Tag: 3.25 Reviews

Review: Ariana by Ash Dylan

Posted March 1, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Ariana by Ash DylanReviewer: Holly
Ariana by Ash Dylan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 132
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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three-stars

Princess Ariana, stuck in a tower for fifteen years, can only inherit her kingdom if she cuts her hair and marries. She spends her days killing every suitor she meets and refusing to cut her hair for anyone.

Devin, a warrior king from a neighboring country, thinks he has what it takes to woo the princess. Though he has enjoyed a no-strings-attached relationship with his bodyguard, Devin wants to move on, worried that his deeper affection is not reciprocated.

But Tan, the king’s loyal bodyguard, has kept his true feelings a secret and will do anything to protect his love from a deadly princess. He lost another loved one fifteen years earlier, and he refuses to let the same fate befall his king.

When Devin and Tan spend a night in Ariana’s tower, they realize an unlikely arrangement could lead to them living happily ever after. But first, Ariana needs to learn to trust them. And Devin and Tan need to make it through the night alive.

This polyamorous MMF novella, set in a post-apocalyptic America, has 30,000 words, an unapologetic heroine, two bisexual heroes, three HEA’s, and several happy endings.

I saw a friend talking about this on Twitter and knew it was the book for me when I read “She spends her days killing every suitor she meets and refusing to cut her hair for anyone.” in the blurb. Yassss.

I loved the concept of a tough, kickass Princess heroine who refused to humiliate herself for anyone. For 15 years she’s lived in a tower for the good of her people, and though that chafed, she didn’t resent them for it. I don’t know that I bought into Devin as a warrior, but that’s probably because we were told he was more than shown.

The MMF relationship worked for me and I enjoyed the main characters. There were some flaws with the world-building (namely that there wasn’t enough of it to truly give this a post-apocalyptic feel), but I really liked the way the story developed and the romance between the three. The BIG CONFLICT was predictable and didn’t do a lot for me, nor did the final resolution, but overall I rather enjoyed the way the story came together.

I’m looking forward to the next novella, which looks to be a FFM.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

I believe this is the start of a series, but I can’t find any additional information about it on the author’s website, Amazon or Goodreads.

three-stars


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Review: If He’s Daring by Hannah Howell

Posted January 23, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: If He’s Daring by Hannah HowellReviewer: Holly
If He's Daring (Wherlocke, #6) by Hannah Howell
Narrator: Polly Lee
Series: Wherelocke #6
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Length: 10 hours and 16 minutes
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In a dazzling new novel in the Wherlocke family saga, New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell creates an unforgettable story of intrigue, jeopardy, and desire...

Stealing a stranger's carriage is the second most reckless thing Lady Catrin Gryffin de Warrene has ever done. The first is succumbing to her powerful attraction to the carriage's owner. Catrin has heard the rumors about Sir Orion Wherlocke's family and their otherworldly gifts. He's the one person who can keep her son and his inheritance safe from her late husband's ruthless brother. As for how to protect herself...it may be too late for that.

Orion is facing the worst danger a man of his ilk can find: a woman he can't walk away from. Catrin is an intoxicating blend of innocence and sensuality, and for the first time, seduction is far more than a game. But her beauty and fortune have made her a target--one that will dare him to risk everything he's known--in pursuit of everything he's ever longed for...

If He’s Daring has been languishing in my TBR for years. I absolutely adored Hannah Howell back in the day, but I’m afraid some of her magic has worn off. Still, I was in the mood and figured I’d give this one a try.

Lady Catrin Gryffin de Warrene is a widow whose brother-in-law is trying to steal her son’s inheritance. He went through the courts and, when that failed, kidnapped her son. As she’s chasing after his carriage, her horse comes up lame so she..borrows…a carriage she sees on the street. Only she doesn’t realize there’s already someone inside. Sir Orion Wherlocke’s young son. Sir Orion would have gone after his carriage regardless, but the fact that his son is inside only makes him chase harder. When he realizes what Catrin is wrapped up in, and that she only means to rescue and protect her own son, he agrees to help her. The Wherelocke clan has special gifts that may help her track her son down and keep him safe, so he can’t really turn her away. The problem? Orion isn’t looking for a relationship, but Catrin really heats his blood.

Catrin just wants to get her son safe and protect his inheritance. Having Sir Orion’s help would be beneficial, but her attraction to him is rather inconvenience, considering the circumstances. As they chase after her son and try to find a way to discredit her late husband’s brother, the bond between them grows. It isn’t long before they’re both in deep. But Sir Orion is determined to remain a bachelor…or is he?

