Format: Audiobook

Review: Unzipped by Lauren Blakely

Posted July 6, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Unzipped by Lauren BlakelyReviewer: Holly
Unzipped by Lauren Blakely
Series: Lucky in Love #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Plus
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 306
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Wanted: hot nerd seeks dating coach.

Picture this - I'm ready to win back the love of my life, and I'm going big this time. We're talking boom box, sing her name in the rain, let the whole damn neighborhood know I'm good and ready this time around. After all, if you're going to grand gesture the ever-loving hell out of a second chance, you need to pull out all the stops.

There's only one little problem.

My college girlfriend isn't the one who shows up when I play my "I'll do anything to win you back" tune. The woman who flings open the second-floor window tells me my ex doesn't live here anymore. But she'll help me win her back. Anything for romance, anything for a guy so willing to go big for love. And that's what I want at first. Until I get to know my new "romance coach" and discover she's funny, clever, and keeps me on my toes. Now I don't want to win anyone else's heart. I want the woman who's been helping me all along. Trouble is - she thinks I'm in love with someone else, and when we take off on a road trip, everything I think I know about women is about to be unzipped and turned inside out.

***He's the last person I ever expected to pop into my life, but he might be exactly what I need to save the thing that matters most to me. All I have to do is not fall for him.Unzipped is a standalone romance!

Unzipped (Lucky in Love #4) by Lauren Blakely follows Kyler aka “Tom” as he decides to win back the love of his life. I listened to this on audio and really enjoyed the narrators. I hae not read any of the other books in the series, but I don’t feel like I missed anything.

Things ended rather abruptly with his college girlfriend, but he’s got his stuff together now and he’s ready to show her he’s a changed man. He knows he needs a grand gesture, so he stands outside her window with a boombox..that keeps eating tapes and doesn’t want to play music. But that’s okay, he’ll just sing the song…terribly and off key. Okay, this isn’t going well, but it’s the gesture that counts, right? Not when said ex-girlfriend isn’t even home.

Finley isn’t having the best time of things. Her sitcom is on the brink of being cancelled and she’s creatively tapped out. When a madman shows up outside her window with a boombox, she knows she’s found her next muse. She offers to help Tom win back his ex, so she can keep using him for inspiration. As they spend time together Finley realized Tom is more than a simple muse, and Tom starts to wonder if he’s pursuing the wrong type of love.

This was a cute listen. I enjoyed both narrators and the story overall, though I did think the Instalove was a little over the top. I didn’t really buy their HEA after only a week. The epilogue helped, though. I did like that Tom came to realize his past actions weren’t great and he wanted to make them right.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Lucky in Love

three-half-stars


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Review: A Farewell to Charms by Molly Harper

Posted May 25, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: A Farewell to Charms by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
A Farewell to Charms by Molly Harper
Narrator: Jonathan Davis, Amanda Ronconi
Series: Mystic Bayou #6
Also in this series: How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1), Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues, How to Date Your Dragon, How to Date Your Dragon, Selkies are a Girl's Best Friend, One Fine Fae, Shifters in the Night
Publisher: Audible Original, Audible Originals
Publication Date: January 13, 2022
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Plus
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Length: 7 hours and 26 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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two-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Queen of paranormal romantic comedy Molly Harper delivers love and laughter in this magnificent series finale—available in audio first!
Eva Boudreaux keeps the truth about her life before arriving in Mystic Bayou a carefully guarded secret, flying under the radar as a talented boat mechanic. In the swampy little town filled with powerful supernatural beings, Eva never expected to strike up a charged flirtation with one of the Bayou’s human residents.
Alex Lancaster is far too polished for Eva’s taste—not to mention the danger that comes with his high-ranking position in the League, which could expose her secrets. Trouble is, she can’t resist his disarming sense of humor or the chemistry that crackles to life whenever he’s near. Will Alex be able to handle a woman like her? Or will her difficult past keep them apart?
Either way, they’ll need to join forces to solve one final mystery in Mystic Bayou. The fate of the town—and their hearts—depends upon it.
©2021 Molly Harper, LLC (P)2021 Audible Originals, LLC

A Farewell to Charms by Molly Harper is the 6th book in the Mystic Bayou series. These are Audible First releases (meaning they are released only in audio first) and I really enjoy the narrator. The series is fairly light with a lot of humor. I really enjoyed Eva in the previous books and I was anxious for her story. Sadly, this was my least favorite Mystic Bayou novel to date.

