Tag: BDB

Retro-Review: Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward

Posted March 8, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 16 Comments

Retro-Review: Lover Enshrined by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #6
Also in this series: The Shadows
Published by Signet Eclipse
Publication Date: June 3, 2008
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 534
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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....

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Where to begin? This is going to be a review that is all over the place, b/c the book was all over the place. So I’ll try to dumb it down, more for my sake than yours.

With each BDB book, it is less about the couple in question and more about the Brotherhood and where it’s going. Lover Revealed was the platform for Lover Unbound. Lover Unbound was the platform for Lover Enshrined. Lover Enshrined was the platform for whatever JRW has planned next. That is really a shame b/c JRW can really write romance in a way that I certainly appreciate. So Lover Enshrined was less about Phury and Cormia and more about the direction that JRW is taking the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

There were way too many POV’s in this book. Coming from me, someone who loves different POV’s, that’s saying a lot. So I’m going to try to break the various characters and their situation down using one word and then a short description.

Phury/Cormia: yawn

While I’ve never professed to be a Phury fan, I’ve never disliked him either. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling the love between Phury and Cormia. Phury is nothing but a junkie. I felt no love for him. When all was said and done, I could have cared less about him or his addiction. Cormia, on the other hand, was surprisingly likable. At first I didn’t really care for her, but then I thought about exactly who she was and the world that she was now in. She grew the most out of all the characters. By the end of the book, I really admired her quiet strength. I had one huge peeve about Cormia. She didn’t refer to Phury as Phury until page 456. It was “Primale” this and “Primale” that. It really got annoying, even considering where Cormia came from.

John Matthew/Qhuinn/Blaylock: Amazing

These three are the reasons that I kept reading this book. You can tell that JRW has big plans for these three. Something happened between Lash/John Matthew/Qhiunn that I didn’t see coming (that’s not saying much). I really enjoyed the friendship between these three b/c you could tell it was genuine. There is nothing that they won’t do for each other. Nothing.

The brand name dropping/slang did get eye-rolling. Here’s one of my favorite passages. I could not stop laughing. This was when Qhuinn and Blay took John Matthew shopping.

John got jacked into some sweet ragged jeans, a bunch of those deconstructed button-downs, and a couple of tight muscle shirts, which even he had to admit showed off his guns and his pecs like they were worth seeing.

Yes, that amused me for a good long while.

Rehv/Xhex: Fascinating

This book was definitely a platform for Rehv’s book. JRW did a fantastic job of generating interest in the sympath’s, even more than she’s done in the past few books. There’s also a tiny peek into Rehv and Xhex’s past. Oh and does anyone know for sure if Xhex is John Matthew’s mate? Because I would be thrilled to see that. Finally a female character that is actually interesting.

The Lessers: Intriguing

Finally JRW has a direction for the Lessers. See, the Omega has a son. A son who is a vampire. I won’t spoil it, but it is revealed in the book. So while I wasn’t exactly thrilled with all the face time that the Lessers got, it wasn’t as yawn inducing as it has been in previous books. They finally have a purpose and a leader. A leader that can actually make trouble for Wrath as King as well as the BDB. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes.

So there are at least 9 different POV’s here. That’s why this book is so long. If it was whittled down to only Phury/Cormia, it maybe would have been 100 pages. Maybe. Oh, also, the friendship between John Matthew and Cormia was really sweet. I really enjoyed reading how John Matthew introduced Cormia to the wonders of technology and color. John Matthew is really going to be a special hero.

Oh and how could I forget??? TOHR IS BACK!! I know that wasn’t a big secret, but it was still a tad bit shocking. I’ve given up hoping that we’ll actually see his book within the next 10 years. I’m sure he has “a lot to do” before we’re able to get his book. I’m not bitter or anything, though. Wait, yes I am.

