Author: J.R. Ward

Review: Consumed by J.R. Ward

Posted October 2, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: Consumed by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
Consumed (Firefighters, #1) by J.R. Ward
Series: Firefighters #1
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 416
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
two-half-stars

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Ann Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family's scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.


Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed...

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn't believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again--until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.From the creator of the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm . . .

Holy crap. This book was NOT for me. From the beginning to the end, it was just not. I loved The Bourbon Kings series. It was far outside the purview of the BDB. I thought that this new series would be much of the same. Especially after I skimmed (I don’t like spoilers) some of the reviews on GoodReads. I was hopeful. Too hopeful. Bad on me.

I didn’t like Anne Ashburn from the beginning. Not from page one. You could tell she was the type of person that didn’t like following rules, orders, or anything in between. Which usually wouldn’t be a problem one way or the other. The problem in this book is that she’s a firefighter. A firefighter for the love of…ugh. Firefighters have to follow orders or they get dead. If they don’t get themselves dead, they’ll get someone else dead. It’s blatantly obvious that Anne goes against authority when she tells her partner they need to separate during a warehouse fire. After being explicitly told not to split up.

That decision ends up costing her. Big time. It almost costs her her own life and the life of the man she loves. Who rushes into save her after being ordered not to go in after her. Yep, folks. There’s two of them. And they’ve found each other.

Danny McGuire loves Anne and he won’t leave her in the warehouse to burn. What happens between the time he goes in after her and the time he brings her out is something that is seared into his brain. Ten months later he can barely look at himself in the mirror. He takes up drinking, smoking, and sleeping with any woman that will have him. Then one night he gets in a fight at a local bar and his best friend calls in the big guns. Anne.

Anne thought she was done with Danny. Except she’s never done with Danny. The two are literally made for each other. You couldn’t find two more damaged people than the two of them. I understood Danny’s demons. I truly did. He lost his twin brother in a fire, he lost a good friend in a fire, he lost his parents. He has a lot of loss in his life. Anne? I seriously don’t know what her issue was. She had serious hangups from her childhood and she hated her mother, but she let that affect every aspect of her life. It was ludicrous.

A couple of the interesting parts should be mentioned. The mystery was fairly mysterious. So was Anne’s brother Tom. Talk about siblings. They both rather redeemed themselves in the end (when it came to each other and their mother), so that was all right. It was Danny that changed by leaps and bounds though. It was quite the thing to read.

One thing I could not get over, hence my low grade, is that Anne wasn’t just stupid, she was TSTL. Yup. Too Stupid To Live. While investigating the warehouse fires, she figures out who did it. Instead of calling her SWAT friend or her brother or even Danny, what does she do? You guessed it…she goes after the guy herself. Why? Because she’s no mere woman. She doesn’t need a stinking man. Then, she’s so sure she’s right that she decides that she’s going to compromise evidence because she has to prove something to herself. That’s what ultimately threw me over the edge. I can deal with many things. TSTL heroines are not one of them.

I do hate to admit that I might read Tom’s book. I think I hate myself for that.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

two-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Summer Reading Challenge DNF Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Posted September 7, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge DNF Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. WardReviewer: Holly
The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, #1) by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #1
Also in this series: The Bourbon Kings, The Bourbon Kings, The Angels' Share, Devil's Cut
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 434
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
dnf

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.

Casee chose this as a book for me in our Summer Reading Challenge. I listened to the audio. I managed to slog through 30+ chapters. If I were close to the end I’d probably finish it, because I want to know if my thoughts about where the plot is heading are right, but there’s still 20 chapters to go. I just can’t. Though I DNF’d it, I’m giving it two stars because the writing was smooth and I enjoyed the narrator.

Beware: Spoilers Abound! Also, lots of curse words! You’ve been warned.

This is a straight up soap opera. The Bradford/Baldwines are a family of Bourbon makers. The operation is huge and long-standing. There are 4 kids. Edward, Max (who we only hear about in passing in this book), Lane and Virginia (Gin for short). The book beings with Lane returning to his family’s estate, Easterly, after a two-year absence because the woman who raised him is deathly ill. He and his TRUE LOVE, Lizzie, fell in love over the course of a summer, then his ex, Chantal, showed up pregnant and he ended up marrying her instead. So Lizzie hates him because he broke her heart (even though she didn’t get the full story from him and jumped to conclusions about his actions). She works at Easterly still, and naturally they see each other as soon as he returns. He’s been gone for two years (ever since he married the wife…he only married her because she was pregnant and he regretted it immediately, esp since she went and had an abortion like a month later). He’s been sticking his head in the sand and refusing to deal with any of it, until he sees Lizzie again and realizes he’s a fucking dumbass for not divorcing his dumbass wife immediately (or better yet, not marrying her at all).

