Tag: 3.0 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seducing A Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Posted July 30, 2020 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Features, Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seducing A Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen WelfonderReviewer: Tracy
Seducing a Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Series: MacKenzie #6
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: March 1, 2009
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 366
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Gelis MacKenzie is one of the most desirable heiresses in all the Western Highlands. She is the youngest and much adored daughter of the indomitable Black Stag of Kintail, Duncan MacKenzie, who was the hero of Welfonder's novel DEVIL IN A KILT. Unfortunately, Gelis has been branded unmarriageable, but not for lack of masculine interest. No matter how lofty the ancestry, how deep the purse, or how mighty the sword arm, nary a one of her suitors is good enough for her father. Although he loves Gelis fiercely and knows he must someday see her settled and wed, Duncan isn't quite ready to let her go.

But now Duncan has received an offer for Gelis's hand in marriage that he is honor-bound to accept-and it comes from the worst possible quarter. The suitor, Ronan MacRuari of Castle Dare, is the last man Duncan MacKenzie would wish for a son-in-law. Known as the Raven, Ronan is the scion of a dark clan that has been marked by a deadly curse.

Ronan and Gelis are instantly attracted to one another, but they are immediately estranged. Ronan's last two wives have died abruptly and he doesn't want to see his vivacious newly-wed Gelis suffer the same fate, so he distances himself from her as much as possible. In the meantime, Ronan searches for the Raven Stone, a fabled treasure that he believes holds the power of the curse over his clan. But Gelis has fallen in love with her new husband, and she's determined to help him. Though Ronan doesn't know it, Gelis also has the gift of second-sight, and she has seen a future in which she is destined to help redeem her cursed husband.

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

This review was originally posted on March 5, 2009.

After Gelis’s vision of the man she is to marry she is very excited about the match. She knows nothing about the curse on the MacRuari clan at first but when she hears of it is bound and determined that she call aid in the breaking of it.

Ronan MacRuari is dead set against this arranged marriage – arranged by his grandfather. He is certain that he is cursed to the point of thinking bad things and having them come true. He doesn’t want to have yet another wife, his 3rd, die as the other two have.

This book was a little confusing for me. The curse was explained but until the end you didn’t know exactly what the curse was and even then it was sketchy. The Holders, who were the ancient Druids that were the ones who cursed the MacRuari clan were talked about but it was never definitely stated exactly who they were or where they came from. Now, this appears to be the 6th book in the series so these items may have been spoken about previously but as a newcomer to Ms. Welfonder’s work I was a tad baffled by things occasionally.

It was a cute book though. I normally like my romances to have a little more depth in them when it comes to the relationship between the hero and heroine but for a historical book with an arranged marriage it was nice. I also thought the book had a good mixture of reality and magic so if you like a tad bit of paranormal in your historical this would be a great book for you.

And can I just say I love the cover of this book! There’s just something about it. Maybe because we see so many “fronts” of people these days that it’s a nice change to see the back! lol

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Joint Review: Crush the King by Jennifer Estep

Posted July 23, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: Crush the King by Jennifer EstepReviewer: Holly and Amy
Crush the King by Jennifer Estep
Series: Crown of Shards #3
Also in this series: Kill the Queen, Protect the Prince
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A fierce gladiator queen must face off against her enemies in an epic battle in this next thrilling installment of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series—an action-packed adventure full of magic, murderous machinations, courtly intrigue, and pulse-pounding romance.
Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies. 
There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes.
Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies . . . and crush the king.

In the previous book, Protect the Prince, Everleigh secured her crown as Queen of Bellona by securing a treaty with the Andvari. But she knows this isn’t enough. She can’t become complacent and that fact is immediately brought home by another assassination attempt. This time from a different foe, but the one pulling the strings is the Mortan King. Evie is sick of always being on the defense so she decides she’ll go on the offense at the upcoming Regalia Games.

Ames: All right. June was a weird reading month for us so unfortunately we lost Wena for this review.

Holly, what did you think of Crush the King?

Holly: I really like the world Estep has created. The court intrigue and games interested me, and I definitely admire Evie’s strength. I didn’t like how isolated Evie seemed, even amidst her friends from the Troupe. I was also very disappointed in the romance. You?

