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REVIEW: Lover Mine by JR Ward

Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood Series #8) by J. R. WardDear Ms. Ward,

It may surprise you to know that I didn’t hop on the Black Dagger Brotherhood bandwagon until  Lover  Revealed was released. Before anyone has an aneurysm, know that I did pick up all the books in the series and read them in order. Like many other fans out there, I was inexplicably sucked into the name-dropping, slang-using, fated-mate, deus ex machina loving world of the BDB. Someone (*cough* Jane *cough*) noted that Ward is a freaking genius in that fans can look past all that and actually like the BDB books. And I did like them. Even loved them…until  Lover  Enshrined; but that didn’t stop me from reading  Lover  Avenged, and perhaps it should have. However, for some reason, I cannot bear to admit defeat with this series, which is quite unusual; I’ve given up on other author’s series for lesser transgressions. The BDB is like crack, and with  Lover  Mine, I’ve come damn close to rediscovering that initial high.

Lover  Mine is the story of John Matthew and Xhex’s, along with the continuation of Lash, the homoerotic Blay/Qhuinn storyline, an update on Payne, the Scribe Virgin, the Omega, Tohr and pretty much everyone who has been in every single prior book. Even Mary made an appearance, which is like a Bigfoot sighting. But let me get back to the synopsis. In the prior book,  Lover  Avenged, John Matthew and Xhex finally got it on, but Xhex, being the cold assassin (and  symphath) that she is, didn’t allow any intimacy between them. Angry at her attitude, JM walked out of their last boot-knockin’ session without a backward glance, in an attempt at role-reversal. After an attack on the  symphath colony Xhex goes missing, and JM admits she is, without a doubt, his mate. Xhex was abducted by Lash during the battle and is being held by him in Caldwell. He’s using his badass Omega-gifted powers to hold Xhex, beat her, rape her and generally fulfill his disgusting desires. While this is happening, the Brotherhood and the Shadow brothers (Trez and iAm) are searching for Xhex and JM is slowly going crazy with fear that he’s lost his one and only.

Xhex wouldn’t allow JM to get close to her because she was sure her  symphathnature would drive him insane, as it did her previous  lover, the brother Murhder. Everything JM does for her makes Xhex, ironically, feel less worthy, but the beauty of  Lover  Mine is that both Xhex and JM have problems, but rather than gloss over them, Ward has them face them (in JM’s case, a walk through his past) together. When this happened I was practically squealing with glee. I don’t want to give away all the easter eggs here, so I’m going to move on.

Almost lockstep with the H/H storyline (to which, thankfully, all the secondary storylines are tied) is the background of Darius’ story told from his POV in 1644. I freely admit that I didn’t love this part of the book, as it felt a bit  flat compared to the action that was taking place in present day.  There’s also a crazy-ass "Paranormal Investigators" story happening in South Carolina at the same time as JM/Xhex. This was even more distracting than the Darius historical that was going on. While I initially thought these two things to be extraneous page-filler, I realized I was dearly wrong, and  Lover  Mine is the tightest BDB book in terms of primary, secondary and even tertiary stories that I’ve read from Ward in a long time. No, I didn’t love the secondary/tertiary storylines, but by the time I finished the book, I definitely appreciated them. And it was certainly more enjoyable than an info-dump.

Initially I thought this was going to be a Rhev/Elhena rehash: 92% of the book would focus on other storylines and the H/H would be together for the other 8% of the book. I am doing a happy dance that this is not the case. In addition, Xhex keeps her badass assassin title, her weapons, and her status as an alpha female. She doesn’t become a ghost, a queen, a shadow. Which is an absolute joy for me, as I’ve felt that so many of the females in these books are simply there to keep a romantic storyline going. Yes, the book has problems, holes, and goes off on tangents that could fill an additional 300 pages, and most likely will at some point, but this book fulfilled quite a bit on the wishlist for me:

  1. The overarching story should focus on the H/H                                   CHECK
  2. The H/H interaction will be more than ships passing                            CHECK
  3. John Matthew won’t be instantly "fixed" by a fated mate       CHECK
  4. The heroine will continue to be strong after mating          CHECK
  5. The Scribe Virgin won’t make it all better                                                      CHECK
  6. The Scribe Virgin’s daughter is a kickass bitch                   CHECK (so far…)

