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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

JR Ward – BDB 02 – Lover Eternal

Posted by Wanderer on September 21, 2009

The Challenge: Trying to get past page 1. Seriously – I couldn’t get past this page for a week. I’ve since realized it’s probably because the page starts out with dialogue and we all know how much I love the dialogue *end sarcasm*. Now, the challenge is writing my review.

The Setting: My room

The Music: Jay-Z bumpin from the speakers j/k

The Couple: Rhage (aka Hollywood, Hal E. Wood) and Mary Luce

The Surprise: The book was dedicated to me. What, you doubt me? Read ’em and weep people. Read ’em and weep:

Dedicated to: You.

In the beginning, we didn’t hit it off, did we?

See, told ya so. JR Ward obviously had Vishous prognosticate my reaction to book one, Dark Lover.

Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetites. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover—for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin. Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him.

Mary Luce, a survivor of many hardships, is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world and reliant on Rhage’s protection. With a life-threatening curse of her own, Mary is not looking for love. Her faith in miracles was lost years ago. But when Rhage’s intense animal attraction turns into something more emotional, he knows that he must make Mary his alone. And while their enemies close in, Mary fights desperately to gain life eternal with the one she loves…

Mary and Rhage’s story starts out pretty good. I found it to be an easier read, once I got past page one, than the first book. We see how hard it’s been for Rhage to live with his beast and we meet Mary who’s had a rough life. She took care of her sick mother and watched helplessly as she faded away into death. Mary also battled leukemia and after two years of remission, may now have a recurrence. I was very interested in these two until everything got repetitive. Here’s a summary:

Mary: I’m plain, why is Hal (aka Rhage) with me?

Rhage: Your voice, it’s so soothing yet it also makes me hot.

Mary: He’s only being nice because Bella told him I’m sick.

Rhage: You’re so beautiful and you make me all tingly in my special places. Wait, even in my non-special places.

Mary: Stop pitying me. You’re way out of my league.

Rhage: But I’m so hard for you. Oh no! I’m also dangerous for you. See how my teal eyes glow for you. My secret beast wants out and will probably eat you.

Mary: Hmm….his teal eyes are glowing but that doesn’t bother me at all because glowing teal eyes are oh so normal. Oh and I’m wet for you, but you’re just being kind to the unattractive girl. See you even pull away from me because I disgust you.

Rhage: I love you! Stay here with me in my room. You’re my girl now and forever.

Mary: What? You don’t even know me, I don’t know you. We may be practically sexin’ it like monkeys but you, Mr. Hottie McNaughty, cannot love me, Ms. Demure Insecure.

Rhage: How can you think me so unworthy? I only want to love and take care of you.

Yada, yada, yada. Shampoo, rinse and repeat a couple dozen times with some breaks for kissing, fondling and feeding (food not blood) because apparently it means a whole lot in the vamp world to feed another. Whatever….moving on.

There was one part that I really liked in the first half. It’s when Rhage is reflecting on the burden the beast has been on him. I really feel for him here:

God, he was tired of being stuck inside his body, managing its demands, trying not to fall into a brutal oblivion. Sure, his stunner of a face and the strength were all fine and good. But he would have traded both to a scrawny, ugly mo’fo, if it would have gotten him some peace. Hell, he couldn’t even remember what serenity was like. He couldn’t even remember who he was.

The disintegration of himself had started up pretty quick. After only a couple of years into the curse, he’d stopped hop-ing for any true relief and simply tried to get by without hurting anyone. That was when he’d started to die on the inside, and now, over a hundred years later, he was mostly numb, nothing more than glossy window dressing and empty charm.

Early on in the book, we meet a young man named John Matthews who Mary befriends despite his stalkerish behavior. She also introduces John to her neighbor Bella, who happens to be a civilian vampire. John is mute but of course Mary, in all her holy goodness, knows sign language. While chatting/signing with John, Mary and Bella discover he is an orphan. He is also wearing a bracelet he made that has symbols he dreamt about. Guess what those symbols are? They’re old school vamp talk and Bella just happens to read OSVT. The following is what she discovers after reading the symbols. It is also the point at which I set the book down and laughed:

Putting her hands on her hips, she stared at the floor. What the hell was she going to do? When she’d searched John’s conscious mind, she’d found nothing about his race, his people, his traditions. The boy didn’t know a thing, had no idea who he really was or what he was going to turn into. And he honestly didn’t know what those symbols meant

She did. They spelled out TEHRROR in the Old Language. A warrior’s name.

Seriously? TEHRROR? Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

*picks book back up and continues reading*

So apparently John Matthews is destined to be one of the Brotherhood. I love how Tohr is with him. Again, Tohr is one of my faves from the books and I can’t wait to read more about him and Wellsie.

There’s also a part where Rhage cheats on Mary. She knows where he’s going (and why) and I see why he did it but after all his sweetness towards her, he lost many points in my book.

After Mary finally admits her feelings for Rhage things go a little smoother. There’s still a lot of repetitiveness but I was less annoyed by then. There’s a part where Rhage realizes that his beast wants to sex it up with Mary too, and she agrees to let him. So they proceed and I won’t lie, that scene was kinda creepy. It had nothing to do with the chains (they had to chain Rhage so the beast wouldn’t hurt Mary) but with the actual thought of some alien-like creature up in there too…CREEPY!


The Lessers are snoozeville for me. I don’t see them as any real threat except to Johnson and Johnson, the makers of baby powder. Have nothing else to say about them.

One of the things I really like about the BDB world is the brotherhood aspect. I like the solidarity they show towards Rhage after his punishment for breaking the Brotherhood’s rules. I LOVE the scene afterwards with Zsadist at Rhage’s bedside chanting or praying for him. I wished for more scenes of the brothers together WITHOUT the slang. That would have made a huge difference for me! I also wanted more interaction between the ladies. When Mary first arrives, Beth is there for a brief second and Wellsie is mainly in scenes with Tohr. At the very least, I would have expected Beth to befriend Mary since she was living there. She could have provided some advice on dealing with the brothers considering she was fairly new to the group as well.

I did get a little bored towards the end with the exception of the scenes with Bella and Phury, then Bella and Zsadist. It really got me interested in learning more about both brothers. I liked Bella because she was upfront, she straight up told Z she was attracted to him and wanted to sleep with him. You.Go.Girl. Very refreshing after all Mary’s wishy-washy ways. We also learned earlier that Bella has a brother named Rehvenge, probably a future member of the brotherhood.

The ending wasn’t unexpected but rather a bit unsatisfying. I seriously thought the path they were taking was heartbreakingly beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted a happy ending and knew there would be a twist but didn’t think it would be that. Since the rule was Rhage couldn’t go to the new Mary, I thought somehow the new Mary would cross paths with him and they would rebuild their relationship. I actually would have preferred it that way. Anyway……

I still have my issues with JR Ward’s writing (the names, the slang, the caveman talk – see link above for the list in my review of the first book) but I have to admit the little peeks she provides on the other brothers are enough to catch and hold my attention. My faves are still Zsadist and Tohrment. I want to learn more about what happened in Z’s past and I want to see what happens with Tohr, Wellsie and their baby. I also, want to see how they help John Matthews since they pretty much adopted him. I even want to see what’s up with Phury and why the celibacy. Oh yeah, not to mention V and his awesome yet burden laden gift of prognostication.

