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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

World Filled Wednesdays (Reviews)




Have a few reviews today. J. R. Ward’s Fallen Angels series; Covet & Crave. 

If you like J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series then I would recommend that you check out her new Fallen Angels series. Although don’t expect BDB, I would give those a 5-star as a series and this one a 4-star so far. 
It’s set in the same timeline as BDB and in Caldwell, NY.  There are also some cross-over’s from BDB that you will enjoy, I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t mention any that aren’t needed in the review but BDB fans will get a kick out of a few. This is a totally new series though so don’t worry if you haven’t read BDB yet, but I do suggest that you move that up higher on your TBR list. *wink-wink*

The romance is a little different, doesn’t involve the hero and not as intense, but it is still great. So far both books have revolved mainly around Jim Heron and then a couple that have a difficult time hooking up when Heaven and Hell get in the way. Jim doesn’t see much action in the romance department, like I mentioned, but the couples do and they’ll get your blood pumping. *Mmmhmm* 
The stories are consistent and the plot flows nicely without an overabundance of world building and focus mainly on the characters which I love in a book. For me, the characters are what I connect with, not the world. A book can have the most spectacular & fantastical world but if I can’t connect with the characters then it’s a no-go for me.
Ward’s distinct writing and story telling style is present in this series with the same language, slang & term use, witty, sarcastic, rough around the edges manly men who like to drop f-bombs like crazy; classic Ward that I personally find hysterical.

No fangs in this one but it’s about the Creator getting sick of the bickering and setting up an end-game, war between Heaven and Hell, Angels, Fallen Angels, Demons and the humans that get caught in between. Read on for more on each book…

Read an excerpt HERE
Covet
Book 1: The Fallen Angels
J. R. Ward
Summary: Redemption isn't a word Jim Heron knows much about-his specialty is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charged with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. And failure is not an option. 

Vin DiPietro long ago sold his soul to his business, and he's good with that-until fate intervenes in the form of a tough-talking, Harley-riding, self-professed savior. And then he meets a woman who will make him question his destiny, his sanity, and his heart-and he has to work with a fallen angel to win her over and redeem his own soul.

My thoughts:
Basically there is a war going on between Heaven and Hell, Earth is the playing field with Jim Heron as the quarterback. It is up to Jim, who was chosen from both sides because of his equal capacity to be both good and bad,  to decide which team to play for and then find seven souls that are at a cross roads and help nudge them in the right direction. This is a winner-takes-all game with everything on the line. If Jim can’t retrieve enough souls for Heaven and the Angels to win then Hell and its demons will rule with all the souls on Earth trapped and the Angels as slaves. It’s all about free will though of course. Unfortunately, Jim’s not getting much help from the sidelines and ya’ know Hell isn’t going to play by the rules.

Jim Heron is an ex-XOp’s assassin who lives by his own code and pretty much rolls with the flow of things and can handle whatever is thrown his way but the last thing he expected was to meet two pierced and leather-bound Harley riding angels on a construction site. His first soul on the line is Vin diPietro. Jim knows that Vin is on the path to loose his soul and needs to steer him in the right direction but which direction is the right one? By the time he realizes which way to go it may be too late.

Vin is a rich, powerful and cold-hearted business man who will do whatever it takes to remain at the top. He has his life mapped out and set until a construction accident brings Jim into it. You can tell he doesn’t have a lot of joy in his life but his money and possessions make up for it; then he spots Marie-Terese across a crowded bar and starts to realize that he may still have a heart and soul somewhere deep inside. But will Marie-Terese put Vin even further down the wrong path? Or is she his salvation?

Marie-Terese works as a prostitute at the Iron Mask. She is an educated woman who is oddly a faithful Catholic. Trez from BDB appears as the owner of the Iron Mask and Marie-Terese’s protective and understanding boss. He tries to hint at her that maybe she should get out of the business but what else can Marie-Terese do? There is no where else she can make this kind of money and she needs it desperately to pay off her debts and support her son. When she encounters Vin’s stare from across the room she feels an instant connection but she has been there, done that and bought the t-shirt. She is so not getting into a relationship with another rich playboy, the last one didn’t turn out so good for her.


