Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Review: Evermine by Hailey Edwards

Posted September 22, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Evermine by Hailey EdwardsReviewer: Holly
Evermine by Hailey Edwards
Series: Daughters of Askara #2
Also in this series: Everlong
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 21, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person, Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 201
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

He can be a slave to his past…or allow her love to free him.

There’s such a thing as too much change. Emma’s sister is mated. Revolution is brewing in her home realm. The last straw: her would-be mate is back from the dead and back under her skin—yet when it comes to the last five years, he’s not talking.

Desperate for a chance to start her own life, she answers the queen’s call to ensure equality for all of Askara’s newly freed slaves. It’s the perfect opportunity to escape a heartbreak in the making named Harper.

Harper loses a piece of his fractured soul when Emma walks away. His lies were meant to protect her from torturous years that drove him to the point of madness. Instead, when he comes to her a year later to help avert a crisis in a freed-slave community, the wedge those lies drove between them is firmly in place.

As their new lives collide with old wounds, they race to stop a threat that could not only destroy the queen, but send Harper back to the hell he escaped. Emma must decide if the man she still loves deserves equal rights to her heart.

Warning: This title contains torn pants, ripped gowns, and sand in uncomfortable places. It also includes one overcompensating villain, one gnarly priest, and two battered hearts willing to give this thing called love one last chance.

Evermine (Daughters of Askara #2) by Hailey Edwards follows Emma, whom we met in the first book. I enjoyed her quite a bit in Everlong and was curious to see how things would turn out for her. Fair warning, this is a dark novel that deals with dark themes. Please review the Content Warnings before reading this book.

Emmaline was born into slavery. As the bastard daughter of the Queen of Askara’s consort, she was raised to be the personal slave of the princess Madelyn. They grew up as sisters, and Emma would do anything for Maddie. Now that Maddie has found her mate Emma knows she needs something more. When the evil Queen is overthrown by Maddie’s older sister and slavery is abolished, Emma agrees to return to Askara to act as liaison between the Avanti former-slaves and the Askarans. If that gets her away from her fated mate? All the better. She knows she can’t face Harper after the way she betrayed his memory when she thought he was dead, plus he refuses to share his past with her. It’s a recipe for disaster. But still, when Harper requests her help to uncover a plot against the new Queen, Emma knows she can’t refuse, even if being near him is nothing but torture.

Harper has always known Emma would be his. He meant to protect her by refusing to share his past with her; he never expected it to push her into leaving him. Now that they’re together again, he’s determined to prove to her that they belong together. Though he isn’t sure she can accept all of him, he knows he has to try.

This is a complex and multi-layered world. I highly recommend reading this series in order. A lot of the events that happen here are related to what happened in the first book.

I really liked Emma in the previous book. She faced things head on and wasn’t afraid to get in someone’s face if she needed to. That was true here as well, though she seemed less sure of herself at times. Plus, she had an addiction that I don’t really think was properly addressed.

View Spoiler »

Harper was a prisoner for 5 years. Literally kept in a cage and used and abused, he’s determined to give others better. He was a strong character and I loved how determined he was to save those he cared about. I didn’t necessarily love him and Emma together. They weren’t great about communicating, and her reasons for keeping him at arms length seemed forced at best.

I enjoyed the world and overarching storyline enough to immediately start the next book, but this isn’t my favorite series from Edwards.

3.5 out of 5

Daughters of Askara

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Everlong by Hailey Edwards

Posted September 20, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Everlong by Hailey EdwardsReviewer: Holly
Everlong by Hailey Edwards
Series: Daughters of Askara #1
Also in this series: Evermine
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 224
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

The most damaged heart can fly with the right pair of wings.

Madelyn’s life is far from fairytale perfect. She is second in line for the throne of a corrupt, brutal monarchy. Or at least she was until her dark guardian sacrificed his life to hide her safely in a realm of infinite possibilities.

For years she’s lived among a colony of escaped slaves as her guardian’s widow. Even in this simple life, though, nothing is as it seems. Her hero kept a secret—a younger brother named Clayton Delaney. Warrior, winged demon…and the man who now wants to lay claim to her heart.

No longer cast in his brother’s shadow, Clayton meets all obstacles head on, including one named Maddie. His infatuation with her reaches the breaking point when she undergoes a royal rite of passage, going into heat and pushing them both over the edge.

Just as Maddie learns that some risks are worth taking, she discovers that her guardian may be alive. And she’s forced to make a choice between the man she’d thought she loved, and the demon willing to lend her his wings.

Warning: This book contains virginal angst, a hero who’s too nice for his own good, wings, claws, and convenient use of glamour. It contains heartbreaking loss, conversation with a woodland creature, and sweet, sweet demon loving.

Everlong is the first book in the Daughters of Askara series by Hailey Edwards. I’ve read a number of books by Edwards and generally enjoy them, so I went into this with high expectations. Unfortunately, the heroine’s “head in the sand” approach to basically everything left me frustrated.

