Format: Audiobook

Review: The Scoundrel in Her Bed by Lorraine Heath

Posted January 15, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Scoundrel in Her Bed by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Holly
The Scoundrel in Her Bed by Lorraine Heath
Narrator: Kate Reading
Series: Sins for All Seasons #3
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire, When a Duke Loves a Woman, When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2), The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons, #3), The Duchess in His Bed, The Earl Takes a Fancy, Beauty Tempts the Beast, Beauty Tempts the Beast , The Duchess in His Bed
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The bastard son of a nobleman, Finn Trewlove was a shameful secret raised by a stranger. As Finn came of age, he had secrets, too—the clandestine nights spent with an earl’s daughter. But her promise of forever ended in betrayal.

Driven by a past that haunts her, Lady Lavinia Kent seeks redemption in London’s underworld, engaged in a daring cause inspired by the young man to whom she gave her innocence, and who then proved himself a scoundrel by abandoning her.

When their paths cross again, they can’t deny the yearning and desire that still burns. As they discover the truth behind the deceptions that tore them apart, Finn and Lavinia must fight to reclaim what they’ve lost, no matter how dangerous—because love is worth the risk . . .

The early part of this novel switches back and forth between the present and 8 years prior, when Finn Trewlove and Lady Lavinia Kent met and fell in love. Something went horribly wrong between them, and we are slowly shown how events unfolded.

We were introduced to Lady Lavinia Kent in When a Duke Loves a Woman, where she left her affianced duke at the alter. She’s been hiding out in Whitechapel ever since, on a quest to rescue children from Baby Farmers – women who take in by-blows for a fee. She’s staying with the Sisters of Mercy, who are keeping the children she rescues, but they’re running out of bed space. Her ultimate dream is to find work so she can have her own foundling home, but her brother, the Earl of Collinsworth, has put out a reward for anyone who finds her and brings her home, and she isn’t able to move about freely. 8 years ago she was in love with a man, a commoner, who abandoned her. Since then her life has been pretty awful, and she’s determined to give these children better than she had. No matter the cost.

Finn was devastated when Vivi betrayed him. Because of her he spent 5 years in prison, nursing his need for revenge. But now that she’s in Whitechapel, he can’t hold onto his anger. Things take a devastating turn for them both when they realize neither was at fault for their separation. Finn would love to pick up where they left off, but Lavinia knows they’re both different people…and if Finn finds out all her secrets, he’ll probably hate her…

I enjoyed this story quite a bit. I liked seeing a younger Finn and Lavinia come to know each other and fall in love. I liked even more seeing the older, more mature versions of themselves doing the same. They both come to realize they would have had many more challenges had they married 8 years ago, and I liked that though they were committed then and now, they recognized their growth and appreciated the relationship more for it.

I was frustrated with how long it took Vivi to share her secrets with Finn, though I loved how supportive he was of her in the meantime. This was a sweet, second-chance romance and I was here for it.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons

four-stars


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Review: The Duchess in His Bed by Lorraine Heath

Posted January 8, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Duchess in His Bed by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Holly
The Duchess in His Bed by Lorraine Heath
Series: Sins for All Seasons #4
Also in this series: Beyond Scandal and Desire, Beyond Scandal and Desire, When a Duke Loves a Woman, When a Duke Loves a Woman (Sins for All Seasons, #2), The Scoundrel in Her Bed (Sins for All Seasons, #3), The Duchess in His Bed, The Earl Takes a Fancy, Beauty Tempts the Beast, Beauty Tempts the Beast , The Scoundrel in Her Bed
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Length: 11 hours and 42 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

11 hours, 42 minutes

For a duchess with practical desires, falling in love is an inconceivable part of her plan…

As owner of the Elysium Club which caters to women's fantasies, Aiden Trewlove is accustomed to introducing adventurous ladies to sin and vice. But he is uncharacteristically intrigued by the mysterious beauty who visits his club one night, yearning to indulge in the forbidden—with him. Drawn to her indomitable spirit, he breaks his rule of never becoming personally involved with his clientele and is determined to fully awaken her desires.

A recent widow, Selena Sheffield, Duchess of Lushing, has never known passion, not until Aiden's slow, sensual seduction leads her on a journey of discovery and incredible pleasure. But her reasons for visiting the notorious club are not all that they seem.

As Selena's motives become complicated by love, she finds herself with a most unexpected choice: forge ahead with a secret plan that could secure her future—or follow her heart which could prove ruinous.

I really wanted to like this book. I enjoyed Aiden in the previous books and I was curious about him and his lady love. Sadly, this book didn’t work for me.

I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’m not going to recap the plot. The blurb does a pretty good job of outlining things anyway.

In general, I’m not a fan of the “slow seduction in a club” trope, and Selena’s reasons for wanting to be seduced did nothing to further the story for me. I never warmed up to her and therefore didn’t care about their romance. Maybe if she’d done the right thing earlier in the book I’d have felt differently, but the fact that she was still determined to stay her course at the 80% mark didn’t give me as the reader a lot of time to get over her actions. In fact, I lost more respect for her when she realizes the damage she’s going to cause Aiden with her actions, but stays her course anyway. Every time Aiden or someone else mentioned how “selfless” she was, I actually snorted out loud. A more selfish character I’ve rarely seen.

I liked Aiden and the Trewlove family, but Selena ruined the book for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Sins for All Seasons

two-half-stars


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Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Posted December 28, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasReviewer: Holly
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Narrator: Philip Battley
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 15, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Romance
Pages: 485
Length: 11 hours and 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

This special ebook edition of Sherry Thomas's extraordinary romantic fantasy debut, The Burning Sky—the first in the Elemental Trilogy—features a repackaged cover for her legions of romance fans and an excerpt from the sequel, The Perilous Sea.