At times Orion’s back-and-forthing “Should I commit or Shouldn’t I” got tiresome, but I can’t deny I enjoyed the adventure of them trying to discover why her son was in danger. I also enjoyed the romance. Orion’s son and Catrin’s were both great, and really made the book for me. I also loved how it started, with Catrin after her former brother-in-law, stealing Orion’s carriage.

The end was a bit strange. I saw it coming, of course, but I was hoping HH would go in a different direction. I’d also hoped to see a stronger emotional reaction from Catrin once she learned the depth of her husband’s treachery. I’m not sure if it was the narrator, or just the way it was written, but that wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be.

Still, I can’t deny this was a fun read. I really loved how Catrin and her young son dealt with each other, and the romance was believable and satisfying. It’s always a treat returning to the Wherelocke world.

3.25 out of 5

Wherelocke

three-half-stars


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Review: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted January 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi OkoraforReviewer: Holly
The Night Masquerade (Binti, #3) by Nnedi Okorafor
Series: Binti #3
Also in this series: Binti (Binti, #1), Home (Binti, #2)
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 208
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor's Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.

Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.

Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.

Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene--though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives--and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.

Don't miss this essential concluding volume in the Binti trilogy.

This is the third and final installment of the Binti trilogy. The trilogy definitely needs to be read in order.

I’m of two minds about this trilogy. The world-building is well done. I thoroughly enjoyed Binti’s journey as she left her village and dared to travel through space during the first two novellas. I also enjoyed her return home and watching as she discovered more about her past, her father’s family and herself. There were parts in each that moved slow, but I was invested in discovering what the future had in store for Binti. In this installment, I still enjoyed the world-building and Binti herself. The first 3/4 of the book were wonderfully done. I was totally immersed in Binti’s world and she struggles to deal with loss, love and the possible destruction of everything she holds dear.

This seemed to be a total departure from the earlier books and the overall story-arc. Much of the story itself seemed to go off the rails in the second half. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I spent a lot of time wondering if I missed something.

View Spoiler »

While this isn’t my favorite entry, I really enjoyed the themes Nnedi Okorafor explored throughout the series, the world-building and Binti herself. The girl is a badass. I’m glad I stuck with it. It was very satisfying overall.

3.25 out of 5

Binti

three-half-stars


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Review: Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane by JoAnn Ross

Posted October 29, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane by JoAnn RossReviewer: Holly
Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane (Honeymoon Harbor, #2) by JoAnn Ross
Series: Honeymoon Harbor #2
Also in this series: Herons Landing (Honeymoon Harbor, #1)
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Lose yourself in the magic, charm and romance of Christmas in the Pacific Northwest as imagined in JoAnn Ross’s heartwarming Honeymoon Harbor series.

Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, Jolene Harper is forever indebted to the mother who encouraged her to fly—all the way to sunny LA and a world away from Honeymoon Harbor. Although Jolene vowed never to look back, returning home isn’t even a question when her mom faces a cancer scare. Which means running into Aiden Mannion all over town, the first boy she ever loved—and lost—and whom she can barely look in the eye.

Aiden’s black-sheep reputation may have diminished when he joined the marines, but everything he’s endured since has left him haunted. Back in Honeymoon Harbor to heal, he’s talked into the interim role of police chief, and the irony isn’t lost on the locals, least of all Aiden. But seeing Jolene after all these years is the unexpected breath of fresh air he’s been missing. He’s never forgotten her through all his tours, but he’s not sure anymore that he’s the man she deserves.

Despite the secret they left between them all those years ago, snow is starting to fall on their picturesque little town, making anything seem possible…maybe even a second chance at first love.

Snowfall on Lighthouse Lane is book two in the Honeymoon Harbor series. Jolene was the character from the previous book I was most looking forward to learning more about.

Jolene grew up dirt poor with a wonderful mother but an alcoholic father in a small town. As soon as she could she left town and made a life for herself as a makeup artist in California. After an Emmy nomination, things are going very well for her in her career, but after the mother of all bad days – she finds out her boyfriend is engaged to someone else and her apartment burns down – she learns her mother may be sick. She’s been wanting to develop a line of organic beauty products, so she heads back home to Honeymoon Harbor to work on that and be with her mom.

