Tag: 4.25 Reviews

Review: Raid by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 23, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Raid by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Raid by Kristen Ashley
Series: Unfinished Hero #3
Also in this series: Knight, Creed
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 28, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 274
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hanna Boudreaux has lived in the small town of Willow, Colorado all her life. The great-granddaughter of the town matriarch, she's sweet, cute and quiet.
Too quiet.
Hanna has a moment of epiphany when she realizes her crush for forever, Raiden Ulysses Miller, is not ever going to be hers. She sees her life as narrow and decides to do something about it.
Raiden Miller is the town of Willow's local hero. An ex-marine with the medal to prove his hero status, he comes home, shrouded in mystery. It takes a while but, eventually, Hanna catches his eye.
But after all these years of Raid and Hanna living in the same town, the question is, why? Is Raid interested in Hanna because she's sweet and cute? Or does Raid have something else going on?

I just adore this series. Sure, it’s unconventional but I can’t stop reading these books.

Raiden Miller is a former marine that is back in his hometown in Colorado to bring down a very powerful drug dealer. His investigation leads him straight to Hanna Boudreaux. Hanna seems innocent, but Raiden has to make sure before he crosses her off his list. See, the drugs are being mailed through Hanna’s business. It doesn’t take Raiden a minute to figure out that Hanna has nothing to do with drugs. She’s an innocent that was taken advantage of by people that she trusted. Raiden is instantly protective of Hanna. It’s hard not to be because she sees the world through rose colored glasses.

Hanna has loved Raiden from afar for years. When he actually notices her, she’s not quite sure what to do. Then she finds out why he approached her. It’s not for herself, that’s for certain. Or that’s what she tells herself. Hanna soon discovers that Raiden wants her and he’s not going to leave her alone until she gives in. Giving in to Raiden isn’t hard for her. While she’s loved him for years, she never really knew him. All she knew him as was the town hero. Hanna had a bit of hero worship for Raiden, but now she’s getting to know the real man. She likes what she sees.

I really liked Hanna. I read some reviews and I know Holly some people didn’t like Hanna. I didn’t really care for her at first either. Her unrequited love for Raiden was a total turn off. Eventually her character got better and I really ended up liking her. I loved that she made afghans for a living. I loved how scatterbrained she was. I loved her relationship with her great grandmother. I also loved how Raiden just fit seamlessly into her life.

This is my favorite quote from the book. Raiden was telling Hanna about being in the military and that she was his reward for risking his life.

“You might think that’s jacked, but it’s not. It’s the goddamn fuckin’ truth. Whether you got that in your bed before you go or hope to find it when you get back, that’s why you do it. You do it for her. You do it to keep her safe. You planted kids inside her, or you hope to, you do it for them. You get home in one piece, she’s your reward.” His body pressed into mine and his face, partly shadowed, came within an inch of mine. “You’re my reward, Hanna.”

This is my third favorite book in the series. Raiden and Hanna’s story was a pleasure to read. I was left wanting more at the end, which is exactly Kristen Ashley is good at.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Unfinished Hero

four-stars


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Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews

Posted September 21, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Emerald Blaze by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Tracy
Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #5
Also in this series: Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire, White Hot, White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1), Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3), Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy, #3.5), Sapphire Flames, Diamond Fire, Wildfire
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 391
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won't rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that's tearing their world apart.

Catalina Baylor is wrapping up an investigation for House Baylor Investigative Agency, her family’s PI firm, when she’s attacked by beasts she’s never seen before.  She discovers that they are a blend of mechanical and biological constructs that are controlled by magic, which aren’t supposed to be able to exist together.  Since she is the Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, she calls the Warden, Linus Duncan, and tells him.  He immediately instructs her to go to Montgomery Investigations, Inc. and take over a case.

The case involves the death of Prime Felix Morton from House Morton.  He was one of five Primes from different Houses that were working on a reclamation project. They were trying to reclaim The Pit, which is a flooded, swampy area in the middle of Houston.  Catalina must now interview the other four Primes to try to discover who killed Felix.  She certainly doesn’t expect to run into Alessandro Sagredo when she gets to MII, as she hasn’t seen him in six months, but that’s what happens.  Alessandro was hired by Lander Morton to kill whoever murdered his son, Felix, once the killer is exposed.

