Reading Challenge: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge

Review: Shadow Storm by Christine Feehan

Posted May 17, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Shadow Storm by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Shadow Storm by Christine Feehan
Series: Shadow Riders #6
Also in this series: Shadow Reaper, Shadow Reaper, Shadow Reaper, Shadow Keeper, Shadow Warrior, Shadow Flight
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 432
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A long-simmering feud between two families comes to a head in this gripping novel in Christine Feehan's New York Times bestselling Shadow Riders series. As the youngest member of the Ferraro family, Emmanuelle has watched each of her brothers find happiness in love while her own heart was shattered by a lover's betrayal. For two years she's stayed as far away from Valentino Saldi as possible--until she learns that he's been shot during a hostile takeover of his family's territory.
Emme's first instinct is to call her brother Stefano for help, and soon the entire Ferraro clan arrives to bring Val back from the brink of death and protect the Saldis from further attack. With one choice Emme has re-exposed herself to Val's intoxicating pull and dragged her family into the Saldis' private war.
A deadly storm is brewing, and only time will tell who survives...

Valentino Saldi and Emmanuelle Ferraro should be enemies. The two families have been at war for a hundred years. The Saldis came close to wiping out the entire Ferraro line. Luckily some of the Ferraros were able to escape through the shadows. It took a long time, but the Ferraros have come back stronger than ever. That doesn’t mean that they have forgotten their history. The two families now have an uneasy truce, something that changes when Emmanuelle gets a call that Val has been shot & is possibly dying. Emme does the only thing she can, what she has been doing her entire life; she calls her brother, Stefano.

Emme’s brothers are aware that Emme & Val have a history, they just don’t know the extent of it. Emme first met Val when she was just sixteen. He was much older & tried to stay away from her. Eventually he gave in & the two started an affair. The day Emme decide to give up her family for Val, she finds him in a compromising position with another woman. Always thinking & expecting the worst, Emme is not surprised though she is heartbroken. She loved Val and his betrayal cut her deeply.

Fast forward to the present. Val has given Emme space for two years, but he’s done. He doesn’t know if it’s because he almost lost his life, but he will not live another day without Emmanuelle Ferraro by his side. Though the situation seems insurmountable, Val eventually gets Emme to listen to what she’s known all along; Val didn’t cheat on her nor did he mean what she overheard him saying. All Val knew was that his uncle was up to something & he wasn’t going to have Emme caught in the middle.

Now Val and his uncle are at war over human trafficking. Val tried for years to convince his father that his uncle was bad news. His father wouldn’t believe it. After his uncle attempts to kill him & his father, his father finally starts believing. While Val lays dying, he knows the only thing he can do is call Emme. He also knows when Dario calls her that she would come. He also knows that it’s more than likely that she’ll call Stefano, which is exactly what he hopes for. He can’t fight Miceli on his own, he needs the Ferraros behind him. Although this seems really mercenary, he really does love Emme, which makes it forgivable.

I ate up this book. Emme was annoying at times, with her constant doubt in Val. It got old. Luckily Val called her on it & she’s able to reflect inward and see that she’s pushing Val away because she’s scared. She’s never listened to anyone but her brothers, but Val quickly rises to the most important person in her life. I’ve been waiting for this book for years and it didn’t disappoint. I do think that a few things were resolved too quickly, specifically how their shadows reacted to each other. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this series goes. It seems as though CF is going to branch off into the Ferraro extended family. I can’t wait to get answers on issues that weren’t addressed by the end of the book. Saying that, I enjoyed this book immensely.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Shadow Riders

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 18, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee & Holly
Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #10
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds , Magic Burns, Magic Strikes , Magic Slays , Gunmetal Magic , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks, Iron and Magic, Magic Binds, Magic Triumphs
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 327
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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Series Rating: four-half-stars

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban-fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows her time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

Magic Triumphs is the conclusion to the Kate Daniels series. It’s been a wild ride from start to finish. Ilona Andrews resolved just about everything while showing us a softer side of Kate. Kate as a mother is something to behold. Although she is softer because she is now a mother, she’s also even more protective of her family. Both Holly & I were very satisfied with the conclusion of the series (Holly after a re-read). The great thing is that we get to revisit Kate and Curran in the new Aurelia Ryder series which follows Kate’s ward, Julie.

