Tag: NAL Books

Throwback Thursday Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (spoilers abound)

Posted April 8, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 7 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (spoilers abound)Reviewer: Casee
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #9
Also in this series: Lover Unbound, Lover Avenged, Lover at Last, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen, Lover Mine, The Thief, The Savior, Where Winter Finds You, The Sinner
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: March 29th 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Pages: 512
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: three-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.

This review was originally posted on April 14, 2011.

It’s really hard for me to review JRW’s books because I’m so opposed to what I see is her manufactured persona. My opinion isn’t humble, yo. She’s not writing what is “downloaded” in her head by the characters. She’s obviously writing what her readers want to read. Let me preface this review by saying this was as much Vishous’ book as it was Payne’s. Which might have worked (the twin thing and all) if Vishous hadn’t already had his book, hello. To me, a halfwaysortakinda fan that hasn’t quite given up, it was an obvious way of saying “I’m sorry I screwed the pooch and made Jane a G.D. ghost in Lover Unbound”. Pul-lease. Most of us are over that. If you’re not, you’re obsessed and need help. Bottom line, although I like V I wanted more Payne. Heh.

Dr. Manny Manello’s life has pretty much gone to hell since Jane died. When she resurfaces from the dead and tells him that she needs him to operate on someone, he really has no choice. He’s a doctor and his instinct is to heal. When his memories are released of the day that Jane’s husband came in the hospital, he is furious. Then he’s entranced by his patient. All he can think is that he has to save her. After he does that, his memory is wiped. He doesn’t know that of course. All he knows is that he’s drawn to a room in the hospital for a reason he doesn’t know. Day is night. He has big chunks missing in his memory. It must be a tumor.

It was actually painful to watch Manny go through what a mind wipe can do to a human. It’s obviously understandable why they need to wipe their presence from a human’s mind, but this was the first time that the consequences were apparent and very noticeable. Manny literally thought that he was going crazy. A man that ran a hospital and could basically operate with his eyes closed questioned his sanity because someone else decided what was best for him to know.

Then the BDB needs Manny again because although he operated flawlessly on Payne’s spine, she still isn’t walking. There is no progress at all. They once again return Manny’s memories and ask for demand his help. There was a key to healing Payne and only Manny could trigger it. That was well crafted and thought out. I thought it was perfect.

It might sound like I didn’t like this book, but I actually did. The romance between Manny and Payne was actually sweet. Manny saw Payne as delicate and a woman that needed protecting when Payne was a warrior in her own right. I really thought it was wonderful the way that Manny accepted Payne as she was and didn’t try to stifle who she was.

There was also another set of characters introduced, vampires from the Old Country. So I suppose there will be yet another spinoff. There was a lot of Qhinn self-reflection. At this point, I don’t care what happens with Qhuinn. Just get it done already.

On that note, I WANT TOHR’S BOOK.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Black Dagger Brotherhood

four-stars


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Review: Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James

Posted December 20, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Silence for the Dead by Simone St. JamesReviewer: Holly
Silence For the Dead by Simone St. James
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Escape, Library
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Gothic
Pages: 368
Length: 10 hours and 33 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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four-half-stars

In 1919, Kitty Weekes, pretty, resourceful, and on the run, falsifies her background to obtain a nursing position at Portis House, a remote hospital for soldiers left shell-shocked by the horrors of the Great War. Hiding the shame of their mental instability in what was once a magnificent private estate, the patients suffer from nervous attacks and tormenting dreams. But something more is going on at Portis House—its plaster is crumbling, its plumbing makes eerie noises, and strange breaths of cold waft through the empty rooms. It’s known that the former occupants left abruptly, but where did they go? And why do the patients all seem to share the same nightmare, one so horrific that they dare not speak of it?

Kitty finds a dangerous ally in Jack Yates, an inmate who may be a war hero, a madman… or maybe both. But even as Kitty and Jack create a secret, intimate alliance to uncover the truth, disturbing revelations suggest the presence of powerful spectral forces. And when a medical catastrophe leaves them even more isolated, they must battle the menace on their own, caught in the heart of a mystery that could destroy them both.

I’ve been searching for a good Gothic novel, and I finally found it in Silence for the Dead. Full of atmospheric suspense, Silence for the Dead delivered the perfect read for a rainy night.

Kitty Weekes is dead broke and on the run, so she fakes a resume and accepts a position as a nurse at Portis House, an asylum for soldiers who came home mentally damaged from the war. In the quiet of the night, something stalks the halls of Portis House. Is it nothing more than the imaginings of crazy men, or is something more sinister happening?

