Tag: Casee’s Reviews

Review: Monster by Jessica Gadziala

Posted April 12, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Monster by Jessica GadzialaReviewer: Casee
Monster by Jessica Gadziala
Series: Savages #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 316
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Alex has had one mission since she was sixteen: destroy the man who destroyed her life. And all was going to plan until one night, a huge mammoth of a man breaks into her apartment and kidnaps her,holding her hostage for the very man she was bent on bringing down.

Breaker has one rule: he doesn't deal in women. But when he's conned into a job for the city's most ruthlesscrime lord, he finds himself in charge of a fiery-temperedhacker who he can't seem to keep his hands off of.

When passions ignite and feelings emerge, will Breaker beable to reconcile his loyalties before it is too late or will their shaky foundation of trust start crumbling beneaththeir feet?

This is a stand alone with a HEA.

* This book may not be "Safety Gang" safe. There is no cheating/ abuse/ triangle triggers, but there is a "bad guy" who is a known rapist (though the rape is not expressly detailed and does NOT happen to the h).

I’ve been really into MC romances recently. My quest to find a new MC series to start led me to Jessica Gadziala. This isn’t an MC romance, but there are connected characters and this book came out before the MC series started. Or that’s what I think, anyway.

Breaker is someone who gets things done for people. For a price. Certain things he has done aren’t exactly legal. He has always had one rule: no women. He doesn’t deal with women at all. He doesn’t consider them fair game like he considers men. He’s forced to take a job that he doesn’t want, but to turn it down could mean he dies. So he takes what he hopes will be the only job for this particular crime lord. It seems like an easy job. Pick up some hacker named Alex and hold him until Lex (crime lord) is ready to take him off Breaker’s hands. Unfortunately nothing goes according to plan.

Breaker is furious when he realizes that Alex is a woman, not a man. It’s well known through the crime world that Breaker doesn’t deal in women. Sadly for Breaker, he has no choice but to kidnap Alex. Now he is waiting to hear his instructions from Lex, hoping they are the last instructions that he ever receives from him. As if things weren’t bad enough what with Alex being a woman, she’s also a pain in the ass. Alex has no fear, so it’s hard to play the badass with her.

Alex knew there would be a reckoning with Lex. She also knew that it would likely end up with her death. She doesn’t care. She wants Lex to pay for destroying her mother decades before. Alex has been working to take down Lex’s network for years. As a hacker she has many skills. She can syphon money out of his accounts amount other things. Alex just wants to bring him down, no matter the cost to her personally.

Of course Breaker and Alex fall in love. It was almost cringeworthy to be honest. I liked these two characters as individuals, but as a couple they didn’t make sense. I really wanted to like them, but it just didn’t happen. I even tried to give them the benefit of the doubt; together they were thrown in a dangerous situation and all they could count on was each other. So I really tried to disconnect my mind and just roll with it, but it was hard. I did love Shooter who was Breaker’s best friend. I am planning on reading his book.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Savages

three-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (spoilers abound)

Posted April 8, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 7 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward (spoilers abound)Reviewer: Casee
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #9
Also in this series: Lover Unbound, Lover Avenged, Lover at Last, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen, Lover Mine, The Thief, The Savior, Where Winter Finds You, The Sinner
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: March 29th 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Pages: 512
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side... and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can—and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night—like vampires—he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide... just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.

This review was originally posted on April 14, 2011.

It’s really hard for me to review JRW’s books because I’m so opposed to what I see is her manufactured persona. My opinion isn’t humble, yo. She’s not writing what is “downloaded” in her head by the characters. She’s obviously writing what her readers want to read. Let me preface this review by saying this was as much Vishous’ book as it was Payne’s. Which might have worked (the twin thing and all) if Vishous hadn’t already had his book, hello. To me, a halfwaysortakinda fan that hasn’t quite given up, it was an obvious way of saying “I’m sorry I screwed the pooch and made Jane a G.D. ghost in Lover Unbound”. Pul-lease. Most of us are over that. If you’re not, you’re obsessed and need help. Bottom line, although I like V I wanted more Payne. Heh.

Dr. Manny Manello’s life has pretty much gone to hell since Jane died. When she resurfaces from the dead and tells him that she needs him to operate on someone, he really has no choice. He’s a doctor and his instinct is to heal. When his memories are released of the day that Jane’s husband came in the hospital, he is furious. Then he’s entranced by his patient. All he can think is that he has to save her. After he does that, his memory is wiped. He doesn’t know that of course. All he knows is that he’s drawn to a room in the hospital for a reason he doesn’t know. Day is night. He has big chunks missing in his memory. It must be a tumor.

It was actually painful to watch Manny go through what a mind wipe can do to a human. It’s obviously understandable why they need to wipe their presence from a human’s mind, but this was the first time that the consequences were apparent and very noticeable. Manny literally thought that he was going crazy. A man that ran a hospital and could basically operate with his eyes closed questioned his sanity because someone else decided what was best for him to know.

