Tag: 3.75 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Review: Fatal Affair by Marie Force

Posted June 25, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Fatal Affair by Marie ForceReviewer: Casee
Fatal Affair by Marie Force
Series: Fatal #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: October 21, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 357
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

*This is an updated cover of this Kindle edition.*

Washington, D.C., Metro Police Detective Sergeant Sam Holland needs a big win to salvage her career--and her confidence--after a disastrous investigation. The perfect opportunity arises when Senator John O'Connor is found brutally murdered in his bed, and Sam is assigned to the case. Matters get complicated when Sam has to team up with Nick Cappuano, O'Connor's friend and chief of staff...and the man Sam had a memorable one-night stand with years earlier. Their sexual chemistry still sizzles, and Sam has to fight to stay focused on the case. Sleeping with a material witness is another mistake she can't afford--especially when the bodies keep piling up.

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

This review was originally posted on June 25, 2010.

I have enjoyed Marie Force in the past. Her books seem to be outside the box to me when it comes to the romance genre. When I read the blurb for Love at First Flight, I was like “are you blanking kidding me?”. Yet Force had the talent to write a storyline without squicking me out. Something that is much appreciated.

I started Fatal Affair almost as soon as I got it. It dragged for me for about the first hundred or so pages. I found myself wondering where Marie Force went and who took her place. The book was just blah. Too much talk of politics and political agendas. Not enough murder and mayhem. That changed (thank you God) about mid-way through the book. Suddenly the book that couldn’t get any slower took off like a rocket.

Sam Holland has returned to the police force after one of her orders inadvertently got a child killed. The public outcry was for Sam’s head. The mother blames Sam and wants to kill her. When high profile Senator John O’Connor is killed, Sam is put on the case. She has to make this one good b/c everyone will be watching her every single move. So it’s just her luck that the guy that found the body is a one night stand from six years ago. One that she’s never forgotten.

Nick is devastated by the death of his best friend. He has long since considered the O’Connor’s family. I think that this is why the book got bogged down. It was in the details. I know too much about what it takes to be a senator’s chief-of-staff. I know too much about John’s family. There was just too much, which definitely took away from the storyline.

Nick called Sam repeatedly after their one night together but never heard back from her. It has always chafed him that she blew off their incredible night together. It’s only after they’re thrown together over John’s murder that they both realized that Sam’s ex-husband was behind her not getting the messages. This is basically a reunion story, the kind that I love.

The complexity of being an alpha male with a female that is a cop is really fascinating. I thought that Force did a good job of writing from both Nick and Sam’s point of view. Sam instinctively protects Nick even if it puts her in danger and Nick wants to protect Sam.

By the time I finished the book, I was much happier than when I started. I do look forward to the next book in the series which continues Sam and Nick’s journey. And what a journey it will be.

3.75 out of 5.

Fatal

three-half-stars


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Joint Review: The Orchid Throne by Jeffe Kennedy

Posted April 28, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: The Orchid Throne by Jeffe KennedyReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
The Orchid Throne by Jeffe Kennedy
Series: Forgotten Empires #1
Also in this series: The Orchid Throne
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Welcome to the world of Forgotten Empires from award winning author Jeffe Kennedy that begins with The Orchid Throne.

A PRISONER OF FATEAs Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Euthalia will do anything to keep her people free—and her secrets safe—from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world—a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…

A PRINCE AMONG MENConrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Euthalia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes—nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?

The Orchid Throne (Forgotten Empires #1) first came on my radar last year. I thought the cover was gorgeous and the premise intrigued me. It fell by the wayside until I saw the second book was going to be published soon. I asked Rowena and Amy if they wanted to read the first book with me, and they agreed.

Queen Euthalia was promised in marriage to the evil emperor of the realm in order to keep their island – and secrets – safe. For years she’s lived under the threat of their engagement, but she’s managed to keep him at bay by projecting a carefree, vapid image and playing a very delicate game of politics behind the scenes.

Now, a new threat has come to the shores of Calanthe….a changed wolf of a man, who is determined to avenge his family by murdering the Emperor. Conri needs Lia to agree to marry him….because prophecy says in order to defeat the emperor, he’s going to need her help.

