Tag: Zebra

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Marry Me by Jo Goodman

Posted October 14, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Marry Me by Jo GoodmanReviewer: Holly
Marry Me by Jo Goodman
Series: Reidsville #2
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: December 1, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Westerns
Pages: 447
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Her Heart Was Locked Away

Rhyne Abbot is fierce, brave, and used to a life of isolation on her father's spread on the outskirts of Reidsville, Colorado. But when, overcome with sickness, she collapses, she knows she must return to town if she is to have any hope of recovery. Only there is no place for her but the new doctor's home, and he wants more than just to heal Rhyne. He wants her hand in marriage.

Until One Man Found The Key

Doctor Cole Monroe's hands are already more than full with his orphaned little sister to look after, and yet somehow he can't resist the magnetic pull of Rhyne's bewitching eyes--or her tempting kiss. But convincing her to trust him won't be easy. For Rhyne's heart needs as much tender care as her ailing body. And the only cure is the thing she most fears: to let herself fall in love...

Mary Me by Jo Goodman is the second book in the Reidsville series. Casee chose this for our Summer Reading Challenge, but I forgot to review it in August. It’s been ages since I read a Jo Goodman. This was vaguely familiar, so it’s possible I’ve read it before. I can’t remember for sure, though, so I’m calling this a new read. I had a hard time getting into it at first, but it picked up by the 3rd chapter.

When Cole Monroe’s younger sister talks him into moving to Reidsville, CO to become their new town doctor, he isn’t sure what to expect. The colorful residents are interesting, and he’s enjoying himself as the only doctor to service a large area. When he meets Rhyne Abbot, he knows he has to help her.The only way to do that is to have her move in with him. Not an ideal situation, but one they make work. Only, he never expected to come to have such strong feelings for her. Her fierce independence and indomitable spirit really call to him.

Rhyne was raised as a boy, until her father could no longer ignore the fact she was a girl. Even then, she kept up the pretense with the town’s inhabitants. Now that she’s been outed as a woman and forced to move in with the new doctor, things sure are different for her. Finding her footing in this new world is difficult, but she’s managing. If only she could get rid of this pesky attraction she has for the doctor…

I really thought the romance was super sweet. I liked both Cole and Rhyne. I liked how patient he was with Rhyne and how she slowly came to trust him. Some of the medical stuff was on the boring side, but I was able to move past that. I struggled more with how quickly Rhyne seemed to overcome her trauma, but I do think it was rather in keeping with the times. Rhyne didn’t have time to become hysterical, so she didn’t.

While this isn’t my favorite book by Goodman, it was enjoyable and I’ll probably read it again in the future.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Reidsville

three-half-stars


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Review: If He’s Dangerous by Hannah Howell

Posted February 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: If He’s Dangerous by Hannah HowellReviewer: Holly
If He's Dangerous (Wherlocke, #4) by Hannah Howell
Series: Wherlocke #4
Also in this series: If He's Sinful
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 345
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

"New York Times" bestseller Hannah Howell's extraordinary Wherlocke family returns with the story of a passion that will heed no resistance, no matter how deadly...

When Lorelei Sundun first finds Sir Argus Wherlocke in her garden, she's never heard of the mysterious Wherlocke clan-or their otherworldly abilities. That changes the moment she watches Argus-the most tantalizing man she's ever seen-disappear before her very eyes. What she's witnessed should be impossible. But so should falling in love with a man she's only just met...

Pursued by a madman intent on harnessing the Wherlockes' talents as weapons, Argus meant to seek help from his family, not to involve a duke's lovely daughter in the struggle. But now, the enchanting Lorelei is his only hope for salvation-and the greatest temptation he's ever faced...

If He’s Dangerous is the 4th book in Hannah Howell’s Wherelocke series, featuring a titled family who has special “gifts” (or curses, depending on your view point). Though I’ve read all the previous books, I don’t believe it’s necessary to read the series in order.

Lorelei Sundown is the daughter of a duke. She’s never heard of the infamous Wherelocke family, until the day Argus Wherelocke appears naked in her garden..then disappears before her eyes. Argus is on the run from a madman who wants to capture him to harness his abilities. He believes his family is cursed and therefore won’t consider marriage, but he can’t deny his attraction to the lovely Lorelei. As they go on the run to discover why his enemy wants him, Argus fights his attraction in vain. As the daughter of a nobleman she should be off limits, but he can’t seem to keep his hands off her. Lorelei knows Argus is the one for her, but convincing him is another thing entirely.

