Tag: 4.25 Reviews

Review: Spellbinder by Thea Harrison

Posted June 13, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Spellbinder by Thea HarrisonReviewer: Casee
Spellbinder by Thea Harrison
Series: Moonshadow #2
Also in this series: Spellbinder, Lionheart (Moonshadow, #3), Lionheart (Moonshadow, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 428
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From author Thea Harrison comes the latest story in the New York Times bestselling Moonshadow trilogy….

Kidnapped while on tour, musician Sidonie Martel is transported to the mystical land of Avalon. A human without magical ability, she is completely vulnerable to the deadly forces surrounding her.

When she defies her captors and refuses to share her music, an act of violent cruelty leaves her broken, her ability to play silenced, maybe forever. Her only hope is a whisper in the dark, gentle hands that offer healing, and a man who refuses to show her his face yet who offers advice she dare not ignore.

One of the most feared and powerful sorcerers in history, Morgan le Fae serves a Queen he despises, Isabeau of the Light Court. Once a famous bard and an advisor to kings, Morgan has been enslaved to Isabeau for hundreds of years, acting as enforcer and the commander of her deadly Hounds.

Sidonie’s music touches Morgan in places he had abandoned centuries ago, and her fiery spirit resurrects feelings he had believed long dead. For Sidonie, trapped in captivity, passion offers a comfort she cannot resist.

But Isabeau holds Morgan bound in magical chains that only Death can break. And in the court of a cruel, jealous Queen, the only thing that burns hotter than love is revenge…

Spellbinder was such a delight to me. I didn’t enjoy Morgan at all in Moonshadow (Moonshadow #1). He just seemed like the quintessential bad guy. He tried to stop the good guys from doing good and he also tried to hurt them. Why on Gods green earth would I want to read a book where he is the hero? Yeah, I wouldn’t. That’s why it’s taken me almost two years to read it. It was released summer of 2017 and I just kept putting it off. It’s really unfortunate because I really loved it.

Morgan has been under a geas to Queen Isabeau of the Light Fae for centuries. Dictionary.com says a geas is “an obligation or prohibition magically imposed on a person.”. Yep, the geas was most definitely imposed on Morgan. As is imposed against his will. Morgan is Dark Fae. When he was still young, Morgan’s power was already being whispered about throughout Fae lands. Isabeau decided she needed Morgan for herself so she imposed the geas on him by stabbing with the Athame of Lord Death himself.

Sidonie Martel has no idea her life is in peril simply because her music is the only thing that has brought peace to Morgan in longer than he can remember. Alas, it has and Sid is kidnapped by a puck that has no idea that Morgan is under a geas. All the puck can see is that Morgan likes being aligned with Isabeau and his beloved was murdered while he was held captive and tortured.

Sid thought everything would work out. She’s a human on foreign land and isn’t there some law about that? She soon learns that she’s on her own and in the worst way possible. Then she meets her Magic Man who saves her from the horrible hell she has been thrown into.

Morgan and Sid were both in impossible situations, both wanting to save each other but needing to save themselves first. The way Morgan was able to get out of the geas was heartbreaking, but necessary. It was just so incredibly sad. I felt for both Morgan and Sid.

Thea did a fantastic job of writing Morgan. I am back to that. Only the truly gifted can. make you hate a character with a passion, not want to read his book, then make you love him by the end of his book. She definitely did that because I adore Morgan.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Moonshadow

four-half-stars


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Buddy Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Posted June 12, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina LaurenReviewer: Ames & Rowena
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Format: eARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 395
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren features Olive Torres and Ethan Thomas as they go on their sibling’s honeymoon because the happy couple and everyone else that attended the wedding got serious food poisoning and couldn’t go on their non-refundable trip. Olive and Ethan don’t even like each other for reasons that neither of them is aware of but that is not going to stop them from going on this trip…for free.

