Tag: 3.0 Reviews

Review: Guardian’s Grace by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted October 21, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Guardian’s Grace by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Guardian's Grace by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Dark Protectors #12
Also in this series: Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Fated (Dark Protectors, #1), Claimed (Dark Protectors, #2), Hunted (Dark Protectors, #3), Consumed (Dark Protectors, #4), Provoked (Dark Protectors, #5), Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Shadowed (Dark Protectors, #6), Vampire's Faith (Dark Protectors, #8), Demon's Mercy (Dark Protectors, #9), Alpha's Promise, Hero's Haven
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 346
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: four-stars


Duty—or desire?

Vampire soldier Adare O’Cearbhaill’s default setting is cranky. Or irritated. Or down-right hostile. Still, as a Highlander of honor and duty he stepped up to save an enhanced and special human female by mating her—with merely a bite and a brand. The last person he wants in his life is a fragile human, yet he can’t get her out of his mind as she regains her strength before taking off for parts unknown. And when he discovers she is in danger, nothing can stop him from hunting her down—whether she likes it or not.

There’s only one way to find out . . .

Photographer Grace Cooper has had it with vampires, demons, and the rest of an immortal world she was happier not knowing about. She also doesn’t believe she’s destined for some great battle because of an old birthmark. Forget the fact that her mate is the sexiest thing on two stubborn feet, or that her brand is fading along with her health. She’ll handle things on her own—until an old enemy reappears and she learns the only way to stay alive is to actually mate, wild sex and all, with that ripped and dangerous Adare—a powerful, captivating Highlander who demands nothing less than everything . . .

Guardian’s Grace is book twelve in Zanetti’s Dark Protector series. Adare and Grace’s arc started a few books ago.

Adare knew it was his duty to mate with Grace. It was the only way to pull her out of the coma she was in. Grace doesn’t remember anything about the attack that put her in a coma. She knows her sister, she knows her childhood, but everything after that is a blur. Grace didn’t even know the Realm existed until she was mated to a vampire. Now she’s firmly in their world even if she doesn’t want to be. Grace is a Key, one of three women that can open the Lock. Too bad no one knows what exactly the Keys are or how they’re going to open the Lock.

Five years have passed since Adare and Grace mated. Grace took off to parts unknown. She wanted to live her own life away from the maddening Adare. When Grace starts looking for vampire blood to heal someone she knows, the Seven immediately take action. Imagine Adare’s surprise when he finds his mate trying to buy another vampire’s blood. He’s infuriated until he sees what bad shape Grace is in. Instead of thriving, Grace seems to be sick and she’s unable to heal herself.

Grace knows she’s dying. She’s unable to heal herself, something she was able to do in the past. Her mating mark is disappearing. She knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s back in a coma. Adare was the one that pulled her out and the only one that can stop it from happening again. Before she dies, Grace is determined to get answers about her attack. She returns to the scene of the crime in Denver and starts digging for answers. It was pretty stupid of her to go off on her own. The Kurjans are looking for her, as are the Cyst who are a religious offshoot of the Kurjans.

This was a sweet story, but it just didn’t pack the punch that I thought it would. Adare and Grace were extremely interesting in the previous books. In this book they were just meh. I did like how confident Adare was about saving Grace. Honestly, that was one of his best qualities. What they were told by the doctors didn’t concern him. He is one of the Seven and Grace is a Key. To save Grace, they’ll have to mate again. This time they need to go all the way for the win.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Dark Protectors

three-stars


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Featured Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted October 15, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Iron Covenant #1, Kate Daniels #9.5
Also in this series: Iron and Magic, Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 18, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 394
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…

But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming.

Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

Iron & Magic by Ilona Andrews is book 9.5 in the Kate Daniels series, and follows Hugh D’Ambray, Kate’s sort of step-brother and the anti-hero of the series. Roland, Kate’s father and father-figure to Hugh, has banished Hugh for his part in not bringing Kate to his side. Now Hugh is adrift. Without Roland’s magic there’s a gaping hole inside him. But his Iron Dogs need him, so he makes a deal with a devil…in exchange for a place to live, he’ll marry the White Witch and provide protection for her people.

