book review: the foxhole court by nora sakavic

Book Review: The Foxhole Court By Nora Sakavic

Synopsis for “The Foxhole Court” by Nora Sakavic:

“Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher. Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed. But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for.”

Book Review:

I wasn’t really expecting that I would enjoy a book about sports. Any kind of sport. But here we are. The story is full of disasters for every character.
Neil comes in the story knowing he’s going to lie through his teeth to everyone, to his teammates and his couch. His stay with the Palmetto Exy team has an expiration date, but he just couldn’t help himself. He wants to do this one thing for himself, to do something he loves even for a short period of time, even if that brings him face to face with his past.
He’s fast.
He thinks he can outrun it.

The series is in general a well-balanced lgbt series, with both male and female characters that are just as developed. Is there romance in this series? Yes. There are hints of it, of the possibility of it in the first book, but it’s not an insta-romance, it’s a slow one. It builds over the course of the books and that’s for the best.

“It’s not the world that’s cruel. It’s the people in it.”
― Nora Sakavic, The Foxhole Court

Neil is an interesting character. He tries to keep to the persona he has create, but it’s hard for him to keep it up, especially when his past comes knocking on his door and his temper gets the better of him. He wants to believe he’s not the kind of kid who picks fights. In reality, he picks all the fights. Even the ones he can’t win.

His team are Dan wilds, the team Captain – a stripper turned athlete who has fought all her life to be where she is now, Matt Boyd – Neil’s roommate and a Backliner on the team and a former addict, Seth Gordon – a striker like Neil, who has nothing but bad attitude and family problems, as well as some pill abuse that he is supposedly over, Nicky Hemmick – another Backliner, a gay guy who was kicked out by his religious parents, Renee Walker – a Goalkeeper who says she’s a born-again Christian, Aaron – the last Backliner of the team who has endured abuse and addiction, Allioson – a Defensive Dealer, a rich girl who was disowned by her family when she chose to play sports and follow her dream, Kevin – a celebrity striker that has recently changed teams to join the Foxes after an ‘accident’, and lastly, Andrew – the prodigy Goalkeeper who is as high as a kite and has been through too much to mention here and not spoil the following books.

“As he slipped the lock into place again he realized his hand was trembling. He held up his shaky fingers where he could see them better and wondered at the equally weak flutter in his chest.”
― Nora Sakavic, The Foxhole Court

It’s obvious, that the Foxes are a mess, and that plays a very important role in the story, how this kids play off each other, how they have learned to cope with their disasters. Ultimately though it’s Neil’s story, and how he finds a new family and he learns to trust and he stops hiding behind his lies and whatnot.

Andrew is a… peculiar character. He’s a character of extremes with a very weird logic to how he does things, to how he decides what he’ll do, his reasoning for things. If you don’t like Andrew, you are not going to like this books, to be honest, because of how integral he is to the story. But he’s such a peculiar character that not everyone is going to be on board with him and what he does. He’s even somewhat of an opposing force in the first book.

Neil is not the same person that he was in the beginning of the book. He’s not trying to run away anymore, he’s decide to stay and figure things out, even when he finds out that things are far worse than he realised and that he’s past is not just going to let him go. He doesn’t only have the Butcher to worry about, he’s got to worry about Kevin and the problems he brings to them. And with Kevin, comes his guard-dog, Andrew.

Is it worth reading? Yes. It’s a character driven story, with interesting and compelling characters, the world and setting is nicely written, Exy makes sense as a sport.
Is it a perfect story? No. A lot happens in Neil’s head, he’s a kind of person who always observes the others around him, so a lot of the information get filtered through him and his point of view. The bad thing is that all this observing he does, slows down the story down sometimes.

Hope was a dangerous, disquieting thing, but he thought perhaps he liked it.”
― Nora Sakavic, The Foxhole Court

Overall, give it a shot. It’s a book worth reading and it gave me a strange urge to write a sports story…

The Foxhole Court | The Raven King | The King’s Men

Book Review: Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward

The third book in the “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series follows the story of Bella and Zsadist.
We’ve seen Zsadist in the two previous books, and Bella in “Lover Eternal”, but they had minor roles in the story. In this story, we get to see more of Zsadist’s trauma and the kind of life he’s gone through that resulted in how he is at the beginning of the story.
This book is easy one of my favourite in the series. The pair has to learn and grow and change through progress of the story, both of them have to overcome abuse in many levels, and face the prejudice that society throws their way. For Bella, that is her status as a female from a good family that has slept around, and for Zsadist is his scarred visage that marks him as a monster in the eyes of many people.
It is a story that contains strong language, sexual abuse and its aftermath. That makes it for a very emotional ride for the reader.

