Reading Challenge: Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge

Review: Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Posted October 25, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Forbidden by Beverly JenkinsReviewer: Holly
Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
Series: Old West #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 389
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns with the first book in a breathtaking new series set in the Old West

Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.

Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .

My book club chose Forbidden for this month. I am not a fan of historical Westerns in general. I did really enjoy this one, however. As a friend pointed out, this felt more like a small-town contemporary romance set in the old West, rather than a true Western. While that may not appeal to some, it definitely appealed to me.

I really loved Eddy. She was such a smart, capable woman who stood by her convictions and worked hard for a better future, I easily connected with her. She stood up for herself and wasn’t willing to compromise her ethics or morals, which was lovely. She also had a great sense of humor.

I didn’t care for Rhine as much. I’m not exactly sure why Eddy was fixated on him. She didn’t seem the type to be swayed by the physical only, yet I didn’t see much of a connection between them outside of good ol’ sexual chemistry. He did do a lot of good for the community, but he was such an ass that I really had a hard time liking him.

Forbidden is a well-written, easy-to-read novel. I loved the town, the secondary characters, and Eddy. I even liked the romance. I just wished she’d ended up with someone else.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Old West

four-stars


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Review: The Monster Mash by Angie Fox

Posted October 20, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Monster Mash by Angie FoxReviewer: Holly
The Monster Mash by Angie Fox
Series: Monster M*A*S*H* #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 340
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Ancient gods. Modern war. And a star-crossed couple who could use some divine intervention.

The day I was drafted into the army of the gods, all I knew about being a MASH surgeon was what I’d learned from Hawkeye Pierce and Hot Lips Houlihan. Now here I am, Dr. Petra Robichaud, in the middle of an immortal war, assigned to a MASH camp with a nosy sphinx, a vegetarian werewolf, and an uptight vampire who really needs to get a life.

At least they’re all too busy with their own dramas to discover my secret: I can see the dead. It’s a forbidden gift, one that can get me killed, so I haven’t told a soul.
Until the arrestingly intense Galen arrives on my operating table, half-dead and totally to-die-for. When his spirit tries to slip out of his fatally wounded body, I impulsively slip it back in. Call it a rash resurrection. One I’ll live to regret.

Now Commander Galen of Delphi knows my secret, and he’s convinced I’m part of an ancient prophecy—one that can end the war for good. But taking a chance could cost me everything. And it would be easier to convince him to leave me alone, except now the prophecies are starting to come true…

Warning: This novel contains a hefty dose of danger, drama, practical jokes, pet swamp lizards, brooding demigods, adventure, romance, and heart—in a MASH camp where everybody knows your business.

*The core of this book was originally called Immortally Yours, published by St. Martin's Press in 2012. The author has rewritten it into the way she always envisioned the story to be, which means it is now a romantic comedy instead of an angsty book. Oh, and there are a lot more pet swamp lizards, too.

Petra Robichaud has been conscripted into the war between Heaven and Hell. Assigned to a MASH unit as a surgeon, she’s biding her time until she makes enough rank to get some interesting cases. When a patient lands on her table and she accidentally saves his life by binding his soul to hers for a brief period of time, she knows her life will never be the same. She can see spirits – not just the ghostly kind, but the essence of people as well.

As soon as Commander Galen of Delphi realizes what Petra can do, he knows she’s the one who will fulfill the prophesy and end the war. Convincing her of same may take some time…which is why he makes sure she can’t ship him out as soon as she realizes he knows her secret. Now he has a limited amount of time to make her realize she is exactly what the world needs, while also keeping her abilities a secret, lest the higher ups realize what she can do and kill her to prevent the prophesy from being fulfilled.

This book was previously published under the title Immortally Yours, which I didn’t realize until after I finished it and saw the author’s note about it. The premise was interesting, and I liked aspects of it, but the writing was really choppy and uneven. Things would be smooth and then bam, the dialogue wouldn’t make sense or would seem really choppy. I also struggled with the way Petra held herself back. We weren’t told until later why she had trust issues, and the novel is so lighthearted that it didn’t make sense in context. She just came off seeming rude and selfish. I understood a little better once her “deep, dark secret” was revealed, but even then the author didn’t really sell me on her angst.

