Tag: Summer Reading Challenge

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Natural Witch by K.F. Breene

Posted August 28, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Natural Witch by K.F. BreeneReviewer: Casee
Natural Witch by K.F. Breene
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Series: Magical Mayhem #1
Also in this series: Natural Witch (Magical Mayhem #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 25, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First & Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 376
Length: 10 hours and 59 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Casee's 2019 New to Me Challenge, GoodReads Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Something has always been missing from my life. A hole that I could never seem to fill.

When I accidentally turn a coven of witches into nightmares, I find out what that something is.


And it turns out, I have a crap load of it.

As a latent power awakens deep inside of me, I’m exposed to one of the most powerful and corrupt organizations in the magical world—the Mages’ Guild.

Barely knowing a spell from a few swear words and luck, I won’t be able to evade them alone.

And that’s when I meet him.

The Rogue Natural. The best and most feared mage in the world.

He’s dangerous, mysterious, and has a vendetta of his own. He is now the only thing between me and magical enslavement.

This is one of the books that Holly chose for me in our Summer Reading Challenge. I’ve been meaning to read this for awhile now and am glad that Holly gave me the final push. I listened to this book on audio and it was fantastic. I feel that the narrator really pulled Penny off.

Penny is what is known as a Natural Witch. She is untrained and doesn’t know she has magic. Sometimes she knows things are going to happen before they do, but she writes it off as intuition. She tells fortunes at a local flea market, but she does it reading cues from her customers, not because she can actually see the future. When she meets Emery, the Rogue Natural, the course of her life changes irrevocably.

Emery can’t believe it when he realizes what Penny is and how much power she actually possesses. As an untrained witch, she is dangerous. Dangerous to herself and others. The Mages’ Council, an evil entity, want Penny when they find out who she is. Emery is determined to protect her no matter what the cost.

As the embark on a journey of learning and revenge, Penny and Emery must learn to rely on each other. They have to find a trust that isn’t easy for either of them. I really liked how their relationship played out. I think that it ended in a way that was necessary. I really love, loved Penny’s mom. She was badass and really had Penny’s number. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Magical Mayhem


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Posted August 27, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Written in Red by Anne BishopReviewer: Rowena
Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Narrator: Alexandra Harris
Series: The Others #1
Also in this series: Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Vision in Silver, Marked in Flesh, Etched in Bone, Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Wild Country, Vision in Silver
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 18 hours, 32 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: New to Me Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

18 hrs 32 mins

As a "cassandra sangue," or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut--a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg's Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard--a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she's keeping a secret, and second, she doesn't smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she's wanted by the government, he'll have to decide if she's worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

I’ve been hearing lots of good things about this series and though I’ve been curious, I haven’t been curious enough to try the books out for myself. Well, the girls made sure to fix that problem right away by adding it to my Summer Reading Challenge. I’ve got to admit, I’m not at all mad that I read this one. I listened to the audiobook and thought that the narrator did a great job of telling this story.

The world that was created for The Others is really complex and so colorful that it took me by surprise at first because I wasn’t expecting it. It’s also very different from all of the other paranormal worlds that are out there in Romancelandia and I really liked it. It was different from the other series, in that these paranormal creatures are super scary. Sure, in the other paranormal worlds, the shapeshifters are mean but we don’t really see it. Not like we do with the others. So, The Others are shapeshifters and they are dangerous creatures. Super scary. They eat humans and govern themselves. Human laws don’t apply on their lands and that was exactly why Meg Corbyn needed the job as the human liaison. She was on the run from her past and she needed somewhere to lay low until she figured out what she would do next. Simon Wolfgard runs the business district at the Lakeside Courtyard and though he can smell that Meg is keeping secrets, secrets that might show up on his land and endanger his people, he can’t turn her away. He hires her to be the human liaison and as he gets to know her, he realizes that she’s different from the other humans that come around…and he’s drawn to that.

Meg is determined not to get caught and taken back to her prison of being her captor’s blood prophet again so she’s throwing herself into her new job and keeping her head down. She hadn’t anticipated on how by simply doing her job and being kind, she would grow so attached to everyone around her. It’s not easy at first to be around so many others because they don’t hide their distaste for humans and their distrust of her…but when she starts inserting herself into their world, they all become super protective of her.

This was an interesting introduction to the world of the Others and though it took me a long ass time to get into the book, I’m glad that I stuck with it because it ended up being good. I liked seeing Meg form bonds with everyone in the Courtyard and even though Simon got on my nerves for most of the book, I still really liked him in the end. I’m definitely interested in continuing this series.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

The Others

The World of the Others


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon

Posted August 23, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra GannonReviewer: Rowena
The Kingpin of Camelot by Cassandra Gannon
Series: A Kinda Fairytale #1
Also in this series: The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale, #3)
Publisher: Star Turtle Publishing
Publication Date: July 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 576
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

The Queen: Guinevere must save Camelot. Ever since Arthur died, the evil Scarecrow has been trying to marry her and gain the crown. If she and her daughter are going to survive his mad schemes, Gwen needs to find Merlyn’s wand. Fast. Unfortunately, the only man strong enough to help her on her quest is Kingpin Midas, a flashy, uneducated mobster dealing with a curse. Gwen is a logical, rational woman, though, and she can draft one hell of a contract. She’s pretty sure she can come up with an offer not even the kingdom’s greatest villain can refuse.

