Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and it is a great reminder for us all to be thankful for everything that we have. Black Heart Reviews is lucky to have made so many great friends in this book community. Without you all, we wouldn’t be here.
We have all read some great books this year, but today we wanted to share with you the books that we are thankful for. Of course, it would be impossible to list every single book that has made an impact on our lives, so here’s a short list of some of our favorites.
“She read books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.”
― Annie Dillard
Ali is thankful for……
Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice – This book is one I’m thankful for due to a couple of reasons. One, it started my love affair with Anne Rice who has entertained me through her writing for so many years. She’s the first author that left a huge impression on me and showed me how books could be written. How they can consume you. Also, it’s the book that started my fascination with all thing paranormal. Vampires will always have a special place in my life and that’s because of this woman and this book.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling – I was very much an adult when this series stared, my daughter was about a year old. I wasn’t reading Young Adult at the time but my sister insisted I needed to read this. I think I actually started when the third book was being released. There are so many wonderful things that I absolutely LOVE about the entire Harry Potter series, but most of all I love that it renewed my interest in YA. As my daughter began reading, it was great to be able to read the same books as her and her friends and chat about them. I loved that and that led to me bloggging which eventually led me to the Black Heart girls!
The Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allen Poe – I don’t know that any author has ever resinated with me the way Poe has. Maybe one never will. This man was a master at words, weather it be about dark subjects that horrify or about all consuming love, he perfected words. If ever an author’s quote gets inked on my skin, it will be this man’s. I could read him all day every day and no matter how many times I’ve read the same words…they never fail to touch something in me.
Debbie is thankful for……
Hearts Aflame by Johanna Lindsey – This. THIS BOOK was the very first romance novel that I ever read, and the book that started my love affair with the genre. I was 13 years old when I first read it and I remember ripping the covers off the book because I didn’t want my parent to know what the hell I was reading. I was HOOKED to Kristen and Royce’s passionate romance, and not just the boddice-ripper parts, but the times where the emotions were high and the tension was so thick. Talk about a great first lesson on sexual tension! It’s been over 10 years since my last re-read and I think I need to mend that real soon.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell – I’m thankful for this book because it was the first book that I read all on my own (I was only in second grade when I read it), and it was the book that really got me into reading. I can still remember being totally engrossed in Karana’s story and amazed how brave she was and how I wanted to be strong willed and brave as she was. I even begged my Dad to take me to San Nicolas Island. Of course, he couldn’t, so I had to settle with going to Catalina Island instead.
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling – There was a period in my life, around senior year of high school grade to sophomore year of college, where I was not doing a lot of reading for pleasure. Most of the books I was reading at that time was for literature classes and I had to write all these freaking book reports or papers on them. Hated it. Prior to that, I always had my nose stuck in a book. But then some kids (ones that I was babysitting for the summer) introduced me to Harry Potter and I instantly fell in love. I started the series right before the fourth book in the series was released and I have been a fan ever since.
Tiffany is thankful for……
A Wrinke In Time by Madeleine L’Engle – This book has to be what really began my obsession with reading starting in the 6th grade. I remember reading the word “spectacle” and at the time I thought how amazing that word was, instead of simply saying glasses she made something as simple as glasses beautiful with that word. I remember falling in this world of events like a vortex and it was amazing! I could not love this book more and I THANK my 6th grade teacher for making this book part of our lessons.
Unsaid by Neil Abramson – I read this when I was super round and pregnant with my son and I took this book with me EVERYWHERE, while having lunch at Islands the lady at the next table had leaned over and told me she read it and absolutely loved it,I started crying because we briefly discussed it and that was my very FIRST experience discussing a book with someone and I then learned the power words have to connect perfect strangers. Unsaid is so beautifully tragic and completely unconventional from the norm and I still fawn over it, I will forever hold this book close to my heart.
Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyers – I know, I know maybe her writing isn’t spectacular but I will always be fully immersed in a ageless world of vampires and werevolves. I didn’t even touch this scene until the third movie came out and my only regret is that I didn’t start them sooner, I caught up with all the movies and read all the books in just a few short days. EDWARD CULLEN will always be my ULTIMATE, there are no others above him. This is the series that turned me into a fangirl and then years later I learned there were millions more like me. But Edward is my first real obsession, I know nothing without him. I will forever LOVE him in a way I could never love anyone else.
