Tag: 5.0 Reviews

Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Posted July 1, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #7
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 381
Length: 16 hours and 18 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…
As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.
As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

As Alpha of the pack, Kate Daniels has responsibilities that she would rather not have. When her mate and lover, Curran the Beast Lord, is called away to a hunt, Kate must attend the Conclave. The Conclave is a gathering of The People and the Pack. They meet once a month to air out any grievances or issues with each other so a war doesn’t start. When a Master of the Dead is murdered, it’s obvious that it was a shapeshifter that did the killing. Now Kate has a short amount of time to find out who the killer is, all without the support or help from Curran.

When Hugh d’Ambray shows up at the Conclave, Kate is shocked. She thought that Curran killed her father’s right hand man. It’s immediately clear that Hugh has a nefarious plan to bring her back to her father. Kate is having none of it. She knows where she belongs and it’s not with Hugh d’Ambray. Her place is with Curran. It doesn’t take long for Kate to realize that Curran was drawn away from the Pack so Hugh could get to Kate and hurt the Pack.

With Hugh chasing Kate like his life depends on it, Kate and company end up at the Order of Merciful Aid. If you read the series, you most likely remember Ted. Ted runs the Atlanta chapter of the Order. He was always a shady sort and in Magic Breaks, he decides to go out with a bang. He allows all his Knights to be slaughtered and himself killed so he can go out a martyr. In the meantime, Kate is trying to keep her friends alive and away from Hugh. All without Curran.

I think this is one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever tried. Nothing I can say will express the magnitude of greatness that is this book. It gave me all the feels, the whole time I was listening to it. The narrator is amazing. I felt like I was Kate. That’s how good she is. Kate is fucking phenomenal, Curran is beastastic. Like I want a Curran of my own. I am kicking my own ass for not reading this series sooner. It has everything. Action, romance, suspense, thrills. If you haven’t read it, you need to.

Rating: 5 out of 5 (for real).

Kate Daniels

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Guest Audiobook Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted June 29, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Audiobook Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Tracy
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 Bridge Kingdom
Publisher: Audible Original
Publication Date: February 27, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy
Length: 10 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-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 The Bridge Kingdom series.

Where do you go and what do you do when you’ve unintentionally destroyed a kingdom and your husband has captured? The people you’ve come to love with your whole heart have now turned against you and you want nothing more than to help them make things right again.

Lara is in this situation and is running into stone walls when it comes to getting help from the Ithicanians who now hate her.  Where does she turn?  To her sisters who were all trained to be just as good as she at fighting for what they believe in.

I truly can’t tell you anything about this book without giving SO much away. The story has an incredible amount of action and goes non-stop from one event to the other.  I was listening to this story and never once wanted to hit pause while listening.  I can’t remember the last time that happened, if ever.

Lara and Aren’s story continues in The Traitor Queen but it’s not an easy one. The Ithicanian fight with the Maridrinians, as well as the possible resolution between Lara and Aren, had me on the edge of my seat for the entire book.  Throughout it all I couldn’t see how things would resolve but the author did a great job of it.  I would have liked just a bit more at the end of the book with the Ithicanians and Lara, but hopefully the author will put out a 2.5 novella for us (hint, hint Ms. Jensen).

The author has built a world that I kind of want to live in.  Seriously.  Sounds silly, but when you read the book, you’ll understand.  Though the main focus is on Lara and Aren, she didn’t limit us in just knowing them.  I felt she described the world so well, and made all of the characters so real to me, that I just want to go there. Lol

If you want to read a story with action, adventure, revenge, fury, resentment, romance and love then this is definitely the book you’ll want to read.

Rating: 5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Joint Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 12, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #3
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 322
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate's werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation only, no holds barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta's shapeshifting community…

Magic Strikes is the third book in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. The trouble really starts to heat up when Kate’s friend Derek is found almost dead and she is forced to catch the bad guys by putting a team together to fight in the Midnight Games, a supernatural Hunger Games like tournament. It’s a fight to the death and Kate and her team, the Fools, need to win the biggest prize of all to make sure it doesn’t fall into the hands of the bad guys.

