Tag: 3.25 Reviews

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
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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Joint Review: Strange Love by Ann Aguirre

Posted April 14, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Strange Love by Ann AguirreReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
Strange Love by Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 15, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 275
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

He's awkward. He's adorable. He's alien as hell.

Zylar of Kith Balak is a four-time loser in the annual Choosing. If he fails to find a nest guardian this time, he'll lose his chance to have a mate for all time. Desperation drives him to try a matching service but due to a freak solar flare and a severely malfunctioning ship AI, things go way off course. This 'human being' is not the Tiralan match he was looking for.

She's frazzled. She's fierce. She's from St. Louis.

Beryl Bowman's mother always said she'd never get married. She should have added a rider about the husband being human. Who would have ever thought that working at the Sunshine Angel daycare center would offer such interstellar prestige? She doesn't know what the hell's going on, but a new life awaits on Barath Colony, where she can have any alien bachelor she wants.

They agree to join the Choosing together, but love is about to get seriously strange.

Ames, Holly, and I are back with another joint review. Actually, I could have sworn we posted this last month but it’s nowhere to be found so maybe all of this clean air in California has me trippin’ but anyway, here we are again. It was Ames turn to choose our book of the month and she chose something a little different for us to read. Her choice was Strange Love by Ann Aguirre and it was my first alien romance.

Strange Love features Beryl Bowman, a human from St. Louis and Zylar of Kith Balak. Beryl was just minding her own business, cleaning up after a Ren Fare festival when a freaking alien abducts her and dog, Snaps. He takes her back to his home, an alien world where her and Snaps are implanted with a device that helps her understand what everyone is saying around her. Not only does she understand the aliens but Snaps can talk too!

Zylar was supposed to have picked up his intended but mistakes Beryl for his intended and because they can’t get back to Earth anymore, Beryl has to choose between staying with Zylar in this new place and trying her hand at the Alien Bachelor, which they call The Choosing, or she can go off on her own and try to survive in a strange place, on an even stranger planet. Things start heating up the longer Beryl is with Zylar. Who knew that she would fall head over heels in love with an alien.

Alright guys, what did you guys think?

Holly: This was a totally unexpected book from AA. She generally writes darker novels, but this was light and campy. I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for it at first. The whole “Alien Tinder/Mistaken Identity” was silly and pretty over the top. The Choosing got my attention, though. It was interesting watching Beryl and Kerr go through the challenges, and I thought Zylar was really sweet. Snaps (the dog) was pretty funny, too.

Ames: I’m glad I picked this one. From the moment Beryl was abducted and the translator was implanted I was cracking up at Snaps. AA definitely nailed how a dog would talk IMO. I liked Beryl’s character too. She had her inner freak outs about what she was going through but she practical at heart and that carries her through. Zylar was interesting. I liked how he wasn’t confident in himself and how Beryl helped him overcome his self-esteem issues. His freaking brother was the worst.

Holly: His brother was the worst. I didn’t like him at all.

I thought it was cute how Zylar struggled with his self-esteem and Beryl helped him. He was pretty adorable all the way around. Omg I cracked up when he kept calling her “Terrible One”.

Ames: Yes! Terrible One! And how he thought her smiles were scary!

Holly: And when she explains she’s showing she’s happy, not threatening anyone, and he’s like “Aww. Okay. That’s great. But maybe let’s not tell anyone about that…?” Haha.

Still, there were a lot of things that bugged me. It was pretty silly, which I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t like how Zylar’s family treated him, or the final resolution of the book. I guess I wanted something different from them.

Rowena: Like Holly, it took me a while to get into this one because it was silly and I didn’t really know what to expect from an alien romance but I’m glad that I stuck with it. I did enjoy getting to know Beryl, Zylar, and Snaps. I thought they were a lot of fun. I agree with you both about Zylar’s brother. What’s his name again? I wanted to push him off an alien cliff.

The ending was a weird one for me and though I can understand why we got that kind of ending, I wasn’t a real big fan. I thought Snaps was adorable. When he first started talking and seeing how excited he was, it had grinning like mad. I also loved how sure he was in Beryl. The way that he told Zylar that Beryl doesn’t get lost. She found Snaps. She found Zylar and they’re still found? I thought that was super sweet.

Holly: I thought Snaps was cute. How loyal he was. Such a good doggy.

Ryvken? That guy was a tool. I was glad to see how that played out, but I’m still irritated with the way the book ended.

Are you planning to read the next book?

Ames: I will read the next book. I liked the characters and the world-building. Holly had mentioned earlier this wasn’t AA’s typical style of writing but since its been a while since I’ve read AA, I didn’t recall enough to compare it to her past work. I do like my sci-fi romps so I really enjoyed this one. Although I agree with Wena over the ending – I was hoping for better for them.

