Tag: Novella

Review: Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 14, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Silver Shark by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kinsmen Series #2

Publication Date: September 16th 2011
Genres: Romance
Pages: 96
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three-stars

Claire Shannon is a killer. She uses no weapons, only her mind.

Born on a planet locked in a long war, Claire is a psycher, a woman with the ability to attack minds and infiltrate a biological computer network where psychers battle to the death. But when the war abruptly ends, Claire must hide her psycher's ability to survive. She is deported to a new planet, a vivid beautiful place, where she meets Venturo Escana, a powerful psycher, whose presence overwhelms both her mind and her body.

She thought she had left war and death behind, but now she must fight for her new life and this battle might just cost her everything...

Claire Shannon was born on the war planet Uley. For eons two companies fought over the right to use the planet’s resources, which meant nothing existed there but war and death. It was a gray planet with very little to do but fight, prepare and sleep. Claire is a trained Psycher, someone who can enter the bionet (think psychic plane, like the internet, Matrix style) and navigate through to access data and/or kill enemies. She’s a soldier. All comforts have been given up for the sake of the war. When the war suddenly ends, Claire hides her true self so she isn’t killed on sight (psychers are considered much too dangerous to be allowed to live) and ends up getting deported. Her new planet is filled with light and color, sounds, textures and strange flavors. For someone who lived with nothing but gray, it’s a lot to take in. But she’s determined to fit in and do her best.

She’s given housing, clothes and a job at the outset. She becomes the personal assistant to Venturo Escena, a  self-made businessman and psycher himself. She needs to fly under the radar so she isn’t killed for being a psycher herself, but she’s a true leader, she can’t help but push for more – for herself and others. It isn’t long before she’s indispensable to Venturo…or before she’s half in love with him. When one of her countrymen comes to her for help, she knows she can’t turn them away, even though it means possible exposure of who and what she really is.

The romance is secondary to the rest here, but it really worked. Andrews’ excels at building complex, multi-layered worlds. Both planets were easily imagined, as was Claire’s determination to live and succeed in her new life. I do wish this had been longer, or that there were more books in the series. At 96 pages, this ended much too soon. The conflicts were resolved, but I wasn’t ready for it to end.

3.5 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine Abel

Posted February 13, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Bluebeard’s Curse by Regine AbelReviewer: Tracy
Bluebeard's Curse by Regine Abel
Series: Dark Tales #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: February 15th 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 82
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three-half-stars

King Eric Thorsen, also known as Bluebeard, is once more widowed. Like all the others before her, his late wife succumbed to the lure of the curse that plagues him and threatens the realm. Willing maidens gather at the castle in the hope of becoming the next Queen. However, that title comes with a steep price: the King’s new bride must first resist temptation for one year and one day, or die trying.

Eric is tired of getting married.  He’s at a ball and he has to pick a new bride – his 28th bride to be exact.  All of his previous brides have died as he is cursed.  The bride must outlast the curse for 1 year and then it will be broken but so far the longest one has lasted only 6 months.  When Eric sees Astrid he’s intrigued.  She’s not his normal type but he can’t take his eyes off of her.  He thinks that maybe because she’s not like the others she can break the curse.

The pair marry and Astrid seems to be doing well but soon the temptation starts to get to her.  Eric has done the worst thing possible and fallen in love with Astrid.  Knowing she will probably die tears him apart but he hopes she can beat the curse.  Unfortunately, other people get involved and after that breaking the curse may become impossible.

Bluebeard’s Curse was a good story.  It was definitely different from your average romance and had a bit of a twist that was unexpected.  I wasn’t quite sure what the time period was or where it was set – seemed like an old Viking story but I wasn’t sure.  Despite that the added paranormal twist/curse was a wonderful aspect to the story.

Eric and Astrid were pretty great characters although since the book was so short it really focused on the “now” and didn’t get too much into their pasts.  We knew why Astrid had gone to the ball to be picked for the bride and eventually we learned of why Eric was cursed but that was about as deep into the past as we got.  Their relationship was the main focus it was definitely erotic as Regine Abel wrote some pretty wicked sex scenes.

