Publisher: Penguin

Review: Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop

Posted April 19, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Murder of Crows by Anne BishopReviewer: Casee
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Series: The Others #2
Also in this series: Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Vision in Silver, Marked in Flesh, Etched in Bone, Written in Red
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 430
Length: 14 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

As a human residing among the Others of the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Lakeside's shape-shifting leader, Simon Wolfgard wonders whether their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.

Now the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent of reclaiming their blood prophet - and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

This series is so freaking good. And the narrator? Holy crap, she’s amazing. I loved this book, the way the series moved forward, just everything about it.

Meg is now a trusted member of the Lakeside Courtyard. She proved herself in Written in Red when she warned the terra indigene of the threat that was coming to them. She put herself in harms way for one of them and even the vampires love Meg.

Meg is finding that she needs to speak prophecy now more than ever. Before, it was about feeling the euphoria that comes with the cut. Now it’s about helping the terra indigene and stopping the Controller. The Controller will stop at nothing to get Meg back. She is the most valuable cassandra sangue that is in his possession and losing her means losing money.

When crows are murdered it is traced back to a drug that has been put into food by humans. They are trying to kill anyone related to The Others. It’s also discovered that blood from a cassandra sangue is not good for The Others. It makes them feel a little too good. In other words, they’re worthless and helpless both at the same time.

Simon and Meg had a small crisis in their growing friendship. Meg can accept Simon as a wolf, but when it comes to accepting him as a man? It’s not so easy. Simon doesn’t understand why Meg changed once she saw his human form naked. All he does know is that their relationship changed and he misses his friend. Their friendship is so innocent in a way that it’s hard to even want them to get into something romantic. You can just tell that Meg is Simon’s person.

It soon becomes time to save other cassandra sangues that are under the control of the Controller. After a prophecy where Meg sees the location of her “home” for most of her life, Simon and The Others go for blood. When Simon sees the cell that Meg lived in almost her whole life, it almost breaks him (see, she is his person).

This is a great second installment to The Others. I am so happy that I started this series and I am really looking forward to getting back to it. I just don’t want it to end too soon, so I’m taking my time.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The Others

four-half-stars


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Review: Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Posted April 17, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Hunting Ground by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Casee
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
Narrator: Holter Graham
Series: Alpha & Omega #2
Also in this series: Burn Bright, Burn Bright, Alpha & Omega, Cry Wolf, Burn Bright, Dead Heat
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 286
Length: 8 hours and 24 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars

Anna Latham didn’t know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son — and enforcer — of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn’t know how dangerous it could be either...

Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran’s controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan — and it seems like someone else might be too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all — or risk losing everything...

I read Cry Wolf when we did the Summer Reading Challenge last summer. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get to the second book. I know part of it was that I wasn’t a huge Anna fan. She seems weak and meek, but in this book it is clear to see that she’s anything but.

Charles and Anna are attending a summit in Seattle to discuss coming out to the humans. One of the most powerful alphas is against coming out at all. He also has his eye on Anna. While Charles and Anna are mates, their relationship is anything but easy. Charles literally bristles with rage anytime Anna is threatened. When she is attacked by vampires who are wielding pack magic, all bets are off.

Anna feels stronger than she felt when she first met Charles. As an omega, she is revered by the werewolves, especially Charles. She can bring peace and calm to any enraged werewolf. She’s been learning to control it and has been doing a darn good job.

It’s clear that there is unrest between the werewolves. Most of them know it is time to reveal themselves to the humans. It would be better to do it on their terms rather than let the humans find out on their own. It is more than one alpha’s opposition that Charles has to face. It’s an anonymous person/werewolf/vampire that wants to get his hands on Anna. Charles will never let that happen.

I really enjoyed how Anna and Charles’ relationship has evolved. They are true partners. She’s never been valued as a werewolf, but Charles makes sure to show her how valuable she is to him. I really liked the whole “mystery” aspect of it. I was pretty clueless until almost right up until it was revealed. Then I was like “A-HA!”. Got you.

If you like paranormal, shapeshifting stories that actually have a plot, I highly suggest this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Alpha & Omega

four-stars


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Review: Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley

Posted April 16, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer AshleyReviewer: Casee
Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Mackenzies & McBrides #2
Also in this series: Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, The Duke's Perfect Wife, The Seduction Of Elliot McBride, The Untamed Mackenzie, The Untamed Mackenzie, A Mackenzie Clan Gathering, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 6, 2010
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 316
Length: 9 hours and 9 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars

Only one man could match a lady like this—scandal for scandal.

