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review 2014-06-16 21:35
And we're done.
Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 5) - J.R. Ward

During a check-up on a critically injured gun-shot patient, Dr. Jane Whitcomb discovers three large men hell-bent on removing him from the hospital. Almost immediately, Jane finds herself abducted and held prisoner in a large mansion working as the group's personal doctor.

After reading this book I can officially say that I'm done with this series. I hate captive heroine plots and I think that's why I quickly got burned out on the Black Dagger Brotherhood books. (Three out of the four novels I read featured this trope.) I'm also tired of the cliched traits of the Brotherhood constantly being shoved down my throat. I get it, they wear shit-kickers and listen to rap therefore they're a hardcore and edgy group. I don't need it repeated to me constantly.

However, I will give it to Ward. She's not afraid to stick to her guns when it comes to maintaining previously established character traits for her heroes. Zsadist was someone who couldn't find pleasure without pain, Rhage had to sleep with a regular assortment of women for his curse, and, in this one, Vishous was heavily into BDSM. Ward didn't tone down these character kinks when it came time to feature these guys in their own books. So, even though none of those really worked for me, I give her credit for not softening those aspects.


I would recommend this one to fans of the series, but...I'm done.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-01-23 00:48
Why must there be an unncessary H in his name?
Lover Eternal - J.R. Ward

After killing a deity's bird, Rhage was cursed to share his body with a dragon. Keeping the dragon under control is something Rhage has to deal with on a daily basis and it often consists of having to do things he'd otherwise never do. When Rhage meets Mary, he is instantly attracted to her but the curse puts a huge obstacle in their courtship.

I really adored Rhage. However, the reason why this is getting a mid-level rating is that I can't reconcile Rhage's choice to go out and sleep with a shit ton of women while he had Mary waiting for him at home. This stemmed from Rhage needing to regain control of the dragon, so it was painted in a way that he had to go screw other women. While I will give Ward kudos for not taking an easy route, it still put a really sour taste in my mouth. I can't stand cheating heroes and I wasn't convinced that Rhage had exhausted all other possibilities, which really pissed me off. I also felt that Mary got over it way to quick. I mean he comes home from having sex with who knows how many women and she almost immediately gets over it upon seeing his sad face....really? I think she should've been a little more conflicted about that whole situation. Other than that, I generally enjoyed Lover Eternal. My only other wish is that Mary had been given more personality since she came off as a very flat character, but I'm beginning to think that's typical of Ward's heroines.

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review 2014-01-21 21:22
"The Rich Buisnessman's Reluctant Bride" or "Forced to Marry for Revenge!"
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 2 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 3 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 4 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 5 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 1 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 6 - Maki Enjoji Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 6 - Maki Enjoji
Happy Marriage?!, Vol. 7 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage ?!, volume 8 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage ?!, volume 9 - Maki Enjouji
Happy Marriage ?!, volume 10 - Maki Enjouji

Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with Hokuto Mamiya, a wealthy company president, in order to pay off her father's debts. Hokuto agrees to the arranged marriage because he sees Chiwa as another step towards exacting revenge on his family for their role in the death of his mother.


I was annoyed with so many aspects of the Happy Marriage?! series but I just could not look away. It's highly over dramatized with so many misunderstandings. All of which, could've easily been worked out if Chiwa and Hokuto had just talked a little to each other. Their refusal to communicate was so severe that they often used Hokuto's secretary to relay information or get information about each other. However, despite my annoyance with some of the elements involved in this series, I still enjoyed reading it. The over-arching revenge storyline was engaging, but it tended to take a backseat. Most of the time, when it was brought up (with the exception of at the very end) it was only as a tool to fuel Chiwa's insecurity about her relationship with Hokuto or as an excuse to get Hokuto to be a dick.


But hands down, Chiwa was the most annoying thing in Happy Marriage?!. She was an extreme mary sue and such a martyr. Every decision that she makes in the series is motivated by some other character's problems or what she thinks will make someone else happy. She only has one moment at the very beginning where she tries to take some initiative for herself and it gets smacked down pretty quick. I probably could've tolerated this a little better if she wasn't crying every other page. Chiwa cried so much in this series that it inspired me to create another shelf just for her called "Why you cryin?!" I was actually rooting for Hokuto's ex-lover at one point because she not only had personality but wasn't shown bawling over every little thing that goes wrong in her world.


As for Hokuto, he was a fairly standard romance hero that you can find in numerous Otome games (the distant "only your love can warm his cold heart" type). I did end up liking him a lot towards the end. Even though he managed to really piss me off, because for no real reason he back hands the heroine at least twice. These scenes were like watching an old black and white movie where the hero suddenly hauls off and smacks the leading lady and no one mentions or says anything about it. Way too over the top and I HATE when authors insert this into books.


All in all, this was an ok read. I would recommend it if you're in the mood for something along the lines of a harlequin romance with lots of melodrama.

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review 2014-01-18 00:15
Don't Mess with Texas
Don't Mess with Texas - Christie Craig

I had high hopes for Don't Mess with Texas. It seemed really cute and I had heard a lot of good things about it, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get into it.

