Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Review: Mist’s Edge by T.A. White

Posted September 11, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Mist’s Edge by T.A. WhiteReviewer: Holly
Mist's Edge by T.A. White
Series: The Broken Lands #2
Also in this series: Pathfinder's Way
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 28, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 330
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The pathfinder, Shea, has chosen to make a place for herself among her former captors, leaving behind her people and the life she once knew. However, not all welcome this outsider in their midst. Shea will find that surviving alone in the wilderness is child’s play next to navigating the politics that come with her new position. Especially when it becomes evident that there are those out for her blood.

As a new danger looms on the horizon, Shea and her warlord will need all the allies they can find. Because something is stirring in the barren lands from which all beasts are born. Something old and not seen since the last cataclysm.

Can Shea protect her people from this new threat or will it be the dangers from within her own inner circle that destroy her?

Mist’s Edge, the second book in T.A. White‘s The Broken Lands series, picks up where Patherfinder’s Way left off. Shea and Fallon have committed to one another and she’s agreed to become his Telroi, but now she’s feeling displaced and unsure of herself or her place in the clan. It doesn’t help that Fallon is overbearing and expects all his orders to be followed without question. Especially since more often than not those orders include her sitting around doing nothing. But when the Mist comes into the lowlands for the first time in centuries, and unimaginable Beasts start targeting the clan, Shea knows they need answers. Convincing Fallon is another thing entirely…

I really struggled with the first half of this book. Shea and Fallon have a hard time communicating with each other, which resulted in a lot of them having arguments then ignoring each other for days on end. I understand their relationship is very new, and that means they’re still figuring each other out. I even like that things weren’t all sunshine and rainbows since they committed to one another so late in the previous book. But I still struggled with how immature the two of them acted. Shea’s need to pull away and shut down, along with Fallon’s go-to Neanderthal “you will do what I say” responses, mean nothing really felt resolved between them. They would argue about something, she would freeze him out after he tried to dictate to her, then they would just let it go. I really wish they had talked more, and worked out their problems like adults.

Having said that, I don’t dislike them as a couple. I think they work very well together. I just wish they would have mature conversations about things and try to find workable compromises instead of argue, ignore, brush aside, repeat.

The second half of the book is better. Fallon is still overprotective, but Shea was in her element leading them and that made for a more enjoyable reading experience. I really love this world and the secondary characters. The clan, the landscape and the interpersonal relationships are very well done. Everything comes to life so I feel like I’m there with them as I read.

I wouldn’t call this a placeholder novel, exactly, but a lot of it did feel unnecessary and repetitive. The second half was better than the first, but I didn’t love this one as much as the first.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Broken Lands

three-half-stars


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Review: Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted August 7, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Warrior Witch by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Malediction Trilogy #3
Also in this series: Stolen Songbird , Hidden Huntress
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The thrilling conclusion to the breakout Malediction Trilogy by Goodreads Choice finalist Danielle L. Jensen.

Cécile and Tristan have accomplished the impossible, but their greatest challenge remains: defeating the evil they have unleashed upon the world.

As they scramble for a way to protect the people of the Isle and liberate the trolls from their tyrant king, Cécile and Tristan must battle those who’d see them dead. To win, they will risk everything. And everyone.

But it might not be enough. Both Cécile and Tristan have debts, and they will be forced to pay them at a cost far greater than they had ever imagined.

Warrior Witch is the final book in the Malediction Trilogy by Danielle L. Jensen, which follows Cécile as she goes from prisoner of the Trolls to their savior, to possibly the one responsible for the fall of all mankind. The trilogy should be read in order.

Cécile was kidnapped on her 17th birthday and taken to Trollus, a cursed city under Forsaken Mountain, where she was bonded to the Prince of the Trolls, Tristan. A prophecy foretold that she would be the one to break the curse holding them in the city, and it was correct. Now that she’s set the Trolls free, she has another problem – they’re determined to go to war with the humans, so they once again rule all the lands. Cécile and Tristan will need a fool-proof plan to defeat his uncle and save mankind.

This book is called Warrior Witch, so I had certain expectations about how Cécile would grow and change in this novel. Sadly, none of them came to pass.

First, let me start with what I liked about this book. The world-building, politics and intrigues throughout the entire series were well done. It was easy to fall into this world and become attached to the characters (with some exceptions). I absolutely felt like I was there with them. The interpersonal relationships and friendships that develop are also wonderful. Plus, Jensen excels at writing multilayered characters and situations. Nothing is as it seems at first glance. I loved the constant twists and turns of the plot and character motivations. I loved Sabine, Paul and Fred (Cécile’s human friends and family), as well as Marc, Zoe and Elise, the Twins and Tips (those we met in Trollus). They were the best part of this novel. Even most of the villains were multifaceted, never doing things for the expected reasons, or having secondary motivations that almost made them sympathetic characters despite their actions.

While all of that was wonderful and definitely worth reading the book (and entire series) for, I really came to dislike Cécile. It’s hard not to go back to the first book, Stolen Songbird, when thinking about her. Cécile’s journey started so far from where it ended in terms of loss and life, and her overall character growth. I love it when a character grows in strength and changes for the better over the course of a series, especially a heroine. Sadly, I don’t think Cécile changed for the better over the course of this series, nor do I think she grew stronger.

