Tag: 3.25 Reviews

Review: Heart on a Leash by Alanna Martin

Posted April 26, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Heart on a Leash by Alanna MartinReviewer: Holly
Heart on a Leash by Alanna Martin
Series: Hearts of Alaska #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A pack of rescue huskies inspires love and romance in a coastal Alaskan town fractured by feuding families—but can young pups really teach frozen hearts new tricks?

Taylor Lipin has made it her life's mission to leave her hometown and its ridiculous, century-old feud with the Porters behind. But when her sister needs help running the family inn, Taylor agrees to return to Helen, Alaska on a temporary, definitely not longer than two weeks, basis. Or so she thinks, until she's quite literally swept off her feet and into enemy territory by three happy huskies and their drool-worthy owner, Dr. Josh Krane.

Though Josh didn't grow up in Helen with the rest of his Porter cousins, he's heard the stories: Porters rescue huskies. The Lipins are cat people. Keep to your pack. But Taylor is too tempting to give up—plus, his dogs love her.

As Taylor and Josh grow closer, tensions in the town escalate and the need for secrecy starts taking a toll. Soon they'll need to decide whether their newfound love is just a summer fling or if they've found their forever home.

I adopted a husky puppy a few months ago, so the cover and blurb immediately caught my attention. I was a little sad the puppies didn’t play a larger part in the story (they were present, but I thought they’d have more on page time or play a larger role), but they were still cute and made this a fun read.

Taylor Lipin left home for college and never looked back. She’s happy living in California – until her sister calls to tell her their parents are getting a divorce and she needs to come back home to help out with the family Inn. Taylor has no intention of agreeing, but an unexpected layoff means she has no good reason to refuse. She’s determined to find another job ASAP, so she doesn’t have to deal with her crazy town and a wacky family feud between her family and another in town. Of course she never planned for a hot romance with Dr. Josh Krane…

Josh moved to Helen, Alaska after medical school to take part in a loan forgiveness program – if he works in Helen for 5 years a major part of his student debt will be forgiven. He didn’t expect to love it, but the town has grown on him. Sure, they have some weird quirks – like that strange family feud – but overall the town is charming. It becomes even better when Taylor moves back. Josh is immediately smitten, but their families are on opposite sides of the feud and no one is happy about them being together.

I liked both Taylor and Josh. I thought their romance was cute. They had really fun, witty banter that made for an easy read. But I had two major issues with this story.

1) Taylor is allergic to dogs and Josh has 3 very fluffy huskies. She mentioned, several times, needing to take her allergy meds to be comfortable around them. I love dogs and I completely understand why she’d want to spend time with them. But spending a few hours with them is not the same as living with them full time. I realize it’s a fictional story, but I kept thinking about how uncomfortable it would be to live your every day life like that. If she and Josh end up married, she’s going to take allergy meds every day for the rest of her life just to be comfortable in her own house? I don’t know, that seemed like a stretch.

2) The family feud was ridiculous. It wasn’t just an argument between two families that was out of control. It was a multi-generational thing that included violence. I expected something kind of light-hearted based on the cover/blurb, but it was very toxic and awful. I was very dissatisfied with the lack of resolution on that score. Breaking and entering, vandalism, smear campaigns against Taylor and Josh both from members of their families…it was horrible. Having that as the mail conflict really took away from the romance and my overall enjoyment.

I enjoyed parts of this story and thought there were some really cute elements, but the family feud thing really made it hard to get through. I don’t know if I’ll continue the series.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh

Posted February 22, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Wages of Sin by Kaite WelshReviewer: Holly
The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh
Series: Sarah Gilchrist #1
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library, Audible Plus
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Historical Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh's medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to force out their female counterparts, and perhaps worst of all her female peers who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman.

Desperate for a proper education, Sarah turns to one of the city's ramshackle charitable hospitals for additional training. The St. Giles Infirmary for Women ministers to the downtrodden and drunk, the thieves and whores with nowhere else to go. In this environment, alongside a group of smart and tough teachers, Sarah gets quite an education. But when Lucy, one of Sarah's patients, turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into a murky underworld of bribery, brothels, and body snatchers.