Holly: This was different than I expected. It started really slow for me, and it took almost half the book before it picked up. What did you two think?

Ames: I agree, the beginning was slow for me too. But I was sucked into it when I realized Con had to go to Calanthe for magical reasons and that would make him and Lia meet. They were two strong characters and I liked them together.

Rowena: This one started off a bit slow for me too and even, in the end, I thought the world was interesting but I don’t know, in the end, I still didn’t completely connect with any of the characters and what was going on. I also wasn’t a fan of the jumping first-person POV business. In the beginning, it took me out of every chapter and I played catch up a lot.

strong>Ames: Lia is a true queen, worrying about her land and her people. This puts her at odds with Conri’s path of revenge because she sees his way as putting Calanthe in danger. And Conri wants revenge against the evil emperor Anure, who is responsible for his father’s death. And Conri’s own enslavement.

Holly: I do wonder how things are going to work out for them in the future. Lia’s sole focus is protecting Calanthe, and at times I wondered if her loyalty to the Island itself would put her at odds with Con. Even though they seemed to come to an understanding, I doubt it’s going to be smooth sailing going forward.

Holly: What did you think of Lia’s best friend, Tertulyn? She was obviously up to some shady stuff. Do you think she’s loyal or do you think she’s conspiring against Lia?

Ames: I don’t want Tertulyn to be a betrayer. But the way she was acting was so shady! I honestly thought she was there for Lia.

Rowena: I definitely think that Tertulyn is doing some shady shit right now. She’s too mad about Con and his men overtaking her family’s home and she thinks they’ve killed her family. I bet you she’s gone to Anure to betray Euthalia. I’m Enter ominous music here I’m not a fan of the way that Tertulyn acts and treats Euthalia, it doesn’t feel sincere to me so I’m thinking she’s definitely going to betray her.

Holly: I want Tertulyn to be loyal, but she’s definitely acting shady right now and I’m pretty sure she isn’t going to come out looking good in this.

Rowena: I agree with you, Holly. I just don’t have a good feeling about her so I’m counting on the betrayal. She’s gonna try and make a run of it as Anure’s wife, watch.

Ames: Also, how hilarious was Ambrose and his bird? That scene in the garden and then afterwards with the guards? I was cracking up!

Holly: I loved Ambrose and his bird. That scene in the garden was hilarious.

Rowena: I really liked Ambrose and his bird (and the staff) as well. He definitely marches to his own tune and seeing him annoy the snot out of Conri and then, later on, Euthalila, it was great.

Rowena: I am curious to see where their story takes them in the next book so I’m definitely interested in continuing the series. What about you guys?

Holly: I’m definitely interested to see where the story goes. I do wonder if the second book will also end in a cliffhanger. I haven’t heard how many books are planned for this series.

Ames: I’m definitely interested in reading more from this series. Lia and Con are going to argue over every step they take going forward. But I think they’ll make a good team when it comes time to fight Anure.

I know there’s a third book coming out next year – but I’m not sure how many books are planned in the series overall though.

Rowena: I do plan on reading the other books in this series but I have to say, I wasn’t all that jazzed about the ending of this book. I’m hoping that there won’t be any more of that nonsense.

Overall, this was an interesting start to a new series and I’m curious enough to want to continue so I’ll definitely be reading but I wasn’t a huge fan of the pacing of this story, the constant whiplash I got from the changing POV and that ending wasn’t my favorite either. I’d give this one 3 stars, what about you guys?

Holly: I agree, the premise was interesting and I like the world, but the pacing was off and the ending frustrated me. I’m going to read the next book, but I think I’ll wait until we know how many are planned before I pick it up.

I’d give it 3.5 out of 5.

Ames: I agree with you guys – the pacing was a bit off and the beginning was very slow. However once things picked up I was into it right to the end. Yes the ending was abrupt and if I had read this book when it came out, I would have been super frustrated to wait a year to read the next one. LOL So knowing that’s how this book ended, I kind of want to wait until book 3 is released before reading book 2.

I really enjoyed the characters and once we got into the world-building, I liked that too. I’m giving The Orchid Throne 3.75 out of 5.