Other than that, I’m sure the die-hard JRW fans will love this book. As a paranormal romance, it really missed the mark. I’d say it’s more fantasy than anything else. Or maybe sci-fi? I can’t decide. I know that I will read the next book and probably the next one after that.

If I was only rating this book on romance, I’d have to give it a 2 out of 5. Everything combined, I give it:

3.75 out of 5.

Other books in the series:

Dark Lover Lover Eternal Lover Awakened Lover Revealed Lover Unbound

Read my review of Lover Unbound here.


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Review: The Beast by J.R. Ward

Posted May 3, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Beast by J.R. WardThe Beast by J.R. Ward
Series: BDB #14
Also in this series: The Shadows
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal
Pages: 592
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rhage and Mary return in a new novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a series “so popular, I don’t think there’s a reader today who hasn’t at least heard of [it]” (USA Today).   Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…   For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him…   And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world...and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from...  
From the Hardcover edition.

I stand by my feelings about J.R. Ward. Always. I still don’t have an inkling of an idea why I read her books when they keep getting worse. One of the reasons I read this book was because it was about Rhage and Mary. I loved their book. Lover Eternal was one of the best books in the series.

Rhage is just special. He always has been. He had my heart since he placed his order at TGI Friday’s. He ignored every female that looked his way and kept all his attention on Mary. He saw the special in Mary and he never let her go.

Fast forward to The Beast. I liked it because it shows that characters don’t always have HEA’s. They have problems just like normal couples do. Rhage has been having panic attacks for some reason that he doesn’t know about. Mary on the other hand, is deep involved in Safe Place. Safe Place is the safe house that Marissa created for women and children to come to that have been abused by their hellren’s. Mary is deeply involved with one of the children whose mother died.

They are together, but separate, something that is affecting both of them. While Mary is helping the young girl at Safe Place, it reminds her that she can never have children, something that she thought she had come to terms with it. She realizes she hasn’t. Soon she realizes that Rhage hasn’t come to terms with it either. But they have each other and that gives them both hope.

Then something extraordinary happens. They start spending time with the orphan and it brings them even closer together. Rhage instantly feels a parental instinct toward Bitty. The one thing that Rhage is terrified of is that Bitty will not want to be adopted by them if she ever sees his beast. Which she inadvertently does when Mary gets in trouble. Of course he has nothing to worry about because Bitty treats him like he’s a bit pet dragon.

Although they were always bonded, Bitty brings Mary and Rhage even closer. It was a beautiful thing to read. Seeing the growth of Rhage and Mary, Bitty or not, was beautiful. I have not given J.R. Ward such a high rating since the first 3-4 books. That’s how much I enjoyed this book. They’ve always been one of my favorite couples. This book just brings it back home. Rhage and Mary can conquer anything.

Rating 4.25 out of 5.

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Review: The Shadows by J.R. Ward

Posted April 10, 2015 by Casee in Reviews | 15 Comments

Review: The Shadows by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
The Shadows by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #14, BDB #14
Also in this series: Lover Enshrined, The Beast
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: March 31st 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General
Pages: 592
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The #1 New York Times bestselling author returns to the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood as two brothers bound by more than blood fight to change a brutal destiny. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the s’Hisbe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer for years. On the run from a destiny of sexual servitude, he’s never been able to rely on anyone...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 Selena 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. Now Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others—or abandon the female he loves. When tragedy strikes and changes everything, iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice....


This is the worst BDB book that I have ever read. The only reason it’s not a DNF is because I bought the book instead of getting it from the library. Forget the series being a train wreck. The was like an explosion. An explosion of epic proportions. Just when you don’t think it can get any worse, it does. Definitely not worth the $12.71 e-book.

The book was mainly concentrated around Trez and iAm, the two Shadows that we’ve seen throughout the series. They both escaped from their people, the s’Hisbe years ago. The s’Hisbe have astrological charts that they follow closely and when Trez and iAm were born (twins), it was read in the stars by the priest that Trez would mate the Princess. Trez wants nothing to do with his people but escape. I don’t blame him. He was going to be a glorified breeder.

