Author: Holly

DNF Review: Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O’Malley

Posted March 20, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O’MalleyReviewer: Holly
Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O'Malley
Narrator: Amy Landon
Series: Mystic Cove #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 258
Length: 5 hours and 58 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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dnf

It is time…

An ancient book, a power untouched, and a heart unloved lead Keelin O'Brien from her graduate studies in Boston to a small village on the coast of Southern Ireland. Determined to unearth the secrets lying hidden in the enchanted waters of the cove, Keelin has little time for a surly Irishman who infuriates her during the day and haunts her fantasies at night.

Inexplicably drawn to the woman who has stepped from his dreams and into his world, Flynn fights a stubborn battle against his increasing attraction for Keelin. Forces unknown have better plans for the two.

Only the secrets of the cove can show Keelin who she really is, the beauty of her mysterious power, and a love that will break the bounds of what she knows.

From New York Times Bestselling author, Tricia O'Malley, comes a new romance series set on the rocky shores of Ireland.

I started listening to this on audio, but switched to the ebook about 3 chapters in. The heroine was frustrating me, but I thought it might be the way the narrator was speaking for her. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. She was just immature and childish. She was supposedly 28 years old, but she acted like a teenager most of the time. Impetuous and headstrong, she rushed into things without thinking and even said things like “you can’t tell me what to do!”. What? You’re an adult, FFS.

The hero was a total jerk to the heroine. They’d been dreaming about each other and as soon as he saw her, he knew they were meant to be together. That pissed him off for some unknown reason and he ended up being an ass for no apparent reason. When she started banging on his chest like a little kid and he called her stupid, I just couldn’t anymore.

“Stupid?” Keelin hated being called stupid. Her Irish Temper kicked in. “Who are you calling stupid, you big oaf? What are you doing down here anyway?”
She pounded her fist on his chest and he grabbed her wrist with his hand. His eyes glinted dangerously at her as he held her hand captive.
“Obviously, I’m saving a stupid child from drowning.”
“A child? You, you jerk. Leave me alone.”

The premise was really intriguing – I love books featuring psychic abilities – but the execution was poorly done. Between the immature actions of the heroine and the asshole hero, I had to DNF around the 40% mark. I’m just glad this was a free read, or I’d be asking for a refund.

Rating: DNF

Mystic Cove

dnf


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Review: Wild Irish by C.M. Seabrook

Posted March 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wild Irish by C.M. SeabrookReviewer: Holly
Wild Irish by C.M. Seabrook
Narrator: Kyle Maraglio
Series: Wild Irish #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 29, 2017
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Romance Package, Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 277
Length: 5 hours and 19 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

I went searching for trouble and I found it. I just didn't expect to find it in the form of Cillian Gallagher.

The gorgeously tatted lead singer and guitarist of Wild Irish, Cillian is everything I've always tried to stay away from. He's wild and dangerous. And exactly what I need to cross off number four on my bucket list.

Kiss a complete stranger.

It should have been that simple. But I wasn't prepared for the scorching heat that would ignite a passion, leaving us both gasping for air.

It was never meant to be more than a fling.

I didn't expect that when I left Ireland, I'd be leaving a piece of my heart, or how our lives would be intertwined even when we were thousands of miles apart.

One last request.

One life-changing list.

One month of no regrets.

I ran from my boring, simple life, straight into the arms of trouble. The thing with trouble is that it has a way of finding you, no matter where you go.

I was looking for some Ireland-set novels for St. Patrick’s Day and grabbed this one from the Audible Romance Package. About 30% in I nabbed the ebook from KU, because I was having a hard time with how slow the narrator was. I actually really liked his voice and his Irish accent for Cillian, but it was sooo…..slooooww.

Delaney’s sister recently passed away after a long battle with an illness. The same week she loses her job and finds her fiance in bed with another woman, she decides to take her sister’s bucket list to Ireland and complete it for her. Her first day in she’s run off the road by a sexy, tattooed man and ends up going home with him because her car is totaled. While she waits for the insurance thing to get figured out, they strike up a sort-of friendship, wish is doused in a liberal amount of attraction and chemistry.

