Publisher: Amazon Publishing

Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted July 15, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #2
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Bridge Kingdom
Publisher: Self-Published, Audible Original
Publication Date: February 27, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Length: 10 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Lara has only one thought when her husband is taken prisoner: I will do whatever it takes to set you free.

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father's clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared.

But as Lara and her companions formulate a plan to free Aren from her father's palace, they soon discover that while it is easy to get in, it will be quite another thing to get Aren, and themselves, back out. Not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she's trying to free - the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who - and what - she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or for herself.

The Traitor Queen is the second book in Danielle L. Jensen‘s The Bridge Kingdom series. It picks up shortly after where The Bridge Kingdom, book 1, ends. While I am not a stickler for reading in order, I do believe you need to read The Bridge Kingdom before picking this up.

Lara is a trained assassin who was raised for one purpose..to infiltrate and bring down Ithicana, The Bridge Kingdom, from the inside. Though she came to realize she’d been fed nothing but lies by her father over the course of her life, she still betrays Ithicana and her father is able to take the Bridge. Now she’s an outcast, living on the run and trying to overcome her guilt for the part she played in Ithicana’s downfall…until she learns Aren has been captured by her father. She knows it’s a trap to draw her out, but she knows she’s their best chance of saving him…so long as she can convince the rest of the country.

This book was all action. I love how fast-paced it was. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the conflict between Aren and Lara would be resolved. Hers was not a simple mistake, and I wondered how Aren would overcome it, and more importantly, how their people – who had suffered so much because of her actions – would be able to accept her again. Though I was satisfied that she and Aren would be able to come together, I do wish we’d had more resolution with the Ithicanians themselves. That’s really my only complaint with this book. From page one there was non-stop action. I truly believed in Lara by the end, and I appreciated Aren’s emotional roller coaster. He loved Lara, but she betrayed him and his people. It was so easy to understand the choices they both made, and how they had to suffer the consequences. I would have liked to see another chapter or two in the aftermath, but I understand there may be more book set in this world, so I’ll try to be patient.

The Traitor Queen is an action-packed tale full of heartbreak and loss….and hope. Jensen delivered.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: A Lie for a Lie by Helena Hunting

Posted March 4, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: A Lie for a Lie by Helena HuntingReviewer: Tracy
A Lie for a Lie by Helena Hunting
Series: All In #1
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 285
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


From the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series comes a romantic comedy about instant attraction, second chances, and not-so-little white lies.

Sometimes I need an escape from the demands, the puck bunnies, and the notoriety that come with being an NHL team captain. I just want to be a normal guy for a few weeks. So when I leave Chicago for some peace and quiet, the last thing I expect is for a gorgeous woman to literally fall into my lap on a flight to Alaska. Even better, she has absolutely no idea who I am.

Lainey is the perfect escape from my life. My plan for seclusion becomes a monthlong sex fest punctuated with domestic bliss. But it ends just as abruptly as it began. When I’m called away on a family emergency, I realize too late that I have no way to contact Lainey.

A year later, a chance encounter throws Lainey and me together again. But I still have a lie hanging over my head, and Lainey’s keeping secrets of her own. With more than lust at stake, the truth may be our game changer.

Rook has a tradition of going on a fishing trip in Alaska with his brother and his father every year.  His father passed a few years ago and now he just goes with his brother.  It makes him sad that his father’s not there, but he loves to get away from his celebrity as a famous NHL player.  When Rook gets to Alaska he hears from his brother that he can’t go either because his wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  Since their father died from diabetes, this is a big deal.  Rook decides to stay on in Alaska and have some peace and quiet.

On the plane Rook meets Lainey.  She doesn’t follow sports at all and wouldn’t know who Rook was, even if he decided to tell her what he did for a living.  Every time she asks, he changes the subject or misdirects.  Frustrating.  He tells her that he was raised on an alpaca farm in New York.  When asked if that’s what he does now, he tells her that that’s what he grew up doing.  Yeah, not what she asked, dumbass. Lol

Once in Alaska Lainey discovers that her rental is a complete POS and she ends up staying with Rook whose house is down the street.  They end up spending the summer together, falling into bed in love.  When Rook is called away because of his brother’s wife, Rook has every intention of reconnecting with Lainey, but a series of mistakes separates the two for the next year.

When Lainey and Rook run into each other again the truth comes out about Rook’s job and Lainey’s pissed.  It’s discovered that there are secrets on both sides and the getting-to-know you period is extended.  The pair manage to find their way but not before some serious soul-searching is done.

