Tag: 2.5 Reviews

Guest Review: Drakon’s Past by N.J. Walters

Posted April 23, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Drakon’s Past by N.J. WaltersReviewer: Jen
Drakon's Past (Blood of the Drakon, #4) by N.J. Walters
Series: Blood of the Drakon #4
Also in this series: Drakon's Promise, Drakon's Prey, Drakon's Plunder
Published by Entangled, Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: January 29th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 306
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Constance Owens has a gift for finding unique items in the most unlikely places, which comes in handy since she buys and sells artifacts and antiques for a living. When she purchases a set of four dragon statues, she has no idea just how unique they are, or that finding them will thrust her into a world of secret societies, men who think nothing of kidnapping and murder to get what they want, and dragon shifters.

Nic hasn’t survived for four thousand years by letting his guard down, and he doesn’t trust anyone except his drakon brothers. The loneliness haunting him has been getting worse since all his brothers have found their mates. And when he finds the woman his drakon recognizes instantly as his fated mate, he doubts he’ll ever have what his brothers have, because it seems she’s involved with the secret society of hunters who have been hunting and capturing his kind for hundreds of years.

Nic has been a bit on the outskirts of the previous books in this series. Unlike the other brothers who tend to keep to themselves, Nic seems to spend a lot of time with regular humans. He loves to party and act the playboy, particularly in Vegas. What his brothers don’t know, though, is that he’s doing it in a desperate attempt to stave off the Big Sleep. Apparently, when drakons eventually get bored with the world, they lay down and sleep forever. (Everyone implies this is just “sleep” and not death, but I don’t know, that sure sounds like dying to me.) Nic’s been feeling the urge to just lay down and give up, so he leads a wild lifestyle in an attempt to keep up his interest in living. When he hears about a woman selling highly unusual dragon statues, he goes to investigate and finds Constance. She sells antiques and other collectibles to support herself and her teenage sister. When her sister gets kidnapped by the Knights of the Dragon, she knows the statues are more important than she thought. She doesn’t trust Nic and doesn’t know how he’s involved, but she doesn’t have a lot of options for getting her sister back. She and Nic circle each other and do what they can to rescue her sister.

I have to be honest, I was pretty disappointed in this book. I didn’t like Nic or Constance much. I didn’t really feel much of a deep connection between them, just plain and simple lust. I didn’t like that Nic takes advantage of Constance’s vulnerability and worry about her sister. Constance too is wishy washy. I got why she wouldn’t trust Nic, but then she keeps getting all horny for him and letting him come around. I just never felt much there.

There were too many loose threads in the book, too. This idea of the Big Sleep is never properly explored. Why do drakons do this? How does Nic avoid it? It’s kind of plopped there and then never referred to again. There is no resolution to the larger story arc of the Knights of the Dragon. Sure one villain gets beaten here, but what about the rest of them? How come the drakons don’t put a stop to the group once and for all? What happened to Karina Azarov (the head of the Knights)? Now all four of the drakon brothers have gotten their stories. We’re told there are more drakons out there but we haven’t met or even heard the name of any others. So, is the series going to continue with a drakon we’ve never met, or is it over, leaving tons of unresolved story lines? I don’t know what to think.

Even worse, the one thread that IS resolved is Nic’s mommy issues. Thousands of years ago, when he was a child, his mom threw him out and let the villagers chase him away. He’s had a huge chip on his shoulder since then and doesn’t trust anyone, particularly women, because he’s sure they’re all rotten. Of course, it’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because he doesn’t trust Constance he doesn’t tell her the truth, and because she doesn’t know the truth she has to betray him in order to save her sister. And then in the end, Nic gets a resolution of his issues that was so trite and unbelievable. It was just silly.

It’s always a bummer when a book you’ve been waiting for lets you down. If the author continues the series, however, I’ll continue reading.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

Blood of the Drakon Series

two-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Cover of Night by Linda Howard

Posted April 5, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 15 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Cover of Night by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
Cover of Night by Linda Howard
Published by Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 27th 2006
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-half-stars

For breathless action, gripping suspense, and intense romance, bestselling author Linda Howard never misses a beat–and her thrilling new novel will have your heart racing.

