Tag: 3.0 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day

Posted August 15, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa DayReviewer: Tracy
Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day
Series: Warriors of Poseidon #7
Also in this series: Atlantis Awakening (Warriors of Poseidon, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 311
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The most unexpected of all allies to Poseidon's warriors has proven to be the fiercest-Daniel, a vampire and Night Guild mage. But even the strongest alliance can be destroyed when a vampire's oath crosses paths with a maiden's quest, and an eleven-thousand-year-old desire is reborn.

Ready to face the dawn and die after 11,000 years as a vampire, Daniel walks into the Reflecting Pool on the Washington Mall and ends up in Atlantis, at the mercy of Serai, a long-dead warrior princess he could never forget.

Yet Serai is not dead. Centuries earlier she and several others had been magically put into suspended animation to ensure the continuation of the Atlanteans. But the magical jewel that keeps them safe has been stolen, and, now awake, Serai must find it to save the other sleeping women.

Together, Daniel and Serai search for the stone and renew their relationship, stalked by an evil that isn't about to let them succeed.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on Nov 15, 2011.

Daniel was just a blacksmith’s apprentice in Atlantis when he met the beautiful Serai. It was love at first sight and they longed to be together. Unfortunately many things happened to keep them apart. Atlantis was attacked, Daniel turned into a vampire, Atlantis submerged into the ocean and Serai put into stasis to one day be awoken to marry High Prince Conlan.

Eleven thousand years have passed since that time. Daniel is ready to face the dawn and end it all when he finds himself not only alive but in Atlantis and facing the women he thought long dead. He is mesmerized once again and eager to help her with whatever she needs.

Serai broke out of the stasis but she doesn’t want to be put in and knows she must get out of Atlantis immediately. She was told that Daniel died all those years ago and when he appears before her she’s shocked. They fight together to find a gem from Poseidon’s trident, the Emporer, and try to save the other women in stasis.

This is book 7 in this series and my least favorite of the bunch. While it was an interesting story to a point and continued the overall story arc that will be concluded in future books, it just lacked that extra something that made it captivating. The story was good but I found myself kind of well, bored at points.

I really liked Daniel and of course Serai was a strong female character but they were a bit melodramatic for me. Yes, I know that they’d been apart and thought the other dead – I would probably be very vocal about my feelings too if that happened…but it just didn’t have a truly realistic feel to me.

While the story was good and had a bit of an extra romance with the vampire Nicholas and the witch Ivy it unfortunately just fell a bit short from the other books in the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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

three-stars


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Guest Review: The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan

Posted August 14, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Scent of Murder by Kylie LoganReviewer: Tracy
The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan
Series: Jazz Ramsey #1
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 320
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

First in a new series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan, The Scent of Murder is a riveting mystery following Jazz Ramsey as she trains cadaver dogs.

The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.

The lead detective on the case is an old lover, and the murdered woman is an old student. Jazz finds herself sucked into the case, obsessed with learning the truth.

This is the first book in a new series.  This was also a new-to-me author, so I was excited to see if I found a new go-to.  Unfortunately, I didn’t.

The Scent of Murder starts out with cadaver dog and its handler, Jazz, finding a dead body.  Jazz recognizes the girl as she attended the catholic school where Jazz runs the school office.  Because of this connection, Jazz is determined to find out how the girl died.

Jazz decides to go off on her own to investigate and frankly this never really works for me.  Reading the blurb it says she’s sucked into the investigation. I assumed it was because of her old lover and the fact she found the body – not so.  She becomes Sherlock Holmes but not as smart or interesting.

The story didn’t have much to do with cadaver dogs on the whole, but I found the dogs more interesting than the characters. Jazz was mainly the focus in the books – her trying to find out who killed the girl and what the dead girl had been up to since graduating from the catholic school (nothing good).

Th whole thing with her ex-boyfriend, Nick, was…confusing and a bit ridiculous.  We were told they were ex’s and that scheduling and communication were their downfall.  That’s nice, but it wasn’t explained further.  Jazz seems to dislike Nick intensely for whatever part he played in them fizzling out.  Of course then he shows up on her doorstep asking to meet her for coffee and she agrees.  What?  Then they agree to meet once a week but then keep cancelling and actually never meet again.  Then Nick shows up on her door, randomly once again, and gives her a new puppy to train as a cadaver dog.  It was just so bizarre!  I can only assume that Nick was included because that relationship will go somewhere in subsequent books.  I won’t be reading those to find out.

