Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Review: Last Guard by Nalini Singh

Posted July 19, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Last Guard by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee
Last Guard by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #5
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain , Wolf Rain, Alpha Night, Alpha Night
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Length: 10 hours and 52 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands…
Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.
For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed "imperfect" by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel of the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an Anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.
To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful Anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet…or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.

Canto Merchant & Payal Rao are both A-Psy. As anchors for the PsyNet, it isn’t just their job to keep the PsyNet from failing. It’s a compulsion for them. They can’t not do anything & everything to save the Psy race.

When Canto contacts Payal about being the voice for the anchors, he has no idea how intertwined their histories are. Since the time he was old enough, he has been searching for the girl that saved his life in the “rehabilitation” school they were both at. They didn’t know each other’s names. All they knew was the numbers that were assigned by the school. For Canto, 3K is a girl that was his salvation. Searching for her has become his obsession in life though he has never had so much as a lead on his 3K. His search for her has to be put on the back burner because the PsyNet is failing. Payal is a hub anchor, much like himself. The only difference as far as he can see is that Payal is Silent whereas Canto never was fully Silent. Then he sees her.

Payal walks a very fine line in her life. She’s the CEO of the Rao family holdings. She has a brother that would like nothing more than to murder her in her sleep, a sister she has to hide from her father & brother, and she’s a hub anchor. When Canto Merchant contacts her, Payal knows she can’t say no. If the anchors don’t get involved, the PsyNet will fall. Already the Ruling Coalition is discussing breaking the PsyNet into pieces. Both Payal & Canto know that doing that will not work. So she agrees to meet Canto. And gets the shock of her life.

Canto & Payal were thrown away when they were children because they hadn’t initialized as A’s. Payal couldn’t control her emotions. Canto couldn’t use his legs. It hurt to read how they were treated. Then it made me smile to read about how Canto looked after Payal & Payal protected Canto.

“Payal, you don’t have to hide me from them.” It came out hard, a near-snarl.
“Yes, I do. A solemn statement that cut him to the bone. “Because you’re my person. The only one I have. I need to protect you.”

This isn’t just about two children that formed a bond that nothing could destroy. It’s about children that were forgotten, children that weren’t protected, and children that died. All because they were A’s. It’s about the journey two A children took to find their way back to each other.

I could honestly go on and on about this book. I was barely able to put it down. I’m so excited to see where the series goes from here. I’m starting to think I’m getting a glimmer of what the end of the series will look like. Maybe.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Psy-Changeling

Psy-Changeling Trinity

four-half-stars


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Review: Come to Me Recklessly by A.L. Jackson

Posted July 7, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Come to Me Recklessly by A.L. JacksonReviewer: Casee
Come to Me RecklesslySeries: Closer to You #3
Also in this series: Come to Me Quietly, Come to Me Softly
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 445
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

His heart was turned off…

Until she turned him on…

Christopher Moore gave up on the idea of love years ago. Now, his life is an endless string of parties and an even longer string of girls. Enjoying the physical perks with none of the emotional mess, he's convinced everyone that he's satisfied—everyone but himself.

Samantha Schultz has moved on with her life. Finishing her student teaching and living with her boyfriend, she's deluded herself into believing she's content. But there is one boy she never forgot—her first love—and she keeps the memory of him locked up tight. She will never allow any man to break her the way Christopher did.

When Christopher's sister and her family move into a new neighborhood, Christopher is completely unprepared to find Samantha living at the end of the street. Memories and unspent desires send them on a collision course of sex, lies, and lust. But when guilt and fear send Samantha running, Christopher will have to fight for what has always been his.

After reading Come to Me Quietly & Come to Me Softly, I wasn’t sure that I was ready for the last book in this series. The first two books packed quite the emotional punch. I almost took a break, but I just had to read Christopher’s story. He was such an ass in the first two books. Other than his obvious love for his sister, there seemed to be very few redeeming qualities about him. I usually don’t like being wrong, but in this case it really worked out. This book is my favorite in the trilogy.

