Review: Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward

23rd Feb 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Blood Kiss by J.R. WardBlood Kiss by J.R. Ward
Narrator: Jim Frangione
Series: Black Dagger Legacy #1
Published by Signet
Pub Date: December 1st 2015
Pages: 397
Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
Format: Audiobook, Paperback | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

The legacy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues in a spin-off series from the #1 New York Times bestselling author…

Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.

And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated—and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.

I was so excited when I found out J.R. Ward was writing a spin-off series that would feature a new cast of BDB trainees AS WELL AS THE ORIGINAL BROTHERS. Here’s her exact description of this spin-off:

“the BDB training center is reopened to a new cast of recruits, and THE ORIGINAL BROTHERS teach these FNUGs wassup. In the process of the new recruits falling in love and getting into a sh*t ton of trouble, THE ORIGINAL BROTHERS could be shown with their shellans, their Brothers, their people in the mansion, in a more prominent way than I’m able to do in the BDB books.” (read her full post about it HERE)

Yup. And it was everything I wanted it to be. Ok, lets dive right in!

I love the way the Brothers weeded through all their program applicants. It was totally smart and it definitely worked in getting the best of the best. Paradise and Craeg are two of those new trainees. We’d briefly met them in The Shadows and I knew then that it was going to make for a winner of book. I was right! I loved that Paradise was the one actively pursuing him and he was really fighting it. Get it, girl! The tone was perfectly set too. They are young compared to all the other characters in BDB, and you really get that sense from them. It was first love and all that comes with it. It was also refreshing to not have this couple getting mated at the end of the book. I found myself wondering toward the beginning if they would, and kind of hoped they wouldn’t because they’re still young. And by young, I mean early to mid 20s. At least, that’s the age they came across to me.

Ok, so as far the originals, we get to revisit Butch and Marissa in this one. We also get a lot of the other brothers in the beginning with the trainee stuff. It was so much fun. Butch and Marissa had some issues to work through though, and that wasn’t always pretty. I felt Marissa had some really valid issues that Butch needed to face and move past and I was glad of the outcome. And since Butch was featured in this one, that meant that Vishous was alllll over this one too.

Man, I love me some V. He has some great moments in this book. :)

Blood Kiss is exactly how you spin-off a series. Fantastic job by JR Ward. I can’t wait to read more!

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Bitsy Words: The Shadows by J.R. Ward

19th Feb 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Bitsy Words: The Shadows by J.R. Ward

Bitsy Words: The Shadows by J.R. WardThe Shadows by J.R. Ward
Narrator: Jim Frangione
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #13
Published by NAL
Pub Date: March 31st 2015
Pages: 592
Length: 22 hrs and 8 mins
Format: Audiobook | Source: Library
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny in the heart-wrenching new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward.

Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on... except for his brother, iAm.

iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around... but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.

Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice...

So I finally made time and caught up with my favorite vampires via audiobook. The book is massive, so I thought this would be a faster way since I can listen while working. Best. Decision. Ever! I just flew through this one! And I think it’s because I know these characters and this world so well, that I can speed up the narration and not miss a beat. Other audiobooks I have to listen more closely to miss anything and take me a while to get through because the narration is set to normal speed. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s ok. lol Just go with it!

I’ll be the first to admit that Trez and iAm have never really interested me all that much. I mean, sure, for most of the series they were just these twins who were Rev’s muscle. After this book, I’m a fan of the twins! I loved that J.R. Ward was able to give these two guys their own story in one book, although I’m not sure that both of their stories are completely resolved with a neat little bow. I wonder if we’ll see more on that later.

While the Bastards and Assail are part of this overall journey, they’re not as heavily featured toward the end of the book. I did love seeing so much of Rhage though! And it has me wondering what the heck is going on there. Something is definitely up, so bring on The Beast!

Audiobook Notes

Jim Frangione has become the voice of The Brotherhood for me. I’ve listened to all the books on audio (when I reread them) and I can’t imagine anyone else doing this series reading ever.

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

27th Jul 2015 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2015, ContemporaryRomance2015, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. WardThe Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #1
Published by NAL
Pub Date: July 28th 2015
Pages: 420
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Suspense
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal....

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

I’ve been a fan of JR Ward’s BDB series for some years now, and was so excited to find out she was writing a new, completely different series. I would definitely say The Bourbon Kings is a “setup” book. So much information and people are thrown at you. Lets see if I can break it down a little…

The Bradford Family – Bradford Bourbon Company

Virginia Bradford + William Baldwine: Parents. Current patriarchs of bourbon dynasty. Her status in this book is: unavailable. He is running the whole business. He’s also an asshole.

