Tag: 4.25 Reviews

Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Posted November 11, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. JamesReviewer: Holly
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Narrator: Kirsten Potter, Brittany Pressley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Horror, Gothic, Thriller
Pages: 327
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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four-stars

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

I recently had a Zoom call with some book friends and Wendy the Super Librarian recommended this novel. It had been in my TBR pile for awhile, but I moved it to the top. I usually enjoy novels by St. James, but this one was of the better ones I’ve read in awhile. The creepiness of the motel, the alternating story-lines and the mystery of what happened in the 1980s was gripping.

When Carly’s mom dies of cancer, she learns of an aunt she never knew existed..one who disappeared in the 1980s that no one ever talks about. Determined to connect with her family history, she travels to Fell, New York, to see if she can uncover what happened.

In 1982, Viv Delaney hitchhiked to Fell, New York and took a job as a night clerk at The Sun Down Motel. She expected it to be a stop-over point on her way to New York to pursue a career in acting. But strange things are happening in Fell, New York, and creepy things go on at night at The Sun Down. It isn’t long before Viv is wrapped up in the mystery of several local missing or murdered women.

The story alternates between Carly in the present and Viv in the 1980s. Carly is trying to figure out what happened to her aunt, and we’re given small pieces of the puzzle from Viv’s point of view in the 80s. I really enjoyed the two narrators and how the story was woven between the two time periods. I figured out pretty early on where things were headed, but I still enjoyed watching the story unfold.

I was slightly disappointed in the end, but I’d still definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a creepy, Gothic mystery.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Gamble by Kristen Ashley

Posted October 2, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Gamble by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
The Gamble by Kristen Ashley
Series: Colorado Mountain #1
Also in this series: The Gamble , Jagged, Kaleidoscope, Sweet Dreams, Sweet Dreams
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: First and Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 688
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Welcome to New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley's Colorado Mountain Series, where friends become family and everyone deserves a second chance.
Love is the greatest gamble of all . . .
Nina Sheridan desperately needs a timeout vacation. With a fianc?àö¬© who can't even remember how she takes her coffee, Nina wants some distance to rethink her engagement. Flying halfway around the world from England to a mountain town in Colorado should do the trick. But when she finds a gorgeous man at her rental cabin, Nina's cold, lonely adventure suddenly heats up.
The owner of the house, Holden "Max" Maxwell is surprised by the beautiful woman who turns up at his door. But when Nina becomes ill, Max spends days nursing her back to health. A private man with a broken heart, Max finds himself drawn to the strong-willed woman. Soon it becomes impossible for Nina and Max to deny their growing attraction to one another. Yet even as these two wounded souls think about taking a chance on a relationship, a secret from Max's past emerges-and threatens to end their love for good.

Sweet Dreams was one of the first Kristen Ashley books that I read. I’ve been meaning to get back to the Colorado Mountain series but it just wasn’t happening. Then I decided to go on a KA binge and voilà! The Gamble.

Nina Sheridan needs a break from her life. She travels from England to Gnaw Bone, Colorado and a cute little rental she found. When she arrives, she finds a man in what is supposed to be her haven for the next few weeks. Not just that, but she feels like she’s getting sick. All Nina wanted was a nice quiet place to contemplate her life. To decide if she wants to marry the fiancé that can’t seem to remember anything about her. Now she’s feeling like actual trash and facing a mountain man who tells her he’s the owner of the house and what she thought was going to be her rental is unavailable.

To say that Holden “Max” Maxwell is surprised to find Nina on his doorstep is a bit of an understatement. He wants her gone and right now. Excepts she faints in his living room. It’s obvious she’s very ill and Max doesn’t really know what to do. So he takes care of her. Nina isn’t a woman that is used to being taken care of. She’s the one that takes care of the people in her life. When she wakes up after being sick for days, she’s at a loss on what to do with the man that all of a sudden becomes the center of her world.

I really enjoyed both these characters. Nina is so prim and proper. Or she tries to be because she thinks she needs to be. Max brings out the best, which she thinks is the worst, of her. Max reminds her of who she really is. In her time with Max, Nina realizes how doomed her relationship is with her fiancé. When she sends him an email (yes, an email) breaking up with him, he doesn’t even bother with a call. It was really, very odd.