Casee: I don’t know why I haven’t reviewed this book yet. It’s easily one of the best books I read in 2020. I adore Kate and Curran and now Conlan. I have so many feels that I don’t know where to start. What I can say is that I was very satisfied with the ending (though not the end of the KD world) of this series.

What did you think when you first read it? Does it get better when you re-read?

Holly: I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed the first time I read it. There were several loose ends left open, and I didn’t love the pacing. Of course, a “disappointing” read from Ilona Andrews is still better than a stellar book from some other authors. It did get better when I reread. I still feel like a lot of threads were left open, which isn’t like IA at all, but it was a satisfying end to Kate’s story.

Casee: I’m not going to lie either, I was pretty disappointed with how the whole Roland thing was wrapped up. He was such a badass for most of the series. Kate defeated him in, like, five minutes. I really enjoyed their father/daughter relationship even though it was extremely dysfunctional. When Roland finally made his move against Kate, at one of her most vulnerable moments, it made me pretty emotional. I was kind of hoping for a truce by the end of the series.

Holly: I think they came to as much of a truce as they could, considering they were coming from such different places. I am actually more satisfied with the way it ended now that the series is continuing and we’re learning additional details.

Casee: I was really satisfied when I finished the book. Although there are a few things that bothered me, overall I thought that it was a fitting ending to a great series. It’s even better now that we get Aurelia Ryder.

Holly: I agree, it’s better now that we’re getting a continuation story with Aurelia Ryder. I loved the scenes with Conlan. He was adorable.

I really hate how Kate and Curran hide things from each other. I know why they do it, but I wish they wouldn’t. Why can’t they just communicate like two adults?

Casee: I agree about Kate and Curran hiding things from each other. I know they both are coming from what they think is a good place, but the fact is that they lie to each other. Or if not exactly lying, they omit pertinent detail all for the sake of protecting the other one.

I loved Conlin! He was the cutest little thing. When he shifted, I just went “awwwww”.

Holly: This book was problematic for me the first time I read it because it was the end of the series and so many things were left unanswered. Now that Iron and Magic and the Aurelia Ryder series’ are being written I don’t feel quite the same way. I love Kate, Curran and the entire cast of characters from the series. I loved Kate’s personal progression, the way their romance grew, and the other relationships she formed. I’m really looking forward to seeing more in this world and I’m glad things ended the way they did with Kate.

I would say this is a pretty solid conclusion to the series, now that I have a little distance from it. 4.25 out of 5.

Casee: As I mentioned above, I was a little disappointed with how quickly the Roland situation was resolved but in retrospect I believe that it had to be written the way it was. It was a great conclusion to the series. I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Casee: 4.5 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels


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Review: Reckless Road by Christine Feehan

Posted February 10, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Reckless Road by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Reckless Road by Christine Feehan
Series: Torpedo Ink #5
Also in this series: Judgment Road , Judgment Road, Vengeance Road, Vendetta Road, Desolation Road
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Refuel your passion with a new installment of the Torpedo Ink series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

While Gedeon "Player" Lazaroff is one of Torpedo Ink motorcycle club's roughest members, he's also one of the calmest. Little rattles Player, except for the times his gift gets the better of him. When that happens, he has to just lie down in the dark and hope for the best. But on a night when he's on the verge of losing it, he meets a woman who manages to soothe his fractured mind.

Zyah is a striking, ethereal beauty who seduces him with every word and move. Their night together is one of pure, exquisite bliss. But when Player gets confused and thinks their intimate encounter was nothing more than a dream, his careless dismissal leaves her humiliated and angry.

Now, Player will have to devote his every breath to convincing Zyah to give him a second chance. Because she might be the only one who can save him from himself....

I think I’m done with this series. Actually, I’m not going to lie to myself. I’ve been dying to read Savage’s book since the beginning of this series. I had a very hard time reading Desolation Road, which I was really excited about. I wasn’t really expecting much from Reckless Road and I’m glad I didn’t because I could hardly stand reading it.

Player has always been the upbeat member of Torpedo Ink. He’s able to cast illusions and did so to give himself and the other kids in the prison hope. Then his psychic power started to morph into something else; something far more dangerous. Not only could Player cast illusions, but his illusions could turn into an alternate reality. When he’s in an alternate reality, it changes what happens in the real world, which is dangerous for everyone in the actual world.

Zyah was actually a very likable heroine. I enjoyed her immensely. That doesn’t mean I liked the book. See, Zyah can literally feel the earth under her feet. The day she meets Player, she knows he’s the one for her. Unfortunately he treats her like a piece of ass and Zyah wants nothing more to do with him.

