Reading Challenge: Goodreads Challenge

Review: Guardian’s Grace by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted October 21, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Guardian’s Grace by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Guardian's Grace by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Dark Protectors #12
Also in this series: Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Fated (Dark Protectors, #1), Claimed (Dark Protectors, #2), Hunted (Dark Protectors, #3), Consumed (Dark Protectors, #4), Provoked (Dark Protectors, #5), Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Shadowed (Dark Protectors, #6), Vampire's Faith (Dark Protectors, #8), Demon's Mercy (Dark Protectors, #9), Alpha's Promise, Hero's Haven
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 346
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


Duty—or desire?

Vampire soldier Adare O’Cearbhaill’s default setting is cranky. Or irritated. Or down-right hostile. Still, as a Highlander of honor and duty he stepped up to save an enhanced and special human female by mating her—with merely a bite and a brand. The last person he wants in his life is a fragile human, yet he can’t get her out of his mind as she regains her strength before taking off for parts unknown. And when he discovers she is in danger, nothing can stop him from hunting her down—whether she likes it or not.

There’s only one way to find out . . .

Photographer Grace Cooper has had it with vampires, demons, and the rest of an immortal world she was happier not knowing about. She also doesn’t believe she’s destined for some great battle because of an old birthmark. Forget the fact that her mate is the sexiest thing on two stubborn feet, or that her brand is fading along with her health. She’ll handle things on her own—until an old enemy reappears and she learns the only way to stay alive is to actually mate, wild sex and all, with that ripped and dangerous Adare—a powerful, captivating Highlander who demands nothing less than everything . . .

Guardian’s Grace is book twelve in Zanetti’s Dark Protector series. Adare and Grace’s arc started a few books ago.

Adare knew it was his duty to mate with Grace. It was the only way to pull her out of the coma she was in. Grace doesn’t remember anything about the attack that put her in a coma. She knows her sister, she knows her childhood, but everything after that is a blur. Grace didn’t even know the Realm existed until she was mated to a vampire. Now she’s firmly in their world even if she doesn’t want to be. Grace is a Key, one of three women that can open the Lock. Too bad no one knows what exactly the Keys are or how they’re going to open the Lock.

Five years have passed since Adare and Grace mated. Grace took off to parts unknown. She wanted to live her own life away from the maddening Adare. When Grace starts looking for vampire blood to heal someone she knows, the Seven immediately take action. Imagine Adare’s surprise when he finds his mate trying to buy another vampire’s blood. He’s infuriated until he sees what bad shape Grace is in. Instead of thriving, Grace seems to be sick and she’s unable to heal herself.

Grace knows she’s dying. She’s unable to heal herself, something she was able to do in the past. Her mating mark is disappearing. She knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s back in a coma. Adare was the one that pulled her out and the only one that can stop it from happening again. Before she dies, Grace is determined to get answers about her attack. She returns to the scene of the crime in Denver and starts digging for answers. It was pretty stupid of her to go off on her own. The Kurjans are looking for her, as are the Cyst who are a religious offshoot of the Kurjans.

This was a sweet story, but it just didn’t pack the punch that I thought it would. Adare and Grace were extremely interesting in the previous books. In this book they were just meh. I did like how confident Adare was about saving Grace. Honestly, that was one of his best qualities. What they were told by the doctors didn’t concern him. He is one of the Seven and Grace is a Key. To save Grace, they’ll have to mate again. This time they need to go all the way for the win.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Dark Protectors

three-stars


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Review: How to Break an Undead Heart by Hailey Edwards

Posted October 16, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: How to Break an Undead Heart by Hailey EdwardsReviewer: Holly
How to Break an Undead Heart by Hailey Edwards
Series: Beginner's Guide to Necromancy #3
Also in this series: How to Save an Undead Life , How to Claim an Undead Soul
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 30, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 278
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Beginner's Guide to Necromancy, Book 3

Grier finally has the one thing she’s always wanted: Boaz Pritchard. Too bad her dream boyfriend is keeping her up nights, just not in a sweaty or fun way. Boaz has dialed down the Southern charm and stopped returning her calls. His job forces him to keep secrets, but his radio silence is cranking up her suspicions. He’s a shameless flirt, but he’s her shameless flirt…right?

