Genre: Fairytale

Review: Stranded and Spellbound by Jenna Collett

Posted June 1, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Stranded and Spellbound by Jenna CollettReviewer: Holly
Stranded and Spellbound by Jenna Collett
Series: Ever Dark Ever Deadly Book 3
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: Dec 3, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Pages: 199
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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dnf

Meeting the parents can be deadly

Tessa Daniels finally has it all figured out. Her magic shop is booming, and she’s found love with the lead Detective of the Royal Agency, Derrick Chambers. Sure, her magic’s still a little faulty, but she hasn’t turned anyone into a mouse or started a plague in ages, and her mixed up spells are all part of her charm.

Until Derrick takes her home to the countryside to meet his parents.

He promises a romantic holiday, but the cozy escape is plagued with strange accidents, mysterious guests, and exposed secrets. Tessa is convinced there’s a mystery to solve, and when a snowstorm strands everyone inside the manor, they discover they’re trapped with a killer.

First one murder.

Then two.

It was supposed to be the perfect fairy tale ending, but meeting the parents may end up costing Tessa her life.

Stranded and Spellbound (Ever Dark, Ever Deadly #3) by Jenna Collett returns to Garrett and Tessa, the couple from book 1, Spellbound After Midnight. I remember finishing that book with a happy sigh because the story was just what I was in the mood for at that time, but upon further reflection it didn’t hold up very well. Tessa made a lot of questionable decisions, and her insecurities really got old after awhile. So it was with some trepidation that I went into this novel.

Garrett is taking Tessa home for the holidays to meet his aristocratic family. She’s nervous as can be, because she’s intimidated by their wealth and because she wants them to like her. There doesn’t seem much chance of that happening, however. When they arrive it’s to discover Garrett’s mother has already arranged an engagement for him to Snow white, and invited her there to plan the wedding. This despite the fact that Garrett told them he was bringing Tessa home. He wants to leave, but Tessa is determined to stay and win them over.

I only read about 25% of this book before I set it aside. Tessa didn’t endear herself to me. She was so anxious to make everyone like her that she let herself be treated like crap. Plus, her incompetence didn’t come off as sweet and funny, so much as annoying and cringe-worthy.(She wants his very wealthy family to like her so she bakes them a pie using magic, but oops, she sucks at magic so the pie turned out horrible, but she still brought it anyway? WTF?)

I’m not interested in the way his mother treated Tessa, and I don’t want to read about how she “wins them over.” I don’t really think they can come back from “I invited another woman here and I’m planning her wedding to my son while you’re standing right there”.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll be in the mood for it some other time, but I doubt it. The rest of the series is wonderful, however, so don’t let this review deter you from reading it.

Rating: DNF (1 out of 5 for what I did read)

Ever Dark, Ever Deadly

dnf


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Review: Shatter the Dark by Jenna Collett

Posted May 30, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shatter the Dark by Jenna CollettReviewer: Holly
Shatter the Dark by Jenna Collett
Series: Ever Dark Ever Deadly #4
Also in this series: Spellbound After Midnight, Wolfish Charms
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 16, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Pages: 297
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The path out of darkness lies with each other.
Liana Archer knows the kind of evil that lurks in the dark. Kidnapped by a witch and forced to leave behind her twin brother to escape, she vows to live her life with purpose even as the past haunts her nightmares. Years later, her adoptive family and her skills in weapon forgery have put her on a fresh path, until her father is thrown in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Now, she'll do anything to gain his freedom, even if it means bargaining with a beast.
A scarred and broken man, Bowen Mackenzie only wants one thing: revenge on the man responsible for his scars. It's finally within his reach when a merchant delivers the mystical blade he's been searching for. But a new plan forms when he learns the merchant's daughter forged the magical weapon.
Living together in a remote manor by the sea, Bowen gets more than he bargained for as the tempting beauty upends his cold existence. When buried secrets threaten to destroy their fragile bond, and an old enemy from Liana's past returns, he must choose between his revenge and the woman who could be his salvation.
Hansel and Gretel meets Beauty and the Beast in this exciting new retelling!

Shatter the Dark (Ever Dark, Ever Deadly #4) by Jenna Collett is a fairytale reimagining with Hansel and Gretel and Beauty and the Beast elements. This is my favorite book of the series to date and one of my favorite reads from 2021.

