Tag: Reviews

Review: Born in Fire by K.F. Breene

Posted August 18, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Born in Fire by K.F. BreeneReviewer: Holly
Born in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy, #1) by K.F. Breene
Series: Fire and Ice Trilogy #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: February 18, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 448
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four-stars

Heart pounding and laugh out loud funny, USA Today Bestselling author K.F. Breene will take you on a magical joy ride you won't soon forget.

Supernatural Bounty Hunter isn't the sort of thing you see on LinkedIn. But with a rare type of magic like mine, I don't have many options.

So dangerous or not, the job is mine. And it was going fine, until an old as sin vampire stole my mark, and with it, my pay day.

Knowing I'm poor and desperate, he has offered me a job. I'll have to work by his side to help solve a top secret case.

Everyone knows not to trust vampires. Especially a hot elder vampire. But without any other jobs coming up, I'm stuck. As I uncover a web of lies and treachery, revealing an enemy I didn't know existed, the truth of my identity is threatened. I might make it out alive, only to end up in a gilded cage.

Born in Fire is the first book in K.F. Breene’s Fire and Ice Trilogy, which follows supernatural bounty hunter Raegan Somserset. It’s currently $2.99 for Kindle (or free for KU), which is where I picked it up after seeing it recommended at the back of one of Ilona Andrews’ books (I don’t recall which one).

Raegan hunts down those with magical abilities, though the majority of the human population doesn’t realize they exist. Despite being great at her job, she doesn’t make a lot because her lineage makes it impossible for her to acquire legal papers to work. So when her latest mark gets stolen – and her cut of the bounty with it – by a vampire, she’s beyond angry. Out of money – and options – she’s forced to agree to work with the vampires on another matter, even though it goes against everything she’s been taught about staying under the radar and avoiding vampires.

Raegan has a smart mouth and a sharp wit, which means she constantly butts head with her vampire escort, Darius, the one who stole her mark. Though she’s forced to work with him she isn’t happy about it, and refuses to pretend otherwise. Of course that doesn’t help with the inappropriate attraction she feels toward him – which seems to be reciprocated. Good thing she knows vampires are users and can’t be trusted – especially with her secrets.

This is my first book by Breene, but it won’t be the last. It was fast-paced and action-packed from the start. Raegan’s sarcastic humor and smart mouth made for some entertaining scenes. There were a few times it bordered on being campy, though for the most part it was just a lighter UF. There’s very little romance in this book. There are hints that more may come in later books, but here it’s very mild.

There were times the story seemed to drag on. At 488 pages, it’s pretty meaty. It probably could have been cut down a bit and been an easier read. Even so, it was well-written and very enjoyable. I can’t wait to find out what happens with Raegan and Darius in the future.

3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: So Bad It Must Be Good by Nicole Helm

Posted August 17, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: So Bad It Must Be Good by Nicole HelmReviewer: Tracy
So Bad It Must Be Good by Nicole Helm
Published by Kensington Publishing Corp., Lyrical Press
Publication Date: August 22nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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three-half-stars

Wrong guy. Wrong situation. Might be right.

Free of her overbearing family and their dreams, not hers, Kayla Gallagher is living for herself instead of for her clan's successful restaurant. Step One: finally make her move on Aiden Patrick, the bad-boy son of Gallagher's long-time repairman. Too bad Aidan’s taciturn older brother shows up instead . . .

As the “responsible Patrick,” Liam has always made a conscious choice to do the right thing. He likes fixing things for people—whether it be a broken appliance or a bad situation. Which means he can’t just brush off the quiet Gallagher. Clearly, she needs a shoulder to lean on. But suddenly a shoulder becomes so much more, and Kayla isn’t the quiet little girl she used to be. She’s a vivid, down-for-anything woman showing Liam several sizzling ways to put passion first . . .