Rowena: Holly and I are a little late with our February joint review and that’s all my fault. I fell behind on my buddy reads and my review pile so here we are, a month late but better late than never, right?

This month, we are reading Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews and I’m super stoked about that since I’ve been meaning to read this series for ages and Holly was nice enough to read it with me. I enjoyed this book heaps more than I enjoyed the first two books in this series. It’s like the series is finally hitting its stride with me and I couldn’t get enough.

Holly: I’m so glad you’re finally digging into this series. I knew if you powered through the first two books you’d fall in love.

Rowena: I went through it all emotionally in this one. I ugly cried like a baby, I laughed like a hyena and I happy sighed all over the place because omg, everything was so good.

What did you think, Holly? Did it hold up for you?

Holly: This one really packs a punch. It held up very well for me. Kate is such a kickass heroine. I love how badass she is. When she gave Jim that verbal smackdown after he shut her out about Derek, I cheered.

Speaking of Derek…my heart broke for him here. What about you?

Rowena: Same. This book really picks the series up and I just loved it to pieces. When Kate was too late getting to Derek, and the guilt she felt over it all? OMG, I felt that shit. I felt every single emotion possible while reading this book. There was a lot going on but there were small moments that just hit me in my feels and I couldn’t get enough. Seeing everyone come together for Kate, and for Jim and Derek? Man, I loved it. Jim trying to save Curran from doing things nobody should have to do? I felt that. Doolittle naming Kate’s team “Fools”, Curran showing up and everyone being scared out of their pants but ready with their excuses, and Curran shooting all of their excuses down? Haha, I freaking loved it. I laughed out loud when Kate comes back to the team room and Andrea is spilling the tea on what everyone was saying? Hahaha, oh man. So good. Don’t even get me started that first match when Jim told Curran and Kate to dumb down their fighting and they’re arguing afterward about how the fight turned out.

Holly: Like you, I felt all the emotions while reading this book. Curran’s anger, Kate and Jim’s determination to spare him, their sense of responsibility for Derek. Lord. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I read this book. Like Kate, I wanted vengeance. I hurt so much while reading this one. It definitely got me in the feels.

Rowena: One of the big things for me was finding out more about Kate’s background and seeing what she’s capable of. I mean, I had a sneaky suspicion that Kate was a little more than the puny little human that she was making herself out to be in the previous books but man, I wasn’t expecting what she did in that last match. Kate Daniels is a freaking bad ass boss!

Holly: I love how Kate’s background is slowly revealed. Every time you think you know what’s up with Kate, something new happens and you have to rethink everything. I will say, the way Kate takes everything on herself drives me crazy, but I understand that’s just part of her. She feels responsible for the world.

What do you think of Jim and Dali?

Rowena: I enjoyed Jim and Dali. Jim can ride my nerves from time to time, but overall, I enjoy his character. I liked the dynamic between him and Dali and holy cow, Dali is hilarious. She’s a lot of fun. Her magic and spells had me cracking up through it all.

Holly: Dali is hilarious. A blind vegetarian tiger? Ha!

Rowena: Man, Derek! Pretty boy, Derek! So, something brewing between him and Julie or what? When she was scanning his body with her magic? My heart hurt so much and when Derek forces his way onto the team to save that girl? I’m telling you, my heart!! OMG when Kate and Raphael went to get Julie from school? I about died laughing. The bad guys are getting worse and worse, huh?

Holly: You’ll have to read Magic Stars when you get a little further into the series. It’s a Julie novella. And that’s all I’m saying about that. I loved it when Kate and Raphael showed up at Julie’s school. There’s so much good stuff here. It’s was a pleasure to re-read.
As much as I loved this book, I don’t think the series really finds its feet until the next book, so you have much to look forward to.

