Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Guest Review: Otherworld Challenger by Jane Godman

Posted April 6, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Otherworld Challenger by Jane GodmanReviewer: Jen
Otherworld Challenger by Jane Godman
Series: Otherworld #3
Also in this series: Otherworld Protector, Otherworld Renegade
Published by Harlequin Nocturne
Publication Date: September 1st 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 304
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three-half-stars

KING OF THE OTHERWORLD
The race is on to find the true heir to the faerie crown before the evil king Moncoya returns from exile. Mercenary necromancer Jethro de Loix will find the challenger to Moncoya's crown...for a price. One million mortal dollars. Outraged at Jethro's audacity, Princess Vashti, Moncoya's daughter, arranges to accompany him on his mission.
Jethro doesn't want company, especially not from Moncoya's belligerent, pampered daughter. But as their journey pits them against evil forces, their animosity soon gives way to an overwhelming physical attraction. When the trail ends on the legendary Isle of Avalon, can the pair face down the evil sorceress Morgan le Fay to claim a future they'd long denied themselves?

Otherworld Challenger is the final book in the Otherworld series. While it had some pretty disappointing flaws, overall I was happy I read it.

Note: There are a few tiny spoilers for books 1 and 2 here. I’ve kept them to a minimum but if you haven’t read the other books and really don’t want to know anything, skip this review!

This time, our heroine is Vashti, Moncoya’s other daughter. She’s now the faerie representative in the new Otherworld Council, a role she takes really seriously. In book 2, we learned that someone from the faerie royal bloodline is still around. (Moncoya stole the crown but wasn’t part of the line.) The Council wants a democratic election, and they decide the best chance to get the faeries to vote for someone other than Moncoya is to find the legitimate heir. Jethro de Loix, the mercenary necromancer we met earlier in the series, offers to find the challenger, and the Council decides Vashti should accompany him to confirm that he gets the right person. The problem is, Jethro and Vashti can’t stand each other, and now they have to undertake an incredibly dangerous journey together. Doing so will take them deeper into Jethro’s past and force them to rely on someone else in a way neither has ever done before.

I totally loved Vashti. While Tanzi was the feminine fashion icon, Vashti was the fierce tomboy her father always wished was a boy. In book 2, she was still holding some loyalty towards her dad, but when he tricks her into helping him escape at the end of that book, she finally realizes he doesn’t care about her at all. Moncoya often pitted the girls against each other, discouraged them from using their fae senses of intuition and healing, and ruthlessly suppressed their emotions. Once Vashti is free of her father’s influence, though, she discovers she has deep emotions and powers, and I really enjoyed seeing her discover more about herself.

Really, though, this is kind of Jethro’s story. Vashti doesn’t say much about herself, largely because her own past was detailed in Tanzi’s story. It’s a little frustrating because of course Jethro wasn’t there for that, but I could understand not wanting to just rehash what we already know. Jethro’s story is pretty compelling, too, and even though it’s clear from the start what the big secret is going to be, it’s still interesting to read about. I thought Jethro was an excellent match for Vashti, too. He’s kind of a dick, and he’s hard on Vashti at first, but she’s equally prickly and obnoxious at first, too. Once he gets to know her better, he displays a lot of sensitivity and caring, and as you learn about his life you see he’s not quite the heartless mercenary he appears to be.

The first half of this book was so great. We learn more about Jethro, and Vashti gets used to the human world and her own true self. We also find out that Vashti and Jethro have an almost supernatural connection that seems to strengthen both. They have some great sexual tension too, and all of this awakens Vashti to the possibilities inside her. There’s also a big adventure component as they travel around, escaping the evil sorcerer who’s after them. Vashti starts to protect Jethro, physically and emotionally, and I loved the dynamic that was developing. But then, the second part of the book kind of loses that momentum. They go to the mythical island of Avalon, which is where they’re supposed to be, but things slow down once they get there. Even worse, though, all the build up about the mystical connection and this idea that they make the other one stronger kind of just disappears. In the end, Jethro basically does it all on his own while Vashti kind of hangs back instead of being his partner like she was earlier. It was super disappointing and, frankly, a disservice to Vashti.

