Review: Misadventures with a Super Hero

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Misadventures with a Super HeroMisadventures with a Super Hero (Misadventures, #3) by Angel Payne
Series: Misadventures #3
Published by Waterhouse Press on October 10th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Paranormal
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: Great premise. uneven execution. Parts of this story I really enjoyed, but parts were a bit confusing and uneven. Overall, I enjoyed the story because it was a fun ride.

THE STORY: Emmalina Crist needs her job working at a hotel because she is trying to make something of herself. Her new boss, Reece Richards, is a longtime playboy, and Emma knows that he is bad news, but can’t resist him anyway. But Emma is also intrigued by Bolt, LA’s newest superhero. Of course, Reece is actually Bolt and he has issues because he was given “super powers” against his will. The two have to navigate Reece finding out who and what he is.

OPINION: I really liked the premise of this story and it is really hot with Emma and Reece circling around one another in various locations in his hotel. I liked the characters and I really believed Reece’s improving his life because of his “changes”. I thought parts of the story were really funny and really sweet. This story is really an erotic journey as for the relationship between Emma and Reece (lots of insta-love/lust) with some superhero danger tossed in.

I did think that the writing was a bit uneven at times and the alternating points of view meant some confusion in the voice of the story. (There were not enough differences in the voices of the two characters to justify the different points of view).

This was a fun story and I would love to read more about these characters, but I think that a reader has to make a commitment to the story to really enjoy it.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a novella that is told in alternating points of view.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  MISADVENTURES WITH A SUPER HERO is the third book in the Misadventures series. This series, however, are completely separate standalone books with no connections at all.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-stars

Review: Deryk

Review: DerykDeryk (Dragon Hearts #2) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Dragon Hearts #2
Published by Carole Mortimer on September 29th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 185
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: Enjoyable continuation of Mortimer’s series about men who turn into dragons searching for their mates. Not a deep story, but fun.

THE STORY: Deryk Pendragon is the closest of the brothers of being in danger of “going dragon” and having to be executed unless he finds his mate. Now that one of his brothers has found his mate, Deryk is determined to find his own. Traveling to Russia to visit with another dragon family, Deryk immediately senses his own mate. Determined to claim her immediately, Deryk has no patience for Izabella Mikhailova wanting a normal life — or really just not wanting to be his mate.

OPINION: I enjoyed this book although it wasn’t particularly deep. There is instant lust because of the “mating” aspect to the story. I don’t mind that because I knew what I was getting. I really did like that each brother’s story is a little different as they have their own problems and hang ups. I had hoped that we would delve a little more into Deryk being close to losing control of his dragon, but that storyline seemed to be resolved very quickly. This book is a little fun and I like how Izabella quickly takes control of the domineering Deryk.

WORTH MENTIONING: We get to see a little more of Bryn who is next up in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DERYK is the second book in the Dragon Hearts series. This book doesn’t require reading the first book, but that book sets up the storyline for the whole series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: Archangel’s Viper

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Archangel’s ViperArchangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on September 26th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 400
Goodreads
five-stars

“They let you drive now?” he said in a wondering tone of voice calibrated to get under her skin. “I leave for a couple of years and miss kitty’s first steps. Did anyone take photos for the baby album I sent you?”

“It’s full of pretty pictures.” Holly bared her teeth at him in a caricature of a smile. “Honor is a little concerned about how I keep drawing you with your head cut off,” she said in a deliberately thoughtful tone, “but an artist must follow her instincts.”

FINAL DECISION: Awesome, I loved this book in a way I never expected. Feeling fresh and young and yes, even a little weird, this book’s tone matched the strange, unique, and fun that make up Holly and Venom.

THE STORY: Four years ago, Holly Chang’s world was fundamentally altered when she and her friends were kidnapped by a blood mad archangel. Her friends were all murdered; Holly survived but ended up changed when the archangel put “something” of himself into Holly. She gained some qualities of vampires but she is neither fully vampire nor human. In the years since her abduction, Holly has been under the observation by various members of Raphael’s Seven.  Now the one who irks Holly the most, Venom, has returned to annoy her some more. Venom is a unique vampire who also possesses viper qualities and eyes. While Venom and Holly have much in common as to their abilities, they seem to rub one another the wrong way — until someone puts a bounty on Holly to kidnap her and the “otherness” inside her seems to be asserting itself. Venom and Holly must work together to discover what actually happened to Holly four years ago.