In the charming rural town of Trail Stop, Idaho, accessible to the outside world by only a single road, young widow Cate Nightingale lives peacefully with her four-year-old twin boys, running a bed-and-breakfast. Though the overnight guests are few and far between–occasional hunters and lake fishermen–Cate always manages to make ends meet with the help of the local jack-of-all-trades, Calvin Harris, who can handle everything from carpentry to plumbing. But Calvin is not what he seems, and Cate’s luck is about to run out.

One morning, the B&B’s only guest inexplicably vanishes, leaving behind his personal effects. A few days later Cate is shocked when armed men storm the house, demanding the mystery man’s belongings. Fearing for her children’s lives, Cate agrees to cooperate–until Calvin saves the day, forcing the intruders to scatter into the surrounding woods.

The nightmare, however, is just beginning. Cate, Calvin, and their entire community find themselves cut off and alone with no means to call for help as the threat gathers intensity and first blood is drawn.
With their fellow residents trapped and the entire town held hostage, Cate and Calvin have no choice but to take the fight to their enemies under the cover of night. While reticent Cal becomes a fearless protector, Cate makes the most daring move of her life . . . into the very heart of danger.

From the Hardcover edition.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on April 21, 2008.

How many of you have read Danielle Steel? I used to read her all the time when I was younger, but after awhile the repetitiveness of her writing started to wear on me and I gave up on her. I’m not talking about the constant reuse of key phrases, either, but the way she feels she has to explain the same point again and again and again.

That’s exactly what Linda Howard did in this novel. Contrary to popular belief, I am not an idiot. If you explain something to me once, I get it. I don’t need you to repeat the same point over and over. Truly.

Three years ago, Cate’s husband died of a Staph infection, leaving her a widow with very young twin boys. In an effort to provide financially for them and to escape all of the memories of Seattle, she moves to Trail Stop, Idaho, a very small community nestled in the mountains of Idaho and miles from everything. The town is surrounded on three sides by mountains and has only one road for access.

Life is pretty peaceful for her and her twins. She’s made some friends, though she’s mostly kept people at arms length. The local handyman, Calvin Harris, is at her house almost every day, because it’s an old Victorian and seems to need constant repairs. Otherwise, though, besides one women she considers a close friend, she doesn’t really socialize in town.

Our story begins when she has this guest come and stay who sneaks out the window during the day and leaves all his stuff behind. At first she’s irritated that he ditched out like that, then she’s worried about him, thinking he may have had an accident or something, then she goes back to being irritated when he’s still gone two days later.

In the meantime, we find out that the guest who skipped out the window is actually a CPA who stole some very incriminating evidence from some mobster and is attempting to extort an extreme amount of money from him. Well, as you can imagine, our mobster guy isn’t very happy about that, so he hires this shady PI/Contract Killer guy to go after him. They eventually track him to the B&B in Trail Stop…and this is where the story goes south. Wayyyy South.

The thing about this book is…it wasn’t that interesting BEFORE the contract killer shows up. But AFTER that? It was so over-the-top-unbelievable I was almost in stitches. Seriously.

Here’s the skinny. Contract Killer and his little minion decide to rent a room in Cate’s BB. They overhear Cate and her friend talking about how she’s suspicious of them, so rather than being all stealthy and searching for the things CPA boy left behind, they rush at her with guns and demand his stuff. She’s getting ready to comply when Cal the Handyman shows up to get the mail. She sends him on his way, but on the off chance that something isn’t right he circles back around and…saves the day.

Now, the thing is, up until this point, Cal can’t string two words together in Cate’s presence. He’s painfully shy around her and even turns BEAT ASS RED when he’s near her. I think LH was trying to make us see that he had different sides by throwing a few other scenes with him in it, but it didn’t work. Not for me anyway.

