Publisher: Entangled: Amara

Review: Coldest Fire by Juliette Cross

Posted June 25, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Coldest Fire by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Coldest Fire by Juliette Cross
Series: Dominion #3
Also in this series: Darkest Heart, Hardest Fall
Publisher: Entangled, Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: November 14, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 234
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

Archangel Uriel is hell bent on revenge on the demon prince Vladek. To get into the prince’s impenetrable fortress, he’ll have to fight in the pits of the underworld. And he’ll need the help of the last person he can trust––the demon witch Nadya.

There is no way Nadya, who spends her days taking care of others, expected to find Uriel on her doorstep. He seems no happier about being there than she does. But helping him means evening the scales against her backstabbing sister, and she’ll do whatever it takes to make that bitch pay.

Using the fight pit circuits in the demon underworld, Nadya helps Uriel combat his way to the arena at the castle in Russia. Only she isn’t what she seems. As a matter of fact, she may hold the key to his redemption...and to his heart.

Coldest Fire in the third book in the Dominion series by Juliette Cross. This was my favorite book of the series, which is surprising because I didn’t think anyone could top Dom and Anya from the first book. I really loved Uriel and Nadya. They were so perfect for each other.

Uriel spent months as a captive of the Demon Prince Vladek, under the control of his demon witch concubine, Lisabette. He suffered untold tortures at their hands, and he’s determined to get revenge. Someone must rid the world of that evil, and Uriel is just the archangel for the job. Even if it means working with another witch, Nadya. He and Nadya have history, and he both craves and hates her.

Nadya escaped her captivity under Vladek, but she bears the scars still, both physical and emotional. She agrees to help Uriel because she knows someone has to help, but she’s terrified of ending up back in Vladek’s clutches. As she and Uriel spend time together, she finds more of her own inner strength, and comes to realize there’s more the Uriel than she ever imagined.

Nadya and Uriel were both broken and scarred from their experiences, but they were strong enough to come out the other side wanting to do good. I loved that they were wary of each other at the start, but also drawn to one another. The way Uriel took care of Nadya made me melt. Their inner strength really came through, and I loved their romance.

The world-building is well-done. I loved how nothing was really black and white. Some of the most evil demons were true allies, while the most pious angels were betrayers.

This was a great series and I hope we see more in the world going forward.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Dominion

four-stars


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Review: Hardest Fall by Juliette Cross

Posted June 23, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Hardest Fall by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Hardest Fall by Juliette Cross
Series: Dominion #2
Also in this series: Darkest Heart, Coldest Fire
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: February 25, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 270
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

The tattooed demoness, Bone, doesn’t like anything except the magical weapons she makes. But she has hidden talents few know about. When I was brought to her near death, she used her Seraph song to manipulate flesh and bone to heal me. But she wasn’t happy about it.

Now I must return the favor. Even though she refuses to take sides in the apocalypse, there’s one job she’s not willing to do for the demon prince Rook. If she doesn’t, her head will end up on a spike. Of course, there’s a good chance we’re all going to die anyway, but I will do anything to protect this fierce woman—and not just because she saved me.

So, we’re both off to kill a demon—or three—and possibly save the world.

Each book in the Dominion series is STANDALONE:* The Deepest Well (prequel)* Darkest Heart* Hardest Fall

Hardest Fall by Juliette Cross is the second book in the Dominion series. I was ridiculously excited to read this book since it features two of my favorite characters from the first book. Bone, the badass weapons maker and Xander, a demon hunter. Sadly, I didn’t end up loving this as much as I hoped I would. The second half was much better, but I spent the entire first half seriously pissed at Xander.

Bone was once a Seraph, an angel with a heavenly voice who used to sing to bring humans solace and peace. Now she’s a fallen angel – a demoness weapons maker – the best in the business. When her friend Dommiel shows up with a wounded Xander, she uses all her formidable power to save his life. She grafted him a metal heart, she had to imbue it with her essence. She expects a bit of gratitude, but Xander shows none.

Xander is equal parts amazed and horrified that Bone was able to save his life. He fully expected to die, and he’s awed by her power in keeping him alive, but having her essence inside of him makes him uncomfortable. Plus, he hates that she won’t choose a side. She claims to be neutral, but how can she supply weapons to demons and angels alike? He’s determined to show her that she needs to fight on the right side – his side.

I really wanted to like Bone. The way she was described in the first book, I thought she was such a badass character. Full of inner fire, a deep talent for weapon-making, and covered in tattoos, you’d think she’d be a hardass, but she was also compassionate and loyal to those she cared about. While I loved the darker aspects of her character, we didn’t see a lot of that in this book. She spent most of the book trading barbs with Xander – and losing every verbal exchange. She also seemed less confident in this book. I understand that she was still trying to atone for past mistakes, but she seemed so much more sure of herself in the first book. There wasn’t a lot of her creating weapons or fighting in this book, either, which I think worked against her character development. We saw her kickass abilities in the first novel, but we were only told about them here.