Catalina is determined to keep her distance from Alessandro, despite the fact that he’s resumed his bodyguard-of-the-Deputy-Warden duties.  Alessandro has discovered that a man that he has been after for years is now looking to kill Catalina, if not her whole family.  He’s going to keep Catalina safe if it kills him.

Catalina has to deal with her feelings for Alessandro, keeping herself and her family safe, dealing with her grandmother Tremaine who is a wolf in wolf’s clothing, and balancing her House duties as well as her Deputy duties.  It’s a lot, especially with finding out that there is something in the Pit that is sentient, and it plans on taking over Houston completely.

I love Ilona Andrews books.  Seriously, I’ve never read an IA that I didn’t like.  The world building alone rocks my world, then they add in some romance and boom, I’m hooked.  This book was another amazing addition to the Hidden Legacy series.

I really didn’t like Catalina the first time I read Sapphire Flames.  Amazing book, but I was on the fence about her.  The “I love you” when it came to Alessandro was out of nowhere and based on nothing, and I wasn’t feeling it.  I recently reread SF and Catalina grew on me.  I still didn’t like the “love” part of the story, and actually disliked Alessandro somewhat during the second read, but the book was still crazy good.

In Emerald Blaze all of that dislike went away.  Though it’s only been six months since the last story ended, I felt Catalina had grown.  Becoming Deputy Warden of the State of Texas, and working with Linus, did her a hell of a lot of good and I could see the changes in her.  Alessandro, as well, was a different person.  His snarky personality wasn’t completely gone, but he seemed to take life more seriously and he was actually open and communicative with Catalina.  Loved it!

The rest of the story, besides the romantic parts, was super great.  Not that they weren’t, but they weren’t the focus.  I love the creatures that IA comes up with and it blows my mind that their minds work like that! The fact that the Baylor family, as well as Alessandro, have to work out these puzzling details and use their wits and intelligence to solve whatever issues arise makes me like them and the book even more.

I can’t tell you much about it as that will completely ruin the story for you, but I highly recommend this book.  If you haven’t read this series yet you are definitely missing out!  Start with Burn for Me and don’t stop until you’re done with Emerald Blaze.  You can thank me later.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Posted September 16, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review. The Flatshare by Beth O’LearyReviewer: Holly
The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: April 18, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars


Tiffy and Leon share a flat

Tiffy and Leon share a bed

Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary is a contemporary romance told in alternating first person and epistolary format. Rowena mentioned this book to me around the time it was released, but I completely forgot about it until I saw The Switch had come out. I requested The Switch from the library, but there was a wait, so I decided to read this one instead.

Tiffany Moore needs a cheap place to live ASAP. Her on-again/off-again boyfriend of several years has suddenly come home with a new woman, and she’s convinced him to put Tiffy out. Her options are a moldy, crumbling flat that should be condemned, or a flatshare – where two people share the same one-bedroom flat at opposite times of the day. She chooses the flatshare.

Leon Twomey is in desperate need of an extra £350 per month to help pay for her brother’s legal fees. Since he works as an overnight palliative care nurse, he figures a flatshare is the easiest way to make the extra he needs. He’ll have access to the flat from 8am-6pm, and his flatmate will have it during the evenings and weekends.

Leon and Tiffy haven’t met, but sharing a bed and a flat, not to mention daily notes, bring them together. Between his wrongfully imprisoned brother and search for a long-lost-love for a patient at work, and her crazy ex-boyfriend and work projects, they have a lot to share. Leon is an introvert who is happiest when things are quiet and he’s alone. Tiffany is an extrovert who is happiest surrounded by chaos. The two shouldn’t have anything in common, but as they come to know one another through their shared flat and notes, they realize they share more than they think.

Tiffy is dealing with the realization that the relationship she’s been in for years was very unhealthy. With the help of her friends, a therapist and Leon, she’s beginning to deal with repressed trauma over the emotional abuse she suffered while with her controlling ex. I thought that aspect of the novel was well done. We don’t always see what’s happening in the moment, and it takes some space for us to realize how bad a situation has gotten. I really liked that Tiffy’s friends were supportive and helped her realize how awful her relationship was, while also giving her space to figure things out on her own.

