Tag: Holly’s Reviews

Featured Review: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 22, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Magic Bites by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee, Holly, & Rowena
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #1
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 29, 2009
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 386
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Casee's 2019 TBR Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 TBR Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews invites you to experience the first novel in the “intriguing world” (Locus) of Kate Daniels with this special edition of Magic Bites...

Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn't want it any other way…

This special edition includes in-depth information about the world of Kate Daniels, with descriptions of its characters and factions. Explore Kate’s Atlanta like never before with answers to FAQ and a quiz to find your place there. And don’t miss the prequel story “A Questionable Client,” as well as scenes of events in Magic Bites from Curran’s point of view.

Magic Bites is the first book in Ilona Andrews‘ wildly popular Kate Daniels series. The world was once filled with magic, until technology came and drown it out. Now magic has returned in waves, killing tech and causing strange happenings. They call this the Shift.

Here we’re introduced to Kate in post-shift Atlanta as she tries to discover who murdered her guardian.

Holly: I have to be honest, this isn’t a great introduction to the series. I feel it’s necessary to the world-building and to establish Kate’s position in Atlanta and her relationship with Curran and the Pack, but it’s pretty slow and bogged down with a lot of info.

Rowena: I didn’t even read the blurb before starting this book, I only know what I’ve read about the series as a whole on Twitter and around Blog Land but yeah, I agree with Holly. There were times in the first half of the book where I was bored to tears with what was going on…which was a whole lot of nothing. I didn’t understand what was going on, only that Kate was trying to find her guardian’s killer in a world that didn’t make a lick of sense to me. Once I got over that beginning hump and Curran comes on to the scene, things pick up and I started to piece together a little understanding so I didn’t hate the entire thing but yeah, that beginning was boring af.

I will say that the second half really takes off and I’m curious as hell to see where the next book takes us and I’m excited to see it all. I really loved Kate and Curran and Derek. They were freaking great.

Casee: I am definitely going to continue with the series, but I was bored to death while listening to this book. If I had tried to read it instead of listening to it, I never would have finished it. There were parts that I actually enjoyed, but I mostly found it boring and tedious. The only reason I continued on was because I’ve heard that this book is necessary to read if you’re planning on continuing the series.

What did you think of Kate? I found her annoying at the beginning.

Rowena: I thought both her and Curran were annoying at first but that changed over the course of the book. Kate is badass and I loved that she had a soft heart for those in need of help…when she wouldn’t let Curran harm Derek? She won me over completely.

Holly: I agree, both Kate and Curran were annoying at first. As the book went on they improved. It’s funny to go back now and read where they started from. Especially after reading Curran’s POV.

Rowena:Did you guys think that Crest was the bad guy? I did. LOL.

Holly: No, I never thought Crest was the bad guy. I pegged the real villain right away. I still liked watching Kate puzzle it out.

Casee: I didn’t think Crest was the bad guy because that would have been too easy. That was the only reason. I also had no idea who it was.

Holly: Although the beginning of this book moves slow, I can’t deny the attraction to the world. Kate, Curran, Derek and others really come to life, especially in later books. I can’t wait for you guys to read the rest.

Rowena: I’m not going to lie, for a huge chunk of this book, I looked like this while reading:

I was confused with all of the magic short-circuiting cars and phones and then vampires being actual undead and the bad guys, it’s a really different paranormal world than I’m used to and by the end of the book, I was here for it. I didn’t blink at the exploding creatures and Kate cutting creatures heads off and taking them back to her kitchen to investigate them. I was one with this world and seriously, I’m looking forward to digging into this world some more.

Even with the really slow beginning, I enjoyed this one but not nearly as much as I thought I was going to with all of the Kate Daniels love this series gets every damn where. Still, this gets 3 out of 5 stars from me. What about you guys?

Holly: Had I not had so many others telling me this series was amazing, I’d probably never have continued after this book. I do think the events here are necessary to what’s coming, though, so I’m glad you guys read it.

It gets 3 out of 5 from me, too.

Casee: This book was basically an info dump. I’ve been meaning to read it and I’m glad I did because I’m looking forward to continuing on. Despite being yawn inducing, I could definitely see the potential when I was finished reading.

I also give it a 3 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 3 out of 5
Holly: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

Kate Daniels

three-stars


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DNF Review: Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O’Malley

Posted March 20, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O’MalleyReviewer: Holly
Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O'Malley
Narrator: Amy Landon
Series: Mystic Cove #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 258
Length: 5 hours and 58 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
dnf

It is time…

An ancient book, a power untouched, and a heart unloved lead Keelin O'Brien from her graduate studies in Boston to a small village on the coast of Southern Ireland. Determined to unearth the secrets lying hidden in the enchanted waters of the cove, Keelin has little time for a surly Irishman who infuriates her during the day and haunts her fantasies at night.