For the first half of the book, Xander was arrogant and smug, to the point of being insufferable. He knew better than Bone, in all things, forever. I think it was meant to be endearing, that he wanted her to choose a side and forgive herself, but the way he went about it just pissed me off. He did get better in the second half. He stopped being such a bastard about her, and she seemed to open up a bit more. But he never really recovered for me from the first half when he was such a jerk.

I do like the world, and I enjoyed the secondary plot. While the romance wasn’t my favorite and this wasn’t the kickass I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR book I expected, I did enjoy the world and the secondary characters. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Bring on Uriel and Nadya!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Dominion

three-half-stars


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Review: Darkest Heart by Juliette Cross

Posted June 21, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Darkest Heart by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Darkest Heart by Juliette Cross
Series: Dominion #1
Also in this series: Hardest Fall, Coldest Fire
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: August 20, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 265
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

Anya—a stoic, blue-winged angelic warrior—was bitten by a demon prince in battle, and now she has precious little time to find a cure for his deadly venom. But the only archangel with the power to stop the dark poison from corrupting her body and soul is missing. She’ll have to trust her guide, the outcast high demon Dommiel, who is as handsome as he is dangerous if she has any hope.

An outcast of his own kind, high demon Dommiel stays under cover while the war between angels and demons rages on. When the only person who ever showed him kindness asks for his help, he has no choice but to try to save the angel. Venturing back into the dens he has avoided for so long, Anya makes him want and feel things he never thought possible.

But Dommiel knows there is no way an angel can ever love a demon…

Each book in the Dominion series is a STANDALONE.

Darkest Heart by Juliette Cross is the first book in the Dominion series. I read and enjoyed another novel by Cross, Wolf Gone Wild, and when I found this one on KU I decided to give it a try. I didn’t realize it at the time, but this is a spinoff of another series (which I have no interest in reading). I like that each book in this series features a different couple. I’ve been reading a lot of UF lately, so this was a nice change.

In this apocalyptic world, the war between Heaven and Hell waged quietly for millennium, until the gates opened and battles between angels and demons started raging on Earth. Humans – those who survived – are just trying to find a safe place to exist, while the lines between good and evil blur…

Anya is desperate to find the Archangel Uriel. She is slowly being poisoned by the essence of a demon and Uriel is the only one who can remove it before it turns her into a mindless slave. With the help of a friend, she enlists the aid of High Demon Dommiel to help her locate and rescue Uriel. Anya has always fought on the side of the angels or humans, and has no love for demons, but Dommiel is different. From the beginning they have a deep connection, and he makes her want things she never even thought about before.

Dommiel was once the High Demon of New Orleans. He’s committed a lot of sins since his Fall, and he’s not done yet. He will have Anya, he can’t help himself. Walking away may prove to be impossible, but how can a demon and an angel ever make it work?

Anya used to fight for the angels, but now she and Uriel, along with some others, are fighting for the humans – trying to save them before it’s too late. Dom was betrayed by the one who was closest to him, and he was cast out of heaven, then branded a traitor to demonkind. Now he works as a mercenary, helping the human resistance and others …for the right price.

I walked on, following in her footsteps, letting her take me wherever this path led—to death or to freedom—it didn’t matter. As long as we walked together.

I really liked the world and the way Cross blurred the lines between good and evil. Nothing is black and white, and it’s surprising what allies may be found in the gray shadows. The romance was also well done. I liked watching Dom fall for Anya, and her open up to him. Her faith and trust were given so freely, I couldn’t help but laugh at how he tried to resist..and couldn’t.

This is a dark, gritty novel. All in all, a great start to a new series. I can’t wait to read the next two books (which feature characters I fell in love with here).

Rating: 4 out of 5

Dominion

four-stars


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Joint Review: The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard

Posted February 25, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: The Beast of Beswick by Amalie HowardReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Beast of Beswick by Amalie Howard
Series: Everleigh Sisters #1
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: November 26, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Beauty and the Beast meets Taming of the Shrew in this laugh-out-loud and heartfelt Regency romance.

Lord Nathaniel Harte, the disagreeable Duke of Beswick, spends his days smashing porcelain, antagonizing his servants, and snarling at anyone who gets too close. With a ruined face like his, it's hard to like much about the world. Especially smart-mouthed harpies—with lips better suited to kissing than speaking—who brave his castle with indecent proposals.

