Source: NetGalley

Joint Review: Archangel’s Sun by Nalini Singh

Posted November 23, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Archangel’s Sun by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee & Holly
Archangel's Sun by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #13
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War, Archangel's War , Archangel's Kiss
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 24, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A horrifying secret rises in the aftermath of an archangelic war in New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s deadly and beautiful Guild Hunter world...
The Archangel of Death and the Archangel of Disease may be gone but their legacy of evil lives on—especially in Africa, where the shambling, rotting creatures called the reborn have gained a glimmer of vicious intelligence.
It is up to Titus, archangel of this vast continent, to stop the reborn from spreading across the world. Titus can’t do it alone, but of the surviving powerful angels and archangels, large numbers are wounded, while the rest are fighting a surge of murderous vampires.
There is no one left…but the Hummingbird. Old, powerful, her mind long a broken kaleidoscope. Now, she must stand at Titus’s side against a tide of death upon a discovery more chilling than any other. For the Archangel of Disease has left them one last terrible gift…

Archangel’s Sun begins where Archangel’s War left off. The war with Lijuan finally came to an end in a rather spectacular fashion. Now the Archangel’s are trying to rebuild their territories. Titus is fighting to defend his territory in Africa from the reborn. The reborn are creatures that Lijuan created and Charisemnon helped change into bigger abominations than they already were. When the Cadre sends him the Hummingbird, he wonders how exactly such a fragile creature could help him. Chaos ensues.

Casee: I honestly wasn’t sure of this book when I first saw the blurb. Although the Hummingbird has been an interesting character in this series, I always thought of her in the abstract. I wasn’t really interested in her or her story. Ironically, she turned out to be one of my favorite characters in this series.

Holly: I was really intrigued by The Hummingbird in the previous books, and I was glad she was featured in this one. I really loved her personal journey in this book.

Casee: I feel like this was more about Sharine’s personal journey than it was about the romance between her and Titus. I thought the romance was really sweet, but I was more fascinated by Sharine herself. What did you think of Titus?

Holly: I really liked Titus. He made me laugh early on with his whole neanderthal attitudes, but honestly he was a big marshmallow underneath it all. I think he was a good fit for Sharine. I agree the romance took a back seat to her personal journey. I’m okay with that. I liked how things progressed as she came out of her shell and learned more about herself. I’d have liked to see more of her realizing her skills, but I’m hopeful we’ll see more of her in the future.

Casee: I really liked Titus, too. I liked how he interacted with his sisters. He never thought that he was superior to Sharine, which I really appreciated. I thought this really captured what the Hummingbird represented to the angels.

“Everyone loved the Hummingbird. Even Titus loved her—in a distant kind of way. He didn’t know her as a person. He knew of her. That she was a gift to angelkind, that her kindness was legendary, that she had never had an enemy in her life. And of course, that she had given birth to Illium, a young angel Titus greatly liked.”

I adored Sharine’s relationship with Illium. Aodhan too.

Holly: I loved that the entirety of angelkind had Sharine on a pedestal, but she was so sassy Titus couldn’t believe she was the same woman everyone went on about. It cracked me up every time she got miffed at him and he was baffled.

I really liked Sharine’s relationship with Ilium and Aodhan, too. It was good seeing her slide back into a more maternal role and taking back some of that responsibility from him. Her guilt over what she perceived as her weakness really tugged at my heartstrings.

Casee: I also loved how Sharine baffled Titus. He just couldn’t reconcile Sharine with the Hummingbird that everyone adores. I also enjoyed the progression of their relationship. It was a relationship that was built over months, not days. It was a very believable love story.

Holly: It was, except for the end. View Spoiler ».

Casee: I can understand that. Usually I’m not happy with HFN endings, but this one worked wonderfully. Sharine knew that she still had healing to do and while she loved Titus, she wanted to find herself on her own. I admired that.

I forgot another thing I loved. Raphael and Sharine. Sigh. So sweet.

Holly: To clarify, I’m totally good with the HFN, I actually wanted them to be LESS committed than they were. Which is a weird thing for me to say. lol

Oh, I really liked Raphael and Sharine, too. They’re relationship is so sweet.

Casee: That is weird. Lol

Where does it fall in the series for you? It’s not one of my favorites, but I did enjoy it. I would give it a 3.75 out of 5.

Holly: It wasn’t a favorite for me, either. I really liked Sharine’s personal growth and I enjoyed Titus, but the romance wasn’t my favorite. 3.5 out of 5 from me.

Final Grades

Casee: 3.75 out of 5.
Holly: 3.5 out of 5.

Guild Hunter Series

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday Spotlight: Archangel’s Sun by Nalini Singh

Posted November 22, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 6 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: Archangel’s Sun by Nalini SinghArchangel's Sun by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #13
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War, Archangel's War , Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Sun
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 24, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

A horrifying secret rises in the aftermath of an archangelic war in New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s deadly and beautiful Guild Hunter world...

