Review: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Format: E-booklovereternal
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #2
Publisher: Signet Book
Hero: Rhage
Heroine: Mary Luce
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 1, 2006
Started On: July 28, 2016
Finished On: August 02, 2016

Lover Eternal, the second book in the much revered Black Dagger Brotherhood series brings to the table the story of Rhage, legend and sex God, and Mary Lace, the human who brings him to his knees and then some. Taking place right after Dark Lover, the first book in the series, Lover Eternal brings to readers more of the bad boy vampire heroes who as a team are tasked with protecting the race from the evil known as the Lessening Society, members of which are formed by humans who as psychopaths or worse, were turned to do the bidding of their leader known as Omega.

Rhage might be all good looks, sex legend and more. But he is also a vampire cursed with an affliction of the kind that he wishes he could trade for practically even much less than half his life’s worth. But, that is not to be of Rhage’s choosing and he still has almost a century of living with a curse with which he has known no peace of his heart or soul since. But hide it he does, and hide it well, except from his Brothers who knows the toll it takes on Rhage.

Mary enters the lives of the Brotherhood through a mere chance, or perhaps fate as some would say. As a rehab specialist for autistic children, Mary’s role when it comes to communicating with John Matthew, someone who turns up mysteriously and could be one of the Brothers once he turns, is the reason for Mary’s appearance in Rhage’s life. For the first time since being afflicted with the curse, Rhage finds his body at peace with Mary’s presence.

Mary has yearned for the unattainable practically her whole life. 31 years old and a cancer survivor or so she thought, Mary has never had anyone special in her life, someone who had looked at her like she was his everything. When the leukemia returns, Mary knows that her dreams would stay the way they were, just as dreams, never to be realized. But every single encounter with Rhage brings her closer to the brink of a desire left unchecked for so long, the inevitability of a life that is running closer to its expiry date making it more so.

However, Rhage has his own battles to fight in his desire to claim Mary. With the beast inside of him warring to come out and claim her as well, the fear Rhage feels that he might inevitably end up doing irreparable damage to the most precious being in his life is one that he cannot endure. Fight they do, lovers they become and conquer do they their worst fears to triumph in a love that was meant to be from the very start.

Though Lover Eternal didn’t stir me up as Dark Lover did, there were so many elements in the story that made it the stellar read it was. J. R. Ward’s writing is topnotch, one reason why these books are so easy to devour. At the cost of repeating myself, Ward’s take on vampires is a tad different from what is out there. That itself makes this unique. The Lessers make a formidable enemy, not to mention the transitions that happens amongst the leaders of the Lessers as time goes on. The turn one of the Lessers took, in his bid to separate himself from the rest of his “race” and to feel something for a change, to make a connection with who he was before – that was a very interesting aspect to a multi-faced villain, just as important when it comes to stories of this nature.

Mary as a heroine fell a bit short for me. Its not that she didn’t shine in the right places – she does belong with Rhage in every manner possible, but she just didn’t stand out as a character as much as I wished she would. The way her battle with leukemia was resolved also fell a little bit flat, perhaps one of the reasons behind my discontent when it came to Mary. Nevertheless, Lover Eternal gives a great read, one that is a must read for fans of the series. More so because this is where Zsadist’s story starts, his encounters with Bella and how his tortured soul grabs at your heart from the start was something that I absolutely reveled in.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: Rhage and Mary’s claim on each other is as sexy, bold and colorful as they come!

Favorite Quotes

“Use me, Mary. Let me bear this for you.” With a flash of movement, he raked his chest with her nails and then clamped his palms on either side of her face.
“Make me bleed for you…” His mouth stroked against hers. “Let your anger go.”
God help her, she bit him. Right on his lower lip. She just sank her teeth into his flesh.

Something inside of her snapped and she hurled him away, ducking out of his hold.
But instead of running for the door, she stared at him mercilessly.
Four scratches streaked down his chest. His lower lip was cut. He was panting, flushed.
She reached out and ripped the towel from his body.
Rhage was shockingly aroused, his erection straining, enormous.
And in the breathless moment between them, she despised all his smooth, perfectly hairless skin, his tight muscles, his fallen-angel beauty. Most of all, she loathed the proud length of him, that sexual tool he used so much.
And still, she wanted him.

She started to move off of him.
In a quick surge, Rhage’s legs shot up under her, toppling her onto his chest. As she fell on him, his arms wrapped around her.
“You know what you want to do, Mary,” he said into her ear. “Don’t stop. Take what you need from me. Use me.”
Mary closed her eyes, turned off her brain, and let her body go.
Reaching between his thighs, she held him up and sat on him hard.
They both shouted as she took all of him, right to the pubic bone.

Zsadist was sitting on the bed, his broad shoulders caved in, his arms wrapped around his waist. Bent over Rhage’s sleeping body, he was curled down as close as possible without their actually touching. As he rocked himself back and forth, there was a faint, lilting song in the air.
The vampire was chanting, his voice rising and falling, skipping octaves, soaring high, falling low. Beautiful. Utterly beautiful. And Rhage was relaxed, resting peacefully in a way he hadn’t before.
She quickly crossed the room and went out in the hall, leaving the men alone.

He pulled out and quickly turned her over. As she landed on her back, her legs flopped to the sides as if she didn’t have the strength to hold them up. The sight of her open to him, glistening for him, swollen from him, nearly had him releasing all over her thighs. He dropped his head and kissed where he had been, tasting a little of himself, a little of that marking scent he was leaving all over her body.
She cried out wildly as she climaxed. And before her pulses faded, he shot up over her and plunged back inside.
She called his name, nails scoring his back.