Edward Baldwine: Oldest son. He was the golden child, being groomed to run the business into the next generation. His dad does some really awful things to him that we only know at the surface level right now. He’s currently a very broken man, physically and spiritually. Oh, and he’s in love with the rival bourbon dynasty’s eldest daughter.

Lane Baldwine: This is really Lane’s book. He’s in love with Lizzie, the head gardener, or horticulturist if you’re fancy, at his family’s estate. He married Chantal Baldwine out of obligation and left Kentucky right after. He’s now back and ready to set everything right between him and Lizzie, starting with getting a divorce from Chantal. Easier said than done…

Maxwell Baldwine: Dunno. He appears in flashbacks, but his current location is unknown, so he’s not in this book.

Gin Baldwine: Oh, poor Gin (short for Virginia). Gin’s life is all about parties, men, and drinking. I think she really believes that’s all she’s good for, which is really sad. Got pregnant at 17, dropped out of college her freshman year because of it, the love of her life and her live to hurt one another, and her dad has essentially sold her to the highest bidder. Seriously, her dad made a financial deal to marry her off to this awful man. Also, she has some really heartbreaking scenes in this book. :(

Well, that’s the Bradford family for you!

The Bourbon Kings is a soap opera at its finest. JR Ward has given us some really juicy, unputdownable drama in this book. There’s romance, suspense, mystery, and I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface. Can’t wait to read more!

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Giveaway: Covet (Fallen Angels #1) by J.R. Ward

28th Aug 2013 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2013, Giveaways

Giveaway: Covet (Fallen Angels #1) by J.R. Ward

Giveaway: Covet (Fallen Angels #1) by J.R. WardCovet by J.R. Ward
Series: Fallen Angels #1
Published by Signet
Pub Date: October 29th 2009
Pages: 474
Format: Paperback | Buy the book! | Goodreads

Seven deadly sins. Seven souls to save. This is the first battle between a savior who doesn't believe and a demon with nothing to lose!

Redemption isn't a word Jim Heron knows much about-his specialty is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charged with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. And failure is not an option.

Vin DiPietro long ago sold his soul to his business, and he's good with that-until fate intervenes in the form of a tough-talking, Harley-riding, self-professed savior. And then he meets a woman who will make him question his destiny, his sanity, and his heart-and he has to work with a fallen angel to win her over and redeem his own soul.

 

CALLING ALL BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD FANS!!

I am SO VERY EXCITED to be giving away 5 copies of Covet! (Thank you, Penguin, for sponsoring this giveaway!)

POSSESSION, the 5th book in the Fallen Angels series, will be released October 1st, and to celebrate we’re hosting this giveaway of the first book.

So here’s your chance to finally start this series! EVERY MONDAY for the next 5 Mondays I will choose a winner!

Giveaway

Giveaway Closed!

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Waiting on Wednesday: Envy

27th Jul 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Envy

Waiting on Wednesday: EnvyEnvy by J.R. Ward
Series: Fallen Angels #3
Published by Signet
Pub Date: September 6th 2011
Buy the book! | Goodreads

A man and a woman tread the lines of danger, desire, and deliverance in the new novel of the Fallen Angels from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

As the son of a serial killer, homicide detective Thomas "Veck" DelVecchio, Jr., grew up in the shadow of evil. Now, on the knife-edge between civic duty and blind retribution, he atones for the sins of his father- while fighting his inner demons. Assigned to monitor Veck is Internal Affairs officer Sophia Reilly, whose interest in him is both professional and arousingly personal. And Veck and Sophia have another link: Jim Heron, a mysterious stranger with too many answers... to questions that are deadly. When Veck and Sophia are drawn into the ultimate battle between good and evil, their fallen angel savior is the only thing that stands between them and eternal damnation.

 

It’s VECK!! From Lover Unleashed!! He intrigued me SO much in that book, and I did not realize it was a set up for Envy!! I have really enjoyed this series so far, so it’s no question I will be preordering this book.

What are you waiting on this week?

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

7th Apr 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Reviews, Reviews by Jess

Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. WardLover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #9
Published by NAL
Pub Date: March 29th 2011
Pages: 489
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
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.

Where to begin with this book?

I love Manuel Manello. Manny is intense but I like that he’s a smart ass. He also doesn’t take crap from anyone. Payne is just kick-ass, plain and simple. I felt their relationship was…interesting. Maybe it had to do with the fact that they spent most of the book in the recovery rooms of the Brotherhood’s place. Once they they were outside the walls of the mansion, things got better. I finally got to see them as a couple…carefree and in love.