Leah is thankful for……
A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice – This was one of the first books I ever checked out on my own at the library, and the librarian almost wouldn’t let me (I was like 12.) It was the first book I ever read that had taboo subjects (sex, eating disorders, murder, secrets, lies… you name it.) It was eye opening to me, and I still have the library copy 15 years later. Shhh. Don’t tell.
The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Dominigue – Gah. Such a story. Its about empowering women in a time where women had no power. It’s also one of the most beautiful but broken love stories I’ve ever read, and the first book I ever highlighted passages because they spoke to me so deeply (with a real highlighter to boot!)
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – This book is the epitome of love stories to me, and Jamie was my first book boyfriend I ever felt irrationally possessive of. It’s my favorite love story, ever, and no book has ever touched the feels that this series has given me. And yes, I’ve read each book SIX times..talk about an epic obsession.
What books are you thankful for? Tell us about it in the comments.
Posted by Black Heart Reviews on Nov 24, 2015 in Reviews | Comments Off on Review: The Truth About Him by M. O’Keefe
The Truth About Him by M. O'keefe
Series: Everything I Left Unsaid #2
Published by Random House November 24, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also in this series: Everything I Left Unsaid
We played our roles, told each other lies.
But now Dylan is no longer just a mysterious deep voice on the other end of the line. We’re face-to-face and our relationship is very, very real.
We still have secrets—but so much is crystal clear:
The thrilling danger.
The raw, naked desire.
The need to keep feeling the way he makes me feel. Forever.
Dylan is putting up walls, trying to keep me safe, but he can’t shut me out. He has seen my darkness and rescued me. Now it’s my turn, if only he will let me.
Annie and Dylan are back, hotter than ever but with still a pretty big life mess to work through. A mess that gets a whole lot messier before they figure out how to clean it up.
O’Keefe gave us a dual POV that really allowed us to dig in deep to Dylan’s mind. He’s had an interesting life and how he reconciles and fights his past was something I enjoyed getting first hand. Dylan is a man who struggles with his position in life and in Annie’s life. He wants nothing more than to be by her side, care for her, love her…but he’s unsure of what love really is and if his love is even a good thing for Annie.
Annie, on the other hand, has to reconcile her choices. She needs to come to terms with what those choices have led to and who her heart wants. I loved the gumption she had when dealing with Dylan. She sees life and family in such a different light than him and wasn’t willing to let his apprehension get in the way of what she thought best. Something Dylan isn’t used to…people telling him what to do.
Oh, God, I tried not to smile. But I loved her like this. Unchained and furious. It was pure. A mess, but it was a pure mess.
As the two tread the waters of love, the dangers around them never cease and it’s one exciting ride!
For as opposite as these characters are, O’Keefe balances them together remarkably well. Especially in a world full of power, greed, betrayal and hurt. O’Keefe is a powerful author. One I will be on the lookout for in the future, especially if some of the side characters from this series get a little more attention!
Makeup Monday is a weekly feature on Black Heart Reviews where we combine two of our favorites things: books and makeup! Hope you enjoy, and feel free to join in by posting your makeup regiment or beauty products on Monday via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #MakeupMonday!
This week we are featuring one of Debbie’s most anticipated reads for December and the first book in the spin-off series of the wildly popular Black Dagger Brotherhood. If you’re a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood then you’ll understand the anticipation for this book.
Black Dagger Legacy #1
Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.
And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated–and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power…on the field, and off.
Book Links: Amazon US | Paperback | Amazon UK | iTunes
BLOOD KISS is the first book in this series and will be released on December 1. Here’s what J.R. Ward has to say about her new series (source):
…where the BDB training center is reopened to a new cast of recruits, and THE ORIGINAL BROTHERS teach these FNUGs wassup. In the process of the new recruits falling in love and getting into a sh*t ton of trouble, THE ORIGINAL BROTHERS could be shown with their shellans, their Brothers, their people in the mansion, in a more prominent way than I’m able to do in the BDB books.
Paperback, yo. Not hardcover. Traditional PNR, just like DARK LOVER was in the old days.
Sex. Lot of sex.
As in, you might need your BBQ tongs. Maybe a flame retardant suit.
Maybe a fire truck on standby out in your front yard.
So… we have the first of the Black Dagger Legacy books, BLOOD KISS, coming out this December.
Now, let me say this: the ORIGINAL BROTHERS are still going to show up in the BDB books. Hell, yeah! And from time to time, a BDB book is going to be about them and their mate if there’s a big thing going on in their lives (think THE KING.) I am NOT taking a step away from the Brothers at all- if anything, I’m bringing them further to the forefront with the Black Dagger Legacy books.
