Source: Kindle Unlimited

Review: Magical Midlife Madness by K.F. Breene

Posted February 24, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magical Midlife Madness by K.F. BreeneReviewer: Holly
Magical Midlife Madness by K.F. Breene
Series: Leveling Up #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 16, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 376
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

"Happily Ever After" wasn't supposed to come with a do-over option. But when my husband of twenty years packs up and heads for greener pastures and my son leaves for college, that's exactly what my life becomes. Do-over.

This time, though, I plan to do things differently. Age is just a number, after all, and at forty I'm ready to carve my own path. Eager for a fresh start, I make a somewhat unorthodox decision and move to a tiny town in the Sierra foothills. I'll be taking care of a centuries-old house that called to me when I was a kid. It's just temporary, I tell myself. It'll just be for a while. That is until I learn what the house really is, something I never could've imagined.

Thankfully forty isn't too old to start an adventure, because that's exactly what I do. A very dangerous adventure that will change my life forever. I have a chance to start again, and this time, I make the rules.

Magical Midlife Madness is the first book in K.F. Breene’s Leveling Up series, which is women’s fiction rather than her traditional romance. I’m not sure why I haven’t picked this series up before now. I like KF Breene’s writing and always enjoy her stories. I think this one just wasn’t on my radar until recently.

Jacinta recently turned 40 and her whole life changed. Her son went away to college and her husband asked for a divorce – something she felt only relief about. She ends up moving in with her parents, but a single day there makes her realize that isn’t going to work. Lucky for her, her best friend’s aunt is looking for a caretaker for the family mansion, Ivy House. Everyone else finds it creepy and weird, but the one time Jacinta visited as a child she fell in love with it.

Now she’s surrounded by grumpy old people – the strange butler, gardener, and ancient neighbor who can drink her under the table – and trying to deal with some strange goings-on in the town and the house. Most shocking of all? Jacinta learns the house is actually magical and so are the townsfolk..and the house has chosen her as its new Mistress. She’ll have to decide if she’s willing to accept the house’s magic, or if it’s all too much for her.

“I am not going to call you by your full name, I’ll tell you that right now. The lot of you are crazy. I’m not climbing aboard that train.”

“And yet, you just debated on the merits of slitting a perfect stranger from neck to navel versus navel to neck, and decided on stabbing and ripping any way you chose.”

“Yeah. That’s just logic.”

It started a bit slow, but about 1/4 of the way through it picked up. I was really cracking up at some of the antics of Jessie (Jacinta). She was a strong woman who had fully accepted where she was at in her life and I loved that. I also loved how she managed her new life. She accepted that she wasn’t perfect and made mistakes, but she was comfortable with where she was now. She also wasn’t afraid to speak her mind or call out others when needed. I really enjoyed the mature conversations she had with Austin Steele, the undeclared alpha. She makes him think, and he does the same for her. I appreciated that.

“I hear you,” he said softly. “I never put stock in any of that—the taunting about being ladies—but I didn’t see the bigger picture, either. Just like earlier tonight—no one has ever spelled out the dangers women face when a man asserts himself as I did. That blindsided me. So much of tonight has blindsided me. In my life, when it comes to this, I feel like I’ve been…blindfolded in a way. Not blind, because if I would’ve looked, I would’ve seen, but…” He shook his head. “I’m gobsmacked. Thank you. I’ll be more conscious of this going forward.”

There isn’t a romance in this book, which worked well for where Jessie is at in her life. She needs time to figure out other things, and I liked that Breene is giving us that. There could be something here for later books, but right now friendship is at the forefront.

I did think it got a little preachy for a minute with the whole ‘love yourself as you are’ and ‘middle-age is okay’ stuff. I don’t disagree with the sentiment at all, and in fact, love the message, but it came across a little heavy-handed at times. Not so much that I didn’t enjoy the book, but just enough that I noticed it.

“Raise your voice until you are heard. Look however you want, be whoever you want, and demand people pay attention to you. Stop taking what you’re given, and demand the space in life you want.”

If you’re looking for a fun read full of humor, with mature characters who are figuring out the next stage of their lives amidst unforeseen craziness, I highly recommend this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Leveling Up

four-stars


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Review: Shadow of Doubt by Hailey Edwards

Posted February 15, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Shadow of Doubt by Hailey EdwardsReviewer: Holly
Shadow of Doubt by Hailey Edwards
Series: The Potentate of Atlanta #1
Publisher: Black Dog Books LLC
Publication Date: August 7, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 259
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hadley Whitaker is a liar, a killer, and a chocoholic, but she’s getting better about the first two. Or maybe she’s just getting better at them.

Some days it’s hard for her to tell fact from fiction, but only one truth matters. Goddess willing, she’s going to be the next Potentate of Atlanta. Even if it means playing nice with Midas Kinase, a shifter whose mysterious past might just be grimmer than her own.

When a bloodthirsty rogue begins hunting the city’s paranormals, Hadley ropes Midas into letting her work the case. But that rope starts to feel more like a noose as they come closer to discovering not only the rogue’s identity, but each other’s darkest secrets.