Holly: I’ve been anxious for you two to finish this series already. I can’t even tell you how excited I am for you to have read this book.

Rowena: I’d say that that first 30-40% of the book dragged a little, and that’s why I was so over their bickering and fighting but things really kicked into gear for me when the Pack shows up to pick up the shapeshifter family. Oh man, Ascanio!! It was so good to see familiar faces and Ascanio always makes me smile so I was happy to see him.

Casee: I don’t know why but this isn’t one of my favorites. There were things I liked more than disliked. Actually, I didn’t really dislike anything. I was over it by the time I finished the book. The narration wasn’t great and the story just dragged for me. I think it would have been different if I would have read the thing.

Holly: I thought the first quarter-half of the book moved slow as well, but like Rowena, it picked up for me when the Pack showed up. Actually, even before then. When Elara and Hugh started working together for their people, that’s when it picked up for me.

Tell me, what did you think of Hugh as a hero?

Casee: I never really thought of Hugh as “bad”. I never really thought about him as a hero either. If anything, he’s most definitely an anti-hero.

Rowena: Hugh used to get on my damn nerves because of his interactions with Kate but I never hated him. I saw him as an anti-hero and am pleased that he got his own book so that we can see more of what makes him, him. I’m glad that we got to know him better in this book and I really enjoyed this one.

Holly: Hugh annoyed me, too, but I could never hate him. I especially loved him in Magic Rises. I really came to like him in this book. When he plays the good ‘ol boy, I cracked up. He was a right bastard in the beginning of this book, though. I didn’t hate him, but I wanted to smack the crap out of him a couple times.

Rowena: Hugh is a dick but holy cow, I like him. When that Senator came to bother Elara and Hugh put on that show for him and those mercenaries? My bloodthirsty ass jumped for joy. I also surprised myself because I didn’t know that I liked that kind of punishment. You learn something new every day, I guess. LOL.

Casee: One part of the book that sticks out for me is when Hugh confronted Roland. I thought it showed how far Hugh came as a hero/man. He even said that he’d never let Roland do anything to Kate’s child, which was surprising. I do want to learn more about Elara and her power. She’s one scary bitch. Who didn’t take any shit from anyone and was beloved by her people.

Rowena: Was Hugh “redeemed” for all of the shit that he did to Kate and everyone else in the previous books? What do you guys think? For me, it’s a little complicated but I’m glad that I know what drove him and that he feels the way that he does about his previous actions. I felt like Elara was right, he isn’t the same guy that we knew from before and I’m glad for that but I’m still mad about Aunt B, about Curran’s injuries, and about all of Magic Rises. I’m choosing to blame that all on Roland though.

Holly: I don’t know that I’d say Hugh was redeemed, exactly, but having a reason for why he did what he did makes things easier to swallow, I guess. It helps that the reason why was a good one, a believable one.

Rowena: There were also times when the strategy meetings and just meetings, in general, bored me. Like, there were too many long, technical explanations that I was like, do we really need all of this? But overall, this one was fun. I spent a lot of time saying, “What the fuck?” because seriously, what is Elara? I felt the exact same way that Bale did in that tunnel. Freaked the fuck out.

Holly: I agree the pacing of this one was slower than most of Andrews’ books. I understand we needed to see a lot of Hugh and the way his mind worked in order for us to move past what he did to Kate, but still. It was hard to stay focused at parts.

Casee: I found Elara to be a strong heroine. While the fighting got old, when it came down to it, Elara and Hugh had each other’s back.

Holly: I am looking forward to the next book. Do you two intend to read it?

Casee: Yes, I plan on reading it.