This was a cute book.  I liked a lot about it – especially the first part of the story.  They way they meet and come together (even though it’s pretty convoluted) was cute.  The couple’s entire time in Alaska was good even though the whole lying about his career pissed me off. The chemistry between the couple as well as the fun times they had made me smile despite Rook’s huge mistake.

Unfortunately the second part of the book wasn’t as good for me.  Meeting up again and finding out secrets was a bit anti-climactic.  Getting to know the family, etc., just wasn’t all that thrilling.  Good, but not great.

Overall a cute story but a little slow in the second half.

Rating: 3.25/3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Posted January 8, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa ColeReviewer: Rowena
The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole
Narrator: Regina Hall, Mindy Kaling
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: December 3, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 6
Length: 5 hours, 18 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

Listening Length: 5 hours and 18 minutes

A captivating romantic comedy with a thrilling sci-fi twist by award-winning author Alyssa Cole!

Trinity Jordan leads a quiet, normal life: working from home for the Hive, a multifunctional government research center, and recovering from the incident that sent her into a tailspin. But the life she’s trying to rebuild is plagued by mishaps when Li Wei, her neighbor’s super sexy and super strange nephew, moves in and turns things upside down. Li Wei’s behavior is downright odd—and the attraction building between them is even more so. When an emergency pulls his aunt away from the apartment complex, Trinity decides to keep an eye on him…and slowly discovers that nothing is what it seems. For one thing, Li Wei isn’t just the hot guy next door—he’s the hot A.I. next door. In fact, he’s so advanced that he blurs the line between man and machine. It’s up to Trinity to help him achieve his objective of learning to be human, but danger is mounting as they figure out whether he’s capable of the most illogical human behavior of all…falling in love.

I’m not much of a science fiction romance reader but for some reason, I wanted to read this one and I’m really glad that I did because I liked it. I listened to this audiobook on my flight to Chicago and then finished it on my flight home from Chicago. It was super easy to fall into and I thought all of the narrators did a fabulous job of bringing Trinity and Li Wei’s story to life. I would definitely listen to another audiobook that Regina Hall narrates.

So Alyssa Cole penned a sci-fi romance that really worked for me. It was fun, sweet and it even brought the steam. I was listening to the love scenes like, “Okayyy Li Wei.” Haha. It took a little while for me to figure my way around what was what, who was who, and you know, all of that jazz but once I figured things out, I was up and running. So Trinity is a woman who works for Hive, a government research company. She’s recovering from an accident that took her out. She’s trying to figure some things out when she meets her neighbor’s nephew, Li Wei. Li Wei is nothing like Trinity originally thought and the more she gets to know him, the more she wants to know about him. There’s chemistry sizzling between them and it’s not easy for either of them to walk away.

Trinity and Li Wei were pretty fantastic characters. I loved seeing them grow into their feelings for each other, and I thought Alyssa Cole did a great job of making me roll with an A.I. love story. I don’t normally read science fiction romances but this worked. I mean, sure it took me a little bit to warm up to the story itself but in the end, I was glad that I read it because the story was fun and it was interesting and that end? Yeah, I was a fan. I will definitely be reading more stories like this and definitely more stories by Alyssa Cole. This was one of the last reads of 2019 for me and it was definitely a good way to end out my year in reading. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Getting Played by Emma Chase

Posted January 3, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Getting Played by Emma ChaseReviewer: Rowena
Getting Played by Emma Chase
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Zachary Webber
Series: Getting Some #2
Also in this series: Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1), Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1), Getting Played , Getting Schooled
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 241
Length: 6 hours, 57 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Listening Length: 6 hours and 57 minutesProgram Type: AudiobookVersion: Unabridged

A magnificent new romance by New York Times best-selling author Emma Chase - available in audio first!

Dean Walker is all about keeping life simple. He's effortlessly talented and intelligent - spending his summers playing drums in the local band and the rest of the year teaching high school in the same Jersey town where he grew up. He likes his love life simple too, enjoying the commitment-free hook-ups his good looks and sexy charm have always made oh so easy.

Then he meets Lainey Burrows. And his simple, easy life gets turned upside down.

One wild one-night stand was all it was ever supposed to be, so Lainey is shocked when she discovers that her sizzling summer fling is also her son's new math teacher. But that's nothing compared to the most unexpected twist of all - their hot hook-up left Lainey knocked up, and now they're about to become parents. Together.