Rowena: From beginning to end, I enjoyed this one. Ilona Andrews continues to shine and I had hella heart eyes while reading this. There isn’t anything that I can think of that I didn’t like about this book. I thought it was well written, action packed, and the way that it ends with Curran and Kate? Oh hell yes, this book gets 5 stars from me. What about you?

Holly: This isn’t my favorite book in the series, but it’s so damn good that’s not saying much. I love the humor, the angst, the drama…all of it. I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5.

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

Kate Daniels

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth Boyle

Posted January 30, 2020 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth BoyleReviewer: Judith
How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth Boyle
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 342
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars

Lucy Ellyson, the improper daughter of an infamous spy, saves the life of the Earl of Clifton. He intends to make her his countess after the war ends, but when he finally is able to return to her, he finds that she′s vanished.

Meanwhile, Lucy is living a new life in the heart of Mayfair. But she′s as scandalous as ever, and when Clifton finally happens upon her, she′s landed in the sort of trouble that only a hasty marriage can solve. He′s more than willing to step in, but their future is all too quickly threatened by secrets from the past.

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

This review was originally posted on January 29, 2010.

Author Elizabeth Boyle most assuredly has a flair for historical romance. This book is evidence that she knows her craft and does her research. Set in the time during and following the Napoleonic War, the story of the Earl of Clifton, Lucy & Mariana Ellyson, and Clifton’s brother Malcolm is spread over a period of seven years. I don’t really like flashbacks very well but in this case, Boyle has used that technique to tell the story of Clifton, Malcolm, and the Ellyson sisters and to provide the foundational facts of their relationships. It is an insight into the workings of the British Foreign Office and its undercover work in the service of His Majesty and Wellington’s forces. Now, seven years later, Clifton finds Lucy as she is moving into a house in London which she is sharing with all the dowager Ladies Standon, all widows of Standon cousins. In so many ways this is a complicated story but throughout the twists and turns flows the love story between Lucy and Clifton, both of whom have never set aside their love for one another that bloomed during those months of training at Hampstead Heath. As is so often true in affairs of the heart, there are misunderstandings, missed communications, tangled relationships that aren’t what they seem, betrayal and criminal machinations that put Lucy’s future in jeopardy as well as nearly cause her once again to miss Clifton’s arrival in London. Her undercover skills come into play late in the story once again and bring these two very interesting characters together once again, causing their passion to flame anew.

This was an interesting and really enjoyable book! I have always enjoyed this particular historical period because war as a backdrop seems to bring out the deeper reserves of human feeling—love, loss, grief, cynicism, and hope which endures under inhuman circumstances. The social realities of society are also a part of the story—three widows, two of whom were born into the ton and have made the head of their family ill with their complaining, and Lucy who married out of desperation when her father died and she had no one left in her family or any honest means of support. The definition of poverty is considerably different for the upper levels of British Society, and it may be difficult for contemporary Americans to “get their heads around” the perspectives of life which drove the activities of the British Aristocracy. Boyle does an excellent job in helping today’s readers gain some understanding of the stresses present for those who held titles and lands and responsibilities to renters and farmers and villagers. Add to this the strain on the British economy from bad weather, the cost of war, absentee landlords and such, and you have a fertile background against which to craft a wonderful love story.

I really like these characters. The Ellyson sisters are cagey, independent, good at what they do, work as a team with their father in his training of British spies, feel deeply and are loyal to a tee. They love each other—a love that is built on an unfailing friendship between sisters and between parents and children. Clifton and his brother are wonderful men who have chosen to take up the challenge to put aside their aristocratic lives and serve their country in unsavory and hidden ways. The unsavory characters Papa Ellyson brings into the training are colorful and quite humorous. All in all, this is a delightful story and a great read.

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5.

The Bachelor Chronicles

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: The One for You by Roni Loren

Posted January 9, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The One for You by Roni LorenReviewer: Rowena
The One for You by Roni Loren
Series: The Ones Who Got Away #4
Also in this series: The Ones Who Got Away , The Ones Who Got Away, The One You Can't Forget, The One You Fight For (The Ones Who Got Away, #3)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The highly-anticipated fourth book in Roni Loren's unforgettable The Ones Who Got Away series.