What did you guys think of Helix, the AI? I think that’ll be interesting to see how that character develops. I will say this, the secondary characters were excellent. I liked Kurr and Helix. AND! Snaps tiny dirt babies. Seriously, Snaps was the star here. haha.

Holly: Ha! As soon as Snaps gained the ability to talk, I knew he’d be your favorite. Oh man, the dirt babies. I literally laughed out loud.

I’m curious to see how things develop with Helix, as well. I didn’t love how things happened with him, but I do want to read the next book. I agree that the secondary characters were good. I wonder if we’ll see more of Kurr in future books?

Rowena: I knew that you’d love Snaps too, Ames. It was hard not to since he was super adorable and super funny. When he first started talking, I immediately thought that it was exactly how I thought dogs thoughts would be. And the dirt babies!! Haha!

I really liked the growth in Zylar’s character. His insecurities made me want to kick some serious alien ass but I liked the way that Beryl was able to help him.

As much as I enjoyed Zylar, Beryl, and Snaps, like Holly, I thought a lot of things were silly and Zylar’s family pissed me off. I’m not sure that I would continue this series. I did like Helix and am curious about his character growth, but I think that I would actually just bug you guys to tell me about it then read it myself. I’ve never read an alien romance before and I don’t know, I guess I prefer my Sci-Fi stories to be a little darker, a little more serious. Am I the only one in that camp?

Holly: No, I’m with you. I generally prefer my SF to be darker. I did enjoy this story as a whole, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue. Maybe at some point in the future. Never say never, right?

I think I’m going to give this 3.25-3.5 out of 5.

Rowena: Yeah, same here. I might read it eventually, but I’m not in a rush to.

This one gets a 3.25 out of 5 from me.

Ames: I liked this one a teeny bit more than you two. I’m giving this one 3.75 out of 5. I would recommend.

Holly: You know what I forgot to mention? How effing annoying the “Butt Stuff” joke that ran throughout the book was. The first time, okay. The second…eh. But after that? So much no. Every time she woke up, or turned around “Well, nothing is in my butt”. WHY???

Rowena: LOL! Yeah, I didn’t even think it was that funny the first time she said it.

Holly: I didn’t laugh the first time, either, but I saw her joke. After that? Nah. Miss me with that.

Ames: I must have skipped over those. I didn’t find those funny either.

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Posted April 2, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 318
Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper is a stand-alone paranormal romance. I started this book months ago and quit about halfway through. I was mostly just bored with the story. I was recently on a flight and forgot to download a new audiobook, so I turned this one on since it was already on my device. The second half was much better than the first.

Nina Linden is struggling to keep her landscape business afloat since her former business partner and ex started sabotaging her. Though the place is said to be haunted and/or cursed, she takes a job to bring an abandoned private island back to life. Billionaire Deacon Whitney wants to revive the Whitney Estate, the family’s private island that’s rumored to be cursed. He doesn’t believe in ghosts or curses, but he knows others do so he’s paying double the rates. Nina doesn’t expect to be attracted to Deacon..or to be having strange visions of herself as a maid in a gothic mystery.

Deacon’s flighty cousin, interior decorator ex-girlfriend and architect best friend are there helping, along with a cleaning service. The novel jumps around a lot, and in the beginning I had trouble following everyone and everything. I came to really like the cast of characters and the way the novel flashed back and forth between the developing romance of Deacon and Nina and Jeff, the architect, and Cindy, the owner of the cleaning service, but the second half didn’t make up for the first.

I enjoyed the setting and the romance. Harper is generally good for a laugh, and I found myself smiling several times over the antics of the characters. The mystery plot was kind of a dud, but I enjoyed the paranormal/ghost aspects. Not my favorite of Harper’s novels.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: A Lie for a Lie by Helena Hunting

Posted March 4, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: A Lie for a Lie by Helena HuntingReviewer: Tracy
A Lie for a Lie by Helena Hunting
Series: All In #1
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 285
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


From the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series comes a romantic comedy about instant attraction, second chances, and not-so-little white lies.

Sometimes I need an escape from the demands, the puck bunnies, and the notoriety that come with being an NHL team captain. I just want to be a normal guy for a few weeks. So when I leave Chicago for some peace and quiet, the last thing I expect is for a gorgeous woman to literally fall into my lap on a flight to Alaska. Even better, she has absolutely no idea who I am.

Lainey is the perfect escape from my life. My plan for seclusion becomes a monthlong sex fest punctuated with domestic bliss. But it ends just as abruptly as it began. When I’m called away on a family emergency, I realize too late that I have no way to contact Lainey.

