Lover Awakened – J. R. Ward

Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Form: Book
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion and terror his only passion – until he rescues a beautiful female from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for each other begins to overtake them, Zsadist’s thirst for vengence against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past and find a future with her….

This is my favorite BDB so far! Zsadist is a sheep on wolves’s clothing running witless from love, attention or even interaction with anyone. I loved his transition from scared out of his mind to personable vampire. J.R. Ward is doing a wonderful job with this series, the story line keeps moving. I’m already excited to start the next book in the series, because I can’t wait to find out what happens to Butch.

My favorite part of this book is without a doubt Zsadist’s first kiss. I swear I could feel the emotion radiating off Zsadist and out of the book at the sensation of this intimate touch.

Lover Eternal – J.R. Ward

Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Form: Book
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood

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. Owned 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. She lost her faith in miracles 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…

I must say I’m hooked on another series. I really do love it when a series wraps you up into not only the life of the main characters of that particular book, but interweave the stories together so that they capture your attention, making it somewhat impossible to just read one. Well, as long as they are good books that is.

Lover Eternal was a great story. I really enjoyed how J.D Ward causes the two characters strengths and weaknesses to compliment each other, sort of how that happens in real life…except the whole vampire thing of course. Some of the better parts include how Rhage stands up for his feeling and for Mary despite the rules against humans. Part and particle to the story, I like how she is bringing out Butch as a character, in the end he starts taking control and pushing out instructions. Part of me is thinking, ‘what right does he have doing that,’ where the other part is saying, ‘This is who he is. This is what he does.’ I’m very interested in all the brothers, and their stories – but I’m also looking forward to seeing Butch and even the new warrior, John, in the books to come.

I still have a hard time with the names of the Brothers. On one hand I like it, they are warriors, they are dangerous. On the other hand I’m thinking it’s over the top. Not only that, but what person (human) in their right mind would trust someone called “Wrath,’ or “Rhage?” And the spellings, making them more name-like, yet still reminds me of people who use special spellings to make their baby names different. But the books are good enough that it’s something I definitely can live with.

The Highlander’s Touch – Karen Marie Moning

The Highlander’s Touch by Karen Marie Moning
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Form: Audio Book
Series: Highlander Series

A Warrior Of Immortal Powers

He was a mighty Scottish warrior who lived in a world bound by ancient laws and timeless magic. But no immortal powers could prepare the laird of Castle Brodie for the lovely accursed lass who stood before him. A terrible trick of fate had sent her 700 years back in time and into his private chamber to tempt him with her beauty—and seduce him with a desire he could never fulfill. For this woman he burned to possess was also
the woman he had foresworn to destroy.
A Woman Caught In The Mists Of Time

When Lisa felt the earth move under her feet, the fiercely independent 21st-century woman never dreamed she was falling…into another century. But the powerful, naked warrior who stood glaring down at her was only too real…and too dangerously arousing. Irresistibly handsome he might be, but Lisa had no intention of remaining in this savage land torn by treachery and war. How could she know that her seductive captor had other plans for her…plans that would save her from a tragic fate? Or that this man who had long ago forsaken love would defy time itself to claim her for his own….

The Highlander’s Touch is the last Highlander book I had to read…er….listen to. As always, Karen Marie Moning pulls off a wonderful love story that merges both passion and fantasy. While there have been other Highlander books that I enjoyed more than this one, it was nice to finally get some gaps filled in with this story. It makes the following 3 books a little more complete.

Oddly enough, I think my favorite part of this book was the very end. I loved how the lovers were re-joined (being vague, because I refuse to give away the story). I also loved Adam’s involvement in this story – of course I love Adam all around, so that is no surprise.

The Vampire’s Bride – Gena Showalter

The Vampire’s Bride by Gena Showalter
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Form: Book
Series: Atlantis Series

He is Layel, king of the vampires, a master seducer no woman can deny. But since a rogue horde of dragons killed his beloved over two centuries ago, Layel has existed only for vengeance…until he meets Delilah.

Wary of love, the beautiful Amazon wants nothing to do with the tormented vampire. Yet there’s no denying their consuming desire every time he nears her.

Neither trusts the other – nor can they survive alone. For in an impossible game of the gods’ devising, they’ve been trapped on an island, about to face the ultimate challenge: surrender to the passion that will bind them forever…or be doomed to an eternity apart.

…source: back of book…

I’m thinking that The Vampire’s Bride is wrapping up the Atlantis series, and I say that that is probably a good thing. While I sort of enjoyed the series, I definitely enjoy the Lords of the Underworld series a lot more. The extensive story line really helps, while the Atlantis series is more bits and pieces that somewhat connect. This was a good book – not excellent, and most certainly not horrible.

For some reason I had a hard time picturing Layel, and that drove me crazy. I like being able to visualize the characters. His red lips and white hair – I don’t know, I kept coming up with a crazed Albert Einstein. So visually I didn’t stick to the book’s description. I did enjoy Layel and Delilah’s interaction, which is probably what made the book good. I like the heat between two opposing forces who are unnaturally drawn to each other.

As for the active story line – the battle for the best creatures on Atlantis, I actually felt fell into The Hunger Games a bit. It was a little different, but the idea was similar. I was a little niffed when in the end the gods decided – ‘eh, we decided not to kill you, instead you will be punished in such and such a way.’ When what I really wanted was for the god’s to keep their word, but for the winner to come up with an all inclusive “booty” for their winnings; i.e. “I want you to return everyone who participated back to Atlantis in the state you pulled us out.” Something that would have allowed for everyone to keep their memories of what happened on the island, yet the ultimate happily ever after. I also had hoped for a reconciliation between the vampires and the dragons…who knows, maybe she’s got more Atlantis up her sleeve…

Kiss of the Highlander – Karen Marie Moning

Kiss of the Highlander
by Karen Marie Moning
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Form: Audio Book
Series: Highlander Series

A laird trapped between centuries…

Enchanted by a powerful spell, Highland laird Drustan MacKeltar slumbered for nearly five centuries hidden deep in a cave, until an unlikely savior awakened him. The enticing lass who dressed and spoke like no woman he’d ever known was from his distant future, where crumbled ruins were all that remained of his vanished world. Drustan knew he had to return to his own century if he was to save his people from a terrible fate. And he needed the bewitching woman by his side….

