Reading Challenge: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge

Joint Review: Archangel’s Sun by Nalini Singh

Posted November 23, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Archangel’s Sun by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee & Holly
Archangel's Sun by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #13
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War, Archangel's War , Archangel's Kiss
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 24, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A horrifying secret rises in the aftermath of an archangelic war in New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s deadly and beautiful Guild Hunter world...
The Archangel of Death and the Archangel of Disease may be gone but their legacy of evil lives on—especially in Africa, where the shambling, rotting creatures called the reborn have gained a glimmer of vicious intelligence.
It is up to Titus, archangel of this vast continent, to stop the reborn from spreading across the world. Titus can’t do it alone, but of the surviving powerful angels and archangels, large numbers are wounded, while the rest are fighting a surge of murderous vampires.
There is no one left…but the Hummingbird. Old, powerful, her mind long a broken kaleidoscope. Now, she must stand at Titus’s side against a tide of death upon a discovery more chilling than any other. For the Archangel of Disease has left them one last terrible gift…

Archangel’s Sun begins where Archangel’s War left off. The war with Lijuan finally came to an end in a rather spectacular fashion. Now the Archangel’s are trying to rebuild their territories. Titus is fighting to defend his territory in Africa from the reborn. The reborn are creatures that Lijuan created and Charisemnon helped change into bigger abominations than they already were. When the Cadre sends him the Hummingbird, he wonders how exactly such a fragile creature could help him. Chaos ensues.

Casee: I honestly wasn’t sure of this book when I first saw the blurb. Although the Hummingbird has been an interesting character in this series, I always thought of her in the abstract. I wasn’t really interested in her or her story. Ironically, she turned out to be one of my favorite characters in this series.

Holly: I was really intrigued by The Hummingbird in the previous books, and I was glad she was featured in this one. I really loved her personal journey in this book.

Casee: I feel like this was more about Sharine’s personal journey than it was about the romance between her and Titus. I thought the romance was really sweet, but I was more fascinated by Sharine herself. What did you think of Titus?

Holly: I really liked Titus. He made me laugh early on with his whole neanderthal attitudes, but honestly he was a big marshmallow underneath it all. I think he was a good fit for Sharine. I agree the romance took a back seat to her personal journey. I’m okay with that. I liked how things progressed as she came out of her shell and learned more about herself. I’d have liked to see more of her realizing her skills, but I’m hopeful we’ll see more of her in the future.

Casee: I really liked Titus, too. I liked how he interacted with his sisters. He never thought that he was superior to Sharine, which I really appreciated. I thought this really captured what the Hummingbird represented to the angels.

“Everyone loved the Hummingbird. Even Titus loved her—in a distant kind of way. He didn’t know her as a person. He knew of her. That she was a gift to angelkind, that her kindness was legendary, that she had never had an enemy in her life. And of course, that she had given birth to Illium, a young angel Titus greatly liked.”

I adored Sharine’s relationship with Illium. Aodhan too.

Holly: I loved that the entirety of angelkind had Sharine on a pedestal, but she was so sassy Titus couldn’t believe she was the same woman everyone went on about. It cracked me up every time she got miffed at him and he was baffled.

I really liked Sharine’s relationship with Ilium and Aodhan, too. It was good seeing her slide back into a more maternal role and taking back some of that responsibility from him. Her guilt over what she perceived as her weakness really tugged at my heartstrings.

Casee: I also loved how Sharine baffled Titus. He just couldn’t reconcile Sharine with the Hummingbird that everyone adores. I also enjoyed the progression of their relationship. It was a relationship that was built over months, not days. It was a very believable love story.

Holly: It was, except for the end. View Spoiler ».

Casee: I can understand that. Usually I’m not happy with HFN endings, but this one worked wonderfully. Sharine knew that she still had healing to do and while she loved Titus, she wanted to find herself on her own. I admired that.

I forgot another thing I loved. Raphael and Sharine. Sigh. So sweet.