St. James pulled me in from the first, with the creepy atmosphere and the mystery surrounding why Kitty Weekes is on the run, and how she’ll adjust to life in a mental health facility for veterans when she has no training as a nurse. I enjoyed the cast of characters and the suspense of wondering if they were all mad, or if the house itself was truly haunted.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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

Posted October 4, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Retro-Review: Lover Mine by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #8
Also in this series: Lover Unbound, Lover Avenged, Lover at Last, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen, The Thief, The Savior, Where Winter Finds You, The Sinner, Lover Unleashed
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: April 27th 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 528
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him. After he was taken in by the Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was- or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny. As a vicious personal vendetta takes John into the heart of the war, he will need to call up on both who he is now and who he once was in order to face off against evil incarnate.
Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John Matthew. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow the male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.

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

Holly: I can’t believe this book was released in 2010 and the series is still going. Crazycakes.

This review was originally published June 4, 2010

John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him. After he was taken in by the Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was- or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny. As a vicious personal vendetta takes John into the heart of the war, he will need to call up on both who he is now and who he once was in order to face off against evil incarnate.

Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John Matthew. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow the male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.
This is the first book that I’ve really liked since Lover Eternal. As I’ve said numerous times, I loved Dark Lover, really liked Lover Eternal and was so-so with Lover Awakened. I read the rest of the books in the series b/c I’m a glutton for punishment I suppose. I just couldn’t quit (though I went the library route). John Matthew is probably the only character besides Tohr that still interests me. I wonder at the fact that this book was so much better than her previous books. I believe that JRW saw the negative feedback and reversed direction a little. Or maybe we were just long overdue for a good one in the series after the wrecks that were Lover Enshrined and Lover R. ::shrug::

The previous book ended with Xhex being taken by Lash. Lash is the Omega’s son, blahblahblah. He’s still as boring as he was from the first book. He’s not scary, he’s not villainous, he’s just pathetic. First Lash took Xhex to get back at John Matthew, then he “fell in love” with her, which basically means that he wants to own her and thinks that she’s his mate.

For Xhex, her time with Lash is eerily reminiscent of the time she got taken by the sympaths. Her situation really makes you think about how many bad things can really happen to one person.  I know she’s not a person exactly, but Xhex has gone through more than any person (or vampire) should go through.  I never thought that I would think Xhex was anything but bad ass.  Lover Mine showed a whole different side to her and that was before she even got rescued.  One thing that remains clear about Xhex is that she’s a survivor.

John Matthew turned into a total man-whore in the last book.  It was ridiculous.  The guy was fucked up enough as it was.  He’s mute, he was raped, he lost the only mother he ever knew, then he lost the father as well.  Let’s add in man-whore on top of that.  John Matthew’s road was never going to be easy.  That was always clear.  So having him change so drastically over the course of one book was just stoopid.

Everyone should know by now that John Matthew is Darius reincarnated.  It was a little boring when reading Darius’ journals, but there was a point to everything.  Everything comes full circle.  Darius and Tohr were very close and it becomes clear exactly how close.  Darius was a father figure to Tohr in the same way Tohr was to John Matthew.  Tohr gets his head out of his ass in this book too.  Look, I obviously felt horrible when Wellsie died.  The fact that Tohr wasn’t there when John Matthew went through his transition was unforgivable to me.  Tohr finally realizes that staying away really hurt John Matthew.

John Matthew and Xhex were perfect for each other.  I never doubted it.  A lot of readers wanted to see John Matthew and Layla together, which would have been booooo-rrrrrring.  Xhex and JM complimented each other.  I loved how Xhex let John see her softer side.  I also loved how aware John was about that.  He never took anything Xhex said or did for granted.  He was grateful for her for every single second.

Of everything in the book, what Xhex said to John on page 300 was my favorite.  In a few short sentences, she nailed it.

“No, you’ve got it all wrong, John.” Reading his emotions, she shook her head. “You’re not half the male you could be because of what was done to you.  You’re twice what anyone else is because you survived.”

I was pretty impressed that JRW managed to keep it down to less than twenty pov’s. The whole Blay and Qhuinn story didn’t get resolved like I thought it would. I distinctly remembered in one of the chats that she said that something would be resolved. It wasn’t their relationship, that’s for sure. Everything was just as up in the air at the end of the book as it was at the beginning.

I was extremely happy with this book.

4 out of 5.

Black Dagger Brotherhood

four-stars


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Review: Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy

Posted April 25, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Midnight Target by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #8
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Revenge, Midnight Captive, Midnight Target
Publisher: NAL, Signet
Publication Date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Score and Midnight Revenge...

