Review: Eli by Jessica Gadziala

Posted October 13, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Eli by Jessica GadzialaReviewer: Casee
Eli by Jessica Gadziala
Series: Mallick Brothers #4
Also in this series: Shane, Ryan
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 31, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 232
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Six years on the inside gave a man a lot of time to think. And a lot of time to plan. When I got out, I was determined for things to go a different way. I never wanted to lose control and rage out again.
The only way to accomplish that, though, was to shut it all down. Complete disconnect.
That meant no family, no friends, no links to anything attached to the man I was before.
Of course the problem was, I never factored HER into my plans. And try as I might, I couldn’t find a way to shut it down, to disconnect from her.
I had a sneaking suspicion she was going to take all my carefully constructed plans and toss them out the window, was going to force me to face up the demons inside and confront the ghosts from my past.
Those ghosts? They wore the faces of my family.
And a confrontation with them, yeah, I had a feeling it was going to show me that I had spent six years taking action on beliefs about the demons inside. Demons that had never actually existed in the first place…

This book was my absolute favorite in the Mallick Brothers series. Which says a lot because the first four books were really well written & I was completely hooked when I was reading them. Eli continues Eli Mallick’s story. At the end of Mark, Eli was arrested for assault in front of Autumn. When he was taken away, Autumn couldn’t leave his ugly dog at the pound. She was sure that no one would want him. He was so sad when his owner was taken away that Autumn decided to take him.

Fast forward…Autumn found out who the man with the dog was. Once she tracked him down, she wrote him a letter to let him know that she had Coop & enclosed a picture. Eli didn’t respond. A few years later Autumn sent a picture of Coop in his Halloween costume. After that they communicated sporadically. Although it wasn’t very often, Autumn found herself really drawn to Eli & she wasn’t sure why. She didn’t know him. She didn’t know his family. She didn’t know his circumstances. All she knew was that he assaulted a man that almost killed his wife then got railroaded because said man had a powerful father that pulled strings to get Eli convicted.

For the six years that he was behind bars, Eli made a decision to shut out his emotions. He was determined to get his rage fits under control. Which meant cutting off his family. When he felt real emotions, he couldn’t stay away. Eli doesn’t want back into the family business. He wants to continue his art & get to know Autumn. He doesn’t know why he’s so drawn to her, but he can’t turn his emotions off when it comes to her.

Eli’s situation was just heartbreaking. He was never meant to be an enforcer for the family’s loanshark business, but that’s what happened. When all else failed, Eli was sent to collect the debt that was owed to his family. He would rage out though he always had one of his brothers there to pull him back. What was so sad was that he was such a gentle soul. The fact that he would rage out, he had no outlet to control it except for the physical.

Autumn was such a great heroine. You could tell that she loved Eli from the moment he got out of prison though she hadn’t admitted it to herself. There was something about her that draws him & makes Eli feel that he needs her in his life. With Autumn he has an outlet from the rage that comes over him, in the form of sex. The first time Eli raged out after getting out of prison was after he saw one of his brothers. Just heartbreaking.

Eventually the family reunited and holy shit, but I was an emotional mess. His poor mother. Still, I thought they brought it on themselves by forcing Eli to be something he was never meant to be. Violent. The epilogue of this book just gutted me. If I was something that cried while reading, this one would have made me cry. I am so happy with the Mallick Brothers series & I can’t wait to read Gadziala’s other books.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Mallick Brothers


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Review: Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel Wroth

Posted October 11, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel Wroth
Series: Portrait of Death #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 19, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 427
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: three-stars

Three years ago, I held her pink silk toe shoe in my hand, helplessly watching the cab drive away before I could give it back to her. The next morning when I stood in front of the portrait drying on my easel, I knew the beautiful ballerina would soon die. Her portrait is one of two hundred and twenty-seven. Each one of the subjects is the victim of murder, and I’ve painted them all. I’ve kept my morbid ability a secret for twenty years, terrified someday, someone would find out.

Someday has arrived, and the someone banging down my door today demanding answers is a gorgeous, irate homicide detective armed with a photo of one of my paintings right there on the front page of the most popular tabloid in the city. He peppers me with questions I can’t answer, and despite my worst fears being realized, all I can think about is painting this man, alive, and with far fewer clothes on.