Soon an attack on Woolworth House leaves her with bigger problems than he loves me, he loves me not. Vampires are on the prowl, and they aren’t the only predators circling. A new threat has emerged, one with blood rights to Grier. With enemies closing in on all sides, she must choose her allies, and the decision could make or break her…and her heart.

Warning: This book contains a buttload of zombie parakeet poop. Like grab a poncho and thank me later. Watch out, y’all. It’s about to hit the fan. Hearts will break, and heads will roll. Literally.

How to Break and Undead Heart is the third book in The Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy series by Hailey Edwards.

Grier is still dealing with the betrayal of her best friend, but she’s glad to finally be settled into a relationship with her long-time crush, Boaz. Except for the fact that he won’t return her calls, and she rarely sees him. So maybe things aren’t as settled as she thought? With vampires constantly circling her and Linus, her childhood nemesis, teaching her how to become a proper necromancer, things are crazy enough. She isn’t ready to deal with more…but she isn’t given much of a choice.

This is the book I’ve been waiting for, where Grier is betrayed by those she loves most, and realizes she needs to let go of her past in order to accept her future. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t wishing additional pain and suffering on her by any stretch, but I feel like the events of this book were necessary for her to move on in a positive way. Sometimes we need to walk away from our past in order to have a better future.

I’m not surprised Boaz and Amelie acted as they did. Neither have had Grier’s best interests at heart from the beginning, for all she thought of them as her only family. I really dislike their parents, and I’m glad Grier has some closure there.

I love that Linus allows Grier the space she needs to figure herself out, while still supporting her. This is the pairing I expected from the beginning, and I love the way things are progressing between them.

This is probably my favorite book of the series to date. Grier needed a wake-up call, and while my heart hurts for her, I hope she can now pick up the pieces of her life and finally move on.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy

four-stars


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Featured Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted October 15, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Iron Covenant #1, Kate Daniels #9.5
Also in this series: Iron and Magic, Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 18, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 394
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…

But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming.

Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

Iron & Magic by Ilona Andrews is book 9.5 in the Kate Daniels series, and follows Hugh D’Ambray, Kate’s sort of step-brother and the anti-hero of the series. Roland, Kate’s father and father-figure to Hugh, has banished Hugh for his part in not bringing Kate to his side. Now Hugh is adrift. Without Roland’s magic there’s a gaping hole inside him. But his Iron Dogs need him, so he makes a deal with a devil…in exchange for a place to live, he’ll marry the White Witch and provide protection for her people.

Holly: I’ve been anxious for you two to finish this series already. I can’t even tell you how excited I am for you to have read this book.

Rowena: I’d say that that first 30-40% of the book dragged a little, and that’s why I was so over their bickering and fighting but things really kicked into gear for me when the Pack shows up to pick up the shapeshifter family. Oh man, Ascanio!! It was so good to see familiar faces and Ascanio always makes me smile so I was happy to see him.

Casee: I don’t know why but this isn’t one of my favorites. There were things I liked more than disliked. Actually, I didn’t really dislike anything. I was over it by the time I finished the book. The narration wasn’t great and the story just dragged for me. I think it would have been different if I would have read the thing.

Holly: I thought the first quarter-half of the book moved slow as well, but like Rowena, it picked up for me when the Pack showed up. Actually, even before then. When Elara and Hugh started working together for their people, that’s when it picked up for me.

Tell me, what did you think of Hugh as a hero?

Casee: I never really thought of Hugh as “bad”. I never really thought about him as a hero either. If anything, he’s most definitely an anti-hero.

Rowena: Hugh used to get on my damn nerves because of his interactions with Kate but I never hated him. I saw him as an anti-hero and am pleased that he got his own book so that we can see more of what makes him, him. I’m glad that we got to know him better in this book and I really enjoyed this one.

Holly: Hugh annoyed me, too, but I could never hate him. I especially loved him in Magic Rises. I really came to like him in this book. When he plays the good ‘ol boy, I cracked up. He was a right bastard in the beginning of this book, though. I didn’t hate him, but I wanted to smack the crap out of him a couple times.