Painfully aware of just how little separates her own life from that of her former patients, Sarah is determined to find out what happened to Lucy and bring those responsible for her death to justice. But as she searches for answers in Edinburgh's dank alleyways, bawdy houses, and fight clubs, Sarah comes closer and closer to uncovering one of Edinburgh's most lucrative trades, and in doing so, puts her own life at risk.

An irresistible read with a fantastic heroine, a beautifully drawn setting, and fascinating insights into what it was like to study medicine as a woman at that time, The Wages of Sin is a stunning debut that heralds a striking new voice in historical fiction.

I chose this audiobook because the narrator, Mary Jane Wells, is lovely. I was browsing the audiobooks she’s narrated on Audio Plus and came across this one. I thought the blurb sounded interesting, and I’ve been in the mood for gothic mysteries lately. This novel is set in the Victorian era.

Sarah Gilchrist was sexually assaulted by a peer, and therefore “compromised”. As a result, she’s been sent to Edinburgh to live with her aunt and uncle while she attends medical school. She, and a handful of other girls, are the first female students studying to become doctors. Their plight is difficult, but Sarah loves medicine and truly wishes to help those in need. She volunteers her time at a low-end clinic for prostitutes, which is where she meets Lucy. Lucy, a young proustite, is pregnant and very upset about it, but Sarah sees a lot of herself in Lucy and can’t stop thinking about her. This is why she’s shocked and upset when Lucy’s body turns up as a dissection specimen a few days later. They claim Lucy committed suicide, but things don’t add up and Sarah begins to investigate. Her main suspect is none other than one of her professors, but as she gets deeper into her investigation, the more she realizes she may be in danger as well.

I enjoyed the narration, and the story was told well, but the main character, Sarah, made a lot of questionable decisions. She was forced to spend time in a Sanatorium after her attack because she kept blaming her attacker. Plus, the novel was extremely dark and depressing. Just when I thought things couldn’t be any more bleak, we’d be hit with another sad, sorry fact about the fate of women and their lack of rights in the 1890s.

I appreciated the strength of character it took for Sarah to stay on her current path, despite (or perhaps in spite of) the misfortunes she suffered in the past. But her blithely following said path without a thought to her safety or the consequences of her actions was frustrating. I wasn’t surprised by any of the revelations, but I did enjoy Sarah’s surprise, so I guess there’s that.

Though I enjoyed parts of this, I don’t believe I’ll continue with the series. Sarah didn’t endear herself enough for me to want to read more books from her point of view.

3.25-3.5 out of 5

Sarah Gilchrist

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Moon Burning by Lucy Monroe

Posted January 21, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Moon Burning by Lucy MonroeReviewer: Holly
Moon Burning by Lucy Monroe
Series: Children of the Moon #3
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Genres: Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 295
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Lucy Monroe returns to her hugely popular paranormal world, where a woman falls under the spell of the beast who is her one true enemy...

Barr never asked to be made laird over the struggling Donegal clan or leader of its werewolf pack. But he'll do his duty, and although he hasn't yet found his mate, he hopes she will be among his people. He expects his new role to be difficult; he doesn't expect to discover a naked woman in the forest whose memory is as fragile as her human body—her delectable, all too appealing body. Could this woman be his true mate?

On a mission to save her people from extinction, Sabrine pretends she has no memory in order to gain access to her enemy: the Donegal clan. A raven shifter, she is determined to retrieve the sacred stone that rightfully belongs to her people. But soon she'll be engulfed in her burning desire and growing love for Barr—and the dangerous and inescapable secrets destined to keep them apart.

This review was originally posted January 31, 2011.

I didn’t love this book as much as I did the previous two in the series. It was good, just not as good as the others.

Sabrine is a raven shifter. For decades they’ve been in hiding, hunted by the other shifters of the world. As a warrior for her clan, she has sworn to protect them..and keep their existence a secret. When a magical stone they need to complete their coming-of-age ceremony is stolen, Sabrine vows to get it back. To do so, she’ll have to infiltrate the Donegal clan..a clan full of wolf-shifters – her sworn enemy.

