Source: Audible Escape

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


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen

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

Review: The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
The Lady in the Coppergate Tower by Nancy Campbell Allen
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance #3
Also in this series: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, Kiss of the Spindle
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: August 6, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk, Fairytale
Pages: 368
Length: 9 hours and 32 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hazel Hughes has spent her life believing she is a Medium—someone who can talk to ghosts. But as of yet, that skill has remained frustratingly elusive. She is also suffering from a reoccurring childhood dream of someone who looks almost exactly like Hazel, but this dream version of herself is slowly going mad.

Sam MacInnes is a talented surgeon who runs in the highest social circles thanks to his family’s position and history. When Sam hires Hazel to assist him with his medical practice, he is immediately drawn to her intelligence, wit, and beauty.

Their potential relationship is derailed one evening when a mysterious count arrives in London and reveals to Hazel the truth about her past: she was abducted at birth and her twin sister has fallen dangerously ill.

Hazel agrees to travel to Romania with Count Petrescu in order to save her sister, and Sam insists on accompanying her. The count has secrets, though, and the journey grows more sinister with every mile that draws Hazel closer to her homeland. Even as her feelings for Sam become deeper and more complicated, she fears she might not survive the quest to save her sister with her heart intact, not to mention her life. She must learn to draw on gifts she doesn’t know she has if they are going to ever return home again.   Hazel and Sam must fight their way past dark magic, clockwork beasts, and their own insecurities as they try to reach her sister in the impenetrable Coppergate Tower before time runs out.

The Lady in the Coppergate Tower is the third book in Nancy Campbell Allen’s Steampunk Proper Romance series, which is a mesh of fairytale and steampunk. I call these books “Steampunk Lite”. Though there are Steampunk elements, they’re very lightly drawn. We first meet Hazel and Sam in book one, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast. Although not necessary to read in order, I do believe you understand more about them and their motivations if you read the other books first.

Hazel Hughes comes from a long line of Mediums. Her mother is convinced she has the same power, but her first real attempt to summon spirits ends in a complete disaster (Beauty and the Clockwork Beast). Now she works as Sam’s surgery assistant. She’s had a crush on him for ages, but they run in different social circles and she knows they can never be. When a mysterious man turns up and claims to be her uncle, she’s shocked. Even more so when he tells her she was actually abducted at birth, and she has a twin sister who is slowly going mad. The Count believes Hazel may be the key to saving her twin. She agrees to travel to Romania with him to help her sister, and Sam joins them. As they travel in a submersible, strange things happen that make her question everything..her uncle, her sister and her relationship with Sam.

I was very interested in Hazel and Sam after the previous two books. In keeping with the series, this is a Rapunzel retelling. Though the fairytale elements were light, I enjoyed it. Hazel’s journey across the ocean, as well as her personal journey, was fun and interesting. I did struggle a bit with the book in the middle, as it was rather slow. But the early parts and last quarter or so really worked for me.

Nancy Campbell Allen was a great find for me this year. I’m looking forward to the next book.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Review: Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 22, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance
Also in this series: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Fairytale, Steampunk
Pages: 323
Length: 9 hours and 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A steampunk Sleeping Beauty story from the author of Beauty and the Clockwork Beast.

Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date--after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette--the witch who cursed her--Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett's private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she's traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.

Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla's death-like sleep becomes permanent.

Kiss of the Spindle (Steampunk Proper Romance #2) by Nancy Campbell Allen has flavors of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, along with Steampunk and other Fantasy elements.

Everyone knows Daniel owns a fleet of Airships. What they don’t know is that he often smuggles Shifters out of the country to save them. When an inspector suddenly turns up on one of his voyages, he is not happy. Even worse? Doctor Isla Cooper blackmails him into letting her on the ship as well.

Isla is suffering under a curse that puts her into a death-like sleep every night. She’s afraid time is about to run out and she’ll be permanently at rest, so she forces her way aboard Daniel’s ship so she can visit an Island she’s sure houses the witch who created her curse.

I really loved Isla. She was tough and no-nonsense. Her sense of duty to her family was misplaced, but I loved how loyal she was to them. I also liked Daniel. He, too, had a strong sense of right and wrong, and that worked well for him. Even so, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the first. It moved slow in parts and I found myself getting impatient/bored toward the middle of the book. I also didn’t care as much for the overall story-arc as I did the previous book.

