Tag: Romance

Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Valor by Nora Roberts

Posted July 23, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 8 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Valor by Nora RobertsReviewer: Rowena
Key of Valor (Key Trilogy, #3) by Nora Roberts
Series: Key Trilogy #3
Also in this series: Key of Light (Key Trilogy, #1), Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy, #2)
Publisher: Penguin, Jove
Publication Date: May 1st, 2004
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
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Series Rating: five-stars

What happens when the very gods depend on mortals for help?

That's what three very different young women find out when they are invited to Warrior's Peak.

Light and knowledge have succeeded in their quest, and two of the keys have been found. Both Malory and Dana had taken their turns. The final, and last, test goes to Zoe McCourt - valor.

Now it was her burden, her risk. Her chance. She had to be brave enough, smart enough, strong enough, or everything they'd done before her would be for nothing.

Zoe has the courage to raise her young son alone, and to face all the adversity life has thrown at them. But will she have the courage to face a foe determined to do anything to stop the third key from being found - even destroying everything - and everyone - she loves?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on May 14, 2007.

I think this one is my favorite of all the Key books.

I really think so.

I fell right in love with Brad and was frustrated right along with him where Zoe was concerned. I fell in love with Simon right alongside Brad and before the story began, I was already in love with Brad.

He’s just one of those heroes that you want for your very own. He’s one of those heroes that you want to fight your demons and hold you close at night. The kind that will make quick work of anyone that would try to hurt you. He’s the kind of hero that is quiet and intense and just all around the bomb.

I loved his wealth of love that he had for both Zoe and Simon. Almost right from the very beginning, he had that thing for Zoe. And I loved how he explained his feelings to her. He knew that she was unsure of if he loved her face from the painting or if he truly did love her. And the way he explained it all to her was just oh so sweet and made my insides tingle with delight. I loved the way he was with Simon and I loved the way Simon loved him as a friend and then as a Dad.

The only thing that would have made this book even better for me was if NR would have brought James back into the picture so that Zoe could have told him what a weenie he was for not standing by her when he got her pregnant. I wanted James to see what he missed out on and how great a son Simon was and the woman that Zoe grew up to be without his help. I wanted him to see it and regret that he never stood by her. I wanted him to see her happy with Brad and I wanted Brad to be smug about it all…but well, that’s just what I wanted to see but I was content with what NR wrote in for us to read.

Zoe and her hesitation sort of got on my nerves but not enough for it to ruin the book for me. I really enjoyed this series and I really enjoyed reading this book in particular. I loved seeing Zoe come into her own and see the goodness that other people see in herself and I loved how she was finally able to accept Brad and his love. It got annoying how many times Brad had to jump through hurdles to please her but she always put Simon first and I couldn’t be mad about any of that since she was only trying to protect what was hers.

So all in all, this series was a sure winner for me and this book was a pleasant ending to another fantastic series done by NR.

Great, great books!

Grade: 5 out of 5


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Review: Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen

Posted July 22, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell AllenReviewer: Holly
Kiss of the Spindle by Nancy Campbell Allen
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: Steampunk Proper Romance
Also in this series: Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, The Lady in the Coppergate Tower
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Fairytale, Steampunk
Pages: 323
Length: 9 hours and 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A steampunk Sleeping Beauty story from the author of Beauty and the Clockwork Beast.

Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date--after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette--the witch who cursed her--Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett's private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she's traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.

Filled with suspense, intrigue, and plenty of romance, Kiss of the Spindle is steampunk Sleeping Beauty story. It is a race against the clock as Isla and Daniel try to hunt down the elusive Malette before Isla's death-like sleep becomes permanent.

Kiss of the Spindle (Steampunk Proper Romance #2) by Nancy Campbell Allen has flavors of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, along with Steampunk and other Fantasy elements.

Everyone knows Daniel owns a fleet of Airships. What they don’t know is that he often smuggles Shifters out of the country to save them. When an inspector suddenly turns up on one of his voyages, he is not happy. Even worse? Doctor Isla Cooper blackmails him into letting her on the ship as well.

Isla is suffering under a curse that puts her into a death-like sleep every night. She’s afraid time is about to run out and she’ll be permanently at rest, so she forces her way aboard Daniel’s ship so she can visit an Island she’s sure houses the witch who created her curse.

I really loved Isla. She was tough and no-nonsense. Her sense of duty to her family was misplaced, but I loved how loyal she was to them. I also liked Daniel. He, too, had a strong sense of right and wrong, and that worked well for him. Even so, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I did the first. It moved slow in parts and I found myself getting impatient/bored toward the middle of the book. I also didn’t care as much for the overall story-arc as I did the previous book.

