Format: eBook

Review: Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross

Posted July 21, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Waking the Dragon by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross
Series: Vale of Stars #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 255
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The Gladium Province is on the verge of civil unrest as humans and Morgons, the dragon-hybrid race, clash once more. But amid disorder can also arise passion.

When the bodies of three human women are discovered in Morgon territory—with the DNA of several Morgon men on the victims—it’s just a matter of time before civil unrest hits the Province. But for ambitious reporter Moira Cade, it’s more than just a story, and it may mean risking her own life.

Descending into the dark underworld of Morgon society, Moira is paired with Kol Moonring, Captain of the Morgon Guard, for her protection. Fiercely independent, Moira bristles at his dominance, and defies his will at every turn. Yet resistance proves futile when passion flares between them, awakening powerful emotions within both, body and soul. But as the killings continue, can their fiery newfound bond survive an even greater evil—one that threatens all of humanity, Morgonkind, and Moira’s very soul?...

Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross is the first book in the Vale of Stars series, a spinoff of the Nightwing series, which I have not read. I definitely felt like I was missing some key pieces of information by starting with this series.

Moira Cade is a college student studying investigative journalism. When several young women turn up dead over the course of several months, Moira knows there’s more to the story than the Morgon and Human Guards are saying. With the help of a friend who works at the precinct, she’s investigating on her own. When she realizes the victims are all disappearing from Morgon games, she enlists the help of her brother-in-law and his security team to help her infiltrate them. She’s partnered with Kol Moonring, the Captain of the Morgon Guard. He’s over-bearing and possessive, but Moira just wants to focus on building her career.

On the surface this was an okay story, but below the surface it was kind of a mess. Moira is only 20 and a human. Yet she is the only one who figures out what’s happening with the murdered girls? A bunch of over-protective dragons agree to let a human girl investigate and act as bait for a murderous cult? None of that made sense. Add to it the fact that Moira was all, “I don’t need no man” until all of a sudden she did need a man and it was over for me. I may have felt differently if I’d read the previous series, but mostly this book just annoyed me.

I am interested in some of the secondary characters, and I enjoy Cross’ writing, so I may try another book in the series before moving on.

2.75 out of 5

Vale of Stars

two-half-stars


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Review: Come to Me Recklessly by A.L. Jackson

Posted July 7, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Come to Me Recklessly by A.L. JacksonReviewer: Casee
Come to Me RecklesslySeries: Closer to You #3
Also in this series: Come to Me Quietly, Come to Me Softly
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 445
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

His heart was turned off…

Until she turned him on…

Christopher Moore gave up on the idea of love years ago. Now, his life is an endless string of parties and an even longer string of girls. Enjoying the physical perks with none of the emotional mess, he's convinced everyone that he's satisfied—everyone but himself.

Samantha Schultz has moved on with her life. Finishing her student teaching and living with her boyfriend, she's deluded herself into believing she's content. But there is one boy she never forgot—her first love—and she keeps the memory of him locked up tight. She will never allow any man to break her the way Christopher did.

When Christopher's sister and her family move into a new neighborhood, Christopher is completely unprepared to find Samantha living at the end of the street. Memories and unspent desires send them on a collision course of sex, lies, and lust. But when guilt and fear send Samantha running, Christopher will have to fight for what has always been his.

After reading Come to Me Quietly & Come to Me Softly, I wasn’t sure that I was ready for the last book in this series. The first two books packed quite the emotional punch. I almost took a break, but I just had to read Christopher’s story. He was such an ass in the first two books. Other than his obvious love for his sister, there seemed to be very few redeeming qualities about him. I usually don’t like being wrong, but in this case it really worked out. This book is my favorite in the trilogy.

Christopher & Samantha fell in love when they were teenagers. Like a full-blown, forever type of love. It should have been weird, but it wasn’t. Sometimes you just know. Christopher knew that Samantha was the one for him. Neither his parents nor her parents could keep them apart. Then Zack’s mom dies and it all goes to hell. Samantha feels Christopher pulling away from her. She tries to be there for him, but he’s going through something that she can’t touch. Then she finds him cheating on her and that’s it for her.

Fast forward…Samantha is living right down the street from Aly & Zack. Aly & Samantha run into each other and the subject of Christopher comes up. The wound is still raw for Samantha, no matter how much time has gone by. She’s determined to stay away from Christopher and Christopher seems just as determined to stay away from her. Samantha doesn’t know why Christopher has a problem with her. He was the one that cheated on her. He left her, not the other way around.