As things heat up between them, Liam’s family threatens to come apart for good. The only way Liam can set things right means giving up Kayla. But she’s not about to take no for an answer—or let their chance for something sweeter than desire crash-and burn without a fight.

Kayla has always worked for her family but she decided she’d been treated badly one too many times and quit.  Unfortunately she’d not really done anything since then.  She sees her old crush Aiden Patrick one day and he’s excited to see her.  Aiden asks Kayla out but when it comes time for the date Aiden isn’t around – is supposedly dealing with something – and asks his stoic brother, Liam, to go tell Kayla that he can’t make it.

Liam heads to the bar and ends up talking to Kayla (who’s pissed about Aiden) and even though they don’t touch each other that night they eventually start a relationship.  They’re so good together but Aiden is pissed at his brother for taking “his girl” and complains to mommy – who asks Liam to give Kayla up to keep the peace in the family.  Liam has to decide if he will go with his family’s wishes or stay with the woman he loves.

This was a pretty cute book.  It seemed to be a pretty fast read as Liam and Kayla get together and things move along at a pretty fast clip.  I liked Liam and Kayla together so reading their romance was a treat.

I hated the way that Liam’s family treated him – mostly his mother and brother.  Kayla hated it too and it was really the only thing they got into arguments about.  When Liam’s mom asks Liam to give her up because of Aiden, I was madder than a hornet! What mother does that?  Ugh!

Anyway, the romance was cute and I liked the characters in the story.  It was a pleasant read and I definitely liked it better than book one in this series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Retro Review: The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries

Posted August 16, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Retro Review: The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina JeffriesReviewer: Holly
The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries
Series: Hellions of Halstead Hall #1
Published by Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 19th, 2010
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 392
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four-stars

Hellions of Halstead Hall

They're the scandalous Sharpes, five hell-raising siblings tainted by a shocking family legacy. Now each faces a daunting ultimatum: marry by year's end—or kiss their inheritance good-bye.

In the two decades since a tragic "accident" took the lives of his parents, Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, has survived the scandal surrounding that fateful night by living as an unrepentant rakehell. And with his grandmother vowing to disinherit him if he doesn't settle down and wed, he plans to fulfill the bargain in true Sharpe style—by bringing home a fake fiancée from a brothel! But his scheme is derailed when he rescues an American beauty in a dire predicament instead.

Maria Butterfield came to London to track down her groom-to-be, who's gone missing, but her engagement won't stop Oliver from getting what he wants: her, in his bed. His rebellious masquerade may call his grandmother's bluff, but it's soon made all too real—by a love that tempts him to be a hellion no more.

As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Rowena: I love reading old reviews by Holly. She never fails to get her point across a lot more eloquently than I do. I remember putting this book on my TBR a long ass time ago and are you surprised that I never got around to reading it? Ha!

This review was originally posted on February 16, 2010.

Sabrina Jeffries can be hit or miss for me, but I really adored this book.

Oliver Sharpe, the Marquess of Stoneville, is being forced to marry. Though he’s titled, he’s broke and has 4 siblings to care for. Each of them acts scandalously, earning them the nickname the Hellions of Halstead. Their grandmother, determined to have great-grandchildren before her death, has issued an ultimatum: Either they all marry, or they’re all disinherited.

Oliver has no intention of marrying. He figures he can call his grandmother’s bluff by finding the most unsuitable bride ever. She comes in the form of one Maria Butterfield, an American heiress who has come to England to find her missing fiance. Not only is she American, but she’s from common origins and basically alone in the world.

Maria is only in England to find her missing fiance. Now that her father has passed away she needs her fiance to settle the terms of her father’s will. Unfortunately all of her money is tied up in her father’s shipping business, so she’s basically operating on a shoe-string budget. When her cousin is caught out and she’s forced to accept Stoneville’s wild scheme in order to protect them both, it seems like a nightmare; until he agrees to help her find her fiance while she puts on the charade for his grandmother. It seems easy enough…

..but neither are prepared for the attraction and genuine liking they share for one another. Not that anything can come of it, what with Maria having a fiance and Stoneville determined to never marry and become like his parents.