Detective Callum Graham tells me the dead ballerina I painted is his sister, and she's been missing for three years. Missing, he says firmly, as though any other conclusion is unacceptable. My inappropriate thoughts of seeing him naked, vanish. How do I explain to this man, this brother desperate to find his baby sister alive, that she’s been dead for two years, eleven months, and three weeks?

Portrait of Death: Unforgotten is the first book in a contemporary romantic suspense series by Isabel Wroth. I generally avoid romantic suspense at all costs, but I really enjoy paranormal romance novels that feature psychic characters so I figured I’d give this a go. I’ve read most of Wroth’s backlist and I have to say this was not my favorite.

When Jo paints a portrait of her baby brother dead in a pond as a child, her parents have her committed to a mental institution, where she remains for two years despite her brother drowning while she was committed. For 20 years she’ll go into a trance after touching an object belonging to a random stranger, and end up painting their Portrait of Death. She’s come to realize over the years that they are all murder victims, but she can’t tell anyone, unless she wants to end up back in the institution. Until a scorned ex-lover leaks photos of her gallery.

Detective Callum Graham is shocked to see a death painting of his missing sister on the cover of a tabloid paper. He’s sure he’s finally found the killer. Jo knows she needs to protect her secrets at all costs, but it’s hard to resist the pain in the detective’s eyes.

I really disliked what an ass Callum was to Jo. I understand him thinking she was a murderer based on her paintings (that’s definitely some serial killer shit), but even after presented with proof that she couldn’t have committed the crimes, and proof that she was psychic, he refused to believe her. Even after they started getting intimate with each other, he would accuse her of being part of the murders, or just make stupid, asshole remarks to her for no reason. She pushed back and called him out on it, which is the only reason I kept reading, but it wasn’t enough. Especially since she would get distracted by how “hot” he was and then couldn’t stay mad.

On top of that, the police procedural stuff was very poorly done, and the whole mystery plot was easily figured out. There were also a lot of typos and errors. I spent most of the book irritated at one thing or another.

View Spoiler »

I kept reading because I liked the premise, but it wasn’t as well executed as the author’s other books. I don’t think I’ll read the next one.

Rating: 2.75 or 3.0 out of 5

Portrait of Death


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What Are You Reading? (582)

Posted October 8, 2021 by Casee in Features | 5 Comments


I’m reading a book called Explosive by K.E. Osborn. I’m about 25% into it. I’m not sure what to think yet. I’ve been really into MC romances but this one hasn’t pulled me in like I expected. It’s been mostly a dud of a reading week for me. Hopefully it’ll turn around.


I finished Fractured Souls by Anna Carven, then immediately started the next book in the series, Decadence. I ended up setting it aside when I realized it wasn’t the character I wanted next, however. I think I’m going to take a break from that series for awhile. I don’t love the direction this spinoff is heading, and I’m not invested in the characters. I read Witches Get Stitches by Juliette Cross, the third book in the Stay a Spell series. I enjoyed parts of it, but the female MC was immature and frustrated me more often than not.

I listened to American Princess by Stephanie Thornton, a historical novel based around the life of Alice Roosevelt Longsworth, the eldest daughter of Theodore Roosevelt. The story was fascinating and the narrator was wonderful. I definitely recommend it. I read First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones for my book club. I enjoyed parts of the story, but the humor of the MC, coupled with a lot of the procedural stuff, constantly pulled me out of the story. I don’t think I’ll continue with the story.

I’m currently listening to Good Boy by Sarina Bowen, a re-read for me. I love this book. I haven’t decided what I’m going to read next.

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

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Review: Sarazen’s Fury by Isabel Wroth

Posted October 6, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Sarazen’s Fury by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Sarazen's Fury by Isabel Wroth
Series: Sarazen Saga #5
Also in this series: Sarazen's Claim, Sarazen's Vengeance, Sarazen's Betrayal, Sarazen's Hunt
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 28, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Happy For Now, Continuing Story Arc
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 219
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars


With Tarek away on a hunting trip, and T’mai gone off to round up more of the uncovered conspirators, Brennaugh is the only one qualified to provide assistance when an entire squadron of his best men go missing on S4. Four days. He should have only been gone for four days. He gave his word.


Tara awakens from a nightmare to discover her worst fears have come true. The rescue party has been ambushed, and Brennaugh has been captured by their enemy. Tara knows Brennaugh is still alive—she can feel him—but all she can sense through their bond is white hot primal fear and anger. Ignoring all protests about concerns for her safety, Tara joins the reinforcements on S4, determined to find her mate and bring him home.

