Lover Revealed by JR Ward

I get much love from JR as she sends me ARCs of these books after I sent her a desperate fangirl letter back when Dark Loverwas first released. Apparently, I must have been one of the first desperate fangirls back then, because I think she gets a shitload of those letters now. Sometimes, it’s good to be first 🙂 I do keep expecting to be replaced in the ARC bonanza though. I hope that doesn’t happen soon, because I’m sure I’ll eventually be able to auction off one of these ARCs and make my car payment. Okay not really, but I would be sad, since I do have a nice collection of Brotherhood ARCs going. A matched set next to my collection of the real thing. But enough babbling.

I have to start with an aside about something, I know that Bam’s review caused a stir a few weeks ago, and I think Janine reviewed this book yesterday. But I don’t read reviews under two circumstances: 1) if I know I’m absolutely going to read a book, I never read the review because I don’t want to be swayed or read spoilers and 2) If I’m going to be writing a review, I don’t read it. Because I don’t want to unconsciously mimic someone else’s review. So after I write this, I’m headed to Bam’s to see what the big fuss was about (if I can make my way through the whole review because, damn, Bam, wordy much? Need a good editor? 🙂 )

On to the blurb:

Butch O’Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he’s the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world-to engage in the turf war with the lessers. His heart belongs to a female vampire, Marissa, an aristocratic beauty who’s way out of his league. And if he can’t have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers.

But fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, he’s found by a miracle, and the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him.

What didn’t work for me: Okay, let’s just put this out there. I mentioned I’m a fangirl, right? And I love me some Brotherhood books, but sometimes, the things these macho guys say? For mercy’s sake. “I’m outtie?” I am stating here and now, in this public venue, that I’m going to send JR a copy of Clueless and force her to watch it, so she too can have the vision of Cher and Dionne in her head every time “I’m outtie” comes out of one of the Brother’s or lesser’s mouths. It’s just not right. And that leads me to my second point about the language–the fact that both the Brothers AND the lessers use the same slang, the same yo-yo-yo-boooooy way of talking. The uniformity of that really got to me in this one. In books past, I’ve rather looked over it, but once both sets of peeps start talking the same smack, well, it threw me outtie the story a little.

Something I noted that was different about this book, was the missing of Phury. While most of the other Brothers, and some other secondary characters get page-time, I felt that Phury was noticeably not in this book too much. Maybe it’s because I have special feelings for him and can’t wait for his story, but I noticed dammit 😉

Edited to add: After I read Janine’s review and the comments there, someone said that Marissa has been named as people’s favorite heroine. Not true for me. In fact, I was thinking as I finished this book that I’m every other book with liking the heroines. Liked Beth, didn’t like Mary so much. Liked Bella, don’t like Marissa so much. I didn’t even mention Marissa in the original draft of this review, I had to come back and add this in, that’s how much she didn’t cross my radar as “likeable”

One other thing I should mention here, though it’s not something that doesn’t bother me, so it’s not a “didn’t work for me thing” but something I think might disturb other people; yes, there are some homoerotic overtones. I can only believe they’re deliberate because they’re unapologetically there and part of the story. .

What worked for me: The whole damn book with the exception of the somewhat uniformity of character voice that I mentioned above. Otherwise, no matter what the issues with the book, no matter that a character says “I’m outtie” or some other ridiculous thing, this story is amazing. And that’s why JR is at the top of the game, why people move past what doesn’t work for them and ignore it. Because she’s a good storyteller, she sucks you in, grabs you by the throat and keeps you turning the pages to find out what’s going to happen next. I’ll tell you now, I let this ARC sit for a few weeks because I was one of those doubters who rather wrinkled my nose and said “Butch’s story? Eh.” Boy, do I feel like a schmuck. I should have read it right away. Why didn’t someone tell me to sit down and read it. Because once I did? I didn’t go to bed until it was done. JR takes the reader deeper into the world of the Brothers, gives more mythology, more background and introduces some intriguing new twists.