I enjoyed the romance and the world is fun and interesting. I’m looking forward to the next book, even if this one was a little slow.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Steampunk Proper Romance

three-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts

Posted July 16, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Knowledge by Nora RobertsReviewer: Rowena
Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy, #2) by Nora Roberts
Series: Key Trilogy #2
Also in this series: Key of Light (Key Trilogy, #1), Key of Valor (Key Trilogy, #3)
Publisher: Penguin, Jove
Publication Date: November 25th 2003
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 338
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

You are the Key. The lock awaits.

What happens when the very gods depend on mortals for help? That's what three very different young women find out when they are invited to Warrior's Peak.

To librarian Dana Steele, books and the knowledge they hold are the key to contentment. But now that search for knowledge must include the second key needed to release three souls held captive by an evil god. In each generation three are chosen who have the power to release them - if they dare accept a challenge that could promise them great riches but also grave danger...

And now it is Dana's turn.

She won't be alone, for she's formed fast friendships with two very different women. But she can't allow herself to be distracted by the return of the man who broke her heart so long ago, for a danger beyond anyone's imagination is determined to keep her from completing her quest.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on May 13, 2007.

Book Two in this trilogy follows Dana Steele through her journey of finding the key of knowledge that will free the second daught of the glass. It follows her while she finds her destiny and deals with her past, her present and prepares for her future.

Dana is straight up and takes no bullshit from anyone. Most especially her exboyfriend, Jordan Hawke. The man who walked away from her and what they shared in the two years that they were together with no backward glance.

His up and leaving left her very bitter with him and men in general. She doesn’t trust him farther than she can throw him which isn’t at all. And with him back home and mixed up in this key business right along with her makes her madder than all get out. She hates that he’s back and in her life again because the last time he was in her in life and in her heart, he crushed it. She doesn’t trust herself to keep things light and friendly with him and she gets all pissed off when she finds out that in order for her to find the key that she needs to find, she needs to make things right with Jordan because Jordan is part of her quest in finding the key.

Dana needs Jordan in order to find her key and she needs to get to the bottom of why he left and see things from his perspective in order for her heart to survive another encounter with Jordan Hawke, who is the only man that she has ever loved.

This book was the bomb.

I’m serious, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about this story, I loved Dana’s hardheadedness where Jordan was concerned and I understood it. It did get on my nerves a bit but more over, I just plain understood why she was with the way she was with him but she wasn’t playing stupid over why she was acting unreasonable where he was concerned. She didn’t deny that she was still in love with him which made her the way she was around him, all surly and bullheaded.

I loved Jordan and all of his issues, his sense of humor and just everything about him. Jordan was a fantastic hero and I hella enjoyed reading about him trying to make things right with Dana. I loved reading his reasons for leaving and I loved reading how he wooed Dana back into his corner, I loved that he didn’t try to breeze right over what he did to her before but really wanted her to understand and forgive him for what happened between them before.

I loved his writing, I loved his role in all of this, I just plain loved Jordan Hawke. He was my most favorite thing about this book, maybe this series. He was my favorite hero in Key of Light and I really enjoyed him in this story but I have a feeling that Brad is going to be my favorite hero in this series…there’ s just something about Brad that I’m looking forward to reading in his book.

I loved how Dana and Jordan fought to overcome the evil bastard in this series, I loved how they fought together and their love was what got them through, corny as all get out but I was diggin’ it.

This book was another definite winner from Nora Roberts, although I’m having a hard time believing that Nora Roberts will write something that I don’t like. I just like her writing style, it’s the bomb diggity for me! She knows just how to rock her stories to get the most out of them and make me love the characters, the storylines and just everything about them!

One thing I didn’t really care about in this story was Jordan’s nickname for Dana, which was Stretch. That’s no fault of the author though since it only reminds me of a harsh nickname that a woman that I know was called when she was younger. They called her Stretch for an entirely different reason that Jordan called Dana that and so everytime Jordan called her Stretch, I cringed because I kept thinking about poor Amy.

But aside from that, the book was fantastic!

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare

Posted June 2, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: His Bride for the Taking by Tessa DareReviewer: Ames and Rowena
His Bride for the Taking by Tessa Dare
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 89
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

*This novella was originally published in Rogues Rush In: a Regency Duet (2018), by Tessa Dare and Christi Caldwell

It’s the first rule of friendship among gentlemen: Don’t even think about touching your best friend’s sister.

