Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Review: Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Posted October 25, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Forbidden by Beverly JenkinsReviewer: Holly
Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
Series: Old West #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 389
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
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns with the first book in a breathtaking new series set in the Old West

Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.

Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .

My book club chose Forbidden for this month. I am not a fan of historical Westerns in general. I did really enjoy this one, however. As a friend pointed out, this felt more like a small-town contemporary romance set in the old West, rather than a true Western. While that may not appeal to some, it definitely appealed to me.

I really loved Eddy. She was such a smart, capable woman who stood by her convictions and worked hard for a better future, I easily connected with her. She stood up for herself and wasn’t willing to compromise her ethics or morals, which was lovely. She also had a great sense of humor.

I didn’t care for Rhine as much. I’m not exactly sure why Eddy was fixated on him. She didn’t seem the type to be swayed by the physical only, yet I didn’t see much of a connection between them outside of good ol’ sexual chemistry. He did do a lot of good for the community, but he was such an ass that I really had a hard time liking him.

Forbidden is a well-written, easy-to-read novel. I loved the town, the secondary characters, and Eddy. I even liked the romance. I just wished she’d ended up with someone else.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Old West

four-stars


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Joint Review: Archangel’s Light by Nalini Singh

Posted October 25, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Archangel’s Light by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee & Holly
Archangel's Light by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: Guild Hunter #14
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War, Archangel's War , Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Sun
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Length: 11 hours and 23 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Nalini Singh returns to the world of the Guild Hunters for the most highly anticipated novel of the beloved series—a love story so epic it’s been half a millennia in the making…
Illium and Aodhan. Aodhan and Illium. For centuries they’ve been inseparable: the best of friends, closer than brothers, companions of the heart. But that was before—before darkness befell Aodhan and shattered him, body, mind, and soul. Now, at long last, Aodhan is healing, but his new-found strength and independence may come at a devastating cost—his relationship with Illium.
As they serve side by side in China, a territory yet marked by the evil of its former archangel, the secret it holds nightmarish beyond imagining, things come to an explosive decision point. Illium and Aodhan must either walk away from the relationship that has defined them—or step forward into a future that promises a bond infinitely precious in the life of an immortal…but that demands a terrifying vulnerability from two badly bruised hearts.

We finally get Bluebell & Sparkle’s story! Well, part of it anyway.

Casee: First thing is first. Is this title appropriate since Ilium isn’t an archangel yet?

Holly: I think it’s a play on Aodhan and Illium being Raphael’s light, and a glimpse of what’s to come when Illium ascends.

Casee: One thing that is so special about this book is the glimpses into Aodhan and Illium’s past with Raphael. It’s hard to reconcile the Raphael in the Yesterday chapters to the Raphael in Angels’ Blood. It definitely makes me want to go back and read Angels’ Blood. Actually, I want to reread the whole series. I always feel that way after a book comes out in this series. We also got a bit of Raphael and Elena, whom I always adore reading about.

Holly: I loved the Yesterday chapters, too. It was great seeing glimpses of Aodhan and Illium growing up together. My heart hurt for them at their various trials and tribulations. I always wondered exactly what happened to Aodhan. It was so hard reading about it, but I’m so glad we found out what happened. You’re right, they are each other’s person, and that came out in so many ways.

Casee: I did feel so bad for Illium. When Aodhan realized that everyone but Raphael had abandoned Illium in some way, I think my eyes might have teared up a little. I loved how Caliane’s words made Aodhan think beyond his pain & think about Illium. The closeness of their friendship and changing relationship is what I loved most about this book. I liked the sexy parts. The admitabbly short sexy parts.

I also laughed like no one’s business when I read this:

“Literally throwing up his hands, Illium said, “Fine. I’m going over there”. He pointed to the far side of the site. “Nowhere near your sparklehole vicinity”

Hahaha.

Holly: Yes, I really loved seeing Aodhan and Illium with Raphael. I think my favorite interactions were the ones with Nassir, though. I just loved how he was with them. And when he found Aodhan? Oh, my heart broke.

Casee: What about the sexy times between Aodhan & Illium? Were you satisfied? Did you expect more?

Holly: I was super angry when I finished the book, because it felt like we got nothing in the romance department from then. But then I saw that their story will be continued in another book and I was okay with it.

