Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Review: Big Easy Temptation by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake

Posted November 30, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Big Easy Temptation by Shayla Black and Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Big Easy Temptation (The Perfect Gentlemen, #3) by Shayla Black, Lexi Blake
Series: The Perfect Gentlemen #3
Also in this series: Scandal Never Sleeps (The Perfect Gentlemen, #1), Seduction in Session (The Perfect Gentlemen, #2), Smoke and Sin (The Perfect Gentlemen, #4)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 371
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four-stars

The New York Times bestselling authors of the Masters of Ménage series present the third scintillating novel featuring the privileged, wealthy, wild men of Creighton Academy—the Perfect Gentlemen.

Years ago, Naval officer Dax Spencer and NCIS agent Holland Kirk indulged in a steamy affair—until she betrayed him in the wake of his father’s death. Dax tried to put her behind him with a payback of his own. But he never forgot Holland…

Now, as Dax and his fellow Perfect Gentlemen unravel a web of lies, he discovers his family’s tragedy is part of a much larger conspiracy. Soon, all clues point him back to New Orleans…where Holland waits, protecting her deadly secret and holding a torch for the only man she’s ever loved.

Once reunited, they can’t fight the passion flaring hot and wild. But something sinister lurks around every corner, from the elegance of the Garden district to the beauty of the bayou. Dax and Holland may find their way back to each other—if they survive...

While I wouldn’t say the series started going downhill exactly, it was this book that the series started backsliding for me. I loved the first book and fucking loved the second book. Don’t series books get better with each successive book (see Hidden Legacy)? Unfortunately that wasn’t the case here. This book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up there with the first two.

When this book begins, all we know is that Dax and this Holland person have had a nasty falling out. Which is putting it mildly. What I mean by that is that you know it’s putting it mildly even before you find out what happened. It’s just apparent that Dax hates this woman. It could have been this:

Until he’d seen that translation, he’d never intended to set eyes on her again. She’d betrayed him in the cruelest fashion possible by closing her investigation after giving it as much thought as someone opening an umbrella on a rainy day. In the blink of an eye, she’d made a judgment call that gave the press free license to vilify his father. Hell, she’d even had him believing his father was guilty at one point. She’d torn down his family to further her career. Oh, he’d paid her back. Now nothing lay between them but anger and regret.

Yeah, it was that.

Im not a fan of books that go from past to present in general. When I’m in the middle of a series where there has been a lot of action and I want to know more about the present, like, now, I have even less patience for the jump back in time. I understand that Dax and Holland’s past had to be told. It was just such an adjustment in reading pace compared to the first two books. It was hard. Very hard. So hard that I started skimming the past until I got to the good part and understood exactly what happened.

Holland sacrificed everything to keep Dax safe. They were in love. Seriously in love. Like get married, have babies, etc. in love. After years and years of knowing each other, Holland finally took a chance on Dax. He was everything she hoped he would be and more. The problem that lay between them now is the suicide (or was it?) of his father. Holland isn’t certain it was suicide any longer and she is determined to help Dax find out the truth. That’s until the Russians come to her with a threat. Drop the investigation or Dax dies. If she doubted it, she stops when he comes home that night and tells her some crazy driver almost hit him. If that didn’t do it, the text would have.

To help Holland stop the investigation, the Russians put money into her account to make it look like she was on the take. Dax is too hurt to wonder why Holland–Holland–would do something like that to him. He has no idea how he could have been so wrong about her. He quickly beats feet and leaves New Orleans. He takes Holland’s best friend with him and elopes with her in Vegas, though. Whoops. Guys are dumb. For real.

Now we’re back to the present (If you’ve stayed with me this long, grab yourself a drink–you deserve it). Dax may be blind, but he’s not stupid. He’s finally realized what happened all those years ago and he’s seriously shaken. He abandoned the woman he loved. Still loves. He left her in danger. He married her best friend. He took everyone from her. She was good friends with his mother, friends with his sister. All gone. Dax knows he has a lot to make up for, but he’s determined to do it. He’s going to get her back. He’s going to make sure they have what they should have had years ago.

