Tag: 4.25 Reviews

Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Posted April 17, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Written in Red by Anne BishopReviewer: Holly
Written in Red (The Others, #1) by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #1
Published by Roc
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 487
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four-half-stars

Enter a world inhabited by the Others, unearthly entities - vampires and shape-shifters among them - who rule the earth and whose prey are humans.

As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut - a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg's Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard - a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter SImon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she's keeping a secret, and second, she doesn't smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg a job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she's wanted by the government, he'll have to decide whether she's worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

Meg Corbyn is cassandra sangue, a blood prophet, who can speak prophecy when her skin is cut. Because the blood prophets become addicted to the euphoria that veils their mind when they speak prophecy, many years ago it was decided benevolent ownership of them when be given to caretakers “for their own protection”. The majority of whom then used them for profit. For 24 years Meg has lived in such a compound, being used and abused by her owners, taught only what she needed to know to speak prophecy. Until she becomes desperate and escapes. She ends up in Lakeside at a Terra Indigene (The Others) Courtyard. The Others are Earth Natives who rule the continent of Thaisia. They allow humans to lease the land from them, but they have Courtyards in each major city so The Others can keep an eye on what the humans are doing.

Simon Wolfgard is an “Other”, a Terra Indigene (Earth Native), who can shift into the shape of the wolf. He’s the leader of the Lakeside Courtyard. To The Others, humans are just clever meat. Meg is a human, but she doesn’t smell like prey. This intrigues him enough that he hires her to be their Human Liaison. He knows she’s keeping secrets and lying to him, but it isn’t long before she’s won the hearts of all the residents of the Courtyard, including his. When her secrets come to light he’ll have to decide if she’s worth possibly going to war to protect.

Equal parts humor, intrigue and horror, Written in Red sucked me in from page one. The world-building in the first few chapters was somewhat dense, but Meg’s interactions with The Others and her struggle to settle in to life outside the Compound kept me glued to the pages. From there things only got better. Simon’s struggle to pin down why he reacted differently to Meg who smelled like not-prey; His nephew Sam and the emotional trauma he suffered after the death of his mother; Meg befriending everyone in the Courtyard, most of them in spite of themselves; The Elementals (who control the weather) and their Steeds…all of this, and more, pulled me in. I was fully immersed in the Courtyard and the lives of those who inhabit it. Bishop tackles heavy issues like racism and abuse, yet does it so expertly I didn’t feel preached to – or at.

I immediately picked up the second book in series.

4.25 out of 5

The Others

four-half-stars


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Review: Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

Posted April 16, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Duke of Sin by Elizabeth HoytReviewer: Holly
Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Maiden Lane #10
Also in this series: Wicked Intentions, Wicked Intentions, Lord of Darkness, Darling Beast, Dearest Rogue, Sweetest Scoundrel, Duke of Sin, Once Upon a Moonlit Night (Maiden Lane #10.5), Duke of Pleasure, Duke of Desire, Once Upon a Maiden Lane, Once Upon a Christmas Eve (Maiden Lane #12.6)
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 338
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four-stars

A MAN OF SIN

Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.

A WOMAN OF HONOR

Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery's household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.

A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY THEM BOTH

Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can't resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets—and neither may be as nefarious—or as innocent—as they appear . . .

I was looking for an audiobook this week and decided on Duke of Sin. Confession: I read the first few Maiden Lane books, fell into a historical slump, and haven’t read one since. If I’d met Valentine, Duke of Montgomery before, I don’t recall. Nor do I remember any of the secondary characters in this book. So I feel safe in saying this can be read as a standalone. I didn’t feel lost at all. I do think I might have had stronger feelings for him had I read the previous books, however.

Val is definitely a Villain. He blackmails, murders, lies, schemes…and yet, I couldn’t hate him. From the very beginning he drew me in and made me want to know more about him. As the novel progresses and we learn more about his childhood and the events that shaped him into the man he is, my heart completely melted. It helped that Bridget is his perfect match. Though he’s a duke and she’s his housekeeper, there’s no doubt to the reader they’re on equal footing. He may have standing in society, but she has the moral high ground.

All in all this was a lovely read. I was shocked, entertained and delighted in turn. I remember Hoyt being a wonderful storyteller. Duke of Sin proves my memory was correct.

4.25 out of 5

Maiden Lane

four-stars


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Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Bayou Moon by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Bayou Moon (The Edge, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Edge #2
Also in this series: On the Edge, Bayou Moon, On the Edge (The Edge, #1)
Published by Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: October 1st 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 447
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four-stars

The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Walmart and magic is a fairytale–and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…

Cerise Mar and her unruly clan are cash poor but land rich, claiming a large swathe of the Mire, the Edge swamplands between the state of Louisiana and the Weird. When her parents vanish, her clan’s long-time rivals are suspect number one.

But all is not as it seems. Two nations of the Weird are waging a cold war fought by feint and espionage, and their conflict is about to spill over into the Edge—and Cerise’s life . William, a changeling soldier who left behind the politics of the Weird, has been forced back into service to track down a rival nation’s spymaster.