Madelyn is the Princess of Askara, a brutal monarchy. It is time for her ascension, a ceremony where she was to claim her title as Princess and accept her place as second in line for the thrown. During the ceremony she and her personal slave, Emma, are to be tattooed from head to foot to denote their stations in life, and then Maddie is meant to take a man to her bed for the first time. Emma’s after, Maddie’s step-father, has decided she must choose him as her consort for the evening. In return, he agrees to grant Emma and Maddie’s Guardian, Harper, their freedom. Although she has every intention of sacrificing herself for them, Harper takes the choice out of their hands by whisking them away to an alternate universe before the ceremony can be completed. Only Harper is killed and Maddie is left mourning him for five long years.

On Earth, Maddie and Emma open a diner and do their best to blend in the colony where Harper left them. Emma makes friends and joins the community, but Maddie chooses to keep herself apart, grieving for her dead Guardian. Until the 5th anniversary of his death, when she finally meets his older brother, Clayton. Clayton has kept himself away from Maddie to allow her time to grieve, but now that her mourning time has passed and she’s going into heat, he knows he has to stay near to protect her. Because when the females of their race go into heat, the males will do anything to claim them. Clayton may want Maddie for himself, but he would never dishonor his brother’s memory that way. The best he can do is keep her safe….unless she decides she wants him, then all bets are off.

I didn’t care for the way Maddie kept her head in the sand and refused to see anything that was going on around her. I really wanted to see her come into her own, but I don’t really think it that happened. She was better toward the end of the novel, but it ended before I was satisfied that she was anything more than a literal spoiled princess. She was basically a walking zombie, never engaging with anyone or seeing what was right in front of her nose. I didn’t understand why she acted the way she did, or more importantly, why anyone put up with it.

I did like Clayton. He was a good leader and an honorable male. This was a quick read. I enjoyed the world and the secondary characters, but Maddie kind of ruined it for me. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Daughters of Askara


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Guest Review: What If You & Me by Roni Loren

Posted August 18, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: What If You & Me by Roni LorenReviewer: Tracy
What If You & Me by Roni Loren
Series: Say Everything #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: July 6, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The world can be a scary place. At least, that's what Andi Lockley's anxiety wants her to believe. It doesn't help that she narrowly escaped a dangerous man years ago, or that every relationship since has been colored with that lingering fear. But things are better now―she's channeling everything into her career as a horror novelist and true crime podcaster, and her next book may be the breakthrough she needs.

If only her grumpy new neighbor would stop stomping around at all hours of the night.

Former firefighter Hill Dawson can't sleep. After losing part of his leg in a rescue gone wrong, he's now stuck in limbo. He needs to figure out what he's supposed to do with his life, and he can't let himself get distracted by the pretty redhead next door. But when someone breaks into Andi's place, Hill can't stop himself from rushing in to play the hero. Soon, a tentative bond forms between the unlikely pair. But what starts out as a neighborly exchange quickly turns into the chance for so much more...if Andi can learn to put aside her fear and trust in herself―and love―again.

New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren blends heat and heart in this emotionally charged story.

Andi is a woman on a mission to help all women be as safe as they can.  She went through some serious trauma when she was a teen and wants to help women avoid putting themselves at risk.  While she writes horror novels, she runs a podcast called, What Can We Learn From This?” She tells stories about crimes and how women can be more careful, and what they can learn from past incidences.

She’s just moved into a duplex when she hears stomping on the other side of the wall.  When she starts watching a horror movie, which includes screaming of course, her neighbor bangs on her door.  Meeting Hill Dawson, retired firefighter, scares her as she doesn’t know him, but she’s definitely attracted to him.

Hill didn’t ever want to retire from the fire department, but after losing part of a leg in a fire, he didn’t have a choice.  He’s dealing with his life, depression and a whole host of other things when he meets Andi.  She seems to have her life together, but she’s also a scared rabbit and something in him wants to calm her.

The pair eventually decide to act on their attraction to each other but only as friends-with-benefits.  The question is, can they hold back the deeper feelings they have for each other?

This was a cute story.  We slowly, throughout the story, find out what happened to Andi when she was younger – which was pretty scary.  I can see how she would be more than a bit paranoid of life in general.  I loved how that trauma didn’t stop her from putting herself out there and making a name for herself with her books and podcasts.

Hill was a super nice guy, and I really loved him and Andi together.  That said, he pulls a stunt near the end of the book that had me rolling my eyes and getting incredibly frustrated with him.  It really stopped a lot of the enjoyment I was getting from the story.  If this hadn’t had happened I would have scored this book much higher.