The Kingpin: Anything Midas touches turns to gold. Literally. The curse has helped him to rule Camelot’s underworld with an iron fist. He has more money and more power than anyone else in the kingdom. He’s convinced there’s nothing he can’t buy. One look at Gwen and Midas knows that he’s about to make his most brilliant purchase, yet. He’s about to own the one woman in the world he would give anything to possess. All he has to do to claim her is somehow win a war against the smartest man in Camelot, hide his growing feelings from Gwen, deal with his overprotective bodyguard’s paranoia about the queen’s hidden motivations, and adjust to a five year old demanding bedtime stories from a gangster. Simple, right?

The Contract: Gwen’s deal is simple: If Midas marries her, she’ll make him King of Camelot. It’s a fair bargain. Midas will keep her enemies away and she’ll give him the respectability that money can’t buy. She never expects Midas to agree so quickly. Or for their practical business arrangement to feel so… complicated. Midas isn’t the tawdry, feral animal that Arthur railed against. He’s a kind and gentle man, who clearly needs Gwen’s help just as much as she needs his. In fact, the longer she’s around Midas the more Gwen realizes that their “fake marriage” might be more real than she ever imagined.

This was one of Holly’s choices for me to read for my Summer Reading Challenge and if it wasn’t for her, I probably would have never picked up this book. I’m glad that I read it all the way through because it took me a while to warm up to the story. The world that Cassandra Gannon created for these characters reminds me of Shrek and I’m not the biggest fan of the Shrek movies. I’ve only watched the first one and I’ve only watched it once because it wasn’t my favorite so that explains why it took me a while to warm up to everyone, except Avalon, and everything. I’m glad that I stuck with this book because I ended up liking it and LOVING King Midas.

So Queen Guinevere must save Camelot from the evil clutches of the mean Scarecrow, who is trying to force her into marriage so that he can become King and rule the land. He’s up to no good and with King Arthur out of the picture, Scarecrow means business. Guinevere needs to find Merlyn’s wand to protect her and her daughter. The only person that can help her and keep her and Avalon safe is King Midas so Guinevere runs to him.

Midas is the ruler of the Underworld and he’s also cursed af. Everything he touches turns to gold. Everything. He’s the richest man in the world because of the curse but that isn’t enough for Midas. One look at Gwen and he realizes that he wants her as well. She’s all class and class is something that Midas has never had. When Gwen comes to him for help, he knows he’s not going to turn her away. When she proposes marriage, Midas is all in. He’ll do whatever it takes to own the biggest prize he’s always wanted. He’ll take on the Scarecrow and win this war for her.

This is a marriage of convenience romance and I thought Cassandra Gannon did a great job of pulling this story together. There was a lot to tackle but I didn’t feel that anything was rushed and I wasn’t confused or anything like that. It took me a little bit to get into the story but that was more of a personal preference that kept tripping me up than anything to do with the actual writing or story going on here. The world Gannon created for these characters is colorful and it’s fun and once I got over myself and just read, I enjoyed it.

The romance between Gwen and Midas was a lot of fun and super sweet. I adored seeing Midas fall deeper and deeper in love with Gwen, all the while, trying to hide his feelings. It was really sweet to see how quickly he fell for both Gwen and Avalon. I just, seriously, I adored the hell out of him. OMG, I love him. I also really enjoyed Gwen’s character. I didn’t think that would be the case early on but I did warm up to her and loved seeing her fall just as deeply in love with King Midas as King Midas did with her. I loved how they had each other’s back and how they were a team, taking on the bad guys….even though, for years, Gwen thought Midas was one of the bad guys.

This was a sweet story that was light but full of goodness. I’m definitely planning on reading the other books in this series and kudos to Holly for making me read this one.

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

A Kinda Fairytale

Happily Ever Witch


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran

Posted August 21, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith DuranReviewer: Holly
The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: May 8, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 388
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, New to Me Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

In a debut romance as passionate and sweeping as the British Empire, Meredith Duran paints a powerful picture of an aristocrat torn between two worlds, an heiress who dares to risk everything...and the love born in fire and darkness that nearly destroys them.

From exotic sandstone palaces...

Sick of tragedy, done with rebellion, Emmaline Martin vows to settle quietly into British Indian society. But when the pillars of privilege topple, her fiancé's betrayal leaves Emma no choice. She must turn for help to the one man whom she should not trust, but cannot resist: Julian Sinclair, the dangerous and dazzling heir to the Duke of Auburn.