Cillian is the lead singer of a popular rock band. He’s taking a break to lick his wounds after being betrayed by his brother – another band member. Since the entire band has chosen to take his brother’s side, Cillian is avoiding all of them and trying to decide if he wants to pursue a legal battle to get himself out of their upcoming tour. In the meantime, he’s drinking himself drunk every night and basically wallowing in misery. Until he sees her…She lights up his world for the first time in months, and he knows he won’t be able to resist her.

The first half of this book was really good. Delaney arriving in Ireland and meeting Cillian, the mystery behind his brother’s betrayal (the betrayal itself is mentioned, but not the details), their attraction; I enjoyed all of it. Cillian wants to avoid his bandmates as long as possible, so he decides to take Delaney on a tour of Ireland so she can mark things off her list. I especially enjoyed the couple weeks they were away, getting to know each other and exploring – though even then I’d have liked to see more of them sharing with each other and opening up. More about that later.

The second half kind of lost me. Cillian has trust issues and he takes that out on Delaney several times. There’s a four month break while they’re apart, then a lot more trust issues. Going back to what I said earlier, they didn’t share enough with each other. We didn’t get to see them open up and spill their secrets, then come to some kind of understanding with each other. Plus, Cillian’s anger and irrational actions because of said anger really turned me off. Not to mention the resolution with his brother was glossed over and half-assed. I’m sure it’ll be addressed more in the second book, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing.

I was going to give this a 3 out of 5, because I really enjoyed the first half, but I’m lowering it to 2.75 after writing this review. I wish it had continued on as it began.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

Wild Irish

three-stars


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Must Read Irish Romances for St. Patrick’s Day

Posted March 15, 2019 by Holly in Discussions | 2 Comments

It’s almost ST. PATRICK’S DAY everyone!!

St. Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday. To celebrate, I plan to drink Guinness, eat corned beef and read some romance novels set in Ireland. In case you’re interested in doing the same, we decided to share some* of our favorite romances featuring Irish characters or set in Ireland!

*This is not a comprehensive list.

Books Set in Ireland

A Woman’s Heart (Castlelough #1) by JoAnn Ross: This book is set in a small town in Ireland. I really enjoyed the setting and the characters. The whole series is wonderful, in fact (Book 2, Fair Haven, is my favorite).

Skye O’Malley (O’Malley Saga #1) by Bertrice Small: It’s been years since I read this series, but I remember loving how indomitable Skye was. This book takes us to Ireland and all through Britain.

The Irish Warrior by Kris Kennedy: This book remains one of my all-time favorite medieval romance. Set in Ireland in the 1200s, this is the tale of Irish warrior Finian O’Melaghlin and his unlikely rescuer, Senna de Valery. The setting is amazing, and there’s action and adventure around every turn. I might need to do a re-read….

Born in Ice (Born in Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts: This is my favorite of all Nora Roberts’ trilogies. I love all three books, but this one is my favorite. Brianna and Grayson were so perfect for each other, and the setting – County Cork – was the perfect backdrop to their romance.

The Lost Duke of Wyndham (The Lost Duke of Wyndham #1) by Julia Quinn: It’s been ages since I read this book, actually since I read this series, but I really enjoyed it and I think that everyone should know and love Jack Audley as much as I do. 🙂

Irish Characters We Love

Roarke from Naked in Death (In Death #1) by J.D. Robb: What would this list be without Roarke, Eve Dallas’ hunky Irish love?

Ethan Ransom from Hello Stranger (The Ravenals #4) by Lisa Kleypas: Oh, Ethan. He was so caring and protective. He made this entire book for me.

Shawn Gallagher from Heart of the Sea (Gallaghers of Ardmore #3) by Nora Roberts: Shawn was such a sweetheart and the way that he loved his heroine, Brenna was absolutely amazing. His book is super sweet and showcases why Nora Roberts is so good at her job. I highly recommend the entire series, but love Shawn the most!

Sean Reilly from Midnight Captive (Killer Instincts #7) by Elle Kennedy: Sean is a badass Irish assassin and his book was full of suspense, had a steamy romance and it was all set in Ireland since Sean was trying to bail his twin brother out of trouble. Good, good stuff!

Jack Devlin from Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas: Now, I know that Jack is only half Irish but he counts in my opinion because he’s hot and he works magic with…raspberries. You’ll want to know this man for yourself, I promise!