Final Grades

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Holly: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

Forgotten Empire

three-half-stars


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Joint Review: Strange Love by Ann Aguirre

Posted April 14, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Strange Love by Ann AguirreReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
Strange Love by Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 15, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 275
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

He's awkward. He's adorable. He's alien as hell.

Zylar of Kith Balak is a four-time loser in the annual Choosing. If he fails to find a nest guardian this time, he'll lose his chance to have a mate for all time. Desperation drives him to try a matching service but due to a freak solar flare and a severely malfunctioning ship AI, things go way off course. This 'human being' is not the Tiralan match he was looking for.

She's frazzled. She's fierce. She's from St. Louis.

Beryl Bowman's mother always said she'd never get married. She should have added a rider about the husband being human. Who would have ever thought that working at the Sunshine Angel daycare center would offer such interstellar prestige? She doesn't know what the hell's going on, but a new life awaits on Barath Colony, where she can have any alien bachelor she wants.

They agree to join the Choosing together, but love is about to get seriously strange.

Ames, Holly, and I are back with another joint review. Actually, I could have sworn we posted this last month but it’s nowhere to be found so maybe all of this clean air in California has me trippin’ but anyway, here we are again. It was Ames turn to choose our book of the month and she chose something a little different for us to read. Her choice was Strange Love by Ann Aguirre and it was my first alien romance.

Strange Love features Beryl Bowman, a human from St. Louis and Zylar of Kith Balak. Beryl was just minding her own business, cleaning up after a Ren Fare festival when a freaking alien abducts her and dog, Snaps. He takes her back to his home, an alien world where her and Snaps are implanted with a device that helps her understand what everyone is saying around her. Not only does she understand the aliens but Snaps can talk too!

Zylar was supposed to have picked up his intended but mistakes Beryl for his intended and because they can’t get back to Earth anymore, Beryl has to choose between staying with Zylar in this new place and trying her hand at the Alien Bachelor, which they call The Choosing, or she can go off on her own and try to survive in a strange place, on an even stranger planet. Things start heating up the longer Beryl is with Zylar. Who knew that she would fall head over heels in love with an alien.

Alright guys, what did you guys think?

Holly: This was a totally unexpected book from AA. She generally writes darker novels, but this was light and campy. I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for it at first. The whole “Alien Tinder/Mistaken Identity” was silly and pretty over the top. The Choosing got my attention, though. It was interesting watching Beryl and Kerr go through the challenges, and I thought Zylar was really sweet. Snaps (the dog) was pretty funny, too.

Ames: I’m glad I picked this one. From the moment Beryl was abducted and the translator was implanted I was cracking up at Snaps. AA definitely nailed how a dog would talk IMO. I liked Beryl’s character too. She had her inner freak outs about what she was going through but she practical at heart and that carries her through. Zylar was interesting. I liked how he wasn’t confident in himself and how Beryl helped him overcome his self-esteem issues. His freaking brother was the worst.

Holly: His brother was the worst. I didn’t like him at all.

I thought it was cute how Zylar struggled with his self-esteem and Beryl helped him. He was pretty adorable all the way around. Omg I cracked up when he kept calling her “Terrible One”.

Ames: Yes! Terrible One! And how he thought her smiles were scary!

Holly: And when she explains she’s showing she’s happy, not threatening anyone, and he’s like “Aww. Okay. That’s great. But maybe let’s not tell anyone about that…?” Haha.

Still, there were a lot of things that bugged me. It was pretty silly, which I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t like how Zylar’s family treated him, or the final resolution of the book. I guess I wanted something different from them.

Rowena: Like Holly, it took me a while to get into this one because it was silly and I didn’t really know what to expect from an alien romance but I’m glad that I stuck with it. I did enjoy getting to know Beryl, Zylar, and Snaps. I thought they were a lot of fun. I agree with you both about Zylar’s brother. What’s his name again? I wanted to push him off an alien cliff.

The ending was a weird one for me and though I can understand why we got that kind of ending, I wasn’t a real big fan. I thought Snaps was adorable. When he first started talking and seeing how excited he was, it had grinning like mad. I also loved how sure he was in Beryl. The way that he told Zylar that Beryl doesn’t get lost. She found Snaps. She found Zylar and they’re still found? I thought that was super sweet.

