Tag: 3.25 Reviews

Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Posted December 28, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasReviewer: Holly
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Narrator: Philip Battley
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 15, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Romance
Pages: 485
Length: 11 hours and 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

This special ebook edition of Sherry Thomas's extraordinary romantic fantasy debut, The Burning Sky—the first in the Elemental Trilogy—features a repackaged cover for her legions of romance fans and an excerpt from the sequel, The Perilous Sea.

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of the Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother's visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

At Tracy’s recommendation, I requested the audiobook from the library and switched back and forth between listening and reading. I really liked the narrator. I feel like I lost some of the connection to the story by switching platforms, however. For awhile I was fully invested in the story and characters, but that fizzled a bit by the end.

Iolanthe Seabourne has been living with her mentor and guardian since she was two years old. He was the perfect guardian…until he wasn’t. She doesn’t understand what changed him from an honorable, loving man into an unscrupulous addict. For years, she’s been covering for him and trying to keep them afloat. When he begs her not to complete a potion she’s promised to make in exchange for allowing him to keep his position, he ruins it. She ends up calling down lightning to fix it, and that sets off a chain of events she could never have predicted. Unbeknownst to her, she is one of the great Elemental Mages – a mage who can control all four elements. Her lightning brought The Inquisitor after her, along with several other agents of Atlantis. But it also brought Prince Titus, the ruler of the realm, and her personal savior. Only he has his own agenda, and Iolanthe will be forced to learn some hard lessons.

Titus has always known his purpose..to find and protect the last great Elemental Mage. He’s been preparing for this his whole life…except he never imagined she’d be a girl. He’s hiding her in the human realm as a boy, but only until he can convince her to take out The Inquisitor and take on Atlantis.

Thomas has built an engrossing world, full of magic and possibilities. I really enjoyed the action and the progression of the story. It was interesting to see Titus and Iolanthe circle around each other. I hated that he took advantage of her and treated her poorly, but I also understood why.

Parts of this were predictable, but I enjoyed it for the most part. I do think both main characters lacked a bit of depth. Things were very much on the surface, especially with Iolanthe. I’m hoping we see more change and growth from her in the next two books.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

The Burning Sky Trilogy

three-stars


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Guest Review: Dream Chaser by Kristen Ashley

Posted December 14, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Dream Chaser by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Tracy
Dream Chaser by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Team #2
Also in this series: Quiet Man, Dream Maker
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating first and third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In this steamy, addictive contemporary romance spinning off the New York Times bestselling Dream Man and Rock Chick series, Ryn Jansen must put her trust in the one man she wants -- and the one man she can't let herself have.

Ryn Jansen has no interest in taking a risk on Boone Sadler. Thanks to a long list of men who've done nothing but let her down, Ryn vows to stay far away from the caring, protective commando. And when Boone confronts Ryn with evidence that her loved ones are conning her, Ryn is less than thrilled -- with her family and Boone. But even as Boone proves he's the kind of guy to meet her every need, she doesn't trust him to stay when life gets hard . . .

Boone Sadler's never been one to back down from a challenge. He's determined to show the funny, sexy Ryn that the irresistible connection between them is worth exploring. But caring for Ryn's heart and body becomes a matter of life and death when Ryn's beloved niece and nephew are put in danger and dirty cops begin gunning for Ryn. Soon Boone realizes their romance is in danger of more than heartbreak -- and to have any future together, they'll have to put their trust in each other.

Ryn is a stripper who wants to flip houses.  She bought a house to flip, but her resources have been going towards keeping her sister-in-law and her niece and nephew afloat.  Her brother is an alcoholic and being a single mother is hard for her sister-in-law, Angelica.  Angelica is fragile and has headaches so Ryn takes care of the kids a lot – takes them to school, etc.

When Boone takes it upon himself to do a little investigating into Angelica (because he likes Ryn and doesn’t want her taken advantage of) he finds some stuff that’s not so great.  Ryn is pissed that Boone looked into her life, but even more pissed about what he finds out about Angelica.  When confronted, Angelica tries to deny it, but Boone has pictures/proof.  Thinking to punish Ryn, Angelica cuts Ryn out of the kids’ lives.  When Ryn talks to her brother about it, he takes Angelica’s side and agrees with Ryn staying away from the kids she loves.

