Source: Library

Review: The Duchess Hunt by Lorraine Heath

Posted December 5, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Duchess Hunt by Lorraine HeathReviewer: Holly
The Duchess Hunt by Lorraine Heath
Series: Once Upon a Dukedom #2
Also in this series: The Duchess Hunt
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath continues her Once Upon a Dukedom series with this lush love story of a duke who discovers what he desires in a wife may not be what he needs...
Hugh Brinsley-Norton, the Duke of Kingsland, is in need of a duchess. However, restoring the dukedom—left in ruins by his father—to its former glory demands all his time, with little room for sentiment. He places an advert encouraging the single ladies of the ton to write why they should be the one chosen, and leaves it to his efficient secretary to select his future wife.
If there exists a more unpleasant task in the world than deciding who is to marry the man you love, Penelope Pettypeace certainly can’t imagine what it might be. Still, she is determined to find the perfect bride for her clueless, yet ruthlessly charming employer.
But when an anonymous note threatens to reveal truths best hidden, Kingsland has no choice but to confront the danger with Penelope at his side. Beguiled by the strong-willed, courageous beauty, he realizes he’s willing to risk everything, including his heart, to keep her safe within his arms. Could it be the duchess he’s hunting for has been in front of him all along?

The Duchess Hunt is the second book in the Once Upon a Dukedom series. I switched between reading and listening. The narrator, Kate Reading, is a personal favorite.

The Duke of Kingsland needs a wife, but he can’t be bothered with trying to find one on his own, so he puts an advert in the Times and asks anyone interested in becoming his duchess to send him a letter with their qualifications. Naturally, everyone is interested as he’s a duke. When his first choice falls in love with another man, he gives the task of choosing the runner up to his secretary, Miss Penelope Pettypeace.

Penelope has been in love with Kingsland forever, but it’s a quiet kind of love. She’s damn good and her job and loves what she does. She isn’t willing to compromise that for a love that can never be. So she dedicates herself to finding the right girl to be the future Duchess. Things are going well until suddenly the duke seems to notices her as a woman. Where before he treated her well, but just like any other person in his employ, all of a sudden he’s treating her as a woman first. When something threatens to expose secrets neither want revealed, they both realize things are more complicated between them than they ever knew.

This was a great unrequited love story. Penelope was a lovely character. Her steadfastness and attention to detail really came through. She may have been in love with the duke, but it wasn’t a starry-eyed kind of thing. These were two adults who respected one another and I loved that. While I enjoyed the first book in the series, this is definitely my favorite so far.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Once Upon a Dukedom

four-stars


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Lightning Review: Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall

Posted July 11, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Darkness Dawns by Dianne DuvallReviewer: Holly
Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: Immortal Guardians #1
Also in this series: Darkness Dawns, In Still Darkness
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 345
Length: 10 hours and 39 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

In this dazzling, sensual novel, Dianne Duvall beckons readers into a world of vampires, immortals, and humans with extraordinary gifts…where passion can last forever, if you’re willing to pay the price…

Once, Sarah Bingham’s biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing a wounded stranger, she’s landed in the middle of a battle between corrupt vampires and powerful immortals who also need blood to survive. Roland Warbrook is the most compelling man Sarah has ever laid hands on. But his desire for her is mingled with a hunger he can barely control…

In his nine centuries of immortal existence, no woman has tempted Roland as much as Sarah. But asking her to love him is impossible—when it means forfeiting the world she’s always known, and the life he would do anything to protect...

Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall is the first book in the Immortal Guardians series. I read the spinoff series, The Aldebarian Alliance, first, then picked this up to see what I missed. I listened to the audiobook, which narrated by Kirsten Potter, a favorite of mine.

Sarah is a professor on break for the summer. She’s leaving electronics behind and focusing on growing a garden and decompressing. She’s doing some late night gardening when she comes across a man being attacked. She comes to his aid and brings him home. Roland is a centuries old Immortal Guardian. His colleagues and friends call him “anti-social”, but he has good reason to keep away from people and trust no one. Except Sarah gets under his skin. He doesn’t want to want her, but he can’t stop himself. When it becomes apparent that Sarah may be in danger for her part in helping him, he knows he’ll have to keep her with him. If only he and his brethren weren’t Immortal Vampire Slayers she knows nothing about.

I liked this story, but I thought the romance came on pretty fast. Sarah learned about the existence of paranormal beings and fell in love with one in like a day. That aside, the world building was good and I’m excited for the next book.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Immortal Guardians

three-half-stars


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Review: Bombshell by Sarah Maclean

Posted April 27, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Bombshell by Sarah MacleanReviewer: Holly
Bombshell by Sarah MacLean
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Series: Hell's Belles #1
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 394
Length: 10 hours and 6 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with a blazingly sexy, unapologetically feminist new series, Hell’s Belles, beginning with a bold, bombshell of a heroine, able to dispose of a scoundrel—or seduce one—in a single night.

After years of living as London’s brightest scandal, Lady Sesily Talbot has embraced the reputation and the freedom that comes with the title. No one looks twice when she lures a gentleman into the dark gardens beyond a Mayfair ballroom…and no one realizes those trysts are not what they seem.

No one, that is, but Caleb Calhoun, who has spent years trying not to notice his best friend’s beautiful, brash, brilliant sister. If you ask him, he’s been a saint about it, considering the way she looks at him…and the way she talks to him…and the way she’d felt in his arms during their one ill-advised kiss.