Trez and iAm have been living on the outside for years when the s’Hisbe call Trez back to mate with the Princess. The only problem now? Trez has mated with the Chosen Selena which gives him yet another reason not to go back. iAm knows that the Queen’s executioner s’Ex will come after both of them, so he started a plan to run long ago. Then Trez’s mate gets sick. Only a handful of Chosen get what the call the Arrest. Bone grows over their tendons and they are literally all bone. Everyone frantically looks for a cure. The only thing that makes Selena feel better is Trez.

Click for spoilers and my wrath.

View Spoiler »

I also don’t care about this garbage where she explains it all. I don’t care how a book “comes to you”. Nothing about what happened made Trez and Selena’s love more special. Someone flew over the cuckoo’s nest one too many times.

I’m also not a big fan of the Chosen themselves. That was about the only thing I agreed with in the above post. Layla’s pregnant with twins [snooze], Phury’s mate [snooze]. They’re just boring for lack of a better term. They don’t mean to be, I know, but they are. Selena wasn’t boring. Ugh. I’m not bitter, I’m just pissed off. I have stayed with this series since the beginning. Since before there was a message board and the crazy moderators that insulate JRW from us crazies. Back when JRW actually answered her own emails. I even read her other series. So W.T.F.

iAm got his HEA. Yay for him.

Rhage is having panic attacks for the love of God. That wasn’t really addressed. What Brother would have panic attacks? Seriously. Lame much? Don’t try to humanize them. They aren’t human.

The only thing that interests me now is the fighting. I want to see the next time someone tries to take the throne. I want to see what Throe is going to do now that he broke off from Xcor. I want to know what Xcor is going to do now that Xcor broke things off with Layla. Is everyone going to go after Wrath now? I want to know, but I will never, ever buy another of her books. J.R. Ward is firmly in the library category.

1 out of 5.

This book was published by NAL Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format (however, I recommend the library).


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Review: The King by J.R. Ward

Posted April 18, 2014 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

king Casee‘s review of The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 13) by J.R. Ward.

Long live the King

After turning his back on the throne for centuries, Wrath, son of Wrath, finally assumed his father’s mantle–with the help of his beloved mate. But the crown sets heavily on his head. As the war with the Lessening Society rages on, and the threat from the Band of Bastards truly hits home, he is forced to make choices that put everything–and everyone–at risk. Beth Randall thought she knew what she was getting into when she mated the last pure blooded vampire on the planet: An easy ride was not it. But when she decides she wants a child, she’s unprepared for Wrath’s response–or the distance it creates between them. The question is, will true love win out… or tortured legacy take over?

This book could have been an ending to a series that has gone on for a bit too long. The series started with Wrath and Beth and could have come full circle, ending with Wrath and Beth. Somehow, I don’t think that is what the author intended.

As usual, there were your slew of secondary characters. Wrath and Anha (Wrath’s parents). Trez and the Chosen Selena. Assail and Sola. iAm. Introducing a new character s’Ex. Yes, you read that correctly. John Matthew. The only one I found interesting was Wrath and Anha. The rest, after giving it the old college try (what does that even mean?), I skimmed or even skipped entirely.

When it came to Wrath and Beth, it was really fascinating. J.R. Ward showed the end of the happily ever after isn’t always, well, happy. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows. Wrath is King and he despises the responsibility that comes with it. Day in and day out, all he does is administrative duties that come with having to be the King of his race. Going completely blind is a handicap that had devastated him in a way that he hasn’t even shared with Beth. He can’t see his wife, not even the outline of her. He can’t protect her in the slightest way. He can’t fight. He feels impotent as a man. He is chained to a desk, being King to a race that only want to usurp him.