Leon is struggling to deal with the incarceration of his brother, Richie. He was sent to prison for 7 years for armed robbery, but Leon knows he’s innocent. He’s trying to find out information from Richie’s attorney about their appeal, and also be strong for his mam. To take his mind off his problems, and to keep him busy on the weekends when he isn’t allowed at his flat, he’s begun the search for Jonathan White, the lover one of his patients had back in WWII.

Leon and Tiffany both came alive on page. They felt like real people with real friendships. I loved how they grew and changed, together, yet separate.

I smile. The note is stuck on the fridge, which is already one layer deep in Post-its. My current favorite is a doodle Leon did, depicting the man in Flat 5 sitting on an enormous heap of bananas. (We still don’t know why he keeps so many banana crates in his parking space.)

I rest my forehead against the fridge door for a moment, then run my fingers across the layers of paper scraps and Post-its. There’s so much here. Jokes, secrets, stories, the slow unfolding of two people whose lives have been changing in parallel―or, I don’t know, in sync. Different time, same place.

There was quite a bit of humor, especially when it came to Tiffy’s co-worker, Rachel. I cracked up on more than one occasion because of her jokes and antics.

Tiffany [9:07 a.m.]: It was really weird. I literally told her the most embarrassing stuff about me within like ten minutes of meeting her.
Rachel [9:08 a.m.]: Did you tell her about when you vomited in your hair on the night bus?
Tiffany [9:10 a.m.]: Well, that didn’t actually come up.
Rachel [9:11 a.m.]: How about the time you broke that guy’s penis at university?
Tiffany [9:12 a.m.]: Didn’t come up, either.
Rachel [9:12 a.m.]: That’s what he said.

This was such a cute, uplifting story. I really loved how it was told from both points-of-view, and also through the notes they wrote to each other. I smiled my way through this book, and I can’t wait to read more from O’Leary.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: Dream Maker by Kristen Ashley

Posted August 31, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Dream Maker by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee & Holly
Dream Maker by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Team #1
Also in this series: Quiet Man
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 544
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Dream Man and Rock Chick series comes a brand new story about love, friendship, and the bonds of sisterhood. Evie is a bonafide nerd and a hyper-intelligent chick who has worked her whole life to get what she wants. Growing up, she had no support from her family and has only ever been able to rely on herself. So when Evie decides she wants to earn her engineering degree, she realizes she needs to take an alternative path to get there. She takes a job dancing at Smithie's club thinking this would be a quick side gig, where she can make the money she needs. But with her lack of dancing skills and an alpha bad boy who becomes overly protective, Evie realizes this might not be as easy as she thought.Daniel "Mag" Magnusson knows a thing or two about pain, but the mask he wears is excellent. No one can tell that this good-looking, quick-witted, and roguish guy has deep-seated issues. Mag puts on a funny-guy routine so he can hide his broken heart and PTSD. But when Evie dances her way into Mag's life, he realizes that he needs to come face-to-face with the demons of his past if he wants a future with her.

Dream Maker is set in the same world as the Rock Chicks and Dream Man series. We were first introduced to Hawk and his men in Mystery Man, and more recently we got to know them in Quiet Man. Dream Maker follows Evie, a stripper, and Mag (Daniel Magnusson), one of Hawk’s commandos.

Holly: Kristen Ashley is one of my favorites. Her novels are all very similar, but it’s easy to fall into them. This was one of the better ones of hers I’ve read in awhile. You’re still pretty new to KA. What did you think of it?

Casee: I really, really liked this book. I think it’s one of KA’s better books. Of course it could have been shorter, but I was so into the story that I didn’t really care. I’m so glad I read Quiet Man first. I know it’s a prequel, but it was sure nice to know what was going on.

Holly: I’m not one for reading in order, but I think reading Quiet Man first is a good idea. It sets the stage (stage, get it? ha ha) for this novel and gives us a better understanding of why Evie and Mag were set up together.

I really liked how close knit the group was in Quiet Man, and I think some of that was missing here. I wanted more interactions between Evie and the guys. But I still really liked it.

