Review: Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloverreborn
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #10
Publisher: Penguin
Hero: Tohrment, son of Hharm
Heroine: No’One / Autumn
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 27, 2012
Started On: November 30, 2017
Finished On: December 11, 2017

Lover Reborn, the tenth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series brings to readers the much awaited story of Tohrment. Tohrment is the vampire who was bonded & married when the series initially began, the vampire who lost it all when his pregnant wife was killed by none other than a lesser, the mortal enemies of the vampire race. To say that Tohrment feels the loss keenly would be an understatement, so much so that he flees the Brotherhood compound and disappears for a long while, until he is “forced” to return. How he returns and why would be giving away spoilers for fans of the series who are yet to read this installment.

Even though Tohrment returns to the fold of the living, his soul is tormented by thoughts of none other than Wellsie, his beloved shellan, with whom he wants to be, even if it means going unto the Fade himself. However, fate has other plans in store for him when Tohrment begins to take notice of No’One, mother of Xhexania (Xhex), John’s shellan. Tohrment’s past is one that is entwined with that of the painful one of No’One’s.

No’One carries a name that fits the life she has led since her abduction at the hands of a symphath, who had violated her in too many ways to count, rendering her as a persona non grata in the glymera society, furthermore leaving her with a child she had never asked for, nor wanted. Tohrment’s role in ensuring her wellbeing at that rough and tough point in her life is something No’One has never forgotten.

No’One tries hard to not draw attention to herself. Wearing loose clothing with a hood over her head, No’One keeps to herself, does a lot of physical labor which makes the doggen feel helpless to boot, but its a way of life No’One doesn’t seem to want to be willing to give up, until Lassiter seeks her help to bring Tohrment truly back to the land of the living.

At first, the newly forged association between Tohrment and No’One is an odd one. Tohrment doesn’t have any needs beyond ensuring that his dead shellan and unborn child crosses over to the Fade, and in order to do so, Tohrment has to do the hardest thing he has ever had to do – let them go. No’One assures herself and Tohrment with the fact that she has no interest in HIS kind – the male sex in its entirety, which is what allows both Tohrment and No’One to get close enough to each other for the bonds to forge, the attraction to simmer and spill forth like a river gushing ferociously after being denied its passage for so long.

Lover Reborn is a story that has plenty of angst going for it, not only through the story of Tohrment and No’One, but because John and Xhex face the first real test of the limits of their relationship. Being bonded to someone like Xhex is tough business, with both the male and female being similarly aggressive in a manner that leaves very little room for compromising. While I understood Xhex and where she was coming from, it hurt me more to see what John was going through. But, I believe that Ward handled that particular difficult period of their relationship with great sensitivity, and I couldn’t have asked for more in that regard.

Meanwhile, in Tohrment and No’One’s relationship, Tohrment is determined that he keep his distance, even when he is helplessly drawn to No’One in a way he never thought would be possible. But resist he does, until the very end, whereby the explosive nature of his need for No’One foinds its outlet in the most delicious way possible. But Tohrment is a vampire determined in many ways, and his determination to keep clinging onto the memory of his wife is one that starts driving a wedge between No’One and Tohrment, not because No’One complains about any of it, but because Tohrment is torn up about his conflicting and wayward emotions when it comes to both females.

I sometimes felt that No’One is left holding up the short end of the stick when it comes to Tohrment. But then again, with bonding of the kind that the vampires forge, I believe it is pretty difficult to react in any way but. For Tohrmnet, Wellsie had been THE one, and the woman he had thought he would spend the rest of his life with. His fear of losing her, which had in the end become a reality, had been too much for him to take, which is again understandable. No’One playing second fiddle to the preserved and pristine memory of a dead woman was her way of letting Tohrment come to terms with everything. Had No’One being any other way, I guess the relationship would have failed even before it began.

No’One has the kind of patience, empathy, and forgiveness that few can aspire to have. Perhaps it had been forged through the life of continued “penance” that she had lived, never asking for anything for herself, but going along the path of life without wanting much out of it.

One of the sweetest things about this story was the relationship that buds to life between Xhex and No’One, daughter and mother, who for the first time get that opportunity to be together. Xhex who hides her inner vulnerability with the hard shell of the sharply honed fighter that she is, never thought that there would come a day when she and her mother would have a relationship, much less one where she could actually feel loved and wanted. That for me, was one of the most riveting parts of this story.

The end was an angst ridden one for Tohrment and No’One, and I am glad that Ward did justice to both their characters and gave readers an ending worth all the “torment”.

Lover Reborn is also the novel in which Ward makes Xcor’s character a prominent one. I fell in love with him in this story, and it is a love that has only grown in leaps and bounds as the series progressed and ultimately reached his story. The Band of Bastards, whose leader is Xcor, commits the most unforgivable of crimes against the King, for which the punishment is to be death. If that doesn’t get the reader juices flowing to find out what happens next, what would?