When I looked back and cataloged all my thoughts about the book it sounds a little frustrating, but while reading it I Could. Not. Put. It. Down. I gasped at the surprising parts, bit my lip when things got hairy, and sweetly sighed at the romantic parts. I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed the hell out of it anyway. This series was unexpectedly fun for me, even if it was a bit crazy. If you’re looking for a paranormal romance you can read in a few short hours, and you don’t need to overanalyze the details, this series might hit the spot for you, too.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Buck Naked by Evangeline Anderson

Posted April 6, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Buck Naked by Evangeline AndersonReviewer: Tracy
Buck Naked by Evangeline Anderson
Series: Cougarville #1
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal, Erotic
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three-half-stars

Sadie Becker is not herself. A 40-year-old, divorced mother of two, Sadie wakes up one morning and realizes that she looks and feels like she did in her twenties. Suddenly she’s unable to walk around in her new town of Cougarville without men falling at her feet. Confused and alone, Sadie isn’t sure who to turn to…except answers to her problems might reside with her broodingly handsome reclusive neighbor, Mathis.

An alpha shifter, Mathis lost the love of his life, and he knows he’ll never find another mate. But his innocent new neighbor clearly doesn’t know the danger she’s in, and he's the only one who can save her.

But when the attraction pulls too strong, will Mathis’ animal nature be unleashed and claim Sadie for his own?

Sadie wakes up on her 40th birthday, looks in the mirror, and can’t believe how she looks.  She looks about 20 years younger and she’s a bit freaked out by it.  She starting a new job so she has to get to town.  She’s just got divorced from her cheating husband and moved to a cabin in a town fondly called Cougarville by its residents.  Her mother left the cabin to her after she died but neither Sadie nor her twin, Samantha, knew anything about it.

Her first day in town doesn’t go exactly as she thought it would.  No one will serve her, they keep calling her “Juvie,” they act like she’s got leprosy and they keep kicking her out of her businesses.  Someone even slashes her tires!  When she ends up crying on her hot neighbor’s porch he eventually explains that everyone is calling her “Juvie” because she’s got a shifter gene in her that makes her someone who rejuvenates when they hit anywhere from 40-50 years old.  They are the only ones that can breed new shifters and they’re very rare.  Apparently her mother was one as well and now all the men want her and all the women hate her because they’re not a juvie as well.  Sadie is stunned by this news but soon handles it with aplomb – probably because she gets to get naked with her hot neighbor, Mathis.  Unfortunately the mayor of Cougarville, Liam Keller, wants Sadie for himself and he’s not afraid to play dirty to get her.

Buck Naked was a cute erotic PNR.  Anderson put a nice twist on the whole shifter/mating thing which made things a little more interesting.  What also made things different in this story was the fact that all of the shifters in Cougarville shifted into animals from the Paleolithic era (yes, the Stone Age).  We only got to read about Mathis’s Irish Elk and Keller’s cougar which was more like a saber-tooth tiger.  I’m sure there were other animals in town but I have no idea what they were.

Sadie was a sweet woman but was more than clueless when it came to the town.  I wouldn’t have put up with the town’s shit they were shoveling out but she just kind of ran instead of getting answers.  Mathis was great to her and I loved how he cared for her when she needed him.

Mathis was a good man.  He had been married before and loved his wife.  He has sworn to after she died that he would never take another mate and hadn’t been with a woman in 20 years.  He tried his best to stay away from Sadie but found himself falling in love with her.  It happened quickly but it was still cute.

Overall a good start to a paranormal series. Of course there is A LOT of sex in the story because it was an erotic romance.  Anderson always writes good sex scenes, that’s for sure.  If you want a quick, sexy read then grab this one.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

Totally apart from the story…what is up with the guy on the cover of this book? I can’t stop laughing! Is that supposed to be a sexy smirk? Fail. He looks like he’s trying to get something out of his teeth. And his eyes…he’s not cross-eyed but the way he’s looking to the side certainly makes it look that way. Weird.

three-half-stars

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Review: Broken by Lauren Layne

Posted April 4, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Broken by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Broken by Lauren Layne
Series: Redemption #1
Published by Flirt
Publication Date: September 2nd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 252
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three-half-stars

Lauren Layne’s New Adult novel tells the story of a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both... or destroy them.

When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.

Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?

Broken is the second book in the Redemption series by Lauren Layne. It’s another solid contemporary New Adult book about two people falling in love while one is returning to the land of the living and the other is looking for redemption.

