Tag: 5.0 Reviews

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
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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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth Boyle

Posted January 30, 2020 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth BoyleReviewer: Judith
How I Met My Countess by Elizabeth Boyle
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 342
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five-stars

Lucy Ellyson, the improper daughter of an infamous spy, saves the life of the Earl of Clifton. He intends to make her his countess after the war ends, but when he finally is able to return to her, he finds that she′s vanished.

Meanwhile, Lucy is living a new life in the heart of Mayfair. But she′s as scandalous as ever, and when Clifton finally happens upon her, she′s landed in the sort of trouble that only a hasty marriage can solve. He′s more than willing to step in, but their future is all too quickly threatened by secrets from the past.

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

This review was originally posted on January 29, 2010.

Author Elizabeth Boyle most assuredly has a flair for historical romance. This book is evidence that she knows her craft and does her research. Set in the time during and following the Napoleonic War, the story of the Earl of Clifton, Lucy & Mariana Ellyson, and Clifton’s brother Malcolm is spread over a period of seven years. I don’t really like flashbacks very well but in this case, Boyle has used that technique to tell the story of Clifton, Malcolm, and the Ellyson sisters and to provide the foundational facts of their relationships. It is an insight into the workings of the British Foreign Office and its undercover work in the service of His Majesty and Wellington’s forces. Now, seven years later, Clifton finds Lucy as she is moving into a house in London which she is sharing with all the dowager Ladies Standon, all widows of Standon cousins. In so many ways this is a complicated story but throughout the twists and turns flows the love story between Lucy and Clifton, both of whom have never set aside their love for one another that bloomed during those months of training at Hampstead Heath. As is so often true in affairs of the heart, there are misunderstandings, missed communications, tangled relationships that aren’t what they seem, betrayal and criminal machinations that put Lucy’s future in jeopardy as well as nearly cause her once again to miss Clifton’s arrival in London. Her undercover skills come into play late in the story once again and bring these two very interesting characters together once again, causing their passion to flame anew.

This was an interesting and really enjoyable book! I have always enjoyed this particular historical period because war as a backdrop seems to bring out the deeper reserves of human feeling—love, loss, grief, cynicism, and hope which endures under inhuman circumstances. The social realities of society are also a part of the story—three widows, two of whom were born into the ton and have made the head of their family ill with their complaining, and Lucy who married out of desperation when her father died and she had no one left in her family or any honest means of support. The definition of poverty is considerably different for the upper levels of British Society, and it may be difficult for contemporary Americans to “get their heads around” the perspectives of life which drove the activities of the British Aristocracy. Boyle does an excellent job in helping today’s readers gain some understanding of the stresses present for those who held titles and lands and responsibilities to renters and farmers and villagers. Add to this the strain on the British economy from bad weather, the cost of war, absentee landlords and such, and you have a fertile background against which to craft a wonderful love story.

I really like these characters. The Ellyson sisters are cagey, independent, good at what they do, work as a team with their father in his training of British spies, feel deeply and are loyal to a tee. They love each other—a love that is built on an unfailing friendship between sisters and between parents and children. Clifton and his brother are wonderful men who have chosen to take up the challenge to put aside their aristocratic lives and serve their country in unsavory and hidden ways. The unsavory characters Papa Ellyson brings into the training are colorful and quite humorous. All in all, this is a delightful story and a great read.

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5.

The Bachelor Chronicles

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

five-stars


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Review: Repeat by Kylie Scott

Posted February 25, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Repeat by Kylie ScottReviewer: Holly
Repeat by Kylie Scott
Narrator: Andi Arndt
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 7, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Length: 6 hours and 47 minutes
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five-stars

From Audie Award winning, New York Times best-selling author Kylie Scott comes an irresistible new romance - available in audio first!

When a vicious attack leaves 25-year-old Clementine Johns with no memory, she's forced to start over. Now she has to figure out who she was and why she made the choices she did - which includes leaving the supposed love of her life, tattoo artist Ed Larsen, only a month before.

