Source: Purchased

Review: Spellbinder by Thea Harrison

Posted June 13, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Spellbinder by Thea HarrisonReviewer: Casee
Spellbinder by Thea Harrison
Series: Moonshadow #2
Also in this series: Spellbinder, Lionheart (Moonshadow, #3), Lionheart (Moonshadow, #3)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 428
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From author Thea Harrison comes the latest story in the New York Times bestselling Moonshadow trilogy….

Kidnapped while on tour, musician Sidonie Martel is transported to the mystical land of Avalon. A human without magical ability, she is completely vulnerable to the deadly forces surrounding her.

When she defies her captors and refuses to share her music, an act of violent cruelty leaves her broken, her ability to play silenced, maybe forever. Her only hope is a whisper in the dark, gentle hands that offer healing, and a man who refuses to show her his face yet who offers advice she dare not ignore.

One of the most feared and powerful sorcerers in history, Morgan le Fae serves a Queen he despises, Isabeau of the Light Court. Once a famous bard and an advisor to kings, Morgan has been enslaved to Isabeau for hundreds of years, acting as enforcer and the commander of her deadly Hounds.

Sidonie’s music touches Morgan in places he had abandoned centuries ago, and her fiery spirit resurrects feelings he had believed long dead. For Sidonie, trapped in captivity, passion offers a comfort she cannot resist.

But Isabeau holds Morgan bound in magical chains that only Death can break. And in the court of a cruel, jealous Queen, the only thing that burns hotter than love is revenge…

Spellbinder was such a delight to me. I didn’t enjoy Morgan at all in Moonshadow (Moonshadow #1). He just seemed like the quintessential bad guy. He tried to stop the good guys from doing good and he also tried to hurt them. Why on Gods green earth would I want to read a book where he is the hero? Yeah, I wouldn’t. That’s why it’s taken me almost two years to read it. It was released summer of 2017 and I just kept putting it off. It’s really unfortunate because I really loved it.

Morgan has been under a geas to Queen Isabeau of the Light Fae for centuries. Dictionary.com says a geas is “an obligation or prohibition magically imposed on a person.”. Yep, the geas was most definitely imposed on Morgan. As is imposed against his will. Morgan is Dark Fae. When he was still young, Morgan’s power was already being whispered about throughout Fae lands. Isabeau decided she needed Morgan for herself so she imposed the geas on him by stabbing with the Athame of Lord Death himself.

Sidonie Martel has no idea her life is in peril simply because her music is the only thing that has brought peace to Morgan in longer than he can remember. Alas, it has and Sid is kidnapped by a puck that has no idea that Morgan is under a geas. All the puck can see is that Morgan likes being aligned with Isabeau and his beloved was murdered while he was held captive and tortured.

Sid thought everything would work out. She’s a human on foreign land and isn’t there some law about that? She soon learns that she’s on her own and in the worst way possible. Then she meets her Magic Man who saves her from the horrible hell she has been thrown into.

Morgan and Sid were both in impossible situations, both wanting to save each other but needing to save themselves first. The way Morgan was able to get out of the geas was heartbreaking, but necessary. It was just so incredibly sad. I felt for both Morgan and Sid.

Thea did a fantastic job of writing Morgan. I am back to that. Only the truly gifted can. make you hate a character with a passion, not want to read his book, then make you love him by the end of his book. She definitely did that because I adore Morgan.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Moonshadow

four-half-stars


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Buddy Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Posted June 12, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina LaurenReviewer: Ames & Rowena
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Gallery Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Format: eARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 395
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren features Olive Torres and Ethan Thomas as they go on their sibling’s honeymoon because the happy couple and everyone else that attended the wedding got serious food poisoning and couldn’t go on their non-refundable trip. Olive and Ethan don’t even like each other for reasons that neither of them is aware of but that is not going to stop them from going on this trip…for free.

Once they land in Hawaii, things get really complicated when they both have to pretend to be together …they get really good at pretending to be together, so good that it soon starts to feel like they’re not pretending anymore. The trip brings out some truths between the two of them and when they return home, the party is still going but other things outside of their love bubble complicate things for them and Christina Lauren did their magic with bringing the drama. Olive and Ethan had to work for their happy ending and I thought everything was handled well.

Rowena: This was a fast read for me and I really enjoyed the whole thing. What about you, Ames?

Ames: It was a quick read for me too! I got swept right up into Olive and Ethan’s story so I wanted to see how it all worked out. I love that they went from enemies to lovers. One thing that just made me so happy was how Ethan purposely got Olive’s name wrong so then she started to do it too. I thought them calling each other by different names was too funny. Oscar…LOL The set up of the book was very well done too, the forced proximity really made Olive and Ethan see each other in a new light. There wasn’t anything forced about how their minds change over time.

