Reading Challenge: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge

Joint Review: Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley

Posted April 23, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Sweet Dreams by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee & Holly
Sweet Dreams by Kristen Ashley
Series: Colorado Mountain #2
Also in this series: Jagged, Kaleidoscope, Sweet Dreams
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 656
Length: 25 hours and 6 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Welcome to New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley's Colorado Mountain Series, where friends become family and everyone deserves a second chance.When you lose everything, anything is possible.

Lauren Grahame needs a whole new life. A simpler life. After leaving her cheating husband, she moves to Carnal, Colorado, takes a job as a waitress, and realizes she might have finally found the hometown she'd been searching for. Except things are about to get a lot more complicated . . .

Lauren's fresh start does not include her growing feelings for her boss, Tate Jackson. She'll take the new friends, the new job, not to mention the incredible banana bread from the local coffee shop, but love is not on the agenda.

However, the people of Carnal know chemistry when they see it, and they're not about to let Tate and Lauren miss their chance.

Sweet Dreams is book two in Ashley’s Colorado Mountain series. You can read this book without reading the first book. Yes, I (Casee) actually am saying that and y’all know how I feel about reading a series out of order.

After a bitter divorce, Lauren Grahame turns into a nomad and travels wherever her heart takes her. She ends up in Carnal, CO where she sees there is a waitress job open. Lauren and Tate, the owner of the bar, get off to a rocky start. Fortunately, they are able to move pass their horrible first meeting. This book has it all; romance, love, sex, mystery, family. Everything you could want in a romance book, Sweet Dreams delivers. You will be drawn to these two characters and this book doesn’t spit you out until the end. Of course it is Kristen Ashley so there are times when you will go crazy with the dialogue and the dropping of the g’s. Somehow that doesn’t take away from the amazing love story between Lauren and Tate.

Casee: I don’t know why I doubt you. Seriously. I put off reading this book because it was so long, but when it ended I wished it was longer. This book is amazing. Like, totally amazing.

First I want to say how much I adored Lauren. She is so real. I can’t think of another way to describe her. She literally reinvented herself after her world blew up in her face. I love how she lived her life. She made new friendships, got a new job, found a place to live. All of it. I just can’t say enough good things about her.

Holly: I don’t know why you doubt me, either. Both our lives would be a lot easier if you just listened to me.

I adored Lauren, too. First, she’s in her 40’s, something we don’t see very often. Second, she’s rebuilding her life and finding herself after finding out her husband was cheating on her with her best friend. Something she didn’t well at first. Then she decided she was done wallowing and reinvented herself. I loved that aspect of the book. Watching her grow into this new version of herself was great.

I also loved the town of Carnal. I loved all the quirky residents and how well Lauren integrated with them.

Casee: I totally forgot she was in her 40’s, but I loved that too. Like I said…real. Like, honestly, how hard is it to start your life over when you’re in tour 40’s? I have no idea, but I know it would be hard. Lauren did it though, and she was amazing.

What did you think about Tate? I totally cringed when he was talking to Krystal about Lauren that first time and Lauren overheard. That was terrible. Here you have Lauren, who has had her whole life crushed by her asshole of an ex-husband, then some stranger says these awful things about her that she secretly thinks about herself? Ugh. At least he redeemed himself. I did laugh when he apologized and just expected her to move on and she wouldn’t. Ha.

Holly: Tate. Oh, Tate. He’s such an ass in the beginning, especially when he says sorry then basically demands she get over it. I like that she pushed back with him. I didn’t stay mad at him, though, because he’s so all in with her right from the beginning. He wants to take care of her, but he also wants to support her while she takes care of herself. He wasn’t one of those “let me be your hero” types. He was more “let me stand by your side while you save yourself” types. I loved it.

Casee: I loved Tate, too. I loved him for all the reasons you just stated. I like how he told her she would find herself, that she was special, that she could do anything she wanted. But hell if she was leaving him to do it. That really made me laugh. At that one point I texted you and told you I thought they were going to split because she had to find herself? Yeah, wrong. Tate would never allow that. Yes, I said allow.

When he said this…omgbbq, I fell all the way in love with him.

“You said you were waitin’ for something special and he took away your chance to figure out that you were carryin’ it with you all this time. You are special, Laurie.”

::sobs:

Holly: Honestly, I loved all the residents of Carnal. Jim Billy, Krystal, Wood, Tate and his family, shoot, even Twyla. Speaking of Twyla…she cracked up. I love how well KA does humor and human connections.

