Tag: 3.75 Reviews

Review: Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Posted January 16, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Home by Nnedi OkoraforReviewer: Holly
Home (Binti, #2) by Nnedi Okorafor
Series: Binti #2
Also in this series: Binti (Binti, #1)
Publisher: Tor.com
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 164
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.

And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.

But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.

After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

In Home, Binti is returning home to Earth after a year away at Oomza University. She snuck away from her village to attend, and dealt with some harsh situations while she was gone. In the process she brokered peace between two warring factions and became an interplanetary hero for uniting two cultures. She befriended an enemy race, the Meduse and grew quite a lot as a person. Okwu, a Muduse who has become Binti’s best friend, is returning home with her. He’s the first of his race to visit Earth since a war between his people and Earth’s happened over one hundred years ago.

The first half of this novella showed us Binti’s life at University, while the second focused on her journey home. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m used the world now, or if the story flowed better, but I fell into this one right away. Binti’s journey home was at times heartbreaking and uplifting. Her personal struggles with PTSD, and her determination to act as Liaison, were well told and gave us more insight into her character. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there were some dark themes here I think are reflected in our current society. Okorafor deftly handled it all. I was angry and inspired while reading.

Once again, I immediately picked the next installment.

3.75 out of 5

Binti

four-stars


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Review: Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper

Posted December 27, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Sweet Tea and Sympathy (Southern Eclectic, #1) by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Series: Southern Eclectic #1
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: November 21, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 307
Length: 9 hours and 27 minutes
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Beloved author Molly Harper launches a brand-new contemporary romance series, Southern Eclectic, with this story of a big-city party planner who finds true love in a small Georgia town.

Nestled on the shore of Lake Sackett, Georgia is the McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop. (What, you have a problem with one-stop shopping?) Two McCready brothers started two separate businesses in the same building back in 1928, and now it’s become one big family affair. And true to form in small Southern towns, family business becomes everybody’s business.

Margot Cary has spent her life immersed in everything Lake Sackett is not. As an elite event planner, Margot’s rubbed elbows with the cream of Chicago society, and made elegance and glamour her business. She’s riding high until one event goes tragically, spectacularly wrong. Now she’s blackballed by the gala set and in dire need of a fresh start—and apparently the McCreadys are in need of an event planner with a tarnished reputation.

As Margot finds her footing in a town where everybody knows not only your name, but what you had for dinner last Saturday night and what you’ll wear to church on Sunday morning, she grudgingly has to admit that there are some things Lake Sackett does better than Chicago—including the dating prospects. Elementary school principal Kyle Archer is a fellow fish-out-of-water who volunteers to show Margot the picture-postcard side of Southern living. The two of them hit it off, but not everybody is happy to see an outsider snapping up one of the town's most eligible gentleman. Will Margot reel in her handsome fish, or will she have to release her latest catch?

Margo Cary is at the top of her game as the premier party planner to the elite of Chicago. She’s about to make partner and buy her first condo. She’s sacrificed a lot for this job, and to be where she’s at professionally, so to see it all go up in smoke in a single day? She can’t even process. When an aunt from her father’s side she didn’t even know existed calls and offers her a job with the family business in Georgia, she doesn’t want to say yes. But her empty bank account and almost-homeless situation forces her to take it, at least temporarily. The McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop (known as the Bait and Bury to the locals), has been in the family for generations. Margo never thought she’d end up in some backwater Georgia town, but there’s a certain charm to her redneck family. Things look up when she meets the local principal, Kyle. But Margo knows she isn’t meant to stay in Georgia, and Kyle isn’t planning to leave.

This started a bit slow for me, but I really fell into it around the 1/4 mark. It was such a silly, fun contemporary I couldn’t help but love it. Margot and her wacky family really got to me. The romance is very light. I was glad this was more of a HFN ending than an HEA, because I didn’t feel like we got enough between the two. The town and Margot’s family are the true draw here. There were some hilarious moments while Margo was getting to know her cousins Duffy, Frankie and Marianne. Their antics together had me cracking up and reminded me somewhat of my own cousins. All the aunts and uncles were fun, and I liked seeing Margo navigate a relationship with her father.

Though it started slow, I can’t deny I quickly fell into the story. Like Margo, I really came to love all the wacky inhabitants of Lake Sackett.

3.75 out of 5

Southern Eclectic

four-stars


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Review: Red Wolf by Jennifer Ashley

Posted December 7, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Red Wolf by Jennifer AshleyReviewer: Holly
Red Wolf by Jennifer Ashley
Narrator: Cris Dukehart
Series: Shifters Unbound #10
Also in this series: White Tiger (Shifters Unbound, #8)
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Format: eARC, Audiobook
Source: Library, NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Length: 10 hours and 15 minutes
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The New York Times bestselling author of Guardian's Mate returns to the world of the Shifters and a tale of a new love under fire...

