Tag: Berkley

Guest Review: Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

Posted September 13, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Someone to Trust by Mary BaloghReviewer: Tracy
Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh
Series: Westcott Series #5
Also in this series: Someone to Love, Someone to Hold, Someone to Wed, Someone to Care, Someone to Honor
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 27, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

During a rare white Christmas at Brambledean Court, the widow Elizabeth, Lady Overfield, defies convention by falling in love with a younger man in the latest novel in the Westcott series.

After her husband's passing, Elizabeth Overfield decides that she must enter into another suitable marriage. That, however, is the last thing on her mind when she meets Colin Handrich, Lord Hodges, at the Westcott Christmas house party. She simply enjoys his company as they listen to carolers on Christmas Eve, walk home from church together on Christmas morning, and engage in a spirited snowball fight in the afternoon. Both are surprised when their sled topples them into a snow bank and they end up sharing an unexpected kiss. They know there is no question of any relationship between them for she is nine years older than he.

They return to London the following season, both committed to finding other, more suitable matches. Still they agree to share one waltz at each ball they attend. This innocuous agreement proves to be one that will topple their worlds, as each dance steadily ensnares them in a romance that forces the two to question what they are willing to sacrifice for love...

Colin and Elizabeth start off as friends in this book.  They are both looking for the same thing – marriage – but since Elizabeth is 9 years older than Colin they don’t really even think about marrying each other.  There is a spark and a sparkle there – and Colin constantly teases Elizabeth that he could marry him, but then plays it off as a joke.  She’s a little hurt by his teasing, but is Colin truly teasing her or is there a vein of seriousness in him?

While the story started off slowly it soon picked up and I was pretty invested in the romance.  I really liked both Colin and Elizabeth and wanted them together.  Yes, she was 9 years older than Colin and that age thing got a little old, I’m not gonna lie.  Colin was so adorable and kind, and I loved his character so much.  I’m glad that they finally worked things out, but it took a little too long to get there.  This actually could have been a novella and been perfect.

The overwhelming Wescott family irritated me in this book.  Not that any of them did anything wrong, truly they didn’t, but having to remember who is who was getting to me.  I love that they are so supportive of each other, but it got to a point where I just wanted them to all go away.

While I didn’t like this as much as I liked books 2, 3 & 4 in the series, it was still a lovely romance and worth reading.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Wescott

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Sea Witch by Virginia Kantra

Posted September 12, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Sea Witch by Virginia KantraReviewer: Casee
Sea Witch by Virginia Kantra
Series: Children of the Sea #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 1, 2008
Format: Print
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 273
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

First in the new The Children of the Sea series from the USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR.

Margred is a Selkie - a legendary being of the sea, able to shapeshift into seductive human form. And she has found a human she desires...

Burned out from the big city, Caleb Hunter becomes police chief on the peaceful Maine island of World's End. Then he meets a woman who's everything he's ever dreamed of.

Their passion is undeniable, irresistible ...and it may change the fate of humankind.

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

This review was originally posted on September 8, 2010

I really have enjoyed Virginia Kantra’s romantic suspense books so I wasn’t thrilled when this series first came out. I was so un-thrilled, in fact, that I didn’t read this book until two years after I got it.

Margred/Maggie threw me off at first. As a selkie, she doesn’t have human thoughts, human feelings, etc. The only human urge she has is of the sexual variety. So she was a very “go get ‘em” type of girl/seal. She first meets Caleb when she comes to land to find someone to bleep. Caleb is that person. She is attracted to him in a way that doesn’t make sense to the selkie part of her.

Caleb has had a rough few years and is happy to be home in World Point. When he first meets Maggie, he is breaking up a celebration on the beach. After a very intense sexual encounter, Maggie leaves and doesn’t come back. After that, Caleb would check that stretch of beach. For three weeks he waited for her. He finally finds her, but not in the way he wants.

When Maggie comes to shore, she is attacked and her pelt is subsequently burned. To be without her pelt is to not be selkie. Maggie has no idea what to do. She knows no one but Caleb. She has no one but Caleb. While she is very attracted to him, she is selkie at heart and cannot remain on land.

Maggie’s thoughts on immortality were very confusing (for her). She couldn’t understand why any selkie would resort to becoming human thus aging. As a 700 year old selkie, she can’t fathom a lifespan so short nor does she want to. Her inner struggle with that was really very emotional. She realizes she loves Caleb, but she still can’t imagine giving up her life as a selkie. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine her doing it either.