Holly: I thought Snaps was cute. How loyal he was. Such a good doggy.

Ryvken? That guy was a tool. I was glad to see how that played out, but I’m still irritated with the way the book ended.

Are you planning to read the next book?

Ames: I will read the next book. I liked the characters and the world-building. Holly had mentioned earlier this wasn’t AA’s typical style of writing but since its been a while since I’ve read AA, I didn’t recall enough to compare it to her past work. I do like my sci-fi romps so I really enjoyed this one. Although I agree with Wena over the ending – I was hoping for better for them.

What did you guys think of Helix, the AI? I think that’ll be interesting to see how that character develops. I will say this, the secondary characters were excellent. I liked Kurr and Helix. AND! Snaps tiny dirt babies. Seriously, Snaps was the star here. haha.

Holly: Ha! As soon as Snaps gained the ability to talk, I knew he’d be your favorite. Oh man, the dirt babies. I literally laughed out loud.

I’m curious to see how things develop with Helix, as well. I didn’t love how things happened with him, but I do want to read the next book. I agree that the secondary characters were good. I wonder if we’ll see more of Kurr in future books?

Rowena: I knew that you’d love Snaps too, Ames. It was hard not to since he was super adorable and super funny. When he first started talking, I immediately thought that it was exactly how I thought dogs thoughts would be. And the dirt babies!! Haha!

I really liked the growth in Zylar’s character. His insecurities made me want to kick some serious alien ass but I liked the way that Beryl was able to help him.

As much as I enjoyed Zylar, Beryl, and Snaps, like Holly, I thought a lot of things were silly and Zylar’s family pissed me off. I’m not sure that I would continue this series. I did like Helix and am curious about his character growth, but I think that I would actually just bug you guys to tell me about it then read it myself. I’ve never read an alien romance before and I don’t know, I guess I prefer my Sci-Fi stories to be a little darker, a little more serious. Am I the only one in that camp?

Holly: No, I’m with you. I generally prefer my SF to be darker. I did enjoy this story as a whole, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue. Maybe at some point in the future. Never say never, right?

I think I’m going to give this 3.25-3.5 out of 5.

Rowena: Yeah, same here. I might read it eventually, but I’m not in a rush to.

This one gets a 3.25 out of 5 from me.

Ames: I liked this one a teeny bit more than you two. I’m giving this one 3.75 out of 5. I would recommend.

Holly: You know what I forgot to mention? How effing annoying the “Butt Stuff” joke that ran throughout the book was. The first time, okay. The second…eh. But after that? So much no. Every time she woke up, or turned around “Well, nothing is in my butt”. WHY???

Rowena: LOL! Yeah, I didn’t even think it was that funny the first time she said it.

Holly: I didn’t laugh the first time, either, but I saw her joke. After that? Nah. Miss me with that.

Ames: I must have skipped over those. I didn’t find those funny either.

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seduced by Silver by Gwen Campbell

Posted March 26, 2020 by Ames in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seduced by Silver by Gwen CampbellReviewer: Ames
Seduced by Silver by Gwen Campbell
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publication Date: February 19, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 102
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

When Meadow accompanies her boyfriend home for a weekend, she expects to try to rekindle their romance. Instead, she meets his father Keefe—mature, sexy and Alpha enough to claim her as his own. And claim her he does. The heat that flares between them quickly turns to something more and their passionate joining leads to a deeper connection. But Meadow’s father is Keefe’s biggest business rival, and Meadow’s a daddy’s girl through and through—and her daddy’s not going to like this.

Reader Advisory: While the world in this book has the traditional werewolf pack structures, social statuses and hot, animalistic sex, the characters aren’t shapeshifters.

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

This review was originally posted on March 7, 2010.

First of all, that cover makes me blush. LOL

Second, I enjoyed Seduced by Silver. The set-up of the Eupanorian world is different enough (humanoid beings with a culture based on wolf pack structure) that it totally makes sense that if someone isn’t Alpha enough for their woman, someone else is. And that it’s Meadow’s boyfriend’s dad? Hey, he’s the Alpha! And she’s an Alpha bitch! LOL

This kind of thing would not work for me in a contemporary or even a historical, but Gwen has created an interesting world and I bought it.