In short, these books are mind-crack and I have succumbed. Well played, Ms. Ward. Well played. I still need recovery time from each book so I’ll see you in another 3 months when I read the next one.

Final Grade:

Liked the premise of this book but aspects of its execution were WEAK. Enjoyed it enough to continue riding the series/author out at my own leisurely pace. Beyond the hype, this book is fine for a fluffy, generic read and has more of a library rental/swap quality rather than a keeper for my personal bookshelf.

Around The Net:

A Journey of Books: A+
The Romance Reader: 3 Stars
Love Vampires: 5 Stars
Dear Author: B
The Hope Chest Reviews: 4 Stars
Romantic Times: 4 ½ Stars

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Posted in Black Dagger Brotherhood, C, Contemporary Couplings, JR Ward, Paranormal Romance, Reviews, Vampires, Wanderer, When Spoilers Attack | 10 Comments »

So tell me have you ever really, really really ever loved a woman…..

Posted by Wanderer on August 3, 2009


This book started out with a Pride and Prejudiced inspired scene. The heroine, Merriam, overheard the man she liked make a hurtful statement about her at a ball. Unlike Pride and Prejudice, though, Merriam came up with a way to get her revenge and show that man she’s more woman than he could ever handle. Looking back, the main events of this book made me think of a certain website. Merriam’s story totally fits the FML requirements. So I present to you a review of Renee Bernard’s A Lady’s Pleasure, FMyLife style.

Seeking revenge, she discovers how delicious a case of mistaken identity can be….

Merriam Everett has always been regarded as a shy, docile creature. But for one night, Merriam the Mouse has become a temptress who will recklessly take her pleasure with the arrogant earl who once slighted her, and then leave him aching with lust. A fine plan, if Merriam had not just seduced the wrong rogue!

Drake Sotherton left England amid dark speculation and has returned to seek vengeance against Julian Clay, the man he believes murdered his wife. Convinced that the masked beauty who seduced him is Julian’s pawn, Drake tracks her down and proposes that she become his mistress for the Season. Every sensual desire, every secret longing will be explored…and fulfilled.

Merriam: Today I overheard my crush, Julian, tell someone that I’m a whey-faced widow. How will I ever face him or the world ever again? FML

M: Today I went to the masked ball and my plan for revenge on Julian went awry. I was supposed to get him hot and heavy and leave him wanting but instead I had smokin’ hot sex with him. FML

Drake: Today I had sex with an unknown woman at a masked ball. She left before I could get her name and I MUST see her again! How will I find her? FML

M: Today I found out it wasn’t Julian I seduced that night, WHO THE F was it?!?! FML

Ok, so aside from the silliness of the ‘revenge’ scheme I was into this book at the beginning. I didn’t mind the set up as long as the rest delivered. I even had a brief moment where I compared Drake Sotherton to Devil Cynster from Stephanie Laurens’ Devil’s Bride. I liked his friendship with Alex and there was one conversation they had where he bit Alex’s head off but immediately apologized for it. He seemed like a decent guy and I looked forward to reading more about him. I also enjoyed reading about his search for the identity of the mysterious Mrs. Lover Lover from the masked ball.

M: Today the man I seduced at the ball found me and wants me to meet at his house tonight. He got me all hot and heavy….then didn’t finish the job. FML

M: Today I went to his house to tell him I was a respectable woman and I didn’t want what he was offering…..until he started serving it up. I’m afraid I also had seconds and thirds. FML

The author did write some good love scenes, I’ll give her that. The scene in Drake’s house that night was super hot and seductive

“Only what you bare,” he whispered, his breath hot in her ear. “Hurry.”

Read the book and you’ll know what I’m talking about 😉

M: Today I agreed to be his mistress for the season but I’m still afraid of what the public will think so we hide out at his place. FML

M: Today we finally made a public appearance in the park and OMG my former crush, Julian, came up to us which made Drake all jealous. He rushed us home, threw me over his shoulder, carried me upstairs where he proceeded to spank me….and……I kind of liked it. FML?!?!

My good opinion of the book started falling the more I read because I didn’t see any positive growth in Merriam and Drake became too possessive and overbearing. Merriam was semi-assertive in bed but if she wasn’t sexin’ it up with Drake she was back to being Miss Dependent. She never stood up for herself or what she wanted and anytime there was a hint of disagreement, they pushed it aside and went for sex instead.

M: Today an acquaintance that saw us in the park stopped by to tell me about Drake’s sordid past. He is known by all, yes ALL, the ton as the Deadly Duke!!! *gasp* Why am I always the last to know these things? FML

M: Today I attempted to ask Drake about his past yet he distracted me with more good lovin’. Could I possibly be falling for a murderer? FML

D: Today I discovered who Merriam thought she was seducing the first night we met. She was looking for my mortal enemy, Julian. Is she in cahoots with him to bring about my downfall? How can I still want someone I don’t truly trust? FML

By now, you’d think Merriam would want to know more about the man she was sleeping with and falling for yet when opportunity arose, she always backed down. You’d also think Drake would man up and ask Merriam more about her revenge scheme at the ball and what her relationship with Julian was. But both seemed to enjoy living in their little sex bubble and ignored any semblance of truth. There were times, however, when Drake was really good to her. This was my favorite part from the book:

“There is only one person’s opinion that should sway you,” he went on, lifting her hand gently to peel off her glove.

“Oh?” she asked, feigning ignorance, anticipating his reply. Typical man! He would say that his was the only one that counted and then pay her a compliment to soothe her bruised confidence.

“Oh, yes.” Drake moved her palm up to his mouth and flicked his tongue over it before kissing it. “Your own. Yours is the only opinion that matters.”

I wanted his actions to back-up those words but sadly it never happened. He was always too busy fuming behind her back wondering what her true motives were or being super jealous of her attentions.

There was also a mystery subplot about what happened in Drake’s past and why he and Julian were enemies. I figured out who did the crime but was mistaken in my reasoning for it. The whole back and forth of “You did it.” “No, you did it.” “No, you!” got old quick because that’s all we got for most of the book. It wasn’t until the end that we discovered some of the background info on the crime – right before the truth of the murder was revealed. Sorry, that was not enough to keep my interest in that storyline.

Other issues I had with the book were the overuse of words or phrases. “You’re incorrigible.” “Who is incorrigible now?” “And you say I’m incorrigible” (the last one may be of my own making but believe me, incorrigible was used way too much). Next would be the many references to the Deadly Duke. I felt like I needed the little sound effect that plays during Law & Order scene transitions every time it was mentioned. Drake also called Merriam ‘familiar’ in reference to how she got his attention at the ball – Merriam was dressed as a cat and sent a message via the butler to Merlin (who she thought was Julian) that his ‘familiar’ had arrived. It was cute the first couple of times but when it was still used at the end, it was beyond overdone.

