Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted August 3, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Eric Michael Summerer, Erin Moon
Series: The Malediction Trilogy #1
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 469
Length: 14 hours and 30 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for...

Stolen Songbird is the first book in Danielle L. Jensen‘s The Malediction Trilogy. I’m not generally a fan of YA novels, but I read and enjoyed Jensen’s The Bridge Kingdom series, so I figured I’d give this one a try. This is the first book in a trilogy, so it ended with something of a cliffhanger.

Cécile grew up on a farm with her siblings and her father, but she was promised to her mother on her 17th birthday. Her mother is a famous opera singer, and she plans to groom Cécile to follow in her footsteps. On the day before she’s supposed to leave for the city, she’s kidnapped and taken below the Forsaken Mountain to the cursed city of Trollus.

Five hundred years ago a witch cursed the Trolls to live forever Under the Mountain. They are bound to their city until the curse is broken. A new prophecy names Cécile as the one who can break the curse. She’s immediately bonded to the Troll Prince, Tristan. Now she only has one goal in mind..to escape Trollus and free herself. But nothing is as it seems in Trollus, mostly especially not her new husband…

Stolen Songbird is a well-written, very engaging novel. I really enjoyed the court politics and intrigues, and I loved getting to know the city. The secondary characters were wonderful, and I loved how nuanced they were.

I found Cécile to be rather impetuous and the way she and Tristan treated each other for much of the novel was frustrating, but I can’t say I blame either of them for acting the way they did. Tristan had lived his entire life hiding his true intentions, and Cécile had been stolen away from everything she ever knew. Their bonding meant they could sense the other’s emotions, and if one died the other was likely to die as well. I think this worked against the romance. I never really believed they had a true love connection. They spent little time together getting to know one another, and they never really came to trust each other. It felt like the only reason they were “in love” at the end was because they were forced to through the bonding. I’d have liked to see that play out a little different.

Still, I enjoyed the novel as a whole and I immediately picked up the second book. The politics, intrigue, hidden (and some not so hidden) monsters all made for lovely tale.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Malediction Trilogy

four-stars


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Guest Review: Accidentally Compromising the Duke by Stacy Reid

Posted July 29, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Accidentally Compromising the Duke by Stacy ReidReviewer: Tracy
Accidentally Compromising the Duke by Stacy Reid
Series: Wedded in Scandal #1
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Publication Date: May 30, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 259
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

England, 1817.

Miss Adeline Hays is out of options. Determined to escape marriage to a repugnant earl, Adeline plans to deliberately allow herself to be caught in a compromising position at a house party with the much kinder man she’d hoped to marry. Instead, Adeline accidentally enters the wrong chamber and tumbles into the bed of the mad duke.

Edmond Rochester, the duke of Wolverton, is seeking a wife to care for his two daughters. A young lady of sensibilities, accomplishment, and most importantly, one who he is not attracted to—a complete opposite of the bewitching beauty who traps him into marriage. But despite the lust he feels for his new duchess, Edmond is resolved to never allow them intimacy, refusing to ever again suffer the tormenting loss of a loved one.

Adeline Hays was once attacked by an Earl.  When she went to her father, expecting him to be furious, he ends up promising her hand in marriage to the bastard. How could he?! She has a fondness for a man, Mr. Atwood, who will one day be a barrister.  Unfortunately her father won’t accept his suit, even though he’s asked several times.  Adel knows that she has no other choice but to take matters into her own hands. While at a house party Adel gets the keys to Mr. Atwood’s room from her best friend, and with a bit of liquid courage heads off to do some compromising.

Adel only planned to be caught in Mr. Atwood’s room, but after tripping she ends up in bed with him.  He’s much more muscular than she thought, and wow, he smells better than she remembered, too.  They end up kissing but when she realizes that she is not, in fact, kissing Mr. Atwood, she tries to get away.  Too late, they are discovered, as Adel had planned, but instead of just her best friend’s mother, it’s half of the people in the house!