There’s still that thing with the Russians though. That and someone is taking shots at both Holland and Dax. Not to mention something is going on with Holland’s uncle, who is the captain of the New Orleans Police Dept. They have serious problems. But they still have each other. Right?

Winding down…I really enjoyed the last 35-40% of this book. The whole book was very well written, but the whole thing was about pace. It was really hard to switch gears. I don’t think I really did, even by the end. Even with that, I liked Dax and Holland a lot.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Perfect Gentlemen

four-stars


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Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Posted November 29, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels, #10) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #10
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9), Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1), Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3), Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1)
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
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four-stars

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

I’m so sad to see the end of the Kate Daniels series. Saying goodbye to these characters is hard! My only consolation is there are still at least 2 more books due in the Iron Covenant series. Speaking of, I really think reading Iron and Magic before reading Magic Triumphs is a good idea. The events of this book start in I&M, plus…other stuff (no spoilers!). Not to mention, Ilona Andrews recommends reading I&M before MT.

Kate has grown and changed a lot of the course of this series. When we first started, she was a killer, alone in the world. Now she’s a wife and mother, and has strong family ties and far-ranging friendships. I’ve loved seeing her grow and change. Some of those changes are for the better, and some for the worse.

For months, Kate and her father have had an uneasy truce. He pokes at her and she pokes back, but nothing major has come between them. They both know the fight is coming, and both are gearing up for it, but for now things are cautiously quiet. She still has to deal with Pack politics – even though she and Curran are no longer part of the Pack – and dealing with being a mother to a shapeshifter the likes of which the world has never seen. Curran is changing in strange ways and things with her adopted daughter, Julie, are strained. When a powerful, ancient enemy returns, Kate realizes she’s in over her head. She may have to form alliances in unexpected places if she’s going to come out of this alive.

I loved the scenes with Conlan. He was adorable. There were quite a few times I laughed out loud while reading. I really like Erra. I hope we see more of her and Julie. I struggled with the way Kate and Curran deal with each other at times. Why they can’t communicate like adults is beyond me. They’ve been together long enough to know how the other is, so why not just be honest? I wasn’t quite satisfied with the ending. It felt rushed and too easy. I kept expecting more…something. More action, more angst..just more. I hope we’ll see a spin-off in the very near future.

Despite my issues, Kate and her merry band of deadly killers has lived up to my expectations for all these years. This book is just as fresh as book one. I love the world and each and every characters. I’m sad to say goodbye to Kate and Curran, but very much look forward to seeing more from this world in the future.

4 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Review: Archangel’s Consort by Nalini Singh

Posted November 27, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Archangel’s Consort by Nalini SinghReviewer: Rowena
Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3) by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: Guild Hunter #3
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy (Guild Hunter, #11), Archangel's Prophecy (Guild Hunter, #11)
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 377
Length: 10 hours, 21 minutes
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four-stars

Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux and her lover, the lethally beautiful archangel Raphael, have returned home to New York only to face an uncompromising new evil…

A vampire has attacked a girls’ school—the assault one of sheer, vicious madness—and it is only the first act. Rampant bloodlust takes vampire after vampire, threatening to make the streets run with blood. Then Raphael himself begins to show signs of an uncontrolled rage, as inexplicable storms darken the city skyline and the earth itself shudders.

The omens are suddenly terrifyingly clear.