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Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookdarklover
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1
Publisher: Signet Book
Hero: Wrath
Heroine: Elizabeth Randall
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 06, 2005
Started On: July 25, 2016
Finished On: July 28, 2016

Sampling J. R. Ward’s work through her latest series The Bourbon Kings had me intrigued enough to try out one of her books in the infamous Black Dagger Brotherhood series. If you are an avid romance reader, you would have come across recommendations of this series sometime or the other, be it even as the hottest book boyfriends that readers have identified with. Having read Dark Lover, the first book in the series, I can pretty much see and agree on why there are so many diehard fans out there when it comes to J. R. Ward and what she can deliver.

Dark Lover tells the story of Wrath, the only purebred vampire remaining in the world, the one destined to be the King of their race, someone who avidly avoids the said position with a vengeance. The Black Dagger Brotherhood are an elite force of vampires within their race, their purpose being to fight the Lessers who basically are soulless humans put to the task by their leader known as Omega.

When Wrath’s Brother and friend known as Darius approaches him about his daughter, a half-bred vampire who would soon be going through the difficult phase of turning into one, Wrath ignores the plea for help because he believes that he is not the best sort of person to handle what’s coming. However, Wrath’s best laid intentions of keeping his distance is shot to smithereens when Darius finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and pays for it with his very life.

Elizabeth Randall (Beth) has no idea the mess her life is going to become when Wrath turns up on her doorstep. Having never known of the fact that she is half-vampire, Beth finds the whole concept a laughable notion at best. But Wrath’s mere presence alone makes her throw all her sensibilities out the nearest window by turning her into a being of senseless want, where it becomes hurtful if she cannot be with him. Wrath too finds himself in a conundrum when he starts lusting after the daughter of his deceased friend and there remains no other option but to have her, which definitely does not earn him any brownie points for good behavior.

Putting together a colorful cast of characters with their own unique facets, J. R. Ward creates a spellbinding novel which pretty much has it all. Her take on vampires and the concept she brings to the table is unique when compared to a whole host of novels that takes on delivery of vampire romances. What makes her take stand out is the fact that there is a reason and rhyme to the way she tells the tale of the lives of these vampires that coexist with humans and strive to do away with the lessers, who in turn gets a new leader much more cunning in his operations of weeding out the Brotherhood by hunting the local neighborhood vampires.

The politics that governs the lives of these lessers are as much interesting as those of the lives of the Brotherhood,  because the villains are not your usual cardboard variety of characters that have just one single dimension to them – that is to make your spine crawl. Rather, they have histories of their own, lives that they had led up to the point until they had become lessers, lives that were more often than not extremely difficult, perhaps even abusive, which alienated them enough to become ripe pickings for a mission that requires a soulless bunch.

Though the whole instant lust thing between Wrath and Beth hit me a bit strange at first, the inevitable result of it all seemed to jive with the larger than life vampires that makes up the Black Dagger Brotherhood. They are extremely well trained, lead lives that pretty much based on hunting the hunters, and of course have the pick of beautiful women as they see fit. Thus it stands to reason that such highly intelligent and brawn a sub-species within the race would definitely fall in love just the same. As hard and fast and for life. The possessive hero thing is done in a way that makes it quite appealing, all because you know that they don’t do it out of a need to control the heroine, but rather they are helpless in their need for their women.

Definitely looking forward to seeing where the lives of the Brothers take them and what surprises that J. R. Ward has in store for us readers.

Recommended for fans of urban fantasy and paranormal romances that delivers more than a happily ever after.

Final Verdict: Dark Lover offers a gripping read that delivers on all fronts!

Favorite Quotes

“Darius, if he does it at all, he’ll do it because he owes you. Not because he wants to.”
“I’ll take him any way I can get him.”
“But what are you giving her? He’s about as nurturing as a sawed-off, and that first time can be rough, even if you’ve been prepared. Which she hasn’t.”
“I’m going to talk to her.”
“And how’s that going to go? You’re just going to walk up to her and say, ‘Hey, I know you’ve never seen me before, but I’m your dad. Oh, and guess what? You’ve won the evolutionary lottery: You’re a vampire. Let’s go to Disneyland!’ ”

Beth’s neck jacked back up as she met the man’s steady, feral gaze. She couldn’t see the color of his eyes through the glasses, but his stare burned.
And then the extraordinary happened. As he stopped in front of her, she felt a blast of pure, unadulterated lust. For the first time in her life her body got wickedly hot. Hot and wet.
Her core bloomed for him.
It was chemistry, she thought numbly. Pure, raw, animal chemistry.
Whatever he had, she wanted.

She wrapped her legs around his hips, and he hissed as her heat burned his erection.
He used what was left of his strength to pull back and look down into her face.
“Don’t stop,” she breathed. “I want to feel you inside me.”
Wrath dropped his head into the fragrant hollow of her neck. And slowly drew his hips back. The tip of his erection slid into place beautifully, and he sheathed himself in her body with one powerful stroke.
He let out a bellow of ecstasy.
Heaven. Now he knew what heaven was like.

His lips brushed the side of her neck. And then his tongue licked her skin lightly. “Now, we can be civilized and wait until we get home. Or we can get down to it right here. Either way, I’m dying to come inside of you again, and you’re not going to say no.”
Beth gripped his shoulders through his leather jacket. She was supposed to push him away, but she didn’t. She brought him closer, arching her breasts to his chest.
A sound of male desperation broke free of him, halfway between a groan of satisfaction and a dark plea.

He had her on the bed and under him in a flash of movement, and he pushed up her skirt and tore off her panties with vicious impatience. He didn’t treat her blouse or bra any better. There would be time to savor later. Now was all about raw sex.
While he worked her breasts with his mouth, her hands were rough as she pulled his shirt from his chest. He left her only long enough to undo his pants and spring his erection. Then he linked his forearm behind one of her knees, stretched her leg up, and plunged himself into her body.
He heard her gasp at his powerful entry, and her slick heat grabbed onto him, pulsating as she came. He froze in place, absorbing the sensation of her release, feeling her core stroke him.