Christopher & Samantha fell in love when they were teenagers. Like a full-blown, forever type of love. It should have been weird, but it wasn’t. Sometimes you just know. Christopher knew that Samantha was the one for him. Neither his parents nor her parents could keep them apart. Then Zack’s mom dies and it all goes to hell. Samantha feels Christopher pulling away from her. She tries to be there for him, but he’s going through something that she can’t touch. Then she finds him cheating on her and that’s it for her.

Fast forward…Samantha is living right down the street from Aly & Zack. Aly & Samantha run into each other and the subject of Christopher comes up. The wound is still raw for Samantha, no matter how much time has gone by. She’s determined to stay away from Christopher and Christopher seems just as determined to stay away from her. Samantha doesn’t know why Christopher has a problem with her. He was the one that cheated on her. He left her, not the other way around.

I really like the reunited lovers troupe. There’s always some big emotional reason that the couple has separated which means that it’s a big emotional reunion. That’s how it was for Christopher and Samantha. They were meant to be together and nothing, not even time can keep them apart.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Closer to You

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Bliss Factor by Penny McCall

Posted June 24, 2021 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Bliss Factor by Penny McCallReviewer: Judith
The Bliss Factor by Penny McCall
Series: FBI #5
Also in this series: Be A Good Girl (FBI, #3)
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: February 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Rae Blissfield became the world’s most buttoned-up accountant to escape childhood hell: growing up in a traveling Renaissance faire, thanks to her hippy-dippy parents. And now they’re begging her to help (babysit) one of their colleagues. Trouble is, the beyond-hunky Connor Larkin needs more than babysitting; he needs a bodyguard! Unbeknownst to everyone, Connor is an undercover FBI agent posing as a blacksmith. But after being attacked, Connor has lost his memory and thinks he actually is a medieval armorist.

Unfortunately, Connor’s amnesia hasn’t stopped the bad guys’ pursuit. Now Bliss and Connor are running for their lives, he’s falling in love, and he’s starting to remember things he doesn’t want to: dangerous things – things about Bliss even she doesn’t know. And for Connor, protecting Rae from the truth is all that matters, even if it kills him.

This review was originally published March 24, 2010

Rae Blissfield is not so different from many who have sought education in order to escape a childhood that has grown into a life that can no longer be tolerated. Such was the experience of this beautiful but “closed off” woman who just wants to be in the same place longer than two weeks, who is tired of the tirades of her hippy parents, and who is willing to live alone in order to be mistress of her own fate. She makes a very good living and while her life is often dull and boring – doing taxes really doesn’t make anyone’s blood sing – she is content to be “settled.”

A call from her parents who are vendors at the local Renaissance Faire brings her back into this world she wants so desperately to leave behind. She sees her parents annually when they come to Michigan, but beyond that she is not ever intending to be a part of their life again. Now they are presenting her with a dilemma that will ultimately be life-changing in more ways than she could ever anticipate. Asked to provide a sort of “sanctuary” for the colleague who has been assaulted and who has lost his memory. Rae’s parents are convinced that Connor Larkin’s well-being is at risk and are asking her to give him a home away from the Faire for a week.

Wow!! What a week! The attraction between Rae and Connor was immediate and he has openly courted her further attention. The tension between these two really doesn’t abate throughout the entire book. It is a romance that is sizzling and funny, intriguing with interesting repartee. However, the insistent pursuit of these two takes them way out of their comfort zones, especially Rae, who has so carefully built her stable life and who must now figure out a way to fulfill her parents’ concern and save her job at the same time, all the while trying to find a way to navigate her way through her feelings and her attraction to Connor that just seems to keep on keeping on.

This is a true suspense novel and as such doesn’t come up with easy answers. Rae makes some discoveries about her family that throw her for a really big loop. Connor’s growing attachment to her and her discovery of her feelings for him are complications that distract from their mutual desire to find those who are putting their lives and the lives of Rae’s family in danger. To find those people is to also find the criminal mind who has involved the Renaissance Faire and its people in criminal enterprise for many months. Lovers of suspense and mystery will love this book – it is a very good read. The plot twists and turns, and the ending was quite unexpected. Through it all sizzles the attraction between Rae and Connor, and that simply makes a good suspense novel even better.