Liana and her twin brother were kidnapped by a witch. He sacrificed his own escape so she could get away, and then he and the witch disappeared. Liana was found and taken in by a kind family and she became a premier weapons maker. Bowen Mackenzie was one of the world’s leading adventurers until he was left scarred and broken. Now his only obsession is finding revenge against the man who is responsible for his scars. When a magical blade turns up, one that will lead him directly to his nemesis, and Bowen realizes Liana made it, he ensures she’s forced to stay with him to make another.

This is a really well-written fairytale series. Liana was such a strong character. I really loved how she overcame her past trauma and how capable she was. Although Bowen engineered her stay with him, Liana didn’t let him get away with anything. Bowen was a beast in the beginning, but watching him grow into more was sweet and adorable. They were both a little broken and scarred, but I loved the way they came to lean on one another.

There is some overlap between this book and Wolfish Charms, book 2, but I don’t believe they need to be read in order. I’m really looking forward to reading more in this series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Ever Dark, Ever Deadly

four-half-stars


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Review: Wolfish Charms by Jenna Collett

Posted May 4, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wolfish Charms by Jenna CollettReviewer: Holly
Wolfish Charms by Jenna Collett
Series: Ever Dark Ever Deadly #2
Also in this series: Spellbound After Midnight, Shatter the Dark
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 6, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 415
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The wolves are at her door, but can she trust the villain offering her salvation?

Vivian James took seeing ghosts for granted until the day they vanished along with the person she cared about most. Now, plagued with visions of the future, all she wants is revenge on the creature that destroyed her life.

Even a devil's mask can slip.

Argus Ward is hunting the creature wreaking havoc in the kingdom. He used the kingdom's oracle to track its movement, but now that the oracle is dead, he'll need to use Vivian. She might be a fool to put her trust in a gangster, but there's something about him that keeps drawing her in.
Their partnership is straightforward, find the beast and get revenge. But, things are never that simple when love, murder, and werewolves get in the way.
Book two in the Ever Dark, Ever Deadly Series.

Wolfish Charms by Jenna Collett is the second book in the Ever Dark, Ever Deadly series. This is a take on Little Red Riding Hood, with some twists. I enjoyed the story a bit more than the first, Spellbound After Midnight.

Vivian is a Medium. She’s always been something of an outcast, since no one wanted to be friends with the weird girl who can see and talk to ghosts, so she mostly spends time with her best friend Tess and her ghosts. Until the night her grandmother and her ghosts disappear. Now she’s having visions of the future and trying to keep Angus Ward, the most notorious gangster in the land, at bay. The problem? She feels safe with Argus, and staying away from him goes against all her instincts.

Argus is determined to find the werewolves who have been terrorizing the city and to find help for his sister, who was bitten. He needs the Oracle’s help to find a magic dagger that will cure his sister. He almost had it, but it was stolen out from under him the night the Oracle died. Now he needs Vivian’s help.

I really liked Vivian and Argus, and I liked the mystery surrounding the deaths taking place in the Kingdom. Argus was something of an anti-hero. He definitely had shady dealings and wasn’t the best guy, but he had hidden depths. I liked how he tried to keep Vivian at a distance but couldn’t stay away.

From other reviews I’ve read it seems I’m the outlier, but I didn’t care for Tessa, Vivian’s best friend and the heroine of the first book, Spellbound After Midnight. I liked her well enough when I read that book, but her insecurities really got out of control. The next book features her and I’m on the fence about reading it. I’m looking forward to the following book, however. Bring on Liana and Bowen.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ever Dark, Ever Deadly

four-stars


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Review: Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea

Posted November 1, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Beauty and the Beast by K.M. SheaReviewer: Holly
Beauty and the Beast by K.M. Shea
Series: Timeless Fairy Tales #1
Also in this series: The Princess and the Pea
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 12, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Pages: 272
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Once upon a time Elle made a mistake. A small miscalculation sends her through the roof of an enchanted chateau. Stranded until her broken leg mends, Elle is forced to rely on the good will of the sour chateau owner —the cursed Prince Severin.

