Tag: Holly’s Reviews

Review: Born in Fire by K.F. Breene

Posted August 18, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Born in Fire by K.F. BreeneReviewer: Holly
Born in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy, #1) by K.F. Breene
Series: Fire and Ice Trilogy #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: February 18, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 448
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Heart pounding and laugh out loud funny, USA Today Bestselling author K.F. Breene will take you on a magical joy ride you won't soon forget.

Supernatural Bounty Hunter isn't the sort of thing you see on LinkedIn. But with a rare type of magic like mine, I don't have many options.

So dangerous or not, the job is mine. And it was going fine, until an old as sin vampire stole my mark, and with it, my pay day.

Knowing I'm poor and desperate, he has offered me a job. I'll have to work by his side to help solve a top secret case.

Everyone knows not to trust vampires. Especially a hot elder vampire. But without any other jobs coming up, I'm stuck. As I uncover a web of lies and treachery, revealing an enemy I didn't know existed, the truth of my identity is threatened. I might make it out alive, only to end up in a gilded cage.

Born in Fire is the first book in K.F. Breene’s Fire and Ice Trilogy, which follows supernatural bounty hunter Raegan Somserset. It’s currently $2.99 for Kindle (or free for KU), which is where I picked it up after seeing it recommended at the back of one of Ilona Andrews’ books (I don’t recall which one).

Raegan hunts down those with magical abilities, though the majority of the human population doesn’t realize they exist. Despite being great at her job, she doesn’t make a lot because her lineage makes it impossible for her to acquire legal papers to work. So when her latest mark gets stolen – and her cut of the bounty with it – by a vampire, she’s beyond angry. Out of money – and options – she’s forced to agree to work with the vampires on another matter, even though it goes against everything she’s been taught about staying under the radar and avoiding vampires.

Raegan has a smart mouth and a sharp wit, which means she constantly butts head with her vampire escort, Darius, the one who stole her mark. Though she’s forced to work with him she isn’t happy about it, and refuses to pretend otherwise. Of course that doesn’t help with the inappropriate attraction she feels toward him – which seems to be reciprocated. Good thing she knows vampires are users and can’t be trusted – especially with her secrets.

This is my first book by Breene, but it won’t be the last. It was fast-paced and action-packed from the start. Raegan’s sarcastic humor and smart mouth made for some entertaining scenes. There were a few times it bordered on being campy, though for the most part it was just a lighter UF. There’s very little romance in this book. There are hints that more may come in later books, but here it’s very mild.

There were times the story seemed to drag on. At 488 pages, it’s pretty meaty. It probably could have been cut down a bit and been an easier read. Even so, it was well-written and very enjoyable. I can’t wait to find out what happens with Raegan and Darius in the future.

3.75 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Retro Review: The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries

Posted August 16, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Retro Review: The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina JeffriesReviewer: Holly
The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Hellions of Halstead Hall #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 19th, 2010
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 392
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Hellions of Halstead Hall

They're the scandalous Sharpes, five hell-raising siblings tainted by a shocking family legacy. Now each faces a daunting ultimatum: marry by year's end—or kiss their inheritance good-bye.

In the two decades since a tragic "accident" took the lives of his parents, Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, has survived the scandal surrounding that fateful night by living as an unrepentant rakehell. And with his grandmother vowing to disinherit him if he doesn't settle down and wed, he plans to fulfill the bargain in true Sharpe style—by bringing home a fake fiancée from a brothel! But his scheme is derailed when he rescues an American beauty in a dire predicament instead.

Maria Butterfield came to London to track down her groom-to-be, who's gone missing, but her engagement won't stop Oliver from getting what he wants: her, in his bed. His rebellious masquerade may call his grandmother's bluff, but it's soon made all too real—by a love that tempts him to be a hellion no more.

As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Rowena: I love reading old reviews by Holly. She never fails to get her point across a lot more eloquently than I do. I remember putting this book on my TBR a long ass time ago and are you surprised that I never got around to reading it? Ha!

This review was originally posted on February 16, 2010.

Sabrina Jeffries can be hit or miss for me, but I really adored this book.

Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, is being forced to marry. Though he’s titled, he’s broke and has 4 siblings to care for. Each of them acts scandalously, earning them the nickname the Hellions of Halstead. Their grandmother, determined to have great-grandchildren before her death, has issued an ultimatum: Either they all marry, or they’re all disinherited.

Oliver has no intention of marrying. He figures he can call his grandmother’s bluff by finding the most unsuitable bride ever. She comes in the form of one Maria Butterfield, an American heiress who has come to England to find her missing fiance. Not only is she American, but she’s from common origins and basically alone in the world.

