Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Review: Knight by Kristen Ashley

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

Review: Knight by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Knight by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #1
Also in this series: Creed
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 15, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotica
Pages: 280
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Anya Gage has learned that to get anything good in life, you have to work for it. She has no expectations, no dreams.
Then she finds herself at a party where she doesn’t want to be and she meets Knight.
Knight Sebring knows who he is, what he wants and what he likes. And he gets it. But he never expected something as sweet as Anya Gage to wander into his bedroom during a party he did not expect to be having to borrow his phone.
Knight tries to leave Anya to the life she deserves of white picket fences and a man who watches football on Sundays – good, normal and clean. But when Anya comes to his nightclub and finds herself in a situation, he knows someone has to look after her, he can’t fight it anymore and he decides that man will be him.
Knight teaches Anya that, just as with the bad, in life you should also expect the good. And he teaches her this by giving it to her.
But Knight has a dark past and just as he desires Anya for exactly who she is, he fears when she finds out exactly the man he has become and always intends to be, she’ll leave him for good, normal and clean.

I loved this book when I didn’t really expect to. How could I not love it?

“Wars fought over a face like this. A man would work himself into the ground for it, go down to his knees to beg to keep it, endure torture to protect it, take a bullet for it. Poison his brother to possess a face like this.”

When Anya Gage is invited to a party with a friend, she tags along not knowing that her entire world is about to be turned upside down. Finding that the party is not for her, Anya goes searching for her coat. In Knight Sebring’s room. Sheltered she may be, even Anya knows Knight Sebring. He runs the hottest club in town. Even she had been there. Knowing all she knows about Knight (which isn’t much), she’s hardly prepared for her first meeting with him. Or each subsequent meeting.

Knight can’t believe his brother would throw a party at his place without clearing it with him first. Then he believes it because his brother is a total loser. He doesn’t expect to run into someone as young and fresh as Anya. Knight can see immediately that she’s innocent, something that definitely calls to him. Still, the innocent and Knight don’t go together very well.

From their first meeting, Knight and Anya are fire. Their attraction is pretty much instantaneous. Knight is the kind of person that takes what he wants. What he wants is Anya, in his bed and in his life. But he knows that she’s too good for him. She’s light and he lives in the darkness. He tries to let her go, but he just can’t give her up. He wants to take care of her. He wants to make her life easier, make her happy in bed and out. He just wants Anya.

This book won’t be for everyone. It’s definitely more of an erotic romance rather than contemporary. Contemporary erotica is what I would call it. Knight is the quintessential alpha anti-hero. At first there doesn’t seem to be much to like about him. He’s overbearing and a little too protective. He gives Anya orders and expects her to obey. He takes over her life (for her safety of course). View Spoiler » Even with all that, he’s surprisingly likable. I couldn’t help but fall in love with both Anya and Knight. I ended up loving how Knight took care of Anya. She’s worked so hard her entire life and he wants to help her so she can actually live her life. Preferably with him.

There were some really annoying things about Knight though. One of the biggest ones is that he won’t marry Anya. If he had a reasonable explanation for not wanting to marry her, I could possibly get on board. But he doesn’t. That doesn’t end up mattering in the end because the love these two have is epic. Once in a lifetime. So the whole marriage thing didn’t matter in the end. It was just annoying at first.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Unfinished Hero

four-stars


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Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 20, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance #1
Also in this series: Kiss of the Spindle , The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Steampunk
Pages: 318
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Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Jane Eyre meets Beauty and the Beast.

When Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to tend to her ailing cousin, Kate, she finds more than she bargained for. A restless ghost roams the hallways, werewolves have been reported in the area, and vampires lurk across the Scottish border. Lord Miles himself is clearly hiding a secret. He is brash and inhospitable, and does not take kindly to visitors—even one as smart and attractive as Miss Pickett. He is unsettled by the mysterious deaths of his new wife, Clara, and his sister, Marie. Working together, Miles and Lucy attempt to restore peace to Blackwell Manor. But can Lucy solve the mystery of Miles? Can she love the man—beast and all?

Tracy turned me on to this author. I’ve been in the mood for Gothic romances lately and this one was just what I was looking for. This book is labeled as Steampunk, but I would call it Steampunk-lite. I easily fell into the story and didn’t want to put it down.

Lucy Pickett arrives at Blackwell Manor to visit her best friend/cousin, Kate. Kate recently married into the Blackwell family, and ever since she arrived at the manor she’s been feel poorly. Lucy is concerned something serious is wrong, and she’s determined to get to the bottom of what’s ailing her cousin. Between ghosts, werewolves and vampires, her time at the manor is anything but dull. Add the mysterious Lord Miles, Kate’s brother-in-law, to the mix, along with the mysterious deaths of his wife and her sister, and Lucy is in for a wild ride.