That part of the story isn’t bad. It’s pretty lame and high-schoolish, but whatever. I actually like Lane.

The problem is each of the siblings get chapters in this book. Edward, the oldest, got kidnapped 2 years ago during a business trip to South America and was tortured nearly to death. He’s barely healed now. He’s in constant pain and left running the Bourbon company in favor of taking over the racehorses the family owns. He’s an alcoholic and a recluse who just so happens to be in love with their largest rival’s daughter..someone he can never have. So he hires prostitutes who look like her to come out once a week to service him and wallows.

Gin had a baby at 17 and oops, sort of forgot to tell baby daddy, who she still hate fucks on a regular basis. Only she also fucks everyone else. The more married, the better. Then dear old dad tells she has to marry some old dude who will secure them a lucrative business contract. She’s like “Fuck you” and leaves, so he cuts off all her money and has her arrested for stealing a car. Then they (Lane and Gin) discover that dear old dad has somehow managed to put them $53 million in debt and they have no money. So she goes and begs Baby Daddy (who still doesn’t know he’s a baby daddy) to marry her. Only he turns her down. Because hello she’s a viperous bitch. So now she DOESN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Oh, you know what she’ll do? Marry skeevy guy her dad tried to force her to marry. He rapes her after she agrees and she just cleans up and goes on about her business. Because that’s what she deserves and honestly, it’s better than being broke. Then Baby Daddy comes back and says she’s right, they love each other and should get married. Except, oops, she’s already engaged to skeevy, rapist dude. Honestly, I’m kind of interested in Samuel T, the Baby Daddy, and how things progress with him and Gin. But not enough to read through three books.

But wait, there’s more…

Remember the unwanted pregnant wife, Chantal, who got an abortion? Turns out she’s pregnant again. This time with HIS DAD’s kid. If Lane doesn’t stay married to her and pass the kid off as his own, she’s going to tell his mom about it…and Mommy Dearest is a very “fragile” woman who lives in a drug-induced haze, so it would probably kill her. Oh, and guess what? Silly Lane didn’t get a prenup.

That’s where I stopped. I just can’t take any more. I mean, if this was almost the end and he was throwing the wife out and getting with the TRUE LOVE, okay. I could finish it. But there’s still twenty chapters left. And this isn’t even the end of the story..the next two books are just continuations of this one. So, nope. I just can’t.

For all my complaining, the story was very well written and I can’t deny it grabbed me and made me want to see what happens next. If the book had been 100 pages shorter, I’d probably have finished it – and read the next two as well.

DNF

2 out of 5 for what I did read.

The Bourbon Kings

dnf


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Review: The Thief by J.R. Ward

Posted June 15, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Thief by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
The Thief by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #16
Also in this series: Lover Unbound, Lover Avenged, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen, Lover Mine
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 454
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

New enemies rise from the shadows in the next novel of the New York Times bestselling paranormal romance series the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

Having allied themselves with the Band of Bastards, the Brotherhood is committed now more than ever to eradicating the Lessening Society. Recovering from their most recent battle against the last of the lessers, the Brotherhood comes to realize that the fight against their enemies is far from over.

Throe, Xcor’s former second in command, is using an ancient tome to summon a new army engineered by a force more dangerous and evil than the Omega.

And now the brothers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood will be tested both at home and on the battlefield.

I don’t know where to start with this review. I read this book about six weeks ago. My intent was to let it settle in my mind for a few days, maybe a week, then review it. A week turned into one, then two, then I forgot. So I’m trying to think about what stands out in my mind about Assail and Sola, but nothing really comes to mind. They were kind of blah. Or it might be they were blah because V and Jane were so fucking hot. I mean, like, steaming hot.

After a bunch of stuff went down in The Beast (I think), Sola took her grandmother and went on the run. She ended up in Florida where she is constantly on guard. She has enemies and she is never sure if any of them will find her. She has never forgotten the man that saved her life in Caldwell. She thinks about Assail almost daily, though she hasn’t spoken to him in over a year, nor does she plan to. It is with some dismay that she finds his two cousins on her doorstep with news concerning Assail. He is sick and he needs her. Sola turns down their “invitation” to return to Caldwell. She has her grandmother to protect. They barely made it out of Caldwell alive. Then her grandmother confronts her about returning. There is little she can do after that and she soon finds herself at Assail’s bedside. She can’t believe the difference in the strong forceful man she knows compared to the shell of the man in the hospital bed. Though cancer will do that to a man.

Oh yeah, she doesn’t know vampires exist. That will be a problem.

As for V and Jane…they have big problems. Why? Because relationships aren’t all flowers and puppies. They need to be worked on. V and Jane haven’t worked on their relationship at all. They are barely roommates. V is feeling an itch to return to his old life and Jane has no idea. All she cares about is her patients. They are forced to confront their problems when Jane catches V almost cheat on her. It is so heartbreaking that I almost cried. Almost. Seeing these two find their way back to each other was the best part of this book. I loved it. These two made the book for me. Sola and Assail disappeared. It was all about V and Jane. Jane and V. V. Jane. Love.