Four years ago, Cate’s entire life changed when she discovered she was the daughter of a supersoldier. But Jim Morgan’s overprotectiveness has pushed her away. These days, she’s working as a freelance photographer and living the dangerous life Jim never wanted for her.

When Cate snaps a photo linking a corrupt South American politician with the leader of a notorious drug cartel, her mercenary father leads a team to rescue her—only to get shot and critically wounded in the process.

As Morgan’s operatives rally together on a revenge mission, they’re faced with new alliances and old heartaches. Cate is forced to work with David “Ash” Ashton, the man who broke her heart two years ago, while Liam Macgregor and Sullivan Port resurface after years apart to finally try to deal with everything they’d left unsaid.

Soon it’s all-out war between the cartel and the mercenaries—with two couples caught in the middle of the blood feud. Love and redemption are within their reach...but first they have to make it home alive.

Midnight Target brings the Killer Instincts series to a close. I have to say, I haven’t enjoyed a series as much as this one in quite sometime. It’s sad to see it come to a close.

Cate Morgan has only known her father for five years, but they are alike in every way that counts. They both crave the adrenaline that they know a dangerous job can bring. Morgan wants his daughter to live the normal life that he never had. He wants her to go to college, marry a normal man, live in the suburbs. Cate wants adventure, danger, and love. She’s rebelled against everything that her father wants for her.

Cate is in Guantana where the civil unrest is at an all time high. The military is barely keeping the peace and the drug cartels almost have full control of the country. Cate is there with a colleague taking pictures and she snaps a photo of the most dangerous man in the world. Which might not be a big deal if he wasn’t supposed to be dead. When men come after her, she has no choice but to call her father and his men in for extraction.

When her father is critically wounded while trying to rescue her, Cate is devastated. She’s also furious. She desperately wants to be a part of the operation to strike back at those responsible. Her stepmother, Noelle, is fine with it, but David “Ash” Ashton is far from fine with putting Cate in the line of fire.

I loved Ash. He was spectacular. I completely disliked Cate. She was a spoiled brat. I really liked her in Midnight Action. I thought I would like her in this book, but she was only twenty one. I don’t think she had enough time to grow up.

My favorite part of this book was Liam and Sully. They have been dancing around each other since Midnight Action. Liam was devastated when Sully disappeared. Their love story was told over many of the books, and the conclusion was perfect. Their story is why I loved this book. Elle Kennedy really pushed the envelope with their relationship and I applaud her for that.

Cate and Ash rating: 3 out of 5.

Liam and Sully rating: 4.25 out of 5.


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Joint Review: Moonlight on Nightingale Way by Samantha Young

Posted August 17, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Joint Review: Moonlight on Nightingale Way by Samantha YoungReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Moonlight on Nightingale Way by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #6
Also in this series: On Dublin Street , Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Castle Hill, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Fall from India Place , Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street , Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) , On Hart's Boardwalk, Down London Road, Echoes of Scotland Street
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: June 2nd 2015
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Logan from Echoes of Scotland Street is back with his own smoldering story, as the New York Times bestselling On Dublin Street series returns…
Logan spent two years paying for the mistakes he made. Now, he’s ready to start over. He has a great apartment, a good job, and plenty of women to distract him from his past. And one woman who is driving him to distraction…
Grace escaped her manipulative family by moving to a new city. Her new life, made to suit her own needs, is almost perfect. All she needs to do is find her Mr. Right—or at least figure out a way to ignore her irresistible yet annoying womanizer of a neighbor.
Grace is determined to have nothing to do with Logan until a life-changing surprise slowly begins turning the wild heartbreaker into exactly the kind of strong, stable man she’s been searching for. Only just when she begins to give into his charms, her own messy past threatens to derail everything they’ve worked to build…
From the Trade Paperback edition.

Holly: I was a bit wary going into this book based on the description. Logan as a major player didn’t really work for me based on his actions in the previous book. I’m glad to report that was a small portion of the plot, rather than the main focus. It was more about Grace’s perception of him than his actual actions.

Rowena: I was actually pretty excited for Logan’s book because I wanted to see how Samantha Young tackled the whole ex-con thing where Logan was concerned. I think she did a pretty good job of it. All of her other heroes in this series were pretty stand up guys and Logan was too…until he wasn’t. He went to prison for beating the shit out of someone so bad that he sent the guy to the hospital and put him into a coma. I liked seeing Logan’s life on the outside.

Holly: Yeah, I like that Logan struggled with his actions. He went to prison for a good reason. Though he admitted he was wrong to have done what he did, he couldn’t really regret it. I liked seeing his life on the outside, too. It was easy to understand his struggles to go back to a normal way of life with a record.