My review is titled “So tell me have you ever really, really really ever loved a woman” which is from one of Bryan Adam’s song but this book forgets one major thing:

To really love a woman
To understand her
You gotta know her deep inside
Hear every thought
See every dream
And give her wings when she wants to fly.

The meaning of that last line is what’s missing from this book. Sadly Merriam never wanted to fly and even if she did, Drake wasn’t the type to accept that. This is the first in the Mistress Trilogy with the next book being Alex’s story and the third is Julian’s. While I liked Alex in this book, I probably won’t be reading the rest of the trilogy.

Final Grade:

This book is decent but unfortunately I found parts of it annoying, boring, disturbing, and clichéd. Didn’t float my boat but hey, maybe it just wasn’t for me. So I’ll leave you to make your own judgment call. Proceed with caution, though: I came, I saw, I read and was not amused.

Around The Net:

Romantic Times: 4 Stars
Mrs. Giggles: 73

Posted in C, Historical Hook-Ups, Renee Bernard, Reviews, Wanderer, When Spoilers Attack | 4 Comments »

Family Ties

Posted by Wanderer on July 14, 2009


Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas: The main theme of this book is family. Yes the romance is there along with the HEA but the root of the story is family dynamics. I think most families have certain roles that each person plays. One person may be considered the black sheep who does things on their own terms. Another can be the needy one who somehow always ends up in a bind. On the opposite end is the dependable one who is expected to have all the answers to everyone’s problems. For some reason, someone out there had a sense of humor and decided to grant me that last role. So with my knowledge of what that role entails, this book absolutely hit home with me.

Ella Varner has it all–a successful career as an advice columnist, a handsome boyfriend, and a circle of friends in Austin. When anyone has a problem, Ella knows the answers.

But one night she receives a call that changes everything. And as Ella’s world is turned upside-down, she meets a man who is the opposite of everything she ever wanted . . . a man who will offer her the most irresistible challenge she has ever known . . .

The heroine of this book is Ella Varner (role = dependable) who one day receives a frantic call from her mother asking her to come over and pick up her baby nephew. Ella’s sister Tara (role = needy) dropped her son off with their mother and took off. Their mother is an “all about me” character and knowing the childhood she and her sister had, Ella decides to go and ends up taking care of the baby, Luke. Well this does not sit well with Ella’s boyfriend Dane who has no interest in starting a family and tells her not to come back home with the baby. Say it with me now everyone, “ASSHOLE”! Although, I do have to give credit for being upfront about it. I may not like his stance but I can respect it. So maybe he’s only an ASS 😉 .

So begins Ella’s journey to find out where her sister is and who the baby’s father is. In finding Luke’s father, she is hoping to secure some form of financial and emotional stability for him. One of the possible baby-daddy candidates is handsome, rich, available Jack Travis. When it becomes clear there is no possible way he can be Luke’s father, Jack offers to help Ella in her search. It is during this search that a wonderful and believable romance is built.

One of the things I really like about this book is the amount of conversation between the two main characters. Then we have the added element of Luke. Ella has never taken care of a baby and Jack has some experience since he is an uncle but the two of them navigating the foreign territory of parenting is a wonderful thing to watch. At one point Ella is alone with Luke as he wraps his tiny little hand around her finger:

Living with Dane, I had heard and discussed and pondered any number of injustices in the world. But it hardly seemed that there could be anything worse than an unwanted child. Lowering my head, I pressed my cheek against his pale baby skin, and kissed the fragile curve of his skull. I watched his lashes lower, and his mouth compress like a grumpy old man’s. His hands rested on his chest like tiny pink starfish. I touched one of them with my finger, and his hand closed around it with surprising tightness.

He fell asleep holding my finger. It was an intimacy unlike anything I had ever felt before. And an unfamiliar, sweet pain spread in my chest, as if my heart were cracking open.

That line right there, it has a direct line to my heart. While I have no children of my own, each and every one of my nieces and nephews has made their mark. From tiny hands wrapped around my finger to first smiles and first hugs. There is nothing like it in this world.

Then we have Jack, who is always there to lend a helpful hand to Ella and Luke. Although he is wealthy, Ella insists on paying her own portion of the expenses which is something I love about her character. With that said, even with his money Jack never comes across as overbearing or arrogant – just a hard working, caring and down to earth man. With his help, they soon discover Tara’s whereabouts and have a better idea of who the father is and go to meet with him to get things set in motion for Luke’s future.

Although there is some difficulty due to issues stemming from Ella’s childhood, Jack and Ella grow closer and yes, they end up having some hot sex. Not too much, not too little, just right. I love the way Jack takes charge yet is still gentle:

I chuckled, and Jack pressed his cheek against the soft bounce of my breast. His hot breath rushed against the distended tip. Slowly his mouth opened over the rosy flesh, his tongue circling. Sliding my arms around his neck, I kissed the thick, damp locks of his hair. He lifted his mouth and took the nipple between his fingers, clamping softly while he moved to kiss the other breast, and my hips pressed upward into his weight. In a matter of seconds I was steaming. He browsed over me as if I were some lavish buffet, nibbling and licking and kissing, lifting and turning me to make certain there was nothing he had missed. I lay on my stomach, gripping fistfuls of amber quilt as he took my hips and hoisted them upward.

“This okay?” I heard him whisper.

“Yes,” I panted. “God, yes.”

Another favorite scene is Jack’s proposal which is unique to Ella. I love that kind of stuff! Yes a candlelight dinner or walk on the beach before you propose is great but if you personalize it to your loved one……tres magnifique!

Towards the end there are some iffy parts like when Dane finds out about Ella and Jack he is ok with it because he and Ella always had an open relationship. I found it strange that Ella never knew about this arrangement. Then there is the issue of Tara’s return and wanting Luke back and the brief moment of grief we have over his loss before another traumatic incident occurs. In the end, none of these iffy parts took away from the emotional ride this book invoked in me. The very last word of the book is a beautiful wrap up that confirms what it’s all about……family.

This is the first book I’ve read by Lisa Kleypas but it definitely won’t be my last.

Final Grade:


Around the Net:

Romance Novel TV: 5+ Stars
Smart Bitches Trashy Books: B+
Katiebabs: B+
Bibliophile Musings: A-
Dear Author: B+
Love Romance Passion: 5 Stars
The Book Binge: 4.75 out of 5 Stars

Posted in A-, Contemporary Couplings, Reviews, Wanderer, When Spoilers Attack | Leave a Comment »

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…….

Posted by Wanderer on July 12, 2009

Highland Fling by Katie Fforde: So we start out with meeting Jenny Porter, who recently started a new career as a virtual assistant, and her boyfriend Henry. A virtual assistant (as we are told over and over) is someone who does various tasks for clients that hire her over the internet. Her current assignment is to travel to Scotland to assess an old family-run mill recently purchased by her current client, M.R Grant-Dempsey. With Henry’s disapproval of her new job we, the readers, are already made aware that Henry = ass therefore, Jenny should go to Scotland and hopefully find Mr. Not-An-Ass.