Nicki Hunt needs cash because she's flat broke. If she doesn't get any money soon, then she's going to lose her art gallery. After getting a phone call from her wealthy ex-husband, Nicki goes to dinner with him thinking that maybe she'll be able to overlook his cheating ways for a reunion. However he vanishes in the middle of the meal on a phone call and doesn't return. Fuming, Nicki returns to her car only to find her ex, dead and stuffed in the trunk. Nicki is immediately the prime suspect with only P.I., Dallas O'Connor believing she didn't do it.

Craig has a light writing style that I typically enjoy in contemporary romances. However, a lot of the jokes here seemed like cheap shots; such as a gassy dog and birds pooping on nurses. Dallas also didn't work for me. I think he was supposed to be an angsty character who slowly starts finding some happiness, but this just didn't work with the slap-stick comedy tone of the story. The tone made Dallas seem pouty and a bit of a tool. I did like Nicki though. She was an entertaining character and I loved her relationship with her grandmother. Despite that, I probably won't be picking up another book by Craig in the future.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2014-01-15 00:20
Dark Embers
Dark Embers - Tessa Adams

Dylan MacLeod is the leader of a clan of dragon shifters. Due to a mysterious disease, members of his clan have been dying. Desperate to save his people, Dylan decides to seek out human aid. His quest leads him to Dr. Phoebe Quillum, who is a researcher looking for a cure to Lupus.

Phoebe is on a tight time constraint to finish her research because the department pulled her budget. While in the middle of searching for additional funding, Phoebe is approached by Dylan. He's willing to pay her 3 million dollars to search for a cure to the disease killing his people. At first Phoebe is hesitant, but the exciting combination of researching a new disease and having enough money afterwards to continue her Lupus research is too much temptation to resist. So, she agrees to Dylan's terms.

Dark Embers was a really difficult book for me to get into. While the main story was interesting, the relationship between Dylan and Phoebe was boring. Those two just didn't have much personality and their background stories were hinted at, but never fleshed out. This made Dylan's reluctance at wanting to keep Phoebe frustrating. Especially, when there was nothing given to show why he was so hesitant. For her part, Phoebe was a fairly interesting character. She was smart with her actions and didn’t let people push her around. However, I didn't appreciate her being punished for having a cool head in dangerous situations. In fact, the climax of the story just pissed me off. Phoebe rationally handles a difficult situation and the characters (Dylan in particular) take it as a huge betrayal. Due to the "betrayal" Dylan punishes Phoebe by throwing a huge man-child tantrum.

This brings me to my biggest problem with the book. The last sex scene is basically a rape scene. Read the following for an explanation of the scene.


Dylan is furious at Phoebe for not telling him of her speculations that another clan was the one killing off his dragons. Her reason for not saying anything is because she first wanted proof before saying anything that might begin a war and put lives at risk. Smart, right? Instead of seeing this as a mature and level-headed thing to do, Dylan flips out. He forcibly drags her to another room, hurting her in the process. Then, upon returning later that night, he finds Phoebe asleep and decides to have sex with her. At first Phoebe is with him, but then she changes her mind because his mood is too violent for her. That’s when this happens,

“For the first time, pain pierced the haze of pleasure that surrounded her, and again Phoebe struggled to get away. But he held her to him, careful not to hurt her despite his violent emotions and the heavy thrusts that brought him fully inside her…. The need to orgasm rose again, sharp, and insistent, and she tried to fight it. She didn’t want it—not like this. Not when Dylan was so angry with her…. But he didn’t give her a choice, and eventually her body betrayed her…. When it was over, he pulled out almost instantly and rolled away from her with a groan. He was asleep within moments, but she spent the rest of the night staring at the ceiling, tears leaking slowly down her face for all that they had found and lost” (271)

Then, to really drive it home,

“When she finally climbed out of bed the next morning, Phoebe was stiff, uncoordinated. Her body felt used, and not in a good way. She turned on the shower and then stared at herself in the mirror—at the marks Dylan had made on her last night, with his passion and his rage. There was a large bruise on her right shoulder from where he’d bitten her, a scratch on her right hip… Bruises ringed her wrists from where he’d kept her hands pinned against the bed…. She closed her eyes, barely able to look at the destruction- of her body and their relationship.” (272)

And one more disturbing quote about Phoebe’s emotions afterwards,

“…last night hadn’t been about desire or need or love or even hate. It had been about rage, about a fury so deep the only way he could express it was physically.” (272)


This scene completely killed the book for me. The number one thing that I cannot stand in books is rape scenes written under the guise of angry sex. What really infuriates me is that after this, the scene is never brought up again. It happens, the story moves on. What was the point? Dylan's character was just decimated and we're supposed to shrug and move on? I don’t give a flying crap if Dylan later saves Phoebe. I don’t care if he later saves the entire world. It doesn't make up for his abhorrent actions or magically redeem his character. And what about that reaction Phoebe had in the aftermath of that scene? Did she just randomly get over those feelings we saw her expressing about what Dylan just did? She said he had just destroyed their relationship but NOTHING came from it. Honestly, if I hadn’t almost been done with this book, I would’ve put it down after that scene. But since there were about 50 pages left, I chugged on and just ended the book pissed off.

A lot of people have enjoyed Dark Embers book. I can see why, Adams has a smooth writing style and her plot is fairly well fleshed out. But that last 25 percent of the book just killed it for me.

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