Tag: Kensington

Guest Review: The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

Posted August 30, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. AikenReviewer: Tracy
The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken
Series: The Scarred Earth Saga #1
Also in this series: The Blacksmith Queen
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 304
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When a prophesy brings war to the Land of the Black Hills, Keeley Smythe must join forces with a clan of mountain warriors who are really centaurs in a thrilling new fantasy romance series from New York Times bestselling author G.A. Aiken. The Old King Is Dead With the demise of the Old King, there's a prophesy that a queen will ascend to the throne of the Black Hills. Bad news for the king's sons, who are prepared to defend their birthright against all comers. But for blacksmith Keeley Smythe, war is great for business. Until it looks like the chosen queen will be Beatrix, her younger sister. Now it's all Keeley can do to protect her family from the enraged royals.

Luckily, Keeley doesn't have to fight alone. Because thundering to her aid comes a clan of kilt-wearing mountain warriors called the Amichai. Not the most socially adept group, but soldiers have never bothered Keeley, and rough, gruff Caid, actually seems to respect her. A good thing because the fierce warrior will be by her side for a much longer ride than any prophesy ever envisioned ...

Keeley is a blacksmith and loves what she does.  She comes from a long line of female blacksmiths and doesn’t plan on ever doing anything else. She has a large loving family and loves taking care of them as well.  When she finds out that her bookish (and she feels, not too smart) younger sister, Beatrix, is prophesied to be the next Queen, Keeley is a little skeptical, but totally supports her sister.  When one of the sons of the recently deceased king shows up to execute Beatrix (they want no one on the throne but themselves), Keeley protects the family, along with her War Monk sister, Gemma, and four Centaurs called the Amichai that show up to protect Beatrix as well.

Keeley and Gemma get their family to safety after being attacked, and then make their way to the Witches of Amhuinn to verify with their seer that Beatrix is in fact the true prophesied queen.  When their Seer stands before Beatrix she states that yes, Beatrix will be queen, but then she points to Keeley and states, and so will she.   Beatrix isn’t happy about this additional prophesy at all.  She takes off and no one knows where she goes after trying to take matters with Keeley into her own hands.  After the witches stronghold is attacked, an injured Keeley is taken to the Amichai’s homeland to heal.

Keeley doesn’t want to be queen but after much deliberation and arguing she finally resigns herself to the fact that this is what needs to happen to save their lands.  She then heads out to drum up an army.

This book was a good one.  Set in Aiken’s Dragon Kin world yet far removed from the dragons.  In fact Keeley had only heard rumors about dragons being real.  I liked the characters and the beginning of what I hope will end up being a fantastic series.

I liked Keeley a lot despite the fact that she was rude at times and completely vicious when it came to fighting.  Besides that she was a pretty darned happy person and liked to smile.  People would underestimate her because she was a blacksmith and a fighter, and happy, thinking she was dumb, but she was actually quite brilliant.

During the course of the book Keeley starts falling for one of the centaurs named Caid.  He falls for her too and endures endless teasing from his siblings.  It’s hilarious.  While they “get together” in this book there’s only a tad bit of what would be considered romance.  Neither Caid nor Keeley are the romantic type so take that into consideration.

Overall I liked the story.  There was quite a bit of action in the book (read: fight scenes) but it worked for what the characters were trying to accomplish.  The Dragon Kin series books were definitely romance, with each book having its own hero and heroine – which was what I was expecting with this book.  Despite my disappointment in not getting a true romance, I thought it was good.  This book ended without a conclusion, so we’ll have to wait until the series continues before I can find out what happens to Keeley as queen and with her and Caid.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: In a Badger Way by Shelly Laurenston

Posted April 24, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: In a Badger Way by Shelly LaurenstonReviewer: Jen
In a Badger Way by Shelly Laurenston, Charlotte Kane
Series: Honey Badger Chronicles #2
Also in this series: Hot and Badgered (Honey Badgers Chronicles #1), Hot and Badgered (Honey Badger Chronicles, #1)
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 410
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Petite, kind, brilliant, and young, Stevie is nothing like the usual women bodyguard Shen Li is interested in. Even more surprising, the youngest of the lethal, ball-busting, and beautiful MacKilligan sisters is terrified of bears. But she’s not terrified of pandas. She loves pandas.

