Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Review: How to Break an Undead Heart by Hailey Edwards

Posted October 16, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: How to Break an Undead Heart by Hailey EdwardsReviewer: Holly
How to Break an Undead Heart by Hailey Edwards
Series: Beginner's Guide to Necromancy #3
Also in this series: How to Save an Undead Life , How to Claim an Undead Soul
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 30, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 278
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Beginner's Guide to Necromancy, Book 3

Grier finally has the one thing she’s always wanted: Boaz Pritchard. Too bad her dream boyfriend is keeping her up nights, just not in a sweaty or fun way. Boaz has dialed down the Southern charm and stopped returning her calls. His job forces him to keep secrets, but his radio silence is cranking up her suspicions. He’s a shameless flirt, but he’s her shameless flirt…right?

Soon an attack on Woolworth House leaves her with bigger problems than he loves me, he loves me not. Vampires are on the prowl, and they aren’t the only predators circling. A new threat has emerged, one with blood rights to Grier. With enemies closing in on all sides, she must choose her allies, and the decision could make or break her…and her heart.

Warning: This book contains a buttload of zombie parakeet poop. Like grab a poncho and thank me later. Watch out, y’all. It’s about to hit the fan. Hearts will break, and heads will roll. Literally.

How to Break and Undead Heart is the third book in The Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy series by Hailey Edwards.

Grier is still dealing with the betrayal of her best friend, but she’s glad to finally be settled into a relationship with her long-time crush, Boaz. Except for the fact that he won’t return her calls, and she rarely sees him. So maybe things aren’t as settled as she thought? With vampires constantly circling her and Linus, her childhood nemesis, teaching her how to become a proper necromancer, things are crazy enough. She isn’t ready to deal with more…but she isn’t given much of a choice.

This is the book I’ve been waiting for, where Grier is betrayed by those she loves most, and realizes she needs to let go of her past in order to accept her future. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t wishing additional pain and suffering on her by any stretch, but I feel like the events of this book were necessary for her to move on in a positive way. Sometimes we need to walk away from our past in order to have a better future.

I’m not surprised Boaz and Amelie acted as they did. Neither have had Grier’s best interests at heart from the beginning, for all she thought of them as her only family. I really dislike their parents, and I’m glad Grier has some closure there.

I love that Linus allows Grier the space she needs to figure herself out, while still supporting her. This is the pairing I expected from the beginning, and I love the way things are progressing between them.

This is probably my favorite book of the series to date. Grier needed a wake-up call, and while my heart hurts for her, I hope she can now pick up the pieces of her life and finally move on.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy

four-stars


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Featured Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted October 15, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Iron Covenant #1, Kate Daniels #9.5
Also in this series: Iron and Magic, Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 18, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 394
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…

But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming.

Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

Iron & Magic by Ilona Andrews is book 9.5 in the Kate Daniels series, and follows Hugh D’Ambray, Kate’s sort of step-brother and the anti-hero of the series. Roland, Kate’s father and father-figure to Hugh, has banished Hugh for his part in not bringing Kate to his side. Now Hugh is adrift. Without Roland’s magic there’s a gaping hole inside him. But his Iron Dogs need him, so he makes a deal with a devil…in exchange for a place to live, he’ll marry the White Witch and provide protection for her people.

Holly: I’ve been anxious for you two to finish this series already. I can’t even tell you how excited I am for you to have read this book.

Rowena: I’d say that that first 30-40% of the book dragged a little, and that’s why I was so over their bickering and fighting but things really kicked into gear for me when the Pack shows up to pick up the shapeshifter family. Oh man, Ascanio!! It was so good to see familiar faces and Ascanio always makes me smile so I was happy to see him.

Casee: I don’t know why but this isn’t one of my favorites. There were things I liked more than disliked. Actually, I didn’t really dislike anything. I was over it by the time I finished the book. The narration wasn’t great and the story just dragged for me. I think it would have been different if I would have read the thing.

Holly: I thought the first quarter-half of the book moved slow as well, but like Rowena, it picked up for me when the Pack showed up. Actually, even before then. When Elara and Hugh started working together for their people, that’s when it picked up for me.

Tell me, what did you think of Hugh as a hero?

Casee: I never really thought of Hugh as “bad”. I never really thought about him as a hero either. If anything, he’s most definitely an anti-hero.