Jenny Porter, a ‘virtual assistant’, spends her life sorting out other people’s problems. But when one of her clients asks her to go to Scotland to do a little hands-on investigation into a woolen mill he has a financial interest in, it doesn’t turn out to be the working holiday she hoped for. For not only does her role at Dalmain House include rather a lot of unexpected tasks – of which the cooking is the least taxing – but she also finds herself charmed into helping run ‘The Homely Haggis’, a mobile burger bar.

But it’s when her abrasive customer, Ross Grant, turns out to be someone she can genuinely talk to, that she really gets confused. And when Jenny finds herself torn between loyalty to her client and letting down the people of Drumossie, her problem-solving skills are stretched to the limit. It’s a pity they don’t seem able to stretch to sorting out her own, increasingly complicated personal life.

On the way to the mill Jenny meets a lady working a booth selling food and drinks who happens to be an in-law of the family who runs the mill (her husband is second son, Ian). She is also extremely pregnant and in need of a trip to the bathroom so asks Jenny to hold down the fort while she steps out. It is then that a customer, a Mr. Ross Grant, approaches and he and Jenny take an instant disliking for one another. That meeting alone was the beginning of the annoyance factor for me because the argument they had was ridiculous. It was just the beginning of a series of similar meetings that raised my own level of annoyance with each encounter. At one point they even started cursing at each other. That actually caught me off guard until I listened further and realized yes, I agreed with Ross when he told Jenny to, “Shut the fuck up”. Bad sign, right?

Another issue I had with the book was how Jenny became the savior of all and solver of everything. Want to save the mill? Jenny’s your gal. Have agoraphobia? Jenny can cure you. Planning a big dinner at the last minute? It’s Super Jenny to the rescue! Seriously, no one can do that…….well, maybe Martha Stewart. I didn’t care for any of the secondary characters (except maybe a little for Ian and his wife) and I definitely didn’t believe in the romance build-up between Jenny and Ross. Also, the mysterious client’s identity wasn’t such a mystery. I realized who he was from the start and I didn’t even have to use my Matlock deductive skills (yes, my mom was a big fan of that show as well as Perry Mason, Murder She Wrote etc…which gave me my mad skills at Clue).

The main reason I pushed through this was that it was an audio book and the narrator, Julie Franklin, did a decent job differentiating the characters. Ultimately, I used the book as background noise while at work. I still got the gist of the story but I never felt a need to give it my complete attention.

This was my first book by Katie Fforde and I’m afraid it didn’t leave a very good impression.

Final Grade:

Barely readable. Only discipline and willpower kept me from shaving my head and running naked for the hills. Great litmus test for my bad ass reader super powers.

Around the Net:

The Romance Reader : 2 stars

Posted in Audio Books, Clipper Audio, Contemporary Couplings, D, Reviews, Wanderer | 2 Comments »

Barbara Elsborg – Something About Polly

Posted by Wanderer on June 24, 2009


The blurb of the book got my attention,
And surprise, surprise its contents are worth a mention.
Let’s just say this ain’t your momma’s Price is Right,
For the next item up for bids is more naughty than nice!

An offer she should refuse

When Polly reluctantly attends a charity auction she doesn’t expect to win, she bids on a sealed offer made by a devilishly handsome marquis. From the look on the auctioneer’s face as he reads out “three wishes”, Polly’s sure he’s lying. The marquis snatches the envelope before she can read it and invites her to take a risk on the contents or accept three wishes. He’s as shocked as her when she accepts his offer of WILD SEX.

An offer she won’t refuse.

If trouble had a name, it would be Adrian, Marquis of Shoreham. Tall, dark and magnetic, and everything Polly wants except he’s lusting after her best friend. Adrian’s one of the pampered elite Polly despises who uses his privileged position to gain every advantage. Polly knows she should walk away and go about her boring, abstinent life. Instead, she finds herself walking towards Adrian on London Bridge, with nothing but wild sex on her mind. An encounter that will lead to —

The offer she never expected.

The book starts with Polly Smith who is being talked into attending a charity auction by her friend Tara. The auction is comprised of two parts:

“The first involved bidding for “donations” given by businessmen and friends of the Duke and Duchess of Bedlingham, which were listed in a catalogue. The second half of the evening would be the auction of more lighthearted, hopefully cheaper items in the form of numbered envelopes donated by those attending.”

Tara is mainly going because she wants to hook up with this guy named Jonno by winning whatever items he has put up for bid. At the auction we meet Adrian, the Marquis of Shoreham, who is attending the auction because his brother Jake and Jake’s fiancé, Daisy, are the hosts. When Daisy approaches and nags him about getting his auction item in, Adrian hurriedly scribbles something on his sheet of paper and hands her the envelope so she can get off his back. By now, Adrian has seen the beautiful Tara and after getting a glimpse of what he thinks is her envelope number, he decides to win her auction thus getting one step closer to having her in his bed. When he misses bidding on Tara’s auction item due to his mistaken glimpse, he decides to bid on Polly’s envelope thinking that helping Tara’s ‘boring sidekick’ would give him a second chance with Tara. By the end of the night Adrian has won Polly’s envelope and Polly takes a shot and ends up winning his. Jake, the auctioneer, opens the envelope to read what his brother donated but upon seeing Adrian’s x-rated offer, Jake covers up and announces to the crowd that Polly has won 3 wishes from the Marquis. Polly sees the look on Jake’s face when he opens the envelope and knows that the offer of 3 wishes is not what was written. Later, she reaches for the envelope to read its true contents just as Adrian grabs her hand to stop her. When the true offer is revealed as “Wild Sex”, Polly and Adrian have an “I dare you” type exchange and thus, the fun begins.

This book is hot, sexy and funny. Yes that’s right, I said…er…typed……funny. I’ve read a few erotica books over the years and I don’t remember any having a natural sense of humor to the dialogue like this one does. There are several instances where Polly will crack a joke and I never felt like it was silly or trying too hard. It just flowed in the conversation and felt right for that moment. In one instance after a hot round of sexy lovin’ Adrian notices Polly’s collection of frog figurines:

“We appear to have an audience,” he said.
“What?” Polly tried to move but he tightened his hold.
“Frogs.”
He leaned up to look at her collection—three shelves of plush toys, windup models and porcelain beauties. Some were tinier than her little finger, the largest as big as her arm.
“You can have a prize from the middle shelf,” she said.
Adrian laughed so hard his cock slid out of her. “Only the middle shelf?”
“Well, I have to give you something to aim for.”

That line about the middle shelf is clever, funny and flows perfectly in that scene.

There are some things that were off for me like how Polly and Tara are BFFs but Polly has no hesitation in admitting (more than once) that her friend is dumb. It just seemed mean and unnecessary to me. Also, early on in the book Polly admits to her expertise as a wallflower yet later on takes Adrian to a pretty spicy dress-up party. How is Ms Wallflower so open and free about dressing up and attending such a party? Then we have Adrian’s super fast transfer of lusty thoughts from Tara to Polly after all his boohooing about how boring she is when he first meets her. Polly also jumps to the wrong conclusion one too many times but in the end, none of these things were major enough to stop me from enjoying the book. The subplot of Polly’s true identity wasn’t a big mystery but the main storyline of Adrian and Polly’s adventure was a good and fun ride.

