Review: The Princess and the Pea by K.M. Shea

Posted October 27, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Princess and the Pea by K.M. SheaReviewer: Holly
The Princess and the Pea by K.M. Shea
Series: Timeless Fairy Tales #0.5
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 1, 2018
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

What if the true makings of a princess have nothing to do with where she’s from and everything to do with who she is?

She may hate her nickname of “Warrior Princess” but Lis stakes her reputation on her ability to protect her client’s treasures no matter what she faces.

But this job is different.

When the royal family of Torrens hires her to guard the fabled Pea of Primeorder jewel it starts out like any other job. The king is kind of eccentric (and possibly delusional) and Prince Channing is strangely pleasant towards her, but otherwise everything is normal.

Until she learns about the thief.

The legendary thief Apex has sent a letter declaring his intention to steal the Pea of Primeorder. Lis knows this is either the vainest thief in the world or there is more going on then she’s been told. But a job is a job. Lis will pass this test at all costs even if she has to stuff the jewel in her mattress while she sleeps.

But eccentricities of the Torrens royal family only intensifies as Prince Channing starts asking Lis strange questions. Like...would Lis stay in Torrens after her contract is over, and if they could learn to fight together. (What kind of royal asks that?)

A Prince, a Warrior, and a Pea. The Kingdom of Torrens will never be the same.

This novella is a prequel for the Timeless Fairy Tale series. It is not necessary to read the books in the Timeless Fairy Tales series prior to reading this story. However, if you have read that series watch for the name drops and hidden Easter eggs!

I found the Timeless Fairy Tales series while browsing Goodreads and decided to give this novella a try. I loved the premise of a kickass warrior princess, and I’m happy to report she was everything I was hoping for.

Lis has made a name for herself as a mercenary. Although she’s of common origins, she’s been labeled the “Warrior Princess” because she’s such an excellent fighter. When she and her protégée, Vorah, are hired to protect the Pea of Primeorder jewel, Lis figures it will be a job just like any other. But when she arrives at the Kingdom of Torrens, nothing is quite as it seems. She’s determined to protect the Pea at all costs.

I really liked that Lis was a true warrior, and her friendship with Vorah. The two of them were fabulous and totally made this story worth reading. The romance was kind of unnecessary. I didn’t really feel like Lis was truly in love at the end. I’m honestly not even sure why it was included. The friendship between Vorah and Lis, and how kickass they were, made the story.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Timeless Fairy Tales

three-half-stars


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Review: Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Posted October 25, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Forbidden by Beverly JenkinsReviewer: Holly
Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
Series: Old West #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 389
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns with the first book in a breathtaking new series set in the Old West

Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.

Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .

My book club chose Forbidden for this month. I am not a fan of historical Westerns in general. I did really enjoy this one, however. As a friend pointed out, this felt more like a small-town contemporary romance set in the old West, rather than a true Western. While that may not appeal to some, it definitely appealed to me.

I really loved Eddy. She was such a smart, capable woman who stood by her convictions and worked hard for a better future, I easily connected with her. She stood up for herself and wasn’t willing to compromise her ethics or morals, which was lovely. She also had a great sense of humor.

I didn’t care for Rhine as much. I’m not exactly sure why Eddy was fixated on him. She didn’t seem the type to be swayed by the physical only, yet I didn’t see much of a connection between them outside of good ol’ sexual chemistry. He did do a lot of good for the community, but he was such an ass that I really had a hard time liking him.

Forbidden is a well-written, easy-to-read novel. I loved the town, the secondary characters, and Eddy. I even liked the romance. I just wished she’d ended up with someone else.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Old West

four-stars


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Joint Review: Archangel’s Light by Nalini Singh

Posted October 25, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Archangel’s Light by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee & Holly
Archangel's Light by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: Guild Hunter #14
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War, Archangel's War , Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Sun
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Length: 11 hours and 23 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Nalini Singh returns to the world of the Guild Hunters for the most highly anticipated novel of the beloved series—a love story so epic it’s been half a millennia in the making…
Illium and Aodhan. Aodhan and Illium. For centuries they’ve been inseparable: the best of friends, closer than brothers, companions of the heart. But that was before—before darkness befell Aodhan and shattered him, body, mind, and soul. Now, at long last, Aodhan is healing, but his new-found strength and independence may come at a devastating cost—his relationship with Illium.
As they serve side by side in China, a territory yet marked by the evil of its former archangel, the secret it holds nightmarish beyond imagining, things come to an explosive decision point. Illium and Aodhan must either walk away from the relationship that has defined them—or step forward into a future that promises a bond infinitely precious in the life of an immortal…but that demands a terrifying vulnerability from two badly bruised hearts.