But Lady Astrid Everleigh will stop at nothing to see her younger sister safe from a notorious scoundrel, even if it means offering herself up on a silver platter to the forbidding Beast of Beswick himself. And by offer, she means what no highborn lady of sound and sensible mind would ever dream of—a tender of marriage with her as his bride.

Lady Astrid Everleigh is desperate to save her sister from an unwanted marriage to the man who ruined her own reputation. So desperate, in fact, she hatches a plan to get the Duke of Beswick to marry her. Whatever it takes.

Lord Nathaniel Harte, who came back from the war horribly scarred, is doing his best to live up to his reputation as The Beast of Beswick. He knows marriage is not for him, but Astrid is nearly irresistible.

Holly: I’m a total sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings. When our book club suggested we read this for our February book, I was all about it, even though historicals have been hit or miss for me lately.

Rowena: I didn’t know that I was a sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings until I read this one. I’m not that interested in reading historicals these days but I’m glad that I read this one. It took me a while to get into this story because I kept letting myself get distracted by any and everything else but once I buckled down, it took me no time at all to get this one read.

Holly: This started out really well for me. I loved Astrid and her determination to save herself and her sister. The way she stood up for herself and decided to take her future into her own hands for the sake of her sister was great.

What did you think?

Rowena: I enjoyed both Astrid and Thane. Their individual stories and their romance kept me interested from beginning to end. I love how she kept thinking of him as the naked duke. LOL.

Holly: The Naked Duke made me laugh. Her embarrassment when she walked in on him in the bath was hilarious.

I really enjoyed their romance. The way they understood each other and tried to care for the other on the down-low was cute.

Rowena: When did things start to go bad for you?

Holly: It started to go bad for me when Isobel, Astrid’s sister, decided to take off with the evil aunt and uncle. You?

Rowena: To be honest, I was much more interested in Astrid and Thane so I didn’t pay all that much attention to Isobel. Was I annoyed that she took off without telling Astrid? Yeah. I also wasn’t a fan of the way that she kept Astrid out of EVERYTHING. It read more like Isobel knew better than Astrid and I didn’t like that. I guess I was a little interested, haha.

Everything that Astrid did for Isobel, I felt like they did together. They were a team but when Isobel took off, it was like she left the band to be a solo artist and yeah, not a fan of that shit.

Holly: I think that’s what bothered me the most – that Isobel seemed to think she knew better than Astrid. It made it seem like she didn’t have any faith or trust in her sister, which was frustrating after everything Astrid did for her. For her to leave a note and take off was so cowardly. Plus, the way she was determined to “manipulate” (her word) everyone into getting what she wanted was so immature. Honestly, I have no desire to read her book. You?

Rowena: Yeah, I’m not gonna lie. I’m not even a little bit interested in reading Isobel’s book because I agree with everything you said. I’m more curious about Isobel’s husband and what he thinks about their marriage and if he knows about Isobel’s plot. I hope someone I know reads it so they can tell me instead of me finding out for myself, haha.

Holly: I read the blurb for the next book and her hero? He married her to fulfil the terms of a will so he could get his inheritance. He didn’t care about her at all. Not when they married anyway. So yeah, count me out for that one.

Rowena: Astrid was my favorite in the entire book. I loved how smart she was, how unapologetic she was in what she liked and what she wanted. She fought hard for the things that mattered to her and I loved when she slapped people down (especially Beaumont) with her words.

Holly: Astrid was my favorite part of this book, too. I loved how she decided who and what she was about. She didn’t let anyone cow her, and she didn’t bow to anyone. I really loved how she put herself out there while staying in charge of her own fate. It was great.

Rowena: Yes, I loved that even though Astrid was terrified to put herself completely out there, she did it anyway because she truly wanted to make her relationship with Thane work. I also loved her relationship with Thane’s Aunt. She was the freaking best! I love how Astrid went chasing after Thane to have it out with him when he was being an ass at that last ball they were all at.

Holly: I also loved how Thane supported her and championed her, even if it was from the background.

Holly:I wasn’t really bothered by him pushing her away. I understand it had more to do with him than her. What about you?

Rowena: I thought that I would be a lot more annoyed with the back and forth that Thane did where Astrid was concerned but I wasn’t. Not at all. I completely understood why he was the way that he was and why he acted the way that he did. He’s human and I loved that Amalie Howard showed his struggles with his appearance and being out in public. I also loved that he really understood and accepted Astrid as she was. He didn’t shower her with jewels and flowers, he knew what would win her over and gifted the things that were just so…her. That was so great.

Holly: I really loved the gifts he gave her. They showed how thoughtful and caring he was, and how much he paid attention to her.

Rowena: Oh, I also really loved Thane’s servants. They were so freaking cute!