This book also has something that I’ve never read anywhere else: the heroine using a technique to prolong the hero’s climax during oral sex. I have to say it was nice to read about the hero hanging on the edge for a change. Admittedly, I do not read as much erotica as I do historical or contemporary romances, paranormal or urban fantasy books so while it may not be a breakthrough in literature it is a first for me :). That particular scene in the book shall forever be known as the “Stop ‘n Go BJ”. Go forth and find out the details for yourself :).

Final Grade:

Is everything I hoped it would be and not a pinch more. Better than average, it hit the spot like a tall drink on a hot summer’s day. While it didn’t quite dazzle me with unique or transcendent content, in no way is it a stale retelling.

Buy it Now:

Something About Polly

Around the Net:

Dark Angel reviews : 5 out of 5

Posted in B, Barbara Elsborg, Contemporary Couplings, Ellora's Cave, Erotica, Reviews, Wanderer | 3 Comments »

Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill

Posted by Mistress on May 21, 2009

All vampires except the Head Honchos are allowed only a single name. Which may prove my long held theory, that Prince is a inhumanly sexy beast. Heard a lot of squeeing to this books awesome around the net. “It’s a fresh voice” , “It’s “unputdowanable”, “It’s a brilliant new series”; they said. I highly doubted all of that was possible. But picked it up anyway, cause I loves me some vamps.

They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.

Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was mine. I was doing fine until Chicago’s vampires announced theirexistence to the world-and then a rogue vampire attacked me. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker… and this one decided the best way to save my life was to make me the walking undead.

Turns out my savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now I’ve traded sweating over my thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan “Lord o’ the Manor” Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four hundred year old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately he expects my gratitude-and servitude. Right…

But my burgeoning powers (all of a sudden, I’m surprisingly handy with some serious weaponry), an inconvenient sunlight allergy, and Ethan’s attitude are the least of my concerns. Someone’s still out to get me. Is it the rogue vampire who bit me? A vamp from a rival House? An angry mob bearing torches?

My initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war-and there will be blood…

Let’s set the mood, shall we.

Little Red Riding Hood was skipping *tra la la la la* through the forest, on her way to Granny’s house. She was enjoying the warm summer day so much, that she didn’t notice a dark shadow approaching out of the forest behind her. Then the wolf pops out, and well you know the rest: Nana in mah bellay, cross dressing, & the woodsman gets medieval.”

For Our purposes Red is named Merit and she’s a grad student. Walking, with no concern for her safety, through the campus at night. Then all of a sudden she’s grabbed by a vampire, who tears into her neck like a jelly doughnut then runs away. As she’s losing her life and red stuff all over the pavement; 2 men appear commenting on how purdy M is. Next thing you know, one of them is murmuring for her to be still while he laps at her wound like a hungry kitten. Mer wakes up 3 days later of the pale fanged persuasion and is not amused. Instead of cross-dressing etc. , we’ll substitute in stubborn reluctance, sexual tension, and vamp cloak and dagger drama.

In every vamp story the setup is different, here’s what M’s workin’ with. There are 12 vampires houses. Three of which are in Chicago: Navarre, Cadogan, & Grey. Any vampire outside of this house system is a rogue and beneath reproach. Each of these houses has a liege/boss and is only able to “turn” 12 fledglings a year. So it’s a huge deal & a great honor to be chosen. Vamps still eat regular food and blood is more a needed weekly vitamin + tasty treat then meal. With home blood bank delivery just a call away none of the houses feed directly from the source anymore; & biting peeps is frowned upon as savage and uncivilized. Well ‘cept Cadogan house, which happens to be Mer’s lot. Add to that lots of intricate customs, rank, and histories.

Merit’s biggest point of contention is she was changed without consent and makes her in my mind rather bratty. She’s oh so very angry with Ethan for sweeping her into a life she didn’t want, though it’s not like the other option “dead” has any appeal. I empathize that it’s hard for her to give up her dream of teaching literature. Since it’s illegal for vamps to teach or even attend college (they’ve recently come out of the closet and the human world is still at ill ease). Still I spent the first half of the novel wishing she’d woman up and get with it already. Ethan ( her: savior, sire, and head of her House) expects instantaneous loyalty, gratitude, and is more than a little willing to grace her with some luvin’. Instead he’s met with, subtle disobedience with a side of pouting at every turn and a firm refusal to be his slutty chew toy; despite the serious lust going between them. The book centers on, Merit haphazardly navigating vamp society, ineffectively fending off her newly found suitors, and of course a rather transparent mystery threat.

Truth time. Did it live up to the all the hype? Not exactly. It’ll definitely appeal to the younger generation testing the water beyond the Twilight Ya-ish stuff or Para Romance readers looking to bridge gently into hardcore “kick ass heroine” UF. But to me it was just decent Urban Fantasy-lite, nothing to inspire tingles and gasps. At times: the tongue in cheek retorts were a bit much, the side characters were too chick lit kitschy, there was lagging in the beginning and middle of the novel; & TBH Ethan was a pretty 2 dimensional. On the other hand the world building was well done and surprisingly Neill makes the first person narrative work. So if the blurb strikes your fancy give it a look it’s pretty good, but that’s all the push you’ll get from me.

Final Grade:

Was a Fun ride but nothing that screamed, “Same time, same place tomorrow”. Has all the right elements but lacks a little somethin’ somethin’ to rise above the pack. Enjoyable but not memorable filler, great for when you’re between dynamic reads

Around The Net:

Wendy’s Minding Spot
– ” SOME GIRLS BITE is fang-tabulous! You won’t want to miss this one.”
Romantic Times Book Reviews – 4 1/2 stars
Darque Reviews – “engaging, well-executed and populated with characters you can’t help but love.”
Monsters and Critics – ” Packed with complex subplots, embittered family members and politics, this is an excellent first installment to what should be an outstanding series in a crowded field.

Posted in B, I Heart Monsters, Mistress, Reviews, Urban Fantasy | 4 Comments »

Eve of Darkness by S.J. Day

Posted by Mistress on May 16, 2009


As a consequence for sleeping with the wrong man, the life Eve’s created for herself has been ripped away. Finding out if she’s strong enough to survive what her life has become, is the stuff Urban Fantasy dreams are made of.

The other night I had more fun milking UncommonJen for Grey’s Anatomy Finale spoilers and talking smack, than I had watching the finale. On the logic of sharing the luv; I harassed my internal Jaded Genre Fan also known as Evan ; until he consented to grill me for my take of this book. And yes my internal jaded genre fan is male. We’ve made peace with this oddity, mostly.

Cursed by God, hunted by demons, desired by Cain and Abel… All in a day’s work.

For Evangeline Hollis, a long-ago fling with a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks just became a disaster of biblical proportions. One night with a leather-clad man of mystery has led to a divine punishment: the Mark of Cain.

