Reading Challenge: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge

Lightning Review: Hauntings and Humbug: A Steampunk Christmas Carol by Melanie Karsak

Posted May 5, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Hauntings and Humbug: A Steampunk Christmas Carol by Melanie KarsakReviewer: Holly
Hauntings and Humbug: A Steampunk Christmas Carol by Melanie Karsak

Publication Date: February 2nd 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 77
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars

Humbug! This Christmas, Ebony Scrooge will learn the true meaning of the holiday season.

It’s Christmas Eve in Victorian London, and Ebony Scrooge is hard at work tinkering weapons of mass destruction and avoiding all things Christmas. When the spirit of her deceased partner, Jacqueline Marley, warns Ebony that she will be visited by three ghosts, Ebony writes the visitation off as a dream. But on this Christmas Eve, the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future must try to pull off a miracle, restoring Ebony’s heart before it’s too late.

Hauntings and Humbug is a retelling of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, set in New York Times bestselling author Melanie’s Karsak’s steampunk universe.

Set in Victorian London, Hauntings and Humbug is a Steampunk retelling of A Christmas Carol. I really enjoyed Ebony Scrooge and the way her backstory unfolded. The secondary characters were well-drawn and I thought Ghosts of Christmas past, present and future were interesting.

This was an emotional retelling of A Christmas Carol. I enjoyed Ebony Scrooge and the people in her life.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Lightning Review: Goblins and Snowflakes by Melanie Karsak

Posted May 3, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Goblins and Snowflakes by Melanie KarsakReviewer: Holly
Goblins and Snowflakes by Melanie Karsak
Series: Steampunk Fairy Tales #5

Publication Date: November 13th 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Steampunk
Pages: 111
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Never bargain with goblin men.

Scarlette Rossetti thought her stay at Strawberry Hill Castle during the Christmas holiday would pass by uneventfully. She couldn't have been more wrong. Enticed by the delights of the nearby village of Twickenham, Scarlette's life would change in unimaginable ways.

She never expected to be drawn magnetically to The Two Sisters Doll Shop and Toy Emporium.

Scarlette didn't guess that tinkering clockwork gnomes could have supernatural consequences.

And she didn't know that one should never, ever, bargain with goblin men.

But during the Christmas season, magic is always brewing.

Charles Dickens meets Supernatural in this magical retelling of The Elves and The Shoemaker. Dive into New York Times bestselling author Melanie Karsak's award-winning fairy tale world set in gaslamp England.

Scarlette Rossetti is visiting her uncle for Christmas and secretly helping some dollmakers in the village, when she starts seeing a traveling caravan in the woods. She doesn’t think much of it until she realizes she’s the only one who can see them. They offer her the thing she most desires, in exchange for a bargain. Even though she knows she should resist, the temptation proves too much. Now she must figure out how to outsmart the tricky goblins before it’s too late..

This was a quick, cute story. I liked Scarlette and her giving nature, not to mention how clever she was. The romance came on quick, but I enjoyed it for all that.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Steampunk Fairy Tales

four-stars


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Review: One Fine Fae by Molly Harper

Posted March 31, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: One Fine Fae by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
One Fine Fae by Molly Harper
Narrator: Jonathan Davis, Amanda Ronconi
Series: Mystic Bayou #4.5
Also in this series: How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1), Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues, How to Date Your Dragon, How to Date Your Dragon, Selkies are a Girl's Best Friend
Publisher: Audible Originals
Publication Date: December 8, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Plus
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Length: 3 hours, 10 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Publisher's Summary

Take a trip to the beloved supernatural town of Mystic Bayou in this brilliantly funny new stand-alone novella - written for audio-first!

Charlotte McBee knows she’s in for a challenge when she accepts a job as midwife for a dragon and a phoenix shifter. Being a fairy herself, it isn’t the supernatural world that scares her. It’s the thought of delivering a giant metal dragon’s egg, which has her gritting her teeth in pain for poor Jillian, the anxious mother-to-be.