When William’s and Cerise’s missions lead them to cross paths, sparks fly—but they’ll have to work together if they want to succeed…and survive.

Bayou Moon is the second book in Ilona Andrews The Edge series and it was another fantastic read by the writing duo. This book follows William, the changeling from On the Edge as he makes his way to the Mire on a mission to find bad guys that are planning some really bad things. William meets Cerise Mar while trying to track down Spider (the bad guy) and when an opportunity presents itself to work together, William jumps on board real quick like.

Cerise is trying to find her parents. With her father missing, she is the leader of her family and there are a million of them. She’s in the middle of a family feud over her grandfather’s property and she’s got a million things to do and a million people counting on her to fix their family mess. When she comes across William, a stranger from the Weird, she joins forces with him because they seem to be after the same person and he has knowledge of the people that they’re fighting. It made sense and the longer she spent in his company, the more drawn they were to each other.

I enjoyed William’s character in On the Edge and at first introduction, low key wanted him to be the hero of that book but the more that I read that book, the more sense Rose made with Declan and not William. I wanted to read William’s book and was stoked that he was getting one and that I didn’t have to wait to read it. The guy just wanted a family to call his own and boy did he get one with the Mars. The way that he fit in with them and the way that they needed him made the relationship an equal one and I was glad for him.

Cerise was a great heroine. She was strong and she was caring and she really did have her family’s best interests at heart and seeing her try to protect everyone, think of everything and worry about everything in between trying to find her parents and fight the bad guys made me love her more and more with each passing page. She was smart and I really liked seeing her with William but also with her family. They were a tight-knit unit and she was at the top of the chain but she was the kind of leader that got her hands dirty right alongside the fighters and I thought she was awesome.

The romance between William and Cerise was fun but it was also believable. I loved seeing them get to know each other, fight alongside each other and then fall in love with each other. Seeing the effect Cerise had on William made me happy for him because he was fighting it for a little bit but who was he kidding? He loved the hell out of Cerise and I was so here for that. I really liked that Cerise was all in with William and was able to pull him into her family and be his support system. He was so used to being alone and seeing them figure their feelings and relationship out made an already great story, even greater.

This series is shaping up to be another fun one and while it’s not my favorite series of the Ilona Andrews bunch, it’s still enjoyable and I definitely recommend.

The Edge Series

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Joint Review: Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Posted April 3, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: Hello Stranger by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #4
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring, Devil in Spring
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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four-stars

A woman who defies her time

Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man—why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule

As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett's skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he's ever known.

Hello Stranger is the fourth book in Lisa Kleypas’ Ravenels series and it follows, Dr. Garrett Gibson and Mr. Ethan Ransom. Both characters were introduced in the previous books and both characters are linked to the Ravenels in different ways.

Dr. Garrett Gibson is the only female doctor in England and she’s one busy woman. She’s sworn that her career is more important than marriage and has no plans to marry as it will interfere with her job. When she meets Ethan Ransom and starts taking an interest in him, things change.

Mr. Ethan Ransom has been infatuated with Dr. Gibson from the jump. He knows that he can’t have her because his life is a dangerous one but that doesn’t stop him from wanting her, from wanting to be near her and when a friendship sparks up between them and then a relationship, Ethan knows that to protect her, he should keep his distance but he can’t stay away from her.

When the danger comes and meets them head-on, Garrett must save Ethan’s life so that he can fight the biggest fight of his life.

Rowena: Our joint review for March is Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas and it’s a book that Holly and I have been anxious to read for quite some time now. I’ve lagged because I was wrapped up in Ilona Andrews but once I finally settled in and started reading Hello Stranger, it was good stuff.

What did you think, Holly?

Holly: It was good. I kind of thought Garrett might be too independent, or Ethan might be too overbearing, but I think they found a good balance. He didn’t try to stifle her and she didn’t insist she could do everything on her own to the detriment of her safety. I was a little sad in the beginning that she wasn’t able to whoop his arse, though. Can you imagine his face if she’d taken him down on the street?

Rowena: I had the same thoughts going into the book, especially after reading that scene where she had to fight off her attackers and Ethan stepped in and helped her. The way that she kept insisting that she got it, I was like, “Oh hell, are we going to get a whole lot of this for the remainder of the book?” I’m glad to see that that wasn’t the case.

I really enjoyed both Ethan and Garrett. They were wonderful together. I loved that Ethan was fighting to save the lives of thousands and that Garrett cared a whole bunch about saving his life. I did think that they went from kissing to I love you pretty quickly but I can’t even care about that because I adored Ethan so much. I just happy sighed while typing that because, holy cow, that speech that Ethan gave Garrett when he thought he was going to die?

swoon

Holly: I was really surprised at how quickly she changed her mind from “I won’t ever marry” to “Let’s get married”. But then if Ethan had courted me like that is have married him quick, too. He was so wonderful. He’s by far the most flowery Kleypas hero, I think, but it really worked for him. He was so sweet. I love him so much.