Olivia Middleton has betrayed her boyfriend and she hasn’t been able to get over it so in an effort to redeem herself, she takes a job caring for a war veteran who was injured overseas. She needs to give back to someone in need to wipe the smear that has tainted her reputation ever since she kissed Michael and cheated on her ex-boyfriend, Ethan Price. When she arrived in Maine, far away from New York, she was expecting to care for an older veteran but the hot grumpy guy before is her charge and she’s not at all sure what to do with this unexpected attraction.

Paul Langdon is living with survivor’s guilt and it’s chasing everyone out of his life. He’s scared off caretaker after caretaker and no matter what he does, his rich father keeps sending new ones his way. He doesn’t want to be around people. He’s got scars that are both on the inside and the outside and all he wants is to be left alone. When Olivia comes to live with him, his father made it clear that this is the last one. If he can’t or won’t let Olivia help him, then he’ll be cut off and disinherited. Paul has reasons for needing the money and so he’s got to let the gorgeous new, close to his age caretake, take care of him.

They don’t get along at first because Paul is a dick but Olivia is a lot stronger than she looks and he doesn’t scare her away. She’s got redemption on her mind and he’s not going to take that away from her. She’s going to bicker her way through his defenses and she’s going to help him get better, even if it kills her.

This book was a lot different from Isn’t She Lovely. The tone was less playful and a little darker. Olivia is Belle and Paul is the Beast. She goes to live at his fortress and she melts him with every day that they spend together. Their romance in the end was lovely but there were times when I wanted to punch Paul in his junk. He was stubborn and willful and sometimes a little cruel because that shit that he pulled with Michael? That shit was not funny.

Olivia was hard to take at times too but in her heart of hearts, she was a good heroine. She never meant to hurt anyone, least of all, Ethan. She learns a lot about herself and she grows the heck up in this book and I was glad for it. She faces some truths about herself that were hard to take but she didn’t back away from these life lessons and that made me happy for her in the end.

Paul comes around as well. He was a real beast in the beginning and even in the middle but in the end, he comes out of the dark and he really turns his life around. His love for Olivia was real and it was big and it redeemed him in my eyes.

Overall, this story was a solid read with hard times to get through. The romance was passionate, and it was real and I adored both characters in the end. Lauren Layne did a great job of bringing these two opposites together in a way that was believable and right. It’s not my favorite book in the series but it was still a good one. I just love this woman’s writing to pieces. She’s so stinkin’ good at what she does. I hope she writes forever. If you haven’t given this series a try, you should fix that.

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Ever My Love by Lynn Kurland

Posted April 3, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Ever My Love by Lynn KurlandReviewer: Tracy
Ever My Love by Lynn Kurland
Series: MacLeod series #10
Also in this series: Till There Was You
Published by Jove
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Medieval, Time Travel
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three-half-stars

Two people are caught up in love—and in time—in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Stars in Your Eyes.

In search of a fresh start, Emma Barton has traveled to Scotland to try to forget her rocky love life. Luckily, the gorgeous Highlander who owns the house up the path from her rental cottage might be exactly the kind of distraction she needs. But there’s more to his intriguing qualities than she can explain—and she certainly isn’t buying into the local legends of Highland magic.

Nathaniel MacLeod is a man adrift, all thanks to the unwanted gift that forces him to continually jump between centuries. He never knows if he’ll wind up in the present day or the fourteenth century, but when Emma follows him back through time, he suddenly has more to worry about than keeping his separate lives straight…

Someone has started to notice Nathaniel’s travels and now, no time period is safe, for him or for Emma.

Nathaniel MacLeod has been traveling back in time off and on for the past 5 years.  When he hears or sees a certain date he feels the time portal open and he knows that he must get back to medieval Scotland as soon as possible.  He doesn’t know why it’s him that has to go or what the purpose is of him being there but he’s determined to figure it out.

Emma Baxter is in England to get away from her life in England.  She’s pretty much hiding from her ex-boyfriend an trying to figure out what she needs to do next in her life.  She meets Nathaniel because his is a neighboring home to the cottage she’s staying in.  They are instantly attracted to each other but Nathaniel seems to have so many secrets.

When Emma ends up stepping through a time gate and ends up in a dungeon it’s Nathaniel that has to save her.  When she does it again and the exact same events occur Nathaniel knows that he needs to figure out what part Emma plays in his time traveling but he’s not sure he can fix it and keep her with him at the same time.

