Author: Holly

Review: Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross

Posted July 21, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Waking the Dragon by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross
Series: Vale of Stars #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 255
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The Gladium Province is on the verge of civil unrest as humans and Morgons, the dragon-hybrid race, clash once more. But amid disorder can also arise passion.

When the bodies of three human women are discovered in Morgon territory—with the DNA of several Morgon men on the victims—it’s just a matter of time before civil unrest hits the Province. But for ambitious reporter Moira Cade, it’s more than just a story, and it may mean risking her own life.

Descending into the dark underworld of Morgon society, Moira is paired with Kol Moonring, Captain of the Morgon Guard, for her protection. Fiercely independent, Moira bristles at his dominance, and defies his will at every turn. Yet resistance proves futile when passion flares between them, awakening powerful emotions within both, body and soul. But as the killings continue, can their fiery newfound bond survive an even greater evil—one that threatens all of humanity, Morgonkind, and Moira’s very soul?...

Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross is the first book in the Vale of Stars series, a spinoff of the Nightwing series, which I have not read. I definitely felt like I was missing some key pieces of information by starting with this series.

Moira Cade is a college student studying investigative journalism. When several young women turn up dead over the course of several months, Moira knows there’s more to the story than the Morgon and Human Guards are saying. With the help of a friend who works at the precinct, she’s investigating on her own. When she realizes the victims are all disappearing from Morgon games, she enlists the help of her brother-in-law and his security team to help her infiltrate them. She’s partnered with Kol Moonring, the Captain of the Morgon Guard. He’s over-bearing and possessive, but Moira just wants to focus on building her career.

On the surface this was an okay story, but below the surface it was kind of a mess. Moira is only 20 and a human. Yet she is the only one who figures out what’s happening with the murdered girls? A bunch of over-protective dragons agree to let a human girl investigate and act as bait for a murderous cult? None of that made sense. Add to it the fact that Moira was all, “I don’t need no man” until all of a sudden she did need a man and it was over for me. I may have felt differently if I’d read the previous series, but mostly this book just annoyed me.

I am interested in some of the secondary characters, and I enjoy Cross’ writing, so I may try another book in the series before moving on.

2.75 out of 5

Vale of Stars

two-half-stars


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Review: Pause by Kylie Scott

Posted July 5, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Pause by Kylie ScottReviewer: Holly
Pause by Kylie Scott
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Publisher: Audible Originals
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Plus
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 6
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars

An unpauseable new romance from New York Times bestselling, Audie Award winning author Kylie Scott!

When Anna wakes up from a coma after a car crash, she discovers life has gone on without her. Her husband has been unfaithful—with her best friend—and she’s been long since replaced at work. While her old life is a distant memory, her new life feels like an empty shell. Then she meets the stranger who saved her life during the crash, and he changes everything.

Leif Larsen—tattooist, joker, and player—has his own scars thanks to the crash that put Anna in a coma. Helping her move on from her failed marriage, and create a new life, sounds like a perfect distraction. So when he needs a new roommate, he invites Anna to begin her new life with him.

Although their lives may have been put on pause, together they just might find a way to heal.

Pause, an Audible first release, follows Kylie Scott’s hit novel, Repeat. This is the story of Leif, Ed’s brother. He was an engaging character in Repeat and I’m so glad we got a story for him. I was a little disappointed that this is told strictly in first person from Anna’s POV. I would have loved to see more of Leif and explored more of his trauma from the previous book. As it was, he felt like a totally different character than the one we met in Repeat. I was pretty bummed about that. That’s not to say I didn’t like him, because I did. He was funny and real. He didn’t hide from hard truths, or try to shy away from his friendship with Anna. He was also dealing with some trauma from

I was immediately pulled into the story. Anna’s issues and the betrayal she suffered had me all in, but as the story went on I became less enamored of her and her struggles. Especially since the focus of the story was her attraction to – and relationship with – Leif. I’d have liked to see her focus more on figuring herself out after all the major changes that came about in her life. I wanted to see her focus on dealing with being in a coma for 7 months and the demise of her marriage as a result more than I wanted to read about her waffling over her attraction to Leif.