I am a long time fan of Hannah Howell. She was the first romance author I discovered on my own when I became an avid fan of the genre. I had been reading Julie Garwood historicals and wanted something new. I was in Walmart and saw His Bonnie Bride on the shelf. That was the beginning of the end for me. I glommed everything of hers I could find. Around the 50th-or-so Murray book, I burned out. But I still kept buying. And buying. And buying. When the mood would strike and I’d pick up a new release, I was always left disappointed. These books aren’t from the Howell I fell in love with all those years ago. If He’s Dangerous is yet another disappointment. I’m afraid each new book is just a repeat of the one prior to it.

Argus was frustrating in that he kept insisting marriage in his family was cursed and therefore he could never marry Lorelei. If that were the case, why did he continue to bed her? Not only that, but he had bastard children he neglected to mention. She found out when they showed up at her place looking for him. Not the actions of an honorable guy. I liked Lorelei and the boys, but Argus kind of ruined the book for me.

2.5 out of 5

Wherlocke


two-half-stars


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Review: If He’s Daring by Hannah Howell

Posted January 23, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: If He’s Daring by Hannah HowellReviewer: Holly
If He's Daring (Wherlocke, #6) by Hannah Howell
Narrator: Polly Lee
Series: Wherelocke #6
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Length: 10 hours and 16 minutes
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In a dazzling new novel in the Wherlocke family saga, New York Times bestselling author Hannah Howell creates an unforgettable story of intrigue, jeopardy, and desire...

Stealing a stranger's carriage is the second most reckless thing Lady Catrin Gryffin de Warrene has ever done. The first is succumbing to her powerful attraction to the carriage's owner. Catrin has heard the rumors about Sir Orion Wherlocke's family and their otherworldly gifts. He's the one person who can keep her son and his inheritance safe from her late husband's ruthless brother. As for how to protect herself...it may be too late for that.

Orion is facing the worst danger a man of his ilk can find: a woman he can't walk away from. Catrin is an intoxicating blend of innocence and sensuality, and for the first time, seduction is far more than a game. But her beauty and fortune have made her a target--one that will dare him to risk everything he's known--in pursuit of everything he's ever longed for...

If He’s Daring has been languishing in my TBR for years. I absolutely adored Hannah Howell back in the day, but I’m afraid some of her magic has worn off. Still, I was in the mood and figured I’d give this one a try.

Lady Catrin Gryffin de Warrene is a widow whose brother-in-law is trying to steal her son’s inheritance. He went through the courts and, when that failed, kidnapped her son. As she’s chasing after his carriage, her horse comes up lame so she..borrows…a carriage she sees on the street. Only she doesn’t realize there’s already someone inside. Sir Orion Wherlocke’s young son. Sir Orion would have gone after his carriage regardless, but the fact that his son is inside only makes him chase harder. When he realizes what Catrin is wrapped up in, and that she only means to rescue and protect her own son, he agrees to help her. The Wherelocke clan has special gifts that may help her track her son down and keep him safe, so he can’t really turn her away. The problem? Orion isn’t looking for a relationship, but Catrin really heats his blood.

Catrin just wants to get her son safe and protect his inheritance. Having Sir Orion’s help would be beneficial, but her attraction to him is rather inconvenience, considering the circumstances. As they chase after her son and try to find a way to discredit her late husband’s brother, the bond between them grows. It isn’t long before they’re both in deep. But Sir Orion is determined to remain a bachelor…or is he?

At times Orion’s back-and-forthing “Should I commit or Shouldn’t I” got tiresome, but I can’t deny I enjoyed the adventure of them trying to discover why her son was in danger. I also enjoyed the romance. Orion’s son and Catrin’s were both great, and really made the book for me. I also loved how it started, with Catrin after her former brother-in-law, stealing Orion’s carriage.

The end was a bit strange. I saw it coming, of course, but I was hoping HH would go in a different direction. I’d also hoped to see a stronger emotional reaction from Catrin once she learned the depth of her husband’s treachery. I’m not sure if it was the narrator, or just the way it was written, but that wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped it would be.

Still, I can’t deny this was a fun read. I really loved how Catrin and her young son dealt with each other, and the romance was believable and satisfying. It’s always a treat returning to the Wherelocke world.

3.25 out of 5

Wherelocke

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted October 4, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: Hidden by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Jen
Hidden (Deep Ops, #1) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Deep Ops #1
Also in this series: Hidden (Deep Ops, #1)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock . . .

Pippa lives essentially in the middle of nowhere, secluded except for the sexy new guy who moved into the only nearby house. Malcolm is also running from his life as an undercover cop and the demons of his past. It turns out someone wants Malcolm for a new operation, though, and Pippa is his target. She might be involved with a terrorist plot, and while Malcolm just can’t believe she’s a terrorist, he knows she’s lying and hiding something. Malcolm has to learn to work with his new team and get the info they need about Pippa, although that gets increasingly difficult as he gets to know her. Neither Malcolm nor Pippa can trust the other, but if they don’t they may not be able to stop an attack.

