Monthly Reads: March 2020

Posted April 8, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

It’s a new month so we’re back with a list of our Monthly Reads to share with each of you. This is where you’ll see what each of us has read and what our favorite books and our least favorite books of the month are. Check it out.

Casee

March was status quo for me. I read six books. I’m 6 books behind on my GR Challenge and am trying to catch up. It’s not really working for me at the moment.

Shadow Flight by Christine Feehan | 3.5 out of 5
Knight Awakening by Rebecca Zanetti | 3 out of 5
The Deal by Stella Gray (audio) | DNF
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews | 4.25 out of 5
Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh | 3.75 out of 5
Alpha Night by Nalini Singh | 4.5 out of 5

My absolute favorite book of the month was Alpha Night by Nalini Singh. I’ve kind of been “off” the Psy/Changeling books for awhile, but I’m so glad that I went back. My least favorite book of the month (besides the DNF) was Knight Awakening by Rebecca Zanetti. Which really made me sad because I love the Scorpius Sydrome series.

Holly

March was a very sad reading month for me. Honestly, all of 2020 has been sad for me on the reading front. We’ve had a lot going on and I don’t have the mental energy for reading anything new at the moment. I’ve been rereading a lot, though.

Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh (reread) | 4.5 out of 5
Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven (reread) | 4 out of 5
Complicated by Kristen Ashley (reread) | 4 out of 5
Fairytale Come Alive by Kristen Ashley (reread) | 4 out of 5
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews (reread) | 4.5 out of 5
Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews (reread) (audio) | 3.25 out of 5
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews (reread) (audio) | 3.5 out of 5
Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews (novella) (reread) | 3.5 out of 5
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews (reread) (audio) | 4 out of 5
Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews (novella) (reread) | 3.75 out of 5
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews (reread) (audio) | 4.25 out of 5
Magic Tests by Ilona Andrews (novella) (reread) | 4.25 out of 5
Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews (novella) (reread) | 4 out of 5
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews (reread) (audio) | 4.25 out of 5
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews (reread) (audio) | 4.75 out of 5
Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews (reread) (audio) | 4 out of 5
Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews (novella) (reread) | 4.25 out of 5
Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews (reread) | 4 out of 5
Iron an Magic by Ilona Andrews (reread) | 4 out of 5
Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews (reread) | 4.25 out of 5

Rowena

March was a pretty stressful month for everyone and personally, it wrecked my reading mojo. My mind hasn’t been able to slow down enough to concentrate on much of anything outside of work and what’s going on at home. I tried reading books from my review pile but I just couldn’t concentrate on anything so I gave up on my review pile and jumped back into the Kate Daniels series. I’m having a blast in this world and am making a great dent in this series.

Here’s what I read in March:

Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels #3) by Ilona Andrews (eBook) | 5 out of 5
Magic Mourns (Kate Daniels #3.5) by Ilona Andrews (eBook) | 4 out of 5
Magic Bleeds (Kate Daniels #4) by Ilona Andrews (eBook) | 4.75 out of 5
Magic Dreams (Kate Daniels #4.5) by Ilona Andrews (eBook) | 4 out of 5
Magic Slays (Kate Daniels #5) by Ilona Andrews (eBook) | 4.25 out of 5
Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson #11) by Patricia Briggs (eARC) | 4.25 out of 5
Magic Gifts (Kate Daniels #5.5) by Ilona Andrews (eBook) | 4 out of 5

My favorite read of the month goes to Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews. I laughed a lot while reading this one. From Kate’s team name to Jim being pissed at Kate and Curran for their first fight in the games to Dali’s personality, there was a lot that I absolutely adored about this book. There were also a lot of things that made me cry. I ugly cried for Derek, for the guilt Kate felt for not getting to Derek in time, I even got teary-eyed when reading about Julie at school. I love the life that Kate is building for herself, the family that is coming together around her and I just really love everything about this world. I don’t want to ever leave it and man am I anxious to keep reading.

