Reading Challenge: New to Me Challenge

Review: Monster by Jessica Gadziala

Posted April 12, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Monster by Jessica GadzialaReviewer: Casee
Monster by Jessica Gadziala
Series: Savages #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 316
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Alex has had one mission since she was sixteen: destroy the man who destroyed her life. And all was going to plan until one night, a huge mammoth of a man breaks into her apartment and kidnaps her,holding her hostage for the very man she was bent on bringing down.

Breaker has one rule: he doesn't deal in women. But when he's conned into a job for the city's most ruthlesscrime lord, he finds himself in charge of a fiery-temperedhacker who he can't seem to keep his hands off of.

When passions ignite and feelings emerge, will Breaker beable to reconcile his loyalties before it is too late or will their shaky foundation of trust start crumbling beneaththeir feet?

This is a stand alone with a HEA.

* This book may not be "Safety Gang" safe. There is no cheating/ abuse/ triangle triggers, but there is a "bad guy" who is a known rapist (though the rape is not expressly detailed and does NOT happen to the h).

I’ve been really into MC romances recently. My quest to find a new MC series to start led me to Jessica Gadziala. This isn’t an MC romance, but there are connected characters and this book came out before the MC series started. Or that’s what I think, anyway.

Breaker is someone who gets things done for people. For a price. Certain things he has done aren’t exactly legal. He has always had one rule: no women. He doesn’t deal with women at all. He doesn’t consider them fair game like he considers men. He’s forced to take a job that he doesn’t want, but to turn it down could mean he dies. So he takes what he hopes will be the only job for this particular crime lord. It seems like an easy job. Pick up some hacker named Alex and hold him until Lex (crime lord) is ready to take him off Breaker’s hands. Unfortunately nothing goes according to plan.

Breaker is furious when he realizes that Alex is a woman, not a man. It’s well known through the crime world that Breaker doesn’t deal in women. Sadly for Breaker, he has no choice but to kidnap Alex. Now he is waiting to hear his instructions from Lex, hoping they are the last instructions that he ever receives from him. As if things weren’t bad enough what with Alex being a woman, she’s also a pain in the ass. Alex has no fear, so it’s hard to play the badass with her.

Alex knew there would be a reckoning with Lex. She also knew that it would likely end up with her death. She doesn’t care. She wants Lex to pay for destroying her mother decades before. Alex has been working to take down Lex’s network for years. As a hacker she has many skills. She can syphon money out of his accounts amount other things. Alex just wants to bring him down, no matter the cost to her personally.

Of course Breaker and Alex fall in love. It was almost cringeworthy to be honest. I liked these two characters as individuals, but as a couple they didn’t make sense. I really wanted to like them, but it just didn’t happen. I even tried to give them the benefit of the doubt; together they were thrown in a dangerous situation and all they could count on was each other. So I really tried to disconnect my mind and just roll with it, but it was hard. I did love Shooter who was Breaker’s best friend. I am planning on reading his book.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Savages

three-stars


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Lightning Review: The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell

Posted April 7, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow RowellReviewer: Holly
The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Rebecca Lowman
Series: Faraway #1
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Plus
Point-of-View: Narrated
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Fairytale
Length: 46 minutes
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
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A charming everyman and a mysterious something-under-the-bridge cross paths in a short fairy tale by the #1 'New York Times' bestselling author of 'Eleanor & Park' and the 'Simon Snow' series.

It’s fate when a man accidentally drops his phone off the bridge. It’s a fortune when it’s retrieved by a friendly shape sloshing in the muck underneath. From that day forward, as they share a coffee every morning, an unlikely friendship blooms. Considering the reality for the man above, where life seems perfect, and that of the sharp-witted creature below, how forever after can a happy ending be?

'THE PRINCE AND THE TROLL' is part of Faraway, a collection of retold fairy tales that take happily-ever-after in daring new directions. Whether read or listened to in one sitting, prepare to be charmed, moved, enlightened and frightened all over again.

This was a well-written short story that really seemed to serve no purpose. I enjoyed how the friendship between Adam and the Bridge Troll developed, and there was a lot of witty dialogue, but the story lacked any kind of cohesion or conclusion. The Road (aka Climate Change and Development) were bad, but there’s nothing we can do about it so let’s just wait until the rains come and wash it all away? Meh.

For a quick listen, I didn’t hate it, but I did finish it kind of scratching my head about the point of it all.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Faraway

three-stars


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Review: Polar Opposites by Dani Wyatt

Posted March 17, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Polar Opposites by Dani WyattReviewer: Holly
Polar Opposites by Dani Wyatt
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 101
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-half-stars

When she walks into the bar she calls me by some other guys name, then sits on my lap and kisses me...I think I finally believe in the magic of Christmas.

Turns out, she just needed me to be her fake boyfriend, but when her lips planted on mine? There was nothing fake about it.

Things get a little sticky when she walks in the conference room the next morning and we are on opposite sides of a lawsuit. One second, she’s treating me like the enemy, and the next?

We’re doing things in the back of my limousine that make me thankful for blackout windows. Only, I’m in town for one reason only.

That’s to ruin Christmas. Unless, Santa can deliver us a Christmas miracle.

This Christmas will be hotter than ever with four new standalones by four of your favorite romance authors! Light the fire, grab a glass of wine, and settle into your favorite chair for A Cozy AF Christmas!

I’ve was craving cute little holiday stories. I picked this on a whim while browsing Kindle Unlimited. I really like the opposite attracts trope and I liked the idea of a holiday town.

