J.R. Ward – Lover Unleashed

Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #9
Source: Personal Library
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

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J.R. Ward – Lover Enshrined

Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #6
Source: Personal Library
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

In this “frighteningly addictive” paranormal romance saga there’s a war raging between vampires and their slayers. Here are the stories of a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. And now a dutiful twin must choose between two lives…

Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood’s bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body, but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood’s mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love….

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A clear departure from the Black Dagger Brotherhood…
For better or worse…
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(BEWARE OF SPOILERS)

“For fuck’s sake, get off the cross. Someone else needs the wood.”

I’ve taken a few days to gather my thoughts before writing this review. Truth is, I did not love this book… But, I didn’t hate it either… It was just different from the other books in the series and didn’t live up to my own expectations. That’s not the author’s fault.

One of the main problems: This was supposed to be Phury’s moment in the spotlight, but I’m not sure he really had his chance to shine. There was so much going on in the Brotherhood (and in the Lessening Society) that Phury had to share a lot of pages… However, Phury and his “woe is me” attitude was driving me crazy, so maybe that is a good thing?

I’m still not sure.

One thing is for certain, there was a serious problem with supposedly bad-ass vampires being little pansy-ass babies…

PHURY

He tapped the artificial leg. “I am not whole.” True, she thought sadly. He was not whole, although it had nothing to do with him missing part of a limb.

Phury’s meltown outshines all the other melodraptic moments over the course of the series. Combined. He could best be described as self-loathing wrapped in drug addict and dipped in haunted past. That’s not the kind of sundae you want to indulge in.

His only redeeming quality is the one which got him in so much trouble – he has an over-active savior complex and was named Primale in the previous book to save his brother from the fate.

CORMIA

“As much as we have free choice, absolute destiny is immutable. What is meant to happen does, through one measure or another.”

Cormia is a chosen. Virginal, naieve, and bland as her all-white-food diet. She wasn’t nearly as obnoxios as Marissa (Lover Revealed) but she wasn’t amusing, entertaining, or even interesting.

You know that this review needs? A personal anecdote used as a metaphor!

I had a friend in culinary school, and it was our job to taste all of her homework. She was amazingly talented in the kitchen and created theses stunning masterpieces of cakes, cookies, chocolates, & candies…
*drooling just thinking about it*
But when the class moved on to fruit-filled tarts, my friend was useless. For all her talent, the girl couldn’t bake a tart to save her life… It always left a bad taste in your mouth… Were the tarts inedible? No. But we had come to expect this superlative level of achievement out of her, so our own expectations let us down.

See where I’m going with this?

Lover Enshrined might not have been the most awesome installment of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, but as a whole, everything fell into place.

I loved the whole side-story of my boys – John, Blay, & Qhuinn. That was the best part of the whole book in my humble opinion…

I liked meeting the Angel, Lassiter, and I hope to see more of him.

I absolutely adored the fact that Thor is back… even if he’s barely alive… I loved the way emotions washed over John in the wake of seeing his adopted father again.

And speaking of fathers: Lash as The Omega’s son is going to make the Lessening society a far more interesting place… And I’m loving Mr. D the Texan

I’ve already started reading Lover Avenged, so obviously there’s no love lost between me and the BDB…

Two more things:

  1. The texting language and slang was WAY over the top in this book. I know the Brothers enjoy their Pop Culture references, and are as modern as can be, but seriously… Tone it down. You’re hundred of years old, quit talking like a 12 year old.
  2. I’ve been quiet for too many books about the sheer number of brands that are mentioned by name in each book. Stay tuned, because I’m writing down every brand name mentioned in the next book, and I’ll have a visual representation ready for you in my next review which will literally illustrate my point.

J.T. Bock – A Surefire Way

A Surefire Way (UltraSecurity, #1)A Surefire Way by J.T. Bock
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Series: UltraSecurity #1
Source: Review by Request
ARC Provided by Publisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

UltraAgent Surefire’s plan is simple: Capture the transhuman thief Raven. Win back the respect of her father. Get a raise.

Easy, right?

Except Surefire just broke the number one rule of her employer, UltraSecurity, a niché security firm that solves crimes committed by genetically enhanced humans like Raven. She trailed Raven into a warehouse without backup. And something more powerful than any transhuman is waiting inside.

Raven’s plan is simple: Atone for his past crimes. Return stolen spiritual artifacts to restore the world’s balance. Don’t get caught by UltraSecurity.

Easy, right?

Until a spunky UltraSecurity agent is suddenly on his tail, although Raven wishes she was on … well, never mind … he can’t get distracted from his mission. Because she’s followed him into a warehouse filled with his reclaimed relics, and Raven’s ex-partner in crime is about to unleash a supernatural-sized complication into his plan.

His old partner has accidentally summoned an Aztec god who will destroy the world unless Raven stops this spirit with a superiority complex. To do this, Raven must team up with Surefire and reveal the truth about his powers, exposing her to a force that can either save the world or destroy them both.

Following Raven into that warehouse throws Surefire into a surreal world filled with moody gods, day-glo skulls, dizzying dimensional portals, maniacal half-roach magicians, and a sexy thief who is more than he appears under his snug t-shirt. Is Raven a criminal, or is he working for a higher power? Surefire needs to be certain, because if she joins him on this mission, she’ll have to surrender everything she believed in for a surefire way to save the world, discover her destiny and find true love.

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An endlessly entertaining ride from beginning to end!

The story wrapped up in a way that was satisfying for a stand alone piece, but I sincerely hope that UltraSecurity continues as a series. I will be the first to pick up book two.

Surefire Way combines so many elements:
Super Humans, Ancient Gods, Indiana Jones style tomb raiding, highly classified government enforcement agencies, laugh out loud humor, inter-demensional hopping, steamy romance, leaps back in time, witty dialogue…. I could go on and on.

I love the chemistry between Surefire (UltraSecurity Agent) and Raven (the most wanted art thief she’s tasked with bringing to justice)… The progression of their attraction was believable, the back-and-forth between the two was fantastic!

I even enjoyed all of the secondary characters (well, I didn’t particularly like several of them, but I appreciated the way they were written) I think there were enough quirky agents in the ranks of UltraSecurity to fill out a magnificent series.

Yet another book which I wish more people knew about…

***I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review***