All posts tagged J.R. Ward

The 2015 Reading Challenge – In Review

Last year, I thought it would be a grand idea to try the 2015 Reading Challenge: a list of prompts that would allow one to read 52 books. In the beginning of the year, I went all out with excitement determining what my reading list would be; I had the books separated from my gigantic TBR shelves and was all prepared to completely blow this thing out of the water. Looking at the 2015 Reading Retrospective, you would think that by having read 102 books, I totally did blow that challenge out of the water. Read more…

Reading Retrospective 2015

Well this year was a busy one regarding life in general; despite that, I managed to have a record-breaking year for reading books! I thought 80 books in 2013 was amazing. Thinking that I wouldn’t be able to come near that, I set my goal for 60. I blew that out of the water by reading 102!! Mind you, a lot are graphics novels (very quick reads for me), and many are free Ebooks found thanks to bookbub.com. Still, a good year. Read more…

Review: Lover at Last

Lover at Last by J.R. Ward

(Black Dagger Brotherhood Book 11)

J.R. Ward’s newest addition to the Black Dagger Brotherhood is definitely the one that I have been waiting for. Ever since we met these characters back when John Matthew was discovered; ever since their first kiss and eventual breakdown in Phury’s novel, I have been chomping at the bit! Just so we can get a time line going, Phury’s novel, Lover Enshrined, was published in June 2008 … 4 years and 9 months … I have been waiting … for Qhuinn and Blaylock. Lover at Last finally gives us their story, and what a story it is. Read more…

Review: Lover Unleashed

Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

The Black Dagger Brotherhood is back with J.R. Ward’s next installment, Lover Unleashed. Like the last novel, Lover Unleashed allows the readers to meet another much anticipated character: Payne, Vishous’ twin sister. With her love interest, Dr. Manny Manello, whom readers met in previous novels, Lover Unleashed delivers on not only a sexy storyline, but an emotional joyride. The world of Caldwell and that of the warrior band of brothers is reaching a crucial crossroads. If readers thought that previous novels were becoming dark, they have another thing coming. What the WARDen has next for her readers is anybody’s guess.

Lover Unleashed picks up where Lover Mine left off; Payne lays in a hospital bed with a broken spine, while Vishous’ wife, Jane, goes in search of her former boss, Dr. Manny Manuelo. While this is the main storyline, there are numerous others that create a very emotional read, and probably her best of the series thus far. Without spoiling any of the twists and turns, Lover Unleashed gives readers the following:

  1. Payne and Manny’s story, which includes some very sexy ups and some very heart wrenching downs. In between that, there are numerous weird happenings and potential miracles.
  2. Vishous and Jane play an essential and emotional role in the story.
  3. Butch and Vishous reach a new level of friendship.
  4. The Saxton-Qhuinn-Blaylock triangle begins to bubble and brew.

All of this has nothing to do with the back-story regarding the Lessers and the Band of Bastards, which continues and is, once again, taking another unexpected turn.

What was shocking about Lover Unleashed was the fact that Manny and Payne’s story could really be seen as a secondary story as well. There was so much going on within this storyline, but the true treasure was J.R. Ward’s emotional growth as a writer. You can see and feel the tension, heartbreak, anger and growth of the characters; they are beginning to take form as realistic and life-like individuals. Before, they were simply strong, tough men and delicate, beautiful women in paranormal romance stories. In one novel, Ward has been able to overcome this limitation and breath life into her characters. One can see that she is truly growing as an author, one that although I have enjoyed in the past and will continue to read, has now turned into a true favourite of mine.

It is a hard novel to discuss, because while Payne and Manny are on the cover and it is their story that everything else circles around, it is not the main part of the story that will stay with the readers long after the final page has been read. Yes, Payne and Manny are HOT, HOT, HOT! Probably the hottest that Ward has ever written; so romance readers fear not, you will not be disappointed. The titillation is extravagant! What must be spoken of in this review, is the growth of certain characters, in particular, Vishous. One must admit that he has been thrown into a fairly large black hole. Learning of his twin sister just in time to possibly lose her to a critical injury partially caused by his king, Wrath, Ward’s portrayal of how Vishous handles the situation is what is going to reach the readers on an emotional level. Vishous is not the most open character within the Black Dagger Brotherhood, in fact, I believe we know more about Zsadist who was emotionally dead before meeting Bella. In this novel, the reader is able to enter Vishous’ mind and it is a dark and twisted place. His fears, hidden emotions, and anger are probably the most powerful that Ward has ever written and it leaves the reader’s head spinning. You are on the roller coaster with Vishous and as emotionally confused and affected as him and all the other characters that he brings into his issues.

