Tag: Reviews

Review: A Stone in the Sea by A.L. Jackson

Posted November 18, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: A Stone in the Sea by A.L. JacksonReviewer: Casee
A Stone in the Sea by A. L. Jackson
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Series: Bleeding Stars #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 23, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 325
Length: 9 hours and 33 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found here

A Stone in the Sea ~

He wanted nothing at all…

Until he found she had everything to give…

Sunder lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Stone has everything—fans, fame, and fortune. He also has a heart full of bitterness and a reputation for a short-fused temper. But an outward reputation rarely reveals the true man inside. Facing assault charges after trying to protect his younger brother, Sebastian is sent to Savannah, Georgia to lie low until the dust settles in L.A.

Shea Bentley is beautiful, kind, and hiding from the very lifestyle Sebastian has always embraced.

When the mysterious, tattooed stranger begins hanging out at the bar where she works, Shea is quick to recognize he is nothing but trouble, but she's helpless to the way her body lights up every time his intense gray eyes tangle with hers.

They both soon find themselves drowning in a sea of desire and passion that won’t let them up for air.

Sebastian knows firsthand secrets never die, and he’s not the only one who’s hiding them.

Loving someone always comes with a price. But will it be Shea’s past that costs them everything?

Sebastian Stone has nothing left. That’s not quite right. He has his band, his best friends, and his brother. Even as the lead singer of a successful band, Sebastian feels alone. Until he walks into a bar in Savannah and sees her.

Bas isn’t looking for anything. Not a relationship, not a friendship. When he sees Shea Bentley, he is floored. He tries to leave her alone, but he can’t. He talks her into starting something but he doesn’t know what that is. Then he finds out she has a daughter. What does he do? He runs.

Shea was starting to fall for Sebastian Stone. She thought they may have had something special. Unfortunately he wasn’t the man that she thought he was. He instantly retreats when he finds out she’s a mom. She’ll never regret her daughter or how she was brought into her life.

Sebastian soon finds out that he can’t stay away from Shea, nor can he stay away from her wonderful, amazing daughter. As the three of them get to know each other, they have no idea how closely intertwined their lives are. But they find out. Callie’s dad is none other than the man that is trying to take Bas down. He wants his career, his money, and his freedom. Shea knows how ruthless and evil that Martin is and tells Bas not to underestimate him.

It was so sweet reading about Bas and Shea falling in love. Of Bas falling for Callie. Bas has lived a hard life with plenty of heartbreak. When he’s with Shea, all that goes away and he’s just happy. As for Shea, she has her own secrets. The question is, how long can she keep it from Sebastian?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bleeding Stars

four-stars


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Review: Warrior Fae Trapped by K.F. Breene

Posted November 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Warrior Fae Trapped by K.F. BreeneReviewer: Holly
Warrior Fae Trapped by K.F. Breene
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Series: Warrior Fae #1, DDVN #7
Also in this series: Born in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy, #1), Raised in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy, #2), Fused in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy, #3), Natural Witch , Natural Witch
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 438
Length: 9 hours and 21 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

The truce between the vampires and the shifters is long over. So when the two factions stumble upon a lost fae warrior who has no idea what she is, all hell breaks loose.

Charity hasn't had it easy. Growing up in a bad part of Chicago, left by her mother at 16, she's a survivor. So when she gets a scholarship to a good college out in California, she thinks all her dreams have come true.

Instead she falls head first into a nightmare.

At a posh party she doesn't belong, she gets the shock of her life: vampires and shifters are real! Magic is real. And she is anything but a mundane poor kid just trying to make it.

Warrior runs in her blood. If only she knew how to use it.

Suddenly, she is trapped between two magical super powers - a cunning elder vampire who wishes to use her for her blood ties and maybe tie her to the bed, and a sexy alpha shifter who will protect her at all costs.

Her life of surviving never could've prepared her for this. And if she doesn't learn to harness the fae magic running through her blood, she'll be imprisoned forever.

Action, humor, and romance - we're going back to the DDVN World!

Warrior Fae Trapped is set in the DDVN (Demon Days & Vampire Nights) world (Fire and Ice Trilogy, Magical Mayhem Trilogy), but I feel it stands alone well. You don’t need to have read the previous books to understand what’s happening here, though there is an overreaching storyarc that connects them all.

Charity grew up in a bad part of Chicago with an abusive father. When she was 16 her mother left, and since then she’s been trying to make something of herself. She got a full ride scholarship to college and ended up rooming with a rich girl who couldn’t stand the dorms, so she got her dad to move them to a little house instead. Charity is still beyond poor, but she’s working hard to change that. When her roommate invites her to a very exclusive party, Charity doesn’t want to go, but she wants to fit in and make friends, so she agrees. From the beginning things look hinky, and the warning she gets from another student as she’s going in not to drink the punch makes things even more strange.