An ancient and malevolent immortal is rising. The violent winds whisper her name: Caliane. She has returned to reclaim her son, Raphael. Only one thing stands in her way: Elena, the consort who must be destroyed…

Archangel’s Consort is the third book in the Guild Hunter’s series by Nalini Singh, and it’s another Raphael and Elena book so they’re heavily featured in this one. A vampire is on the attack, and when he hits a girls school, Elena, the Hunter is brought in to find him and bring him in. Elena is still pretty new to the life of an immortal but she’s got a lot of help in Raphael and his Seven. She’s still learning everything and I thought it was an interesting part of this book. I liked seeing her relationship with not just Raphael, but with each of the Seven grow. They’re not perfect, but holy cow, they entertaining.

I really like the way that Nalini Singh wrote Elena’s character. She’s going through so much right now, dealing with so much and yet she just keeps right on taking on more. She’s dealing with everything that comes with being an Angel made, she’s dealing with a new relationship with an Archangel, the changes in her personal life that came with being an immortal and then a vampire attacks at the school that her younger half sisters attend and she jumps right into the thick of tracking this monster down. I couldn’t help but admire the hell out of Elena because I don’t think I would have handled that much change AND been any good at finding the bad guys.

I also really liked seeing Raphael and Elena together. They’re so new at being together and there’s a lot going on emotionally for both of them but their bond, their feelings for each other were solid. I liked seeing that they were both vulnerable to each other and not one more than the other. Raphael is so sure of himself in every aspect of his life and then he gets around Elena and you see a different, softer side to him and man, I just loved it.

I will say that the beginning of this book was a little on the slow side but the deeper I got into the story, the more invested I became and well, it’s Elena and Raphael, they do a great job of sucking readers in because their world is all kinds of crazy. I’m looking forward to continuing this series so that I can fall as deeply in love with it as Casee and Holly are. This was a pretty quick listen and I enjoyed it so I’m here for more from these guys.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Guild Hunters

four-stars


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Joint Review: Sleepover by Serena Bell

Posted November 21, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Sleepover by Serena BellReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Sleepover by Serena Bell
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
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Goodreads
four-stars

A brand-new contemporary romance from the USA Today bestselling author of Head Over Heels.

The girl next door is the one that got away. He just doesn’t know it yet. . . .

Sawyer: After my wife died, I promised myself I’d never go through the pain of losing someone again. Now I keep my flings neat, tidy, and one-time-only. Besides, my son needs me more than ever. He’s miserable in our new town, so I’m pumped when he makes friends with the kid next door—until I recognize his mom from a one-night stand. Perky and upbeat, Elle Dunning is not my type for anything other than tearing up the sheets. So why do I keep letting myself get roped into game nights and get-togethers?

Elle: It so hasn’t been my year. That’s my first thought when I see my new next-door neighbor. I never would have hooked up with Sawyer Paulson if my husband hadn’t left me for his high-school sweetheart, but because our eight-year-old boys have become best friends, I’ve got to make nice with Mr. Tall, Dark, and Silent. Yet the more time we spend together, the more Sawyer opens up. We’ve both been hurt—badly. So it’s one thing to send the kids off to sleepaway camp together. It’s quite another to promise each other a lifetime of sleepovers. . . .

Sleepover is a standalone novel with no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a satisfying happily ever after. This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Sleepover by Serena Bell follows two single parents that had a one night stand. They thought they’d never see each other again and that’s what they both wanted so when Sawyer moves in next door to Elle and their boys become best friends, things get interesting because well, they both are starting to want a repeat of that one naughty night.

Rowena: This was my first book by Serena Bell and though I was a bit annoyed about finding out there are other books linked to the characters in this book (making it a series), I still rather enjoyed this single parent romance. I really liked both Sawyer and Elle, loved their boys and how straightforward their romance was.

Sawyer’s journal of letters to his late wife really hit me with all the feels and I liked that Elle was understanding where all of that was concerned. I really liked how grown up their romance was. What about you? What did you think?

Holly: I really don’t like how these authors aren’t listing connecting books as series. It’s annoying. I might have liked to read the earlier books first. But like you, I thought this was an enjoyable romance. I love the single parent romances and I thought Bell did a good job with this one.