Thrust into a world where sinners are drafted to kill demons, Eve knows her learning curve must be short. A longtime agnostic, she begrudgingly maneuvers through a celestial bureaucracy where she is a valuable but ill-treated pawn. She’s also become the latest point of contention in the oldest case of sibling rivalry in history…

But she’ll worry about all that later. Right now she’s more concerned with learning to kill while staying alive. And saving the soul she’d never quite believed she had.

Mistress: Just do it already Ev, stalling gets us nowhere

Evan: F-i-n-e, but we already know how this is going end. You’re a mean bitch who hates pretty much everything.

Mistress: Nuh Uh, I like lots of things.

Evan: Like what?

Mistress: I like Lifetime movies.

Evan: …Yeah to laugh at their pain, not normal.

Mistress: Hey I’m plenty normal. If you cut me do I not bleed, if you play Forest Gump will I not watch.

Evan: What about walks on the beach?

Mistress: What about them?

Evan: *sigh* Do you like them?

Mistress: What’s that have to do with anything?

Evan: Everything. You crisp in the sun like an albino, despite your abundance of melanin. You’re allergic to beer and hate children.

Mistress: Jeeze E, want my number or something? You’ve put way too much thought into this = /. What’s your point?

Evan: You’re a freak. I’m in your head, no digits neccessary. You iz minez ,whether I want you or not.

Mistress: Less sniping and more interviewing. Now.

Evan: Don’t be like that babe, it’s a compliment really.

Mistress: …

Evan: Um, this book sounds like your kind of ride. Did you have high apple pie in the sky hopes?

Mistress: No. I didn’t expect much from this book. The when meaningless nookie goes horribly wrong meets Cain & Abel love triangle had me prepared for vapid UF wanna be fluff.

Evan: So why’d you buy it then?

Mistress: The thrilling blurb, Jeri Ready Scott’s endorsement, and the kick ass cover.

Evan: Ohh this is gonna be fun. So how bad was it?

Mistress: Not

Evan: Not?

Mistress: Not bad, Eve of Darkness is one of the best Urban fantasy novels of 2009.

Evan: Wait pause that thought… back to the Cain & Abel Love triangle. Sounds Zexy & hussyrific, I bet it gets all mindless and porny.

Mistress: It’s not like that, well it is sorta. I mean yes, this book is sexy as hell, but it doesn’t detract from the story quality. Yes she feels an attraction to the brothers ( heck I do too), their similarities and difference are so dangerous and yummy. But Day weaves the tension and action like a pro, so it adds depth and texture to the interaction/motivation of the players in this drama. Eve’s much more than a woman drawn to 2 men, though .

Evan: Oh really, what is she then?

Mistress: She’s intelligent, endearing, realistically tough and really pissed off at her circumstances. Being drafted into protecting mankind from threats never imagined, is hard to swallow. Her focus is staying alive, which will take figuring out the ins & outs of being God’s assassin. Then finding how to regain the life she’s made for herself. And is porny even a word?

Evan: Silence Wench, I ask the questions here.

Mistress: lol, whatevz.

Evan: What about the dialouge, plot, characterization, & world building etc ?

Mistress: Thrilling and insanely brilliant. Humans ignorantly co-existing with creatures of good and evil. Uniquely fierce and amusing Baddies not down with G.O.D. Heavenly hierarchy taking shady corporate rat race shape, where even Angels have gray or dark motives. Just enough old testament nuggets to add heft and substance without going into preachy snore territory. Full fleshed out characters and motivations. It’s good, all good.

Evan: So it’s safe to say you liked the book?

Mistress: Yup

Evan: How much did you like it?

Mistress: If I had to burn this book for heat & live or freeze to death, I’d die smiling.

Evan: In english please, sans dramatics.

Mistress : Hmm well Day has reached UF auto buy status, which is a sacred conjugal involment level for me. I’ve also pre ordered the back to back releases for Eve of Destruction (June) and Eve of Chaos (July). So I liked it very much.

Evan: Hmpf. When’s the wedding?

Mistress: Soon, your invitation’s in the mail.

Evan: Lay the flaws on me. What’s wrong with this book?

Mistress: Bupkis. It’s awesome, every aspect.

Evan: I dont understand

Mistress:Neither do I, but I’m not questioning my good fortune. You should read it Ev you’ll like it.

Evan: I think I will, the biblical remix sound fun..wait, what the hell? We’re not done Mist, You can’t leave it at that. Say one non flattering thing about the book.

Mistress: But, I dont wanna.

Evan: Tough titties, spill.

Mistress: Ok ,Some readers might not be as enamored with the intimacy building aspects here and there; as myself. But it’s blended well into the Fantasy, Mystery and Horror aspects; so I hope the fellas don’t sleep on this series. Eve falls somewhere between Mercedes Thompson and Riley Jensen heroine wise, which is damn good company to be in. That’s the best I can do, unless want me to make up something?

Evan: No, I guess that will do.


Final Grade:

Utter Perfection, I wanna have it’s babies. Can’t find fault with it nor can I come down from the bookgasmic high it induced. This is a not a test. Buy, read, and pimp this book to others, as long as there’s breathe left in your body.

Around The Net:

Katiebabs – A-


Sci Fi Guy
– “I found Eve of Darkness to have thoughtful and subtle layers that are not immediately evident until further reflection.”


Aymless
– B

Posted in A-, I Heart Monsters, Mistress, Reviews, Urban Fantasy | 3 Comments »

The Nymph King by Gena Showalter

Posted by Mistress on May 3, 2009


This time on The Young & The Restless: The haughty Nymph King finds & steals his mate, who isn’t the woman sized puddle of lust and gratitude he expects. Dun dun dun dun…

Enter a mythical world of dragons, demons and Nymphs…enter a world of dark seduction and powerful magic…enter Atlantis…

He is Valerian, the most darkly seductive male ever created. He embraces every aspect of his sensuality, reveling in his erotic powers. No woman can resist his potent allure. . .until he steals cynical Shaye Holling from modern day earth. Valerian’s hunger for Shaye is soul deep – but she is to be offered up to his men…

While Shaye claims to want nothing to do with the mighty warlord whose touch is like fire, she is inexplicably drawn to him. For underneath the warrior’s arrogant beauty lies a complex and powerful man. A man she is finding hard to resist…

Valerin wakes up post orgy tangled in 3 sleeping women; one for each hair color of course. He had tried to selflessly pimp them on his soldiers, for you see nymphs need sex for survival. But the soldiers’ manslut karate is no match for V’s kung fu. So they ignored the other perfect (if slightly worn hunks) and all 3 threw themselves at him in tandem. When the Nymph army had set off for their latest exploit, he ordered all the women stay behind, it was too dangerous and they wouldn’t be gone long. But now after they’ve settled and sent for the women, they’re missing. Feeling guilt over this and his selfish manwhore actions last night while his men suffered, he agrees to let them use the magic portal to earth.

The plan if they choose to accept it, is: to kidnap as many earth women as possible quickly and take turns choosing later; since earths’ environment is toxic to them past short durations. V goes to supervise promising not to claim any of the earth women for himself. All that changes when the prerequisite mate scenting happens, and he realizes Shay is his. He can’t go back on his word because of honor stuff. So he throws her in T&A pageant line up anyway, praying no one picks her. Shaye is not amused at the circumstances and wants nothing to do with any of his men or V. She’s determined to escape back to earth and the life she’s made for herself. And thus the battles of wills begins, that is sure to end in lurve.