Sebastian, Lord Byrne, has never been one for rules. He’s thought about touching Mary Clayton—a lot—and struggled to resist temptation. But when Mary’s bridegroom leaves her waiting the altar, only Sebastian can save her from ruin. By marrying her himself.

In eleven years, he’s never laid a finger on his best friend’s sister. Now he’s going to take her with both hands. To have, to hold…and to love.

Rowena: His Bride for the Taking is a novella by Tessa Dare that was originally published in the Rogues Rush In anthology. It’s a brother’s best friend’s romance and it was such a sweet romance that I wasn’t even mad that it was so short.

So, Sebastian made a promise to his best friend Henry Clayton long ago. Henry’s sister Mary is off-limits but when Henry died, Sebastian promised that he would take care of Mary. It’s been hard to keep his hands off of Mary because he’s always been a little bit in love with her but when she needs him to step up for her, he doesn’t hesitate.

Mary Clayton is all alone in the world. Her father and brother are both long gone, her brother’s title having gone to a distant cousin, and the only person that is really around for her is her brother’s best friend Sebastian Ives. When Mary is stood up at the altar, Sebastian steps up for her, and things really take off from there.

I really enjoyed this short read. I thought the romance was light, and it was fun and I felt the chemistry between Sebastian and Mary. This was another winner for me.

What did you think, Ames?

Ames: It was definitely a winner. For being so short there was a lot of story! I am kind of slumping due to all the craziness happening in the world and this was the perfect little tidbit to keep my reading momentum going. I usually shy away from novellas but I’m glad you chose this one.

I liked the friends-to-lovers plot. I liked that Sebastian was a wee bit younger than Mary. She was her own independent woman but Sebastian proved he was someone she could count on, and he recognized that she was her own woman.

And the humor! That scene, with the ‘Swedish’ bed and the discussion around putting it together and directions. That had me laughing, thinking about putting Ikea furniture together. haha

Rowena: Ha, yes. When they were putting the bed together, fighting about putting the bed together, and talking about “surplus”, I couldn’t stop laughing. Tessa Dare is really good at bringing the humor and for such a short story, she packed it real nicely into this one.

I hear you about the reading slump. 2020 has really kicked my ass so I’m happy to finally be reading again and the quality of this one made me super happy. I liked that both Sebastian and Mary had a history together and that they genuinely cared about each other so it made everything we find out, everything going on make sense.

What did you think about Mary’s little shenanigans?

Ames: Ok, usually I wouldn’t like shenanigans like Mary’s, but her and Sebastian were so good together, I didn’t mind. I mean, she didn’t keep it a secret forever right? And he wanted her. I think if this had a been a full length novel, I would not have cared for her actions. I don’t know, I’m not explaining myself well. But Mary didn’t act out of malice, so it was ok.

What did you think?

Rowena: Same. I think because by the time they were married and already well into the first couple days of their marriage, we know that Sebastian was madly in love with Mary but had that not been the case, I think I would have been more mad. I also liked that we got to see Sebastian run the gamut of emotions over her actions and it wasn’t slipped under the rug. They dealt with it and they moved on from it and I respected that.

I really liked both Sebastian and Mary. Their shared love for Henry (Mary’s brother) was sweet and their friendship was even sweeter. I loved that they bickered and they laughed with each other and I really liked that they were both in love with each other from the jump. Gah, what a sweet story.

This was such a short romance but it really packed a wallop of a story and I was here for all of it. I would have liked a longer story but I didn’t feel like it really suffered without it. This is one of the better novellas that I’ve read and I’d give it 4.25 out of 5 stars. What about you?

Ames: I’m giving this one a 4.25 out of 5 as well. It was a feel good story in these dark times. The humor was spot on and the characters were great. I felt their chemistry and loved their back-story.

Final Grades

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Featured Review: Alpha Night by Nalini Singh

Posted May 28, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Featured Review: Alpha Night by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Alpha Night by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #4, Psy/Changeling #19
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain , Wolf Rain, Alpha Night, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat , Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation , Wild Invitation, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, Shield of Winter, Visions of Heat, Mine to Possess, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, Hostage to Pleasure, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Heart of Obsidian, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, Allegiance of Honor, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Shield of Winter, Shards of Hope, Allegiance of Honor, Allegiance of Honor, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Tangle of Need, Caressed By Ice
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her breathtaking Psy-Changeling Trinity series with a mating that shouldn’t exist…

Alpha wolf Selenka Durev’s devotion to her pack is equaled only by her anger at anyone who would harm those under her care. That currently includes the empaths who’ve flowed into her city for a symposium that is a security nightmare, a powder keg just waiting for a match.