Which means that whether Shen wants her to or not, she simply won’t stop cuddling him. He isn’t some stuffed Giant Panda, ya know! He is a Giant Panda shifter. He deserves respect and personal space. Something that little hybrid is completely ignoring.

But Stevie has a way of finding trouble. Like going undercover to take down a scientist experimenting on other shifters. For what, Shen doesn’t want to know, but they’d better find out. And fast. Stevie might be the least violent of the honey badger sisters, but she’s the most dangerous to Shen’s peace of mind. Because she has absolutely no idea how much trouble they’re in . . . or just how damn adorable she is.

More honey badgers! That should honestly be the tag line for this book, because anyone who glimpsed the MacKilligan sisters in Hot and Badgered should pretty much know what that means: lots of fighting and violent but devoted sisterly love.

This book is about Stevie MacKilligan. Stevie is the genius in the family, the one who is both a world-class scientist and a world-class musician (so far). She also has some pretty severe anxiety problems and turns into a giant raving hybrid monster when provoked. You know, as you do. There are some more fishy things happening to hybrid shifters in the world, and Stevie has to help put a stop to it. Luckily, she has Shen to help her. Shen is a panda shifter who likes his life filled with quiet and all the bamboo he can eat. The more time he spends with Stevie, though, the more he realizes he may be ok with a little disruption.

Stevie isn’t my favorite MacKilligan sister. I wasn’t that interested in her in the first book, and I still wasn’t that interested in her after her own book. It’s not that I didn’t like her, but I did think she was a bit immature. Her romance with Shen didn’t have much substance to it either. Laurenston’s books do share focus between plot and romance in largely equal measures, and this book follows that pattern. The problem was, I didn’t really see a huge connection between Stevie and Shen. Shen seemed too old, too mature for Stevie, and I didn’t really see where they could go by the end.

The plot, though, was fun. The villain is pretty cartoon evil, and it’s always fun to see Laurenston’s villains get their comeuppance. I really enjoyed Stevie’s friendship with Kyle, too. He’s another prodigy, and a very obnoxious one at that, but he actually had some personal growth in this book. He and Stevie were odd friends but they somehow worked, and it was fun to read about. I also loved seeing more of the MacKilligan sisters and glimpses of past couples from Laurenston’s other series.

There is a lot of talk about mental health because Stevie has some serious issues. The book makes a big deal about how she gets treatment, both therapy, and medication. Even her sisters seek some treatment in this book, and that’s not something you normally see in a wacky paranormal romance. It normalizes seeking help, which I like. If those topics are triggering for you, though, you may want to steer clear of the Honey Badger books.

Even my least favorite Laurenston books are always a good time. I’ll just keep waiting anxiously for the next book.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Honey Badger Chronicles

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Get a Clue by Jill Shalvis

Posted April 11, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Get a Clue by Jill ShalvisReviewer: Casee
Get a Clue by Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Publication Date: 2015-04
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars

And You Think You've Had A Bad Day

City girl Breanne Mooreland gets left at the altar, takes the flight from hell to her honeymoon--alone--loses her luggage, and ends up snowed in at a Sierra mountains lodge run by the kookiest staff this side of the Addams Family. Oh, and there's a gorgeous naked man taking a shower in her suite who says he isn't going anywhere. That's just the first 24 hours. . .

Burned-out vice cop Cooper Scott is in serious need of this vacation, and he's not about to give up the only available room because an upset--okay, make that insane--woman is having a conniption fit. They'll just have to make the best of it--her side of the bed versus his. But when Cooper wakes up kissing the long, leggy Breanne, he wants to show her exactly what the honeymoon suite is intended for. But that will have to wait, because a screaming Breanne has just stumbled on a very dead body. So much for vacation. . .

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on Apil 1, 2008.

This was a really fast read for me. I read it over the 6-hour flight to warm Hawaii. Have I mentioned that it’s butt-ass cold in Boise?

I’ve read a few books by Jill Shalvis. I want to say that most of them were Harlequin’s, but I can’t say for sure.