At the start of the trilogy, Cécile was a 17-year-old sheltered girl who grew up on a farm. She’d been book/tutor educated, but had little life experience. Obviously she gained life experience over the course of the series, but I don’t think she truly learned anything. She continued to make the same decisions for the same reasons over and over again. In fact, I think she went from making mistakes out of ignorance to making them out of a sense of malice toward others. Where she did things that put others in danger out of ignorance in previous books, she did them simply to be cruel in this one (ex: being petty and getting human guards killed just because she was feeling mean). She was so cavalier about dabbling in black magic, and such a martyr about it, that I actively came to dislike her as the series wore on.

I also really struggled with the ending.

View Spoiler »

Though this book is called Warrior Witch, I don’t believe Cécile was a warrior, but rather a survivor who was willing to do whatever she must, whether morally right or not. While that may have worked when she was a prisoner, it made her very unlikable once she broke the curse and was dealing with the consequences of her actions.

As for the romance, I never fully bought into the connection between Cécile and Tristan. I think Tristan cared a bit more for Cécile than she did for him, but even then, I never came to believe they wanted to be together. It felt like the only reason they stayed with one another was because of the bond. They weren’t kind to each other, didn’t hold one another’s confidences and in fact spent the majority of the books apart.

Despite my issues with Cécile and the romance, I still enjoyed this series and I would recommend it. As a fantasy series, it works very well. As a fantasy romance, not so much. Still, the world and secondary characters were well worth the read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Malediction Trilogy

three-half-stars


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Joint Review: Crush the King by Jennifer Estep

Posted July 23, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: Crush the King by Jennifer EstepReviewer: Holly and Amy
Crush the King by Jennifer Estep
Series: Crown of Shards #3
Also in this series: Kill the Queen, Protect the Prince
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A fierce gladiator queen must face off against her enemies in an epic battle in this next thrilling installment of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series—an action-packed adventure full of magic, murderous machinations, courtly intrigue, and pulse-pounding romance.
Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies. 
There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes.
Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies . . . and crush the king.

In the previous book, Protect the Prince, Everleigh secured her crown as Queen of Bellona by securing a treaty with the Andvari. But she knows this isn’t enough. She can’t become complacent and that fact is immediately brought home by another assassination attempt. This time from a different foe, but the one pulling the strings is the Mortan King. Evie is sick of always being on the defense so she decides she’ll go on the offense at the upcoming Regalia Games.

Ames: All right. June was a weird reading month for us so unfortunately we lost Wena for this review.

Holly, what did you think of Crush the King?

Holly: I really like the world Estep has created. The court intrigue and games interested me, and I definitely admire Evie’s strength. I didn’t like how isolated Evie seemed, even amidst her friends from the Troupe. I was also very disappointed in the romance. You?

Ames: I agree, she came across as very isolated from her people and the romance was definitely on the back-burner. I feel like Sullivan could have had a bigger role without undermining her. All her people were in the backseat.

Holly: One of the things I loved best in the first book was the way her relationship with Sully developed and how her friendships with those in the Black Swan troupe grew and deepened. I feel like we saw less and less of them as the series wore on. By the end of this book, I felt like they added nothing to the story, other than some background noise. I wish we’d see more of them growing as a “family”, which is what it felt like they were becoming in the first book.

Ames: Ok, I liked the world Estep created, but I found the world-building in this book hard to get through. The introduction of the Games and Fortuna just dragged on for me. But once the action started I enjoyed the story more. I love the court games she played with Maximus – not showing her fear, one-upping him any chance she could, thwarting his plans. I like that she had learned enough and was confident enough with herself to pull all that off. The overall arch of her own scheme was very well-done.

Holly: You’re not wrong about the early part of the book being hard to get through. I also didn’t love how she decided she was going to handle the King of Morta at first. I liked how she came to accept that her initial plan wasn’t the best one and went with something that worked better for the person she wanted to be.

Ames: I like how she changed her plan for dealing with the King as well. It played to her strength – she observes and she learns and then she adapts. She doesn’t act until she looks at a problem from all sides.

But once the action started with the games, I enjoyed the story more. I also liked those flashbacks for how she got away after the assassination of her family, when she was a child.

Holly: I enjoyed the story more once the action picked up, too. The flashbacks were great and gave us a lot of insight into how and why she did what she did. I enjoyed that aspect of it.

Ames : Do you think she’s going to write more in this world? I liked the introduction of Leo and how he’s torn by loyalty to his family.

Holly: I swear I remember seeing mention of more from this world, but I can’t remember where I read it. I hope she does. I’d like to see more from Gemma, too.

Ames: I’d love to see Gemma again. And Grimley.

Holly: GRIMLEY! I need a Grimley in my life.

Ames: Ok, what are you grading this book? I have to give it a 3 out of 5. Although I was pleased with Evie’s long game plan when it came to Maeven and how she set out to get the King of Morta, the beginning was hard to get into and I was disappointed in how the secondary characters were side-lined.