Alex is the League Director in Mystic Bayou. As a result, he has a hard time making connections with the others in Mystic Bayou. While they include him in their activities, he’s kind of socially awkward and knows he has to maintain some distance since he’s their boss. When he meets Eva, he has a hard time staying away. She’s so wonderful he just wants to be with her all the time. Which is why, when he looks into her past and and inadvertently finds out some of her secrets, he makes a mess of things for Eva with the others in Mystic Bayou.

Eva has always been attracted to Alex and she thought he felt the same, but she should have known better. She’s never had great luck with men, and Alex is out of her league. He proves that when he looks into her past and she realizes he was only interested in her to find out her secrets.

I wanted to like this book, but Alex’s actions in the beginning really squicked me out, and then Eva acted like an idiot toward the end of the novel. I enjoyed seeing some of my favorite people from previous books and I liked that gender reversal (Eva is stronger than Alex, who is a mundane human), which is why I gave it 2 stars, but there wasn’t a whole lot else to recommend it.

This felt like the end of the series. I’m not sure if Molly Harper plans to continue it or not, but if this is the end, I am sad it ended like this.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Mystic Bayou

two-stars


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Review: Bombshell by Sarah Maclean

Posted April 27, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Bombshell by Sarah MacleanReviewer: Holly
Bombshell by Sarah MacLean
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Series: Hell's Belles #1
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 394
Length: 10 hours and 6 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with a blazingly sexy, unapologetically feminist new series, Hell’s Belles, beginning with a bold, bombshell of a heroine, able to dispose of a scoundrel—or seduce one—in a single night.

After years of living as London’s brightest scandal, Lady Sesily Talbot has embraced the reputation and the freedom that comes with the title. No one looks twice when she lures a gentleman into the dark gardens beyond a Mayfair ballroom…and no one realizes those trysts are not what they seem.

No one, that is, but Caleb Calhoun, who has spent years trying not to notice his best friend’s beautiful, brash, brilliant sister. If you ask him, he’s been a saint about it, considering the way she looks at him…and the way she talks to him…and the way she’d felt in his arms during their one ill-advised kiss.

Except someone has to keep Sesily from tumbling into trouble during her dangerous late-night escapades, and maybe close proximity is exactly what Caleb needs to get this infuriating, outrageous woman out of his system. But now Caleb is the one in trouble, because he’s fast realizing that Sesily isn’t for forgetting…she’s forever. And forever isn’t something he can risk.

Bombshell is the first book in a spinoff of Maclean’s Scandal & Scoundrel series. I purchased the ebook, then requested the audiobook from the library since I have a long commute every day. I really like the narrator, Mary Jane Wells. I did struggle with the first couple chapters of the audiobook because there are a lot of characters and names that are introduced or discussed. Since I didn’t read the original series, I wasn’t familiar with any of them and it was confusing trying to keep everyone straight. After the first few chapters I easily fell into the story. I ended up switching between the ebook and the audiobook.

As much as this is the start of a new series, I do feel like I was missing some key information by not reading the previous Talbot sisters’ books. I may go back and read the series just to catch up.

I really enjoyed Sesily. She’s woman comfortable with herself and not afraid to go after what she wants. I loved her friendship with the other Hell’s Belles, and how they worked behind the scenes to fight injustices. I also liked that she didn’t take responsibility for the actions of anyone else.

I also enjoyed Caleb. He was able to hold his own against Sesily, which was good considering what a strong personality she had. I did become frustrated with the way his “big secret” was hinted at over and over again, but not revealed. That’s a personal preference. I don’t like when the reader is kept in the dark, especially since I had already guessed most of it. The romance was sweet, but honestly it was Sesily and the Belles who stole the show.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven

Posted January 26, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Dragon Unleashed by Grace DravenReviewer: Holly
Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven
Series: Fallen Empire #2
Also in this series: Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire, #1)
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 413
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Magic is outlawed in the Krael Empire and punishable by death. Born with the gift of earth magic, the free trader Halani keeps her dangerous secret closely guarded. When her uncle buys a mysterious artifact, a piece of bone belonging to a long-dead draga, Halani knows it's far more than what it seems.