Should I start another wishlist?  I’m going to.  Can we enter Blay’s bedroom already? Even if he isn’t with Qhuinn, I want to know exactly what’s going on in there.  Can one of the books just focus on the two of them? There’s such a rich history there and I would love to see them together.  There’s clearly still something between Vishous and Butch, and damn, I wish it would get explored, but I know that’s not going to happen. Can Payne keep being the tough bitch we’ve come to know and love? Can Lassiter’s story work within the storyline we’ve got going? Please, make a road trip for Murdher. For me,  Lover  Mine brought the magic back to this series, which seemed to be hurting after the last two entries. I am super excited to read the next in the series, and this one is now on the shelf.  B+

~Shuzluva

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This is a hardcover published by Signet, a part of the Agency 5. It is currently selling at Amazon for $9.99 in print.   The lay down date is April 27, 2010.

Sydney (better known by her handle, Shuzluva) knew that she wanted to be Han Solo's copilot after seeing Star Wars at the tender age of 5. She fell in love with romance novels over 20 years ago when she got her hands on Sandra Brown's Texas! trilogy, and in the mid 90's was overjoyed to discover romance writers had branched out into the world of SciFi/fantasy. While she enjoys the occasional contemporary or historical novel, the world of SciFi holds an unshakable fascination for her. Some of her favorite authors include Nalini Singh, Catherine Asaro and Kresley Cole, and she's always interested in adding new authors to the list.

36 Comments

  1. Diva's Bookcase
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 11:14:57

    Loved this review. Can’t wait to get my hot little hands on this one.

  2. Jaclyn
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 11:57:05

    Great review, Shuzluva, and that checklist is fantastic!

    I totally agree with you 100% about wanting a peek inside Blay’s bedroom. Blay and Qhuinn have captured my attention and I want more of their stories.

  3. katiebabs
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 12:01:44

    Hang a louie! Best line of 2010.

    All I have to say is Team Qhuay. Overall, I enjoyed LM, even with the lame Paranormal Activity, let’s introduce a new character sub plot.

  4. Gina
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 12:38:21

    Butch and Vishous…. oh holy scribe virgin I’d pay double the hard cover price for that story….

    Great review(s), love when we get dueling opinions, now if only my little NOOK would download it already!

  5. Joanne
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 12:52:36

    Blay & Quinn? Not gonna’ happen. He’s going to have a HEA with the handsome lawyer and Quinn is going to boink everything that isn’t nailed down -Har!- and then end up with someone who will literally and figuratively kick his ass.
    Or maybe not. LOL!

    Great review, very comprehensive without spoilers. Thank You!

  6. Janine
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 13:23:08

    Initially I thought this was going to be a Rhev/Elhena rehash: 92% of the book would focus on other storylines and the H/H would be together for the other 8% of the book. I am doing a happy dance that this is not the case. In addition, Xhex keeps her badass assassin title, her weapons, and her status as an alpha female. She doesn't become a ghost, a queen, a shadow. Which is an absolute joy for me, as I've felt that so many of the females in these books are simply there to keep a romantic storyline going.

    That is good news! Thanks for the review, Shuzluva.

  7. LAmonkeygirl
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 14:29:44

    I’m curious why J.R. Ward keeps dangling (heh) these M/M relationships in front of the readers only to frustrate their desires. If, as @Joanne suggests, Blay will wind up with someone other than Qhuinn, I wonder what the point of all this is. Set up and then disappointment? That’s a little too much like actual life. How about some fantasy and wish fulfillment?

  8. valerie
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 14:40:04

    I am totally with Joanne on this. Much as I want Quinn and Blay to hook up and get to an HEA (or at least as much of one at Ward permits) I’m pretty sure Blay’s gonna mate the lawyer (why else put so much emphasis on his homosexuality at his first introduction?) and Quinn’s gonna dick around, literally, until he hooks up with a kick ass bitch (Payne? maybe?). I could be wrong, but after Lover Avenged, that’s the vibe I’m getting…

    BDB is such crack. I always say, when I read these books, I’m constantly thinking “I shouldn’t like this. I don’t like this ordinarily. In another book, this would be a wall-banger x100. But somehow, it works for me here” (with the notable exception of ghost Jane. Sweet baby monkeys, how much did I hate the ghost Jane ending…)

    I cannot wait to get this book and devour it. I love JM/Xhex, and I’m so glad to hear Xhex doesn’t lose her agency and general bad-assness, and neither she nor JM is instantly fixed by the power of lurve. I can’t wait!