This was such a fun story. I was determined to dislike both Maria and Stoneville in the beginning; her because she’s such a stick-in-the-mud and him because he was so much the rake. They both grew on me, however, and it wasn’t long before I was wrapped up in both of them.

Maria wasn’t really as uptight as she seemed. Once she loosened up and relaxed I really felt like I connected with her. She didn’t let Oliver get away with anything, which I thought was great. I did think she forgave him a bit too easily on occasion, but I was able to move past it.

I really liked Oliver and the way he was with is family. Though he was determined to ruin his own life, when it came to his siblings he really stepped up and did the right thing. The way he was so confused over his feelings for Maria was hilarious.

His guilt over the death of his parents and his subsequent actions didn’t make a lot of sense to me. His mother caught him in a compromising position and lashed out, saying some nasty things to him. Later that evening his parents are discovered in a hunting lodge dead – it looks like she shot him and then herself. Oliver is convinced he’s the reason his mother finally lost it and killed his father. But from then on he went out of his way to act just like his father…which made no sense. If he hated everything his father was and how upset his mother always became, why did he act the same way?

Similarly, the way his grandmother acted about the incident with her daughter frustrated me to no end. Toward the end she talks about it a bit, but for most of the book I was just annoyed with her over it.

Despite that one issue, I really enjoyed all the secondary characters. Especially Oliver’s siblings and Maria’s cousin. They really added just the right amount of silliness to the story. I’m definitely looking forward to finding out more about them as the series continues.

This was a sweet love story with charming characters. I recommend it if you’re in the mood for a can’t-put-down historical romp.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: All I Ever Wanted by Luann McLane

Posted August 14, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: All I Ever Wanted by Luann McLaneReviewer: Holly
All I Ever Wanted (Heartthrob #1) by LuAnn McLane
Series: Heartthrob #1
Published by Pocket Star
Publication Date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
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two-half-stars

From author LuAnn McLane comes the first in a brand new series featuring the sexy Heart brothers: formerly the members of the cult-phenomenon boy band Heartbeat, they’re all grown up and back together for one last reunion tour….

When Grady Heart, former lead singer of the cult-phenomenon boy band Heartbeat and eldest of the brothers, decides to bring the group back together for a highly anticipated reunion concert, he doesn’t expect to be met with so much resistance from his brothers. He also doesn’t expect them to hire his ex-girlfriend and ex-Heartbeat choreographer Arabella York to help the band rock some new dance moves.

Back in Heartbeat’s glory days the brooding bad boy fell hard for Arabella; the studious, stable dance teacher tamed Grady’s wild side but her lack of trust in him eventually drove them apart. Although their chemistry burns hotter than ever, Grady tries to keep his relationship with Arabella strictly professional this time around but in his heart, he might just still long to find out what could have been.

Grady Heart and his brothers were a wildly popular teen boy band. They quit performing when their mother got sick. Now that she’s gone, Grady is organizing a benefit reunion concert in her memory. All his brothers are on board, but there’s a problem…the slick dance moves they used as teens just aren’t possible now that they’re adults. Grady wants everything to be perfect since this is such an important cause. Even so, when his brothers suggest they contact their old choreographer, Arabella, Grady refuses. She broke his heart once. He isn’t willing to give her a second chance. Too bad for him, his brothers go behind his back and call her. Faced with the prospect of spending time with the woman who disappeared without backward glance, Grady admits he still isn’t over her. But he’s not going to give her his heart again.

Arabella is in a financial pickle. She opened a string of successful fitness studios, but she got in over her head and expanded too quickly. Now she either needs a serious infusion of cash or she’s going to be forced to take on a demanding partner who wants to rebrand her entire operation. But facing bad boy Grady Heart again after he ruined her for love isn’t high on her list of fun things to do. Still, she doesn’t have much choice if she wants to save her studios. Now she just needs to keep a calm head around Grady. There’s no way she’s going to risk falling for him again. She learned the hard way the rockstar life is not for her.