I liked how the characters were built up too. Olive was the unlucky twin but she still had a go-getter attitude and wasn’t too woe is me. So I really felt for her when her sister and Ethan didn’t believe her at the end of the book. Jerks. LOL.

What did you think?

Rowena: I had the same thoughts toward Ami and Ethan at the end…and the way that Ami confronts the big bad and Ethan shows up and you can just feel how sorry he was toward Olive? Man, Christina Lauren did a great job of writing that scene. It pulled at my feels and I was so Team Olive through it all.

This was such a work of fiction, a little over the top with certain things (the lucky and unlucky twin thing is one thing that comes to mind) but I didn’t care about any of that. This book entertained the socks right off of me and I enjoyed getting to know Olive and Ethan, seeing them work things out between them since they spent so much time hating each other. They came together in a believable way and Ethan’s grand gesture had me smiling from ear to ear. So good.

Ames: See, I don’t know if I would have forgiven Ethan so quickly. Maybe I’m just a petty bitch and would have held on to my hurt for a bit longer but I thought it was too easy. Mind you Ethan did redeem himself…so it must just be me. haha!

I really liked Olive’s character. She hated lying to her new boss and she couldn’t lie to save her life! She did jump to conclusions quickly but Ethan always called her out on it so I liked that he balanced her that way. And I like that she eventually comes clean. She has integrity.

You know what I realized? The whole running into your ex with their new partner in Hawaii was very Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Remember that movie?

Anyway, I really enjoyed The Unhoneymooners. It made me laugh, it was definitely steamy and it was full of good characters. Even the extended family members were fun and added to the story. Olive had herself a little journey of self-discovery throughout the whole thing (especially around her career goals) so I feel like this one just checked all the feel-good boxes.

Rowena: Haha, you’re right. This movie was so Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I forgave Ethan a lot sooner than I thought I would because I knew that he was sorry and he got me with the, “I’ll spend the rest of my life being sorry for this” line so yeah, maybe it was just you. LMAO!

Olive was the highlight of this book for me. I loved her, her family support system and I loved her relationship with her twin sister. It wasn’t perfect and I was annoyed with Ami at first but man do they really come around for me. This book was definitely funny but I could have used for some more steam. I think there was like one sex scene in the entire book, I didn’t know that I needed more of those but it wouldn’t have hurt this book.

Christina Lauren did their thing with this one and I’m glad that we read this one together. It was a lot of fun and I’ve come to expect these kinds of stories from the Christina Lauren duo. I give this one 4.25 out of 5 stars, you?

Ames: I’m giving the Unhoneymooners a 4.25 out of 5 as well.

Final Grades

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Before You Break by Christina Lee

Posted June 9, 2019 by Rowena in Features | 4 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. 🙂

This week’s Sunday spotlight book is a throwback to intense New Adult books, the ones that used to eat me up emotionally and then spit me back out, all whole and complete again. I read the first book in this series and enjoyed it but I wasn’t prepared for how much love I’ll have for this book. Before You Break tackles hard hitting, emotional issues and you won’t be able to help yourself. You’ll fall hard for both Daniel Quinn and Ella Abrams. Their journeys will hit you in the gut and their romance will fill you right up. This was a fantastic book and if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend that you remedy that because this book is the bomb.

Sunday Spotlight: Before You Break by Christina LeeBefore You Break by Christina Lee
Series: Between Breaths #2
Also in this series: All of You, Before You Break, Whisper to Me, Whisper to Me, Promise Me This, Promise Me This, There You Stand, Two of Hearts
Publisher: Intermix
Publication Date: February 18, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 223
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A sexy, emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and a good girl about to lose control…

The star catcher of the college baseball team isn't supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them—something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working the suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore.

Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far.

Memorable Moments

Here are some of my favorite scenes and quotes from the book. So much goodness.

“I’m not going to kiss you, Ella. Not tonight.”

She sagged against me, her forehead landing on my shoulder.

“Kissing you would be too easy,” I whispered in her ear. “And you’re not a girl I want to be easy with.”

“Don’t misunderstand, Ella. I want you. So fucking bad.” I gathered her face in my hands. “The day I can finally bury myself inside of you is the day I know for sure that you’re mine. All mine. Only mine. And anything other than that isn’t good enough.”

“We always seem to end up against a door,” she breathed out. Her words faltered as I licked and nipped my way down her collarbone to the scoop of skin above her breasts.

“I have fantasies about what I want to do to you against this door.”

“This boy—this man—was asking for the moon and the stars. And I was willing to shoot us straight off the map. And offer him the entire universe.”

