Tag: 5.0 Reviews

Review: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Posted October 30, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wildfire by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
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), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-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.

This series is the bomb dot com. Yes, I actually just said that. I can’t help it. I love this series. It is my favorite series of 2018. My very, very favorite. Nevada. Mad Rogan. Nevada and Mad Rogan. Leon. Catalina and Arabella. Bern. Seriously, there is nothing about this series that makes me unhappy. Well, except for the gap between releases.

Wildfire begins exactly where White Hot picked up. Rogan and Nevada rush home from their mountain vacation after Rogan learns that it was Nevada’s grandmother that tried to buy Nevada’s mortgage from him. Which means that everything they’ve done to keep their identities from Victoria Tremaine, she has known who the Baylors were all along.

The only option left to Nevada and her family is to start their own House. While it is not something Nevada wants to do, it is her last and only option to protect her family from her evil grandmother. Rogan agrees with Nevada but also thinks it will put her far out of his reach as once she is a House, he believes that she will start to care about genetics. Like not want to have kids with him because their magics don’t “mesh” and aren’t ideal for procreating. He obviously doesn’t know Nevada as well as he thinks.

Her newest case brings Rogan’s ex-fiance into her life. Rynda Sherwood’s husband has been kidnapped and she is frantic with worry. Unfortunately she is an empath and Nevada was just involved in the murder of her mother. Still, Nevada promises to help Rynda, a promise she has a hard time keeping when it is apparent that Rynda needs a man to take care of her. When her man is not around, she attaches herself to Rogan. Not cool.

Unfortunately this is no ordinary kidnapping. It’s actually part of the big conspiracy that is happening in Houston where a group of mages want to turn Houston into a New Rome. Not only does she have to deal with a group of fanatics, her grandmother is trying to have her kidnapped, and she and her sisters have trials coming up to prove they deserve to form their own House.

As if that isn’t enough, Rogan is more protective than he has ever been, while pulling away from Nevada. Nevada isn’t about to let that happens and pulls him in even closer. She’s not letting the man she loves get away. She loves him and she knows he loves her. Forming House Baylor is not going to impact her relationship with Rogan.

I continue to adore Nevada. Adore everyone in this series. I loved Leon in the first two books, but he really made me laugh in Wildfire. Nevada and her mom finally figured out what his magic was in White Hot. Nevada tells Leon about his magic in Wildfire. His magic is pretty amazing. He is undoubtedly a Prime, but does not want to enter the trials to be registered as such. Nevada asks him why and Leon refers to a conversation he had with one of Rogan’s men.

“One day some other Prime will threaten our House, and when that day comes, I’ll kill him.”

What?

“I’ll do it quiet and clean, and nobody will ever know.” Leon smiled. “I’m going to be a dark horse, the House Baylor’s secret. I’ll be the best assassin. A legend. They’ll never see me coming.”

I would kill Kurt. I would strangle him with my bare hands.

Oh, Leon. Arabella was hilarious in her trials. I was literally laughing out loud. Catalina was far more interesting in this book. Her devotion to her family overrode everything, even her terror of using her magic.

In the end, Nevada and Rogan get their HEA, but the story isn’t over yet. The mages have yet to be stopped and now it seems as if it’s Catalina’s turn to put in the work. I have to say, I’m excited about that!

Rating; 5 out of 5.

Hidden Legacy

five-stars


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Review: White Hot by Ilona Andrews

Posted October 29, 2018 by Casee in Features | 5 Comments

Review: White Hot by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #2
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)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 389
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Nevada Baylor has a unique and secret skill—she knows when people are lying—and she's used that magic (along with plain, hard work) to keep her colorful and close-knit family's detective agency afloat. But her new case pits her against the shadowy forces that almost destroyed the city of Houston once before, bringing Nevada back into contact with Connor "Mad" Rogan.