What ensues is an addictive, insatiable, sweet and tender romance that won't be simple, but it will be more than worth the fight.

Getting Played is the second book in Emma Chase’s Getting Some series. It’s another fabulous addition to the series too. Dean and Lainey were a great couple and I really enjoyed seeing them figure out how to be together after they get their one night stand news.

When I read the first book in this series, Getting Schooled, I knew that I was going to read Dean’s book and boy am I glad that I saw that one through because this was another fabulous contemporary romance by Emma Chase. Everything that Holly and Casee said about this book being good was true. I enjoyed getting to know both Lainey and Dean, I loved seeing the relationship that blossomed between Lainey’s son and Dean. I also really enjoyed seeing Garrett and Callie again. I loved that they were still a big part of Dean’s life and I adored seeing Dean with his grandmother. This was just a great small-town romance that delivered lots of heartwarming charm that I just ate right up.

Dean was a bit immature in the last book but seeing him really come into his own in this book was fan-freaking-tastic. I really enjoyed seeing him with his students, I really loved seeing him bond with Lainey’s son and I absolutely adored seeing him get excited about the changes coming his way with Lainey. The way that they transitioned their lives to include each other made for a great romance. This was another one of those straight-up contemporary romances where the two main leads know that they have feelings for each other and they figure out how to overcome the obstacles in their way so that they can be together.

Lainey was a great heroine. She was a fanastic heroine for Dean and I really loved that she was a mother first. She didn’t take her role as Jason’s mother lightly and I dug that about her. I loved the relationship she forged with Jason as well. She built a strong and solid foundation that gave Jason the support he needed from her. I loved that she was able to be honest with Jason about anything and everything and that Jason felt like they were a team that could tackle anything together. They supported each other and when Dean came along, Jason welcomed him into their little unit but his Mom was always first with him. It was just a lot of fun to read about a bunch of normal people trying to figure their shit out…together.

Overall, this was a great book and though there were spots in the book where I wanted to ring all of their necks, in the end, they all got it right and were stronger for their obstacles. Emma Chase continues to shine brightly as a fabulous contemporary romance author and I hope she writes Dean’s brother’s book next. I need to know Connor more. Fingers crossed. If you guys are in the mood for a fun and sweet contemporary romance, look no further than Dean and Lainey’s book. I promise, it’s good.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

Getting Some

four-half-stars


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Review: The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Posted October 21, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Vine Witch by Luanne G. SmithReviewer: Holly
The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith
Narrator: Susannah Jones
Series: Vine Witch #1
Publisher: 47North
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 263
Length: 8 hours and 42 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith is a debut historical fantasy novel. This was an Amazon First pick. The audio add-on was only $1.99, so I snagged that with it and ended up listening to the whole book. The narrator did a wonderful job with the story.

Set somewhere near the turn of the century in France (automobiles are just becoming popular, though the year is never mentioned), The Vine Witch follows Elena Boureanu as she beats a deadly curse and returns to family winery Château Renard, the only home she’s ever known…only to discover it’s been sold and life as she knew it is changed forever.

For seven years, Elena has been stuck as a toad, forced to eat poison to fend off a deadly curse. When she finally breaks free, she returns home to Château Renard with vengeance in her heart. She’s convinced her former fiance is the one who cursed her when she broke off their engagement, and she plans to make him pay. When she returns home she finds all of the land has been hexed, not just her. It’ll take all her skill as a Vine Witch to untangle the mess of hexes…something made more difficult by the new owner’s refusal to believe in witches.

Jean Paul left a prestigious law firm in the city to become a winemaker when he saw the renowned Château Renard was available for sale. He wants nothing more than to produce amazing wine…using science, not the superstitious “magic” the locals claim is responsible for the good – and bad – in the land. When Elena returns, he’s suspicious of her, but if she can teach him the secrets of her famed grandfather, she’ll be worth her weight in gold. As he and Elena become close, he realizes there’s more to her than meets the eye..and everything he thought he believed may be a lie….

This was a lovely fairytale-esque novel, filled with mystery, intrigue and magic. I truly enjoyed both Elena and Jean Paul, as well as the world Smith created. The melancholy of the vines, the hexed land and the shadowy figures responsible truly came to life. I figured out early on who the villains were, and how Elena came to be cursed, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the novel.

This was the fantasy Gothic novel I’ve been craving. The Vine Witch shines bright.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Vine Witch

The Glamourist (Coming 2020)

four-stars


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