Player realizes that he messed up the next morning. He remembers how he sent the woman away, but he thought it was all a dream. He had never had anything so beautiful come into his life and he wrecked it. It doesn’t matter what Zyah thinks of him, he will protect her and her grandmother at all costs when a group of roaming thieves start targeting the elderly in Caspar. Caspar is protected by Torpedo Ink and that means its residents are protected too.

I did enjoy the romance between Player and Zyah, but there were so many big misunderstandings that it was like reading a Judith McNaught book. Sweet baby Jesus, just get on the same page. I still have this niggling feeling in the back of my mind that Christine Feehan has turned her writing over to a ghost writer or someone is assisting her in writing. The writing just isn’t the same. I realize that writing may change over the course of an author’s career, but this much? I’m a sceptic.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Torpedo Ink

two-half-stars


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Review: Lacybourne Manor by Kristen Ashley

Posted January 27, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Lacybourne Manor by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Lacybourne Manor by Kristen Ashley
Series: Ghosts and Reincarnation #2
Also in this series: Fairytale Come Alive, Sommersgate House, Penmort Castle, Lucky Stars
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 2, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 492
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In 1522, the very night they were wed, Royce Morgan and his new bride, Beatrice Godwin, were murdered on their way home to Lacybourne Manor. After the cruel deed was done, a local witch came across their bodies, witnessing firsthand the tragedy of star-crossed lovers. Vowing that Royce and Beatrice would someday uncross those stars, using magic mixed with murder as well as true love, she linked their spirits together with hers (because someone had to protect them) forever... or until their reincarnated souls find happily ever after.

Now, arrogant, forbidding Colin Morgan lives at Lacybourne. He knows from lore-as well as the portraits of Royce and Beatrice that hang in Lacybourne's hall and the small fact that he looks exactly like Royce Morgan-that he's the reincarnated soul of his ancestor. One stormy night, flighty, free-spirited, scarily-kind-hearted Sibyl Godwin comes to Lacybourne and it doesn't escape Colin's notice that Sibyl is the spitting image of Beatrice.

However murder, magic, a warrior's heart beating in a modern man's chest, a woman bent on doing good deeds even if they get her into loads of trouble, a good witch whose family has vowed throughout the centuries to protect true love, distrust and revenge make a volatile cocktail. This means the path to happily ever after is paved with tranquilizer darts, pensioners on a rampage, Sibyl's bad morning moods, heartbreaking misunderstandings and all kinds of magic, good... and bad.

Colin Morgan considers himself a practical man; a man that values logic. Colin knows it’s not logical to think that he’s the reincarnated soul of his murdered ancestor but the resemblance between himself and Royce Morgan is uncanny. Colin has come to terms with the fact that the lore is most likely correct. That doesn’t mean he’s going to break the curse that looms over Lacybourne Manor. That is until Sybil Godwin comes into his life unexpectedly. She’s everything he ever wanted and never expected, which is why he wants nothing to do with her. Her dog is named Mallory, the name of Royce Morgan’s horse. If Colin doubted that Sybil was Beatrice reincarnated, he soon understands that she certainly is.

For Colin Morgan had been born with a broken heart, the broken heart of a long-dead warrior, a warrior who lost his love and his life at near the same exact time.

Sybil has always felt like she was destined for something but she has not worked out why she believes this. She has always been certain, but she stars to have doubts. Taking some time to herself, Sybil heads to the family home in Bristol, hoping to find some clarity. Then she meets Colin Morgan. Sybil is unprepared for the force that is Colin. She has no idea that she is the spitting image of Beatrice Morgan, Royce’s bride.

Colin has no intention of ever telling Sybil about Beatrice, but he does decide that he’s going to have a relationship with her. He soon realizes that having Sybil in his life will be anything but simple. When Sybil discovers who Colin thinks she is, she’s devastated. She doesn’t want him to want her because she’s a reincarnated ancestor. She wants him to want her for her. There are a lot of misunderstandings between Colin and Sybil. They soon grasp the fact that evil is afoot; evil that wants to kill them as Royce and Beatrice were killed.