As it turns out, this a vampire changing party. The vampires have set this up to change some of the very wealthy’s children, in hopes of gaining more power in the Brink (the non-magical side of Earth). Charity barely escapes, with the help of Devon, the werewolf who warned her off from drinking the punch. It turns out Charity is packing some magic herself, though she had no idea it was inside her, or that magic was even real.

Now she and Devon are on a mission to evade the master vampire who set up the party, and figure out what her magic is and how to train her. And there’s this pesky attraction between them..but that’s less important than the way their magic seems to clash…and combine.

This was another great entry in the series. I love how Breene creates strong friendships inside this world. Her heroines are tough and independent, but they from strong bonds. I don’t think we see enough strong female relationships in UF, and I’m glad Breene is changing that.

“Do you want a hug, a punch, or a change of subject?” Macy asked, deadpan.

Charity couldn’t help but laugh. “Change of subject, please.”

“Did you figure out your phone and computer?” Macy asked, bringing out her own phone. “Because I’m happy to make fun of you if you didn’t. Help. I mean, I’m happy to help you.”

Charity doesn’t just form a relationship with the female in the pack. She becomes close to all the pack members. I enjoyed seeing them rally around her, giving her the acceptance and sense of family she’d been missing.

“The afternoon class was the one with Andy, so that was actually good. He insisted that I sit with him and his friends. It was nice to be included.”

“The guys seem to like you, not to mention Macy.”

She turned her face up to his, a smile of gratitude boosting her loveliness. “I’ve landed in hell, but I’m in the trenches with good people. I didn’t have many friends growing up. It’s a neat feeling.”

The mystery of Charity’s past and where her powers come from is interesting. I’m anxious to see where things go in the next book. I’m enjoying the romance, though I did feel like the ILYs came a little too early. I’d rather have seen that happen in the second book. Still, the action kept me on the edge of my seat and I’m truly invested in seeing where this goes. I immediately started book 2.

Devon stopped in the middle of the aisle and blinked dazedly. “Did you just compliment me on my appearance and body, give me a verbal high five for being a slut, ask me to have quiet sex, and then opt for earplugs assuming I probably wouldn’t? Did all that come out of your mouth within the space of thirty seconds?”

Although there are darker elements at play, this novel is written in a rather lighthearted way. Not campy, but fun. There’s a lot of gore and some strong emotional scenes, but there’s also a lot of humor. If you’re looking for a fun, engaging novel filled with action, adventure and romance, this is a great place to start.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Warrior Fae

DDVN

four-half-stars


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Lightning Review: Empty Net by Toni Aleo

Posted November 14, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Empty Net by Toni AleoReviewer: Holly
Empty Net by Toni Aleo
Series: Assassins #3
Also in this series: Trying to Score
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 451
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Audrey Parker is up against the boards. She’s stuck in a job she hates and pining for a total jerk. Meanwhile, her sister Fallon is moving out and getting married to hockey star Lucas Brooks. Where is Audrey’s Prince Charming? Nothing she does has ever seemed to be good enough for any of the men in her life. Audrey’s about to hit rock bottom . . . until she wakes up next to Tate Odder.

The thrill of moving up from the minors to the Nashville Assassins was a welcome distraction. But not even becoming the first rookie goalie to tally three shutouts in the Stanley Cup Finals alleviates the pain. With the loss of his parents and sister weighing as heavily on his soul as ever, Tate Odder can’t keep pretending he’s okay. That’s when he meets smart, sexy Audrey. Her gentle warmth and quirky sense of humor make him feel whole for the first time in too long. But to stay that way forever, Tate must find a way to accept his past and learn to live for love.

Empty Net is the third book in the Assassins series by Toni Aleo. It follows Nashville’s professional hockey team, the Assassins. I really want to like this series. The premise of each book intrigues me, but they never deliver as I want them to. Empty Net followed suit. I really loved the idea behind the book, and enjoyed Tate quite a bit, but I greatly disliked Audrey, and the story was kind of lackluster.

Audrey suffers from extreme lack of self esteem and she makes bad decisions because of it. Her constant waffling about her ex – who treated her like crap and yet she can’t seem to walk away from – was especially frustrating, considering how well Tate treated her in comparison.

The second half was a little better, but it wasn’t enough to bring my overall enjoyment up.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Assassins

two-half-stars


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Review: The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James

Posted November 13, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. JamesReviewer: Holly
The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Library, Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Gothic, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 319
Length: 9 hours and 58 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

The award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare and Silence for the Dead, presents another mesmerizing gothic story of intrigue...

London, 1925. Glamorous medium Gloria Sutter made her fortune helping the bereaved contact loved ones killed during the Great War. Now she's been murdered at one of her own séances, after leaving a message requesting the help of her former friend and sole rival, Ellie Winter.

