Reading Challenge: New to Me Challenge

Review: Alpha by Audrey Faye

Posted November 22, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Alpha by Audrey FayeReviewer: Holly
Alpha by Audrey Faye
Series: Ghost Mountain Wolf Shifters #1
Also in this series: Heart, Rebel
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 5, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 322
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A pack broken.
A pup in danger.
A submissive wolf who will fight with her last breath.

Hayden Scott doesn’t know his stroll in the woods is going to start with a backpack full of watermelon and end with him the new alpha of the Ghost Mountain Pack. A very traumatized pack, and those are only the shifters he can see. Too many are missing, hiding in the woods or worse.

His wolf doesn’t care. He has a pack. One with maple-syrup-covered toddlers, a ten-year-old boy who smells like wolf right up until he shifts, and a brave woman with green eyes and serious trust problems who defended her pup with nothing more than a tree branch and sheer guts.

The walk ahead won’t be easy, but he has a list.

Burn down the den.
Deal with the evil still stalking the woods.
Call Mom.

Alpha is the first book in the Ghost Mountain Wolf Shifters series, though it feels more like a prequel. There is no romance in this book, which is good because it wouldn’t have worked in context. I’m happy there will be more books in the series, since this was very much the start of their story and I want more.

Hayden Scott is on a backpacking trip with two of his packmates when he comes across a submissive wolf in a showdown with her alpha. Though she’s submissive, she’s brave and she’s trying to defy her alpha to save her son. Hayden steps in and ends up becoming the alpha of the Ghost Mountain Pack. Though he had no plans to become an alpha, he knows he can help this very damaged pack.

I enjoyed Hayden very much. He was a dominant alpha, but also understood that leadership is more than teeth and claws – it’s kindness and equal rights for all. I loved his interactions with the pack’s children and how quick he was to show that he, too, can be vulnerable. The submissives are very traumatized, but they weren’t afraid to reach for more, which I loved.

There isn’t a lot that happens in this book in terms of action. The story is very slow moving, as Hayden gets to know his new wolves and what they need from him. It wasn’t boring or tedious, however. I’m very much looking forward to learning more about this pack and seeing where things go with Hayden and Lissa – and all the others – in the future.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Ghost Mountain Wolf Shifters

three-half-stars


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Review: Dark Planet Warrior by Anna Carven

Posted November 3, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Dark Planet Warrior by Anna CarvenReviewer: Holly
Dark Planet Warriors by Anna Carven
Series: Dark Planet Warriors #1
Also in this series: Dark Planet Falling, Into the Light , Out of Darkness
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 230
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Book 1 of the Dark Planet Warriors Series

Abbey

Some scary looking aliens have just boarded Fortuna Tau, our little asteroid mining station. Kordolians, by the looks of things. What the hell do they want with this floating rust bucket? What are they even doing here?

Come to think of it, I've never seen a Kordolian up close before. They're huge and intimidating, with strange silver skin and pointed ears. They have freaky nano-armor, and they're packing a serious arsenal. We stand no chance against them.

When I encounter their General, I find him insufferable. Arrogant. Domineering. He won't tell me anything. I guess that's what happens when your race is kicking ass across the Nine Galaxies. You get pigheaded.

So why do I keep running into him? Why does he keep looking at me like that? And what's with this weird feeling I get when he's around?

Tarak

Sucked into a wormhole during a fierce skirmish with an enemy ship. Spat out near a human mining station in a remote corner of the Nine Galaxies. Stuck with weak humans who operate with inferior metals and technology.

This mission couldn't get any worse.

We need to fix our craft, kill the cursed Xargek, and get out of here before the wormhole collapses. I don't really care about these humans. Their existence makes no sense to me.

So why has this strange human female captured my attention? She's messy, awkward, and she babbles nonsense half the time. These humans are crazy. I don't understand them at all, especially this female. Why do I keep coming back to her?

I need to leave this place before I go insane.

Warning: This book contains swearing, violence and steamy sex scenes. It's recommended for readers aged 18 and over.

Dark Planet Warriors by Anna Carven in the first book in the Dark Planet Warriors series. It was originally written as a serial. I read the combined version. I tried reading this early last year, but the writing wasn’t working for me so I set it aside around the 40% mark. Recently I read another book set in this world and decided to go back and try again. It worked a little better this time around. I still struggled with the writing, but I ended up really liking the second half of the book. I don’t think the book was edited when it was combined, and it suffered for it.

Abbey is working on an asteroid mining station when a Kordolian battle cruiser lands and requests aid. No one knows what they’re doing in this sector, but Abbey wants nothing to do with them. They claim they aren’t there to take over, but Abbey doesn’t trust them – even if she does find their leader more attractive than she should…

Tarak wants to get his battle cruiser fixed and get off the mining station, but when he realizes they were followed by an alien race of over-grown insects, he knows he can’t leave the weak humans to fend for themselves. When Abbey is hurt because of his actions, he vows to save her – even if that means taking her to his home planet where they have superior medical technology. Kythia isn’t the safest place for humans, but Tarak won’t let anything happen to Abbey. Lord help anyone who tries to harm her on his watch.

Tarak is the commander of the Kordolian army, and an elite warrior himself. He’s used to being obeyed, or forcing submission if necessary. So he was kind of a lot at the beginning. The more time he spent with Abbey, the more he warmed up. I thought he was really cute with her. I also liked Abbey. She was level-headed and practical. There was an element of insta-love/lust, but I didn’t stress it too much. Once I got to the second half I really enjoyed the story and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Dark Planet Warriors

three-half-stars


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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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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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