But back to my bitching review. So Cal figures out that Cate’s in trouble, circles around, knocks one of the Contract Killers on the head and takes the other one by surprise and disarms him. In the name of keeping things calm, he hands over CPA Boy’s suitcase and sends them on their way. Yeah, dumb but whatever.

Conveniently, Cate’s mom is visiting from Seattle, and wants the twins for a few weeks, so the next morning Cate sends them on their way, because she’s paranoid and wants them safe. Ok, that makes sense. But it was just too neat and tidy that her mom was there when this went down.

The twins hit the road and the Contract Killers check out the suitcase. Well, well, what do you know. Seems there isn’t any shaving stuff or personal toiletries in the bag, so they figure she’s holding out on them. So what do they do? Well, they decide to take the entire town hostage, of course.

stares

Yes, I said take the entire town hostage. Because Cate may or may not have a shaving kit that may or may not include the thing that Mobster Dude’s CPA stole from him. Is that not the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard?

From there on it was just dumb. The POV’s jumped around entirely too much, but we didn’t get hardly anything from the hero. We come to understand that he’s been in love with Cate since she moved there, and that he was formerly a Marine, so he’s well able to handle the situation, but that’s pretty much it. I really liked what I saw of him, and I liked Cate for the most part, too. Although she could have buckled in the face of such craziness, she rose to the occasion and did what needed to be done. But overall? The character development sucked, IMO. There just wasn’t enough focus on the two main protagonists to make them real characters to me. The twins were sort of cute, but since they only lasted like the first 20 pages or so I can’t really say they grabbed me.

Basically, the storyline was WAY over the top, we didn’t get to see enough from the hero’s POV and she jumped around WAY too much. During one chapter there were seven different POV’s, none of them the hero.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed. At all. It’s not the worst Linda Howard I’ve ever read (All That Glitters and The Independent Wife hold that title) but it was close.

2.5 out of 5

This book is available from Ballantine. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

two-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday: Guest Review: Timber Creek by Veronica Wolff

Posted March 29, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday: Guest Review: Timber Creek by Veronica WolffReviewer: Tracy
Timber Creek (Sierra Falls, #2) by Veronica Wolff
Series: Sierra Falls #2
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: December 31st 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 304
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two-stars


In love and war, something’s gotta give…

For Laura Bailey it wasn’t easy weathering her teen years at her quaint family lodge in a boondock town at the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Fleeing for San Francisco the minute she graduated high school seemed like a good idea—until she lost her job and her fiancé. The blow to her pride sent her back to Sierra Falls to figure out her life. But her hometown is undergoing a bit of renovation.

A new Sierra Falls resort is posing a threat to the Bailey family business. Even worse, the construction company developing the property is run by Eddie Jessup, Laura’s cocky high school nemesis who delighted in locking horns with the little spitfire. Some things never change. But their battle isn’t the only thing heating up between Laura and Eddie, and before long they realize that getting to know each other all over again has its rewards. But fate isn’t through with them. Nor are the games men and women play in the name of love.

Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally published on December 26, 2012.

Laura is determined to make a go of it in Sierra Falls and to prove her worth, to her family, the town and to herself. When a new resort gets planned and she crunches numbers for her family’s lodge and restaurant they’re not good. She’ll do just about anything to keep her family’s business in the black and that means going head to head with Eddie Jessup.

Laura wants Eddie to stop renovations on a ranch in Sierra Falls just because it will hurt her business – but what about his family and his business? Eddie doesn’t feel that the whole resort thing is on the up and up but Jessup Construction needs the work and this might put them on the map and make their business grow. As much as he’d like to accommodate Laura, he just can’t do it.

Laura is a bear and keeps up her constant tirade toward Eddie with no end in sight…until they finally give in to their mutual attraction and then sparks fly. Laura, however is still concerned about money and when her old boss calls with a cherry job offer she can’t decide what to do.