Ryn is hurt, but Boone is there to comfort her.  When she is pseudo-kidnapped, he is beside himself.  When there’s a murder and Ryn’s life is in danger, Boone steps up and takes charge.  Since he’s a dom in the bedroom and Ryn’s submissive he thinks this is A-OK, but Ryn’s only submissive in the bedroom, not everywhere else.  Boone and Ryn have a lot to work out if they are to make a relationship work between them.  Ryn has been hurt by the men in her life so taking a chance on  Boone is a huge step – one that she hopes she won’t regret.

This is book two in the Dream Team series.  While this wasn’t a bad story, I didn’t care for it as much as I did book one.  When I first saw that it was BDSM I was put off, but kept reading.  It was really BDSM-light in every way.  Nothing too crazy at all and that was fine.  What bothered me was that there was So. Much. Talking.  My God it just went on and on.  Not a lot happened in the middle of the book and it dragged. I liked the first 25% and the last 15% a lot, but that wasn’t even enough to save the book for me and give it a higher rating.

I liked Boone and Ryn together – and liked Ryn a lot on her own. Boone, by himself, wasn’t my favorite person.  He was like a freight train that ran over Ryn and once he was with her it was fine, but meh, I didn’t love him.  He pulled a stunt once they were together that bothered me a lot, and he never really recovered from that in my mind – despite him trying to talk his way out of it.  It was petty and immature and it pissed me off.

So, while this was a decent read – and I loved the kids in it (should have been in there more, imho) it wasn’t fantastic.  I’m glad I read it for the continuity of the story ARC, but did I love it, no.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Dream Team

As an aside let me say I am loving these retro book covers.  They totally remind me of 70’s/80′ cop shows and I find them very cool.

three-stars


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Guest Review: Champion of Her Heart by Juniper Kerry

Posted October 5, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Champion of Her Heart by Juniper KerryReviewer: Tracy
Champion of Her Heart by Juniper Kerry
Series: Warriors of the Augur Nebula #1
Publisher: Scary Octopus Press
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Alternating 1st person
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 227
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Smart-as-a-whip Callie has a doctorate in Alien Studies. Unfortunately, her grant money has run out, and with it, her rent money. Desperate for a job, she turns to her high-power father, who has an idea: he will appoint her as the liaison for the Xalke - a race of aliens looking for breeding partners. With his daughter in charge of introductions, Grant Holland knows he can find a way to build new business partnerships. Callie is willing to make connections for her father. ...That is, until she meets Prince Dek. Now, the idea of introducing him to beautiful women makes her stomach hurt.

Dek has been sent to Earth with a clear purpose: find female volunteers and bring them back to his planet to breed. Unlike some of his fellow princes, Dek isn't against the humans, nor is he against babies. When he sees Callie, he knows right away that she is the woman for him. But for some reason, Callie resists. Though she seems to melt when he touches her, she also keeps pushing him into another woman’s arms. Dek has only a week before he must return to his home; can he win her heart in time?

Champion of Her Heart is the fifth book in the Warriors of the Augur Nebula series by Juniper Kerry. It is a steamy romance, featuring inter-species pair-bonding, love at first sight, and a guaranteed happy ending.

Callie has finished her PhD in Alien Studies as she lives in a world where Aliens are friends of Earth.  Certain aliens (the Sarta) have been on Earth for years and have started factories and stripped the Earth of its resources.  Why would we want to continue being friends with them? Not only are they friends, but Earth’s governments go a bit far in keeping them happy, obviously. One of the ways they are doing that is allowing representatives of the Denne race from the planet Beshtast to come and collect human women who would like to move to their planet and breed with them.  All voluntarily, of course.

The Denne have discovered that human woman are compatible with them (see books 1-4 to see how that came about), and they don’t die after giving birth, which is what has been happening for centuries with other alien races that are compatible.  One of the Denne Princes, Dek, has come to Earth with 4 warriors to choose women who would like to live on Beshtast and breed with the Denne.

