Tag: Harlequin Nocturne

Guest Review: Legendary Beast by Barbara J. Hancock

Posted January 31, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Legendary Beast by Barbara J. HancockReviewer: Tracy
Legendary Beast by Barbara J. Hancock
Series: Legendary Warriors #3
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Publication Date: October 1, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

She slept…his love didn’t

Once upon a time, Madeline was trapped in an enchanted sleep, her baby wrapped tight in her arms. Then the white wolf woke her, and her son disappeared.

For centuries, Lev Romanov searched for his wife and their child, and the search drove him half-mad. Can Madeline trust the wolf to be the man who can help her save their son.

Madeline has been asleep for hundreds of years.  Her mate, Lev, never gave up looking for her, or their son, who slept with Madeline.  When she finally awakens, it’s to find that her son is no longer in her arms.  Vasilisa is a Queen who has protected Madeline.  When dark witches attack the palace where they are staying, Vasilisa and Madeline’s son, Trevor, disappear.  In order to find them and beat the dark witches, Madeline must trust the white wolf, who is her mate.  She’s terrified of the wolf, and draws dark pictures of it constantly, but the longer time she spends with Lev, the more she realizes she’s not as scared as she was before.  Madeline’s not sure who to trust and she’s not sure who is the villain as she’s getting conflicting information.  Can she remember the love she had for Lev and save her son as well?

This book was…incredibly confusing.  I didn’t read the two previous books in the series and I definitely should have in order to understand this book. I found this story to be incredibly disjointed, but would I have if I’d read books 1 & 2? IDK.  I wasn’t sure why Madeline had been sleeping, why her and Lev had been separated, what the deal was with Vasilisa (was she evil or was she good?)…I was just confused for most of the book.  Most of my questions were answered by the end of the book, but I spent most of the time confused.  Not necessarily my idea of a good time.

Madeline was a warrior of sorts, but she was weak for most of the book from sleeping for so many years – 1000 years, I think.  She was also afraid of the wolf, which was Lev, so a huge portion of the story was spent with them together, yet apart.  I didn’t feel the connection between the two of them because of this, and it diminished the romance significantly.

I have to say that the writing was decent and kept me reading, despite my confusion with the story, so that right there earned this an extra star.

Would I recommend this book?  Maybe?  If you do, be sure to read books 1 & 2 first so that this one won’t be so confusing.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Legendary Warriors

two-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,

Guest Review: The Witch’s Quest by Michele Hauf

Posted October 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Witch’s Quest by Michele HaufReviewer: Tracy
The Witch's Quest by Hauf Michele
Series: The Saint-Pierres #9
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: October 10th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The witch's redemption...

Kelyn Saint-Pierre always had a bit of a thing for Valor Hearst. But after he makes a harrowing sacrifice to save the tomboyish witch from a gruesome death, Kelyn's certain that any spark between them is gone forever.

Valor wishes she'd known about Kelyn's crush before she ruined everything. There may be a way she can repay her smoking-hot champion...but it won't be easy. Circling the globe on a dangerous mission that pits them against deadly magics and dark creatures, Kelyn and Valor are pushed scorchingly close together. But surrendering to passion may only further bind them in pain...

Valor is a witch and is trying to do a spell in an enchanted forest to make herself more lovable.  Unfortunately she’s caught by one of the enchanted trees and is slowly being sucked into the ground.  The only way to free her is to have someone in Faery push her out from the other side.  Too bad she doesn’t know anyone who can actually get into Faery.

Kelyn Saint-Pierre is part Faery but has never been able to get into Faery.   He would love nothing more but it’s not in the cards.  When he comes across Valor he wants to help her and the only way to do that is to sacrifice his wings to a demon who has agreed to help.

Once Valor is free she knows she has to get Kelyn’s wings back and goes about trying to find a spell that will open a portal to Faery for them.  Kelyn’s up for it and the two set off on a grand but scary adventure that brings to two closer together then either thought possible.

I really liked the premise of this book and it was set up nicely to start.  I instantly felt the connection between Valor and Kelyn and was rooting for them throughout the book.  The things they went through, for the most part, were pretty harrowing and I admired their determination.

