Tag: 3.0 Reviews

Review: Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel Wroth

Posted October 11, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel Wroth
Series: Portrait of Death #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 19, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 427
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Three years ago, I held her pink silk toe shoe in my hand, helplessly watching the cab drive away before I could give it back to her. The next morning when I stood in front of the portrait drying on my easel, I knew the beautiful ballerina would soon die. Her portrait is one of two hundred and twenty-seven. Each one of the subjects is the victim of murder, and I’ve painted them all. I’ve kept my morbid ability a secret for twenty years, terrified someday, someone would find out.

Someday has arrived, and the someone banging down my door today demanding answers is a gorgeous, irate homicide detective armed with a photo of one of my paintings right there on the front page of the most popular tabloid in the city. He peppers me with questions I can’t answer, and despite my worst fears being realized, all I can think about is painting this man, alive, and with far fewer clothes on.

Detective Callum Graham tells me the dead ballerina I painted is his sister, and she's been missing for three years. Missing, he says firmly, as though any other conclusion is unacceptable. My inappropriate thoughts of seeing him naked, vanish. How do I explain to this man, this brother desperate to find his baby sister alive, that she’s been dead for two years, eleven months, and three weeks?

Portrait of Death: Unforgotten is the first book in a contemporary romantic suspense series by Isabel Wroth. I generally avoid romantic suspense at all costs, but I really enjoy paranormal romance novels that feature psychic characters so I figured I’d give this a go. I’ve read most of Wroth’s backlist and I have to say this was not my favorite.

When Jo paints a portrait of her baby brother dead in a pond as a child, her parents have her committed to a mental institution, where she remains for two years despite her brother drowning while she was committed. For 20 years she’ll go into a trance after touching an object belonging to a random stranger, and end up painting their Portrait of Death. She’s come to realize over the years that they are all murder victims, but she can’t tell anyone, unless she wants to end up back in the institution. Until a scorned ex-lover leaks photos of her gallery.

Detective Callum Graham is shocked to see a death painting of his missing sister on the cover of a tabloid paper. He’s sure he’s finally found the killer. Jo knows she needs to protect her secrets at all costs, but it’s hard to resist the pain in the detective’s eyes.

I really disliked what an ass Callum was to Jo. I understand him thinking she was a murderer based on her paintings (that’s definitely some serial killer shit), but even after presented with proof that she couldn’t have committed the crimes, and proof that she was psychic, he refused to believe her. Even after they started getting intimate with each other, he would accuse her of being part of the murders, or just make stupid, asshole remarks to her for no reason. She pushed back and called him out on it, which is the only reason I kept reading, but it wasn’t enough. Especially since she would get distracted by how “hot” he was and then couldn’t stay mad.

On top of that, the police procedural stuff was very poorly done, and the whole mystery plot was easily figured out. There were also a lot of typos and errors. I spent most of the book irritated at one thing or another.

View Spoiler »

I kept reading because I liked the premise, but it wasn’t as well executed as the author’s other books. I don’t think I’ll read the next one.

Rating: 2.75 or 3.0 out of 5

Portrait of Death

three-stars


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Review: Gypsy King by Devney Perry

Posted June 30, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Gypsy King by Devney PerryReviewer: Casee
Gypsy King by Devney Perry
Series: Tin Gypsy #1
Also in this series: Tin Queen
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 14, 2021
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 404
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The former Tin Gypsy motorcycle club has everyone in Clifton Forge, Montana convinced they’ve locked their clubhouse doors and ripped off their patches. Everyone but Bryce Ryan. There’s more happening at the club’s garage than muscle car restorations and Harley rebuilds. Her instincts are screaming there’s a story—one she’s going to tell.

As the new owner of the small town’s newspaper, Bryce is hungry for more than birth announcements and obituaries. When a woman is brutally killed and all signs point to the Tin Gypsies, Bryce is determined to expose the club and their leader, Kingston “Dash” Slater, as murderers.

Bryce bests Dash match after match, disappointed her rugged and handsome opponent turns out to be an underwhelming adversary. Secrets are exposed. Truths defeat lies. Bryce is poised to win this battle in a landslide.

Then Dash breaks all the rules and tips the scales.

One kiss, and she’s fighting to save more than just her story. She’s fighting to save her heart from the Gypsy King.

I started out reading this book but ended up listening to it on audio. I had a real problem getting into it. I got to chapter six and almost DNFed it. The heroine is a reporter. Reporters aren’t my favorite people so I had a mental block from the beginning. Then she got worse. It seemed like all she cared was getting the story on the front page of the paper, not finding out the truth. I’m really happy that I continued because it turned out to be a (mostly) great book.

The Tin Gypsy MC closed it doors a year prior. The club was going in a direction that President Dash Slater didn’t like. When they disbanded it was with the expectation that that part of their lives were over. They were law abiding, tax paying citizens. The violence that has been apart of their lives for so long was no longer a thing. Then there is a murder in Clifton Forge & the evidence points right to Dash’s father, Draven.

