Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hump Day Unleashed!

Yo! How the heck are ya this week? I am here and feeling fairly sassy, all things considered. Life continues to be...well, life. So every gal knows when the going gets tough, the tough escape into fiction. And let me tell you - there have been enough HOT new releases this month already to keep this cookie tough enough to survive! However, speaking of cookies....I owe you one, for all the love you give us back - so here it is, that most tasty of calorie free treats....mmmmmmm!

Since I get Wednesdays, the cat is already out of the bag usually when it comes to group reviews. What I have to offer are my thoughts on this weeks eagerly anticipated by all newest J.R. Ward release, Lover Unleashed...

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself-only to face a devastating injury. Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can-but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them?

Ok - so everyone out there who Loves (yes, with a capital L) the BDB, raise your hand. Yup, yup - there's a whole big bunch of us. For those of you under a rock, Lover Unleashed is book 9 in the series - do not make me go Tyra on you and rant about the sheer necessity of reading in order....for many of us, we are still recovering from the angst and drama of John Matthew's long awaited story, and before that Revhenge's story...and so on. Ward has a unique creation with her Caldwell, NY setting and her Vampire/Lesser world. The Brotherhood bond, the Shellan soul mate thing (don't get me starting on bonding scent - oh baby!), and the supernatural elements of the Omega badness and Scribe Virgin goodness (?) - all so original, straddle the lines of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Payne needed her own story and Manny Manello is one hot surgeon (who cant use another doctor in the family???) Vishous and Qhuinn both go through some MAJOR angsty crap that gets a little hard to take....but is probably necessary for future character growth (yada yada yada). For all this and more, I adore the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

That being said, I was disappointed in turns at several elements of this particular installment. Firstly, the Brotherhood is and always will be about this amazing cadre of vampire warriors who fight to preserve their race. In previous books, the stories focused in part of the troubles brewing, the evil forces building, the action packed fight scenes - Lover Unleashed had one. Additionally, the characters themselves seemed to be less consistent with their previous selves - Butch and V always had a "special" relationship but V's need to shift from Dom to sub struck me as really off. And there was almost no mention of any of the other Brothers, trainees, Shellans, etc. It was like all those story lines just dropped.

Secondly, Ward continues to torture us with the Quinn and Blay and Layla triangle. Oh for the love of Pete - let the three of them get together and call it a new day for mainstream menage! Even the most homophobic reader will have to acknowledge that the only way Blay and Quinn can be happy is if they finally end up together - and poor walking snack bar Layla, feeding all those big alpha males and getting nothing in return - just sad. (kind of makes you want to send her a Good Vibrations catalog!)

Thirdly, while I am all for the introduction of fresh blood, new characters and all that jazz - Xcor and his posse left me completely ambivalent. I was totally groovy with Rev and Xhex and Trez because they wove into the tapestry of the BDB lives, sometimes bisecting, sometimes parallel but still meshing. These guys don't make sense. And an unexplained serial killer? Hellllooooooo????? Yes, we all know Caldwell, NY, is a badass town but there were so many loose ends it was hard to reconcile at the end.

Now, that being said - who is ready for the next one. ME! (Waving arm in air madly) - regardless of what disappointed me in this installment, I still remain a true blue loyal BDB fan. I know there are more stories to be told, and I want the urban fantasy elements to continue - I love the mystery elements and look forward to the connection of NY and NC in future novels, just as I loved the little crossover bits from BDB to Fallen Angels in Covet. By all mean, take the time to read this one - it is worth the angst.

And please, Ms. Ward, hurry up with Fallen Angel #3 and BDB # 10 - like any good junkie, this guilty girl needs her next fix! I give Lover Unleashed 4 deliciously dipped chocolate covered strawberries....Mmmmmmm
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