There were a couple of parts in the book that I thought were superfluous but maybe that was just me.  I didn’t care for Kelyn’s attitude once they were in Faery and the fact that Valor forgave him so quickly once he apologized kind of bugged me.  I wanted him to grovel more because he’d been an ass.

Despite that I liked the book and thought it was a fun read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Otherworld Challenger by Jane Godman

Posted April 6, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Otherworld Challenger by Jane GodmanReviewer: Jen
Otherworld Challenger by Jane Godman
Series: Otherworld Series #3
Also in this series: Otherworld Renegade
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin Nocturne
Publication Date: September 1st 2016
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

KING OF THE OTHERWORLD

The race is on to find the true heir to the faerie crown before the evil king Moncoya returns from exile. Mercenary necromancer Jethro de Loix will find the challenger to Moncoya's crown...for a price. One million mortal dollars. Outraged at Jethro's audacity, Princess Vashti, Moncoya's daughter, arranges to accompany him on his mission.

Jethro doesn't want company, especially not from Moncoya's belligerent, pampered daughter. But as their journey pits them against evil forces, their animosity soon gives way to an overwhelming physical attraction. When the trail ends on the legendary Isle of Avalon, can the pair face down the evil sorceress Morgan le Fay to claim a future they'd long denied themselves?

Otherworld Challenger is the final book in the Otherworld series. While it had some pretty disappointing flaws, overall I was happy I read it.

Note: There are a few tiny spoilers for books 1 and 2 here. I’ve kept them to a minimum but if you haven’t read the other books and really don’t want to know anything, skip this review!

This time, our heroine is Vashti, Moncoya’s other daughter. She’s now the faerie representative in the new Otherworld Council, a role she takes really seriously. In book 2, we learned that someone from the faerie royal bloodline is still around. (Moncoya stole the crown but wasn’t part of the line.) The Council wants a democratic election, and they decide the best chance to get the faeries to vote for someone other than Moncoya is to find the legitimate heir. Jethro de Loix, the mercenary necromancer we met earlier in the series, offers to find the challenger, and the Council decides Vashti should accompany him to confirm that he gets the right person. The problem is, Jethro and Vashti can’t stand each other, and now they have to undertake an incredibly dangerous journey together. Doing so will take them deeper into Jethro’s past and force them to rely on someone else in a way neither has ever done before.

I totally loved Vashti. While Tanzi was the feminine fashion icon, Vashti was the fierce tomboy her father always wished was a boy. In book 2, she was still holding some loyalty towards her dad, but when he tricks her into helping him escape at the end of that book, she finally realizes he doesn’t care about her at all. Moncoya often pitted the girls against each other, discouraged them from using their fae senses of intuition and healing, and ruthlessly suppressed their emotions. Once Vashti is free of her father’s influence, though, she discovers she has deep emotions and powers, and I really enjoyed seeing her discover more about herself.

Really, though, this is kind of Jethro’s story. Vashti doesn’t say much about herself, largely because her own past was detailed in Tanzi’s story. It’s a little frustrating because of course Jethro wasn’t there for that, but I could understand not wanting to just rehash what we already know. Jethro’s story is pretty compelling, too, and even though it’s clear from the start what the big secret is going to be, it’s still interesting to read about. I thought Jethro was an excellent match for Vashti, too. He’s kind of a dick, and he’s hard on Vashti at first, but she’s equally prickly and obnoxious at first, too. Once he gets to know her better, he displays a lot of sensitivity and caring, and as you learn about his life you see he’s not quite the heartless mercenary he appears to be.