Shaye’s a plucky heroine, who doesn’t feel love is an excuse for idiocy. She runs a Anti-cards business, cards for those who want “to tell someone to fuck off in a round about way”; I liked her instantly. There was a delightful playfulness to their courtship. And I enjoyed Valerin’s initial confusion & vulnerability upon realizing he has to woo her, when she doesn’t fall on her back legs spread; as he’s accustom. The minor love triangle plot, with Brenna (another captured woman, with a dark past) and the 2 soldiers she’s drawn to on very different levels; is by far the high point of the novel.

The plus column ends there for me, since the rest was sprinkled in generic cliched fairy dust. You know how it goes : declarations she’ll beg for his touch, if she attempts to escape he will “punish” her in some kinky orgasmic fashion, the overuse of the word “mine” in mental dialogue, lots of spirited rebuffs on her part though she’s quivering woman jelly for him on the inside, somehow despite being 25 and jaded from boyfriends past – she’s untouched *gag*, and he comes to the brilliant realization that she doesn’t know what she wants, because she’s never had sex …so less talky more ‘getting it on’.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Heart of the Dragon. I keep reading in hopes the next addition will measure up, no dice yet. All the above mentioned cliches make me tingle like any other Para Romance enthusiast when well executed. But the Nymph King lacked effort; the characters were new, the story recycled. Fingers crossed The Vampire’s Bride will be an improvement, when I eventually get around to reading it.

Final Grade:

Liked the Premise of this book, but aspects of its execution were WEAK. Enjoyed it enough to continue riding the series/author out, at my own leisurely pace. Beyond the hype, this book is fine for a fluffy generic read. But more library rental/swap quality, rather than a keeper on my personal bookshelf.


Around The Net:

Lurv A La Mode 3/5 scoops “this was entertaining enough to pass the weekend with, but it was unfortunately in no way memorable, nor interesting enough to want to read the previous two.”

Book Loons
“those looking for a bit more plot and character development may find this isn’t their cup of ambrosia.”

Romantic Times “Readers looking for a plot beyond the typical cat-and-mouse game for sex may find this novel hard to finish. The action and conflict do not appear until the end of the book, which makes the first 270 pages hard to get through. Showalter’s latest doesn’t live up to its promise. “

Riley Reviews “In truth, Brenna’s story was more interesting to me. Shaye’s and Valerian’s story smacked a little too much of Stockholm Syndrome for my taste, which is a danger when it comes to fated mate stories…..Despite my misgivings, I still enjoyed my return trip to Atlantis, and I look forward to going back again.”

Once Upon A Romance “The Nymph King is all about finding the one – and that search is not easy or simple as this. If you want a funny, romantic book that is not senselessly erotic, then I recommend this one. “

Posted in C, I Heart Monsters, Mistress, Paranormal Romance, Reviews | 2 Comments »

JR Ward – BDB 01 – Dark Lover

Posted by Wanderer on May 2, 2009


I’ve had JR Ward’s books in my TBR pile for a long, long time and upon finally reading book 1, I realized why. The character names are rhediculous. No, no, no that was no spelling error, that was in honor of Ward’s characters: Wrath, Rhage, Zsadist, Phury, Vishous and Torhment. Cheesy names aside, the book started out interesting.

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams.

The hero is Wrath, the King of the vampires and the last purebred of his line. He also happens to be blind. He is part of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a group of specially trained warriors who protect the vampire race against a group called the Lessening Society (aka vampire slayers). The other members of the BDB also have some sort of physical imperfection. The descriptions of the characters drew me in and made me anxious to continue reading and discover more about these flawed mens’ lives.

The heroine is Beth who doesn’t know she is half vampire. Her father, Darius, is also a member of the BDB but has only watched his daughter grow up from afar. He wants to approach her now because she is reaching the age of her Transition, where she will become a vampire. Apparently a Transition isn’t a guaranteed thing and some do not survive the change. In order to give his daughter the best chance at survival he wants Beth’s first drink during the change to be from Wrath-of-the-pureblood.

So the story goes thru the meeting of Wrath and Beth. I found it funny that she never questioned his name or any of his brother’s names for that matter. Basically, he say’s “My name is Wrath” and she’s all “Hi Wrath my name is Beth”. Guess Wrath is the new Michael? I liked the fact that we got to see how Wrath experienced the world using his other senses. There’s a part where he first scents Beth and he says “she smells beautiful”. I thought that was sweet, it’s like the Jerry Maguire “you had me at hello” line. They get it on early in the story and eventually Wrath tells her about what he is and what’s about to happen to her. After some disbelief, thankfully it wasn’t too drawn out, she accepts what he says as truth. Through all this I didn’t really like Wrath until much later in the book. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate him but I didn’t feel the fondness I normally would for the hero of a book. Part of it was his treatment of Marissa, the female vampire who was his one and only (in blood exchanging only) until Beth came along and he got the blood/sex/lust/love TKO combo. Then there was how he treated Fritz, the caretaker of the house and the brotherhood, and the comments he made to Tohr about Wellsie. In fact, I liked Torhment more than him for a while and even Zsadist made me laugh at one point.

Beth also has a human cop friend, Brian “Butch” O’Neal, who warns her against Wrath. He thinks Wrath is a drug lord but eventually is told about the vampire’s existence due to his first meeting with Marissa and something that happens in front of him. We also learn about the lessers and one of the main guys, Mr. X, is out recruiting for new members for the vamp slaying society. He finds one kid in particular who has all the right moves but aside from one battle where Rhage’s beast makes its appearance, I didn’t find the lessers much of a threat to the brotherhood. Maybe future books will have more interesting battles between the two groups?

Anyway, after the initial intro of the main characters I didn’t get caught up in the story again until about the last third of the book when we get to Beth’s Transition. The emotions of that part of the story and the way Wrath treated Beth finally won me over.

Overall, there are definite pluses and minuses in the world of the BDB. I found the death ritual Wrath performs and the Fade to be interesting. The concept of the Brotherhood is cool and I like the reverence they show Beth later on in the book. That scene reminded me of the end of the Return of the King movie. I found the slang annoying (outie, whack, you feel me, pimp juice, off the chain, true?, rap music references) and at times it made the story comedic. I didn’t like the terms Mating and Needing, kept making me think of animals in heat. Then we have the villain’s of the story, the Lessers, whose scent is….baby powder. Huh?

I’ll keep the rest of the series in my TBR pile but I’m thinking of skipping to Tohr and Zsadist’s books since those are the two that caught my attention in this story. For those who have read all the books, do they need to be read in order? Also, I checked Ward’s website for Tohr’s book but it doesn’t look like he has one. Why is that? I would love to see how he and Wellsie met or even what happens with the baby.