Overall I liked the book a lot.  If you’re looking for a short fantasy/paranormal read that doesn’t involved vampires or werewolves then this would be a good one to pick up.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Game by Angie West

Posted January 30, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Game by Angie WestReviewer: Tracy
The Game by Angie West
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: October 7th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Thrillers
Pages: 60
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four-stars

Do you want to play a game?

Lei Guthrie and her best friend, Iris, have a tradition. Every Friday night after work they play a game, preferably vintage, the weirder the better. So when Lei finds a romance novel trivia game rumored to be cursed, she couldn’t be happier. Until she and Iris become trapped in the game. The rules are simple. Make it through three romance novel scenes gone horribly wrong and retrieve a silver key from each. Oh yeah, and stay alive.

Lei Guthrie is having a horrible day.  She did save an old lady from getting hit by a bus but then the old lady told her she was psychic and that Lei was going to die if she didn’t prevent it.  Ooookay.  Weird.  Since Lei had thrown down her shopping bags when she saved the old lady, all of her purchases – a game and wine included, had been ruined.  She stops by her local thrift store and finds a game that says it’s a romance trivia game.  The owner of the thrift shop tells her it’s supposedly cursed but that only intrigues her more.

Lei and her best friend Iris put the game out and are a bit confused that this romance trivia game would have  a game board that looks like a graveyard but they’re not put off.  The minute they start to play, however, strange things start to happen and soon they find themselves in the game.  Lei’s house has disappeared and a guy calling himself the crypt keeper is explaining that they have to go into 3 different doors – find a key, give it to him and return back out the door in order to return to reality.  The problem is that it might be easy to find the key but getting back out the door isn’t easy at all.  Also, if they die in the game, they die for real.

When I read the blurb for this novella I was more than curious as to what was going to happen to Lei and her friend Iris.  No, it’s not a romance, but since it had a romance trivia game involved I couldn’t pass it up and I’m really glad I didn’t.  The story is well written and completely compelling – I was sucked in from the first page.

Now when the book says romance trivia it’s more like acting out scenes in a book and of course this is the absolute darkest side of romance you can get.  Lei and Iris had their work cut out for them, that’s for sure.  The end of the book left us hanging just a bit as to what happened but only enough to make me sit and think about the possible outcomes.  Though a darker story it was a totally enjoyable. Don’t judge this book by its horrid cover – it’s worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: His Innocent Sweetheart by Paula Jane

Posted December 22, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: His Innocent Sweetheart by Paula JaneReviewer: Tracy
His Innocent Sweetheart by Paula Jane

Publication Date: August 12th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
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one-star

Rachel is doing just fine for herself after being promoted to the post of Hotel Manager at The President, the same hotel where she met Hollywood’s hottest action hero Matthew Harrison five years ago. After a night of unrestrained passion with her, Matthew unfortunately met with a serious accident that almost robbed him of his life.

Matthew is all set to go back to Marlos after five years, the same place where he’d braved that fatal accident. A meeting with the newly appointed manager of the hotel where he’s staying throws his mind into a tizzy. Has he met her before? Why does she resent him so much? And why the hell does his body seem to go out of control whenever she’s near him?

Matthew is determined to find answers to these questions, but how?

Our story opens with Rachel, who is a supervisor at a hotel, having to go deal with a Hollywood action star, Matthew, who is a guest at the hotel.  He’s displeased with his food and she’s asked to try and resolve the issue.  When she gets to his room he’s instantly attracted to her and asks her to have dinner with him.  Despite being against the rules she’s allowed to do that and they end up in bed together.  He gets in an accident the next day and Rachel never sees him again.

Cut to five years later and Matthew is returning to the island where his accident occurred.  The accident had caused him to forget the 24 hours prior to his accident and he feels like he’s missing something that he should remember.  It’s bothered him for five years and he’s determined to figure it all out.