We finally get Bluebell & Sparkle’s story! Well, part of it anyway.

Casee: First thing is first. Is this title appropriate since Ilium isn’t an archangel yet?

Holly: I think it’s a play on Aodhan and Illium being Raphael’s light, and a glimpse of what’s to come when Illium ascends.

Casee: One thing that is so special about this book is the glimpses into Aodhan and Illium’s past with Raphael. It’s hard to reconcile the Raphael in the Yesterday chapters to the Raphael in Angels’ Blood. It definitely makes me want to go back and read Angels’ Blood. Actually, I want to reread the whole series. I always feel that way after a book comes out in this series. We also got a bit of Raphael and Elena, whom I always adore reading about.

Holly: I loved the Yesterday chapters, too. It was great seeing glimpses of Aodhan and Illium growing up together. My heart hurt for them at their various trials and tribulations. I always wondered exactly what happened to Aodhan. It was so hard reading about it, but I’m so glad we found out what happened. You’re right, they are each other’s person, and that came out in so many ways.

Casee: I did feel so bad for Illium. When Aodhan realized that everyone but Raphael had abandoned Illium in some way, I think my eyes might have teared up a little. I loved how Caliane’s words made Aodhan think beyond his pain & think about Illium. The closeness of their friendship and changing relationship is what I loved most about this book. I liked the sexy parts. The admitabbly short sexy parts.

I also laughed like no one’s business when I read this:

“Literally throwing up his hands, Illium said, “Fine. I’m going over there”. He pointed to the far side of the site. “Nowhere near your sparklehole vicinity”

Hahaha.

Holly: Yes, I really loved seeing Aodhan and Illium with Raphael. I think my favorite interactions were the ones with Nassir, though. I just loved how he was with them. And when he found Aodhan? Oh, my heart broke.

Casee: What about the sexy times between Aodhan & Illium? Were you satisfied? Did you expect more?

Holly: I was super angry when I finished the book, because it felt like we got nothing in the romance department from then. But then I saw that their story will be continued in another book and I was okay with it.

Casee: Samesies. I felt so disappointed at the end of the book. It felt like Nalini kind of copped out on the romance, but now we know that is not true. I’m so excited to see these two in future books.

I had no idea that Illium and his father (Aegoan?) were so close when he was young. I just can’t imagine how devastating it would be to lose a parent like that. And what he did to Sharine? Unforgivable. Bastard. I’m giving this book a 4 out of 5. What about you?

Holly: I was really glad to learn more about both Illium’s and Sharine’s relationships with his father. It was interesting to learn more of their backstory, and it explained so much.

I’m going to give this a 4 out of 5. I would have given it 3.5 if not for the promise of more in the future. I love Bluebell and Sparkle and I can’t wait for more from them.

Ratings

Casee: 4 out of 5.
Holly: 4 out of 5.

Guild Hunter Series

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Archangel’s Light by Nalini Singh

Posted October 24, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 3 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Archangel’s Light by Nalini SinghArchangel's Light by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #14
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War, Archangel's War , Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Sun, Archangel's Light
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 397
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Nalini Singh returns to the world of the Guild Hunters for the most highly anticipated novel of the beloved series—a love story so epic it’s been half a millennia in the making…

Illium and Aodhan. Aodhan and Illium. For centuries they’ve been inseparable: the best of friends, closer than brothers, companions of the heart. But that was before—before darkness befell Aodhan and shattered him, body, mind, and soul. Now, at long last, Aodhan is healing, but his new-found strength and independence may come at a devastating cost—his relationship with Illium.