The Duke of Wolverton, Edmond, thoroughly enjoyed kissing this mystery woman and though he’d had a list of women to check out to be his new bride and mother to his children, he decides to do the honorable thing and marry her. His first wife died in childbirth and while the Duke needs a mother for his children, he doesn’t want any more children.  He has no plans to consummate the marriage, nor fall in love with Adel.

Can Adel break through the hurt of Edmond’s past and make him see that she’s not his previous wife?  Can Edmond keep his distance from Adel?  You have to read the book to find out! 🙂

This was a good story.  I really like the Reid books that I’ve read so far and this one is included in that list.  In this story I really liked Adel.  She was straightforward and knew exactly what she wanted (his love) and how to get it.  She was honest (for the most part) and just a lovely person.  How could Edmond not fall for her? There was a part of the book where Adel isn’t completely honest with Edmond and I had an issue with this.  It was just so not in her character that it was hard for me to believe that any of it would have happened.  Luckily Reid did a great job of making everything right for me.

Edmond was cold at first, then very warm…hot actually, and then a right bastard.  I liked him for a portion of the book and felt his pain, but I thought he took things a little too far.  The author did a good job of making me dislike/like/hate/like him in turns. Lol

When my friend, Nikki, first told me (and our friends, while on a Zoom call) about this book I laughed at the title and didn’t plan on reading it.  Accidentally compromising?  Really?  I said, “What, they’re in a carriage that hits a bump and the heroine accidentally falls on his dick? Oopsie.” Lol  We then affectionately retitled this book Accidentally Falling on the Duke’s Dick. Of course, after Nikki shared the premise with us we were all intrigued and I ended up reading this Reid story as well as another.  I’m glad I did and definitely recommend it.  I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series and I’m quite happy it’s already out (this one was published 4 years ago).

Rating: 3.75/4 out of 5

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith

Posted June 18, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn SmithReviewer: Holly
When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith
Series: Victorian Soap Opera #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 385
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A lady must be prepared for anything . . . when marrying a scoundrel.

Sadie Moon once thought she was in love. Then her dashing husband left her to seek his fortune, and she had no choice but to transform herself from a heartbroken waif into London Society's favorite fortune-teller. But even she could not have foreseen Jack's return—until their paths cross in the last place either would have expected: London's most exclusive house of pleasure.

Now wealthy and successful, Jack Friday has everything he'd ever dreamed of . . . except Sadie. He swears he will never trust the woman who broke her promise to wait for him, though his passion for her burns as hotly as ever before. But love, like the past, comes back to haunt them—drawing them into a web of intrigue and betrayal that could save or destroy them both.

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

This review was originally posted on June 18, 2010.

Kathryn Smith is hit or miss for me. I’m never sure which way a novel is going to go for me with her. Some are fabulous and others leave much to be desired. This one falls under the “hit” umbrella.

I really like the “reunited lovers” plot device, and I think Smith did a good job with it here. It was easy to see why both parties felt they were the ones who got abandoned. I really liked that Jack never stopped loving Sadie, and had no problem admitting it. He no longer trusted her, but he still loved her. I really loved that though Jack and Sadie had issues with each other, they were able to set them aside to help one another when they needed it. They were very adult about their relationship, which was refreshing.

Jack frustrated me at times because he refused to believe in Sadie, especially early in the book. When he called her a fraud my heart broke along with hers. My frustration didn’t last long, though, because Sadie kept belaboring the point, ad nauseum.

I know why Sadie felt so angry toward Jack, and he toward her, but I found myself getting frustrated with Sadie as the novel progressed. Her reasons for pushing him away seemed contrived and silly. She didn’t think she was good enough for him or the class he belonged to, but that didn’t hold water since she’d already married him once. I also had an issue with the way she kept the nature of her relationship with Jack a secret from Mason, the man who was courting her. They had no formal arrangement or agreement, but it was obvious they both thought it could go somewhere. Sadie owed him more than lies, IMO.

I was able to let it go, however, since she realized the problem was hers and made it right.

Though I had issues with both main protagonists, they weren’t enough to detract from my overall enjoyment. Yes, I became frustrated by their actions at times. But more, I was swept up in their rekindled romance, waiting to see when they’d finally realize what we as the reader knew all along – they were meant to be together.