On a completely random personal note, I grew up with a dad who loved WWF wrestling and the BDB reminded me of the old school wrestlers. With over the top names and the slang, especially them calling each other “brother”, it’s definitely the WWF era redux. So without further ado, I present to you my WWF/BDB comparison (they don’t necessarily fit look-wise but characteristically, this is how I’d match them up). Enjoy!

Wrath = Hulk Hogan

Rhage = Jake the Snake

Zsadist = The Undertaker

Phury = The Ultimate Warrior

Vishous = Sting

Torhment = Macho Man Randy Savage and Wellsie = Elizabeth

Butch = Bret Hart

I was on the fence on the grade for this one. My gut reaction after completing the book was a C but then when writing the review and realizing it reminded me of the WWF (and good memories of dad) I wanted to bump it up to a B-. But alas, gut reactions are absolute truth for me so…..

Final grade:

Liked the premise of this book but aspects of its execution were WEAK. Enjoyed it enough to continue riding the series/author out at my own leisurely pace. Beyond the hype, this book is fine for a fluffy, generic read and has more of a library rental/swap quality rather than a keeper for my personal bookshelf.

Posted in Black Dagger Brotherhood, C, I Heart Monsters, JR Ward, Reviews, Wanderer | 9 Comments »

Red-headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells

Posted by Mistress on April 30, 2009

Saw this book for the first time, strewn on a table at Barnes & Noble. Above loomed a “If You liked Twilight” sign. The tweens must have went apeshit, cause everything was awry. So while fixing the books into neat little piles (yes, I’m one of those, lmao) this book caught my eye.

I ooohed as expected at the eye catching cover; then spun it around like a cheap date to check out the goods. The Blurb was impressive, lots of interesting conflict potential, not frilly, and brief. So like any bookslut worth her salt, I brought it home to join my harem.

In a world where being of mixed-blood is a major liability, Sabina doesn’t really fit in. And being an assassin – the only profession fit for an outcast – doesn’t help matters. But she’s never brought her work home. Until now.

Her latest mission is uncomfortably complex, and threatens the fragile peace between the vampire and mage races. As Sabina scrambles to figure out which side she’s on, she uncovers a tangled political web, some nasty facts about her family and some unexpected new talents. Any of these things could be worryingly life-changing, but together, they could be fatal…

Vampires are the living decedents of Lilith and Cain (as oppose to being the evil undead), and as a result all vampires are gingers. Sabina is a mixblood assassin for the Dominae, the counsel her Grandmother heads which rules the Vamps with an iron fist. You’re thinking sweet deal right? Mixed abilities, Nana looking out for you & getting to kill things. Well that ain’t the case.

Sabina has a complete disconnect from her mage heritage and is just as racist as the average vampire. Why? Well, Vamps and Mages loathe each other, like the opposing street dance crews. While her Grandmother did raise her after the death of her parents, she did so in the apathetic commanding way she does everything; so no warm fuzzies. On the up side she does get to kill things, but any hesitation, refusal, or questioning their choice will render her equally dead.

So despite her prolific vamp bloodline and her pest control contribution; she’s never fully been accepted among the Vampire community and will continue to suffer for the sins of her parents. All that leaves us, a Bad Ass killer with epic little girl issues; determined to prove herself worthy, no matter the cost. Which drives her to accept a dangerous mission infiltrating a cult that is threatning the Dominae’s power base. It’s all very Anita Blake meets alias. Nothing is as it seems and everyone has ulterior motives; survival will require rexamining: who she is? Who she’s fighting with? and what she’s fighting for?

Sabina’s a funny, lethal, and flawed heroine; just how I like em. The world building was decent, but there were occasional gaps.
For Example Sabina sleeps in the day and wakes at night, but no mention is made of how vamps react to sunlight. Are her sleeping habits just cultural or would she sizzle like bacon at noon? Though I realize even if there are sleep patterns/sunlight rules that it probably wont to apply to her; I still would have appreciated the clarity.( Readers: if I missed where this revalation, please shed some light, I promise not to bitch.)

The colorful cast of side characters were amusing, as was the dialogue. Sabina’s issues give credibility to some of her actions, more than it detracts in a whiny sense. I even like the sidekick she acquires, but the jump from foes to friends was too instantaneous for my tastes. My other grumble is, Sabina was agreeable to illogical degrees when dealing with the enemy. I get that she needed to infiltrate the rival organization, but c’mon. Any assassin that you approach with a vague job offer, that agrees to be led somewhere unknown to meet, by your henchmen… blindfolded and disarmed…is either retarded and isn’t worth hiring or ding ding ding is a enemy mole, lol. what about accepting a job without any discussion of payment or whats expected of you? I assume hunting vampires would take umpteenth cognitive reasoning and awareness skills, so why is Sabina in many aspects so naive?

“Digging graves is hell on a manicure, but I was taught good vampires clean up after every meal.” With a darkly amusing opening line like that, I anticipated a thrilling ride. Did the positives outweigh the flaws? Do I look forward to the next novel? Will I pimp it to the legion Urban Fantasy fans? Yes, yes, and yes. Despite the hiccups, Red-headed Stepchild is a fun fast paced read & a damn fine addition to the genre. Congrats Mz. Wells, you’ve done good.

Final Grade:

Is everything I hoped it would be but not a pinch more. Better than average, hit the spot like a tall drink on a hot summer’s day and is in no way a stale retelling. But didn’t dazzle me with shiny unique or transcendent content. A smidgen formulaic but doesn’t detract from maximum entertainment value.


Around The Net:


Love Vampires
4.5/5 Stars

Reading with Monie 5/5 Stars

Darque Reviews – “Well-written with easy to visualize detail, Read-Headed Stepchild is a fantastic opening to this trilogy and should be at the top of every urban fantasy reader’s wish list.”

Trollitc – “The novel’s not groundbreaking or high literature (but then, that’s probably a good thing as so much high literature tends to be unfathomable and unentertaining) and people who aren’t fans of the genre are not likely to enjoy it especially, but it is a good solid example of urban fantasy/horror, a pleasant read with promises of better stories to follow”

SFF World – “In summary, this is not a bad debut novel. I get the impression the author had a lot of fun writing it. It reads fairly smoothly. It’s not deep, nor particularly significant, but then it doesn’t try to be. Unlike some, it’s not explicit vampire porn (though there are insinuations to sex), nor is it pretentiously ponderous either”

Fantasy Book Critic – “Even though Jaye Wells’ “Red-Headed Stepchild” doesn’t really distinguish itself from other urban fantasy/paranormal romance novels—aside from the vampires—the book is fast-paced, charming and fun. Add it all up and “Red-Headed Stepchild” is a book that I expect will do quite well…”

Persephone Reads – “If you enjoy urban fantasy that feels fully realized – even if it’s not laid out at your feet in the first outing – you’ll definitely enjoy this book. And if you like swift action, serious sexual tension, and a solid dose of intrigue you’ll like it even more.”

Fantasy Literature 3.5 /5 “I will read the sequel to Red-Headed Stepchild. Not because there’s anything really original about this book or its characters, but because Wells makes the well-worn exciting and sometimes that’s enough to make a book worth reading. Wells knows how to take you for a ride.”

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