Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Review: Ryan by Jessica Gadziala

Posted September 15, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Ryan by Jessica GadzialaReviewer: Casee
Ryan by Jessica Gadziala
Series: Mallick Brothers #2
Also in this series: Shane
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 2, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 241
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

RYAN

She was perfect: Sweet, smart, awkwardly adorable, and beautiful as hell. The only problem was: she was terrified to leave her apartment. And, apparently, she had somehow gotten herself wrapped up with some pretty bad guys to boot.

DUSTY

He was perfect: He was a living, breathing, walking, talking statue come to life. But when would a man like that ever want to be with a woman who was too anxious to even walk into the hallway? Let alone go on a date with him. Or meet the family he was so close with. That being said, he seemed interested for some reason. So obviously, he was just as crazy as I was. On top of that whole confusion situation, something was going on with my business partners. And things were about to go straight to hell…

* For possible triggers, please visit: http://www.jessicagadziala.com/trigge...

When it comes to the family’s loanshark business, Ryan is the numbers guy. If someone doesn’t pay their loan, Ryan is the first enforcer. After that it goes to Mark, then Shane, and finally Eli. Ryan keeps the books for their legal & illegal businesses. He’s a bit of a workaholic.

Dusty is housebound. Not because she wants to be, but because she has severe agoraphobia and anxiety. It was heart wrenching to read. Dusty wasn’t always afraid to go outside; it was something that happened gradually over time. When she meets her new neighbor while standing in the doorway to her apartment, she wishes she could be different. But men & relationships are not in the cards for Dusty.

Ryan is enchanted with his beautiful neighbor. She’s lived in his building for quite some time & he had never gotten a glimpse of her. After meeting her, he wants more. He doesn’t understand Dusty’s issues at first, though they are front & center when Ryan has to get Dusty out of the building due to a fire.

Ryan & Dusty got to know each other over time. After he saves her and bodily carries her down the stairs, she is wrecked. It was the first time she had gone outside in years. Instead of trying to fix it, Ryan tries to understand. He gives Dusty the space she needs without giving her space at all.

As someone with anxiety, I am very picky when it comes to reading about someone with anxiety. Usually there is something that makes me say “That’s wrong” or “That doesn’t happen”. Not so with Gadziala. She wrote Dusty’s problems so well. There is no quick fix for anxiety or agoraphobia.

The best part of this book was seeing Dusty’s growth. She knows that her life is never going to go back to the way it was. Ryan handles Dusty’s issues with such patience and care. Ryan doesn’t try to change Dusty. He accepts her fully for who she is. I loved that about him. He was very patient and kind. Ryan knew that they would never have what is deemed a “normal” relationship, but he wants to try.

This book was very well written & an amazing addition to the Mallick Brothers series. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series though I’m sure I’ll be sad when it ends.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Mallick Brothers

four-stars


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Review: Shane by Jessica Gadziala

Posted September 13, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shane by Jessica GadzialaReviewer: Casee
Shane by Jessica Gadziala
Series: Mallick Brothers #1
Also in this series: Ryan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 10, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 235
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I was just supposed to be laying low, keeping my head down, staying out of trouble.

And "trouble" was exactly what Shane freaking Mallick was. Knee-cap breaker, loan shark enforcer, panty-dropper. Trouble with a capital T.

And the absolute last thing I needed in my life...

Lea is on the run from her past. She’s living in a dump just trying to stay under the radar. When she lands in Navesink Bank, she doesn’t know what she’s going to do with herself. She does know that she needs a job. When she finds a job posting for a phone sex operator, she decides that it’s exactly the job for her. Her boss, Fiona Mallick, is delighted with Lea. She knows her stuff when it comes to sex & she has a sexy as all get out voice. Then she has a run in with Shane Mallick, Fee’s brother-in-law. And her life changes in ways she doesn’t expect it.

Shane knows Lea is running from something and he’s determined to find out what it is. Everything about Lea turns out to be everything he wants in a woman, but both their pasts may come back to haunt them. Shane is a loanshark enforcer for his family. When someone doesn’t pay up, there is an order in which they try to collect what is owed to them. Shane’s brother Ryan, who is a peacekeeper goes first & tries to reason with them. If that doesn’t work, Mark goes to shake them down. If that doesn’t work, Shane goes in and beats some ass. Shane is definitely an anti-hero. I think all the Mallick brothers are.

When Leah’s past ends up in Navesink Bank, Shane will do anything to protect her. Knowing about her past and what she is endured has make Shane resolute in keeping her in his life. He will do anything for Lea including and up to committing murder. Anti-hero though he was, he was a great character. I loved how he treated Lea. He knew what she had gone through but he didn’t treat her like a fragile flower. I loved that. He also had some great advice for Lea.