Then the BDB needs Manny again because although he operated flawlessly on Payne’s spine, she still isn’t walking. There is no progress at all. They once again return Manny’s memories and ask for demand his help. There was a key to healing Payne and only Manny could trigger it. That was well crafted and thought out. I thought it was perfect.

It might sound like I didn’t like this book, but I actually did. The romance between Manny and Payne was actually sweet. Manny saw Payne as delicate and a woman that needed protecting when Payne was a warrior in her own right. I really thought it was wonderful the way that Manny accepted Payne as she was and didn’t try to stifle who she was.

There was also another set of characters introduced, vampires from the Old Country. So I suppose there will be yet another spinoff. There was a lot of Qhinn self-reflection. At this point, I don’t care what happens with Qhuinn. Just get it done already.

On that note, I WANT TOHR’S BOOK.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Black Dagger Brotherhood

four-stars


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Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 5, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #4
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), Sapphire Flames, Diamond Fire, Wildfire, Emerald Blaze
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 359
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrew comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

Catalina Baylor is the head of House Baylor. When her sister married Rogan, the mantle of running the house passed down to Catalina. She doesn’t feel qualified enough to run a House, especially a relatively new one. When Runa Etterson, a Prime and ally of House Baylor comes to her asking for help. Runa’s mother and sister have been murdered. Runa wants to know who killed her loved ones so she can exact her revenge. Runa begs Catalina to take the case and Catalina can’t turn her down. She knows that if it was her sister and mother murdered, she would stop at nothing to find out who was responsible.

The case is suspicious from the beginning. The DNA of Runa’s sister doesn’t match the burnt corpse that was at the scene. It appears that her sister is alive, but has been kidnapped. Now that Runa and Catalina know this, they know it’s only a matter of time before they kill her. Catalina’s plans to find the killer all go to hell when Alessandro Sagredo shows up on the scene. Before he jumps out of the building of the morgue that Catalina has gone for answers, he tells her to stop looking for the killer or she will get hurt. Of course Catalina doesn’t listen to Alessandro and it’s not long before he pops back into her life.

I didn’t think I would enjoy Catalina as much as I did in this book. I liked her in the first three books of the series, but Diamond Fire was just not very impressive. It’s clear that in the time between Diamond Fire and Sapphire Flames, Catalina has grown up. She is strong enough to run House Baylor, she just questions herself constantly. That was pretty annoying. I really enjoyed the character growth in this book.

Catalina and Alessandro have a contentious relationship. They are very attracted to each other but they are from different Houses. That’s only one reason it will never work. Another is because Catalina is a Siren. She can lure men to her with just her voice and Alessandro is no exception. Catalina has had several mishaps with people that she accidentally used her voice on. Her life hasn’t been easy, but now she controls it and she can use it as a defensive weapon. An offensive one too.

I just adore the Baylor family. I love Penelope and Leon and Arabella. I love everyone in this series. It was nice that Nevada popped back in though it was just via a brief phone call. This book really focused on Catalina. I thought it was very well written.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Hidden Legacy

four-stars


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Review: Still Standing by Kristen Ashley

Posted March 22, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Still Standing by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Still Standing by Kristen Ashley
Series: Wild West MC #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person, Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 528
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

When Clara Delany walks into the Aces High Motorcycle Club’s hangout, she’s hit rock bottom. She’s hiding her car from the repo man, she has less than two dollars in her bank account and the only employment she can get is delivering messages for a criminal.

All because of a man. Therefore, she’s sworn off them.

And then she meets West “Buck” Hardy, president of the Aces High MC.

Buck also meets her, and the minute he does, he makes it clear (to everyone but Clara) that they’re starting something. Since Clara doesn’t get that message, she decides to leave Buck and sort out her life in order to come back to him clean.

She’s not gone but hours before life hits Clara with another blow. Which means Buck and his boys have to ride in and save the day. After that, Buck makes no bones about where they stand.

But does he?

Welcome to the first novel in the Wild West MC series which will tell the stories of the brothers of the Aces High MC, the Resurrection MC, and the Chaos MC…and the women who love them.

Clara Delany hasn’t had the easiest life. Born into foster care, the only person she has ever loved is her bestfriend Tia. To protect Tia from her criminal husband, Clara delivers messages for him. Messages that people aren’t always happy to receive. Her current job has taken her into the Aces High MC where she has a message to deliver to their President. Clara doesn’t anticipate her attraction to West “Buck” Hardy, nor he to her. Clara just wants to conduct her business and be out of there, but Buck has other ideas.

They sleep together the day they met and honestly that didn’t bother me at all. It worked in this situation. Then Esposito (the boss) decides to teach Clara a lesson by kidnapping her and severely beating her. Buck & Aces High rush to her rescue and she finds herself living with Buck. This is after her abortive escape attempt when Tia disappears. Now it seems like Buck & Aces High are the only people capable of finding Tia. So what if she plays house in the meantime?

Before I started this book I made the mistake of skimming through GR reviews. Bad idea. Readers either loved it or hated it all for (what I thought were) valid reasons. I thought about not reading it, I’m not going to lie. Still, this is Kristen Ashley. I just couldn’t not read it. Even if it was as bad as reviews claimed it was, I still had to find out for myself. I thought that until about 31% in and decided to DNF it. Thirty minutes later I had picked it back up. That’s how Kristen Ashley works.

