Review: A Warm Heart in Winter by J.R. Ward

Posted June 19, 2021 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 8 Comments

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Review: A Warm Heart in Winter by J.R. Ward
A Warm Heart in Winter

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #18.5
Genres: Holiday Romance, Paranormal Romance
Published by Gallery Books
Released on Decembeer 1, 2020
Pages: 495
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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The Delight

As Christmas approaches, Blay, Qhuinn, and the rest of their Black Dagger Brotherhood family living in the mansion experience events that will either draw them closer, make them stronger, or break some of them for good.  An unlikely pair separately step up to act as guardian angels and there is a bittersweet revelation along with a long sought for culmination to finish out this latest, engaging book set in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world.


A Warm Heart in Winter is #18.5 and delivers a supplemental story for the regular series characters mostly following Blay and Qhuinn with an after the happily ever after and a further storyline for Zsadist.  This book is versatile and can be skipped if one only wants to focus on the main BDB books, skipped to this one is merely two or three behind, but the best is to read it in order of the series particularly after The Chosen.

A Warm Heart in Winter opens with a sad, prologue that is a from Qhuinn’s past showing how his family couldn’t see past one minor physical flaw and except him even while Luchas, the favored first son, seems to have it all.  This scene holds significance later in the book.

Then, present day opens with a seemingly unrelated storyline involving a pair of human girls going joyriding in daddy’s BMW and landing it in a snowbank good and tight.  Qhuinn, while out on patrol, rescues the girls, trying to imagine his own young twin babies at this age and doing stupid stunts, and confronts some toughs with weapons who show up.
The dangerous exchange between Qhuinn and the toughs leads to it hitting home to Blay that the warriors of the Brotherhood are never guaranteed the next day of their lives and that nothing should be taken for granted or put off.  He and Qhuinn jumped right into the life of mates and a family with their co-parents, Layla and Xcor, and the twins, but they skipped the ceremony for a future day.  After some more bleak moments exacerbated by a wicked blizzard that might devastate all they worked for to be together, this pair of mates and the rest of the family at the mansion might need a good reason to celebrate.

Meanwhile, Zsadist has stepped in to assist the guys over a dark time that only he can understand and help with even as this triggers memories that bring his own issues to the forefront.  He thought he’d conquered his demons and was living happily with mate and daughter, but there they are threatening to intrude if he lets it.

A Warm Heart in Winter explores a dark and complex subject- suicide.  The effect on loved ones left after, religious and afterlife connotations, and, in this case, facing the past and all that led up to the moment.  But, as heart-wrenching and bleak as this was to read, it was not the only element in the book.  Warmth happens when family and friends step up, restoration and healing happen, and a mated pair discover another layer of strength and bonding.

The romance is Qhuinn and Blay’s and I was glad to have this episode because I was still irked with Qhuinn especially over a truly immature reaction and tantrum from back in The Chosen.  Qhuinn has gotten over his issues and I loved seeing him thinking as a mature adult- mate, father, and Brother.  Blay has always been stalwart and supportive so seeing Qhuinn had stepped up to be worthy of the mating with the guy made me no ends of happy.  For those who might think to grab this up because it features an LGBT couple, I would simply say that the series is inclusive and there are sex scenes, but this won’t have the feel of a typical m/m romance book.  Their relationship is sexy, fun, and deep, but the target audience is the existing fans of the series for the most part.

Lassiter’s role was strong in this one and it was never so obvious that his role of replacing The Scribe Virgin has never been so difficult when he has the task of helping where he can, but letting free will play out even if one person’s choice can devastate others.

There is a twist to Qhuinn’s family history that came as a nice surprise for him at a time he needed it.  And, the special poignant scenes at the end swung the emotion of the book so it ended on a high note.  It is a side story and is affected by the previous BDB series line, but doesn’t effect the series line for the future books -or, at least not too much.

All in all, I think I got lucky to be in the right mood to tackle such a story line and appreciate it because I really liked this one.  I can recommend it to series fans.

Challenges Met

Library Love #8

About J.R. Ward

J.R. Ward is the author of over thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood. There are more than 15 million copies of Ward’s novels in print worldwide and they have been published in 25 different countries around the world.

After graduating from law school, Ward began working in healthcare in Boston and spent many years as Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. She lives in the south with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Mary Kirkland
5 months ago

I love her books. I’m a huge fan but I’m a little behind in this series.

Sophia Rose
5 months ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Yeah, they are chunky books and hard to keep up especially with the offshoot books and novellas so I’m going slowly, too. 🙂

5 months ago

Great review. I’m slowing making my way through the series after taking years off from it. I’m starting The Chosen next.

Sophia Rose
5 months ago
Reply to  Jennifer

I think I binged the first ten or so all in one year and then slacked off to one or two a year. I don’t mind being behind and can anticipate them with excitement that way.

5 months ago

I read this one a few months ago and loved it too. 4.5 stars for me as well. Glad you loved it too!

Sophia Rose
5 months ago
Reply to  Lorna

So good, Lorna!

Lover of Romance
3 months ago

What a lovely review you have here. I have really been wanting to pick this one up here. I like these supplemental books that this author writes especially when it features some of our favorites of the series.

Sophia Rose
3 months ago

You said it! Thanks, Renee!