Sunday, April 26, 2015

Review: No Gentleman for Georgina

No Gentleman for Georgina
No Gentleman for Georgina by Jess Michaels

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Sweet and Sexy Novella

"You must know that I have -- I have feelings for you."

THE STORY: Georgina Hickson has a father who has expectations for her marriage. After four seasons, he is losing patience with her and wants her married off to a titled gentleman. Georgina, however, has begun to realize that she has feelings for Paul Abbot who is definitely NOT what her father has planned for her. Paul Abbot is the manager of a notorious sex and gaming hell (owned by Marcus Rivers from book 2 of the series). Paul wants Georgina, but he knows that he is not worthy of her. When he agrees to help Georgina attend an exhibit forbidden by her father, the two begin to realize what they both want.

OPINION: This book is sweeter than the others in the series with less drama and angst and that works well with these characters. Georgina is more likeable here than I thought from the first book. Her desperation to marry well is understandable once her family pressure is revealed. I did like that this book gives a different view of her father as well. I especially liked Paul in this book. He is definitely an honorable man. The romance between these two is sweet but has some definite sexy moments. Because of the length of this novella, it is nice that the conflict between these two is really about the disapproval of Georgina's family more than a conflict between the characters.

WORTH MENTIONING: I especially liked seeing the heroes and heroines from the first two books in the series. It is nice seeing them again.

FINAL DECISION: I loved this story as part of the series. I don't know that it would have been interesting without revisiting characters from the other novels. As part of the series, however, it was sweet and sexy.

CONNECTED BOOKS: NO GENTLEMAN FOR GEORGINA is the fourth book in the Notorious Flynns Series. This novella can be read as a standalone although it does assume some familiarity with the characters. The main characters were only secondary characters in the first two novels. The main characters from the first two novels are secondary characters here.

STAR RATING: I give this novella 4.25 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in order to provide an honest review of the book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: Cold As Ice

Cold As Ice
Cold As Ice by Anne Stuart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dark Romantic Thriller

"He'd been a gray ghost before, now he was a fallen angel. The man was a chameleon, capable of turning into anything he wanted, and he assured her those persona were lethal. And she believed him."

THE STORY: Genevieve Spenser is a high powered attorney who believes she has given up her idealistic views. When she comes to get signatures on a document for an important client of the firm, she ends up in the middle of a kidnapping perpetrated by the assistant of her client. Peter Jensen at first appears bland and non-threatening, but Genevieve learns that Peter is extremely dangerous and deadly. Peter knows that the innocent Ms. Spenser is likely to be a casualty in the Committee's attempt to prevent more damaging events. From the beginning, however, Peter is unwilling to sacrifice Genevieve even though he knows he will likely have no choice.

OPINION: I just love Stuart's anti-heroes who are especially good in the Ice Series. This book is filled with action and adventure and reluctant romance. This is definitely not your sweet loving book. This book is raw and harsh and sometimes it is difficult to see how these characters can have a happy ending. Peter is a highly trained killer and he knows that there is no clear line between the good guys and the bad guys. Peter almost immediately doesn't want to have Genevieve be a victim. He is known as the Iceman and she begins to melt him despite himself. Genevieve believes herself jaded and cold but doesn't realize that she is an infant compared to the dangerous people she encounters here. A reader will not get an intense emotional connection between these characters. At times their relationship seems more hate than love, but somehow it works. Despite both their wishes, these characters fall in love and form a strong bond.

WORTH MENTIONING: Stuart has a particular style with her heroes who are killers and are always on the edge of being dangerous to the heroine.

FINAL DECISION: Love, love Stuart's ruthless anti-heroes. This is a tremendous romantic thriller with action and adventure galore.

CONNECTED BOOKS: COLD AS ICE is the second book in the Ice series about the covert agency known as the Committee. While there is some overlap of characters, COLD AS ICE can be read independent of the first book in the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: Black Ice

Black Ice
Black Ice by Anne Stuart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fabulous: Action Packed Dark and Romantic Thriller

"What she needed was a little more sex and violence in her own life."