Aiden Mannion was a hellion as a teen, but after a stint in the Marines and several years working undercover with the LAPD, he’s settled down. After his partner was killed in an op gone bad, he’s back in Honeymoon Harbor to lick his wounds and heal. The town needs an interim Sheriff and he reluctantly accepts the job on a temporary basis. He and Jolene have history, and he’s quick to renew their friendship – and more – once she returns to town. But things are never simple in a small town, especially when he’s starting to think he never wants to leave and Jolene has a life several states away.

The small-town of Honeymoon Harbor came to life and I felt a real connection to those who live there. It was clear Jolene and Aiden had a true, deep foundation once they got past their initial awkwardness over their separation. They dated in high school, but broke up right before Aiden left for the Marines. He always regretted not telling Jolene how much he cared for her, and he’s glad to have the opportunity to renew their friendship…and possibly have more. It was lovely how quick he was to recognize Jolene as the only person he wanted in his life. Their romance set off sparks, but was also very heartwarming.

I did struggle a bit with the pacing. Parts seemed to drag on, especially in the middle. The book had a paranormal element I wasn’t expecting that seemed out of place given this is a contemporary romance.

View Spoiler »

Still, I can’t deny I enjoyed those parts, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Overall I liked the story, though not quite as much as the first book, Herons Landing. JoAnn Ross always writes sweet, lovely stories. This small-town romance delivers in a big way.

3.25 out of 5

Honeymoon Harbor

three-half-stars


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Review: Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin

Posted October 24, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Dearest Clementine by Lex MartinReviewer: Rowena
Dearest Clementine (Dearest, #1) by Lex Martin
Series: Dearest #1
Also in this series: Finding Dandelion (Dearest, #2), Kissing Madeline (Dearest, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 14, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Twenty-year-old Clementine Avery doesn't mind being called bitchy and closed off. It's safe, and after being burned by her high school sweetheart and stalked by a professor her freshman year of college, safe sounds pretty damn good.

Her number one rule for survival? No dating. That is until she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class and needs material for her latest assignment. Sexy RA Gavin Murphy is more than happy to play the part of book boyfriend to help Clem find some inspiration, even if that means making out...in the name of research, of course.

As Gavin and Clem grow closer, they get entangled in the mystery surrounding a missing Boston University student, and Clem unwittingly becomes a possible target. Gavin tries to show Clem she can handle falling in love again, but she knows she has to be careful because her heart’s at stake…and maybe even her life.

DEAREST CLEMENTINE is a stand-alone with two companion novels. Look for book 2, FINDING DANDELION, on July 11, 2014. This contemporary New Adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.

Dearest Clementine is the first book in Lex Martin’s Dearest series and it follows Clementine as she lets go of the past and moves on to the future with Gavin. Clementine is an undercover YA author who is struggling to write her next book and needs to get it written and make some money before her next tuition check is due. She’s on her own trying to pay for college and she does that by writing books. Past hurts have turned her into a cold woman who has neither the time or the inclination for relationships. She has too much to do and too much to lose to waste her time on guys that will end up just hurting her anyway. When she meets Gavin Murphy, he changes the way she is and the way that she sees her future and personally, I was glad he came along.

Clem was not an easy person to like in the beginning of this book. I have never been a fan of people lashing out at innocent bystanders when they’re hurting or making the people you meet or are in your life pay for the crimes of other people. There’s a difference between protecting yourself and being a total brat to people who haven’t done anything to you to warrant the brattiness. Clem came off as bitchy and I wasn’t a fan of that. Poor Gavin didn’t know what he was battling day in and day out with this girl but he liked her and he put up with it so that he could get to know her. So that he can understand her.

I really did like how Clem came into her own and really grew into herself. She learned a lot from her past and man, what a past it was that by the time the end came around, I was happy for her. I still thought she was a brat in the beginning, but I understood what motivated her and I even respected the life she made for herself. She was really strong, had to be strong for herself because nobody else was going to be and I respected and even admired her for that.

The romance between her and Gavin was probably the highlight of the book for me. I loved how determined Gavin was to win her over and I loved how comfortable Clem was with him…even though there were some immature shenanigans with Gavin’s ex, I loved how they handled everything together. So while I wasn’t cool with some of Clem’s behavior in the beginning, I thought Lex Martin wrote a great story of two young people falling in love and overcoming the obstacles in their lives. It was a quick but fun read and I was interested enough in the second book that I jumped right in.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

Dearest Series

three-half-stars


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