Ames: I agree, she came across as very isolated from her people and the romance was definitely on the back-burner. I feel like Sullivan could have had a bigger role without undermining her. All her people were in the backseat.

Holly: One of the things I loved best in the first book was the way her relationship with Sully developed and how her friendships with those in the Black Swan troupe grew and deepened. I feel like we saw less and less of them as the series wore on. By the end of this book, I felt like they added nothing to the story, other than some background noise. I wish we’d see more of them growing as a “family”, which is what it felt like they were becoming in the first book.

Ames: Ok, I liked the world Estep created, but I found the world-building in this book hard to get through. The introduction of the Games and Fortuna just dragged on for me. But once the action started I enjoyed the story more. I love the court games she played with Maximus – not showing her fear, one-upping him any chance she could, thwarting his plans. I like that she had learned enough and was confident enough with herself to pull all that off. The overall arch of her own scheme was very well-done.

Holly: You’re not wrong about the early part of the book being hard to get through. I also didn’t love how she decided she was going to handle the King of Morta at first. I liked how she came to accept that her initial plan wasn’t the best one and went with something that worked better for the person she wanted to be.

Ames: I like how she changed her plan for dealing with the King as well. It played to her strength – she observes and she learns and then she adapts. She doesn’t act until she looks at a problem from all sides.

But once the action started with the games, I enjoyed the story more. I also liked those flashbacks for how she got away after the assassination of her family, when she was a child.

Holly: I enjoyed the story more once the action picked up, too. The flashbacks were great and gave us a lot of insight into how and why she did what she did. I enjoyed that aspect of it.

Ames : Do you think she’s going to write more in this world? I liked the introduction of Leo and how he’s torn by loyalty to his family.

Holly: I swear I remember seeing mention of more from this world, but I can’t remember where I read it. I hope she does. I’d like to see more from Gemma, too.

Ames: I’d love to see Gemma again. And Grimley.

Holly: GRIMLEY! I need a Grimley in my life.

Ames: Ok, what are you grading this book? I have to give it a 3 out of 5. Although I was pleased with Evie’s long game plan when it came to Maeven and how she set out to get the King of Morta, the beginning was hard to get into and I was disappointed in how the secondary characters were side-lined.

Holly: I think I’m going to give it a 3.5 out of 5. I really liked Evie’s strength and the games, but it moved slow in the beginning and I definitely didn’t like how little we saw of the secondary characters. I do hope she continues to write in this world, though.

Final Grades

Ames: 3 out of 5
Holly: 3.5 out of 5

Crown of Shards

three-half-stars


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Joint Review: The Orchid Throne by Jeffe Kennedy

Posted April 28, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: The Orchid Throne by Jeffe KennedyReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
The Orchid Throne by Jeffe Kennedy
Series: Forgotten Empires #1
Also in this series: The Orchid Throne
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Welcome to the world of Forgotten Empires from award winning author Jeffe Kennedy that begins with The Orchid Throne.

A PRISONER OF FATEAs Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Euthalia will do anything to keep her people free—and her secrets safe—from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world—a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…

A PRINCE AMONG MENConrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Euthalia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes—nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?

The Orchid Throne (Forgotten Empires #1) first came on my radar last year. I thought the cover was gorgeous and the premise intrigued me. It fell by the wayside until I saw the second book was going to be published soon. I asked Rowena and Amy if they wanted to read the first book with me, and they agreed.

Queen Euthalia was promised in marriage to the evil emperor of the realm in order to keep their island – and secrets – safe. For years she’s lived under the threat of their engagement, but she’s managed to keep him at bay by projecting a carefree, vapid image and playing a very delicate game of politics behind the scenes.

Now, a new threat has come to the shores of Calanthe….a changed wolf of a man, who is determined to avenge his family by murdering the Emperor. Conri needs Lia to agree to marry him….because prophecy says in order to defeat the emperor, he’s going to need her help.

Holly: This was different than I expected. It started really slow for me, and it took almost half the book before it picked up. What did you two think?

Ames: I agree, the beginning was slow for me too. But I was sucked into it when I realized Con had to go to Calanthe for magical reasons and that would make him and Lia meet. They were two strong characters and I liked them together.