I thought it was weird when Nina’s dad came into the picture. It was made clear that he wasn’t part of her life, but he just showed up. I really enjoyed Nina finding herself again and reading about her falling in love with Max. Max has had happiness and he’s had heartbreak throughout his life. Nina is his reward and he won’t let her go.

Love this book!

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Colorado Mountain

four-stars


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Review: Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha

Posted September 30, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Deal with the Devil by Kit RochaReviewer: Holly
Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha
Series: Mercenary Librarians #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: July 28, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Deal with the Devil is Orphan Black meets the post-apocalyptic Avengers by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author duo Kit Rocha.

Nina is an information broker with a mission--she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America.

Knox is the bitter, battle-weary captain of the Silver Devils. His squad of supersoldiers went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, and now he's fighting to survive.

They're on a deadly collision course, and the passion that flares between them only makes it more dangerous. They could burn down the world, destroying each other in the process...

Or they could do the impossible: team up.

This is the first book in a near-future science fiction series with elements of romance.

When Kit Rocha first announced they were writing a Mercenary Librarians series, I was beyond excited. Mercenary.Librarians. COME TO MAMA. Deal with the Devil is the first book in the series, and it definitely left me wanting more.

Garrett Knox is captain of the Silver Devils, an elite squad of super soldiers. He joined up to change the world and do some good, but he quickly realized TechCorps, the agency in charge of their genetic modifications (and basically the world), just wanted elite assassins. They finally have enough and he and his team have gone AWOL, but without regular maintenance, their genetic modifications will deteriorate and slowly kill them all – a kill switch embedded by TechCorps to keep them in line. The problem? The scientist they need to fix their implants has been kidnapped, and the only way she’ll be returned is if Knox delivers Nina, an information broker, in exchange.

Nina is skeptical of Knox’s offer to lead her to the fabled hidden Library of Congress, but she it’s an opportunity she can’t pass up. She and her sisters-of-the-heart a strong and capable, so they agree, but keep their guard up. She’s surprised at the chemistry they have, but she knows falling into bed with someone she doesn’t trust is a bad idea. The more time the two teams spend together, the harder it is to keep a wall between them.

I absolutely loved the sheer amount of Girl Power in this novel. Nina, Dani and Maya were wonderfully written. They were kickass, but also relatable. Knox and his Silver Devils were also very well done. I like that they paid attention to the strengths the ladies brought and didn’t try to take over or make decisions for them. There was a good amount of mutual respect on both sides that really brought this novel together.

Parts were a bit predictable View Spoiler », and there were times the story moved rather slow, but I easily fell into this book and can’t wait for the next.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Mercenary Librarians

four-stars


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Review: Raid by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 23, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Raid by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Raid by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #3
Also in this series: Knight, Creed, Deacon, Sebring
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 28, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 274
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hanna Boudreaux has lived in the small town of Willow, Colorado all her life. The great-granddaughter of the town matriarch, she's sweet, cute and quiet.
Too quiet.
Hanna has a moment of epiphany when she realizes her crush for forever, Raiden Ulysses Miller, is not ever going to be hers. She sees her life as narrow and decides to do something about it.
Raiden Miller is the town of Willow's local hero. An ex-marine with the medal to prove his hero status, he comes home, shrouded in mystery. It takes a while but, eventually, Hanna catches his eye.
But after all these years of Raid and Hanna living in the same town, the question is, why? Is Raid interested in Hanna because she's sweet and cute? Or does Raid have something else going on?

I just adore this series. Sure, it’s unconventional but I can’t stop reading these books.

Raiden Miller is a former marine that is back in his hometown in Colorado to bring down a very powerful drug dealer. His investigation leads him straight to Hanna Boudreaux. Hanna seems innocent, but Raiden has to make sure before he crosses her off his list. See, the drugs are being mailed through Hanna’s business. It doesn’t take Raiden a minute to figure out that Hanna has nothing to do with drugs. She’s an innocent that was taken advantage of by people that she trusted. Raiden is instantly protective of Hanna. It’s hard not to be because she sees the world through rose colored glasses.

Hanna has loved Raiden from afar for years. When he actually notices her, she’s not quite sure what to do. Then she finds out why he approached her. It’s not for herself, that’s for certain. Or that’s what she tells herself. Hanna soon discovers that Raiden wants her and he’s not going to leave her alone until she gives in. Giving in to Raiden isn’t hard for her. While she’s loved him for years, she never really knew him. All she knew him as was the town hero. Hanna had a bit of hero worship for Raiden, but now she’s getting to know the real man. She likes what she sees.