Once they land in Hawaii, things get really complicated when they both have to pretend to be together …they get really good at pretending to be together, so good that it soon starts to feel like they’re not pretending anymore. The trip brings out some truths between the two of them and when they return home, the party is still going but other things outside of their love bubble complicate things for them and Christina Lauren did their magic with bringing the drama. Olive and Ethan had to work for their happy ending and I thought everything was handled well.

Rowena: This was a fast read for me and I really enjoyed the whole thing. What about you, Ames?

Ames: It was a quick read for me too! I got swept right up into Olive and Ethan’s story so I wanted to see how it all worked out. I love that they went from enemies to lovers. One thing that just made me so happy was how Ethan purposely got Olive’s name wrong so then she started to do it too. I thought them calling each other by different names was too funny. Oscar…LOL The set up of the book was very well done too, the forced proximity really made Olive and Ethan see each other in a new light. There wasn’t anything forced about how their minds change over time.

I liked how the characters were built up too. Olive was the unlucky twin but she still had a go-getter attitude and wasn’t too woe is me. So I really felt for her when her sister and Ethan didn’t believe her at the end of the book. Jerks. LOL.

What did you think?

Rowena: I had the same thoughts toward Ami and Ethan at the end…and the way that Ami confronts the big bad and Ethan shows up and you can just feel how sorry he was toward Olive? Man, Christina Lauren did a great job of writing that scene. It pulled at my feels and I was so Team Olive through it all.

This was such a work of fiction, a little over the top with certain things (the lucky and unlucky twin thing is one thing that comes to mind) but I didn’t care about any of that. This book entertained the socks right off of me and I enjoyed getting to know Olive and Ethan, seeing them work things out between them since they spent so much time hating each other. They came together in a believable way and Ethan’s grand gesture had me smiling from ear to ear. So good.

Ames: See, I don’t know if I would have forgiven Ethan so quickly. Maybe I’m just a petty bitch and would have held on to my hurt for a bit longer but I thought it was too easy. Mind you Ethan did redeem himself…so it must just be me. haha!

I really liked Olive’s character. She hated lying to her new boss and she couldn’t lie to save her life! She did jump to conclusions quickly but Ethan always called her out on it so I liked that he balanced her that way. And I like that she eventually comes clean. She has integrity.

You know what I realized? The whole running into your ex with their new partner in Hawaii was very Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Remember that movie?

Anyway, I really enjoyed The Unhoneymooners. It made me laugh, it was definitely steamy and it was full of good characters. Even the extended family members were fun and added to the story. Olive had herself a little journey of self-discovery throughout the whole thing (especially around her career goals) so I feel like this one just checked all the feel-good boxes.

Rowena: Haha, you’re right. This movie was so Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I forgave Ethan a lot sooner than I thought I would because I knew that he was sorry and he got me with the, “I’ll spend the rest of my life being sorry for this” line so yeah, maybe it was just you. LMAO!

Olive was the highlight of this book for me. I loved her, her family support system and I loved her relationship with her twin sister. It wasn’t perfect and I was annoyed with Ami at first but man do they really come around for me. This book was definitely funny but I could have used for some more steam. I think there was like one sex scene in the entire book, I didn’t know that I needed more of those but it wouldn’t have hurt this book.

Christina Lauren did their thing with this one and I’m glad that we read this one together. It was a lot of fun and I’ve come to expect these kinds of stories from the Christina Lauren duo. I give this one 4.25 out of 5 stars, you?

Ames: I’m giving the Unhoneymooners a 4.25 out of 5 as well.

Final Grades

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

four-stars


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Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 5, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee & Holly
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2), One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2013
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 235
Length: 7 hours and 55 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Clean Sweep is the first book in the Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews. It’s my favorite of all their series (maybe), and I forced Casee into reading it because. Just because.