Rowena: I definitely plan on reading the next book. I like Hugh and Elara. I like, and am interested in getting to know the other Iron Dogs too. Do you guys know if it’s going to be another Hugh and Elara book? Since this book was in third person, I wasn’t sure. What is the next book about? Are we going to delve into what the heck kind of people Hugh aligned himself with because in that final battle when they gathered together and started chanted, I was like, WTF is going on here? And then when, was it Savannah? When she went freaking crazy with her power?

I’d say that through about half of this book, I looked like this:

Thank goodness for Ilona Andrews because these books really kicked my reading slump to the curb. Two books in 4 days? Yes, please. More of this, please.

Holly: I can’t even begin to tell you how effing excited I am that you’re reading again? SO.Freaking.Excited.

Rowena: curtsies I’m back, bitches. Yay, me.

Overall though, I enjoyed this one. The last half of the book made up for the slow start and I’m glad that I stuck with it because Hugh and Elara ended up being a lot of fun together. I loved the way that they had each other’s back, even until the very end. I am mighty curious about what made Roland run the way that he did from Elara. Also, I hoped we would see Deirdre in the end. I really wanted to see her again but oh well. I’m giving this 4 out of 5 stars. What about you guys?

Holly: I believe there are 3 books planned about Elara and Hugh. Ilona Andrews said in a blog post earlier this year they had put it on hold because the tone is really dark and a main character dies, and they’re just not in the right head-space to delve into that right now. I have to assume we’ll learn more about Elara and her powers, and hopefully more about the Iron Dogs, too.

The last half was definitely better than the first, but overall, I enjoyed it. I would give it 4 out of 5. I can’t wait for you two to read Magic Triumphs now. <3

Casee: Hugh was so interesting when he was trying to kill/“date” Kate. I don’t know why (actually it was probably the narrator), but I just lost interest in Hugh. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to read the next book though.

I really enjoyed Elara. She saved the book for me. Her & the Iron Dogs. I give this a 3 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 3 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

The Iron Covenant

Kate Daniels

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy

Posted October 12, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Her Night with the Duke by Diana QuincyReviewer: Tracy
Her Night with the Duke by Diana Quincy
Series: Clandestine Affairs #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars


Desire knows no reason...

When Lady Delilah Chambers finds herself stranded at a country inn on a rain-swept evening, she’s forced to fend off a group of ruffians with the help of a handsome gentleman. Irresistibly drawn to each other, Leela and the stranger spend one reckless night in each others’ arms—and then go their separate ways. But the very next day Leela receives the shock of her life when she meets the duke who is set on wedding her beloved stepdaughter.

When it finds two destined hearts...

One night isn’t enough with a woman as fierce, fiery, and brilliant as Leela. Elliot Townsend, Duke of Huntington, cannot believe his good fortune when their chance encounter leads to an unforgettable evening of passion. Yet Hunt’s luck runs out when he is introduced to his prospective mother-in-law. Dowagers aren’t supposed to look like this... 
Leela and Hunt are determined to keep each other at arm’s length, which should be easy enough for two intelligent adults with reputations to uphold. The problem is all logic is lost when it comes to a passion that refuses to be ignored.

Warning: This review contains small spoilers.

During a rainstorm both Leela and Elliot Townsend get stranded at a roadside inn. To save Leela from the unruly pub population, he offers to share his private parlor with her.  One thing leads to another and they end up spending a passionate night in the private parlor.  When Leela wakes up Elliot is gone but she can’t forget their wonderful night together.

Imagine Leela’s shock when she arrives at her former home (she a widowed Countess) and finds Elliot Townsend aka the Duke of Huntington there.  He’s there because he’s “almost” engaged to Leela’s 18 year old step-daughter.  Leela is completely taken with Hunt, but would do nothing to hurt her step-daughter, Tori, for any reason, so she makes every excuse to stay away from the duke.  When he infers that they should continue their affair, Leela declines and Hunt ends up asking Tori to marry him.

