Author: Casee

Review: Guardian’s Grace by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted October 21, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Guardian’s Grace by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Guardian's Grace by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Dark Protectors #12
Also in this series: Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Fated (Dark Protectors, #1), Claimed (Dark Protectors, #2), Hunted (Dark Protectors, #3), Consumed (Dark Protectors, #4), Provoked (Dark Protectors, #5), Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Shadowed (Dark Protectors, #6), Vampire's Faith (Dark Protectors, #8), Demon's Mercy (Dark Protectors, #9), Alpha's Promise, Hero's Haven
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 346
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


Duty—or desire?

Vampire soldier Adare O’Cearbhaill’s default setting is cranky. Or irritated. Or down-right hostile. Still, as a Highlander of honor and duty he stepped up to save an enhanced and special human female by mating her—with merely a bite and a brand. The last person he wants in his life is a fragile human, yet he can’t get her out of his mind as she regains her strength before taking off for parts unknown. And when he discovers she is in danger, nothing can stop him from hunting her down—whether she likes it or not.

There’s only one way to find out . . .

Photographer Grace Cooper has had it with vampires, demons, and the rest of an immortal world she was happier not knowing about. She also doesn’t believe she’s destined for some great battle because of an old birthmark. Forget the fact that her mate is the sexiest thing on two stubborn feet, or that her brand is fading along with her health. She’ll handle things on her own—until an old enemy reappears and she learns the only way to stay alive is to actually mate, wild sex and all, with that ripped and dangerous Adare—a powerful, captivating Highlander who demands nothing less than everything . . .

Guardian’s Grace is book twelve in Zanetti’s Dark Protector series. Adare and Grace’s arc started a few books ago.

Adare knew it was his duty to mate with Grace. It was the only way to pull her out of the coma she was in. Grace doesn’t remember anything about the attack that put her in a coma. She knows her sister, she knows her childhood, but everything after that is a blur. Grace didn’t even know the Realm existed until she was mated to a vampire. Now she’s firmly in their world even if she doesn’t want to be. Grace is a Key, one of three women that can open the Lock. Too bad no one knows what exactly the Keys are or how they’re going to open the Lock.

Five years have passed since Adare and Grace mated. Grace took off to parts unknown. She wanted to live her own life away from the maddening Adare. When Grace starts looking for vampire blood to heal someone she knows, the Seven immediately take action. Imagine Adare’s surprise when he finds his mate trying to buy another vampire’s blood. He’s infuriated until he sees what bad shape Grace is in. Instead of thriving, Grace seems to be sick and she’s unable to heal herself.

Grace knows she’s dying. She’s unable to heal herself, something she was able to do in the past. Her mating mark is disappearing. She knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s back in a coma. Adare was the one that pulled her out and the only one that can stop it from happening again. Before she dies, Grace is determined to get answers about her attack. She returns to the scene of the crime in Denver and starts digging for answers. It was pretty stupid of her to go off on her own. The Kurjans are looking for her, as are the Cyst who are a religious offshoot of the Kurjans.

This was a sweet story, but it just didn’t pack the punch that I thought it would. Adare and Grace were extremely interesting in the previous books. In this book they were just meh. I did like how confident Adare was about saving Grace. Honestly, that was one of his best qualities. What they were told by the doctors didn’t concern him. He is one of the Seven and Grace is a Key. To save Grace, they’ll have to mate again. This time they need to go all the way for the win.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Dark Protectors

three-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Bane’s Choice by Alyssa Day

Posted October 18, 2020 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 4 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. 🙂

We have not one, but two giveaways for you today! Don’t forget to enter using the widgets below.

Sunday Spotlight: Bane’s Choice by Alyssa DayBane's Choice by Alyssa Day
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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When a centuries-old vampire in search of redemption meets a doctor who’s on a mission of her own, a searing, world-destroying passion is the last thing on either of their minds.
Minds can be changed.
A doctor with secrets of her own is drawn to a dangerous predator in this pulse-pounding paranormal romance from New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Day.
What better way to hide the existence of vampires from humans than in plain sight? Thus, the Vampire Motorcycle Club was born. Bane, the 300-year-old vampire who leads the club, has fought for years to protect his kind. But the truth about vampires is not only that they exist, it is that they are creatures of pure desire. Conscience and restraint has been burned out of them by the process of Turning. Any woman Bane meets is either prey—or food.
Dr. Ryan St. Cloud finds out that vampires exist when one steals her patient out of the hospital right beneath her nose, leading her to question her own sanity. But when the dangerous man whose touch inflames her senses and whose gaze enthralls her comes to her for help, she is unable to refuse. Bane is a dangerous predator, but somewhere beneath his arrogance and power, she can see his heart—and she knows it could belong to her if she is strong enough to claim it. She is bound to a vampire, but loving her would be … Bane’s Choice.