Dina Demille runs an Inn for otherworldly beings. In order to keep Earth safe from other races with superior technology, it was made a neutral stopover point and Inns were set up to house travelers. The first priority of Innkeepers is to keep their guests safe, while keeping their existence a secret from the outside world. Gertrude Hunt is Dina’s inn. It’s a fledgling Inn that was dormant for a long time and doesn’t have a lot of power or a high rating among other Inns, but she’s determined to change that. Her parents, and their Inn, disappeared and she’s determined to find them. The more travelers that come by her Inn, the better chance someone will recognize her parents from the photo that hangs in the front room and can tell her what happened to them.

Dina crosses paths with her neighbor, Sean Evans, an alpha-strain werewolf, when something starts killing the neighborhood dogs. She asks him to take care of it and he blows her off. She decides to handle it herself, but she and Sean keep butting heads.

When a group of vampires show up and it turns out they’re connected to the thing killing the neighborhood dogs, Dina and Sean must work together, along with Arland, the vampire Lord Marshall, to figure out what’s going on, keep the neighborhood safe and protect the humans from finding out what’s happening.

Holly: So, what did you think? Are you glad I forced -ehem- gently encouraged you to read it?

Casee: You call that “gently encouraging”? I call it severe harassment.

I am glad that I finally listened to Clean Sweep. I truly love Ilona Andrews. They are a spectacular writing duo. The world building here is really wonderful because it doesn’t bog down the book (see: Magic Bites). You learn about this world without being bored to tears. I found Dina to be an amazingly strong heroine and I really admired her. She hasn’t given up on finding her parents which is a great burden to bear on its own and she’s also running what is basically a brand new Inn.

Did you like Dina from the beginning?

Holly: I actually wasn’t sure about her in the very beginning. But I warmed up to her quickly.

Casee: I loved the dynamic of her relationship with Sean from the start. How Sean played dumb, how Dina wouldn’t let him. Really, really amusing.

Holly: I love how her relationship with Sean progresses over the novel. When she starts insulting him and he doesn’t get it, I laughed out loud. I like how they come to rely on each other. I get all melty every time I read the Costco scene when he comes to rescue her.

Speaking of the Costco scene, how amazing was that? Dina, her magic, the whole scenario. I loved it.

Casee: I effing loved the woman in Costco that helped her kill the stalker. Classic Costco crazy right there. Holy shit, she opened concrete. Concrete for shit’s sake. Dina knew she would most likely die, but she did it anyway because she knew she had to protect the secret of magic. That was another reason I loved her. She had such loyalty to the cause (for lack of a better word).

Holly: When they dump bleach on the creature and then the woman who’s helping Dina says “Don’t mess with Texas” I about died laughing. Dina is pretty amazing.

Casee: What did you think of Arland? It was hysterical when he drank the coffee. I was really laughing out loud. So funny.

Holly: I love Arland. It’s hard for me to talk about this book without considering the rest of the series. I’ll say I loved Arland here – he was hilarious – but I love him more as the series goes on.

Casee: Holy mothereffing shiitake mushrooms. You just gave me a mothereffing spoiler. Arland is in the subsequent books? I’m excited to hear that.

Holly: Yes, I gave you a spoiler. We see Arland again.

Casee: I am giving this a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I’m giving this 4.25 out of 5. I loved the world-building, the Inn, Dina and her guests, Sean, Arland..all of it.

Final Grades

Casee: 4 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Innkeeper Chronicles

four-stars


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Review: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 3, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Slays by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #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 , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 308
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name. Plus, many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. But it turns out that this is not an isolated incident. Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—and fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price…

Magic Slays is the fifth book in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. As its the fifth book in the series, it’s nearly impossible for me to write this review without including spoilers from previous books. Fair warning.

Kate has set up her own investigative firm, Cutting Edge, and she’s all settled in with her faithful attack poodle, Grendel, for help. Unfortunately, business is sparse.

So far Cutting Edge was turning out to be one of those pet businesses rich men gave to their wives to keep them busy. I wanted it to succeed, God damn it. I wanted to be profitable and stand on my own two feet.

