Heart of Destiny introduced me to a very interesting and new world. A world that has been split into separate realms by a magical wall where they only meet in the middle at the Citadel. This was supposed to bring peace, but it seems to have only brought about petty squabbles instead, especially with a corrupt emperor ruling them all.
When children begin to disappear - everyone wants to blame their neighboring realm. And here is where I wish there had been more to the story than a novella can hold. Being introduced to so many characters - one from each realm - was a bit confusing, and I still wasn't sure who was who and where they came from by the end of the book. I'm hoping they separate themselves a little more in future books of the series, because I see a lot of good possibilities ahead.
The djinn and the dragons were a great spin on more traditional creatures, and the concept of them having a triad merger of beings with girls that were taken was a fun new element.
I have always loved Blay. His quiet strength and fierce way of loving has always set him apart in the best of ways for me. Qhuinn, on the other hand, is the exact opposite, and part of me really wanted Blay to end up with someone better. But in other ways, they are perfect for each other - in the opposites attract fashion.
In true J.R. Ward style, this is more than just another paranormal romance. The story of the Brotherhood and their enemies takes another dangerous turn, and while some of the antics were far beyond belief, the war between the vampires and the lessers is really heating up.
I wish (and I say this often) that Ward would include more of the previous females in each book. We very rarely get to see them as anything more than a background plot device after they have fallen in love and mated their Male. These are strong and fierce women (vampire and otherwise), and I want to see them become a more integral part of the stories.
Wolf Bride was a fun and exciting read. It took me back to the Tudor Era, which is one of my favorites, while Anne Boleyn still lived. She is very much a background character, but her death plays an important role in showing the character of our heroine, Eloise Tyrell.
When Anne Boleyn is accused of treason, all of her close friends and servants were under scrutiny for the same, and Eloise was no exception. Navigating the court and intrigue has never been more difficult or dangerous. This was by far my favorite aspect of the story.
The romance, while it was written to be the main stage, fell into second place for me. Eloise and Lord Wolf definitely had a bit of a spark between them, but they were both too stubborn and unwilling to listen to each other for me to truly root for. Lord wolf was very overbearing, and while Elizabeth Moss tried valiantly to make it come off as dominant, there were many times it just came off as him being a mean jerk.
This was also far more of an erotic read than most historicals tend to be - intentionally so. I think it could have been toned down with more time given to our characters growing, but for readers of the hotter contemporary that are looking to try a historical - this may be the one that draws you in.
I enjoyed this story for the non-romance aspects, and I did continue reading and enjoying it. Watch for my reviews of the rest of the Lust in the Tudor Court series soon.
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book*
Esmeralda and the Second-Hand Suitor was a cute story. At times a little unbelievable, but other times incredibly down to earth. It was also quite refreshing to see an older couple portrayed as....asn older couple. I know, crazy right? Esmeralda and Hank are both over 40 and living real life with real life problems. Divorce, paying bills, meeting people, family drama, and wondering if it's even worth looking anymore.
Esmeralda was a bit on the unbelievable side for me. A little too much of her character seemed to be determined by what would help the story work better. She's a virgin - which I know can still happen - but let's be honest. It isn't very likely anymore. She can only have her inheritance if she's married - because her father is a chauvanistic jerk - which I am more inclined to believe, but it still seems far-fetched. Especially to have all these things fall on one person's shoulders.
Hank is a divorced, fighting to keep enough from his recent ex so that he can retire in peace, and is really and truly going through what seems to be a mid-life crisis. Flying south to spend some time away from it all, he meets Esmerelda, and they are both faced with some serious adult-like problems (such a refreshing prospect).
This book dealt with real-life people facing real-life issues that would (mostly) affect any one of us that is no longer hovering in that 20-something age group. I really enjoyed seeing an older couple than I usually see in a romance with experiences and personalities that fit them well.