Rowena: Hugh used to get on my damn nerves because of his interactions with Kate but I never hated him. I saw him as an anti-hero and am pleased that he got his own book so that we can see more of what makes him, him. I’m glad that we got to know him better in this book and I really enjoyed this one.

Holly: Hugh annoyed me, too, but I could never hate him. I especially loved him in Magic Rises. I really came to like him in this book. When he plays the good ‘ol boy, I cracked up. He was a right bastard in the beginning of this book, though. I didn’t hate him, but I wanted to smack the crap out of him a couple times.

Rowena: Hugh is a dick but holy cow, I like him. When that Senator came to bother Elara and Hugh put on that show for him and those mercenaries? My bloodthirsty ass jumped for joy. I also surprised myself because I didn’t know that I liked that kind of punishment. You learn something new every day, I guess. LOL.

Casee: One part of the book that sticks out for me is when Hugh confronted Roland. I thought it showed how far Hugh came as a hero/man. He even said that he’d never let Roland do anything to Kate’s child, which was surprising. I do want to learn more about Elara and her power. She’s one scary bitch. Who didn’t take any shit from anyone and was beloved by her people.

Rowena: Was Hugh “redeemed” for all of the shit that he did to Kate and everyone else in the previous books? What do you guys think? For me, it’s a little complicated but I’m glad that I know what drove him and that he feels the way that he does about his previous actions. I felt like Elara was right, he isn’t the same guy that we knew from before and I’m glad for that but I’m still mad about Aunt B, about Curran’s injuries, and about all of Magic Rises. I’m choosing to blame that all on Roland though.

Holly: I don’t know that I’d say Hugh was redeemed, exactly, but having a reason for why he did what he did makes things easier to swallow, I guess. It helps that the reason why was a good one, a believable one.

Rowena: There were also times when the strategy meetings and just meetings, in general, bored me. Like, there were too many long, technical explanations that I was like, do we really need all of this? But overall, this one was fun. I spent a lot of time saying, “What the fuck?” because seriously, what is Elara? I felt the exact same way that Bale did in that tunnel. Freaked the fuck out.

Holly: I agree the pacing of this one was slower than most of Andrews’ books. I understand we needed to see a lot of Hugh and the way his mind worked in order for us to move past what he did to Kate, but still. It was hard to stay focused at parts.

Casee: I found Elara to be a strong heroine. While the fighting got old, when it came down to it, Elara and Hugh had each other’s back.

Holly: I am looking forward to the next book. Do you two intend to read it?

Casee: Yes, I plan on reading it.

Rowena: I definitely plan on reading the next book. I like Hugh and Elara. I like, and am interested in getting to know the other Iron Dogs too. Do you guys know if it’s going to be another Hugh and Elara book? Since this book was in third person, I wasn’t sure. What is the next book about? Are we going to delve into what the heck kind of people Hugh aligned himself with because in that final battle when they gathered together and started chanted, I was like, WTF is going on here? And then when, was it Savannah? When she went freaking crazy with her power?

I’d say that through about half of this book, I looked like this:

Thank goodness for Ilona Andrews because these books really kicked my reading slump to the curb. Two books in 4 days? Yes, please. More of this, please.

Holly: I can’t even begin to tell you how effing excited I am that you’re reading again? SO.Freaking.Excited.

Rowena: curtsies I’m back, bitches. Yay, me.

Overall though, I enjoyed this one. The last half of the book made up for the slow start and I’m glad that I stuck with it because Hugh and Elara ended up being a lot of fun together. I loved the way that they had each other’s back, even until the very end. I am mighty curious about what made Roland run the way that he did from Elara. Also, I hoped we would see Deirdre in the end. I really wanted to see her again but oh well. I’m giving this 4 out of 5 stars. What about you guys?

Holly: I believe there are 3 books planned about Elara and Hugh. Ilona Andrews said in a blog post earlier this year they had put it on hold because the tone is really dark and a main character dies, and they’re just not in the right head-space to delve into that right now. I have to assume we’ll learn more about Elara and her powers, and hopefully more about the Iron Dogs, too.

The last half was definitely better than the first, but overall, I enjoyed it. I would give it 4 out of 5. I can’t wait for you two to read Magic Triumphs now. <3

Casee: Hugh was so interesting when he was trying to kill/“date” Kate. I don’t know why (actually it was probably the narrator), but I just lost interest in Hugh. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to read the next book though.