The Archangel of Death and the Archangel of Disease may be gone but their legacy of evil lives on—especially in Africa, where the shambling, rotting creatures called the reborn have gained a glimmer of vicious intelligence.

It is up to Titus, archangel of this vast continent, to stop the reborn from spreading across the world. Titus can’t do it alone, but of the surviving powerful angels and archangels, large numbers are wounded, while the rest are fighting a surge of murderous vampires.

There is no one left…but the Hummingbird. Old, powerful, her mind long a broken kaleidoscope. Now, she must stand at Titus’s side against a tide of death upon a discovery more chilling than any other. For the Archangel of Disease has left them one last terrible gift…

Excerpt

Excerpt from Archangel’s Sun by Nalini Singh

The Archangel of Death and the Archangel of Disease had created a horrific hybrid. But the ugliest “improvement” was why all of the dead in Titus’s territory were now being cremated—these reborn had the ability to pass on the infection to the dead who yet had a shred of flesh on their bones. The creatures dug up graves, hauled out corpses, fed on them, but if any flesh remained afterward, the dead would be reborn.

An entire village had been butchered by their just-buried war dead in the hours after Titus left the continent to fight Lijuan. Now, people across this land spent daylight hours digging up their dead as tears streaked their faces and their hearts broke; each body was treated with respect, but there was no choice—their dead had to go into the cleansing cauldron of fire.

“Charisemnon and Lijuan must’ve had a plan to spread this new strain,” Tzadiq had said to him after they first became aware of the horror they faced, his second’s clean-shaven head gleaming in the reprieve of the dawn sun. “Why do you think that plan stalled in Africa?”

“We’ll never know for certain,” Titus had answered, his back drenched with sweat after yet another night fighting the reborn, “but if I had to lay bets, I’d say that whatever Charisemnon did to blend his disease with her death, it cost him.” Disease was a “gift” that cut both ways. “He likely couldn’t maintain the projected pace.”

But the archangel formed of pestilence and vanity had done plenty.

It was all more than enough to deal with—yet a nagging worry haunted Titus. When he’d entered Charisemnon’s inner border court after his return from New York, it was to find a number of badly decomposed bodies. No one had been inside the court buildings in the interim, both his and Charisemnon’s former forces caught in a desperate battle against the reborn.

The creatures had gone berserk upon the death of their master.

Only later, after questioning several senior members of the enemy court, had he learned that Charisemnon had shut off the inner court to everyone but a favored few. The other courtiers had worried they’d fallen in their archangel’s favor. Turned out, from what Titus had discovered, that the favored few had actually been the unlucky few.

For the vampires, Titus believed that their liege had either accidentally infected them with a disease or he’d used them as guinea pigs. It was possible the angels had been thrown to the vampires as sacrificial food, but it was equally possible the decomposition hid what might’ve been indications of disease. It was the latter prospect that haunted Titus—because angels weren’t supposed to be vulnerable to disease.

It was a law written into stone.

As immutable as the wind and the sky.

Or it had been before Charisemnon.

Then Tzadiq had discovered the worst thing: a slimy black-green trail along the hallway that led out of the room of the rotting dead . . . in a shape that couldn’t be of anything but an angel. No other being in the world could’ve made that particular pattern. Only an angel whose wings were dragging along the stone as they clawed and crawled their way down the hall.

Needless to say, Titus was handling serious and deadly problems.

The Hummingbird had exactly zero useful skills when it came to the grim tasks that lay ahead.

He wanted to groan all over again. Did he even have anyone left on his staff who could pretty up a room for her?

This was going to be an unmitigated disaster.

Copyright © 2020 by Nalini Singh

Guild Hunter Series

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: November 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 Nalini Singh

I've been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There's no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.

I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).

So far, I've worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer's mill.


Tagged: , , , ,

Guest Review: The Truth About Dukes by Grace Burrowes

Posted November 9, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Truth About Dukes by Grace BurrowesReviewer: Tracy
The Truth About Dukes by Grace Burrowes
Series: Rogues to Riches #5
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A new duke and a woman with a secret in her past get a second chance at love in this delightful and charming Regency romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the Windham series.

Robert Rothmere is hiding a past no duke should have endured, but he's not hiding it well enough. Sooner or later, his enemies will learn that he spent years locked away at a private asylum. To get their hands on his wealth, they'll try to send him right back to his worst nightmares. If Robert is to foil their schemes, he needs to marry a perfectly proper, blessedly boring, deadly dull duchess, immediately—and he knows exactly which quietly delightful lady he'd love to entrust with that role.

