Tag: 5.0 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Sea Change by Darlene Marshall

Posted August 20, 2020 by Ames in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Sea Change by Darlene MarshallReviewer: Ames
Sea Change by Darlene Marshall
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 332
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five-stars

David Fletcher needs a surgeon, stat! But when he captures a British merchantman in the Caribbean what he gets is Charley Alcott, an apprentice physician barely old enough to shave. Needs must, and Captain Fletcher takes the prisoner back aboard his ship with orders to do his best, or he'll be walking the plank.
Charley Alcott's medical skills are being put to the test in a life-or-death situation, Charley's life as well as the patient's. Even if she can save the American privateer's brother there will still be hell to pay--and maybe a plank to walk--when Captain Fletcher learns Charley is really Charlotte Alcott.
A war is raging on the world's oceans, and the two enemies will fight their own battles and their attraction to each other as they undergo a sea change neither of them is expecting, but cannot deny.

This review was originally posted on August 16, 2011.

I’ve been wanting to read a Darlene Marshall book for a while now so I jumped at the chance to read and review Sea Change, her latest Amber Quill release. Now I am definitely going to read her backlist.

Sea Change features I few things I absolutely love in my romance. A kick-ass heroine who cross dresses and is working in a man’s profession (doctor in the early 1800s). It also has a great hero who is attracted to said cross-dressing woman but freaks out a bit because he thinks he’s attracted to a man. Oh boy do the sparks fly once the truth is revealed!

Charley (aka Charlotte) Alcott is disguised as a man and earning her passage on a ship to Jamaica from England, acting as the ship’s doctor. Her father, whom she apprenticed with, has died recently and so she’s going to stay with her godfather, also a doctor. She’s hoping she can continue apprenticing with him. Meanwhile, she disguises herself as a man. Her plan is totally screwed up when their ship is overtaken by American privateers and she’s forced onto their vessel. Charley’s ship was attacked because Captain David Fletcher’s younger brother was injured and Captain David needs a surgeon to save him. David isn’t exactly impressed with the young doctor he’s found, but he’s better than nothing. And once the pressing matter of his younger brother’s health is behind them, Charley and David form a loose friendship. I say loose because Charley still wants to go to Jamaica and David is determined to keep the doctor on his boat – his men like it, it has improved morale and Charley is someone that David can really talk to.

But Charley realizes that her feelings are growing for the sexy captain and this makes her more determined than ever to get away from him. David too is thrown for a loop when he realizes that Charley is growing feelings for him and thinking he’s a man, it freaks him out, because he’s noticing things and reacting to the young man. All of that changes one day when Charley is knocked overboard and David jumps into the ocean to save her. David can’t help but notice the shape of the body under the wet clothes. And David is furious:

David liked women. Not on his ship, of course, but when he was on land he enjoyed being in their company. He liked them clothed in their fripperies and unclothed in all their glory, curved and rounded and sweet smelling. He liked the contrast of their

softness to his hardness, their gentle ways and delicate natures to his life among rough men. And the ones who weren’t so delicate but gave as good as they got in a game of slap and tickle, he liked them, too.

What he did not like was the thought of a female who talked like a man, and dressed like a man, and thought like a man, and spent her day examining the naked bodies of men when it was no proper place for a lady to be!

The scene, where David reveals Charley’s true identity was so thrilling! He’s glad he hasn’t been attracted to a man but he’s horrified that she’s also a woman. She has been treating the men and seeing them naked and even treated him! It’s unacceptable and he’s determined to get her off his ship as quickly as possible. (There’s an awesome scene when he announces his intentions to the crew.)

I won’t say any more but that’s only half the story. It’s not so easy for David to let Charley go. And I LOVED that these two had time to get to know each other before their feelings came into play. It created some delicious tension, both pre and post gender reveal. I liked all the characters. Charley is a practical sort of woman and David is a great captain and sigh-worthy hero. The writing was engaging and the dialog never dragged. Who thought doctor-speak could be sexy?

“Do you know how an inoculation works, Captain?”

Her voice was low, and husky, and despite her prosaic question, made him even harder, if that were possible.

“An inoculation gives you a taste of a disease. Just enough to strengthen you against it.”

“Am I a disease then, Doctor?”