Missy is a small-town attorney who pretends a stranger in a bar is her lover to avoid the unwanted advances of a co-worker. She’s a little freaked out in the morning when she wakes up in the stranger’s bed with no recollection of how she got there. Mortified, she sneaks out before he wakes up and hopes she’ll never see him again. But of course it turns out he’s the big city attorney assigned to a case she’s doing pro-bono.

Nicholas is only in town as a courtesy. The land deal is already settled, though the owners don’t realize it. He should have been in and out of town in less than a few hours, but after meeting Missy and realizing she’s his opposing council, he can’t walk away without exploring what they have. He’s cynical and jaded about emotional connections and family, but there’s something about Missy that has him wanting to stick around.

This didn’t start off terribly, though the dominating way Nicholas acted during sexy-times was a little off-putting. I don’t necessarily have an issue with a more dominant personality in bed, but the sex scenes came up quickly after they met and his actions seemed a little over the top for how little they knew each other.

That aside, I was enjoying the story. But then around the 80% mark, he turns into a jealous asshole. Nicholas literally punches a guy because Missy is talking to him, then determines he can never let her out of his sight again. This was a rich, urbane attorney from New York? Big Nope for me. I ended up skimming from there because I was so annoyed. I don’t think I’ll try another book in this series.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

one-half-stars


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Review: Make Mine Magic by Shanna Swendson

Posted March 10, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Make Mine Magic by Shanna SwendsonReviewer: Holly
Make Mine Magic by Shanna Swendson
Narrator: Karissa Vacker
Publisher: Audible Original
Publication Date: January 9, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Plus
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Length: 7 hours, 28 minutes
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
three-half-stars

Jilted at the altar, small-town librarian Claire is forced to go on her romantic honeymoon in New York City alone. After enduring one too many meals for two as one, Claire invites a seemingly harmless little old lady to join her for afternoon tea at the Plaza. Unbeknownst to Claire, said little old lady is actually a grand wizard, who bestows Claire with a magical amulet that makes her the sitting queen of the magical community. Claire is swept into the gilded world of New York City wizards - and a bitter power struggle for the throne. With the help of a cursed former prince, Claire must untangle this web of deception and find the magical community's rightful leader before her "honeymoon" is over.

Claire’s fiancé dumped her right before their wedding. Instead of getting a refund on their New York honeymoon, she decides to go on the trip herself. Sadly, by the second day of her trip she’s already tired of doing things alone. This is why she invites an old woman she saves from robbers to have tea with her. She walks the old woman home afterward and then strange things start happening to her. It turns out the woman bestowed a magical artifact on Claire, which now makes her the leader of the magical community in New York. A magical community Claire didn’t even know existed. When different factions start trying to butter her up, Claire realizes there’s more going on than she’s aware.

I found this while browsing Audible Plus and decided to give it a try based on the reviews. It was a cute story. There were times I thought the MC made some questionable choices (running off to a party with a guy she just met in a hotel bar, in a city she’s never visited before, without getting the address so she can tell a friend?), but I was interested in how things would play out and I enjoyed the story and characters as a whole. I also really liked the narrator. I will definitely look for other books by Swendson in the future.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Posted March 8, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Duke and I by Julia QuinnReviewer: Casee
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Series: The Bridgertons #1
Also in this series: The Viscount who Loved Me
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 5, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 433
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Duke and I is a romance set in the Regency era.

In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable… but not too amiable.

Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.

Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.

The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule...

Since everyone has seen Bridgerton, I decided to watch it too. I was on episode number two when I realized that I couldn’t continue without reading the book first. I decided to pickup the book after speaking to Holly about it. There are apparently a few things in the TV series that aren’t in the books. I read this book in two days. It’s such an easy read, even for someone like me that isn’t into historicals right now. I was immediately pulled in and then spit out on the last page. That’s how engrossed I was in this book.

Daphne Bridgerton is in the midst of her first season. She has many male friends, but no suitor. She’s too honest and real for the men to really pursue her. Daphne speaks her mind, which is very refreshing. When she first meets Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, she has an instant dislike for him. He’s too attractive, too rich, too everything. Daphne and Simon meet and come up with a plan. Simon has no desire to marry nor have children. Daphne needs to marry before she turns into a spinster (which she is on the verge of). What better way to accomplish their individual goals than pretend to have a romance?

Their plan goes swimmingly at first. Daphne has more suitors than she knows what to do with. Unfortunately, now that she has all these suitors, she doesn’t want anyone except Simon. When they are caught in a compromising position by Daphne’s older brother, Simon is immediately called out for a duel. Fortunately for him, Daphne saves the day. She persuades Simon to marry her though he tells her that he can’t have children. That kills her dream of being a mother but she believes she loves Simon enough to make that sacrifice.

I liked everything up until that one scene. The scene where she basically rapes Simon while he’s drunk? Yeah, that was completely unacceptable and disgusting. I was horrified by the fact that she thought it was okay. Although she felt bad for duping Simon, she feels justified because he didn’t tell her he didn’t want kids, he told her that he couldn’t have kids. Simon tells Daphne why and she still goes ahead when she knows his reasons. Like I said…disgusting. I don’t think she deserved Simon at all after that. She never apologized for what she did, thinking she was in the right. Which was absolute bullshit.

Other than that, I really did enjoy this book. I loved the Bridgertons, especially Violet. She was such an amazing mother. When she was explaining to Daphne about the wedding night, I just about died laughing. So there were positive elements to this book. I just had a hard time getting past what Daphne did to Simon.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Bridgertons

three-half-stars


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