Tag: Novella

Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted July 30, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Iron and Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant, #1) by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Iron Covenant #1, Kate Daniels #9.5
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9), Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1), Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3)
Publisher: Nancy Yost Literary Agency Inc
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 392
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four-stars

No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.

Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.

Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.

Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?

As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”

Hugh and Elara may do both.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Hugh. He was a villain in Kate’s world. Yet I could never hate him. Still, not hating a bad guy vs wanting him to get a happy ending? I’m happy to report it really worked. Not that I’m surprised. Andrews always pulls me in.

Hugh has been cast off from Roland after he failed to deliver Kate. He spends a few months wallowing in self-pity and trying to numb the pain of the giant void inside himself where Roland’s magic used to be with alcohol, until his Iron Dogs catch up with him and force him to see what’s been happening to them. They’re being hunted down and exterminated by Landon Nez, Roland’s Legatus of the Golden Legion. They used to be 1200 strong. Now they’re down to 400+.

With no money and no way to earn a living, Hugh accepts a mad bargain – in exchange for their protection, the White Warlock and her people will house and shelter them. Because neither side is really trustworthy, they agree to marry to seal the deal. Marriage to a harpy of a woman isn’t what Hugh ever envisioned for his future, but it isn’t long before he realizes there’s more to Elara than he previously thought. When their bonds of loyalty are tested, they’ll have to decide what’s important.

Hugh really is an anti-hero. He’s a right bastard, sure, but he also has heart and his soul bleeds. Elara is a monster, the same as her husband. She didn’t want the marriage any more than he did. But she can’t deny there’s something very compelling about the Preceptor of the Order of the Iron Dogs. As they come to know each other and learn to rely on one another, I found myself swept up in their story and the fight they find themselves in to protect their territory. I really hope the series continues. I’d love to see more from them.

I think to truly understand Hugh and why he’s so adrift, reading the Kate Daniels series first is a must. However, this an stand on its own if you haven’t read that series.

4.25 out of 5

The Iron Covenant

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Howling by Erin McCarthy

Posted June 26, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Howling by Erin McCarthyReviewer: Tracy
The Howling by Erin McCarthy
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 100
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two-stars

For six months the nightmares have been chasing Liv Lugaru out of her sleep. The same terrifying dream, the same fevered wolves panting after her, their hot breath getting closer and closer as a full moon hangs heavy in the night sky—until she wakes up drenched in sweat, with her fiancé, the brother of the man who broke her heart, gazing down at her . . .

Six months ago, Sebastian was almost killed by his brother in a power struggle within their werewolf pack. His disappearance opened the way for his brother to console Liv, win her trust . . . without ever telling her of their true heritage. Now Sebastian is ready to reclaim his rightful place—to rise up with the moon and claim the only woman he’s ever loved . . .

Liv has been having dreams for the past six months about wolves.  In the dream it seems to be her as the central figure, but it’s set in the 19th century so she’s confused.  She chalks it up to nerves because of her impending wedding.  A wedding to Scarborough, the brother of the man who disappeared on her six months ago, along with all her money.  Scar had been there for her and when he’d asked her to marry him, she thought it was the best idea.  After these dreams she’s thinking that maybe marrying him wasn’t such a great idea.

Sebastian, the man who broke Liv’s heart, didn’t just disappear.  He was attacked and left for dead and has been recovering and in hiding since that time.  Now that Scarborough is out of town he can finally talk to Liv and tell her how much he loves her, and they can live happily ever after.  But when Liv finds out who she really is, and what exactly happened to Sebastian, Liv’s life changes forever.

This was a super short book that is a reprint.  It was previously in an anthology called The Beast Within but is now being republished as a standalone novella.  I didn’t realize when I started reading that this was a reprint and lo and behold, I’d read it before.  I did finish it the second time so that’s a point in its favor.

The story almost feels like you’re being dumped into a book that’s already in progress.  I didn’t like that at all and while it wasn’t confusing, I did find it frustrating.  This can’t really be termed a romance novel because the H/h are really already in love and have just been separated.  More of a reunion story, imho.

The scenario that Liv found herself in might have been more interesting if this had been a longer story.  Add Sebastian in first, have Scar come along and take over, then have the H/h reunite.  That would have been awesome.  I also think that because this was so short that not a lot of depth was added to the characters and that was disappointing.

In the end I found this to be just an ok read.

Rating: 2 out of 5

two-stars


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Guest Lightning Review: Highland Valentine by C.A. Szarek

Posted May 15, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Lightning Review: Highland Valentine by C.A. SzarekReviewer: Tracy
Highland Valentine (Highland Secrets #4) by C.A. Szarek
Series: Highland Secrets #4
Publisher: Paper Dragon Publishing
Publication Date: March 31, 2017
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 105
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Goodreads
three-stars

A Highland Secrets Story!

Jules MacDonald thought her happily-ever-after was secure with her barbarian laird. She journeyed through time, to seventeenth century Scotland in search of her sister, and fell in love with Hugh MacDonald.

Her forever started over a year ago when she decided to stay. Now she’s expecting her first child, and can’t be happier. The problem is her husband doesn’t share her joy.

After losing his first wife and wee son in childbirth, every day his sweet Juliette’s stomach grows is proof of her probable demise. Memories haunt Hugh and he closes himself off from her, rather than deal with the pain.

Jules is devastated by losing the man she loves, when he’s right beside her. She seeks refuge with her sister’s clan, the MacLeods, in an effort to bear her child where they’ll both be loved and wanted.

