Tag: Guest Reviews

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Stygian’s Honor by Lora Leigh

Posted January 14, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Stygian’s Honor by Lora LeighReviewer: Tracy
Stygian's Honor by Lora Leigh
Series: Breeds #19
Also in this series: Megan's Mark (Breeds, #6), Dawn's Awakening (Breeds, #11), The Magical Christmas Cat , Mercury's War (Breeds, #12), Coyote's Mate (Breeds, #13), Bengal's Heart (Breeds, #14), Lion's Heat (Breeds, #15), Lion's Heat (Breeds, #15), Navarro's Promise (Breeds, #17), Cross Breed (Breeds, #23)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 374
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Window Rock, Arizona, is the last known location of Honor Roberts, who vanished when she was just thirteen. It was her only sanctuary from the Breed research that would surely have ended in her death--one such insidious experiment should, indeed, have killed her. That she lived is both a miracle--and a great mystery.

Stygian's mission is to find Honor Roberts, no matter the cost. Now, with the help of Liza Johnson, assistant to the chief of the Navajo Nation, he is closer than ever to his goal. But will the discovery of Honor Roberts mean the destruction of the mating heat that has developed between Stygian and Liza?

This review was originally posted October 12, 2012.

Liza Johnson has lived a relatively simple life but now the Genetics Council is after her and she has no idea why. The Breeds show up and they plan to protect her – but protect her from what? Jonas Wyatt is determined to find a girl by the name of Honor Roberts because he thinks that her and her friend hold the key to healing his dying toddler.

Stygian Black first saw Liza when he was in a bar (during Malachi and Isabelle’s story) and he’s been hooked on her ever since. He knows that she’s his mate but she’s all about her independence and isn’t keen on being controlled by her mate as that what she thinks will happen. He’s determined to get her to see that life with him will be wonderful and she’ll still have her independence…to a point.

But Liza’s kind of screwed up. She starts having memories that can’t possibly be her own and she starts to doubt that she is who she thinks she is. How can she be Liza and yet have memories of things that never happened to her? And why is her father lying to Jonas Wyatt about her and the Navajo Nation’s database?

This is book 27 in the series – yes, you read that correctly – 27! I think that it’s time to wrap things up. Maybe I’ve said that before but it’s true. The stories are all slightly different but basically the same. Men feeling the mating heat and the women fighting it. When the women do capitulate it’s always the most wonderful thing on earth and they fall in love quickly.

In this story we do have the issue of Amber, Jonas’s adopted daughter being sick – but we had that in the last book. How long can this child be sick without assistance and still make it. I thought for sure that we would get some closure with that but unfortunately we didn’t. That poor child has to suffer some more while we watch another couple get mated. Sigh

While the story was decent and I did like Stygian I didn’t care all that much for Liza and that put a damper on things. I know she was going through a lot but still – IDK, I just never warmed up to her.

I will probably end up reading the next book to find out about poor little Amber but hopefully things will be wrapped up soon.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Breeds

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Custom Built by Chantal Fernando

Posted December 16, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Custom Built by Chantal FernandoReviewer: Tracy
Custom Built by Chantal Fernando
Series: Fast & Fury #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: November 23, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 208
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

After losing her job, saying goodbye to a lifelong dream and having an all-around cruddy year, Bronte Pierce needs a break. A job at Fast & Fury might be just the thing to reset her life, even though she knows nothing about custom motorcycles. But taking a job isn’t the same as keeping it, and her fresh start quickly turns into a fresh nightmare.
Starting with her boss. Crow is hardheaded, stubborn and brutally honest. He may be easy on the eyes, but he runs with an MC and he’s anything but friendly to Bronte. She suspects he has a softer side—just not for her.

Her whole life, Bronte has known that the only person she can truly count on to save the day is herself. But when a single murder turns into a conspiracy and the threat to her life is more than she can handle alone, it’s Crow who comes through—and her newfound family might just become her greatest strength.

Bronte has been let go from her job as an assistant to a private investigator.  The PI is one of her good friends so she understands, but it still hurts.  She’s cautiously excited when she gets a job at a custom bike shop (through her uncle and cousin).  There she meets Crow.  She thinks he’s hot but he’s not very nice to her.  He seems to like everyone else but her, which sucks.

Crow is part of the Knights of Fury MC, which owns the shop and he pretty much runs the place.  He is attracted to Bronte from day one but knows that he shouldn’t get involved with an employee.