Bryce Ryan has just moved back to Clifton Forge from Seattle to work at her family’s newspaper. A hotshot in the Seattle TV anchor scene, Bryce was ready for a change when she goes home. She discovers pretty quickly that the town isn’t without its’ problems. When Draven Slater is arrested for the murder of a woman, Bryce is determined to tell the story. My problem with Bryce at the beginning was that she wanted the story so badly that she forgot all else. She was fine using people, including Dash.

Bryce has met her match in Dash. Initially enemies, these two soon find that they have much more in common than they thought. Bryce realizes that the case may not be exactly what it seemed to be. Dash knows his dad didn’t murder anyone and is determined to prove it with or without Bryce’s help. They make a pact to share all information. If Dash withholds anything, Bryce will do a full expose about the Tin Gypsies.

While working together it doesn’t take long for both of them to realize that there is more afoot than just murder. What seemed cut and dried actually goes back further than any of them know. They only have a limited amount of time to find the real killer before Draven goes to jail. While doing that, they are uncovering secrets about Clifton Forge and the Tin Gypsies. Secrets that people would kill for.

I was fully prepared to give this book a 4 out of 5. Then View Spoiler » It was so unnecessary that it just ruined most of the book for me. I wish DP hadn’t gone in that direction. There didn’t seem to be a reason for it at all.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Tin Gypsy

three-stars


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Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley

Posted May 19, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa RileyReviewer: Tracy
An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: 1st & 3rd
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

A witty and moving story from the acclaimed author of A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby, about the lengths to which a woman will go for the love of her child…and the love of a man who knows her worth. Breaking with traditional Regency rules and customs, Vanessa Riley pens an unforgettable story perfect for fans of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton, Evie Dunmore, and Eloisa James looking for something fresh and stirring!

Masterminded by the ton's most clever countess, the secret society The Widow's Grace helps ill-treated widows regain their reputations, their families, and even find true love again--or perhaps for the very first time...

Surviving a shipwreck en route to London from Jamaica was just the start of personal maid Jemina St. Maur's nightmare. Suffering from amnesia, she was separated from anyone who might know her and imprisoned in Bedlam. She was freed only because barrister Daniel Thackery, Lord Ashbrook, was convinced to betray the one thing he holds dear: the law. Desperate to unearth her true identity, Jemina's only option is to work outside the law--which means staying steps ahead of the formidable Daniel, no matter how strongly she is drawn to him...

Married only by proxy, now widowed by shipwreck, Daniel is determined to protect his little stepdaughter, Charlotte, from his family's scandalous reputation. That's why he has dedicated himself not just to the law, but to remaining as proper and upstanding--and boring--as can be. But the closer he becomes to the mysterious, alluring Jemina, the more Daniel is tempted to break the very rules to which he's dedicated his life. As ruthless adversaries close in, will the truth require him and Jemina to sacrifice their one chance at happiness?

Jemima St. Maur was put into Bedlam after a shipwreck.  She has amnesia and couldn’t remember who she was, she still can’t remember and seeks the truth of her past.  She’s saved (in book one of this series) by Daniel Thackery, a barrister who helps his aunt get widows out of trouble.

Daniel was married by proxy to Phoebe, who was also on the ship that went down, but his wife didn’t survive.  He was presented with a baby who he believed was Phoebe’s child, even though she had never mentioned a child in her letters.  He decides to raise the child as his own.

Two years later Jemima and Daniel have a bit of a love/hate relationship.  They don’t necessarily get a long, but when they’re together there’s a very strong attraction.  Daniel finally decides that he has mourned for Phoebe long enough and wants to make Jemima his mistress.   Jemima’s not opposed to the idea, but she is wary of Daniel as she’s positive he’s keeping information from her about her past and the shipwreck.

This was my first read by Vanessa Riley.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style as it seemed a bit all over the place.  I also didn’t feel that the hero and heroine actually had a lot of chemistry.

I liked Jemima…to a point.  She was pretty headstrong, and I liked that about her.  That said, I felt the author took that too far and went into I’m-so-headstrong-I’m-going-to-make-stupid-decisions territory. There was also the constant on/off with Daniel as Jemima couldn’t decide if she was going to trust him or not.  Granted, she had every reason not to trust him as he’d kept a lot of stuff (about her) to himself. She wasn’t even aware she’d been in a shipwreck until he told her – two years later! Still, the on-again off-again love was annoying at times.

Daniel was a smart man – a barrister who worked for the crown.  Even so, he was looked down upon because he was mulatto.  Even when he inherited an Earldom, people still turned their noses up at him.  He was a good man for taking in the baby (Hope) and raising her, and he was a good father.  He helped his aunt with her business of saving widows and their families.  I admired his dedication to his aunt and her cause, as well as his dedication to Hope and fatherhood in general.  Unfortunately, I just didn’t like him all that much as a man.  He kept so much a secret, even when his marriage was failing, he still couldn’t come completely clean.  I found it so frustrating.