To the marble halls of London...

In London, they toast Sinclair with champagne. In India, they call him a traitor. Cynical and impatient with both worlds, Julian has never imagined that the place he might belong is in the embrace of a woman with a reluctant laugh and haunted eyes. But in a time of terrible darkness, he and Emma will discover that love itself can be perilous -- and that a single decision can alter one's life forever.

Destiny follows wherever you run.

A lifetime of grief later, in a cold London spring, Emma and Julian must finally confront the truth: no matter how hard one tries to deny it, some pasts cannot be disowned...and some passions never die.

I remember when The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran was first released. There was much fanfare and everyone seemed to love it. I often have bad luck when it comes to books everyone else loves, so I put off reading it. Years went by and, though it’s been sitting in my TBR pile for a decade, I never did read it. Casee chose it as one of her picks for me for our Summer Reading Challenge, so I dug it out. It turned out to be a lovely read.

This is a dark, complex read. Emmaline, our female lead, suffers much trauma. A shipwreck, then war in India. She is much affected by her trials and tribulations, and that came across well on page. I was fully wrapped up in her journey. Part one, especially, was hard to get through. So much violence. There was somewhat of a disconnect in Part two, however. I found myself getting impatient with the story, and also struggling to readjust to life in London ballrooms. Which, I think, speaks well of the author and how well she brought me into Emma and Julian’s story in India.

As for the romance, I truly felt the connection Julian and Emma had. I also felt their anguish at all that had come between them. I did find some of their actions not in keeping with their characters, however. Especially when they reunite in England. But I was able to move past it. Something I had a harder time moving past was all the exclamation points Duran used! They were relentless! Sometimes two or three per paragraph!

Still, all in all, I think Casee chose well for this one. Shocking, I know.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hard Sell by Lauren Layne

Posted August 14, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Hard Sell by Lauren LayneReviewer: Casee
Hard Sell by Lauren Layne
Narrator: Samantha Cook, Zachary Webber
Series: 21 Wall Street #2
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Huge Deal , Hot Asset , Hard Sell , Huge Deal , Hot Asset, Huge Deal
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 243
Length: 7 hours and 8 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

He’s a Wall Street wolf. She’s been hired to tame him. From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes a wildly sexy novel of business and pleasure.

Twenty-eight and filthy rich, Matt Cannon is the youngest broker on Wall Street. He may be a “boy wonder,” but he’s every inch a man. Ask any woman—any night. But when Matt’s latest fling makes scandalous headlines, his clients get anxious, and his bosses at Wolfe Investments level an ultimatum: keep his assets zipped, get a “real” girlfriend, and clean up his act. Only one woman can help Matt with something this hard.

For PR genius Sabrina Cross, the best fixer in Manhattan, playing Matt’s steady is going to be a challenge, even if it’s just for show. They already have an explosive history, she can’t stand the cocky party boy, and worse—she can’t stop thinking about him. So who’ll dare to break her “no touching” rule first? Because when that happens, Matt and Sabrina’s game of let’s pretend will get so hot it could set both their reputations on fire.

Matt Cannon and Sabrina Cross have a non-conventional relationship. The day they met, Matt took Sabrina to bed. Then he said something to her that cut deep. Since that night they have a love-hate relationship. They love to hate each other, but they can’t quit each other. They both know that their unhealthy relationship has to end, but neither is willing to put an end to it. Their relationship changes when Matt is photographed at a party in Vegas. His image at Wolfe Investments takes a dive. His bosses want him to “change”. The only person that he can go to for help is Sabrina.

Sabrina is a fixer. She fixes problems for people. She’s in the know for just about everything in New York. If you want something done, Sabrina is your girl. When Matt comes to her telling her that he needs to change his image in order to keep his job, she doesn’t want to help. Matt isn’t asking her to help him from the sidelines. He’s asking her to be his pretend girlfriend for a month. Sabrina has long been in love with Matt even though he destroyed her with his words during their first night together.

Both Matt and Sabrina find it too easy being a couple. They just have something together. Matt decides he’s not going to let it go. Until, like an idiot, he fucks it up. He thought that they wanted the same thing, but the woman who seemed so grounded in reality now wants to marry for love instead of a simple partnership. After growing up with unhappy parents, Matt wants nothing to do with “love”.

I loved this book. It was my favorite in the series. Matt and Sabrina were fire. I loved their banter, I loved how they both pretended like they only wanted their relationship to be pretend. Their relationship wasn’t easy for sure, but it was a pleasure to read. The only thing that confused me was when Jarod Lanham, Matt’s potential client showed up. I didn’t understand why he wanted to be involved in their situation. He stirred shit up and I still don’t understand why he was even a character. It was strange and it took me out of the story a little bit.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

21 Wall Street


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