Inexplicably drawn to the woman who has stepped from his dreams and into his world, Flynn fights a stubborn battle against his increasing attraction for Keelin. Forces unknown have better plans for the two.

Only the secrets of the cove can show Keelin who she really is, the beauty of her mysterious power, and a love that will break the bounds of what she knows.

From New York Times Bestselling author, Tricia O'Malley, comes a new romance series set on the rocky shores of Ireland.

I started listening to this on audio, but switched to the ebook about 3 chapters in. The heroine was frustrating me, but I thought it might be the way the narrator was speaking for her. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. She was just immature and childish. She was supposedly 28 years old, but she acted like a teenager most of the time. Impetuous and headstrong, she rushed into things without thinking and even said things like “you can’t tell me what to do!”. What? You’re an adult, FFS.

The hero was a total jerk to the heroine. They’d been dreaming about each other and as soon as he saw her, he knew they were meant to be together. That pissed him off for some unknown reason and he ended up being an ass for no apparent reason. When she started banging on his chest like a little kid and he called her stupid, I just couldn’t anymore.

“Stupid?” Keelin hated being called stupid. Her Irish Temper kicked in. “Who are you calling stupid, you big oaf? What are you doing down here anyway?”
She pounded her fist on his chest and he grabbed her wrist with his hand. His eyes glinted dangerously at her as he held her hand captive.
“Obviously, I’m saving a stupid child from drowning.”
“A child? You, you jerk. Leave me alone.”

The premise was really intriguing – I love books featuring psychic abilities – but the execution was poorly done. Between the immature actions of the heroine and the asshole hero, I had to DNF around the 40% mark. I’m just glad this was a free read, or I’d be asking for a refund.

Rating: DNF

Mystic Cove

dnf


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Review: Wild Irish by C.M. Seabrook

Posted March 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wild Irish by C.M. SeabrookReviewer: Holly
Wild Irish by C.M. Seabrook
Narrator: Kyle Maraglio
Series: Wild Irish #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 29, 2017
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Romance Package, Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 277
Length: 5 hours and 19 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

I went searching for trouble and I found it. I just didn't expect to find it in the form of Cillian Gallagher.

The gorgeously tatted lead singer and guitarist of Wild Irish, Cillian is everything I've always tried to stay away from. He's wild and dangerous. And exactly what I need to cross off number four on my bucket list.

Kiss a complete stranger.

It should have been that simple. But I wasn't prepared for the scorching heat that would ignite a passion, leaving us both gasping for air.

It was never meant to be more than a fling.

I didn't expect that when I left Ireland, I'd be leaving a piece of my heart, or how our lives would be intertwined even when we were thousands of miles apart.

One last request.

One life-changing list.

One month of no regrets.

I ran from my boring, simple life, straight into the arms of trouble. The thing with trouble is that it has a way of finding you, no matter where you go.

I was looking for some Ireland-set novels for St. Patrick’s Day and grabbed this one from the Audible Romance Package. About 30% in I nabbed the ebook from KU, because I was having a hard time with how slow the narrator was. I actually really liked his voice and his Irish accent for Cillian, but it was sooo…..slooooww.

Delaney’s sister recently passed away after a long battle with an illness. The same week she loses her job and finds her fiance in bed with another woman, she decides to take her sister’s bucket list to Ireland and complete it for her. Her first day in she’s run off the road by a sexy, tattooed man and ends up going home with him because her car is totaled. While she waits for the insurance thing to get figured out, they strike up a sort-of friendship, wish is doused in a liberal amount of attraction and chemistry.

Cillian is the lead singer of a popular rock band. He’s taking a break to lick his wounds after being betrayed by his brother – another band member. Since the entire band has chosen to take his brother’s side, Cillian is avoiding all of them and trying to decide if he wants to pursue a legal battle to get himself out of their upcoming tour. In the meantime, he’s drinking himself drunk every night and basically wallowing in misery. Until he sees her…She lights up his world for the first time in months, and he knows he won’t be able to resist her.

The first half of this book was really good. Delaney arriving in Ireland and meeting Cillian, the mystery behind his brother’s betrayal (the betrayal itself is mentioned, but not the details), their attraction; I enjoyed all of it. Cillian wants to avoid his bandmates as long as possible, so he decides to take Delaney on a tour of Ireland so she can mark things off her list. I especially enjoyed the couple weeks they were away, getting to know each other and exploring – though even then I’d have liked to see more of them sharing with each other and opening up. More about that later.