I really enjoyed Lucy. She’s a strong character who wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself or do what’s right. She was also very progressive and that worked well in context. I enjoyed her strength and determination, and how that pushed Miles. Their romance was well done and very enjoyable. The mystery behind her cousin’s illness and the deaths of other members of the family was easily solved, but I liked watching the characters work through everything.

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast is an odd mishmash of Gothic, Steampunk and Fantasy Romance, but it really worked. If you’re looking for something a little different, I highly recommend this series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance

four-half-stars


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Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted July 15, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #2
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Bridge Kingdom
Publisher: Self-Published, Audible Original
Publication Date: February 27, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Length: 10 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Lara has only one thought when her husband is taken prisoner: I will do whatever it takes to set you free.

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father's clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared.

But as Lara and her companions formulate a plan to free Aren from her father's palace, they soon discover that while it is easy to get in, it will be quite another thing to get Aren, and themselves, back out. Not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she's trying to free - the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who - and what - she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or for herself.

The Traitor Queen is the second book in Danielle L. Jensen‘s The Bridge Kingdom series. It picks up shortly after where The Bridge Kingdom, book 1, ends. While I am not a stickler for reading in order, I do believe you need to read The Bridge Kingdom before picking this up.

Lara is a trained assassin who was raised for one purpose..to infiltrate and bring down Ithicana, The Bridge Kingdom, from the inside. Though she came to realize she’d been fed nothing but lies by her father over the course of her life, she still betrays Ithicana and her father is able to take the Bridge. Now she’s an outcast, living on the run and trying to overcome her guilt for the part she played in Ithicana’s downfall…until she learns Aren has been captured by her father. She knows it’s a trap to draw her out, but she knows she’s their best chance of saving him…so long as she can convince the rest of the country.

This book was all action. I love how fast-paced it was. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the conflict between Aren and Lara would be resolved. Hers was not a simple mistake, and I wondered how Aren would overcome it, and more importantly, how their people – who had suffered so much because of her actions – would be able to accept her again. Though I was satisfied that she and Aren would be able to come together, I do wish we’d had more resolution with the Ithicanians themselves. That’s really my only complaint with this book. From page one there was non-stop action. I truly believed in Lara by the end, and I appreciated Aren’s emotional roller coaster. He loved Lara, but she betrayed him and his people. It was so easy to understand the choices they both made, and how they had to suffer the consequences. I would have liked to see another chapter or two in the aftermath, but I understand there may be more book set in this world, so I’ll try to be patient.

The Traitor Queen is an action-packed tale full of heartbreak and loss….and hope. Jensen delivered.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

four-half-stars


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Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted July 13, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #1
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Traitor Queen
Publisher: Self-Published, Audible Original
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Escape, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 356
Length: 11 hours and 52 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

What if you fell in love with the one person you'd sworn to destroy?

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara's homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home - a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas - and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

This popped up as a recommended read in Audible Escape. The blurb was intriguing so I decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed both narrators. From the very first I was pulled into this novel. I ended up purchasing the ebook so I could read when I wasn’t able to listen.

Lara and her half-sisters were raised in a desert compound for one purpose – to take down The Bridge Kingdom from the inside. As part of a 15 year treaty, one of them must marry the King of Ithicana (the Bridge Kingdom). Lara isn’t the chosen one, but she betrays her sisters to take her place as Queen in order to save their lives. Her goal is simple; Learn as much about the country and the Bridge as possible, so her father and his forces can take it over. Ithicana and her new husband are nothing like she thought they’d be, and it isn’t long before she begins questioning everything.

This was such a stellar story. I was sucked in from the very first page. Lara was such a multi-faceted character. Her whole life she’s been told Ithicana and her King are the reason so many in her country are starving. Although she doesn’t have a lot of love for her father, she does want better for her people. I completely understood why she made the choices she did. From beginning to end, I felt her struggle and determination to do what was right. My heart broke for her at the end, even as I wanted to rage at her. There never came a point when I didn’t understand her plight or her reasons for doing the things she did.

Aren wasn’t as complex of a character. He wanted what was best for his country, and he hoped for a true alliance with Lara’s father, though of course he was wary of ever getting it. Of the two, he was more open and sweet. He just wanted to be able to allow his country men and women to leave, or pursue other dreams, rather than become soldiers. I liked him, but I didn’t feel the same connection to him that I did Lara.