What are some of your favorite Irish novels, or characters? Share with us in the comments.

We hope you have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t forget to wear green, but if you don’t, we hope you’re getting pinched by the hottie you’ve had your eye on.

via GIPHY


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Review: Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright

Posted March 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Carnal Secrets by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: The Phoenix Pack #3, Mercury Pack
Also in this series: Wild Hunger, Wild Hunger , Echoes of Fire (Mercury Pack, #4)
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 366
Length: 12 hours and 16 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

A pack Alpha and his estranged, true mate wrestle with painful secrets, ruthless enemies, and their own irresistible attraction, in the sexy third book of the Phoenix Pack series.

Half-shifter Shaya Critchley may hold a submissive role in her pack, but she’s done taking orders. After her Alpha wolf mate refused to claim her—but committed to interfering in her life—she took off. Now she hides from him, posing as a human in a town full of anti-shifter extremist groups. She thinks he’ll never find her again, and that suits her just fine. But she’s wrong.

Nick Axton can barely control his feelings for Shaya, but he could never claim her—not if he truly cares for her. The degenerative brain condition he keeps secret would ultimately leave her with a burden rather than a mate. But when Shaya runs away, Nick can’t bear the thought of never seeing her again. After tracking her down, he discovers Shaya’s feisty and passionate side in the process…a side he’d never seen before.

Under the menacing gazes of territorial local packs and violent human extremists, Nick vows to finally claim the spirited Shaya…and despite her initial resistance, Shaya just might find his fiery determination to be the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Carnal Secrets is the third book in the Phoenix Pack series, and the start of the Mercury Pack series by Suzanne Wright. This is another book I thought I read, but didn’t mark down. The details were sketchy, so I’m calling it a new read.

Shaya Critchley is a submissive wolf whose mate keeps rejecting her. She’s done with waiting on him and feeling hurt when he doesn’t claim her, and she’s done not having full control of her life. Determined to start fresh, she relocates to Arizona and begins working in her friend’s hair salon. She’s just settling in and starting to feel content when Alpha Nick Axton – her erstwhile mate – shows up.

Nick is battling an illness no one else knows about. He wanted to stay away from Shaya for her own good, but he can’t fight the pull of her any longer. He’s determined to win her over, even if that means leaving his old pack and going it alone with her. As an Alpha, mating a sumbissive wolf, and making her Alpha Female means never really having full control of the pack, since she can’t disobey a direct order from someone dominate. But Nick is tired of living without her. But Shaya has been hurt one too many times by his actions in the past. It’s going to take all he has to win her over….if he can do it before it’s too late.

Shaya got on my nerves a lot more than the previous two heroines did. I understood why she felt hurt and angry over Nick’s rejection of her, but her “punishing” him for it went on way too long. The lengths she went to to push him away were ridiculous. The more she acted out and pushed him, the more immature she seemed.

There’s also an easy fix to the submissive Alpha Female problem. Turns out Shaya isn’t the type of submissive who has to obey more dominate wolves. That seemed a little too convenient and kind of lazy on the author’s part.

I liked Nick quite a bit. I really liked what a great alpha he was, and how people just naturally followed him. All these wolves kept showing up and sort of forcing him to become their Alpha, which I thought was hilarious. Despite being a natural leader and a dominate wolf, Nick doesn’t like people and really just wanted to be left alone with his mate. I cracked up every time they sort of out maneuvered him and he took another step closer to forming a new pack.

The suspense plot of who is after Shaya and why didn’t really interest me. I know others really like that aspect of these books, but I’m not a fan.

I would have given this a solid four stars if it hadn’t been for how immature Shaya was. As it is I’m going to give it 3.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Phoenix Pack

The Mercury Pack

three-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Posted March 10, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 6 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

I know I’ve said it before, but I am so glad Julie Anne Long is returning to historicals. Lady Derring Takes a Lover is the start of a new series and I’m so thrilled to be able to share an excerpt with you today.

Sunday Spotlight: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne LongLady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 373
Add It: Goodreads
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A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

“Do you snore, Captain Hardy?” she said softly.

She saw the breath leave him. His gray eyes flared to black.