A man is only as strong...

Red wolf Shifter Dimitri has fought his whole life for respect. It is claimed that red wolves are tainted with coyote blood and therefore not pure. He may not be skilled at verbally defending himself, but because he's a bodyguard, tracker, and champion of the fight clubs, his fists are always ready for some rough and tumble. However, he'd prefer a roll in the hay with the woman who is his oldest friend.

...as the woman who's got his back...

A spirited leopard Shifter and a fellow tracker, Jaycee Bordeaux has no problem forging a mate bond with Dimitri, but soon the two are called to infiltrate a rogue group bent on enslaving Shifters. Jaycee may have defended Dimitri from taunts before, but they now face a more lethal danger--one that threatens not only the future of their people, but also their love.

I really like the Shifters Unbound series by Jennifer Ashley. Red Wolf follows two un-collared shifters from Kendrick’s pack, Dimitri and Jaycee. They were introduced in White Tiger. Jaycee thought she was in love with her alpha (Kendrick), but realized it was just being safe and loved in the pack she wanted. When Kendrick and his mate start mate bonding, Jaycee and Dimitri end up in bed together, too. They’ve been best friends as long as either of them can remember. Dimitri had a speech impediment and Jaycee is the only one who seems to always get him. During a tense situation Dimitri mate-claimed Jaycee, in the hope that he could tell her not to put herself in danger. That didn’t work. Still, the mate-claim stands until Jaycee either accepts it or rejects it. She wants to accept it because she loves Dimitri and wants him in her life, but she doesn’t want to be controlled by a male. Nor does she want to lose the easy friendship they have. For Dimitri, there’s never been anyone but Jacyee. He didn’t claim her on a whim, he’s wanted her all along. When they’re put on an undercover op, their mate-claim will really be tested and Jaycee will have to decide what’s really important.

This started out slow, with a lot of the focus on Jaycee’s internal feelings and exploring a borrowed house. It does eventually pick up and I really enjoyed the second half. The story-arc is continued from White Tiger, and we also saw threads from other books coming together here. Ashley has a wonderful, solid writing voice that really brings this world to life. Though the romance was slow and somewhat lacking, the overall story-arc and progression of things inside the world really worked for me. I love how she tugs so many threads at once. In this book we see how many of them are connected.

I didn’t much care for Jaycee’s internal struggle about the mate-claim. Her main hesitation was that she didn’t want to be controlled or under the thumb of another. That would make sense if Dimitri ever tried to control her. He didn’t want her in danger, of course, but that’s because he loved her. He never tried to stop her from doing her job and in fact often encouraged her. So her fears there were groundless and therefore didn’t hold sway with me. The outside conflict was much more interesting and kept me reading.

3.75 out of 5

Shifters Unbound

three-half-stars


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Review: Smoke and Sin by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake

Posted December 4, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Smoke and Sin by Shayla Black and Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Smoke and Sin (The Perfect Gentlemen, #4) by Shayla Black, Lexi Blake
Series: The Perfect Gentlemen #4
Also in this series: Scandal Never Sleeps (The Perfect Gentlemen, #1), Seduction in Session (The Perfect Gentlemen, #2), Big Easy Temptation (The Perfect Gentlemen, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 460
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

More than a decade ago, Roman Calder had a scorching affair with the sister of one of his best friends. Augustine Spencer drove him so crazy he thought of nothing but her. The only thing they did more often than heat the sheets was fight. Unprepared for the intensity of their relationship, Roman broke things off and concentrated on things that made sense to him: his career and putting his best friend, Zack Hayes, in the White House.

Gus Spencer is known to Washington insiders as the president’s secret weapon. Gorgeous and brilliant, Gus runs the press pool with the determination of a shark. No one dares to cross her, not when she’s known for having a spine of steel…but long ago one man melted her down. Despite the fact that she’ll never forgive Roman for breaking her heart, now that they work together she can’t get him off her mind.

When a dangerous investigation leads both Roman and Gus to London, the heat between them becomes unbearable. As they begin to unravel an international conspiracy, they find themselves falling all over again. But when a killer threatens their world, can they fight to stay together or will the sins of their past keep them forever apart?

This book picks up immediately where Big Easy Temptation left off (except for the Prologue). What do we know about Roman Calder and Augustine Spencer? We know that Roman is Zack Hayes Chief of Staff and best friend. He’s known in the media as the Hitman. He’s scary. When he wants things done, they get done. Gus is Dax’s sister. She likes sleeping with men and she doesn’t care if people thinks she’s a whore. She’s refreshing. I really like her. Or I did like her until I read this book.