Excerpt

Ryan finally settled on the best, most awesome choice for a drunken movie fest and settled in to watch it, saluting the TV with the bottle, having quit bothering with the glass a while back. “Yippee ki-yay!”

But before John McClane could get off the plane with that enormous teddy bear, things started to get weird.

She laughed. No, that was a stupid thought after the night she’d had.

Correction: things got even weirder.

Because that’s when the magical kidnapper from the hospital appeared on her second-floor balcony.

The balcony that had no stairs, ladder, or fire escape.

“I’m more the Hans Gruber type,” he said. “Hello, Dr. St. Cloud.”

She blinked and then took another swig of wine, still staring at him. “Hey, call me Ryan. I’ve decided I should be on first-name basis with all my hallucinations. And damn, but you’re just beautiful, aren’t you? At least my brain dreamed up a hottie when it decided to go ballistic.”

“I don’t… You…” He shook his head and then raised a single eyebrow and pinned his glowing gaze to her, decidedly non-glowing, own. “I assure you, I am quite real.”

“Right. And so, Mr. Quite Real, what did you do with my patient? You know, the one who was dying? The one I had no chance in hell to save, even before you picked him up and disappeared with him?” she was on her feet and shouting at him by the end but didn’t remember standing. Also, unpleasantly, the rage smashing through her was, to borrow one of Annie’s expressions, harshing her mellow.

“How do you remember that?” His eyes narrowed. “Luke said he’d compelled you to forget.”

“I’d like to forget so much about tonight,” she muttered. “And who the hell is Luke?”

“I’d like to explain, Doctor… Ryan, if you’d invite me in,” her magical mystery guest said.

Ryan pointed her bottle at him. “No. Nuh-uh. No way. You keep your glowy-eyed magical ass away from me. And how did you climb up to my balcony? How did you even find me, more to the point?”

“Invite me in, and I’ll tell you,” he said, but his voice had a weird, buzzy resonance that tickled the inside of her mind somehow.

It made her laugh. “Nope.”

His eyes widened. “So it was true.”

“What was true? And why are you here?”

He folded his arms and said nothing, which infuriated her.

“Where is my patient?”

“Invite me in, and I’ll tell you,” he said again, shrugging.

She blew out a breath. “Fine. Whatever. Come on in, Mr. Drunken Hallucination. And then you damn well better tell me where my patient is.”

He smiled and took a step forward, into the room, and she started toward him but tripped over the coffee table and fell.

Into his arms. Damn, he smelled good. She rested her overheated cheek against his chest for a moment and inhaled.

Wait.

“You were clear across the room,” she muttered, struggling to back up while pushing him away at the same time. Trying to push him away, rather, because he had chest muscles like iron boulders. Was that a thing? Iron boulders? Rock-hard steel?

Some kind of metaphor for hard, for sure.

Yummy. Hard.

Also, damn. Maybe opening that second bottle of wine had been a mistake.

“You seem to have been having a party,” he said, and there was amusement mixed with something darker in his rich, deep voice.

God. He was the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen—imagined? Dreamed?—and his voice sounded like silken sin. A tingle of heat and electricity raced through her, and she could actually feel her nipples harden. Now she was really losing it, because her hallucination was making her hot.

No different from fantasizing about a movie star in the bathtub, she tried to tell herself. Except bath-time fantasies never came to life and walked into her living room.

She’d never felt one hold her in his arms before, either.

Vampire Motorcycle Club

>

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 2020

Alyssa has kindly offered a paperback copy of Bane’s Choice. U.S. residents only.

Bane’s Choice by Alyssa Day

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 Alyssa Day

Alyssa Day is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than a million books sold --all filled with kissing, laughter, mystery and magic. Alyssa’s paranormal series include the Vampire Motorcycle Club, Poseidon’s Warriors, and Cardinal Witches paranormal romances and the Tiger’s Eye Mysteries paranormal mysteries. In an Alyssa Day book, the good guys (and gals!) always win and happily ever after always prevails!

Alyssa's many awards include Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award for outstanding romance fiction, and the RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Paranormal Romance novel of 2012. Her books have been translated into a zillion languages but she’s still holding out for Klingon.

Before she became a full-time writer, Alyssa graduated summa cum laude from law school and practiced as a trial lawyer in three different states for more than a decade. She is a past president of Romance Writers of America.

Please visit her online at http://www.alyssaday.com to sign up for her newsletter for news of releases, free stuff, and pictures of her dogs and her baking. But not of her dogs baking, because that would just be wrong.