Casee: Samesies. I felt so disappointed at the end of the book. It felt like Nalini kind of copped out on the romance, but now we know that is not true. I’m so excited to see these two in future books.

I had no idea that Illium and his father (Aegoan?) were so close when he was young. I just can’t imagine how devastating it would be to lose a parent like that. And what he did to Sharine? Unforgivable. Bastard. I’m giving this book a 4 out of 5. What about you?

Holly: I was really glad to learn more about both Illium’s and Sharine’s relationships with his father. It was interesting to learn more of their backstory, and it explained so much.

I’m going to give this a 4 out of 5. I would have given it 3.5 if not for the promise of more in the future. I love Bluebell and Sparkle and I can’t wait for more from them.

Ratings

Casee: 4 out of 5.
Holly: 4 out of 5.

Guild Hunter Series

four-stars


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Review: Sarazen’s Fury by Isabel Wroth

Posted October 6, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Sarazen’s Fury by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Sarazen's Fury by Isabel Wroth
Series: Sarazen Saga #5
Also in this series: Sarazen's Claim, Sarazen's Vengeance, Sarazen's Betrayal, Sarazen's Hunt
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 28, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Happy For Now, Continuing Story Arc
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 219
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

-YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

With Tarek away on a hunting trip, and T’mai gone off to round up more of the uncovered conspirators, Brennaugh is the only one qualified to provide assistance when an entire squadron of his best men go missing on S4. Four days. He should have only been gone for four days. He gave his word.

-PLEASE DON’T LET GO.

Tara awakens from a nightmare to discover her worst fears have come true. The rescue party has been ambushed, and Brennaugh has been captured by their enemy. Tara knows Brennaugh is still alive—she can feel him—but all she can sense through their bond is white hot primal fear and anger. Ignoring all protests about concerns for her safety, Tara joins the reinforcements on S4, determined to find her mate and bring him home.

Tara was one of the original humans rescued from the Starsong. She was reluctant to be mated to Brennaugh, a scarred and fierce warrior, but four years later she could not be happier with him. When he’s called off-planet to find some missing soldiers, Tara agrees to wait for him. But when he doesn’t return and his crew believes he’s gone feral, Tara knows she’s the only one who can save him.

I really liked Tara and how she handled everything that was thrown at her in this novel. She didn’t buckle under the stress and in fact came out shining on the other end. My heart hurt for her and what she had to deal with from Brennaugh’s mom and family, but I loved how protective she was of him and her pregnancy. I also loved how Brennaugh loved her, and how he realized his mistakes and apologized to her.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sarazen Saga

four-stars


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Review: Sarazen’s Hunt by Isabel Wroth

Posted October 5, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sarazen’s Hunt by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Sarazen's Hunt by Isabel Wroth
Series: Sarazen Saga #4
Also in this series: Sarazen's Claim, Sarazen's Vengeance, Sarazen's Betrayal, Sarazen's Fury
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Happy For Now, Continuing Story Arc
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 392
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

-GOOD LUCK ON THE HUNT. Newly-appointed Commander Kalix has been tasked with a crucial mission for the Sarazen race: discover the fates of the remaining human starships, and bring home the survivors—if there are any left, that is… His crew come upon the wrecked remains of the Sestrenka, and the chattering captain’s logs set them on the trail of a human colony established over twenty years ago. Moika, the hope of the starbound human race. But as Kalix and his warriors grow closer in their search, the distress signals show there is something terribly wrong on Moika. Something deathly wrong.

-LEAVE NO SKIN EXPOSED. Alec, Firstborn Moika, is a hardened young woman and the defacto leader of the colony on Moika—because all that remain are she, her sister, and a ragtag band of Moika-born children. The hostile natives who dwell in the water, known only as “Scylla,” have decimated the colony’s population. When all hope seems lost, the Sarazen appear and offer the survivors sanctuary: an end to their suffering, an end to the running, and an end to the killings. A return to civilization. But for Alec, who spent most of her life herding and protecting the colony, it’s a bittersweet rescue. All she’s known is fighting but suddenly the gauzy promise of peace is dangled in front of her. Will the deep anger she feels at being an outsider ever subside?

