Reading Challenge: Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge

Review: Polaris Rising by Jessie Milhalik

Posted December 30, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Polaris Rising by Jessie MilhalikReviewer: Holly
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Series: Consortium Rebellion #1
Also in this series: Aurora Blazing
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 448
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A space princess on the run and a notorious outlaw soldier become unlikely allies in this imaginative, sexy space opera adventure—the first in an exciting science fiction trilogy.

In the far distant future, the universe is officially ruled by the Royal Consortium, but the High Councillors, the heads of the three High Houses, wield the true power. As the fifth of six children, Ada von Hasenberg has no authority; her only value to her High House is as a pawn in a political marriage. When her father arranges for her to wed a noble from House Rockhurst, a man she neither wants nor loves, Ada seizes control of her own destiny. The spirited princess flees before the betrothal ceremony and disappears among the stars.

Ada eluded her father’s forces for two years, but now her luck has run out. To ensure she cannot escape again, the fiery princess is thrown into a prison cell with Marcus Loch. Known as the Devil of Fornax Zero, Loch is rumored to have killed his entire chain of command during the Fornax Rebellion, and the Consortium wants his head.

When the ship returning them to Earth is attacked by a battle cruiser from rival House Rockhurst, Ada realizes that if her jilted fiancé captures her, she’ll become a political prisoner and a liability to her House. Her only hope is to strike a deal with the dangerous fugitive: a fortune if he helps her escape.

But when you make a deal with an irresistibly attractive Devil, you may lose more than you bargained for . . .

Tracy recommended this series to me. It took me several days to read it, but I think that had more to do with my current state of mind than the book.

Ada von Hasenberg fled Earth rather than be forced into a marriage she didn’t want. She’s been on the run for two years, until a Mercenary crew finds her and attempts to drag her back to her father. When the man she was supposed to marry turns up to “claim” her, she knows something is wrong. The son of a rival house, Richard Rockhurst was a good political match, but no one Ada wanted to marry. She escapes with the help of another prisoner, notorious criminal Marcus Loch, and sets out to discover why Richard is so insistent that they marry. It’s obvious he wants something, and Ada is determined to discover what it is.

I really liked the constant action, and I enjoyed how self-sufficient Ada was. She was capable and daring, which worked well given her circumstances. She as also extremely loyal to her House, despite how poorly her father treated her. All the von Hasenberg siblings are close, and she does what she does for them. But I still liked how she wanted to help her House. I did struggle with the romance. I never really felt like Loch and Ada connected outside of the physical. Frankly I was surprised when they made long-term commitments to each other. I didn’t feel like they were read for “I Love You” in any way. I also didn’t get a good feel for Loch away from Ada. The first-person narration worked against the story there. We didn’t see enough emotion or explanation for why he acted the way he did.

I did like the overall storyline, the secondary characters and the action. But parts of the novel felt unfinished to me. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Consortium Rebellion

three-half-stars


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Review: Enthroned by K.M. Shea

Posted December 4, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Enthroned by K.M. SheaReviewer: Holly
Enthroned by K.M. Shea
Series: King Arthur and Her Knights #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 5, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Time Travel
Pages: 126
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The throne of King Arthur stands unclaimed.

Merlin has been working on his dream of uniting Britain for years, hiding behind an old-wise-man persona as needed for his goal. When the original Arthur runs off before the crowning ceremony, Merlin is forced to get creative. He casts a spell to enable the sword in the stone to choose a new ruler from across time.

But even Merlin couldn’t foresee that the magic would search for a king thousands of years into the future and choose the last person anyone would expect: a woman.

Britt Arthurs doesn’t mind a good fight, but beating the divided kingdoms of ancient Britain into submission while hiding her real identity is a bigger battle than she wants. She thought she was taking a quick tourist photo with a rusty sword. Instead she was ripped through time and faced with two impossibilities: the sword has chosen her as the new King Arthur, and Merlin is much younger and hotter than she expected!

With enemies on all sides and a wizardly advisor who defies his own legends, will Britt succeed in her role as the High King of Britain?

