Tag: 3.5 Reviews

Review: When He’s Dark by Suzanne Wright

Posted July 8, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: When He’s Dark by Suzanne WrightWhen He’s Dark by Suzanne Wright
Series: The Olympus Pride #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 334
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Cat shifter Bree Dwyer doesn't fear much. Ironically, what she fears most is the person who was put on the Earth just for her. Your true mate wasn't supposed to be cruel and twisted; wasn't supposed to be someone who’d never love or want to claim you. The rumors that her true mate is dead bring her only relief. Bree's intent on moving forward with her life and building a future with someone else. Sadly, the male she wants most is one she can never have—a hot-as-sin wolverine shifter who happens to be her boss … and the cousin of her predestined mate.

Aleksandr “Alex” Devereaux detests being bullshitted, but he’s been lying to himself for years—pretending he thinks of Bree as extended family; that he doesn't want her so bad he aches with it; that he can't feel himself weakening against her pull. The night they spend together changes everything. He's done fighting himself on what he wants. Someone isn't happy about that. Possibly the same 'someone' who's playing mind games with Bree, trying to scare her. They're succeeding, because too many leads point to the possibility that the culprit could be the one person that she's determined to believe is dead.

I was sad to see the end of the Phoenix Pack and Mercury Pack series, so I’m really glad Wright is doing this off-shoot. We were introduced to characters from the Olympus Pride in previous books, but this book stands alone well.

Bree is a pretty strong Omega, which means she can help others control their emotions. There are several Omegas in the Pride, but though she isn’t Primary, she is the strongest. She’s also the one least likely to put up with other people’s crap, or sugar coat things. As a result, she and the Primary Omega butt heads. Bree knows she’ll either have to take over as Primary or leave, so she’s planning to leave.

Alex Devereaux has other ideas. He’s wanted Bree for years, but he didn’t think she was ready for him. Now it doesn’t matter, he’s determined to make her his. When strange things begin to happen to Bree and she’s almost kidnapped, Alex knows he’s made the right choice. She needs him in all the ways.

I really liked Alex and Bree. They had a fun romance. I didn’t love the external plot. These are always pretty predicable for me and I had everything figured out early on. Still, I liked the romance and the characters enough that it didn’t bother me too much.

3.5 out of 5

Olympus Pride

three-half-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
Add It: Goodreads
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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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Review: The Sinner by J.R. Ward

Posted June 17, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Sinner by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
The Sinner by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #18
Also in this series: Lover Unbound, Lover Avenged, Lover Unleashed, Lover at Last, Lover at Last, The King, The Shadows, The Beast, Lover Enshrined, The Chosen, Lover Mine, The Thief, The Savior, Where Winter Finds You
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: March 24, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 498
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A sinner’s only hope is true love in this passionate new novel in J.R. Ward’s #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
Syn has kept his side hustle as a mercenary a secret from the Black Dagger Brotherhood. When he takes another hit job, he not only crosses the path of the vampire race’s new enemy, but also that of a half-breed in danger of dying during her transition. Jo Early has no idea what her true nature is, and when a mysterious man appears out of the darkness, she is torn between their erotic connection and the sense that something is very wrong.
Fate anointed Butch O’Neal as the Dhestroyer, the fulfiller of the prophecy that foresees the end of the Omega. As the war with the Lessening Society comes to a head, Butch gets an unexpected ally in Syn. But can he trust the male—or is the warrior with the bad past a deadly complication?
With time running out, Jo gets swept up in the fighting and must join with Syn and the Brotherhood against true evil. In the end, will love true prevail...or was the prophecy wrong all along?

It’s been awhile since I read this book, but I’m going to give this review my best shot.

Syn isn’t officially in the Black Dagger Brotherhood, but he fights along side them in the war that threatens the vampire race. Something the Brothers don’t know is that moonlights as a mercenary. He has some part of him (I just tried to look it up and couldn’t find it) that needs violence. Likely literally needs it or he goes crazy. When he takes a new contract, he is given the name of a journalist at the local newspaper. No problem for Syn. Give him a name and it’s done. Only it doesn’t go at all like what he expected.

