Source: Library

Review: Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Posted April 17, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Hunting Ground by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Casee
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
Narrator: Holter Graham
Series: Alpha & Omega #2
Also in this series: Burn Bright, Burn Bright, Alpha & Omega, Cry Wolf, Burn Bright, Dead Heat
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 286
Length: 8 hours and 24 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars

Anna Latham didn’t know how complicated life could be until she became a werewolf. And until she was mated to Charles Cornick, the son — and enforcer — of Bran, the leader of the North American werewolves, she didn’t know how dangerous it could be either...

Anna and Charles have just been enlisted to attend a summit to present Bran’s controversial proposition: that the wolves should finally reveal themselves to humans. But the most feared Alpha in Europe is dead set against the plan — and it seems like someone else might be too. When Anna is attacked by vampires using pack magic, the kind of power only werewolves should be able to draw on, Charles and Anna must combine their talents to hunt down whoever is behind it all — or risk losing everything...

I read Cry Wolf when we did the Summer Reading Challenge last summer. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get to the second book. I know part of it was that I wasn’t a huge Anna fan. She seems weak and meek, but in this book it is clear to see that she’s anything but.

Charles and Anna are attending a summit in Seattle to discuss coming out to the humans. One of the most powerful alphas is against coming out at all. He also has his eye on Anna. While Charles and Anna are mates, their relationship is anything but easy. Charles literally bristles with rage anytime Anna is threatened. When she is attacked by vampires who are wielding pack magic, all bets are off.

Anna feels stronger than she felt when she first met Charles. As an omega, she is revered by the werewolves, especially Charles. She can bring peace and calm to any enraged werewolf. She’s been learning to control it and has been doing a darn good job.

It’s clear that there is unrest between the werewolves. Most of them know it is time to reveal themselves to the humans. It would be better to do it on their terms rather than let the humans find out on their own. It is more than one alpha’s opposition that Charles has to face. It’s an anonymous person/werewolf/vampire that wants to get his hands on Anna. Charles will never let that happen.

I really enjoyed how Anna and Charles’ relationship has evolved. They are true partners. She’s never been valued as a werewolf, but Charles makes sure to show her how valuable she is to him. I really liked the whole “mystery” aspect of it. I was pretty clueless until almost right up until it was revealed. Then I was like “A-HA!”. Got you.

If you like paranormal, shapeshifting stories that actually have a plot, I highly suggest this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Alpha & Omega

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Au Pair by Emma Rous

Posted April 3, 2019 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Au Pair by Emma RousReviewer: Ames
The Au Pair by Emma Rous
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Format: Print
Source: Library
Genres: Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 379
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two-half-stars

A grand estate, terrible secrets, and a young woman who bears witness to it all. If V. C. Andrews and Kate Morton had a literary love child, Emma Rous’ The Au Pair would be it.

Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.

Now an adult, Seraphine mourns the recent death of her father. While going through his belongings, she uncovers a family photograph that raises dangerous questions. It was taken on the day the twins were born, and in the photo, their mother, surrounded by her husband and her young son, is beautifully dressed, smiling serenely, and holding just one baby.

Who is the child and what really happened that day?

One person knows the truth, if only Seraphine can find her.

This book caught my eye when it was appearing on lists of books to look forward to in 2019 so I requested it from my local library. Knowing it was about a nanny I had a few predictions about what would happen and I wasn’t wrong but oh man I wasn’t right either!

The Au Pair begins with Seraphine going through her father’s things after he’s passed away. She finds a photograph that was taken on the day she was born, which also happens to be the day her mom died (suicide), which shows her mother holding one baby but also looking really happy. Seraphine is a twin so she’s consumed by the question why there’s only one baby in the picture and why her mom looks so happy when only hours later she took her own life. This mystery has Seraphine tracking down Laura, the nanny her parents used that summer before her and her brother were born. Immediately after talking to Laura, who requests that she be left alone, Seraphine starts getting threatening messages left around her house.

Between this modern day search for the truth, the Au Pair also flashes back to that summer from Laura’s point of view. I thought Laura’s story was more interesting than Seraphine’s although not a lot happens. She’s a student who’s hired to nanny for a couple who already have a little boy. The mother has some mental health issues that her mother and husband keep asking Laura how she’s doing. The husband is away all week working in London and comes home on the weekends to be with his family. The only excitement is when Laura develops a crush on Alex, a friend to the family who comes to visit from time to time.