Overall: Clearly I loved this book despite what I didn’t like. I don’t CARE about that stuff because I loved the story just that much. I know people think that sometimes the main romance gets short-shrift somewhat to fit in the secondary characters as well, but I think the cast of characters and all their page time is what makes these books great. Oh, and you Vishous lovers out there, who can’t wait for his story? He plays a key role in this book so you get to see a lot of him and find out some things you might not have guessed. In other words, if you like these books at all, don’t miss this book.

Lover Revealed is due to hit shelves March 6th, but I know there have been early sightings already. You can order it here or here.

And if you want to find out more about JR, you can visit her at her website.

Don’t forget, everyone who comments today will be eligible to win a copy of this book, which I’ll have sent to you via Amazon. Winner will be chosen on Thursday.

Tempting Evil by Keri Arthur

I love Keri Arthur for getting her publicist to send me all three of these books, because I would have really had some serious whining going if I’d had to wait for each one to release (even if it was only a month in between). As it is, I have to now wait until June for the next one, so let the whining commence…

This is the third book in the Riley Jenson Guardian series, and I think I might have said this before, but these books get stronger as they progress.

The blurb:

In a world of sorcery and seduction, the nights bring out the beautiful, the damned, and the desired. Here, Riley Jenson is on her own–half werewolf, half vampire, working for an organization created to police the supernatural races. Trusting her superiors and lovers barely more than she trusts her worst enemies, Riley plays by her own set of rules. Her latest mission: to enter the heavily guarded pleasure palace of a criminal named Deshon Starr–a madman-scientist who’s been messing around in the gene pool for decades.

With two sexy men–a cool, seductive vampire and an irresistibly hot wolf–vying for her attention, Riley must keep focused. Because saving the world from Deshon Starr will mean saving herself–from the trap that’s closing in around her. . . .

What didn’t work for me: While I feel that there’s supposed to be a competition between Kellen and Quinn in the “race” for Riley’s interest, Kellen doesn’t get very much face time. I think this is perhaps because Quinn can involve himself in Riley’s work. The book walks the fine edge of making me want to shake either Quinn or Riley, I’m not sure which. Quinn for acting like an ass yet thinking he has every right to Riley, or Riley for letting him get away with it. Maybe that’s a good thing, that the author managed to evoke those emotions, but seriously, I want them to move. Some hint that they’re moving forward if Quinn is going to be “the one”.

What worked for me: The action. I love the way Keri writes action, and leads Riley to make decisions that aren’t always the fun decisions. She puts her heroine out there, things aren’t always pretty. This is an interesting world, with different types of characters and creatures, which I appreciate. I enjoy how each book has a story stands on its own, but still moves a larger story arc forward.

Overall: As I said, I think this series improves with each book. I think part of it is a maturing in the author’s writing as she goes through the editing process on each one and learns more about her own strengths and weaknesses. I thoroughly enjoy Riley Jenson as a heroine and I appreciate the fact that she enjoys sex–revels in it,even–and doesn’t apologize for it, but isn’t collecting men like…some other heroines. I would like to see more play time for Kellen, to make me believe that there’s actually a choice Riley has to make, but overall, at heart, I enjoy romance so it wouldn’t hurt my feelings to see a relationship build with one or the other. If you haven’t read the first two, I suggest reading those first. Keri Arthur has created an interesting world of other beings, and she steeps the reader in it. She does a fantastic job of helping you understand what it’s like to be something “other” living in a human world, what it means, and how that world is different.

Tempting Evil releases today! You can buy it here or here. You can visit Keri at her blog or website.

**everyone who comments today is entered to win a copy of one of the Riley Jenson books!

Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead

Richelle sent me a copy of Succubus Blues at the beginning of the year so I was able to read it back in January. Of course, I was planning on reviewing it back in January, but life happened (sorry, Richelle!).

The blurb:

Succubus (n) An alluring, shape-shifting demon who seduces and pleasures mortal men.

Pathetic (adj.) A succubus with great shoes and no social life. See: Georgina Kincaid.

When it comes to jobs in hell, being a succubus seems pretty glamorous. A girl can be anything she wants. The wardrobe is killer, and mortal men will do anything just for a touch. Granted, they often pay with their souls, but why get technical?

But Seattle succubus Georgina Kincaid’s life is far less exotic. Her boss is a middle-management demon with a thing for John Cusack movies. Her immortal best friends haven’t stopped teasing her about the time she shape-shifted into the Demon Goddess get-up complete with whip and wings. And she can’t have a decent date without sucking away part of the guy’s life. At least there’s her day job at a local bookstore—free books, all the white chocolate mochas she can drink, and easy access to bestselling, sexy writer, Seth Mortensen, aka He Whom She Would Give Anything to Touch but Can’t.

But dreaming about Seth will have to wait. Something wicked is at work in Seattle’s demon underground. And for once, all of her hot charms and drop-dead one-liners won’t help because Georgina’s about to discover there are some creatures out there that both heaven and hell want to deny…

What didn’t work for me: I like to start with this so I can end on the positive note. There’s not a huge amount to say bad about this book. First, the usual disclaimer: It’s not a romance though it certainly has romantic elements. As it says in the blurb, Georgina is a succubus, and that’s probably where my greatest complaint about this book. In Richelle’s world of Georgina Kincaid, I come out of Succubus Blues never having a great sense of what it means to be a succubus. What Georgina’s role is supposed to be, how the “other” world works, with the demons and angels and vampires. It’s there that the world-building falls a little sketchy for me, because I feel like it was never quite fully drawn.

What worked for me:
Richelle has an easy to read, draw-you-in author voice. Georgina isn’t perfect but she’s very likeable, and the story itself flows so you never want to take a break and stop reading. With two possible love interests, there’s conflict there, as well as the mystery of who is killing off supernatural beings. I love how we’re introduced to Georgina, that she works in a bookstore and is totally in love with her job. I love that she’s a total fangirl of an author and how she doles out her reading pleasure–it’s one of those quirks I could totally relate to except my self-control isn’t even close to that good. I do occasionally want to bash Georgina in the head for seeming to make rather bad decisions, but that’s not something that doesn’t work–it’s just something that makes her the imperfect heroine. It would be boring if she were perfect!

Overall:
The book just works. Even though I’d like to know more about the world Georgina inhabits, and what it means to be a succubus, the story moves along at a quick pace, introducing a likeable cast of characters. While there is a resolution to some of the conflict at the end, you’re left hanging and wanting more (give me more!) in the form of the next book. Thanks for the sneak peak, Richelle, I enjoyed every moment of reading this book!

I thought this book originally had a March 6th release date, but Amazon is saying tomorrow now, so you can buy this book here or here. And you can visit Richelle at her website, her blog or at Georgina’s blog 🙂

One commenter on this review will win a free copy of Richelle’s book, which I’ll order and ship directly from Amazon tomorrow!

ARC week is here!

I know, I know, it was supposed to be here a month ago. And then two weeks ago. I’m pretty sure you can blame the delay on daycare, since that’s where all the germs dragging my house down are probably coming from. Starting tomorrow (Monday) I’ll be posting reviews of five ARCs each day. Each day, I’ll draw a winner from the commenters on that review, to win a copy of the book I’m reviewing (with the exception of the Keri Arthur books, I’ll give you your choice of the three that are available, not the fourth since it’s another month until it releases). That means there’s a chance to win a book every day, to be shipped from Amazon as soon as you give me your address (because we all know about my love of the post office).

Monday: Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
Tuesday: Tempting Evil by Keri Arthur
Wednesday: Lover Revealed by JR Ward
Thursday: Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh
Friday: Dangerous Games by Keri Arthur

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