Tag: 4.5 Reviews

Guest Review: So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks

Posted April 6, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn SparksReviewer: Jen
So I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced, #2) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #2
Also in this series: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days (The Embraced, #1), So I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced, #2), Eight Simple Rules for Dating a Dragon (The Embraced, #3)
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: August 29th, 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 469
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four-half-stars

Growing up on the Isle of Moon, Brigitta knows nothing of her past, except that she is Embraced: born with powers that forced her into hiding. Everything changes when she learns she’s a princess, hidden away from her villainous half-brother who now rules the kingdom. But he knows about Brigitta, and he’ll do anything to get her back. Unless a certain roguish pirate has anything to say about it…

Rupert is both an infamous pirate and a sorcerer with the power to harness the wind. He’s been waiting nineteen years for revenge—and he needs Brigitta to get it. What begins as a kidnapping of the fiery beauty turns into a fierce attraction. But can he win the captive princess’s heart?

I enjoyed Book 1 of the series, but I loved Book 2! To recap, the series follows a group of adopted sisters who’ve been secluded at a convent. Here we follow the second of the sisters, Brigitta. The convent is headed by Mother Ginessa. In the style of Albus Dumbledore, Mother Ginessa has kept the girls’ true histories secret until she’s forced to reveal some tiny amount info, at which time she reveals just a slice of the truth before sending the girl off on her merry way. (Because, you know, understanding their family histories and being able to prepare to meet those challenges head on is apparently a no-go for Mother Ginessa.) But as with Luciana from book 1, Brigitta rises to the challenge when she’s told she’s actually a princess (surprise!) who’s half-brother the king is suddenly requesting her presence (i.e., basically kidnapping her off the ship she’s on). But while she’s getting these truth bombs dropped on her, the infamous pirate Rupert interrupts her brother’s kidnapping with his own more successful kidnapping. Turns out Rupert haaaaates her brother and wants to use Brigitta as part of his revenge plot, and as Brigitta learns more about her awful brother and Rupert’s big secret, she realizes she’s sorta ok with that. The rest of the book becomes about Brigitta, Rupert, and their friends trying to right past wrongs and bring peace to the kingdom.

I adored both Brigitta and Rupert. Brigitta is smart and brave but in a way that’s realistic for a naive, sheltered young woman. She’s understandably freaked out by Rupert and isn’t stupid about taking risks, but she also knows that if she doesn’t go with him she puts innocent people in danger. I love the way she’s so protective of her friends and, later, of Rupert and his crew. She’s Embraced as well (a person born with magical powers, which is illegal in most of the world), although I didn’t think her power was used to its full potential for most of the book. She can find things that are hidden, which can mean objects as well as a person’s secrets. I thought there could be more done to explore this talent, but instead it really only plays a major role towards the end.

Rupert is also Embraced, and his power is much cooler. He can control the wind, a power he uses to great effect when he’s pirating or whispering sexily in Brigitta’s ear from across the ship. He’s very much a pirate in the style of Westley from A Princess Bride, in that he’s handsome, kind, only steals from bad guys, and always protects innocent people. He’s kind to his crew, helps out the underdog, and is so tender with Brigitta, even from the start. That doesn’t change the fact that he is planning to use her in a cruel way, though. As readers we can see immediately that he would never be able to go through with it, but he experiences some major internal conflict as he wrestles with his desire for revenge and his desire for Brigitta. He has spent his entire life plotting revenge and hating both Brigitta and her brother, but the more he gets to know her the more he sees she is not what he thought. I loved that as his feelings grew for Brigitta, he realizes he has to find another way, and then he’s all in with her. He is just such a good man!

There were two relatively minor things I didn’t like about the book. First, I thought the ending with Brigitta’s brother was kind of rushed and trite. I also got annoyed by the constant jokes about the pirates ravishing Brigitta and her chaperone, Sister Fallyn. It is a pretty serious subject and, in reality, would be a huge threat to both women. It went on way too long and just felt kind of icky, when there were other ways Sister Fallyn could have provided comic relief.