The first half of this book was so great. We learn more about Jethro, and Vashti gets used to the human world and her own true self. We also find out that Vashti and Jethro have an almost supernatural connection that seems to strengthen both. They have some great sexual tension too, and all of this awakens Vashti to the possibilities inside her. There’s also a big adventure component as they travel around, escaping the evil sorcerer who’s after them. Vashti starts to protect Jethro, physically and emotionally, and I loved the dynamic that was developing. But then, the second part of the book kind of loses that momentum. They go to the mythical island of Avalon, which is where they’re supposed to be, but things slow down once they get there. Even worse, though, all the build up about the mystical connection and this idea that they make the other one stronger kind of just disappears. In the end, Jethro basically does it all on his own while Vashti kind of hangs back instead of being his partner like she was earlier. It was super disappointing and, frankly, a disservice to Vashti.

When I looked back and cataloged all my thoughts about the book it sounds a little frustrating, but while reading it I Could. Not. Put. It. Down. I gasped at the surprising parts, bit my lip when things got hairy, and sweetly sighed at the romantic parts. I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed the hell out of it anyway. This series was unexpectedly fun for me, even if it was a bit crazy. If you’re looking for a paranormal romance you can read in a few short hours, and you don’t need to overanalyze the details, this series might hit the spot for you, too.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Otherworld Renegade by Jane Godman

Posted March 30, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Otherworld Renegade by Jane GodmanReviewer: Jen
Otherworld Renegade by Jane Godman
Series: Otherworld Series #2
Also in this series: Otherworld Challenger
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin Nocturne
Publication Date: May 1st, 2016
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Claiming her felt like his destiny…but could prove to be his ultimate undoing.

Desperate to flee a horrific arranged marriage, Princess Tanzi turned to the only man who could help. Lorcan Malone, infamous necromancer, had vowed to come to her aid whenever she needed him. And even as they traveled from the mortal world into the fantastical Otherworld, Tanzi knew her true need ran deeper than just a rescue.

She was his enemy’s daughter. A renegade like Lorcan had no business craving a Fae princess, one intended for a greater calling. Yet he was powerless to resist the pull to do more than protect Tanzi…

Back to the Otherworld and my favorite book in the series! As I mentioned in my review of book 1, things get more exciting in book 2. We met Lorcan in Otherworld Protector, but here we get to know him even better. He’s a friend of Cal’s and a powerful necromancer in his own right. He’s a comedian who can always lighten the mood, but of course it hides the fact that he’s tortured and can never love anyone. In the big final battle in book 1, Lorcan saved Tanzi Moncoya, the daughter of the evil Faerie King. Tanzi stayed behind after her father escaped and started participating in the new reconstruction government Cal and Stella were organizing, but when her father arranges a truly despicable marriage for her, she knows she has to run. Unsure about who to trust, she runs to the human world and to Lorcan, hoping he’ll save her again. When it becomes clear she can’t hide, Lorcan agrees to help her escape to the one place her father could never reach her. But will either of them be able to let go once they get there?

My favorite part of the book was Tanzi. She and her sister Vashti were groomed their entire lives to serve Moncoya. Both trained with the Valkyries and are brutal fighters, and Moncoya used them as propaganda tools to intimidate and awe his enemies. Both girls also knew that some day they’d be expected to marry to further their father’s ambitions. Moncoya was a cruel and love-less father, but until he left they didn’t realize the scope of his evil activities. At the start of the book, Tanzi feels torn because he’s still her dad, but the marriage he arranges finally lifts the veil from her eyes, and she understands he is just plain a bad guy. Throughout the book she learns even more about the truly awful things her dad has done, and she has to come to terms with the role she played in his power, even if it was largely inadvertent. Even though she’s a trained warrior, she’s mostly lived a sheltered life, and it was nice to see her take control of her own destiny and have new experiences. I found her story very compelling. I really liked Lorcan and Tanzi together, too. Lorcan is patient and thoughtful, especially once he recognizes Tanzi’s life wasn’t what he thought. Seeing them come together, despite the fact that they both knew it was probably not a good idea, was sweet. Lorcan is also really committed to helping Tanzi on her quest, and their dangerous journey was exciting and gave a lot of time for them to fall in love.