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Monthly Reads: September 2020

Posted October 6, 2020 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 7 Comments

It’s a new month so we’re back with a list of our Monthly Reads to share with each of you. This is where you’ll see what each of us has read and what our favorite books and our least favorite books of the month are. Check it out.

Casee

After such a stellar August, I didn’t have high hopes for September. I ended up reading 11 books. Needless to say, I am jumping for joy.

Lawless (King #3) by T.M. Frazier | 3.5 out of 5
Soulless (King #4) by T.M. Frazier | 3.75 out of 5
All the Rage (King #4.5) by T.M. Frazier | 4 out of 5
Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part One (King #5) by T.M. Frazier | 4.25 out of 5
Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part Two (King #6) by T.M. Frazier | 4.5 out of 5
Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part Three (King #7) by T.M. Frazier | 4 out of 5
The Dark Light of Day (King #0) by T.M. Frazier | 3 out of 5
Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews | 5 out of 5
Dark Needs (King #0.5) by T.M. Frazier | 3 out of 5
Lies & Lullabies (Hush Note #1) by Sarina Bowen | 3 out of 5
Perfection by Kitty Thomas | 1 out of 5

My favorite books of the month are all of the King series by T.M. Frazier and Magic Triumphs by IA. My least favorite was Perfection by Kitty Thomas. That book was as about as far from perfect as you can get and still be readable.

Holly

I had a fairly good reading month. I didn’t read as much as I’d have liked, but I read more new-to-me books than not, so I’m calling it a win.

The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons #3) by Lorraine Heath (audio) | 4 out of 5
The Duchess in His Bed (Sins for All Seasons #4) by Lorraine Heath (audio) | 2.75/3 out of 5
The Earl Takes a Fancy (Sins for All Seasons #5) by Lorraine Heath (audio) | 4 out of 5
Beauty Tempts the Beat (Sins for All Seasons #6) by Lorraine Heath | 4.25 out of 5
Never Have I Ever (Always Satisfied #3) by Lauren Blakely (reread) | 4.25 out of 5
Castles (Crown Spies #4) by Julie Garwood (reread) | 3 out of 5
Repeat by Kylie Scott (reread) | 5 out of 5
Enthroned (King Arthur and Her Knights #1) by K.M. Shea | 2.5 out of 5
Enchanted (King Arthur and Her Knights #2) by K.M. Shea | 3 out of 5
Embittered (King Arthur and Her Knights #3) by K.M. Shea | 3 out of 5
Embark (King Arthur and Her Knights #4) by K.M. Shea | 3 out of 5
Enlighten (King Arthur and Her Knights #5) by K.M. Shea | 3 out of 5
Dragon Unleashed (Fallen Empire #2) by Grace Draven (audio) | 4.25 out of 5
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary | 4.5 out of 5
Water Bound (Sisters of the Heart #1) by Christine Feehan (reread) | 4 out of 5
Complicated by Kristen Ashley (reread) | 4 out of 5

My favorite read of the month was The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. It was just what I was in the mood for. Honorable mention goes to Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath. My least favorite read was The Duchess in His Bed by Lorraine Heath. Though I enjoyed the hero and his family, I couldn’t get over how selfish the heroine was.

Giveaway Alert

Three lucky winners will choose their prize (one book) from any of the books we logged this month. If you want to be entered to win, leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite – and least favorite – reads of the month were.

Monthly Reads: September 2020

So…what was your favorite read of the month? And your least favorite? Use the Gleam Widget to enter! Good luck!


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Sunday Spotlight: In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Posted October 4, 2020 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 7 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: In a Holidaze by Christina LaurenIn a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Excerpt

The vacation has always been the celebratory red circle on my calendar countdown. The cabin is my oasis not only because Andrew Hollis is here, but also because it’s the perfect winter cabin, the perfect amount of snow, the perfect people, and the perfect level of comfort. The perfect Christmas, and I don’t want to change a thing.

So did I just completely ruin everything?

I lean forward and hug my knees. I am a mess.

“You’re not a mess.”

I startle, looking up to find Andrew standing over me, grinning and holding a steaming mug of coffee. With a view of his face in the bright morning light—mischievous green eyes, the shadowy hint of stubble, and pillow creases on his left cheek—my body reacts predictably: heart takes a flying leap off a cliff and stomach sinks warm and low in my belly. He is both exactly who I wanted to see right now and the last person I want to know what’s bothering me.

Trying to remember what my hair looks like, I pull the blanket up to my chin, wishing I’d taken the time to put on a bra. “Was I talking to myself?”