I really struggled with this book. I like rock star romances and figured a light boy band second chance love story was right up my alley. Sadly the brothers seemed to suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome. Despite all being in their late 20’s-early 30’s, they still acted like teenagers. The heroine was just as bad. Between her refusal to talk things out like an adult and the way she ran every time something got hard, I had a hard time buying that she was an adult with a successful string of dance studios under her.

I really believed Grady cared for her, but I wasn’t as convinced of Arabella’s feelings. She was closed off and ran at the first sign of trouble or drama. Because she didn’t stick with him, despite her saying she loved Grady, I didn’t buy it.

The premise was good, and I enjoyed some of it. I may continue on with the series.

2.75 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

Posted August 11, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Devil in Spring by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Tracy
Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #3
Also in this series: Cold-Hearted Rake, Devil in Spring
Published by Avon
Publication Date: February 21st 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 370
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four-stars

An eccentric wallflower…

Most debutantes dream of finding a husband. Lady Pandora Ravenel has different plans. The ambitious young beauty would much rather stay at home and plot out her new board game business than take part in the London Season. But one night at a glittering society ball, she’s ensnared in a scandal with a wickedly handsome stranger.

A cynical rake…

After years of evading marital traps with ease, Gabriel, Lord St. Vincent, has finally been caught-by a rebellious girl who couldn’t be less suitable. In fact, she wants nothing to do with him. But Gabriel finds the high-spirited Pandora irresistible. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her, even if their marriage of convenience turns out to be the devil’s own bargain.

A perilous plot…

After succumbing to Gabriel’s skilled and sensuous persuasion, Pandora agrees to become his bride. But soon she discovers that her entrepreneurial endeavors have accidentally involved her in a dangerous conspiracy—and only her husband can keep her safe. As Gabriel protects her from their unknown adversaries, they realize their devil’s bargain may just turn out to be a match made in heaven...

Business minded Pandora has no desire to get married.  She wants to be an independent woman and she’s doing that with the help of her brother-in-law, Rhys Winterbourne.  She makes board games and plans to build factories and employ lots of women.  If she got married she’d have to give up all control and money earned and she’s not about to do that. She hangs out at balls during her first season making up excuses to avoid dancing with men.  Unfortunately she gets caught in what is considered a compromising position with Lord St. Vincent and can’t seem to get out of it.

Gabriel isn’t thrilled with the thought of getting married and of course Pandora keeps telling him no.  The more he gets to know her, however, the more he thinks that being married to her would be amazing and he soon falls in love with her.  Pandora puts up a fight until the end but her heart is soon just as engaged as Gabriel’s.

This was a sweet romantic story.  Pandora is brusque and pushy but I truly admired her drive and ambition.  I know that wasn’t something that was admired back then but that made me like her even more.

Gabriel was a great character.  He is the son of Evie and Sebastian (from Devil in Winter) and has a good head on his shoulders.  He soon sees that Pandora isn’t like any other women and that’s a good thing, in his mind. He even goes so far as to get a dispensation from the Archbishop of Canterbury to have the word “obey” stricken from their marriage ceremony.  🙂

There was a bit of a mystery plot (I guess you’d call it mystery – maybe terrorist?) that was a bit odd.  It had to do with a printer that Pandora went to see about one of her board games.  I kind of felt that it was put in there just to put the heroine in peril and have us meet the detective, Ethan Ransom, (that may or may be attached to the Ravenels in some way) and that did nothing for me.  It ended up being a bit out there but wrapped up nicely.

Overall I really liked the book a lot.  I liked the characters and the romance and that was the main focus.  I’m anxious to see what the next book in the series brings.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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