Source: Purchased

Review: An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. James

Posted January 14, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: An Inquiry into Love and Death by Simone St. JamesReviewer: Holly
An Inquiry Into Love and Death by Simone St. James
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Gothic, Mystery
Pages: 339
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars

After her ghost-hunting uncle Toby dies, Oxford student Jillian must drive to the seaside village of Rothewell to pack up his belongings. Almost immediately, terrifying events convince Jillian that an angry spirit is trying to enter the house. Is it Walking John, the two-hundred-year-old ghost that haunts the bay? And who besides the ghost is roaming the local woods at night? If Toby uncovered something sinister, was his death really an accident? The arrival of handsome Scotland Yard inspector Drew Merriken leaves Jillian with more questions than answers and the added complication of a powerful mutual attraction.

I’m slowly making my way through Simone St. James’ backlist. An Inquiry Into Love and Death follows Jillian as she travels to a small seaside town to deal with her uncle Toby’s belongings after he dies unexpectedly.

Uncle Toby and her parents had a falling out, and they’re out of the country, so Oxford student Jillian is the only one left to deal with his belongings. She travels to Rothewell, where Toby fell from a cliff. They were close when she was a child, but they hadn’t seen each other in years. When Jillian arrives, she learns the locals believe Toby’s fall was an accident, but Scotland Yard believes it may have been a murder. As she and Inspector Drew Merriken get close, it soon becomes obvious that something more is at play. Between the town ghost and the suspicious townsfolk, Jillian doesn’t know who to trust or what to believe.

I didn’t enjoy this story quite as much as the others I’ve read by St. James, but it was still a good read. The middle was rather slow, and I found myself getting impatient with how things were progressing, but the early parts of the book and the end were very well done.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Buddy Review: Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue

Posted January 13, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Grumpy Jake by Melissa BlueReviewer: Ames and Rowena
Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 8, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 104
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four-stars

Bailey Thorne doesn't hate Jake the Rake, just despises him. She blames the rumor mill at her school...and, okay, him. His adorable son has only been in preschool, but Jake has already made an impressive dent in dating the unmarried faculty. She's had to hear of his every exploit from the broken hearts he's left behind. She was fine to loathe him from afar, but now his son has entered kindergarten--and she's the teacher. It's going to be a very long school year.

Jake Polaski was more than fine to avoid Ms. Thorne after it became clear she was not amused by his very existence. But then they get stuck in an elevator for an evening. He finds out that underneath that baleful glare she always gives him, lies a warm, funny and sexy as hell woman. He does his best to not be smitten after every exchange afterward. His son needs him rational, steadfast...and love is the most uncertain thing.

It was the elevator's fault. Had it worked like it should, Bailey would have gone on with her life without seeing why so many of her co-workers had fallen for the grumpy single dad. (It's his dry wit, his playful teasing and the drool-worthy cut of his jawline.) And now she's caught in the way he doles out smiles and the dark depths of his secrets. If nothing else, she knows from rumor there's a clock ticking on their affair before it implodes because things always do with Jake the Rake, but she can't seem to walk away first.

Rowena: Amy and I have been buddy reviewing books together for a few years now but we both weren’t reading much in the last few months of 2019 so we took a break but we’re back. Our first buddy review for 2020 will be on Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue.

Grumpy Jake follows Jake Polasky and Bailey Thorne as they make that journey toward they’re happily ever after, together. Bailey is Jake’s son’s teacher and though they started off on rocky ground, getting stuck on an elevator sparks up a friendship that turns into a lot more than either of them thought.

So, Ames…what did you think?

Ames: I thought this was a cute novella. I like how its called Grumpy Jake but when Bailey noticed the rep Jake had with the teachers she was aloof towards him, so in a way she was almost grumpy too. Even Jake’s son noticed that she didn’t particularly care for Jake. haha For this being a novella, I thought there was a lot packed into the story and it was enjoyable.

What did you think, Ween?

Rowena: I really enjoyed this one. It was a quick romp that I thought was cute. I liked that Bailey was a teacher and we actually got to see her in action. I also liked that though this was a novella, there was still a lot of stuff packed into the story to satisfy the reader. I wasn’t expecting all the steamy love scenes but I wasn’t mad about them either. There wasn’t much that I didn’t enjoy about this one, if anything, I just wanted more because I didn’t want to depart from these characters so soon. I liked Jayden and I liked the relationship that formed between Bailey and Jayden and I loved that regardless of what was going on with her and Jake, that didn’t affect anything between her and Jayden. I just flat out liked this one.

Ames: It’s harder to review a book we enjoy than one we didn’t, don’t you think? Because I agree with everything you said. Seeing Bailey in her role as a teacher and how that impacts developing a relationship with a parent of one of her students was interesting to see. And sets up the conflict nicely. Jayden was super cute and my heart broke for his and Jake’s story. The heat factor was nice too. I wasn’t expecting that so it was a pleasant surprise.

Overall, I don’t have any complaints about Grumpy Jake. I like a grumpy hero because there’s usually a softy hidden underneath that exterior and I like how Bailey called Jake out on his behaviour. They were a good match.

Rowena: You’re right. I just flat out like everything about this book, I just wanted it to be longer. So I gave it a 4.25 out of 5, you?

Ames: I’m giving this one a 4 out of 5. A very strong novella and a great introduction to Blue’s writing.

Final Grade

Ames: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Warrior Fae Princess by K.F. Breene

Posted January 6, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Warrior Fae Princess by K.F. BreeneReviewer: Holly
Warrior Fae Princess by K.F. Breene
Series: Warrior Fae #2, DDVN #8
Also in this series: Warrior Fae Trapped , Born in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy, #1), Raised in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy, #2), Fused in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy, #3), Natural Witch , Natural Witch
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 394
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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three-half-stars

With Charity's fate on the line, Devon and his pack must face the perils of the Realm in search of the elusive warrior fae. With no real experience and against some of the most powerful creatures in existence, they are fighting a losing battle.