I have to say, I was somewhat enjoying this book for a good two-thirds of the story but then once the mystery started to be revealed to the reader I was not impressed. Laura’s feelings about things that were happening were very flat and there was no depth to her. I was right about something I predicted happening but then the train went completely off the rails and started flying around the moon. LOL That’s honestly how crazy the plot became. Also, for a book taking place in 2017, why didn’t Seraphine take pictures with her freaking cell phone of the threatening messages that were being left for her? I have to admit that really annoyed me. The danger was weak in the end and the mystery was crazy pants and not in a good way. In the end I’m only going to give the Au Pair

Grade: 2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Review: Dirty by Kylie Scott

Posted March 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Dirty by Kylie ScottReviewer: Holly
Dirty by Kylie Scott
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Series: Dive Bar #1
Also in this series: Dirty, Dirty, Twist
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 275
Length: 8 hours and 17 minutes
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Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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two-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


Love—on the rocks….

The last thing Vaughan Hewson expects to find when he returns to his childhood home is a broken hearted bride in his shower, let alone the drama and chaos that come with her.

Lydia Green doesn't know whether to scream or cry in a corner. Discovering the love of your life is having an affair on your wedding day is bad enough. Finding out it's with his best man is another thing all together.

Just when this runaway bride has nowhere left to turn, a handsome stranger offers her a broad, muscular shoulder to cry on. Vaughan is the exact opposite of the picture perfect, respected businessmen she's normally drawn to. This former musician-turned-bartender is rough around the edges and is facing his own crossroads. But Lydia's already tried Mr. Right and discovered he's all wrong--maybe it's time to give Mr. Right Now a chance.

After all, what's wrong with getting dirty?

Dirty is the first book in the Dive Bar series from bestselling author Kylie Scott.

I read the Stage Dive series the year it was released, but somehow I never read this spinoff series. After finishing Repeat on audio, I was in the mood for something else by Kylie Scott and decided to try this one. Sadly, it didn’t work for me at all. The short time frame of the story – two weeks total – really worked against it.

Lydia Green freaks out on her wedding day when she’s emailed a video of her groom having sex with his best man. She’s supposed to walk down the aisle in minutes, but she panics and runs instead. She hops over the neighbor’s fence and ends up crying in the bathtub..where Vaughn Hewson, the owner of the house, finds her.

Vaughn is down on his luck. His band recently split up and he’s broke. He’s come home to sell his parents’ house to his sister, but no way is he prepared to find a weeping woman in a wedding dress in his shower. Despite the circumstances – or maybe because of them – Vaughn and Lydia end up supporting each other as they deal with their own stuff. But Vaughn is only in town long enough to sell his house, and Lydia wants to settle down.

I had a lot of problems with this book. 1) Lydia made a lot of really questionable choices. She’d only been with her fiance 4 months, which even she acknowledges was rushing things. Yet within 48 hours she’s all in with Vaughn? Then she’s ready to make major life changes on whim? 2) Vaughn was a jerk to her half the time, but she still felt like she was falling for him? 3) The short time frame meant I didn’t believe for a minute they were actually solid enough to go the distance. 4) Vaughn’s decision at the end was ridiculous and made no sense.

I wanted to like this book, but I just couldn’t.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Dive Bar

two-stars


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Guest Review: Kiss the Girl by Tara Sivec

Posted February 6, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Kiss the Girl by Tara SivecReviewer: Tracy
Kiss the Girl by Tara Sivec
Series: Naughty Princess Club #3
Also in this series: At the Stroke of Midnight, In Bed with the Beast
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A struggling antiques collector finds herself falling in love with a millionaire playboy; but can she ever be a part of his world?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

While her friends have broken free of their insecurities, Ariel Waters is struggling to come out of her shell. Her ex-husband took away her voice and her self-confidence, and Ariel is drowning under a sea of debt to afford the alimony she has to pay him. She refuses to ever fall for a man’s charms again, and is determined to make her own way.

When her house and her beloved antiques are taken by the bank after too many missed payments, Ariel finds herself adrift until the infuriatingly charming Eric Sailor comes to her rescue. Although she can’t stand the millionaire playboy, Eric’s kindness and unconditional support reveal hidden depths and a love that Ariel never imagined she could find.

But there are outside influences who will stop at nothing to keep them apart; can Ariel and Eric weather the storm and find a way to be together?

Ariel is part owner of the Naughty Princess Club.  It’s a stripping business that’s doing very well.  The other two partners, Cindy and Belle, are stripping constantly, but Ariel hasn’t exactly found her stripping mojo yet.