Callie is the liaison between the Denne and the women who have volunteered.  She’s planned events to keep them busy, show them a bit of Washington D.C. and coordinated gatherings to meet pre-selected candidates. When Callie first meets the aliens as they step off the spaceship, she never imagines that she would be so drawn to Prince Dek.

Prince Dek is shocked when he steps onto Earth for the first time and finds his pair-bonded mate right in front of him.  He must convince her to come back to his homeworld with him, which is not going to be as easy as he thinks, as Callie has no intention of leaving Earth.

CoHH is book 5 in the Warriors of the Augur Nebula series.  It is a little different from books 1-4 as it takes place, for the most part, on Earth and not on Beshtast like the other 4 books.

In this book Callie and Prince Dek are pair-bonded – basically fated mates.  They feel a pull towards each other.  Dek knows what he’s feeling almost immediately, but obviously Callie is a little confused as to why she feels such a strong pull to this alien.  Dek is all that is strong, kind, thoughtful – I’ll admit, he’s a pretty good guy (considering I didn’t care for him all that much in previous books) but Callie keeps herself away from him.  She has no desire to leave Earth and she’s determined to find him a mate that’s not her.  This really confounded me, I must admit.  She’s down on her luck, no job, nowhere to live, her dad isn’t making anything easier even though he’s got pots of money, and she doesn’t want to go live with the prince who she’s falling in love with.  What is wrong with you?? Lol  Ok, I see that it’s scary to consider leaving the life you’ve known for something completely unknown, but really, why stay?

The author does a pretty good job of making us understand that Callie wants to feel needed and that she’s making a difference in her life and others. She also finds a solution to the problem, but I won’t tell you what that is. 😉

There are things about this series that I really like.  I like that it’s high on girl-power and that the human women in the books are trying to make the aliens see that they aren’t just things to breed, but people with emotions, needs, rights, etc.  That part is great.  On the other hand I find it a bit ridiculous that the aliens throughout the series are so well versed in just about everything, but they have no idea what tears are, or that little nub that is part of a female’s anatomy. But they know all about going down on a woman? Lol  Ok, whatever.

Overall I find the series entertaining.  The books are pretty short (200-250 pages) and are quick reads.  If you like sci-fi and alien romance, then this might be one for you to check out.  This does say that it’s a stand-alone, but I would recommend reading from book 1 to understand everything that’s going on.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 22, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance
Also in this series: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Fairytale, Steampunk
Pages: 323
Length: 9 hours and 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A steampunk Sleeping Beauty story from the author of Beauty and the Clockwork Beast.

Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date--after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette--the witch who cursed her--Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett's private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she's traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.

Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla's death-like sleep becomes permanent.

Kiss of the Spindle (Steampunk Proper Romance #2) by Nancy Campbell Allen has flavors of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, along with Steampunk and other Fantasy elements.

Everyone knows Daniel owns a fleet of Airships. What they don’t know is that he often smuggles Shifters out of the country to save them. When an inspector suddenly turns up on one of his voyages, he is not happy. Even worse? Doctor Isla Cooper blackmails him into letting her on the ship as well.

Isla is suffering under a curse that puts her into a death-like sleep every night. She’s afraid time is about to run out and she’ll be permanently at rest, so she forces her way aboard Daniel’s ship so she can visit an Island she’s sure houses the witch who created her curse.

I really loved Isla. She was tough and no-nonsense. Her sense of duty to her family was misplaced, but I loved how loyal she was to them. I also liked Daniel. He, too, had a strong sense of right and wrong, and that worked well for him. Even so, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the first. It moved slow in parts and I found myself getting impatient/bored toward the middle of the book. I also didn’t care as much for the overall story-arc as I did the previous book.

I enjoyed the romance and the world is fun and interesting. I’m looking forward to the next book, even if this one was a little slow.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance

three-stars


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Featured Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 30, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Featured Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #5.5
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, 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, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks, Iron and Magic, Magic Binds, Magic Triumphs
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: None
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 443
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
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Some people have everything figured out—Andrea Nash is not one of those people.