I would have rated this higher for the romance alone, because I really liked Galen, but the way Petra acted kind of killed it for me. I also didn’t like how things ended, with a sort of pause. I understand this is a continuing series, but eh. It didn’t really work for me.

I read the blurb for the next book and I have zero desire to read her rekindling a romance with an ex – especially since we were told her “love” for Galen supposedly saved the world in this book.

While not a terrible novel, a lot of it didn’t work for me.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

Monster M*A*S*H*

two-half-stars


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Review: Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna Collett

Posted September 8, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna CollettReviewer: Holly
Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna Collett
Series: Ever Dark Ever Deadly #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A spellbinding mystery leads an unlikely pair on the hunt for a killer.

Tessa Daniels needs a miracle. Preferably, the kind that comes with cold hard cash. Her magic shop is failing, and she'll be tossed into the street unless she clears her debt.

When a financial boon arrives in the form of a young woman determined to attend the prince's ball, a risky spell turns out to be the miracle she needed. That is until the woman is found dead at the stroke of midnight, and Tessa comes face-to-face with the kingdom's cold, and way too appealing, lead detective.

Detective Derrick Chambers has no use for the supernatural. As the rising star at the Royal Agency, he won't let magic, or the pretty witch that deals in it, get in the way of solving a murder.

His logic tells him to steer clear of Tessa's chaos, but a forced partnership soon turns into an attraction neither can resist.

With the body count rising, and the kingdom in a panic, an exposed secret will tear them apart and put Tessa in the sights of a killer where no amount of magic can save her.

Spellbound After Midnight is an enemies-to-lovers, slow burn romance, with a puzzling mystery, strong female heroine, and fairy tale elements.

Spellbound After Dark is the first book in Jenna Collett’s Ever Dark, Ever Deadly series. I found this while browsing Kindle Unlimited and decided to give it a try based on the reviews. This is my first read by the author. I really enjoyed the writing and the story. I easily fell into it.

Tessa Daniels is a down-on-her-luck witch. Her mother was renowned in the kingdom for her powers, but Tessa has never had very good control of hers. More often than not, her potions and spells go wrong (sometimes seriously so). As a result, the magic shop she inherited when her mother passed away is on the brink of bankruptcy. In a moment of desperation, Tessa borrowed money from the local kingpin, and he’s calling it due.

When a young woman she casts an illusion spell for turns up dead, Tessa realizes she can help solve the young girl find justice and solve her financial problems by collecting the reward money. The catch? She has to work with Royal Detective Chambers, a total stick-in-the-mud who also happens to be attractive as sin.

Derrick Chambers isn’t thrilled about being forced to work with a witch, but they end up making a good team. Both on the case and off it. Unfortunately, Tessa forgot to mention that whole “in debt to a gangster” thing, and there may be no coming back once he finds out.

This story was an unexpected delight. I liked the fairytale twist (“Cinderella” died at midnight, and the “fairy godmother” has to solve the murder case), and I really loved the romance. Derrick was really wonderful to Tessa, despite them getting off on the wrong foot. He was kind and caring, and it was obvious he was struggling with his feelings, but he was never cruel.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t love that Tessa kept secrets from him. I understood her reasons, but I didn’t agree with them. Aside from that, I don’t have much to complain about. I loved the friendship Tessa had with Vivian, a medium. I also enjoyed the world and the mystery behind the murder. I figured out the suspect early on, but I still liked the way the story unfold.

I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ever Dark, Ever Deadly

four-stars


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Review: Wicked Wish by Veronica Douglas & Linsey Hall

Posted September 1, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wicked Wish by Veronica Douglas & Linsey HallReviewer: Holly
Wicked Wish by Veronica Douglas, Linsey Hall
Series: Dragon's Gift: The Storm #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 22, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I’m at the mercy of a fallen angel.

I work for the Order of Magica, the supernatural version of the FBI. Sounds fun, right? Except I spend my days chained to my desk, writing reports, and wishing that I was out solving crimes.

Well, be careful what you wish for.

When my best friend is abducted, my life in Chicago turns upside down.