Beth knows that Wrath is unhappy, but she has no idea the extent of it. Over the last year, spending time with Zsadist and Bella’s baby, she has decided that she wants one of her own. She is perfectly aware of how strongly Wrath feels against having their own child, but she feels he will come around. She couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, he feels so strongly against it, he drives her out of the house and to her father’s. I was shocked that Beth left Wrath, even for the short time it was. It did open the door for them to communicate. Wrath communicated to Beth how unhappy he was and why. It was heartbreaking because Beth can’t do anything about it. He also apologized, but insisted that he couldn’t lose her by chancing a baby. Beth in turn told him that it had been a year since she had come to the realization that she wanted a baby. They both then realized together how far apart they had gotten. Mates or not, they could be unhappy. It was a revelation to them and to me as a reader.

In the end, I think this series has run its course. It’s a trainwreck for me. No matter what happens, I always get the book. So when the next book comes out, and I’m sure it will, I’m also sure that I’ll read it. However, these are library reads for me now. Books that I won’t waste my money on. Like I stated before, ending the Black Dagger Brotherhood series with The King would have been perfect. Full circle. Alas, it was not meant to be.

3 out of 5.

You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Lover at Last by JR Ward

Posted August 20, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

13570854Tracy’s review of Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11) by JR Ward

Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another….

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young—just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions… but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together… finally become one.

I have to start by saying thank you to the author for this book. I never thought we’d get it as it’s an m/m story and a lot of authors would have pushed it by the wayside, not giving the readers Blay and Qhuinn’s HEA or done it in a short story or novella. Ward didn’t and I’ve gotta give her props for that.

Now the story of Qhuinn and Blay was a good one. They had been friends first and unfortunately had more than drifted apart over the last couple of years supposedly because of Qhuinn’s inability to accept Blay’s feelings for him. I don’t blame Blay at all for stepping back because there are only so many times you can go down the same road and expect it to end somewhere else.

Qhuinn has changed. He’s realized his love for Blay and wants to be with him but he still has a problem with being “out.” He honestly does not believe himself to be gay and this creates a problem with Blay as he is out and proud. The Brothers do end up in bed together a couple of times but keep butting heads (uh, big ones not little ones – although that does happen! lol). It’s an emotional roller coaster for them both and I loved reading about it. I do wish that there was more pages dedicated to their love story but alas Ward is not known for sticking to just one or two storylines in a book. Nope, in this one there were no less than 8 different stories. Some of them involved Blay and Qhuinn and some were overlapping but it was hard to take in at times and more than a bit frustrating.

In this book we got Blay and Qhuinn’s romance, Qhuinn and Layla’s possible pregnancy and its issues, the Band of Bastards leader, Xcor, and his obsession with Layla, the glymera and their pending insurrection, a ghost from the past shows up, Assail and his obsession with Marisol (Sola), the assassin who was sent to kill him, Trez and his sex addiction along with issues with his people and their desire to control him and of course the Lessening society. That’s not even mentioning Qhuinn and his relationship with the Brotherhood and a crazy scene with Qhuinn and Zsadist. That’s a damn lot to take in in one book. Granted the hardcover was massive and felt like I was holding a set of encyclopedia’s while I read but there you have it.

I liked the different parts of the book and storylines, unfortunately I didn’t think that any of them were given the attention that they deserved. As much as I adored Blay and Qhuinn I thought their final HEA came way farther into the book than I would have liked and that was a bit annoying as this was supposed to be their book. Despite that this is the best BDB book I’ve read in a few years so in the end it was all worth it.

I’m actually looking forward to the next book called The King (March, 2014) as I really am a fan of Wrath’s.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

PS – I LOVE the cover of this book.  It’s my all time favorite with Lover Avenged coming in a close second. 🙂

The Series:
Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1)Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2)Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3)Lover Revealed: A Novel of the Black Dagger BrotherhoodLover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 5)Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 6)Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 7)Lover Mine: A Novel of the Black Dagger BrotherhoodLover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 9)Book Cover

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This title is available from NAL.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.  The book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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