Annoyingly, there’s a secret Lorcan keeps from Tanzi throughout the book, and it was kind of silly. First, the secret isn’t even that big a deal, and I don’t know why Lorcan thought Tanzi couldn’t handle it. Second, instead of having a conversation about it Tanzi pushes Lorcan away and of course ends up in danger. It was contrived and frustrating. In my review for book 1, I had mentioned that this felt like the kitchen-sink of mythology, mixing tons of different myths, stories, and traditions, and that continued here. The problem is, these are category romances, so there’s just not the page space to go too deep. Consequently, it felt like everything was painted with big broad strokes (both characters and the world) instead of finely wrought details. It’s maybe a little too ambitious to take on in a shorter book, even a trilogy.

But still, I am having such a good time reading these books! They aren’t perfect, but boy are they fun. They hit the right notes of adventure/paranormal/fantasy/romance for me, and I love the premise and the characters.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Otherworld Protector by Jane Godman

Posted March 29, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Otherworld Protector by Jane GodmanReviewer: Jen
Otherworld Protector by Jane Godman
Series: Otherworld #1
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Publication Date: December 2015
Pages: 293
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

When Stella Fallon journeys to Spain for a dream job, she never suspects that a cataclysmic confrontation is looming. Or that she is the last in an ancient line of dark sorcerers. For her new employer--an electronics billionaire--is actually a Faerie King desperate to harness Stella's powers so he can rule the Otherworld.
The only one who can protect Stella is a man she once thought her guardian angel. Cal becomes human, but his centuries-old secret could destroy her trust. Still, the pair cannot deny their white-hot attraction as they seek refuge in a cave to prepare for a battle of epic magnitude...

The set up: The Otherworld is an alternate world that exists alongside the world we all know. (The mechanics aren’t entirely clear, nor are they very important!) Who lives in Otherworld? Magical and fantasy creatures, like faeries, vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, etc. The Otherworld is at a crisis moment, though, and the evil Faerie King is trying to take over. He is also making evil inroads to the human world, and he needs to be stopped.

This book focuses on Stella Fallon, a video game designer. She moves to Spain to do an internship at a big game company owned by the mysterious Ezra Moncoya. She brings with her someone she likes to think of as her “protector”, a mysterious figure who literally hangs around her peripheral vision (she can sense him but never quite see him full on) and has been saving her from catastrophe her entire life. When it’s clear Moncoya wants Stella for more than just her programming skills, her mysterious protector intercedes and finally shows himself to be Cal, a sorcerer sent to guard her. Cal tells her that she’s actually a powerful necromancer and the key to saving the Otherworld. As Cal and Stella grow closer, she must learn to control her powers and figure out what role she and Cal must play in the coming confrontation.

I loved the premise of this book. I am always up for the “person thinks they’re ordinary but really they’re the key to saving the world” storyline. It is great to see Stella learn about her powers and about the world she never knew existed. I was fascinated by the Otherworld, too. It mixes so many different fantasy concepts. At times that does get a little bit like the kitchen-sink of mythology (Christian-like angels, necromancers, Valkyries, vampires, etc all in the same book?), but it’s still great fun. I also enjoyed Cal and Stella together. The sex was steamy, and I liked the way Cal was hesitant to get involved with Stella but helpless to avoid her pull.

Unfortunately, this book suffered from a little too much info dump. This is a complicated world, probably too complicated for the length of the books, and this first book in particular feels a bit plodding sometimes because of all the information. It’s also kind of hard to escape the fact that it’s a little creepy for Cal and Stella to fall in love. Cal has been watching Stella since she was a child, but suddenly he’s thinking about banging her. You really can’t think too hard about that part or it’s kind of skeezy! While there was a lot of info dumping about the world, there wasn’t much about Stella’s powers, and that disappointed me. She is supposedly so powerful, but we don’t see a ton of her work. She learns quickly and with few hurdles, and she has little trouble adjusting to the whole situation. I thought there were some major missed opportunities for character development there.

Really, this book is simply ok. However, the series gets much better in books 2 and 3, so I am very happy I kept reading. Because there’s so much world building in this book, I can’t recommend skipping it. All I can say is that if this premise interests you, consider reading Otherworld Protector so you can move on to books 2 and 3 (reviews to come).

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,