A low sound shot through the room, growing louder and louder, until he realized the growl was coming from him. As a fevered heat broke out all over his skin, his nose registered that dark fragrance of possession.
He was powerless to stop himself.
His lips peeled off his teeth as his muscles churned and his hips thrashed against her. Drenched in sweat, head spinning, mindless, breathless, he took everything she was offering him. Took it and demanded more, becoming an animal as she became one, too, until they were nothing but wildness.
He came violently, filling her up, pumping into her, his orgasm going on and on and on, until he realized she was climaxing right along with him, the two of them holding on to each other for dear life against shattering waves of passion.
It was the most perfect union he’d ever known.

Wrath breathed in deeply. “You have a perfume to your skin that makes me hard. Instantly. All I have to do is smell you.”
She arched in his arms, rubbing herself against his thighs, thrusting her breasts up. Her head fell back, and she let out a little moan.
“God, I love that sound,” he said, moving his hand up to the base of her throat. “Make it for me again, Beth.”
He sucked her neck. She obliged.
“That’s it,” he groaned. “Sweet heaven, that is so it.”

She leaned into his wrists forcefully, holding him still. “Relax. Let me be in control.”
Wrath could only stare up in disbelief and breathless anticipation as she pressed her lips to his.
“I want to do you,” she whispered.
In a silky rush, her tongue entered his mouth. Penetrated him. Slid in and out as if she were fucking him.
His whole body went rigid.
With each one of her thrusts, she got farther inside of him, into his skin and his brain. Into his heart. She was possessing him, taking him. Leaving her mark on him.

“Take me,” he moaned. “God, please.”
She slid him inside of her, and his whole body felt the sensation. Tight, wet, hot, she enveloped him. She began to move in a slow, pumping rhythm, and he didn’t last long. When he came, he felt like he’d been ripped in two, the bursts of energy creating a shock wave that went through the room, shaking the furniture, blowing out the candle.
On the slow float back to earth, he realized it was the first time anyone had ever taken such care to pleasure him.
He wanted to weep that she would still have him at all.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BookDepo | BAM | iTunes

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Review: Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookshardsofhope
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Psy-Changeling, #14
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Aden Kai
Heroine: Zaira Neve
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: June 02, 2015
Started On: January 23, 2016
Finished On: January 24, 2016

Shards of Hope is the 14th book in the phenomenal Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh. The series has come such a long way since its first book was published in 2006. Nalini has managed to turn things around in a world occupied by humans, changelings and Psy; the majority trying to find their footing amidst the rapidly changing landscape of politics and power that shapes their world. Nalini Singh is a master at what she does; the world crafting, the storytelling, the romance that she pens so well and the adventure that you are guaranteed in each of these novels. I love her stories for the depth of characterization explored, the strong sense of justice and right and wrong that she explores in her stories. Of course, there are the heroes that one salivates over and the heroines who makes you wish you were as strong as them – but they are relatable in a way that makes the stories the sumptuous delights they are.

Shards of Hope begins 4 months after the fall of Silence. Silence refers to a protocol adopted by the Psy in 1979 in order to stop the madness that their race seems to prone to; the violence that strikes rendering their race to become mindless creatures that goes on a rampage of killing and blood lust. The Psy had done whatever they did back then, in order to protect the minds of a race with the enhanced abilities of the mind they are gifted with. Aden Kai is the leader of the Arrows, a sort of paramilitary group that exists to protect the Psy race. With the fall of the Silence, and even before that, the subordination that had been demanded of them for political gain had fallen apart, leaving Aden as the one whom all Arrows trust and would give up their life for.

When Aden and Zaira Neve are kidnapped and tested upon by forces unknown, thus begins a cycle of events that changes things for the Arrows as a group and for Aden and Zaira both in terms of what their relationship means to them and their future. Aden, the offspring of two Arrows who had seen nothing worthy inside of him had handed him over to the Arrow training facility while he was quite young, which was the norm back then. Zaira had been a victim of parental abuse which had nearly ended her life, not owing to them, but because she had stood up to them, which had ended in a blood bath brought upon by sheer rage. That rage that lives within her, the scars that defines her, are the very reasons why she puts up the walls she does when she is around Aden, to stop him from enticing her and convincing her that they belong together, in fact, that Zaira had belonged to him from the very moment their lives had crossed paths.

Aden is a hero inside whom the word honor echoes with every breathe he draws. It is that honor and integrity that is the selling point when it comes to him, when it comes to leading a group of lethal soldiers who could at his command, make the whole world bleed. Aden wants something entirely different for his Arrows whom he considers to be his family. With the fall of Silence, problems that they would never have anticipated comes to light, but Aden is determined that he would change the lives of Arrows from one where they exist only to fulfill their duties to a life that is filled with warmth, love and a sense of belonging. A tall order for a group of people whose conditioning from a very tender age had taught them just the opposite.

Zaira’s story is one of heartbreak, but that of immense strength as well. A lesser woman would have crumbled and gone mad long back. But Zaira withstands the onslaught of rage that threatens to make her give into her baser desires. Zaira knows that if she ever were to consider Aden as hers, her possessive nature would be the death of the man Aden has to be for his Arrows. But in Aden’s arms Zaira finds solace, comfort and desire of the kind that she would never find elsewhere in the world. With every touch, every kiss that Aden places on her forehead, lips and her subconscious mind, Aden wins her over. Aden’s patience when it comes to Zaira is one that is worthy of noting. But then again, I wouldn’t have expected anything less from the man who would walk to hell on earth and back, not only for Zaira, but each and every man and woman who serves on his team of elite soldiers.

It is a testament to Nalini Singh’s incredible talent that none of the stories appear to be cliched versions of earlier books. It is that very reason amongst a multitude of others, that would always keep me coming back for more! The unfinished thread in Shards of Hope is one that intrigues me and I can’t wait to find out what is in store for the Psy, Changelings and the humans. According to Nalini, Allegiance of Honor, the 15th book in the series which is to come out this year is going to be composed of an ensemble cast. Can’t wait for June!

