Source: Publisher

Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 21, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Tracy
Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #5
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5), Sapphire Flames, Diamond Fire, Wildfire
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won't rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that's tearing their world apart.

Catalina Baylor is wrapping up an investigation for House Baylor Investigative Agency, her family’s PI firm, when she’s attacked by beasts she’s never seen before.  She discovers that they are a blend of mechanical and biological constructs that are controlled by magic, which aren’t supposed to be able to exist together.  Since she is the Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, she calls the Warden, Linus Duncan, and tells him.  He immediately instructs her to go to Montgomery Investigations, Inc. and take over a case.

The case involves the death of Prime Felix Morton from House Morton.  He was one of five Primes from different Houses that were working on a reclamation project. They were trying to reclaim The Pit, which is a flooded, swampy area in the middle of Houston.  Catalina must now interview the other four Primes to try to discover who killed Felix.  She certainly doesn’t expect to run into Alessandro Sagredo when she gets to MII, as she hasn’t seen him in six months, but that’s what happens.  Alessandro was hired by Lander Morton to kill whoever murdered his son, Felix, once the killer is exposed.

Catalina is determined to keep her distance from Alessandro, despite the fact that he’s resumed his bodyguard-of-the-Deputy-Warden duties.  Alessandro has discovered that a man that he has been after for years is now looking to kill Catalina, if not her whole family.  He’s going to keep Catalina safe if it kills him.

Catalina has to deal with her feelings for Alessandro, keeping herself and her family safe, dealing with her grandmother Tremaine who is a wolf in wolf’s clothing, and balancing her House duties as well as her Deputy duties.  It’s a lot, especially with finding out that there is something in the Pit that is sentient, and it plans on taking over Houston completely.

I love Ilona Andrews books.  Seriously, I’ve never read an IA that I didn’t like.  The world building alone rocks my world, then they add in some romance and boom, I’m hooked.  This book was another amazing addition to the Hidden Legacy series.

I really didn’t like Catalina the first time I read Sapphire Flames.  Amazing book, but I was on the fence about her.  The “I love you” when it came to Alessandro was out of nowhere and based on nothing, and I wasn’t feeling it.  I recently reread SF and Catalina grew on me.  I still didn’t like the “love” part of the story, and actually disliked Alessandro somewhat during the second read, but the book was still crazy good.

In Emerald Blaze all of that dislike went away.  Though it’s only been six months since the last story ended, I felt Catalina had grown.  Becoming Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, and working with Linus, did her a hell of a lot of good and I could see the changes in her.  Alessandro, as well, was a different person.  His snarky personality wasn’t completely gone, but he seemed to take life more seriously and he was actually open and communicative with Catalina.  Loved it!

The rest of the story, besides the romantic parts, was super great.  Not that they weren’t, but they weren’t the focus.  I love the creatures that IA comes up with and it blows my mind that their minds work like that! The fact that the Baylor family, as well as Alessandro, have to work out these puzzling details and use their wits and intelligence to solve whatever issues arise makes me like them and the book even more.

I can’t tell you much about it as that will completely ruin the story for you, but I highly recommend this book.  If you haven’t read this series yet you are definitely missing out!  Start with Burn for Me and don’t stop until you’re done with Emerald Blaze.  You can thank me later.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Closer Than You Think by Karen Rose

Posted September 17, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Closer Than You Think by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Closer Than You Think (Cincinnati Series, #1) by Karen Rose
Series: Cincinnati Series #1
Also in this series: Alone in the Dark (Cincinnati Series #2)
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 688
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Your Back and Did You Miss Me comes the newest novel by “the queen of romantic suspense” (Crime and Punishment).

Psychologist Faith Corcoran is desperate to escape the stalker who’s made her life a nightmare for the past year—desperate enough to run to the one place that has been her nightmare far longer. Both boon and bane, her recent inheritance of her grandmother’s old house in Cincinnati offers sanctuary in which she can start her life anew, but requires that she face the dark memories that still resonate to this day.

But she has no idea how close to home her fears still are.

Two college girls have gone missing in the area, and FBI Special Agent Deacon Novak is called to work on the case. When his inquiry unexpectedly leads him to Faith, he finds a beautiful and brave woman he can’t help but fall for. Soon they’ll discover that this seemingly simple investigation is anything but. Reaching back decades into Faith’s own past, it will shatter everything she believes to be true and will give terrifying new meaning to flesh and blood.

This review was originally posted on April 14, 2015.

Closer Than You Think was the best book I’ve read in ages. It actually drove me to write a review. A lot of you don’t remember me, I’m sure, but I actually used to read and review books regularly here at Book Binge. O_o. Now, I hardly read and when I try to review, the cursor just sits there are stares at me. The it’s asks me “Well,are you just going to sit there?”. No, I’m not. I’m turning you off and going to take a nap.