OPINION: The problem with loving a series is that sometimes a new book doesn’t live up to the hype and excitement. Having just completed a re-read of the Guild Hunter series, I had a worry in my stomach that I was too excited about Venom and Holly’s story (which has its origins in the very first book). I’m so happy to report that this book exceeded all of my excited anticipation. It was so different in its voice and tone and the characters lived up to the strange and mysterious origins. Their funky, weird and quirky natures bored into my heart (ha, ha) and they are definitely one of my favorite couples in the series.

Can I admit something? I often tend to take glances at the end of books as I get distracted during the story. (It’s a way of urging myself forward). This book I read cover to cover without even being tempted to read the ending. If you have similar tendencies or like to read spoilers, I urge you to let this book flow out in front of you instead. The story and relationship builds in such a wonderful fashion that I think that knowing the secrets in the ending will diminish the first-time reader experience.

Story feels young and fresh in a manner that I didn’t expect. One of my all time favorite books is FIRE AND ICE by Anne Stuart. This book has a similar feel in the characters and pacing (although there is really little similarity). The characters are younger than others in the series.

Although Venom is over 350 years old, he is the youngest of the Seven and the one character who has been the most mysterious in the series. This book peels back his layers and gives us his backstory.  He’s got a secret (not a deep dark one but an interesting one) that makes him adorable and perfect for Holly. Sexy and raw in a way that no one else in the Seven is, he has a different personality than I expected once his “gameface” is off.

Holly (who for a time called herself Sorrow) is quirky and funny and incredibly strong. We haven’t seen her progression for a while, and it was especially satisfying to see how she has grown and struggled and managed to reinvent herself after the horror of her “Making”. (I’ll also confess to having a total love for Dmitri and Honor and just adored seeing them with Holly). Holly makes this book for me. Her needling of Venom as the two find the rhythm of a relationship between them. Her strength in facing the reality of what her “making” might actually mean. And her determination to keep true to herself and her humanity put me on her side from the start. Of all the characters in this series, she was the only one from the present day who was 100 percent human and normal until she was forcibly dragged into the immortal world.

The funniest part for me is that I expected the quips and arguments and the humor, but I didn’t expect how heartwarming I would find their relationship. The observation that these two will grow together hit me with so many warm fuzzies. Their story is one of acceptance and appreciation and love for a person “because” of who they are rather than “despite”.

The story is more focused on Holly and Venom than in normal in this series (in many ways this book and ARCHANGEL’S HEART are part of the same story) and as a result, I was simply gutted as the book reached its conclusion as no part of this series has since the very first book.  The romance between these two is uniquely their own. The two seem to find joy in annoying one another, testing one another. There is a similarity to the relationship between Ash and Janvier, but this is no repeat of that romance. Venom and Holly have an acidic sweetness that matches their natures.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book overlaps with the events in ARCHANGEL’S HEART.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ARCHANGEL’S VIPER is the tenth book in the Guild Hunter series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

five-stars

Review: Nathaniel

Review: NathanielNathaniel (Dragon Hearts #1) by Carole Mortimer
Published by Carole Mortimer on July 28th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: A fun and very hot short novella about a dragon shifter and the woman who might be his mate.

THE STORY:  On a trip to Wales, journalist Chloe Evans discovers a mysterious castle that she suspects is a hub for illegal activities. Determined to investigate, Chloe ends up meeting Nathaniel who is an alpha alpha and who tempts Chloe in ways she never expected. The mystery of Pendragon castle involves centuries of secrets and, as one might expect from the title of the series, dragons.

OPINION: I enjoyed this novella which sets up the series which will be about a bunch of alpha dragon male shifters trying to find their mates before they become feral dragons.

This is a quick and dirty story meaning that there isn’t a tremendous amount of depth to these characters. Lots of insta-love/lust and not a lot of world building for the paranormal genre. That being said, I really liked the characters which are quirky and fun and I especially liked Chloe who is a smart mouthed woman who gives her alpha more grief that respect.

There is a lot to cover in this story as it sets up the mythology of the series, introduces a number of characters, reveals some of the past of the “brothers” and also has to squeeze a romance in for good measure.