Six years ago, eighteen-year-old Lady Isabella Scranton scandalized all of London by eloping the night of her come-out ball with the notorious rake, Lord Mac Mackenzie. After three turbulent years of marriage, she scandalized London once again—this time by leaving him.

Now Mac has resurfaced, every bit as charismatic, and with one goal: to seduce Isabella back into his life and his bed even if it means acting like a real gentleman. But when Isabella rises to the challenge of posing nude for Mac's erotic paintings, her pent-up hunger for the decadent rake is exposed as well, and she finds herself unable to resist the smooth strokes of an artist at work.

But someone's been watching them—dangerously close. This ingenious forger with designs on Mac's paintings also sets his sights on Isabella herself. Deciding to become Isabella's protector, Mac vows to never leave her side, whether his independent and proud lady likes it or not.

I have really been enjoying getting back into historicals. I absolutely loved The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. I think that the Mackenzie’s are so unique, it makes it impossible not to love them. No matter what they go through, family is family.

Isabella and Mac have been legally separated for three years. Isabella left him, yet the Mackenzie’s still rally around her when she needs something. That’s the kind of family they are. Now Mac has decided that it’s time to get Isabella back where she belongs…with him.

Isabella comes back into Mac’s life to tell him that someone is painting forgeries in his name. Mac doesn’t much care. That all changes when it becomes clear that the man wants more than just to put Mac’s name on his work. This man wants to be Mac. That includes being with Isabella. Once Mac realizes what a danger the stranger is to Isabella, he stays glued to her side.

Isabella is happy to have Mac back in her life and back in her bed. He’s obviously changed, but has he changed enough to take him back? She enjoys her life and isn’t sure she wants to forgive Mac to the point where they get back together. There are too many past hurts for Isabella to fall into his arms.

While Mac and Isabella try to find the imposter, they both realize how much they have missed each other. The question they both wonder is…is it too late?

This was a great installment in the Mackenzies & McBrides series. I’m really looking forward to reading both Cam and Hart’s book. Bring it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mackenzies & McBrides

four-stars


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Buddy Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Posted April 11, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Next Year in Havana by Chanel CleetonReviewer: Ames & Rowena
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Format: eBook, Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction
Pages: 394
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity--and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution...

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba's high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country's growing political unrest--until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary...

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa's last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba's tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she'll need the lessons of her grandmother's past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

Chanel Cleeton’s Next Year in Havana takes us on an emotional journey to Cuba, in both the past and the present as our main characters, Marisol Ferrera and Elisa Perez, battle through emotions, secrets and the hardships of war, all while falling in love with men that came with their own complications.

Rowena: This was really angsty and while I did end up enjoying it (I even cried), it was a bit slow to start. What did you think, Ames?

Ames: I have to agree. It took me a good while to get into it. Part of it was that in an odd switch I wanted to read this book in print, not in e-format. It’s usually the other way around. So I finally made my way to the bookstore and then I couldn’t finish this book fast enough!

And the angst wasn’t emotional angst. It was -oh my god we’re in the middle of a revolution and we could die- kind of angst. Which I was totally into. I can admit that I don’t know a heck of a lot about Cuba but this book did a really good job of making what happened, relevant and thought-provoking as well as providing a dangerous background for our main character’s grandmother.

Rowena: Yes, the romance took a back seat to all of the angst from everything else that was going on. Once I got the hang of both timelines, all of the characters, and what was going on, I zipped right through this book. My heart hurt and then it soared for both Elisa and what she lived through, how hard her life was even though on the surface, her life looked pretty fluffy, it was anything but and for Marisol, too. When she gets to Cuba, she’s expecting to hear stories of her beloved grandmother through people who once loved her and confided in her but she found so much more than that and I was so here for all of it.

I really liked the way that Cleeton wove this tale. She brought everything going on in Cuba to the front of a very compelling story and I really enjoyed it.

Who was your favorite character?

Ames: Elisa was definitely my favorite character. My heart definitely hurt for what she went through. But I liked how we learned about her story through Marisol’s eyes. I agree with you, I like the way Cleeton wove these two stories together. I liked Pablo more as an old man than when he was younger. His experience and his heartbreak was what made me cry. I really wonder how Elisa and his life would have worked out if Elisa knew the truth. This was a bittersweet book. And I promptly pre-ordered Beatriz book once I was done. LOL.

Rowena: Same. I connected with Elisa’s story and her struggles with every single thing that she went through. From her struggles with loving a man who was fighting on the opposite side of the side her father supported to the way that her family had to creep out of the country to survive and everything that she felt with toward her brother and not being able to know for sure that he was safe and all of that.