  9. katiebabs
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 15:15:01

    I heard that Ward may write a novella with Blay and Qhuinn. But again, if Ward can write in your face incestuous sex scenes (Lover Enshrined and Lover Avenged) and very hot and heated straight romance, then she better have something around the same lines if she give Blay and Qhuinn their HEA.

    I, for one, will be royally pissed if she gives Qhuinn and Blay a fade to black sex scenes or scenes. She has given her readers a big emotional connection with Blay and Qhuinn, much like her straight couples. So if she doesn’t go the full distance with Blay and Qhuinn, there are going to be major rumblings.

  10. becca
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 17:21:38

    I just can’t get into these books. Don’t know why, lord knows I’ve tried – got through maybe 4 or 5 of them, and then the last one hit the wall. Maybe it’s all the extraneous H’s in the names?

  11. Bonnie
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 18:28:50

    Still can’t read it on Kindle ,so I guess I’ll never know….

  12. Joanne
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 19:41:17

    @katiebabs:

    She has given her readers a big emotional connection with Blay and Qhuinn, much like her straight couples. So if she doesn't go the full distance with Blay and Qhuinn, there are going to be major rumblings.

    Eh, I’m not so sure J.R. didn’t give her readers all the info they needed to understand about the relationship between Blay and Qhuinn.

    Qhuinn told Blay early on that he saw himself with a female after all the playtime was over. I like his character for wanting more for his friend then just a jump in the men’s room. Readers may be panting (and writing their own endings), but the author says it ain’t gonna happen so why would they grumble?

  13. Joanne
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 19:42:20

    @Bonnie: That Sucks, big time.
    And more new releases not coming to a Kindle anytime soon. Blah.

  14. katiebabs
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 19:44:16

    Joanne: When Ward wrote Lover Enshrined she said she had no plans to make Qhuinn and Blay a couple. But as she wrote Lover Mine, she decided to make them one.

    Ward has this habit of saying something about her characters, but then changing things up, which I can’t blame her.

    Who knows, she may decided in the next two books or two to have Qhuinn find his HEA with a woman.

  15. Joanne
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 19:51:44

    @katiebabs: Ah. Well, she didn’t tell me any of that, I just read what’s in the books. Maybe I’m better off, I just get to wait and see what happens in the stories. As long as all the characters get a HEA I’m okay with whatever.
    Thanks for that information.

  16. Donna
    Apr 26, 2010 @ 20:27:58

    Great review! I was worried that Xhex would cease to be kick-ass after she was mated with John Matthew. I’m curious as to who Payne is going to end up with.

  17. Diane V
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:00:28

    Sorry…done with the poorly written and overly “h” laden stories when she turned the heroine into Casper the ghost. No more crack addiction for me — I’d rather read a well-written story by Larissa Ione or Ilona Andrews.

  18. Shuzluva
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:06:58

    @Diane V No apologies necessary here!

  19. Shuzluva
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 08:08:20

    @becca: What ahre yhou talkhing abhout? Rheally? I dhon’t see iht.

  20. sol
    Apr 27, 2010 @ 17:28:38

    @Shuzluva: thanks for the laughs…

  21. Riley
    Apr 28, 2010 @ 01:25:29

    Just for the record Ward has definitely confirmed that Blay and Qhuinn will find their HEA together. She’s stated it numerous times now on her board so it’s a definte thing.

    She doesn’t know yet if they will have their own book, find their HEA within another BDB book (with another couple) or whether she’ll write a novella for them.

  22. bam
    Apr 28, 2010 @ 21:48:50

    *sigh*

    This was the BOOK I’ve been waiting for… and you’re telling me it’s just “meh”?

  23. Allison
    Apr 29, 2010 @ 19:39:28

    In Lover Mine, Qhuinn admits to himself that if he sleeps with Blay, he’ll never leave him. So why wont he just do it already. They have a really intense scene, right before Blay’s date with Saxston (sp?), when Blay tells Qhuinn, who’s obviously jealous and giving off a bonding scent, to just say the word and he wont go. Qhuinn does nothing, because he’s too scared. Either in a novella or the next full book, JR Ward NEEEEDS to tie things up and put these two together. They are in love with each other, make it happen already!