I wasn’t very interested in the serial murderer case, and there are definitely entire sections of the book I could have done without, but I can’t deny it pulled me in. This is probably my most re-read book of all time. I’m not exaggerating when I say I read portions of it every month.

Casee: Now I know why it’s your most re-read book of all time. It’s definitely a book that I would re-read.

I’m going to give it a 4.25 or 4.5. I haven’t decided yet. Probably 4.5. What about you?

Holly: I think I’m going to give it 4.25. I love the book like whoa, but I’m not blind it its faults.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.5 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Colorado Mountain

four-half-stars


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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
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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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Joint Review: Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley

Posted April 10, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Own the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee and Holly
Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #1
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 389
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Tabitha Allen has a not-so-secret crush on Parker "Shy" Cage. Shy thinks he knows the path Tabby's on and it isn't a good one. So he decides to teach her a lesson to lead her to the right path. Unfortunately, he was wrong and his actions wound Tabby, breaking her heart. It's Tabby who then teaches Shy a lesson about casting judgment and Shy Cage learns what it feels like to be invisible. But when tragedy strikes and Tabby's heart is broken again, Shy does what he can in the background to help. Trying to forget her heartbreak, Tabby finds herself in danger. To keep it secret from her biker family, the Chaos Motorcycle Club, she calls Shy to rescue her. But when she lets him back in, she gets much more than she bargained for.

Own the Wind is book one in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos MC series. It follows Tabitha Allen and Shy Cage. After tragedy struck Tabby’s life, Shy was there to pick up the pieces. The crush she had on him when she was a teenager is nothing compared to the feelings she finds herself starting to have for him. Shy has had his eye on Tabby for years, but she’s the daughter of the MC’s President. Which equals off-limits. Even knowing that, Shy can’t stop what is happening between them and he doesn’t want it to stop.

Tabby and Shy’s relationship gets off to a rocky start, but eventually they realize they were made for each other. That realization doesn’t come easily to either of them. They both have faults and trying to mesh their lives isn’t as easy as they thought it would be. There are ups and downs, but in the end, they preserved.

Casee: This book. I don’t even know where to start. Seriously I have so many feels. My biggest feel is confusion. Confusion as to why I loved this book. Absolutely and completely loved it. Shy was such a jerk, but I adored him. Adored every single part of him. Why? I’m reading the second book in the series right now and I still don’t understand it. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times you tell me.

Holly: Welcome to the dark side. KA is so hard to pin down for me. She’s overly descriptive and her grammar often kills me, but I get so wrapped up in her stories I can’t stop reading her.

Own the Wind is the first book released with Forever, and I think it’s one of her better books in terms of editing. When I first read it I remember thinking it had all the things I love, but a lot of what bothers me about her writing was cleaned up. She’ll always be KA, and that’s okay since what she does works so well, but this book is more polished than some of her others.

Casee: More polished? That scares me since I plan to read her backlist. But it won’t stop me.

What threw me about KA is how I could be thrown from one side to the other so quickly. For example…When Tab was telling Shy that he had to start helping around the house because she wasn’t going to do everything for him. I mean, come on. Man up. I was like, “You go, girl. Tell him how it is,”. Shy wasn’t having any of it and I started getting so mad, like WTAF. Then Shy told Tab why he wouldn’t be doing certain things around the house and I was all “Awww”. My emotions can’t handle that. It literally happened in five seconds. Who else can write like that?

Holly: No one I know. She’s a master at tugging my emotions in all different directions.

Speaking of Shy and Tabby..I adored them together. They were such a wonderful couple. I was concerned when the book first started since Tabby was so young, but I thought Ashley did a good job of advancing the timeline. I really felt for Tabby the first few chapters. Watching her come back from her grief with Shy’s help was lovely. I also loved how loyal to him she was. When she stood up to her step-mom, dad and the entire club for him? My heart melted.

Casee: I loved reading about how their relationship evolved. They were friends first. Shy helped her through such a difficult time in her life without expecting anything in return. That’s one of the reason he was such an incredible hero. The entire time they had a platonic relationship, he had no clue if there would ever be anything between them. He was just a good person in general (even though he could be an ass).

Even with all the dropping of the “g’s”, which drove me insane at first, I give this a 4.25. What about you?

Holly: Their progression from enemies to friends to lovers was wonderful. I loved how it was them against the world. When Shy gave her his speech about (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Shit is going to get bad out there, but we’ll be fine as long as we’re together” I got all melty.

There are definitely issues with the characters, the story and the writing, but they’re overshadowed by all the good. KA never fails to pull me in and I adore Shy and Tabby. I’m giving it 4.25 as well.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Chaos


four-stars


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