End up together they do, though it wasn’t easy to get there. They have demons and a long-lost brother to deal with. For the first book in the series, I found it very well written.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Children of the Sea

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Heart Secret by Robin D. Owens

Posted September 5, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Heart Secret by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Heart Secret by Robin D. Owens
Series: Celta's Heartmates #11
Also in this series: Heart Fate, HeartMate, HeartMate, Heart Thief , Heart Duel , Heart Choice, Heart Quest , Heart Dance , Heart Fate , Heart Dance, Heart Journey, Heart Fire, Heart Legacy, Heart Change, Heart Sight (Celta's Heartmates)
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: August 7th 2012
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

On the faraway planet Celta, there are some things you can never tell—until someone discovers your Heart Secret…

When a virulent disease killed the woman he loved and her baby, Garrett Primross was left alive, a reluctant survivor. Now, as a private eye, he strives to banish the memories of his past and rebuild his life. The Healers of Celta have something else in mind: Discover why he survived.

He is monitored by Healer Artemisia Panax—his HeartMate, a love he never pursued. Still mourning his loss, he refuses to acknowledge her. Since her family was publicly disgraced, she's used to such treatment. She wants nothing more than to guard her livelihood and protect the secrets she's sworn to keep.

Thrown together by duty, Garrett and Artemisia find the body of the last Black Magic Cultist who ruined her family. Suspicion flares, but they have little choice but to investigate the crime together. When their own lives are placed in danger, they realize that denying their HeartMates is only denying their own future.

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

This review was originally posted on August 7, 2012

This is book number eleven in Owens’ Celta’s HeartMates series. While past events are mentioned, I think this can be read as a standalone.

Garrett is the sole survivor from his small estate of a terrible disease. When it took the girl he loved three years before, he vowed never to contact his HeartMate. He didn’t want to soil the memory of his first love, nor did he want to risk his heart again. Now they’re being forced to work together to help find a cure, since the disease is back. He tries to keep her at arms length, but can’t deny he’s drawn to her.

Artemisia’s family was cast out of their home after they were falsely accused of being part of a cult. They have since been tasked with taking care of BalmHeal, the private sanctuary of Celta that’s only available to those who are in desperate need. The entire family has been sworn to secrecy. She knows she has a HeartMate, but figures he never tried to contact her because of the scandal. And she’s ok with that. Mostly. She does want a family, however, and she hopes to find someone she can marry. She can’t deny an attraction to Garrett, but he’s a patient and therefore off limits. Plus, he’s kind of grumpy and prickly.

Even after they’re forced time together (while Garrett undergoes infection – he’s the only one on the planet who is immune – of a rare disease so they can hopefully find a cure), Garrett doesn’t want to claim Artemisia as his HeartMate. He wants to remain true to his first love and he resents that Artemisia makes him feel things for her.

With this novel, Owens moves firmly into the second generation of Celta families. I’m kind of torn here. I really like that we’re moving into a new generation and seeing outside the First Families. On the other hand, I kind of miss the sense of the world we got from the First Family’s point of view.

This is a darker novel. Garrett suffered through a traumatic event and there’s is a lot of pain and grief inside of him from it. He takes out his anger and guilt on Artemisia more than once. As we learn more about the events that shaped his past, it’s easy to forgive his treatment of her. Where I struggled was his complete about-face with her. One minute he didn’t want her as his HeartMate and the next he decided to claim her. That might have killed the novel for me, but he really had to work for it. If Artemisia had fallen at his feet as soon as he announced his change of heart, I don’t think this would have worked as well.

I enjoyed both characters. Artemisia was a strong women who was doing her best to make her way in the world, despite the scandal that still hung over her head. I only wish more had been done about the director of the Healing Hall she worked at. I was hoping for a comeuppance and was sorely disappointed in that regard.

Celta is such an interesting world, so easy to fall into. I can never wait to get the next installment and when I finish a new book, I always want to go back and re-read the old ones.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Celta’s HeartMates

three-half-stars


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Review: Dark Illusion by Christine Feehan

Posted September 2, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Dark Illusion by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Dark Illusion by Christine Feehan
Series: Dark Series #33
Also in this series: Dark Nights (Dark #6.5, #9.5), Dark Wolf (Dark, #25), Dark Promises (Dark, #29), Dark Carousel (Dark, #30), Dark Legacy (Dark, #31), Dark Slayer (Dark, #17), Dark Sentinel (Dark #28)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A mage and a warrior must see beyond their facades and embrace the bond that links their souls in this powerful Carpathian novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

At any other time, Julija Brennan would find solace in the quiet of the Sierra Mountains, but now the mage is in the race of her life. Having broken free from her controlling family, Julija's attempts to warn the Carpathians of the coming threat has failed and put a target on her back—and those who hunt her are close behind...

After centuries locked away in a monastery in the Carpathian Mountains, Isai Florea can't believe he's finally found his lifemate—the missing half of his soul. The second he sees Julija his world blazes with color. But despite their explosive connection Julija rebels against what she sees as Isai's intent to control her and rejects the bond that would prevent him from becoming a monster.

As their unfulfilled bond continues to call to them both, Julija and Isai aim to complete the task that brought them together. They are used to facing danger alone, but now the mage and the ancient warrior must learn how to rely on each other in order to stop a plot that threatens all Carpathians...