I loved this book. Pippa and Malcolm were richly drawn and interesting characters, both with their own baggage and their own hopes. Both of them were so damaged by their past, though both have channeled that in different directions. Pippa was traumatized by her childhood, experiencing panic attacks and terrible nightmares and largely cloistering herself in her house out of fear. In many ways, though, she’s better off than Malcolm–she is in (online) therapy, has a fulfilling job that doesn’t require her to leave her house, and isn’t self-medicating with alcohol like Malcolm. Malcolm has been working undercover for years, and the stress of being so deep undercover for so long has taken its toll on him. He’s got some serious PTSD and some unhealthy coping mechanisms, and it was tough to read about at first. The way Pippa sees Malcolm’s pain and wants to offer comfort was just lovely, and Malcolm realizes he wants to do the same for her.

There was a bit of a different tone from many of Zanetti’s other books. Malcolm is still WAY alpha, but he demonstrates a deep awareness of how he might appear threatening to Pippa, and he goes out of his way to avoid that not for self-serving reasons but because he doesn’t want to contribute to her fear. There’s also a lot more consent talk than Zanetti’s books usually feature. Of course, he still is bossy and gets off on dominating her in bed, but I honestly appreciated that Malcolm isn’t as much of a cave man as Zanetti’s usual heroes. (The book was still way sexy too.) I hope she continues that trend.

By far my favorite part of the book is Malcolm’s new team of “Homeland Defense Department” agents. They are all misfits and outcasts, people with secrets in their past that got them sent to the middle of nowhere to handle the cases no one else thinks are important. They start to develop friendships in this book, and it’s clear they will become a tight knit and top notch team. Each and every one of them is fantastic, especially the dog Roscoe who provides a ton of comic relief. I CANNOT wait to read about all of them in future books.

This book did have a few inconsistencies, like how Pippa warmed to Malcolm and started falling for him so quickly. I also would have liked Pippa to find out the truth about Malcolm a little earlier. She does find out early enough to resolve some conflict and have a role in stopping the attack, but I would have preferred just a little more time for her to come to terms with Malcolm’s lies.

These are pretty minor quibbles, though. Mainly I just had a great time reading this book, and I am beyond excited to see it continue.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Deep Ops

four-half-stars


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Review: Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken

Posted April 9, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: Dragon Actually by G.A. AikenReviewer: Holly
Dragon Actually (Dragon Kin, #1) by G.A. Aiken
Series: Dragon Kin #1
Also in this series: Light My Fire, Dragon on Top, Bring the Heat, Bring the Heat
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: September 1st 2008
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 336
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

It's not always easy being a female warrior with a nickname like Annwyl the Bloody. Men tend to either cower in fear - a lot - or else salute. It's true that Annwyl has a knack for decapitating legions of her ruthless brother's soldiers without pausing for breath. But just once it would be nice to be able to really talk to a man, the way, she can talk to Fearghus the Destroyer.

Too bad that Fearghus is a dragon, of the large, scaly and deadly type. With him, Annwyl feels safe - a far cry from the feelings aroused by the hard-bodied, arrogant knight Fearghus has arranged to help train her for battle. With her days spent fighting a man who fill her with fierce, heady desire, and her nights spent in the company of a magical creature who could smite a village just by exhaling, Annwyl is sure life couldn't get any stranger. She's wrong...

Annwyl the Bloody is sister to the evil king of the realm. She’s been fighting his troops for years, slowly gathering support to form a rebellion meant to overthrow him. When she ends up on deaths doorstep outside a dragon’s den, she doesn’t expect to live. Either her brother’s soldiers will kill her, or the dragon will. But she isn’t going to go down cowering. She’ll go out as she lived, fighting for all she’s worth.

Fearghus the Destroyer is an antisocial dragon. He prefers being alone in his den to dealing with humans or other dragons. But Annwyl the Bloody intrigues him. Not only does her reputation proceed her, but she’s the only human he’s ever met who doesn’t cower from Dragons. She’s fierce and bold, and he can’t stop himself from wanting to heal, take care of and spend time with her. He knows if she wants to defeat her brother he needs better training. She has to learn to control her rage.

When Fearghus tells Annwyl he has a Knight who can help her hone her skill with a sword, she’s skeptical. But she can’t deny the man has skill. Still, for all of her attraction to the Knight, she prefers the company of the dragon.

This was such a good book. I loved how bloodthirsty and kickass the heroine was. She wasn’t a shrinking violet who needed to be saved. I loved Fearghus the dragon. He was so cute. Every time he and Annwyl snuggled I got all melty. I struggled more with her relationship with the Knight. They had a contentious relationship that didn’t really lend itself to softer feelings.

View Spoiler »

Still, I really enjoyed the story, the heroine and the dragon. This was a great start to what I hope will be a great series.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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