Publisher: Berkley

Review: The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

Posted October 24, 2022 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Heart Principle by Helen HoangReviewer: Rowena
The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang
Series: The Kiss Quotient #3
Also in this series: The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1), The Bride Test
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 31, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 343
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this new New York Times bestselling romance by Helen Hoang.

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a book review so please bear with me as I jump back into this bitch. It’s also been a little bit since I read this book but I came across my notes that I wrote for this book so I’m reviewing it. I’m not going to get into what this book was about, the summary does a great job of explaining what we’re getting into so I’m jumping right into my thoughts.

This is the third book in the Kiss Quotient series by Helen Hoang. It’s the book that I was really looking forward to because it’s Quan’s book! Lovely Quan, Michael’s cousin from The Kiss Quotient. He was such a memorable character for me. I’m a bit sad that this was Quan’s story because we got more Anna than Quan. I felt that Quan was part of Anna’s story and that was a bummer for me. Quan was such a delightful and interesting character so I felt he was cheated and even after all of this time, I’m still not over that.

That’s not to say that I hated Anna or that I hated the book. I just wish that Quan had gotten another story where he shined and was front and center instead of being featured in someone else’s story. There is a lot of heavy stuff tackled in this book and I understood and even connected with Anna through all of it. There were times when I really felt for Anna and wanted to fight every single member of her family because holy shit are they toxic as hell but there were also times when I wanted to smack some sense into Anna as well.

The little Quan that we got in this book was fantastic. My heart hurt for him and what he was going through and seeing him work through each of his struggles made my love for him stronger. I loved the way that he loved Anna. I loved the way that he was up for anything and willing to do whatever he can to support Anna with everything she was going through. Even when he didn’t know how to support her or even if he had to do things that hurt him in order to support her, he was ready and willing.

The romance between Quan and Anna was small but what we got worked. I just wanted more. As a romance, which is what I assumed I was getting, this was okay but this would have worked better for me had it been a women’s fiction story but I’m still salty about not getting as much Quan as I wanted.

3 out of 5

The Kiss Quotient Series

three-stars


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Review: Storm Echo by Nalini Singh

Posted August 8, 2022 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Storm Echo by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee
Storm Echo by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #6, Psy-Changeling #21
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 9, 2022
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Length: 11 hours and 14 minutes
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five-stars


NYT bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into the hearts of two fractured people in a world on the brink of a psychic Armageddon . . .

Silence has fallen. The Psy are free to feel emotion. Free to love. But Silence was never a prison for Ivan Mercant. The biggest threat to his future lies dormant in his brain—a psychic monster that wants only to feed. And now, the brutal leash he’s kept on that monster is slipping. He prepared for this day, for the end of Ivan Mercant . . . but that was before he met Lei.
As primal as she is human, this wild changeling brings color into his life, laughter to his soul. Then the dream shatters in a rain of blood, in silent bodies in the snow. Lei is gone. Vanished without a trace . . . until he meets strangely familiar eyes across a busy San Francisco street.
Soleil Bijoux Garcia is a healer who has lost everything. She exists in a world of desolate aloneness . . . till the day she finds herself face-to-face with a lethal stranger. The animal who is her other half knows this man, but her memories are tattered fragments. Sorrow and a need for vengeance are all that drive her. Her mission? To kill the alpha of the DarkRiver leopard pack.
But fate has other plans. Soon, a deadly soldier who believes himself a monster and a broken healer might be all that stand between life and death for the entire Psy race.

Ivan Merchant has always known he was different. Not in just his abilities, but different on a level that can’t be explained.

As a security specialist for the Merchant empire, Ivan often travels to changeling packs to continue his education. While training with a pack in Texas (??), Ivan finds himself injured in the forest. That’s when he meets Lei, a changeling healer that fascinates him. While Ivan has never been fully Silent, he abides by the backbone that is Silence. To do so would unleash something in Ivan that even he can’t control. Everything he believed in up to that point is changed when Lei walks into his life. Night after night, Lei & Ivan meet, bonding in a way that Ivan would never have expected.

After weeks of meeting & Ivan telling Lei all his secrets, they agree to meet the following day where Lei will tell him all her secrets. Except she doesn’t show up. Ivan is crushed, though he will never admit it. At that point he accepts who he is; someone that could never hold onto someone like Lei.

When a local changeling back is brutally attacked by the Psy, a twist of fate puts Ivan at the scene. Every changeling is dead except for one. Ivan’s Lei. Brutally injured, Lei is taken to the local hospital where she disappears. Ivan spends fifteen months looking for Lei, not willing to give up. Then he sees someone that looks and doesn’t look like Lei.