Casee: I really liked Evie’s personality. I loved her quirkiness and her loyalty (although misplaced) to her family. I loved how she called Mag “Danny” and he got annoyed when she called him “Mag”. So stinking cute.

I felt that some of the closeness of the group was missing as well. I really liked Lottie’s interactions with the guys in Quiet Man. While Evie did interact with the guys, it wasn’t on the same level.

Holly: I liked certain aspects of Evie’s character, but she also made some dumb decisions based on her insecurities. I was really glad to see how things progressed with her through the novel.

I agree. It wasn’t the same. I mean, I guess it makes sense that not every girl will have a connection with them, but usually KA is big on that kind of thing.

Casee: Did you like any of the secondary characters? I’m not sure I liked any of them. Not a whole lot anyway.

Holly: I don’t like the Rock Chicks. They’re annoying. I did like the other strippers and Mag’s friends, but they played such a small part. I definitely didn’t like Evie’s family.

Casee: Favorite part of the book?

Holly: I know it’s weird, but it was when Evie was a bitch to Mag and called him a manwhore and he got pissed. Something about his reaction really worked for me. Yours?

Casee: That is weird, but totally understandable. My favorite part was when she told her mother off. What a bitch that woman was. She cared more about her son being in jail than her daughter being kidnapped. Bitch.

Holly: I was glad she told off her mom, but honestly I wanted to see her tell them all off. I did like that her sister came through in the end, though. I also liked that Evie was super judgmental about her sister, then realized the error of her thoughts. I like how multi-layered KA’s characters are.

Casee: Where does this fall in comparison to your favorite KA books? This one ranks pretty high for me. I really, really enjoyed it. I would give it a 4.25 out of 5.

Holly: It’s mid-range for me. I prefer her older books. In terms of her more recent releases, this is better than most, but not my favorite. I’d give it 3.75 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5.
Holly: 3.75 out of 5.

Dream Team

four-stars


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Review: Blind Date with a Book Boyfriend by Lucy Eden

Posted July 31, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Blind Date with a Book Boyfriend by Lucy EdenReviewer: Holly
Blind Date with a Book Boyfriend by Lucy Eden
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 23, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 91
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

Hi, I’m Jordyn. I flew from New York to Culver City, CA to interview for the job of a lifetime.

When I walked into The Bookstore, I only wanted a steamy romance or two to help pass the time before my big meeting.

I walked out with a gorgeous and sweet, cinnamon roll who was more funny and charming than all of my favorite book boyfriends combined, which definitely wasn’t the plan.

But Mike was irresistible, and the time we spent together exploring Culver City was more fun than I’ve had in a long time.

But I’m smart enough to know if something feels too good to be true, it probably is.

I mean, Happily Ever Afters are just for fairy tales and romance novels … right?

Ames recommended this novella to me. It was super cute. I was hooked from page one, and found myself smiling through the entire story.

Jordyn has flown to Culver City, CA to interview for her dream job. She’s been playing it safe her whole life and she’s ready to make some major changes. When she meets a handsome guy in a bookstore, she takes a chance and joins him for lunch…which then turns into a full day of talking, dancing and…falling in love? This is the craziest thing she’s ever done, but she’s pretty sure Mike is worth it. Only, there’s more to Mike than meets the eye, and she may have to choose between her dream job and her dream guy.

This is a short story, but it packed quite a punch. I was drawn in by the witty banter to start, then ended up sighing my way through the story. It helps that I’m familiar with Culver City and have visited a lot of places mentioned in the story. I loved the way Mike and Jordyn opened up to each other, even though they had

“So, if this isn’t a date, why would you care if I brought other women here?”

I opened my mouth to answer, then I closed it because I didn’t have a good answer. I felt like I was free-falling. Mike was cute, funny, and charming. I wanted to know more about him. I wanted him to know more about me. Also, I wondered what it might be like to kiss him and— Shit. I think we’re on a date. “Is it weird that this feels like a date?” I asked.

“No, because I’m pretty sure this turned into a date when you started flirting with me in the bookstore.” I burst out laughing.

The witty dialogue and banter, the story itself and the characters were all very well done. I’m looking forward to read more from Eden.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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