Final Verdict: Nothing short of amazing; bears witness to Nalini’s splendorous talent.

Favorite Quotes

Pushing off the wall without warning, she walked around the corner and into a small alcove hidden from the world by a heavy mass of overhanging vines as well as its position tucked in between two buildings.
“Zaira.” Aden followed her. “What—”
Slamming him against the wall, she pressed her lips to the strong, powerful beat of the pulse in his neck. Since she was already falling into the abyss, her control shredded, why deny herself the pleasure that was the flip side of the nightmare memories she could no longer stifle?
He shuddered, one hand sliding up to curve over the back of her neck. And then their mouths were meeting and it was wild and undisciplined, wet and hot, and she stopped thinking, the rage in her drugged into a haze of want focused on this beautiful man whose hunger for her seemed as feral as hers for him.

Chest rising and falling in harsh breaths and pupils dilated, Aden watched her mouth as if he’d devour her all over again.
Zaira was fine with being devoured. Fine. “I’m meant to be the out-of-control one,” she whispered.
He shot her a look that made her burn, made her realize just how much he kept contained beneath his calm, stable skin. It felt as if he’d shown her a secret, shown her a small madness within himself. She couldn’t stop herself. She pressed close, claimed another kiss, was claimed, that strong hand on her jaw and his body crushing her to the wall.
And Zaira realized that some prisons could equal pleasure, not pain.

“You are so beautiful.” The words came out raw.
Freezing, she looked up at him for a long, long time. “You mean it,” she whispered “You really do.”
He didn’t understand why she’d even question that, but he didn’t have time for a discussion. Not today. Bending his head, he kissed her. She opened for him immediately, one of her legs curling over his hip in a distinctively possessive act. Reaching down, he pulled up her other leg until she was locked around him, her arms wrapped around his neck as she held him to her.
“Mine,” she said on a kiss.
The single word branded him to the soul. “Yes.”

He didn’t ask again, just gripped her under the hip with one strong hand and pushed the tip of his erection into her passion-swollen entrance.
“Aden.”
Sliding his other hand under her neck to hold it gently but with unmistakable possessiveness, he said, “This’ll hurt.”
Kissing him again in answer, she spoke to him mind to mind. I choose this pain, she said. I choose you.

“You’re already mine.” It came out instinctively, from that primal, possessive core at the heart of her nature.
He pressed his forehead to hers, not fighting her hold. “I know, but do you?” His hair fell over his forehead to brush hers. “Deep inside, do you know?”
She didn’t understand his question, and the frustration made her pull at his hair. “Stop talking in circles.”
“A psychic bond,” he said, his mind touching hers.
She wanted to open so badly to him. “If you do that, I won’t ever let you go.” If the physical connection had sealed them together, this would turn that seal into an unbreakable glue. “Even my death won’t free you.” The psychic scars would be irreparable.
“Whether we bond or not, your loss would change me forever.” A quiet voice that held so much power it vibrated with it. “You are written indelibly on my soul, Zaira. Nothing will ever alter what you are to me.”

Slamming both hands palms down on either side of her head as the sound of his name on her lips further eroded his control, Aden used the leverage to pull back as much as he could, given her grip on him, before sinking deep into her once again in another hard thrust. She was wet, tight heat around his cock and silken, lithe warmth around his body.
“My Zaira,” he said, his voice so rough the words were almost unrecognizable.

He’d intended to give her romance tonight, too, but the bond pulsed with a visceral need he had to assuage. Realizing he was still gripping the ring, he pushed it into her hand. “Put it on me.” He was hers in every way that mattered—the ceremony would be for others, for their friends and those in their care. This was for them.
Kissing his jaw, his throat, she looked down and, picking up his hand, slid on the ring. “All mine.”
“Always have been.”

Groaning, he reached between them and somehow managed to undo his jeans, shove down the denim and his briefs. It took a little more effort to kick them off, but he was highly motivated.
Naked at last, he nudged aside the gusset of her panties. A single stroke of his finger through her wetness and her back arched, the sensations that came shooting back at him through the bond threatening to make his eyes roll back in his head. Then she bit him on the jaw and it was all over.
He thrust into her wet heat in a single, demanding push.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | eBookMall | iTunes

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Review: Dark Journey by Anne Stuart

Format: E-bookdarkjourney
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novella
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Anne Stuart’s Bad Boys, #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Alex Montmort
Heroine: Laura Fitzpatrick
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: March 20, 2015
Started On: January 20, 2016
Finished On: January 20, 2016

Anne Stuart manages to accomplish in just 70 plus pages what most authors strive for in their entire careers as writers. There is an ethereal beauty to Anne Stuart’s writing that I have not come across in the works of any other authors, and I have read enough romances in my lifetime to know exactly what I am talking about.

This short read by Anne Stuart served me well in my bid to say adios to Anne Stuart’s works – for the time being, still riding the high from Driven by Fire that I had finished a day back. Dark Journey delves into the lives of the Fitzapricks; Laura Fitzaprick being sickly all her life owing to a heart condition. Her time to leave this world had come many a time, but Death had defied those very moments in a bid to keep Laura alive and kicking – for reasons that he would rather not think too deeply about.

Alex Montmort comes into Laura’s life at a moment that the lives of the entire family are on a teetering edge. Because unknowingly, in their midst, is someone who is driven by anger, jealousy and psychosis, determined to eliminate the entire family in a bid to claim the entire wealth of the family. Laura who has always remained on the fringes of the lives of members of her family because no one would let her exert herself, is stunned by the man who resembles nothing she has ever seen in her life, nor experienced, but can’t help but think she has encountered before. Alex’s timely arrival coincides with strange occurrences all over the world – because Death itself had gone on vacation for a short while.

Alex finds himself drawn towards Laura, who tries and fails in her mind to place where exactly she has run into him before. Laura is fearless in her attempt to understand Alex and pursue the hedonistic attraction that is between them. The only thing that keeps her at bay is Alex and the fact she can’t bring herself to believe that someone experienced like him who could have any woman he desires, wanting a sickly thing like herself, who has zero experience to speak of. But the heart wants what it wants, regardless, does it not?

