Tag: Holly’s Reviews

Review: Royally Yours by Emma Chase

Posted September 11, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Royally Yours by Emma ChaseReviewer: Holly
Royally Yours by Emma Chase
Narrator: Shane East, Andi Arndt
Series: Royally #4
Also in this series: Royally Matched (Royally, #2), Royally Endowed (Royally, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 28, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance
Pages: 215
Length: 7 hours and 33 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

*New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase returns with a sweet and sexy romantic comedy.*

Princess Lenora Celeste Beatrice Arabella Pembrook had an unusual childhood. She was raised to be a Queen—the first Queen of Wessco.

It’s a big deal.

When she’s crowned at just nineteen, the beautiful young monarch is prepared to rule. She’s charming, clever, confident and cunning.

What she isn’t…is married.

It’s her advising council’s first priority. It’s what Parliament is demanding, and what her people want.

Lenora has no desire to tie herself to a man—particularly one who only wants her for her crown. But compromises must be made and royals must do their duty.

Even Queens. Especially them. ** Years ago, Edward Langdon Richard Dorian Rourke, walked away from his title and country. Now he’s an adventurer—climbing mountains, exploring jungles, going wherever he wants, when he wants—until family devotion brings him home.

And a sacred promise keeps him there.

To Edward, the haughty, guarded little Queen is intriguing, infuriating…and utterly captivating. Wanting her just might drive him mad—or become his greatest adventure. ** Within the cold, stone walls of the royal palace—mistrust threatens, wills clash, and an undeniable, passionate love will change the future of the monarchy forever.

Every dynasty has a beginning. Every legend starts with a story.

This is theirs.

I didn’t read the other books in this series, but I’m given to understand this is the story of the grandmother from the Royally series. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Set in the late 40s and into the 50s, this novel chronicles the life of Queen Lenora Pembrook, as she’s crowned at 19 and takes her place as ruler of Wessco.

Lenora was raised to be queen from birth. She didn’t have much of a childhood, outside of a few short incidences, because she was training for the moment she’d take over and rule the country as the first queen. She had a couple childhood friends who grew to adulthood with her, but there was a lot of loss in her life. The romance doesn’t really even begin until about the 50% mark (perhaps a bit more, I listened to the audio so I’m not sure when exactly Edward was introduced into the story), but I didn’t really miss it, I was so engaged in Lenora’s life. I enjoyed seeing her training, then eventual coronation. She had to deal with centuries of patriarchal bullshit, but I thought she handled it all rather well.

Loss, heartbreak and eventually a smoldering love affair with the husband she never thought she’d get, Royally Yours had me swept up in life at the palace. I don’t really have a desire to read the modern day stories, but this was just what I was in the mood for.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Royally

four-stars


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Review: Hot as Puck by Lili Valente

Posted September 9, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Hot as Puck by Lili ValenteReviewer: Holly
Hot as Puck by Lili Valente
Narrator: Tyler Donne, Summer Roberts
Series: Bad Motherpuckers #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 3, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 6 hours and 39 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


The NHL's biggest bad boy is about to fall for the virgin next door...

I am the world's biggest dating failure. We're talking my last date went home with our waitress kind of failure.

But I have an ace in the back pocket of my mom jeans--my sexy-as-sin best friend, NHL superstar forward, Justin Cruise.

Justin owes me favors dating back to seventh grade, long before he became a hotshot with a world famous...stick. So in return for my undying platonic loyalty, all I want is an easy-peasy crash course on how to be a sex goddess.

How hard can it be?

***

I have never been so hard in my life.

The things I want to do to my sweet, kindergarten-teaching, mitten-crocheting best friend Libby Collins are ten different kinds of wrong. Maybe twenty.

But I'm a firm believer in teaching by example, and by the end of our first lesson, we've graduated to a hands on approach to her education: my hands all over her, her hands all over me, and her hot mouth melting beneath mine as I prove to her there isn't a damned thing wrong with the way she kisses.

Give me a month, and I'll transform Libby from wall flower to wall banger, and ensure she's confident enough to seduce any guy she wants.

Problem is... the only guy I want her seducing is me.

Hot as Puck is a sexy, flirty, friends-to-lovers Standalone romantic comedy from USA Today Bestseller Lili Valente.

Hot as Puck is the first book in the Bad Motherpuckers series by Lili Valente. It’s the first book I’ve tried by the author. This was a cute friends-to-lovers story I enjoyed for the most part.

Justin and Libby have been friends since he was 13 and she taught him to crochet while he was stuck in bed with mono. He’s best friends with her older sister, Laura, but he and Libby have a special bond. Which is why she feels comfortable asking him to help her learn how to flirt and overcome her extreme shyness around the opposite sex. She’s had a crush on the Vice Principal at the school where she teaches kindergarten forever, but she makes an absolute fool of herself every time she tries to talk to him. She’s tired of feeling like an idiot and just needs some guidance. There’s no one else she trusts enough to ask for help.

Justin is a professional hockey player at the top of his game. He’s killing it on the ice, but his personal life is kind of shit since he just broke up with his latest girlfriend. He isn’t ready to get married and start popping out babies, but he can’t quite figure out why all his relationships keep ending. When Libby asks him to teach her how to be comfortable around men, he’s kind of a jerk because he’s uncomfortable with the idea of Libby as anything other than a friend. Soon, however, he steps up and agrees.

I really loved Justin’s nerdy self. He crochets and geeks out over Star Wars, which was a cute look on a professional hockey player. I didn’t dislike Libby, but her actions toward the end of the book definitely brought her down a few notches. Still, I enjoyed them as a couple and fully bought into their friends-to-lovers romance.

