Review: Prisoner of Night by J.R.Ward


Whenever we get a book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world, I am very excited. Even if these characters aren’t known to us, there’s more happening in the BDB world than with just the Brothers. Prisoner of Night will give us a tiny smidgen of the BDB world as we wait for The Savior to come out in April.

Druan has been imprisoned for years and biding his time to escape. But he has no idea his plans are about to take a crazy turn. When Ahmare walks into his prison something flairs up inside him and gives him the shock of his lifetime. There’s something about this female that has him questioning everything.

Ahmare’s brother has been captured and in order to free him she must use the “weapon” she’s provided with to retrieve something of value to his captor. What she wasn’t planning on was this weapon being a huge scary male with decades of pent up anger and hurt.

“I don’t want it to be like I never existed.”

These two characters go on a journey to places they never imagined, into a world they wish never existed. No matter what happened to Duran, these past decades, he was still a male who’s been raised to protect females, so he will do what it takes to get the job done and to find his revenge. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for this female almost instantly. But in the BDB world, that’s the way things happen. When they know, they KNOW.

I liked Ahmare. She kept a cool head all the while making choices that would affect her forever, all for the sake of her brother. I loved watching her discover that no matter what happened in the past, she is finally able to move forward, if she has the right male beside her.

“Funny, how a male could tell you, you’re beautiful without a word”

Prisoner of Night is a shorter story filled with the darkness and excitement we’ve come to know from the BDB books. This is a good way to wet your feet a little in this world without having to diving head first into this epic series. But really, why wouldn’t you wanna do that? The Black Dagger Brotherhood are one of my most favorite series. I wish everyone would dive into these books. I hope this series never ends.

~Melpomene

Buy Prisoner of Night https://amzn.to/2LQtaz6

Excerpt:

Twenty-One Years, Three Months, Six Days Ago . .

“Where is it! Goddamn you, where’s it at!”

Duran spit blood out of his mouth and spoke over the ringing in his ears. “I’ll never tell you—”

Chalen the Conqueror swung his open palm again, nailing Duran’s lacerated face like a bat hitting a fastball. But it didn’t hurt as much as the other shit they’d been doing to him in this castle’s great room. They’d already pulled out his fingernails, broken all of his toes, and whipped his back until strips of his own flesh flapped against his ribs. At the moment, he didn’t have the strength to keep himself on his feet, but no worries there—two guards, with grips locked under his pits, were holding him up off the floor.

As his head flopped back into its lolling hang, he shook it to get the sweat and blood out of his eyes. In the hissing, kicking light of the hearth, the male in front of him was stocky of build and ugly of feature, an oak stump with a bulldog’s muzzle and a hungry bear’s bad fucking attitude.

“You are going to tell me the location.” Chalen took Duran by the throat with one of his meat hands. “And you’re going to do it now.”

“Sorry, not . . . a big talker—”

The conqueror grabbed onto the lower half of Duran’s face, squeezing so hard his jaw split and the inside of his mouth was forced between the hard-and-sharp of his molars. More blood welled, spilled, fell on his bare chest.

“Why are you protecting the male who put you here?” Chalen’s opaque eyes searched Duran’s expression as if he were trying to extrapolate a map of Maryland in the features. “All you need to do is tell me where that facility is.”

Duran waited for that grip to release. When it did, he spit more blood out. “I’m not . . . protecting him.”

“Then what are you doing?”

“Making sure you don’t cheat me of what’s mine.” Duran smiled, aware he must look deranged. “You kill him . . . I don’t get to.”

Chalen crossed his strong-man arms over his barrel chest. He was dressed in weapons, whatever clothes he had on underneath the holsters of guns and knives largely hidden by metal. No daggers, though. He’d never been Black Dagger Brotherhood material and not just because he was a mutt according to his lineage: Even among black market thieves, there was a code of conduct.

Not for Chalen. He had no code. Not in the Old Country, and not during his last century here in the New World.

There was only one male who was worse.