Lassiter’s secret came out. The war escalates in a dangerous way. I found the book intriguing. When Sola found out vampires existed, I was rolling my eyes so hard I’m surprised they didn’t roll out of my head. Then I started wondering what I would have done if I found out vampires existed. My reaction probably would have been the same as hers. So I tried not to judge. But seriously, her reaction seemed a little overboard. And annoying.

V and Jane. Sigh.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Black Dagger Brotherhood

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Devil’s Cut by J.R. Ward

Posted February 26, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Devil’s Cut by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
Devil's Cut by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #3
Also in this series: The Bourbon Kings, The Bourbon Kings, The Angels' Share, The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, #1)
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: August 1st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 418
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

In #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward’s thrilling finale of the Bourbon Kings series, the Bradford family dynasty teeters on the edge of collapse after the murder of their patriarch—and a shocking arrest.

At first, the death of William Baldwine, the head of the Bradford family, was ruled a suicide. But then his eldest son and sworn enemy, Edward, came forward and confessed to what was, in fact, a murder. Now in police custody, Edward mourns not the disintegration of his family or his loss of freedom . . . but the woman he left behind. His love, Sutton Smythe, is the only person he has ever truly cared about, but as she is the CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company’s biggest competitor, any relationship between them is impossible. And then there’s the reality of the jail time that Edward is facing.

Lane Baldwine was supposed to remain in his role of playboy, forever in his big brother Edward’s shadow. Instead he has become the new head of the family and the company. Convinced that Edward is covering for someone else, Lane and his true love, Lizzie King, go on the trail of a killer—only to discover a secret that is as devastating as it is game-changing.

As Lane rushes to discover the truth, and Sutton finds herself irresistibly drawn to Edward in spite of his circumstances, the lives of everyone at Easterly will never be the same again. For some, this is good; for others, it could be a tragedy beyond imagining. Only one thing’s for certain: Love survives all things. Even murder.

I’m sitting here reading my reviews of The Bourbon Kings (which I loved) and Angels’ Share (which I also loved) and wondering what the holy hell happened. This series had so much promise. The biggest promise was that it was only three (three!) books. I don’t know how that could get messed up, especially after the first two were pretty spectacular. And hello? That’s coming from one of JRW’s biggest critics. I didn’t just jump into this book, I dove into it headfirst only to come up gasping for air and wondering what the fuck happened between Angels’ Share and now. Even after a week I still have that WTF look on my face and if I had a paper copy of the book, I would burn it.

Devil’s Cut brings us back to the world of the Bradford Bourbon Company and the Baldwine family. It picks up exactly where Angels’ Share left off. Edward, the eldest Bradford sibling has confessed to murdering their father. He did have motive. His father arranged to have him kidnapped when he was on business in South America and didn’t pay the ransom. Edward never fully recovered. One problem with that scenario is that Edward could never have overpowered his father in a million years. It’s laughable. You will immediately pick up on the fact that he’s covering for someone.

Lane and Lizzie are as solid as ever. Lizzie is getting a little worn out and not just because she’s pregnant. What Lane is going through trying to save the family name and business isn’t anything to sneeze at. Lizzie is trying to help him however she can and do her job at Easterly, but it takes its toll on a person. Though she loves Lane, she does miss the days where she went home to her farm and got a little peace from the Bradford drama. However she doesn’t regret her decision to be with Lane. As for Lane, he adores Lizzie and will do anything she wants. Though her pregnancy throws him for a loop, he will do everything he can so he is nothing like the father he had.

Edward is in the pokey for a crime he didn’t commit. There is evidence, but the blind and ignorant detective has a prejudice against rich people and is convinced that Edward is guilty. It is laughable. I mean it’s admirable what Edward is trying to do, but it’s laughable that anyone would believe it. Just as laughable is the person that actually did the deed.

Gin. Ah, Gin. She changed the most from book one to three. In book one, she was most worried about her comfort. By book three, she realized what a disaster of a person she was. She had a daughter with the man she loved and she denied them both the opportunity to know each other. As punishment to the man no less. She didn’t consider her daughter, had never really considered her daughter until now. She has finally realized what a tragedy of a mother she is and seeks to change that by being there for Amelia. The first mistake she needs to rectify? Introducing SamuelT and Amelia. She knows it will damage her relationship with SamuelT beyond repair, but that is a price she is willing to pay. Gin’s journey was fascinating to read. I really enjoyed reading the growth she made as a character.

