The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15) by J. R. Ward

Series:

Title: The Chosen by J. R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood
Release Date: April , 2017
Format: Audiobook (17 hrs and 32 mins)
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Published By: Ballantine Books
Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

three-half-stars

I am still baffled that Scribe non-Virgin (herein “SnV”) just left her creation/children. How does a mother of a race just bounce? She leaves knowing the Omega is somewhere out there trying to destroy them but she is worried about being worshiped?

I liked it better than the last book but this whole brotherhood has an attitude problem. I am talking Qhuinn, Tohr, Vishous and sometimes Wrath. In addition, WARDen’s weak attempt at redeeming Xcor made this installment less than impressive.

Basically:
✧ Layla and Xcor finally claimed each other in this book and had lots of boring sex. I like them together and I like the change they bring to each other’s life. I wish there had been more to atone for his past behaviors, but he has made a grand gesture.
✧ Baby daddy Qhuinn was having no part of it the two “traitors” being around his kids. He was selfish and self-centered like he was in his own book. He actually shot his gun in the room with his young and baby mama because he was so full of rage.
He said some terrible things and alienated just about everyone.

✧ Qhuinn and Blay also experience marital woes because of Qhuinn’s attitude. I don’t think I will ever really like Qhuinn again. Blay deserves better. His mismatched eyes and his family’s abuse can’t be his excuse for everything. I lost a huge amount of love for Qhuinn.
✧ Vishous is going through midlife crisis and marital boredom. But I truly suspect that V isn’t fulfilled by the doc because she was NEVER the one. The Dhestroyer, Brian O’Neill is and will always be the one and the WARDen needs to figure out how to correct that. But those two are two halves of a whole according the creator, Scribe Non-Virgin [See united by their clasped hands, they became again the two halves, the light and the dark. The Dhestroyer and the Savior.” (Pg. 457 in Lover Revealed)]
✧ Tohr is grieving his first shellan as this was Wellsie’s birthday. So I understand where he is coming from. It would have been nice if the WARDen spent more time on Tohr’s pain and the subsequent revelation regarding his family. I also understand his need to protect Wrath as it seemed that the King is making an unwise decision with Xcor and the BoB.
✧ Lassiter as the new Scribe/Protector of the race is dicey for me, but I will reserve judgment. He just seems too clownish versus SnV’s seriousness.
✧Wrath’s forgiveness and acceptance was too easy. It was too cheesy and over the top sweet with everyone and the baby for me.

Overall, it was an alright read.

I never felt that all consuming excitement to make me stay up all night and finish the book. The narrator Jim Frangione was the same so he doesn’t add or detract from the book at this point. I am looking forward to Throe as a fiercesome villain but other than that, this series isn’t as exciting as it used to be.

Ezi

Audiobook Review: The Duke Is Mine (Fairy Tales #3) by Eloisa James

Series:
Narrator: Susan Duerden
The Duke is Mine Book Cover The Duke is Mine
Fairy Tales #3
Eloisa James
Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Avon
December 27th, 2011
audibook; e-book
10 hrs and 40 mins

He is a duke in search of a perfect bride.

She is a lady—but a long way from perfect.

Tarquin, the powerful Duke of Sconce, knows perfectly well that the decorous and fashionably slender Georgiana Lytton will make him a proper duchess. So why can't he stop thinking about her twin sister, the curvy, headstrong, and altogether unconventional Olivia? Not only is Olivia betrothed to another man, but their improper, albeit intoxicating, flirtation makes her unsuitability all the more clear.

Determined to make a perfect match, he methodically cuts Olivia from his thoughts, allowing logic and duty to triumph over passion…Until, in his darkest hour, Quin begins to question whether perfection has anything to do with love.

To win Olivia's hand he would have to give up all the beliefs he holds most dear, and surrender heart, body and soul…

Unless it's already too late.

I loved this audiobook. The narrator Susan Duerden was entertaining, light, flirtatious and just fun. She brought the authenticity to the English accents and really transported me to the Regency era. She increased my enjoyment of this book.

In this story, twins Olivia & Georgiana Lytton was daughters raised and trained to be duchesses. They loved each other, but they were opposites. Olivia was the “peach”, plumb and round while Georgiana was the celery, tall and lanky.
Olivia learned the crude jokes and Georgiana learned mathematics and science. But they still had each others back.Well, Georgiana took to her lessons, Olivia clearly had a rebellious streak that made her fight against all things proper. Olivia and Georgiana were both characters I enjoyed.
Georgiana ended up betrothed to the Duke of Canterwick, who went off to fighting in the war defending England. Now Olivia is trying to help her twin make a match with Tarquin, The Duke of Scones.

The only problem is that the Tarquin feels an attraction for Olivia and vice versa.