Prince Severin—the commanding general and staunch supporter of his brother the crown prince—is cursed to look like a beast until a maiden falls in love with him. However, he has given up all hope of shattering the curse after several painful and failed attempts to break it. As such he has only disdain for Elle, leaving her to the devices of his bossy servants. This suits Elle perfectly as she dislikes the entire royal family, Severin included.

Unfortunately for the unsuspecting pair, the chateau servants are determined to break the curse and spend the majority of their time pushing Elle and Severin together. After bonding over gardens, animals, and terrifying squirrels Elle and Severin show signs of friendship, and perhaps something more…

But not all love stories can end that easily. After all, Elle is not what she seems, and Severin’s life is placed in danger when hostilities flare between his brother and the monarchs of a neighboring country.

If they really want the love of a lifetime Elle, a loyal liar, and Severin, an indifferent beast, will have to use every trick they know to survive.

I’ve read some other novels by Shea and I am a total sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings, so I snagged this one from KU even though I had to DNF the first book in the prequel series (Apprentice of Magic). I enjoyed the way this was presented. The basic bones of the B&tB story are here, with some fun twists to make it the author’s own. I liked Elle and Severin, and the way their friendship developed. I didn’t really love the main conflict, and how he rejected her, but it didn’t kill the story for me.

I find these to be long reads and all the filler kind of makes for a difficult reading experience. Plus, I hate how the author sort of coyly drug out Elle’s reasons for being at the Chateau in the first place for the entire book. I had figured it out early on, and the constant hinting at it was frustrating.

While I enjoyed this and the previous novella, I don’t know that I’ll continue with the series. None of the other blurbs really appealed to me, and I’m not interested in the overarching storyline.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Timeless Fairy Tales

three-half-stars


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Review: The Princess and the Pea by K.M. Shea

Posted October 27, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Princess and the Pea by K.M. SheaReviewer: Holly
The Princess and the Pea by K.M. Shea
Series: Timeless Fairy Tales #0.5
Also in this series: Beauty and the Beast
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 1, 2018
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

What if the true makings of a princess have nothing to do with where she’s from and everything to do with who she is?

She may hate her nickname of “Warrior Princess” but Lis stakes her reputation on her ability to protect her client’s treasures no matter what she faces.

But this job is different.

When the royal family of Torrens hires her to guard the fabled Pea of Primeorder jewel it starts out like any other job. The king is kind of eccentric (and possibly delusional) and Prince Channing is strangely pleasant towards her, but otherwise everything is normal.

Until she learns about the thief.

The legendary thief Apex has sent a letter declaring his intention to steal the Pea of Primeorder. Lis knows this is either the vainest thief in the world or there is more going on then she’s been told. But a job is a job. Lis will pass this test at all costs even if she has to stuff the jewel in her mattress while she sleeps.

But eccentricities of the Torrens royal family only intensifies as Prince Channing starts asking Lis strange questions. Like...would Lis stay in Torrens after her contract is over, and if they could learn to fight together. (What kind of royal asks that?)

A Prince, a Warrior, and a Pea. The Kingdom of Torrens will never be the same.

This novella is a prequel for the Timeless Fairy Tale series. It is not necessary to read the books in the Timeless Fairy Tales series prior to reading this story. However, if you have read that series watch for the name drops and hidden Easter eggs!

I found the Timeless Fairy Tales series while browsing Goodreads and decided to give this novella a try. I loved the premise of a kickass warrior princess, and I’m happy to report she was everything I was hoping for.

Lis has made a name for herself as a mercenary. Although she’s of common origins, she’s been labeled the “Warrior Princess” because she’s such an excellent fighter. When she and her protégée, Vorah, are hired to protect the Pea of Primeorder jewel, Lis figures it will be a job just like any other. But when she arrives at the Kingdom of Torrens, nothing is quite as it seems. She’s determined to protect the Pea at all costs.

I really liked that Lis was a true warrior, and her friendship with Vorah. The two of them were fabulous and totally made this story worth reading. The romance was kind of unnecessary. I didn’t really feel like Lis was truly in love at the end. I’m honestly not even sure why it was included. The friendship between Vorah and Lis, and how kickass they were, made the story.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Timeless Fairy Tales

three-half-stars


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