While Hunt is getting used to the idea of marrying Tori, she’s falling in love, but not with Hunt.  When their engagement ends, Leela is concerned for Hunt’s well-being and seeks him out.  He’s an ass to her, but they end up together. From there their relationship is off and on like a faucet, but eventually they get their HEA.

This book.  It was recommended as the next big thing, and supposedly very good.  Yeah, not my cuppa at all. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Leela.  She was brave, strong, independent, loyal, and she definitely knew her own mind.  Hunt, on the other hand, was an ass.  I’m sure I can come up with much stronger adjectives, but I’ll leave it at that.  He ruined the book for me.

Leela is the daughter of a Marquess and was born and raised in England.  Her mother was Levantine, which makes Leela half Levantine.  Of course, people see her as a heathen even though she’s as English as anyone else.  She is a Countess by marriage, but people sometimes still treat her like a servant before they find out she’s a Lady.  She loves traveling and has even written a travelogue and had it published, with wonderful results. She was really a great character and quite steadfast in her beliefs and desire to continue traveling, continue writing and live life on her terms.

Hunt was a man who was determined to be as unlike his dissolute older brother as possible.  When his brother died he decided that he would avoid scandal at all costs and marry a quiet, biddable woman to be his wife.  After spending the night with Leela he decided that he wanted her no matter what.  He was disappointed when she said no and almost to spite her he got engaged to her step-daughter.  When the engagement ended, he was a complete jerk to Leela time and again.  He made me so mad at times!  I don’t think I’ve disliked a hero this much in years.

While I didn’t mind Quincy’s writing, and as I’ve said, I really enjoyed Leela, the overall book was not to my liking.  It was a bit all over the place and irritated me more often than not.  I think I’m in the minority in my feelings for this book so you probably should make up your own mind about it.  That said I was intrigued by Hunt’s friend Griff whose parents were murdered while he slept in the same house and everyone believes that he killed them.  I’m pretty sure his book is next in this series and I will definitely pick that one up when it’s released.

Rating: 2.75/3 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Shadow Woman by Linda Howard

Posted September 10, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Shadow Woman by Linda HowardReviewer: Rowena
Shadow Woman by Linda Howard
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: December 26, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From Linda Howard comes a thrilling and sensual new novel of romance, suspense, intrigue . . . and memories that can kill. SHADOW WOMAN  Lizette Henry wakes up one morning and makes a terrifying discovery: She doesn’t recognize the face she sees in the mirror. She remembers what she looks like, but her reflection is someone else’s. To add to the shock, two years seem to have disappeared from her life. Someone has gone to great and inexplicable lengths to keep those missing years hidden forever. But the past always finds a way to return.   Strange memories soon begin to surface and, along with them, some unusual skills and talents that Lizette hasn’t a clue about acquiring. Sensing that she’s being monitored, Lizette suddenly knows how to search for bugs in her house and tracking devices in her car. What’s more, she can elude surveillance—like a trained agent.   Enter a mysterious and seductive stranger named Xavier, who claims he wants to help—but who triggers disturbing images of an unspeakable crime of which Lizette may or may not be the perpetrator. With memories returning, she suddenly becomes a target of anonymous assassins. On the run with nowhere to hide, Lizette has no choice but to rely on Xavier, a strong and magnetic man she doesn’t trust, with a powerful attraction she cannot resist. As murky waters become clear, Lizette confronts a conspiracy that is treacherous and far-reaching and a truth that, once revealed, may silence her and Xavier once and for all.
BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Linda Howard's Running Wild.
Praise for Shadow Woman  “Dazzling . . . From the opening line, [Shadow Woman] will grab readers and take them on an exhilarating and terrifying adventure!”—RT Book Reviews   “Fast-paced, intricately detailed romantic suspense . . . Readers won’t want to put it down until the extraordinary conclusion. . . . Highly recommended.”—Fresh Fiction   “An intriguing plot and captivating characters [with] lots of drama, tension, intrigue and suspense.”—The Star-Ledger

This review was originally posted on January 23, 2013.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book by Linda Howard.  I don’t even remember the last book that I read by Howard but whatever it was, I read it a while ago.  I was kind of wary going into this read because I read online that a chunk of readers were disappointed in this book and I also read that the hero and heroine don’t even come together (like talk to each other) until more than halfway through the book.  So yeah, I was scared to start this one.