So what’s a girl to do? Should Olivia ignore her heart and push Tarquin towards Georgiana or should Olivia hold on to the passion she has found with Tarquin?

Olivia and Tarquin felt seamless as couple. They fit, they were fun and they had witty banter. I enjoyed the way the author worked them towards each other considering Olivia’s engagement, the mother etc. It made the book a tad angsty which added to the suspense. The sisters still retained her affection and support for each other. I was expecting feelings of betrayal but nope, Georgiana saw and understood that Tarquin didn’t cause butterflies in her stomach nor did he look at her the way he looked at Olivia.

I love historical romances because they are romantic. Eloisa James has a way of interjecting humor, a little history, and great interpersonal relationships. The only reason I am not giving this story a full 5-star is the last few chapters with Olivia’s fiance were superfluous. There could have been less dramatic ways of ending the engagement and Quinn not feeling like stole someone’s woman.

Still their love story made this book an awesome audiobook experience that I will be finishing the series soon.

Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh

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

BetweenGhosts_400x600Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh
Release Date: March 14, 2016
Pages: 226 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
RiptideAmazonARe

In 2003, journalist Connor Regan marched through London to add his voice to a million others, decrying the imminent invasion of Iraq. Eight months later, his brother, James, was killed in action in Mosul.

Three years on, Connor finds himself bound for Iraq to embed with an elite SAS team. He sets his boots on the ground looking for closure and solace—anything to ease the pain of his brother’s death. Instead he finds Sergeant Nathan Thompson.

Nat Thompson is a veteran commander, hardened by years of combat and haunted by the loss of his best friend. Being lumbered with a civilian is a hassle Nat doesn’t need, and he vows to do nothing more than keep the hapless hack from harm’s way.

But Connor proves far from hapless, and too compelling to ignore for long. He walks straight through the steel wall Nat’s built around his heart, and when their mission puts him in mortal danger, Nat must lay old ghosts to rest and fight to the death for the only man he’s ever truly loved.

three-half-stars

I love Garrett Leigh and her writing style. I’m no stranger to her books. I think she writes with so much passion and emotions that it’s easily conveyed across the pages. I liked this story, but it lacked so much that I’ve come to enjoy from this author. The love and romance wasn’t there. Listen we are dealing with two people that are dealing with their ghost. I think I liked each character separately but in this setting I never connected with them. For the military aspect to be such a big character in this book, it left with little action, more of the obvious at the end, and the romance didn’t bloom to capacity for me.

It’s something about Nat that didn’t work for me. We knew next to nothing about him. Outside of what he was told, I never got a glimpse of the “man”, it seems the “soldier” was always on. Another thing is the connection between him and Connor seemed more physical than anything. I didn’t feel anything emotionally with these two together. I do feel underwhelm with Nat as a character. I can’t put my finger on what he lacks. On the other hand, I think the author developed the other guys in Nat’s unit brilliantly. I know them more then Connor. I did enjoy the complete knowledge of the Military from all viewpoints in the story. I like that Connor was willing to be the journalist he was to try to get the truth, and gritty version of would civilians don’t see.

The “Ghost” part of the story was obvious to me when reading it. I would have loved to see them build a friendship to drift over to the romance side. I get why the author wrote it as such seeing as nothing is promise, and in War there isn’t a tomorrow to decided things. I would have love to see what Connor & Nat lives are not post war.

About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzdesign.com

Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Home Front by Kristin Hannahon 2012-01-31
Pages: 400
AmazonNarrator: Maggi-Meg Reed
In her bestselling novels Kristin Hannah has plumbed the depths of friendship, the loyalty of sisters, and the secrets mothers keep. Now, in her most emotionally powerful story yet, she explores the intimate landscape of a troubled marriage with this provocative and timely portrait of a husband and wife, in love and at war. All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost. . . .Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life---children, careers, bills, chores---even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a solider she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own---for everything that matters to his family.At once a profoundly honest look at modern marriage and a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family, Home Front is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and ultimately, hope. 
five-stars

This is a book people who are not acquainted with anyone in the military should read. It really tugged at my heart strings. So believable. So Real. So Emotional. I had forgotten how Kristin Hannah creates such vivid imagery. My eyes watered at several instances in this book, but Hope was always there.

This book featured Michael and Jolene Zarkade who had gotten into a routine where their life revolved around work and kids, losing the “couple” in the marriage. Jo because the everything with the kids and home duties and Michael buried himself at work, only coming home late. Soon, resentment built up and their marriage suffered as both Michael and Jo felt unfulfilled. To add insult to injury, Army reservists got called up to serve their country so Jo, a flight specialist, had to go to Iraq.