Jo Early has been trying to prove that vampires exist. Along with her journalist partner, Bill, they embark on a journey that takes them to some pretty bad places. Fortunately (or unfortunately) for Jo, she doesn’t remember any of it. She doesn’t know that the very vampires that she is trying to prove exist have made her forget what she’s looking for. What those vampires don’t expect is to find a half-breed that may or may not transition into a vampire. All Jo knows is that she probably has cancer and is dying.

While out fighting the Lessers, Syn smells her. Yes, that would be Jo. He smells her and goes bonkers. When he comes face-to-face with her, he knows exactly who she is. His mate. His reason for living. Too bad Syn doesn’t think he’s good enough for her. Well, not at first. At first the two really hit it off even though their first meeting didn’t go well. Then Syn realizes that Jo is way too good for him and there is no way that he’s going to be the one that helps her through her (probably) transition.

I know I say it every time I review a book in this series, but seriously. I can’t quit it and it drives me nutso. There is something about these characters that is so compelling to me. I couldn’t tell you why. One thing I really loved in this book was everything from Butch’s point of view. I’ve always loved Butch as a character and that hasn’t changed since the first book.

The big bad in JRW’s Fallen Angels series has come over into this series. I’m unsure how I feel about that. Honestly, I like this big bad better than the Omega. She (yes, she) is just more interesting. I think she’s going to bring a lot to the series, but I still think it is kind of a copout. Overall, I enjoyed this book but I didn’t love it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Black Dagger Brotherhood

three-half-stars


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Featured Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 30, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Featured Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #5.5
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 , Magic Rises , Magic Strikes, Magic Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: July 31, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: None
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 443
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Some people have everything figured out—Andrea Nash is not one of those people.

After being kicked out of the Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea’s whole existence is in shambles. All she can do is to try to put herself back together, something made easier by working for Cutting Edge, a small investigative firm owned by her best friend Kate Daniels.

When several shapeshifters working for Raphael Medrano—the male alpha of the Clan Bouda and Andrea’s former lover—die unexpectedly at a dig site, Andrea is assigned to investigate…and must work with Raphael. As Andrea’s search for the killer leads her into the secret underbelly of supernatural Atlanta, she knows that dealing with her feelings for Raphael might have to take a back seat to saving the world…

Andrea and Raphael’s romance started earlier in the series. Raphael pursued her pretty heavily and they ended up moving in together, but then Raphael thought Andrea chose her job over him, and it pissed him off. Then she disappeared without a word and made things worse. Now she’s back, and her best friend, Kate Daniels, has hired her to work with her as a PI. Aunt B, Raphael’s mom and Alpha of Clan Bouda, is after her to join the Pack. Raphael turns up with a bimbo in tow. To top it all off, Andrea has a new case that needs her attention.

This is a .5 book. It’s set in the world of Kate Daniels, but Kate doesn’t play a very large part in the series. Andrea is dealing with things in this book while Kate is dealing with something else.

Holly: I’ll be honest, this isn’t a favorite of mine. I really like both Raphael and Andrea as Kate’s friends, but I didn’t love reading about them as the main characters of the novel.

Casee: I didn’t particularly enjoy this book. I don’t know if I would have felt different if I hadn’t listened to it on audio. It was the southern drawl that Andrea had when she was trying to get information or act menacing that really annoyed me.

Holly: I think that’s funny, since I know you’ve enjoyed other audiobooks in the series and they’re all narrated by the same person.

Rowena: I liked this one. Sure, I didn’t like it as much as I liked some other of the other books in the series but I still enjoyed it.

Holly: There were parts I liked, but as a whole this isn’t one of the better books in the series.

Casee: I found Andrea to be extremely annoying. Raphael was just meh.

Rowena: I thought the romance between Raphael and Andrea was nice and angsty. I thought Andrea’s struggles made sense for her background and when she got her revenge against what Raphael did to her house? I loved it.