I enjoyed this book and while I have not read other Penny McCall novels, I think I will be doing so in the near future.

I give this book a 4.5 rating out of 5.

FBI

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas

Posted June 3, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 8 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Love in the Afternoon by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Holly
Love In The Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Hathaways #5
Also in this series: Tempt Me at Twilight, Married By Morning
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: June 29th 2010
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

As a lover of animals and nature, Beatrix Hathaway has always been more comfortable outdoors than in the ballroom. Even though she participated in the London season in the past, the classic beauty and free-spirited Beatrix has never been swept away or seriously courted...and she has resigned herself to the fate of never finding love. Has the time come for the most unconventional of the Hathaway sisters to settle for an ordinary man—just to avoid spinsterhood?

Captain Christopher Phelan is a handsome, daring soldier who plans to marry Beatrix's friend, the vivacious flirt Prudence Mercer, when he returns from fighting abroad. But, as he explains in his letters to Pru, life on the battlefield has darkened his soul—and it's becoming clear that Christopher won't come back as the same man. When Beatrix learns of Pru's disappointment, she decides to help by concocting Pru's letters to Christopher for her.

Soon the correspondence between Beatrix and Christopher develops into something fulfilling and deep...and when Christopher comes home, he's determined to claim the woman he loves. What began as Beatrix's innocent deception has resulted in the agony of unfulfilled love—and a passion that can't be denied...

I’ve been really into re-reading Lisa Kleypas recently. I enjoyed this book just as much this time around. Beatrix is so wonderful.

This review was originally published on July 20, 2010.

I have to be honest and say I wasn’t really looking forward to this book until the very end of the last book. Up until that point, Beatrix still seemed very young to me. Even after the last book I still had reservations about her as a heroine.

I should have had more faith in Kleypas. Both Beatrix and Christopher were delightful. I loved the premise behind their romance. The letters they exchanged really set up the romance beautifully. It was easy to see how they’d fallen in love with each other as Christoper was at war, and Beatrix waiting at home for him. Those first few chapters were so emotionally charged they pulled me in completely.

But Christopher doesn’t realize it’s Beatrix he loves. Because Beatrix has been writing her letters in the name of her friend, Prudence Mercer. Pru shared Christopher’s first letter with Bea and it was obvious to her that he needed someone to correspond with. The selfish and shallow Pru didn’t want to hear tales of war, and refused to respond to him. So Bea offered to do it instead, agreeing to signing Pru’s name to the letters.

When Christopher returns home he expects to find Miss Prudence Mercer waiting for him. He knows she loves him, just as he loves her. But Pru isn’t there waiting, and he realizes he needs time to decompress before going to her in London. That’s when he runs into Beatrix Hathaway. He’s always thought Beatrix was unconventional, and not in a good way. He’s surprised to see she’s grown into a beautiful woman, one he desires. Not that it matters, since it’s Prudence he loves. But still, he’s a man and he noticed. He also starts noticing other things about Beatrix – how comfortable she is to be around, how understanding she is, and how much she challenges and frustrates him.

Once he reaches London it isn’t long before he realizes Prudence Mercer did not write the letters he received. She’s nothing like the woman he corresponded with. But who then? Certainly not..Beatrix Hathaway?

Christopher is a young, foolish, vain boy when he leaves for war. He’s what you would expect a spoiled, entitled man to be. But the things he sees in battle change him. He comes home with darkness in him, and a better understanding of himself and the word. It was really interesting seeing the way he matured. He also suffers from PTSD. I think Kleypas did a really excellent job of showing how that effects a soldier.

Beatrix was everything I expected from the earlier novels – loving and caring, helpful and more interested in animals than humans. She was also stronger and much more mature than I expected. I guess I always saw her as the youngest Hathaway, always into mischief and taking care of animals, so I didn’t think of her as a woman. She feels terrible guilt over writing letters to Christopher as Pru, but she just couldn’t not write to him. It was easy to see how something that started innocent got out of hand the longer it went on.