As it happened, Closer Than You Think was a book that I could not put down. I finished it in two days and that’s only because of running my daughter around to soccer. Onto the review…Faith Corcoran has changed her name, took all her money out of the bank and leaves Florida for Cincinnati, where she just inherited a home from her grandmother. After being stalked by the man she put in prison for over a year.

The first night she arrives home, the key doesn’t work to the lock, so he heads back down the winding hill. Coming back the next day after getting the power turned on and the locks changed, Faith runs into what she thought was an animal, but soon realizes is a young, terrorized, horrified woman. Faith’s car goes over the embankment but she quickly climbs up the bank to make sure the woman is all right. Finally the cops get there.

When Deacon Novak arrives at the scene, he doesn’t know what to think. Faith brings out his primal instincts, but he knows she has to be on the suspect list until they can cross. Her off. After all, the victim seemed to come from her house as it was the only one between the accident site and her house. The only problem with the house is that someone has been using the basement as a torture chamber and no one has any idea.

They have multiple suspects; a stalker that may have followed her up from Florida. Two uncles that may have an ax to grind because she alone inherited the house. Or one of the uncles could be working with the stalker. Or it’s someone other than all three of them. All you do know is from the killer’s pov, he wants her dead. Badly.

Karen Rose writes some of the best sociopathic villains I’ve ever read. That’s part of the reason I can never put her books down. I’ve also been waiting to read Deacon Novak since he was first introduced in the books. Karen Rose does write some of the best suspense out there, but she also writes some of the best romantic suspense. Deacon and Faith were drawn to each other from the beginning. Deacon couldn’t help but want to protect Faith. As for Faith, as cheesy as it is, she feels an animal attraction to Deacon which is not like her at all. When you put all these elements together, there is nothing I didn’t like about the book. There is a lot of family stuff I left out, but suffice to say if you don’t read this book, you’re missing out.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Cincinnati

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seducing A Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

Posted July 30, 2020 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Features, Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seducing A Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen WelfonderReviewer: Tracy
Seducing a Scottish Bride by Sue-Ellen Welfonder
Series: MacKenzie #6
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: March 1, 2009
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 366
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Gelis MacKenzie is one of the most desirable heiresses in all the Western Highlands. She is the youngest and much adored daughter of the indomitable Black Stag of Kintail, Duncan MacKenzie, who was the hero of Welfonder's novel DEVIL IN A KILT. Unfortunately, Gelis has been branded unmarriageable, but not for lack of masculine interest. No matter how lofty the ancestry, how deep the purse, or how mighty the sword arm, nary a one of her suitors is good enough for her father. Although he loves Gelis fiercely and knows he must someday see her settled and wed, Duncan isn't quite ready to let her go.

But now Duncan has received an offer for Gelis's hand in marriage that he is honor-bound to accept-and it comes from the worst possible quarter. The suitor, Ronan MacRuari of Castle Dare, is the last man Duncan MacKenzie would wish for a son-in-law. Known as the Raven, Ronan is the scion of a dark clan that has been marked by a deadly curse.

Ronan and Gelis are instantly attracted to one another, but they are immediately estranged. Ronan's last two wives have died abruptly and he doesn't want to see his vivacious newly-wed Gelis suffer the same fate, so he distances himself from her as much as possible. In the meantime, Ronan searches for the Raven Stone, a fabled treasure that he believes holds the power of the curse over his clan. But Gelis has fallen in love with her new husband, and she's determined to help him. Though Ronan doesn't know it, Gelis also has the gift of second-sight, and she has seen a future in which she is destined to help redeem her cursed husband.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on March 5, 2009.

After Gelis’s vision of the man she is to marry she is very excited about the match. She knows nothing about the curse on the MacRuari clan at first but when she hears of it is bound and determined that she call aid in the breaking of it.

Ronan MacRuari is dead set against this arranged marriage – arranged by his grandfather. He is certain that he is cursed to the point of thinking bad things and having them come true. He doesn’t want to have yet another wife, his 3rd, die as the other two have.

This book was a little confusing for me. The curse was explained but until the end you didn’t know exactly what the curse was and even then it was sketchy. The Holders, who were the ancient Druids that were the ones who cursed the MacRuari clan were talked about but it was never definitely stated exactly who they were or where they came from. Now, this appears to be the 6th book in the series so these items may have been spoken about previously but as a newcomer to Ms. Welfonder’s work I was a tad baffled by things occasionally.

It was a cute book though. I normally like my romances to have a little more depth in them when it comes to the relationship between the hero and heroine but for a historical book with an arranged marriage it was nice. I also thought the book had a good mixture of reality and magic so if you like a tad bit of paranormal in your historical this would be a great book for you.

And can I just say I love the cover of this book! There’s just something about it. Maybe because we see so many “fronts” of people these days that it’s a nice change to see the back! lol

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Dancing in the Dark by Jennifer Dunne

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

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Dancing in the Dark by Jennifer DunneDancing in the Dark by Jennifer Dunne
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publication Date: April 19, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Genres: Erotica
Pages: 82
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three-half-stars

A humdrum life… Keri Montero lives a boring life. Work, TV, volunteering, and her quilting hardly make the stuff of fantasy and dreams.