Killian and Meadow have been dating for a while. But after they reach final maturity, something that happens when a Eupanorian reaches their 20s, Meadow realizes that Killian isn’t her equal in the pack social structure. He’s mid-level. And she’s an Alpha. The trip to his childhood home is in an effort to rekindle their romance, a chance for Killian to prove he can handle her. Unfortunately, Killian couldn’t…but his father can. Meadow and Keefe don’t back down from each other and are constantly challenging the other. Perfect chemistry for two Alphas.

But can Killian live with the choice he made? And does Keefe want Meadow for life or for the rest of the trip?

I liked Meadow. She definitely was an Alpha and I loved that she was equal to Keefe. In shifter stories, the Alpha male is so alpha, and the heroine kind of isn’t. LOL So I really liked that these two were equal. And the hot sex doesn’t hurt. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more conflict, because there really wasn’t any. But for pure escapism with some Alpha-ness, I’d recommend Seduced by Silver for sure. 3.75 out 5

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

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands

Posted March 12, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands
Series: Devil of the Highlands #2
Also in this series: Taming the Highland Bride
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 371
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She was ready to let her heart run wild . . .Merry Stewart has had enough! Enough of her brothers, whose behavior would make even the most improper lady blush. Enough of their Highland home, which would surely have fallen to ruin were it not for her. She dreams of escaping into the arms of her betrothed, Alexander d'Aumesbery, even though they haven't yet met. But when they do, Merry is devastated. It seems he's no better than the men in her family.

So beautiful, so brazen . . . From the moment he meets Merry, Alexander is determined to make her his. Desperate to convince her he's nothing like the members of her roguish clan, he will prove he is every bit the well-mannered gentleman. Yet, beneath it all beats a heart as intense and uncontrollable as hers. And finally, when his life is threatened, Merry realizes he's the husband she's been waiting for . . . and their passion becomes the one thing that cannot be tamed.

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

This review was originally posted on March 24, 2010.

I only just discovered Sands’ historicals last year. Prior to that I though she wrote only paranormals. Since discovering her medievals I’ve gone on a buying binge, gobbling up her backlist. I’ve found her novels to be quick, light reads. While this was more of the same, I wasn’t quite as satisfied with it.

I think many of the actions of the heroine were supposed to be kind of cutesy but they were kind of dry instead. I wasn’t laughing or smiling over her antics as much as I have in the past. I’m not sure if it was my mood while reading or a reflection of the book but there you go. I think the problem might have been that they just went on too long. There were a ton of instances where she had to be clever and find solutions to problems (carting her husband around after he’d been bashed in the head or drugged) and that didn’t leave a lot of time for the romance.

I really liked the way Alex tried to make Merry understand he wasn’t like her father and brothers. Because of a series of misunderstandings and the actions of outside forces, Merry thinks he’s a drunkard like her family. His disappointment over her feelings for him and the way he tries to fix it were sweet. It did bother me that Merry was so much in charge during the book, though. I like my medieval warriors to be just that..warriors. Because Alex was hurt so much Merry was mostly left in charge of running the keep and training the men. This bothered Alex quite a bit, but he wasn’t able to do much about it since he was always drugged or recovering from beatings.

The mystery plot annoyed me only because no one seemed to take the threats seriously. Every time something happened to Alex it was explained away or considered an accident. I wasn’t surprised at who the villain was, though the reasons behind it were interesting.

Something that really bothered me, and I’m sure this will prove just how shallow I am: the first time Merry sees Alex he’s falling down drunk. He isn’t normally a drinker, but he had a bad tooth that was causing him pain so he drank whiskey to dull the pain of having it removed. But..it was never mentioned why it had to be removed, or what tooth it was. Was it one of his front teeth, so now when he smiles he’s gap-toothed? Was it infected because he doesn’t believe in personal hygiene? I wondered about it all throughout the book. I guess it was just a little bit too much reality in my fiction.

Still, it was readable and I enjoyed the main story. I’m also looking forward to reading The Hellion and the Highlander, Merry’s oldest brother’s book.

3.75 out of 5

Devil of the Highlands

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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