I loved that they admitted their feelings for each other early on. Neither of them play coy, or try to deny what’s between them. Christopher is worried that he’s too damaged for Beatrix. Not in a “I’m a martyr” kind of way, but he has very real concerns that, as a result of his PTSD, he might hurt her at some point. He’s against marrying her because he’s afraid of himself. But he doesn’t deny that he loves her, or try to pretend his feelings aren’t what they are, or try to push her away. I loved that.

I also loved how Beatrix stood beside him and pushed him to get better. She didn’t let him wallow in his misery, or fall into depression. She was just exactly what he needed.

Though this was a darker novel than some of the others in the series, it still had moments of great humor. There’s one scene in particular where I was literally laughing out loud. I won’t spoil it, but it has to do with squirrels. You’ll have to read it yourself to see what I mean.

It was lovely to see the Hathaway’s again, as always. The family is so quirky and strong. I adore them. Kleypas once again managed to include scenes with them without taking away from the main romance, which was great.

One last thing I have to mention: Beatrix’s animals. I loved all her pets. The goat scene was hilarious, and I loved the hedgehog. But it was Albert, Christopher’s terrier, who really stole the show. It was heartbreaking to see how much he was suffering, and delightful watching Beatrix work with him.

While I enjoyed Married by Morning more than many others, I’d have to say Love in the Afternoon was deeper and more emotionally compelling.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Hathaways

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah McLean

Posted April 15, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah McLeanReviewer: Holly
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love by Numbers #3
Also in this series: Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: April 26th 2011
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She lives for passion.
Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society's rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London's most practiced gossips . . . and precisely the kind of woman The Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.
He swears by reputation.
Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening—risking everything he holds dear—he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety. She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.

This review was originally posted on April 27, 2011.

I was somewhat disappointed with the 2nd book in this series, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, but this was much more on par with MacLean’s first release, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. I really enjoyed it. The characters came across well and the storyline was lively and fun.

Juliana has been feeling like an outcast since she left Italy to live with her brothers in England. The English are so reserved, so passionless. She longs for the day when she can leave and go back to Italy. Except..she can’t quite get over this small attraction she has to Simon Pearson, The Duke of Leighton. She shouldn’t be interested in him, he’s haughty and cold..except when he’s not. She wants to break through that icy exterior to find the heat beneath.

Simon is in a desperate rush to save his family reputation. Thanks to a reckless act by his sister, he must marry as quickly as possible – to someone with unimpeachable character. The frustrating Juliana Fiori is about as far as he can get from propriety. But when she stows-away in his carriage he has a hard time resisting temptation. Especially once she throws down a challenge – daring him to unleash the passion inside him. But Juliana doesn’t understand what’s at stake – passion could ruin his entire family.

Simon and Juliana have been dancing around each other since the first book. It seemed there was more to him than The Duke of Disdain, but he proved us wrong in the second book with his actions toward his sister. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this novel. While there were times I wanted to kosh him over the head with a chamberpot, I eventually came to love him just as much as Juliana did. The weight of his responsibilities sat very heavily on him, which made him a more likable character.

With Juliana, I was worried she’d be one of the harebrained women who acted first and thought later..but that wasn’t really the case. Yes, she wanted passion, but she wasn’t reckless. And most of the scandals she found herself wrapped up in – or almost scandals – were not of her making. Her attraction to Simon frustrated her, but she wasn’t afraid to confront him about it. I think that’s what I loved best about her..she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, or tell others what she wanted. Simon might have been a stick-in-the-mud, but Juliana called him on it.

They had chemistry in spades, but as we all know, chemistry isn’t enough. I think MacLean did a good job of showcasing that for us here. Yes, they were attracted to each other, but duty and honor played a large part in their actions. So did friendship and mutual respect. They really came to rely on one another, which was touching.

I’m disappointed that MacLean didn’t tie up all the loose ends. Since this is to be the end of the series I expected everything would be cleared up. Why did she bother to introduce Juliana’s mother into the story if she was going to leave it unresolved?

Despite a few issues, overall this was a fun, sexy read. I found the story engrossing and the characters flawed but lovable.

4.5 out of 5

Love By Numbers

four-half-stars


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