A mistaken invitation… All this changes when she receives an invitation to a charity Halloween costume party to benefit the local opera house. She decides to go, even if the tickets are—gasp—$100 each.

A walk on the wild side… Her costume can be anything, and Keri decides to live on the wild side for once. Going as a submissive slave girl might invite trouble. But when she meets the man of her dreams, she decides to go even wilder. Keri wants to submit to his every…sexual…whim.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on May 8, 2010.

So after getting the invitation to the Halloween party Keri has to decide what to be. She goes online after deciding to be a slave girl – since there are always so many in the operas – and buys a costume sight unseen. That right there would put up a big red flag for me. When she gets the costume it’s more of a bdsm costume than anything else but Keri decides to go for it. When she gets to the party she talks up many gentlemen but none of them seem to get what she was trying to do – which was a find a master. When she meets the man – who’s dressed as a sun god and is masked himself they immediately are drawn to each other and leave the party.

The sun god is truly looking for a slave and he wants to be Kerri’s Master. He takes Keri to his apartment that holds his dungeon and they proceed to get down and dirty. I don’t know too much about the bdsm lifestyle but I’d have to say that I found this to be bdsm light since Keri was completely new to the lifestyle. After 2 days of meeting with “the Master” Keri still has no idea who the man is or what he looks like but she doesn’t want to go back to her humdrum life and decides to take the bull by the horns and keep up with her slave girl position.

This was a very cute story but I have to say that I did have a couple of issues with it. First I found that what Keri was doing was completely not her. She came home and watched Charmed every day and ate microwave meals and quilted. I just couldn’t see her – even in her wildest dreams doing something like this. I saw her as more of the person who would get the costume on a whim and then decide not to wear it. IDK it just didn’t hit me right. The second would be that she fell in love with the sun god – sight unseen – knowing nothing about the man except having sex with him 3 times. Having great sex is wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but a love relationship it does not make imho.

Despite the niggles I had with it I thought the story was written well and it did get my attention and didn’t let go. This is a highly sexual & erotic novella and has more sex than not, but I didn’t find myself skipping any sex scenes (which when they get tedious, I must admit I do).

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith

Posted June 18, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn SmithReviewer: Holly
When Marrying a Scoundrel by Kathryn Smith
Series: Victorian Soap Opera #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 25, 2010
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 385
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A lady must be prepared for anything . . . when marrying a scoundrel.

Sadie Moon once thought she was in love. Then her dashing husband left her to seek his fortune, and she had no choice but to transform herself from a heartbroken waif into London Society's favorite fortune-teller. But even she could not have foreseen Jack's return—until their paths cross in the last place either would have expected: London's most exclusive house of pleasure.

Now wealthy and successful, Jack Friday has everything he'd ever dreamed of . . . except Sadie. He swears he will never trust the woman who broke her promise to wait for him, though his passion for her burns as hotly as ever before. But love, like the past, comes back to haunt them—drawing them into a web of intrigue and betrayal that could save or destroy them both.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on June 18, 2010.

Kathryn Smith is hit or miss for me. I’m never sure which way a novel is going to go for me with her. Some are fabulous and others leave much to be desired. This one falls under the “hit” umbrella.

I really like the “reunited lovers” plot device, and I think Smith did a good job with it here. It was easy to see why both parties felt they were the ones who got abandoned. I really liked that Jack never stopped loving Sadie, and had no problem admitting it. He no longer trusted her, but he still loved her. I really loved that though Jack and Sadie had issues with each other, they were able to set them aside to help one another when they needed it. They were very adult about their relationship, which was refreshing.

Jack frustrated me at times because he refused to believe in Sadie, especially early in the book. When he called her a fraud my heart broke along with hers. My frustration didn’t last long, though, because Sadie kept belaboring the point, ad nauseum.

I know why Sadie felt so angry toward Jack, and he toward her, but I found myself getting frustrated with Sadie as the novel progressed. Her reasons for pushing him away seemed contrived and silly. She didn’t think she was good enough for him or the class he belonged to, but that didn’t hold water since she’d already married him once. I also had an issue with the way she kept the nature of her relationship with Jack a secret from Mason, the man who was courting her. They had no formal arrangement or agreement, but it was obvious they both thought it could go somewhere. Sadie owed him more than lies, IMO.

I was able to let it go, however, since she realized the problem was hers and made it right.

Though I had issues with both main protagonists, they weren’t enough to detract from my overall enjoyment. Yes, I became frustrated by their actions at times. But more, I was swept up in their rekindled romance, waiting to see when they’d finally realize what we as the reader knew all along – they were meant to be together.

4 out of 5

Victorian Soap Opera

four-stars


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