"Be careful what you wish for..."

THE STORY: Chloe Underwood is an American in Paris. She is a rebel in her family of doctors. Chloe cooks and learns languages. She is working as a book translator when her roommate asks her to cover for her as a translator for a business meeting. Chloe ends up in a house full of international business people. There she meets Bastian Toussaint who she is immediately attracted to. Bastian, however, is a married womanizer and not matter what her attraction, Chloe is determined to avoid him. Bastian, however, has no intention of avoiding Chloe. Bastian is an agent with The Committee, an anti-terrorist organization. In Bastian's world, there is little difference between the "good guys" and the "bad guys". He wonders who Chloe is working for and intends to find out her secrets. Then he will decide whether or not he will have to kill her.

OPINION: BLACK ICE is a romantic thriller. There is serious danger for the main characters throughout the novel. Bastian is a dangerous man. He has a dark past and present and has no use for Chloe. The truth is, however, that he is unable to resist her even though she is not trying to capture him. Their romance is raw and dark and yet there is something incredibly attractive and sweet about how the light of Chloe seeps into Bastian and changes him. I love this book. It is one of those books that I read so quickly because it is action packed. The balance between the action and the romance is well done. The book is also hot as Chloe and Bastian burn up the pages together.

WORTH MENTIONING: I am a great fan of the type of deadly dark heroes that Stuart writes. Admittedly, such a hero who walks the edge of loving and killing the heroine is not for everyone.

FINAL DECISION: I adore this book. Bastian is the type of dark tortured hero that a woman might not want in real life, but who is fantastic to read about.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BLACK ICE is the first book in the Ice series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

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Review: Hot Alphas

Hot Alphas
Hot Alphas by Lora Leigh

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

HOT ALPHAS is an anthology of four novellas.

ERIN'S KISS by Lora Leigh: This is the third novella in Leigh's Wounded Warriors series. There is a continuing story regarding the Watcher that makes no sense at all unless the reader has read the first two novellas. This is the story of Erin Masters who works with her stepfather in intelligence work. Turk Rogan is one of her stepfather's agents who works as security at a bar that is actually a cover for the Covert Information Network. Erin and Turk have been attracted to one another for some time and now they are finally ready to act on it. Their attraction is complicated by danger to Erin. This story was better than the last one but still not as a good as COOPER'S FALL. Neither of the characters seemed to break out and be memorable. There seemed to be a whole group of characters introduced here that had little purpose to the overall continuing story that seems muddled at this point. At the same time, this is an adequate alpha male and the woman who wants him story that Leigh excels at. Rating: 3 stars.

MisTAKEN by Laurelin McGee: Jaylene Kim and Noah Harrison are neighbors. They meet when Jay has returned from a bad blind date and Noah is moving in. Jay is an unapologetic feminist and Noah has secrets that he doesn't want to reveal. The two have an immediate connection but Noah's secrets threaten any possible relationship they might have. I rarely have to force my way through a novella, but this one was boring and was almost a DNF. I got tired of all the lectures that both characters engage in. This one felt more like a tale trying to justify romance books to feminists rather than a romance itself. Rating: 1.5 stars.

BURN FOR ME by Shiloh Walker: Ali Holmes is the single mother of two sons. She lives in a small town and for three years has been involved in a sexual relationship with Tate Bell. Tate made it clear to Ali that they are friends and nothing more. She now realizes that she is in love with Tate and that she cannot bear their stunted relationship any longer. Tate is haunted by the disappearance and presumed death of his mother fifteen years ago. As a result of his belief that his father is responsible for her death, he has commitment issues. When he realizes that Ali is done with him, however, is begins to acknowledge his feelings for her. I really liked this story. There is a nice balance between the romance and Tate's internal conflicts. The characters are likeable and because the story begins at the crisis in their relationship, the reader doesn't have time to be annoyed by Tate's years of blindness. This is a novella that feels just about the right length. All the threads are nicely wrapped up in the end. Rating: 4 stars.