Holly: To clarify, I’m totally good with the HFN, I actually wanted them to be LESS committed than they were. Which is a weird thing for me to say. lol

Oh, I really liked Raphael and Sharine, too. They’re relationship is so sweet.

Casee: That is weird. Lol

Where does it fall in the series for you? It’s not one of my favorites, but I did enjoy it. I would give it a 3.75 out of 5.

Holly: It wasn’t a favorite for me, either. I really liked Sharine’s personal growth and I enjoyed Titus, but the romance wasn’t my favorite. 3.5 out of 5 from me.

Final Grades

Casee: 3.75 out of 5.
Holly: 3.5 out of 5.

Guild Hunter Series

four-stars


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Review: How to Live and Undead Lie by Hailey Edwards

Posted November 18, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: How to Live and Undead Lie by Hailey EdwardsReviewer: Holly
How to Live an Undead Lie by Hailey Edwards
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Pages: 322
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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four-stars

When a fledgling vampire arrives at Woolworth House searching for his maker, Grier is forced to relive her time in Atramentous. Most of those years are as dark and empty in her memory as she was in her cell. She can't remember her progeny, or the night she resuscitated him, but she can protect him from the Society. As long as she's willing to barter with her grandfather to do it.

But Lacroix has plans of his own. He envisions the city--her city--under his rule, and Grier under his thumb. Now all he needs is the right leverage to force her cooperation, and he has just the person in mind. Grier is ready to trade her freedom until a grim truth is revealed that splits her heart in two. Yet another person she loves has betrayed her, and Grier is left agonizing over how much of their relationship is real and how much was a lie.

Grier is finally finding her place in this post-Atramentous life. She’s embracing her role as Dame Woolworth and learning more about who she is now. When a young vampire shows up on her doorstep, Grier has to face another aspect of her past…the powers that come from her mother’s side of the family. She doesn’t trust her grandfather or her mother’s people, but she knows she needs answers about how her powers work and they’re her best bet. Until she realizes one – or both – may be conspiring against her.

It feels like Grier is truly moving forward for the first time since the series began. I really like the way her friendships are progressing, especially with Lethe and Hood. I love how supportive Linus is, as well.

This was another good entry. I keep saying I’m going to take a break and read something else, then I end up picking up the next book. I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy

four-stars


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Review: The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie

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

Review: The Perfect Rake by Anne GracieReviewer: Holly
The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie
Series: The Merridew Sisters #1
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publication Date: July 5, 2005
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 360
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She ran from a brute...

Fleeing violent tyranny, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters' chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke...But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.

...into the arms of a rake

Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence's game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry...

The Perfect Rake is the first book in Anne Gracie’s Merridew Sisters trilogy. Tracy recommended this to me after I finished Marry in Scarlet. As it happens, it has a very similar theme to My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid, which I read shortly before this one. I really enjoyed it.

Prue and her younger sisters are being abused at the hands of their grandfather, their guardian since their parents’ death. When he falls down the stairs after a particularly brutal attack against her youngest sister, she sees it as a chance to finally be free of him. If she can get just one of her sister’s married, she can claim their inheritance and take them away from him forever. She forges a letter from their Guardian to their uncle, enlisting his help to give the older girls a season. The problem? Their uncle refuses to launch her sisters until she herself is wed. What she hasn’t told him is that she’s already engaged…to a man he’ll find completely unacceptable. So she does something daring…she claims to be engaged to a reclusive duke, one who hasn’t been out in society in years. She just needs enough time to get one of her sisters wed, and then she can give up the deception. Of course things are never that easy. It just so happens the Duke has come to town to find a bride himself. Prue knows they can’t go back to their grandfather, so she rushes to the Duke’s home to ask him to please keep her secret.

Gideon is reluctantly charmed by the headstrong girl who bursts into his friend’s home to demand he keep up her charade. When she assumes he’s the Duke, he doesn’t correct her at first, mostly because he’s convinced she was a gold-digger at first. It isn’t long before he realizes there’s a quiet desperation to the spitfire. He’s intrigued and wants to know more about her, but she wants nothing to do with him. As they traverse the season together, he realizes she’s more than he could ever have dreamed..now he just has to convince her she wants him just as much.