I really like the reunited lovers troupe. There’s always some big emotional reason that the couple has separated which means that it’s a big emotional reunion. That’s how it was for Christopher and Samantha. They were meant to be together and nothing, not even time can keep them apart.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Closer to You

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas

Posted July 1, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Not Quite a Husband by Sherry ThomasReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas
Series: The Marsdens #2
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publication Date: May 19, 2009
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 354
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Sherry Thomas is one of the hottest new voices in historical romance, garnering the highest praise from today’s bestselling writers (“Entrancing.” —Mary Balogh; “Ravishingly sinful, intelligent and addictive.” —Eloisa James). Now Sherry delivers this powerful story of a remarkable woman and the love she thought she’d never find—with the man she thought she’d lost forever.…

Their marriage lasted only slightly longer than the honeymoon—to no one’s surprise, not even Bryony Asquith’s. A man as talented, handsome, and sought after by society as Leo Marsden couldn't possibly want to spend his entire life with a woman who rebelled against propriety by becoming a doctor. Why, then, three years after their annulment and half a world away, does he track her down at her clinic in the remotest corner of India?

Leo has no reason to think Bryony could ever forgive him for the way he treated her, but he won’t rest until he’s delivered an urgent message from her sister—and fulfilled his duty by escorting her safely back to England. But as they risk their lives for each other on the journey home, will the biggest danger be the treacherous war around them—or their rekindling passion?

Holly: I am a total sucker for second chance romances. When our book club suggested this novel, I was really excited. I was frustrated with Bryony in the beginning, because I didn’t understand why she was so cold toward her former husband. But my heart really ached for her after we found out her reasons for pulling away.

Rowena: I haven’t been in the mood for historicals so I wasn’t all that enthused about starting this one but I am glad that I read and finished it. Like you, I spent a lot of the beginning of this story frustrated with Bryony. I was impatient and just wanted to know why she hated her husband so much. He had to have done something but even he was clueless about what he did so I thought I was going to be pissed at Bryony because it was going to be something stupid but that wasn’t the case at all.

I will say that I spent a good chunk of this book annoyed at one thing or another but I couldn’t stop reading it so I guess that’s a good thing?

Holly: It’s funny because I felt the same way. I wanted to keep reading and find out what was going to happen, and why they were at odds when they both clearly loved the other. But man was I annoyed through a good chunk.

I especially struggled with the dubious consent on both sides.

Rowena: Yes. The dubious consent on both sides pissed me off. Every single time that he did it, I wanted to smack him upside his head and then knee him in the balls because what is wrong with him?? I was so mad on her behalf because she was trying so hard to stay away from him and he just kept right on coming back while she had her guard down…so when she ups and does the exact same thing that I was pissed at him for doing, I wanted to pull her hair and poke her eyes out.

Holly: Exactly. I was so angry at him, and then she went and did the exact same thing. I wanted to smack them both.

Rowena: Once all of their drama is out in the open and they start working together to figure out where to go from here (especially during the attack), I was glad. I will say that Sherry Thomas’ writing style is hard to stay away from. No matter how many times I wanted to smack a bitch in the book, I never once wanted to stop. This was a quick read for me and alls well that ends well so for me, I’d give this one a 3.75 out of 5 rating. You?

Holly: Like you, I didn’t want to stop reading, though. This was a fast read and I easily finished it in one sitting.

I’d give it 3.5 out of 5. It was easy to read and I liked the story overall, but there were some problematic themes for me.

Holly: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena: 3.75 out of 5

The Marsdens

four-stars


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Review: Gypsy King by Devney Perry

Posted June 30, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Gypsy King by Devney PerryReviewer: Casee
Gypsy King by Devney Perry
Series: Tin Gypsy #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 14, 2021
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 404
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The former Tin Gypsy motorcycle club has everyone in Clifton Forge, Montana convinced they’ve locked their clubhouse doors and ripped off their patches. Everyone but Bryce Ryan. There’s more happening at the club’s garage than muscle car restorations and Harley rebuilds. Her instincts are screaming there’s a story—one she’s going to tell.

As the new owner of the small town’s newspaper, Bryce is hungry for more than birth announcements and obituaries. When a woman is brutally killed and all signs point to the Tin Gypsies, Bryce is determined to expose the club and their leader, Kingston “Dash” Slater, as murderers.

Bryce bests Dash match after match, disappointed her rugged and handsome opponent turns out to be an underwhelming adversary. Secrets are exposed. Truths defeat lies. Bryce is poised to win this battle in a landslide.

Then Dash breaks all the rules and tips the scales.

One kiss, and she’s fighting to save more than just her story. She’s fighting to save her heart from the Gypsy King.

I started out reading this book but ended up listening to it on audio. I had a real problem getting into it. I got to chapter six and almost DNFed it. The heroine is a reporter. Reporters aren’t my favorite people so I had a mental block from the beginning. Then she got worse. It seemed like all she cared was getting the story on the front page of the paper, not finding out the truth. I’m really happy that I continued because it turned out to be a (mostly) great book.

The Tin Gypsy MC closed it doors a year prior. The club was going in a direction that President Dash Slater didn’t like. When they disbanded it was with the expectation that that part of their lives were over. They were law abiding, tax paying citizens. The violence that has been apart of their lives for so long was no longer a thing. Then there is a murder in Clifton Forge & the evidence points right to Dash’s father, Draven.