A lingering, well constructed paranormal this isn’t, but an enjoyable short novella for those who would like a taste of the paranormal fantasy world without pages of mythology this is a good fun read.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a rawer, sexier book than many of Mortimer’s books.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  NATHANIEL is the first book in the Dragon Hearts series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: So I Married a Sorcerer

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: So I Married a SorcererSo I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced, #2) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #2
Published by St. Martin's Press on August 29th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 496
Goodreads
four-stars

“He would regret kidnapping her, she’s make sure of that. For he would soon discover that she was not a willing captive.”

FINAL DECISION: Filled with fun and adventure, I really enjoyed this second book in the Embraced series. The story of Brigitta and Rupert added to the legend in the world of Aerthlan. A paranormal with a historical feel, the book read like an old fashioned serial — in a good way.

THE STORY:  In the world where those born when the moons eclipse have magical powers but are hunted and in danger, some of these Embraced have found refuge on the Isle of Moon.  Brigitta has spent most of her life hidden in the convent on the Isle of Moon; she is Embraced. On her way to join her sister of the heart, Brigitta finds out that she is a princess whose evil half-brother wants her back to help secure his bloodline to the throne. Just about to be taken by his troops, Brigitta is kidnapped by the pirate Rupert who is Embraced and has the power to harness the winds. Rupert has plans to use her against her half-brother, but has many secrets of his own. Including one which involves Brigitta herself.

OPINION:  This book is one adventure after another as Rupert and Brigitta meet, deal with Rupert’s abduction of Brigitta and then also confront her half-brother. There are sea battles, dangers and, of course, love aplenty. Secret identities, lies, hidden motives, abound along with varying paranormal gifts.

Brigitta, along with her “sisters”, have been awakened by the events of the first book in the series. They are now aware that they may not be orphans but may have some secret unknown pasts. As the series progresses, I expect that we will learn their stories. Here, we learn that Brigitta comes from a family of usurpers of the throne. There is no happy family ending waiting for her. Brigitta is an interesting mix of naivete and practicality. She has an innocent heart, but at the same time, she has strength and a determination to chart her own destiny. Having a hidden past, Brigitta is just finding out who she is. This is her time to create herself after finally reclaiming her true identity.

Rupert has a different journey. He knows too much about the past and it haunts him. His story is not reclaiming the past, but rather his finding freedom from the past that at times overwhelms and smothers him. He also happens to be a sexy, powerful sorcerer who rules the seas. His story here is also a discovery story. Rupert is rediscovering who he should be. In a real way, he is rediscovering himself as well. A man who has kept himself hidden, he might have more knowledge than Brigitta, but he has also been unable to claim his true self.

A swashbuckling adventure, the story barely has time to take a breath before a new dilemma arises. It truly feels like an old time serial where the hero and heroine just solve one problem before a new adventure presents itself. I really enjoyed the pacing of this book which felt exciting and fun. I somewhat expected the ultimate twists and turns of this story, but the frantic pace kept the story moving.

I thought that this book picked up the ball from the first book in the series and moved the story forward. I get some sense that there is a larger narrative at work. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think these individual stories might be building towards a bigger conflict or solution.

Onto the next book of the series — next year, unfortunately.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Special bonus for fans who read the first book — twins!

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SO I MARRIED A SORCERER is the second book in the Embraced series. While this book can be read as a standalone, there are overlapping characters so if that bothers you, read the series in order. The romance in this book starts and is completed in this book.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: Forget Me Not

Review: Forget Me NotForget Me Not (Blackbird Series Novella) by Em Shotwell
Series: Blackbird Series #.5
Published by City Owl Press on August 8th 2017
Genres: Historical, Paranormal
Pages: 203
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Sweet and sad and ultimately bringing a happy ending.  This is a small town, Vietnam era historical with a touch of magic.  I thought it was well done and apart from any series, this is a sweet read.

THE STORY:  Evelyn Cadeau is being set up by her family matchmaker with Rex Somersby. Evelyn has no interest in her match and already has someone picked out for herself — against her family’s wishes.  Their arranged date, however, goes differently than Evelyn expected and moves her in a different direction.  Set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War this novel has magic and young adult love and small town romance along with historical drama.

