Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Joint Review: Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh

Posted March 16, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, #2) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #2
Also in this series: Angels' Blood, Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9)
Published by Berkley Sensation
Publication Date: February 2nd 2010
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 323
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three-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her world of angelic rulers, vampiric servants, and the woman thrust into their darkly seductive world...

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux wakes from a year-long coma to find herself changed—an angel with wings the colors of midnight and dawn—but her fragile body needs time to heal before she can take flight. Her lover, the stunningly dangerous archangel, Raphael, is used to being in control—especially when it comes to the woman he considers his own. But Elena has never done well with authority.

They've barely begun to understand each other when Raphael receives an invitation to a ball from the archangel, Lijuan. To refuse would be a sign of fatal weakness, so Raphael must ready Elena for the flight to Beijing—and to the nightmare that awaits them there. Ancient and without conscience, Lijuan holds a power that lies with the dead. And she has organized the most perfect and most vicious of welcomes for Elena.

Archangel’s Kiss is the second book in the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh and it’s also the second book that Holly and I picked to review together in the month of February.

At the end of Angels’ Blood, Elena is turned into an angel and Archangel’s Kiss starts after she wakes up and is trying to get comfortable in her new reality. She’s weak as hell and not used to sucking so much at something. Being an angel is hard work and her wings hurt like a bitch. She’s got to toughen up soon because Lijuan, the most ancient living archangel, is throwing a ball and she has to attend and be able to fight dirty like all of the other archangels.

While Elena is trying to learn how to fight like an angel without passing out, someone is out torturing people. Killing, kidnapping and burning people up. Raphael has Elena hunting down leads and using her Guild Hunting skills to help find who is responsible for all the madness going on. Needless to say, Elena is busy and with the ball looming and Lijuan playing head games with Elena, using her dead family to get to her, Elena needs to work fast.

Rowena: It took me a long ass time to read this book but boy am I glad that I stuck with it. The beginning was rather slow but the last 2/3 of the book more than made up for that. I enjoyed this one. What did you think?

Holly: It took me awhile to get into this one, too. The first 1/3 moves really slow. Like you, I’m glad I stuck with it. I love Elena and Raphael.

Rowena: I do, too. I really like that Raphael is trying to be better for her. He’s trying to understand her and make things easier for her. Their relationship is my favorite thing about this book. I love how confident he is in her ability to stand up to the likes of Michaela and Lijuan even though they’re much more powerful than she is but he’s also got her back. There isn’t anything that he doesn’t love about her and man, I just really dig that.

Holly: Elena is seriously kickass. The fact that she can hold her own with Archangels? I have a serious girl crush on her. I like that she recognizes she isn’t Raphael’s equal (how could she be, when he’s 1000’s of years old and she’s barely immortal?), yet she doesn’t give in to him or let him walk all over her.

That Raphael allows her to be herself while stifling his protective instincts is no small thing. I love that he slowly comes to realize that forcing her to submit to him – or worse, taking her choices away completely – will eventually rob him of what he loves most about her.

Rowena: Yes. You should dress up like her for Halloween. That would be awesome.

Holly: I just might.

Rowena: It took me a while to get up to speed with who everyone is again since it’s been a while since I read Angels Blood. I remember Jason though. I’m mighty curious about him. I love Bluebell and Sara and Deacon and Zoe. I’m also interested in Dmitri’s story, too. Who else gets their story told? Anyone?

Holly: All of Raphael’s Seven eventually get their own books. Dmitri, Jason, Galen, Sara, Ashwini (one of the Hunters) and Naasir’s are already out. Bluebell and Aodhan will eventually get theirs (according to Nalini, though she refuses to tell us WHEN we’ll get them).

Rowena: Oh man, Bluebell and Aodhan don’t have books yet? I’m dying to know why Aodhan doesn’t like being touched.

Holly: What did you think of the business with Lijuan and Michaela?

Rowena: I was expecting to hate both of them and that turned out to be true. I still hated them both, in the last book, I hated Michaela more but they were pretty tied in this book.

I can’t wait for Elena to get strong enough to really give Michaela a beating. She’s a survivor but just like she knows that Raphael is stronger than her, she knows that Michaela is too so when they have their final showdown (cause they do have that, right?), I can’t wait for Elena to mop Michaela up.

Holly: What I find interesting is that each archangel is so nuanced. I hated Michaela and Lijuan, too, but there was more to them than just their evil side. Ex: Michaela’s very real pain when Sam, the baby angel, was hurt. That doesn’t stop me from wanting to see Elena beat her ass bad, but still.