“I will break you,” Chalen said in a low voice. “And I will enjoy it.”

Duran laughed in a wheeze. “You have no idea what I’ve already been through—”

Chalen swung that palm wide again, the crack so heavy Duran lost his vision, everything going checkerboard. And then there was a drop in blood pressure, his brain emptying of oxygen, floaty disassociation riding in, a foggy savior buffering the suffering.

The sound of chains moving and gears shifting brought him back to reality. A section of the sweaty stone wall rose by inches, the great weight ascending like a gate, revealing a corridor . . .

Revealing a male who was naked but for a black hood that covered his head.

“I will make you pray for death,” Chalen said. “And when you give me what I need, you will think back to this moment. When you could have saved yourself from so much.”

Duran exhaled in a gurgle. His body was on fire, the pain burning through his veins, turning him into a semi-living, kind-of-breathing, sort-of-conscious incubator for agony.

But fuck Chalen.

“Do what you will,” he mumbled. “I’m not going to give you a goddamn thing.”

“I will make you wish you were never born.”

As the hooded male came forward, Duran was dragged over and slammed face-first down onto a table, his torso bent parallel to the floor. Turning his face to the side, he smelled the spoiled meat and rancid fat embedded in the fibers of the planks.

“Already there, asshole.”

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Review: Three Christmas Book Reviews (The Christmas Wish, Christmas at the Chalet, Cupcakes for Christmas)

A trio of reviews follows… Merry Christmas!

The Christmas Wish is a story of new beginnings. When Esme’s finds she can’t take her grandmother on a trip of a lifetime to see the Northern Lights in Lapland, Esme goes alone. Loved the quirky trip-mates, the little obstacles Esme overcomes to find herself again, and Esme’s newfound friendships, bound under snowflakes and starry skies.

Buy THE CHRISTMAS WISH

Cupcakes for Christmas is ostensibly about a baker, her shop, and a new special someone who comes in to buy cupcakes. But really it’s about the fear of loneliness and sadness that may drape over people during the holidays. While the story wasn’t a sad one, we see through Olivia’s eyes the challenges that Christmas brings for some. We also see how acceptance, love, and the Christmas spirit can help bridge the gap between two lonely hearts.

Buy CUPCAKES FOR CHRISTMAS

Ever wanted to spend Christmas at a chalet? Here’s your chance. Anita Hughes transports you to the land of snow and apres-ski in the Swiss Alps. Wedding gown designer Felicity, her assistants, and her models spend a week among the jet set in St Moritz – and you’re along for the ride. This is a fun, superficial, exciting, bright read. I loved the snowy settings, the wedding gowns, and the glitz and glamour on the slopes. I didn’t love all the reminiscing and flashbacks, but I did like the side story of re-uniting a bride’s parents.

Buy CHRISTMAS AT THE CHALET

-calliope

Review: The Wish Collector by Mia Sheridan

“I would’ve looked twice at you,” he said. “Then. Now. In any lifetime, and under the brightest of skies.”

Mia Sheridan does it again. The Wish Collector is a story about love, history and curses. The setting is New Orleans with all it’s magic and mysteries swirling about. From the very first page I was swept up into this story. The scenes were ripe with excitement and angst. And with the ghosts from the past they make this story even more mysterious.

Jonah made some wrong choices in his past that drastically changed his future and believes himself unworthy of forgiveness. He remains behind the walls of his home and keeps everyone a part from him. That is until one girl starts showing up at his wall and slowly starts to chisel away at his heart.

He looks like a man who’s been terribly hurt by the world and believes there is nothing left to love about him anymore.

Clara is new to New Orleans and discovers there’s a mystery behind the walls of Windisle plantation. When she goes there to see if she can uncover the truth she finds that there’s more than just ghosts haunting this plantation. Jonah is hiding from his past but she won’t let him. While trying to learn more about Windisle she learns what happened to Jonah and is determined to help him discover his past.