Splendid storytelling as always. Forever glad that I decided to give this series a try because I have yet to be disappointed.

Final Verdict: Lover Reborn, just like every single Black Dagger Brotherhood book, is a feast on all your senses. JR Ward definitely knows what she’s doing.

Favorite Quotes

When she came a second time, she had to retract her mouth from his flesh and call out his name. And as he pulsed deep within her, she stopped moving and absorbed the sensation of the kicking and jerking, so familiar, and yet so fresh.
Jesus … what an expression he had … his eyes squeezed shut, his teeth bared, the muscles in his neck straining, all while a streak of delicious red left the puncture marks she had yet to lick closed.
When his lids finally opened, she stared hard at the blissed-out haze in those blue eyes of his. His love for her wasn’t just emotional; there was an undeniable physical component to it. That was the way bonded males worked.

He met her halfway, falling into a jog as soon as he saw her pick up the pace, and they slammed into each other.
Hard to know whose mouth found whose, or whose arms were cinched tighter, or who was the desperate one.
But then, in this they were equals.
Breaking the kiss, she groaned, “My cabin.”
The second after he nodded, she was out of there and so was he … and they re-formed outside her place.
No waiting to go inside.
He fucked her standing up, against her door, in the cold.

When John finally stopped and lifted his head, they were in the far corner, nearly into the living room. Oh, what a picture. Her mate’s face was flushed, his mouth glossy and puffy, his fangs so long he couldn’t close his jaw—and she was likewise wrung out, her breathing ragged, her sex throbbing with its own heartbeat.
He was still erect.
Too bad she barely had the energy to blink—because he deserved one heck of a payback.…
Except he seemed to know exactly what she was thinking. Rising up between her open legs, he gripped himself and began to stroke.
With a moan, she arched and rolled her hips. “Come all over me,” she said through gritted teeth.
John worked himself, his palm locked around his thick shaft, a clicking sound rising up as he pumped. His massive thighs split wide as he shoved his knees farther apart for balance, the muscles in his forearm standing out in harsh relief as he went harder and faster. And then he was barking something in a soundless way, his body going rigid as hot jets splashed all over her sex.
Just the thought of herself wet and messy was almost enough to make her come again. But the sight of him making it happen? Sent her right over the edge once more…

Dearest Virgin Scribe, he was enormous.
As No’One stood in the lee of the great warrior who had come upon her, she felt the heat coming off his massive body sure as if she were in front of a raging fire. And yet… she was not burned. And she was not afraid. She was warmed in someplace so deep, so buried within her, that she did not immediately recognize it as part of her internal makeup.
All she knew for sure was that he was going to take her vein within moments and she was going to let him—not because the angel had requested it of her, and not because she had vowed to, and not to make up for something in the past.
She… wanted him to.

“Ease yourself, warrior,” she told him.
“Oh, Jesus…”
“Now.”
As she commanded him, a thrall appeared to come over him: Below his waist, under the sheeting, one of his knees came up toward his body, his thighs splitting wide as his grip secured that vital place that defined him as uniquely male.
What happened next defied description. He worked himself against the balled sheeting, rolling his hips, pushing down, his body gathering momentum—
Oh, the sounds: from the rasp of his breath to his moans to the squeak from under the table.
This was the male animal in the throes of passion.
And there was no going back.
For either of them.

“Take from me,” he commanded, his jaw locking, his chin lifting, his throat becoming even more exposed.
As she brought her head down, she shook from head to foot, and she struck with no grace whatsoever—
This time, the moan came from her.
His taste was like nothing she could recall, a screaming roar in her mouth, over her tongue, down her throat. His blood was so much purer and stronger than that which she had had, and oh, the power of him. It was as if the potency of his warrior’s body poured into hers, transforming her into something so much more than she had ever been before.
“Take more,” he urged in a rough voice. “Take everything.…”

The first touch of her sex was nothing but a passover that had her crying out for more. The second was a slower shift. The third was a—
She shot her hand down and covered his, pushing him against her heat.
His moan was unexpected, suggesting that the feel of her might have made him orgasm himself—yes, she could tell by the way his body spasmed that he had found another release, his hips jerking beneath the blankets in a way that made her think of penetration.
Repeated, vigorous penetration.

And then his hands were upon her. Through the linen shift, his palms burned as they stroked her breasts and continued lower. Parting her thighs even farther for him, she pulled up the sheath and got what she wanted, his touch going to her core, massaging her, bringing her to that knife edge of release—but no farther.
“I want to kiss you,” he growled against her mouth. “But I can’t wait.”
She thought he was kissing her?
Before she could respond, he lifted his hips from her and worked with rough urgency at the front of his leathers.
And then something hot and blunt was bumping … nudging … slipping against her.
No’One arched up and called his name—and that was when he took her: As her voice echoed to the high ceiling, his body claimed hers, pushing inside, making its way, hard yet satin soft.