When Bronte’s dad dies she is devastated, and Crow is there to take care of her. This strengthens the ties between them that have started to grow, and they finally come together.  When Bronte decides that her dad’s death wasn’t an accident and decides to look into it, Crow and the rest of the MC back her in any way they can.  They are determined to get to the bottom of it and Bronte and the MC are all in.

This was a good story, though pretty simple.  It was definitely a fast and easy read.

Bronte and Crow were pretty darned cute in this story.  They started off not exactly enemies, but definitely not friends.  I loved how he came to take care of her after her dad died.  He was sweet, caring and I loved him.  Bronte wasn’t a bad character, but I just didn’t like her as much.  They were adorable together though, so that saved it for me.

I’ve read Fernando previously (the Cursed Ravens MC series) and while I liked the story, I wasn’t a big fan of the writing in this book. Especially toward the end of the book, there were scenes that I thought were superfluous for the overall story.  Very everyday kind of things that while mildly interesting, but didn’t further the story at all.  I kept thinking the story had ended but it kept going and added even more of Bronte in distress.  It was a bit OTT for my liking, but that’s just my opinion.

In the end a decent read.  I’ll probably read the next book in the series because I liked the other secondary characters.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Fast & Fury

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Dream Chaser by Kristen Ashley

Posted December 14, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Dream Chaser by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Tracy
Dream Chaser by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Team #2
Also in this series: Quiet Man, Dream Maker
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating first and third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In this steamy, addictive contemporary romance spinning off the New York Times bestselling Dream Man and Rock Chick series, Ryn Jansen must put her trust in the one man she wants -- and the one man she can't let herself have.

Ryn Jansen has no interest in taking a risk on Boone Sadler. Thanks to a long list of men who've done nothing but let her down, Ryn vows to stay far away from the caring, protective commando. And when Boone confronts Ryn with evidence that her loved ones are conning her, Ryn is less than thrilled -- with her family and Boone. But even as Boone proves he's the kind of guy to meet her every need, she doesn't trust him to stay when life gets hard . . .

Boone Sadler's never been one to back down from a challenge. He's determined to show the funny, sexy Ryn that the irresistible connection between them is worth exploring. But caring for Ryn's heart and body becomes a matter of life and death when Ryn's beloved niece and nephew are put in danger and dirty cops begin gunning for Ryn. Soon Boone realizes their romance is in danger of more than heartbreak -- and to have any future together, they'll have to put their trust in each other.

Ryn is a stripper who wants to flip houses.  She bought a house to flip, but her resources have been going towards keeping her sister-in-law and her niece and nephew afloat.  Her brother is an alcoholic and being a single mother is hard for her sister-in-law, Angelica.  Angelica is fragile and has headaches so Ryn takes care of the kids a lot – takes them to school, etc.

When Boone takes it upon himself to do a little investigating into Angelica (because he likes Ryn and doesn’t want her taken advantage of) he finds some stuff that’s not so great.  Ryn is pissed that Boone looked into her life, but even more pissed about what he finds out about Angelica.  When confronted, Angelica tries to deny it, but Boone has pictures/proof.  Thinking to punish Ryn, Angelica cuts Ryn out of the kids’ lives.  When Ryn talks to her brother about it, he takes Angelica’s side and agrees with Ryn staying away from the kids she loves.

Ryn is hurt, but Boone is there to comfort her.  When she is pseudo-kidnapped, he is beside himself.  When there’s a murder and Ryn’s life is in danger, Boone steps up and takes charge.  Since he’s a dom in the bedroom and Ryn’s submissive he thinks this is A-OK, but Ryn’s only submissive in the bedroom, not everywhere else.  Boone and Ryn have a lot to work out if they are to make a relationship work between them.  Ryn has been hurt by the men in her life so taking a chance on  Boone is a huge step – one that she hopes she won’t regret.

This is book two in the Dream Team series.  While this wasn’t a bad story, I didn’t care for it as much as I did book one.  When I first saw that it was BDSM I was put off, but kept reading.  It was really BDSM-light in every way.  Nothing too crazy at all and that was fine.  What bothered me was that there was So. Much. Talking.  My God it just went on and on.  Not a lot happened in the middle of the book and it dragged. I liked the first 25% and the last 15% a lot, but that wasn’t even enough to save the book for me and give it a higher rating.