It was the most thrilling, vixenish thing she’d ever done, that subtle question, which was born of real curiosity. But she knew immediately that she was quite in over her head.

She pivoted to leave, and swiftly.

She’d taken two steps when he said, his voice raised only a little, “Lady Derring . . . something puzzles me.”

She halted. Closed her eyes.

Took a shuddering breath for courage.

Turned back to him. From the relatively safe distance of three feet, she said, “Surely not. We’ve established you know everything.”

His smile was small and patient. “You seem to excel at so very much here at The Grand Palace on the Thames. Yet you can’t seem to disguise how much you want me.”

One of the things Tristan excelled at was ambush. Her eyes grew enormous as his words sank in.

She looked both stricken and resigned, like a thief nabbed in the act.

Finally she drew in a breath and resettled her shoulders, as though she’d been ruffled by a stiff wind.

“Well, Captain Hardy, I must take issue with your assessment, on the grounds that I’m not trying to dis- guise it at all.”

Holy—!

His breath left him in a gust.

And as she turned again to walk away his hand shot out.

It was a primal reflex, but not the about-to-fall-off-a-cliff sort. It was somewhere in between a cat with prey or a miser with gold.

He got hold of her forearm.

He held her like that long enough to feel brutish. Three seconds all told, though something had gone wrong with time—it seemed to have stopped—so it was difficult to know.

She ought to slap him. He ought to let go.

Unless one counted lungs moving in and out, color flooding into cheeks, pupils flaring to shilling size, neither of them moved.

And then he slid his hand down, down, down along her arm to bracelet her wrist.

He felt her heart drumming against his fingertips.

At least as hard as his was beating. It was what he needed to know.

He tugged her up against his body.

It was nearly as much a collision as a kiss, at first, fierce and hard, as if they were both intent on punishing themselves and each other for wanting this.
This was a mistake. He’d known it was, and he could not stop himself from making it.

He fanned one hand against the small of her back; with the other he cradled her head, threaded his fingers up through her hair. And tugged her head back to take that kiss mercilessly, greedily, carnally, deeper. She moaned softly. And opened to him with a sweetness and hunger that stunned him, then made him nearly savage. Her hands rose to grip his shirt and she pulled him hard up against her. He slid his hands down beneath the curve of her arse and scooped her up hard against the swell of his cock and he felt her ribcage jump against him as her breath snagged.

And then she shifted to fit him more snugly between her legs and pulled him closer and lust threatened to tear the top from his head.
It was already out of hand.

The hallway spun, as if he’d staggered from an opium den.

Her finger remained curled into his shirt. Her body was still crushed to his, and he could feel her heart beating against his body, in counterpoint to his. He could rest his cheek on the top of her head if he wanted to. It was as seductive as those pillows in his room, a moment of infinite weakness.

God, how he wanted to. Which was why he didn’t.

“I’m not a gentleman,” he said gruffly. Finally.

He didn’t know why these should be the first words he said after he surfaced from the kiss. A warning, perhaps. Or an explanation. Not an apology.

He would never apologize for something that could not be helped.

She finally stepped back from him and drew in a breath that shuddered.

Her hands rose, and he thought for a moment she meant to cover her face. But she dropped them again. And she stared at him. Not censorious. Assessing, perhaps. Amazed, certainly. Her eyes were hazy and soft.

“No. You certainly aren’t,” she said finally. He said nothing.

She adjusted her shoulders, as though realigning herself with propriety.

And then she turned and went down the stairs without another word.

Albeit carefully, and a little more slowly, as though she were finding her footing in a world that was still shifting beneath her feet.

Palace of Rogues

Angel in the Devil’s Arms(October 2019)

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: March 2019

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 Julie Anne Long

Julie Anne Long originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up, and she has the guitars and the questionable wardrobe stuffed in the back of her closet t prove it. When playing to indifferent crowds at midnight in dank clubs lost its, ahem, charm, she realized she could incorporate all of the best things about being in a band—namely, drama, passion and men with unruly hair—into novels, while at the same time indulging her love of history and research. So she made the move from guitar to keyboard (the computer variety) and embarked on a considerably more civilized, if not much more peaceful, career as a novelist.

Julie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with a fat orange cat. (Little known fact: they issue you a cat the minute you become a romance novelist.)


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