Lady Constance Wentworth has cultivated a reputation for utter forgettability. She never speaks out of turn (in public), never has a daring thought (that she admits aloud), and never comes close to courting scandal... as far as anybody knows. Her path crossed Robert's years ago, though, and she's never forgotten the extraordinary lengths he traveled to keep her safe when she hadn't a friend in the world. She longs to be his demure duchess...but little does he know that to marry her would be utter madness.

Constance is shocked when she sees Robert Rothmere at a ball.  She tries to avoid him, but he waylays her, and they walk in the garden.  What Constance thought would be incredibly awkward was, in fact, quite nice.  Constance had known Robert when he was a patient in an asylum.  He isn’t insane, he is epileptic. The “asylum” was actually a place that Robert’s father had stowed him away and a horrible doctor had been experimenting on him.

Constance’s sister and Robert’s brother are in love and engaged to be married.  This brings Constance and Robert together more and more and they find themselves falling in love.  The road to happiness, however, will be a rough road.  Constance has a secret she doesn’t want to share with Robert but must in order to be completely honest with him.  Robert could possibly be seen as unfit to run a dukedom and put under a guardianship.  They will both try as hard as they can to avoid this happening.  With Robert’s brother and Constance’s family and friends they will try to overcome all the obstacles in their way to a bright future.

This was definitely a romance, but I felt that most of the book was taken up with Constance’s secret and Robert and his epilepsy.  That was actually fine, because it worked in this instance and was well done.  That said, the first part of the book was a bit…I want to say stodgy, but that’s not quite right.  It just didn’t flow the way that I’m used to Burrowes’ books flowing and it was disjointed for me.  The second part was definitely more cohesive, and the story really picked up.

I loved Constance and Robert together.  There wasn’t too much of the typical romance between the two, but the way that Burrowes portrayed their love throughout the book was definitely sigh-worthy.  She did a great job showing us how much in love these two characters were.

The secondary characters definitely need to be mentioned as they were an integral part of the story.  I loved how Burrowes took the “it takes a village” saying and ran with it – even though these were adults.  It showed the love and care that the two families had for their siblings and I loved that.

Overall a good read. I haven’t read the previous four books in this series but didn’t feel that not doing so detracted from this story in any way.

Rating:  3.75/4 out of 5

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Tempted by Her Viking Enemy by Terri Brisbin

Posted November 2, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Tempted by Her Viking Enemy by Terri BrisbinReviewer: Tracy
Tempted by Her Viking Enemy by Terri Brisbin
Series: Sons of Sigurd #5
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Publication Date: November 1, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


USA TODAY
Bestselling Author
“What do I get if I help you?”

“Whatever I have to give…”

The only person who can help Katla flee a violent marriage is the Viking in her father’s dungeon, the strong and honorable Brandt Sigurdsson. Except Brandt is hungry to see justice done for his family’s destruction, the final vengeance on behalf of all the sons of Sigurd. Is there any persuasion she can offer that will free them both to live—and love—together?
From Harlequin Historical: Your romantic escape to the past.
Sons of Sigurd

Driven by revenge, redeemed by love
Book 1: Stolen by the Viking by Michelle Willingham
Book 2: Falling for Her Viking Captive by Harper St. George
Book 3: Conveniently Wed to the Viking by Michelle Styles
Book 4: Redeeming Her Viking Warrior by Jenni Fletcher
Book 5: Tempted by Her Viking Enemy by Terri Brisbin

Katla Thorfinnsdottir is the oldest daughter of a Pict woman and a Norse man.  Her father has promised her in marriage to a horrible man and Katla is devastated.  She is a widow from her first marriage and doesn’t want to marry another ogre.

Brandt shows up at the Pict stronghold to kill Katla’s father, Thorfinn Bjornsson.  He wants revenge as he believes that Thorfinn is responsible for the raid on his Norse village that ended up killing his father, Brandt’s pregnant wife, and the crown taking their titles and their land.  They fight, but eventually Brandt is wounded and taken prisoner.  Katla is the castle’s healer and is ordered by her father to save Brandt.  As he’s healing, Katla gets to know Brandt and stats to like him a great deal.  She asks him to help her and her younger sister escape from the castle and Brandt agrees, but not before he gets his revenge.  Brandt is leery of Katla at first but soon finds himself falling in love with her.

Brandt tells Katla the story of his village and Katla discusses some weird happenings that are taking place in the castle.  Between the two of them they solve the mystery of what’s going on, but that doesn’t help Brandt who is still a prisoner. They make a plan, but they’re not sure if they can execute it without, well, getting executed.

This was a decent read.  I liked Katla but felt bad for her for the life she’d had after her mother died and her father had gotten remarried. She came back home after her husband died with the intent of staying at the castle for the rest of her life.  In the Pict lands the right of inheritance is through the women.  For the Norse, the right of inheritance goes through the male line.  Her father marrying her off again was something she certainly didn’t want.  She’d been abused by her first husband and didn’t want to have to deal with that again.  Unfortunately, her father wasn’t listening, because of his new wife and her machinations.