This is book number thirty three in Feehan’s Dark series. It’s amazing to me that she can keep it fresh most of the time. I enjoyed this book more than the last few of the series. The next book promises to be just as good.

Julija Brennan carries the mark of a high mage. She also carries the mark of Dragonseeker. She’s also part Carpathian. Julija is a little bit of everything. Julija is in the mountains looking for a book that could wipe the Carpathian species off the map. While she’s searching, Julija feels sorrow radiating close by. Julija finds Elisabeta, a Carpathian that was kidnapped centuries ago. Julija can do nothing but help set her free. Thus begins her war with her family, a master vampire, and a mage whom she’s terrified of. The book has to be destroyed at any cost, up to and including Julija’s life.

Julija is in the Sierra Nevadas, where she followed a Carpathian who just lost his lifemate to old age. She has no idea of what is to come. Isai Florea has also come to the Sierra Nevadas to find his brother and the book. When he runs into an illusion cast by Julija, he’s almost fooled. But Isai is ancient and not so easy to fool. He’s shocked when he discovers his lifemate behind the illusion and even more shocked that she doesn’t want to have anything to do with him.

Julija was raised to be afraid. She’s afraid of Carpathians, but especially of the lifemates. She’s lived her life wondering if everything was an illusion. Her father and brothers always played tricks on her. The teacher that became her friend was an illusion as well. After being in the care of his torturous hands, Julija wants nothing more than to end her life. When she meets Isai, she instantly rejects him. Then her father comes at her viciously, through a psychic attack. Julija can do nothing but turn to Isai.

While he’s ready to leave her after their first meeting, he ends up deciding to help Julija find the book, hoping they will find his brother as well. They quickly get to know each other and Isai realizes how wrong he was to judge her. Now Julija and Isai are in a race to find the book before her father or Sergey, the master vampire. They both know that they can’t fail.

I really, really liked this book. It was so different that some of her past books. Julija was terrified, but she fought it and came out the victor. Having Isai by her side make her realize that together, they were virtually unstoppable. I loved watching Julija come into her own after meeting Isai. He had a big part in that. I loved that Isai was willing to let Julija be who she was. He helped her gain so much self-confidence. Self-confidence that was beaten out of her by her family. She’s a survivor. If you like this series, I think you’ll really enjoy this book. If this series sounds interesting to you, the first book is Dark Prince.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Dark

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day

Posted August 15, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa DayReviewer: Tracy
Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day
Series: Warriors of Poseidon #7
Also in this series: Atlantis Awakening (Warriors of Poseidon, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 311
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The most unexpected of all allies to Poseidon's warriors has proven to be the fiercest-Daniel, a vampire and Night Guild mage. But even the strongest alliance can be destroyed when a vampire's oath crosses paths with a maiden's quest, and an eleven-thousand-year-old desire is reborn.

Ready to face the dawn and die after 11,000 years as a vampire, Daniel walks into the Reflecting Pool on the Washington Mall and ends up in Atlantis, at the mercy of Serai, a long-dead warrior princess he could never forget.

Yet Serai is not dead. Centuries earlier she and several others had been magically put into suspended animation to ensure the continuation of the Atlanteans. But the magical jewel that keeps them safe has been stolen, and, now awake, Serai must find it to save the other sleeping women.

Together, Daniel and Serai search for the stone and renew their relationship, stalked by an evil that isn't about to let them succeed.

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

This review was originally posted on Nov 15, 2011.

Daniel was just a blacksmith’s apprentice in Atlantis when he met the beautiful Serai. It was love at first sight and they longed to be together. Unfortunately many things happened to keep them apart. Atlantis was attacked, Daniel turned into a vampire, Atlantis submerged into the ocean and Serai put into stasis to one day be awoken to marry High Prince Conlan.

Eleven thousand years have passed since that time. Daniel is ready to face the dawn and end it all when he finds himself not only alive but in Atlantis and facing the women he thought long dead. He is mesmerized once again and eager to help her with whatever she needs.

Serai broke out of the stasis but she doesn’t want to be put in and knows she must get out of Atlantis immediately. She was told that Daniel died all those years ago and when he appears before her she’s shocked. They fight together to find a gem from Poseidon’s trident, the Emporer, and try to save the other women in stasis.

This is book 7 in this series and my least favorite of the bunch. While it was an interesting story to a point and continued the overall story arc that will be concluded in future books, it just lacked that extra something that made it captivating. The story was good but I found myself kind of well, bored at points.

I really liked Daniel and of course Serai was a strong female character but they were a bit melodramatic for me. Yes, I know that they’d been apart and thought the other dead – I would probably be very vocal about my feelings too if that happened…but it just didn’t have a truly realistic feel to me.

While the story was good and had a bit of an extra romance with the vampire Nicholas and the witch Ivy it unfortunately just fell a bit short from the other books in the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-stars


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