Book Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Note: Since I wrote this review, I’ve actually read two more in the series and I am now officially involved. Books 2 and 3 were amazing. Of course, because I’m me, I decided to go ahead and post this review instead of one for the others, but I may come back later with a review of the series as a whole. 

I’d heard a lot about the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but it wasn’t really on my radar. It sounded like something more fantastical than I usually like to read and I got a little oversaturated on vampires in my youth. But then I found that the publisher had made a Black Dagger Brotherhood playlist on Spotify and I decided to give it a try. Needless to say, I was hooked and had to see the world in which this music fit.


One-Sentence Synopsis
The leader of a pack of vampire warriors feels obligated to protect the daughter of one his men and help her through her own transition. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Hail to the King
Wrath is supposed to be king of the vampire world, but he doesn’t want the role. At all. So he leads his brothers, a pack of warriors who fight entities known as lessers, into battle to save the vampire world and eradicate the evil faction run by a figure known as the Omega.

When his fellow warrior Darius asks him to take care of his daughter and help her through her own impending transition (btw, she has no idea she’s a vampire), Wrath refuses. But when Darius disintegrates in a car bombing, Wrath has no choice but to seek out the woman as an obligation to his brother.

Beth is definitely undergoing some changes, but she chalks it up to a stressful work schedule. She’s attacked and almost raped one night, and becomes edgy and more than a little fearful. So the first time Wrath shows up to talk to her, she freaks out. It’s not long though before she realizes how much he cranks her gears.

A Rich and Involved World
There is so much going on this book, and I’m assuming it’s because it’s setting the stage for the future books (I think there’s like 346 of them or something like that…just kidding. But there are a lot…14, I think?). It’s also setting up the world to give the reader that foundation they need for future stories. It touches a bit on the different warriors and we get a glimpse of their personalities and stories, which did an epic job of piquing my interest. I’m having to try really hard not to go read all of the future synopses if I don’t want spoilers.

Bad Guys Have Feelings Too
Some of the story is told from the point of view of Mr. X, one of the lessers who’s doing some recruitment of his own and is…I’m pretty sure…running the Cobra Kai dojo from The Karate Kid movie. The guy is sadistic, but also interesting and kind of a great villain.


Cast of Characters
Then there’s Butch, the cop who has a thing for Beth; Jose, Beth’s cop friend; Marissa, Wrath’s shellan (mate) who he doesn’t actually want to mate with and who’s pretty upset about it until she meets Butch; and Havers, Marissa’s brother who’s a doctor running weird experiments on himself. And a bunch of other minor characters who may or may not be minor later. Also, there’s an entity know as the Scribe Virgin who is already rocking my world and who I can’t help but see as Lady Gaga. So entertaining!

Pure Crack
Here’s what’s fun about this book. It’s not the most well written book I’ve ever read. I’m also aware that part of me finds the names of the vampires to be a little silly. But I can admit when those things don’t matter and in this case…they don’t matter. This book was pure crack. The world sucked me in and got me invested in these characters, even the ones who weren’t super likable. Also, I’m not generally a fan of alpha males, and I feel like all we have in this book (maybe with the exception of Havers) are alpha males. And yet…I’m okay with this. I enjoyed Wrath and Beth and then I really enjoyed the Butch/Marissa subplot (which doesn’t resolve, so yay for more of that).


There’s also a dragon. I think. It seemed like a dragon. And I need to know more about this Omega thing. And Lady Gaga. Also, I’ve been Pinteresting things and there seems to be a lot more characters than those in this book, which is just another reason for me to keep reading. There’s some violence and action, but I’m also kind of hooked by the fact that the vampires jam out to awesome rap music. It all comes full circle back to that Spotify playlist.

The Romance Factor
Wrath is so broody that I didn’t feel the romance right away. At first, it was all lust, though there was that protectiveness that started showing, which was pretty intense. But man, when he realized he was in love…whoa. Even though the romance had some dark tones to it, it was still pretty great. 4/5

The Steam Factor
I have to admit that after hearing people talk about the sex in this book, I expected it to be way dirtier than it actually was. Don’t get me wrong, it was well written and still pretty hot, but it was nowhere near as explicit as some of the things I’ve read. 3/5

Final Thoughts
Yes, I said I didn’t think it was well written, but I also know that I’m pretty hard on the first book of any series, and considering there are a bunch more in this one, I’m willing to bet the author finds her feet fairly quickly. Also, well-written or not, she knows the techniques to keep people coming back. Because now there’s absolutely no way I can’t finish the series. I have to know what happens. Well played, J.R. Ward…well played.

Book Review: Closer by Aria Hawthorne

On a personal note, I finished National Novel Writing Month having written one full novel and most of a second. I didn’t think about it because in my head, the main character of my second one was a nerdy nice guy, but I also made him a billionaire, even though his money and wealth didn’t figure into it as much you would think.

Speaking of billionaires, this book that I’m about to review features one. A blind one at that. And the minute I read that he was blind, I was all up in this book’s grill.


I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A single mother is hired by a Swedish billionaire to act as his guide for 5 nights so he can keep the secret of his blindness from his family, colleagues, and society in general. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Sassy Pants
Inez is super sassy, and I loved her from the start. Her sass and snark comes from a place of needing to protect herself, but she’s still funny. She’s a single mother who’s ex cheated on her with women (plural) and now wants to be part of her life again (yes, he was as sleazy as he sounds).


Leading the Blind
Sven is kind of a dick, but going blind has changed his outlook on things. He hires Inez to guide him at social events and keep his secret because he works with some shady people and doesn’t want them to know he can’t see. He also has his pride. The arrangement with Inez is only supposed to be temporary, though I don’t know what Sven planned on doing after that. Either way, I really liked him and wanted to give him a hug. Also, he wears an eye patch. Eye patches are cool (and obviously sexy).

Delicious Angst
Sven was the one who brought the feels in this one. It doesn’t take him long to fall for Inez, yet she’s the one who holds out, afraid to get involved.  The fact that she’s a single mother who’s also trying take care of her grandmother makes things more complicated.

I’m not always a fan of babies in books, but this one was okay. Inez being a single mother added an extra dimension of conflict and secrecy between her and Sven (it wasn’t actually a point of conflict other than that the baby was part of the reason Inez had put up protective walls and couldn’t stay the night with him).

Funny Grandmas Are the Best
Another great part of the book? Inez’s grandmother, who was hilarious and just as sassy as Inez but also a little raunchy. She heckles Inez endlessly and doesn’t hold back her opinions. The whole story was infused with humor, but most of it definitely came from this character.


The Romance Factor
Trust was the major theme in this book, and the way it played into the romance between Sven and Inez was seamless. Sven has to put his trust in Inez to guide him, and she eventually has to put hers in him not to hurt her. Between the sensual way these two interacted and the heavy dose of foreplay, their romance had a slow build that just got more intense. 4/5

The Steam Factor
This was considered an erotic romance, but as far as erotica goes, the sex wasn’t frequent. In fact, there was no actual sex until much later in the book. Most of the eroticism came in the form of dreams or fantasies. Having said that, those scenes were hot and the whole book was written with so much sensuality that even the dialogue between Sven and Inez was titillating. 4/5

Final Thoughts
I loved this book. Sven was endearing, Inez was funny, and I loved their romance. I laughed, I cried, I got all sorts of heart feels. Not only did I like the story, but I enjoyed the author’s style and so ended up buying another book related to this one.