As they serve side by side in China, a territory yet marked by the evil of its former archangel, the secret it holds nightmarish beyond imagining, things come to an explosive decision point. Illium and Aodhan must either walk away from the relationship that has defined them—or step forward into a future that promises a bond infinitely precious in the life of an immortal…but that demands a terrifying vulnerability from two badly bruised hearts.

Excerpt

Excerpt from Archangel’s Light by Nalini Singh

 

They walked in silence. It should’ve been comfortable, just two warriors heading down to speak to their archangel, but it was like prickles on his skin. Illium was never like this with him. So charming and lighthearted without giving away the smallest piece of himself.

Pretty and amiable and so false that Aodhan wanted to yell at him, have it out in a knock-down, drag-out fight to end all fights. And Aodhan didn’t yell or pick fights. Except it appeared, with everyone’s favorite Bluebell.

“Nice décor.” Illium pointed at a painting of a masked ball manic in its use of color, the brushstrokes going in countless serrated directions. “Good thing I didn’t see that before turning in. Imagine my dreams.”

“We haven’t had the time to worry about aesthetics,” Aodhan muttered, sounding like one of the stiff-assed old angels even to himself.

Illium didn’t roll his eyes and tease him about his abrupt descent into crotchety old age. He didn’t even scowl or make an annoyed face. He just carried on.

As if nothing Aodhan did or said mattered.

Aodhan’s hand fisted at his side, his lips parting before he clamped them shut. This wasn’t the time to confront Illium about his behavior.

Having reached the edge of the railingless mezzanine, he dropped down to the lower floor of the stronghold. As with most angelic residences, the central core of the place was open, giving him plenty of room to spread his wings to slow his descent.

He caught Illium coming down next to him—plenty far enough away that their wings didn’t as much as brush at the tips. Polite, so damn polite when Illium was never polite to Aodhan. He was affectionate, irritating at times, wicked always. Polite between them was a calculated rudeness.

Teeth gritted, he led Illium through a side door and into the untamed garden that flourished despite the biting cold that foretold bitter snows. According to Suyin’s scholars, this region wasn’t one for severe winters, but no one knew what Lijuan’s death fog had done to the land.

They wouldn’t know the whole of it for years, decades even.

Aodhan had advised Suyin to prepare her people for a hard winter when she first chose the stronghold as her interim base, and she’d immediately put a survival plan into action. No one would freeze or starve even if the entire landscape became a sea of endless white.

Illium whistled, the sound low and musical. “Now this is more like it.”

Having glanced at him in the split second before he breathed out that statement, Aodhan saw his first true glimpse of his friend. Illium’s eyes sparked with unconcealed wonder as he reached out toward a lush white flower so big and heavy that it drooped from its own weight.

Aodhan instinctively shot out his arm, blocking Illium from making contact with the flower—without ever touching the other man. Illium had made it clear that such contact was unwanted. “It has a narcotic-like liquid on its petals,” he explained. “Does actually affect angels if we forget we’ve touched it then rub our eyes or get it into our mouth. Visions, distortions of reality for an hour or so.”

Illium sighed, his expression morose. “Why did I think Her Evilness would have a normal garden?”

Aodhan’s lips wanted to twitch, the words were so Illium—though the moniker had come from Elena. “All of the plants in this garden are both lovely and peculiar.”

When Illium said nothing further, Aodhan took him down a path bordered by trees that had been swamped by sweetly fragrant vines with shiny leaves of dark green and tiny white blooms. At the feet of the trees grew mushrooms in an array of colors unnatural and striking.

“We don’t know the effects of all the plants, just the ones where an unfortunate member of the court has unintentionally made themselves a guinea pig.” The subject held no emotional weight for Aodhan, was an easy one to use to fill the painful silence between them. “There’s a pond deeper inside, the water a clear and cool green that’s now filmed by ice in the mornings.”

“Is it infested with flesh-eating fish?” Illium said sourly.

Aodhan did laugh then; it burst out of him without warning. He hadn’t laughed since he’d come to this land, the sadness of it overwhelming. But Illium . . . Illium had always known how to make him laugh, make him remember what it was to be happy.

 

From ARCHANGEL’S LIGHT published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Nalini Singh.

Guild Hunter Series

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: October 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


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