This review on GR really summed up the book:

If you love Motorcycle Man then you’ll love Still Standing because Still Standing is Motorcycle Man’s skeevier little sister.

This is true and false. Still Standing is definitely Motorcycle Man’s skeevier little sister. However not all of us like skeevier. I originally decided to DNF it after 31%. View Spoiler » I had a hard time with Clara because of her belief that she doesn’t deserve happiness and that she has to take what she can get.

Other than being the lover of the MC president, Tyra and Clara are nothing alike. Absolutely nothing. Tyra doesn’t take Tack’s shit. Clara thinks she should settle for whatever little happiness comes her way. I can’t see Tyra doing that. And Buck? Buck is Tack. They both just railroad their women into doing what they want them to do regardless of their feelings on the matter. It’s maddening but enticing at the same time.

View Spoiler » So yeah, I had a very difficult time getting past this.

Just like in Motorcycle Man, there was a family element that was very prevalent. Buck has two kids with a crazy ex-wife (see: Rush, Tabby, & Naomi). Something horrible happens to Buck’s daughter and the way that Clara was there for her was sure something to read. It made me sigh and smile how it brought the two closer. Especially since Tatiana hated Clara when she first met her. Their journey to friends and then a more mother/daughter dynamic was lovely.

My feelings about this book are so mixed that I can’t really decide if I really liked the book or not. I liked the characters. I only mildly tolerated Clara toward the middle of the book, but she got better as she started finding out who she truly was. Her journey was one that I enjoyed reading even if I didn’t really enjoy her character flaws. I’m not going to lie to myself, I will be reading the next book in this series.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Wild West MC

two-half-stars


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Joint Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 18, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee & Holly
Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #10
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, Magic Breaks, Iron and Magic, Magic Binds, Magic Triumphs
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 327
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban-fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows her time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

Magic Triumphs is the conclusion to the Kate Daniels series. It’s been a wild ride from start to finish. Ilona Andrews resolved just about everything while showing us a softer side of Kate. Kate as a mother is something to behold. Although she is softer because she is now a mother, she’s also even more protective of her family. Both Holly & I were very satisfied with the conclusion of the series (Holly after a re-read). The great thing is that we get to revisit Kate and Curran in the new Aurelia Ryder series which follows Kate’s ward, Julie.

Casee: I don’t know why I haven’t reviewed this book yet. It’s easily one of the best books I read in 2020. I adore Kate and Curran and now Conlan. I have so many feels that I don’t know where to start. What I can say is that I was very satisfied with the ending (though not the end of the KD world) of this series.

What did you think when you first read it? Does it get better when you re-read?

Holly: I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed the first time I read it. There were several loose ends left open, and I didn’t love the pacing. Of course, a “disappointing” read from Ilona Andrews is still better than a stellar book from some other authors. It did get better when I reread. I still feel like a lot of threads were left open, which isn’t like IA at all, but it was a satisfying end to Kate’s story.

Casee: I’m not going to lie either, I was pretty disappointed with how the whole Roland thing was wrapped up. He was such a badass for most of the series. Kate defeated him in, like, five minutes. I really enjoyed their father/daughter relationship even though it was extremely dysfunctional. When Roland finally made his move against Kate, at one of her most vulnerable moments, it made me pretty emotional. I was kind of hoping for a truce by the end of the series.

Holly: I think they came to as much of a truce as they could, considering they were coming from such different places. I am actually more satisfied with the way it ended now that the series is continuing and we’re learning additional details.

Casee: I was really satisfied when I finished the book. Although there are a few things that bothered me, overall I thought that it was a fitting ending to a great series. It’s even better now that we get Aurelia Ryder.

Holly: I agree, it’s better now that we’re getting a continuation story with Aurelia Ryder. I loved the scenes with Conlan. He was adorable.

I really hate how Kate and Curran hide things from each other. I know why they do it, but I wish they wouldn’t. Why can’t they just communicate like two adults?

Casee: I agree about Kate and Curran hiding things from each other. I know they both are coming from what they think is a good place, but the fact is that they lie to each other. Or if not exactly lying, they omit pertinent detail all for the sake of protecting the other one.

I loved Conlin! He was the cutest little thing. When he shifted, I just went “awwwww”.

Holly: This book was problematic for me the first time I read it because it was the end of the series and so many things were left unanswered. Now that Iron and Magic and the Aurelia Ryder series’ are being written I don’t feel quite the same way. I love Kate, Curran and the entire cast of characters from the series. I loved Kate’s personal progression, the way their romance grew, and the other relationships she formed. I’m really looking forward to seeing more in this world and I’m glad things ended the way they did with Kate.

I would say this is a pretty solid conclusion to the series, now that I have a little distance from it. 4.25 out of 5.

Casee: As I mentioned above, I was a little disappointed with how quickly the Roland situation was resolved but in retrospect I believe that it had to be written the way it was. It was a great conclusion to the series. I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Casee: 4.5 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels


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