Tag: Novella

Guest Review: Plus One by Brighton Walsh

Posted November 2, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Plus One by Brighton WalshReviewer: Tracy
Plus One by Brighton Walsh
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: May 6, 2013
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 68
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three-half-stars

Olivia hates the singles scene, so when her best guy friend, Ian, offers to be her plus one to a series of weddings she has to attend, she agrees. Although she doesn't want to complicate their lifelong friendship, she can't pass up the chance to have a steady date without the dating drama. What she doesn't expect is to now find Ian so incredibly sexy.

When Ian sees his old friend Olivia dolled up for wedding #1, the boyhood crush he once nurtured transforms into smoldering attraction. It doesn't take long for their no-strings arrangement to turn physical. But as Olivia's desire to stay "just friends" becomes clear, Ian's feelings are deepening. In the time they have together, how will Ian convince Olivia that one plus one can make for a lifelong pair?

Olivia, Emma and Ian have been best buddies for 20 years. They tell each other just about anything and get each other out of bad situations, like when one is on a blind date and having the worst time ever because their date is talking about cat pee.  This was the case when Ian called Olivia and got her out of her blind date.  Olivia was expecting a call from Emma, but apparently she was busy with her boyfriend so Ian called.  They talk while Olivia is on her way home and one of the topics that comes up is weddings.  Olivia has to either be in or go to nine weddings in the next six months.  She was hoping one of her blind dates would be awesome and she could take him as her plus one, but no luck.  Ian offers to be her plus one and while Olivia is hesitant at first she soon takes him up on his offer.

Ian has been in love with Olivia the entire time he’s known her.  As he got older his puppy love turned into true love, but he was afraid to mess up their friendship.  There was also the fact that Olivia didn’t see him as anything other than a friend.  He even went so far as to move a couple of hours away from her to try and get her out of his system.  While that worked in a way, he never stopped loving her.  Now he’s torturing himself by seeing her on a regular basis for all of these weddings and he can’t help but dream of what it would be like with her.

During one of the wedding receptions Olivia drinks a bit and they come close to kissing but she pulls away.  Ian thinks that he can never make Olivia see him as more than a friend, but she’s already undressing him in her mind.  How can these two take the chance on love without ruining their friendship forever.

This was a short novella but it was good!  I really liked both Ian and Olivia and thought they were adorable together. Their banter was cute and funny.  Like I said, this was a short novella so there wasn’t a lot of plot development. Despite that, I thought the author did a good job of showing us each of the characters in a good light and making us understand their wants and hesitations over the relationship.

One part I thought was needlessly added was Olivia’s friend, and Ian’s sister, Emma.  I’m not sure why she was written in.  She really only served to make Olivia’s uncertainty about the relationship worse because Olivia didn’t want to betray her friend. I got Olivia’s thinking, but it really was just extra and the story definitely could have survived quite well without her involvement.

Overall I enjoyed this story and recommend it if you need a quick read or palate cleanser.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The Only One by Lauren Blakely

Posted October 24, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Only One by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
The Only One (One Love #2) by Lauren Blakely
Narrator: Zachary Webber, Andi Arndt
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 140
Length: 3 hours and 34 minutes
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one-half-stars

From the NYT Bestselling author of THE SEXY ONE comes a romance about fate and second chances

Let’s say there was this guy. And he gave you the most mind-blowing night of sex in your life. And you never saw him again.Until ten years later.Now, it turns out he’s the ONLY ONE in all of Manhattan whose restaurant is available the night of my charity’s gala. The trouble is, he doesn’t recognize me.

***

This woman I’m working with is so damn alluring. The first time I set eyes on her, I’m captivated and I can’t get her out of my mind. Even if it’s risky to tango with someone I’m working with, she’s a risk I’m willing to take. The trouble is, she won’t give me the time of day. But I’m determined to change that.

Penelope and Gabriel spent 3 amazing days together one summer in Barcelona. They agreed to meet up a few weeks later in New York, but he never showed. She wouldn’t have thought 3 days with a man would ruin her so completely, but 10 years later she’s still smarting. When her assistant sets up an interview with him as a possible caterer for a charity event she’s organizing, she can’t decide if she wants to see him and get an explanation, or if she wants to stand him up. But in all the scenarios she imagined for their meeting, him not recognizing her never crossed her mind…

Gabriel is almost positive the Penny in front of him is his Penelope from 10 years ago. A comedy of errors kept him from meeting up with her that fateful day in New York, but he’s continued to think of her. Not wanting to embarrass either of them, he says she looks familiar and she denies ever meeting him. Since her name is different than the one he remembers, he figures his mind is playing tricks on him. But whether she’s his Penelope from 10 years ago or not, he can’t deny he’s attracted to her. If only she’d give him the time of day…

This started out pretty well, but quickly went downhill when Penny lied about the two of them knowing each other, then gave him a fake last name so he wouldn’t know it was her. She was a 31-year-old woman who had supposedly moved on from him, yet she lied to his face about them knowing each other because he “should have known it was me!” Let me just leave that right there. She was mad that he didn’t immediately KNOW IT WAS HER when he asked and SHE LIED. WTAF?? Then to continue the lie and feel justified for doing so because HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN? No. Just no.

via GIPHY

The only reason I kept reading the story was because Gabriel, along with Penny’s friend Delaney, called her out on her bs. If not for them I would have DNF’d it. As it is, I didn’t care for her actions and she really ruined what could have been a sweet second chance lovers story.

1.5 out of 5

One Love

one-half-stars


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Audiobook Review: Feral Magic by Robin D. Owens

Posted October 17, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Audiobook Review: Feral Magic by Robin D. OwensReviewer: Holly
Feral Magic by Robin D. Owens
Narrator: Natasha Soudek
Publisher: TKA Distribution
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 96
Length: 3 hours and 47 minutes
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three-stars

A blue moon rises, bringing with it magic and danger to a sleeping Denver.

Brandy Svensson mourns her lost soldier fiancee and struggles to move on. Her own near-death experience has brought her an odd "gift" – she has a telepathic connection with cats. She's coping with life’s changes until the night she finds a lost jaguar cub, just the start of the greatest changes of all...

Dak, a warrior Pantherman, is alarmed when his baby nephew, the Chief of the klatch, vanishes. Dak must find the infant before his enemies do...or be branded a murderer and risk igniting warfare among the clans.

When the cub turns into a human baby, shock and confusion flood Brandy. And when a full-grown jaguar arrives to claim him, then transforms into a man, fascination sweeps through her. Dak's protective instincts are triggered by this lovely woman, and the certainty that he's followed by a killer.

Drawn together in their fight to protect the baby, Brandy and Dak confront the enemy and the final choice threatens. Will the feral magic they've discovered together save or doom them?

I was looking for a short listen for my morning commute when I came across this one. I love Owens’ HeartMates series and figured I’d give this one a listen.

Brandi wakes up one morning after a near death experience and can telepathically speak to cats. Some months later when one of her ferals tells her another cat needs her help, she isn’t as shocked as she should be to find a panther shifter cub. When his uncle shows up to get him, Brandi learns they’re from an alternate universe and enemies are after them. Together she and Dak must work together to get his nephew home in one piece.

The narrator was so.freaking.slow. I ended up listening to it at 3x speed and even then I felt like it drug on a bit. That aside, the story itself was good. It was just a short story that ended too soon, but I liked the world and the way the story developed. It ended on a cliffhanger of sorts. I’d continue reading if this turns into a series.

3.0 out of 5

three-stars


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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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