This book ended in a cliffhanger and I immediately dove into the second book.

The politics and intrigue, the personal relationships and Lara’s struggle to do what she was trained to do when her heart was telling her otherwise was very well done. I highly recommend this series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Light by Nora Roberts

Posted July 9, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Light by Nora RobertsReviewer: Rowena
Key of Light (Key Trilogy, #1) by Nora Roberts
Series: Key Trilogy #1
Also in this series: Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy, #2), Key of Valor (Key Trilogy, #3)
Publisher: Penguin, Jove
Publication Date: October 28th 2003
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 334
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

The pleasure of your company is desired for cocktails and conversation. 8 pm, 4th September. Warrior's Peak.

When Malory Price is issued with the above invitation she is naturally suspicious, especially as Warrior's Peak is a local mansion straight out of a Hollywood movie. But with her overdraft at crisis limit and on the verge of losing her job at a local art gallery, she has little to lose by attending the event.

Only Malory is about to get more than she bargained for. At Warrior's Peak she finds that she and two other women are the only guests of their mysterious hosts. They are told an amazing story of magic, gods and goddesses; and of three demi-goddesses who have been cast into an eternal sleep, their mortal souls placed under lock and key. And in every generation, three women are born who alone have the power to free them - if they are prepared to accept the challenge.

Three women. Three keys to find. If one fails, they all lose. If they succeed - money, power and a new destiny awaits. It will take more than intellect, more than determination. They will have to open their hearts, their minds, and believe that everything is possible.

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

This review was originally posted on May 8, 2007.

Over the weekend, I forgot my Rock Star book at work and was too lazy to go all the way back to the office (once I got home and noticed my book wasn’t in my bag anymore) to get it so over the weekend I started and finished two books and this was the second book that I finished.

Book One of the Key Trilogy was a good opening for this series. It sparked my interest with the adventure that is presented to these three totally different and totally normal women. It showed a great deal of promise in the overall story and also with the secondary romances that followed.

I loved that all three of the women who were chosen were all so normal, not prissy perfect like regular heroines, they weren’t virginal, they weren’t mega rich and all that, they were your everyday average American women. They lived paycheck to paycheck, they were sometimes overdrawn in the bank, they were….normal.

Another thing I loved about this book is the same thing I loved in The Circle Trilogy, there’s a bigger story being told besides the romance story in these books and in this story, the start of all the other romances in the rest of the series. I love how Nora Roberts can make all of these thing fit perfectly in with everything else that is going on. She never loses me with all of the information pouring through the pages and I always lose myself in her books and in her characters’ lives and just in the story period.

I loved Flynn. I loved Malory and I loved their story. I loved how Malory took things into her own hands and went after the things she wanted, she was open and honest, even when she wasn’t ready, I loved how she threw everything at Flynn and told him to just deal with it.

And he did. I love that Flynn dealt with everything that Malory threw at him and just handled it. I loved that he didn’t shy away from her, even when he was so unsure of them as a couple, of himself as her partner and just handled everything thrown at him, (you know because on top of this new romance with Malory, he had this key thing to deal with as well). He was a strong man and he was a good man, one that loved his sister and loved his life, even though he didn’t think he did. He also loved the woman of his dreams with all that he had and what romantic at heart wouldn’t appreciate that?

Malory was a great heroine. She was smart, beautiful and funny. She was very organized and she had a lot going for her, even after she was canned at her dream job, she reacted like any normal woman would, she cried, she was a jerk to everyone around her and then she let her friends take care of her until she was ready to get back on her feet again and when she did get back on her feet, she was unstoppable.

She was all things I admire in a heroine and I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

I enjoyed the cast of characters that we met in this story, from Dana’s sparkling personality and Zoe’s creative spirit to Jordan’s funny self and his deep blue eyes and Brad’s richy rich handsome and rugged blonde self who had the ability to handle anything given him whether it was a board meeting in a stunning suit or wearing jeans and a shirt and climbing on top of walls to watch the house that he was so obsessed with as a child with his friends. The entire cast was a delight to read and oh dang, how could I forget to mention Rowena and Pitte? Dude, I love that Rowena was so beautiful and in love and just graceful and all things other women envied….hehe, you go girl! =)

Dana’s turn is next (I cheated and looked) and I am very much looking forward to getting to know Jordan Hawke a lot more….this is a great story to read when you’re in the mood for mystery and a little bit of romance thrown in. Good times, I promise, good times.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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