She got a second chance at life.Will she take a second chance at love?

Kincaid Breslin wasn't supposed to survive that fateful night at Long Acre when so many died, including her boyfriend—but survive she did. She doesn't know why she got that chance, but now she takes life by the horns and doesn't let anybody stand in her way.

Ashton Isaacs was her best friend when disaster struck all those years ago, but he chose to run as far away as he could. Now fate has brought him back to town, and Ash doesn't know how to cope with his feelings for Kincaid and his grief over their lost friendship. For Ash has been carrying secrets, and he knows that once Kincaid learns the truth, he'll lose any chance he might have had with the only woman he's ever loved.

The One for You is the final book in The Ones Who Got Away series by Roni Loren. I’m so sad that this series is done and over with because it’s been such a great and emotional journey for me. When we first met these characters in The Ones Who Got Away, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with these characters and their stories so much. I thought Roni Loren did such a fabulous job of telling these stories and giving these characters a voice that resonated with me in each and every single book. I just really liked this series and I can’t wait to see what Loren has planned next. I’m all aboard the Roni Loren fangirl train. 🙂

So this book features our last standing friend, Kincaid Breslin. Kincaid was the bubbly blonde that brought the four friends together again and pretty much held everyone to the words they’d given over a decade ago after the school shooting and their support group sessions came to an end. Each woman had written a letter, that they then buried and promised to revisit 10 years later. Well over time, the four friends each went their separate ways and forgot…Kincaid reminded them and helped each of them move forward with their lives. In this book, we see those three friends return the favor with Kincaid.

Over the course of the series, we see just how important the friendship between the women is to their stories as their romances are. These women have come a long way since that first book and I loved seeing their friendship solidify with each passing book. They became a family and that along with Kincaid and Ash’s story had me in tears for most of this book. I’m talking like ugly cry in the middle of the night because I couldn’t put this book down. I was all in my feels throughout this entire story. From the flashbacks to the here and now, I cried a lot. I’m a sucker for the unrequited love trope and Loren did a great job of showcasing the hurt feelings, the inability to move on, the frustration and just, everything. Every single chapter moved the story along and I loved how seeing the past collide with the present and then build and build and build until everything made sense. When things are finally all out in the open and there are no more secrets, no more confusion, when it’s all out on the table and both characters have to live with the choices they make? Swoon. I had all of the feels.

I loved Ash, I thought he was a great hero. I thought Loren did a great job of showing the reader how his childhood shaped who he was as a man. Though I spent quite a bit of the book, frustrated with Ash for not going after the girl, by the end, every choice he made, every time he bit his tongue, made sense. So when he swallows his pride and does the one thing he never thought he’d do…for Kincaid? OMG, the tears continued. There was no doubt in my mind that Ash belonged with Kincaid. There’s no doubt in my mind that Ash was devoted to KC back when they were kids and then again as adults.

Kincaid turned out to be my favorite of the four friends. I thought my favorite book was going to be Rebecca and Wes’ book because I absolutely loved theirs but nope. This book ended the series on such a high note that Roni Loren shot right to the top of my auto-buy list. This book is my first 5-star read of the year and Kincaid was a huge reason for that. I’m so glad that we finally got her childhood story. Her’s was not an easy story to tell but man, Kincaid came so far from that lost young girl with the neglectful mother and no real home to call her own. When she finally, finally gets the happy ending she’s always wanted, my heart was so full for both her and Ash that I stayed up for an extra 30 minutes just rereading my favorite parts of the book. I re-read the letters. Ash’s declaration. The epilogue. There’s a lot of good stuff in here and if you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it. These characters really come into their own, moving forward after such a huge tragedy and it was all just so good. I’m going to miss these characters so much. Love this!

Final Grade

Grade: 5 out of 5

The Ones That Got Away

five-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,