Dragas haven't been seen for more than a century, and most believe them extinct. They're wrong. Dragas still walk among the denizens of the Empire, disguised as humans. Malachus is a draga living on borrowed time. The magic that has protected him will soon turn on him--unless he finds a key part of his heritage. He has tracked it to a group of free traders, among them a grave-robbing earth witch who fascinates him as much as she frustrates him with her many secrets.

Unbeknownst to both, the Empire's twisted empress searches for a draga of her own, to capture and kill as a trophy. As Malachus the hunter becomes the hunted, Halani must risk herself and all she loves to save him from the Empire's machinations and his own lethal birthright.

Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven is the second book in the Fallen Empire series. I really enjoyed Halani in the first book and I was anxious to learn more about her. The first couple chapters of this book were a bit slow, but I’m glad I pushed through. Once the story picked up I really fell into it.

Halani is a free-trader who keeps her magic firmly hidden. Magic was outlawed in the Krael Empire, and Halani would be put to death if her magic were to be discovered. She keeps her head down and does her best to make a living and care for her mother, who is very child-like after a head injury. When her uncle turns up with a “rare artifact”, Halani has a bad feeling he’s put them in danger, but he won’t let it go.

The world thinks Dragas are extinct, but they still exist. Malachus must find a missing piece of himself to unlock his magic before it kills him. He tracks his prize to Halani’s camp and is convinced what he seeks is nearby. He’s injured during a confrontation with the poachers who stole what was his, and he and Halani connect while she cares for his wounds.

Draven has built a wonderfully drawn world here. I enjoyed visiting different parts of the Empire and learning more about the rich history of the lands. Malachus and Halani came from different backgrounds and that reflected in their attitudes and opinions. I loved how well they balanced each other, and how neither was afraid to call the other out when needed.

I enjoyed getting to know Halani and her family better, and learning about Malachus. There isn’t a ton of action, and the pacing was slower than in the previous book. That worked well in context and allowed us to come to know Halani and Malachus better. I’m anxious for the next book in the series.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Fallen Empire

four-stars


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Review: Getting Real by Emma Chase

Posted January 12, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Getting Real by Emma ChaseReviewer: Holly
Getting Real by Emma Chase
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Zachary Webber
Series: Getting Some #3
Also in this series: Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1), Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1), Getting Played , Getting Played, Getting Schooled
Publisher: Audible Original
Publication Date: January 24, 2022
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Plus
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 300
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A sexy, hilarious, emotional, new romance from New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase.

Connor Daniels never thought he’d be starting over at dating square one. His career as a successful doctor, and his three boys, are everything to him. It’s not exactly a set-up conducive to a scorching love life—but he’s giving it a shot.

ER nurse Violet Robinson never intended for Connor to find out she’s had a crush on him forever. It was a dirty little secret only meant for her dirty dreams. Her heart trips every time he’s around—and so do her feet.

When Connor sees Violet coasting across the grocery store parking lot—and she falls on her face—he starts falling for the gorgeous, young nurse right back.

Dating can be tricky. And life can be beautiful and crazy and unpredictable. But when it gets real, you discover what matters most . . . and the one person you want loving you through it all.

Getting Real (Getting Some #3) by Emma Chase is an Audible Original (meaning it’s available in Audio First) and features Connor Daniels, an ER doctor. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series, but I wasn’t super excited for this book. I didn’t love Connor in the other books and I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about him as the main character. I’m glad I listened to it, however. He was wonderful, and I really enjoyed him as a doctor, father and love interest. I loved how open and honest he was (with a few exceptions) and how quick he was to reassure Violet when she needed it. He was an adult and he acted like it, which was very refreshing.

I also enjoyed Violet. She was down-to-earth and had a great sense of humor. She was also steady as they come and a great fit for Connor and his family.

The narrators were both wonderful and really brought the story to life.

This was just a feel good story. I was all warm and fuzzy when I finished, and I didn’t want to say goodbye to these characters.

4.5 out of 5

Getting Some

four-half-stars


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