Ethan Night is an Arrow who isn’t an Arrow. Numb and disengaged from the world, he’s loyal only to himself. Assigned as part of the security force at a world-first symposium, he carries a dark agenda tied to the power-hungry and murderous Consortium. Then violence erupts and Ethan finds himself crashing into the heart and soul of an alpha wolf.

Mating at first sight is a myth, a fairytale. Yet Selenka’s wolf is resolute: Ethan Night, broken Arrow and a man capable of obsessive devotion, is the mate it has chosen. Even if the mating bond is full of static and not quite as it should be. Because Selenka’s new mate has a terrible secret, his mind surging with a power that is a creature of madness and death…

Holly: I haven’t loved the last few releases in this series, but I really adored this book. I loved the dynamic between Selenka and Ethan, and I really loved Selenka’s pack.

Casee: I adored this book as well. Like you, I haven’t particularly enjoyed the last few releases. This book was more than a pleasant surprise.

Rowena: I think I enjoyed the last few releases more than you guys and I really liked this one as well. I’ve been in a weird reading mood this past week but buckling down with this book was good for me.

Casee: One of the things I liked was that just because Selenka and Ethan were instantly mated, they weren’t just happy-happy right away.

Rowena: I liked the instant mating thing and I really, really loved Ethan and Selenka. I don’t think I’ve ever read the instant mating thing before, have you guys?

Holly: I know we haven’t seen the instant mating thing from Nalini Singh before. I thought that aspect of the book was really well done. Like Casee said, they weren’t immediately all happy happy just because they were fated mates. They had to learn each other. But I liked that the instant mating made them immediately commit. It wasn’t a matter of if they got together, but how they made a future work. The way Ethan was filled up by Selenka was well written.

Casee: I loved Selenka’s pack. Everyone from the Lieutenants to the Healer to the cubs. I did feel really bad for Selenka because of her relationship with her father. He was such an ass.

Holly: I did struggle with the pacing in the early part of the book. I felt like I got dropped into the middle of a story at first. It took probably a good quarter of the book before I remembered details from earlier in the series and felt like I knew what was what.

Casee: I felt the same way. The information about Selenka’s pack was like a million books ago. It took me a bit to remember as well.

Rowena: I didn’t prepare for this read and it feels like the last book in this series came out so long ago so, like Holly, it took me a while to catch up on who was who again and what was what. Once I caught up, things really picked up for me. I enjoyed seeing everyone again, seeing our friends from the DarkRiver and all of our Psy friends.

Casee: Did you both figure out his designation?

Holly: Yes, I figured out his designation early on. I liked how his abilities morphed based on his upbringing.

Rowena: I thought Ehtan would end up being what he was and I thought it was a neat spin on that designation. He’s so different from the others that I thought it was interesting. I liked seeing him become friends with people, I really loved seeing him form bonds outside of Selenka’s pack and I really loved how fiercely loyal Selenka’s pack became to Ethan, right from the jump. There was no questioning Selenka’s authority or Selenka’s mate, there was just a ready acceptance that I felt Ethan really needed.

Nalini Singh is really good at complicated relationships and seeing the different kinds of relationships in this story was just great. From Ethan and Selenka to the other mated couples but also Mercy and Ethan and hell, even Nomi and Blaise. They’re all different kinds of relationships and I thought each of them was interesting in their own ways.

Holly: I agree, Singh is really good at complicated relationships. I love seeing Ethan navigate his way to forgiveness with the other Arrows, and how things circled back around with Selenka’s father.

Casee: I also enjoyed seeing his relationships with people in the pack develop, as well as with the Arrows. Ethan has never trusted anyone for good reason. I am curious to see what happens when Ming LeBon shows back up.

Rowena: I really liked this book and am looking forward to seeing where Singh takes up from here after what Kaleb and Aden do at the end of this one. Shit just got real and complicated, real fast….and I’m here for it. Who is the next couple, do you guys know? I give this book 4.25 out of 5 stars, what about you guys?

Holly: I’m looking forward to more from this pack, and I definitely want to see where she takes things after the events at the end of this book. I don’t think we’ve heard yet who the next couple will be, but I’ll be here for it.

I’m giving this 4 out of 5.

Casee: I really hope there are more books coming out from this pack. I really enjoyed Selenka’s relationship with Valentin too. Freaking bears. I just generally enjoyed the entire dynamic of this book.

I’m giving this a 4.25 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Psy-Changeling

Psy-Changeling Trinity

four-half-stars


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