Roman and Gus have a history and it’s not a good one. You’ll get an idea right away of what they have to overcome. It’s not just not pretty. It’s ugly. There was a day thirteen years ago that Roman should have been at Gus’ side. He wasn’t. Instead it was Maddox Crawford that was there. He was also there every year since. Mad was one of Gus’ best friends. She knows that Mad was murdered. She will do anything she has to do to prove it, even if it means point the finger at her boss. Did I mention she runs the press pool at the White House? So Zack is her boss.

The reason Roman broke it off with Gus all those years ago was because he didn’t want a relationship like his parents had while he was growing up. All his parents did was fight (spectacularly) and then make up. He saw the pattern repeating itself with Gus and wasn’t going to let that happen. He was determined to be different. To fall in love and marry someone, well, boring. He did fall in love with someone else. Zack’s wife. She may have just been his wife for political reasons, but she was still his best friend’s wife. When she was murdered two days before the election, Roman was devastated. Still, no one was more devastated than Zack.

Having Gus be so close to him, but not be with him is hell for Roman. Their situation changes when they’re in England. He knows Gus and he can tell she’s up to something. She knows a few bits and pieces of what is going on with Zack, but she doesn’t know the whole picture. And he’s not going to let her find out. He doesn’t want her in danger. He’ll do whatever he has to do to protect her. Even from herself.

Roman is the same man he’s always been. He’s someone that underestimates her. She doesn’t need him to accomplish her goals. Except then she does because he makes a public claim on her and unless she’s going to call him a liar in public, she has to go along with his plan. Though they’re now partners, they’re still not partners because Roman won’t tell her the entire truth. Which is no less than Gus expected. Even if she is disappointed she’s not surprised.

I didn’t like Roman at all. He just didn’t respect Gus. Not as a woman, not as a partner. Oh, he made all the right noises, but he didn’t. It was annoying as all hell. I didn’t like Gus either. She didn’t trust Roman at all. The fact that she had no reason to was beside the point. The only relationship I did like in this entire book was between Liz and Gus. Liz is Zack’s Press Secretary and the woman he’s secretly loved for years. Except now Zack has pushed her away because he knows the Russians are after him.

So this book was just meh. The best part happened at the end when Zack thinks he has a handle on who Liz is. Ha. Laughable, really.

At the Pleasure of the President (Zack’s book, obviously) was supposed to be out this fall. I emailed Lexi and a couple things came up. She said that she and Shayla hope to have it out next spring. Yay!

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

The Perfect Gentlemen

three-half-stars


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Audiobook Review: The Sexy One by Lauren Blakely

Posted October 23, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Audiobook Review: The Sexy One by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
The Sexy One (One Love, #1) by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Series: One Love #1
Also in this series: The Only One (One Love #2), The Hot One (One Love, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 7, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 270
Length: 5 hours and 12 minutes
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

From the NYT Bestselling author of MISTER O, comes a sexy new standalone romance…

Let me count the ways why falling into forbidden love is not my wisest move…1. She works with me every single day. Did I mention she's gorgeous, sweet, kind and smart?
2. She works in my home. Playing with my five-year-old daughter. Teaching my little girl. Cooking for my princess. Which means…
3.
She's the nanny.And that makes her completely off-limits…But it doesn’t stop me from wanting her. All of her.

***

The other nannies in this city don't call him the Sexy One for nothing. My boss, the amazingly wonderful single father to the girl I take care of every day is ridiculously hot, like movie star levels with those arms, and those eyes, and that body. Not to mention, the way he dotes on his little girl melts me all over. But what really makes my knees weak are the times when his gaze lingers on me. In secret. When no one else is around.

I can't risk my job for a chance at something more…can I? But I don’t know how to resist him much longer either…

I’m really digging on Lauren Blakely and Single Dads lately, so a single-dad romance by Lauren Blakely? WIN!

Simon hired Abby 7 months ago to be his daughter’s nanny. He basically fell for her on day one. Abby took a little longer – she didn’t fall for him until day 3. Neither wanted to cross the employee/employer line, so they’ve kept their distance. Until one fateful night when some baby eagles bring them together and they realize they can no longer deny what’s between them.

I really liked this. It was a light, quick listen. The narrators were good and the conflict pretty minor, so it was easy to fall into. I loved how great Simon was with his daughter, and how well they worked as a family-esque unit. I also liked Abby and Simon together. They had great chemistry. It didn’t feel dirty or sordid, because he was only 8 years old than she and single, instead of being married to someone else while developing feelings for the nanny.

There were times both Simon and Abby could have been more forthcoming with each other, but that’s a minor quibble. Mostly I thought this was a sweet, light contemporary romance.

3.75 out of 5

One Love

three-half-stars


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