Still, I loved their friendship and how open they were with each other. I also enjoyed the story as a whole. It’s just hard not to compare it to Repeat (a very rare 5 star read for me) and find it wanting.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: The Adversary by Thea Harrison

Posted July 4, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 5 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. 🙂

I’ve been dying to find out what’s happening with Dragos and Pia in the Other lands. The Adversary is available for preorder at all major retailers, but if you don’t want to wait, you can buy it now from the author’s direct shop. Click here to buy a copy now.

Sunday Spotlight: The Adversary by Thea HarrisonThe Adversary by Thea Harrison
Series: (Chronicles of Rhyacia #2, Elder Races #9.95
Also in this series: Dragon Bound (Elder Races, #1), Storm's Heart (Elder Races, #2), Serpent's Kiss (Elder Races, #3), Oracle's Moon (Elder Races, #4), Oracle's Moon (Elder Races, #4), True Colors (Elder Races, #3.5), Lord's Fall (Elder Races, #5), Kinked, Lord's Fall, Kinked (Elder Races, #6), Pia Saves the Day & Peanut Goes to School, Dragos Takes a Holiday, Night's Honor, Night's Honor, Dragon Bound, Midnight's Kiss, Midnight's Kiss, Dragos Goes to Washington, Shadow's End, Pia Does Hollywood, Liam Takes Manhattan, Pia Does Hollywood, The Chosen: A Novella of the Elder Races, Planet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8), Planet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8), Lionheart (Moonshadow, #3), Spellbinder
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 26, 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 176
Add It: Goodreads
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From NYT bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the explosive conclusion to The Unseen!

When Dragos and Pia move to the Other land of Rhyacia, they hope starting a new life will bring safety and freedom to their family, especially their young baby, Niall. And at first their new home seems perfect… but looks are deceiving.

Beneath Rhyacia’s idyllic façade an ancient, malevolent force lurks, waiting for the right opportunity to break free of its cage. When that opportunity comes, it strikes with devastating accuracy.

While Dragos has never backed down from a fight, he’s also never encountered an enemy like this one before. How can he fight a foe who doesn’t have a body? A foe who can invade and turn his own mind against him?

How can Dragos protect his family, when at any moment one of them may become the enemy?

As Dragos and Pia race against time to fight this unseen menace, they must also acknowledge a terrifying truth—when anyone can become the enemy, no one can be trusted.

An adversary who can trap the dragon poses a threat to everyone in Rhyacia, and that means no one is safe…

***This book does NOT end on a cliffhanger***

Excerpt

CACULATION FLASHED IN Dragos’s gold eyes. Pia framed his cheeks with her hands and watched the minute changes in his hard expression.

God, she loved his face. He was both handsome and scary at once. The sheer ruthlessness that could take over his hard features had a purity that fascinated her. He was not burdened in the slightest by the many things that consume modern males—self-doubt, misogyny, insecurity, fear of their own vulnerability, the need to soul search about their morality or question their existence.

For all Dragos’s irritating qualities (and as much as she adored him, she had to admit he had, shall we say, more than a few), his soul had a purity that she had never found in any other creature. If you were the rare, lucky person who achieved his inner circle, he would protect you to death and beyond.

If you were on the outside, he might deign to tolerate you, but he would keep watch. And if you showed yourself to be unreliable or traitorous in any way, God help you, because he didn’t forgive and he never forgot, and he might exercise all the patience in the world, but he would sure as hell find a way to get even.

And he was singularly untroubled by the possibility of going to war. In fact, she would swear he thrived on it. War involved tactics and strategy, a kill or be killed mentality, and sometimes it provided the opportunity to acquire loot or tribute, and on a very elemental level that appealed to the dragon.