When Tarek retired from active service to be with his mate, Kalix was promoted to fill his role as Commander. Kalix has been tasked with finding the remaining 4 Earthen ships. When he discovers the wrecked remains of the Sestrenka, he fears all is lost. Until he finds transmissions from the planet Moika and realizes there are at least some of the survivors.

Of the 2000 settlers who were left on Moika, only a handful of children remain. Alec, a firstborn Moika, has been their defacto leader since she was 16 and the last of the adults were murdered by hostile water-dwelling native creatures. They’ve had to fight for survival for so long, she feels lost and alone once they’re rescued. Dealing with grief over the loss of her sister, and the devastating realization that she and Kalix were mates, but he left her behind on purpose, Alec doesn’t know what to do with herself. She’s so used to caring for everyone and keeping everyone alive, she’s at odds now that they’re all safe and cared for.

I really loved how fierce and protective Alec was. My heart broke for her at the beginning of the novel, and her continued grief really got me as the story went on. I loved how she used her anger to fuel her, but managed to be caring and loving (in a gruff sort of way) to the children she helped raise on Moika. I also loved how she pushed Kalix and made him see things from her perspective. The overarching storyline from previous books was furthered here, and I enjoyed the twists and turns.

I don’t feel like I’m really doing these books justice with my reviews. The world is very complex and there are a lot of moving parts.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sarazen Saga

four-stars


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Review: Ryan by Jessica Gadziala

Posted September 15, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Ryan by Jessica GadzialaReviewer: Casee
Ryan by Jessica Gadziala
Series: Mallick Brothers #2
Also in this series: Shane, Eli
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 2, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 241
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

RYAN

She was perfect: Sweet, smart, awkwardly adorable, and beautiful as hell. The only problem was: she was terrified to leave her apartment. And, apparently, she had somehow gotten herself wrapped up with some pretty bad guys to boot.

DUSTY

He was perfect: He was a living, breathing, walking, talking statue come to life. But when would a man like that ever want to be with a woman who was too anxious to even walk into the hallway? Let alone go on a date with him. Or meet the family he was so close with. That being said, he seemed interested for some reason. So obviously, he was just as crazy as I was. On top of that whole confusion situation, something was going on with my business partners. And things were about to go straight to hell…

* For possible triggers, please visit: http://www.jessicagadziala.com/trigge...

When it comes to the family’s loanshark business, Ryan is the numbers guy. If someone doesn’t pay their loan, Ryan is the first enforcer. After that it goes to Mark, then Shane, and finally Eli. Ryan keeps the books for their legal & illegal businesses. He’s a bit of a workaholic.

Dusty is housebound. Not because she wants to be, but because she has severe agoraphobia and anxiety. It was heart wrenching to read. Dusty wasn’t always afraid to go outside; it was something that happened gradually over time. When she meets her new neighbor while standing in the doorway to her apartment, she wishes she could be different. But men & relationships are not in the cards for Dusty.

Ryan is enchanted with his beautiful neighbor. She’s lived in his building for quite some time & he had never gotten a glimpse of her. After meeting her, he wants more. He doesn’t understand Dusty’s issues at first, though they are front & center when Ryan has to get Dusty out of the building due to a fire.

Ryan & Dusty got to know each other over time. After he saves her and bodily carries her down the stairs, she is wrecked. It was the first time she had gone outside in years. Instead of trying to fix it, Ryan tries to understand. He gives Dusty the space she needs without giving her space at all.

As someone with anxiety, I am very picky when it comes to reading about someone with anxiety. Usually there is something that makes me say “That’s wrong” or “That doesn’t happen”. Not so with Gadziala. She wrote Dusty’s problems so well. There is no quick fix for anxiety or agoraphobia.

The best part of this book was seeing Dusty’s growth. She knows that her life is never going to go back to the way it was. Ryan handles Dusty’s issues with such patience and care. Ryan doesn’t try to change Dusty. He accepts her fully for who she is. I loved that about him. He was very patient and kind. Ryan knew that they would never have what is deemed a “normal” relationship, but he wants to try.

This book was very well written & an amazing addition to the Mallick Brothers series. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series though I’m sure I’ll be sad when it ends.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Mallick Brothers

four-stars


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