Rowena: Hugh is a dick but holy cow, I like him. When that Senator came to bother Elara and Hugh put on that show for him and those mercenaries? My bloodthirsty ass jumped for joy. I also surprised myself because I didn’t know that I liked that kind of punishment. You learn something new every day, I guess. LOL.

Casee: One part of the book that sticks out for me is when Hugh confronted Roland. I thought it showed how far Hugh came as a hero/man. He even said that he’d never let Roland do anything to Kate’s child, which was surprising. I do want to learn more about Elara and her power. She’s one scary bitch. Who didn’t take any shit from anyone and was beloved by her people.

Rowena: Was Hugh “redeemed” for all of the shit that he did to Kate and everyone else in the previous books? What do you guys think? For me, it’s a little complicated but I’m glad that I know what drove him and that he feels the way that he does about his previous actions. I felt like Elara was right, he isn’t the same guy that we knew from before and I’m glad for that but I’m still mad about Aunt B, about Curran’s injuries, and about all of Magic Rises. I’m choosing to blame that all on Roland though.

Holly: I don’t know that I’d say Hugh was redeemed, exactly, but having a reason for why he did what he did makes things easier to swallow, I guess. It helps that the reason why was a good one, a believable one.

Rowena: There were also times when the strategy meetings and just meetings, in general, bored me. Like, there were too many long, technical explanations that I was like, do we really need all of this? But overall, this one was fun. I spent a lot of time saying, “What the fuck?” because seriously, what is Elara? I felt the exact same way that Bale did in that tunnel. Freaked the fuck out.

Holly: I agree the pacing of this one was slower than most of Andrews’ books. I understand we needed to see a lot of Hugh and the way his mind worked in order for us to move past what he did to Kate, but still. It was hard to stay focused at parts.

Casee: I found Elara to be a strong heroine. While the fighting got old, when it came down to it, Elara and Hugh had each other’s back.

Holly: I am looking forward to the next book. Do you two intend to read it?

Casee: Yes, I plan on reading it.

Rowena: I definitely plan on reading the next book. I like Hugh and Elara. I like, and am interested in getting to know the other Iron Dogs too. Do you guys know if it’s going to be another Hugh and Elara book? Since this book was in third person, I wasn’t sure. What is the next book about? Are we going to delve into what the heck kind of people Hugh aligned himself with because in that final battle when they gathered together and started chanted, I was like, WTF is going on here? And then when, was it Savannah? When she went freaking crazy with her power?

I’d say that through about half of this book, I looked like this:

Thank goodness for Ilona Andrews because these books really kicked my reading slump to the curb. Two books in 4 days? Yes, please. More of this, please.

Holly: I can’t even begin to tell you how effing excited I am that you’re reading again? SO.Freaking.Excited.

Rowena: curtsies I’m back, bitches. Yay, me.

Overall though, I enjoyed this one. The last half of the book made up for the slow start and I’m glad that I stuck with it because Hugh and Elara ended up being a lot of fun together. I loved the way that they had each other’s back, even until the very end. I am mighty curious about what made Roland run the way that he did from Elara. Also, I hoped we would see Deirdre in the end. I really wanted to see her again but oh well. I’m giving this 4 out of 5 stars. What about you guys?

Holly: I believe there are 3 books planned about Elara and Hugh. Ilona Andrews said in a blog post earlier this year they had put it on hold because the tone is really dark and a main character dies, and they’re just not in the right head-space to delve into that right now. I have to assume we’ll learn more about Elara and her powers, and hopefully more about the Iron Dogs, too.

The last half was definitely better than the first, but overall, I enjoyed it. I would give it 4 out of 5. I can’t wait for you two to read Magic Triumphs now. <3

Casee: Hugh was so interesting when he was trying to kill/“date” Kate. I don’t know why (actually it was probably the narrator), but I just lost interest in Hugh. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to read the next book though.

I really enjoyed Elara. She saved the book for me. Her & the Iron Dogs. I give this a 3 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 3 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

The Iron Covenant

Kate Daniels

three-half-stars


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Review: How to Claim an Undead Soul by Hailey Edwards

Posted October 14, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: How to Claim an Undead Soul by Hailey EdwardsReviewer: Holly
How to Claim an Undead Soul by Hailey Edwards
Series: Beginner's Guide to Necromancy #2
Also in this series: How to Save an Undead Life , How to Break an Undead Heart
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 15, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 286
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Life was simpler for Grier when she was flat broke and a social pariah. Now she’s carrying the baggage that goes along with the title of Dame Woolworth, and shouldering that weight is giving her a serious crick in the neck. Her work as a Haint is the one thing that makes her feel normal, but even that’s more paranormal than usual.