Ariel had been married and her ex-husband turned out to be a complete bastard.  He’d taken Ariel’s self-confidence and stomped it into the ground, then left her.  Not only that, but then he made her pay him alimony!  Because of Ariel’s debts she loses her house – with all of her wonderful antiques inside.  Luckily her friends and their husbands help her out – along with Eric.  Eric rubs Ariel the wrong way, but when he gives her one of his yachts to live on, she’s incredibly grateful.  If she has a wonderfully nasty dream about him a time or two, it’s only understandable since he’s in the yacht right next door, right?

When Ariel’s house woes were happening she was supposed to be filing the Naughty Princess Club’s business license.  Since she missed the deadline, it has to go to committee.  The horrible woman she talks to at the licensing office, Ursula, doesn’t give her much hope that their license will be approved.  Especially when she finds out there’s more to Ursula’s venom than Ariel firsts thought.  Can Ariel save the NPC and can she do it while falling in love with Eric?

This was just as cute as the first two books in the series.  It didn’t have as much to do with actual stripping as books 1 and 2, but it was still good.

I LOVED Ariel!  She was mouthy and irreverent, and I adored it.  Is that always a good thing? No, but in this story, it absolutely worked for the character. She made me laugh out loud more than once, that’s for sure. I also loved that Eric loved her mouthiness, fire and passion as well.  He was such a good guy and so very patient.

The conflict with Ursula, I felt, was well done and a bit unexpected.  The fact that Eric never hesitated to take Ariel’s side just endeared him to me ever more.

Overall this was a good story and it was a great series.  Fun, light-hearted, and full of girl power.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Naughty Princess Club

four-stars


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Review: Red Wolf by Jennifer Ashley

Posted December 7, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Red Wolf by Jennifer AshleyReviewer: Holly
Red Wolf by Jennifer Ashley
Narrator: Cris Dukehart
Series: Shifters Unbound #10
Also in this series: White Tiger (Shifters Unbound, #8)
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Format: eARC, Audiobook
Source: Library, NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Length: 10 hours and 15 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The New York Times bestselling author of Guardian's Mate returns to the world of the Shifters and a tale of a new love under fire...

A man is only as strong...

Red wolf Shifter Dimitri has fought his whole life for respect. It is claimed that red wolves are tainted with coyote blood and therefore not pure. He may not be skilled at verbally defending himself, but because he's a bodyguard, tracker, and champion of the fight clubs, his fists are always ready for some rough and tumble. However, he'd prefer a roll in the hay with the woman who is his oldest friend.

...as the woman who's got his back...

A spirited leopard Shifter and a fellow tracker, Jaycee Bordeaux has no problem forging a mate bond with Dimitri, but soon the two are called to infiltrate a rogue group bent on enslaving Shifters. Jaycee may have defended Dimitri from taunts before, but they now face a more lethal danger--one that threatens not only the future of their people, but also their love.

I really like the Shifters Unbound series by Jennifer Ashley. Red Wolf follows two un-collared shifters from Kendrick’s pack, Dimitri and Jaycee. They were introduced in White Tiger. Jaycee thought she was in love with her alpha (Kendrick), but realized it was just being safe and loved in the pack she wanted. When Kendrick and his mate start mate bonding, Jaycee and Dimitri end up in bed together, too. They’ve been best friends as long as either of them can remember. Dimitri had a speech impediment and Jaycee is the only one who seems to always get him. During a tense situation Dimitri mate-claimed Jaycee, in the hope that he could tell her not to put herself in danger. That didn’t work. Still, the mate-claim stands until Jaycee either accepts it or rejects it. She wants to accept it because she loves Dimitri and wants him in her life, but she doesn’t want to be controlled by a male. Nor does she want to lose the easy friendship they have. For Dimitri, there’s never been anyone but Jacyee. He didn’t claim her on a whim, he’s wanted her all along. When they’re put on an undercover op, their mate-claim will really be tested and Jaycee will have to decide what’s really important.

This started out slow, with a lot of the focus on Jaycee’s internal feelings and exploring a borrowed house. It does eventually pick up and I really enjoyed the second half. The story-arc is continued from White Tiger, and we also saw threads from other books coming together here. Ashley has a wonderful, solid writing voice that really brings this world to life. Though the romance was slow and somewhat lacking, the overall story-arc and progression of things inside the world really worked for me. I love how she tugs so many threads at once. In this book we see how many of them are connected.

I didn’t much care for Jaycee’s internal struggle about the mate-claim. Her main hesitation was that she didn’t want to be controlled or under the thumb of another. That would make sense if Dimitri ever tried to control her. He didn’t want her in danger, of course, but that’s because he loved her. He never tried to stop her from doing her job and in fact often encouraged her. So her fears there were groundless and therefore didn’t hold sway with me. The outside conflict was much more interesting and kept me reading.

3.75 out of 5

Shifters Unbound

three-half-stars


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