I think you could certainly enjoy this book without reading Book 1 of the series, but I think you’d get a lot more out of it if you started with Book 1. I am beyond excited to read Book 3 (one word: DRAGONS!!), and I can’t wait to see where this series goes.

The Embraced Series

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 28, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Wildfire by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #3
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)
Published by Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
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four-half-stars

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.

Wildfire is book 3 in the Hidden Legacy series by Ilona Andrews and it’s the last book in the series (I hope not forever). Everything that Nevada and Rogan have been fighting against since book 1 is still in the background of what is happening front and center in their lives. Nevada’s latest client is Rogan’s ex-fiancee and she hired Nevada to help find her missing husband.

The very last person that Nevada wants to spend time around is the woman that almost married her boyfriend but how could Nevada say no to someone who desperately needs help? The deeper that Nevada digs into this case, the more shady shit she finds and everything pretty much link back to the bigger fight that started in Book 1. So Nevada and Rogan are investigating different things but their cases keep bringing them back together.

On top of that, Nevada’s magic is getting stronger and stronger. She’s learning more about what she can do and her family is too. What a freaking powerhouse family she has. From Catalina to Arabella (damn girl) to freaking Leon, they’re going to be pretty legit once they each come into their own. I loved the dynamics between each family member. They fight fiercely but man do they come together like no other when they’re needed. Hell, even when they come together for the greater good, they fight like animals. Haha, they’re so great.

Nevada was pretty legit in the first book but in the third book, she’s come full circle and I loved her so much in this book. She handled the whole Rynda thing a lot better than I would have. I wouldn’t have been nearly as understanding and patient as Nevada was. One of my favorite quotes from the series is when she tells Rynda.

“If you continue to rely on others for that security, you will never find it. You’re a Prime, a woman, and a mother. Make yourself secure. Take charge of yourself. My circlework my be shaky and crooked, by it’s mine. I taught myself how to do it by studying books and now I’m using it. I didn’t ask Rogan to draw it for me, because I didn’t have to.”

Like I said, I wouldn’t have been nearly as patient and understanding with Rynda had I been in Nevada’s shoes but I love how loyal Rogan’s people were to him, but also to Nevada. When she said the above, I was all like…

I’m super sad that this book ends the series because holy crap, there was so much goodness in this one. Everything that I wanted to happen in this book, happened. Seeing more of Catalina, Leon and Arabella using their magic made me one happy camper. There were plenty of shocks and surprises that had my mouth dropping all over the place. This writing duo worked their magic once again and I ate every word up. I’m not ready to say goodbye to this world so I’m hoping against hope that we’ll see a spin off series that feature Nevada’s family. I’d love to see Catalina and the Italian Stallion that tested her. I’d love to see Leon’s future, as well as Arabella because holy shit, Arabella!! I laughed so much when Arabella shows up to kick ass and Nevada is like, “Mom is gonna kill me. Mom is gonna kill us. We can never go home.” Hahaha, oh this book was so good.

There’s a lot to love in this book. The action, the adventure, the romance between Rogan and Nevada was everything. Seeing them work through their issues had me all up in my feels. I loved how strong they were on their own but how they were even stronger together. I loved that Rogan put Nevada first every single time and I loved that Nevada loved Connor and how much faith they had in each other.

This series was such a fun reading adventure and I’m not all okay with the fact that I’m done with it. What am I even going to do with the rest of my life?

If you’re looking for a magical reading adventure that will hit all of your happy buttons, pick this series up because it’s the bomb. For real.