My least favorite book of the month is probably Magic Mourns and that’s not because I didn’t like the book. I just probably liked this book a smidge less than the other books that I read. Andrea and Raphael are great characters and I don’t think I was prepared for what I’m reading right now, Gunmetal Magic. I want to knee Raphael in the balls so much right now.

Giveaway Alert

Three lucky winners will choose their prize (one book) from any of the books we logged this month. If you want to be entered to win, leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite – and least favorite – reads of the month were.

Monthly Reads: March 2020

So…what was your favorite read of the month? And your least favorite? Use the Gleam Widget to enter! Good luck!


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Review: Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 7, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sweep with Me by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #4.5
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2), One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3), Clean Sweep, Sweep of the Blade
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 10, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 140
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A charming, short novella in the Innkeeper Chronicles, from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ilona Andrews.

Thank you for joining us at Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, during the Treaty Stay. As you know, we are honor-bound to accept all guests during this oldest of innkeeper holidays and we are expecting a dangerous guest. Or several. But have no fear. Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your hosts, Dina Demille and Sean Evans, will defend you at all costs. [But we hope we don’t have to.]

Every winter, Innkeepers look forward to celebrating their own special holiday, which commemorates the ancient treaty that united the very first Inns and established the rules that protect them, their intergalactic guests, and the very unaware/oblivious people of [planet] Earth. By tradition, the Innkeepers welcomed three guests: a warrior, a sage, and a pilgrim, but during the holiday, Innkeepers must open their doors to anyone who seeks lodging. Anyone.

All Dina hopes is that the guests and conduct themselves in a polite manner. But what’s a holiday without at least one disaster?

Sweep with Me is a novella set in Gertrude Hunt, a magical intergalactic Inn, featuring Sean and Dina. It takes place a very short time after the events of One Fell Sweep.

After Dina almost died trying to protect Gertrude Hunt, she and Sean are in desperate need of some down time. Unfortunately for them, this is the one time of year they’re unable to refuse a guest at the Inn. Now they have angry intellectual space-chickens debating the meaning of life, a soulless killer on a pilgrimage and the leader of an off-planet world with murky intentions requesting the Inn set up a meeting with a ruthless business man. Sean and Dina do their best to keep their guests safe from harm and from each other.

I love the Innkeeper Chronicles. I was very happy to visit Dina and Sean at Gertrude Hunt. This novella was a lot of fun. This world is so well drawn I feel like I’m there with them every time I open a book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Innkeeper Chronicles

four-stars


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Books to Binge On: April 2020

Posted April 6, 2020 by Holly in Features | 3 Comments

Books to Binge On

Our Books to Binge On feature is pretty simple in its purpose. Every month, we put together a monthly new releases list of books that we’re all looking forward to. These are the books that we can’t wait to read and want everyone to add to their monthly binge-reading lists. Here are the books that we plan to binge on in April of 2020.


Sin & Lightning (Demigod of San Francisco #5) by K.F. Breene

One thing has become incredibly clear to Alexis and Kieran, if they hope to last in the arena of Demigods, they’ll need a more robust defense team.

They must take two incredibly dangerous journeys, seeking the prized talents other Demigods would kill for. Except, there is a reason other Demigods don’t have these magical workers–they are as ruthless as they are dangerous, and the last thing they want is to be on a Demigod’s team.

If that isn’t enough, Alexis has received an invitation from Demigod Lydia, the only Hades Demigod who hasn’t openly declared war. She’s talking like they could be allies, but those of Hades cannot be trusted. A trap is just as likely as a handshake. Still, it’s a chance they must take.

Any one of these trips could be their last, but to back down would be the most dangerous of all.

Holly: I’m so glad this next book is coming out soon. I need my fix.


When He’s Dark (The Olympus Pride #1) by Suzanne Wright

The Olympus Pride series centres around the ex-pride of Dominic’s mate, Mila. The first novel is her twin brother Alex’s story—he’s not a pallas cat like her or their father, though, he’s a wolverine like their mother. The heroine in the book, Bree, is a pallas cat; she’s also an omega.