Maria is only in England to find her missing fiance. Now that her father has passed away she needs her fiance to settle the terms of her father’s will. Unfortunately all of her money is tied up in her father’s shipping business, so she’s basically operating on a shoe-string budget. When her cousin is caught out and she’s forced to accept Stoneville’s wild scheme in order to protect them both, it seems like a nightmare; until he agrees to help her find her fiance while she puts on the charade for his grandmother. It seems easy enough…

..but neither are prepared for the attraction and genuine liking they share for one another. Not that anything can come of it, what with Maria having a fiance and Stoneville determined to never marry and become like his parents.

This was such a fun story. I was determined to dislike both Maria and Stoneville in the beginning; her because she’s such a stick-in-the-mud and him because he was so much the rake. They both grew on me, however, and it wasn’t long before I was wrapped up in both of them.

Maria wasn’t really as uptight as she seemed. Once she loosened up and relaxed I really felt like I connected with her. She didn’t let Oliver get away with anything, which I thought was great. I did think she forgave him a bit too easily on occasion, but I was able to move past it.

I really liked Oliver and the way he was with is family. Though he was determined to ruin his own life, when it came to his siblings he really stepped up and did the right thing. The way he was so confused over his feelings for Maria was hilarious.

His guilt over the death of his parents and his subsequent actions didn’t make a lot of sense to me. His mother caught him in a compromising position and lashed out, saying some nasty things to him. Later that evening his parents are discovered in a hunting lodge dead – it looks like she shot him and then herself. Oliver is convinced he’s the reason his mother finally lost it and killed his father. But from then on he went out of his way to act just like his father…which made no sense. If he hated everything his father was and how upset his mother always became, why did he act the same way?

Similarly, the way his grandmother acted about the incident with her daughter frustrated me to no end. Toward the end she talks about it a bit, but for most of the book I was just annoyed with her over it.

Despite that one issue, I really enjoyed all the secondary characters. Especially Oliver’s siblings and Maria’s cousin. They really added just the right amount of silliness to the story. I’m definitely looking forward to finding out more about them as the series continues.

This was a sweet love story with charming characters. I recommend it if you’re in the mood for a can’t-put-down historical romp.

4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Luann McLane

Posted August 14, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Luann McLaneReviewer: Holly
All I Ever Wanted (Heartthrob #1) by LuAnn McLane
Series: Heartthrob #1
Published by Pocket Star
Publication Date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-half-stars

From author LuAnn McLane comes the first in a brand new series featuring the sexy Heart brothers: formerly the members of the cult-phenomenon boy band Heartbeat, they’re all grown up and back together for one last reunion tour….

When Grady Heart, former lead singer of the cult-phenomenon boy band Heartbeat and eldest of the brothers, decides to bring the group back together for a highly anticipated reunion concert, he doesn’t expect to be met with so much resistance from his brothers. He also doesn’t expect them to hire his ex-girlfriend and ex-Heartbeat choreographer Arabella York to help the band rock some new dance moves.

Back in Heartbeat’s glory days the brooding bad boy fell hard for Arabella; the studious, stable dance teacher tamed Grady’s wild side but her lack of trust in him eventually drove them apart. Although their chemistry burns hotter than ever, Grady tries to keep his relationship with Arabella strictly professional this time around but in his heart, he might just still long to find out what could have been.

Grady Heart and his brothers were a wildly popular teen boy band. They quit performing when their mother got sick. Now that she’s gone, Grady is organizing a benefit reunion concert in her memory. All his brothers are on board, but there’s a problem…the slick dance moves they used as teens just aren’t possible now that they’re adults. Grady wants everything to be perfect since this is such an important cause. Even so, when his brothers suggest they contact their old choreographer, Arabella, Grady refuses. She broke his heart once. He isn’t willing to give her a second chance. Too bad for him, his brothers go behind his back and call her. Faced with the prospect of spending time with the woman who disappeared without backward glance, Grady admits he still isn’t over her. But he’s not going to give her his heart again.

Arabella is in a financial pickle. She opened a string of successful fitness studios, but she got in over her head and expanded too quickly. Now she either needs a serious infusion of cash or she’s going to be forced to take on a demanding partner who wants to rebrand her entire operation. But facing bad boy Grady Heart again after he ruined her for love isn’t high on her list of fun things to do. Still, she doesn’t have much choice if she wants to save her studios. Now she just needs to keep a calm head around Grady. There’s no way she’s going to risk falling for him again. She learned the hard way the rockstar life is not for her.

I really struggled with this book. I like rock star romances and figured a light boy band second chance love story was right up my alley. Sadly the brothers seemed to suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome. Despite all being in their late 20’s-early 30’s, they still acted like teenagers. The heroine was just as bad. Between her refusal to talk things out like an adult and the way she ran every time something got hard, I had a hard time buying that she was an adult with a successful string of dance studios under her.

I really believed Grady cared for her, but I wasn’t as convinced of Arabella’s feelings. She was closed off and ran at the first sign of trouble or drama. Because she didn’t stick with him, despite her saying she loved Grady, I didn’t buy it.

