennifer DeLucy did a marvelous job writing his character.  William is a vampire who got his soul back.  Everything about him is human except his body.  The sentients, other endowed people, around the world aren’t too fond of him, nor is Christian.  Christian spends most of his time voicing his hatred of William to his face.  Poor William.  He is so tortured but still strives to do what is right.  Unlike Christian, William allows Lily to make her own mistakes and decisions.  All I can say is that every time William did something or said something especially cute or witty I pretty much swooned- which was quite often.  Christian bugged me.  There were so many times when he interrupted William and Lily moments that got me out of my seat screaming “Shut up, Christian!” or “Go away, Christian!”  But to be fair, Christian has problems of his own.   By the end, I thought Christian was okay.  Abram was kind of like the head of the house.  If I had to pick an actor to play him it would be Morgan Freeman.  He’s wise and very grandfatherly.  The rest of the characters are beautifully brought to life and fill the novel with an amazing story.
Jennifer DeLucy explores love and courage in her novel.  Love is a huge, and I mean gigantic huge, theme in Seers of Light.  She forces the characters to examine their hearts and what it means to love.  Love takes courage-it is a leap of faith.  As a reader, I felt the love wrapped around the characters.  To love someone, sometimes sacrifices must be made to keep or save that love.  Seers of Light contained every form of love as well as the ups and downs of it.
Seers of Light is one of those books that I can’t recommend enough.  I’ve read this book more than three times (lost count after that).  After every reread, I dreamt about William.  I’m not exaggerating.  I did.  This is the only book that I’ve dreamt about more than once.  It will stick in your mind.  It will make you reflect about your own life and how love has affected you.  The smooth and easy flow of reality and the paranormal is proof of Jennifer DeLucy’s skill at story-telling.  The paranormal aspect takes up a huge part of the book, but it is so completely believable that you barely notice it.  There are so many books where the paranormal is just too unbelievable that it ruins the book for me.  I’m so glad my library didn’t have this book.  By buying a copy (kindle!) I am now able to bring it with me wherever I go.  Which means, William goes with me everywhere 😉   Goodness!  Seers of Light is an exceptional novel.  The characters are memorable, the dialogue is absorbing, the suspense is thrilling, and the romance is truly beautiful.  I adored this book!

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Seers of Light (Light, #1)
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Book Review: Claimed by Shadow by Karen Chance

Title: Claimed by Shadow
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #2
ISBN: 978-0451461520
Publisher: Roc
Pub. Date: April 2007
Source: Library
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance/Time Travel/Paranormal
Pages: 374
Rating:  2/5

From Goodreads: Clairvoyant Cassie Palmer has inherited new magical powers-including the ability to travel through time. But it’s a whole lot of responsibility she’d rather not have. Now she’s the most popular girl in town, as an assortment of vamps, fey, and mages try to convince, force, or seduce her-and her magic-over to their side. But one particular master vampire didn’t ask what Cassie wanted before putting a claim on her. He had a spell cast that binds her to him, and now she doesn’t know if what she feels for him is real-or imagined.

My Reveries and Ramblings:   Cassandra Palmer escapes the Senate with a duffel full of weapons only to be attacked by the Circle.  Pritkin and Cassie are forced to become allies due to a common goal-although she never truly trusts him.  Besides Pritkin, Cassie is helped by Billy the ghost and Mac, a tattoo artist mage.  Cassie’s Pythia powers drag her into the past to save Mircea from Myra who is set on making sure Cassie never lives to get her powers.  By going into the past, Cassie accidentally sets the geis, a bonding spell Mircea had cast, in the future on the past Mircea strengthening their bond.  This becomes problematic for both of them since they can’t seem to keep their hands off eachother when together and when separated are in total physical pain (a pain that has led others under the same circumstances to commit suicide).
After reading the first book in the series, Touch the Dark, I thought this can only get better.  I was a bit disappointed. I mean, yes it was action packed.  And yes, there was never a dull moment. But the plot didn’t really progress until the last 10 pages or so.  Also, I love Mircea, and I hated how he was barely in this book.  He showed up briefly in the present, but only for short periods of time in the past.  Also, the whole thing with Tomas at the end was weird.  I did like Cassie’s spirit in this book.  No matter how many times she was knocked down, she just got right back up again.  All she wants is to find her father, kill Tony, and live a normal life.  But everyone else wants something from her.  They are all one-step ahead of her.  Even though the odds are in no way stacked in her favor, she keeps on fighting for what she wants.  Honestly, I like the series so I’ll keep reading.  I want to find out how it ends.
I felt rushed through the book, and I found myself confused several times wondering if I missed something but after rereading realized I didn’t miss anything.  By the end of the book I got the gist of what happened, however I was still lost.  Both in this book and the first I felt like I was thrown into the middle of it and was left to figure out what was going on.

