Tag: 4.25 Reviews

Review: Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 22, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Steals by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #6.5
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 Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Intermix
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 83
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Ilona Andrews—#1 New York Times bestselling author of Magic Shifts—once again pulls readers into the dark and dangerous world of the Kate Daniels novels...

Shapeshifting tigress Dali Harimau may be a powerful healer and magic user, but she’s far from what might be called “normal”. She dislikes the violence and bloodshed that are a way of life for most of her kind, even going so far as to become a vegetarian. The last thing she wants is trouble...

Jim Shrapshire is an original, hardcore badass. A jaguar shifter, he’s been tasked with keeping Atlanta’s Cat Clan in line, which he does with swift and lethal force when necessary. His only soft spot is for the petite Dali, whose kindness he calls upon when he is injured.

When Dali is approached by a desperate woman whose grandmother has vanished, Jim is concerned enough to help investigate. But what they find may just be the end of them—an enemy whose skill in the dark arts is matched only by their willingness to kill anyone in their way...

Magic Steals was originally published in the anthology Night Shift

Magic Steals is another Jim and Dali novella that I ate right up. It’s another short story where Dali takes front and center. She’s Indonesian and she’s a great white tiger that comes from a family of magic. Part of Dali’s charm is that she is such a nerd but a charming nerd. She genuinely cares about other people and she’s smart, like super smart and it amazes me that she can’t see why Jim likes her so much.

So in this book, Dali is approached to find a woman’s grandmother that disappeared, she doesn’t hesitate to help and because Jim is worried about the dangers that might jump out at Dali, he helps too. I really like the way that Jim sees Dali. She’s important to him and he wants the world to know that they’re together. I totally get Dali’s hesitation in going public with their relationship, especially with her family because the Asian culture is a lot like the Polynesian culture. Actually, I’m sure that all cultures suffer from the same nosy relatives that be all up in your business and makes you not want to ever bring anyone home, just in case it doesn’t work out and then you’ll never hear the end of it. Dali is trying her damndest to keep her budding relationship with Jim a secret because she’s not all that sure that Jim will want to keep her around since they’re complete opposites and she doesn’t understand why Jim likes her. I loved the way that Jim fixed that problem. He didn’t let her run from her feelings for him, he didn’t let her hide from what they were to each other and I really dug that.

I’m used to Jim fighting with Kate and annoying Kate at every turn so seeing him from Dali’s point of view was a treat for me. I liked seeing them work and I really enjoyed Dali’s seeing more of Dali’s magic background. She’s got a great relationship with her Mom and I loved seeing them together here. Her Mom is super pushy but super sweet at the same time. Their talks in this book and seeing the faith that Dali’s Mom has in her, in her abilities just made me super happy.

This was another fantastic addition to the Kate Daniels series and I really enjoy these little forrays away from Kate and Curran. Jim compliments Dali so well and I just really dig seeing them together. Dali is a powerhouse and she doesn’t even know it. I just adore her so much. This was a good one and I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 15, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #8
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 Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 343
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

In the latest Kate Daniels novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews, magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake…

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…

Magic Shifts is the eighth book in the Kate Daniels series and the action just keeps right on coming. I’m still trippin’ that Curran isn’t View Spoiler » I didn’t know what to expect from these two after the shenanigans from the last book but never fear, Ilona Andrews is here to keep the party going. Kate and Curran are trying to figure things out without the pack and I think I’m going to like where they end up. Curran’s already got a plan and bringing it all together with Kate’s help should be a lot of fun.

So when George calls on Curran and Kate for help in trying to locate her boo thang, Eduardo who had gone missing the day before. Curran considers George a sister since George’s father, Mahon, practically raised him after Curran’s own parents died and so, of course, he was going to help her, even though his hands were tied because they weren’t allowed to try to sway anyone to leave the pack with them for 30 days and helping George could be considered Curran doing exactly that but Kate and Curran work their way around that and they’re on the case.

Seeing Kate and Curran work side by side in figuring out this case was a lot of fun for me. They’re serious couple goals. They’ve got that grown folks kind of love that I just love. They are fiercely loyal to each other and the way that they love each other is just super sweet (and steamy when the mood strikes). They’re a good team and they haven’t lost any of their magic since they’ve gotten together. Some TV couples suffer from becoming that boring couple after they’ve spent so much time and energy finding each other that when they finally get together and are happy, they’re kind of boring. I’m not going lie, a tiny part of me was scared that it was going to happen to Curran and Kate but nope. The magic is still there and I am still Team Kate and Curran.