This book is full of feels and packed with lots of charming characters, witty dialogue and just all around goodness. Seriously, you need to meet Quinn and Ella. Their story is too good.

Between Breaths

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: June 2019

Do you love this book as much as we do? Let us know what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Christina Lee

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son--her two favorite guys. She's addicted to lip balm, coffee, and kissing. Because everything is better with kissing.

She writes MM Contemporary as well as Adult and New Adult Romance. She believes in happily-ever-afters for all, so reading and writing romance for everybody under the rainbow helps quench her soul.

You can find more info on her website: www.christinalee.net. From there you can link to her Facebook reader group called The Swoon Room as well as her IG account and newsletter.

four-half-stars


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Review: Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Rises by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #6
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
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 327
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews is the 6th book in the Kate Daniels series. I love Kate, Curran and all the rest. I’m always excited to fall back into this world.

This book really brought Kate’s past to the forefront and gave us insight into what she’ll be dealing with when the fight with her father finally comes to fruition. I probably shouldn’t, but I really like Hugh. I love how he needles Kate and Curran.

Speaking of Curran..I wanted to beat him in this book. I knew there had to be a reason for him to act the way he did, but it didn’t make it easier to read. My heart broke for Kate. It isn’t often I truly want to smack Curran, but it happened here.

Her sparring session with Hugh was one of the highlights of the book.

And I cried toward the end. Sniffle.

The world and these characters are so complex and well-nuanced. My emotions were engaged from the first page. This series is not to be missed.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Then You Hide by Roxanne St. Claire

Posted June 6, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Then You Hide by Roxanne St. ClaireReviewer: Casee
Then You Hide by Roxanne St. Claire
Series: Bullet Catcher #5
Also in this series: First You Run
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: June 24, 2008
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 349
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When Bullet Catcher Wade Cordell is offered a cushy assignment to track down a woman on vacation in the Caribbean and persuade her to meet her birth mother, the secret ops sharpshooter decides it's the perfect antidote to his stressful job. Except spirited and sassy Vanessa Porter isn't on vacation, she's on a hunt for a friend who has disappeared. Wade's news doesn't faze a woman who swims with the sharks on Wall Street -- Vanessa knows she's adopted and has no intention of meeting or helping the woman who gave her up in a black market scheme. But as it becomes clear that her missing friend is deep in hiding and deeper in trouble, Vanessa strikes a shaky bargain with the sexy bodyguard who's an expert at finding people who don't want to be found. How high a price will she have to pay the Bullet Catcher willing to put his life on the line for her? Will she sacrifice her pride . . . her heart . . . even her life?

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

This review was originally posted on June 26, 2008.

This is the 7th book (including anthologies) in St. Claire’s Bullet Catcher series and the 2nd in the trilogy that is out this year. The trilogy started with First You Run, where the Bullet Catchers are trying to find three women-triplets-that were given up in black market adoptions thirty years before. As the story unravels, the Bullet Catchers now believe that finding these three women may be the key to solving a thirty year old murder. A murder that their birth mother has been in jail for since shortly after their births.

When Wade Cordell heads to the Caribbean, he figures he can get in a few days of relaxation after convincing Vanessa Porter to go to South Carolina to meet her birth mother. What he doesn’t count on is Vanessa herself. A southern boy at heart, Wade is ill prepared for the brash, fast, and no-nonsense Vanessa. Now, a job that should have been easy is anything but that when he finds himself chasing Vanessa from one Caribbean island to another.

Vanessa is in the Caribbean for one reason and it isn’t vacation. After a good friend disappears, seemingly without a trace, Vanessa follows him to the Caribbean. Determined to find him no matter what the cost, Vanessa has no time for Wade Cordell or her murderess birth mother. When she realizes that she’s in over her head, Vanessa grudgingly accepts Wade’s help. In return, she agrees to go to South Carolina after they find Clive. It’s not long before Vanessa is glad to have Wade on her side.

I really enjoyed Vanessa and Wade. Wade was almost scandalized by the language that would come out of Vanessa’s mouth, which was extremely amusing. These two are as opposite as two people can get, yet it works somehow. Those are the best romances. Though they quickly fall into an affair, Wade knows that there is more to Vanessa than the ball-busting persona she shows the world and he’s determined to get past that. Vanessa has to get past her own childhood hangups if she wants anything more w/ Wade. Their relationship was funny and sweet, yet hot and exciting.

The mystery arc that is continuing over the course of the three books gets more intriguing in this book. I look forward to the conclusion of this series and am confident that the author won’t disappoint.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Pocket Star. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Bullet Catcher


four-stars


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