Having read it from cover to cover now, I can say that the readers were right that the hero and heroine talk to each other (as love interests) for the first time at about the 70% mark on my Kindle copy.  But I wasn’t too mad about that, I was actually very interested in what was going on in the story that I didn’t mind too much.

This story takes place in DC and follows Lizette Henry as she tries to remember the life that brought her to where she is today.  She wakes up one morning and doesn’t recognize the face that is looking back at her in the mirror.  Things aren’t adding up to what she knows and she starts to remember how to do things that she can’t remember learning so a huge chunk of this book is trying to find out what happened to Lizette that brought her here and so on and so forth.

Lizette is known as Subject C to the people that are monitoring her.  Her entire life is bugged.  There isn’t a part of her life that isn’t carefully monitored and Lizette doesn’t have any idea why.  When flashbacks start coming in, Lizette starts relying on old habits that she doesn’t remember but knows how to do anyway.  When the bullets start flying, Liz is on her own until the guy that she’s been dreaming about, X shows up and at first she doesn’t trust him because he shows up with guns and he’s chasing her and blah blah blah but that changes after they finally talk.

I enjoyed this story but I will admit that it was really slow in the beginning.  It took me a while to really get into the story but by about the fifth or sixth chapter, things picked up and things got interesting.  I enjoyed the characters and I enjoyed the putting the puzzle pieces together.  This book was kind of like The Hangover, the Secret Service edition.  Lots of action, not a lot of romance but still an enjoyable read.  I would have liked to get to know Xavier a bit more but aside from that, this was a good read.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

three-stars


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Review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge

Posted August 12, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana DoidgeReviewer: Holly
Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
Series: The Dowser #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 266
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

If you’d asked me a week ago, I would have told you that the best cupcakes were dark chocolate with chocolate cream cheese icing, that dancing in a crowd of magic wielders — the Adept — was better than sex, and that my life was peaceful and uneventful. Just the way I liked it.

That’s what twenty-three years in the magical backwater of Vancouver will get you — a completely skewed sense of reality. Because when the dead werewolves started showing up, it all unraveled … except for the cupcake part. That’s a universal truth.

I asked for recommendations for Paranormal/UF Romances on Twitter and this was one of the titles I received. Cupcakes, Trinkets and Other Deadly Magic is the first book in the Dowser series by Meghan Ciana Doidge.

Jade is a witch with very little power, who owns/runs a bakery and makes trinkets that her sister sells. Her life is quiet and that’s just how she likes it. Until a vampire turns up in town, followed shortly by a Shifter Pack, thinking Jade is responsible for the murder of one of their own. Between an inconvenient crush on one of the Shifters, issues with her sister and her MIA grandma, things go from quiet to crazy in no time at all.

I really enjoyed the world Doidge created. It was easy to fall into, and the mystery of why the vampire was in town and what was up with the Shifters kept me reading. But I have to say, I wasn’t a fan of Jade or her family. Jade’s “head in the sand” mentality grated on me. She was happy to just skip through life without thinking too much about things, and that was fine. Until her life was in danger and things started going crazy. Then her refusal to face things or look into what was going on around her frustrated me. I figured out who the baddie was right from the beginning, but I hoped I’d be proven wrong. I wasn’t. I really wanted some layers there, or for something better to come of it.

There is no romance in this novel, but I liked the interpersonal relationships and I look forward to learning more about the Shifters and Vampires.

This was an interesting start to a new series. Parts of it were predictable, I figured out the villain very early on and I didn’t love the main character, but the bones of the novel were good and I’m curious enough to continue on. Plus, Lillie recommended the series and I trust her judgment.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Dowser

three-stars


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