Rogan is a billionaire Prime—the highest rank of magic user—and as unreadable as ever, despite Nevada’s “talent.” But there’s no hiding the sparks between them. Now that the stakes are even higher, both professionally and personally, and their foes are unimaginably powerful, Rogan and Nevada will find that nothing burns like ice …

I don’t think I could love this series any more than I already do. Nevada Baylor is simply…amazing. Incredible? Awesome? All of the above? There is just something about her that makes it impossible not to love her. It’s in her desire to protect her family, while at the same time making sure they all have their own voice. It’s in her determination to not let Rogan take over her life, even if it seems to be for all the right reasons. It’s taking on a new client just so she can help him find his wife’s killer. There are so many more things about her that I could go on and on about. I just heart her.

White Hot brings us back Nevada a new client. Cornelius Harrison has been referred to Nevada by Augustine Montgomery. Ugh. Cornelius’ wife was killed at a hotel with three of her colleagues. The House that she worked for has disavowed knowledge of the crime, only telling Cornelius that he needed to consider the possibility that she was having an affair. Cornelius knows better.

Nevada agrees to take the case. Her agreement to take on the case brings her back into contact with Mad Rogan after months of silence. She knew her decision to turn down Rogan’s offer of taking her away from everything was the right one, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t tempted at the time. Still, she hasn’t heard from him in months. So she is surprised when she finds that he’s connected to her new case. Not only that, but her case is connected to the mysterious group of mages that want to turn Houston into a “New Rome”.

Nevada and Rogan’s relationship moves forward in a big way. Nevada learns that Rogan bought the mortgage to their warehouse, all the surrounding buildings, and built his own HQ right across the street. To say she’s not happy is putting it mildly. I felt this was a pivotal part in their relationship. This is where Nevada has to show Rogan that she is her own person, not another person he is responsible for. She wants him to see her as an equal partner.

While reading Burn for Me, I was aware that the next set of books that come out in this series are going to be about Catalina Baylor. I wasn’t impressed. That changed in this book. We really got to know the family and their dynamics more. This may or may not come as a surprise, but I loved Leon. I think he’s fantastic.

Rogan, though. Sigh. He’s up there on my hero list. This got me. Hard.

“It doesn’t matter if I’m the first. It only matters that I’ll be the last.”

Seriously. Trying to move on…I just loved this book. I love the story, I love the characters, I love the writing. I even love that it’s in first person because it’s Nevada.

LOVE.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hidden Legacy

five-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson

Posted October 18, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Summer Breeze by Catherine AndersonReviewer: Holly
Summer Breeze (Keegan-Paxton #3) by Catherine Anderson
Series: Keegan-Paxton #3
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: January 3, 2006
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 421
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

The year is 1889, and Rachel Hollister hasn't set foot outside her house in five years. Ever since a savage attack left her family dead, she's cordoned herself off from the outside world, afraid to let anyone into her home—or into her heart. But now trouble has appeared on her doorstep—and suddenly she has no choice but to let a handsome rancher invade her well-guarded existence ...

Confirmed bachelor Joseph Paxton grudgingly offers to take up temporary residence at the Hollister ranch—even though it's obvious Rachel doesn't want his protection. But once he catches a glimpse of his beautiful young ward and her remarkable spirit, he'll do anything to break through the dark spell that's walled off her heart. It may take a miracle, but he's determined to make her see the refuge he's offering in his embrace—and the splendor that exists beyond her front door. Otherwise he'll just have to build a safe haven big enough for the both of them ...

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

While looking through old posts I came across this one for Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson. I remember the warm, sweet feeling I was left with after I finished this book. I’m not sure it would work as well for me if I read it now, but it will always hold a special place in my heart.

This review was originally published August 7, 2006

What an amazing love story.

We all fear something. Whether we have a true phobia – such as my fear of ‘S’ words (don’t ask) – or just something that makes us break out in goosebumps, we all know what it’s like to be afraid of something.

Rachel Hollister’s fear is that of being in an open space. Her family was brutally murdered right in front of her while they were out for a picnic. As a result, she hasn’t stepped outside her home in five years.

Her faithful friend, the elderly Darby, has done everything in his power to make her a sanctuary inside her home. He barricaded all the windows and doors and converted her kitchen into as comfortable a place as possible for her.

Though Rachel knows her fears are irrational, they’re there all the same, and she can’t overcome them. She refuses to leave her small kitchen for any reason, and can’t even open a door or window to allow sunlight in. For five long years she lived in absolute silence, with no natural light.