The second half kind of lost me. Cillian has trust issues and he takes that out on Delaney several times. There’s a four month break while they’re apart, then a lot more trust issues. Going back to what I said earlier, they didn’t share enough with each other. We didn’t get to see them open up and spill their secrets, then come to some kind of understanding with each other. Plus, Cillian’s anger and irrational actions because of said anger really turned me off. Not to mention the resolution with his brother was glossed over and half-assed. I’m sure it’ll be addressed more in the second book, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing.

I was going to give this a 3 out of 5, because I really enjoyed the first half, but I’m lowering it to 2.75 after writing this review. I wish it had continued on as it began.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

Wild Irish

three-stars


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Review: Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright

Posted March 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Carnal Secrets by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Carnal Secrets by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: The Phoenix Pack #3, Mercury Pack
Also in this series: Wild Hunger, Wild Hunger , Echoes of Fire (Mercury Pack, #4)
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 366
Length: 12 hours and 16 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

A pack Alpha and his estranged, true mate wrestle with painful secrets, ruthless enemies, and their own irresistible attraction, in the sexy third book of the Phoenix Pack series.

Half-shifter Shaya Critchley may hold a submissive role in her pack, but she’s done taking orders. After her Alpha wolf mate refused to claim her—but committed to interfering in her life—she took off. Now she hides from him, posing as a human in a town full of anti-shifter extremist groups. She thinks he’ll never find her again, and that suits her just fine. But she’s wrong.

Nick Axton can barely control his feelings for Shaya, but he could never claim her—not if he truly cares for her. The degenerative brain condition he keeps secret would ultimately leave her with a burden rather than a mate. But when Shaya runs away, Nick can’t bear the thought of never seeing her again. After tracking her down, he discovers Shaya’s feisty and passionate side in the process…a side he’d never seen before.

Under the menacing gazes of territorial local packs and violent human extremists, Nick vows to finally claim the spirited Shaya…and despite her initial resistance, Shaya just might find his fiery determination to be the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Carnal Secrets is the third book in the Phoenix Pack series, and the start of the Mercury Pack series by Suzanne Wright. This is another book I thought I read, but didn’t mark down. The details were sketchy, so I’m calling it a new read.

Shaya Critchley is a submissive wolf whose mate keeps rejecting her. She’s done with waiting on him and feeling hurt when he doesn’t claim her, and she’s done not having full control of her life. Determined to start fresh, she relocates to Arizona and begins working in her friend’s hair salon. She’s just settling in and starting to feel content when Alpha Nick Axton – her erstwhile mate – shows up.

Nick is battling an illness no one else knows about. He wanted to stay away from Shaya for her own good, but he can’t fight the pull of her any longer. He’s determined to win her over, even if that means leaving his old pack and going it alone with her. As an Alpha, mating a sumbissive wolf, and making her Alpha Female means never really having full control of the pack, since she can’t disobey a direct order from someone dominate. But Nick is tired of living without her. But Shaya has been hurt one too many times by his actions in the past. It’s going to take all he has to win her over….if he can do it before it’s too late.

Shaya got on my nerves a lot more than the previous two heroines did. I understood why she felt hurt and angry over Nick’s rejection of her, but her “punishing” him for it went on way too long. The lengths she went to to push him away were ridiculous. The more she acted out and pushed him, the more immature she seemed.

There’s also an easy fix to the submissive Alpha Female problem. Turns out Shaya isn’t the type of submissive who has to obey more dominate wolves. That seemed a little too convenient and kind of lazy on the author’s part.

I liked Nick quite a bit. I really liked what a great alpha he was, and how people just naturally followed him. All these wolves kept showing up and sort of forcing him to become their Alpha, which I thought was hilarious. Despite being a natural leader and a dominate wolf, Nick doesn’t like people and really just wanted to be left alone with his mate. I cracked up every time they sort of out maneuvered him and he took another step closer to forming a new pack.

The suspense plot of who is after Shaya and why didn’t really interest me. I know others really like that aspect of these books, but I’m not a fan.

I would have given this a solid four stars if it hadn’t been for how immature Shaya was. As it is I’m going to give it 3.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Phoenix Pack

The Mercury Pack

three-stars


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Joint Review: Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen

Posted March 13, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: Overnight Sensation by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Overnight Sensation by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #5
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter , Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Brooklynaire, Bountiful, Rookie Move
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 341
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Everyone knows the girl is off limits. But it's so good to be bad.


There's this girl...

Heidi and I have been trading hungry looks all year, and everything she does makes me smile. But I don't do girlfriends, and I certainly can't get involved with the league commissioner's daughter. I need shots on goal, not a hookup and a widely misunderstood paparazzi photo. Can I resist her, though? The way she teases me should be a game penalty for interference with my libido. 


There's this guy...