  24. Shannon H
    May 01, 2010 @ 09:11:41

    Personally, I feel the reason Qhuinn hasnt jumped Blay yet is because he feels that he isn’t good enough for him. He said something to the effect in Love Mine when he was thinking over how Blay deserves to love someone better (or something to that effect). He also has the lingering issues of desperately wanting to be accepted and fit in, and I think he recognizes that if he comes out in a committed gay relationship he is throwing that out the window.

    There is no doubt in my mind, however, that Qhuinn wants to do that. He just hasn’t worked up the courage, and I think by the end of the book he feels that it wouldn’t be wanted. His whole attitude seemed to have shifted to one in which he felt that Blay had found what Blay wanted, and Qhuinn wasn’t going to step in and ruin that for him.

    Also (tangent warning), I think Payne is going to end up with Manny, that based solely on one random word in Vs book, when he looked at Manny and thought ‘Brother’ and couldn’t figure out way.

  25. JeanE
    May 03, 2010 @ 13:21:16

    The BDB are my favorite of the paranormal romance genre: I just adore these guys! I have to admit, Butch is my favorite so I really don’t want him hooking up with V. V has always sorta bothered me, he’s to out there with his S&M stuff. Also hate the Jane the Ghost thing. I would be interested in the Blay/Qhuinn Story, just not sure it can take up a whole book. I love Xhex so after reading it, love that she’s still a badass! This book was fabulous, could not put it down, as usual. I love Payne, too, she is awesome! I just love the way Ward writes romance largely from the guys’ point of view. The guys’ are the strongest of the characters, the women are mostly secondary which is why I love Xhex and Payne. I just hate waiting for the next books which is why I reread them all the time. Don’t like her Fallen Angels books, at least, I didn’t like Covet which was a major disappointment. Just proves that the BDB is it for me!!

  26. Patti
    May 08, 2010 @ 21:04:36

    Finished the book and I am a bit confused about V? ***********spoiler********

    Are there still “feelings” for Butch? If he is married/mated to ghost lady, why would he be jealous of Xhex’s one night stand with Butch? I thought the V/Butch relationship was finally resolved and now I feel as though there was still something unfinished after reading this book. Anyone else care to weigh in? Thanks.

  27. Kaz
    May 11, 2010 @ 00:51:51

    I loved Lover Mine, but was frustrated that JR left us up in the air about Payne ! can’t wait til the next book to see what happens with her, will Mannie fix her back ? what does everyone else think

  28. Lulo
    May 17, 2010 @ 17:21:45

    Which one is the next book?

  29. Maria C. Aina
    May 18, 2010 @ 20:11:04

    So I am just finishing Lover mine at the last 20 pages!!! I get so rapped up in all the books that I feel (and want) to be a part of them….I cant wait for the next book!!! I need more!!! How many books are in total?..if it were up to me they would go on forever…When will the next come out?? Anxiously awaiting the next book!!!

  30. Dionne Galace » Blog Archive » Review: Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 15:25:32

    [...] I have talked about in the past and when I read the “checklist” that she put up in her review at Dear Author, I resoundingly said, “Yep” as I mentally ticked off the items. If I may [...]

  31. Katie
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 08:11:39

    @Donna: Manny I’m pretty sure. It all makes sense. And I think their book is the next one up.

  32. Katie
    Jul 05, 2010 @ 08:17:02

    @Patti: I know I’m like a few months late on this weigh in on my opinion, but I just found the site. I think that they’re with who they’re meant to be with sexually and emotionally. Emotionally on two parts, because their Shellans are their soulmates, but they are also each other’s soulmates. Intrinsically tied to each other because of their purpose in the scheme of things and because Butch was the first person V was emotionally attatched to after everything he’d gone through in his life. That bond is NEVER going to go away. Butch is HIS in a sense. Always has been, always will be, just like V is Butch’s. I think there is just less confusion about it now.

  33. Noel
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 12:18:47

    Has anyone thought that maybe Mannie’s for Layla and the Murhder’s for Payne? Just a thought.

  34. Sasha
    Aug 08, 2010 @ 00:24:12

    I want more Qhuinn and Blay action….and for them to end up together. I still would like to know more about V and Butch. And Payne! When is the next book coming out???

  35. Stacy
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 16:03:19

    I know that the Jane ghost thing sucked but look at it this way; V and Jane will ALWAYS be together now. She can’t die on him.I just finished Lover Unbound. Can’t read the rest fast enough!

  36. Book 8 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series
    May 20, 2011 @ 04:42:30

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