Ed can hardly believe it when his ex shows up at his tattoo parlor with no memory of their past, asking about the breakup that nearly destroyed him. The last thing he needs is more heartache, but he can't seem to let her go again. Should they walk away for good, or does their love deserve a repeat performance?

I was browsing the Audible Romance Package for something new to listen to on my morning commute and came across Repeat by Kylie Scott, an Audible original (meaning it’s available in Audio first). I’ve read and enjoyed other novels by Scott, and I really like Andi Arndt as a narrator, so I figured I’d give it a try. I listened to a sample, then ended up finding things to do on a Sunday so I could keep listening. I even hid in the bathroom for 45 minutes to finish it when my family started bugging me for dinner.

Clementine Johns was robbed in the street and woke up with no memory. Skills she used with muscle memory – like making coffee or getting dressed – are fine, but she remembers nothing of her personality or relationships. Nor does she recognize anyone she used to know – including her own sister. As she tries to piece together her past and figure out who she is post memory, she ends up in the tattoo shop owned by her very recent ex. For reasons unknown, Clem broke up with Ed Larson a month before her attack. He’s less than happy to see her, but he’s willing to answer her questions and to help see to her safety. As long as she understands they’re over, and there are no repeats after the way she broke his heart…

Repeat is such a wonderfully drawn novel, I was pulled in from the start as Clem tries to figure out who she is. Her struggle to find her new personality, and to figure out if she likes the same things she did before really got me. She seems to be the same, yet totally different. She doesn’t think of herself when discussing the Clem from before, because she has none of the memories or emotions of that other Clem. She feels nothing when she looks at her sister, or her ex-boyfriend. Only mild curiosity about what happened. Until she starts spending time with Ed. Are the feelings she’s feeling for him now remnants of what she felt before, or new feelings developing? And what of his feelings? Are they all tied to the Before Clem?

Clem could have come off as whiny, or too naive, or a victim. Instead, she was forthright and unassuming. She had an innocent quality about her, but she was determined to find a way to live her life in this new reality. She didn’t sit around and whine about her circumstances, she just dealt with them. She was easy to connect with. I really admired her strength, and how determined she was to live her life.

“Who are you when all of your formative moments are gone?”

Though this is written in first-person from Clem’s point-of-view, I felt like we got a really good feel for Ed. His pain at their breakup and his struggle to trust this new Clem came through well. My heart hurt for him. I really wanted to see them work things out, but I understood why he held back. Clem had no memory of their relationship or their breakup, but for Ed it was very fresh.

I think I loved this so much because there wasn’t a lot of focus on Clem’s injury itself, or her having a big pity party over it. She accepted this was her new reality and determined to make the best of it. Ed often accused her of not having a filter, and that worked so well. She and Ed had great communication because of it. She just put what she was thinking out there, damn the consequences.

This isn’t a perfect story. Everyone wanted to shield Clem, and they often made decisions for her. I thought she was too passive about that at times. She did stand up for herself, but I think I’d have liked to see her out on her own a bit more. Having said that, she was still dealing with medical repercussions from her attack and learning how to live again, so I got over it. I had a harder time getting over how quick she was to let Ed, her sister and even her old friends keep things from her. No one wanted to talk about their breakup, why they thought she did the things she did, or share their perspective on her old self. I understood why, but it was just as frustrating for me as the reader as it was for Clem. Why she didn’t push harder confused me. Still, that was a minor annoyance and was easily washed away with everything else.

There was a mystery thread running throughout that was easily solved. It didn’t bother me, however, because I was focused on Clem and Ed.

I was totally wrapped up in Clem’s journey to figure out who she is now, her jealously over her old self, her determination to live and her developing feelings for her ex. This engrossing novel was well done and the narrator really brought all the characters to life. I highly recommend Repeat. I went back and forth about my grade of this book, but the truth is I finished it and immediately wanted to start it again. I’ve been telling everyone I know to listen to it, even those who are hesitant about audiobooks. So I’m giving it a 5. This is my first 5 star grade in…years, I think.