Abruptly, he slowed down and snagged the tie that secured the plait of her hair, ripping it off and freeing the lengths. Shaking the thick waves out of their confines, he drew them over her shoulder and his own, blanketing them both.
Something about that undoing led to his own undoing: Two pumps later and his body pitched off its ledge, the release taking over everything until he cursed on an explosive breath.
Careening through the pleasure, he squeezed her hard and put his face into all that blond, breathing in, smelling the delicate shampoo that she used. Shit, the scent of her cranked him even higher, until his orgasm abruptly became the rough-and-tumble kind, racking his body, throwing his balance out of whack, rendering him temporarily blind.

They landed in the warm water as one, soft, invisible arms gathering them into a temperate cushion, and insulating them from gravity’s heavyhanded pull, sparing them both any kind of hard landing.
As his head went under, he found her mouth and claimed it, kissing her under the surface as he planted his feet and pushed up so that they found the air. …
In the process, his cock found her core again.
She was right there with him, linking those legs of hers around his hips once more, echoing his rhythm, kissing him back. And it was good. It was … right.

As she strained against him, pumping herself faster and faster, her frustration made her wild.
She bit him.
In the shoulder.
Scored him. With her nails.
The combination should have had him stopping and demanding more civilized behavior. Instead, with his blood flowing onto her, he let out a roar so mighty there was a crash in the room, as if it had rattled something off the wall.
Then he orgasmed. And thank the sweet Virgin Scribe for his release. As he jabbed into her and his erection kicked violently, she finally caught that elusive ride herself, her body rocking with him, the headboard banging.

Coming out of the bath, he found her still on the bed. She had curled away toward the windows and was lying on her side with the sheets drawn around herself.
He saw her naked.
Utterly. Fucking. Naked.
The image made his body get instantly hard, his sex punching out from his hips. And as if she sensed his arousal, she moaned in an erotic purr and undulated. Reaching behind herself, she pulled back what covered her and moved her upper leg forward, exposing her glistening sex.
“Oh, hell,” he groaned.

“Jesus,” he groaned. “How’m I supposed to leave you?”
“Don’t,” she said.
No asking twice on that one. He took her from behind again, lifting her hips, gripping them, and tilting her pelvis so he could get in deep. He ended up with a forearm around her midsection and his weight balanced on his other hand, working her, pounding her until their bodies slapped together and the bed made that noise again. He came on a curse, his orgasm exploding out of him as if he hadn’t had sex in months.
And still he was hungry for her. Especially as she found her own release.

Xhex grabbed the doorknob, twisted hard enough to break the thing off, and shoved her way—
Holy. Shit.
John was by himself on his bed, lying on top of twisted sheets, his naked body gleaming in the light that bled in from the bathroom. One hand was between his legs, his big fist locked on his thick cock … the other was gripping the headboard for leverage as he worked himself, his teeth bared, the muscles in his shoulders and neck standing out in stark relief as he strained.
Shiiiiit. His lower abdomen was slick from other orgasms, and yet he seemed starved for release.
Fevered eyes met hers as his hand stilled. Go, he mouthed. Please …
She quickly stepped inside and shut the door. This was not something anyone else needed to see.
Please! he demanded.
Please, indeed, she thought to herself, her own body responding, her own blood starting to pump.

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

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Review: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison

Format: E-bookthesilentwife.jpeg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Thriller
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Penguin Books
Hero: Todd Gilbert
Heroine: Jodi Brett
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: June 25, 2013
Started On: December 12, 2016
Finished On: December 15, 2016

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison is one of those novels that has a deep impact on you in the way the story unfolds, and yet, when all is said and done it fails to deliver on many fronts. I picked this up on a whim, a friend of mine finished reading the book before I even began, and my interest got piqued by the bits and pieces that were shared about the book as the read progressed.

When I picked this up to read, I quite didn’t know what to expect, except for the fact that my interest was roused to a point where I just had to read it. The Silent Wife brings forth three main characters, Jodi Brett a psychotherapist, Todd Gilbert her partner of over 25 years, and Natasha Kovac, the woman who brings the house of cards tumbling down.

Jodi is well versed in the art of failed relationships, or perhaps relationships on the verge of failing. Patients who seek her help are in a major way looking for answers that surrounds broken relationships, or in certain cases, people happier with what is far from the accepted norm. There is the gay lawyer who feels remorse over hurting his wife and kid, who in fact wants to be “cured” of his gayness, and at the other end of the spectrum, the cheating suburban housewife who believes that her husband has no room to complain, and that the cheating actually add value to the marriage.

What struck me the most from the onset was how Jodi had this need for a life that was under her control in many ways. Even though she is a psychotherapist who should in fact know better, her mind is a  constructed  fortress within which she lives, the facade of perfection which in reality is what she holds onto more than anything else.