Rowena: This one started off a bit slow for me too and even, in the end, I thought the world was interesting but I don’t know, in the end, I still didn’t completely connect with any of the characters and what was going on. I also wasn’t a fan of the jumping first-person POV business. In the beginning, it took me out of every chapter and I played catch up a lot.

strong>Ames: Lia is a true queen, worrying about her land and her people. This puts her at odds with Conri’s path of revenge because she sees his way as putting Calanthe in danger. And Conri wants revenge against the evil emperor Anure, who is responsible for his father’s death. And Conri’s own enslavement.

Holly: I do wonder how things are going to work out for them in the future. Lia’s sole focus is protecting Calanthe, and at times I wondered if her loyalty to the Island itself would put her at odds with Con. Even though they seemed to come to an understanding, I doubt it’s going to be smooth sailing going forward.

Holly: What did you think of Lia’s best friend, Tertulyn? She was obviously up to some shady stuff. Do you think she’s loyal or do you think she’s conspiring against Lia?

Ames: I don’t want Tertulyn to be a betrayer. But the way she was acting was so shady! I honestly thought she was there for Lia.

Rowena: I definitely think that Tertulyn is doing some shady shit right now. She’s too mad about Con and his men overtaking her family’s home and she thinks they’ve killed her family. I bet you she’s gone to Anure to betray Euthalia. I’m Enter ominous music here I’m not a fan of the way that Tertulyn acts and treats Euthalia, it doesn’t feel sincere to me so I’m thinking she’s definitely going to betray her.

Holly: I want Tertulyn to be loyal, but she’s definitely acting shady right now and I’m pretty sure she isn’t going to come out looking good in this.

Rowena: I agree with you, Holly. I just don’t have a good feeling about her so I’m counting on the betrayal. She’s gonna try and make a run of it as Anure’s wife, watch.

Ames: Also, how hilarious was Ambrose and his bird? That scene in the garden and then afterwards with the guards? I was cracking up!

Holly: I loved Ambrose and his bird. That scene in the garden was hilarious.

Rowena: I really liked Ambrose and his bird (and the staff) as well. He definitely marches to his own tune and seeing him annoy the snot out of Conri and then, later on, Euthalila, it was great.

Rowena: I am curious to see where their story takes them in the next book so I’m definitely interested in continuing the series. What about you guys?

Holly: I’m definitely interested to see where the story goes. I do wonder if the second book will also end in a cliffhanger. I haven’t heard how many books are planned for this series.

Ames: I’m definitely interested in reading more from this series. Lia and Con are going to argue over every step they take going forward. But I think they’ll make a good team when it comes time to fight Anure.

I know there’s a third book coming out next year – but I’m not sure how many books are planned in the series overall though.

Rowena: I do plan on reading the other books in this series but I have to say, I wasn’t all that jazzed about the ending of this book. I’m hoping that there won’t be any more of that nonsense.

Overall, this was an interesting start to a new series and I’m curious enough to want to continue so I’ll definitely be reading but I wasn’t a huge fan of the pacing of this story, the constant whiplash I got from the changing POV and that ending wasn’t my favorite either. I’d give this one 3 stars, what about you guys?

Holly: I agree, the premise was interesting and I like the world, but the pacing was off and the ending frustrated me. I’m going to read the next book, but I think I’ll wait until we know how many are planned before I pick it up.

I’d give it 3.5 out of 5.

Ames: I agree with you guys – the pacing was a bit off and the beginning was very slow. However once things picked up I was into it right to the end. Yes the ending was abrupt and if I had read this book when it came out, I would have been super frustrated to wait a year to read the next one. LOL So knowing that’s how this book ended, I kind of want to wait until book 3 is released before reading book 2.

I really enjoyed the characters and once we got into the world-building, I liked that too. I’m giving The Orchid Throne 3.75 out of 5.

Final Grades

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Holly: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

Forgotten Empire

three-half-stars


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Review: Shadow Flight by Christine Feehan

Posted April 20, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shadow Flight by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Shadow Flight by Christine Feehan
Series: Shadow Riders #5
Also in this series: Shadow Reaper, Shadow Reaper, Shadow Reaper, Shadow Keeper, Shadow Warrior
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 432
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Nicoletta Gomez was a terrified teenager when Taviano Ferraro and his brother saved her life. Ever since, she's been trying to rise above what was done to her, molding herself into a survivor under the protective eyes of the Ferraro family. All the while, she's been falling hopelessly in love with the man who knows her darkest secrets....