I felt the same way about older Pablo. He missed out on so much and my heart for him and just everything. His love for Elisa was true and it was strong and it lasted his entire life even though he moved on. It was so heartbreaking. I’m super glad that I read this one and will definitely be reading more from Cleeton, she’s got magic hands weaving the good stories. I need more of that in my life.

Are you going to read When We Left Cuba? I’m already reading it and so far, it’s just as fantastic as this one was. I give this one 4.25 out of 5 stars, what about you?

Ames: I am planning on reading When We Left Cuba. I needed to read something light and fluffy after Marisol and Elisa’s story though so I’m glad I have a bit of a wait until it’s released. I know I’m going to want to read it in paperback. LOL

I’m giving Next Year in Havana 4.25 out of 5 as well. Despite a bit of a slow beginning it’s definitely an engrossing story and it hits you in the feels. I highly recommend!

Final Grades

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Related Books

Next Year in Havana
When We Left Cuba

four-stars


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Review: Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 9, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Bleeds by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #4
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 349
Length: 13 hours and 6 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Kate Daniels works for the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, officially as a liaison with the mercenary guild. Unofficially, she cleans up the paranormal problems no one else wants to handle—especially if they involve Atlanta’s shapeshifting community.

When she’s called in to investigate a fight at the Steel Horse, a bar midway between the territories of the shapeshifters and the necromancers, Kate quickly discovers there’s a new player in town. One who’s been around for thousands of years—and rode to war at the side of Kate’s father.

This foe may be too much even for Kate and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, to handle. Because this time, Kate will be taking on family…

Magic Bleeds is the 4th book in Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series. The world was once ruled by magic, until technology forced it away. Now tech has become too predominate and magic is forcing its way back in. It comes in waves, killing all tech, destroying buildings and allowing magical beings to dominate. Then it recedes, leaving tech in control once again.

For Kate Daniels, life is decidedly different than it used to be. She was trained to live alone, to hide herself and avoid friendships at all costs. Now she’s become the liaison between the Mercenary Guild and the Order of Knights of Merciful Aid, and has Friend of the Pack status – and what she thought was going to be the start of a relationship with Curran, the Beast Lord of Atlanta.

When Kate is sent out by the Order to deal with a new case, a whole new can of worms opens. Because this new enemy is older and more powerful than any she’s dealt with in the past…and this time it’s family. Between her song and dance with Curran, cleaning up magical messes and trying to keep her past and family ties secret, Kate has a full plate.

This series is so wonderfully drawn, I feel like I’m right there in Post-Shift Atlanta with Kate, Curran and all the rest. Kate is such a badass. She’s quick-witted, super smart, a font of magically related knowledge and, most notably, a trained, highly efficient killer. Every time she comes on page, warming up her sword, Slayer, I get excited. I have the biggest girl-crush on her.

This book shows us the best of Kate so far in the series. She’s strong and kickass, but also vulnerable and open in a way she hasn’t been before. As she opens her heart to more people, she has to make some hard choices about following the path her father set her on when she was a child, or choosing instead to live a fuller life. I love how she changes through the series, yet remains the same at her core.

Her relationship with Curran is complicated, and often frustrating throughout this book. The first few chapters made my heart hurt, but I loved the way things were resolved in the end. Still, I wanted to smack both Curran and Kate upside the head more than once.

I’d believed him. He was supposed to be different, to be more. He’d made me hope for things I didn’t think I’d ever get. When hope broke, it hurt. Mine was a very big, very desperate hope, and it hurt like a sonovabitch.

Though the overall tone of this series is dark and serious, there’s a surprising amount of humor. I laughed out loud on several occasions. It’s also heartwarming, and heartbreaking.

Derek nodded at the vehicle. “Who is that?”
“Your replacement.”
He led me away from the front gate to a narrow side door. “You replaced me with a shaved poodle?”
“He’s got mad skills.”
Derek’s eyebrows crept up.
“He can vomit and urinate at the same time and he doesn’t make fun of my car.”

We learn a lot about Kate’s past in this book, and her relationship with Curran really progresses. We also meet new characters and spend time with some old favorites.

“When I got there, Miss Nash was standing by the hot tub in a small bikini, pointing the business end of a SIG-Sauer P-226 at her fella and concerned members of the hotel staff, while dunking the scantily clad female’s head under the water and asking, ‘Who’s diving for clams now, bitch?’ ”

All-in-all, Magic Bleeds is an excellent novel, even after the umpteenth reread.

4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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