TANGLED by Kate Douglas: Nate Dunagan has come to a winery to work. He arrives and meets the daughter of the former owner who is working there as part of the deal for sale. Cassie Phillips is attempting to finish the last year of wines under her family's label at the same time she is dealing with her father who has Alzheimer's and mourning the loss of her family's vineyard. Nate and Cassie find much in common and also an intense sexual attraction. This was another winner of a story. The story is sweet and the characters felt well written. There is a side story involving Cassie's father's career that I did not feel was necessary but instead was used to push the characters into each other's arms. I liked the characters and their relationship felt good and honest. Rating: 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in order to provide an honest review of the book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: A Match for Marcus Cynster

A Match for Marcus Cynster
A Match for Marcus Cynster by Stephanie Laurens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"To him, she was a nymph irresistible temptation, but she was also the tender, caring, devoted woman he had sworn to protect."

THE STORY: Niniver Carrick has been chosen to be the leader of her clan. As the Lady of Clan Carrick, she has been the target of various men who want to woo her. Niniver has become desperate because her potential suitors have become more aggressive. Niniver decides to ask neighbor Marcus Cynster to help her discourage her suitors. Marcus is in transition in his life. After his twin sister married (in THE TEMPTING OF THOMAS CARRICK), Marcus has moved from the family home. It is his sister who will inherit the family lands in the Vale as she succeeds their mother as the Lady of the Vale. In order to make things easier for his sister and brother-in-law to take their place, Marcus has moved out to find his own path. For two years he has been thinking about Niniver but has waited for a sign as to whether or not she is the one for him. When Niniver comes to ask for his help, Marcus realizes that he wants Niniver to be his wife. He realizes that he will have to show Niniver that he can be her champion without threatening her authority with the clan.

OPINION: A MATCH FOR MARCUS CYNSTER is truly and appropriately the companion book to THE TEMPTING OF THOMAS CARRICK (which tells the romance of Marcus's twin sister). This book continues the story that began in THE TEMPTING OF THOMAS CARRICK. The overarching mystery regarding the death of Niniver's father is ultimately resolved here. This story, however, quickly moves beyond that continuing mystery to the question of Niniver's suitors. The plot works well here with enough action and drama to keep the story moving at a nice pace.

Niniver is a caring and competent woman. She is forging a new path for herself and her clan. She is not silly or stupid. She is somewhat clueless regarding Marcus's intentions toward her even while her clan all know that she is being courted, but it is not enough to diminish her character with me. She doesn't ask to be rescued, she takes her destiny in her own hands.

Marcus is adorable and is one of my favorite Cynster heroes. He has all the strength and arrogance of a Cynster but also has the definite traits of his father who able to be strong enough to support his woman without taking over for her. While Laurens has written the story of the strong man supporting a woman in position of authority with Marcus's parents and sister, this book has a twist. In the previous books, it is the man who has to adapt to the idea of a woman in authority, here Marcus's whole life has prepared him for the role and he is comfortable with it. Instead, it is Niniver who has to be shown that a man can be her helpmate without threatening her authority. I loved his compassion and constant concern with Niniver. He clearly demonstrates how a man can be supportive and yet be masculine and sexy.

The relationship between Marcus and Niniver is wonderfully developed. They spend a lot of time together doing normal things that allow the reader to see how the partnership develops between the two. I felt that this book did an amazing job of showing how the relationship between Marcus and Niniver will work. The give and take between them is demonstrated and it is clear that both find happiness in how their relationship works.

This is one of my favorite Cynster books primarily because Marcus is such a wonderful hero. I really liked him and the relationship between Marcus and Niniver which is a true partnership.

WORTH MENTIONING: Sebastian, Sebastian, Sebastian.

FINAL DECISION: This is one of my favorite Cynster books in a while. Marcus is in my top 5 heroes. He is adorable and I love how he is immediately supportive of Niniver but still manly and sexy.