Breanne was left at the altar but still determined to go on her honeymoon to lick her wounds. Arriving in the Sierra Nevada mountains at the beginning of a storm that would strand her, Breanne gets quite a surprise when she finds a naked man in the shower of her room. If that wasn’t bad enough, she finds herself attracted to Cooper Scott…after she’s sworn off men.

A burnt-out Vice cop, Cooper Scott has come to the mountains at the urging of his brother. Trying to do nothing more recharge, Cooper refuses to give his room up to Breanne. Wanting nothing more than a relaxing vacation, it doesn’t take Cooper long to figure out that relaxing around Breanne is pretty much impossible.

When Breanne literally stumbles upon a dead body, Cooper instantly goes into “cop mode”. Unfortunately he’s snowed in with a woman who is scared of the dark and hears strange noises, a butler who looks like he belongs in one of L.A.’s most dangerous gangs, a knife-wielding chef who looks like someone’s little sister, a handyman that can’t fix anything, and a housekeeper who looks like she stepped off the pages of Playboy. Which basically means that everyone is a suspect.

I really enjoyed this book. At the beginning of each chapter, there were short entries from Breanne’s journal, which she took everywhere with her. I read each one to my husband. He was suitably impressed. These are a few of my favorites:

I’ve heard that men are like fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it’s up to women to stomp the shit out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with. Me, I just want to do the stomping.

And…

Men exist because a vibrator can’t change a flat tire. On second thought, I should just buy a AAA card.

Last one…

Life is like a boner: long and hard.

Before you think that Breanne is a man-hating shrew, let me say that she’s not. She’s a woman that has had several hard knocks in life and still manages to find humor in them. Now she finally has a man that sees the real her. The problem is convincing herself that she’s finally found a good one.

This is a funny and enjoyable read. I recommend it to anyone that wants to read anything light.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Demon’s Mercy by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted January 21, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Demon’s Mercy by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Demon's Mercy (Dark Protectors, #9) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Dark Protectors #9
Also in this series: Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Fated (Dark Protectors, #1), Claimed (Dark Protectors, #2), Hunted (Dark Protectors, #3), Consumed (Dark Protectors, #4), Provoked (Dark Protectors, #5), Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Shadowed (Dark Protectors, #6), Vampire's Faith (Dark Protectors, #8), Alpha's Promise
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Mercy O'Malley hates killing people. So when she's assigned to take out Vampire-Demon Logan Kyllwood, she lures him to a seedy bar in Scotland, then decides to kidnap him instead. How can she cold-bloodedly end all that heat, those green eyes, that ripped body? Unfortunately for Mercy, attempted murder and kidnapping are just foreplay for the Kyllwood brothers. Logan may be the youngest of the bunch, but death and violence are already a way of life. Now he's ready to complete a painful, terrifying ritual to become one of the Seven, dedicated to protecting this world from the most dangerous evil it's ever known. But first he has to deal with a blackmailing Fey, a ransom demand and his own pounding need for the last female he ever should have fallen for . . .

Oh, did I ever enjoy this book. This is one of my favorite books in the Dark Protector series. I usually have a problem with the heroines in this series, but not so with Mercy. She was just a breath of fresh air. I found her to be exactly who was needed in this book.

Mercy O’Malley is fae. They are mostly assumed to be a myth in the Realm. The ones that have known a fae in the past all have a couple words for them. Fairy. Crazy. It’s actually crazy that comes up more often. And crazy they are. They often act before they think, especially in Mercy’s case. She doesn’t quite think her plan through when she decides that she’s going to kidnap Logan Kyllwood instead of kill him.

Mercy is not a solider. She’s a business person. Or business fae. She keeps the fae in money. She plays the stock market. She moves money around. Mercy is that person. She’s also one of the few fae left in the world. Her people were happily living on another dimension when it was destroyed. They lost almost all their people. Now they’re forced to live in a dimension that they have no desire to live in. The realm with everyone else. The problem now is that Logan Kyllwood and his brotherhood are threatening they’re new dimension as well.