As the series title attests to the fact, Dark Journey features an Anne Stuart variety of bad boy that you wouldn’t encounter anywhere else. He is ruthless, he is charming, and he can take a scene from zero to hundred by the mere flick of an eyebrow in the right direction. I kid not. Suffices to say that I was smitten with Alex, from the very start!

There is a thin line that we humans walk between life and death. What Anne Stuart explores in Dark Journey is how much would we be willing to walk onto the other side. Would we ever want to? Haunting in the wake of the thoughts this little number leaves behind, proved to be a winner for this heart of mine!

Final Verdict: Tinged with darkness & the masterful prose that is Anne Stuart. 

Favorite Quotes

The ice had melted from his face, his lips, his hair. He kissed her with a ferocity that should have terrified her, but she was past terror, past second thoughts. She wanted to kiss him back, but she wasn’t sure how. Then his thumbs cupped her jaw and gently opened her mouth for him.
He used his tongue as he had that morning. He taught her how to use her tongue, to give, as well as to receive, and when he thrust his tongue into her mouth, her knees buckled.

He leaned forward, sliding his hands up her torso to cover her breasts, and the sensation was the sweetest torment. “Are you afraid of death, Laura?” he whispered against her mouth.
She found she’d been clutching the sheet beneath her. It was a simple enough question, with an obvious response. But she didn’t want the obvious, she wanted the truth. And for some odd reason, she knew that her answer mattered terribly.
“No,” she said, with no doubt whatsoever. “I’m not afraid of death.”
“Then let me show you life,” he said. And, moving down, he put his mouth between her legs.

The first wave hit her, a spasm of reaction that sent starbursts dancing behind her eyes. The second wave came, harder and stronger, and from a distance she could hear a gasping sob that had to be her own.
Before the tremors had died away he moved up, over her, between her legs, thrusting deep, breaking past the fear and the fragile barrier of her innocence, deep and hard and sure, and his hand covered her mouth, muffling her cry.

Reality and time seemed to have vanished into the maelstrom. She lay beneath him, listening for the pounding of a heart that should have exploded five minutes ago, listening as her breath rasped to a more reasonable pace. She reached up and cupped his face, and his long hair fell around her fingers. His sun-glasses were gone, but it was too dark to see his eyes, his face. She could feel dampness on his cheeks, could feel the tentative movement of muscle that might have been a smile. She felt his love, strong, sure, unspoken. She didn’t need the words.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

Format: E-bookarchangelskiss
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Guild Hunter, #2
Publisher: Berkley
Hero: Raphael
Heroine: Elieanora P. Deveraux
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: February 2, 2010
Started On: December 13, 2015
Finished On: December 15, 2015

I can’t put to words how glad I am that I decided to start reading the Guild Hunter series. Even the fact that I am a tad late to the party is one that fills my heart with glee. All because of the fact that I have got a bit to catch up on, books that I can fall back on when most reads turn up lackluster and definitely not what I am looking for. It is ALWAYS good to have books that you can count on lined up, just in case, and from this moment on, the Guild Hunter series is going be that for me.

I am simply loving the experience of reading about Raphael and Elena. Most of the time, even when it comes to a series that you adore, we only get to see glimpses of a hero and heroine that we might have loved to pieces in one of the books of the series. But here, we get to savor all the goodness that is Raphael and Elena through a couple of books at least, their newly forged bond something so precious and fragile, yet at the same time one filled with the kind of strength that you know would take them places, through the extremely rough and turbulent times their relationship will be subjected to. To get to see their relationship grow in that aspect is one that makes me as a reader, feel privileged. Because an author has to be extremely talented to carry the same characters forward and always give the reader something interesting and exhilarating to read about. And without a doubt, Nalini Singh is definitely the kind of master who can weave such magic over her readers.

Book 2 in the Guild Hunter series continues just days after Elena wakes up from the year long coma she has been in, healing from the severe injuries she had endured, injuries that would have killed her, if not for Raphael making her an immortal of his kind. While Elena is hunter-born which means she has the sort of strength that actually drew her into the realm of the archangels to begin with, as an angel, Elena finds herself at her weakest, trying to regain her strength in time to attend a ball that Zhou Lijuan, the oldest archangel in existence is throwing in her “honor”.

Raphael and Elena are completely new to the concept of the bond that they share between them, each thrown into uncharted waters when it comes to the love they have for each other. Elena and Raphael must strike to achieve that balance that would work for them, something not very easy to do when Raphael himself is alpha male personified, with a helluva lot of power in his hands. His love and need to protect his woman is one that wars constantly with Elena’s need for freedom, independence and her inborn need to assert herself as Raphael’s equal, someone worthy of sharing the title of his mate.

There is also the fact that Raphael and Elena both continue to be haunted by their pasts, not to mention the intricacies involved in archangel politics, each and everyone seemingly looking for ways to exploit Raphael’s weakness that is supposedly Elena. What made Archangel’s Kiss doubly interesting for me was the fact that Elena’s suppressed memories when it comes to her past, mired in darkness, blood and gore is one that kept materializing until we were able to bring together the pieces to identify the sort of monster that she had been dealing with. Her guilt that comes out of it plus her vulnerability which makes her turn to Raphael to keep the nightmares at bay were reasons I fell for Elena’s character, more so than before. The altogether strong, independent and put together Elena, finding in herself the strength to lean on Raphael made the story for me.

If I were to sound poetic about the whole thing, I would say that Raphael and Elena were waiting for each other, more so Raphael because he has been in existence for centuries. Raphael has found someone worthy of laying down his very life for, as he proved in the first book itself, and in Elena he has found the woman who would stand beside him, no matter what. I am just hoping that in the books to come, Nalini would show us why Elena’s entry to Raphael’s life came at such an opportune moment. I say opportune because her arrival seems to have heralded a deep wave of change in everything that is to do with the archangels. The way I see it, as with anyone that is left with too much power in their hands, the archangels too need a change in their power structure, something that would keep the checks and balances in place so to say, that would mean that they too would be accountable for their actions.