Holly: Thane’s servants were the best. I loved how he kept threatening to fire them but they were just like “eh, whatever. So, like I was saying…”.

Rowena: Overall, this story worked for me. It was entertaining, it had great villains that I loved to hate and the romance was pretty steamy. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. You?

Holly: While I really liked the romance, some parts were slow and I did get pulled out of the story a couple times by certain things. I’m going to give this 3.75 out of 5.

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

Everleigh Sisters

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Her Wicked Marquess by Stacy Reid

Posted December 27, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Her Wicked Marquess by Stacy ReidHer Wicked Marquess by Stacy Reid
Series: Sinful Wallflowers #2
Also in this series: My Darling Duke
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: December 29, 2020
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Miss Maryann FitzWilliam is too witty and bookish for her own good. No gentleman of the ton will marry her, so her parents arrange for her to wed a man old enough to be her father. But Maryann is ready to use those wits to turn herself into a sinful wallflower.

When the scandal sheet reports a sighting of Nicolas Ives climbing out the chamber windows of a house party, Maryann does the unthinkable. She anonymously claims that the bedchamber belonged to none other than Miss FitzWilliam, tarnishing her own reputation—and chances of the dastardly union her family secured for her. Now she just needs to convince the marquess to keep his silence.

Nicholas Ives, Marquess of Rothbury has purposefully cultivated a reputation as the most ruthless, unprincipled libertine, all so he can slip beneath the guards of those whose vile actions caused him to lose the only girl he's ever loved. Despite his intrigue, Nicolas is determined to ignore the deceitful and enticing Miss FitzWilliam. However, his enemies are drawing close, and he soon discovers he must keep her closer to protect her. Nonetheless, she rouses a soul-burning passion within him, causing him to question who will protect her from his devilish wiles.

Excerpt

Maryann couldn’t credit that Nicolas St. Ives would be this outrageous! Her mama had not invited him to tonight’s ball, yet here he was, descending the wide staircase from the upper bowers, confidently striding, casting sardonic glances at debutantes, and with a sensual smirk about his mouth, declaring him every inch the rake society bemoaned.

He was considered improper, disreputable, and was even whispered by some to be cunning. He was also appallingly handsome, and many ladies who should have known better flirted with him shamelessly. He clearly did not give a fig what society thought about him, a thing Maryann had come to believe, since the scandal sheets reported on his exploits weekly.

“Is it really him?” a young debutante asked. “Oh my, he is terribly handsome.”

Her friends dissolved into giggles and drew her away, as if they were saving their fair gazelle from the lion drawing closer. The man seemed sublimely unaware of his masculine beauty and the stir he caused whenever he entered a room. His expression was insouciant; she could not conclude what kind of man he was.

A few gentlemen of the ton were vain about their appearance to the point of being rather excessive. And it seemed Nicolas St. Ives was one of them, dressed in black trousers and jacket, with a bright golden waistcoat and a matching cravat. A cravat pin studded with a large diamond winked at his throat, and his hair seemed carelessly styled, yet curled at his nape and on his forehead perfectly.

The rakehell! How dare he crash her mother’s ball?

The twitter of excitement that went through the throng echoed in Maryann’s veins, and she scowled. Mama would curse his name tomorrow, but the scandal sheets would celebrate his wicked daring, the debutantes would excitedly trade stories about how close their gowns had brushed against the lord the scandal sheets referred to as “the daring and the wicked.” And perhaps a few married ladies and widows would share among themselves some delightful and naughty things they suggested having done with him.

Maryann silently snorted, thinking it all ridiculous. Yet she couldn’t help staring at him, couldn’t help the manner in how her heart ached, yet she didn’t know what she longed for. Certainly anything in regard to a notorious rake could only lead to inevitable disgrace.

Excerpted from Her Wicked Marquess, by Stacy Reid. Entangled Publishing, 2020. Reprinted with permission.

Sinful Wallflowers

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: December 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Stacy Reid

USA Today Bestselling author Stacy Reid writes sensual Historical and Paranormal Romances and is the published author of over twenty books. Her debut novella The Duke’s Shotgun Wedding was a 2015 HOLT Award of Merit recipient in the Romance Novella category, and her bestselling Wedded by Scandal series is recommended as Top picks at Night Owl Reviews, Fresh Fiction Reviews, and The Romance Reviews.

Stacy lives a lot in the worlds she creates and actively speaks to her characters (aloud). She has a warrior way “Never give up on dreams!” When she’s not writing, Stacy spends a copious amount of time binge-watching series like The Walking Dead, Altered Carbon, Rise of the Phoenixes, Ten Miles of Peach Blosson, and playing video games with her love. She also has a weakness for ice cream and will have it as her main course.


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