“If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, the fucker will jump right back out. It knows it’s wrong, it hurts, it will kill him. But if you put him in a pot and slowly raise it up to boiling, he’ll stay. That’s what abuse is like. You might not even notice it’s happening at first. You’d brush it off as him having a bad day, you pissing him off. But then it starts getting worse in small ways until you’re in so deep and you’re so hot and your skin is peeling and you don’t know if you even remember you can jump anymore. That doesn’t make you weak. You got out of that shit, baby. That makes you stronger, a lot stronger, I think, than you even realize.”

I loved Shane since I first read about him in Reign. I think this story was well written & very engaging.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Mallick Brothers

four-stars


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Review: Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna Collett

Posted September 8, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna CollettReviewer: Holly
Spellbound After Midnight by Jenna Collett
Series: Ever Dark Ever Deadly #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A spellbinding mystery leads an unlikely pair on the hunt for a killer.

Tessa Daniels needs a miracle. Preferably, the kind that comes with cold hard cash. Her magic shop is failing, and she'll be tossed into the street unless she clears her debt.

When a financial boon arrives in the form of a young woman determined to attend the prince's ball, a risky spell turns out to be the miracle she needed. That is until the woman is found dead at the stroke of midnight, and Tessa comes face-to-face with the kingdom's cold, and way too appealing, lead detective.

Detective Derrick Chambers has no use for the supernatural. As the rising star at the Royal Agency, he won't let magic, or the pretty witch that deals in it, get in the way of solving a murder.

His logic tells him to steer clear of Tessa's chaos, but a forced partnership soon turns into an attraction neither can resist.

With the body count rising, and the kingdom in a panic, an exposed secret will tear them apart and put Tessa in the sights of a killer where no amount of magic can save her.

Spellbound After Midnight is an enemies-to-lovers, slow burn romance, with a puzzling mystery, strong female heroine, and fairy tale elements.

Spellbound After Dark is the first book in Jenna Collett’s Ever Dark, Ever Deadly series. I found this while browsing Kindle Unlimited and decided to give it a try based on the reviews. This is my first read by the author. I really enjoyed the writing and the story. I easily fell into it.

Tessa Daniels is a down-on-her-luck witch. Her mother was renowned in the kingdom for her powers, but Tessa has never had very good control of hers. More often than not, her potions and spells go wrong (sometimes seriously so). As a result, the magic shop she inherited when her mother passed away is on the brink of bankruptcy. In a moment of desperation, Tessa borrowed money from the local kingpin, and he’s calling it due.

When a young woman she casts an illusion spell for turns up dead, Tessa realizes she can help solve the young girl find justice and solve her financial problems by collecting the reward money. The catch? She has to work with Royal Detective Chambers, a total stick-in-the-mud who also happens to be attractive as sin.

Derrick Chambers isn’t thrilled about being forced to work with a witch, but they end up making a good team. Both on the case and off it. Unfortunately, Tessa forgot to mention that whole “in debt to a gangster” thing, and there may be no coming back once he finds out.

This story was an unexpected delight. I liked the fairytale twist (“Cinderella” died at midnight, and the “fairy godmother” has to solve the murder case), and I really loved the romance. Derrick was really wonderful to Tessa, despite them getting off on the wrong foot. He was kind and caring, and it was obvious he was struggling with his feelings, but he was never cruel.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t love that Tessa kept secrets from him. I understood her reasons, but I didn’t agree with them. Aside from that, I don’t have much to complain about. I loved the friendship Tessa had with Vivian, a medium. I also enjoyed the world and the mystery behind the murder. I figured out the suspect early on, but I still liked the way the story unfold.

I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ever Dark, Ever Deadly

four-stars


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Review: Wicked Wish by Veronica Douglas & Linsey Hall

Posted September 1, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wicked Wish by Veronica Douglas & Linsey HallReviewer: Holly
Wicked Wish by Veronica Douglas, Linsey Hall
Series: Dragon's Gift: The Storm #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 22, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I’m at the mercy of a fallen angel.

I work for the Order of Magica, the supernatural version of the FBI. Sounds fun, right? Except I spend my days chained to my desk, writing reports, and wishing that I was out solving crimes.

Well, be careful what you wish for.

When my best friend is abducted, my life in Chicago turns upside down.

I’ll do anything to get her back—even work with Damian Malek, a wanted criminal, notorious crime lord, and dangerous fallen angel. He’s hot, lethal, and he's the only one who can help me master my dangerous powers. I don't want anyone to know about my magic, but I have no choice if I want to save my friend.

Here's the catch: if the Order finds out that I’m working with Damian, I’ll get canned. Maybe even hunted for what I am. But if I don’t give him what he wants, he’ll reveal my secret to the world.