Okay, first off I want to say that the prologue totally flew over my head. I didn’t get it and it aggravated me that I couldn’t figure out who was narrating it.  Is it the Creator, the Angels, Demons, Jim, who? I still don’t know. BUT it does get better.
I absolutely loved Vin & Gretchen’s (Marie-Terese) love story in this book. You don’t really connect with Marie-Terese as much as you do Vin and she seemed a bit weak but he more then makes up for the romantic lead. They both had troubled pasts and so many struggles to overcome to be together but Ward made smooth transitions for both of them. Some parts with Marie-Terese did get a little slow and boring and probably could have been left out and I wish Ward got into a bit more of the story of Vin and Marie-Terese together but you get most of what you needed from the story to relate. It kind of reminded me of BDB Lover Avenged with Rhev, who is one of my fave BDB characters.
Jim’s foe, the demon Devina is a well thought out villain and I actually liked her. Not rooting for her of course but she’s pretty kick-ass. Much better then the Lessers in BDB or many other foes I’ve read about.
I love Jim’s dedication to Dog too, it’s great to see this big hard guy have such a soft spot for a little fur ball.
The kind of Heavenly councils that went on with Jim and ‘The Lads’ got bit over my head and I felt didn’t really explain enough of the understandable, if that makes sense. But the rest of the side characters are interesting and you want to know more about them but don’t take up more air time then needed.
All in all I’d give this 3 ½. It would have got four but like I said, a lot of the archangel stuff went over my head and I got bored with. But I am looking forward to the next installment in this series and expect it will get better with each one.


Rating: 3 Wine Glasses

Plus a Snack Tray
It's getting a lil' hot in here!






Read an excerpt HERE

Crave
Book 2 of The Fallen Angels
J. R. Ward
Summary: Seven deadly sins. Seven souls that must be saved. One more no-holds- barred battle between a fallen angel with a hardened heart and a demon with everything to lose. 

Isaac Rothe is a black ops soldier with a dark past and a grim future. The target of an assassin, he finds himself behind bars, his fate in the hands of his gorgeous public defender Grier Childe. His hot attraction to her can only lead to trouble-and that's before Jim Heron tells him his soul is in danger. Caught up in a wicked game with the demon who shadows Jim, Isaac must decide whether the soldier in him can believe that true love is the ultimate weapon against evil.

My thoughts:
Jim is on to his second soul that needs to be pointed in the right direction. But Hell is up to bat and he is hoping to God that Devina won’t get to him first since he still isn’t getting much help from sidelines. Jim feels he has more invested in this inning though because a lot of the players are from his human past as a XOp’s assassin. BUT he is growing into his powers, finding his wings so to speak, and getting a handle on the whole Angel thing so things should start getting easier right? Right?

Isaac Rothe is on the run from his past life of being a XOp’s assassin. He starts off as being a hard-ass but you come to find out that he is a southern gentleman that couldn’t handle adding anymore to his conscience with the way Matthias had been running things with the XOp’s. He had to get out, even if that meant a short life, because no one get’s out of the business unless it’s in a body bag. Trying to earn some extra cash as an illegal cage fighter (bringing the popular MMA sport into it here) he gets arrested while in the cage. Issac knows that he needs to get the heck out of dodge because being in jail under his real name he is a sitting duck for Matthias and his second in command to find and eliminate.
  
In walks gorgeous, blonde haired, blue-eyed Attorney Grier Childe as his public defender. Grier goes out on a limb for Isaac and manages to get his bail posted but she can tell that he is going to be a flight risk and she is determined to do everything she can to prevent that so she can help get him on the straight and narrow. Grier has a bright and beautiful soul and is on a mission to save those who are headed down the wrong path in life and the wrong side of the law. This could be because of her inability to save her brother and partly blaming herself for his death. Her brother does show up as a ghost on Crave which really isn’t needed but adds an extra element to the story.