But I miss my boys 🙁 I want to show you where they’re at. I want to take you back to them- in their new roles as… well, role models and teachers.
Because a vampy lip is so synonymous with fall, we felt it was only proper to introduce you to Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Nosferatu and Vampira. These long wearing, full-coverage liquid lipsticks with a smooth, matte finish is perfect if you want to rock that vampy look this season.
Nosferatu is a beautiful blood-crimson color that screams “Blood Kiss” while Vampira is a deep reddish burgundy that will have you looking a vampirette.
The formula for these liquid lipsticks is quite fluid, so it may take a bit of practice if you aren’t experienced with such formulas, but once you have your technique down, these lipsticks are easy to use. We do suggest applying two coats of these liquid lipsticks for better coverage and color pay off.
With a simple, sparkly or smokey eye look, Nosferatu and Vampira are two vampy lip options you can totally rock this fall.
We are giving away a Kindle or Paperback of BLOOD KISS (Winner’s Choice).
Open Internationally. Ends 11/30.
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Posted by Black Heart Reviews on Nov 19, 2015 in Reviews | Comments Off on Review: Mine by HelenKay Dimon
Mine by HelenKay Dimon
Published by Berkley October 6th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Praised for her “hot and bold”(Kirkus Reviews) romances of erotic intrigue, the author of Only and Mercy now delivers her most daring novel yet…
She doesn’t depend on anyone for anything. He intends to make her his completely.
Natalie Udall thought her position at the CIA was secure—until protecting her team earned her an armed escort into certain danger. Natalie can’t stand the idea of being secreted away in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, especially since it means sharing close quarters with the controlling bodyguard enlisted to keep her alive.
Gabe MacIntosh joined the military to support his son, trained as a sniper and dealt with death on a regular basis. Now retired and operating a security firm, his first assignment is to protect a CIA agent on the run. She’s strong willed and difficult—and all Gabe can think about is exerting his domination and stripping her of every expectation she has.
Natalie has no intention of giving in to Gabe’s straightforward demands of dominant sex with no attachments—even though the very idea of giving up control thrills her like nothing ever has…
This will be quick a review… This is a first time author for me and unfortunately I don’t think I will be picking up another title from her any time soon.
I saw the cover and read the sypnosis and thought it was a perfect title to try out seeing as I was in the mood for some good EROTICA, I mean what else are you supposed to read in the fall.
There were a few things that factored as to why me and this book were just not seeing eye to eye the first reason being that I didn’t find it very erotic, yes some parts were very hot, but nothing that made me tremble with need. This book is narrated in the third person and generally I love that but I wasn’t able to gauge the characters essence of who they were, it was almost monotone.
Natalie and Gabe seemed to be at a constant battle between one another for authority and I wanted them to cave and give in a little more to the need that they were both seeking in one another. Natalie was a bit too head strong for my liking and Gabe had major potential seeing as he was an ex-sniper in the service but his character was a bit washed out with irritating surrounding issues. And really Gabe’s son may have been my favorite subject in this book, I’m sad I didn’t like this more because I really wanted too! So all in all I have to say this book wasn’t for me specifically but with time I’ll possibly try a title from her again, because I’m no quitter… (most of the time!)
Misconduct by Penelope Douglas
December 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Also by this author:
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Fall Away series who never fails to deliver a “powerfully written contemporary love story…”*
Former tennis player Easton Bradbury is trying to be the best teacher she can be, trying to reach her bored students and trying to forget her past. What brought her to this stage in her life isn’t important. She can’t let it be. But now one parent-teacher meeting may be her undoing…
Meeting Tyler Marek for the first time makes it easy for Easton to see why his son is having trouble in school. The man knows how to manage businesses and wealth, not a teenage boy. Or a young teacher, for that matter, though he tries to. And yet…there is something about him that draws Easton in—a hint of vulnerability, a flash of attraction, a spark that might burn.
Wanting him is taboo. Needing him is undeniable. And his long-awaited touch will weaken Easton’s resolve—and reveal what should stay hidden…
Today, we have the pleasure of dream casting the players in Misconduct by Penelope Douglas. I won’t say it was easy. It took hours upon hours of scouring google, pinterest, and tumblr to find the right people. It was such hard work, I mean who wants to look at sexy and gorgeous people all day? But, we suffered through it and here is what we came up with.
First off, the leading man. Tyler Marek.
Finding a good Tyler was the hardest. He’s got dark hair and stormy blue eyes. He’s a father, but had his son young so he’s only in his mid thirties, yet he’s a distinguished professional. So, he had to be hot but look great in a suit and fit the role of a politician.