Lover Unleashed is a powerful novel and a turning point for the series of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. There is not much else to say but that this is thus far, the best of the series and because of this novel, I truly cannot wait for more.  Ward has written a gem, one that will shine on as one of her best pieces. The emotion, feeling and growth was astounding from Lover Mine to Lover Unleashed. The next installment will be the true test to the series. I have all the faith in the world for Ward and her series; I believe she can transform this series into something that will live on as an essential read to anyone who loves vampires and the vampire lore.

Notable Authors 3: J.R. Ward

I have one thing to thank the Twilight series for: bringing Vampires back into the media. My problem is, I am way too picky about my vampires. The purist in me does not like too much deviation from the original vampire lore and myth. Most movies, books and stories about vampires I hate. The only movie I watch with Dracula is Dracula 2000: campy but very close to the vampires of long-ago legends. Plus, the twist at the end was actually plausible and added to the well-loved creature. When it came to novels, I never really found one that I truly appreciated. When Twilight was first published, it brought out all the other vampire novels. I had so much to choose from, but it was becoming too difficult for me to make a choice. One series caught my eye, but I quickly placed it back on the shelf for something that I felt would make the stories, well, stupid. That series was the novels of The Black Dagger Brotherhood, written by J.R. Ward, the woman I am now writing about as a notable author. Sometimes, I should just stick my foot in my mouth when it comes to novels.

I guess another girl was in the same position as I was: wanting the next best vampire series but not knowing which one to pick. Unlike me, who generally likes to wander the shelves for a while until something catches my eye, she asked for help. Listening to the lady explain her choices, I felt myself being pulled toward The Black Dagger Brotherhood. According to the salesperson, it was darker, more violent and more of an adult series. BINGO!! My choice was made. I picked up the first novel, not buying any more just in case I didn’t like it, and went home to read. I should have picked up the rest of the novels because I went back to Coles time and time again, reading the first six (what were already published) in a week. I then had to wait for the next book to be published, and the stories kept getting better and better. She has also recently started re-publishing her modern romances under the name Jessica Bird; and she is now writing a new series of Fallen Angels. Her works by series are:

The Black Dagger Brotherhood: In Caldwell, New York, as people go on with their day-to-day lives, a battle is raging. Vampires, a species that walks among the humans during the nighttime, is fighting a creature beyond their control. The Omega, the evil counterpart to the vampires’ creator, the Scribe Virgin, has made a new species from himself. The soulless individuals are known as The Lessers, and their sole mission, is to rid the world of vampires. In order to fight this battle, The Scribe Virgin has created a class of warriors, born from pure vampire blood, that have power and fighting skill beyond any normal vampire. The series is the story of the battle, but also the story of their individual relationships and love interests. The series so far consists of:

  1. Dark Lover – Wrath and Beth                               
  2. Lover Eternal – Rhage and Mary
  3. Lover Awakened – Zsadist and Bella
  4. Lover Revealed – Butch and Marissa
  5. Lover Unbound – Vishous and Jane
  6. Lover Enshrined – Phury and Cormia
  7. Lover Avenged – Rehvenge and Elhena
  8. Lover Mine – John Matthew and Xhex
  9. Lover Unleased (not yet published – March 2011) – Payne and Manuelo
  10. Insider’s Guide

The Fallen Angels: God and Satan have had enough of fighting over humanity. They’re tired of the back and forth games. In order to decide whom takes over humanity, they’ve made a deal: one final show down, seven souls, seven deadly sins. The mentor of each of these souls is a man that could pull towards either side: Jim Heron. But not is all as it seems in this competition as a demon, Devina, does her best to influence each soul to her side. The series so far consists of:

  1. Covet – Vin and Gretchen
  2. Crave – Isaac and Grier

Modern Romances: Her romances published under the name Jessica Bird are now being re-published.