The residents of Atlanta aren’t exactly busting down her door, begging to hire her. So she isn’t exactly in a position to say no when a new case pops up. One that looks to be dangerous and dirty.

Rene looked at Grendel.
“What in the world is that?”
“That’s our mutant attack poodle,” I told her.
“Is he chewing on a gun?”
“It’s not a real gun,” Andrea said.
Rene sighed. “Of course not. That would be irresponsible of you, wouldn’t it?”

Andrea turns back up in this book, and we see quite a bit with her and Kate. I love their friendship and how solid it is, despite not being very old.

Andrea blew her nose. Her voice came out slightly hoarse. “Do you even have anything to shoot the PAD with?”
“I have an armory upstairs. The Pack gave me some guns and ammo. It’s in boxes to the left.”
Andrea paused. “In cardboard boxes?” “Yeah.” Andrea groaned.
“Hey, guns aren’t my thing. If they had brought me swords, that would be different. That’s where you come—”
Andrea got up and hugged me. It was a split-second hug, and then she was off, going upstairs, handkerchief in hand. This best friend thing was seriously kicking my ass.

I also love seeing Derek, Ascanio, Aunt B, and all the rest again.

Every time Kate turns into a hardass I cheer. She’s so badass. I can’t even with her.

[..]He wouldn’t slice a man’s throat and step over his twitching body while the hot blood spurted on the ground. I would. And it wouldn’t bother me much. In fact, I’d been out of action for over two months now. I missed it, missed the edge and the fight.
We stared at each other.
I would kill you in an instant with no hesitation.
A slow recognition rolled over Henderson’s face. “So it’s like that,” he said.
That’s right.

The series is really picking up steam now. I feel like Kate has settled into herself more and is beginning to accept her future. I like the progression of her relationship with Curran and the rest of her band of merry men. I like the story here, too.

Yes, Consort?”
“Why is everyone calling me Consort?”
“Jim designated you as Consort in official papers. You don’t want to be called Mate, calling you Alpha is confusing, and ‘Beast Lady’ makes people laugh.”

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-half-stars


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Review: Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

Posted May 28, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Storm Cursed by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly
Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
Narrator: Lorelei King
Series: Mercy Thompson #11
Also in this series: Frost Burned , Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen , Moon Called, Blood Bound , Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed , River Marked , Frost Burned
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 368
Length: 10 hours and 15 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In this powerful entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves...

My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter.

And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn't stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word.

We will die to keep it.

Storm Cursed is the 11th installment of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. I listened to the audiobook. It’s my first Briggs audio and I have to say, I loved the narrator. Lorelei King did a wonderful job as Mercy. It was very well done.

Since Mercy claimed the tri-cities as Pack territory some months ago, the Pack is constantly called out to deal with magical creatures. In this book, it’s goblins, pygmy zombie goats and black witches. Adam is away on business quite a bit, so Mercy and the Pack are left to deal with things on their own. Luckily Mercy has strong allies and good friends, because she’s going to need them.

It’s difficult to review Storm Cursed, because of spoilers. I will say, I loved seeing Mercy interact with the pack more, and school some of them on things they should already know. I loved the tender moments between Adam and Mercy. They’re such a strong couple, and I love seeing them interact with each other. We see more of Mercy and Stefan. Their relationship is strained now, but still strong. A lot of our usual players were missing here – No Jessie, no Charles and Anna (which seemed a bit odd, given the circumstances), very little with the rest of the Pack, but I didn’t really notice their absence until I’d finished the novel and thought back on it. I was wrapped up in the story as it was being told.

Creepy, action-packed, full of mystery and suspense, all dosed with sweet, tender moments between Adam and Mercy and spiced with a bit of humor. Briggs did it again. Storm Cursed does not disappoint.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Mercy Thompson

four-stars


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