Hadley Whitaker has been given a second chance at life. She’s hoping to earn her place as the new Potentate of Atlanta. Her mentor, Linus, is staying with his fiancé in Savannah, so Hadley is working her first case alone. The case puts her in the path of Midas Kinase, someone connected to her old life – though he doesn’t realize it. Hadley is determined to keep Midas in the dark, and embrace this new chance at life she’s been given. But between Midas and the watch-dog he put on her, Hadley has a hard time keeping all her secrets safe.

Bent, not broken. That was me. I hoped it was me. I wanted it to be.

We first met Hadley in the previous series, The Beginners Guide to Necromancy. I don’t want to spoil things, so I won’t go into detail about her actions there. I will say, I didn’t love Hadley in the previous series, but I’m coming around. She accepts the mistakes she made and is working to atone. She’s suspicious of the actions of those who know how she came to be in the position she is, and I sympathized with her there. Not knowing if someone is genuinely offering friendship, or just doing so to keep you close and keep an eye on you must weigh on a person.

“You’ve got friends here,” he called to my back. “I’m not as pretty as Ford, but I care.” I didn’t slow to answer, because I wasn’t sure about Bishop either. The POA had stuck us together, much the same as Midas had volunteered Ford. Neither of them had chosen to work with me. They were both doing a job, and I was a part of that.

I really loved Midas here and I can’t wait to learn more about him. There were hints of his backstory that left me wanting more. I enjoyed his protectiveness toward his pack, but he was also a bit of a loner.

Neither Midas nor Hadley are interested in starting anything. Midas has accepted the beta position in his pack after his sister decided to form her own pack and left the city. He never wanted to be Beta and he’s struggling with the role. Hadley is trying to find her feet and get out from under the weight of her past, plus secure the position of Potentate. But they form a sort of friendship here that was touching. I enjoyed how neither of them willingly came to the friendship, but it sort of happened anyway.

Although there are some darker themes here, there was quite a bit of humor. I can’t say this was my favorite novel by Edwards, but I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to seeing where the series goes.

“Life isn’t black and white, Lee. There’s a whole spectrum. You can’t go through life colorblind.”

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Potentate of Atlanta

three-half-stars


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Review: Lawless by T.M. Frazier

Posted December 22, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Lawless by T.M. FrazierReviewer: Casee
Lawless by T.M. Frazier
Series: King #3
Also in this series: King, Tyrant
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 6, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 231
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ruined. BROKEN. LOST.

Thia’s lost it all. With no options left she turns to the biker she met as a kid to cash in the favor he swore to return all those years ago.

Bear’s best friend is dead. His old man wants to put him to ground. He has bigger things on his mind than the pink-haired girl from the gas station he never thought he’d see again.

Until her battered body is tossed onto his doorstep.

Keeping his promise to Thia means Bear has to be willing to risk everything, including his life...and what’s left of his heart.

Thia’s bruised and battered. Bear’s leather and lawless. It will never work between them.

It’s a lie they ALMOST believe LAWLESS is book THREE in the King Series and meant to be read after KING & TYRANT.

Bear was first introduced in King. I wasn’t sure what my feelings were about him, but I ended up really enjoying him and Thia both. Again, there was that age difference but I’m pretty much over that. These heroines are far beyond their years in experience and it shows.

One night when Thia was younger, a group of bikers came into the grocery store she was working at. Things weren’t exactly going swimmingly until he walked in. He talked to her for a few minutes and made her feel special. He gave her his ring and told her to look him up at his MC if she ever needed help. The day she needed help came years later. Her mom killed her dad and then tried to kill Thia. Thia ended up killing her mom and now the cops are after her. Bear is the only one that she can think to turn to so she heads to his MC. Big mistake.

Bear is all in with the MC that he was born into. His father is the president and he’s being groomed to take over. When Thia shows up to the MC, she doesn’t know that Bear and his father on are the outs. She tries to show them the ring, but the members don’t care. All they care about is the fact that an innocent girl has showed up without a man to protect her. Bear’s dad takes exception to Thia being there and decides to send his son a message. Let me tell you, T.M. Frazier certainly does not shy away from taboo topics. Bear’s dad would have raped Thia if she wasn’t saved by one of Bear’s inside men. He takes Thia to Bear and that doesn’t go well either. Poor Thia.

Thia is thrilled when she is reunited with Bear but it’s abundantly clear that he doesn’t remember him. Thia is crushed by this knowledge. She has held onto his ring like a talisman for years. For him not to know her is a blow that she almost can’t take. Although Bear doesn’t exactly remember her, he knows that he gave his word and he has to protect her.