Hidden Legacy

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha Young

Posted March 22, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha YoungReviewer: Tracy
On Hart's Boardwalk (On Dublin Street #6.7) by Samantha Young
Series: On Dublin Street #6.7, Hart's Boardwalk #2.5
Also in this series: Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2), Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3), Before Jamaica Lane, Fall From India Place, Fall From India Place, Castle Hill, Echoes of Scotland Street, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, Moonlight on Nightingale Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, One King's Way, On Hart's Boardwalk, The One Real Thing, Every Little Thing
Published by Intermix
Publication Date: March 20th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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four-half-stars

Nate and Liv have a great life together but they miss the spontaneity and freedom they enjoyed early on in their romance. Careers and their children have inevitably kept them busy, so when Nate discovers Liv is feeling disconnected from him, he plans an anniversary trip to the idyllic seaside town of Hartwell, Delaware. There he hopes they will have the opportunity they've been craving--a chance to reinvent themselves and fall in love all over again.

With each new day comes a new adventure, from wedding crashing at the five-star boardwalk hotel to pretending they are two strangers having a chance encounter at the boardwalk bar. In the midst of this daring, sexually-charged game of romantic rediscovery, Nate and Liv discover the only constant they need is each other.

Nate and Liv have been together for 14 years, and married for 10 of those.  They have two beautiful children and Liv is just as in love with Nate now as she was when they first got together.  The problem is that Nate seems to have lost his love for Liv.  Since one of his friends died suddenly Nate has pushed Liv away and when Nate finds out how Liv is truly feeling he plans a trip to Delaware.  At one time, Liv had told Nate of vacations taken near Hartwell, Delaware and Nate wanted to recreate that joy for her.  He wanted to make his own memories, however, so he chose Hartwell.  They have a great location and it’s just the two of them, but can they work through the issues that have been haunting Liv for the past six months?

This was a pretty great novella.  I’ve been reading the Hart’s Boardwalk series so when I saw a novella for that series I was excited.  I had no idea I’d get the wonderful double whammy by getting the On Dublin Street series cast of characters as well as Hart’s Boardwalk characters.

Nate and Liv got their HEA in the novel Before Jamaica Lane, and if you read that you know that these two are incredibly hot together.  Their sex play in this book was no different but the even better than that was watching two people in love communicate and find the core issue to their problems.  It was well written, and Young didn’t slack on giving us the nitty gritty of their relationship – arguments and all.

On top of the greatness of that part of the book we also got to see, as I said, all of the characters from On Dublin Street as well as Hart’s Boardwalk.  I loved reading about the ODS crew and hearing a little about their families now that it’s been years since their HEA’s. HB is a newer series but it was still fun to catch up with those characters as well.

Overall I thought this was really good.  The love, friendship and feeling of contentment it left me with was incredible and I definitely recommend this one.

On Dublin Street Series

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

Posted February 28, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Joint Review: Sweep in Peace by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #2
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)
Published by Ilona Andrews
Publication Date: November 13th 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 237
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four-half-stars

Dina DeMille doesn’t run your typical Bed and Breakfast. Her inn defies laws of physics, her fluffy dog is secretly a monster, and the only paying guest is a former Galactic tyrant with a price on her head. But the inn needs guests to thrive, and guests have been scarce, so when an Arbitrator shows up at Dina's door and asks her to host a peace summit between three warring species, she jumps on the chance.

Unfortunately, for Dina, keeping the peace between Space Vampires, the Hope-Crushing Horde, and the devious Merchants of Baha-char is much easier said than done. On top of keeping her guests from murdering each other, she must find a chef, remodel the inn...and risk everything, even her life, to save the man she might fall in love with. But then it's all in the day's work for an Innkeeper…

Dina Demille runs an intergalactic B&B, an Inn, that caters to more difficult guests. When the Inn was built it sat at a busy crossroads, but since the new highway was built it’s fallen off the map, so to speak, and guests are few and far between. Since the Inn needs guests to survive, Dina agrees to host a Peace Treaty between 3 very dangerous species. She knows it’s risky, but desperate times and all that. Only she didn’t predict just how terribly wrong things would go.

Holly: I seriously love that you’re reading this series. I’m giving myself a pat on the back for forcing you to read outside your comfort zone. Were you happy to be back visiting Dina in her Inn?