The transition changed both Jo and Michael, and when Jo returned with PTSD, it became the ultimate test of their marriage and love, with the kids also feeling the effects of the changed mommy. This book did an excellent job of highlight the reality of soldiers who have returned battle scarred and how hard it is for them to transition back into their lives.

The genius of the book was writing the PTSD from the perspective of a woman. It gave it an extra emotional kick and it got me to think about things that I normally don’t consider–Women in combat situations. It also got to reflect on what it must be like for the soldiers to worry about the military family as well as their families back in the U.S.
I didn’t realize they had to write letters in case they didn’t come back, prepare their families etc. I guess I just didn’t think about their sacrifice in depth. But after this book, I am even more humbled and in awe. Next time I see a vet, I will look them in the eye and make sure they see how much respect I have for them and I honored I feel.

Semper Fi by Keira Andrews

Semper Fi by Keira Andrewson November 11th 2014
Pages: 320 pages
Amazon • (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
The war is over. The battle for love has just begun.

As Marines, Cal and Jim depended on each other to survive bloodshed and despair in the Pacific. Relieved to put the horrors of war behind him, Jim went home to his apple orchard and a quiet life with his wife and children. Knowing Jim could never return his forbidden feelings, Cal hoped time and an ocean between them would dull the yearning for his best friend.

But when Jim’s wife dies, Cal returns to help. He doesn’t know a thing about apple farming—or children—but he’s determined to be there for Jim, even as the painful torch he carries blazes back to life. Jim is grateful for his friend’s support as he struggles with buried emotions and dark wartime memories. Then Jim begins to see Cal in a new light, and their relationship deepens in ways neither expected. Can they build a life together as a family and find happiness in a world that would condemn them?

Note: Contains scenes of violence and post-traumatic stress.
three-half-stars

I loved how realistic the book felt given the time period. It chronicled the friendship of two men who met as they joined the marines together from the state of New York. It alternated POV, Past vs. Present.
Calhoun Cunningham was the privileged son of a Banker, but all his life he couldn’t live up to his father’s expectation. So one day, he decided to spite his father by joining the military. There he met Jim Bennet, a husband and owner of an apple orchard. They became instant friends and even a life line during their time in the war.
After the war, Cal returned to his high rise apartment, intending to join the family business, while Jim returned to the apple orchard. When Cal found out his best friend Jim’s wife passed away and there was an awful storm that affected Jim’s orchard, Cal went to help Jim get his feet on the ground again.

The long Cal stayed at Jim’s farm with Jim’s two young children, the stronger his feelings grew. After Cal found that Jim returned his feelings, Cal was elated until Jim told him that he wasn’t willing to lose his children over their unnatural love. Homosexuality was still a crime punishable by time in prison as well as loss of custody. Jim’s 9 year old daughter and 4 year old son had already lost a parent, and Jim couldn’t risk getting arrested for feelings not accepted in society. My heart ached for these two guys as they had to make painful decisions and sacrifices for love and family.

Good writing, good pace and good story telling. I like the author didn’t make it appear that Jim and Cal’s relationship was acceptable. In fact, it was very clear that their society was very intolerant. I like how Jim struggled and agonized about his desires versus his responsibility as a father. I also loved how Cal fought hard to find a group/family or someone to belong to. There was angst, but there was realism to the story. It was sweet, and it was sad. Most of all, I thought of all those who aren’t free to love the person their heart chose

About Keira Andrews

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Review: Captive Prince: Volume Two by C.S. Pacat

Review: Captive Prince: Volume Two by C.S. PacatSeries: Captive Prince #2
on November 25, 2013
Pages: 343
Amazon
The second volume in the Captive Prince trilogy.

With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master Prince Laurent must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.

Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow . . .
five-stars

If you like a good political intrigue novel, this one would fit the bill.
It picks right up where book 1 ended.
Prince Laurant and his Uncle matching wits for the throne, with everyone picking sides. Damen torn from trying to gain his freedom, and figuring out that enigma of a prince–Laurant.

I loved watching the power struggle between Laurant and Damen. Laurant initially tried to master Damen because he is used to ferreting out his uncle’s moles. Slowly, he saw that Damen didn’t have a slave’s mentality. there was nothing submissive about Damen as Damen gave Laurant the harsh truths everyone else was scared to say. Respect grew on both sides as they began working together to protect Laurant.

Initially, in book 1, I thought Laurant was just a naive pampered lazy arrogant pretender. But boy, underneath the mask is a master tactician. Anything less and he would have been dust under his Uncle’s heel. Also, Damen began to melt the ice and I saw Laurant really does care, he just doesnt want anyone to know, lest it be used against him.

What will Laurant do when he finds out the truth about Damen? AWWWW MAN! I can’t wait for book 3.