While Todd had always wanted kids, Jodi had refused over the years, and that too had driven a rift between the two which Jodi doesn’t clearly see for what it is. Todd’s actions are hardly commendable either. Having grown comfortable in the way Jodi sees to all his needs and makes a home for him, his dalliances had never been tested until Natasha becomes his newest conquest.

Natasha is a line crossed in more ways than one. And when the inevitable happens, Todd is willing to give up the life he had had with Jodi for more than 20 years in order to try his hand at a life he thinks he wants above everything else. In the end it is Jodi’s actions that keeps the story twisting and turning in directions that leaves the reader wanting to know more, her past one that was never properly shed light on, but left behind hints of abuse that could have explained in a major way where she was coming from.

In the end, after all the edge of the seat variety moments, towards the latter half of the book, the story got bogged down in so much unnecessary detail that I kept skim reading to reach the bits and pieces that I wanted to read. The end when it came, delivered what something that totally ruined an otherwise what could have been a great read.

Final Verdict: Bogged down in unnecessary detail, and yet The Silent’s Wife’s saving grace lies in the fact that it is somehow unputdownable.

Favorite Quotes

People live their lives, express themselves, and pursue fulfillment in their own ways and in their own time. They are going to make mistakes, exercise poor judgment and bad timing, take wrong turns, develop hurtful habits, and go off on tangents. If she learned anything in school she learned this, courtesy of Albert Ellis, father of the cognitive-behavioral paradigm shift in psychotherapy. Other people are not here to fulfill our needs or meet our expectations, nor will they always treat us well. Failure to accept this will generate feelings of anger and resentment. Peace of mind comes with taking people as they are and emphasizing the positive.

Love after all is indivisible. Loving one more doesn’t mean loving another less. Faith is not a construct but something you carry inside you.

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

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Review: Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloveravenged.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #7
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Hero: Rehvenge
Heroine: Ehlena
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 28, 2009
Started On: October 16, 2016
Finished On: November 02, 2016

Just as I mentioned in my last review, JR Ward did such a magnificent job of juggling multiple characters and storylines that I needed to Rehvenge’s book as soon as I was done reading Lover Enshrined. I have been reading the BDB series without really checking whose story is up next; I like the element of surprise it gives me, and plus, my trust in JR Ward’s ability to keep me entertained and on my toes while at it is an implicit one.

So when I picked up Lover Avenged (hopeful I was, of course), it was a delightful surprise to know that this was indeed Rehvenge’s story. Rehvenge makes for such a fascinating and formidable hero in so many ways. Being a half sympath, Rehvenge is someone who is a drug lord and pimp, and dangerous to boot. His liaisons with his blackmailer is one that has continued for years, one that was born out of sheer necessity for survival, and one that is proving detrimental to his very physical existence as well.

Rehvenge’s past is one filled with darkness, with an accusation hanging over his head that he has never fully given an explanation as to why. For him, cloaking himself in the dark of the night, staying away from humans and vampires alike as much as possible, is the way he survives. However, when he comes across Ehlena in one of his increasingly frequent and required visits to the clinic, Rehvenge’s reaction to her is one that takes both him and her by surprise.

Ehlena works as a nurse and is in a state of near destitution when Rehvenge comes into her life. Wary of trusting anyone as sinfully good looking as Rehvenge, and fearful of the disdainful reaction her less than favorable status might invoke in him makes Ehlena try her best to stay away from Rehvenge. However, as with most best laid plans, this one too falls through the cracks, and before Ehlena knows it, she is as involved as it gets with a man who harbors a secret of the kind that could destroy her and the very fabric of her existence itself.

Similar to Phury’s book, even in Lover Avenged, I felt that Rehvenge and Ehlena were given the role more of a secondary storyline than the primary focus of the novel. Of course, everything that was happening was equally relevant and as interesting. But I would have loved to have had just a little bit more of Ehlena and Rehvenge in the story, to have given them the opportunity to woo readers like myself a little bit more with a love that I fell for, hook, line, and sinker from the very first moment.

I also found myself totally engrossed in Lash’s role as he grew to prominence from being Omega’s son and the chosen one to lead the Lessers, and his plan that was cunning in the extreme to shake things up in the Vampire race once again.

So many starkly emotional moments were lined up in this book as well, from the moment the King aka Wrath faces the fact that he is indeed King of the race and it was time for him to step up. The role being something he had shied away from for a long while, having never wanted it, nevertheless it was his, and his “condition” more or less makes it more so relevant in his life.

I also found the snippets of Xhex and John’s story in the novel thoroughly invigorating. Their obvious attraction to one another from which Xhex alone shies away from, given the fact that she is a strong and equally dominant female to John’s maleness, plus the fact that her previous love affair had gone so horribly wrong – needless to say, Xhex has trust issues and major ones at that, which puts both of them at seemingly impassable crossroads.