To keep herself occupied, she read books and crocheted. She spoke with Darby through the door of her home and that was the only company she had.

Until Darby is shot in the back and manages to ride to the neighboring Paxton ranch in search of help. Joseph Paxton finds him and promises to look after Rachel. Darby is convinced his being shot has something to do with the murder of Rachel’s family and fears for her safety.

As Joseph breaks into Rachel’s home, he expects to find a crazy young woman, and instead encounters a lovely creature he’s immediately taken with. He comes to realize that Rachel isn’t crazy at all, only frightened.

Watching this story unfold has been a wonderful experience for me. Seeing Joseph do everything in his power to make Rachel’s world one filled with sunlight and birdsong really touched me.

Since Rachel’s fear is based on open spaces, Joseph hits upon the idea of installing metal doors with bars on them so she can enjoy the sunlight and still feel enclosed. Then one of the town’s populace hits upon the idea of building her a stone-walled courtyard with an iron-work ceiling so it’s completely enclosed, therefore allowing Rachel to be outside. They called it:

“Sunshine for Rachel.”

Watching Rachel emerge from her self-imposed prison and into the sunshine for the first time in five years made my heart swell and my eyes sting with tears. Joseph’s reaction to Rachel in the sunshine touched me more deeply than any other tender moment in a romance novel. I could feel their emotions as she turned her face to the sun for the first time in so many years.

She was halfway across the courtyard before it struck her that she was outside. Oh, God, outside. She staggered to a stop, frozen in her tracks. Her heart pounded violently. But nothing else happened. She could still breathe. She just felt a little dizzy and disoriented. “Joseph?”
“You’re fine, sweetheart. You’ve got walls all around you. Look at them. Name me anything that can go through that rock.”
She let her head fall back to put her face up to the sun. The gentle warmth on her skin was beyond wonderful. She held her arms wide and turned again, filling her lungs with fresh, cool morning air.

Joseph asks Rachel to marry him and the following scene is so touching. Rachel refuses him, saying she can’t have a family living the way she does.

“What would I do? Push them out the wood safe to see them off to school?” She gestured with her free hand the encompass the kitchen. “A family can’t live in one room.”
“I’ll make it work,” he whispered. “I swear to you, darlin’. I can make it work. No hallways to frighten you, just a big room like this with water closets all around, only they’ll be bedrooms, with you in the big room, living as you do now, never needing to go outside unless it’s to sit in your courtyard or work in your flower beds.”

The murder of her family was left unsolved all those years ago, and Joseph and his lawman brother David set out to find the missing pieces of the puzzle, hoping to keep Rachel safe and finally give her closure.

The story was sweet and amazing and one of the most touching I’ve read in a long time. It’s not very often that you read a murder-mystery that’s sweet and compelling as well.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the book. Something Joseph said to Rachel that touched my heart.

When I first met you, I thought I was opening up the world for you, but I was so wrong. You were the one who opened up all of my windows so I could see the beauty beyond the glass.

5 out of 5

Keegan-Paxton

five-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Cry No More by Linda Howard

Posted October 4, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 8 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Cry No More by Linda HowardReviewer: Casee
Cry No More by Linda Howard
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: April 27, 2004
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 392
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

Fueled by an obsession to fill the void in other people’s lives, Milla Edge finds lost children—all the while trying to outrun the brutal emotions stemming from a tragedy in her past. Traveling to a small village in Mexico on a reliable tip, Milla begins to uncover the dire fate of countless children who have disappeared in the labyrinth of a sinister baby-smuggling ring. The key to nailing down the organization may rest with an elusive one-eyed man. As Milla’s search for him intensifies, the mission becomes more treacherous. For the ring is part of something far larger and more dangerous, reaching the highest echelons of power. Racing into peril, Milla suddenly finds herself the hunted—in the crosshairs of an invisible, lethal assassin who aims to silence her permanently.

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

This review was originally posted on October 2, 2009.

