Tag: Fantasy

Review: Stranded and Spellbound by Jenna Collett

Posted June 1, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Stranded and Spellbound by Jenna CollettReviewer: Holly
Stranded and Spellbound by Jenna Collett
Series: Ever Dark Ever Deadly Book 3
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: Dec 3, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy
Pages: 199
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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dnf

Meeting the parents can be deadly

Tessa Daniels finally has it all figured out. Her magic shop is booming, and she’s found love with the lead Detective of the Royal Agency, Derrick Chambers. Sure, her magic’s still a little faulty, but she hasn’t turned anyone into a mouse or started a plague in ages, and her mixed up spells are all part of her charm.

Until Derrick takes her home to the countryside to meet his parents.

He promises a romantic holiday, but the cozy escape is plagued with strange accidents, mysterious guests, and exposed secrets. Tessa is convinced there’s a mystery to solve, and when a snowstorm strands everyone inside the manor, they discover they’re trapped with a killer.

First one murder.

Then two.

It was supposed to be the perfect fairy tale ending, but meeting the parents may end up costing Tessa her life.

Stranded and Spellbound (Ever Dark, Ever Deadly #3) by Jenna Collett returns to Garrett and Tessa, the couple from book 1, Spellbound After Midnight. I remember finishing that book with a happy sigh because the story was just what I was in the mood for at that time, but upon further reflection it didn’t hold up very well. Tessa made a lot of questionable decisions, and her insecurities really got old after awhile. So it was with some trepidation that I went into this novel.

Garrett is taking Tessa home for the holidays to meet his aristocratic family. She’s nervous as can be, because she’s intimidated by their wealth and because she wants them to like her. There doesn’t seem much chance of that happening, however. When they arrive it’s to discover Garrett’s mother has already arranged an engagement for him to Snow white, and invited her there to plan the wedding. This despite the fact that Garrett told them he was bringing Tessa home. He wants to leave, but Tessa is determined to stay and win them over.

I only read about 25% of this book before I set it aside. Tessa didn’t endear herself to me. She was so anxious to make everyone like her that she let herself be treated like crap. Plus, her incompetence didn’t come off as sweet and funny, so much as annoying and cringe-worthy.(She wants his very wealthy family to like her so she bakes them a pie using magic, but oops, she sucks at magic so the pie turned out horrible, but she still brought it anyway? WTF?)

I’m not interested in the way his mother treated Tessa, and I don’t want to read about how she “wins them over.” I don’t really think they can come back from “I invited another woman here and I’m planning her wedding to my son while you’re standing right there”.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll be in the mood for it some other time, but I doubt it. The rest of the series is wonderful, however, so don’t let this review deter you from reading it.

Rating: DNF (1 out of 5 for what I did read)

Ever Dark, Ever Deadly

dnf


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Review: Wolfish Charms by Jenna Collett

Posted May 4, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Wolfish Charms by Jenna CollettReviewer: Holly
Wolfish Charms by Jenna Collett
Series: Ever Dark Ever Deadly #2
Also in this series: Spellbound After Midnight, Shatter the Dark
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 6, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fairytale, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 415
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The wolves are at her door, but can she trust the villain offering her salvation?

Vivian James took seeing ghosts for granted until the day they vanished along with the person she cared about most. Now, plagued with visions of the future, all she wants is revenge on the creature that destroyed her life.

Even a devil's mask can slip.

Argus Ward is hunting the creature wreaking havoc in the kingdom. He used the kingdom's oracle to track its movement, but now that the oracle is dead, he'll need to use Vivian. She might be a fool to put her trust in a gangster, but there's something about him that keeps drawing her in.
Their partnership is straightforward, find the beast and get revenge. But, things are never that simple when love, murder, and werewolves get in the way.
Book two in the Ever Dark, Ever Deadly Series.

Wolfish Charms by Jenna Collett is the second book in the Ever Dark, Ever Deadly series. This is a take on Little Red Riding Hood, with some twists. I enjoyed the story a bit more than the first, Spellbound After Midnight.