A year later, a chance encounter throws Lainey and me together again. But I still have a lie hanging over my head, and Lainey’s keeping secrets of her own. With more than lust at stake, the truth may be our game changer.

Rook has a tradition of going on a fishing trip in Alaska with his brother and his father every year.  His father passed a few years ago and now he just goes with his brother.  It makes him sad that his father’s not there, but he loves to get away from his celebrity as a famous NHL player.  When Rook gets to Alaska he hears from his brother that he can’t go either because his wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  Since their father died from diabetes, this is a big deal.  Rook decides to stay on in Alaska and have some peace and quiet.

On the plane Rook meets Lainey.  She doesn’t follow sports at all and wouldn’t know who Rook was, even if he decided to tell her what he did for a living.  Every time she asks, he changes the subject or misdirects.  Frustrating.  He tells her that he was raised on an alpaca farm in New York.  When asked if that’s what he does now, he tells her that that’s what he grew up doing.  Yeah, not what she asked, dumbass. Lol

Once in Alaska Lainey discovers that her rental is a complete POS and she ends up staying with Rook whose house is down the street.  They end up spending the summer together, falling into bed in love.  When Rook is called away because of his brother’s wife, Rook has every intention of reconnecting with Lainey, but a series of mistakes separates the two for the next year.

When Lainey and Rook run into each other again the truth comes out about Rook’s job and Lainey’s pissed.  It’s discovered that there are secrets on both sides and the getting-to-know you period is extended.  The pair manage to find their way but not before some serious soul-searching is done.

This was a cute book.  I liked a lot about it – especially the first part of the story.  They way they meet and come together (even though it’s pretty convoluted) was cute.  The couple’s entire time in Alaska was good even though the whole lying about his career pissed me off. The chemistry between the couple as well as the fun times they had made me smile despite Rook’s huge mistake.

Unfortunately the second part of the book wasn’t as good for me.  Meeting up again and finding out secrets was a bit anti-climactic.  Getting to know the family, etc., just wasn’t all that thrilling.  Good, but not great.

Overall a cute story but a little slow in the second half.

Rating: 3.25/3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The Upside of Falling by Alex Light

Posted February 24, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Upside of Falling by Alex LightReviewer: Rowena
The Upside of Falling by Alex Light
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

It’s been years since seventeen-year-old Becca Hart believed in true love. But when her former best friend teases her for not having a boyfriend, Becca impulsively pretends she’s been secretly seeing someone.

Brett Wells has it all. Being captain of the football team and one of the most popular guys in school, he should have no problem finding someone to date, but he’s always been more focused on his future than who to bring to prom. When he overhears Becca’s lie, Brett decides to step in and be her mystery guy. It’s the perfect solution: he gets people off his back for not dating and she can keep up the ruse.

Acting like the perfect couple isn’t easy though, especially when you barely know the other person. But with Becca still picking up the pieces from when her world was blown apart years ago and Brett just barely holding his together now, they begin to realize they have more in common than they ever could have imagined. When the line between real and pretend begins to blur, they are forced to answer the question: is this fake romance the realest thing in either of their lives?

I’m a sucker for a fake dating romance and this book promised one of those and it definitely delivered. I’m happy to report that this book was easy to read and easy to follow along with. It was exactly the kind of book that I was expecting so I was glad that I wasn’t misled. The cover and the blurb matched the story and I was glad for it. It’s getting pretty normal for me to pick a book based on the vibe of the cover, only to find that the story and the cover don’t match. I will say that there was much about this book that I thought was pretty cheesy but when all was said and done, I didn’t mind it. I didn’t love this book but it was still a solid story with characters that made the reading adventure fun. This was a quick read and I enjoyed it so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more Alex Light books to read in the future.

This book follows Becca Hart and Brett Wells as they fall into a fake relationship to serve both of their purposes. Brett needs a fake girlfriend to get people off his back about never dating. He’s pretty serious about working hard for his goals. When he overhears Becca talking about a mysterious boyfriend, he steps in to be that boyfriend. He steps in to help her but mostly as a way to solve his own problems. Their lie becomes a little hard to sell since they don’t really know each other so they don’t have much of a foundation to base their fake relationship but as they begin to get to know each other, they begin to realize that they’re not that different and they like each other.

I liked both Brett and Becca. They were great kids with good heads on their shoulders and seeing the two of them get closer and closer was fun. They were both solid characters with hearts of gold and charm and I was rooting for them throughout the entire book. There were times when I thought that this book was much too easy to read, like there wasn’t enough conflict to really carry the story but when all was said and done, I enjoyed the book and I enjoyed seeing how everything came together in the end so I recommend if you’re a fan of contemporary young adult romances with heart, this one fits that bill.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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