After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano—the male alpha of the Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world…

Andrea and Raphael’s romance started earlier in the series. Raphael pursued her pretty heavily and they ended up moving in together, but then Raphael thought Andrea chose her job over him, and it pissed him off. Then she disappeared without a word and made things worse. Now she’s back, and her best friend, Kate Daniels, has hired her to work with her as a PI. Aunt B, Raphael’s mom and Alpha of Clan Bouda, is after her to join the Pack. Raphael turns up with a bimbo in tow. To top it all off, Andrea has a new case that needs her attention.

This is a .5 book. It’s set in the world of Kate Daniels, but Kate doesn’t play a very large part in the series. Andrea is dealing with things in this book while Kate is dealing with something else.

Holly: I’ll be honest, this isn’t a favorite of mine. I really like both Raphael and Andrea as Kate’s friends, but I didn’t love reading about them as the main characters of the novel.

Casee: I didn’t particularly enjoy this book. I don’t know if I would have felt different if I hadn’t listened to it on audio. It was the southern drawl that Andrea had when she was trying to get information or act menacing that really annoyed me.

Holly: I think that’s funny, since I know you’ve enjoyed other audiobooks in the series and they’re all narrated by the same person.

Rowena: I liked this one. Sure, I didn’t like it as much as I liked some other of the other books in the series but I still enjoyed it.

Holly: There were parts I liked, but as a whole this isn’t one of the better books in the series.

Casee: I found Andrea to be extremely annoying. Raphael was just meh.

Rowena: I thought the romance between Raphael and Andrea was nice and angsty. I thought Andrea’s struggles made sense for her background and when she got her revenge against what Raphael did to her house? I loved it.

Holly: Both Andrea and Raphael got on my nerves at different times in the story, but I do like them as a couple.

Casee: Ascanio was actually my favorite character in this book. I am really enjoying how his character is developing.

Holly: Ascanio definitely does some growing up in this book. I liked him a lot. I really liked the scenes with Aunt B, too.

Rowena: Ascanio is really growing up and I’m liking what I’m seeing with his growth. You can see that he really respects both Kate and Andrea. I also really enjoy the friendship between Kate and Andrea.

Casee: My favorite part was when Kate showed up toward the end.

Rowena: I think the weakest part of this story was the whole Anapa thing. I can’t say that I was all that invested or even interested in all of that. I was just there for Andrea and Raphael, seeing Kate and Curran and our other friends. Still, it was good.

Casee: I’m with Wena on this one. I wasn’t invested in the actual plot. I was there for the same reasons. I love the friendship between Kate and Andrea. Kate won’t let Andrea get away with anything, not even her own emotions. I enjoyed the romance between Raphael, but they were both such dicks about it at the beginning that I had a hard time. I expected to be annoyed with Rapahel (Holly), but I was surprised to be annoyed by Andrea since she’s so kickass in the previous books.

If the book was half as long as it was, I would have been good.

Rowena: Oh and in the beginning when Raphael brought Rebecca to Andrea’s office, I wanted to kick him in the dick. I was super mad at him for a lot of the beginning of this book. I spent more time annoyed with him than I ever did with Andrea. When Andrea finally comes clean about everything to him, I felt how stupid he felt. LOL.

Casee: I wanted to junk punch Rafael when he brought Rebecca to the office too. How old are we? Seriously.
I did find it incredibly amusing when Andrea played the carpet prank on him. Lol.

This one gets a 3 out of 5 from me.

Rowena: This was a nice little appetizer before I jump right back into a Kate and Curran story. I’m ready for Kate and Curran again. I’m ready for some Derek and Julie goodness too. I’m also very interested in getting to know Ascanio more too. This one gets 3.5 out of 5 stars from me. It was a solid read but not a favorite.

Holly: I agree this is a good in-between novel, though. As much as I love Kate, it’s good to step outside her head for a minute. Speaking of, I love how we get to see Kate from a different perspective here.
I’m giving it 3.25 out of 5.

Casee: 3 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 3.5 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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