Soleil is in San Francisco for one reason. To kill the alpha of DarkRiver. It was Lucas Hunter that executed her pack, including her grandmother and the cubs. When Soleil realizes everything she thought she knew wasn’t true, she is crushed. Even though she soon realized that she could never hope to kill Lucas Hunter, she had a mission. Now she has nothing and no one. Until she catches an elusive scent that can only mean one thing. Not only that, she’s found a Psy that her cat knows belongs to her.

Watching Ivan fall for Lei strictly in his POV was magical. It was a slow burn and so emotional to read. When he believes that the one chance at happiness slipped away, he’s crushed. It was so moving and heartbreaking to read. When he finds her again, he’s convinced that his chance of happiness has passed. The feelings that the two have for each other are not to be denied. All Soleil has to do is convince Ivan to take a chance on her. Of course nothing is ever easy in this series & Soleil has her work cut out for her. Reading about the sacrifices these two made for each other was extraordinary. Nalini has grown so much as a writer. She has a talent that few authors match. It’s not just the individuals, it’s about Pack. It’s about family. It’s about togetherness. It’s quite literally spellbinding.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Psy-Changeling

Psy-Changeling Trinity

five-stars


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Review: American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Marie Thornton

Posted July 4, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Marie ThorntonReviewer: Holly
American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Marie Thornton
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Biography, Historical Fiction
Pages: 448
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four-half-stars

A sweeping novel from renowned author Stephanie Marie Thornton...

Alice may be the president's daughter, but she's nobody's darling. As bold as her signature color Alice Blue, the gum-chewing, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing First Daughter discovers that the only way for a woman to stand out in Washington is to make waves--oceans of them. With the canny sophistication of the savviest politician on the Hill, Alice uses her celebrity to her advantage, testing the limits of her power and the seductive thrill of political entanglements.

But Washington, DC is rife with heartaches and betrayals, and when Alice falls hard for a smooth-talking congressman it will take everything this rebel has to emerge triumphant and claim her place as an American icon. As Alice soldiers through the devastation of two world wars and brazens out a cutting feud with her famous Roosevelt cousins, it's no wonder everyone in the capital refers to her as the Other Washington Monument--and Alice intends to outlast them all.

Alice Roosevelt MemeI recently saw a meme describing Alice Roosevelt online, which claimed, among other things that, “She smoked cigarettes in public, chewed gum, placed bets with bookies, rode in cars with men, stayed out late partying and kept a pet snake named Emily Spinach, which she often wore wrapped around one arm and took to parties.” It piqued my curiosity about her. I was hoping to read her memoir, Crowded Hours, but the only used copies I could find were outrageously expensive. I settled for this historical fiction novel based on her long life as “the other Washington monument”.

From all accounts, Alice was a formidable woman with a rapier wit and no fear of turning her barbed tongue on anyone – family, friend or foe. That was showcased well here, though I do wish some of it had been more show instead of tell. Emily Spinach, for example, the garter snake she used to carry in her handbag was mentioned in passing. I wish we’d seen more of that. Still, her life was a fascinating one. This novel details her childhood, her tumultuous relationship with her father and step-mother Eleonor, as well as her marriage and exploits well into adulthood to the end of her life. I know there were some creative liberties taken, but I found her life fascinating.

I enjoyed this novel quite a bit and plan to read her biography soon.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Scoundrel’s Daughter by Anne Gracie

Posted May 2, 2022 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Scoundrel’s Daughter by Anne GracieReviewer: Tracy
The Scoundrel's Daughter by Anne Gracie
Series: The Brides of Bellaire Gardens #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 336
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When Lady Charlton is forced into becoming London's most reluctant matchmaker, sparks fly and romance ensues, from the national bestselling author of Marry in Scarlet.

Alice, Lady Charlton, is finally free of her dominating husband, but on the verge of her new life, she is trapped when a blackmailer threatens to publish letters that could ruin her. To protect the secrets of her past Alice must find a lord for his daughter, Lucy, to marry.

Alice reluctantly agrees to find the girl a noble husband but when Lucy arrives, she's difficult and uncooperative and has no interest in her father's scheme. A lord, she says, will only look down his nose at her—and she's having none of that!

Desperate to retrieve the letters, Alice enlists the aid of her handsome young nephew, Gerald, who in turn seeks the help of his former commanding officer, James, Lord Tarrant. James is soon beguiled by the marriage-averse widow and sets out to change her mind. And each time they meet, Gerald and Lucy strike sparks off each other.

To find happiness, Alice and Lucy will have to be brave and trust in each other and the men who are attempting to win their hearts.

Alice is thrilled to be alone.  She doesn’t have much money, but she’d rather that then what she had when her husband was alive.  Alice’s deceased husband was an ass (hereafter referred to as The Ass).  He belittled and denigrated Alice at every turn, especially in public.  He was horrid and when he died, he left most of his wealth to his mistress.