This was a really hard book for me to like. I really liked Eddie so very much. There was just so much to like about him and he was just adorable. I could see his charming grin flying off the pages and I just wanted to hug him. My problem was that I really didn’t like Laura at all. The story deals with Laura and her self-esteem issues, etc. but frankly I just didn’t think she was a nice person. She was nice around Eddie but I thought that she felt like she couldn’t let her true self out. I believe that we as the reader was supposed to see the tough outer shell and then see what a softie she was but after everything was said and done I felt like it was too little too late.

There was a secondary story that had to do with the waitress at Laura’s family restaurant, Helen, and her family and her husband troubles. I found this story much more interesting and wanted the entire book to be about Helen. I think between Eddie and Helen they saved the book for me. In the end it was just an ok read.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 

The Series:
 Book Cover Book Cover

This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

two-stars


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Guest Review: His Best Mistake by Lucy King

Posted February 21, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: His Best Mistake by Lucy KingReviewer: Tracy
His Best Mistake by Lucy King
Series: The Maclean Family Legacy #1
Published by Tule Publishing
Publication Date: January 22nd 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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two-half-stars

Is it too much to ask for a relationship that works?

When Stella Grant realizes her perfect romance is a lie and that she's the other woman, she flees to her remote cottage in the Highlands to lick her wounds.

Billionaire currency trader Jack Maclean has nothing but contempt for the woman who stole not only his sister’s fiancé but quite possibly a family heirloom to boot. Nonetheless, he wants answers and he intends to get them. A quick trip north should do the trick. Never in a million years could he have predicted a kamikaze sheep and inclement weather would leave him stranded.

Jack might be gorgeous but Stella isn’t in the market for a man, especially one who hates her. No matter how attractive he finds her Stella is the very last person Jack should want. The trouble is, they’re all alone and the chemistry is irresistible, and, well, what happens in Scotland stays in Scotland, right?

Stella is trying to get away from everyone and everything after she found out that she was the “other woman.”  She never wanted to be that person and is sick to think that the man she’d been dating for 3 months was engaged to someone else.  She’d been at a cottage in the Scottish Highlands for almost a month when a truck starts up her drive.  The driver is none other than Jack Maclean, the brother of the woman who was heartbroken when she found out her fiancé was two timing her.

Jack is pissed off on his sister’s behalf but he eventually gives Stella a chance to tell her side of things and he realizes that he believes her when she says she had no idea that she was dating an engaged man. At that point Jack is satisfied with that issues but he can’t seem to get his lusty thoughts off of Stella.  They both know it’s a horrible idea to sleep together but they do anyway and lo and behold, Stella gets pregnant.  Talk about a sticky situation.

Stella is willing to let Jack off the hook or even let him in completely (in the baby’s life) if that’s what he wants. Jack is more than willing to be by her side 24/7 but there are reasons behind that.  Jack, however, has no idea what he’s doing or feeling and when he realizes that he might be falling in love with Stella he calls it quits.

In this story Stella is pretty alone.  She basically raised herself and her parents are so into their own dramas that they barely noticed they had a daughter.  Stella was a bit traumatized by that so she had kind of been looking for love in all the wrong places.  She tended to fantasize about a guy before she ever got to know him.  I think it’s something we’ve all done from time to time.  With Jack she really didn’t do all that much fantasizing until after she got pregnant.

Jack had had some hard knocks in his life but now he was a billionaire and who was so invested in his work he hadn’t had sex in 4 years.  Well, there were other reasons he hadn’t had sex in that long but he never imagined he’d end up having it with the woman who broke his sister’s heart. Once he found out that Stella was pregnant he acted kind of like a nut case.  Yes, again, big reasons why that was but it just didn’t endear the man to me in any way.  He was so on again, off again with Stella that I wanted to smack him upside the head and say, “Snap out of it!”  In the end I thought that Stella was too good for him and I wanted him to grovel more to even get a little bit of attention from her.  But maybe that was just me, IDK.