I really did enjoy the beginning of Thia and Bear’s story. They are so obviously wrong for each other, but at the same time they’re so obviously right. Bear feels like he’s taking advantage of Thia, but he knows he will never let her go. I was hooked from the beginning to end when I read this book and couldn’t wait for the next installment in the Thia and Bear saga.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

King


four-stars


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Review: Tyrant by T.M. Frazier

Posted December 11, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Tyrant by T.M. FrazierReviewer: Casee
Tyrant by T.M. Frazier
Series: King #2
Also in this series: King, Lawless
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 14, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 292
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I. Remember. Everything.
Only now I wish I didn't.
When the fog is sucked away from my mind like smoke through a vacuum, the truth that has been beyond my reach for months finally reveals itself.
But the relief I thought I would feel never comes, and I'm more afraid now than I was the morning I woke up handcuffed in King's bed.
Because with the truth comes dark secrets I was never meant to know.
I will put the lives of those I love most at risk if I let on that my memory has returned, or if I seek help from the heavily tattooed felon who owns me body and soul.
I don't know if I'm strong enough to resist the magnetic pull toward King that grows stronger every day.
He's already saved me in more ways than one. Now it's my turn to do whatever it takes to save him.
Even if that means marrying someone else...Tyrant is a full length novel at 80,000 words.

King ended on one hell of a cliffhanger. Doe’s family showed up at King’s house and things start coming back to her. Her name is Ramie and she has a son and apparently a boyfriend. King’s plan to blackmail Ramie’s dad, the senator, went awry and now he’s lost both Ray and his daughter. After Ray was whisked away by her father, King is arrested. He thinks he’s being taken to the station, but it becomes fairly obvious that the man that has “arrested” him is no cop. In fact, the imposter’s intention is to kill King. I was never sure who actually was responsible for this part.

Ray wants to go back to King, but she can’t leave her son. She doesn’t exactly remember him, but she remembers feeling like a mother. Ray is not sure what to do now. When King shows up in her bedroom at her father’s house, she is shocked and thrilled. She tells him what has been happening since the last time that they saw each other. He apologizes for his nefarious plan to get his daughter back and Ray forgives him. How can she not when it was all for the daughter he lost?

King wants to take Ray and Sammy (her son) back to his house but Ray refuses. She needs to regain her memory completely before she can fully commit to King. She loves him to distraction, but she can’t exactly take Sammy away from his father. She also starts remembering her own father. Although they were on the outs for years, Ray starts to remember the good times with him. It was really heartwarming to read about her relationship with him before things got rocky.

In King, her friend Nikki stole money from King. On her way out the window, she tells Ray one thing… “Don’t trust the Tyrant.” At the time Ray had no idea what she meant. When it starts coming back to her, she realizes that the danger to her and her son is much closer than she could have ever conceived of. All she wants and needs is King. And he doesn’t let her down.

I really didn’t see the ending coming, but I generally don’t. This book was so satisfying to read. I really loved Ray finding her way back to herself. The ending was spectacular and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

King

four-stars


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Review: King by T.M. Frazier

Posted December 9, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: King by T.M. FrazierReviewer: Casee
King by T.M. Frazier
Series: King #1
Also in this series: Tyrant, Lawless
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 15, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 322
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2020 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The USA Today bestselling King Series starts here!
Homeless. Hungry. Desperate.
Doe has no memories of who she is or where she comes from.
A notorious career criminal just released from prison, King is someone you don’t want to cross unless you’re prepared to pay him back in blood, sweat, pu$$y or a combination of all three.
King’s future hangs in the balance. Doe’s is written in her past. When they come crashing together, they will have to learn that sometimes in order to hold on, you have to first let go.

Brantley King is a new man. He’s been released from prison and is finally home. Prison changed him and he’s not really into the welcome home party that his best friends have thrown him. The she comes into the room. He doesn’t go after her, but he can’t forget the lost look in her young eyes. She has shadows in her eyes, but she obviously isn’t jaded by life like he is. He puts her out of his mind until he catches her and one of her friends stealing money from him. All goes to hell from there.

Doe doesn’t know who she is. She’s a Jane Doe. She woke up after being in some sort of accident, having no idea who she was. She doesn’t know if she’s always been homeless. She does know that the life of a homeless woman is going to kill her. She has one friend and when she suggests that they both accept an invitation to a bikers welcome home party, Doe realizes that she has some choices to make. She needs a man to protect her and care for her. It’s that simple. She’s not cut out for life on the streets. Then she meets King and her entire life changes.

King decides to “keep” Doe until she can pay off the $600 debt that she owes him. He doesn’t care that it was her friend, Nicole, that stole his money. As far as he’s concerned she’s just as complicit. Soon they begin falling for each other. King immediately knows that Doe isn’t homeless. He doesn’t know who she is, but he’s going to find out. When he does find out that her father is a powerful man, he decides to blackmail him into helping King get his daughter back. That backfires and nothing really good happened after that.

I wasn’t sure about this book at first. T.M. Frazier is a new-to-me author. The reviews for King are pretty good, so I wanted to give it a try. Honestly, I had a problem with Doe’s age from the beginning. Then I realized that when I was her age (which was a long ass time ago) and reading, that wouldn’t have bothered me. So I put that aside and ended up really enjoying the book. I wasn’t really sure what King saw in Doe in the beginning and vise versa. Then it all started making sense.

I didn’t really like how King called Doe “Pup”, but I understand why he did. She was a lost puppy when he met her and the nickname stuck. It ended up being more of an endearment which is why I was able to stand it without rolling my eyes. In the end, I really, really liked this book. It does end on a cliffhanger, but the next book is already out so no problems there.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

King

three-half-stars


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