It’s been pretty interesting seeing Roland try to be a part of Kate’s life. I’m mighty curious to see where that goes and what Roland has up his sleeve. I’m also pretty curious about what the heck Hugh’s been up to since that guy fell from Roland’s grace. I can feel the trouble brewing and it’s headed straight for Kate and I have every faith that Kate is going to kick everybody ass. She’s going to kick ass and take everyone’s name and I’m almost there. I can’t believe that the end is in sight and on one hand, I’m thrilled but on the other hand, I’m sad that my journey through the Kate Daniels world is almost done. I’m not ready to say goodbye and I’m not ready to move on. Sigh.

Anyway, this is another great addition to an already top tier series and I enjoyed it so much so I definitely recommend. Read this series if you haven’t already. So good!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: A Safe Harbor by Moira Rogers

Posted June 11, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: A Safe Harbor by Moira RogersReviewer: Holly
A Safe Harbor by Moira Rogers
Series: Building Sanctuary #1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: June 4, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 84
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A bootlegger will save her life. A debutante will steal his heart. Building Sanctuary, Book 1

Joan Fuller enjoyed a privileged life-until her wealth and connections garnered her the wrong sort of attention. Her rejection of a textile heir-s proposal comes back to bite her when he turns out to be a werewolf on the prowl for a mate. She may have been turned against her will, but now that she-s part of his pack she sets out to protect all its women. Even if that means joining forces with a witch and a vampire-and leaving the comfort of Boston.

Former bootlegger Seamus Whelan has cleaned up his act, but when his old partner Gavin comes to him for help, he can-t say no-no matter how deadly the threat. Escorting some female wolves to safety should have been easy, except their leader is a prim ex-debutante with enough power to challenge Seamus himself. Her courage captures his interest, and her first hesitant kiss ensnares his heart. But before they can build a haven for their kind, they must free themselves of the past-and the powerful man who-s out to teach her a lesson she may not survive-

Warning: This novella contains a rakish werewolf bootlegger forced to join forces with a teetotaling ex-debutante as they fight epic battles, engage in criminal activities and eventually give in to inappropriate passion on a kitchen counter.

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

This review was originally posted on June 11, 2010.

This is a prequel to Rogers’ Sanctuary series, set during the depression era. Although I really loved the romance and learning the backstory on how Sanctuary came to be, I was a bit disappointed that more attention wasn’t given to the time period. I wish more details had been given – clothing and vehicle types, etc – to the era. As it was, the story really could have been set anytime. While that isn’t always a bad thing, in this case, I think it took something away from the story.

The characters were extremely well-drawn. I adored the strength shown by both, though especially Joan. As an alpha werewolf, it wasn’t easy for her to give up control. I love that she was able to share her strengths and weaknesses with Seamus and rely on him to share his with her. Too often with a strong female a line is crossed and she’s seen as bitchy and unbending. Not so here.

Seamus was the perfect combination of tough and caring. He was more than capable of taking care of his people and Joan’s, but he was also man enough to allow her some control. He wasn’t an overbearing alpha, but neither was he too weak or willing to put anyone in danger.

I really liked that they had some time alone together to explore their attraction and deeper feelings for one another. Though the story is short, the romance was believable.

I’m anxious to read more about how Sanctuary came to be, and I’m glad to know there will be more to come in the series.

4.25 out of 5

Building Sanctuary

four-stars


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Joint Review: Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep

Posted June 4, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Protect the Prince by Jennifer EstepReviewer: Ames, Holly and Rowena
Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep
Series: Crown of Shards #2
Also in this series: Kill the Queen
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 451
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Harper Voyager Trade Paperback OriginalMagic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.

Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

But dark forces are at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, Evie’s immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes her wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

But Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s . . . well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…

When we left Everleigh (Evie) at the end of Kill the Queen, she had just killed her cousin and taken her place as the Winter Queen of Bellona. She’s still learning her powers and finding her footing, but she knows she has to try to salvage relations with neighboring kingdom Andvari if she’s going to defeat the king of Morta, who orchestrated the murder of her family. Lucas Sullivan, aka Sully, her would-be love interest, is the much beloved bastard son of the Andvari king, and he’s able to secure an invitation for her to visit his father, though he cannot guarantee her safety.