Though the story’s main focus as per the blurb was supposed to be on Elena and Raphael’s invitation to the ball that Lijuan was throwing for them in The Forgotten City of Beijing, China, this doesn’t materialize until we are almost at the end of the story. But I believe what happened prior to the event was needed to make the story appear more wholesome.

Now that I have discovered this series, I find it quite difficult to drag my mind and heart away from these books and turn my attention towards anything else, but trudge on I must. Quite a bad time for this to happen with a lot of deadlines right around the corner. One very striking point in the story for me was the entrance of Naasir into the picture, and oh what an enigmatic character he makes out to be! The following quote should suffice as to why he made such an impact with his entrance, which I am sure is a sentiment echoed by almost all readers when it comes to him.

All the angels were gone, but a vampire moved out of the shadows as she exited the house. His skin was a shade that drew the eye, inviting tactile contact—a dark, dark brown with an undertone of true gold. The color was so rich, so warm that it shimmered even as the moon slid behind a cloud, enveloping the Refuge in purest night. But his eyes, a brilliant, impossible silver, pierced the darkness as if it didn’t exist. Hair of the same shade as his eyes fell around his face, sleek and cut in jagged lines that accentuated the angle of his jaw.
“A tiger,” she whispered, watching him walk to her, though to call it a walk was a gross disservice. His stride was the fluid, silent prowl of the animal she sensed around him. “You have the scent of a tiger on the hunt.” Rich, vibrant, deadly.
“I am Naasir.” His voice was cultured, his words gracious, but those metallic eyes watched her with unblinking focus. “Dmitri asked me to assist you.”

The Guild Hunter series I believe is Nalini giving reins to the darker side of her uber talented mind, which is something I am eternally grateful for. For those that love a good urban fantasy series with a strong heroine and a melt-your-panties variety of hero, this series is definitely for you. Even if the stories are not about Elena and Raphael throughout, worry not. Because Nalini has assembled a cast of characters that would definitely win your heart over in more ways than one.

Final Verdict: Filled with darkness of the kind that is so well crafted that you can’t help but want for more!

Favorite Quotes

You can’t scare me, she thought to him.
A lie, Guild Hunter. I can feel your heart thudding like a trapped rabbit’s.
I’d be stupid not to be afraid. But I’m not going to back away from us just because you’re feeling a little extra snarly.
A split second when his lips stopped, then she felt them curve, his hand rising from her throat to cup her cheek. The white-hot burn of his power faded, was replaced by the erotic touch of his skin. Only you would ever dare say that to me.”

So tight and slick and mine.
Blatantly possessive, hotly male.
Her bottom rubbed against him with every undulation of her body, driving her to a fever pitch. “I need more.”
You can’t have my cock, Elena.
She trembled, tried to find her mind. “Why not? I’m rather fond of it.”
That got her another teasing brush across her clit. Sparks flared behind her eyelids, and she barely heard him through the buzz in her head.
You’re not strong enough to take what I want to do to you.

“Even if you fail,” he said, “I have every confidence that you’ll find a way to end my life before I stain the world with evil.”
Rebellion in those eyes. “We die,” she said, “we die together. That’s the deal.”
He thought about his final thoughts as he’d fallen with her in New York, her body broken in his arms, her voice less than a whisper in his mind. He hadn’t considered holding onto his eternity for a second, had chosen to die with her, with his hunter. That she would choose to do the same . . . His hands clenched. “We die,” he repeated, “we die together.”

They rose through lingering traces of angel dust, each fine mote kicking her further into a kind of heat she wasn’t sure she could survive. Groaning, she pressed her mouth to the uncompromising angle of his jaw, licking at his skin, sucking and tasting as he flew them home. Against her belly, he was hard, deliciously tempting. She wanted to close her hand around that heavy heat, but had to satisfy herself with biting kisses along his jaw.
He didn’t stop her, but his body grew increasingly more taut, his muscles electric with strain by the time they landed on the balcony outside their bedroom. She felt him slide open the doors, shut them after they entered. And then the archangel lost control.

Elena!
She couldn’t take all of him. He was too big, too thick. But I’ll have eternity to refine my technique. The sensual thought blazed out on an inferno of need as she loved her archangel, licking and tasting and sucking.
Brilliant white fire against her skin and she knew he was glowing, this lethal being she dared tease in the most intimate of ways. His response when it came, was starkly sensual. Your mouth—his voice sandpaper in her mind—is a little piece of heaven and hell.

It was the rawest, most primitive way to possess a woman, but his hunter pushed up on her elbows, gave him a challenging look, and said, “I’m waiting.”
He slid into her in a single hard thrust. Her scream echoed off the walls, but it was a scream that held equal parts demand and need. Gripping her hips tight, he pulled out almost fully, then slammed back in. There was no mercy in him any longer, but Elena didn’t ask it from him.
Learn to fly fast, Elena, he said as he pushed them both to a final, blinding peak. Then we will dance in the sky.

She pressed her lips to Raphael’s jaw. “But you, you’ve always been the rain, the wind, inside my mind. I taste you when I sleep, when I wake, when I breathe.”
If Jason hadn’t landed then, Raphael would have drawn Elena inside, taken his fill of her own unique scent. As it was, he ran his hand to close over her nape, brushing his mouth over the sweet curve of her ear. I will taste you tonight, Elena . Be ready for me—I won’t stop until you scream your pleasure.
He heard her heart hitch, her breath catch. But his hunter had never yet backed down from a challenge. Anytime, angel boy.