“If I kiss you, I may be inoculated against you, and I can sleep easy again.”

Hot stuff!!

I got sucked into Charley’s story right from the get go and about halfway through, I knew I was reading a book I’d be listing as a top read for 2011. And I was right. Sea Change is going to be in my top 5 reads for this year.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

five-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Valor by Nora Roberts

Posted July 23, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 8 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Valor by Nora RobertsReviewer: Rowena
Key of Valor (Key Trilogy, #3) by Nora Roberts
Series: Key Trilogy #3
Also in this series: Key of Light (Key Trilogy, #1), Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy, #2)
Publisher: Penguin, Jove
Publication Date: May 1st, 2004
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
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Series Rating: five-stars

What happens when the very gods depend on mortals for help?

That's what three very different young women find out when they are invited to Warrior's Peak.

Light and knowledge have succeeded in their quest, and two of the keys have been found. Both Malory and Dana had taken their turns. The final, and last, test goes to Zoe McCourt - valor.

Now it was her burden, her risk. Her chance. She had to be brave enough, smart enough, strong enough, or everything they'd done before her would be for nothing.

Zoe has the courage to raise her young son alone, and to face all the adversity life has thrown at them. But will she have the courage to face a foe determined to do anything to stop the third key from being found - even destroying everything - and everyone - she loves?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on May 14, 2007.

I think this one is my favorite of all the Key books.

I really think so.

I fell right in love with Brad and was frustrated right along with him where Zoe was concerned. I fell in love with Simon right alongside Brad and before the story began, I was already in love with Brad.

He’s just one of those heroes that you want for your very own. He’s one of those heroes that you want to fight your demons and hold you close at night. The kind that will make quick work of anyone that would try to hurt you. He’s the kind of hero that is quiet and intense and just all around the bomb.

I loved his wealth of love that he had for both Zoe and Simon. Almost right from the very beginning, he had that thing for Zoe. And I loved how he explained his feelings to her. He knew that she was unsure of if he loved her face from the painting or if he truly did love her. And the way he explained it all to her was just oh so sweet and made my insides tingle with delight. I loved the way he was with Simon and I loved the way Simon loved him as a friend and then as a Dad.

The only thing that would have made this book even better for me was if NR would have brought James back into the picture so that Zoe could have told him what a weenie he was for not standing by her when he got her pregnant. I wanted James to see what he missed out on and how great a son Simon was and the woman that Zoe grew up to be without his help. I wanted him to see it and regret that he never stood by her. I wanted him to see her happy with Brad and I wanted Brad to be smug about it all…but well, that’s just what I wanted to see but I was content with what NR wrote in for us to read.

Zoe and her hesitation sort of got on my nerves but not enough for it to ruin the book for me. I really enjoyed this series and I really enjoyed reading this book in particular. I loved seeing Zoe come into her own and see the goodness that other people see in herself and I loved how she was finally able to accept Brad and his love. It got annoying how many times Brad had to jump through hurdles to please her but she always put Simon first and I couldn’t be mad about any of that since she was only trying to protect what was hers.

So all in all, this series was a sure winner for me and this book was a pleasant ending to another fantastic series done by NR.

Great, great books!

Grade: 5 out of 5


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Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Posted July 1, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #7
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, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 381
Length: 16 hours and 18 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
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five-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…
As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.
As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

As Alpha of the pack, Kate Daniels has responsibilities that she would rather not have. When her mate and lover, Curran the Beast Lord, is called away to a hunt, Kate must attend the Conclave. The Conclave is a gathering of The People and the Pack. They meet once a month to air out any grievances or issues with each other so a war doesn’t start. When a Master of the Dead is murdered, it’s obvious that it was a shapeshifter that did the killing. Now Kate has a short amount of time to find out who the killer is, all without the support or help from Curran.

When Hugh d’Ambray shows up at the Conclave, Kate is shocked. She thought that Curran killed her father’s right hand man. It’s immediately clear that Hugh has a nefarious plan to bring her back to her father. Kate is having none of it. She knows where she belongs and it’s not with Hugh d’Ambray. Her place is with Curran. It doesn’t take long for Kate to realize that Curran was drawn away from the Pack so Hugh could get to Kate and hurt the Pack.