Sawyer’s Lucy journal got me in the feels, too. There’s a scene toward the end that made me tear up. I liked their grown-up romance, too. I liked how they dealt with their kids. The boys became fast friends and they both encouraged that, and tried to include them in their plans. They had a great family dynamic.

I did get a little frustrated by all the sexting. They definitely had good sexual chemistry, and the sexual tension was thick. I think I could have done with a little less sexting and little more personal connection between them.

Rowena: It was all straightforward and such an easy romance to fall into that I had this book read in just a few hours.

I know what scene you’re talking about and yes, I totally teared up too. I thought that was sweet but sad too.

I didn’t mind the sexting, I thought it was cute…and I loved that he couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t keep to his own rules where Elle was concerned and I loved that he couldn’t get enough of her. I also really liked that Elle tried to keep her cool but she wasn’t fooling anyone. She had it bad for Sawyer so it was good that he had it bad for her too.

Are you planning on reading Brooks book? What about going back and reading the other books? This was a fun romp that was perfect for what I was in the mood for so I give this one a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I was bothered a bit by some quirks of the writing (such as the author’s constant use of parenthesis to include asides in the narrative), but aside from the sexting, overall I enjoyed the book. I’m looking forward to reading more from Bell soon. I do plan to go back and read the first two and I’m definitely interested in Brooks’ book.

This was an easy, sweet read. It definitely hit the spot. 3.5 out of 5

Holly’s Grade: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Keepsake by Sarina Bowen

Posted November 15, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Keepsake by Sarina BowenReviewer: Casee
Keepsake (True North, #3) by Sarina Bowen
Narrator: Erin Spencer, Teddy Hamilton
Series: True North #3
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast (True North #2), Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful (True North, #4), Speakeasy (True North, #5), Bittersweet (True North, #1), Steadfast (True North, #2), Fireworks (True North #6), Bountiful (True North, #4; Brooklyn Bruisers, #4.5)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 312
Length: 10 hours, 8 minutes
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Goodreads
four-stars

There's a first time for everything.

Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he's good for much more than farm labor.

I listened to this book on audio. I’ve really enjoyed listening to the series. The narrators have switched up and they’ve all been pretty good.

Keepsake is a book about survivors. Both Zachariah and Lark survived different kinds of hell. Zach was in a cult as a child and young adult. He finally escaped, but there was a steep price. He’s never forgiven himself for the girl he left behind and often wonders what became of her. He’s built his life around the Shipley farm, but he knows that it will soon be time to move on. That’s something that scares him deeply. Zach has never truly been on his own. When May Shipley’s best friend, Lark Wainwright, shows up at the farm, he recognizes a survivor in her.

Lark has come to Vermont to heal. As an investigative journalist, Lark used to be fearless. She would go from assignment to assignment with no fear that something could happen to her. That all changes when she is kidnapped. Now her nights are plagued with nightmares. She’s hoping that her stay at the farm will bring her peace. She has no idea how broken she truly is until she gets there. She finds unexpected comfort in Zach. She recognizes that he has demons of his own and feels no regret in taking the comfort that he offers her.

I understood Lark. I truly did. That didn’t mean I particularly liked her. Maybe it would have been different if Zach wasn’t Zach. The fact is that Lark flat out used Zach. Sure she had feelings for him. It’s clear, but she used him to cover her own nightmares. The one thing that was admirable about her was that she didn’t lie to herself or to Zach about it. I knew that she was going to have to leave Zach, but geez. It was hard reading Zach’s reaction. The guy has never had a mean thought. He would have done anything for Lark. Even let her go.

In the end, I still loved Zach. I liked Lark, but didn’t love her. She was just so-so. Then there was the way things unfolded with May and Lark. Like where the hell did that come from? I was thrown for a loop and it felt like that was just put in there for shock value. It was really weird.

Rating: 4 out of 5. (For Zach)

True North

four-stars


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