I recently discovered the JR Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood series of paranormal romances. And boy, are they addictive or what? There was great excitement in our house the other day when my boxed set of BDB novels arrived in the mail (courtesy of Amazon). I can now go back to the start and read them all in order – yippee!
So in no particular order, I’m posting reviews of the ones I’ve read so far. Along with reviews on the other books that have kept me enthralled until the early hours.
This is my quick list of books that I’ve read, many of which are reviewed in more detail on the main blog page. Let’s see how many I read in one year 🙂
63. Ink Spots (Lissa Matthews) 3 out of 5 (see full review)
62. Falling Star (Olivia Brynn) 4 out of 5 (see full review)
61. Rosemary Entwined (Bianca Sommerland) 4 stars (see full review)
60. In The Mood (Ellen Fisher) (see full review) 5 stars
59. Heart of Submission (Claire Thompson) (see full review) 5 stars
58. Mistress of Rome (Kate Quinn) (see full review) 6 stars – Seal of Approval
57. Saying Yes (Barbara Elsborg) – (see full review) 5 stars
56. Simple Need (Lissa Matthews) – (see full review) 5 stars
55. Spliced (Robin Leigh Miller) – (see full revie3.5w) stars
54. His Indecent Proposal (Lynda Chance) – (see full review) 3.5 stars
53. Mergers and Acquisitions (Lillian Grant) – (see full review) 5 stars
52. Something Wicked (Michelle Rowen) (see full review) 5 stars
51. Fifty Shades Freed (EL James) – (see full review) 4 stars
50. Master of the Mountain (Cherise Sinclair) – (see full review) 5 stars
49. Hour of the Lion (Cherise Sinclair) – (see full review) 5 stars
48. The Lantern Bearers (Rosemary Sutcliff) – (see full review) 5 stars
47. Guilty Pleasures (Kitty Thomas) – (see full review) 4 stars
46. Breaking Free (Teresa Reasor) – (see full review) 4 stars
45. Nights of Fire (Laura Leone) (see full review) 5 stars
44. The Demon in Me (Michelle Rowen) – (see full revie4) 5 stars
43. Masks (Evangeline Anderson) – (see full review) 5 stars
42. Comfort Food (Kitty Thomas) – (see full review) 4 stars
41. Fallen From Grace (Laura Leone) – (see full review) 5 stars
40. Jude’s Law (Lori Foster) – (see full review) 4 stars
39. Deadly Captive – Collateral Damage (Bianca Sommerland) – follow-up to Deadly Captive (#16). Another dark and uneasy novel that grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go. Brutal in parts, I had to take a few breaks, but couldn’t stop thinking about it and read the book in less than 2 days. Nicole is one of life’s survivors, even when faced with the unimaginable horrors of a vampire nest where she is likely to end up as fodder. Her saving grace is her skill as a kindergarten teacher – and the chief vamp, Cyrus, wants her as a tutor for a child in his domain. A kidnapped child – Daederich’s son. Nicole is ‘given’ as a pet to one of Cyrus’s guards and treated as a slave, only realising slowly, that her guard (Vince) has real feelings for her. Their shared care for the child, Alrik, forms the core of this story. Lydia and Daederich appear towards the end, and as in the first book, there’s an unexpected and gut-churning hook to finish on.
38. Inked (Everly Drummond) – 2 stars
Short novella about a hot tattoo artist having sex with one of his customers. Rushed and awkward. Yeah, they both fancied each other, he made a feeble excuse to go to her place, they had sex. End of story. Yaaawwwwn.
37. Lessons in Indiscretion (Karen Erikson) – 5 stars
Another hot novella, but set in a Regency period. Karen Erikson is another of my favourite erotica writers and this novella was a delight to read – I gobbled it up. Widow Julia is fresh out of mourning her much older late husband and sets her heart on an affair with the dashing (and younger) Earl of Bedingfield. She doesn’t realise he’s been attracted to her since his teenage years and is only to happy to have a dalliance. De-lish-ous J
36. Believe (Lauren Dane) –4 stars
Another sweet and hot novella, but forming the epilogue to a previous full length novel (Second Chances), which I didn’t realise when I bought it. I loved it though. And now am looking for a copy of Second Chances to read the first part of Jude and Rori’s story J Lauren Dane always delivers the goods.