OPINION:  Oh, how incredibly sweet and sad (but ultimately happy) this story is.  I loved Rex from the moment he appeared in the story.  Young and unsure and such a sweet gentleman.  Evelyn is determined to not like him from the start, but Rex wins her over.  He is a young man who is taken with Evelyn from the moment he sees her and the story goes in a different way than Evelyn expects when they go on their date.

Evelyn is stubborn and her youth shows in her determination that she is right.  I was the most frustrated with her in the beginning, but she comes to her senses eventually (smile).  I also really liked how the magic in the story was quietly woven into the story.

Their story felt sweet and organic and I enjoyed it very much.  The story does take a serious turn and uses the sweetness in the beginning of the story to good effect.  Although there is some magic involved in this story, it still says a lot about the era.  The painful middle of the story pays off in a wonderful way by the end.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The Blackbird series takes place among people who are Gifted.  Evelyn, for example, brings life and vitality and Rex never forgets what he sees.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  FORGET ME NOT is a prequel novella to BLACKBIRD SUMMER.  It is about the grandmother of the heroine in BLACKBIRD SUMMER.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via the author in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a review or write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: Soulless

Review: SoullessSoulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1) by Gail Carriger
Series: Parasol Protectorate #1
Published by Orbit on October 1st 2009
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 357
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This was a fun read.  The combination of traditional paranormal characters (werewolves, vampires, etc.) in a new a different way kept me interested in the world building and I loved the fun main characters who have an interesting relationship.

THE STORY: Miss Alexi Tarabotti is a preternatural (which means she doesn’t have a soul) who accidentally kills a vampire.  Her killing brings her into contact with Lord Conall Maccon, Earl of Woolsey, Alpha of the werewolves who comes to investigate.  There is something sinister going on and Alexi and Conall end up investigating to save Alexi and figure out what is happening with the Victorian high society (filled with paranormal creatures).

OPINION:  This was a fun book (which means it wasn’t particularly deep or thought provoking) and I enjoyed the ride. This combination of Victorian and paranormal was intriguing in it world building. I enjoyed Alexi who has a snarky and matter of fact personality. She is a hero in her own right and her relationship with Conall is prickly and funny.

And there is so much humor in this book.  As Alexi navigates the society and discovers herself, there are mysteries and romance and just plain fun.  I ended this book on a rush and would have given it 5 stars immediately, but it was like a sugar high.  Fun but the impact of the book didn’t stay with me.  I also didn’t have a great desire to continue reading the series although that this available for anyone who would like to go further into this world and story.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book resolves the story raised in this book, but future books feature the same couple so there is more to the story.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SOULLESS is the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Spellbinder

Review: SpellbinderSpellbinder (Moonshadow, #2) by Thea Harrison
Series: Moonshadow #2
Published by Thea Harrison on July 18th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Goodreads
five-stars

“There was no surviving some loves. No matter what happened to the love affair, whether it flourished or failed, those love struck mortal blows one carried for the rest of one’s life. This love she felt for him. This love was like that.”

FINAL DECISION:  Dark and difficult and I absolutely loved it.  One of my favorite couples from the Elder Races series (and its spinoff) in a story that kept me engaged for every moment.  A true redemption story.

THE STORY: Morgan le Fae has been forced to serve the Queen of the Light Court for generations doing despicable deeds for her against his will.  Morgan believes that he has become hardened to everything and everyone until he hears the music of a human woman Sidonie Martel. His budding obsession with her does not go unnoticed unfortunately and Sid is captured and turned over to the Queen who has her tortured and maimed.  In prison, a man comes to her in darkness healing her and offering her comfort even as he warns her not to trust him. Both trapped in different ways, Morgan and Sid find peace and hope in one another.

OPINION:  I loved this couple. There was so much pain and loss and drama for them to navigate. Sid is a woman who is a musical genius but also suffers from OCD. I loved how everything in her is broken and rebuilt in this story.  There is something so beautiful about her spirit as she deals with the magical realm in a way that she never expect or wanted. There is something very compelling in this story about this woman who just wants to live her life being swept up in the larger forces which irrevocably change her life. Sid makes this story feel real and grounded — where a story about magical realms and battles might otherwise feel too fantastical.  The quirks in her character made her a fun character to read and balanced the darkness in the story.  She is intelligent and reasonable and has a good handle on her own limitations.  Watching her world get destroyed made my heart hurt but the redemption in the story was beautiful.