Barr is shocked to find a naked woman in the forest. Especially when he realizes she’s the perfect mate for him. But not everything about Sabrine adds up. Who is this woman, really? She’s obviously not the helpless thing she’s pretending to be, but will she open up enough to trust him with her secrets? And can he live without her if she doesn’t?

Barr was the best part of this novel. He’s strong and capable, yet tender and loving. It doesn’t take him long to realize Sabrine is his true mate. Once he does, he determines to let her come to him on her own. He doesn’t try to force her to open up to him or punish her when she doesn’t. He’s supportive of her and gives her the time she needs to realize she can trust him. He’s also a fair leader. He knows how to motivate his men, gain their loyalty, and still ruthlessly take control when needed.

If Barr was the best part of this novel, Sabrine was the worst. She spends the length of the novel deceiving Barr, distrusting him, and saying and doing hurtful things. In the beginning, I appreciated her zeal in keeping her secrets and doing what was best for her clan. But as the novel progressed her actions became more and more unreasonable. In the face of nothing but overwhelming support and caring from Barr, she still treated him as nothing more than her enemy. I didn’t understand how she could give her body to him, claim to care for him, yet still deny him all of herself.

That isn’t to say she didn’t have some redeeming qualities. The way she was with the other clanswomen showed she had a compassionate side. I also liked that she was a true warrior. She wasn’t a woman pretending to be strong and capable – she really was strong and capable. She knew her limits and pushed herself to the full extend of them. But the way she deceived Barr and his clan, not to mention her self-righteous attitude about it really turned me off.

The secondary romance between Barr’s second and the Donegal clan healer was well done. I enjoyed watching them circle each other. I also enjoyed the clan dynamics. As Barr trained them and showed them what a real leader should be, the entire clan blossomed.

The suspense plot was somewhat predictable. I feel like Monroe has kind of done the same thing over and over. It would be nice to see a new threat, rather than more of the same from previous novels.

Although there I complained quite a bit, I did enjoy much of this novel. I just didn’t particularly care for the heroine.

3.25 out of 5

Children of the Moon

three-half-stars


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Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

Posted December 28, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry ThomasReviewer: Holly
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Narrator: Philip Battley
Series: The Elemental Trilogy #1
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 15, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Romance
Pages: 485
Length: 11 hours and 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

This special ebook edition of Sherry Thomas's extraordinary romantic fantasy debut, The Burning Sky—the first in the Elemental Trilogy—features a repackaged cover for her legions of romance fans and an excerpt from the sequel, The Perilous Sea.

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of the Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother's visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life.

At Tracy’s recommendation, I requested the audiobook from the library and switched back and forth between listening and reading. I really liked the narrator. I feel like I lost some of the connection to the story by switching platforms, however. For awhile I was fully invested in the story and characters, but that fizzled a bit by the end.

Iolanthe Seabourne has been living with her mentor and guardian since she was two years old. He was the perfect guardian…until he wasn’t. She doesn’t understand what changed him from an honorable, loving man into an unscrupulous addict. For years, she’s been covering for him and trying to keep them afloat. When he begs her not to complete a potion she’s promised to make in exchange for allowing him to keep his position, he ruins it. She ends up calling down lightning to fix it, and that sets off a chain of events she could never have predicted. Unbeknownst to her, she is one of the great Elemental Mages – a mage who can control all four elements. Her lightning brought The Inquisitor after her, along with several other agents of Atlantis. But it also brought Prince Titus, the ruler of the realm, and her personal savior. Only he has his own agenda, and Iolanthe will be forced to learn some hard lessons.

Titus has always known his purpose..to find and protect the last great Elemental Mage. He’s been preparing for this his whole life…except he never imagined she’d be a girl. He’s hiding her in the human realm as a boy, but only until he can convince her to take out The Inquisitor and take on Atlantis.

Thomas has built an engrossing world, full of magic and possibilities. I really enjoyed the action and the progression of the story. It was interesting to see Titus and Iolanthe circle around each other. I hated that he took advantage of her and treated her poorly, but I also understood why.