Brandt was a good character, but he didn’t have much depth.  He was so focused on revenge that we didn’t get to know a whole lot about him or his background. I certainly liked him with Katla,and loved that he could love her despite his hate for her father.  Katla was kind and giving and I loved her determination in getting the heck out of Dodge.

The story did have a ton of introspection as the characters were trying to figure out their lives, and the mystery that entwined the two of them, and that slowed things down a bit for me.  Despite that I enjoyed the story and recommend it if you like a good Viking story. This is the 5th book in the Sons of Sigurd series – all the books are written by different authors.  I didn’t read any of the books in the series besides this one but didn’t feel that I needed to do so in order to figure out what was going on in this one.  I obviously can’t say if that applies for all the books in the series, but for this one, it worked.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: When the Earl Met His Match by Stacy Reid

Posted October 26, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: When the Earl Met His Match by Stacy ReidReviewer: Tracy
When the Earl Met His Match by Stacy Reid
Series: Wedded by Scandal #4
Also in this series: Accidentally Compromising the Duke, Accidentally Compromising the Duke
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous
Publication Date: September 14, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 249
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When Hugh Winthrop, the future Earl of Albury, decides to advertise for a wife in the London paper, he never expected an anonymous response from a woman who matches him wit for wit. Their back-and-forth letters on the true nature of love, something they disagree on wholeheartedly, leave him shocked—and intrigued. But then the woman he’s been corresponding with shows up on his doorstep, enticingly beautiful and offering a marriage of convenience in exchange for his protection…

Lady Phoebe Maitland expected to marry for love and nothing else, until the man she gave her trust betrayed her. The more intrigued she becomes by the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Hugh, however, the more she realizes he’s holding back from opening his heart due to long-held secrets she struggles to understand. As passion flares wickedly between them, their marriage bed is quick to heat up. But when Phoebe’s past threatens to destroy the fragile bond they’ve formed, even a budding belief in love might not be enough to save them.

Lady Phoebe, a duke’s daughter, is in love with a man who doesn’t live up to her lofty father’s expectations.  He’s a commoner, and that just won’t do.  When Phoebe is betrayed by her love, she’s devastated, but makes a plan to resolve her issues.

Hugh is an Earl and has written an advertisement for a wife.  He describes what he’s looking for and he is quite succinct in the ad that this marriage will have nothing to do with love.  Phoebe is outraged and write’s this anonymous man to tell him her feelings about his ad.  They start a correspondence that while still vaguely about the ad, becomes a bit of a friendship and they both look forward to the letters.

After her love’s betrayal (and other reasons) Phoebe heads to Hugh’s and offers a marriage of convenience.  He’s shocked that this woman has shown up to be his wife, as he hadn’t made a decision about who he would pick of the women who had answered the ad.  Hugh is honest with himself that he’s not totally mad/sad that Phoebe is there as he has enjoyed her letters immensely.  They also each have issues that are not necessarily accepted in society and Hugh decides to go through with it. Phoebe is shocked when she realizes that Hugh is mute, but quickly decides it doesn’t matter.

Despite getting married, Hugh is determined to nip love in the bud before it can begin.  His mother took off with her lover when Hugh was young and he doesn’t want his heart on the line if Phoebe decides to leave as well. Can Phoebe get him to see that love is something they should strive for rather than avoid?

I enjoyed this book. One of the reasons was Hugh and his wonderful attitude towards life.  He accepted Phoebe for who she was, and all her issues.  He didn’t let the fact that he was mute stop him from living and I loved that.  He was so good to Phoebe for the most part and I really enjoyed them together.  I also really liked Phoebe and her determination to live her life the way she wanted to, and not the way her parents and brother thought she should live it.

Phoebe was the other reason this book was good.  She made some mistakes in her life but for the most part she had such a good heart.  I loved her vibrancy!  At one point in the book she takes a poor woman and her children into the carriage and takes them home because it’s raining.  How many women of the nobility would do that?? Not only that but she gives her jewelry she can sell to buy food. Hugh then goes a step further and tells her that money and help finding a job will be available to her the next day.  Good people!

That said, I have a bit of an issue with one aspect of Reid’s heroes (and this happened in all of the Reid books I’ve read).  It seems that the heroes, at some point, are angry at the heroines or trying to push them away because they’re trying to deny that they love the women. When this happens, they are purposely cruel to the heroines and say some of the rudest, meanest things to them!  I hate that!  Surely their feelings can be expressed without being cruel. Anyway, that’s a pet peeve I have with Reid’s heroes. They can be amazing, but they can also be complete bastards.

Anyway, despite my love of Hugh and Phoebe the story dragged in a few places, which was disappointing.  Still a good book, but it brought my rating down a bit.  I still recommend this book, as I definitely think it one that needs to be read.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,