The characters in this story were flat and uninteresting.  The mystery around the dead girl was interesting and I wanted to find out what was up with her, so I kept reading.  I can’t say I’d recommend the book even with a very generous 3 stars.  I can think of a lot of different books that are much more captivating than this one.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Someone to Honor by Mary Balogh

Posted August 13, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Someone to Honor by Mary BaloghReviewer: Tracy
Someone to Honor by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott series #6
Also in this series: Someone to Love, Someone to Hold, Someone to Wed, Someone to Care
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Abigail Westcott's dreams for her future were lost when her father died and she discovered her parents were not legally married. But now, six years later, she enjoys the independence a life without expectation provides a wealthy single woman. Indeed, she's grown confident enough to scold the careless servant chopping wood outside without his shirt on in the proximity of ladies.

But the man is not a servant. He is Gilbert Bennington, the lieutenant colonel and superior officer who has escorted her wounded brother Harry home from the wars with Napoleon. He's come to help his friend and junior officer recover, and he doesn't take lightly to being condescended to - secretly because of his own humble beginnings.

If at first these two seem to embody what the other most despises, they will soon discover how wrong first impressions can be. For behind the appearance of the once grand lady and once humble man are two people who share an understanding of what true honor means, and how only with it can one find love.

Gil is an army man who helps his weak and injured friend, Harry Wescott, home he needs Abby Westcott, Harry’ sister, but isn’t really interested in Abby – he’s more focused on getting his daughter back.

While Gil was in the war, his wife had a baby. He then finds out that she had taken the child to her parents and left her there. The child’s mother then went off flitting from house party to house party and eventually her reckless attitude gets her killed. Gil wants nothing more than to get his daughter back, but the grandparents believe a bunch of lies that Gil’s wife had told about him, and they’ll do anything to keep the child from him.

Gil was born illegitimate. His mother was a washerwoman and his father was a noble. While they didn’t have a much, she always provided for Gil. His father wasn’t in the picture and Gil resents the man for making him and his mother live in poverty. Of course, as the book goes on, we find out that sometimes all is not as it seems.

Gil and Abby come together to get Gil’s daughter back but other than that I felt no real romance between the two of them. Gil was surly and contrary, and Abby was just kind of blah. I was actually bored through most of this book, which was a bit of a surprise since I’ve liked the previous Wescott books so much.

I was interested in the whole daughter issue, (it’s what kept me reading) but it ended up being anti-climactic. There was a lot of stress thinking how it was going to work out and it kind of had me on the edge of my seat. Then, of course, when they actually got to that point it was a bit of a letdown. I don’t know if I was expecting this big fight, or what, but it just wasn’t very exciting.

Balogh is a good author, but I think she really missed the mark on this one. I’m not sure if she wasn’t into the characters as much as previous books, or maybe she was trying to knock it out quickly, but it just didn’t work for me

Rating: 2.5/3 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Featured Review: Like the Wind by J. Bengtsson

Posted July 31, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Like the Wind by J. BengtssonReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Like the Wind by J. Bengtsson
Narrator: Callie Dalton, Zachary Webber
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 335
Length: 9 hours, 23 minutes
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two-half-stars

Prepare to laugh, cry, and fall in love with this enthralling new romance from J. Bengtsson - available in audio first!

When a letter from his supposedly deceased mother finds its way into his hands, life changes in an instant for international pop star Bodhi Beckett.

Reeling from the deception of those closest to him, Bodhi spirals out of control and is sent to a secluded mansion in the coastal mountains of Southern California for some rest and relaxation. But the retreat proves to be anything but relaxing when a raging wildfire sets the landscape around him ablaze.

While escaping the flames, Bodhi rescues Breeze, a quirky, pet-loving woman, and together the two fight their way to safety. In the aftermath of the fire, Bodhi and Breeze hit the road to uncover the truth about his family. What neither of them expected is to forge a powerful connection that will change their lives forever...but can it survive the real world, or will it disappear like the wind?