I fell in love with Ehlena at a very pivotal moment in the story. The moment that a gentle person like herself, coming to the conviction that she would kill anyone who would hurt someone as seemingly powerful as Rehvenge was the moment that there was no going back for me. And Ehlena proved herself in ways that I wholeheartedly approved of, and I couldn’t have asked for a better fit for Rehvenge and the darkness that resides deep inside of him.

The way JR Ward made the whole Sympath angle work, and turn it to the advantage of the Vampire race that majorly shies away from the likes of Sympaths was nothing short of brilliant in my opinion. The way Rehvenge rose to the occasion, took over the colony, and finally assumed a role that was befitting him in so many ways – that was so powerful in a way that made the story the amazing read it was for me.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Every installment in this series has been nothing short of intense. Lover Avenged just reaffirms this truth in a way that sets in stone JR Ward’s mastery over the genre.

Favorite Quotes

“Hello?”
The sound of her voice in his ear did something the hot shower, the mink throw, and the eighty-degree ambient air temperature couldn’t. Warmth spread out from his chest, beating back the numbness and the cold, suffusing him with…life.
He extinguished the lights so he could concentrate all he had on her.
“Rehvenge?” she said after a moment.
He eased back down onto his pillows and smiled in the dark. “Hi.”

“More,” she demanded, pushing her hips up.
His amethyst eyes lifted. “I don’t want to be too rough.”
“You won’t be. Please…it’s killing me….”
With a growl, he dove down and sealed her sex with his mouth, sucking her, pulling her into him. She came again, this time in hard, shattering blows, but he did her right. He kept going, riding out her jerks and arches, the sound of lips against lips rising up with her guttural cries as he worked her and made her climax over and over again.

“Take the stockings between both hands, stretch them out taut, then run them in between your legs front to back.”
She laughed with an erotic edge, then said sweetly, “You want me to work myself against them, do you?”
His breath shot into her ear. “Fuck, yes.”
“Dirty male.”
“A tongue bath from you might clean me up. What do you say?”
“Yes.”
“I love that word on your lips.”

With breathless demand, she said, “Take my vein—”
He hissed like a predator and went for her neck, biting hard.
Beth’s body jerked under his, and between their hips he felt a welling warmth that had nothing to do with what he’d left behind inside her. In his mouth, her blood was the gift of life, thick on his tongue and down his throat, filling his belly with a furnace of heat, lighting up his flesh from the inside out.

Before she could go over the door in front of him slid open, and he strode across the distance that seperated them, the winter wind catching his sable coat and sweeping it out from his body. His glowing amethyst eyes flashed. His stride was pure power. His aura was undeniably male.
Her heart leaped as he stopped before her. In the glow from the city, his face was hard and loving at the same time, and though it no doubt froze him to the bone, he opened his coat, inviting her to share what body heat he had.
Ehlena leaned in and wrapped her arms around him, holding him tight, breathing his scent deeply.
His mouth dropped to her ear. “I missed you.”

“I need you,” he groaned.
Rehv struck hard and she cried out, her spine bending nearly in half as he caged her with his strength. Fuck, she was perfect. She tasted like thick, heavy wine and with dragging pulls of his mouth, he drank her down deep.
And moved her over to the bed.
Ehlena didn’t stand a chance. Neither did he.

Triggered by the feeding, his vampire nature plowed over everything, a male’s need to mark what he wanted, to establish sexual territory, to dominate, taking over and driving him to rip down her slacks, pull up one of her legs, position his cock at the threshold of her sex—
And push his way into her.
Ehlena let out another keening cry as he penetrated her. She was incredibly tight, and fearing he might hurt her, he fell still so her body could accommodate him.

It didn’t take long for his balls to cinch up tight and for his hands to crank down on her hair. Gasping against her mouth, he gave one last great thrust and came hard, soaking her hand and his stomach and the blanket.
When her touch drifted down to his barb and she felt the extension, he froze, praying she wasn’t disgusted by the way he was built.
“I want to feel this inside me,” she groaned against his lips.
As her words sank in, Rehvenge’s body exploded in orgasm again.
Man…he couldn’t wait for them to get wherever they were going.

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

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Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookthebourbonkings
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Bourbon Kings, #1
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Hero: Jonathan Tulane Baldwine
Heroine: Lizzie King
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 28, 2015
Started On: July 09, 2016
Finished On: July 25, 2016

The Bourbon Kings is the first novel in a sweeping saga that tells the tales of the lives of the four siblings of the Baldwine family. It is not a simple story by any means. With multiple threads of the story happening at once, The Bourbon Kings is a novel that does justice to the reader by delivering a page-turner that is difficult to put down.

