Tag: 3.0 Reviews

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
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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
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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
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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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Guest Review: Sin & Spirit by K. F. Breene

Posted January 31, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Sin & Spirit by K. F. BreeneReviewer: Tracy
Sin & Spirit by K.F. Breene
Series: Demigods of San Francisco #4
Also in this series: Sin & Chocolate , Sin & Magic , Sin & Salvation
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 296
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Kieran has stepped up to take his place as the ruler of magical San Francisco. As his girlfriend, that unfortunately means I'm under the magnifying glass. Everything I do is noticed, from how I act to how I style my hair. Most notably, of course, is how little I know about my magic.

The Hades Demigods want me on their team, and they don’t plan to ask nicely. Kieran and I are both under fire. They will kill him to get to me, and they'll take me by force if necessary. It is essential I learn more of my magic.

With no other options, I do what scares me the most - I summon the last Spirit Walker to help train me. Except, he's a loose cannon with looser morals and learning spirit is treacherous. I might evade the Demigods only to be lost in spirit forever.

As it says in the blurb, Kieran has stepped up to take over San Francisco, but Lexi hasn’t quite found her place yet.  She has an office in the government building, but she insisted that she not get a huge office just because she’s Kieran’s girlfriend.  She has a small office and does charity work from there.  She’s having a hard time adjusting to being in the spotlight and “dressing” the part.  She just wants to be herself and go with jeans and t-shirts, but she can’t do that as the woman who stands beside the Demigod of San Francisco.

While finding her way through her job, she also is still trying to learn how to be a Spirit Walker and better control her magic. The last SW she knows of is dead and was an assassin, but desperate times and all.  She brings his spirit back and he tries to teach her some things.  She’s a natural of course, but some things are just hard for her to wrap her head around.

As if this isn’t enough drama in her life, Kieran and Lexi get attacked by one of the Demigod of Hades – of which there are 3 biggies.  One of those is her father, whom she’s never met.  He has killed off all of his children so Lexi’s not really anxious to meet the guy.  When the battle gets intense, and finally over, they realize that people are hurt, missing and sadly, dead.  This puts the couple and their group of friends on a mission with a deadline and they’re not sure they’ll make it in time to save everyone.

This was another great book in the Demigods of San Francisco series.  I really like what Breene has done with the relationship between Kieran and Lexi and can’t wait to watch it develop more in future books. This story, however, was a sad book and for me, lacked the humor that made the previous three books.  I know you can’t have a ton of humor when you’re working with death, obviously, but until that occurred in the book I wish there had just been a lighter side to it all.  I’m not sure how to explain it.

Overall, I really loved this book and can’t wait to read book 5 in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Demigod of San Francisco

four-stars


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Guest Review: Under Currents by Nora Roberts

Posted January 2, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Under Currents by Nora RobertsReviewer: Tracy
Under Currents by Nora Roberts
Narrator: January LeVoy
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 436
Length: 14 hours and 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. Strangers—and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake—see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Zane and his sister know the truth: There is something terribly wrong.

As his father’s violent, controlling rages—and his mother’s complicity—become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, days until he can escape. He looks out for little Britt, warning her Be smart. Be careful. In fear for his very life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine, while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hide away.

When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the façade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good to triumph—and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves…

This is a difficult review to write.  Not only because of the subject matter, but because I don’t want to add spoilers into it.

You’d think that the Bigelow family was perfect.  They had a big beautiful house, lots of money, the father is a doctor and the mother doesn’t even have to work!  The children are darned near perfect as well!  But behind closed doors no one knows the abuse that the wife and children suffer at the hands of the Dr. Bigelow – a monster. The mom does nothing to help her children as she’s fine with the abuse as long as he doesn’t hit her face.

WTF?

When the son of the family, Zane, is 14 years old his father goes a bit nuts and hurts every family member.  When the daughter calls the police, their father blames everything on Zane stating that he went crazy.  The police believe the father because he’s a doctor and why would he lie? Ugh.

The story eventually moves on to Zane’s adulthood and him falling for a new woman in town. She also was abused by her husband and is looking for a new life.  Zane is now a lawyer and has just moved back to town after working in a large city for years.  The story is about them falling in love and adjusting to their new lives.  Of course there can’t be a HEA without a villain to try to ruin it all.

This book is told in four parts. The first part was incredible, though very hard to listen to.  The abuse was graphic and hard to hear, but it was written incredibly well and narrated perfectly.  Unfortunately, parts 2-4 fell flat for me.  There were definitely things happening but there was too much every-day life being told.  I get that books need that, but not for 3 parts of the book, imho.  The parts that had to do with the villain were predictable and not that exciting.

The romance (and I use that term loosely) was truly unimaginative. I guess I just expect more from Roberts.  I know this isn’t classified as a romance, but if you’re going to include one in the book then it needs to be done well and I just can’t say that it was.

Overall it was a decent read, but not one I can highly recommend. That said, I adored the narrator, January LeVoy. Strong voice, great characters voices, and just a pleasure to listen to.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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