35. To Do List (Lauren Dane) – 4 stars
One of my favourite romantica authors. This was a sweet yet hot novella, where uber-organized Belle finally hooked up with Rafe, the boy next door who she’d crushed on for years. Enough tension to keep the story moving without getting stale, and plenty of hot loving. A great quick read J
34. Kiss of the Night (Sherrilyn Kenyon) – 3 stars
Dark Hunter book 5, Wulf & Cassandra. There was a lot going on in this book, and even though it was one of the earlier DH stories, I still didn’t get really into it. I loved the early dream-scenes between Wulf and Cassandra and found them to be sensuous and emotional, but after the middle part of the book it all became chaotic. Dark Hunters, Apollites, Daimons and Spathi… all fighting – and working together… I read it over several days and the telling part for me, was that I didn’t feel that compulsion to carry on reading. I was happy to leave it for something else and come back to it later.
33. Slightly Shady (Amanda Quick) – ZERO stars
unfinished. AQ is a pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz, but her writing style is completely different for her period romantic suspenses. The language felt stilted and I couldn’t see any emotions between the lead characters – even after they kissed! Dull and frustrating to read and Abandoned around chapter 5.
32. Edge of Midnight (Shannon McKenna) – 4 stars ( SPOILERS!!!)
This turned out to be the 4th in a series of linked novels, but it worked excellently on its own. Sean is the mouthy, impulse-driven younger brother in the McCloud family and he starts the novel in a bad place. Fifteen years ago he fell hopelessly in love with Liv Endicott but acting on a warning from his now-dead twin, he finished with her as a way to ensure her safety. Shortly after, his twin (Kev) committed suicide and he’s spent the past fifteen years trying to come to terms with this trauma, while obsessing over Liv from a safe distance. However, once her life is in danger, he steps forward and tried his best to protect her without trashing his heart any further. The bad guys are evil and truly bad, while Sean is a classic protective alpha male. There is humour in his interactions with his family, and a moving sub-plot featuring Miles and the hopeless love of his life, Cindy.
I have to say though. Coming into the final chapters, I was on tenterhooks for a plot twist that I could hardly bear to read, in case it didn’t work. Sean is given multiple clues that Kev may still be alive – which he doesn’t act upon. If he’d survived, the only reason he wouldn’t have contacted his family would be if he was unable to for some reason. Since he’d had weird and creepy experiments performed on his brain, it’s entirely possible he’s unable to communicate with anyone, or even a vegetable in an institution – or an amnesiac. At one point, Sean shows a homemade tattoo to Liv, one that was applied by his father as a way of telling the identical twins apart – he tattooed their name onto their legs. Liv’s parents were trying to lock her up in a mental home (as a way to keep her from Sean) – so I fully hoped that she’d see a man there who bore a strong resemblance to her lover. She could then check his leg and find the identifying tattoo – voila. Sadly, none of this happened. The ending was vicious and taut, and I gobbled it up anyway, but I was disappointed this opportunity hadn’t been taken. Oh well. 4 stars anyway.
Supplementary note: I checked to see what other ‘Midnight’ books were available – and found that thought-to-be-dead-twin-Kev has a book of his own – No. 7 in the series.
31. A Wet & Wild Night (Nichole MacDonald) – 3 stars
Erotic novella and a very quick read; good sex scenes and decent setup, but seemed to be in too much of a hurry. All over with far too quickly.
30. Collision Course (SC Stephens) – 2 stars
Hmmm. I found myself skipping several pages at a time because it just didn’t seem to be moving along… The premise was good. 17yr old Lucas West is the sole survivor of a car crash when he was driving, and his guilt is overwhelming. Collision Course follows his year following the accident and his slow return to something like a normal life. Full of teenage angst, the angst-y bit were good – great in some parts – but he spent so much time musing and daydreaming about his dead friends (and dead girlfriend) that it became repetitive. The book cried out for a dose of sharp editing and the end was drawn out soooooooo far, it became almost painful. Disappointing overall.