Her scream echoed into his mouth. He kissed her through the taking, through the raw, almost painful emotion of their joining. He kissed her until she gasped for breath, until her eyes went blank with pleasure, with passion, with ecstasy. And then he kissed her as she came down from the peak.
“Again,” he whispered into her mouth.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | eBookMall | ARe | iTunes

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Review: Love Bites by Maggie Osborne

Format: E-booklovebites
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-Published
Hero: Trevor d’Laine
Heroine: Kay Erickson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: September 27, 2014
Started On: October 24, 2015
Finished On: October 28, 2015

My fascination to do with Maggie Osborne is something that I would never deny. From the moment I picked up her novel Silver Lining, there was no looking back for me. To me, Maggie Osborne is synonymous with novels that takes you to places where authors normally don’t. Her unusual heroines with their inner core of strength, and very real faults; they make for the kind of characters that you root for, from the very bottom of your heart. Every review I have done of a book by Maggie Osborne has always ended with me bemoaning about the fact that she stopped writing. So imagine my delighted surprise when I found that this book was released on Smashwords late September of last year!

Love Bites is Maggie Osborne’s first foray into romance of the paranormal variety if I am not mistaken. Because I have not read her complete set of novels, I might have missed out on other genres that she ventured into way before. That being said, Trevor d’Laine is the vampire in this novel, a vampire with his own talk show, delivered at night of course. His advertisement for a live-in assistant, a Renfield to his vampire, is what brings Kay Erickson to his doorstep and into his life.

Trevor is determined that he would never ever fall in love again. Years of loneliness that has passed since the bleakness that is his past makes him wary of taking that step. And there is that secret that he carries around in his heart, of why he became a vampire in the first place that would never make him want to take a step to reverse all of it. But all that changes when Kay begins to get under his skin in a way he didn’t think it was possible, and makes him lose perspective on what he has believed to be true ever since he turned into a vampire.

Kay lives in a bubble of her own making until meeting Trevor changes everything. Every single thing she has believed about life, love and lust takes a hike upon meeting Trevor. And that proves to be a game changer for someone as steady, dependable and perhaps a bit boring like Kay, but someone who yearns for adventure, love and passion of the kind that would blow her mind. In Trevor she finds all those things, but the danger that becomes all too real when it comes to the mission they embark upon makes the situation doubly precarious.

While I liked Love Bites, I can’t say that I fully loved the story or could accept where it eventually led me to. Perhaps it has got something to do with Maggie Osborne’s take on the vampire lifestyle. Vampires are made out to be characters who cannot stay true to what they are, because there are so many drawbacks to their lives, the soul deep loneliness and inability to love for one? I just couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just stay the way they were and still be able to love, feel and whatnot.

The other thing was the gravity of the sacrifice Trevor makes to be with Kay. Obviously with all the “negativity” with which Maggie Osborne paints the life of a vampire, Kay didn’t or wouldn’t have wanted to become one. Why become one when the love that made you want to take that step withers away after centuries of being together? Revealing Trevor’s sacrifice would mean giving away a huge spoiler, but let me just say this – I cannot help but question whether or not Trevor would regret the sacrifice he made somewhere down the line. I just cannot help but sigh a little bit with regret over what could have been if otherwise.

I would say Love Bites has a “happy ending” depending on the way you look at it. Well, it was a happy ending in one sense. But in another, it just seemed an uneven happy ending to me! While Trevor was an absolute darling, I couldn’t bring myself to love Kay wholeheartedly. But Maggie Osborne’s writing? Absolutely magical in places where it mattered.

Recommended for fans of vampire romances. This one definitely has a unique take to it!

Final Verdict: Maggie Osborne’s take on vampirism. Definitely worth a look!

Favorite Quotes

Kay’s heart stopped as she stared up at him. He no longer reminded her of an impish boy wearing plastic teeth. This was a man. An aroused man staring at her throat, listening to her blood accelerate in her veins. His shoulders swelled, and his expression was sexy and dangerous and wildly exciting.
A great thrill of weakness spread through her limbs and she couldn’t catch her breath. As if her body had become heavier, her hips sank in the water and her toes found the bottom of the pool. She stood on shaking legs, breathless and unable to move, and gazed helplessly into his glowing eyes.
The desire she saw there set a match to her trembling body and lit her on fire.

The cool touch of his hands on her burning skin, the feel of his hard full thrust straining the thin material of her swimming suit, the mesmerizing smolder in his flaming eyes, the touch of his hand stroking her breast, all combined to render her frantic and helpless. Dizzy erotic hungers whirled in her mind, scalded her thoughts.
Gasping for breath, blood pounding, all she could think about was the desire that knifed through her like a hot blade. She wanted him to rip aside her swimsuit and plunge inside of her, wanted him to sink his teeth into her bared throat and take from her whatever he needed. She wanted… oh God, she wanted!

He yearned to taste her life, her soul, to drink her into him. He craved the rapture of fulfillment that her blood could give. Swept by passion, he saw only the thin tissue of rosy skin between him and the rich red blood that roared in his ears.
As he approached climax, his mouth opened instinctively and his teeth extended a final distance, a reflex beyond his control. His body shook with an urgent need for release, driven by an almost desperate need to suck and drink.
As his body erupted, Trevor veered away from her bared throat and he buried his teeth in the pillow beside her head. Trembling violently, he collapsed on top of her, pushing the torn pillow aside. Her arms stole around him, and she held him tightly until both of them stopped shaking.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords | iTunes

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Requested Review: The Farthest Shore by Marian Perera

Format: E-bookthefarthestshore
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Eden, #3
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Hero: Alyster Juell
Heroine: Mirande Tayes
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: August 26, 2014
Started On: December 15, 2014
Finished On: December 20, 2014

Alyster Juell is the captain of the steamship Checkmate, involved in a race between Denalait ships and a Dragan schooner. Captain Alyster appears in the second book of the series, i.e. The Deepest Ocean, my favorite Eden book thus far. Alyster’s excitement over the race is a given and when he finds a stowaway on board, none other than Mirande Tayes (Miri), one of the reporters that he had met the previous night, Alyster’s first reaction is to distrust her on every level.