Holly: I think I’m going to give it a 3.5 out of 5. I really liked Evie’s strength and the games, but it moved slow in the beginning and I definitely didn’t like how little we saw of the secondary characters. I do hope she continues to write in this world, though.

Final Grades

Ames: 3 out of 5
Holly: 3.5 out of 5

Crown of Shards

three-half-stars


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Review: When He’s Dark by Suzanne Wright

Posted July 8, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: When He’s Dark by Suzanne WrightWhen He’s Dark by Suzanne Wright
Series: The Olympus Pride #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 334
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Cat shifter Bree Dwyer doesn't fear much. Ironically, what she fears most is the person who was put on the Earth just for her. Your true mate wasn't supposed to be cruel and twisted; wasn't supposed to be someone who’d never love or want to claim you. The rumors that her true mate is dead bring her only relief. Bree's intent on moving forward with her life and building a future with someone else. Sadly, the male she wants most is one she can never have—a hot-as-sin wolverine shifter who happens to be her boss … and the cousin of her predestined mate.

Aleksandr “Alex” Devereaux detests being bullshitted, but he’s been lying to himself for years—pretending he thinks of Bree as extended family; that he doesn't want her so bad he aches with it; that he can't feel himself weakening against her pull. The night they spend together changes everything. He's done fighting himself on what he wants. Someone isn't happy about that. Possibly the same 'someone' who's playing mind games with Bree, trying to scare her. They're succeeding, because too many leads point to the possibility that the culprit could be the one person that she's determined to believe is dead.

I was sad to see the end of the Phoenix Pack and Mercury Pack series, so I’m really glad Wright is doing this off-shoot. We were introduced to characters from the Olympus Pride in previous books, but this book stands alone well.

Bree is a pretty strong Omega, which means she can help others control their emotions. There are several Omegas in the Pride, but though she isn’t Primary, she is the strongest. She’s also the one least likely to put up with other people’s crap, or sugar coat things. As a result, she and the Primary Omega butt heads. Bree knows she’ll either have to take over as Primary or leave, so she’s planning to leave.

Alex Devereaux has other ideas. He’s wanted Bree for years, but he didn’t think she was ready for him. Now it doesn’t matter, he’s determined to make her his. When strange things begin to happen to Bree and she’s almost kidnapped, Alex knows he’s made the right choice. She needs him in all the ways.

I really liked Alex and Bree. They had a fun romance. I didn’t love the external plot. These are always pretty predicable for me and I had everything figured out early on. Still, I liked the romance and the characters enough that it didn’t bother me too much.

3.5 out of 5

Olympus Pride

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Dancing in the Dark by Jennifer Dunne

Posted July 2, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Dancing in the Dark by Jennifer DunneDancing in the Dark by Jennifer Dunne
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publication Date: April 19, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Genres: Erotica
Pages: 82
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three-half-stars

A humdrum life… Keri Montero lives a boring life. Work, TV, volunteering, and her quilting hardly make the stuff of fantasy and dreams.

A mistaken invitation… All this changes when she receives an invitation to a charity Halloween costume party to benefit the local opera house. She decides to go, even if the tickets are—gasp—$100 each.

A walk on the wild side… Her costume can be anything, and Keri decides to live on the wild side for once. Going as a submissive slave girl might invite trouble. But when she meets the man of her dreams, she decides to go even wilder. Keri wants to submit to his every…sexual…whim.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on May 8, 2010.

So after getting the invitation to the Halloween party Keri has to decide what to be. She goes online after deciding to be a slave girl – since there are always so many in the operas – and buys a costume sight unseen. That right there would put up a big red flag for me. When she gets the costume it’s more of a bdsm costume than anything else but Keri decides to go for it. When she gets to the party she talks up many gentlemen but none of them seem to get what she was trying to do – which was a find a master. When she meets the man – who’s dressed as a sun god and is masked himself they immediately are drawn to each other and leave the party.

The sun god is truly looking for a slave and he wants to be Kerri’s Master. He takes Keri to his apartment that holds his dungeon and they proceed to get down and dirty. I don’t know too much about the bdsm lifestyle but I’d have to say that I found this to be bdsm light since Keri was completely new to the lifestyle. After 2 days of meeting with “the Master” Keri still has no idea who the man is or what he looks like but she doesn’t want to go back to her humdrum life and decides to take the bull by the horns and keep up with her slave girl position.

This was a very cute story but I have to say that I did have a couple of issues with it. First I found that what Keri was doing was completely not her. She came home and watched Charmed every day and ate microwave meals and quilted. I just couldn’t see her – even in her wildest dreams doing something like this. I saw her as more of the person who would get the costume on a whim and then decide not to wear it. IDK it just didn’t hit me right. The second would be that she fell in love with the sun god – sight unseen – knowing nothing about the man except having sex with him 3 times. Having great sex is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but a love relationship it does not make imho.

Despite the niggles I had with it I thought the story was written well and it did get my attention and didn’t let go. This is a highly sexual & erotic novella and has more sex than not, but I didn’t find myself skipping any sex scenes (which when they get tedious, I must admit I do).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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