29. No Mercy (Sherrilyn Kenyon) – 3.5 stars
Hmmm. I’ve always liked the were-bear Dev Peltier and looked forward eagerly to his story… but it was lacking. Yes he fell madly in love with Samia, an Amazon Dark-Hunter – and she responded – but it was thin on romance and rather too heavy on plot. They fell in lust straight away and this turned to love without any getting-to-know each other. Wham. In love. The whole Dark-Hunter world is getting decidedly more complicated with every book and there were a few reveals that left me reeling. Brief cameos from Fang, Ash, Savitar and Nick Gautier – and some interesting teasers about Nick, but ultimately I was not gripped. I put it aside for several days, then skipped a few of the fights to get to the angsty-stuff. Like Maryse on her blog, I miss the good old days of people actually falling in love and all that gets them there. I hope this isn’t the pattern of DarkHunters to come.
28. Slade – New Species book 2 (Laurann Dohner) –4 stars
A good follow up to Fury, where Slade falls in love with Doc Trisha. Some flashes of humour and a good story overall. Again, the quality of the writing was a little clumsy, but definitely improving. It opens the way for Valiant’s story and I’m looking forward to reading that one.
27. Enslaved (Claire Thompson) –3.5 stars
More erotica about a young woman who steals from her boss and is given the option of becoming his slave for 30 days as opposed to him handing her over to the police. He treats her badly, I cringed at some of his brutality although CT tried to temper it with his emotions and why he behaved as he did. As you might expect, she fell in love with him despite his actions, and they achieved a HEA.
26. Golden Angel (Claire Thompson) – 4 stars
Erotica about a girl kidnapped into the sex slave industry; nice emotion and confusion, especially when she has the chance for freedom
25. Fury – New Species book 1 (Laurann Dohner) – 4 stars
Paranormal with a hot alpha male created by splicing animal (canine) and human DNA. Some mildly irritating Kindle typos and the writing was a little lazy in parts, but a great start to a new and original series. Very hot.
24. Montana Glory (RC Ryan) – 4 stars
A cowboy romance with a bit of suspense thrown in; the third of a 3-parter, but fine to read as a standalone. Nice build up to the romance between Riley (single Mum) and Zane and an absorbing read overall.
23. Rock Star (Lexi Adair) –4 stars
Great, emotional novella; bad boy rocker falls for journalist trying to get a story out of him. Just wish it was longer. A quick, delightful read
22. Hot night (Shannon McKenna) – 5 stars
Great HOT romantic suspense; Zan is a dark and brooding alpha male in the best traditions and he just wants to keep Abby safe, but she rebels against his dominant attitude. Soooo emotional. I was up and down with them, on the edge of my seat and almost in tears several time. Great read – and I’m thrilled to find out there are Heaps more Shannon McKenna to read
21. Dark Side of the Moon (Sherrilyn Kenyon) – 5 stars
Ravyn’s story. Swooooooooon. The first of the Dark Hunter books set in Seattle, lovely cameos from Julian Alexander, Ash and Nick Gautier.
20. Dream Chaser (Sherrilyn Kenyon) – 5 stars
Dream God Xypher meets human Simone, and sparks fly. Great tension, great characters – and a few appearances from the divine Acheron.
19. Return to me (Shannon McKenna) – 5 stars
Picked this up in the library and loved it; Hot rom suspense with Ellen’s first boyfriend (and her true love, of course) returning after lots of years. He was run out of town as the local bad boy, but now he’s back and wants to clear his name – and get back with Ellen.
18. Angel’s Blade (Nalini Singh) – 5 stars
The most recent book, Dmitri’s story; after reading Vampire Academy I’m a sucker for a hero called Dmitri and Nalini didn’t fail to deliver. Loved it.
17. Angels’ Blood (Nalini Singh) – 5 stars
Excellent, amazing, awesome… had to go back and re-read
16. Deadly Captive (Bianca Sommerland) – 4 stars
Another brutal and shocking story but so emotional; Lydia has been kidnapped by vampires and her tale of surviving and trying to escape with her fellow captor (Joe / Daederich) grips you from the beginning; a tough read, I had to keep putting it down and coming back to it, but I gobbled it up nonetheless. Delighted to find there will be a follow up in a few months 🙂
15. Anchored (Rachel Haimowitz) – 4 stars
A moving and emotional, if brutal short novel set in a parallel universe where slavery is acceptable. Daniel Halstrom is a slave. He’s also a popular anchor for a TV news show – he’s been owned by the network from being a young man – and when they ‘lease’ him to Carl Whitman (wealthy talk show host), he has no choice but to comply. The sum total of Daniel’s sexual experience has been a few furtive handjobs with another male slave – he is terrified at the prospect of being used as a whore – and he struggles to concentrate at work, making a number of mistakes.
Daniel snatched his shirt, turning away from Tim and staying that way as he popped his arms through the sleeves. His hands were trembling; he didn’t want Tim to see. “I know you have to tell them. I understand. I’ll go downstairs first thing tomorrow, okay? They won’t even have to restrain me; I’ll be good. Ten hours should be plenty of time to recov—”
Tim touched his shoulder, and he flinched, muscles tense.
“Hey,” Tim said softly. “Hey. This is really bothering you, isn’t it?”
Not daring to turn around lest he look a freeman in the face as he challenged him, he said, “Which part? The imminent torture thing, or the whole being-rented-to-a-stranger-after-twenty-five-years-of-faithful-service thing?” When Tim didn’t dignify that with an answer, he tried, “Wouldn’t it bother you?”
“That’s different. I’m not a slave.”
To his surprise, Carl treats him well on his first night there. The other house slaves (a married couple) are happy and behave with an easy familiarity that relaxes Daniel. Although he has to share a bed with Carl, he’s not put under any pressure and he starts to believe he can get through this with his sanity intact. However, back at work the next day, he has to face punishment for his on-air screw-ups. This is a harsh world and Daniel is beaten severely, before being sent back to work.
Although Carl is patient at first with Daniel, his patience won’t last forever, and things go from bad to horrendous at work, pushing Daniel to the very limits of what he can cope with.
“Hey,” the master said, his voice light but strained, just as it had been at dinner. “So I leased this slave, guy named Daniel Halstrom? Brilliant, funny, a little flirty, sharp tongue, quick on his feet. You seen him? Maybe you could go get him for me.”
“I—” Daniel realized he had no idea how to finish that sentence and shut his mouth before he got himself into even more trouble. He took a hesitant step forward, closed the door behind him; if things got ugly, he didn’t want Jane to have to hear it.
The master marked his place and put his book on the nightstand, never taking his eyes off Daniel. “You’re not going to tell me that man’s all an act, are you? Because I don’t believe it, I can’t believe that’s all some . . . front.”
Daniel shook his head, worked up the courage to take a few more steps toward the bed. “No master, that’s, that’s me. I mean, when I’m—” Relaxed. Unafraid. In my element. But he couldn’t say any of that, of course, and didn’t know what he could possibly say in its place.
Rachel Haimowitz doesn’t shy away from dark material; this is the written equivalent of a disaster being reported on the news. You can’t tear your eyes away.
“A couple months ago,” Mr. Foster said, “A Mr. Carl Whitman decided to buy a shiny new f*ck toy. He shopped around, did his homework, compared hundreds, maybe even thousands of Companions, and decided, for some unfathomable reason, on you. So imagine his surprise, his disappointment, when the expensive new toy he waited months to get his hands on showed up defective. It’s like his toaster not making toast, or his DVD player not playing DVDs.”
Mr. Foster shifted, leaned back in his chair, and stretched his legs; the foot pressing into Daniel’s groin went from uncomfortable to sweat-inducing, but Daniel just clamped his jaw shut and took it like he knew he was supposed to.
“See, here’s the thing, Daniel. He shouldn’t have to ask his DVD player to play DVDs. He just jams one in there and hits play, and it f*cking entertains him. It doesn’t matter if his DVD player doesn’t want to play DVDs. It doesn’t matter if it would rather make toast, because that’s not what it was bought to do, and good working appliances always do what they’re bought to do. He shouldn’t have to ask it to please play his goddamn movie. He shouldn’t have to order it, or force it. He shouldn’t have to feel like his f*cking appliance is judging him, or resenting him, or hating him for asking it to do what it’s goddamn meant to do! And he certainly shouldn’t have to try pressing a million different buttons, or jiggling the remote, or whatever other bullsh*t you’ve put him through to get his f*cking movie to play!”
The foot in Daniel’s crotch jerked forward, punctuating Mr. Foster’s point. Daniel hunched over with a grunt, then wrestled himself vertical again.
“So what does Mr. Whitman do? Why, he calls the store and says the merchandise is defective; he wants to return it.”
Another sharp kick in the crotch, and this time when Daniel hunched, panting and nauseous, he couldn’t get back up. Return him? How had he not seen this coming? How had he gone on thinking he could slight the master over and over and still believe the man would keep him?
This is an unsettling read and not for the faint-hearted. It’s a strange thing that a book constructed mainly around Daniel’s fear and pain can be so gripping, but it works. Daniel’s spirit and emotions leap off the page and all the way through, you are hoping – desperately – that he not only survives, but finds some measure of happiness. 4/5
Caveats: includes brutality, a vicious rape, M/M and anal play
14. Where He Belongs (Rachel Haimowitz) – 4 stars
A series of vignettes in the life of young Daniel Halstrom, as a precursor to ANCHORED
13. All’s Fair (Suzie Quint) –4 stars
A very short novella, more like the opening chapters than a story in its own right; shame there isn’t any more of it! Tasty bull-rider Sol is trying very hard to win back his ex-wife and resorts to utterly devious- and hilarious – tactics to get rid of her current boyfriend;
12. Bottoms Up: Come Again (Miranda Baker) – 5 stars
Sight BDSM erotica, but great characters and real feeling and emotion; similar in feel to 50 Shades of Grey, just much MUCH shorter; planning to read the next in the series
11. Drunk and Disorderly (Sommer Marsden) – 4 stars; a very short piece of erotica; quite fun
10. Scarlet (Leigh Marsden) – 4 stars
a slightly uneven read, flashing back and forwards in Georgie’s life, but ultimately satisfying
9. Effortless (S C Stephens) – 4.5 stars
Not so much of a rollercoaster, there was a LOT of backstory at the beginning, but then it revved up nicely in the middle. Lots of squuueeeeing and a few tears too 🙂
8. Thoughtless (S C Stephens) – 6 stars
Another recommendation by Maryse; so angsty… I wanted to slap Keira repeatedly and cry with Kellan. Loved it!
7. Fifty Shades Darker (E.L. James) – 6 stars
LOVE Christian Grey < swoooon > and a fantastic cliffhanger at the end. Another 2 months until the 3rd book comes out, grumble grumble
6. Fifty Shades of Grey (E.L. James) – 6 stars
OMG. Christan Grey is THE dark hero. Loved it to bits!
2, 3, 4 & 5. The Brown Siblings series (Lauren Dane) – 5 stars each
Laid Bare, Coming Undone, Inside Out, Never Enough) – LOVED these to bits and read them back to back. A great introduction to Lauren Dane’s HOT writing and fantastic characters
1. Just Gotta Say (Laura Kaye) – 4 stars
HOT little novella about a girl who fantasises about having her 3 male flatmates at once…
ON THE READING PILE
Master of the Abvyss (Cherise Sinclair)
A Rush of Wings (Adrian Phoenix) –
Finding Home (Bonnie Dee) –
The Breaker’s Concubine (Ann Mayburn) –
Lady Luck (Kristin Ashley) –
Love Unscripted (Tina Reber) –
North of Need (Laura Kaye) –
Succubus Dreams (3) (Richelle Mead) –
Succubus Revealed (final) (Richelle Mead) –
Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley
Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley
Where She Went (If I Stay) by Gayle Forman –
Flat Out Love by Jessica Park –
Defying the Odds by Kele Moon –
Sweet As Sin – by Inez Kelley –
Falling Star (Earth Scents) by Olivia Brynn –
Please Don’t Stop The Music – Jane Lovering
That Old Black Magic (Living in Eden) (Michelle Rowen) –
Darkness Dawns (Dianne Duvall) –
Forged in Fire (Trish McCallan) –
Make Me Shiver (Aline Hunter) –
Beyond Eden (Kele Moon) –