The finished King Arthurs and Her Knights series is based on Arthurian legends and lore. It is sprinkled with humor, love, and more than a dash of magic. If you enjoy strong characters and tales about the Knights of the Round Table, buy the King Arthurs series today!

Britt Arthurs is on holiday in England with her best friends when she touches an old sword in a graveyard and is transported back in time. The great wizard Merlin bespelled the sword to bring forward the one true King Arthur. No one expected King Arthur to be a woman, but the sword doesn’t lie, so….what are you gonna do? Britt is now stuck in a medieval time, tasked with uniting a country she knows little about.

I really want more Arthurian romances. Especially ones with gender swapped roles. Although the second half of this one was good, I didn’t love it. The first half was boring and featured a lot of tell, don’t show. There wasn’t much emotion or connection to the characters. It was like reading script. Plus, Britt’s ridiculous decision to believe she was dreaming was annoying and went on way too long.

The second half was better. Once Britt decided to accept her place as King Arthur and actually try to unite the kingdoms, I came to enjoy the story. Not a great story overall, but I liked it well enough to start the next book.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

King Arthur and Her Knights

two-half-stars


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Review: Marry in Scarlet by Anne Gracie

Posted November 9, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Marry in Scarlet by Anne GracieReviewer: Holly
Marry in Scarlet by Anne Gracie
Series: Marriage of Convenience #4
Also in this series: Marry in Scandal
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 344
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Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A marriage born of passion and scandal turns into something more from the bestselling author of Marry in Secret.

When a duke denied...

The proud and arrogant Duke of Everingham is determined to secure a marriage of convenience with heiress Lady Georgiana Rutherford. He's the biggest prize on the London marriage mart, pursued by young unmarried ladies and their match-making mamas, as well as married women with a wandering eye. He can have any woman he wants. Or so he thinks...
...Hunts an independent lady...
Lady Georgiana Rutherford—irreverent and unconventional—has no plans to marry. Having grown up poor, Lady George has no intention of giving up her fortune to become dependent on the dubious and unreliable goodwill of a man. Especially a man as insufferable as the Duke of Everingham, whose kisses stirs unwelcome and unsettling emotions...

...Sparks are sure to fly

The more she defies him, the more the duke wants her, until an argument at a ball spirals into a passionate embrace. Caught in a compromising position, the duke announces their betrothal. George is furious, and when gossip claims she deliberately entrapped the duke—when she was the one who was trapped—she marches down the aisle in a scarlet wedding dress. But the unlikely bride and groom may have found love in the most improbable of places—a marriage of convenience.

Marry in Scarlet is the fourth book in the Marriage of Convenience series by Anne Gracie, but the first book by the author I’ve read. Ames recommended it. This was a cute historical romance.

The Duke of Everingham, Hart to his friends, was left at the alter. Lady Agatha, aunt to the girl who jilted him, suggests he marry her other niece instead. Lady Georgiana has no desire to marry, and Hart is frankly offended that Lady Agatha thinks he’d be willing to marry another girl from this family when one already stood him up. After spending some time with Lady George, Hart realizes she’s nothing like her cousin, and he becomes determined to marry her…no matter what she says.

Lady George has no desire to marry. She wants to retire to the country and raise horses. When she’s caught in a compromising position with the Duke, she still refuses…much to his chagrin. Eventually his mother manipulates her into saying yes, but she has no desire to become a dutiful duchess.

I enjoyed George, the heroine, quite a bit. The first half really frustrated me. George got railroaded left and right, and Aunt Agatha really angered me. The second half was much better. I liked seeing George and Hart settle into each other. The kids at the end kind of came out of nowhere, but they were cute and I liked the story overall.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Marriage of Convenience

four-stars


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Review: Pathfinder’s Way by T.A. White

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

Review: Pathfinder’s Way by T.A. WhiteReviewer: Holly
Pathfinder's Way by T.A. White
Series: The Broken Lands #1
Also in this series: Mist's Edge
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 396
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Trateri are about to learn a vital lesson of the Broken Lands. Deep in the remote expanse where anything can happen, it pays to be on a pathfinder’s good side.

