Reading Challenge: New to Me Challenge

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
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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
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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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Review: My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid

Posted August 28, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: My Darling Duke by Stacy ReidReviewer: Holly
My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid
Series: Sinful Wallflowers #1
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 377
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Miss Katherine Danvers is a desperate wallflower. Her family is on the brink of financial ruin, and it is up her to save her mother and sisters from a life of indignities. So she transforms herself into the incomparable Kitty Danvers, the fiancée of the enigmatic and reclusive Alexander Masters, Duke of Thornton—once dubbed the mad, bad, and dangerous catch of the Season.

Ten years ago, society and the woman Alexander Masters loved called him a monster, after a tragic accident left him scarred and confined to a wheelchair. His heart exists in cold, lonely exile, until he learns he has a fiancée—a deceptive, clever, and utterly intriguing woman he's never met. Miss Danvers will now learn the consequences of engaging herself to the beast, for Alexander is determined to make her his. Soon, they are involved in a chase, a clash of wills, and though he once vowed to never love again, he burns for the enchanting Miss Danvers. And denying his heart may cost him an exquisite love that happens only once in a lifetime.

My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid is the first book in the Sinful Wallflowers series. My friend and fellow reader Nikki recommended this to me. I’m a sucker for all things Beauty and the Beast, so I had to download it as soon as she told me the premise. I’m so glad I did.

Miss Katherine Danvers is a wallflower, a desperate one. Her father died and left them with nothing. She and her friends, other desperate wallflowers, vow to do something daring to change their circumstances. She has a very short window in which to get her sisters married, so she does something daring..she creates a new persona and claims to be the fiance of a reclusive Duke. He hasn’t been in society – or even the country – in years, so she figures she’s safe enough. Only things keep spiraling out of her control..before she knows it she’s installed in a new rental house in a better location, riding around in a hired carriage and has a new wardrobe…all courtesy of the unsuspecting Duke.

Alexander Masters, The Duke of Thornton, withdrew from society 10 years ago, after a house fire killed his parents and left him badly scarred. He knows he can never take a wife, but he’s very intrigued by this woman claiming to be his fiance. Rather than calling her a liar, he goes along with it, curious beyond measure. Kitty is nothing like he imagined her to be, and he can’t seem to stay away from her. But he can’t sire children, and he doesn’t want to take a wife when he can’t be a true husband.

This was a sweet story. The end was a little over the top cheesy, but I can’t deny I was smiling while I read it. I loved Katherine and Alexander. Their reactions to each other weren’t the expected ones, and I was here for it. I really liked the friendship between Kitty and the other wallflowers, too. They had a strong bond and I really liked how they confided in each other, and encouraged one another to be bold and brave. I also liked Alex’s relationship with his sister, and his servants. They were a family, for all that he was in charge of them.

As I said, some parts were overly cheesy, but I liked how supportive Kitty and Alex were of each other. I’m looking forward to reading more books from this author.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Sinful Wallflowers

four-stars


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Review: The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole

Posted August 24, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa ColeReviewer: Holly
The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole
Narrator: Regina Hall, Mindy Kaling, Feodor Chin, Therese Plummer, Dina Pearlman, Neil Hellegers, Adenrele Ojo, Kyla Garcia
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 3, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 125
Length: 5 hours and 18 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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three-half-stars

Listening Length: 5 hours and 18 minutes

A captivating romantic comedy with a thrilling sci-fi twist by award-winning author Alyssa Cole!

Trinity Jordan leads a quiet, normal life: working from home for the Hive, a multifunctional government research center, and recovering from the incident that sent her into a tailspin. But the life she’s trying to rebuild is plagued by mishaps when Li Wei, her neighbor’s super sexy and super strange nephew, moves in and turns things upside down. Li Wei’s behavior is downright odd—and the attraction building between them is even more so. When an emergency pulls his aunt away from the apartment complex, Trinity decides to keep an eye on him…and slowly discovers that nothing is what it seems. For one thing, Li Wei isn’t just the hot guy next door—he’s the hot A.I. next door. In fact, he’s so advanced that he blurs the line between man and machine. It’s up to Trinity to help him achieve his objective of learning to be human, but danger is mounting as they figure out whether he’s capable of the most illogical human behavior of all…falling in love.

I loved the narrators. They definitely made the experience for me.

Trinity is recovering from an accident at her previous job at a government research center. She’s trying to heal emotionally and physically. She spends most of her time in her apartment building, either hanging out with her two best friends or swimming or running. When she’s introduced to her neighbor’s extremely attractive nephew, Li Wei, she kind of goes into a tailspin. All of a sudden pieces of her memory are coming back, and what she sees in front of her isn’t adding up. When she realizes Li Wei is actually an A.I., she begins to question everything..especially her sanity, since she can’t deny her major attraction to him.

The story is told from both Trinity and Li Wei’s points-of-view as they both recover. Li Wei is working on recovering his memory systems and becoming a fully functional A.I., while Trinity is in physical and mental therapy. I really loved how they came to know one another, and how Li Wei insisted from the beginning that Trinity was to be fully trusted.

The world took a bit to fall into, since so much is strange and we see the majority of it from Trinity’s POV. I struggled with the first couple hours of the audio, even with the excellent narrators, but I’m glad I pushed through because I really enjoyed the story. I wouldn’t mind finding an AI like Li Wei for myself. I’m just saying.

I’m looking forward to more books in this series.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

Posted August 12, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana DoidgeReviewer: Holly
Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
Series: The Dowser #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 266
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
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

If you’d asked me a week ago, I would have told you that the best cupcakes were dark chocolate with chocolate cream cheese icing, that dancing in a crowd of magic wielders — the Adept — was better than sex, and that my life was peaceful and uneventful. Just the way I liked it.

That’s what twenty-three years in the magical backwater of Vancouver will get you — a completely skewed sense of reality. Because when the dead werewolves started showing up, it all unraveled … except for the cupcake part. That’s a universal truth.

I asked for recommendations for Paranormal/UF Romances on Twitter and this was one of the titles I received. Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic is the first book in the Dowser series by Meghan Ciana Doidge.

Jade is a witch with very little power, who owns/runs a bakery and makes trinkets that her sister sells. Her life is quiet and that’s just how she likes it. Until a vampire turns up in town, followed shortly by a Shifter Pack, thinking Jade is responsible for the murder of one of their own. Between an inconvenient crush on one of the Shifters, issues with her sister and her MIA grandma, things go from quiet to crazy in no time at all.

I really enjoyed the world Doidge created. It was easy to fall into, and the mystery of why the vampire was in town and what was up with the Shifters kept me reading. But I have to say, I wasn’t a fan of Jade or her family. Jade’s “head in the sand” mentality grated on me. She was happy to just skip through life without thinking too much about things, and that was fine. Until her life was in danger and things started going crazy. Then her refusal to face things or look into what was going on around her frustrated me. I figured out who the baddie was right from the beginning, but I hoped I’d be proven wrong. I wasn’t. I really wanted some layers there, or for something better to come of it.

There is no romance in this novel, but I liked the interpersonal relationships and I look forward to learning more about the Shifters and Vampires.

This was an interesting start to a new series. Parts of it were predictable, I figured out the villain very early on and I didn’t love the main character, but the bones of the novel were good and I’m curious enough to continue on. Plus, Lillie recommended the series and I trust her judgment.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Dowser

three-stars


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