Grace was frustrating at first, always jumping to conclusions and thinking the worst of everyone. But I never really disliked her. I did get a couple good laughs out of her anger at Logan’s noisy nighttime activities.

Rowena: I loved Logan and Grace’s arguments before they were really anything. First the thong then the noise and when she finally blows up? I laughed and laughed and laughed. Their story was too freaking cute. I was surprised that she went along with Logan and crap, what’s the daughter’s name? so quickly. I was thinking the exact same thing that both Aidan and the girl best friend were thinking. Are you nuts?

Holly: Okay. I reread the book so I could refresh my memory. I change what I said earlier. Grace didn’t irritate me in the beginning. I just ended up snickering over their fights about how loud Logan was in bed and his “dates” leaving their thongs in the hallway and puke on her doorstep. That was hilarious.

I was surprised when Grace agreed to go with Maia and Logan, too, but I thought it fit the person she was. Especially the kinship she felt with Maia based on the way she herself was raised. I loved that she’d made her own family and Chloe and Aiden were quick to point out she was insane.

Speaking of, they really made a great family. I loved that Aiden was the first person she went to for everything, and that Chloe was constantly threatening to make heads roll on Grace’s behalf.

It was good to see the other On Dublin Street couples again, but I admit to having mixed feelings about the chapters from their POVs at the end of the book. I know she’s wrapping up the series, but I kind of feel like she was just throwing readers a bone. It didn’t feel organic to the story, you know?

Rowena: I really loved that the way that Grace made her own family as she grew up. The family she chose for herself were heaps better then the family she was born into. I would have liked to see some kind of interaction with her Mom, to see just how bad the Mom was but in the end, I was okay that it didn’t happen. Based on her interaction with her Dad, I could use my imagination to figure out how the Mom was.

I really liked the romance between Grace and Logan. I loved that Grace was so wrong about what Logan was feeling for her and when Logan drops the act and just goes after Grace? swoon

Holly: I loved it when he went after her, too. I loved even more that she made him work for it and didn’t just let him back in. He really hurt and humiliated her.

What did you think about Maia wanting Grace and Logan to be together. It was kind of cute, but it was also kind of immature.

Rowena: I thought he was such an idiot for saying that, especially when I knew that he more than liked her.

I enjoyed getting to know Maia, even when I wanted to smack her upside her head for acting like a bratty kid about Logan and Grace so much as looking or going on dates with other people. I mean, I understood and even sympathized with her on certain things. She had a really shitty childhood and she was really brave for striking out and trying to find Logan on her own but I guess it was realistic that she would be bratty sometimes because she is a teenager.

More than anything, I liked Maia. I liked the family unit that she made for herself with Logan and Grace. I loved seeing them fall into a pattern. Going to school and work, coming home and having dinner together and I felt bad for her when that was nipped in the bud because Logan and Grace couldn’t keep it in their pants but I liked the growth we saw in her character from the first time she came into the story until the end.

Holly: I liked how she grew over the course of the novel, too. It did take major guts for her to search out Logan. It showed strength and maturity for her to recognize the situation with her mother as unsalvageable. It just seemed kind of weird to me that she acted out to get Grace an Logan together. I would have thought she wouldn’t want them to be together, especially since she was just getting to know Logan. I didn’t dislike her or anything, it just struck me as odd when she acted out about them.

What did you think of the little slice-of-life chapters we got from the heroines of the other books at the end of this one. On the one hand, it was a nice way to end the series and I liked seeing all the couples together. On the other, this was Logan and Grace’s book, not the whole crew’s book.

Rowena: ​Hmm, I didn’t think about that when I was reading the book but you’re right. It IS weird. You’d think she’d want Logan to herself for a little bit then again, I thought she imprinted on Grace first. At first, she was wary of Logan, maybe even a little scared so maybe that’s why she wanted Grace and Logan together, to make sure Grace stayed with her? Still, she did act bratty.

The little slice of life chapters at the end didn’t bother me since it was…at the end. Had they been peppered throughout the story and took away from Logan and Grace’s book or somehow forced into the story, I would have taken issue with them but I loved getting those chapters. It was like a nice farewell montage.​

Holly: Overall I thought this was a great read and an excellent end to the series. Young went out on a high note. I’m sorry to say goodbye to these characters. I’ve come to think of them as friends I got to spend a few hours with.

I’m going to give it 4 out of 5.

Rowena: Same. I really liked how everything wrapped up from Logan and Grace’s romance, to the other couples and the series as a whole. I’m going to miss these guys.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

 

four-stars


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