Jonathan Tulane Baldwine (Lane) returns home to the news that his mother might be at death’s door – not his birth mother, but the woman who raised all four of them with love and affection that was so glaringly absent from their lives. Lane, who otherwise had no inclination of returning, finds that his love for the woman that he had hurt beyond redemption by marrying another is still very much the owner of his heart. Furthermore, Lane also finds that the family is at the precipice of a change that could devastate them all, a change that could leave them all defenseless in the wake of it, if Lane were not to take up the reins as required.

Lizzie King swore to herself that she would never be taken in by Lane or anyone who looks as good for that matter. But the minute Lizzie’s paths crosses with that of the son that has returned, she finds that she is as helpless in the wake of want, desire and love that courses through her as much as Lane. The family politics that Lizzie has always stayed away from as an employee of the manor is what turns the tables for Lane and Lizzie, the knowledge that nothing was as she believed it to be when it comes to the deep and dark secrets of the family.

The Bourbon Kings is not a story that tells the tale of Lizzie and Tulane’s tale of love alone. It sweeps through the lives of the 4 siblings, Edward Westfork Bradford Baldwine, Virginia Elizabeth Baldwine otherwise known as Gin and Max, the one known as the free spirited sibling, the only sibling who didn’t make an appearance in the debut novel.

Edward is the hated son, the eldest who faced his nightmare at the hands of kidnappers in South America. Edward is a character that you feel for deeply, helpless at being unable to do anything much but read along, horrified at the extent of the betrayal that had basically crippled his life.

Gin being the only female sibling, is the one that carries the scars of having given birth to a daughter that she had felt ill-equipped to look after  with basically no support I am guessing, from whom she is pretty much estranged. Gin’s true love remains forever lost to her because of a decision that she is “forced” to take in the heat of the changes that comes to the family dynamics. A decision that had my heart do a dive because of the imminent sorrow I felt for her and the only man she has ever truly loved – the father of her daughter. It once again made me feel helpless as I could basically feel the horror that Gin’s life is going to be, a horror perhaps of her own making, which nevertheless does not make it any easier to swallow.

While Lane and Lizzie’s obstacles remained to be the broken trust that had shattered Lizzie in a way that she had never gotten over since Lane left the estate after his marriage and the woman who pretty much is still Lane’s wife who still lives on the estate, it is the events that takes place within the family, the deaths that came that had Lane reeling from the impact more than anything else that turns all their lives upside down. The fact that their entire family business is at peril, the name of the richest and oldest families in the bourbon making business facing the imminent threat of being dragged through the muck being the reason that requires Lane to step up and fill in the shoes that had been Edward’s role up till the moment he had cut ties from the family.

This being my first J. R. Ward, I was a bit apprehensive and pretty much excited to finally delve into something she had written. All because Ms. Ward is a name that you come across multiple times if you are lover of the romance genre. I found mixed reviews up on Goodreads for this book, perhaps given the fact that most of Ms. Ward’s fans are those of her urban-fantasy/paranormal series known as The Blackdagger Brotherhood of which I became a fan right after I finished The Bourbon Kings.

Talent of the kind that can juggle multiple lines of stories in one setting and deliver on each and every single one of them leaving the reader begging for more is one of the rarest in the world of books, especially when it comes to the romance genre. I found myself totally captivated by the immensely complex and yet profoundly broken and beautiful tale of love, lust, betrayal, jealousy, suspense and heart wrenching pain that Ms. Ward has created with this series. I became a fan from page one itself.

Looking forward to the next installment in the series, Angels’ Share, which has already come out. I can’t wait to see where Ms. Ward takes these characters that have embedded themselves in my heart from the get-go.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Sweeps you off into a setting that delivers a riot of emotions of the page turning kind!

Favorite Quotes

“You need to go now,” he said in a tight voice.
Yes, she told herself. I do.
And yet for some crazy reason, she whispered, “Why?”
“Because if I wanted you when it was just a game”—that stare of his locked on her mouth—“in my current mood, I’m desperate for you.”

He never thought he’d get this again, and though he would have liked to do a slow-and-sweet, he couldn’t. Too desperate.
He was rough with the waistband of her shorts, tearing at the button, the zipper, ripping them down her legs. And then he slid his hand between her thighs, pushing her cotton panties out of the—
Lizzie called out his name in a hoarse voice that nearly made him come right then and there. And as her fingers bit into his shoulders, he stroked her harder.
“Hurt me,” he growled as she dug into him. “Make me bleed …”

Lifting Lizzie up off the floor, he relished the way she locked on to him with her powerful arms. One tearing jerk of the zipper on his slacks and his arousal was ready to go. He split her underwear in two, and then—
The roar he let out into her neck was like that of an animal, but he paid no attention to the sound. The slick hold of her sex was a sensation he felt over his entire body, and he orgasmed immediately. So long … so long, that he had dreamed of her, and regretted what had happened, and wanted to do things differently. And now he was where he had prayed to be: With every pumping release into her, he was rewinding time, putting things back to rights, repairing the wrongs.