So what was my problem with the book? Where do I start? Everything was too pat. Edward got out of jail because the person that killed his father was on their deathbed. Seriously, this person was dying and was able to kill? I am rolling my eyes so hard my eyeballs hurt. Bring in Sutton Smythe who was a BBC competitor…she and Edward always had an attraction, even love, but Edward stopped that when he was rescued from South America. He never really recovered. Now in the space of about 2.75 pages he is miraculously emotionally healed and decides he is in love with Sutton and they are going to live happily ever after. Seriously.

Even the ending with Gin was too pat. Lane and Lizzie? That worked because their story has been told over the course of three books. Even Gin and SamuelT’s story has been going on that long. But they’ve been at odds for the length of three books. They can’t suddenly be okay in the last five pages. That does not work for this reader. It just doesn’t. There are other things I don’t want to spoil, but those things didn’t work for me either. And the BIG MISUNDERSTANDINGS? Nothankyouverymuch.

This book was just rushed. A big disappointment after the first two of the series.

The Bourbon Kings

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Blood Fury by J.R. Ward

Posted February 15, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Blood Fury by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
Blood Fury by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Legacy #3
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: January 9th 2018
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 411
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

A vampire aristocrat, Peyton is well aware of his duty to his bloodline: mate with an appropriate female of his class and carry on his family’s traditions. And he thought he’d found his perfect match—until she fell in love with someone else. Yet when his split-second decision in a battle with the enemy endangers the life of another trainee, Peyton has to face the idea that his future, and his heart, actually lie with another.

Novo, as a female in the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training program, feels like she has to prove herself to everybody—and she has no interest in being distracted by falling in love. But when Peyton proves to be so much more than a rich playboy, she is forced to confront the tragedy that has broken her soul and closed her off from love.

As the two grapple with Novo’s past and Peyton’s present, another couple must contend with an erotic connection that is unparalleled—and potentially scandalous.

Saxton, who has had his heart broken, discovers in himself a deep-seated attraction to Ruhn, a new member of the household. But will the other male explore the connection? Or will he close his mind and his heart to what could be true love . . . and cost Saxton everything?

Although the characters overlap between the Black Dagger Legacy and the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, the BDL series has overtaken the BDB. I am forcing myself to be a realist. Blood Fury is only the third book in a series that could potentially be eighty three books long. Zsadist’s book was the third book in the BDB series. At that time the series was still exciting and fresh as a daisy. What number are we at now? Fourteen? Twenty two? I digress. It’s not just the new look at the series, it’s the actually characters of the series. While they all have their stories, they aren’t hardened like the warriors are. It’s refreshing.

Blood Fury brings us the story of four characters. We have Peyton and Novo. We also have Saxton, who straddles both series, and Ruhn. I am not quite sure why Saxton and Ruhn got their story in a BDL book. Sure everything go explained away, but their story didn’t belong in this series.

Peyton and Novo have been dancing around each other since Blood Vow, which was book two. Novo is attracted to Peyton, but doesn’t have time for a man that is in love with another woman. A woman that is already mated. Peyton is attracted to Novo and he thinks he’s in love with Paradise. It’s only after he almost kills Novo by protecting Paradise (who doesn’t need protecting) that he realizes that he mourns a friendship that was made at an incredibly dark time for the glymera. Peyton and Paradise come from a world where friendship like theirs just aren’t formed and what he thought was love was nothing compared to what he feels for Novo.

Novo knows she’s attracted to Peyton and accepts that attraction. What she won’t accept is the squishy feelings he invokes in her. She’s been through enough in her life, losing who she thought was her mate to her sister. Right before she miscarried his young. Novo is someone that has never belonged anywhere in life, but she finds a home in Peyton. The love story between these two is intense. There are no BIG MISUNDERSTANDINGS, which was amazing. They are two people that have been misunderstood their whole lives. Finding each other is something that neither one of them ever expected and they don’t take it for granted. Then, well, this:

She was not his sun or his moon, but his galaxy.

I admit, I got misty. Novo was so deserving of everything Peyton was willing to give her. Of course she almost threw it all away, but she’s a smart girl.

Saxton and Ruhn. Ruhn and Saxton. Honestly, the summary of the book is misleading because it’s actually Saxton that almost ruins what could be what he’s been looking for his whole life. Saxton knows that what he feels for Ruhn is different. Even different than what he felt for Blay. Then he almost throws it away. What a fucking idiot. It doesn’t take him long to put his head out. As for Ruhn? I don’t think you could get a more perfect character. He definitely has his demons, but he is not going to miss out on life because of them. Ruhn isn’t bitter. He isn’t resentful of what he’s had to go through. He just is. I loved him.

There are parts of this book that definitely pulled at me. I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did. I was correct when I said that it would be easily finished once I sat down and actually read. It’s a fast read and will pull you in.

4 out of 5.

Black Dagger Legacy


Tagged: , , , , , ,