The premise was good, and I enjoyed some of it. I may continue on with the series.

2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Master of the Night by Angela Knight

Posted August 8, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Master of the Night by Angela KnightReviewer: Holly
Master of the Night (Mageverse #1) by Angela Knight
Series: Mageverse #1
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: October 5th 2004
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 296
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

American agent Erin Grayson has a new mission: romance international businessman Reece Champion. Seducing the handsome millionaire could put her that much closer to the revenge she craves against a murderous organization.

Erin doesn't realize she's being manipulated by the very group she hunts. Champion is actually an agent of the U.S. government.

He's also a vampire.

Reece senses the latent supernatural powers hidden within Erin, powers as dangerously irresistible to him as her lush body and hot blood. Yet he also knows that yielding to their mutual desire will make them pawns in a deadly game—a game in which their opponent is, quite literally, a monster.

To survive, Erin must embrace talents she never knew she had—and trust a man who is Master of the Night.

I was in the mood for Arthurian romances and asked for recs on Twitter. This series was the first one mentioned. While it wasn’t quite what I was looking for in terms of Arthurian legend, I found the series to be pretty cracktastic. I read 5 full-length novels and 3 novellas back-to-back.

In Knight’s world, Arthur and his round table actually exist, but they’re immortal vampires charged with saving humanity from itself. Merlin and Nimue are aliens from another planet who realized early on civilizations needed subtle help to keep them from wiping themselves out. They created the vampires to watch over humanity and work from behind the scenes to keep them from completely destroying themselves. They must remain in the shadows, for those on Earth must never know they exist.

Reece Champion is the vampire champion of the United States. He’s investigating a sudden surge in cult activity when he comes into contact with Erin Grayson. Erin is a Latent, a descendant of one the round table knights. 1 in every 10 of their offspring can be turned into a Magi (female witch) or Magus (male vampire). Having sex 3 times will trigger Erin’s Latent gifts and open her up to the powers of the Mageverse. The problem is, if she isn’t compatible, channeling that much power can drive her insane and she’ll have to be executed.

It turns out Erin is investigating the same cult activities, but she doesn’t realize Reece is on her side. She’s investigating him as the possible leader of the cult. It isn’t long before they realize there’s more going on than either of them are aware. When they end up locked in a cell together so Reece will trigger her change, they’ll have to decide if they can trust each other enough to work together. The only way out may be by changing Erin, but without a deep personal connection, she might go insane.

I have to admit, the premise caused me a to raise an eyebrow at first. Having sex three times is the only way to release someone’s powers? Okayyy… But it wasn’t as hokey as I expected it to be. I did have to suspend disbelief somewhat to buy the insta-love in each book, but the world is really interesting and the characters drew me in.

Aside from my issues with how quickly they fell in love, I really liked both Reece and Erin. They were both capable and committed to their cause. Erin worked hard and had a deep well of inner strength that appealed to me. Reece was a stand-up guy all around. I did buy their connection, but it just came about too soon.  I enjoyed the way the plot progressed. There was enough action and adventure to keep me interested even when I was a little iffy on the romance.

Someone described these as being “cracky” and I’d agree..the series is totally cracktastic. I couldn’t put it down.

3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Posted July 25, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Burn for Me by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #1
Also in this series: Wildfire, White Hot
Published by Avon
Publication Date: October 28th 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 382
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Burn for Me is the start of Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series. When Nevada Baylor’s father passed away, she stepped up and took over his failing P.I. business. Since then she and her family have been working hard to keep their heads above water. Recently another P.I. firm, one much larger, bought out their mortgage, which covers their home and business (the family converted a large warehouse into a business/family dwelling). Since then they’ve been sending business Nevada’s way, under the threat that if she doesn’t take the cases they’ll call the loan due. Which is how she ends up going after a Prime (someone with an extreme amount of magical power) fire-mage. She’s outclassed and outgunned and she knows it. Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan, a Prime telekinetic. Connor and Nevada are after the same thing – stopping the Fire Prime before things get any hotter – but their attraction is a complication neither could have foreseen.

Having read Andrews’ previous books, I expected to get a tight, well written novel with excellent world-building and multifaceted characters. I wasn’t disappointed. Burn for Me was a delight from page one. Nevada and her family really came to life. I was fully immersed in the world from page one. Connor was an enigma I couldn’t wait to unravel. Filled with action, suspense, romance and adventure, Burn for Me has it all.

The romance is light in this book (the thread is carried throughout all three books), but I enjoyed the tension between Connor and Nevada, and the promise of more had me completely hooked. If you’re in the mood to be swept away by a story, this is the book for you. Just be sure you have all 3 books handy. You’re going to want to dive right in to the next installment.

4.25 out of 5

Burn for Me is currently $2.99 for Kindle!

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,