Tara was one of the original humans rescued from the Starsong. She was reluctant to be mated to Brennaugh, a scarred and fierce warrior, but four years later she could not be happier with him. When he’s called off-planet to find some missing soldiers, Tara agrees to wait for him. But when he doesn’t return and his crew believes he’s gone feral, Tara knows she’s the only one who can save him.

I really liked Tara and how she handled everything that was thrown at her in this novel. She didn’t buckle under the stress and in fact came out shining on the other end. My heart hurt for her and what she had to deal with from Brennaugh’s mom and family, but I loved how protective she was of him and her pregnancy. I also loved how Brennaugh loved her, and how he realized his mistakes and apologized to her.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sarazen Saga


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Monthly Reads: September 2021

Posted October 5, 2021 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 8 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.


September wasn’t a horrible reading month for me. I read/listened to 10 books.

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1)(audio)(reread) by Ilona Andrews | 4.5 out of 5
The Fixer (Professionals #1) by Jessica Gadziala | 3.75 out of 5
Stand (Bleeding Stars #6) by A.L. Jackson | 4.5 out of 5
Violent Delights (White Monarch #1) by Jessica Hawkins | DNF
White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2)(audio)(reread) by Ilona Andrews | 5 out of 5
Tin Queen (Tin Gypsy #6) by Devney Perry | 4.25 out of 5
Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3)(audio)(reread) by Ilona Andrews | 5 out of 5
Rise (Rock God #1) by Cassandra Robbins | 4.25 out of 5
Echo (Archer’s Creek #1) by Gemma Weir | 3 out of 5
The Lion’s Lady (Crown’s Spies #1)(audio)(reread) by Julie Garwood | 5 out of 5

With the exception of the book I DNFed, I liked all the books I read in September. My favorites were Tin Queen by Devney Perry & Rise by Cassandra Robbins. I also adore the Hidden Legacy series on audio. Soooo good.


I finished 19 books in September. I’m coming into my busy season at work, so I have a feeling my reading will drop off from here.

Sarazen’s Betrayal (Sarazen Saga #3) by Isabel Wroth (reread) | 2.75 out of 5
Battle with Fire (Demon Days, Vampire Nights #11) by K.F. Breene (audio) | 4.25 out of 5
Dark Planet Warriors (Dark Planet Warriors #1) by Anna Carven | 3.25 out of 5
Dark Planet Falling (Dark Planet Warriors #2) by Anna Carven | 4 out of 5
Into the Light (Dark Planet Warriors #3) by Anna Carven | 3.5 out of 5
Out of Darkness (Dark Planet Warriors #4) by Anna Carven | 3.75 out of 5
Darkside Blues (Dark Planet Warriors #4.5) by Anna Carven | 4 out of 5
Forged in Shadow (Dark Planet Warriors #5) by Anna Carven | 4 out of 5
Infinity’s Embrace (Dark Planet Warriors #6) by Anna Carven | 3.75 out of 5
Electric Heart (Dark Planet Warriors #7) by Anna Carven | 4 out of 5
Brilliant Starlight (Dark Planet Warriors #8) by Anna Carven | 3 out of 5
Taming Chaos (Darkstar Mercenaries #1) by Anna Carven | 3 out of 5
Shattered Silence (Darkstar Mercenaries #2) by Anna Carven | 4 out of 5
Fractured Souls (Darkstar Mercenaries #3) by Anna Carven | 3.75 out of 5
Stranded and Spellbound (Ever Dark, Ever Deadly #3) by Jenna Collett | DNF
Shatter the Dark (Ever Dark, Ever Deadly #4) by Jenna Collett | 4.25 out of 5
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (audio) (reread) | 5 out of 5
The Lion’s Lady (Crown Spies #1) by Julie Garwood (audio) (reread) | 4.5 out of 5
Witches Get Stitches (Stay a Spell #3) by Juliette Cross | 3 out of 5

My favorite read of the month was Battle with Fire by K.F. Breene. Reagan has never been my favorite character, but she really came into her own and this book finished the series well. I also really enjoyed Shatter the Dark by Jenna Collett. That may be my favorite book of the series to date. My least favorite was Stranded and Spellbound by Jenna Collett, which I DNF’d. I have no desire to read a full book about his parents being mean to her/her trying to win them over.

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: September 2021

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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