4 out of 5

Victorian Soap Opera

four-stars


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Review: Magic Tests & Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 8, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Tests & Magic Stars by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #5.3
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, 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 Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 32
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

A short story in the Kate Daniels universe. Kate recruits her teenage ward, Julie, to search out a missing student whose location spell has her hidden somewhere on campus…

I’m doing a complete read of the Kate Daniels and I have fallen hard for every one of these books. When we first meet Julie, she’s this scared little girl who just lost her Mom and is on her own. I was super thrilled when Kate took her in and with each passing book, seeing Julie grow more and more comfortable in herself and in her place in Kate’s life (she’s got a long way to go but I see progress and that’s great!) makes me love her all the more.

This was a fun short story featuring Julie and it was a lot of fun seeing her personality away from Kate. She’s really growing into her own person and I really like seeing it. Julie is smart and she reminds me so much of Kate that I smiled my way through this entire story. When she slides that Lennart name into her interrogation with the dragon, I laughed out loud. She showed that she can hang with the big dawgs in this book and I cannot wait to continue watching her grow into her own. I’m a big Derek and Julie fan (sorry Ascanio) so I welcome any and every story featuring Julie front and center. More, please!

Grade: 4 out of 5

Review: Magic Tests & Magic Stars by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #8.5, Gray Wolf #1
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, 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 Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: NYLA
Publication Date: December 8, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 84
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an original novella, set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring fan-favorites, Derek, and Curran and Kate’s very independent ward, Julie.

Scarred, solitary Derek Gaunt has separated from his Pack, and is truly a lone wolf. With no family he answers to no one; but is fiercely loyal to a chosen few. So, when several of those close to him are murdered, he’ll stop at nothing to hunt their killer through the magic-drenched streets of Atlanta.

Never one to be left on the sidelines, equally determined—some might say stubborn—Julie Lennart-Olsen soon joins in his pursuit; and what began as revenge turns into a race to save the city. Their search pits them against powers they never imagined and magic so old, it predates history. It may cost Derek his life, but there are things for which even he would risk everything.

Man, I’ve been looking forward to this story ever since I found out about it. Derek has been one of my favorite characters in this series from the jump. I ugly cried over him in Magic Strikes and I have loved him more and more with each passing book. Derek is Kate’s ride or die and seeing him go through it over the course of this series really hit me in my feels. He’s one of the good ones and I’m absolutely thrilled that we might be getting more books featuring him (we are, right? I mean this is the first book in the Gray Wolf series so I just kind of assumed). I really enjoyed the little bit that we got of Derek at center stage in this story and my hopes are sky high that Derek and Julie are going to become a thing.

This story has Derek on a mission to track down some bad guys that popped up on Curran’s radar and his mission puts him in Julie’s path, who plants herself right in the middle of Derek’s mission and seeing them work together to figure out what’s going on and then put their plan of attack into action…together was just great. They’re a great pair and I so want more books featuring them. Ilona Andrews does such a great job with making readers fall in love with their characters and readers will definitely fall in love with Derek and Julie. Derek’s protective streak and Julie’s fierce loyalty where Derek is concerned (and her undercover love for him) make for a fantastic story and I’m so here for more. I definitely recommend this short if you need just a little more Derek and Julie. You won’t regret it.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols

Posted June 4, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Endless Summer by Jennifer EcholsReviewer: Rowena
Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 19, 2011
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 626
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

Two irresistible boys. One unforgettable summer.

Lori can’t wait for her summer at the lake. She loves wakeboarding and hanging with her friends—including the two hotties next door. With the Vader brothers, she's always been just one of the guys. Now that she’s turning sixteen, she wants to be seen as one of the girls, especially in the eyes of Sean, the older brother. But that’s not going to happen—not if the younger brother, Adam, can help it.

Lori plans to make Sean jealous by spending time with Adam. Adam has plans of his own for Lori. As the air heats up, so does this love triangle. Will Lori’s romantic summer melt into one hot mess?

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

This review was originally posted on June 4, 2010.