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

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ARC Review: Hush by Anne Frasier

Format: E-bookhush.png
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Penguin Putnam
Hero: Max Irving
Heroine: Ivy Dunlap
Sensuality: NA
Date of Publication: September 24, 2010
Started On: December 28, 2014
Finished On: January 4, 2015

“It’s happening again,” was all he said. It was all he had to say.

Criminal profiler Ivy Dunlop receives the call that she had been waiting for for the past sixteen years, since the murder of her son at the hands of a serial killer dubbed as “The Madonna Murderer”. Ivy had barely escaped death herself and has been awaiting the day when she would be able to avenge a loss that has left her with its blazing mark on her.

Chief Homicide Detective Max Irving doesn’t like it when he is ordered to “babysit” the criminal profiler from Canada. Its not like they weren’t receiving enough assistance from agencies already. But Ivy’s unique insight into the killer owing to her relationship with the case makes Max change his mind.

Hush is not a romantic suspense but rather a full on suspense novel that has the bare elements of a connection forged between the leads Max and Ivy that leaves readers like myself begging for just a tad more. I had no idea when I picked this up to read that Anne Frasier is in fact Theresa Weir, whose books I have previously enjoyed.

The writing style is evocative, drawing you deeper into the dark spell that the killer weaves. A killer with definite mummy issues, The Madonna Killer’s sudden re-emmergence after a long hiatus leaves the police reeling in its wake, trying to do their best with the limited resources to unravel who the killer is.

Though Ivy has studied criminal psychology and is considered a criminal profiler, her limited experience in the field shows when she turns up to assist Max in the case. Max himself has his own issues going, with his son Ethan, whose background itself lends an edge to the story.

I loved the descriptive writing, the haunting expressions. The backstories were told in a manner that left my heart aching and I wanted so much more for the characters before the story was through. There were certain unfinished threads to the story when it ended, and I don’t mean any sort of romantic elements since the story isn’t categorized as one to begin with. That made the story feel a little less well rounded though I enjoyed the sadistic and creepy killer brought to light with the “reel-you-in” style of writing by Anne Frasier.

Recommended for fans of suspense novels.

Final Verdict: Hush is a novel that is procedural without sounding dry & leaves you wanting more!

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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Score Sheet Review: Worth the Trip by Penny McCall

Format: E-bookworththetrip
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Penguin Group
Hero: James Aloysius Jones, III
Heroine: Norah MacArthur
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 2, 2010
Started On: January 24, 2012
Finished On: February 1, 2012

CATEGORY SCORE GRADE
The hero 90 A
The heroine 70 B
Story line 90 A
Emotional Intensity 90 A
Story’s ability to suck me in 70 B
Heat & Sensuality  85 A
Conflicts within the story 80 A
Writing Style 90 A
Quotable Factor 70 B
The Ending
80 A
Overall Grade 81.5

Score Sheet Summary

Meet Norah MacArthur, a psychology professor at the Midwest School of Psychology who has got the whole nerdy, studious professor thing perfectly laid out. Beneath the boxy suites that she wears lays a heart that has encountered too many a betrayal from a father who is one of the best conman that the state has ever seen. With him being released from prison after 15 long years of his sentence, Norah expects that all those who had wondered about the 50 million dollars worth of stolen goods that had made her father famous would come out of the woodwork with the news of his imminent release. But never in her wildest imagination does she foresee the man FBI sends her way, churning up her perfectly stoic emotions and placing her on uncharted waters.

Enter James Aloysius MacArthur, III otherwise known as Trip Jones who is charming, sinfully good looking and has got the determination to hunt down the treasure that had eluded law enforcement officials for far too long. Trip knows that the only way he would ever get Norah’s father to crack under pressure is to keep Norah by his side. But when the threats against Norah start piling up, Trip’s mission becomes a doubly risky one all the while aiming to keep his heart and emotions intact around the bristly Norah who makes no qualms about showing him what she thinks of Feds and him specifically.

And so the two opposites butt their heads together, each never thinking of the possibility that beneath all the ruffled feathers lies a passion that is worth fighting for, and from that mutual desire for each other might stem a love that could defy all odds stacked against them.

It was certainly different reading about the heroine who had major issues about commitment and trust in general, understandable when growing up with a father like hers which were bound to leave some emotional scars behind. Trip proved to be the easier character to get to know, not just because of the sexy cover this book totes, but because he has an easy charm about him that just invites a person to move in and get to know him. But don’t make the mistake of thinking he is some pansy who can be wrapped around one’s little finger, far from that. For me, Trip Jones proved to be the factor that kept me turning the pages, his intense passion & need for Norah that is so much a part of the wicked banter these two indulge in the reason I didn’t give up on the story.

Recommended for fans of Penny McCall; her outrageously sexy hero and the banter is reason enough to add this to your book pile.