More often than not these days, he chose to take the more peaceful route when he could, but she was convinced that was only because he now had a family. Dragos tried to avoid war out of courtesy to her, but if it was unavoidable?

You bet your ass he would relish the hell out of it.

And while Pia was pretty much Dragos’s opposite in just about every way, she was also pragmatic enough to acknowledge that sometimes war was unavoidable, as it was now .

“Two days, max, I think,” he said after a thoughtful moment. Focusing on her, he added gently, “Maybe sooner, but I can’t promise. I know that’s not what you want to hear.”

Momentarily at a loss for words, she shook her head and pressed her lips to his hard mouth. His lips softened and caressed hers, so she lingered, helpless to pull away, drawing on the comfort of the moment as hard as she had drawn on the hug with Liam.

Here was the magic they created between them: time fell away, danger was inconsequential, and all the tragedies in the world became bearable. As long as she had her mate, she could survive anything.

But even the best of kisses had to end sometime.

As she reluctantly pulled away, she told him in a husky voice, “Two days is a freaking miracle compared to when I thought you were dead.”

“I understand.” His reply was just as husky. He cleared his throat and looked as if he might say more, but just then the muscles in his big body twitched, and fury clenched his face and body.

“Oh, no, no.” She gripped his shoulders with frantic strength as if she would hold him into his body by sheer emotion. “I’m not done talking yet—”

“Get off,” he snarled.

She recoiled—he had never talked to her in such a vicious tone of voice before—and lost her balance and slid off his lap. As she scrambled to her feet, she stared at him…

…and watched the fury in his gold eyes fade to amber. Dragos’s feral viciousness faded as well. Oh, no, baby. No.

“Lady wife,” said the thing in Dragos’s deep voice. “How delightful to see you again. Our previous conversations were cut far too short.”

Chronicles of Rhyacia

Elder Races

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: July 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 Thea Harrison

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Thea Harrison resides in Colorado. She wrote her first book, a romance, when she was nineteen, and had sixteen romances published under the name Amanda Carpenter. She took a break from writing to collect a couple of graduate degrees and a grown child.

Thea writes in a variety of genres, including the award-winning paranormal Elder Races series and the Game of Shadows novels, and is currently at work on various new projects in sci-fi fantasy, paranormal and contemporary romance.

She adores animals and currently resides with two small dogs that have very large personalities.


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Review: Heart of Fire by Bec McMaster

Posted June 28, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Heart of Fire by Bec McMasterReviewer: Holly
Heart of Fire by Bec McMaster
Series: Legends of the Storm #1
Publisher: Lochaber Press
Publication Date: April 8, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 278
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The old eddas speak of dreki--fabled creatures who haunt the depths of Iceland's volcanoes and steal away fair maidens.

Freyja wants none of such myths. Dreki seducing young ladies? Ha. They probably eat such foolish girls. But when the local dreki steals her last ram--costing her any chance of feeding her ill father through the winter--Freyja intends to confront the fearsome myth.

Sentenced to a life of exile from his clan, Rurik is fascinated by the furious woman who comes to claim her ram. She reeks of mysterious magic and challenges him at every step. He intends to claim the passionate firebrand, but to do so he must take mortal form. It's the only time the dreki are vulnerable, and with a dragon-hunter arriving on the shores of Iceland, he can barely afford the risk--but lonely Freyja, with her elf-cursed eyes and pragmatic soul, tempts him in ways he's never felt before. Is she the key to reclaiming his heritage? Or will she be his downfall?

The Legends of the Storm series:- Fantasy Romance- Historical Fantasy- Paranormal Romance- Fated Mates- Shifter romance

At the time of this writing, this novel is free for Kindle users. I did not check other platforms.

Heart of Fire by Bec McMaster is the first book in the Legends of the Storm fantasy romance series. This came up as a suggested read in Kindle. I decided to give it a try since my friend recently read another book by Bec McMaster and enjoyed it. I really love that it’s sent in Iceland in the early 1800s.