This was another good book by Kurland.  I’ve only read a few books in the MacLeod series but I think after reading this one that I might have to go back and take care of that lack as meeting Nathaniel’s relatives, Patrick, Ian and Jamie was awesome. They helped both Emma and Nathaniel in many ways and seemed to be very good men.

While I really liked Both Emma and Nathaniel in this book and liked watching their relationship develop, there was a certain disconnection I felt with the book.  I’m not sure if the term is “disjointed” but I felt like the story was all over the place.  It may have been the lack of information we received about Emma and her situation back home as well as the secrets that Nathaniel was keeping about his work and family.  This issue definitely got better as the book went on and we got more info on them.  The latter part of the book was what saved this one for me.

I also was a little disappointed in the physical contact between Emma and Nathaniel.  Yes, I know that Kurland’s books are clean – no sex – but this one had them kiss once.  Once!  And that was a peck if I remember correctly.  I don’t mind clean books but I definitely think the H/h need to have a bit more contact throughout the book – at least more than a peck. But that’s just me. 🙂

While definitely not my favorite book in the series it was a good one that I found entertaining.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: Midnight Captive by Elle Kennedy

Posted March 28, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Midnight Captive by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Midnight Captive by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #6
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Revenge, Midnight Target, Midnight Target
Published by Signet
Publication Date: June 2nd 2015
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

“For those who enjoy their romantic suspense on the dark and steamy side,”* here’s the blisteringly sexy new novel in the Killer Instincts series by the author of Midnight Action and Midnight Pursuits...
Former CIA agent Bailey Jones has spent months trying to forget her night of passion with mercenary Sean Reilly. An elite and methodical assassin, she has no room in her life for a reckless, rule-breaking Irishman, and she’s vowed to steer clear of the tempting bad boy who lured her into his bed under false pretenses.
When Sean is implicated in the robbery of a Dublin bank, Bailey knows something isn’t right. So what if she can’t trust him? There’s no way Sean would end up on the wrong side of the law. In fact, he’s stuck in the middle of a dark and dirty conspiracy that could put his twin brother’s life at risk with one wrong move. And Bailey’s life too when she agrees to help.
As the stakes are raised and Bailey finds herself torn between two brothers, the fine line between danger and desire is crossed…and it’ll take more than a killer instinct to survive.
*New York Times bestselling author Christina Reece

There is always a character in a series that pisses you right off. Bailey Jones was it for me. What a raging bitch. I have no idea what Sean saw in her. There were almost no redeeming qualities in her. She lied to herself, she lied to Sean, she lied to everyone. She constantly hurt Sean. It was unbearable.

Bailey was visiting her friend and fellow assassin, Paige, when she saw the news about a bank in Dublin being robbed. Even with a mask on his face, she immediately recognized Sean Reilly. She immediately springs into action and leaves London for Dublin, determined to help me. A year ago, she had an unforgettable night with Sean, but Sean thinks that Bailey thinks it was his twin brother, Oliver, she was with. She’s happy to let him think that because Sean is dangerous to her. She doesn’t question why she’s racing to his rescue. She tells herself it’s for Oliver. Because when Sean is in trouble, Oliver is not far behind.

While in the bank, Sean is wondering how he and Oliver let themselves get in this bloody mess. They got out of Dublin years ago and are in the information business now. Him and Ollie are happy with their lives and want nothing to do with their father’s legacy. Unfortunately his former boss, Rabbit, has other ideas. Which include kidnapping Ollie to make Sean get a thumb drive from the bank.

While he’s formulating a plan to get out, who drops in other than Bailey, the woman he’s been after for five long years. It doesn’t surprise him. She’s been in love with Oliver for five years. She would come running the moment that he’s in trouble. He still feels guilty for taking her from Oliver. Not guilty enough to regret the night that changed his life. Bailey on the other hand just wants to get Sean out of there and has no thought to where Ollie is. She just wants Sean safe.

They work together to get Oliver free and to take care of business for Rabbit. Back to their relationship; it’s fucked. Sean is fiercely, obsessively protective of Bailey. Her safety is his number one concern. He knows she can take care of herself, but he doesn’t want to put her in a position where she has to do that. That maddens her. It also reminds her of her former boss, who took over her life and job. So I did understand Bailey in that way, but Sean wasn’t trying to take over her life. She was still a bitch.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

three-half-stars

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