Zsadist is one of those ‘tortured hero’ kind of characters. His own twin calls him ruined and warns Bella to stay away from him.
And rightfully so.
Zsadist has been through so much since the day he was born, is so broken that it takes the whole length of the story for him to get himself back together piece by piece. Trauma doesn’t just go away overnight, and that’s highlighted in the book. The whole topic of Zsadist’s backstory, his growth, and his eventual redemption and salvation are earned and fought for, even when Zsadist himself is resisting it every step of the way.
A shell of the male he could be, Zsadist has every right to be afraid of contact, both physical and emotional, but by the end of the story, he has grown into a protective and caring male, especially when it comes to his shellan.
Also, Zsadist has a loyalty in him that most people don’t expect, or even believe. He’s loyal to Wrath as his king, to his Brothers, his twin, his shellan.

Bella is a perfect counterpart for Zsadist. A strong, intelligent woman, who isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind and shake him up whenever he needs to be so.
She is also a survivor herself, and she has to overcome her own trauma.
She possesses great courage and she’s a very good example of a female character who isn’t a warrior and yet she can be strong and protective of her male.
And yet, she’s a rounded character. Through the story, she gets frustrated and angry, and she knows to walk away when she needs to walk away for her own sake.

It’s hard to talk about Zsadist without bring up his twin, Phury. Zsadist’s twin has spent the majority of his life either looking for, protecting, or taking care of Zsadist. He carries a lot of guilt over what happened to Zsadist, what he had to go through, always thinking that things would have been better if he had been the one to endure these things.
His guilt shows in the story, as he goes out of his way to do everything his twin needs him to do, even if those are things that break him inside. He’s even willing to sacrifice himself, if that will give Zsadist a well-deserved shot at happiness.

We see more of the reappearing characters, in bigger or smaller roles, and I’m a fan of that, as I get the feeling that I learn more and more about the world and its people.
This is, for me, one of the best – if not the best – books in the series, and Zsadist remains one of my favourite characters even in later books, with other things that happen to his character (no spoilers).

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

Dark Lover | Lover Eternal | Lover Awakened |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Dark Lover by J. R. Ward

“Dark Lover” is the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J. R. Ward. When I first read this book, I looked high and low to get it, and I still had to wait some time before it was finally shipped to me.
*makes grabby hands*

The book starts off with a very interest premise: The black dagger brotherhood is a band of vampire warriors and they are the only thing that stands between their race and the Lessening Society.
Wrath, is the only pure vampire left, an unwilling King to his race, as he refuses to assume the role.

The book kicks off with a murder, and a death wish. It all boils down to Wrath’s loyalty to one of his closest friends.
As the story goes on, as Wrath and Beth interact more and more, Wrath changes from a cold, unbending warrior, to a King. It is a fascinating change to see.

“Your language is beautiful,” she said.
“There are no words worthy of you.”

Beth is a half human/half vampire, who has lived in the human world all her life, unaware of what goings bump in the night. Until she bumps on Wrath that is. She was a strong, well-rounded female character, curious and headstrong. I love her. Sometimes, in books like this, the male or the female character will be lacking, but not this time. Wrath and Beth are a very good match for each other.

We are also introduced to many more characters, but we only get little hints of them, as they show up as the main couples in later books. And those little hints are enough to spark interest and curiosity.
The world J. R. Ward has created is alive, breathing, and slapping his chest like some King Kong and I want to get more of it.

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

Dark Lover | Lover Eternal | Lover Awakened |

Book Review: Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward

The second book in the “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series follows the story of Mary and Rhage.
We still get a glimpse of Beth and Wrath as the story goes on and we are also introduced to some new characters, or see more from characters we’ve already met.
The author doesn’t need to set up so much of the world anymore, which gives her plenty of time to focus on the relationship between Rhage and Mary, a relationship that seems doomed from the start for too many issues. Both protagonists are saddled with their own personal problems and issues, that are enough to tear any normal couple to pieces.
But not them. They have their ups and downs, but they power through it.

Rhage is a character that is described as drop-dead-gorgeious, and he carries a beast inside that bursts out whenever he hits a low point, whether that is due to anger, or pain.
He is also though, a funny character. With no filter between his mouth and his brain, Rhage gives the reader some of the best lines in the book. He is also romantic and lovable, and he wants nothing more than to ditch all the casual sex he has to do to keep the beast at bay, for a meaningful relationship.

Mary on the other hand is a character who has had nothing but hardships in her life, and those hardships have left her on the floor, a mess.
She has no self-esteem, she sees nothing good in her, and she can’t even comprehend how a man like Rhage can have any short of interest in her.
She is though, a deeply compassionate character, a strong, independent character that reaches out to help the other people around her, whether that is John Mathew, Zsadist, or Rhage himself.
She has an incredible inner strength and she is a very relatable character. Even when she does the sometimes typical heroine thing, where she pushes the hero away, she has a valid reason for it, and a reason I can relate with and understand.
Nobody wants to be a burden or pitied after all.