Freyja lives on a small farm with her father, who is blind and in poor health. Because of rumors circulating in the local village – rumors spread by the local landowner’s son, who wants her for his mistress – no one will trade with her and she and her father are on the brink of starvation. For 30 years, the villagers have paid a weekly tithe to the Dreki (dragon) who lives under the volcano that sits above the village. They leave an animal once a week and in exchange, he leaves their village alone. When Rurik, the Dreki, steals her one and only ram, that’s the last straw for Freyja. She marches up the volcano to demand he return it.

Rurik has been exiled from his clan. He’s been alone under the volcano for far too long. When Freyja marches in demanding he return her ram, he’s both amused and intrigued. Since the villagers stopped paying the tithe, the ram was fair game, but she’s a puzzle he can’t wait to solve. He hasn’t been tempted to take on human flesh in ages, but Freyja is too much to resist. He’s determined to have her, and if that means changing shapes then so be it. The timing couldn’t be worse, however, since a dragon hunter with vengeance in his heart just landed on the shores of Iceland, and Rurik is his intended target.

I really enjoyed the mythology and the setting. Freyja frustrated me a bit, and I thought it dragged some in the middle, but overall it was a well-done fantasy novel. I loved Rurik. Dragons are one of my favorite shapeshifters, and he was everything I love in a dragon. I liked how Freyja challenged him and puzzled him all at once. I also loved his attempts to woo her.

Freyja has hidden her entire life, because she has powers her mother told her must be kept secret at all costs. Still, she isn’t without protection, so she has strong self-confidence, which I loved. I really connected with her early on in the novel, but as it wore on she began to frustrate me the way she constantly pulled back from Rurik. I understood why she wanted to pull back, but her constant hot and cold started to wear on me.

Still, I enjoyed their romance and watching them figure each other out. Rurik’s persistence and thoughtfulness were sweet, and I really did enjoy how independent Freyja was.

I also enjoyed the way the dragon hunter and his backstory were incorporated, as well as the hints of the Dreki court politics we saw. Based on the way things ended I believe the story of the court politics will carry over into future books and I’m here for it.

Although the heroine occasionally frustrated me and parts of the novel were slow, overall this was a really lovely fantasy romance. I loved the world and characters. I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Legends of the Storm

four-stars


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What Are You Reading? (570)

Posted June 25, 2021 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 5 Comments

Casee

I’m reading several books. I’ve been bouncing back between Jessica Gadziala & Devney Perry. I love, love, love both of these authors. I’m currently reading For a Good Time, Call… (Scars #1) by Jessica Gadziala. For book club I am reading The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I tried it on audio first and the narrator was atrocious so I just started reading it. It’s a very quick read though it has really made me think about the way our lives can change based on decisions we make.

I’ve been listening to the Tin Gypsy series by Devney Perry. I listened to Gypsy King (Tin Gypsy #1) last week & have Riven Knight (Tin Gypsy #2) to start next. I loved the narrator of Gypsy King. Riven Knight has different narrators & I’m really hoping that I like them. Fingers crossed.

Holly

I didn’t have a lot of time to read this week. I read, Wolfish Charms, the second book in the Ever Dark, Ever Deadly series by Jenna Collett. I liked it better than the first book. I definitely recommend it. I re-read Hot as Hades by Alisha Rai and Heartbreaker by Linda Howard. I haven’t decided what I’m going to read next. I’m kind of in the mood for a SciFi, so I might see if I can find something similar to Polaris Rising. Let me know if you have any recommendations.

Rowena

My reading has been absolute crap this week. I went home to California for Father’s Day weekend to spend some time with my Dad and then this week, I’ve been training the new girl at work so I’ve been pretty exhausted afterward. On top of that, I have my nephew from California spending the week here with me in Vegas. We’re going to Top Golf and eating Korean corndogs today so that should be fun.

I’m still reading The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary and I’m hoping to finish it up over the weekend. Wish me luck! Afterward, I’ll be jumping into my copy of So We Meet Again by Suzanne Park.

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!


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