Rowena: That’s true because my reaction to how hurt she was over Sam was more, “You’re still a bitch but I’m glad there’s some redeeming qualities” than “Aww, she’s just misunderstood” but I gotta know…does she get her own book later on?

Holly: I don’t think any of the other archangels are getting books. Not that I’ve heard, anyway.

Rowena: As for Lijuan? She was creepy in the last book but she was more so this time around because her creepiness was front and center. When she turns her attention to Elena, I was grossed out. The way that she lives her life, the things that she finds interesting and amusing are so far beyond normal, it’s just gross.

I was interested in finding out who was killing everyone and trying to pit each of the archangels against each other. I had my suspicions but I was wrong. LOL. Also? I thought I wanted to taste chocolate covered oranges but not anymore.

Holly: Are you going to continue the series?

Rowena: This series is good when I read it but I find that I’m not as invested in this series as I am with the Psy/Changelings. I guess because that series is more romance than this one? I’m not sure but yes, I will continue this series but that will happen over time. I won’t be glomming this series or anything like that. I’m probably in the minority with that huh? I know a lot of people love this series and me? I just like it.

Holly: The next book is also Raphael and Elena. After that it breaks off to the Seven. I think you’ll like those books more. They’re more romance-centric. We’ll have to discuss again once you’ve read the next two books.

Rowena: I’ll let you know when I pick up the next couple of books.

Overall, this book was interesting and the suspense had me at the edge of my seat when things finally started happening but I found it very slow in the beginning. Still, it ended up on a high note so it wasn’t a bad read at all just not my favorite.

Holly: The beginning was slow for me, too. It took awhile to get into it, but once I did I was really sucked in. Singh has a way with the world-building. I would say this may be the weakest of the series for me. I enjoyed it, but the others are better.

Rowena: I’d give this book a 3.5. You?

Holly: 3.5

Final Grades:

Rowena: 3.5 out of 5
Holly: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Review: Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 14, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Silver Shark by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Silver Shark (Kinsmen, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kinsmen #2
Published by NYLA
Publication Date: September 16th 2011
Pages: 96
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three-stars

Claire Shannon is a killer. She uses no weapons, only her mind.
Born on a planet locked in a long war, Claire is a psycher, a woman with the ability to attack minds and infiltrate a biological computer network where psychers battle to the death. But when the war abruptly ends, Claire must hide her psycher's ability to survive. She is deported to a new planet, a vivid beautiful place, where she meets Venturo Escana, a powerful psycher, whose presence overwhelms both her mind and her body.
She thought she had left war and death behind, but now she must fight for her new life and this battle might just cost her everything...

Claire Shannon was born on the war planet Uley. For eons two companies fought over the right to use the planet’s resources, which meant nothing existed there but war and death. It was a gray planet with very little to do but fight, prepare and sleep. Claire is a trained Psycher, someone who can enter the bionet (think psychic plane, like the internet, Matrix style) and navigate through to access data and/or kill enemies. She’s a soldier. All comforts have been given up for the sake of the war. When the war suddenly ends, Claire hides her true self so she isn’t killed on sight (psychers are considered much too dangerous to be allowed to live) and ends up getting deported. Her new planet is filled with light and color, sounds, textures and strange flavors. For someone who lived with nothing but gray, it’s a lot to take in. But she’s determined to fit in and do her best.

She’s given housing, clothes and a job at the outset. She becomes the personal assistant to Venturo Escena, a  self-made businessman and psycher himself. She needs to fly under the radar so she isn’t killed for being a psycher herself, but she’s a true leader, she can’t help but push for more – for herself and others. It isn’t long before she’s indispensable to Venturo…or before she’s half in love with him. When one of her countrymen comes to her for help, she knows she can’t turn them away, even though it means possible exposure of who and what she really is.

The romance is secondary to the rest here, but it really worked. Andrews’ excels at building complex, multi-layered worlds. Both planets were easily imagined, as was Claire’s determination to live and succeed in her new life. I do wish this had been longer, or that there were more books in the series. At 96 pages, this ended much too soon. The conflicts were resolved, but I wasn’t ready for it to end.

3.5 out of 5

three-stars

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Guest Review: Madly by Ruthie Knox

Posted March 14, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Madly by Ruthie KnoxReviewer: Tracy
Madly by Ruthie Knox
Series: New York series #2
Also in this series: Madly (New York, #2)
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

An impulsive trip to New York City, a heartthrob from London, and a scandalous to-do list turn a small-town girl’s life upside down in this sultry romance from the New York Times bestselling author of Truly and About Last Night.