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Claimed By Shadow (Cassandra Palmer, #2)

 

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Book Review: Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

Title: Touch the Dark
Author: Karen Chance
Series: Cassandra Palmer #1
ISBN: 978-0451460936
Publisher: Roc
Pub. Date: June 2006
Source: Library
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance/Paranormal/Time Travel
Pages:  320
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:  In the hot-blooded vein of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake saga and Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series, Karen Chance’s debut novel is a contemporary dark fantasy revolving around a gutsy female protagonist with supernatural abilities that blends mystery and romance with hair-raising horror.  Cassie Palmer, a powerful clairvoyant who works part-time at an Atlanta club reading Tarot cards, is finding it difficult to escape her past. Orphaned at a young age and brought up by the undead, Cassie has the ability to communicate with the spirit realm, and her powers were abused time and time again by a ruthless master vampire named Tony. It’s been three years since Cassie — a self-described “ghost magnet” — has been free of the centuries-old bloodsucker, but now he’s back and eager to reclaim his human possession. Forced to turn to the Senate (a group of “really old vamps” who make laws for the supernatural community) for protection, Cassie is thrown into a complex conflict where control of the entire supernatural world is at stake. Rasputin (yes, the Mad Monk himself), a power-hungry vampire, is killing off the Senate members one by one. Aided by some impressive allies — including Dracula’s older brother, Mircea — Cassie must use everything in her paranormal arsenal to fight the encroaching evil — and somehow stay alive.  Fans of authors like Hamilton, Harrison, Kelley Armstrong, and Charlaine Harris will undoubtedly enjoy this fast-paced, blood-sucking romp through the supernatural underworld — yet another noteworthy addition to the ever-growing subgenre of fantasy/romance/mystery hybrids. Paul Goat Allen

My Reveries and Ramblings:  The Cassandra Palmer series is really interesting.  Karen Chance does a wonderful job of combining paranormal with mystery and romance.  Touch the Dark starts with the protagonist, Cassandra Palmer, nicknamed Cassie, living in hiding.  She has been on the run for three years from her vampire “master,” Tony.  He killed her parents and took her in as a clairvoyant when she was a little girl.  Now, in her 20s, Cassie works as a tarot card reader at the same club as her roommate, Tomas.  One night Tony’s men come to find her, and kill her.  She manages to escape, thanks to a mysterious tattoo and Tomas.  Cassie is now in the hands of the vampire Senate and Lord Mircea.  All Cassie wants to do is be free-she doesn’t want to belong to Mircea, Tony, or the Senate.  Simply running away isn’t going to help.  Those who don’t want to control her, want her dead because she has inherited the powerful pythia’s power.
Touch the Dark is filled with time traveling, sexy men and vampires, and a lot of action scenes.  Cassandra Palmer has one goal in mind-to get her father’s ghost from Tony and be free.  Everything she does is to get that done.  She doesn’t want power.  She doesn’t want to be under the protection of Mircea and the vampires.  By inheriting the pythia’s power, Cassie finds herself thrown back in  time. This is mostly because Myra, the girl who was supposed to become the next pythia, has decided to mess with the timeline.
Lord Mircea, a very sexy vampire, has appointed himself as Cassandra’s protector.  He knew where she was when she “ran away.”  I’d love to believe that he loves Cassandra, but I’m not sure.  His actions show that he does.  But at the same time he’s a first class manipulator so I’m not sure.  Same thing with Tomas, I think he has feelings for Cassandra, but at the same time, not too sure.
Karen Chance made sure the reader is never bored.  There is so much going on that you feel like you ran a marathon by the end of the book.  The only problem I had was that I felt thrown into the middle of everything.  There were so many action scenes, I would have loved it if the story slowed down for bit.  The time traveling scenes were a bit confusing, but still quite interesting to read.  The series is quite interesting-mixing mages/magic, vampires, fey, and even historical figures into a series of books.  I will definitely keep reading the series.

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Touch the Dark (Cassandra Palmer, #1)
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