Assassination attempts, political maneuverings and the strange growing connection between Evie and Sully means this is one trip none of them will ever forget.

Holly: We read Kill the Queen together, and I’m glad we’re reading the rest of the series together, too. I really came to admire Evie and the Black Swan troupe in the first book, and I enjoyed them even more here. Evie’s strength really came through and I loved how she put all the nobles in their place.

Rowena: Yes, Evie is really becoming that bad bitch Queen. I mean, the way that she just kept right on slapping her nobles down when they tried to come for her at the beginning was freaking fantastic. I loved that she wasn’t having anyone shenanigans but what really cemented my love for her was the way that she conducted herself while in Andvari. They showed her no kind of love but that didn’t stop her from doing what’s right and protecting those she loved…even when she had to hurt Sully to save everyone.

Ames: I loved Evie’s evolution in this book! And yes, she did become a bad bitch Queen. The way she handled all those snobby nobles was awesome and I reading her thought processes and her realization of how she needs to handle everyone really puts us in her shoes. Also, the growth of her character. In book 1 she was like 7th in line for the throne or something like that so she grew up knowing how the game was played but was never expected to wear the crown. That disbelief and self-doubt she felt when she takes on the crown was so believable and made her growth that much more satisfying.

Rowena: This was such a great book and I read the entire thing in a little over a day. Evie’s adventures kept me invested from beginning to end and that ending? Goodness, that ending was just perfect for me. I cannot wait to read Crush the King with you guys.

Holly: I love how Evie is growing into herself and figuring things out.

My one disappointment with this book is the development of the romance. I am not a fan of the way things were glossed over in the garden and I don’t like that they never had a full conversation about Evie’s actions. I was pretty underwhelmed by the ending. It kind of came out of nowhere for me.

Ames: I agree with Holly, the romance was the weakest part of the story. However, the overall story was really strong so although I would have liked more when Sully and Evie came together, a discussion about her actions foremost, the rest of the story was so awesome it was ok.

Wena, I knew when Everleigh told Sully that story that it was going to be acted out by the end. That was so predictable! LOL I really could have done without that.

Rowena: I liked the way he showed his love for her. It was just the right amount of cheesy to satisfy and I dug that.

Ames: Oh the other thing I found predictable was the villain in Andvari. I liked the misleading clues pointing in one direction but I knew who it was.

Rowena: Yeah, I saw who the villain was pretty early on.

Holly: The villain wasn’t a surprise to me, either, but I did like the author’s effort to misdirect us.

Ames: I loved that we saw some friendly faces in Andvari. Alvis! And the introduction of the gargoyles. I liked Grimley.

strong>Rowena: Grimley, Gemma, and Alvis were great! I loved seeing Everleigh’s reunion with Gemma and Alvis. With as much grief as she was getting at every turn, it was nice to finally see some friendly faces.

Holly: I was so happy when Evie reconnected with Gemma and Alvis. Do you think we’ll see more from Gemma in the future? I hope so. She’s pretty awesome.

Ames: I really hope Gemma gets a story eventually. She was an interesting character. Also, I really like the world-building that Estep has created with this series so I would happily revisit it for other characters.

Rowena: My favorite part of the book was really seeing Everleigh coming into her powers and realize what it meant to be a Winter Queen. Her battle with Maevyn was awesome.

Holly: I agree the best part of the book was seeing Evie come into her powers and realize what it means to truly be Queen.

I can’t wait for you two to read the next book so we can discuss.

Rowena: I’m really looking forward to the next book so it shouldn’t be long before I jump right in.

This was a strong addition to the series and I’m stoked that we’re reading it together. I’m curious to see how Everleigh and her friends take down the King of Morta but I’m so here for it all. Even though the romance was lacking, I still really enjoyed this book so it gets a 4.25 out of 5 stars from me. What about you guys?

Holly: I really love the world-building and how well Evie is handling everything. The romance was pretty weak and I thought it was a bit predicable, but it was still really good. I give it 4 out of 5.

Ames: I’m giving this one a 4 out of 5 as well. Very well done, solid political intrigue, admirable character growth but was a bit of a miss on the romance.