A bit classically handsome / All American looking, yet still had to have something about him that screamed “I’m going to fuck your brains out”.
I came up with Justice Joslin. Can you see him as a business man/ politician, waiting for the hot teacher to finish up so he can screw her on her desk? I see it.
As for the hot teacher, Easton Bradbury…she was tricky too.
I was looking for someone that has a natural charisma about them. Not too sexy, more of an easy sex appeal but still with a bit of innocence to her look.
I picked Lily Collins. There is just something about her that makes me think she’s hiding a dirty girl under all that cuteness. Which, is kind of perfect for Easton.
Now, Jack Bradbury. Jack is Easton’s brother. I guess I didn’t really have to cast him but I don’t think you’ll be sorry I did. Mariano di Vaio is a nice guy to look at, after all.
Jack is an up and comer in NOLA, working his way up the law ladder and looking for every opportunity to break out. I pictured him as a guy who tries really hard to allways look put together, ever ready to run into someone important. But, not stuffy…still a little messy at the edges.
That leaves us with Christian Marek, Tyler’s son. I picked Joshua Anthony Brand. Partly because of his eyes, but mostly because he has teenage angsty shithead down to an art form.
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Posted by Black Heart Reviews on Nov 17, 2015 in Reviews | Comments Off on Review: Reap by Tillie Cole
Reap (Scarred Souls, #2) by Tillie Cole
Published by St. Martin's Griffin November 10th 2015
Genres: Dark, Dark Romance, Fiction
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author: Souls Unfractured
Raised as a prototype for the Georgian Bratva's obedience drug, 221 fails to think, act, or live for himself; he's his master's perfectly-crafted killing puppet. Standing at six-foot-six, weighing two-hundred-and-fifty pounds, and unrivaled in to-the-death combat, 221 successfully secures business for the Georgian Mafiya Boss of NYC, who rules the dark world of the criminal underground. Until his enemies capture him.
Talia Tolstaia dreams to break from the heavy clutches of Bratva life. She dreams of another life--away from the stifling leash of her Russian Bratva Boss father and from the brutality of her work at The Dungeon, her criminal family's underground death-match enterprise. But when she stumbles upon her family's captive who is more monster than man, she starts to see the man underneath. A powerful, beautiful, damaged man whose heart calls to hers. But sacrifices must be made--blood for blood...life for life...souls for scarred souls...
INSTANTLY after finishing this book all I wanted to do was start it again, but that’s the effect of Tillie Cole, her words make you needy and ache for more until you are left helplessly full in a world this woman has created with characters you know better than yourself.
REAP is the second in a 4 book series and being this is book 2, the series is already half way done and I am mourning the end before it has even come. We were first introduced into this Russian family in book 1 titled RAZE and I along with the rest of the world did not know there would be more after the conclusion of Luka and Kisa’s soul matching love, but there was…
This is a forbidden love story a little different from the norm, considering Talia belongs to a Russian Bratva family and her love interest as she learns is none other than the enemy she’s been taught to hate her whole life. Okay so maybe not so different, but the love these two begin to foster is completely soul-shattering and in their case life altering. But how deep does that hate run and can one forget the damage thats been done, and can the other get past what still lies ahead to be learned?
“He wasn’t mine to have. He couldn’t be. It was a stupid naive obsession.”
One of the things that I absolutely loved about this book is that there are 3 POV’s… Talia, Zaal, and Raze all narrated and usually I am opposed to “too many” POV’s for the simple fact that it’s annoying and can be distracting, but it felt actually crucial in this book. I needed to experience Luka’s chapters almost if not more than I needed the others, his struggle to become the man he was expected to be played heavily into Talia and Zaal’s storyline and created a balance.
With all of that covered… I loved both Talia and Zaal’s characters, Tillie has this gift of crafting amazing characters in a nutshell nurturing heroines and need to be tamed heroes. But I can never say this enough her characters never waiver in their essence of who they are and we see the growth when need be. The connection was not immediate in this book but it was gradual and once it happened it was like a hammer to my heart, the space these two shared was completely beautiful and all-consuming. But the reality of their situation was also very sad and draining. Talia was looking for an escape only to be brought further into a life she was looking to hide from if only for a short while and Zaal literally had no sense of life or even basic knowledge of where he came from all he knew was that he had a master and he was to be obeyed.
“My stomach knotted so hard I thought I’d never breathe again, the crack in my soul so great I thought it would never heal.”