The Boys Next Door: This book follows Lori as she grows balls to finally go after the boy that she’s always wanted, Sean Vader. She grew up with Sean but he’s two years older than she is and doesn’t see her the way that she wants him to but she’s determined to change that. He sees her as her older brother’s little sister and she goes through this transformation in order to get Sean to notice her and when that doesn’t work, she concocts a plan to make him notice her. She also enlists the help of Sean’s younger brother and one of her best friend’s, Adam.

So the plan is to use Adam to make Sean jealous. You could just imagine the kind of drama that caused. I mean, Lori’s in love with Sean. Adam’s in love with Lori. Sean is just well, Sean. He’s a pain in the ass and I could not for the life of me understand why Lori liked Sean. From the very beginning, it was all about Adam for me. It was Adam that I wanted Lori to end up with. Never once did I want Lori to get with Sean and after something pretty big happens at the very first Vader boys summer party, I could not understand why Lori didn’t stop her whole plan to snare Sean because after that happened, I didn’t even like Sean.

He commits a cardinal sin and it took me a very long time to forgive him for it. Over the course of this story, Lori proceeds to drive me absolutely insane. She made one boneheaded mistake after another and I just could not for the life of me figure out how she thought any of her stupid plans would work.

By the time Endless Summer begins, Lori has finally ended up with the guy she’s supposed to end up with and on the night that they make it official, they get grounded. Their parents are livid with them and they’re not allowed to see each other anymore. It’s kind of hard because they live next door to each other and they work together but their parents mean what they say and date, Lori could not.

In the first story, we get to learn a whole lot about the kind of girl Lori is. She’s strong minded, she’s fearless and she does what she needs to do to get what she wants. In some ways, it was good. She didn’t back down from going after Sean when that’s what she thought she wanted and then with Adam, she went after trying to solve their problems by being this no-it-all pain in the ass that got on my hot damn nerves.

In Endless Summer, we get to know Adam more. Adam saved this whole book for me because I adored him. I felt and saw the changes and the growing that Adam went through in this story and it felt sincere and it felt real. In the beginning, Adam is immature and he lets his ADHD rule his life. In the Endless Summer, Adam does some growing up because if he wants that future with Lori, he needs to man up and be the kind of boy that Lori’s father would be okay with dating his daughter.

All throughout the book, we see everyone cracking jokes or picking on Adam for his ADHD. Sean teased him mercilessly about it and never once were any of Sean’s jokes funny. Adam had a lot to overcome between his brothers always picking on him, his parents never believing a word that came out of his mouth and Adam just kind of taking it. More than once, I was livid with Adam’s parents for being won over by Sean. He’s nursing this crush that he’s had on Lori for years and when he finally gets her, he can’t be with her because he’s once again messed things up.

Watching the growth in Adam Vader is what made this book for me. It’s the one thing that at the end of the book, had me closing the book with a smile on my face because I knew that Adam was going to be okay. I was happy for Adam.

I can’t say the same for Lori because at the end of the book, I was still pissed off at her for all of her stupid ideas. It really pissed me off that everyone, including Lori didn’t have enough faith in Adam to do the right thing. I didn’t doubt that Lori loved Adam but for me, she didn’t deserve him. Yeah, he was immature and he was hot headed but he was also so intensely sweet and so passionately in love with Lori and I adored it. I felt like Adam was short changed but because I knew that he was happy because he ultimately got what he wanted in the end, I was happy for him.

This book reminded me of when I read Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer. I was fiercely addicted to that series and when Eclipse finally came out, I couldn’t read it fast enough and while I was reading it, I kept wanting to throw the book at the wall because both Bella and Jacob were getting on my nerves. Edward too but in this book, it was Lori and Sean that got on my nerves. Too bad in Eclipse, there wasn’t anyone in Eclipse that could save that story for me. In this story, Adam saved the book for me.

This book brought out all of the emotions in me. It made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me mad, annoyed and livid at times but it did entertain me as well. It’s also made me very anxious for more Jennifer Echols because I ate this book up, this book is weighs more than my nephew Luke but I inhaled this book in a day.

Kudos, Jennifer Echols for writing a complex character that I will remember for always…Adam Vader.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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