CONNECTED BOOKS: A MATCH FOR MARCUS CYNSTER is the twenty-third book in the Cynster series. It is also the second book in the Next Generation Cynsters series and can be read independent of the other books in the Cynster series. It is, however, best read as the companion book to the first book in the Next Generation series, THE TEMPTING OF THOMAS CARRICK.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

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Review: Garden of Lies

Garden of Lies
Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good Story of An Independent Woman And An Eccentric Adventurer

"What professional secretaries must possess in abundance are the qualities of intelligence, common sense and a willingness to do whatever is required to extricate one's person from potentially outrageous situations before they become outrageous. There are no knights in shining armor hanging about waiting to rescue us. We must deal with the world on our own. Which is, of course, why I make certain that all of my secretaries wear hats with large, sturdy hatpins."

THE STORY: Ursula Kern is the owner of Kern Secretarial Agency which provides professional services to wealthy clients. When one of her employees and friends dies, Ursula feels that foul play is involved and is determined to find out what happened to her. Part of her plan involves taking over her employees assignment. That, however, necessitates her ending her own job with Slater Roxton. Slater is the illegitimate son of a lord and an actress who has made his own way as an archeologist and adventurer. Slater is upset at Ursula's plan to abandon him in order to investigate a murder. He instead ends up joining up with Ursula to solve the mystery. In addition, the Ursula and Slater have secrets of their own that will be revealed.

OPINION: This book started off so well. Slater has an interesting prologue that immediately got me engaged with the story and the character. In fact, the entire first third of the book was so interesting that it was part of the reason that I was disappointed with the resolution of the story. What started out unique and engaging became more pedestrian. The relationship between Ursula and Slater is never fully realized on an emotional level. There is no conflict in their relationship and as a result it feels rather bland. The plot is good enough to keep the story moving but I missed something with the main characters. This is a good one time read but not as good as many of Quick's other novels.

WORTH MENTIONING: The beginning of this book was really exciting and fascinating. I wish there had been more about Slater's adventures.

FINAL DECISION: This is a good book, but doesn't stand up against the best of Quick's books. This book feels more formulaic and the characters less engaging. In comparison with the similar book THE PERFECT POISON, I found this book a bit lacking. I enjoyed the book as a one time read.

CONNECTED BOOKS: GARDEN OF LIES is a standalone book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Review: The Liar

The Liar
The Liar by Nora Roberts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Story of a Betrayed Woman Finding Herself and Eventually Love

"I fix things, Red. It's what I do."

THE STORY: Shelby Pomeroy Foxworth was swept off her feet at the age of 19 by a sophisticated man who took her from her small town life and brought her to a jet setting society world. Five years later, Shelby's world has turned upside down. Her husband drowned in a boating accident and she is left with her three year old daughter and the discovery that he husband lied to her. She is drowning in his debts. When she discovers that he lied to her for years, was cheating on her and has a safety deposit box filled with identification in the other names she begins to fear that she didn't know the man she married. Shelby decides to go home to Tennessee to the small town where her family lives. There she meets one of the newcomers to town, Griffin Lott. Griff and his friend do construction around town. From the time they first meet, Griff is intrigued with the young widow. What neither expects is that danger has followed Shelby home and put their lives in danger.

OPINION: I loved this book. Shelby is a young woman who is trying to create a life for herself and her daughter while learning that her husband lied and betrayed her. I liked Shelby because she has incredible strength. Her determination to repay her husband's debts and her resolve in the face of great pain is admirable. I liked her because of these traits and because she is learning to be powerful.

Griff is an amazing hero. Loving and caring and yet strong. He is just adorable with Shelby's daughter. Almost immediately, he is a father to her. I thought a great strength of this book was the relationship that Griff builds with both mother and daughter. Considering all the drama from Shelby's deceased husband's lies, I really liked that Griff was more straight forward and honest.