It’s a very good story, albeit a sad story. Some points get heavy and depressing, but I can’t see how the story could be any different, with how many issues the protagonists have.
It’s a worthy continuation of the BDB series, a book that makes you want to read more, and get to know the characters and the world better.

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

Dark Lover | Lover Eternal | Lover Awakened |

Book Review: Slave to Sensation

Nalini Singh has written a wonderful book. “Slave to Sensation” has everything you’d expect and want in a paranormal romance book. The Alpha male, the interesting female protagonist, the angst. Emotions run high in the story, especially between the two protagonists, Sascha Duncan and Lucas Hunter.

Sascha is a Psy – a creature of immense telepathic abilities – and her people have long ago decided that they will have no emotions, because they get in the way. Driven only by logic and cold calculations, the Psy have made themselves the rules of the world.
But Sascha isn’t like that. Sascha feels and even though she can conceal her ‘defect’, she knows it won’t be long before they find out and she’s rehabilitated. Everything she is will be gone just like that.

Sascha is an interesting character, complex, relatable, and throughout the story, the reader sees her grow, mature and overcome all her handicaps and perceived flaws. She is smart and sassy, which I always like.

Then there is Lucas Hunter, a leopard changeling. His race is complete opposite from the Psy, they embrace emotions and sensations. But now their two races – who have managed to co-exist somewhat peacefully – are on the verge of war over the brutal murders of several changeling women at the hand of a Psy serial killer.
I won’t lie, his name is a bit on the nose. A predator named Hunter? Nalini Singh could have gone for a more subtle name. Overall, Lucas is an enjoyable character, though he doesn’t break the mold of the Alpha male in paranormal stories. He’s not anything I haven’t read before, and for the majority of the story, it felt like he was taking a second seat to Sascha. The descriptions in the book, make him a bit of a cookie-cutter paranormal character: he’s sex on legs, he’s the hottest thing she has ever seen, he’s protective and possessive, and with a dark, bloody past.
Not much mold-breaking there.
Still, he works as a character, for the story he is in, and he and Sascha get some very heart-breaking moments between them, as they fall in love and the world pulls them apart.
I’ll admit, it brought a tear to this fool’s eye, and I’m not one who cries easily.

The world that Nalini created is lively, intricate, and immersive. It breathes and pulses, it feels organic. There is the inevitable info dump here and there, given the nature of the book, but that doesn’t affect the story, the pacing, or the entertainment factor. If you are into the genre, you should definitely pick it up and give it a try!

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

 

A hunger like no other

Book Review: A hunger like no other by Kresley Cole

“A hunger like no other” is the first book in the “Immortals after dark” series. An adult, paranormal series of books about everything that can go bump in the night and kill you. And immortal love.

What’s not to like?

Kresley Cole creates a very interesting, fast-paced world, with many fantasy creatures. Vampires and werewolves, but even demons, angels, witches and Valkyries come out at night in New Orleans.

“A hunger like no other” is very much like your typical story of ‘beauty and the beast’ to me. He’s tortured and with anger problems, she is cowardly and meek. But through the course of the story, they change and they evolve.

Emmaline Troy is a half Valkyrie/half vampire who has been sheltered all her life, not only from the outside world, but from her own nature. By the end of the book, she’s the fighter she was meant to be, confident and freed. Emma even finds out the answers she was seeking at the beginning of the book, before she bumped into Lachlain MacRieve.

Meanwhile, Lachlain has been captured by the vampire Horde for years. He’s been sentenced to burn for centuries, just to have his immortality bring him back to life. He finds his soul-mate in Emmaline. The young vampire is able to calm down the rage inside of him and give him a more open-minded perspective.

Just because she’s half vampire, doesn’t mean she’s vile or evil.

But that’s what he thinks – understandably so with what he’s been through  – in the beginning and it takes him a while to come to terms with the reality and accept how things are. Emmaline is his fated mate. She’s half vampire. She’s not evil.

Though, not one of my favourite in the series, it is still an enjoyable read, that is not without its issues of course.

There are many dark undertones and many of them are in Emmaline’s and Lachlain’s relationship that starts off on the wrong foot. He’s controlling, wrathful and he lies to her whenever it suits him. Their relationship is seen as abusive and their interactions to the point of being sexual assault, as Lachlain kidnaps Emmaline and repeatedly ignores every time she tells him no.

It didn’t bother me a lot, but it took out of the story and it is something he regrets afterwards and he tries to make it up to her. Still, it doesn’t much change his actions.

What did you think about this book? Have you read it? 🙂 I’m continuing with the rest of the series, as I want to catch up to the new books that I haven’t read.

If you want to find the book, and support me, you can find it in Book Depository.

~ Harris

A hunger like no other | No rest for the wicked | Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night |