When I first read this book, it was only a year or so after I first discovered Linda Howard. After the Night, Shades of Twilight, Son of the Morning; I loved them. I wanted Gray, Web, and Niall to be real b/c I wanted to marry them. Going from that to Cry No More is not an easy transition. In fact, it’s kind of like the lights going on after you spent two hours in complete darkness. Now it’s clear that Linda Howard evolved as a writer. At RWA a few years back, a friend and I were in LH’s line. My friend had brought her hardcover of Cry No More. LH laughed and said that she didn’t think anyone would be bringing that book to sign. I was silently thinking the same thing. Now I wish I had brought my copy.

This book is the journey of Milla Edge. When her infant son is ripped out of her arms in Mexico, Milla almost dies trying to get him back. Her quest for answers and her relentless search for her son destroyed her marriage. She became a different person after Justin was kidnapped. Going through something that no mother wants to imagine made Milla harder. If she never would have lost her son, the core of her personality would have been the same, but she wouldn’t have gotten the edginess she has now.

After ten years pass, Milla starts losing hope but still won’t give up. When she finally gets a lead, she ruthlessly follows it even knowing that it could lead to her death. Diaz is a name that is whispered throughout Mexico. He’s thought to be an assassin. Milla doesn’t care who he is if he can help her find Justin. And that’s exactly what he does.

This book was an emotional roller coaster. There is little to no humor. The whole thing is very raw. Linda Howard did such an amazing job of writing Milla that I felt that I was Milla. I felt her anguish. I felt her heartache and her regret. I also felt her hope and despair. The whole thing was just very powerful.

Milla’s only goal is to find Justin, however that is not all she finds. Together, she and Diaz uncover an adoption smuggling ring and an organ smuggling ring. The path they travel will lead them to Justin, but it will also lead them somewhere that they weren’t prepared to go.

There is romance between Milla and Diaz, but it took a backseat to telling Milla’s story. Even then, it was still powerful stuff. Pure LH.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

five-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Posted August 22, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Deal by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
The Deal (Off-Campus, #1) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus #1
Also in this series: The Deal (Off-Campus, #1), The Deal (Off-Campus, #1), The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2), The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2), The Score (Off-Campus, #3), The Score (Off-Campus, #3), The Goal (Off-Campus, #4)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 9, 2015
Point-of-View: First
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 330
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

She's about to make a deal with the college bad boy...

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she's carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush's attention, she'll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice...even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

...and it's going to be oh so good

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he's worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he's all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn't take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn't going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

This book was fucking amazing. Ah-maze-ing. That’s right. Amazing.

I didn’t have high hopes after reading The Year We Hid Away. I should have had faith in Elle Kennedy though. Why? Because she’s Elle Fucking Kennedy. That woman knows how to write a book. I’m not usually into this “New Adult” crap, but after reading this book, I plan to continue to read every single thing that she has written thus far.

Garrett Graham is a star hockey player. He’s also misunderstood. No, he really is. Everyone sees him as the son of a Stanley Cup winner. They don’t understand how much his abusive childhood has affected him. Hell, even Garrett doesn’t fully understand how it has affected his every day life. That is until Hannah Wells comes into his life.

Garrett only needs Hannah to tutor him. If he doesn’t pull up his grade in Ethics, he will be suspended from the hockey team. Only Hannah tells him no, which shocks Garrett to no end. She isn’t impressed by him, him status or, well, him. At all. So he makes her a deal. He will help her get the guy she’s crushing on if she helps him bring his grade up. Win-win. Until he starts falling for her.

Hannah has her own demons. When she was fifteen, she was drugged and raped at a party. What came after is only the stuff of nightmares. She’s mostly dealt with everything, but she still has a little problem when it comes to sex. She can’t have an orgasm. After a few weeks of studying with Garrett and a seriously hot kiss, Hannah propositions Garrett. Which sounds sleazy, but it was anything but.

These two were just made for each other. Garrett comes to the realization that hockey isn’t everything. Hannah realizes how wrong she was about Garrett. He’s not just some dumb jock. This book is so damn funny. I was sitting on the beach, literally laughing my ass off and people were looking at me like I was insane. I didn’t care. I was enjoying the book too much. Any author that can make me laugh like that is a keeper in my book. So thank you, Elle Kennedy. I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in a long time.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Off-Campus

five-stars


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