Favorite Quotes

[Trip] “You’re a pain in the ass. A wordy pain in the ass.”
“Here are two more words for you. Interfering jerk.”
“Stubborn idiot.”
“Government patsy.”
“Bookworm,” Trip shot back, and then he had her up against her car, his mouth on hers, his hands on her body, taking as much of her as he could get. She came right back at him, curling her hands into his shirt, trying to drag him closer, which was impossible since the only thing between them was a couple of thin layers of clothing and enough heat to cause spontaneous combustion.

 A bolt of lightning speared down into the lake, followed by a clap of thunder so loud Norah swore she felt the lighthouse quake.
“Jeez,” she said, shrinking back against Trip and not feeling stupid about it because it was nice to have a strong man around at a time like this. “Did you feel that?”
“Like the earth moved? That was nothing.” And he spun her around and took her mouth.

She got to her knees, running her nails lightly along his chest, loving the way he groaned, loving how his breath wheezed out when she took him into her hands, loving him, even when he reared up and said, “Now,” and took her waist in his hands and pushed her onto her back. She didn’t object or take offense. Words were beyond her, too, as he surged into her, hard and fast, and she forgot how to breathe and how to think. 

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

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Review: Whispers in the Dark by Maya Banks

Format: E-bookWhispersinthedark
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Series: KGI, Book 4
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Hero: Nathan Kelly
Heroine: Shea Peterson
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: January 3, 2012
Started On: January 6, 2012
Finished On: January 7, 2012

The 4th book in the KGI series is a bit different from the previous 3 books in the fact that there is an element of paranormal added to the mix of suspense and romance that makes up the series. Whispers in the Dark tells the story of the youngest Kelly brother who happens to be Nathan Kelly, who gets captured during his last mission in Afghanistan and goes through hell at the hands of his captors.

Nathan’s savior comes in the form of Shea Peterson who reaches out to him in his darkest hours, when Nathan is ready to give up all hope that he would ever escape or be rescued from the nightmare that has become his life. Shea is a woman who has telepathic abilities that allows her to communicate with Nathan. The way their connection is forged during the toughest time in Nathan’s life makes the bond between them a powerful one. But once Shea knows that Nathan is going to be safe in his family’s hands, she disappears from his life, leaving a very much devastated Nathan behind who keeps questioning his very sanity, wondering whether the woman whom he cannot forget was a figment of his imagination that had been born out of his need to survive.

Six months later, Shea once again reaches out to Nathan, this time in her hour of need which of course Nathan responds to at a speed that baffles his family members who have been trying valiantly the past few months to bring the Nathan they remember back to life. From then on, it is the Kelly’s that band up together to protect the ones they consider their own, Shea being extra special because it had been her doing that had brought Nathan back safely from the throes of Hell. 

Unlike some readers who were offended by the paranormal element that is part of this book, I enjoyed the difference that element brought to the story. For me, the connection between Nathan and Shea seemed to be that much stronger and more believable because they have been through so much together, being there for each other when they had both needed it the most. 

Nathan Kelly is a typical Kelly hero. He is uber protective and when he forges that connection with Shea, there is no turning back for him, ever. Every Kelly hero is so endearing to most romance readers because they are alpha heroes who aren’t jerks, and they have protective instincts that just wraps up the heroine in this cocoon that seems to be a safe haven from the rest of the world. And as always, the best part about a KGI book is to experience the Kelly family as a whole, how they stand up for one another no questions asked and how they are there for one another unconditionally. The bits I loved the most were the banter between the brothers that brought a smile to my face every single time, even during those most tension wrought moments. 

Shea is the type of heroine that Maya Banks creates so well. They are kind, generous and giving and have an inner strength that shines through from the very beginning and Shea is no exception to that rule. The fact that Shea is on the run for her life doesn’t stop her from helping Nathan out, even she doesn’t know him from Adam, and that is one reason why I loved her character from the beginning.

I loved the scenes of passion between Shea and Nathan which were brought to life marvelously by the author. The one thing that didn’t work for me was the bit of rehashing of the growing feelings between Nathan and Shea. For me, the connection that Maya forged between them was already real and deep enough and I would have loved the story more if more elements regarding Shea and what she was running from had been included so that the pace of the story would never falter. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Whispers in the Dark and consider this a great installment in the series of which I am looking forward to the rest of the books to be published later this year and early next year.

Recommended for fans of the KGI series, fans of alpha heroes whose protective nature knows no bounds and those who are fans of Maya Banks.

Favorite Quotes

He inhaled her scent, uncaring of the blood and dirt and grime that permeated her hair and clothing. He was holding her. Finally holding her.
“You’re real. You’re real.”
She pulled away, looked up at him, the same answering emotion shining in her blue eyes. With a groan, he lowered his mouth to hers. He couldn’t hold back. Nothing in the world would have kept him from kissing her in that moment.
He was overcome.

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | BooksOnBoard | Kobo

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