I loved Clara. She’s this tiny ballet dancer but has a fierceness about her. She won’t give up. Jonah is scarred inside and out and she’s the balm that’s needed for healing. When he finally accepts that there’s more he can do besides stalking behind his walls, the world better watch out. Jonah is ready to change it and make it better.

He was beauty and pain, glory and suffering, vengeance and grace, and all the things made stronger and more meaningful because they have an opposite.

~Melpomene
Buy The Wish Collector https://amzn.to/2ztKSU2

Review: The Light Before Day by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The saga continues! Siblings Hetty and Henry love their home on Nantucket, but it all goes topsy turvy when their stern grandmother leaves them her fortune upon her passing – with stipulations, of course.

It was fun to read about how Henry and Hitty wanted to spend their inheritance – and eye opening to watch progress create division among the islanders. I also enjoyed watching that progress – from muddy paths to cobblestone streets, from no safety protocols to lightships and fire supplies. As usual for the Nantucket Legacy books in this series, I learned a few things about the Quaker religion, and how non-Quakers were drawn in to the light and spirituality they saw in the Friends.

My favorite parts of the book were the tender moments between couples who didn’t even consider themselves couples – but as the reader I could see the love between them.

Engaging and entertaining historical fiction, with comedy, tragedy, and a happily ever after.

-calliope

Buy THE LIGHT BEFORE DAY

Review: Driven to Distraction by Lori Foster


It seems like I haven’t read a Lori Foster book in forever. But this is just what I needed. So many books lately have shown strong women, to the point that they don’t need or want any help, but I love the books that show strong women who actually need help.

Mary lives her life alone. Her job is everything to her, she has nothing and no one else. But when she meets Brodie, and has to see him multiple times a week, she realizes that she’s been missing something.

Brodie has been raised to be the strong man and take care of those around him who are smaller and weaker. When he meets Mary, his instincts fire up and protection mode kicks in. trouble is that Mary doesn’t want his help, even though she actually needs it.

I loved how Brodie was able to get through to Mary and show her that she isn’t alone and it’s okay to have help from others. The secondary characters were so loving and wonderful. Everyone is a family, even if they’re not blood related. I love homemade families like that. And I’m looking forward to next books in this series.

~Melpomene

Buy Driven to Distraction https://amzn.to/2RPJ2DH

Review: A Miracle on Hope Street by Emma Heatherington

Everyone loves a Christmas miracle, and though agony-aunt columnist Ruth Ryans has advised many a citizen on how best to obtain theirs, she has no hope for her own. It all started when Ruth’s dad died, and her zest for life, her job and her friends kind of just went kaput.

But a couple of pals unexpectedly lift her up, and Ruth muddles through the letters for her column, realizing that the loneliness of her readers jibes with her own. She tries reaching out to others – and it works, nudging her out of her own head. There’s one big hurdle — finding her mom — and that thread carries throughout most of the book, providing a backbone for the subplots.

This is a feel-good book that gives hope to people missing their loved ones — without being contrived or syrupy sweet. I pegged the ending way back in the mid to early chapters, but that’s okay, because a happily ever after is a happily ever after… and that’s what I’m looking for 6 weeks before Christmas!

By the way, you’ll meet the most beautiful people in this book. My favorites are Gloria – what an angel – and Nicholas, the pianist. They spread joy far and wide, and Emma Heatherington is wonderful for writing them.

-calliope

Buy A MIRACLE ON HOPE STREER

Quick Review: Kiss Me at Christmas by Valerie Bowman

I love Christmas. And when you combine that with historical romance, it’s a match made in heaven.

I loved watching Daffin and Regina. They had this connection, from the first time they met, but never acted on it. And when they meet up again it’s under rather embarrassing circumstances that was awkward to watch. But true love has a way of working through embarrassments and making all things right.

I am fairly new to this series. It’s quite fun that these stories are interconnected standalones. Seeing past characters join in make the stories much more enjoyable. And of course when the men step in, to put things to right, it makes me smile.

I can’t wait to read the next book!

~Melpomene

Buy Kiss Me at Christmas https://amzn.to/2z6kIqz