With Hugh chasing Kate like his life depends on it, Kate and company end up at the Order of Merciful Aid. If you read the series, you most likely remember Ted. Ted runs the Atlanta chapter of the Order. He was always a shady sort and in Magic Breaks, he decides to go out with a bang. He allows all his Knights to be slaughtered and himself killed so he can go out a martyr. In the meantime, Kate is trying to keep her friends alive and away from Hugh. All without Curran.

I think this is one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever tried. Nothing I can say will express the magnitude of greatness that is this book. It gave me all the feels, the whole time I was listening to it. The narrator is amazing. I felt like I was Kate. That’s how good she is. Kate is fucking phenomenal, Curran is beastastic. Like I want a Curran of my own. I am kicking my own ass for not reading this series sooner. It has everything. Action, romance, suspense, thrills. If you haven’t read it, you need to.

Rating: 5 out of 5 (for real).

Kate Daniels

five-stars


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Guest Audiobook Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted June 29, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Audiobook Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Tracy
The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #2
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Bridge Kingdom , The Traitor Queen
Publisher: Audible Original
Publication Date: February 27, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Fantasy
Length: 10 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Lara has only one thought when her husband is taken prisoner: I will do whatever it takes to set you free.

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father's clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared.

But as Lara and her companions formulate a plan to free Aren from her father's palace, they soon discover that while it is easy to get in, it will be quite another thing to get Aren, and themselves, back out. Not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she's trying to free - the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who - and what - she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or for herself.

The Traitor Queen is the second book in The Bridge Kingdom series.

Where do you go and what do you do when you’ve unintentionally destroyed a kingdom and your husband has captured? The people you’ve come to love with your whole heart have now turned against you and you want nothing more than to help them make things right again.

Lara is in this situation and is running into stone walls when it comes to getting help from the Ithicanians who now hate her.  Where does she turn?  To her sisters who were all trained to be just as good as she at fighting for what they believe in.

I truly can’t tell you anything about this book without giving SO much away. The story has an incredible amount of action and goes non-stop from one event to the other.  I was listening to this story and never once wanted to hit pause while listening.  I can’t remember the last time that happened, if ever.

Lara and Aren’s story continues in The Traitor Queen but it’s not an easy one. The Ithicanian fight with the Maridrinians, as well as the possible resolution between Lara and Aren, had me on the edge of my seat for the entire book.  Throughout it all I couldn’t see how things would resolve but the author did a great job of it.  I would have liked just a bit more at the end of the book with the Ithicanians and Lara, but hopefully the author will put out a 2.5 novella for us (hint, hint Ms. Jensen).

The author has built a world that I kind of want to live in.  Seriously.  Sounds silly, but when you read the book, you’ll understand.  Though the main focus is on Lara and Aren, she didn’t limit us in just knowing them.  I felt she described the world so well, and made all of the characters so real to me, that I just want to go there. Lol

If you want to read a story with action, adventure, revenge, fury, resentment, romance and love then this is definitely the book you’ll want to read.

Rating: 5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

five-stars


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Joint Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 12, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Magic Strikes by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #3
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 Mourns, Magic Bleeds, Magic Dreams, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 322
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

When magic strikes and Atlanta goes to pieces, it’s a job for Kate Daniels…

Drafted into working for the Order of Merciful Aid, mercenary Kate Daniels has more paranormal problems than she knows what to do with these days. And in Atlanta, where magic comes and goes like the tide, that’s saying a lot.

But when Kate's werewolf friend Derek is discovered nearly dead, she must confront her greatest challenge yet. As her investigation leads her to the Midnight Games—an invitation only, no holds barred, ultimate preternatural fighting tournament—she and Curran, the Lord of the Beasts, uncover a dark plot that may forever alter the face of Atlanta's shapeshifting community…

Magic Strikes is the third book in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. The trouble really starts to heat up when Kate’s friend Derek is found almost dead and she is forced to catch the bad guys by putting a team together to fight in the Midnight Games, a supernatural Hunger Games like tournament. It’s a fight to the death and Kate and her team, the Fools, need to win the biggest prize of all to make sure it doesn’t fall into the hands of the bad guys.