I liked Boone and Ryn together – and liked Ryn a lot on her own. Boone, by himself, wasn’t my favorite person.  He was like a freight train that ran over Ryn and once he was with her it was fine, but meh, I didn’t love him.  He pulled a stunt once they were together that bothered me a lot, and he never really recovered from that in my mind – despite him trying to talk his way out of it.  It was petty and immature and it pissed me off.

So, while this was a decent read – and I loved the kids in it (should have been in there more, imho) it wasn’t fantastic.  I’m glad I read it for the continuity of the story ARC, but did I love it, no.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Dream Team

As an aside let me say I am loving these retro book covers.  They totally remind me of 70’s/80′ cop shows and I find them very cool.

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Lily Among Thorns by Rose Lerner

Posted December 10, 2020 by Ames in Features, Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: A Lily Among Thorns by Rose LernerReviewer: Ames
A Lily Among Thorns by Rose Lerner
Publisher: Leisure Books, Self-Published
Publication Date: September 2011
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 392
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

London 1815, just before Waterloo...

After her noble father disowned her, Lady Serena Ravenshaw clawed her way from streetwalker to courtesan to prosperous innkeeper. Now she’s feared and respected from one end of London to the other, by the lowest dregs of the city’s underworld and the upper echelons of the beau monde, and she’ll do anything to keep it that way.

When mild-mannered chemist Solomon Hathaway turns up in her office, asking for her help, she immediately recognizes him from one fateful night years before. She’s been watching and waiting for him for years—so she can turn the tables and put him in her debt, of course, and not because he looked like an angel and was kind to her when she needed it most.

She’s determined not to wonder what put that fresh grief in his eyes. But after a betrayal even Serena didn’t expect, she must put aside her pride and work with Solomon to stop a ring of French spies and save her beloved inn, her freedom—and England itself.

This review was originally published September 7, 2011

I read Rose Lerner’s In for a Penny last year and really enjoyed it, so I’ve been looking forward to her second book for a while now.  It was worth the wait.

A Lily Among Thorns starts with Solomon Hathaway visiting a brothel with two school chums.  He doesn’t necessarily want to be there and he can tell that the prostitute really doesn’t want to be there.  In desperation (and drunkenness) Solomon gives his lightskirt his whole quarterly allowance and races off into the night.

Five years later and Solomon has entered the Ravenshaw Arms, a hotel with a well-known proprietess.  Lady Serena, aka the Thorn, is known in underground circles as someone who can find missing things (among other skills).  Serena is also the young prostitute whom Solomon’s quarterly allowance allowed to leave her situation.  Serena recognizes Sol immediately, but he doesn’t recognize her until a little bit later.  Sol needs Serena’s talents to locate some family earrings that his sister demands she needs in order to get married and said earrings were stolen a week prior by some highwaymen.  Sol and Serena work out a deal that he’ll stay at the Ravenshaw Arms and do the bed hangings while Serena locates the earrings.  Simple, right?

Not so much, because Serena’s former partner, the Marquis du Sacreval, has returned from France and wants to take the Arms away from Serena.  This is anathema to her because the Arms is her home and something that she’s worked for and proud of.  She also rescues those from her former profession and gives them positions at her hotel.  She has quite a few people counting on her and the last thing she wants to do is hand it all over to Rene.  But he threatens her with a fake marriage license.  By now Solomon has recognized Serena and he’s vowed to help her out…but nothing is that simple and his family, her family, and a ring of French spies are only a few of the obstacles between these two characters.

There was a lot going on in A Lily Among Thorns, but it all came together very well.  I did not even delve into some of the stuff going on in this story.  It had a lot but it was definitely character driven.  And what characters!

First there’s Lady Serena.  She is actually the daughter of an aristocrat who fell for a footman and instead of allowing her father to dictate her life, she ran out.  Yeah she didn’t end up in the best of circumstances, but she took advantage of Solomon’s drunken generosity and made something of herself.  She’s a very strong character who puts up a front in order not to appear vulnerable to former clients who visit her hotel now and then.  She’s also intimidating as hell, with a fierce reputation that makes other unsavory elements quake in their boots when she lifts a sardonic brow in their direction.

Then there’s Solomon.  He is actually an earl’s nephew but who turned his back on the opportunity his rich uncle gave him and went to work for his other uncle in a tailoring shop.  He can match any shade of cloth to the color of your choice.  He is also suffering over the death of his twin, a twin who overshadowed him a bit.  Solomon is very much a non-alpha type of character.  But he has an inner strength that shines through and he has a sense of belonging that appeals to others.  He’s a man who knows what he wants and he makes sure he gets it.  He isn’t in your face about it and that sets him apart from overly-confident alpha types who ooze testosterone.  That’s not Solomon’s style.