It appears this is a spin-off of another series, but it’s the first book by the authors I’ve read. I enjoyed it and didn’t feel like I missed anything by starting here.

Neveah Cross works for the Order as a researcher, but she’s trying to get promoted to investigator. When her best friend, Rhiannon, (who is an investigator) calls to say she’s needed in the field, she rushes out to help contain two demons, thinking this may be her chance. The problem? She’s half-djinn and if the Order finds out there’s a good chance she’ll never be seen or heard from again. So she has to keep her power hidden.

When Damian Malek, a crime boss and fallen angel, contacts her and asks for her help containing an evil djinn who keeps kidnapping Supernaturals, Neve has to decline. She can’t risk being found out…Until Rhiannon goes missing. Then Neve will do whatever it takes to get her back, even work with Damian. Neve has spent her whole life hiding her power, but now she has to learn to master it – and quick – if she’s going to save Rhia and contain the Djinn.

I enjoyed Neve as the MC. She’s smart and capable, though unschooled in her powers. She did feel kind of young to me at times. Not sheltered, exactly, but lacking in maturity about some things in the world. I really loved her friendship with Rhiannon, and how she would do anything for her.

Damian was an enigma, dark and mysterious, but also caring and protective. A bad boy with a heart of gold, or someone with his own agenda who is using Neve? I enjoyed getting to know him through Neve, and I’m curious to see where things go in the next book. I didn’t love the way this ended – cliffhanger, ugh – but the world, action, adventure and characters kept me glued to the pages. I’m looking forward to learning more about the world and discovering what’s really going on with Damian.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Dragon’s Gift: The Storm

four-stars


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Review: To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne

Posted August 11, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: To Sir, with Love by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
To Sir, with Love by Lauren Layne
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Review Pile Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Love Is Blind meets You’ve Got Mail in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy following two thirty-somethings who meet on a blind dating app—only to realize that their online chemistry is nothing compared to their offline rivalry.

Perpetually cheerful and eager to please, Gracie Cooper strives to make the best out of every situation. So when her father dies just five months after a lung cancer diagnosis, she sets aside her dreams of pursuing her passion for art to take over his Midtown Manhattan champagne shop. She soon finds out that the store’s profit margins are being squeezed perilously tight, and complicating matters further, a giant corporation headed by the impossibly handsome, but irritatingly arrogant Sebastian Andrews is proposing a buyout to turn the store into a parking garage. But Gracie can’t bear the thought of throwing away her father’s dream like she did her own.

Overwhelmed and not wanting to admit to her friends or family that she’s having second thoughts about the shop, Gracie seeks advice and solace from someone she’s never met—the faceless “Sir”, with whom she connected on a blind dating app where matches get to know each other through messages and common interests before exchanging real names or photos.

But although Gracie finds herself slowly falling for Sir online, she has no idea she’s already met him in real life…and they can’t stand each other.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Lauren Layne book and I’m happy to report that To Sir, with Love was another fun one that took me no time at all to read from beginning to end. Layne writes such witty, fun, and charming romances and this was no exception. This wasn’t my favorite of her books but it was still a good one and I expected no less from Mrs. Layne.

This book follows our heroine, Gracie Cooper, a wine shop owner, and, Sebastian Andrews, the guy who wants to buy her shop space as they fall in love. Gracie isn’t a fan of Sebastian’s because, at every turn, he’s trying to run her out of the shop space where she runs her family wine shop. Sure, the wine shop isn’t doing as well as she would hope and sure, the wine shop was more her Dad’s thing than hers but for the time being, she was running the shop and out of love for her father, she kept his dream alive even long after he was gone.

She doesn’t have much of a love life but she does have a fun and flirty online relationship with a man named “Sir” and even though she’s sporting a mean crush on him, it’s not going to go anywhere because Sir is already taken. Their online friendship will make more sense if you read it but I thought it was cute. I also enjoyed seeing Sebastian and Gracie circle each other in real life and then being the complete opposite online without knowing it. Lauren Layne does humor really well in her books and it’s showcased here in this book.

Overall, this book was a light, fluffy romance that made me smile throughout. Gracie and Sebastian ended up being a great couple and their story was a fun one. Sebastian was a swoony hero and Gracie was a strong heroine who went through a lot to finally be able to stand on her own two feet and live her own life without the strings of family obligations. I was glad for her and loved seeing her and Sebastian fall in love. The secondary characters added more charm to this story and I really loved the relationship that Gracie had with her siblings and her friends. Gracie and her siblings didn’t have the perfect relationship and Gracie had some resentments that she was working on but I enjoyed seeing how much they cared about each other and how supportive they were of each other as well. I definitely recommend this book if you’re already a fan of Lauren Layne because it’s a great addition to her backlist but if you’re also looking for a sweet romance with humor, this one fits the bill.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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