Alice is happy, despite her financial situation, until she receives a visit from a Mr. Bamber.  He is in possession of letters that The Ass wrote to his mistress.  In these letters The Ass wrote horrible things about Alice, even about their time in bed together during their marriage, that are most embarrassing. Bamber states he will release these letters to the public if Alice doesn’t do what he wants – which is to have Alice bring out his daughter in society.  Not wanting the letters to get out, Alice agrees.

After a rough start, Alice and Lucy soon start making the rounds of balls and routs to introduce Lucy to society.  Lucy is introduced as Alice’s goddaughter so this put’s Alice’s nephew’s guard up since he’s never heard of Lucy. While Gerald is looking into Lucy, Gerald’s commanding office when he was in the Army, James, has set his sights on Alice.  Of course after the marriage she had, Alice has no desire to marry again, ever.

This was my second time reading this story.  I liked Alice so very much and my heart went out to her.  After 18 years with The Ass she was done with marriage for good.  James really had his work cut out for him in trying to woo her.  He was a father to three girls, and I loved how much he cared for them.  They really came first for him and that was obvious to the reader.  I thought that Alice and James made a great couple though I felt their romance was on the slim side.  He saw her and decided she was The One and it moved quickly from there.  I did enjoy reading about their time together, but it was fast.

Lucy and Gerald were also perfect for each other.  Unfortunately, I felt there was even less of a romance between these two.  They argued constantly and then they were kissing and getting engaged.  Granted, Lucy thought it was a fake engagement, but only Gerald knew it was real. While we got to know Lucy, I didn’t feel like I knew Gerald all that much by the end of the book.

Despite my issues with the romances the overall setting and tone and writing in the book kept my attention and I enjoyed the story.  I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Brides of Bellaire Gardens

three-half-stars


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Review: Shadow Fire by Christine Feehan

Posted April 20, 2022 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Shadow Fire by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Shadow Fire by Christine Feehan
Series: Shadow Riders #7
Also in this series: Shadow Reaper, Shadow Reaper, Shadow Reaper, Shadow Keeper, Shadow Warrior, Shadow Flight, Shadow Storm
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 432
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Journey deeper into the world of Chicago’s most dangerous, alluring crime family in this incendiary installment of the Shadow Riders series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.
Shadow Rider Elie Archambault has been called many things: domineering, brash, loyal, but most of all fast. And there’s nothing faster than choosing to marry a woman you’ve never met. All he has is a signed contract and a list of his new bride’s expectations for their arranged marriage. He’s not expecting love or some happy ever after, just a partner that knows exactly what she signed up for. He’ll be faithful because he’s a man of honor, but she’ll never have his heart....
Elie knows who he is. A privileged member of the Archambault family. A skilled rider and fighter. A man who's always had things easy for all the wrong reasons. He's made his mistakes and lost his chance at real, true passion with his other half thanks to his own careless arrogance. Now he just wants to do his duty as a Shadow Rider and leave the past behind.
But Elie has no idea that his choice is about to spark a blaze that will burn all his carefully laid plans to the ground....

Years after he lost the woman he loved due to his own dickishness, Elie Archambault has decided to enter into an arranged marriage. As a shadow rider, Elie is among the elite. The Archambault family is renouned for their ability to ride the shadows. There are few very people in the world that can match Elie’s speed in the shadows. There are also very few women that can handle his sexual proclivities and his alpha personality. Although he doesn’t plan on falling in love with his future wife, he will respect her and be faithful.

Brielle was heartbreaking. She has gone through so much in her young life. From family that uses her as a servant to Elie, who shattered her heart with his cruel words on that day so long ago. Brielle has not a clue that her intended groom is the man that she has spent years running from. When she sees him at the ceremony, she immediately tries to back out. The only man that she won’t let herself have is Elie. Brielle knows he could break her heart with a few careless words. When it’s apparent that Elie won’t let her back out of the contract, she does the only thing she can. She accepts Elie as her husband, but is determined never to love him.

I think this is it for me. I’m breaking up with Christine Feehan. For real this time. She just has this repetitive storyline in all her books. There’s always a trafficking ring and BDSM involved. Now I can handle both those, but every single time she releases a book (aside from the GhostWalkers), those two things are always involved. Like, come on. Lets get some fresh ideas or fresh something. Brielle was really a kickass heroine. She could take care of herself and the ones that are around her. Elie doesn’t like her being in danger and forbids her from riding the shadows. It was really ridiculous. I understood that Elie wanted to protect her, but the way he went about it was all wrong. He was kind of an asshole. After the last couple of books, I really liked him. His book was a highly anticipated one for me. It’s unfortunate that it was such a letdown.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Shadow Riders

two-half-stars


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