This month’s featured review is Like the Wind by J. Bengtsson, chosen by Casee. This is a rockstar romance that features a pop star hero who saves his heroine from a fire and then the heroine gives his rockstar ass a place to hide while he figures some stuff out and through it all, they fall in love. This was a really quick read and the perfect audiobook for a quick road trip.

Casee: What did you guys think? Good choice? Bad choice? Better than Hate Notes?

Holly: It was definitely better than Hate Notes for me. I really liked the beginning. I was super interested in the fire and how they were going to escape. After that things kind of went downhill.

Casee: I agree that it was super interesting in the beginning.

Rowena: Hmm, I enjoyed Hate Notes and I didn’t hate this one but I didn’t love this one either. I don’t know, the dialogue was super cheesy to me and I don’t know, I just never came to care for either Bodhi or Breeze. They were fine but meh, that’s about it for me.

Casee: I didn’t really connect with Breeze at all. Other than her wanting to save all the animals from the fire, I found her to be rather selfish. She acted like she was being selfless, but it didn’t come across that way to me. I did really enjoy Bodhi though.

Holly: I didn’t think Breeze was anymore selfish than Bodhi. That ridiculous temper tantrum he threw for 3 months, then disappearing without telling his father he wasn’t dead after the fire, then pulling Breeze into his drama and his life without preparing her for it? That screams “SELF CENTERED” to me.

Casee: The only thing I didn’t like about Bodhi was the 3-month temper tantrum. I could understand everything else. He seemed to me like someone that was scared. He found someone he potentially wanted to keep in his life and he was scared to lose her. Especially since the last person (nanny) that he got attached to disappeared.

Rowena: Yeah, Bodhi’s three-month tantrum was super annoying but I was more annoyed with him when he let his family and friends think he was dead so that he can meet his Mommy Dearest. That wasn’t cool. At all. I felt bad for RJ because thinking your best friend is dead and then finding out that your best friend couldn’t be bothered to call him to assure him that all was well because he was getting close to a girl? That’s fucked up.

Holly: I really struggled with Bodhi not telling the guys he was still alive. I guess I kind of? understood why he didn’t want to contact his father, but his bandmates who were his family? Especially RJ? That was just shitty all the way around.

Rowena: I also thought it was super strange that he “saves” Evan from their mother’s life, telling Evan that he was Evan’s Eddie, but immediately starts planning a trip with Breeze that does not include Evan, is going to take him away from Evan for a long ass time and basically drops Evan in Tucker’s lap and Evan, who suffered from abandonment issues wasn’t bothered about it.

Holly: That whole thing with Evan was not well done. They had no on-page time to make me think they were going to forge a relationship, and why was Bodhi so effing irresponsible? I just couldn’t.

Rowena: It was a total dick move, a move that I didn’t think he was sorry enough for. Sure, his Dad was a controlling dick but I don’t think anyone deserved that kind of emotional bomb. Nobody in this book, for sure.

Holly: I really didn’t like the short timeline for their romance. They met, went through an intense few hours together and BAM, two days later they were in LURRVVE? Nope.

Casee: I agree that the timeline was much too short. I think being together in the fire and almost dying was supposed to show how magnified feelings are. Obviously, it didn’t work very well for us.

View Spoiler »

 

Rowena: I was also not moved all that much with the grand gesture in the end with Bodhi showing up at the family reunion. A whole lot of the book had me looking like this:

Holly: Also, the way Breeze was immediately into Bodhi and focused on how hot he was, and how to get him to kiss her, and all the fantasy why they were fleeing from a fire? That was annoying af.

And I know I’m probably just old af, but she lost her car in the fire. She didn’t think to, Oh, I don’t know, contact her insurance agent?

Rowena: Haha, I thought the same thing as Breeze and Bodhi are making their way to the Bay. I kept thinking, “When are you going to deal with your busted up car?”

I did really like Breeze’s Mom and Step-Dad. They were pretty great. I laughed out loud when they turned up the sex scenes of their show so that Bodhi and Breeze could hear through the walls.

Holly: I liked Breeze’s parents, too, but why were they described as these hippy people who lived in the neighborhood eyesore and refused to sell out, who were, in fact, selling out. I didn’t understand why that part was included in the book. It made no sense.

Casee: Alrighty then. I’m giving this one a 3. What about you guys?

