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JR-Ward

REVIEW: Lover Mine by JR Ward

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.

Dear Author

REVIEW: Lover Mine by JR Ward

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

Since discovering the Black Dagger Brotherhood at the second book in the series, Lover Eternal, I have been addicted. The BDB guys are hot, sexy, powerful and all flawed in some horrific way that has provided plenty of angst and strife that each guy has worked to overcome with the help of the love of his life. I could eat up Rhage, Rehv, and Z (nom nom nom), who I think are some of the sexiest heros in romance. I have been eagerly anticipating Lover Mine, which is the story of John Matthew (Tehrror) and the sympath, Xhex, because their relationship has been developing for several books and I want each of them to have a happy ending. Unfortunately, Lover Mine had way too much going on for me to call it a great book.
For readers new to the series: don't start with Lover Mine. You won't appreciate everyone's pain, angst, and redemption-’especially much of what draws John Matthew and Xhex together-’unless you've read the earlier books in the series.

Lover Mine has five story-lines that weave in and out of one-another through the book: Qhuinn/Blay; the ghost hunters; John Matthen & Xhex; Lash and the Lessers; and as I started calling it, "The Flashback'. The BDB series is very complex with at least two dozen significant characters throughout the books, multiple communities (the Glymera, the Brotherhood, the Sympath compound, the Lessers, the Scribe Virgin and her Chosen, and the places we revisit from the past). The books are a balance of urban fantasy and romance, and for me, those two elements don't fully integrate successfully, and especially with the Lover Mine, I found the reading experience disjointed and I struggled to stay interested.

While reading Lover Mine I became impatient and frustrated with the story arc of Lash and the Lessers. At lot has happened to Lash since we first met him, but I don't feel he is developing with each book-’with each book we learn more about him, but Lash as an individual isn't changing. He continues to be evil, more cruel, and more destructive with each subsequent book. I don't have any sympathy for him, and a villain without some humanizing element doesn't work for me.

The Scribe Virgin continues to be a shadow of her former self. Everything she's said and done throughout the books has required karmic balance. As her children (Vishous, and his sister, Payne) come into their own and find happiness must the Scribe Virgin slowly fade? Is the balance for their happiness the despondency that has become the Scribe Virgin's existence? I'll look forward to learning more about her plight in future books. But man, is she a sad creature right now, and not at all phearsome (as the Chosen, Layla, describes the Brothers).

By far, the best story thread in the book is the relationship between Qhuinn and Blay. Best friends, along with John Matthew, Qhuinn and Blay are dealing with their attraction to one another even as Qhuinn continues to hook up with women and Blay struggles with accepting that he's gay and what that means for him in a vampire high society that doesn't tolerate openly gay relationships.

So what about John Matthew and Xhex? Can we finally get to John Matthew and Xhex? It was almost 150 pages before they had a conversation with each other.

John Matthew has been through put the ringer in this series. He was a starving, abused, terrified kid when the BDB found him and gave him a home. He was raped before he was rescued, he lost his foster mom, Wellsie, when she was murdered by the Lessers, then he was abandoned by his foster dad when Tohr ran away in grief. And that was several books ago. Since then, he's gone from scrawny to uber-sexy, he's in love with a Xhex, who continually rejects him, and he hasn't really found his place-’a place he feels comfortable-’in the Brotherhood.

Xhex has also had a tough life. As a sympath she has always needed to hide a part of herself in order to stay safe and free. She's tough, made a place for herself in Rehv's empire, and has some very loyal friends. Despite having a few, select loyal friends, Xhex has a very lonely life. And at the start of Lover Mine, she's a Lash's prisoner.

John Matthew and Xhex are perfect for each other. Two wounded, abused, lonely, sad people who will ultimately find in each other total acceptance, love, redemption and a place to call home once and for all. But getting there isn't easy-’and it takes forever at 500+ pages-’but they do figure it out and find happiness. And when that finally happened, I was happy because it meant Lover Mine was finally coming to a close.

What ultimately frustrated me the most with Lover Mine was the sheer complexity of tracking so many story threads and characters, and the constant cliff-hangers at the end of each chapter. I'm hooked on Qhuinn and Blay's evolving relationship, and frankly, that's the element that has me wanting the next volume in this series. Overall, Lover Mine was a C-, which bums me out, because John Matthew and Xhex deserve better.

~Jaclyn

| Book Link | Kindle | Amazon | Nook | BN | Borders |
Sony | Kobo

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.