Logan Kyllwood can’t believe he let himself get kidnapped by a fairy. He’s only days away from a horrifying ritual that could kill him. One where he joins a brotherhood known as the Seven. The job of the Seven is to protect the world from the biggest, baddest evil the world has ever seen. The evil that can wipe out all enhanced females. Including his young niece. Logan can’t help himself from being attracted to Mercy, but he won’t let her stop him.

What made this book so good was the interaction between Mercy and Logan. Mercy got the one-up on Logan so many times and he just kept falling for her shenanigans. At first I was thinking, “Seriously, how stupid are you?”, then I looked at it another way. He just liked her that much. He got stupid around her. There was one interaction that was especially humorous. The vampire mating mark appears on Logan’s hand, signifying that Mercy is his mate. Mercy sees it and loses her shit a little bit.

“Your marking,” she whispered.

“Yes.” He looked down, no expression on his immortal face.

Oh. She blinked. “You’ve found your mate.” What an asshole. He’d brought her to orgasm while soon to be mated to someone else. Obviously he hadn’t transferred the marking to the other female yet, or he wouldn’t have been able to kiss Mercy without succumbing to the mating allergy. The fact that she’d done the same was irrelevant. “You’re such a dick.”

He jerked and turned toward her. “Excuse me?”

A mating mark only appeared when a demon met his or her mate, and then it was transferred to the mate during sex. She’d read all about it, fascinated. “You’ve met your mate, and here is the mark to prove it. Yet you kissed me.” Man, she’d read him wrong. No honor. What a jackass. His poor mate. How incredibly sad. “I should tell her the truth.”

“You are her,” he drawled, dark amusement glittering in his eyes.

Mercy has always felt that she had to work for her place with her people. Logan is determined to show her that she doesn’t have to prove herself to him. His view does differs from Mercy’s in how their partnership is going to work. Mercy just does what she wants. She does what she wants without any fanfare. She just does it. She does what she believes is best. For her people, for her President, for her King, and above all, for Logan. I just adored these two characters individually and together.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Dark Protectors

four-stars


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Review: Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted September 27, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Hidden by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Hidden (Deep Ops, #1) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Deep Ops #1
Also in this series: Hidden (Deep Ops, #1)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock . . .

Pippa is hiding. Forced by her mother to join a cult when she was young, Pippa finally escaped. She has basically turned herself into a shut-in. When her new neighbor spots her spying on him while he’s moving in, she has the mother of all panic attacks. She doesn’t know who this new neighbor is. Only that she doesn’t know him. She doesn’t trust people she doesn’t know, anymore than she trusts people that she does know. What she soon learns about her neighbor is that he has his own demons.

Malcolm West is fresh off an undercover job. He was under for two years and became good friends with the person he was bringing down. In the end, Malcolm had to kill the guy that had become like family to him. After that, Malcolm is out. He wants nothing to do with undercover or police work. That changes when he meets his sexy new neighbor. Suddenly he finds his house invaded by Angus Force, a federal agent in the HDD. Angus tells Malcolm that Pippa is actually a sleeper. She’s waiting on an order from the cult (she escaped) leader to go blow some shit up. Malcolm doesn’t buy it, especially when he starts getting to know Pippa. He can’t deny that she is lying to him, but he’s doing the same thing. Because now he wants to prove that she’s innocent and he can’t do that if she keeps lying to him.

As she and Malcolm start spending more time together, Pippa finds herself falling deeper and deeper. Malcolm is the kind of man she has fantasized about. Then she realizes that something about him just doesn’t add up. He tells her he is in requisitions, but gets emergency phone calls in the middle of the night. She finally figures out that he has been undercover and she has been his assignment. Pippa is devastated. Especially when she understands that she has been nothing but a job to him.

Malcolm doesn’t care what Pippa thinks of him. He knows she’s innocent and he’s going to prove it with or without her help. Oh and another thing? He’s not going to let her go.

I really enjoyed reading Hidden. It was a great start to a new series by Zanetti. She’s introduced some great characters and I’m really looking forward to reading more. Malcolm and Pippa were both so damaged, they were naturally drawn to each other. Pippa tries to help Malcolm at the risk of her own safety which really showed her true character. I can’t wait until the next book!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Deep Ops

four-stars


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