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of the Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother's visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

At Tracy’s recommendation, I requested the audiobook from the library and switched back and forth between listening and reading. I really liked the narrator. I feel like I lost some of the connection to the story by switching platforms, however. For awhile I was fully invested in the story and characters, but that fizzled a bit by the end.

Iolanthe Seabourne has been living with her mentor and guardian since she was two years old. He was the perfect guardian…until he wasn’t. She doesn’t understand what changed him from an honorable, loving man into an unscrupulous addict. For years, she’s been covering for him and trying to keep them afloat. When he begs her not to complete a potion she’s promised to make in exchange for allowing him to keep his position, he ruins it. She ends up calling down lightning to fix it, and that sets off a chain of events she could never have predicted. Unbeknownst to her, she is one of the great Elemental Mages – a mage who can control all four elements. Her lightning brought The Inquisitor after her, along with several other agents of Atlantis. But it also brought Prince Titus, the ruler of the realm, and her personal savior. Only he has his own agenda, and Iolanthe will be forced to learn some hard lessons.

Titus has always known his purpose..to find and protect the last great Elemental Mage. He’s been preparing for this his whole life…except he never imagined she’d be a girl. He’s hiding her in the human realm as a boy, but only until he can convince her to take out The Inquisitor and take on Atlantis.

Thomas has built an engrossing world, full of magic and possibilities. I really enjoyed the action and the progression of the story. It was interesting to see Titus and Iolanthe circle around each other. I hated that he took advantage of her and treated her poorly, but I also understood why.

Parts of this were predictable, but I enjoyed it for the most part. I do think both main characters lacked a bit of depth. Things were very much on the surface, especially with Iolanthe. I’m hoping we see more change and growth from her in the next two books.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

The Burning Sky Trilogy

three-stars


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Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Posted November 11, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. JamesReviewer: Holly
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Narrator: Kirsten Potter, Brittany Pressley
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Horror, Gothic, Thriller
Pages: 327
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

The secrets lurking in a rundown roadside motel ensnare a young woman, just as they did her aunt thirty-five years before, in this new atmospheric suspense novel from the national bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken Girls.

Upstate NY, 1982. Every small town like Fell, New York, has a place like the Sun Down Motel. Some customers are from out of town, passing through on their way to someplace better. Some are locals, trying to hide their secrets. Viv Delaney works as the night clerk to pay for her move to New York City. But something isn't right at the Sun Down, and before long she's determined to uncover all of the secrets hidden…

I recently had a Zoom call with some book friends and Wendy the Super Librarian recommended this novel. It had been in my TBR pile for awhile, but I moved it to the top. I usually enjoy novels by St. James, but this one was of the better ones I’ve read in awhile. The creepiness of the motel, the alternating story-lines and the mystery of what happened in the 1980s was gripping.

When Carly’s mom dies of cancer, she learns of an aunt she never knew existed..one who disappeared in the 1980s that no one ever talks about. Determined to connect with her family history, she travels to Fell, New York, to see if she can uncover what happened.

In 1982, Viv Delaney hitchhiked to Fell, New York and took a job as a night clerk at The Sun Down Motel. She expected it to be a stop-over point on her way to New York to pursue a career in acting. But strange things are happening in Fell, New York, and creepy things go on at night at The Sun Down. It isn’t long before Viv is wrapped up in the mystery of several local missing or murdered women.

The story alternates between Carly in the present and Viv in the 1980s. Carly is trying to figure out what happened to her aunt, and we’re given small pieces of the puzzle from Viv’s point of view in the 80s. I really enjoyed the two narrators and how the story was woven between the two time periods. I figured out pretty early on where things were headed, but I still enjoyed watching the story unfold.

I was slightly disappointed in the end, but I’d still definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a creepy, Gothic mystery.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

Posted September 14, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla VaneReviewer: Holly
A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Series: A Gathering of Dragons #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Format: eARC, Audiobook
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 555
Length: 15 hours and 16 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil - until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…

I’ve been waiting for Milla Vane (aka Meljean Brook) to return to writing for years. When this book popped up on NetGalley, I actually squee’d out loud. Then I started it and…wasn’t in the mood. It had nothing to do with the book, I just wasn’t feeling a dark epic fantasy at that time. Fast forward to this month; I saw the audiobook and decided to purchase it. I’m really glad I did. I ended up loving the narrator.

Maddek is determined to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of a neighboring kingdom. When the traditional path is closed to him because of the alliance, he decides to take his revenge in another way…by killing the heir to their thrown. The problem? Yvenne is nothing like he expected. She’s small, weak and nothing like the warrior queen he expected. She’s also just as determined to bring her father down as Maddek is. Though he trusts her not at all, he agrees to take her as his wife if it means being able to kill her father and brothers.

The overall theme of this novel is very dark, and so are the actions of both characters. Maddek was bent on revenge and could see nothing else. Yvenne was determined to kill her father and claim her kingdom. She was also determined to make Maddek into a king, whether he wanted it or not. Yvenne was fierce, for all her physical frailty. I loved how she stood up for herself, and wielded her tongue like a weapon. I liked their dynamic, though his vow that he would rip her tongue out if she spoke of his mother was frustrating. I understood Maddek’s need for vengeance, but I didn’t love the way he treated Yvenne. I wish he’d have wised up a little sooner. In the end, I forgave him because Yvenne did.

I did think it moved a bit slow in parts and the world-building took some time, but I enjoyed the book as a whole.

3.75 out of 5

A Gathering of Dragons

four-stars


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