  1. An Unforgettable Lady – John and Grace

Here is the great thing about J.R. Ward, I have read all of her novels and I still have no idea what is coming next. When it comes to the romance, of course there is some sort of pattern, but what is coming next for her overall story and conflict is completely unknown. And I know this woman has the ending of her series all planned out in her head. Each event in the novels is methodical and is most likely going to lead to something happening novels later. Her stories are so intricate and detailed, that I cannot even imagine how as she puts it ‘the story came to her.’ For me to write something like the brotherhood series, I would need to create a road map. Plus her stories are fun to read. I actually like reading about the brothers, my favourite being Butch, and I have no qualms about picking up his book over and over again as I wait for her next publication.

I cannot wait for her next novel in any of her series. She’s writes the one vampire series that I can say, I actually enjoy. Her novels are gritty, dark, sometimes violent, but so intricate that one cannot wait to read more. She has created an entire world with seemingly very little effort. I don’t know what is coming next for the brotherhood or the fallen angels, but I can tell you this, when Lover Unleashed is published next March, I will be waiting as the book store opens.

If you like the paranormal, romance and a little bit of grit, pick up her novels. They are definitely worth the read. When it comes to paranormal and romance, J.R. Ward is a favourite author of mine.

For more information on her books and series, visit her website:

http://www.jrward.com/

Review: Lover Mine

Lover Mine: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood

Lover Mine is the highly anticipated eighth novel from J.R. Ward’s beloved Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Here we are finally going to get the story of the mysterious orphan, John Matthew and his love interest, Xhex.

The lead up to this novel has been long, since the second of the series, when John Matthew first shows up. The readers know a lot about JM, so there is very little that could be a surprise but J.R. Ward still delivers the punches, as always.

If you haven’t read the series, this is an author that you need to pick up. In the storm that the Twilight series created, I was looking for a vampire novel that was actually worthwhile. I’m a vampire purist; I like my vampires mean, dark, conscienceless and seductive. So, overhearing a conversation in the bookstore about a vampire series by J.R. Ward, I took the plunge. (I had actually, previously, picked up the first novel and seeing THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD, on the cover, I judged and put it back as something I wouldn’t like). How wrong could I be and blew through the first six novels in a week. The series so far is:

  1. Dark Lover – Wrath and Beth
  2. Lover Eternal – Rhage and Mary
  3. Lover Awakened – Zsadist and Bella
  4. Lover Revealed – Butch and Marissa
  5. Lover Unbound – Vishous and Jane
  6. Lover Enshrined – Phury and Cormia
  7. Lover Avenged – Rehvenge and Ehlena
  8. Lover Mine – John Matthew and Xhex

There is a lot going on in this series; beside the stories of each individual Brother; there is the battle with the Lessening Society (which is really too extensive to talk about without ruining anything); there is now the situation with Tohrment and Lassiter, the fallen angel; the situation between Qhuinn and Blaylock; and the situation now occurring with the Scribe Virgin. In Lover Mine, a lot of this is dealt with, some issues coming to an end while some issues became even more complicated. Because, in the previous novels, very little was given about Xhex, Lover Mine focusses a lot on background while dealing with the main issue (all I will say is Lash…). Xhex in the previous novels, came across as a very butch and brutal vampire/sympath. She didn’t come across as very female and so she was really fleshed out in this novel. She came to life on the pages and John Matthew, as always, was hard to ignore. He wasn’t my favourite character leading up to this novel, but he has quickly joined that list. (Butch, Zsadist, John Matthew)

There is one thing that I was a little disappointed with in this novel; there was a lack of the other Brother’s and their wives. You see Tohrment, Qhuinn, Blay and Wrath. Rhage pops in a little bit, but other than that, the other characters are vacant. I’m a complete Butch fan, and I didn’t get to see him! I think he showed up twice and then only in a couple of lines! That doesn’t make the novel bad; it was an amazing read! But it was very focussed on John Matthew and Xhex; maybe that was because so much needed to be set up in the story for it to actually work. I still missed the other characters but I wasn’t finding the story lacking by the time I reached the end. Despite that one issue, I have zero complaints, and Ward has definitely topped her other novels of this series. I cannot wait until the next novel; Lover Mine has set up a lot of potential stories and I don’t know which one I cannot wait for more!