I enjoyed the romance and the world is fun and interesting. I’m looking forward to the next book, even if this one was a little slow.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted July 15, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #2
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Bridge Kingdom
Publisher: Self-Published, Audible Original
Publication Date: February 27, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Length: 10 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Lara has only one thought when her husband is taken prisoner: I will do whatever it takes to set you free.

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father's clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared.

But as Lara and her companions formulate a plan to free Aren from her father's palace, they soon discover that while it is easy to get in, it will be quite another thing to get Aren, and themselves, back out. Not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she's trying to free - the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who - and what - she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or for herself.

The Traitor Queen is the second book in Danielle L. Jensen‘s The Bridge Kingdom series. It picks up shortly after where The Bridge Kingdom, book 1, ends. While I am not a stickler for reading in order, I do believe you need to read The Bridge Kingdom before picking this up.

Lara is a trained assassin who was raised for one purpose..to infiltrate and bring down Ithicana, The Bridge Kingdom, from the inside. Though she came to realize she’d been fed nothing but lies by her father over the course of her life, she still betrays Ithicana and her father is able to take the Bridge. Now she’s an outcast, living on the run and trying to overcome her guilt for the part she played in Ithicana’s downfall…until she learns Aren has been captured by her father. She knows it’s a trap to draw her out, but she knows she’s their best chance of saving him…so long as she can convince the rest of the country.

This book was all action. I love how fast-paced it was. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the conflict between Aren and Lara would be resolved. Hers was not a simple mistake, and I wondered how Aren would overcome it, and more importantly, how their people – who had suffered so much because of her actions – would be able to accept her again. Though I was satisfied that she and Aren would be able to come together, I do wish we’d had more resolution with the Ithicanians themselves. That’s really my only complaint with this book. From page one there was non-stop action. I truly believed in Lara by the end, and I appreciated Aren’s emotional roller coaster. He loved Lara, but she betrayed him and his people. It was so easy to understand the choices they both made, and how they had to suffer the consequences. I would have liked to see another chapter or two in the aftermath, but I understand there may be more book set in this world, so I’ll try to be patient.

The Traitor Queen is an action-packed tale full of heartbreak and loss….and hope. Jensen delivered.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted July 13, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #1
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Traitor Queen
Publisher: Self-Published, Audible Original
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Escape, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 356
Length: 11 hours and 52 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

What if you fell in love with the one person you'd sworn to destroy?

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara's homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home - a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas - and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

This popped up as a recommended read in Audible Escape. The blurb was intriguing so I decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed both narrators. From the very first I was pulled into this novel. I ended up purchasing the ebook so I could read when I wasn’t able to listen.

Lara and her half-sisters were raised in a desert compound for one purpose – to take down The Bridge Kingdom from the inside. As part of a 15 year treaty, one of them must marry the King of Ithicana (the Bridge Kingdom). Lara isn’t the chosen one, but she betrays her sisters to take her place as Queen in order to save their lives. Her goal is simple; Learn as much about the country and the Bridge as possible, so her father and his forces can take it over. Ithicana and her new husband are nothing like she thought they’d be, and it isn’t long before she begins questioning everything.

This was such a stellar story. I was sucked in from the very first page. Lara was such a multi-faceted character. Her whole life she’s been told Ithicana and her King are the reason so many in her country are starving. Although she doesn’t have a lot of love for her father, she does want better for her people. I completely understood why she made the choices she did. From beginning to end, I felt her struggle and determination to do what was right. My heart broke for her at the end, even as I wanted to rage at her. There never came a point when I didn’t understand her plight or her reasons for doing the things she did.

Aren wasn’t as complex of a character. He wanted what was best for his country, and he hoped for a true alliance with Lara’s father, though of course he was wary of ever getting it. Of the two, he was more open and sweet. He just wanted to be able to allow his country men and women to leave, or pursue other dreams, rather than become soldiers. I liked him, but I didn’t feel the same connection to him that I did Lara.

This book ended in a cliffhanger and I immediately dove into the second book.

The politics and intrigue, the personal relationships and Lara’s struggle to do what she was trained to do when her heart was telling her otherwise was very well done. I highly recommend this series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,