Rowena: Holly and I are a little late with our February joint review and that’s all my fault. I fell behind on my buddy reads and my review pile so here we are, a month late but better late than never, right?

This month, we are reading Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews and I’m super stoked about that since I’ve been meaning to read this series for ages and Holly was nice enough to read it with me. I enjoyed this book heaps more than I enjoyed the first two books in this series. It’s like the series is finally hitting its stride with me and I couldn’t get enough.

Holly: I’m so glad you’re finally digging into this series. I knew if you powered through the first two books you’d fall in love.

Rowena: I went through it all emotionally in this one. I ugly cried like a baby, I laughed like a hyena and I happy sighed all over the place because omg, everything was so good.

What did you think, Holly? Did it hold up for you?

Holly: This one really packs a punch. It held up very well for me. Kate is such a kickass heroine. I love how badass she is. When she gave Jim that verbal smackdown after he shut her out about Derek, I cheered.

Speaking of Derek…my heart broke for him here. What about you?

Rowena: Same. This book really picks the series up and I just loved it to pieces. When Kate was too late getting to Derek, and the guilt she felt over it all? OMG, I felt that shit. I felt every single emotion possible while reading this book. There was a lot going on but there were small moments that just hit me in my feels and I couldn’t get enough. Seeing everyone come together for Kate, and for Jim and Derek? Man, I loved it. Jim trying to save Curran from doing things nobody should have to do? I felt that. Doolittle naming Kate’s team “Fools”, Curran showing up and everyone being scared out of their pants but ready with their excuses, and Curran shooting all of their excuses down? Haha, I freaking loved it. I laughed out loud when Kate comes back to the team room and Andrea is spilling the tea on what everyone was saying? Hahaha, oh man. So good. Don’t even get me started that first match when Jim told Curran and Kate to dumb down their fighting and they’re arguing afterward about how the fight turned out.

Holly: Like you, I felt all the emotions while reading this book. Curran’s anger, Kate and Jim’s determination to spare him, their sense of responsibility for Derek. Lord. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I read this book. Like Kate, I wanted vengeance. I hurt so much while reading this one. It definitely got me in the feels.

Rowena: One of the big things for me was finding out more about Kate’s background and seeing what she’s capable of. I mean, I had a sneaky suspicion that Kate was a little more than the puny little human that she was making herself out to be in the previous books but man, I wasn’t expecting what she did in that last match. Kate Daniels is a freaking bad ass boss!

Holly: I love how Kate’s background is slowly revealed. Every time you think you know what’s up with Kate, something new happens and you have to rethink everything. I will say, the way Kate takes everything on herself drives me crazy, but I understand that’s just part of her. She feels responsible for the world.

What do you think of Jim and Dali?

Rowena: I enjoyed Jim and Dali. Jim can ride my nerves from time to time, but overall, I enjoy his character. I liked the dynamic between him and Dali and holy cow, Dali is hilarious. She’s a lot of fun. Her magic and spells had me cracking up through it all.

Holly: Dali is hilarious. A blind vegetarian tiger? Ha!

Rowena: Man, Derek! Pretty boy, Derek! So, something brewing between him and Julie or what? When she was scanning his body with her magic? My heart hurt so much and when Derek forces his way onto the team to save that girl? I’m telling you, my heart!! OMG when Kate and Raphael went to get Julie from school? I about died laughing. The bad guys are getting worse and worse, huh?

Holly: You’ll have to read Magic Stars when you get a little further into the series. It’s a Julie novella. And that’s all I’m saying about that. I loved it when Kate and Raphael showed up at Julie’s school. There’s so much good stuff here. It’s was a pleasure to re-read.
As much as I loved this book, I don’t think the series really finds its feet until the next book, so you have much to look forward to.

Rowena: From beginning to end, I enjoyed this one. Ilona Andrews continues to shine and I had hella heart eyes while reading this. There isn’t anything that I can think of that I didn’t like about this book. I thought it was well written, action packed, and the way that it ends with Curran and Kate? Oh hell yes, this book gets 5 stars from me. What about you?

Holly: This isn’t my favorite book in the series, but it’s so damn good that’s not saying much. I love the humor, the angst, the drama…all of it. I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5.

Holly: 4.5 out of 5
Rowena: 5 out of 5

Kate Daniels

five-stars


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