I really enjoyed Elara. She saved the book for me. Her & the Iron Dogs. I give this a 3 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 3 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

The Iron Covenant

Kate Daniels

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Lady Flees her Lord by Michele Ann Young

Posted October 8, 2020 by Ames in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Lady Flees her Lord by Michele Ann YoungReviewer: Ames
The Lady Flees Her Lord by Michele Ann Young
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 401
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars


She's desperate for peace and safety...
Lucinda, Lady Denbigh, is running from a husband who physically and emotionally abuses her because she is unfashionably plump and has failed to produce an heir. Posing as a widow, she seeks refuge in the quiet countryside...

He's returned from the wars, wounded and tormented...
Lord Hugo Wanstead, with a wound that won't heal, and his mother's and Spanish wife's deaths on his conscience, finds his estate impoverished, his sleep torn by nightmares, and brandy his only solace. When he meets Lucinda, he finds her beautiful - body and soul - and thinks she just might give him something to live for ...

Together they can begin to heal, but not until she is free from her violent past...

This review was originally published on October 16, 2008

This is my very first Michele Ann Young book and it won’t be my last. (I have No Regrets in my TBR Pile). Michele writes a very satisfying book.

Lucinda Denbigh is an abused wife. She’s not a skinny English rose by any means, a fact which her husband holds against her. He only married her for her money, and he scorns the way she looks and the fact that she’s barren. As he puts it, she can’t even get being a woman right. Lucinda has had about as much as she can take, so when her husband’s good friend, the Duke of Vale, lets her know that he wants access to her luscious body, Lucinda bolts in the dead of the night.

She lands in Kent with a street urchin she picked up along the way. She adopts the young girl as her own and sets up her new life as a widow. Meanwhile, Lord Hugo Wanstead has returned from the war (the Napoleonic wars) injured and bitter (of course). He’s a great big hulk of a man and when he spots the curvy woman on his land, he’s immediately attracted to her. But he refrains from getting her to know her and locks himself away in his rotting estate (his father was a wastrel and left a mountain of debt).

But these two lock horns when Lucinda faces the bear in his cave – over the care of some of his tenants. Hugo is still fascinated by this woman, she by him (it’s hard for her to believe it, considering her history with men) and pretty soon Lucinda is drawing Hugo out of his shell and these two begin to fall in love.

Of course, Hugo doesn’t know that Lucinda isn’t a widow and Lucinda doesn’t know that Hugo has demon seed.

I’m being facetious with that comment there. 😛 Hugo is just a very large man and he’s worried about having another woman die giving birth to his baby (that’s what happened to his first wife). But not to fear dear readers, that fear doesn’t take up too much page time and this being romance, things have a way of working out in the end.

It’s getting to the end that’s the interesting part. I really liked Lucinda. She wasn’t a victim. She took her life into her own hands and made a successful go at it. She was smart, she used her brains to get her out of trouble and when an opportunity presented itself, even though she afraid, she didn’t want to make a decision she’d regret for the rest of her life. I gotta respect that!

And Hugo. I really liked him too. Lucinda does draw him out of his shell and gets him interacting with the people around him. And he so dearly wants Lucinda. Of course he doesn’t realize at first that he loves her, but oh my was he a sweet bear of a man. LOL What can I say? I have a weakness for big guys. 😛

As I said, The Lady Flees her Lord is a satisfying read. 4 out 5 (B)

four-stars


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Guest Review: Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath

Posted September 28, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Tracy
Beauty Tempts the Beast by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #6
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire, When a Duke Loves a Woman, When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2), The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons, #3), The Duchess in His Bed, The Earl Takes a Fancy
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: September 29, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She wants lessons in seduction

Althea Stanwick was a perfect lady destined to marry a wealthy lord, until betrayal left her family penniless. Though she’s lost friends, fortune, and respectability, Althea has gained a scandalous plan. If she can learn to seduce, she can obtain power over men and return to Society on her terms. She even has the perfect teacher in mind, a man whose sense of honor and dark good looks belie his nickname: Beast.

But desire like this can’t be taught

Benedict Trewlove may not know his parentage but he knows where he belongs—on the dark side of London, offering protection wherever it’s needed. Yet no woman has ever made such an outrageous request as this mysterious beauty. Althea is out of place amongst vice and sin, even if she offers a wicked temptation he can’t resist. But as the truth of his origin emerges at last, it will take a fierce, wild love to overcome their pasts.