Bryce Ryan has just moved back to Clifton Forge from Seattle to work at her family’s newspaper. A hotshot in the Seattle TV anchor scene, Bryce was ready for a change when she goes home. She discovers pretty quickly that the town isn’t without its’ problems. When Draven Slater is arrested for the murder of a woman, Bryce is determined to tell the story. My problem with Bryce at the beginning was that she wanted the story so badly that she forgot all else. She was fine using people, including Dash.

Bryce has met her match in Dash. Initially enemies, these two soon find that they have much more in common than they thought. Bryce realizes that the case may not be exactly what it seemed to be. Dash knows his dad didn’t murder anyone and is determined to prove it with or without Bryce’s help. They make a pact to share all information. If Dash withholds anything, Bryce will do a full expose about the Tin Gypsies.

While working together it doesn’t take long for both of them to realize that there is more afoot than just murder. What seemed cut and dried actually goes back further than any of them know. They only have a limited amount of time to find the real killer before Draven goes to jail. While doing that, they are uncovering secrets about Clifton Forge and the Tin Gypsies. Secrets that people would kill for.

I was fully prepared to give this book a 4 out of 5. Then View Spoiler » It was so unnecessary that it just ruined most of the book for me. I wish DP hadn’t gone in that direction. There didn’t seem to be a reason for it at all.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Tin Gypsy

three-stars


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Review: Heart of Fire by Bec McMaster

Posted June 28, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Heart of Fire by Bec McMasterReviewer: Holly
Heart of Fire by Bec McMaster
Series: Legends of the Storm #1
Publisher: Lochaber Press
Publication Date: April 8, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 278
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The old eddas speak of dreki--fabled creatures who haunt the depths of Iceland's volcanoes and steal away fair maidens.

Freyja wants none of such myths. Dreki seducing young ladies? Ha. They probably eat such foolish girls. But when the local dreki steals her last ram--costing her any chance of feeding her ill father through the winter--Freyja intends to confront the fearsome myth.

Sentenced to a life of exile from his clan, Rurik is fascinated by the furious woman who comes to claim her ram. She reeks of mysterious magic and challenges him at every step. He intends to claim the passionate firebrand, but to do so he must take mortal form. It's the only time the dreki are vulnerable, and with a dragon-hunter arriving on the shores of Iceland, he can barely afford the risk--but lonely Freyja, with her elf-cursed eyes and pragmatic soul, tempts him in ways he's never felt before. Is she the key to reclaiming his heritage? Or will she be his downfall?

The Legends of the Storm series:- Fantasy Romance- Historical Fantasy- Paranormal Romance- Fated Mates- Shifter romance

At the time of this writing, this novel is free for Kindle users. I did not check other platforms.

Heart of Fire by Bec McMaster is the first book in the Legends of the Storm fantasy romance series. This came up as a suggested read in Kindle. I decided to give it a try since my friend recently read another book by Bec McMaster and enjoyed it. I really love that it’s sent in Iceland in the early 1800s.

Freyja lives on a small farm with her father, who is blind and in poor health. Because of rumors circulating in the local village – rumors spread by the local landowner’s son, who wants her for his mistress – no one will trade with her and she and her father are on the brink of starvation. For 30 years, the villagers have paid a weekly tithe to the Dreki (dragon) who lives under the volcano that sits above the village. They leave an animal once a week and in exchange, he leaves their village alone. When Rurik, the Dreki, steals her one and only ram, that’s the last straw for Freyja. She marches up the volcano to demand he return it.

Rurik has been exiled from his clan. He’s been alone under the volcano for far too long. When Freyja marches in demanding he return her ram, he’s both amused and intrigued. Since the villagers stopped paying the tithe, the ram was fair game, but she’s a puzzle he can’t wait to solve. He hasn’t been tempted to take on human flesh in ages, but Freyja is too much to resist. He’s determined to have her, and if that means changing shapes then so be it. The timing couldn’t be worse, however, since a dragon hunter with vengeance in his heart just landed on the shores of Iceland, and Rurik is his intended target.

I really enjoyed the mythology and the setting. Freyja frustrated me a bit, and I thought it dragged some in the middle, but overall it was a well-done fantasy novel. I loved Rurik. Dragons are one of my favorite shapeshifters, and he was everything I love in a dragon. I liked how Freyja challenged him and puzzled him all at once. I also loved his attempts to woo her.

Freyja has hidden her entire life, because she has powers her mother told her must be kept secret at all costs. Still, she isn’t without protection, so she has strong self-confidence, which I loved. I really connected with her early on in the novel, but as it wore on she began to frustrate me the way she constantly pulled back from Rurik. I understood why she wanted to pull back, but her constant hot and cold started to wear on me.

Still, I enjoyed their romance and watching them figure each other out. Rurik’s persistence and thoughtfulness were sweet, and I really did enjoy how independent Freyja was.

I also enjoyed the way the dragon hunter and his backstory were incorporated, as well as the hints of the Dreki court politics we saw. Based on the way things ended I believe the story of the court politics will carry over into future books and I’m here for it.

Although the heroine occasionally frustrated me and parts of the novel were slow, overall this was a really lovely fantasy romance. I loved the world and characters. I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Legends of the Storm

four-stars


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