“You sure were.” He smiles, and Lord, if the sun doesn’t come out from behind the clouds. Dimples so deep I could lose all my hopes and dreams inside them. I swear his teeth sparkle. As if on cue, a perfect brown curl falls over his forehead. You have got to be kidding me.

And oh my God, I made out with his brother. Guilt and regret mix sourly in the back of my throat.

“Did I reveal my plans to overthrow the government and install Beyoncé in her rightful place as our fearless leader?” I ask, deflecting.

“I must have come in after that part.” Andrew gazes at me with amusement. “I just heard you say that you’re a mess.”

Something’s in his expression, some playful twinkle I can’t quite translate. Dread gives me a swift kick to the solar plexus.

I point to his face. “What’s happening here?”

“Oh, nothing.” He sits down beside me, puts his arm around my shoulders, and plants a kiss on the top of my head. The kiss is distracting enough for the dread to dissolve, and I work to not grab for him as he pulls away. If I could ever be on the receiving end of a long, tight Andrew Hollis hug, it would be the affection equivalent of chugging down a tall glass of water on a scorching day. I know I’ve never deserved him—he’s too good for any mortal—but it never stopped me from wanting him anyway.

A film of unease settles back over me when he laughs out my name against my hair.

“You’re awfully chipper this morning,” I say.

“And you are not,” he remarks, leaning forward to playfully study my face. The headphones around his neck fall forward slightly, and I can tell he never bothered to turn off the music; “She Sells Sanctuary” by the Cult filters tinnily through them.

“What’s going on, Maisie?”

This is what we do together; we become our old-person characters Mandrew and Maisie. We make our voices shaky and high-pitched—to play, to confide, to tease—but I’m too freaked out to play along.

“Nothing.” I shrug. “Didn’t sleep well.” The lie feels oily on my tongue.

“Rough night?”

“Um . . .” My internal organs disintegrate “Sort of?”

“So you and my brother, huh?”

Everything in my head is incinerated. Brain ash blows out onto the snow. “Oh my God.”

Andrew’s shoulders lift when he laughs. “You two kids! Sneaking around!”

“Andrew—it’s not a thing—I don’t—”

“No, no. It’s okay. I mean, no one is surprised, right?” He pulls back to get a look at my expression. “Hey, relax, you’re both adults.”

I groan, burying my face in my arms. He doesn’t get it, and worse—he really doesn’t care.

His tone softens, instantly apologetic. “I didn’t realize you’d be so freaked out. I was just messing with you. I mean, to be honest I figured it was just a matter of time before you and Theo—”

“Andrew, no.” I look around, desperate now. A surprise escape hatch would be a great discovery. Instead, a glint of silver catches my eye—the sleeve of Andrew’s hilariously awful holiday sweater hanging over the edge of the trash can. Miso, the Hollises’ corgi, got ahold of it on Christmas Eve and Lisa must’ve decided it was beyond saving. I wouldn’t mind joining it in the trash right now. “It’s not like that between us.”

“Hey. It’s fine, Maisie.” I can tell he’s surprised at the degree of my alarm, and he puts a reassuring hand on my arm, misinterpreting my meltdown: “I won’t tell anyone else.”

Mortification and guilt surge in my throat. “I—I can’t believe he told you.”

“He didn’t,” Andrew says. “I came back to the house last night because I left my phone in the kitchen, and saw you two.”

Andrew saw us? Please, let me die here.

“Come on, don’t make such a big deal about a little kissing. You’re talking to the guy whose mom moves the mistletoe around the house every day. Half this group has kissed each other at some point.” He gives me a noogie and, if possible, my mortification deepens. “Dad sent me out here to call you in for breakfast.” He playfully jabs my shoulder, like a pal. “I just wanted to give you some shit.”

With a little wink, Andrew turns and heads back into the house, and I am left trying to find my sanity.

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 2020

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 Christina Lauren

Yes, there are two of us! Lauren (on the left) and Christina (on the right).

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of long-time writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. The #1 international bestselling coauthor duo writes both Young Adult and Adult Fiction, and together has produced fifteen New York Times bestselling novels. They are published in over 30 languages, have received multiple starred reviews, won both the Seal of Excellence and Book of the Year from RT Magazine, been inducted into the Library Reads Hall of Fame, named Amazon and Audible Romance of the Year, a Lambda Literary Award finalist and been nominated for several Goodreads Choice Awards. They have been featured in publications such as Forbes, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Time, Entertainment Weekly, People, O Magazine and more. Their third YA novel, Autoboyography was released in 2017 to critical acclaim, followed by Roomies, Love and Other Words, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, My Favorite Half-Night Stand, and the Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal starred The Unhoneymooners, out May 2019.


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