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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 2014-02-05 22:05
Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors
Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors - Molly Harper

Jane and Gabriel have just moved in with each other and are in the process of planning their wedding. Since it's Jane's upcoming wedding, you know things are going to go wrong before she can walk down the aisle. The trouble starts when Jane turns a teenager she used to babysit into a vampire to save his life. Suddenly, Jane finds herself saddled with a vampire childe she never wanted. Things only get worse when Jane's dead grandmother starts haunting her and someone starts trying to kill Gabriel.

I'll admit I went into Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors reluctantly since I thought Jane's story had been wrapped-up nicely at the end of the third book. My main concern was that Jane and Gabriel wouldn't be able to hold my attention without their usual relationship drama and, sadly, I was right. I spent the majority of the story bored and had a hard time finishing the book. The writing was still great and there were quite a few funny moments, but the story just didn't hold my attention.

 

Jane and Gabriel's interactions fell really flat, which was due to Gabriel never having been really fleshed out in the other novels. So having so much of him in the story caused it to drag because he was very one dimensional. In contrast to just how much Gabriel we get, we get very little Dick and Andrea. I have to say that I really missed their presence since they were always great in the other books.

 

Despite my issues with this addition to the series, I'll still continue to read the spin off books starring other characters. However, I won't be reading any other Jane books if they come out. I think her story is done.

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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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review 2014-01-11 03:08
Love with the Proper D-Bag
Love with the Proper Stranger: A Selection from Unstoppable - Suzanne Brockmann

Wow this book was seriously demented. And not in a good suspense thriller kind of way, but in a disturbing uncomfortable way.

John Miller is an FBI agent who has taken the undercover case to trap a serial killer. His mission is to attract the attention of the black widow killer named Serena. A woman who marries men and then kills them soon after the wedding. A woman I couldn't help but picture looking like the Debbie from Addams Family Values. Anyway, Johns mission is to marry Debbie... I mean Serena and then expose her when she goes in for the kill. Conflicts arise however when he starts falling for Mariah, the woman Serena has manipulated into thinking she's her BFF.

When I say this book was demented I mean that the characters were all unlikable and the hero's actions throughout the entire book are extremely reprehensible. Mariah is such a flat character. She is a pure victim with nothing about her personality that gives her depth. She's also portrayed as a complete angel. She swoops in and fixes all of John's personal problems, builds homes for the poor, and rescues children from trees. In between her acts of saintly-ness Mariah bemoans the fact that she's divorced and is too tall. All this made her not only a dull character, but also pretty annoying to read about.

 

For his part, John isn't likable either. His whole role in the book is to complain about how he better not do "insert random action" because it'll hurt Mariah and then he goes and does it anyway. Yes, he's undercover but seriously... [spoiler]

He sleeps with Mariah and then a couple hours later marries Serena.[/spoiler]

Yick, whats worse is that he suffers no real consequences from Mariah for his actions. Mariah instantly forgives John for everything and they essentially confess their undying love for each other.

At the end of this book I was just left squicked out. I had the feeling that Mariah was only with John because she saw someone she could fix and John was just a sad sack who put Mariah on a pedestal. Love with the Proper Stranger has seriously made me leery about picking up a full length novel by Brockmann.

 

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review 2014-01-02 21:47
Well that was disappointing
How to Drive a Dragon Crazy - G.A. Aiken

I was pretty disappointed with this book. Izzy and Éibhear's story was probably one of the most anticipated books in the series, but it just did not live up to expectations. Part of the problem is that this series has changed quite a bit since the first book. The first few novels were primarily focused only on two main characters but as the books progressed they started focusing on past and future characters as well. Pretty sure this is because Aiken is trying to turn the series more towards the fantasy genre and away from romance. However, despite enjoying fantasy books, this change is just not working for me. I'm pretty sure I've complained about this before in Last Dragon Standing but the constant shifts in character POVs and all the scenes with the kids (or I guess they're teenagers now) kind of bored/frustrated me. Additionally, I was just disappointed with how Izzy and Éibhear's relationship evolved here. After all the drama between them in previous books I guess I was just expecting something more than "Wanna have sex?" "Yup" "Okay cool".

I don't think I'll be continuing with this series.

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