Ellie doesn't contact the dead—at least, not anymore. She specializes in miraculously finding lost items. Still, she can't refuse the final request of the only other true psychic she has known. Now Ellie must delve into Gloria's secrets and plunge back into the world of hucksters, lowlifes, and fakes. Worse, she cannot shake the attentions of handsome James Hawley, a damaged war veteran who has dedicated himself to debunking psychics.

As Ellie and James uncover the sinister mysteries of Gloria's life and death, Ellie is tormented by nightmarish visions that herald the grisly murders of those in Gloria's circle. And as Ellie’s uneasy partnership with James turns dangerously intimate, an insidious evil force begins to undermine their quest for clues, a force determined to bury the truth, and whoever seeks to expose it...

The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James is available for the Audible Escape package. I downloaded it after finishing Silence for the Dead, because I wanted more from St. James and because I enjoyed the narrator, Mary Jane Wells, quite a bit. This gothic romance is perfect for the fall season.

Ellie Winter is a psychic Medium. When a rival Medium, Gloria Sutter, is murdered and her brother shows up asking for Ellie’s help in finding her, Ellie agrees reluctantly. She and Gloria had been friends once upon a time, but Gloria betrayed Ellie in a devastating way and they hadn’t spoken in years. If Gloria hadn’t left a note with her brother “Tell Ellie Winter to find me”, Ellie probably would have told him no. As it is, despite her anger and hurt over Gloria’s betrayal, she can’t walk away.

James Hawley is an investigator for the “New Society”. He, and his colleagues, try to verify or debunk psychics. He was instrumental in declaring Ellie’s mother a fraud, but something about their case has always bothered him. As the only verified true psychic – something he helped prove – Gloria had a lot of notoriety in London. Discovering if his findings are part of the reason she was murdered has James helping Ellie.

This is the second novel by St. James I’ve read. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first, but it was still a creepy, lovely tale. I quite enjoyed the setting – mid 1920s London – and the glimpse into the life of a true Medium who can see and summon spirits. Ellie’s talent in that regard came across well. I enjoyed her as whole, in fact. She was independent and strong, yet had a vein of vulnerability and loneliness running through her that made her easy to connect with.

I enjoyed the mystery of why Gloria Sutter was murdered, and by whom. I had the majority of things figured out, but still there were some twists and turns I didn’t see coming. This was a cozy, atmospheric Gothic novel not to be missed.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Trade Me by Courtney Milan

Posted November 11, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Trade Me by Courtney MilanReviewer: Holly
Trade Me by Courtney Milan
Narrator: Xe Sands
Series: Cyclone #1
Also in this series: Trade Me, Hold Me
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 19, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 279
Length: 7 hours and 45 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Technology. But when he makes an off-hand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.

To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.

But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart...but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life.

Trade Me is the first book in Courtney Milan’s Cyclone series. I enjoy her historicals, but mixed reviews put me off reading this series when it was released (not to mention my own misgivings about authors who switch from historical to contemporary coughJulieGarwoodcough). When I saw it in the Audible Escape package, I decided to give it a try. Xe Sands narrated, and though I struggled with it in the beginning, I came to really enjoy the way she read the story.

Tina Chen is a struggling college student who is barely getting by. Between her own needs and trying to help her family out, she’s living under the constant strain of not having enough money. When golden boy Blake Reynolds, the son of a billionaire, makes an offhand comment about the “poor” in one of her classes, Tina snaps back at him. To her surprise, Blake offers her a trade – she can move into his house and live with his money, and he’ll take on her responsibilities. The catch? She’ll have to act as his girlfriend so his father doesn’t find out about their trade. Tina is torn, but the money is hard to turn down.

Blake is dealing with his own struggles, and having money isn’t making them any easier. He hopes this time away from his life will give him the chance to get things back under control. But he’s finding that Tina is better for him than he ever imagined. As they spend time together, they realize some of their secrets are easy to get past..while others may break them.

I really liked both Tina and Blake. The blurb made them sound more hostile than they were. It wasn’t so much “You could NEVER live my life”/”YES I CAN”, but more “you don’t understand”/”let me try”, which I actually appreciated more. I liked that both Blake and Tina had their own struggles. One might say the adage “money can’t buy happiness” applies here, but so does “..but it sure would help.”.

I enjoyed the romance and how these two came to care for each other as they got to know one another as their secrets were slowly revealed. This is where the novel truly shines for me. Tina and Blake were such an unlikely pair, yet their formed a true, strong connection that came across very vividly. They truly became friends, which made their jump into romance easy to believe.

I really liked Adam and Blake’s relationship, and the love/embarrassment struggle Tina had with her parents. Family ties can be both a blessing and a curse, and I think Milan really showcased that here. The love, pressure, guilt and happiness came through so well, I really connected with both Tina and Blake in this area.

Overall this was a great story with flawed, multi-faceted characters. Though I struggled with the ending, I can’t deny this was a smart novel and I really enjoyed the depth of the characters.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Cyclone

three-half-stars


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