Rowena: This is a good series. I’m not all that into paranormals or urban fantasy, not like you are anyway, but I’m glad you’re making me read these books. I’m really enjoying them. I was really happy being back in this world, but I really missed Sean, at least in the beginning. Holy cow, Dina really does get the difficult guest, right?

Holly: She really does. I love how calm she is under pressure. Vampires and the Hope-Crushing Horde about to rip each other’s faces off? No big deal. Let’s all have some tea. I definitely missed Sean in this book, too, but Dina is a fantastic heroine. I was totally wrapped up in her struggles to get everything ready for the summit.

Rowena: Yessss! She is a really good innkeeper, too. She genuinely cares about people and she takes her job very seriously. I admire the hell out of her for doing her job, even when it’s hard and still doing what she feels is right for her Inn, for her guests and for the people she cares about.

Holly: I do think the story was kind of slow in the middle. I liked this book a lot, but it isn’t my favorite. One Fell Sweep, book 3, is.

Rowena: I didn’t think the story was slow, maybe because this was all new to me? I’m not sure. I just know that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to read the next book pronto so I did.

There was a lot going on in this book and I thought that Andrews did a great job of bringing all of those individual stories together and still giving us romance fans that little, tiny romance that I was itching for from the beginning. I enjoyed this book so much that I couldn’t wait to start the next book…and I did.

Holly: Let’s talk about the individual characters for a minute. What did you think of Orro, the disgraced Red Cleaver Chef Dina hired? Did you adore him like I did?

Rowena: Of course, I did. I loved how ornery and dramatic he was, but I also loved that he took care of Dina and was able to find himself a home at Gertrude Hunt. I’m not going to lie, I was low key hungry after reading every scene he was in….I also wanted to be a guest at the summit so that I can eat the food he prepared. Everything sounded so delicious.

Holly: What about the Arbitrator, George, and his companions, Jack, Gaston and Sophie (for those who are familiar with Andrews’ other works, they’re crossover characters from the The Edge series)? George made me so angry, but in the end I couldn’t hate him.

Rowena: As for George, I was just as mad at him as Dina was at first but in the end, I really liked him and am curious about his story. He makes the hard decisions that nobody wants to make and he really took a lot on himself, as well. That can’t be an easy life to live and yet, he does it. Throw in the drama between him and Sophie, it made my heart go even softer on him.

Holly: Yep, that’s how I felt about George, too. I knew him from the other series, but even so..he made me so angry! In the end, I couldn’t help but love him. I actually liked Jack a lot more than George after reading The Edge series. But here George was the star. I hope we see more from him and his crew later.

Holly: I loved it when Jack sprayed Officer Marais. I almost died laughing.

Rowena: Jack, Gaston and Sophie were good characters but I wasn’t as invested in them as I was George, Arland and that thing that came in and killed those vampires. What was he called again?

Holly: Turin Adin, the Merchants ace. His story broke my heart. I loved him.

Rowena: Also??? Turin Adin, I knew exactly who he was not long after he came onto the scene. The minute he said, “Thank you” all soft like to Dina after she apologized for not protecting him as she should have, I was like, there he is. He’s home…and then I squeed like a little schoolgirl with a crush.

Holly: I knew right away who he really was, too, but Dina’s moment of discovery was so awesome. I loved her reaction and how determined she was to save him.

Rowena: My favorite quote from the entire book was, “Nothing I regret. You’re alive. That makes me happy.” Excuse me while I swoon.

Holly: Oh, how I melted when he said that. My heart got all happy when Dina was like “Oh hell no, you can’t have him”. Sigh.

Rowena: Dude, what about the lengths Dina went to save the Turin Adin??? Talk about heady stuff. I’m so here for that.

Holly: I love how nuanced these characters are. Like Nuan Cee, the head Merchant. I wanted to hate him for refusing to let Turin Adin go, but I couldn’t. His reason for needing Turin Adin was such a good one.