Hugh must face his worst fears to win back his wife and child before she flees to the future. Or will he be too late?

Jules is heartbroken.  She loves her husband dearly, but he has been cold and distant since she told him she was pregnant – in fact he hasn’t touched her at all since then.  She’s tried to talk to him, but he won’t talk to her about what’s bothering him.  Jules knows that she can’t live like this any longer so she makes arrangements to head to her sister’s home.  She hopes that Hugh will stop her when she tells him she’s leaving, but he just lets her go.

I saw this novella on NetGalley and it sounded cute.  No, I hadn’t read any of the books in the Highland Secrets series so I hadn’t met Hugh and Jules before.  I might have had different feelings about the book had I done so.  To a point I understood what Jules was feeling.  I got the impression that she’d tried to talk to Hugh about his attitude but had she sat him down and said, “Hey buddy, I’m outta here if you don’t shape up!” would things have been different?  Would he have broken out of his fear of losing her in childbirth like he did his first wife and child? IDK.  I didn’t really care for Hugh in this story – maybe because I’d never seen the wonderful, loving side of him that I’m sure was shown to readers in the couple’s full-length love story.

Despite not really knowing the characters it was a sweet story that I enjoyed reading.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Highland Secrets

three-stars


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Review: Planet Dragos by Thea Harrison

Posted May 14, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: Planet Dragos by Thea HarrisonReviewer: Holly
Planet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8) by Thea Harrison
Series: Elder Races #9.8
Also in this series: Lord's Fall, Pia Saves the Day & Peanut Goes to School, Dragos Takes a Holiday, Night's Honor, Night's Honor, Dragon Bound, Midnight's Kiss, Midnight's Kiss, Dragos Goes to Washington, Shadow's End, Pia Does Hollywood, Liam Takes Manhattan, Pia Does Hollywood, The Chosen: A Novella of the Elder Races, Planet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 14, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 130
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four-half-stars

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the final novella featuring Pia and Dragos…

Pia’s latest pregnancy has become a daily challenge, her relationship with Dragos strained with argument. That hasn’t stopped them from achieving a compromise and traveling to Las Vegas to celebrate their friend Rune’s wedding to his mate Carling.

From the moment they arrive, the trip goes awry. Death walks in Vegas, and Pia is kidnapped as an ancient enemy makes a move to destroy the Great Beast once and for all.

But the Great Beast has other plans.

On Planet Dragos everything goes the way he arranges it—unless someone decides to cross him, and God help them then, because he doesn’t know how to back down, and he doesn’t ever, ever let up….

I love Dragos and Pia. The Elder Races series is wonderful all around, but every time we return to Pia and Dragos I cheer a little on the inside.

These slice-of-life novellas are lovely. It’s great seeing where the Lord of the Wyr is, and how things are going with his family. In the previous book, Moonshadow, we met a new character who reappears here. I’m curious about him and hope we see more.

Aside from that, I loved seeing Pia and Dragos come to another turning point in their lives together. I was surprised at the choice they made at first, but it makes so much sense now that I think about it. I can’t wait for the next installment. I won’t lie, I’m anxious to see what happens with Liam.

4.25 out of 5

Elder Races

four-half-stars


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Lightning Guest Review: The Chosen by Thea Harrison

Posted March 22, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Guest Review: The Chosen by Thea HarrisonReviewer: Tracy
The Chosen: A Novella of the Elder Races by Thea Harrison
Series: Elder Races #9.7
Also in this series: Lord's Fall, Pia Saves the Day & Peanut Goes to School, Dragos Takes a Holiday, Night's Honor, Night's Honor, Dragon Bound, Midnight's Kiss, Midnight's Kiss, Dragos Goes to Washington, Shadow's End, Pia Does Hollywood, Liam Takes Manhattan, Pia Does Hollywood, Planet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8), Planet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 19th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 176
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Goodreads
four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Thea Harrison

A Wolf on the hunt... Wulfgar Hahn, better known as the Wolf of Braugne, is a man on a mission. Determined to avenge the murder of his brother, he stops at Camaeline Abbey to meet with the Chosen of Camael, goddess of the Hearth. Unfortunately, it appears the Chosen wants nothing to do with him.

A leader in disguise... Captivated by the Wolf of Braugne despite herself, Lily poses as an unassuming priestess in order to learn more about this ruthless man. But things are not as they seem, and after foiling an assassination attempt, Lily must decide if Wulf is the destroyer from her visions, or the hero of her dreams.

A choice to be made... As war looms on the horizon, passion sparks between them, but an enduring relationship between a soldier on the march and a leader who reveres hearth and home is impossible—or is it? Among the swirling snows of the winter Masque, the gods and goddesses of the Elder Races dance, and love will find a way..

The Chosen is the single title release of the novella that was previously published in the holiday anthology AMID THE WINTER SNOW in December, 2017.

This review was originally published in the Amid the Winter Snow anthology review. We’ll pulled it out and are publishing it as a standalone to celebrate the single title release of The Chosen.

This story takes place in the same world as the Elder Races but in one of the parallel magical universes. The Goddess has a Chosen one and she has prophetic dreams. She sees violence coming to her country and she’s not sure who she can trust among the warring men. One man, makes his way into her heart and helps her grow as a Chosen.

I really love Harrison’s Elder Races novels and this was a lovely glimpse into the more magical places in that world. I really loved both the hero and heroine in this story – I just wish it was longer! Lol I was totally into it and then it ended. sigh

4 out of 5

four-stars


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