A woman changed forever in his arms…

Gwen Cassidy had come to Scotland to shake up her humdrum life and, just maybe, meet a man. How could she have known that a tumble down a Highland ravine would send her plunging into an underground cavern — to land atop the most devastatingly seductive man she’d ever seen? Or that once he’d kissed her, he wouldn’t let her go?

Bound to Drustan by a passion stronger than time, Gwen is swept back to sixteenth-century Scotland, where a treacherous enemy plots against them … and where a warrior with the power to change history will defy time itself for the woman he loves….

…source: Barnes & Noble website…
As always, Karen Marie Moning does not disappoint. I was happy to finally get to read the first half of the MacKeltar twin’s stories and fill in some of the gaps that I missed by reading The Dark Highlander first. Drustan and Gwen were perfect together from beginning to end. I actually liked how in this story there was a little less confusion about how Drustan and Gwen feel about one another – a little less fighting the inevitable…well, at least until the 2nd half. I also really enjoyed the parallels between the first and second half of the book, only in the first half Drustan is the “crazy” one, while Gwen takes the role in the second half.

My favorite part? I think it would have to be when Gwen accidentally marries Drustan while she’s relaying the story of what went on in her century, I could just imagine the roar coming out of Drustan’s mouth and the urgency welling up in him while Gwen continues reciting the vows unrealizing what she’s doing or why Drustan is reacting as such. I also love Drustan’s acceptance of Gwen and everything before the memory spell is spoken.

The part that I should have seen coming and didn’t was the end. Very, VERY good way to end this book!!

The Nymph King – Gena Showalter

The Nymph King by Gena Showalter
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Form: Book
Series: Atlantis

Females young and old beautiful and plain crave Valerian’s touch. None can resist his blatant sensuality and potent allure…until he steals Shaye Holing from a Florida beach and holds her prisoner in his underwater kingdom.

The cynical Shaye wants nothing to do with the mighty warlord, but she’s inexplicably drawn to him. For underneath the warrior’s arrogant beauty lies a complex and powerful man. A man whose caress is like fire…

Now Valerian must fight for the privilege of claiming her as his own. Because there’s one thing Shaye doesn’t know…

That when a nymph discovers his true mate, she’s his for life.

…source: back of book….
The Nymph King is exactly what you would think it is. It’s almost too much sex and not enough other stuff in my opinion. While I did enjoy the book, I found Valerian overly arrogant and self righteous. He didn’t spend enough time wooing Shaye, and just expected her to fall to her knees for him. In the end, that is pretty much what she did. She didn’t have much to base her submission to him, except his insistence that she would eventually give in to him. While Valerian decided one night to “get to know her,” they never really did end up talking much. A little tid-bit here and there.

What I did like about the book was that there was a story part and partial to the mating of Valerian and Shaye that I felt was more meaningful. I did enjoy Shaye and Valerian’s “I hate you” conversations near the end as well. And the orange, such a sweetheart Valerian proved himself to be. He truly did want to give Shaye everything she wanted – he’s just not good at the chatting I guess. Oh, and the finale – the show down between Nymphs and Dragons, I felt, had a very satisfying result.

One question I ask Gena, why didn’t you have Shaye wear the dress she longed for that was hanging in Valerian’s closet? I *thought* that was foreshadowing, and figured Shaye would take some pride in getting to finally wear the dress she really did want. 🙂

Jewel of Atlantis – Gena Showalter

Jewel of Atlantis by Gena Showalter
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Form: Book
Series: Atlantis Series

All Atlantis seeks the Jewel of Dunamis, which legend claims can overcome any enemy. Grayson James, human agent of the ultrasecret Otherworld Bureau of Investigation, has orders to keep it from the wrong hands – or destroy it. What he doesn’t know is that Jewel is a women, not a stone! But once he meets this precious gem, destroying her is the last thing on his mind…

Jewel, part goddess, part prophet, needs Gray’s help to win her freedom. Gray needs her wisdom to navigate monster-ridden Atlantis. But need blossoms into passionate love as they battle demons, dragons and vampires – and fight for a future that seems impossible…

source: back of book

I am a much happier camper now! Jewel of Atlantis, for me, was much better than Heart of the Dragon. The story as a whole moved at a good pace. There was no rushed battle scene (in fact, there were many action filled battles scenes in this book), and the ending was not rushed to an abrupt stop either. I loved Gray and Jewel’s first meeting, inside Gray’s head – it helped to build the intensity of the relationship having him so attracted merely by her voice. The story as a whole was much better built in my opinion. The danger that wraps around Jewel seems real and the story as a whole really gives you a good glimpse of the world of Atlantis that Heart of the Dragon did not allow you.

Some of my favorite parts include Jewel and Gray’s day at the market, and Jewel’s joy of shopping, followed by Gray pretending to be a God. It really just made for the perfect day, and the only few hours of relaxation the two get to share until closer to the end of the book. But my absolute favorite part was Gray himself. The handsome hunk of a man who unwillingly admits he’s falling in love with Jewel. His words, “You are mine, you are mine you are mine,” echo in my head as I think about this book. He is one of my favorite male leads to date, falling closely behind Adam Black & Daegus MacKeltar of the Highlander series.