The relationship between Shelby and Griff is sexy but mature and these two talk a lot which was refreshing in a romantic suspense book. The suspense story was especially good at building drama during the story. I figured out the ending pretty early in the story and I thought that the ultimate resolution was too quick, but since I care more about the relationship than the suspense portion of the story, I preferred that more time was spend on Shelby and Griff than the drama in the story.

The secondary characters were also really engaging. This was a book that I just got through quickly because I liked just about everything about it. It hit a nice sweet spot with me.

WORTH MENTIONING: The relationship between Shelby's daughter and Griff is one of the highlights of the book. Often times the child characters are after thoughts. Here, Shelby is always thinking about her daughter as part of her relationship and I liked that.

FINAL DECISION: I loved this book primarily because of Griff. The story is about Shelby finding herself and making a life for her and her daughter. I thought her story was well done but Griff is an incredibly caring and loving man. He made the book for me.

CONNECTED BOOKS: This is a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Review: The Widow Wager

The Widow Wager
The Widow Wager by Jess Michaels

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My Favorite of The Series

"My name is Gemma. I'm your wife."

THE STORY: Crispin Flynn's life has been out of control from a year and half. His brother inherited a dukedom and was forced to marry which Crispin feared would change his brother. At the same time, he fell in love and lost the woman he loved. Since then Crispin has been gambling and drinking his way through his life and fortune. One night he ends up his a gaming hell and as a result of his wager ends up married to Gemma, a widow of an earl. Crispin wakes up in the morning surprised to find himself married and certain that they have to find a way out of his latest mistake.

OPINION: This series has gotten better with each book. I loved this book because both characters are such good people. Crispin might be tortured by his past, but he doesn't take it out on Gemma. He is a genuinely nice guy who cannot let go of the mistakes he has made. He takes on too much emotional responsibility for the happiness of others and thus has made himself miserable.

Gemma is a woman who has put up with much. She has been the pawn of her father's ambitions but has made the most she could out of her life. Her first marriage could have been happy but her failure to bear an heir turned her husband against her, yet Gemma never gave up on her happiness. I really liked Gemma's matter of fact approach to life. I also really appreciated that Gemma is the one who decides to find a way to heal Crispin even at the risk of her own happiness.

The connection between these characters was sweet and loving. There was less heat and desperate sexual attraction, but I liked that these characters had an attraction but also respect for one another. They decided to make the best of their situation and treated one another rather well.

One of my favorite parts of this series is the connection between all the characters. There is a genuine sibling relationship between the Flynns and the family feels good and settled. I like reading books about genuine, good characters who are likeable and this series is filled is those types of characters.

WORTH MENTIONING: After I read this book, I was happy to find out that one of the characters that intrigued me will be the hero of one of the future books in this series. Readers who have read all the books in the series so far have been introduced to the final two couples by the end of this book.

FINAL DECISION: This was the most well rounded book of the series. I liked how both characters were likable and not cruel to one another despite the circumstances of their marriage.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE WIDOW WAGER is the third book of the Notorious Flynns series. It can be read as a standalone, but I think it is better as part of the series because the characters relationships to one another matter.


NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in order to provide an honest review of the book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: The First Prophet

The First Prophet
The First Prophet by Kay Hooper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spin Off of Bishop/SCU Series That Is Difficult To Follow Without That Background

"Destiny is merely the sum of one's choices."

THE STORY: Sarah Gallagher awoke from a coma with psychic abilities. She knows that her predictions of death come true and thus knows that she will die soon. Someone is after her. Sarah meets Tucker Mackenzie, and author, who has been looking for genuine psychics to answer a question that has been haunting him for years. Tucker ends up trying to help Sarah defeat her prediction of her future.

OPINION: I have read the multiple Bishop/SCU series books and am inclined to like these paranormal romances. This book is a spinoff of that series and involves psychics who are not a part of the SCU or Haven but are in danger. There is some conspiracy going on with shadowy figures on both sides. This book begins to introduce that conflict but the motives of the players remain murky. By the end of the book, the entire conspiracy is still vague. The focus of this story is the psychic mystery. There is a romance, but it is tangential and not fully fleshed out between the characters. I enjoyed this story, but hope that more will be revealed in future installments.