Holly: Both Andrea and Raphael got on my nerves at different times in the story, but I do like them as a couple.

Casee: Ascanio was actually my favorite character in this book. I am really enjoying how his character is developing.

Holly: Ascanio definitely does some growing up in this book. I liked him a lot. I really liked the scenes with Aunt B, too.

Rowena: Ascanio is really growing up and I’m liking what I’m seeing with his growth. You can see that he really respects both Kate and Andrea. I also really enjoy the friendship between Kate and Andrea.

Casee: My favorite part was when Kate showed up toward the end.

Rowena: I think the weakest part of this story was the whole Anapa thing. I can’t say that I was all that invested or even interested in all of that. I was just there for Andrea and Raphael, seeing Kate and Curran and our other friends. Still, it was good.

Casee: I’m with Wena on this one. I wasn’t invested in the actual plot. I was there for the same reasons. I love the friendship between Kate and Andrea. Kate won’t let Andrea get away with anything, not even her own emotions. I enjoyed the romance between Raphael, but they were both such dicks about it at the beginning that I had a hard time. I expected to be annoyed with Rapahel (Holly), but I was surprised to be annoyed by Andrea since she’s so kickass in the previous books.

If the book was half as long as it was, I would have been good.

Rowena: Oh and in the beginning when Raphael brought Rebecca to Andrea’s office, I wanted to kick him in the dick. I was super mad at him for a lot of the beginning of this book. I spent more time annoyed with him than I ever did with Andrea. When Andrea finally comes clean about everything to him, I felt how stupid he felt. LOL.

Casee: I wanted to junk punch Rafael when he brought Rebecca to the office too. How old are we? Seriously.
I did find it incredibly amusing when Andrea played the carpet prank on him. Lol.

This one gets a 3 out of 5 from me.

Rowena: This was a nice little appetizer before I jump right back into a Kate and Curran story. I’m ready for Kate and Curran again. I’m ready for some Derek and Julie goodness too. I’m also very interested in getting to know Ascanio more too. This one gets 3.5 out of 5 stars from me. It was a solid read but not a favorite.

Holly: I agree this is a good in-between novel, though. As much as I love Kate, it’s good to step outside her head for a minute. Speaking of, I love how we get to see Kate from a different perspective here.
I’m giving it 3.25 out of 5.

Casee: 3 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 3.5 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Joint Review: The Orchid Throne by Jeffe Kennedy

Posted April 28, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: The Orchid Throne by Jeffe KennedyReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
The Orchid Throne by Jeffe Kennedy
Series: Forgotten Empires #1
Also in this series: The Orchid Throne
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Welcome to the world of Forgotten Empires from award winning author Jeffe Kennedy that begins with The Orchid Throne.

A PRISONER OF FATEAs Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Euthalia will do anything to keep her people free—and her secrets safe—from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world—a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…

A PRINCE AMONG MENConrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Euthalia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes—nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?

The Orchid Throne (Forgotten Empires #1) first came on my radar last year. I thought the cover was gorgeous and the premise intrigued me. It fell by the wayside until I saw the second book was going to be published soon. I asked Rowena and Amy if they wanted to read the first book with me, and they agreed.

Queen Euthalia was promised in marriage to the evil emperor of the realm in order to keep their island – and secrets – safe. For years she’s lived under the threat of their engagement, but she’s managed to keep him at bay by projecting a carefree, vapid image and playing a very delicate game of politics behind the scenes.

Now, a new threat has come to the shores of Calanthe….a changed wolf of a man, who is determined to avenge his family by murdering the Emperor. Conri needs Lia to agree to marry him….because prophecy says in order to defeat the emperor, he’s going to need her help.

Holly: This was different than I expected. It started really slow for me, and it took almost half the book before it picked up. What did you two think?

Ames: I agree, the beginning was slow for me too. But I was sucked into it when I realized Con had to go to Calanthe for magical reasons and that would make him and Lia meet. They were two strong characters and I liked them together.