Jason wants me, but he won't admit it. That man looks at me the way a hockey player eyes the lunch buffet after practice--and I love it. But when victory is finally within my grasp, I blow it and humiliate myself. Even then I can't even avoid him--as the team intern, I'm in constant view of his hard body and cocky smile. I need another chance. Jason Castro is about to learn the true meaning of an overnight sensation.

Jason Castro is known as a playboy off the ice, and he’s content with that. He isn’t interested in getting heavy with someone. He and Heidi, the new intern, have been circling each other for months. He knows she wants him, but he’s held back until now. He finally decides to go for it and she ends up too drunk for anything to happen. Then he finds out she’s the commissioner’s daughter, and that makes her 100% off limits. If only she’d get the memo.

Heidi is tired of living under her father’s thumb. She wants to experience life. When she says she’s not going back to Bryn Mawr to finish her degree, her father declares she has to spend 10 weeks doing every job in the organization – from cleaning toilets and selling hotdogs, to cleaning the ice and working security. In the meantime, she knows she can’t live at home and see his smug face every day, so she rents an apartment in Brooklyn. When that falls through, she ends up staying with Castro and his roommate.

Holly: I have to be honest, I spent the first few chapters of this book super pissed at Heidi’s dad. So much that I almost stopped reading it. I liked her enough that I continued, though, and I’m glad I did. I ended up really loving her and I enjoyed the romance.

Rowena: Yeah, I was pissed at Heidi’s Dad and his high handedness. He was super annoying and I was a bit disappointed in Becca for not clapping back even though I know that she had her hands tied. I just wanted her to not care about any of that and do it anyway.

Holly: I didn’t understand her dad at all. I mean, I guess I understood him, but I didn’t like the way he acted or the way their issues were resolved (or not resolved, as the case may be). I agree about Becca. I expected something totally different from her in that situation, or maybe from Nate. It was weird.

Rowena: Heidi was the bomb. She was my absolute favorite part of this book. She just kept right on rolling with the punches her father delivered and she was better for all of it. It would have been completely understandable if she snapped but she was strong and she was solid and she had such a great attitude through it all. I loved seeing her grow into the person she was in the end and I really loved seeing how she wore Jason down. Gah, I can’t say enough good things about her.

Holly: Heidi was so wonderful. I loved how she kept her head up and tackled everything life threw at her. She was great.

Rowena: Jason was another great hero from this series and I really enjoyed getting to know him, seeing him fall in love with Heidi and work through the issues that were holding him back from really living his life with Heidi. I thought all of that was handled well. Sarina Bowen really rocked my socks with this one.

Holly: I liked Jason, too. I liked learning about him and his issues and seeing him work through things so he could be with Heidi.

I’m still disappointed with the way things ended with her family, though.

Rowena: Same. That was the only downer in the entire book. Well, that and the stuff with Lissa’s Mom and Jason. So, was it just determined that he would continue to send her money every time she called him in tears, was he ever going to talk to her and get her to understand that he wasn’t her personal bank? Or was it just determined that because he did that stuff for Lissa, that’s just how it was going to end? As far as Heidi’s father was concerned, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the resolution to all of that madness. Sure, I loved that Heidi was the better person in it all but I would have been so much happier if she got to really serve her Dad with the set down that he deserved and I wanted to see him more remorseful for all that he put Heidi through.

Holly: That’s the thing, it was never discussed. How will he handle that? Is he going to just keep on with that forever? It made no sense that it was brought up at all if there wasn’t going to be a resolution.

I definitely wanted to see Heidi give him a set down, or at least have him acknowledge her accomplishments.

Rowena: So I read that Silas’ book is next…do you think his heroine is going to be the singer? And do you think we’ll get a book for Bayer? I low key want to read his story, too.

Holly: I do think it’ll be with the singer. I can’t wait to see what happens with that. I want a book for Bayer, too. My heart hurt for him.

Although I was frustrated with Heidi’s family and Lissa’s mom, overall I really enjoyed the story. Heidi was wonderful, and I really liked their romance. I’m giving this 4 out of 5.

Rowena: Yeah, those two things were the only things that I struggled with but I really enjoyed everything else. I loved the romance between Jason and Heidi. I loved both Jason and Heidi on their own and I loved them together. I loved seeing all of the Brooklyn Bruisers again and the friendship between Silas and Jason. I also really loved what Heidi planned for Silas’ birthday and how everyone on the team was in, even though it was the very last thing that they all wanted to do. There was much that I loved about this book but I couldn’t get over Heidi’s daddy being a jerk and Lissa’s Mom being a mooch so this one wasn’t getting a 5 from me, close though. Sarina Bowen did her thing with this one.

I give this one a 4.5 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

Brooklyn Bruisers

four-stars


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