Where do I begin?  The writing was stilted and amateurish which made this hard to read.  The story was very short, thankfully, so I didn’t have to endure the writing for long.  If it wasn’t short this would definitely have been a DNF for me.  This was supposed to be a love story but the H/h fell in bed together with virtually no build up and no chemistry between them – I didn’t feel the attraction much less anything like emotions. (Oh, and of course she was a virgin but that’s kind of mentioned after the fact.) Having had no chemistry, it was hard for me to believe that Rachel and Matthew fell in love and had been pining for each other.  (Of course Matthew didn’t know he was in love because he couldn’t remember those 24 hours.)

The amnesia aspect of this was so far-fetched, imho.  It just so happens that he can remember everything in his life except the 24 hours that Rachel was in his life and he happened to fall in love?  Really?  I just didn’t buy it and the author certainly wasn’t selling it. I usually try to find good aspects about all of the books that I review. I’m sorry to say that I just couldn’t find one in His Innocent Sweetheart and can’t recommend it.

Rating: 1 out of 5

one-star


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Guest Review: Holiday With a Twist by Shannon Stacey

Posted December 8, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Holiday With a Twist by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Tracy
Holiday with a Twist by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: November 21st 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

After a messy breakup, Leigh Holloway is ready to start her life over. Until her parents put the family home on the market and call her back for one final, memory-making Christmas. The last thing she wants to do is deprive her mom of the perfect holiday, so she'll lie her way through the visit and worry about her future in the New Year. Too bad the only bar in town is owned by a guy she seriously wronged in high school.

Leigh's best friend broke Croy Dawson's heart, and Croy knows it was Leigh's fault. They've never liked each other, but Croy isn't cruel: he'd never turn away a pretty woman in need of some family-Christmas fortification. He doesn't expect her to drink just enough candy-cane martinis to tell him her secrets—and he definitely doesn't expect to get caught up in her holiday madness.

Despite the surprising love and laughter, Croy and Leigh can't escape the truth: he can't walk away from his family obligations and she has a life and career to reboot. But anything is possible if your holiday comes with a twist…

Leigh Holloway is back home in New Hampshire for the holidays.  She has a couple of big secrets that she is keeping from her family but with her parents packing up and selling her childhood home and her sister and her baby living with them as she’s getting a divorce, Leigh just doesn’t want to pile one more thing on top of it.  Of course, it’s kind of selfish as well as she’s sure her family will try to talk her into staying in NH and her life is back in Houston.

The first night she’s back in town she heads over to the new restaurant that is owned by the Dawson family.  She’s not sure of her reception as Croy Dawson, the last time they saw each other, was pissed at her.  That was nine years earlier but she’s still wouldn’t be surprised if he refused to serve her.  She’s pleasantly surprised when he is more than welcoming.  They were such good friends growing up but that’s as far as their relationship went back then.  Almost immediately they’re each tamping down the attraction they feel for each other.  They are soon in bed together but Leigh’s only staying three weeks and then she’s gone.  She’s not sure that she can keep her heart out of her relationship with Croy and he’s positive he never wants her to leave.

This was a cute holiday novella.  Leigh and Croy were great together and I loved that since they had been friends growing up they kind of just fell into that again – only deeper.  The story was charming and the holiday aspect was a nice touch.

My main issue with the story was really Leigh and her “secret.”  There were really two but they were related.  The fact that Leigh hadn’t told her mother the main one that had happened two months prior was baffling to me.  I guess I would have understood if it had just happened but it was a major event and she hadn’t shared it with anyone in her family when it happened?  I find that so strange.  She had a good relationship with both of her parents and her sisters so why the secrecy?  I just didn’t get it and then to have Croy keep the secret and have them sneak around because of it didn’t set well with me.  That was my only issue with the story but it was a doozy.

Overall,  as I said, it was a cute story.  I always like Stacey’s novella’s as she packs a lot of fun and love into each one.  This one had a good family feel, a romance, and humor and those things always score well in my book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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