Nobody ventures beyond their village. Nobody sane that is. Monstrous creatures and deadly mysteries wait out here. Lucky for the people she serves, Shea’s not exactly sane. As a pathfinder, it’s her job to face what others fear and find the safest route through the wilderness. It’s not an easy job, but she’s the best at what she does.

When the people she serves betray her into servitude to the Trateri, a barbarian horde sweeping through the Lowlands intent on conquest, Shea relies on her wits and skill to escape, disguising herself as a boy to hide from the Warlord, a man as dangerous as he is compelling.

After being mistaken as a Trateri scout during her escape, Shea finds herself forced to choose between the life she led and the possibilities of a new one. Her decision might mean the difference between life or death. For danger looms on the horizon and a partnership with the Warlord may be the only thing preventing the destruction of everything she holds dear.

I asked for Fantasy/UF/PNR recs on Twitter a few months ago and Angela James suggested this author. I tried starting this back in June, but I wasn’t in the mood so I set it aside until this weekend. I had to push myself through the first few pages (my reading mood, not the book), but I ended up easily falling into the story.

The world-building is superb. Shea’s strength and ingenuity as she led a rescue party for some of the villagers really pulled me in. I loved how she brushed off criticisms and just did what needed to be done. I also liked the way her friendship developed with her traveling companions.

This is a sweeping tale that stretches across quite a bit of time and distance. I liked seeing the various landscapes and watching Shea overcome obstacles.

I was frustrated with the turn things took at about the 80% mark. Up until then, I really loved Shea. She was resourceful, independent and more than capable, if a little closed off to others. After that, she was kind of swept to the side because of her relationship with Fallon. I didn’t love how she seemed to fade as they grew closer. I’m hoping for a better resolution to that part of the story in later books.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Broken Lands

four-stars


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Review: A Winning Season by Rochelle Alers

Posted September 7, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: A Winning Season by Rochelle AlersReviewer: Holly
A Winning Season by Rochelle Alers
Series: Wickham Falls Weddings #10
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Sliding home…for a lifetime
The girl next door…
Or a grand slam love?



Baseball ace Sutton Reed’s returned home triumphant after years in the majors. When he moves next door to a troubled young man, he’s determined to help—for the boy’s sake and for the boy’s gorgeous older sister, Zoey Allen. After sacrificing everything to keep her family together, Zoey has no time for romance…even with a hometown hero. But will this unlikely combo be the home run love story they all deserve?
Nationally Bestselling Author

I hadn’t read Alers before, but I was in the mood for a sweet contemporary when I found this while browsing NetGalley. I’m a total sucker for Single Mom/Sisters who step up stories, and the premise appealed to me. I had a few issues with the writing, but I really liked the story overall.

Zoey’s parents unexpectedly pass away when she’s 18, and she fights to get custody of her two younger brothers, who are 6 and 8. She’s put her life on hold to raise them, but it’s been ten years. When her youngest brother graduates high school, she plans to finally realize her dream of attending nursing school and maybe travel a bit. Until retired Major League Baseball star Sutton Reed moves in next door…

Sutton only planned to spend a year in his hometown while he worked out his next plan after he retires from the majors, but one look at his sexy new neighbor and he knows he’s in trouble. Zoey is everything he ever wanted in a woman, and mentoring her younger brother Harper fulfills him in unexpected ways. Convincing Zoey they should be together long term will take all of his skill…but he’s playing to win.

I loved the relationship between Harper and Zoey (the older brother, Kyle, has joined the Marine Corps and is only mentioned in this book). She had a hard road taking on her brothers and raising them to be men, but she never shied away from it. She was strong and knew herself well. I really enjoyed her character, and her family.

Sutton was also a great character. He was raised by a single-mom and wants nothing more than to work with kids and settle down with his own family now that he’s retired from the majors. He really falls in love with Zoey and her brother, and I loved how committed he was to them both.

There were a couple continuity errors, but they didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the story.

This was a sweet book, focused on family and love. I liked the romance and the way Zoey and Sutton came to care for and rely on one another.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Wickham Falls Weddings

four-stars


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