While this wasn’t perfect, it was a quick, light read and I enjoyed it for the most part.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Bad Motherpuckers

three-half-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
Add It: Goodreads
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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: Wait No More by Stephanie Nicole Norris

Posted September 4, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wait No More by Stephanie Nicole NorrisReviewer: Holly
Wait No More: A With Your Permission Spin-off by Stephanie Nicole Norris
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 1, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 156
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars

The rumors... they came from sources that she trusted; the news, the neighborhood, and now the patrons in her night club, Rendezvous. Still, Sophia Clark wouldn’t believe that the soldiers who returned from their tours included the only man she ever loved. But when Dean St. James strolled through the door, the shock to Sophia’s spirit nearly disassembled her. There was no explanation for the reckless up-surging beat of her heart, not after the way Dean disappeared, leaving Sophia to wonder if he’d become a casualty of war.

Now, without time to process her turbulent emotions, Sophia comes face to face with his return, which proves to challenge the love they lost—bringing them together or closing the door on what could have been for all time.

Wait No More by Stephanie Nicole Norris is listed a spinoff of her With Your Permission series. I’ve never read the author before, but I didn’t feel like I missed anything by starting with this novel. This came up as a KU recommendation, so I decided to give it a try. The reunited lover romance was sweet.

Dean and Sophia were college sweethearts who were planning their future together. Until one day he comes home and tells Sophia he enlisted in the Army without speaking to her first. She tried to maintain a long-distance relationship with him, but two years after he left for the Army he broke it off with her. Four years later, he’s suddenly back in town and wants to pick up where they left off. Although she loves him still, she doesn’t trust him to stay.

I really liked seeing Dean and Sophia come back together. His struggle to readjust to civilian life was well done, and I liked that she supported him as he dealt with his PTSD.

I did struggle with the writing at times. It was overly descriptive at times, and very flowery. I also struggled with the basic premise of the story. They were together in college, engaged, buying a house together, then bam, he enlists in the Army without checking with her first? Then he doesn’t see anyone for 6 years? That’s just not realistic. Still, I set that aside to focus on their reunion.

I’ll look for more books by Norris in the future.

Rating: 3 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Joint Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Posted August 26, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly, Rowena
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), Diamond Fire
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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.

Sapphire Flames is the first book in the Hidden Legacy series featuring Catalina as the main protagonist. This book starts approximately a year after the events of Wildfire. Catalina is now head of House Baylor and in charge of the family. Nevada and Rogan are out of the country, so Catalina truly is on her own. When a new case lands in her lap – this one involving family – she’ll need all her resources to keep it together…especially since Alessandro Segredo is back, and somehow involved.

Holly: Nevada and Rogan left some pretty big shoes to fill. I don’t want to say I went into this book with super high expectations, but I do think I expected something other than I got. I didn’t love Catalina as much as I thought I would. How about you?

Rowena: I did. I absolutely loved Catalina and I’m so ready for more of her and Alessandro. I like that Catalina isn’t the billy badass that Nevada is but she’s still growing into the person she’s meant to be and I think her powers are so interesting. I have every faith that she’s going to be just as awesome as Nevada and I look forward to being here for all of her adventures.

Holly: I knew Catalina would be different from Nevada, but I think I expected her to be more mature than she was. All her self-doubt really bothered me after awhile.

I’m looking forward to some more Alessandro. I’m super curious about him. I’m curious about Alessandro’s mission and why he’s being all cagey about stuff. This is one of those times when I really wish the book was alternating POVs.

Rowena: I am, too. I’m really hoping that in the next book, we’ll get more into Alessandro’s mission, his revenge and just his whole story in general. I do agree that they seemed to fall in love super fast but that didn’t bother me. I probably would have fallen in love at first sight with Alessandro’s fine ass too. Ha. Maybe their powers manifested to them that they were going to fall in love, haha, who knows. I bought it and I’m here for it.

Holly: I didn’t connect with Catalina and Alessandro as much as I thought I would. I liked them both, I thought they had a strong dynamic together, but I don’t know…something was lacking there for me.

I guess I didn’t understand why they were in love. They barely spent time together. Yes, they both had a teenage crush, but that was based on what? A couple IG photos and one conversation? I just didn’t feel that connection, so the ending didn’t impact me as much as it could have.

Maybe it was because he was such a flirt, but I didn’t get the sense that his feelings were genuine. Maybe if we’d seen him being more serious? I’m not sure.

Rowena: I think that Ilona Andrews writes entertaining stories and this wasn’t any different for me. I couldn’t read this story fast enough. I enjoyed everything, I look forward to seeing where Catalina’s story takes her in the next book, and I’m here for seeing each of the young Baylor’s really grow into themselves and their powers. I really want to see them learn their powers and see their powers grow as they learn them. Man, there’s so much to look forward to. I can’t wait.

Rowena: I also really, really want more Arabella. I would definitely be on board with her getting her own set of books as well as Leo. They’re all such interesting characters and I think they would carry their own books really well.

Holly: I agree that IA writes entertaining stories, though. and I love the Baylor family. Arabella, Leon, Grandma Freida..I heart them all.

Rowena: I inhaled this book so fast both times that I read it and I’m so here for all of it. The second time that I read it, I mean to savor the experience but nope…I was too thirsty for more so I just jumped right in. Andrews means business with this series. This was a great addition to an already fabulous series.

Holly: While I love this world, I spent most of the book impatient with Catalina. I wanted her to stop all her internal “I’m not good enough, he doesn’t even like me” nonsense and get on with growing up. I’m waiting for her to grow into being the Head of House and to start acting like the Prime she is.

Still, for all that I can’t deny I was super excited to jump into this one and I can’t wait for the next. I’m giving it 3.75 out of 5. You?

Rowena: I’m giving it 4.25 out of 5.

Final Grade

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Hidden Legacy

four-stars


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