Lastly I want to address all that is ZAAL Kostava, this man has stolen all of me! He is the epitome of broken even though it is almost hard to believe when you take into account his physical form but oh my, my heart kept falling for him and then the final drop just shattered it.
He knew nothing more than the fate he served as a slave to a Georgian leader and the killer he was bred in to. He was experimented on since being only a mere child stripping him of any memories or human life he ever had. Watching Talia care for him the way she did knowing his capabilities and the threat he could be only made me love her more. Ugh I need this man to be REAL!
I would say throughout reading I had an inkling of the next book and the direction things were heading, so even though it was a little predictable it was completely shocking when a turn of events arised. All in all I loved this book and the journey it took me on, ZAAL Kostava, “You are for me?”
Tryst by S.L. Jennings
Series: Sexual Education #2
Published by Avon November 10, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Source: Copy for Honest Review
Also by this author:
Amazon US | B&N
From the author of Taint, comes this steamy novel of a happily married couple who decides to take a walk on the wild side in order to add spice to their sex life—but end up in a situation that neither could have ever bargained for.
Heidi DuCane is a tough-as-nails publicist with a passion for success and her husband Tucker. While they’re polar opposites, what they do have in common is a fierce love and commitment to each other. But their relationship—in and out of the bedroom—will be put to the ultimate test.
Rock superstar Ransom Reed is every woman’s fantasy, including Heidi’s. When she meets Ransom, she shares a wild night with him where Heidi gets to play—and Tucker watches, and enjoys, the pleasure Ransom gives Heidi. Though Tucker was a willing participant, Heidi still can’t help reeling with guilt. There’s no doubt that she loves her husband. While Tucker is the perfect lover—generous, attentive and gentle—she needs much more. She needs the mind-blowing ecstasy Ransom offers.
Tucker isn’t blind to the fact that Heidi has unconventional needs which he can’t satisfy. He loves his wife and will do anything to please her The night he watched her and Ransom was so scorching hot that Tucker can’t stop thinking about it. He decides he wants to join Ransom in pleasing Heidi. But as Tucker and Heidi soon realize, it’s not just the sex that is enticing. Heidi felt something within her awaken, and she felt so deliciously sated and loved by both men. Tucker felt it too, and he finds it impossible not to want that feeling again.
Ransom and Tucker satisfy a need within Heidi. And now that she’s had them, she can never go back to the way things were before.
I had the same feelings about Tryst as I did about Taint. Which, boiled down, amount to this:
- Strong Cover
- Strong Concept
- Strong Start
- Lackluster Finish
But I digress.
Heidi is a powerful player in the fancier entertainment and celebrity circle. She’s a powerhouse public relations guru and when your career is floundering or just about to take off, she’s the girl you want on your side. She also happens to be married to a powerhouse in his own right. Tucker is a successful shrink. Together, they’ve built a comfortable life over a decade of marriage. Tucker provides for Heidi in all the ways a perfect husband should. He’s caring, trusting, loyal, tender.
Tucker came into Heidi’s life when she was in a vulnerable time. He’s always treated her a bit like a fragile teacup in the bedroom because of that time. But Heidi craves more. She wants a little kink, some dirtiness, some taboo.
When the opportunity to work with Heidi’s “Hall Pass” arrives, Tucker gives her that taboo…in the form of Ransom. A hot, talented, very sexual rocker that is all too willing to help Tucker and Heidi fulfill what their marriage lacks.
All of that worked for me. I’ve been married a long ass time, I get how it takes work to keep things new and lively and would never judge a couple bringing someone else into their relationship in the hopes of it adding to the relationship. I think that’s what Heidi and Tuck were trying for, though Heidi was pretty caught up in her attraction for Ransom.
Even the sex worked for me. There isn’t an awful lot of it, I even hesitate to mark this as erotica, but the sex that is there…pretty steamy.
What didn’t work for me is this. There was a huge lack of conversation for me. I needed Heidi and Tucker to discuss what was happening and that just didn’t happen. Well, until it was too late and things were well out of hand. Now, there is a reason for this, something that comes up fairly late in the book. But I still had major issue with it. Tuck talks shit out for a living but could never do that with his own wife?
Also, I didn’t love how it all ended. I needed so much more closure. It was too rushed for my liking.
So, I’m somewhere in the middle with Tryst. I really enjoyed Heidi’s internal struggle and I completely fell for Ransom’s dark tenderness. It’s such a great concept and not a topic often written about in mainstream contemporary, it was just missing some things for me.