Except someone has to keep Sesily from tumbling into trouble during her dangerous late-night escapades, and maybe close proximity is exactly what Caleb needs to get this infuriating, outrageous woman out of his system. But now Caleb is the one in trouble, because he’s fast realizing that Sesily isn’t for forgetting…she’s forever. And forever isn’t something he can risk.

Bombshell is the first book in a spinoff of Maclean’s Scandal & Scoundrel series. I purchased the ebook, then requested the audiobook from the library since I have a long commute every day. I really like the narrator, Mary Jane Wells. I did struggle with the first couple chapters of the audiobook because there are a lot of characters and names that are introduced or discussed. Since I didn’t read the original series, I wasn’t familiar with any of them and it was confusing trying to keep everyone straight. After the first few chapters I easily fell into the story. I ended up switching between the ebook and the audiobook.

As much as this is the start of a new series, I do feel like I was missing some key information by not reading the previous Talbot sisters’ books. I may go back and read the series just to catch up.

I really enjoyed Sesily. She’s woman comfortable with herself and not afraid to go after what she wants. I loved her friendship with the other Hell’s Belles, and how they worked behind the scenes to fight injustices. I also liked that she didn’t take responsibility for the actions of anyone else.

I also enjoyed Caleb. He was able to hold his own against Sesily, which was good considering what a strong personality she had. I did become frustrated with the way his “big secret” was hinted at over and over again, but not revealed. That’s a personal preference. I don’t like when the reader is kept in the dark, especially since I had already guessed most of it. The romance was sweet, but honestly it was Sesily and the Belles who stole the show.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Witches Get Stitches by Juliette Cross

Posted February 21, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Witches Get Stitches by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Witches Get Stitches by Juliette Cross
Series: Stay a Spell #3
Also in this series: Wolf Gone Wild, Don't Hex and Drive
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 390
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

Violet Savoie has a plan. A dream, rather. To open her own tattoo shop, which caters to supernaturals in need of permanent charms. As a powerful Seer, she has the potent magic to cast every kind of spell. Except the kind to give werewolves control over their beastly side. And her business partner Nico needs help in the worst kind of way.

Nico Cruz has a secret. A motive, rather. To subtly stalk and seduce Violet until she finally recognizes they are fated to be together. Ever since their heated encounter in Austin on New Year’s Eve two years earlier, he’s been dying to get his hands—and his tongue—back on her body. He knows a woman like Violet can’t be courted in the usual way. Luckily, Nico has no scruples about misbehaving to get what he wants.

But when his former pack roams into town, and an old friend is far too interested in Violet, his focus shifts to the threat venturing into his territory. Nico may come across as the quiet, broody one, but the intruders are about to regret stepping foot in New Orleans. And when Violet goes missing, no charm or spell can keep Nico’s wolf at bay.

Witches Get Stitches is the third book in the Stay a Spell series by Juliette Cross, which features the Savoie sisters, powerful witches who own a bar in New Orleans. Nico and Violet had a connection in the first book, Wolf Gone Wild, and I was really excited to read more about them.

Violet is a powerful seer. She also has a unique gift – she can imbue tattoos with spells. She goes into partnership with Nico in a tattoo shop as she works on refining her craft. She and Nico had a passionate encounter, but she did a divination for herself and realized he wasn’t the one, so she’s been keeping him at arms length.

I have to say, Violet frustrated me. She acted very immature about her attraction to Nico. I wish she’d been more open and honest with him, instead of just ghosting him, or picking fights for no reason.

Still, I liked the underlying message about inclusion, and the way she and Nico changed things for the werewolves. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Stay a Spell

three-half-stars


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Review: Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross

Posted August 4, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross
Series: Stay a Spell #1
Also in this series: Don't Hex and Drive, Witches Get Stitches
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 396
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

What's the worst thing that can happen to a werewolf? Unable to shift for three months, Mateo Cruz knows all too well. His wolf has taken up residence in his head, taunting him night and day with vividly violent and carnal thoughts. Convinced he's cursed, he needs the help of a powerful witch before he literally goes insane.

​Evie Savoie has always obeyed the house rules of her coven--no werewolves. They're known for being moody and volatile. So, when a distempered, dangerous werewolf strolls into the bar and almost strangles one of her late-night customers, she's ready to bounce him through the door. But the desperation in his eyes when he begs her to help him softens her heart and convinces her to bend the rules.

​What Evie doesn't know is that Mateo's wolf has a mind of his own. And now that she's in his sights, he wants only one thing. Her.

Wolf Gone Wild is the first book in a new paranormal series from Juliette Cross, a new-to-me author. This was a fun, light-hearted paranormal romance. Mateo Cruz is not currently one with his wolf – in fact, Alpha (the wolf in question) has taken up residence in his head and won’t stop his constant chattering. Not to mention, he can’t shift. He’s desperate to get his curse broken before he goes feral and Alpha takes full control.

Evie Savoie and her sisters are one of most powerful covens in New Orleans. They don’t have a lot of rules, but her oldest sister and the leader of their coven is adamant – no werewolves. But Evie can see Mateo’s struggle and wants to help him.

This book was a lot of fun. Funny, without being campy. I have to say, it was Alpha who first drew me in. His constant snark and dialogue in Mateo’s head was hilarious. I also loved Evie. She was a total geek, into SciFi and comics. I enjoyed how their relationship developed. They became friends first, then moved into something more. The mystery was easy to figure out, but that was secondary to the romance for me anyway, so I wasn’t bothered about it. Parts in the middle did seem to drag a bit, but I was so entertained by the rest I didn’t care. I loved Evie’s family, and how they embraced Mateo.

I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Stay a Spell

four-stars


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