I genuinely loved this book. I even enjoyed the misunderstandings. This book was written in 2011. Colin is an alpha of the “old”. Similar to a McNaught or Garwood. I haven’t found there to be very many heroes like that anymore. Not for new books anyway. I did read some GR reviews and saw that some people had a problem with Sybil. She was all over the place, but that’s what made her so great. I found her to be delightful. The paranormal aspect just heightened the book. I loved reading Royce and Beatrice’s story and even “meeting” them.

Overall, this book made me want to continue on with the series.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Ghosts and Reincarnation

four-stars


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Review: Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley

Posted January 25, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Sommersgate House by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Sommersgate House by Kristen Ashley
Series: Ghosts and Reincarnation #1
Also in this series: Fairytale Come Alive, Lacybourne Manor, Penmort Castle, Lucky Stars
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 2, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 436
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Douglas Ashton is the cold and unfeeling owner of the sprawling, gothic Victorian Mansion, Sommersgate House. Julia Fairfax is his stubborn American sister-in-law. After tragedy strikes, Douglas and Julia are forced to live together at Sommersgate and raise their newly-orphaned nieces and nephew.

Douglas has no desire to raise his dead sister's children nor does he want the distraction of the tempting Julia living under his roof. Julia is struggling with grief and trying to make a go in a new country without much help from impossibly handsome but even more impossibly remote Douglas. Not to mention, she has to deal with the active hostility of Douglas's frosty, Attila-the-Hun-in-a-skirt mother, Monique.

Douglas decides the best way to give the children what they need, get his mother to behave and give himself what he wants is to marry Julia. When he tells her (yes, tells her) she will be his wife, Julia thinks Douglas is (probably) insane. And anyway, she's decided if she ever has another husband (since the last one wasn't so great), he was going to be short, balding, have a paunch and worship the ground she walks on (none of these characteristics define Douglas in the slightest).

One more thing, Sommersgate House is haunted by the ghosts of the man who built it and the woman who was the love of his life. They both died mysteriously at Sommersgate months after it was finished. When they did, a curse settled on the house making it seem strangely alive. And the only way for the beautiful but frightening house to rid itself of this curse is for its owner to find true love.

After the death of her brother and sister-in-law, Julia Fairfax is devastated. However, she doesn’t have time to grieve. She has two nieces and a nephew that she is now responsible for. While Julia wants to curl into a ball and cry her eyes out, she has to be strong for her brother’s children. When they were alive, her brother and his wife asked her if she would take the children if anything ever happened to them. Julia, of course, agreed immediately. What she didn’t expect was that she would only get joint custody of them. She also doesn’t expect the stipulation that the kids be raised at Sommersgate House in England.

The last thing Douglas Ashton wants to do is be a guardian (and half a guardian at that) to three ravaged children. He also doesn’t want their aunt anywhere near him. For years he has thought of Julia, but he never did anything about it. Now she’s living in his house as are his nieces and nephew. While Douglas will certainly take care of all their monetary needs, the last thing he wants to do is parent the children. So he goes about his life as usual, always working, always out of town. Julia doesn’t like this much and tells him so, which shocks him. Not many people stand up to Douglas, but Julia Fairfax is obviously one of those people.

Julia wants as much stability for the children as possible. With Douglas gone from Sommersgate House for days–even weeks–at a time, parenting the children has landed directly on her slim, grieving shoulders. She’s always had a crush on Douglas and she wasn’t going to let his off-putting manner distract her from what needs to be done. Her nieces and nephew need both their aunt and their uncle. So in normal Julia fashion, she makes plans to tell Douglas that he needs to be available.

Douglas tries to stay away from Julia, but her passion for life makes it hard. She’s not afraid to stand up to him or even argue with him. That’s rare in Douglas’ life and he relishes it. Douglas soon decides that the only option open to he and Julia is to get married. He’s relieved when he finally comes to that decision, no longer at war with his feelings for her. Too bad Julia is not having it. She already married for love once and it almost destroyed her. She was not going to get involved with a man that she could fall in love with, never mind that he will never love her back.

I enjoyed this book immensely. Julia was such a beautiful, courageous heroine. Her absolute devotion to the children and their wellbeing was so heartfelt. She was witty, emotional, exciting, and smart. She gave up her life in the States to go to England and she didn’t regret it for one moment. Douglas was a very magnetic hero. He didn’t talk much, but I always knew what he was feeling. Kristen Ashley did an amazing job with these two characters. I’m already reading the second book in the series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

P.S. This book includes a haunted house.

Ghosts and Reincarnation

four-half-stars


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