Angels, demons, lost souls and ghosts, oh my! Sorry, couldn’t resist. *grin*

I enjoyed this book more then the first one and would give it a 4. I finished it in less then two days because I just couldn’t put it down. Ward def. found her groove in this second book and I am itching for the next installments in the series to see what happens next.
Though I loved Vin’s story I think Ward did a better job in Crave splitting the time between Jim & Isaac and other secondary characters in this book. The plot is intense, action filled and the story flows quickly & smoothly with several more POV’s but nothing that makes it confusing.
Isaac and Grier are stronger characters then Vin and Marie-Terese were as well. Isaac is a sexy & flawed yummy bad boy hero who has the potential to either kill you or throw you up against the wall in the heat of passion. Grier is a rich girl that was brought up with a silver spoon but is strong willed, brave and has a big heart. Isaac wants to pay back his debt to his attorney quickly and cleanly so he can get out of her life before XOp’s finds him, he doesn’t want Grier to get caught up in his world. Their attraction is intense from the get-go and wrought with danger which just adds more sparks and fuels the fire between them. But do two people from totally different worlds have a chance in hell, literally, to make it work?  They get off to a quick romantic start at the beginning and have a few hot and fast encounters but then that kind of dwindles down as the storyline becomes more involved. This really isn’t a bad thing because the story line is good and keeps you interested but if you are expecting lots of steamy scenes you might find this disappointing.
Ward delves more into the characters here. ‘The Lads’ had less air time but when they did intercede a bit more needed info was explained in an easy and understandable way, unlike what I found in the first book. Jim get’s tighter with his back-up’s Ad & Eddie which I look forward to seeing more of. The villain’s, demon Devina, character acquires some depth and you actually start getting attached to her emotionally. Who ever thought a demon would have such human issues like OCD. LoL Also, like I said before, Jim grows quiet a bit into his character and as the series Hero and you can tell that it’s only going to get better as the series moves along. I am really falling in love with Jim as the MC, the first book didn’t do him justice imo. Not seeing a HEA in the ending for him yet but I have a feeling about something. Don’t want to give any spoilers though. Crave is a bit darker then what Covet was and there is a very dark scene of physical and emotional torture but it only makes the story and characters better.
The outcome was not predictable and there is a major “oh, shit” twist near the end that made my heart stop along with the characters. And one thing I must mention that I loved from the start was this quote as a metaphor for life, “Nobody got a guided tour to their own theme park. You had to hop on the rides as they presented themselves, never knowing if you would like the one you were in line for…or the bastard was going to make you throw up your corn dog and your cotton candy all over the place.” How true is that? And it’s classic Ward phrasing. A very good read and if you weren’t that into the first book, Covet, you’ll be glad you continued the series when you finish Crave.

BONUS: A little sneak peek of Lover Unleashed at the end too, yay!


Rating: 4 Wine Glasses



It's getting hot in here!



 *For some reason I had a heck of a time trying to write this so I apologize if I jumped around a bit. Hopefully you got the jist of it though. =)


Contest and giveaways:


  • Don’t forget we have two giveaways going on right now.THIS one ends Thursday so head on over there now! And the second one ends on the 28th, you can go HERE for it. A new giveaway will be up Friday so check back for that! 
  • Avon is having a giveaway everyday until Halloween HERE. Joss Ware's newest Envy book up for grabs today! 
  • 15 Days to Embrace the Darkside: Day 11 Elisabeth Naughton HERE
  • Halloween at the Haven still going on HERE, giveaways daily!
  • Win an e-reader/gift card/more in special Spread the Word contest for author Michael Spradlin HERE at Jeaniene Frost's website.
Have a wonderful hump day everyone!

2 comments:

Straylights said...

I just bought Crave....Do I have to read this series in order?? I couldn't find the first book from the store when I went :(

Crystal ♥ said...

I would recommend reading them in order. If you start at Crave you will miss a lot of the back story on characters and the why's of the series. If you live in Central Florida you can come borrow my copy. LoL