Rowena: Same. I would have been dressed in my wedding dress when he showed up with that monkey picture. LMAO.

Holly: Ha, I can just see you all “Oh, hello Ethan. I do.” But same, though. He was swoony.

Rowena: He would have been for a big surprise when he moved those covers off. I don’t even care that I would have married in a wedding dress that was wrinkled to shit. I would have been all, “I do, I do, I do, I do” Hahaha.

Holly:I can just see you all curled up in the bed wearing a wedding dress. “Surprise!” HAHA

What did you think of the suspense plot?

Rowena: I was much more invested in the romance between Ethan and Garrett than I was the suspense plot. It was just okay in my opinion. I think there was a lot going on and not a lot of page time to devote to each little thing. I don’t think we spent enough time with Jenkyns or even with the whole suspense plot to really get the motivation behind it but overall, that wasn’t what I was reading the book for so I guess I let it slide because I loved what I was getting from what I actually wanted from the story. Does that make sense?

Holly: I agree the romance was the most compelling part of the story. I was in a rush to get back to them as a couple, so the suspense plot was more filler than anything else. I will say something about it bothered me. It wasn’t how quickly it was resolved, but more how quickly things seemed to happen in the end. Maybe that’s just the power of fiction, but everything seemed to snowball once Ethan had his evidence.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room…or the Indian woman in the story, as the case may be. A short paragraph thrown in mentions “training” Ethan did in India with a woman who trained him in the art of Kama Sutra. It jarred me when I read it, because it seemed rather out of place. But aside from thinking “That was unnecessary” it didn’t really register for me. It wasn’t until I saw the way others felt about it that I considered the full ramifications of what Kleypas had done by including it. I don’t know her, but she seems like a class act. Her response to the reviewers who were angered by the inclusion of it was fair and right, imo.

What about you? Did you notice it? Did you have any thoughts about it? I will say, that small part did not ruin the book for me. It wasn’t necessary in any way, but it didn’t turn me off from reading.

Rowena: I read this book after I read the review over at Smart Bitches and from how ragey the reviewer was, I went into this book prepared to be jarred but when I got to the part where it’s mentioned, it was so small and I was expecting something really big that I was more jarred by that then what’s in the story. If that makes any sense. The reviewer wasn’t wrong though. It wasn’t needed to further the story and I’m glad that LK responded the way that she did.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed getting to know Garrett, seeing her in action and I loved the romance between her and Ransom. I really loved Ransom. Like, a lot a lot. Give me all the Ransoms, please. So while the suspense was the weakest part of the book, the romance and seeing everyone again more than makes up for that, IMO. I give this one a 4.25 out of 5. You?

Holly: I loved Ransom so much. I was bothered by how quickly Garrett decided she was in love and ready for marriage, but honestly Ethan was so great he kind of made the whole book for me. I’m going to give it 4 out of 5.

Final Grades

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

The Ravenels Series

four-stars


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Review: White Hot Ilona Andrews

Posted March 27, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: White Hot Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #2
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3)
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: May 30th 2017
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 389
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four-stars

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …

White Hot is the second book in the Hidden Legacy series by writing duo Ilona Andrews and it’s another book that completely rocked my socks.

Nevada Baylor and Mad Rogan are back for an action-packed story filled with magic, bad guys and Nevada finding out more about herself, her family and her magic. Her latest case has her trying to find Cornelius Harrison’s wife’s killer. The case wasn’t normally a case she’d take on but Cornelius has nowhere else to go and nobody else will help him so of course, Nevada is going to help. She dives right into the case and finds herself brought face to face with the guy that hasn’t called in months, the guy she can’t seem to forget….Connor “Mad” Rogan of House Rogan.

I’m really digging the suspense in these books. There’s a lot going on in each book with a bigger story unraveling in the background and Ilona Andrews do such a great job of pulling on each string, keeping the reader hanging until the dramatic finish in the end. I was invested in what was going on from beginning to end, even though Nevada’s stubbornness was a bit much in this book. I still love the hell out of her but I thought she fought stupid shit for too long in this book. She gets over it and so did I but that was a bit of a downer in an otherwise fantabulous book.

The chemistry between Rogan and Nevada is so much fun that I read this one in no time at all. Their bickering and their ability to put all of their differences aside and have each others backs in a fight make this series pretty special for me. This book was fun and it was entertaining with a cast of characters that jump right off the pages and into your heart. I can’t get enough of this series and I’m sad that I only have one more to go before I’m done. 🙁

I’m really interested in seeing more of Catalina, Arabella, Leon and even Bern. I’m itching to see what their powers are and how powerful they’ll be when they come into their own. Leon is such a fun character and I love how normal these teenagers are. They’re into the things that teenagers these days are into. Their selfie game is on point and the drama that they’re always in the middle of had me laughing all over the place.

I also really enjoyed getting to know Cornelius and his daughter Matilda. All of Rogan’s people are great, too. Seriously, I love them all except the bad guys and Nevada’s grandmother on her father’s side. There’s a lot to love in this book and I want everyone to read this book and love it as much as I did. So good!

Hidden Legacy

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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