Parts of this were predictable, but I enjoyed it for the most part. I do think both main characters lacked a bit of depth. Things were very much on the surface, especially with Iolanthe. I’m hoping we see more change and growth from her in the next two books.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

The Burning Sky Trilogy

three-stars


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Guest Review: Dream Chaser by Kristen Ashley

Posted December 14, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Dream Chaser by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Tracy
Dream Chaser by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Team #2
Also in this series: Quiet Man, Dream Maker
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating first and third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In this steamy, addictive contemporary romance spinning off the New York Times bestselling Dream Man and Rock Chick series, Ryn Jansen must put her trust in the one man she wants -- and the one man she can't let herself have.

Ryn Jansen has no interest in taking a risk on Boone Sadler. Thanks to a long list of men who've done nothing but let her down, Ryn vows to stay far away from the caring, protective commando. And when Boone confronts Ryn with evidence that her loved ones are conning her, Ryn is less than thrilled -- with her family and Boone. But even as Boone proves he's the kind of guy to meet her every need, she doesn't trust him to stay when life gets hard . . .

Boone Sadler's never been one to back down from a challenge. He's determined to show the funny, sexy Ryn that the irresistible connection between them is worth exploring. But caring for Ryn's heart and body becomes a matter of life and death when Ryn's beloved niece and nephew are put in danger and dirty cops begin gunning for Ryn. Soon Boone realizes their romance is in danger of more than heartbreak -- and to have any future together, they'll have to put their trust in each other.

Ryn is a stripper who wants to flip houses.  She bought a house to flip, but her resources have been going towards keeping her sister-in-law and her niece and nephew afloat.  Her brother is an alcoholic and being a single mother is hard for her sister-in-law, Angelica.  Angelica is fragile and has headaches so Ryn takes care of the kids a lot – takes them to school, etc.

When Boone takes it upon himself to do a little investigating into Angelica (because he likes Ryn and doesn’t want her taken advantage of) he finds some stuff that’s not so great.  Ryn is pissed that Boone looked into her life, but even more pissed about what he finds out about Angelica.  When confronted, Angelica tries to deny it, but Boone has pictures/proof.  Thinking to punish Ryn, Angelica cuts Ryn out of the kids’ lives.  When Ryn talks to her brother about it, he takes Angelica’s side and agrees with Ryn staying away from the kids she loves.

Ryn is hurt, but Boone is there to comfort her.  When she is pseudo-kidnapped, he is beside himself.  When there’s a murder and Ryn’s life is in danger, Boone steps up and takes charge.  Since he’s a dom in the bedroom and Ryn’s submissive he thinks this is A-OK, but Ryn’s only submissive in the bedroom, not everywhere else.  Boone and Ryn have a lot to work out if they are to make a relationship work between them.  Ryn has been hurt by the men in her life so taking a chance on  Boone is a huge step – one that she hopes she won’t regret.

This is book two in the Dream Team series.  While this wasn’t a bad story, I didn’t care for it as much as I did book one.  When I first saw that it was BDSM I was put off, but kept reading.  It was really BDSM-light in every way.  Nothing too crazy at all and that was fine.  What bothered me was that there was So. Much. Talking.  My God it just went on and on.  Not a lot happened in the middle of the book and it dragged. I liked the first 25% and the last 15% a lot, but that wasn’t even enough to save the book for me and give it a higher rating.

I liked Boone and Ryn together – and liked Ryn a lot on her own. Boone, by himself, wasn’t my favorite person.  He was like a freight train that ran over Ryn and once he was with her it was fine, but meh, I didn’t love him.  He pulled a stunt once they were together that bothered me a lot, and he never really recovered from that in my mind – despite him trying to talk his way out of it.  It was petty and immature and it pissed me off.

So, while this was a decent read – and I loved the kids in it (should have been in there more, imho) it wasn’t fantastic.  I’m glad I read it for the continuity of the story ARC, but did I love it, no.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Dream Team

As an aside let me say I am loving these retro book covers.  They totally remind me of 70’s/80′ cop shows and I find them very cool.

three-stars


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