I really liked Hanna. I read some reviews and I know Holly some people didn’t like Hanna. I didn’t really care for her at first either. Her unrequited love for Raiden was a total turn off. Eventually her character got better and I really ended up liking her. I loved that she made afghans for a living. I loved how scatterbrained she was. I loved her relationship with her great grandmother. I also loved how Raiden just fit seamlessly into her life.

This is my favorite quote from the book. Raiden was telling Hanna about being in the military and that she was his reward for risking his life.

“You might think that’s jacked, but it’s not. It’s the goddamn fuckin’ truth. Whether you got that in your bed before you go or hope to find it when you get back, that’s why you do it. You do it for her. You do it to keep her safe. You planted kids inside her, or you hope to, you do it for them. You get home in one piece, she’s your reward.” His body pressed into mine and his face, partly shadowed, came within an inch of mine. “You’re my reward, Hanna.”

This is my third favorite book in the series. Raiden and Hanna’s story was a pleasure to read. I was left wanting more at the end, which is exactly Kristen Ashley is good at.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Unfinished Hero

four-stars


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Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 21, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Tracy
Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #5
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5), Sapphire Flames, Diamond Fire, Wildfire
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won't rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that's tearing their world apart.

Catalina Baylor is wrapping up an investigation for House Baylor Investigative Agency, her family’s PI firm, when she’s attacked by beasts she’s never seen before.  She discovers that they are a blend of mechanical and biological constructs that are controlled by magic, which aren’t supposed to be able to exist together.  Since she is the Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, she calls the Warden, Linus Duncan, and tells him.  He immediately instructs her to go to Montgomery Investigations, Inc. and take over a case.

The case involves the death of Prime Felix Morton from House Morton.  He was one of five Primes from different Houses that were working on a reclamation project. They were trying to reclaim The Pit, which is a flooded, swampy area in the middle of Houston.  Catalina must now interview the other four Primes to try to discover who killed Felix.  She certainly doesn’t expect to run into Alessandro Sagredo when she gets to MII, as she hasn’t seen him in six months, but that’s what happens.  Alessandro was hired by Lander Morton to kill whoever murdered his son, Felix, once the killer is exposed.

Catalina is determined to keep her distance from Alessandro, despite the fact that he’s resumed his bodyguard-of-the-Deputy-Warden duties.  Alessandro has discovered that a man that he has been after for years is now looking to kill Catalina, if not her whole family.  He’s going to keep Catalina safe if it kills him.

Catalina has to deal with her feelings for Alessandro, keeping herself and her family safe, dealing with her grandmother Tremaine who is a wolf in wolf’s clothing, and balancing her House duties as well as her Deputy duties.  It’s a lot, especially with finding out that there is something in the Pit that is sentient, and it plans on taking over Houston completely.

I love Ilona Andrews books.  Seriously, I’ve never read an IA that I didn’t like.  The world building alone rocks my world, then they add in some romance and boom, I’m hooked.  This book was another amazing addition to the Hidden Legacy series.

I really didn’t like Catalina the first time I read Sapphire Flames.  Amazing book, but I was on the fence about her.  The “I love you” when it came to Alessandro was out of nowhere and based on nothing, and I wasn’t feeling it.  I recently reread SF and Catalina grew on me.  I still didn’t like the “love” part of the story, and actually disliked Alessandro somewhat during the second read, but the book was still crazy good.

In Emerald Blaze all of that dislike went away.  Though it’s only been six months since the last story ended, I felt Catalina had grown.  Becoming Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, and working with Linus, did her a hell of a lot of good and I could see the changes in her.  Alessandro, as well, was a different person.  His snarky personality wasn’t completely gone, but he seemed to take life more seriously and he was actually open and communicative with Catalina.  Loved it!

The rest of the story, besides the romantic parts, was super great.  Not that they weren’t, but they weren’t the focus.  I love the creatures that IA comes up with and it blows my mind that their minds work like that! The fact that the Baylor family, as well as Alessandro, have to work out these puzzling details and use their wits and intelligence to solve whatever issues arise makes me like them and the book even more.

I can’t tell you much about it as that will completely ruin the story for you, but I highly recommend this book.  If you haven’t read this series yet you are definitely missing out!  Start with Burn for Me and don’t stop until you’re done with Emerald Blaze.  You can thank me later.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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