Althea Stanwick is a Duke’s daughter working at a tavern in Whitechapel.  Strange?  Yes.  Unfortunately her father was tried and hung for plotting to assassinate the queen and then the title, lands and money were stripped from the family.  Althea and her two brothers were ostracized and ended up moving to Whitechapel, which is the only place they could afford.  After taking care of the house (hovel) for a while, Althea decided that she needed to contribute.  Her brother Griff was working the docks, but they needed more money to survive.

Althea ends up working at Gillie Trewlove’s tavern and is only there for a short time when she meets Gillie’s brother, Beast.  Beast (Benedict) is completely taken with Althea personally, but he also sees in her someone who was educated and trained in the finer arts.  He proposes that she become a tutor for the prostitutes that live in his building so that they may find other professions.  Althea agrees to his terms, after driving a hard bargain with her pay, but also requires that Beast teach her seduction so that she may become the most sought-after Courtesan in London.  Beast agrees, but he’s not sure he can complete his end of the bargain without losing his heart.

I’ve liked all of the books in this series, but we never really got to know Beast all that well.  He was pretty absent in the other books, and when we did hear about him there was very little info.  I loved getting to know this man and the huge heart he had in him. I won’t ruin the surprise of how he got where he is now, but he was just as determined as his siblings to make something of himself.  He wasn’t a brothel owner, nor did he run it, he just allowed the brothel to be in a building he owned so he could watch over the girls.  He never took a penny from them and made sure they were always taken care of.  In taking care of them, he helped them to learn other professions so that they could stop being prostitutes and make better lives for themselves.  I seriously loved that.  He deserved a good woman and one that appreciated him. Althea was that woman.

Althea was strong.  She had been through hell and never imagined that she’d be living and working in the dregs of London. (Althea’s brothers were in the story somewhat as they are trying to clear the family name but that was all hush-hush.)  All of her “friends” had turned their backs on her because they didn’t want to be near the daughter of a traitor.  She wasn’t the traitor, but she was treated as though she was.  It’s in the blood, right? eyeroll Though I couldn’t agree with her decision to become a courtesan, I did admire the fact that she had set a goal for herself and was working her way to accomplishing that.  She liked Beast from minute one, but never thought to fall in love with him.  Their slow burn romance was wonderful, and I so enjoyed watching these two characters fall in love.

Overall a great book and a wonderful end to the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons

four-stars


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Review: Pathfinder’s Way by T.A. White

Posted September 9, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Pathfinder’s Way by T.A. WhiteReviewer: Holly
Pathfinder's Way by T.A. White
Series: The Broken Lands #1
Also in this series: Mist's Edge
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 396
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Trateri are about to learn a vital lesson of the Broken Lands. Deep in the remote expanse where anything can happen, it pays to be on a pathfinder’s good side.

Nobody ventures beyond their village. Nobody sane that is. Monstrous creatures and deadly mysteries wait out here. Lucky for the people she serves, Shea’s not exactly sane. As a pathfinder, it’s her job to face what others fear and find the safest route through the wilderness. It’s not an easy job, but she’s the best at what she does.

When the people she serves betray her into servitude to the Trateri, a barbarian horde sweeping through the Lowlands intent on conquest, Shea relies on her wits and skill to escape, disguising herself as a boy to hide from the Warlord, a man as dangerous as he is compelling.

After being mistaken as a Trateri scout during her escape, Shea finds herself forced to choose between the life she led and the possibilities of a new one. Her decision might mean the difference between life or death. For danger looms on the horizon and a partnership with the Warlord may be the only thing preventing the destruction of everything she holds dear.

I asked for Fantasy/UF/PNR recs on Twitter a few months ago and Angela James suggested this author. I tried starting this back in June, but I wasn’t in the mood so I set it aside until this weekend. I had to push myself through the first few pages (my reading mood, not the book), but I ended up easily falling into the story.

The world-building is superb. Shea’s strength and ingenuity as she led a rescue party for some of the villagers really pulled me in. I loved how she brushed off criticisms and just did what needed to be done. I also liked the way her friendship developed with her traveling companions.

This is a sweeping tale that stretches across quite a bit of time and distance. I liked seeing the various landscapes and watching Shea overcome obstacles.

I was frustrated with the turn things took at about the 80% mark. Up until then, I really loved Shea. She was resourceful, independent and more than capable, if a little closed off to others. After that, she was kind of swept to the side because of her relationship with Fallon. I didn’t love how she seemed to fade as they grew closer. I’m hoping for a better resolution to that part of the story in later books.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Broken Lands

four-stars


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