WORTH MENTIONING: Fans of the Bishop/SCU series should know that the players in that series only make small appearances here. Fans of Hooper's older Loveswept series may be pleasantly surprised that old characters make a brief appearance.

FINAL DECISION: I liked this book although it is clear that the story is going to play out over the series and much information is being withheld in order to promote the mystery.

CONNECTED SERIES: THE FIRST PROPHET is the first book in the Bishop Files series. This is a spin-off of the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series. I think, however, that readers that have not followed the Bishop series will find most of this book incomprehensible as none of the rules of this world are explained in this book but rather knowledge is assumed.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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Review: Morning Glory

Morning Glory
Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Serious, Beautiful Story of Two Outcasts Finding Love and Acceptance

"Wanted -- A Husband. Need healthy man of any age willing to work a spread and share the place."

THE STORY: On the eve of World War II, Eleanor Dinsmore, widow, mother of two children and pregnant with her third is in need of a husband to help her take care of her farm. Considered crazy by her neighbors, she puts an advertisement for a husband in the newspaper. Will Parker, newly released from prison where he served five years for killing a prostitute, has been run off from another job because of his past. When he reads Eleanor's advertisement, he decides to take the chance to apply for the position. Their meeting begins a love story that takes place over two years.

OPINION: A reader of this book must make a commitment because this book takes time to develop. Eleanor and Will's love story is well paced and beautiful but it is not love at first sight. The two fall deeply in love with one another, but it takes time and experience. Both Will and Eleanor have been hurt by their pasts and trust takes time to occur between them. That is what I really liked about his book. This book is really about the emotional journey of these characters. The only dramatic turn in the story occurs toward the end and that ends up being the part of the book that I liked the least although it is the catalyst for the characters growth and confrontation with their pasts.

WORTH MENTIONING: The portion of the story that takes place when Will is drafted and serves in the war is the most beautiful part. The writing and raw emotions are captivating.

FINAL DECISION: This book is not flashy and the relationship between the characters is slow to develop. But that makes it sweeter because these characters are together for years before readers can be sure that these characters have made it to their happy ending.

CONNECTED BOOKS: This is a standalone book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Review: Lover Eternal

Lover Eternal
Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's Like the Hulk's Love Story

"God, he really was . . . beautiful."

THE STORY: Rhage is one of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a group of warrior Vampires who protect civilian vampires and humans against the Lessening society (humans without souls who are killers). Rhage is known as Hollywood because of this incredible good looks, but Rhage is cursed with a beast inside him that comes out when he loses control. Rhage meets Mary Luce and cannot get her out of his mind even though it is against all the rules of the brotherhood and his own personal struggles make a relationship impossible. Mary is a human and very fragile physically although she is incredibly strong in other ways. She is determined to be alone because of her own past but she can't stop thinking about Rhage either.

OPINION: This is a beautiful love story with being overly mushy. Rhage and Mary are both people with a type of invader inside them. Both has become solitary because of it and it impedes them living a full life. In a real sense, they end up curing one another. I love how they both struggle against being vulnerable to one another wanting to protect the other. I love how Mary makes Rhage sweet and loving and how Rhage gives Mary a purpose and belief in herself. They both have needed someone to love them unconditionally. Beyond Rhage and Mary, there is also more wonderful views of the other characters in the series. I especially love the relationships between these people.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book also begins the story for the next book LOVER AWAKENED. There are also continuing threads of storylines that are not resolved here so readers should be aware.

FINAL DECISION: This is an angst filled book that I loved. Rhage changes so much during the book and he and Mary have such a painful journey to their HEA. This is a book where the character development is a paramount and the plot doesn't overshadow the deep emotional connection between the characters.

CONNECTED BOOKS: LOVER ETERNAL is the second book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood. It can be read as a standalone although some of the series mythology is not repeated from the first book so readers will have to make some inferences to catch up.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

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