Thankfully, they don't have to do it alone.

Knowing what's at stake, Penny and Emery, the magical powerhouses of the mage world, will lend their aid, trying to sneak Charity in the backdoor.

If they are caught, they'll all be captured or worse. Much worse.

But to make it means Devon will be forced to make a difficult decision that will change his and Charity's life forever.

You don't want to miss this epic conclusion to Devon and Charity's story!

Warrior Fae Princess by K.F. Breene is the second book in the Warrior Fae series, which is set in the DDVN (Demon Days, Vampire Nights) world. This book picks up right were Warrior Fae Trapped left off. While I don’t think it’s necessary to read the entire DDVN series before reading this book, I do think Warrior Fae Trapped should be read first.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the previous. I still liked Charity, Devon, his pack and the others, but a lot of Charity’s actions bothered me. She seemed to be processing more emotion in this book, which would have been fine except she seemed to be crying or passed out for the majority of the book. I liked seeing her come into her own at the end, and I really enjoyed watching her learn to master her power. But the rest? Meh.

Devon annoyed me as well. His decision to follow what the Seer said instead of having a conversation with Charity was frustrating. Aside from that, however, I liked how he put her first and protected her. I wish we’d seen more with the pack and Charity. They way certain things were handled View Spoiler » seemed out of keeping with the way they operated in the first book.

Still, for all that, I enjoyed this book as a whole. The world is fresh and fascinating, and I really enjoyed seeing another element come into play. While this isn’t my favorite of the series, I can’t deny it was engaging.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Warrior Fae

DDVN

three-half-stars


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Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Posted January 2, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne LongReviewer: Rowena
Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #1
Also in this series: Lady Derring Takes a Lover , Angel in a Devil's Arms
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: five-stars

A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpool, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, "Dear Dull Derring," is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It's a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue's Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he's ever known?

Lady Derring Takes a Lover is the first book in Julie Anne Long’s The Palace of Rogues series. I picked this book up because it came highly recommended by Holly. I wasn’t in the mood for a new to me historical romance for a while now, was content to re-read a bunch of Julie Garwoods and some Judith McNaught oldies but man am I glad that I finally picked this one up. I cried a lot while reading this book. Julie Anne Long had me in my feels. I loved everything about this book.

From beginning to end, Lady Delilah Derring rocked my socks. The amount of growth and spine that she showed throughout the entire book just really worked for me. I was invested in what she was building with her late husband’s mistress, of all people, and I just loved that there was no job too big or too small that she wouldn’t have done. She was a survivor through and through and in the end, I was so hot damn proud of her, I cried.

Lady Derring’s husband died, leaving behind more debt than she knows what to do with, a down on her luck mistress, and a run-down building that used to be The Palace of Rogues. Needing to figure out her next move, Delilah makes plans to turn the run-down building around and create a business that will help sustain a life for herself, for her young ladies maid that has nowhere to go, and a new friend that has lost her way. Unbeknownst to her, an investigation was opened on her late husband and Captain Tristan Hardy is on the case. While Delilah, Angelique, and their small staff are hard at work, trying to get this hotel up and running, Captain Hardy is running down every lead he can find that will lead him to some answers about some cigars that he thinks Lord Derring might have been involved with.

Tristan’s investigation leads him to go undercover and booking himself a room at The Grand Palace on the Thames. He needs to figure out if Lady Derring was in cahoots with her husband over the stolen cigars and what better way than to get some answers than by looking through the hotel room by room himself and asking questions of the staff and of Lady Derring herself?

Watching Tristan and Delilah battle wits throughout this entire book made me so happy. There were times when I wanted to smack some sense into Tristan but for the most part, they were a great pair. They complimented each other well and I loved seeing them grow closer and closer with each passing day. I loved all of Delilah’s rules, I loved seeing Tristan grow to love those rules himself and I loved seeing each of the roommates get to know each other. When we finally figure out who the bad guys are, I freaking laughed out loud but when everything comes out? I cried like a baby. It wasn’t an easy story to read but I thought Julie Anne Long did a wonderful job of building us up, breaking us down and then putting us all back together again. This was a wonderfully romantic story and I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to read Angelique’s book.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

The Palace of Rogues


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Review: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Posted December 27, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wildfire by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Hidden Legacy #3
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5), Sapphire Flames, Diamond Fire
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
Length: 12 hours and 44 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

Wildfire is book 3 in the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews. The trilogy follows Nevada Baylor as she learns how to use her magic, tries to protect her family from threats on multiple levels, and uncover the plots of a mastermind with a huge group of followers who are trying to destabilize Houston. I highly recommend reading this series in order, as the storyarc and romance are completed over the course of the three books.

Wildfire picks up just where White Hot left off. Nevada and Rogan disappeared for some much needed alone time away. They’re called back when the threat of Nevada’s grandmother comes closer. Nevada and her family will have to decide if they’ll petition to become their own House, which will change things significantly for all of them. Meanwhile, Rogan’s ex-fiance, Rynda Charles, turns up looking to hire Nevada to find her missing husband. Though Nevada doesn’t want to be, she’s slightly jealous of the easy affection Rynda and Rogan seem to feel for each other. As the case heats up and the trials to become a House loom, Rogan and Nevada discover Brian’s kidnapping is connected to the greater plot to turn Houston into a New Rome.

Another fabulous book. Wildfire is action-packed with a full, colorful cast of characters, and a steamy romance. This novel delivers on every level.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5

Hidden Legacy

four-half-stars


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