Rowena: Yesss!! I liked that about everyone in the book. They were all driven by something that wasn’t greed (well except for that one house but Turin Adin took care of them real quick like), reasons that were understandable. It would have been so easy to just make them all greedy bastards but I liked how fleshed out each house and each character in this book is.

I’m really coming to love these characters and the world that Ilona Andrews has built for Dina. I love the drawings that are included and all of the drama that comes Dina’s way when she accepts new guests. I felt every emotion that Dina (I was pissed at the damn vampires for coming in the front, I was exasperated with Officer Marais for making things harder for Dina to conduct business and I was nosy as all get out to find out everyone’s stories) felt and that scene where Dina makes them all feel what each other was feeling?? That was pretty awesome. There wasn’t much that I didn’t enjoy about this book. The characters, the stories, the setting, it all worked for me. Great book pimp!

Holly: I love this whole series. Dina is wonderful, so is Gertrude Hunt and all who inhabit or visit. I’m so glad you loved it (is now a good time to say I Told You So?). I’m going to give it a 4.5 out of 5. You?

Rowena: I’m really loving the hell out of these books. I love Dina. I love Sean. Hell, I even love Arland and Gertrude Hunt is the bomb too. I really like that the Inn is a character itself. So much goodness in this book, I give it 4.5 out of 5 too.

Final Grades

Holly: 4.5 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

Innkeeper Chronicles

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Memories of Us by Linda Winfree

Posted February 1, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Memories of Us by Linda WinfreeReviewer: Casee
Memories of Us (Hearts of the South #5) by Linda Winfree
Series: Hearts of the South #5
Also in this series: Truth and Consequences, What Mattered Most, His Ordinary Life, Uncovered, Fall Into Me, Memories of Us (Hearts of the South #5), Hearts Awakened, Facing It, Hold On To Me, Gone From Me (Hearts of the South, #10)
Published by Red Hot
Publication Date: June 10th 2008
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-half-stars

Beneath the lies is truth—and temptation that neither of them can resist.

Book Five of the Hearts of the South series.

Investigator Celia St. John is hopelessly attracted to the one man she shouldn’t want, district attorney Tom McMillian. Arrogant and completely alpha, McMillian is the type of man she likes—a tough son of a bitch. The problem? He’s her boss, and he’s still hung up on his ex-wife.

Since his marriage to a law enforcement agent failed after the death of his infant son, Tom has avoided emotional involvement with any woman. Despite his attraction to Celia, he refuses to get involved with another cop.

Their no-strings affair quickly becomes a tangled web of intrigue as they investigate an illegal baby adoption ring and more than one murder, one of which points to Tom as a suspect. The more they dig under the lies, the higher the risk, not only to their relationship, but their lives.

***Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on August 5, 2009.

At the time of this review, I have completed the Hearts of the South series. So I can say with complete conviction that Tom and Celia are my favorite couple of the series. I don’t know if it was Tom w/ the heartbreaking tragedy of his son dying or Celia with her unequivocal understanding and empathy for him.

Celia has lusted for Tom since she started working at the DA’s office. Knowing him as well as she does, she knows that there is no chance for them. Tom is still hung up on his ex-wife and Celia will never get involved with someone she works with again. When a dead baby is found in a car that was pulled over for a traffic stop, Celia and Tom get much closer than expected.

Babies’ deaths always hit Tom hard. With his ex-wife remarried and now expecting her own child, this case hits even harder. With his emotions going every which way, he finds himself instead concentrating on Celia. He has always known that she’s a good Investigator, he has just never looked at her as a woman. Now that he has, he can’t get her out of his head.

Following the trail to the person(s) responsible for the baby’s death takes Celia and Tom to a place they’re ill prepared to go. Not only that, but it makes Celia a target. Someone doesn’t want her finding the answers to the questions she’s been asking and they’ll do anything to prevent it.

The relationship between Tom and Celia was just so real. I can’t think of another way to describe it. I continued to be amazed by the characters that Linda Winfree writes.

Hearts of the South Series

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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