Overall it was cute contemporary romance.  I didn’t read the first book in this series, but didn’t feel like I needed to in order to enjoy this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Say Everything

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Dream Spinner by Kristen Ashley

Posted July 30, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Dream Spinner by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Tracy
Dream Spinner by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Team #3
Also in this series: Quiet Man, Dream Maker, Dream Chaser
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 393
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hattie Yates has finally met the man of her dreams. Yet years of abuse from her demanding father have left her petrified of disappointment. She’s already failed to reach her goal of becoming a professional ballerina—she can’t handle the terrible consequences of another dream becoming a nightmare. But when a stalker sets their sights on Hattie, there’s only one man she dares to hope can help . . .

Axl Pantera knows Hattie is the only woman for him. Yet despite the attraction burning between them, Hattie refuses to let him in. The former soldier is determined to woo her into letting down her walls. And when danger comes calling, he’s up against more than her wary and bruised heart. Axl will do anything to prove to Hattie that they’re meant to be, but first, he’ll need to keep her safe.

Hattie has lost her self-confidence.  She wanted to become a professional dancer, but that didn’t happen.  With her father verbally abusing her and telling her what a disappointment she is to him, she doesn’t love herself so therefore feels like no one else can love her.

Axl is totally into Hattie but knows that she needs time.  When she gets a stalker, he feels like time is up and makes his move.   Hattie isn’t really receptive, but when the stalker issue starts to heat up, she finally gives in.

I really liked Hattie and Axel together.  Their relationship was really the glue that held this book together.  The stalker issue was kind of bland.  The overall story arc throughout the series is dealt with but even that wasn’t too exciting.  I felt that this was more to do with family issue between Hattie, Axl, Hattie’s father and mother as well as Axl’s parents.  While that’s no a bad thing, per se, it just didn’t make for an exciting read.

Ashley threw in all of the secondary characters from other books in this story as well and that was almost too much.  I get those friendships are a huge part of why these books work, but occasionally I hit my boiling point and then it just seems to be overload.

If you’re into this series already than this is a nice addition to the series, but I certainly didn’t love it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Dream Team

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Posted July 14, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Road Trip by Beth O’LearyReviewer: Rowena
The Road Trip by Beth O'Leary
Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: April 29, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Review Pile Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

Two exes reach a new level of awkward when forced to take a road trip together in this endearing and humorous novel by the author of the international bestseller The Flatshare.

What if the end of the road is just the beginning?

Four years ago, Dylan and Addie fell in love under the Provence sun. Wealthy Oxford student Dylan was staying at his friend Cherry's enormous French villa; wild child Addie was spending her summer as the on-site caretaker. Two years ago, their relationship officially ended. They haven't spoken since.

Today, Dylan's and Addie's lives collide again. It's the day before Cherry's wedding, and Addie and Dylan crash cars at the start of the journey there. The car Dylan was driving is wrecked, and the wedding is in rural Scotland--he'll never get there on time by public transport.

So, along with Dylan's best friend, Addie's sister, and a random guy on Facebook who needed a ride, they squeeze into a space-challenged Mini and set off across Britain. Cramped into the same space, Dylan and Addie are forced to confront the choices they made that tore them apart--and ask themselves whether that final decision was the right one after all.

The Road Trip was one of the first books that I read by Beth O’Leary and while I did enjoy it, there were things about it that I didn’t really care for. The biggest thing was the back and forth between the past and the present. I almost DNF’d this book because I hated the jumping between the past and the present. If I wasn’t so invested in what happened to break Dylan and Addie up, I probably wouldn’t have finished this one. Also, the lightness of the illustrated cover made me think this was going to be a lighter romance than it actually was, and normally, it’s not a big deal to me but for some reason, it just didn’t completely work for me in this one. It might have been a mood thing because while I didn’t LOVE the book, it was still a pretty solid story.

This is a second chance love story between Dylan and Addie. They met while Dylan was vacationing in the house that Addie was working at over the summer. Dylan comes from money and Addie works for every penny she has but they found love in that French villa and things were going swimmingly…until it wasn’t and they break up. It’s been two years since they’ve broken up and they haven’t spoken to each other since. When their mutual friend, Cherry, gets married they know that they’ll probably see each other at the wedding but they didn’t expect circumstances to make it to where they had to squeeze into the smallest car on the planet and road trip it to the wedding together.

Like I mentioned earlier, this story is told between the past and the present, and in the beginning, it gave me whiplash. I was so anxious to find out what happened in the past to make their present so weird and awkward that it made me a little grumpy when the story didn’t move fast enough to suit me. I preferred the past until the shit hit the fan and the road trip to the wedding was full of Dylan longing for Addie that I rolled my eyes a lot. I also wanted to punch Markus in the junk at every turn too. Past and present, though present Markus less so. Sure, I wanted to knee him in the balls in the present a time or two but he’s a different Markus from the past and I eventually came to not hate him.

This was a heavier book than I anticipated but I am glad that I finished it. I was satisfied with the way that the book came together in the end. I did end up enjoying Dylan and Addie’s characters and seeing them come together again after years and years of pain made for a satisfying end so I would recommend that you read this book if you’re in the mood for a love story that is heavy on the angst, but solid all around.

3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,