While preparing for the big event, a handsome town resident catches her eye. Leonard is kind, charming, and a little bit mysterious. He’s also suffering from a highly unusual condition brought on by an ancient fairy curse, and he’s too wary of Charlotte to allow her to get close.

Will love overcome fear before the end of her assignment?

©2020 Molly Harper (P)2020 Audible Originals, LLC.

Charlotte is a midwife to magical creatures. Mystic Bayou has been home to magi for years, but thanks to a rift that opened due to a magical artifact, humans and magi alike have been gaining strong magical powers. Charlotte is hired to help the residents with their pregnancies, a prospect she’s pretty thrilled with. Leonard is Fairy-Cursed. Any time he gets stressed, he turns clumsy, which causes all kinds of calamites to happen in his presence. Charlotte and Leo are attracted to each other, but her magic makes him nervous, which means his curse kicks in even more when she’s around than normal.

This was a cute short story. I don’t believe it stands alone well, since it heavily features characters from previous books. The new romance was sweet and I liked seeing some of my favorite characters pop up again. I don’t love the male narrator, Jonathan Davis, but the female narrator, Amanda Ronconni, is a favorite. I definitely recommend this for fans of Molly Harper and Mystic Bayou.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Mystic Bayou

three-half-stars


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Review: Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta Chase

Posted March 24, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta ChaseReviewer: Holly
Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta Chase
Series: Difficult Dukes #2
Also in this series: A Duke in Shining Armor, A Duke in Shining Armor, Ten Things I Hate About the Duke
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
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 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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Series Rating: four-stars

USA Today bestselling author Loretta Chase continues her Difficult Dukes series with this delightful spin on Shakespeare's classic, The Taming of the Shrew.

Cassandra Pomfret holds strong opinions she isn’t shy about voicing. But her extremely plain speaking has caused an uproar, and her exasperated father, hoping a husband will rein her in, has ruled that her beloved sister can’t marry until Cassandra does.

Now, thanks to a certain wild-living nobleman, the last shreds of Cassandra’s reputation are about to disintegrate, taking her sister’s future and her family’s good name along with them.

The Duke of Ashmont’s looks make women swoon. His character flaws are beyond counting. He’s lost a perfectly good bride through his own carelessness. He nearly killed one of his two best friends. Still, troublemaker that he is, he knows that damaging a lady’s good name isn’t sporting.

The only way to right the wrong is to marry her…and hope she doesn’t smother him in his sleep on their wedding night.

Ten Things I Hate About the Duke is the second book in Lorreta Chase’s Difficult Dukes series. I haven’t read the first book in this series, but I quite enjoyed this one. I don’t think I missed much by skipping book one, though I will probably go back and read it at some point.

Cassandra Pomfret is opinionated and not afraid to challenge the views of others – which has made her something of a pariah in society. She’s perfectly fine with that, but her exasperated father has pulled out the big guns; If Cassandra doesn’t wed, her younger sister can’t either. She isn’t sure what she’s going to do about her father’s decree, but she knows she won’t be able to get around it if the Duke of Ashmont completely ruins her reputation – which he’s about to do.

Ashmont is drunk and in despair over almost killing his best friend in a duel – which is the only reason he accidentally compromises Cassandra Pomfret. Probably. Now there’s only one thing to do – get her to agree to marry him. But Cassandra isn’t like the women who usually fall all over themselves around him. She’s…refreshing. And stubborn. He’ll have to do something drastic if he wants her to agree – like become respectable?

Cassandra was a great character, and I like how she brought about such change in Ashmont. Chase writes strong women so well. I really loved how Cassandra spoke her mind and wasn’t afraid to live outside society. I also loved how she had such love for her younger sister she was willing to do what she must on her behalf. Ashmont wasn’t a very likable character to start, but he grew and changed as the novel progressed.

I do think it was a bit slow in parts. The first quarter or so especially seemed slow. I did enjoy the banter and the development of both characters and their romance. I just wished it had picked up a little sooner.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Difficult Dukes


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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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