And speaking of redemption, Morgan was a superior hero.  I love stories about the villain who is redeemed by love.  And while it turns out that Morgan isn’t as much a “bad guy” as he appeared, he is certainly haunted by his actions even though he was forced into committing them.  His character is so nuanced that I absolutely fell in love with him.  Those tortured and tormented heroes are like catnip to me and Morgan is definitely one of those.  He has been a “bad guy” who has made a couple of appearances in the series and now his story is revealed as more complex than it appeared.

Morgan’s background is founded on the Arthurian legend and this book puts an interesting twist on the legend.  For those who are familiar with the legend, this book takes a different angel that feels fresh. For those who are not as familiar, this book doesn’t require any prior knowledge.  It is merely intriguing flavoring to the story.

The relationship between Morgan and Sid builds in such a quiet and gentle manner.  The two are thrown into intense events and yet their relationship builds from little gestures and quiet moments.  This book is such a wonderful combination of these quiet and deeply emotional moments and these big wild adventures.  It was refreshing to have a story where the romance was slowly developed.  Time passes in this book and yet it didn’t feel like it was slow in its pace. Indeed, there is a lot packed in this book.  Much happens to these characters in a short time but their relationship has time to breathe and develop.

By the time this book was done, I wasn’t done with these characters. I hope that we will see them again in future books.  I would love to see how their relationship develops in the future.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Elder Races fans will get a welcome surprise by the end of the book.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SPELLBINDER is the second book in the Moonshadow series which is a spin-off of the Elder Races series.  This book can be read on its own but is better as part of the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book from the author in order to have the opportunity to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

five-stars

Review: Silver Silence

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Silver SilenceSilver Silence (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #1; Psy-Changeling, #16) by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling #16, Psy-Changeling Trinity #1
Published by Berkley Books on June 13th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 464
Goodreads
five-stars

“Welcome to the Age of Trinity.”

“Even after all this time, Silver did not understand bears.”

FINAL DECISION:  Moving the action from San Francisco to Moscow, Singh kicks off the new “season” of the Psy-Changeling series with the compelling story of Silver Mercant, a powerful Psy woman, and the alpha bear shifter, Valentine who breaks through her silent walls.

THE STORY:  Silver Mercant is the uber effective assistant to the most dangerous man in the world and has also taken on being the coordinator for the new worldwide emergency response/humanitarian response group.  She has also acquired an admirer in Valentin Nikolaev, the Changeling Alpha of the StoneWater bear clan.  Valentin has been courting Silver for months — making sure to meet with her instead of her boss, leaving her food and appearing at her apartment unexpectedly.  When an attempt is made on Silver’s life, Valentin makes it his business to help protect Silver.  In a post-silence (aka a world where the intellectual Psy are allowed to feel emotion) Silver must decide whether to break her own Silence to embrace a potential relationship with her self-proclaimed “teddy bear.”

OPINION:  I approached this book with a bit of trepidation.  When an author puts out a book like ALLEGIANCE OF HONOR and specifically states that she is moving to a new stage in a beloved series with a new focus, a reader who loved the original series might be concerned.  I’m happy to report that while this book moves the series in new directions with the introduction of new characters (and changeling groups), this is still the Psy-Changeling series that I love.  And maybe a better version of itself.

“Something always seems to get broken when a group of bears is out to have a good time.”

I’m constantly amazed by the amount of detail and differentiation that Singh is able to create in her Psy-Changeling world.  For the first time, we get to meet the bear changelings in detail.  And, oh, what a wonderful group these are.  Cuddly, messy, outwardly and unabashedly emotional, partying.  These bears are different from the cats and wolves that the series was previously embedded with.  I love how Singh makes each of these changeling groups different and distinct from the other groups.  Each group has a different culture, a different history, a different set of value priorities and yet they remain unmistakably changeling in their attitudes.  I had thought that I would always love the cats the best, but these bears certainly made an impression on me.

Valentin is a different kind of alpha hero.  He is definitely a dominant and in control, but he is also sweeter and more outwardly romantic and emotional than the other alphas we have met.  (I didn’t think an alpha hero could beat the sexiness of Lucas Hunter, but Valentin certainly does).  He is strong and yet funny and has a soft heart that he is not afraid to show others.  He ends up being a surprisingly good match for the efficient and smart Silver.