I’ll do anything to get her back—even work with Damian Malek, a wanted criminal, notorious crime lord, and dangerous fallen angel. He’s hot, lethal, and he's the only one who can help me master my dangerous powers. I don't want anyone to know about my magic, but I have no choice if I want to save my friend.

Here's the catch: if the Order finds out that I’m working with Damian, I’ll get canned. Maybe even hunted for what I am. But if I don’t give him what he wants, he’ll reveal my secret to the world.

It appears this is a spin-off of another series, but it’s the first book by the authors I’ve read. I enjoyed it and didn’t feel like I missed anything by starting here.

Neveah Cross works for the Order as a researcher, but she’s trying to get promoted to investigator. When her best friend, Rhiannon, (who is an investigator) calls to say she’s needed in the field, she rushes out to help contain two demons, thinking this may be her chance. The problem? She’s half-djinn and if the Order finds out there’s a good chance she’ll never be seen or heard from again. So she has to keep her power hidden.

When Damian Malek, a crime boss and fallen angel, contacts her and asks for her help containing an evil djinn who keeps kidnapping Supernaturals, Neve has to decline. She can’t risk being found out…Until Rhiannon goes missing. Then Neve will do whatever it takes to get her back, even work with Damian. Neve has spent her whole life hiding her power, but now she has to learn to master it – and quick – if she’s going to save Rhia and contain the Djinn.

I enjoyed Neve as the MC. She’s smart and capable, though unschooled in her powers. She did feel kind of young to me at times. Not sheltered, exactly, but lacking in maturity about some things in the world. I really loved her friendship with Rhiannon, and how she would do anything for her.

Damian was an enigma, dark and mysterious, but also caring and protective. A bad boy with a heart of gold, or someone with his own agenda who is using Neve? I enjoyed getting to know him through Neve, and I’m curious to see where things go in the next book. I didn’t love the way this ended – cliffhanger, ugh – but the world, action, adventure and characters kept me glued to the pages. I’m looking forward to learning more about the world and discovering what’s really going on with Damian.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Dragon’s Gift: The Storm

four-stars


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Review: Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross

Posted August 4, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross
Series: Stay a Spell #1
Also in this series: Don't Hex and Drive
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 396
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

What's the worst thing that can happen to a werewolf? Unable to shift for three months, Mateo Cruz knows all too well. His wolf has taken up residence in his head, taunting him night and day with vividly violent and carnal thoughts. Convinced he's cursed, he needs the help of a powerful witch before he literally goes insane.

​Evie Savoie has always obeyed the house rules of her coven--no werewolves. They're known for being moody and volatile. So, when a distempered, dangerous werewolf strolls into the bar and almost strangles one of her late-night customers, she's ready to bounce him through the door. But the desperation in his eyes when he begs her to help him softens her heart and convinces her to bend the rules.

​What Evie doesn't know is that Mateo's wolf has a mind of his own. And now that she's in his sights, he wants only one thing. Her.

Wolf Gone Wild is the first book in a new paranormal series from Juliette Cross, a new-to-me author. This was a fun, light-hearted paranormal romance. Mateo Cruz is not currently one with his wolf – in fact, Alpha (the wolf in question) has taken up residence in his head and won’t stop his constant chattering. Not to mention, he can’t shift. He’s desperate to get his curse broken before he goes feral and Alpha takes full control.

Evie Savoie and her sisters are one of most powerful covens in New Orleans. They don’t have a lot of rules, but her oldest sister and the leader of their coven is adamant – no werewolves. But Evie can see Mateo’s struggle and wants to help him.

This book was a lot of fun. Funny, without being campy. I have to say, it was Alpha who first drew me in. His constant snark and dialogue in Mateo’s head was hilarious. I also loved Evie. She was a total geek, into SciFi and comics. I enjoyed how their relationship developed. They became friends first, then moved into something more. The mystery was easy to figure out, but that was secondary to the romance for me anyway, so I wasn’t bothered about it. Parts in the middle did seem to drag a bit, but I was so entertained by the rest I didn’t care. I loved Evie’s family, and how they embraced Mateo.

I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Stay a Spell

four-stars


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