With one look, Taviano knew that Nicoletta was his, just as he felt their shadows connect. But no matter how much he wanted to claim her, he knew she needed time to become her own woman. When Nicoletta once again finds herself in the sights of dangerous men, a split-second decision has Taviano breaking all of the Ferraro family's rules to keep her safe. And as far as he's concerned, the reward is more than worth the risk.

Shadow Flight is book six in CF’s Shadow Riders series. I’ve enjoyed this series from the first book. I do have to admit that it’s an acquired taste. The men are overly alpha and take care of their women. That’s just not for some people.

Nicoletta Gomez came into the Ferraro’s lives through violence and heartbreak. Nicoletta’s mom and dad died in an accident and she is sent to live with her three step-uncles. Step-uncles that sexually assault her and pass her around. Her life is literal hell. Just when she decides to end it all, the Ferraro’s show up in the house she is living in and kill her step-uncles. Nicoletta is too far gone to be shocked by the violence. All she know is she’s out of the hell that made her almost take her own life.

In the years that follow, Nicoletta finds her place with her foster parents. She’s deeply loved, but demons still follow her daily. Taviano Ferraro is there when her dreams become too much and she can’t handle the pain. So the problem I have here is that Nicoletta was fifteen when she came into the Ferraro’s lives. Fifteen. Taviano knows that Nicoletta is the one for him because of how their shadows connect. He just has to leave her alone until she’s older.

Fast forward. Nicoletta is eighteen. Eighteen. No thank you. That’s way too young of a heroine for me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older, but I just couldn’t really abide a heroine that was that young and a hero that was in his late twenties. I did like this book. I liked the action and I love seeing how the Ferraro’s bond with each other. Taviano and Nicoletta were really suited (except for the age) and I enjoyed reading their story (except for the age). I look forward to Emmanuelle’s book next.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Shadow Riders

three-stars


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Review: Wife by Penelope Sky

Posted March 10, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wife by Penelope SkyReviewer: Casee
Wife by Penelope Sky
Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo, Lia Langola
Series: Betrothed #1
Also in this series: Betrothed (Betrothed #1), Husband
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 23, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 312
Length: 7 hours and 23 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2020 New to Me Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

I was 21 when the gypsy read my future:

As punishment for your crimes, you will only love one woman...but she'll never love you back.

I didn't believe a word of it.

Until I met Sofia Romano almost 10 years later.

I fell hard for this woman. Would die for this woman.

But she left me.

Now, years have passed, and Sofia needs a husband. Her father is gone, and her mother is trying to marry her off to a man that can protect their family, protect their company.

She's looking for someone powerful.

Check.

Someone rich.

Check.

Someone handsome.

Double check.

Now, it's my chance to have the only woman I've ever loved...and I'll make sure she feels the same way.

I have a lifetime to make that happen.

Wife is my first book by Penelope Sky. The summary sounded very interesting to me, so I decided to give it a try. I listened to it on audio. The narrators were pretty decent. No complaints on that from me.

Sophia has planned to run her family’s hotels since she was a small girl. When her father died, her stepfather took over. Her mother wants nothing more that for Sophia to marry; and stay out of the hotel business. She tells Sophia that it’s a man’s world and that is no place she should be. Of course Sophia doesn’t listen. She starts working at the hotel under her stepfather. That’s when she learns what the hotel really does.

It’s at the hotel that she meets Hades Lombardi. Hades had his fortune told by an old woman telling him that the woman he loves will never love him back. Hades puts this out of his mind. Until he meets Sophia. He immediately falls for her, but it’s clear that she is not interested in anything other than sex.

I liked Sophia and didn’t like Sophia. Instead of coming across as a strong-willed, capable woman, she seemed more like a bitchy shrew to me. She always fought Hades, she made sure that everyone in her life knew that she didn’t need a man in her life. Until she starts needing Hades. Needing doesn’t equal love and when she shoots Hades down after he suggests a real relationship, he’s had it. Love turns to hate. It left me wondering how the two reconcile. I had to wait for the next book. You do too!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Betrothed


three-stars


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