Silver is as competent and complex as we have seen through the series.  She has a difficult journey in this book.  (Yes, I ended up crying about half way through). And I never expected where this book went. While this is not the first (or even second or third) Psy and Changeling pairing, Singh always manages to keep the journey of the particular romantic pairing separate and unique.  Silver and Valentin are not like any other couple we have seen in this series — and that is a beautiful thing.

Pairing a wonderful couple with a political thriller is old hat for this series.  But this book gives us new enemies and (perhaps) allies to get to know. A series that never rests on its laurels or gets repetitive, SILVER SILENCE is a winner on all levels: emotional, complex, funny, daring, intriguing and a beautiful testament to love and devotion.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The story has moved away from familiar stories in the San Francisco area that series readers are used to and yet this book exists in that world and doesn’t feel separate at all.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  SILVER SILENCE is the first book in the new “season” of the Psy-Changeling series.  Known as the Trinity series, this book is connected to what went on in the previous 15 books in the Psy-Changeling series and yet really starts out in a new direction. New readers could start here and catch up fairly easily, but I don’t know why anyone would.  Start at the beginning of the Psy-Changeling series because this is one of the best series out there.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to be able to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

five-stars

Review: The Chosen

Review: The ChosenThe Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #15) by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #15
Published by Ballantine Books on April 4th 2017
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 544
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“And herein was the conundrum, Xcor thought behind his closed lids. The only possible way out of this deadly scenario was to reveal the love he’d found for a female that was not his, never had been, and was not e’er going to be. But he would not sacrifice the Chosen Layla for anyone or anything. Not even to save himself.”

FINAL DECISION:  Layla and Xcor’s romance brings to light a lot of discord and fractures in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world.  Things are changing and this book demonstrates and brings to light those changes along with a surprisingly sweet romance.  Loved it.

THE STORY:  Xcor is the enemy of the Black Dagger Brotherhood having attempted to assassinate the King.  Captured by the BDB, Xcor is only awaiting death.  He is a vampire who has lived a cruelty and harshness and the first softness he has found are his feelings for Layla.  The Chosen Layla is the mother of twins and has been meeting Xcor secretly because he fascinates her. The only way to stop Xcor’s death sentence is the reveal information she has about him which would threaten her position with her “family” and perhaps her own relationship with her children.

OPINION:  I loved this book.  First, I will confess that I’ve always liked the Xcor and Layla pairing because it really seems like a beauty and the beast scenario (my favorite trope).  I thought they had a difficult journey to find their happiness and it did not always seem like it would be possible.  The story of Xcor and Layla also gave characters that otherwise seemed pretty one-dimensional some needed depth.

Layla has always been in a difficult position as to Xcor.  He is the enemy of everything she loves — and yet she has not been able to resist him.  This book ups the ante and places her own relationship with her children at risk.  I saw in this book her strength in a way that she hasn’t revealed herself before. The heroines in this series have often had to risk things and people that are important to them — the only difference here is that the very characters we have come to know and love are in opposition to the romance.

One thing I really enjoyed is that many of the characters recognize that love is not always controllable and cut Layla some slack.  I thought the majority of the characters reacted in ways that I expected them to — with anger and concern and distrust, but that struggled with their own care for Layla.

Xcor has been changing for a long time in this series.  The long term nature of his story has made his transformation feel natural and real.  I wasn’t surprised by his actions here because it has become evident over time that he will do anything for Layla — even become a better person.

But this book is about more than Xcor and Layla. If it seemed like all the characters were settling into a normalized world — this book rips all that apart.  There are plenty of fractures and changes that this book reveals or causes.  Things are a changin’ in Caldwell and it’s about time.

There are secondary and related stories or glimpses about Qhuinn and Blay, V and Jane, Trez (who has a shock coming after the death of Serena), Throe, Tohr, Assail, and Lassiter.  There are plenty of appearances by other BDB characters and plenty of new stories (including drama and angst) are apparently brewing.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I actively disliked Qhuinn in this book.  His behavior was completely unacceptable and I don’t know that he redeemed himself at all in the end.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE CHOSEN is the fifteenth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  This book should be read as part of the series to truly understand the long simmering romance and the dynamics of all the relationships here.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars