Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley

Mystery Man by Kristen AshleyMystery Man by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Man #1
on August 27, 2013
Pages: 528 pages
Source: Purchased
five-stars

Night time is the right time...

Gwendolyn Kidd has met the man of her dreams. He's hot, he's sexy, and what started as a no-names-exchanged night of passion has blossomed into a year and a half-long pleasure fest. Sure, it's a little strange that he only appears in her bed at night, but Gwen is so sure he's the one, she just can't turn him away.

Hawk Delgado knows more about Gwen than she could ever imagine. She's gorgeous, headstrong, and skittish about relationships. But Hawk is facing his own demons, demons that keep him from connecting with anyone. Yet when Gwen is drawn into Denver's lethal underground scene, Hawk's protective nature comes out full force. The problem is, when Gwen gets a dose of Hawk's Alpha attitude in the daylight, she's not so sure he's the one anymore.

I now remember why Mystery Man was a favorite, now I freaking remember. Give me a minute as I wipe the happy tears from my eyes before I jump into this review…

When I decided to embark on the Dream Man series reread I really thought that the desire would die out midway through Mystery Man since I’d previously reread it so many times already. But I must’ve only been focusing on the great parts during my previous rereads because this time around I kept encountering things I had completely forgotten about.

I think the whole concept of Hawk being Gwen’s mystery man, because he only visits her in the night, was pure genius – even though it says some not so great things about both Gwen and Hawk. The genius part of it comes from the fact that nothing like it has ever been done, at least not to my recollection, in either the contemporary romance sub-genre or the romantic suspense sub-genre. With Mystery Man starting off with this reality you would think that the story would be filled with a heroine who was insecure or had some type of characteristic flaw that would either make you sympathize with her or become irritated with her. Same with Hawk, you would think based off the beginning and foundation of this story that he was some egotistical player without feelings other than having sex with whoever, whenever he wanted. Oh the story that Kristen Ashley weaved touched on these assumptions and judgements, but it was done in such an unconventional way that you’re left looking at the world and people in general in a completely different light; yeah it gets that deep.

Any who, since I didn’t go into critical thinking mode while I first read Mystery Man, as well as the subsequent times afterwards, it was during this time reading it that the fear of it sounding like or modeling the Rock Chick series surfaced. But that fear was unwarranted because Mystery Man in no way resembled Rock Chick or the Rock Chick series and that was made clear when Lee Nightingale and the gang helped Hawk and the commandos in a situation; that was a whole lot of hotness crammed into tight quarters…whew!

Ugh! This book put me through all the feels that I can’t really identify them all. Just read the book, read the freaking book.

About Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.

Devil’s Vengeance by Nina Levine (Quick Review)

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

Devil’s Vengeance by Nina Levine (Quick Review)Devil's Vengeance by Nina Levine
on December 15, 2016
Pages: 221 pages
Source: Author
three-half-stars

I know she’s forbidden.
I’ve been warned.
But I’m in too deep.

Hailee Archer was mine the minute I met her and there’s no way in hell I’m giving her up.

Our club is at war, though, and her brother is our greatest ally.
He’s made it clear he doesn’t want me anywhere near her.
He’s threatened to walk away from our club if he doesn’t get what he wants.

What he doesn’t know about me is that I’m a stubborn bastard.
I will fucking fight to the bitter end for my family.
He wants to threaten me?
He can go right the fuck ahead.
He doesn’t stand a chance.

Why do I continually doubt Nina Levine’s ability to deliver stories that I end up really enjoying?! Devil’s Vengeance was so freaking entertaining despite that I couldn’t remember Devil’s character from the earlier Sydney Storm stories.

As I said in the previous installment of this series, the mystery and villain aren’t that interesting to me. Maybe it’s because of its believability level is so low compared to the rest of the story, but the villains and the conflict in Devil’s Vengeance was very bland and sort of a Debbie downer.

The romance shared between Dominic aka Devil and Hailee was so freaking steamy and right that I had an absolute blast watching them two come together. Their witty banter was so magnetic that Devil’s Vengeance was a breeze to get through, it also didn’t hurt that Devil was a sexy beast.

With the bomb dropped at the end of Devil’s Vengeance I can wholeheartedly say that I super excited for the next installment. I truly believe that things in the Sydney Storm MC is going to get more shook up than it’s already been.

P.S. I’m seriously not digging the whole King and Jen thing. I don’t care what type of connection they had but I don’t ever want to see those two try to work things out. I also don’t know what Levine was thinking by not having King and Monroe in any scenes together but it better not be a sign of the possibility of them becoming something being dashed. Ugh!

Blood Vow by J.R. Ward

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

Blood Vow by J.R. WardBlood Vow by J.R. Ward
on December 6, 2016
Pages: 459 pages
Source: Publisher
three-half-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward returns as her thrilling, original spin-off series set in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues! When a brooding vampire warrior-in-training teams up with a quick-witted aristocrat to solve a deadly mystery, the only thing more dangerous than their mission is their undeniable attraction.

I really didn’t know what to expect with Blood Vow, but what was given left me highly entertained. To be quite honest, I didn’t even care which of the trainees would be featured in this installment of the Black Dagger Legacy series because this cover was EVERYTHING.

Where Blood Kiss laid the foundation for this spinoff series, Blood Vow didn’t really build a whole lot onto that. I was expecting more of what the trainee’s role would be once they’re finished with their training, or even the possibility of a bigger or badder enemy since the lessers are almost wiped out, but that too was a no-go.

When first meeting Axe in Blood Kiss, I also didn’t know what to make of him. Sure, I felt bad for his plight, but I wanted to know more about him other than his almost hate for the glymera or that he’s a kinky mothersucker. I don’t feel like I know him any better after reading Blood Vow; we were given more insight into his emotional state when put in different situations, as well as what went on with his parents, but I think and feel that there’s so much about his character that could’ve been shared that wasn’t – something was just missing.

Regardless of the nonexistent growth Blood Vow did for this series, the predictability of the the heroine’s actions close to the end, and the stranger danger feelings I have towards Axe, I really found myself enjoying this story overall. These happy go lucky feels that I have would have to be attributed to Rhage’s family & co. (especially Lassiter), as well as Elise. Usually I would be irked about a previous story and cast spilling over into the newest addition to a series that featured new characters and/or couple, but that problem didn’t arise for me when reading Blood Vow – I must have really gone to the dark side if I’m now #TeamRhage all day, every day.

I want to say that I’m excited for the next story in the Black Dagger Legacy series, but for the sake of transparency I can only express this after I’ve read The Chosen. To carry on this same trend I also have to say that I’m digging the heroines out of the Black Dagger Legacy series more than I am the heroes, which is the totally opposite when talking about the BDB series (well, except for Jane).

As to the future storylines of the Black Dagger Legacy series, though, I’m not too sure about my likability towards the Nova and Peyton storyline. Both Nova and Peyton are like firecrackers ready to blow some crap up dang any casualties, but now that I think about it with what these two did in rectifying their part in Axe and Elise’s rift (although they didn’t really do anything) there might be hope for them yet.

About J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times and USAToday Best Selling author of erotic paranormal romance. She lives in the south with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. After graduating from law school, she began working in healthcare in Boston and spent many years as Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.

The Beast by J.R. Ward

The Beast by J.R. WardThe Beast by J.R. Ward
on April 5, 2016
Pages: 508 pages
Source: Purchased
five-stars

Nothing is as it used to be for the Black Dagger Brotherhood. After avoiding war with the Shadows, alliances have shifted and lines have been drawn. The slayers of the Lessening Society are stronger than ever, preying on human weakness to acquire more money, more weapons, more power. But as the Brotherhood readies for an all-out attack on them, one of their own fights a battle within himself…

For Rhage, the Brother with the biggest appetites, but also the biggest heart, life was supposed to be perfect—or at the very least, perfectly enjoyable. Mary, his beloved shellan, is by his side and his King and his brothers are thriving. But Rhage can’t understand—or control—the panic and insecurity that plague him…

And that terrifies him—as well as distances him from his mate. After suffering mortal injury in battle, Rhage must reassess his priorities—and the answer, when it comes to him, rocks his world...and Mary’s. But Mary is on a journey of her own, one that will either bring them closer together or cause a split that neither will recover from...

I know I’ve said it before but I think I need to say it again…Mary and Rhage are NOT my favorite couple amongst the BDB!! I would think that J.R. Ward would get this by now, but no she just keeps making me love them and want the absolute best for them. Grr…she’s making me forget that Vishous and Jane are #1 in my BDB heart.

The Beast exceeded my expectations, it freaking obliterated them. When I tried reading (listening) to The Beast when it first came out I had to immediately return the audio back to my library because I knew that whatever was getting ready to happen I wanted to experience it for myself and not through the voice or narration of Jim Frangione. I was so right in that assumption, so much went on in The Beast that I would’ve hated to have read the story through the another medium.

I knew from reading The Shadows and Blood Kiss that Mary and Rhage had hit a rough patch. But just like the confusion Rhage and Mary felt within The Beast as to what the cause of the gap between them was, I couldn’t fathom what could have come between the seemingly perfect couple. Once the gap was revealed, though, my gosh I felt their pain and heartache.

I always thought that Rhage and Mary got the shorter end of the stick when they both made deals with the Scribe Virgin in Lover Eternal so that the other wouldn’t suffer, but never would I have imagined that the hardships they would face later down the road would be able to bring them as low as it did. Just when I thought that all hope was lost the very things that make Mary and Rhage that couple spilled over and made the life of a girl who had lost everything and herself was lost in the world, something absolutely beautiful.

The earlier books of the BDB series focused mainly on the main couple of said story and very briefly gave a snapshot of the other brothers and their enemies, but with the shift that Lover Awakened provided we’re given so much more. I used to be peeved by this but now I’m very appreciative of it, the foundation has been laid with the earlier books and now the stage is set for any direction Ward wants to take this series.

The Beast, better than The Shadows or The King, revamped this series for me. I’m now more excited to read the upcoming books more than I’ve ever been before. There were so many times that The Beast could’ve taken a turn for the worst of worse, but the Brothers prevailed because they put family first and continued to live their lives knowing that things are always bigger than themselves.

About J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times and USAToday Best Selling author of erotic paranormal romance. She lives in the south with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. After graduating from law school, she began working in healthcare in Boston and spent many years as Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.

Ravage by Tillie Cole

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

Ravage by Tillie ColeRavage by Tillie Cole
Series: Scarred Souls #3
on August 16, 2016
Pages: 334 pages
Source: Publisher, Purchased
five-stars

Taken by the Jakhua Clan as a teen, 194 was stripped of his name, his identity, and his freewill, meticulously honed to be a ruthless, soulless killing machine, trained solely to spill blood and stop hearts. This is a role he resents with every fiber of his being, but one he embraces to gain back the precious leverage the Georgians wield as their weapon of control: his younger sister, 152.

Zoya Kostava is in shock. After fleeing her mafia family's massacre in Georgia as a child, Zoya lives in secret, hiding from her enemies in the dark shadows of Manhattan. At age twenty-five, believing all her family is dead, word reaches Zoya that her brother Zaal is very much alive... and living with their family's greatest enemy: the Volkov Bratva in Brooklyn.

Yearning to be reunited with her beloved Zaal, Zoya risks her safety and anonymity for the brother she had mourned since childhood. But just as she reaches Zaal's apartment, Zoya is seized and taken captive by a strange man, who is strong, dark, and brutal... Unyielding, he demands her utter obedience as he locks her away in darkness. He is highly skilled in torture and inflicting pain, and demands to know everything about her brother Zaal and everything about her. He is a man that'll do anything to get what he wants.

Sometimes love requires the sacrifice and betrayal of those held most dear. But is finding one's true love worth committing the greatest sacrifice of all?

Shoot, it’s been a while since I’ve immersed myself into a Tillie Cole story, but my gosh how could I forget how much her stories can impact me?! Ravage was that story I’ve been looking for, wanting to dive into and get lost in. Goodness…

I knew that with each story in the Scarred Souls series that the characters were tied to each other in some way, but no way could I have ever imagined the way Ravage turned out. Talk about heartache in 500 pages or less!

I have yet to read an author that can match Cole’s versatility and unique style of writing dark romances. With each story she writes, whether you end up loving the book in its entirety or not, I bet you were in some way emotionally touched and a mark was left on your soul from the story she told. Guaranteed, hands down.

In reading about Valentin and Zoya’s romance and journey I just simply felt privileged that I was able to witness their story and see it turn out the way it did. There were moments when I thought my heart couldn’t take anymore, and those moments I will admit I chickened out and skipped some scenes because I felt the flood of tears coming on. Never would I have thought that a story like theirs would be told and leave the witness to such beauty from the ashes feeling whole and complete when ‘The End’ appeared in their vision as they came to that last page.

In order for me not to spoil Ravage for other readers out there I’m not going to go in-depth into the ins and outs of its story for a few reasons:

  1. Ravage is the 3rd book in the Scarred Souls series and anything revealed about its story will be considered a spoiler, at least in my opinion.
  2. The characters of Ravage are closely tied, I won’t tell you in which way, to the characters from both Raze and Reap so anything further revealed about them will be classified as a spoiler.
  3. Ravage really should be read and experienced, not learned about from any review because to me that’ll cheapen the experience that NEEDS to happen for all lovers of LOVE.

The audio for Ravage really did the story justice. I seriously thought that the chance I took when I requested the audio for this book was going to end up blowing up in my face. Guy Locke’s narration of Valentin’s perspective, while not perfect it did the job, and Amelie Griffin’s narration of Zoya was along the same lines. Neither did such a job that I felt blown away every time each was up for their character, but they weren’t bad that I thought they hindered the story. With the accents and characterization I feel that they both did an okay job and I’m seriously interested in other works they’ve done to get a feel of their versatility.

I’ll leave my review as is right here because Ravage speaks for itself, and while I might not be a lover of New Adult and borderline Young Adult stories – which Cole has recently written stories in both genres – her Dark Romance reads will always be an auto-buy for me simply because they provide everything I crave in a romantic, realistic, out of body, once in a lifetime read.

About Tillie Cole

Amazon & USA Today Best Selling Author, Tillie Cole, is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother — a farmer’s daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.
Being a scary blend of Scottish and English, Tillie embraces both cultures; her English heritage through her love of HP sauce and freshly made Yorkshire Puddings, and her Scottish which is mostly demonstrated by her frighteningly foul-mouthed episodes of pure rage and her much loved dirty jokes.