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Graphic Designer, painter, dreamer, fashion addict, unhealthy obsession with shoes and jewelry. Film lover and oh yes....books! :D
Lover at Last - J.R. Ward

Characters: 4 star
Story: 3 star

My Qhuinn:

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My Blaylock:
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Mmm mmm...

***This review contains spoilers***

I tried really hard not to go into this one with high expectations, but waiting a year for it’s release can make your imagination run wild. *sigh* Dammit. There were things I enjoyed and made me relish my reunion with the BDB gang and other things that were just meh and frustrating to the point I was tempted to hurl this out my window. This one was really hard for me to rate because while I adore Blay and Qhuinn I didn't really love the story they were given. In fact I was disappointed and heartbroken with what I got. That being said, Ward is really great at world building, her wacky ‘hood’ slang and banter between the brothers and other characters is always fun and never gets old. I felt right at home. There were some inconsistency issues and things I personally wasn’t happy with but of course I still found myself with a numb ass, hands permanently glued to the book and not being able to put it down until I finished. She gets big points on that.

Main couple-Qhuinn and Blaylock
I was hoping these two would clear the air in this and get a fresh start and give it a go, that clearly didn’t happen. There was more angst, tension, and misunderstandings between these two and a long struggle to get to revealing their feelings. But I’ll get to that later. What I did love? Qhuinn coming to terms with who he is and finding courage to go after what he wants in life and not be ashamed of it. There was some serious self-discovery for his character in here, some of which I didn’t even realize needed to be brought to light. The confrontation between him and Blay in regards to his sexuality knocked the wind out of my sails total 'whaaa?' moment for me. I had no idea how far in denial he still was about his sexuality and what a deep rooted issue it was for him up until now and all because of his fucked up family and how they raised him. Broke my heart. Everything in the last 2 chapters: Perfection. Everything I wanted, dying to see happen throughout the book happened there. The declarations and grand gestures, that epilogue? Adorable as fock. Ward should have had that all play out in degrees throughout the book, not block it in in the very last chapter.

Another thing that was very successfully handled was Blay coming out to his parents. The scene where he tells his mom over the phone had me tearing up. Such a powerful, raw, emotional scene. Ward did a brilliant job addressing this sensitive issue and it was very much needed. I had assumed before reading this that he had come out to his parents by now, I'm so glad Ward let us witness it and addressed it in here.

"I love you. You are my heart beating outside of my chest. I don't care who you are mated to, or whether they have blond hair or black hair, blue or green eyes, male or female parts-as long as you are happy, that's all I worry about. I want for you what you want for yourself. I love you Blaylock-I love you."

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True, unconditional real love right there. Awesome Mahmen <3 <br/>

As for the sex scenes, they were damn hot, steamy and very sexxxxxaaaay. For my very first m/m novel this was a beautiful introduction for me. :P (And yes people, lube was used so settle down there)
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But I wanted more of this:

As Blay looked over, the resonant sadness touched him so deeply, he couldn't stop his hand from reaching out and stroking that black hair- Abruptly, Qhuinn curled in against him, just collapsed, that body folding in half and all but pouring into Blay's lap.

Forcing his lids down, he brought Blay's knuckles to his mouth, brushing a kiss against them. Then he gave himself up to sleep, letting himself fall into unconsciousness, knowing that, at least for the next few hours, he was safe in the arms of his one and only.

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These two really needed more intimate peaceful moments like that^^. A much needed break from all the tension and angst and help solidify the reconnection. Their tender, playful moments were very fleeting.

What I didn’t like:
-The whole ‘you’re in love with someone else so I can never be with you/You don’t love me and never will’ routine was used once again as the central angst for these two. Just...why? How many times have we been through this miserable merry go round? And to make matters worse, having Qhuinn believe Blay was still with Saxton-through the entire damn book and Blay never corrects him on that.
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This is exactly what I feared and predicted would play out and it did which left me feeling...underwhelmed and very frustrated. Meh. It just became very predictable and tiring. It wasn’t the fact that Blay let him think that that bothered me (okay maybe a little), but that it was used as a central tension and driving force for keeping them apart. You can't use the same shtick and expect better results. Also Qhuinn letting Blay use him as a sexual outlet to get ‘back at Saxton’ was infuriating and so lame. Seriously? After how many books, close to 2 years these two have been longing for each other and this is the driving force for them to finally have sex for the first time??! No bueno.

-The multiple side stories clogged up the book and the main story arc for Qhuinn and Blay suffered greatly because of it. I didn't really feel this was their story. The constant jumps from multiple POVS (and emphasis on multiple) and shifts from story to story made it jarring and difficult to fully connect and focus on what’s going on in every story. Because of this, there was little to no momentum in Qhuay’s story, they were at a standstill through pretty much 80% of the book, the development and reconnect for these two needed major juicing up. I found myself struggling to see the reconnection between these two in the first half of the book, they would either not talk or have rushed hurried sex with one or both of them running off and clamming up afterwards.