Allie Fredericks isn’t supposed to be in Manhattan, hiding in the darkest corner of a hip bar, spying on her own mother—who’s flirting with a man who’s definitely not Allie’s father. Allie’s supposed to be in Wisconsin, planning her parents’ milestone anniversary party. Then Winston Chamberlain walks through the door, with his tailored suit, British accent, and gorgeous eyes, and Allie’s strange mission goes truly sideways.

Winston doesn’t do messy. But after a pretty stranger ropes him into her ridiculous family drama with a fake kiss that gets a little too real, he finds out that messy can be fun. Maybe even a little addicting. And as the night grows longer, Allie and Winston make a list of other wild things they could do together—and what seems like a mismatch leads to a genuine connection. But can their relationship survive as their real lives implode just outside the bedroom door?

Allie Fredericks is trying to save her family.  For as long as she can remember her mother has randomly disappeared from their lives in Wisconsin.  Allie’s dad always said that she was taking time for herself.  This time Allie found out that she headed to New York so she decided to follow her to finally get to the bottom of everything.  She’s stalking her mom at a bar (with the man who is her biological father) when she enlists the help of a stranger – Winston Chamberlain.  He not only helps her but ends up giving her a place to stay after she loses her mom in the New York shuffle. While trying to find her mother she enlists the help of all of Winston’s friends and relatives and even his personal assistant.  Her simple sleuth job turns into a major deal and soon everyone is looking for her mom.

Allie is distraught about a great many things and decides that she needs to unload her woes to someone.  She uses Winston as she doesn’t know him and it feels safe to tell him things she maybe wouldn’t have told someone she knew well.  When they start talking though they find they have an attraction to each other and also sexual issues that have never been discovered or worked out (she with her ex-fiancé and he with his ex-wife).  They decide to make a list (sexual) and get through it before she heads back to Wisconsin.

While in New York Allie also tries to reconnect with her sister but that ends up causing more issues than fixing anything.  Allie soon realizes that she has to figure how to get her own life in order and let everyone else live their lives their own way.  She also has to figure out what to do with her growing feelings for Winston and that’s not an easy thing to do.

Madly was a pretty fun and interesting book.  Despite that, however, I found it to be exhausting.  The characters, especially Allie, made me a bit crazy at times and I just needed Allie to take a deep breath and be calm for one moment. Lol

Allie was a crazy girl who was business wise and personality strong.  She loved her family but pretty much felt that they were falling apart and she took it upon herself to fix everything.  I think it was because she couldn’t fix her own life the way it needed to be therefore she needed to fix everyone else’s.  She had a big personality and this was shown to us again and again.  She wore me out, truth be told.  I was quite happy that Winston could bring her down to earth once in a while.

I didn’t connect completely with either Allie or Winston but I did like them together.  I thought that they played off of each other well and the scenes when they were alone together were my favorite.

This is a sequel to the first book in the series, Truly, but it also catches us up with Nev and Cath from About Last Night (a book I loved).  It was good to see Nev and Cath again and to meet Winston’s daughter, Bea, who was awesome.

Overall a good book but a frenetic one.  I’d say you definitely have to be in the mood for a wild ride to truly enjoy this story.

Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Dragon Soldier by Mell Eight

Posted March 10, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Dragon Soldier by Mell EightReviewer: Tracy
Dragon Soldier by Mell Eight
Series: Supernatural Consultant #5
Also in this series: Dragon Consultant, Dragon Deception, Dragon Dilemma, Dragon Detective
Published by Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: March 8th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Shapeshifters, m/m
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three-half-stars

The aftermath of the last battle has left Nickel weak in bed and grounded for the next decade. Despite being in trouble, Nickel wants to return to the battle as soon as he can, but thoughts of Platinum, the dragon helping to nurse him back to health, keep distracting him.

Platinum can't believe how much his life has changed. He went from being a lonely fugitive on the run to part of a family in only hours. The last few days have been his happiest, especially now that he's met Nickel. He knows it's only temporary, though. The enemy that kept him captive for most of his life isn't finished with him yet, and even Platinum and Nickel's combined powers might not be enough to save them.

In the last book Nickel was hurt by a scientist who had stolen dragon magic.  He is put into a medically induced coma so that he can heal, which he does, but it’s a very slow process.  (In the blurb is says “the next decade” but I’m thinking it just seemed like a decade to Nickel because in truth it was only about a month or so, not 10 years.) Nickel wants nothing more than to get back in the game of finding the horrible scientists that are torturing dragons and stealing their magic. Unfortunately he has to get his strength back in order to do that.  One that that makes it all worthwhile is Platinum.