Rowena: This one started off a bit slow for me too and even, in the end, I thought the world was interesting but I don’t know, in the end, I still didn’t completely connect with any of the characters and what was going on. I also wasn’t a fan of the jumping first-person POV business. In the beginning, it took me out of every chapter and I played catch up a lot.

strong>Ames: Lia is a true queen, worrying about her land and her people. This puts her at odds with Conri’s path of revenge because she sees his way as putting Calanthe in danger. And Conri wants revenge against the evil emperor Anure, who is responsible for his father’s death. And Conri’s own enslavement.

Holly: I do wonder how things are going to work out for them in the future. Lia’s sole focus is protecting Calanthe, and at times I wondered if her loyalty to the Island itself would put her at odds with Con. Even though they seemed to come to an understanding, I doubt it’s going to be smooth sailing going forward.

Holly: What did you think of Lia’s best friend, Tertulyn? She was obviously up to some shady stuff. Do you think she’s loyal or do you think she’s conspiring against Lia?

Ames: I don’t want Tertulyn to be a betrayer. But the way she was acting was so shady! I honestly thought she was there for Lia.

Rowena: I definitely think that Tertulyn is doing some shady shit right now. She’s too mad about Con and his men overtaking her family’s home and she thinks they’ve killed her family. I bet you she’s gone to Anure to betray Euthalia. I’m Enter ominous music here I’m not a fan of the way that Tertulyn acts and treats Euthalia, it doesn’t feel sincere to me so I’m thinking she’s definitely going to betray her.

Holly: I want Tertulyn to be loyal, but she’s definitely acting shady right now and I’m pretty sure she isn’t going to come out looking good in this.

Rowena: I agree with you, Holly. I just don’t have a good feeling about her so I’m counting on the betrayal. She’s gonna try and make a run of it as Anure’s wife, watch.

Ames: Also, how hilarious was Ambrose and his bird? That scene in the garden and then afterwards with the guards? I was cracking up!

Holly: I loved Ambrose and his bird. That scene in the garden was hilarious.

Rowena: I really liked Ambrose and his bird (and the staff) as well. He definitely marches to his own tune and seeing him annoy the snot out of Conri and then, later on, Euthalila, it was great.

Rowena: I am curious to see where their story takes them in the next book so I’m definitely interested in continuing the series. What about you guys?

Holly: I’m definitely interested to see where the story goes. I do wonder if the second book will also end in a cliffhanger. I haven’t heard how many books are planned for this series.

Ames: I’m definitely interested in reading more from this series. Lia and Con are going to argue over every step they take going forward. But I think they’ll make a good team when it comes time to fight Anure.

I know there’s a third book coming out next year – but I’m not sure how many books are planned in the series overall though.

Rowena: I do plan on reading the other books in this series but I have to say, I wasn’t all that jazzed about the ending of this book. I’m hoping that there won’t be any more of that nonsense.

Overall, this was an interesting start to a new series and I’m curious enough to want to continue so I’ll definitely be reading but I wasn’t a huge fan of the pacing of this story, the constant whiplash I got from the changing POV and that ending wasn’t my favorite either. I’d give this one 3 stars, what about you guys?

Holly: I agree, the premise was interesting and I like the world, but the pacing was off and the ending frustrated me. I’m going to read the next book, but I think I’ll wait until we know how many are planned before I pick it up.

I’d give it 3.5 out of 5.

Ames: I agree with you guys – the pacing was a bit off and the beginning was very slow. However once things picked up I was into it right to the end. Yes the ending was abrupt and if I had read this book when it came out, I would have been super frustrated to wait a year to read the next one. LOL So knowing that’s how this book ended, I kind of want to wait until book 3 is released before reading book 2.

I really enjoyed the characters and once we got into the world-building, I liked that too. I’m giving The Orchid Throne 3.75 out of 5.

Final Grades

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Holly: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

Forgotten Empire

three-half-stars


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