- Ward’s habit of regulating the Brothers and their shellans as nothing but nameless, faceless B characters who are acknowledged as ‘someone in the crowd’. I've noticed her doing it in the last few books it really bugs me. The mansion is busting at the seams right now, a lot of characters to give attention to but the Brothers and their shellans are the core characters of this series, please Ward don’t forget that. It was lovely to see my girl Beth make an appearance in this (yay!) and I was happy to see Ward remembered that Ehlena can talk (one line to be exact) but where the hell are the other shellans? Mary? Autumn? Cormia? Is Phury keeping her hidden somewhere where he can have his naughty way with her?? >:D I kid, I kid. Sort of.

Anywho, as for the other stories....

Layla/Qhuinn baby drama
I ended up really admiring and coming to love Layla in this. Shocking I know. Pigs are flying! Hell has frozen over! I've made it no secrete how much I loathed the Chosen since her introduction. Her simpering coddling ways got under my skin but here we see her find her feet, find courage and strength. I loved it. She started to slowly grow on me in Reborn and here further cemented my admiration of her in here. She finds her voice and stands against others who threaten the ones she loves and that includes her child. It was great to see. She goes through a lot in this with the whole baby drama and not all of it with Qhuinn at her side which I liked even more. She doesn't let anyone baby her or make excuses for anything. She surprised me and impressed me. And I had no idea a female could growl that loud. I'm interested to see how her and Qhuinn handle being parents and how Blay will be involved in this little family.

Meh. Whatever. I wasn’t really impressed with Assail when he was introduced in the last book and it took me awhile to come around to even caring for him in here. I see a lot comparing him to Rhevenge. Not even close. It took no effort on my part to melt on the floor and want to wrap myself around him like that sable coat he wears. Unf. Assail....took effort. I found myself not giving one fig for him, his drug dealing ways and his cat and mouse game with ‘his burglar’ Sola. Sola Morte reminded me a lot of Ward’s heroines in her FA series whom I generally like. But I struggled to be blown away by her and Assail. The longer their story played out the more I felt resentment towards these two for pretty much hijacking Qhuay's story. I wanted to scream get off the fucking page you interlopers I don't give a shit for your boring cat and mouse chase! Seriously Ward? You wasted precious word count and page count on these two? Meanwhile Qhuay are left twisting in the wind. I don't think I'll ever get over that. Hmmph. Anyways, I didn’t buy Assail and Sola's chemistry until half way in when things started to heat up. I’m still not won over by them and could take them or leave them as a couple but we’ll see how it goes given how far their story has gone in this (more than Qhuay it seems, thanks so much Ward pfft).

Trez Trez Trez I had no idea what a man-slut you were. I wasn’t expecting his story to take the direction it did. I thought he would end up in a forced arranged marriage given the hints that have been thrown around in here. That would have been interesting and not a typical Ward set-up. I'm curious to see where things go between Trez and the Chosen Selena. I hope his Sexaholic Anonymous tendencies stop, it got a little too skeevy for me. Maybe it was the fact that it was implied that he's had multiple partners in one day. Keep Magic Shadow zipped up buddy.

The Band of Bastards
We got a little more of Bastards in this, these guys love them some orgies with a rich vampire whore who’s calling card throughout the story is ‘I’m ready’. LMAO. And they are still after my Wrathy. I DO NOT APPROVE. >:( Sic'em George.

They are still alive. They are still selling drugs to support their vampire hunting ways. They still smell like shit. They are still annoying as fuck. Can they please go away now Ward? -_-

My lovelies!!! :D <3 Great to see them in this and I'm loving the set up for Beth's needing and Wrath already freaking out and flipping his lid over his Beth going into her needing. Heh. Bring it on. <br/>

"Must you be their enemy," she thought aloud.

Yeah, must you?? :( *le sigh* These two killed me. Absolutely killed me. They were the highlight of this book for me. That scene near the end? EVERYTHING. I'm shipping these two so hard right now. My stomach was all a quiver and I seriously can't wait to see where the story takes these two. I have no idea what Ward plans to do in regards to the baby dilemma and sworn enemies, all I know is I'm on the train and I want their story!

"You are in my dreams," he murmured. "Every day, you haunt me. Your scent, your voice, your eyes...this mouth."

"I cannae believe you let me touch you." His voice grew hoarse. "I shall remember this for all my nights." Tears speared into her eyes. Dearest Virgin Scribe, for all her life, she had waited for a moment like this...

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"Be well, my beautiful Chosen," he said as he stared at her with the eyes of not just a lover, but a hellren.
And then he was gone without another word...

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*Dies* Excuse me while I peel myself off the floor

All in all, great addition to the BDB series. Looking forward to seeing where all these stories go. I hope to see more of Qhuinn and Blay in future books, their story is definitely not finished and has just begun. ;) Can't wait for my Wrath's book next! EEEEEEEEE! So flipping excited!