Rowena: Overall, this book made me feel super old because I was grouchy throughout most of this book and I didn’t think the author did a good enough job of making me suspend belief over a lot of shit that happens in this book. The fire stuff, the Mommy issues, the Daddy issues, the super quick romance that blossomed overnight (literally), it was super easy for me to stop reading the book and roll my eyes over what was happening. So yeah, I had a lot of issues connecting with both Bodhi and Breeze. I had issues with the author’s writing style and though there were parts of the book that I enjoyed, this isn’t a book that I will reread. I give it 2.75 out of 5.

Holly: I’m giving it 2.5. I did like the romance itself if I didn’t think too hard about it, and I liked the beginning and Breeze’s parents. The rest was pretty blah.

Final Grades

Casee: 3 out of 5
Holly: 2.5 out of 5
Rowena: 2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell

Posted July 22, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: One Fine Duke by Lenora BellReviewer: Tracy
One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell
Series: School for Dukes #3
Also in this series: What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes #1), What a Difference a Duke Makes (School for Dukes, #1), For the Duke's Eyes Only (School for Dukes, #2)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Ready.

Raised in the countryside by her overprotective uncle, Miss Mina Penny's dream of a triumphant London season is finally here. She determined her perfect match long ago: Rafe Bentley, the wickedest rake of them all. There's only one very large, very unyielding obstacle: Rafe's brother Andrew, the reclusive Duke of Thorndon.

Aim.

This was supposed to be simple. Duke goes to London. Duke selects suitable bride. Love match? Not a chance. But when Drew meets Mina, she complicates everything. How can a lady armed with such beauty and brains fall for his irresponsible degenerate of a brother? Drew vows to save her from heartbreak and ruin, no matter the cost.

Desire!

But Mina is no damsel in distress. She's daring, intuitive, passionate...and halfway to melting Drew's cold heart. And although Mina thought she knew exactly what she wanted, one breathtakingly seductive kiss from Drew changes everything. Now Mina must decide between long-held dreams and dangerous new desires. Could her true destiny lie in the arms of a duke?

Mina wants nothing more than an adventure.  Her parents were spies but they were killed when she was just 10 years old.  She didn’t really know her parents as they were always gone, but she remembered how glamorous her mother was and wants to be like her. After her parents died Mina lived with her uncle who was incredibly protective.  Her uncle is a spy master and his nemesis had killed Mina’s parents as well as the uncle’s wife and daughter.  Because of this he was really over-protective.  When Mina finally talks her uncle into a Season in London Mina is very excited and wants an adventure.

While Mina just wants to have fun, her uncle has put together something called The Duke Dossier.  It’s info about every available duke currently in London. After talking it out, however, the uncle decides that the only duke that will do for Mina is the Duke of Thorndon.  He is a man who used to be a rake but is now a stodgy man who lives in the country, or so Mina thinks.  Mina is sick of the country and wants to live in London full time – to be a spy of course!  When she finally meets, and dances with, the duke she borders on rude because she wants to put him off as much as possible.  She has no idea it will only pique his interest.

Mina is actually interested in the duke’s brother.  She knows she can have a marriage of convenience with him and since he’s one of her uncle’s spies, she can share that part of his life as well. The duke isn’t thrilled with Mina being interested in his brother, as he wants her for himself.  When Drew, the duke, finds out that his brother is up to something, Mina and Drew decide to figure out what it is.  Drew to help his brother and Mina because she knows it has something to do with her uncle’s nemesis.  She wants the nemesis dead and plans to kill him herself.  As much time as the duke and Mina spend together, they couldn’t help but fall in love, but how can they be together when they want different things in life.

This was a cute book.  I thought at first that Mina was going to annoy me with all of her thoughts of adventure and spies and that she was going to be TSTL.  Fortunately that wasn’t the case.  While I didn’t adore Mina, I thought she was level-headed and intelligent.  I liked the romance between her and Drew and could definitely see them together.

I was a little put off by the author having Mina be ridiculously foolish when it came to facing the bad guy.  I mean there’s bravery and there’s sheer recklessness.  The author went too far in her rah-rah for girl-power. Don’t get me wrong, I would have rolled my eyes if it was a man being that reckless as well.

Overall I liked the book and thought it was cute.   A pleasant way to spend a bit of time.

Rating: 3 out of 5

School for Dukes

three-stars


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