Final Grades

Ames: 4 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Crown of Shards

four-stars


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Joint Review: His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare

Posted June 2, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: His Bride for the Taking by Tessa DareReviewer: Ames and Rowena
His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 89
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

*This novella was originally published in Rogues Rush In: a Regency Duet (2018), by Tessa Dare and Christi Caldwell

It’s the first rule of friendship among gentlemen: Don’t even think about touching your best friend’s sister.

Sebastian, Lord Byrne, has never been one for rules. He’s thought about touching Mary Clayton—a lot—and struggled to resist temptation. But when Mary’s bridegroom leaves her waiting the altar, only Sebastian can save her from ruin. By marrying her himself.

In eleven years, he’s never laid a finger on his best friend’s sister. Now he’s going to take her with both hands. To have, to hold…and to love.

Rowena: His Bride for the Taking is a novella by Tessa Dare that was originally published in the Rogues Rush In anthology. It’s a brother’s best friend’s romance and it was such a sweet romance that I wasn’t even mad that it was so short.

So, Sebastian made a promise to his best friend Henry Clayton long ago. Henry’s sister Mary is off-limits but when Henry died, Sebastian promised that he would take care of Mary. It’s been hard to keep his hands off of Mary because he’s always been a little bit in love with her but when she needs him to step up for her, he doesn’t hesitate.

Mary Clayton is all alone in the world. Her father and brother are both long gone, her brother’s title having gone to a distant cousin, and the only person that is really around for her is her brother’s best friend Sebastian Ives. When Mary is stood up at the altar, Sebastian steps up for her, and things really take off from there.

I really enjoyed this short read. I thought the romance was light, and it was fun and I felt the chemistry between Sebastian and Mary. This was another winner for me.

What did you think, Ames?

Ames: It was definitely a winner. For being so short there was a lot of story! I am kind of slumping due to all the craziness happening in the world and this was the perfect little tidbit to keep my reading momentum going. I usually shy away from novellas but I’m glad you chose this one.

I liked the friends-to-lovers plot. I liked that Sebastian was a wee bit younger than Mary. She was her own independent woman but Sebastian proved he was someone she could count on, and he recognized that she was her own woman.

And the humor! That scene, with the ‘Swedish’ bed and the discussion around putting it together and directions. That had me laughing, thinking about putting Ikea furniture together. haha

Rowena: Ha, yes. When they were putting the bed together, fighting about putting the bed together, and talking about “surplus”, I couldn’t stop laughing. Tessa Dare is really good at bringing the humor and for such a short story, she packed it real nicely into this one.

I hear you about the reading slump. 2020 has really kicked my ass so I’m happy to finally be reading again and the quality of this one made me super happy. I liked that both Sebastian and Mary had a history together and that they genuinely cared about each other so it made everything we find out, everything going on make sense.

What did you think about Mary’s little shenanigans?

Ames: Ok, usually I wouldn’t like shenanigans like Mary’s, but her and Sebastian were so good together, I didn’t mind. I mean, she didn’t keep it a secret forever right? And he wanted her. I think if this had a been a full length novel, I would not have cared for her actions. I don’t know, I’m not explaining myself well. But Mary didn’t act out of malice, so it was ok.

What did you think?

Rowena: Same. I think because by the time they were married and already well into the first couple days of their marriage, we know that Sebastian was madly in love with Mary but had that not been the case, I think I would have been more mad. I also liked that we got to see Sebastian run the gamut of emotions over her actions and it wasn’t slipped under the rug. They dealt with it and they moved on from it and I respected that.

I really liked both Sebastian and Mary. Their shared love for Henry (Mary’s brother) was sweet and their friendship was even sweeter. I loved that they bickered and they laughed with each other and I really liked that they were both in love with each other from the jump. Gah, what a sweet story.

This was such a short romance but it really packed a wallop of a story and I was here for all of it. I would have liked a longer story but I didn’t feel like it really suffered without it. This is one of the better novellas that I’ve read and I’d give it 4.25 out of 5 stars. What about you?

Ames: I’m giving this one a 4.25 out of 5 as well. It was a feel good story in these dark times. The humor was spot on and the characters were great. I felt their chemistry and loved their back-story.

Final Grades

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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