Spirits are vanishing from well-known hot spots on the ghost tour circuit, and vampires are turning up as shriveled husks. Grier takes it upon herself to uncover what’s preying on Savannah’s supernatural community, and what she uncovers is bigger than a few flickering lampposts gone dark. It’s a deadly threat unleashed by one of their own, and saving her city just might kill her.

Book 2 in The Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy series by Hailey Edwards is very much a continuation of the first, How to Save an Undead Life. Grier is picking up the pieces of her life and trying to move forward, but she’s missing key pieces of her memory and education. She’s trying to slot back into her old life, and it isn’t working, because she’s no longer the wide-eyed, innocent girl she used to be. She’s darker now, and broken in ways that can’t really be fixed, no matter how much she – and the friends she grew up with – may wish otherwise.

When spirits start disappearing, Grier realizes there’s more going on that meets the eye. She’s determined to figure out what’s going on in her city..but the cost may be higher than she ever could have imagined.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first. It felt a bit slower, which worked against it in some ways. Not to mention I wasn’t surprised by the big reveal at the end. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good read, because it was. I like that Grier is finding her feet and working on becoming independent. I really appreciate her candor and honesty with herself, and how willing she is to face the broken parts of herself. While this definitely felt like a continuation of book one, there were some key elements that made me immediately pick up book three.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy

three-half-stars


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Review: How to Save an Undead Life by Hailey Edwards

Posted October 9, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: How to Save an Undead Life by Hailey EdwardsReviewer: Holly
How to Save an Undead Life by Hailey Edwards
Series: Beginner's Guide to Necromancy #1
Also in this series: How to Claim an Undead Soul , How to Break an Undead Heart
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 19, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 234
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Grier Woolworth spends her nights weaving spooky tales of lost souls and tragedies for tourists on the streets of downtown Savannah. Hoop skirt and parasol aside, it's not a bad gig. The pay is crap, but the tips keep the lights on in her personal haunted mansion and her pantry stocked with ramen.

Life is about as normal as it gets for an ex-necromancer hiding among humans. Until the society that excommunicated Grier offers her a second chance at being more than ordinary. Too bad no one warned her the trouble with being extraordinary is it can get you killed.

Warning: This book contains one ex-con/ex-heiress with a pet zombie parakeet who lives next door to her ex-army/ex-crush. Brace yourselves, we're talking more exes than a pirate treasure map here.

How to Save an Undead Life by Hailey Edwards is book one of the Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy series. I’ve read a few books in the Foundling series and enjoyed them, but not as much as this book.

Grier Woolworth is trying to put herself back together after being imprisoned for five years for a murder she’s pretty sure she didn’t commit. Her unexpected release was such a shock she didn’t look too closely at it, until a strange vampire shows up and offers her an alliance. When more strange things begin happening, Grier starts to wonder what really happened the night her guardian was murdered, and why she’s suddenly a hot commodity.

Grier was such a standup character. I loved how determined she was to put the pieces of herself back together. She’d only been out of prison – where she was in solitary confinement and drugged for the majority of her sentence – a few months, and she was still coming out of the fog and dealing with the shock of her unexpected freedom. I liked that she did what she could to move forward, but still acknowledged she had a long way to go. She’s had a crush on her best friend’s brother, Boaz, since she was a girl, and suddenly he’s back in her life as well. Their dynamic was interesting. Grier isn’t the same girl she was when she went away, and Boaz has a hard time recognizing that. It was also interesting to see her friendship with Amelie, Boaz’s sister, change.

About 3/4 of the way through the book something happens that kind of sets Grier back a bit. I’ll be honest, I didn’t love that part of the book. It went on for longer than it needed to for this reader. View Spoiler »

I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series. There was a lot of humor in this book despite the dark themes, and I found the reading experience to be very balanced and emotional at the same time.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy

three-half-stars


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