The truth about Miri’s past and where she comes from is the reason behind Miri’s fate that ends her being onboard Alyster’s steamship as a stowaway. Miri bargains with Alyster to keep her onboard until they reach a port where she can make her way. Alyster who has misgivings about a reporter he distrusts is left fighting an attraction born out of respect for Miri proves her mettle and shows him that she is unafraid of hard work to make her way when required.

Meanwhile, the war that has waged for years between the Tureans and the Denalaits rears its ugly head in the midst of the race, the Tureans willing to use every dirty trick under their sleeve and then some to “win” in a war that has seen its fair share of casualities and damages on both sides. The war has done nothing but create a divide the likes of which we find in the real world today, racial divides that seem insurmountable at best which is the situation that comes to light between Miri and Alyster.

Marian’s ability to create and combine the creepy with the mystic, the romance with the world building continues to amaze me with every story that I read from the Eden series. The Farthest Shore combines all of the above to give a spellbinding read that keeps the reader on tenterhooks until the very last page.

The fate of the little girl under the Turean command, that holds so much power in her hands is one that filled me with unease and fascination quite at the same time. I cannot help but want to read her story somewhere along the way, perhaps Marian might end up giving readers like myself one sometime in the future.

Alyster as the hero is a bit of a laid back version compared to his brother who has a reckless streak a mile wide. The commanding side to Alyster is a direct contrast to his beta-ish nature, both of which makes for a compelling hero. Though Alyster has a hard time coming to terms with who Miri is, the honesty with which he and both Miri handle the situation is one that deserves a mention. Miri is a courageous heroine, whose penchant for being truthful and upfront with Alyster before anything serious could happen between the two of them endeared her to me in more ways than one. Waiting for more stories from the world of Eden.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Marian’s world building of Eden offers endless possibilities for fascinating tales of intrigue, excitement & danger!

Favorite Quotes

“A lot can happen in a few hours.”
“Alyster…” she began. She wasn’t sure what she intended to say, perhaps just tell him that it was the wrong time and place for whatever he was trying to do—and she knew now that he didn’t only want her to trust him. She also knew that she should not have said his name for the first time like that, in a voice that showed altogether too much need, betraying both a loneliness and a longing that she had never allowed herself to show before. But by then it was far too late.

He’d shaved, so the skin grazing her ear was velvety-rough, his teeth hard against her earlobe.
That time it was she who made a sound instead, a whimper she couldn’t stifle, and her arms went up around him.
“Yes,” he said, his voice as raw as if he had fought not to say anything at all, and when he kissed her again there was no gentleness about it. But she didn’t need that now. She needed to forget about everything, needed the pain of the past and the darkness of that night wiped out in a desire so fierce she couldn’t think any longer, needed him.

“I’ve never known a woman quite like you,” he said quietly.
Again she hesitated. Only the faintest edge of moonlight from the open hatchway showed the soft waves of her hair and one shoulder in the darkness.
“A woman who was half-salt?” she finally replied, and he had the impression she’d used the pause to make certain only a cool edge of disdain showed in her voice. He didn’t think he’d allow her the chance to get a shield up again. He didn’t think he wanted there to be anything between them again, at least not for that night.
“Half-idealistic and half-exasperating and all remarkable,” he said, and closed his hands around her shoulders, pulling her against him.

Over a rushing sound in his ears, he heard her groan low in her throat, and he managed to break the kiss so they could breathe again. They were both panting as if they’d been nearly drowned.
As he wanted to drown in her, wanted to sink into her until she was gasping and helpless under him. There was no need to search for her mouth a second time. She kissed him back, one arm sliding up around his neck, and her fingers caught in his hair. He shuddered, and his mouth went to her throat.

“Do you want me?” He barely recognized the sound of his own voice.
In the darkness, he heard her swallow, and the sound made him take a quick step back before he could lose the last vestiges of control and push her up against the wall. “Yes.” The word sounded like a sigh, albeit a sigh dragged out of her with a fishing gaff.
A tension he hadn’t realized was present drained out of him. “Then come to my cabin,” he said, and walked away.

A whimper trapped in her throat, she bent her knees, trying to force his mouth closer to her, but she might as well have been trying to shift a mountain. He made a sound that might have been a laugh if it hadn’t been so raw with need, and buried his face between her thighs. The roughness of the stubble on his face made his mouth feel more sensitive and sensual, and he impaled her with his tongue.
The world vanished in a soundless explosion. Her body jerked in a climax so fast and hard she couldn’t even scream. Her spine locked rigid, her head fell back as wave after wave of clenching release slammed into her, and he drew out the last shudders as he licked her swollen, spasming flesh.

“Now,” she whispered, but he only shifted position, and his tongue played slowly over her other nipple. She squirmed, unable to bear the ache between her thighs. “Alyster, now—” He came into her deep and hard, stretching and filling her. She cried out, a sound as much plea as it was pleasure. Her arms tightened around him to hold him where she needed
him, her hips rose to meet his fierce thrusts, and she was close, so close, so—
“Miri,” he groaned against her ear, and that was enough. Everything in her tightened at once, clenching and rigid, and Alyster pulled back before driving in again, faster now as if he had lost all control too.

“Ride me, Miri,” he whispered, and she lifted herself above him. The slick slide of his naked flesh against hers made him set his teeth, and when he pushed back into her, it felt even better. She braced her hands against his chest, rising and falling again and again, meeting his thrusts in a rhythm that was steadily growing faster, more out of control.
“Now—” The muscles of her face tightened too, her eyes closing as she surrounded him and withdrew, relentless as the tide. Her thighs were trembling against his hips, squeezing them, as she impaled herself completely. “Alyster—”
Yes, Alyster thought and thrust up as hard as he could. It was enough.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe | Samhain | eBookMall

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