At first, I don’t think V or Payne knew how to act around each other. Their moments together were frustrating and heartbreaking at the same time. Payne has always loved her brother, so I think the fact that V wasn’t instantly affectionate with her, might have hurt her a little. I was glad to see that Vishous felt instantly protective over her, though, and he did love her instantly! He just didn’t know how to show her.

I have to say that my favorite part of this book was the fact that Vishous finally got more story. I read somewhere that JR Ward had said his was the hardest one to write and that she wasn’t completely happy with its ending. Well she certainly makes up for it in this book! She put V and Jane through the ringer. To me, no other couple in this series has ever felt more real than theirs. I don’t know why, but it just does. Vishous is one tortured male who has never dealt with what happened to him. In Lover Unleashed, he does it and it is completely heart-wrenching. He comes out of it a better male though, so it’s worth it. I hope he can be truly happy now.

Butch and Vishous have one of the most intense bonds in this series. After Jane and V have their fallout, Butch is the one to reign him in. No one knows V better than Jane and Butch and since Jane couldn’t be there for him, Butch stepped in. He stepped in in a huge way! I had no idea what was going to happen and was a little nervous. What transpired in that penthouse was very much needed but my heart broke for both Butch and V.

Manny has a smart mouth, and thanks to that, some of the funniest moments are when he and Butch are talking to one another, because as we all know, Butch ALSO has a smart mouth. There were a few things, even from previous books, that clued us in to the big reveal, or connection, at the end that once it was out, all I could think was, “I KNEW IT!!” I love how JR Ward does this. I’m actually kind of hoping she will write more about John Matthew and Darius’s deal, because I don’t think Lover Mine really explained any of it.

Ah, Qhuinn and Blaylock. I certainly didn’t get enough Qhuay in this book. The things we did get were heart-wrenching, though! The longing and angst between Qhuinn and Blay breaks my heart…but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I just know this is building up to be one tear-fest of a book! Maybe. Hopefully? PLEASE, JR Ward!! We need a Qhuay book!

Let me tell you how elated I was to see The Brothers together and having a good time in this book. I missed them!! It wasn’t too much, maybe twice altogether in this whole book, but it was fantastic. One very absent character was Tohr, which surprised me as I heard his book is next. Usually we get hints or some story about the upcoming character’s book…but with Tohr? Nothing. I’m eager to find out more of what’s to come for him. He deserves a HEA.

Lessers. I’m not going to lie. The Lessers have never interested me much. Mostly, they bore me and when they got their own chapters, like in Dark Lover, I skimmed through them…as fast as I could. They are not the primary villain in this book though…which I totally loved.

Our “new” villains are a ring of warriors from the Old Country who are led by Xcor. Xcor took over the group after the Bloodletter, his supposed father, was killed in front of him. These warriors hunt lessers as well, but they are all outcasts. Xcor has also been in search of the female who killed his father for centuries with no luck. Yes, that would be Payne, who killed her father for what he did to Vishous. They travel to America for the first time with plans to take down the Brotherhood. These guys are waaay more interesting than the Lessers. No skimming through their chapters. They have a particularly steamy scene toward the end of the book involving a ménage à trois. That was a new one for this series. Can’t complain though. *blushes*

We also get to see Jose de la Cruz again. In this book he begins to work with a new partner, Thomas ‘Veck’ DelVecchio. Veck turns out to be one sketchy individual…and it doesn’t escape notice with De la Cruz. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with these two.

Lover Unleashed was another great installment to this series. It had all the elements we love to read in these books. I savored it and didn’t rush through it because I knew that as soon as I finished it, I would want more. Guess who wants the next book…NOW? :)

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Teaser Tuesday: Lover Unleashed

5th Apr 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday: Lover Unleashed

Teaser Tuesday: Lover UnleashedLover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #9
Published by NAL
Pub Date: March 29th 2011
Pages: 489
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Buy the book! | Goodreads

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.

 

 

“I would do anything for you. Anything.”

With that, he pushed his way out…and as the door eased shut, she realized that I love you could indeed be said without actually uttering the phrase.

Actions did mean more than words.

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Waiting on Wednesday: Lover Unleashed

9th Mar 2011 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2011, Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Lover Unleashed

Waiting on Wednesday: Lover UnleashedLover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #9
Published by NAL
Pub Date: March 29th 2011
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads

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.

Do I really need to explain WHY I’m waiting for Lover Unleashed?

This series is so good, and the Brothers are AH-mazing! This book will have a non-vampire male lead, which we haven’t seen since book 3, Butch’s book, and a surprise (at least for the Brotherhood) female vampire lead! Very exciting!

But the best part for me is the fact that my Vishous will be ALL over this book!! *happy dance* I love me some Vishous…just sayin’.

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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