So great characters and strong writing are two key elements for why A Lily Among Thorns works for me.  I really like the dynamic between Serena and Solomon.  She can be a bit hard and that’s something that Solomon likes about her.  Solomon also makes Serena believe in herself over the opinion of her extremely disapproving father.  There was also a surprising secondary story that I don’t want to name a romance so much because there was no concrete HEA for those characters (I refuse to spoil the surprise as to who it is) and I would definitely like to see their story wrapped up at a later date.  My only complaint about this book would be the beginning, it took a little while for me to get into what was going on.  But once the story got rolling, I was engrossed.  A Lily Among Thorns gets 4 out of 5 from me.

This book is available from Leisure Books. You can buy it here.

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: My Last Duchess by Eloisa James

Posted December 7, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: My Last Duchess by Eloisa JamesReviewer: Tracy
My Last Duchess by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle #0.5
Also in this series: Wilde in Love, Too Wilde to Wed, Born to Be Wilde (The Wildes of Lindow Castle #3), Born to Be Wilde (The Wildes of Lindow Castle, #3), Say Yes to the Duke
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 432
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James returns to the Wildes series with a prequel about the Wilde children's parents, Hugo, Duke of Lindow, and Ophelia, Lady Astley.

Every Duke needs a Duchess...

Hugo Wilde, the Duke of Lindow, has a drafty castle, eight naughty children—and no wife. Ophelia, Lady Astley, has a fine house, one well-behaved daughter—and no husband.

Hugo takes one look at Ophelia and loses his heart, but she doesn’t want more children or a castle. She takes one look at him and heads for her carriage.

Desperate to find a duchess, Hugo identifies an appropriate lady to woo. Yet when he meets Ophelia again, the duke realizes that he will marry her, or no one.

Now he faces the greatest challenge of his life.

He must convince Ophelia that their blazing sensuality, his exquisite castle, and his eight charming children add up to a match made in heaven.

When duke finds his duchess, can he win her heart?

A Wildes series prequel about the Wilde children’s parents, Hugo, Duke of Lindow, and Ophelia, Lady Astley.

Hugo Wilde isn’t interested in getting married again.  His twin sister, Louisa, makes him think seriously about that choice as he has eight children, and they have no mother.

Hugo was in love with his first wife and they had three sons together. Unfortunately, she died.  His second wife he married just so his sons could have a mother – he was not in love with her.  She ended up having an affair and leaving her four small children with Hugo and obtaining a divorce (scandal!). He also had a ward that he adopted so that brought the children total up to eight.

He finally agrees with Louisa and heads off to London to find someone to mother his children.  He’s a duke so it won’t be that hard to find another wife, so he thinks.  All the women are a little leery of him as they know how many children he has and the divorce doesn’t help matters. Though Hugo has no plans to fall in love again, the minute he sees Ophelia he is sunk.  It is said that Wilde men fall in love at first sight and this is proving correct in the case of Hugo and Ophelia.

Ophelia is a widow with a two-year-old daughter. She loves being independent (she has more than enough money) and she loves being a true mother to her daughter.  She’s not interested in getting married again and she’s certainly not interested in taking care of 8 children who aren’t her own – even though the oldest 4 are older and away at school.

Hugo isn’t taking no for an answer and pursues Ophelia. They end up spending one night together and Hugo wants only her. Unfortunately, Ophelia is steadfast in her refusal and Hugo has no choice but to move on.  What he moves on to doesn’t make him happy, but hopefully will be a good choice for the many children whom he loves beyond all else. When Ophelia finds out he’s moved on, she starts to rethink her decision, but it may be too late.

This was a short but very sweet novella that I enjoyed immensely.  When I read romances about adult children I’m not normally interested in reading about their parents.  In this case, I was curious about Hugo – especially after hearing about his past wives. I wanted to know how he had met his third and final wife and I’m so glad I read it!

Hugo was charming, Ophelia was lovely, and their story was adorable.  I loved the children as they were so freaking cute! The questions the younger ones had for their potential mother were hilarious and they were so very serious about them, you couldn’t help but want to hug them.

Overall a great story and one that’s not to be missed.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,