Platinum was taken from his mother at a very young age and grew up for the last 16 or so years in captivity.  He was tortured and operated on almost daily until he escaped.  Well, he thought he escaped but it was all a plan by the scientists to lure another dragon in.  Luckily they didn’t succeed.  Platinum is now living in Mercury and Dane’s home with all their kits, and his twin who was saved 10 years earlier.  He’s getting much needed schooling, helping Dane at his office and mostly looking after Nickel.  When Nickel awakens Platinum knows that there’s something special between the two of them and when Nickel says “mate” he knows that feels right.

Both Platinum and Nickel need to find their place in the world they live in.  Each of them want to find and stop the scientists but once that’s done where do they each go from there?

Dragon Soldier was another lovely look into Mercury and Dane’s little dragon family.  Adding Platinum into the mix made a huge difference in the lives of Platinum and Nickel, even though the younger kits just went with the flow.  🙂

I really loved Platinum and Nickel together.  There’s was a very new relationship but was very comfortable.  Watching the pair get to know each other but yet find comfort in the other was quite sweet and I liked the way Eight wrote this little slice of their lives.

The smaller kits like Lumie, ‘Ron and Alloy are still up to no good.  I’m still hoping we’ll get to see them grow up cuz there’s a lot of mischief in those three bodies that I’d love to read about. 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Beautiful Mess by Kasey Lane

Posted March 7, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Beautiful Mess by Kasey LaneReviewer: Tracy
Beautiful Mess by Kasey Lane
Series: Rock 'n' Ink #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
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three-half-stars

Hell's bells.
Jackson Paige was, in fact, Jax Pain, the drummer of Manix Curse.
That thing in Jami's chest tightened, making it hard to breathe.

When attorney Jami Dillon strides into the conference room to meet her new client, she's stopped in her tracks by an all-too familiar figure. Jackson Paige. He's her tall, tattooed, and sexy as hell hook up from law school-who also broke her heart.

Jackson Paige, aka Jax Pain, has worked hard to put that unfor-frickin-gettable fling behind him and the nasty secret that made him leave her. Truth is, life as the playboy drummer of Portland's hottest metal band hasn't helped him to forget the fiery, sexy woman who stole his heart. Lucky for him, Jami was just hired as his band's new attorney. But when he sees the look on her face when she realizes who her new client is, Jax wonders if maybe being this close to her again isn't such a great idea. The explosive chemistry is there, but so are the dark secrets...

JamiLynn Dillon is a buttoned-up lawyer.  She had her wild youth and paid a steep price for it.  Trying to make her parents happy she became a lawyer and is a damned good one – not that the job she’s working in takes advantage of that.  She constantly wants to please her parents and has a plan for her life.  Jackson Paige, the guy she had a month-long fling with in law school, is not part of that plan.  She had once thought he might be but after he up and left her, and school, one day without a word or backward glance she quickly wrote him out of the plan.  Now he’s back in her life and making things messy.  She doesn’t want to feel things.  She doesn’t want him messing up her thoughts or making her question her job but he does those things anyway.

Jackson never forgot Jami and regretted his decision to leave her the minute it happened.  Now that she’s back in his life he knows that it’s right and he’s willing to fight for the woman he wants in his life forever.  He just has to break through to her and make her see the Jami he sees – not the one she’s created to please her parents.  She’s stubborn, however, and Jackson must do all he can to get her to see that they belong together.

Beautiful Mess is book 2 in the Rock ‘n’ Ink series.  The story of Jami and Jackson was a sweet one and I enjoyed watching the two of them work out their differences.

Jackson was a great guy who had left law school and taken his life back.  He’d only been there to please his father but the artist in him finally pushed to the forefront and won the fight.  He is now an mixed media artist and tattoo artist as well as the drummer in an up and coming metal band.  I loved how he went after what he wanted – including Jami – and didn’t let her objections get in the way.

Jami took a bit for me to get used to.  In fact never really truly loved her character.  She was so wishy-washy.  I know that was because of her parents and how she’d lived her life with their expectations in mind but her indecision and stubbornness got a bit old after a while.

The story itself was good and I liked a lot of it.  There was some repetitiveness to it that bothered me as it seemed like Jackson and Jami were constantly hammering out the same issues but there was enough good parts to the book that I could forgive the other.  This book, imho, can’t be read as a standalone.  You truly need to read book one in the series as you will get lost with all the characters coming in and out of the book. If you read book one in the series and liked it you’ll definitely want to read book two and see Jax find his HEA.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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