Overall I didn’t find the story very satisfying.  Not liking the couple as a couple put a damper on the whole experience.  While I really loved the blurb for this book, the story itself just didn’t do it for me in the end.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Monster by Jessica Gadziala

Posted April 12, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Monster by Jessica GadzialaReviewer: Casee
Monster by Jessica Gadziala
Series: Savages #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 316
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Alex has had one mission since she was sixteen: destroy the man who destroyed her life. And all was going to plan until one night, a huge mammoth of a man breaks into her apartment and kidnaps her,holding her hostage for the very man she was bent on bringing down.

Breaker has one rule: he doesn't deal in women. But when he's conned into a job for the city's most ruthlesscrime lord, he finds himself in charge of a fiery-temperedhacker who he can't seem to keep his hands off of.

When passions ignite and feelings emerge, will Breaker beable to reconcile his loyalties before it is too late or will their shaky foundation of trust start crumbling beneaththeir feet?

This is a stand alone with a HEA.

* This book may not be "Safety Gang" safe. There is no cheating/ abuse/ triangle triggers, but there is a "bad guy" who is a known rapist (though the rape is not expressly detailed and does NOT happen to the h).

I’ve been really into MC romances recently. My quest to find a new MC series to start led me to Jessica Gadziala. This isn’t an MC romance, but there are connected characters and this book came out before the MC series started. Or that’s what I think, anyway.

Breaker is someone who gets things done for people. For a price. Certain things he has done aren’t exactly legal. He has always had one rule: no women. He doesn’t deal with women at all. He doesn’t consider them fair game like he considers men. He’s forced to take a job that he doesn’t want, but to turn it down could mean he dies. So he takes what he hopes will be the only job for this particular crime lord. It seems like an easy job. Pick up some hacker named Alex and hold him until Lex (crime lord) is ready to take him off Breaker’s hands. Unfortunately nothing goes according to plan.

Breaker is furious when he realizes that Alex is a woman, not a man. It’s well known through the crime world that Breaker doesn’t deal in women. Sadly for Breaker, he has no choice but to kidnap Alex. Now he is waiting to hear his instructions from Lex, hoping they are the last instructions that he ever receives from him. As if things weren’t bad enough what with Alex being a woman, she’s also a pain in the ass. Alex has no fear, so it’s hard to play the badass with her.

Alex knew there would be a reckoning with Lex. She also knew that it would likely end up with her death. She doesn’t care. She wants Lex to pay for destroying her mother decades before. Alex has been working to take down Lex’s network for years. As a hacker she has many skills. She can syphon money out of his accounts amount other things. Alex just wants to bring him down, no matter the cost to her personally.

Of course Breaker and Alex fall in love. It was almost cringeworthy to be honest. I liked these two characters as individuals, but as a couple they didn’t make sense. I really wanted to like them, but it just didn’t happen. I even tried to give them the benefit of the doubt; together they were thrown in a dangerous situation and all they could count on was each other. So I really tried to disconnect my mind and just roll with it, but it was hard. I did love Shooter who was Breaker’s best friend. I am planning on reading his book.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Savages

three-stars


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Lightning Review: The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell

Posted April 7, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow RowellReviewer: Holly
The Prince and the Troll by Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Rebecca Lowman
Series: Faraway #1
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Plus
Point-of-View: Narrated
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Fairytale
Length: 46 minutes
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
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A charming everyman and a mysterious something-under-the-bridge cross paths in a short fairy tale by the #1 'New York Times' bestselling author of 'Eleanor & Park' and the 'Simon Snow' series.

It’s fate when a man accidentally drops his phone off the bridge. It’s a fortune when it’s retrieved by a friendly shape sloshing in the muck underneath. From that day forward, as they share a coffee every morning, an unlikely friendship blooms. Considering the reality for the man above, where life seems perfect, and that of the sharp-witted creature below, how forever after can a happy ending be?

'THE PRINCE AND THE TROLL' is part of Faraway, a collection of retold fairy tales that take happily-ever-after in daring new directions. Whether read or listened to in one sitting, prepare to be charmed, moved, enlightened and frightened all over again.

This was a well-written short story that really seemed to serve no purpose. I enjoyed how the friendship between Adam and the Bridge Troll developed, and there was a lot of witty dialogue, but the story lacked any kind of cohesion or conclusion. The Road (aka Climate Change and Development) were bad, but there’s nothing we can do about it so let’s just wait until the rains come and wash it all away? Meh.

For a quick listen, I didn’t hate it, but I did finish it kind of scratching my head about the point of it all.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Faraway

three-stars


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