If audiobooks aren’t your thing, the ebook will be available April 7, 2019. Go forth and preorder. You won’t be disappointed.

Rating: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Review: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne

Posted February 20, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Huge Deal by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
Huge Deal by Lauren Layne
Series: 21 Wall Street #3
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Hot Asset , Hard Sell , Huge Deal , Hot Asset, Hard Sell, Huge Deal
Publisher: Amazon Publishing, Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 259
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Even for a top-gun banker, temptation this hot is quite a gamble, in a sexy Wall Street romp from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

An alpha among the wolves of Wall Street, Kennedy Dawson rose to the top of the pack by striking the right contracts at the right times. But there’s one deal that’s been giving him a run for his money—a pact to never again let his assistant, Kate, get under his skin. She may be smart, gorgeous, and sharp as a whip, but she’s definitely off-limits.

Kate Henley isn’t a banker, but she knows a thing or two about risk management—specifically, about managing her attraction to her smolderingly sexy boss. She already fell once, and Kennedy showed no sign of paying a return on her investment. So when Kennedy’s brother starts pursuing her, Kate figures she has the best of both worlds. Jack is charming, rich, very attentive, and the spitting image of his older brother.

It’s also making Kennedy think twice. But to win Kate’s heart, he’ll have to broker the deal of a lifetime…and prove he’s worth the risk.

Huge Deal is the third book in Lauren Layne’s 21 Wall Street series and it is legit, my most anticipated release of the year. I have wanted Kennedy and Kate’s story since they were first introduced in Hot Asset. I pre-ordered this the minute I found out that it was up for pre-order and I read it in one sitting the night that it was delivered to my kindle. You guys will have to excuse me because I can’t help myself. I fangirl over everything that I read by Lauren Layne. Are we friends? Nope. Do I get paid to scream from the rooftops over my love of all things Lauren Layne? Nope. Do I hype myself up for all of her new releases? You betcha. Did she deliver a romance worthy of the hype that I gave this book in my head?

I am a sucker for the unrequited trope and Lauren Layne did such a fantastic job of showcasing that same trope for both Kennedy and Kate. We saw Kate’s feelings for Kennedy over the course of this series but in this book, we saw the tables turn and saw Kennedy waking up and catching on to what everyone already knew…that Kate was his lobster.

I think what I was most looking forward to in this book was seeing the usually staid and reserved Kennedy finally lose his cool over a woman, but not just any woman. No, I was looking forward to him losing his cool over the woman. Over Kate. The Kennedy that we know and love is low key a fuddy-duddy who is not exactly a prude but low key maybe is a prude? That probably doesn’t make sense to people who haven’t read this series but trust me, that’s Kennedy’s charm. From the jump, you can tell that Kate has a different relationship with one of her bosses. She’s got three but there’s only one that rubs her the wrong way. There’s only one that brings out the snarky personality in her…and for two books, I wanted to know the full background that explained the combative nature of Kate’s relationship with Kennedy.

Oh man, the waiting damn near killed me but boy did I eat up every single word of this book. I was here for all of the drama, all of the passion and I was definitely here for the explosion. Holy cow, Jealous Kennedy was a sight to behold. I freaking loved seeing Kennedy so jealous and not even realize that he’s jealous. I loved seeing him twisted up in knots over Kate being with anyone not him. I was over the moon when he finds Kate at his parent’s anniversary party on the boat. I had the biggest smile when Kate finally yells at him about the word she’d use to describe him. My feelings and my emotions were wrapped up from beginning to end and I thought Lauren Layne delivered a damn near perfect romance for two of my favorite characters of hers. She never fails to write the kind of romances that I need right now and that I read in one sitting. Is this book perfect? Probably not to everyone but it was damned perfect for me. Kate and Kennedy forever!

Grade: 5 out of 5

21 Wall Street

five-stars


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