This was a novella that sounded so very good but in the end didn’t really work for me.  There was nothing truly wrong with it but as I read the last page I laid down my Kindle and thought “meh” which is never a good thing.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: Merry Christmas, My Viscount by Emily Windsor

Posted February 14, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Merry Christmas, My Viscount by Emily WindsorReviewer: Tracy
Merry Christmas, My Viscount (Rules of the Rogue #2) by Emily Windsor
Series: Rules of the Rogue #2
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: November 27th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Mrs Lily Mereworth’s List of Bold New Life Resolutions. To be completed by Christmas Eve, 1814.

• Burn Miss Pikesworth’s Guide to Etiquette – Achieved.
• Visit a gaming hell and win oneself lots of money – Achieved.
• Imbibe new-fangled absinthe – Preparations underway
• Seduce a rogue – ?

Attending a Christmastide gathering is surely the best way for the most proper widow Mrs Lily Mereworth to complete her list and banish her past. After all, there will be more than a few suitable gentlemen present.If only a shrewd, hazel-eyed viscount didn’t keep disrupting her plans…

Newly ennobled Viscount Asher Rainham has no schedule for seduction, Christmas or dallying with women. He has merely turned up for the good company, intelligent card playing and excellent brandy. But as snow swathes the land, a certain Mrs Mereworth confounds his expectations and assaults his methodical senses.Asher, spymaster, a man who never takes risks, finds himself in need of some Rules of the Rogue…

Ghost stories on a windy night, swordplay down the Great Portrait Gallery, snapdragon in the dark – a lady and a gentleman with no thought to love… Merry Christmas.

Lily Mereworth had been under her husband’s thumb for so long that when he died she decided she wanted to be the improper lady he never allowed her to be.  She makes a list of things she’d like to accomplish and as of the start of this book she’d checked off all but two of them.  The two that remained were to drink absinthe and to seduce a rogue.  She was inspecting the male guests at the Christmas house party she was attending to see if any of them caught her fancy enough to actually seduce.  The man who seemed the most likely candidate just didn’t do anything for her.  The one who did, Viscount Rainham, seemed like a man who would want more than one night – a relationship even. Lily wasn’t about to give up her independence just to have sex.

Asher Rainham is perplexed by Lily Mereworth. He can’t quite figure her out, but he likes what he sees after their rough start. The more time he spends with Lily the more he likes her and actually finds himself falling in love with her. She wants to bed him but doesn’t want a relationship.  Can she take the chance of losing her independence by going forward with her seduction plans?

Let me start by saying that I enjoyed the premise of this story.  I thought that Lily’s character was wonderful and I was pulling for her to become the independent woman she dreamed of being. Asher was a guy with a totally analytical mind who had little to no control over his mouth.  He liked to babble facts and luckily Lily enjoyed that fact about him.  I thought they were great together and was happy that they finally worked things out and got their HEA.

Unfortunately, what I didn’t like about this book was the writing.  I felt like the author tried too hard to impress the reader with words.  I know that sounds strange, this is a book after all, but I felt the story got lost in the over-use of a thesaurus. Or, sometimes, the non-use of the thesaurus. At one point it was written that the hero didn’t “waver or vacillate” which threw me as that just means that he doesn’t waver or waver.  It’s the same thing.  She also said he felt annoyance and exasperation – again, the same thing.  Then there were the times when she would use awkward words and I just felt like she was trying to impress me with her vocabulary.  Why use stingy, cheap, or even thrifty when you can use parsimonious?  Obviously I know the definition of these words, and didn’t find the book difficult to read, but that doesn’t mean that I want them used regularly (this was just one example).  They just don’t roll off the tongue – or the eyeball in this case.  Making use of common words doesn’t dumb down a book, imho, but in this case utilizing ones not normally used in conversation threw me out of the book time after time.  I found it frustrating, as well as highly amusing. Maybe I’m the only one who found this bothersome as there are quite a few high star reviews on this book on Goodreads, IDK.  I believe this is a book that you’d have to read and decide for yourself what you think.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Rules of the Rogue Series

two-half-stars


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