Prue, her sisters and both Carridan and the Duke were wonderful. I also loved the secondary characters. I loved how into Prue Gideon was. Every time someone mentioned the plain Merridew sister and he was confused I wanted to hug him. I liked how Prue was steadfast and loyal, and took care of her sisters.

This was a really light read, which worked against it in some areas. The early part of the book deals with some pretty heavy themes, but I never felt like they were explored. That was a missed opportunity.

Still, I can’t deny I enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Merridew Sisters

four-stars


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Review: How to Dance an Undead Waltz by Hailey Edwards

Posted November 16, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: How to Dance an Undead Waltz by Hailey EdwardsReviewer: Holly
How to Dance an Undead Waltz by Hailey Edwards
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 322
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars


Keep a spot open on your dance card. This is one ball you don't want to miss.

Grier is nursing a broken heart after Boaz announced his engagement to another woman, but life goes on. Or it would if vampire assassins would stop taking pot shots at her every time she leaves Woolworth House. Seriously, who sends archers to deliver murdergrams these days?

To protect herself, Grier must pull out all the stops, even if it means revealing her darkest secret. All eyes are on her, and — for the first time — she begins to understand why Linus wears so many masks. But the target isn’t Grier, and when the archers single him out, it feels like one of their arrows might have struck what remains of her heart.

Grier is still picking up the pieces of her broken heart after the latest betrayal by Boaz and Amelie. When Linus invites her to go to Atlanta with him, she jumps at the chance to get away. She just needs a minute to catch her breath…except her problems follow her to Atlanta, and before long she and Linus are in another fight for their lives.

I like that Grier is making a new family and collecting new friends. It feels like she’s growing into herself more; accepting her past and looking to her future. Parts of her are still too much to focus on, but she’s making a true effort now to come out of the darkness.

We learn more about her past and family connections here, which I enjoyed. I can’t quite decide what Eloise’s true motivation for visiting was, but I wasn’t surprised at the way things turned out. I’m sure there will be more betrayals in her future, but I feel like this Grier can handle them better.

I have to say, I love that Linus is so pro “Grier Can Do It Herself”. He is fully supportive of her standing on her own two feet. He may want to step in and take over now and again, but he never does, because he realizes she needs to be independent.

All in all, another fabulous entry in the series. These are quick reads, and I can’t wait for the next.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy

four-stars


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Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Posted November 11, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. JamesReviewer: Holly
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Narrator: Kirsten Potter, Brittany Pressley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Horror, Gothic, Thriller
Pages: 327
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

I recently had a Zoom call with some book friends and Wendy the Super Librarian recommended this novel. It had been in my TBR pile for awhile, but I moved it to the top. I usually enjoy novels by St. James, but this one was of the better ones I’ve read in awhile. The creepiness of the motel, the alternating story-lines and the mystery of what happened in the 1980s was gripping.

When Carly’s mom dies of cancer, she learns of an aunt she never knew existed..one who disappeared in the 1980s that no one ever talks about. Determined to connect with her family history, she travels to Fell, New York, to see if she can uncover what happened.

In 1982, Viv Delaney hitchhiked to Fell, New York and took a job as a night clerk at The Sun Down Motel. She expected it to be a stop-over point on her way to New York to pursue a career in acting. But strange things are happening in Fell, New York, and creepy things go on at night at The Sun Down. It isn’t long before Viv is wrapped up in the mystery of several local missing or murdered women.

The story alternates between Carly in the present and Viv in the 1980s. Carly is trying to figure out what happened to her aunt, and we’re given small pieces of the puzzle from Viv’s point of view in the 80s. I really enjoyed the two narrators and how the story was woven between the two time periods. I figured out pretty early on where things were headed, but I still enjoyed watching the story unfold.

I was slightly disappointed in the end, but I’d still definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a creepy, Gothic mystery.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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