Holly: A Phoenix Pack spin-off? YES PLEASE!

 
 
 
 


First Comes Scandal (The Rokesbys #4) by Julia Quinn

She was given two choices…

Georgiana Bridgerton isn’t against the idea of marriage. She’d just thought she’d have some say in the matter. But with her reputation hanging by a thread after she’s abducted for her dowry, Georgie is given two options: live out her life as a spinster or marry the rogue who has ruined her life.

Enter Option #3

As the fourth son of an earl, Nicholas Rokesby is prepared to chart his own course. He has a life in Edinburgh, where he’s close to completing his medical studies, and he has no time—or interest—to find a wife. But when he discovers that Georgie Bridgerton—his literal girl-next-door—is facing ruin, he knows what he must do.

A Marriage of Convenience

It might not have been the most romantic of proposals, but Nicholas never thought she’d say no. Georgie doesn’t want to be anyone’s sacrifice, and besides, they could never think of each other as anything more than childhood friends… or could they?

But as they embark upon their unorthodox courtship, they discover a new twist to the age-old rhyme. First comes scandal, then comes marriage. But after that comes love…

Rowena: We’re finally getting Nicholas’ book so I’m excited and dude, there are a lot of Bridgertons in the world. Haha.


Island Affair (Keys to Love #1) by Priscilla Oliveras

Sought-after social media influencer Sara Vance, in recovery from an eating disorder, is coming into her own, with a potential career expansion on the horizon. Despite the good news, her successful siblings (and their perfect spouses) have a way of making her feel like the odd one out. So, when her unreliable boyfriend is a no-show for a Florida family vacation, Sara recruits Luis Navarro—a firefighter paramedic and dive captain willing to play the part of her smitten fiancé . . .

Luis’s big Cuban familia has been in Key West for generations, and his quiet strength feeds off the island’s laidback style. Though guarded after a deep betrayal, he’ll always help someone in need—especially a spunky beauty with a surprising knowledge of Spanish curse words. Soon, he and Sara have memorized their “how we met” story and are immersed in family dinners, bike tours, private snorkeling trips . . . sharing secrets, and slow, melting kisses. But when it’s time for Sara to return home, will their island romance last or fade with the stunning sunset?

Rowena: I’ve seen this book cover around but I haven’t really been paying attention to new releases the last little while so I never read the blurb before now. I’m definitely interested in this one so on my wishlist it goes.


(Im)perfectly Happy by Sharina Harris

When four college friends formed the Brown Sugarettes Mastermind Group, they had very different goals–but matched each other in ambition. Yet ten years later they can’t help wondering what happened to the hopeful, confident, driven women they used to be–and how to get
them back . . .

Radio personality Raina, known as “the black Delilah,” hates the wholesome persona that’s made her a success. Doling out syrupy versions of her grandma’s wisdom feels worlds away from the sarcastic,
tell-it-like-it-is woman Raina really is.

Kara Jones was sure she’d be a master sommelier by thirty. Life and loss interfered with that plan. Now she has one more chance–but it’s taking a toll on her self-esteem and her marriage.

Nikki Grayson hardly recognizes the stay-at-home mom she’s become. When her band signed a record deal, she swapped the limelight for a minivan and a sensible ‘do. Now she’s wishing she had followed her heart. Instead, she’s drowning her regret in alcohol.

Public defender Sienna Njeri willingly put her city council aspirations aside to support her fiance’s bid for office–and now she’s wondering if her loyalty is misplaced.

Longing for the support, advice, and tough love they once shared, all four resolve to start meeting up again. After all, their dreams may still be within reach. But are they worth the price they’ll pay to achieve them?

Rowena: I came across this book a couple of months ago and it sounds like a good time so I’m all in. This one is definitely on my reading list for this month.


Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love #2) by Alisha Rai

In Alisha Rai’s second novel in her Modern Love series, a live-tweet event goes viral for a camera-shy ex-model, shoving her into the spotlight—and into the arms of the bodyguard she’d been pining for.

OMG! Wouldn’t it be adorable if he’s her soulmate???

I don’t see any wedding rings [eyes emoji]

Breaking: #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl went to the bathroom AT THE SAME TIME!!!

One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for.

He’s got a [peach emoji] to die for.

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard…

Rowena: I didn’t enjoy the previous book in this series as much as I hoped I would have but I was mighty interested in the heroine of this book so I’m still looking forward to reading this one.


The Rakess (Society of Sirens #1) by Scarlett Peckham

Meet the SOCIETY OF SIRENS—three radical, libertine ladies determined to weaponize their scandalous reputations to fight for justice and the love they deserve…

She’s a Rakess on a quest for women’s rights…

Seraphina Arden’s passions include equality, amorous affairs, and wild, wine-soaked nights. To raise funds for her cause, she’s set to publish explosive memoirs exposing the powerful man who ruined her. Her ideals are her purpose, her friends are her family, and her paramours are forbidden to linger in the morning.

He’s not looking for a summer lover…

Adam Anderson is a wholesome, handsome, widowed Scottish architect, with two young children, a business to protect, and an aversion to scandal. He could never, ever afford to fall for Seraphina. But her indecent proposal—one month, no strings, no future—proves too tempting for a man who strains to keep his passions buried with the losses of his past.

But one night changes everything…

What began as a fling soon forces them to confront painful secrets—and yearnings they thought they’d never have again. But when Seraphina discovers Adam’s future depends on the man she’s about to destroy, she must decide what to protect…her desire for justice, or her heart.

Rowena: I’ve been seeing good things about this book around online so my interest and curiosity are definitely piqued. This one is on my wishlist for sure.

What books are you looking forward to reading this month? Share in the comments!


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What Are You Reading? (522)

Posted April 3, 2020 by Rowena in Features | 4 Comments

Casee: I’m working from home these days, so I have a little more reading time. I thought I would be reading much more, but that’s not really been the case.

I’m reading Viper Game by Christine Feehan and listening to Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews. I am enjoying them both.

Holly: Nothing. I’ve read nothing this week. Sigh.

Rowena: I’m still not reading all that much. I’m on week 2 of reading Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews. I’m enjoying it but if I’m not working then I’m watching TikToks. 2020 sure does suck big donkey balls.

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!


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Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Posted April 2, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 318
Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper is a stand-alone paranormal romance. I started this book months ago and quit about halfway through. I was mostly just bored with the story. I was recently on a flight and forgot to download a new audiobook, so I turned this one on since it was already on my device. The second half was much better than the first.

Nina Linden is struggling to keep her landscape business afloat since her former business partner and ex started sabotaging her. Though the place is said to be haunted and/or cursed, she takes a job to bring an abandoned private island back to life. Billionaire Deacon Whitney wants to revive the Whitney Estate, the family’s private island that’s rumored to be cursed. He doesn’t believe in ghosts or curses, but he knows others do so he’s paying double the rates. Nina doesn’t expect to be attracted to Deacon..or to be having strange visions of herself as a maid in a gothic mystery.

Deacon’s flighty cousin, interior decorator ex-girlfriend and architect best friend are there helping, along with a cleaning service. The novel jumps around a lot, and in the beginning I had trouble following everyone and everything. I came to really like the cast of characters and the way the novel flashed back and forth between the developing romance of Deacon and Nina and Jeff, the architect, and Cindy, the owner of the cleaning service, but the second half didn’t make up for the first.

I enjoyed the setting and the romance. Harper is generally good for a laugh, and I found myself smiling several times over the antics of the characters. The mystery plot was kind of a dud, but I enjoyed the paranormal/ghost aspects. Not my favorite of Harper’s novels.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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