Vivian is a Medium. She’s always been something of an outcast, since no one wanted to be friends with the weird girl who can see and talk to ghosts, so she mostly spends time with her best friend Tess and her ghosts. Until the night her grandmother and her ghosts disappear. Now she’s having visions of the future and trying to keep Angus Ward, the most notorious gangster in the land, at bay. The problem? She feels safe with Argus, and staying away from him goes against all her instincts.

Argus is determined to find the werewolves who have been terrorizing the city and to find help for his sister, who was bitten. He needs the Oracle’s help to find a magic dagger that will cure his sister. He almost had it, but it was stolen out from under him the night the Oracle died. Now he needs Vivian’s help.

I really liked Vivian and Argus, and I liked the mystery surrounding the deaths taking place in the Kingdom. Argus was something of an anti-hero. He definitely had shady dealings and wasn’t the best guy, but he had hidden depths. I liked how he tried to keep Vivian at a distance but couldn’t stay away.

From other reviews I’ve read it seems I’m the outlier, but I didn’t care for Tessa, Vivian’s best friend and the heroine of the first book, Spellbound After Midnight. I liked her well enough when I read that book, but her insecurities really got out of control. The next book features her and I’m on the fence about reading it. I’m looking forward to the following book, however. Bring on Liana and Bowen.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ever Dark, Ever Deadly

four-stars


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Review: Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven

Posted January 26, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Dragon Unleashed by Grace DravenReviewer: Holly
Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven
Series: Fallen Empire #2
Also in this series: Phoenix Unbound (Fallen Empire, #1)
Publisher: Penguin, Ace
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 413
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Magic is outlawed in the Krael Empire and punishable by death. Born with the gift of earth magic, the free trader Halani keeps her dangerous secret closely guarded. When her uncle buys a mysterious artifact, a piece of bone belonging to a long-dead draga, Halani knows it's far more than what it seems.

Dragas haven't been seen for more than a century, and most believe them extinct. They're wrong. Dragas still walk among the denizens of the Empire, disguised as humans. Malachus is a draga living on borrowed time. The magic that has protected him will soon turn on him--unless he finds a key part of his heritage. He has tracked it to a group of free traders, among them a grave-robbing earth witch who fascinates him as much as she frustrates him with her many secrets.

Unbeknownst to both, the Empire's twisted empress searches for a draga of her own, to capture and kill as a trophy. As Malachus the hunter becomes the hunted, Halani must risk herself and all she loves to save him from the Empire's machinations and his own lethal birthright.

Dragon Unleashed by Grace Draven is the second book in the Fallen Empire series. I really enjoyed Halani in the first book and I was anxious to learn more about her. The first couple chapters of this book were a bit slow, but I’m glad I pushed through. Once the story picked up I really fell into it.

Halani is a free-trader who keeps her magic firmly hidden. Magic was outlawed in the Krael Empire, and Halani would be put to death if her magic were to be discovered. She keeps her head down and does her best to make a living and care for her mother, who is very child-like after a head injury. When her uncle turns up with a “rare artifact”, Halani has a bad feeling he’s put them in danger, but he won’t let it go.

The world thinks Dragas are extinct, but they still exist. Malachus must find a missing piece of himself to unlock his magic before it kills him. He tracks his prize to Halani’s camp and is convinced what he seeks is nearby. He’s injured during a confrontation with the poachers who stole what was his, and he and Halani connect while she cares for his wounds.

Draven has built a wonderfully drawn world here. I enjoyed visiting different parts of the Empire and learning more about the rich history of the lands. Malachus and Halani came from different backgrounds and that reflected in their attitudes and opinions. I loved how well they balanced each other, and how neither was afraid to call the other out when needed.

I enjoyed getting to know Halani and her family better, and learning about Malachus. There isn’t a ton of action, and the pacing was slower than in the previous book. That worked well in context and allowed us to come to know Halani and Malachus better. I’m anxious for the next book in the series.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Fallen Empire

four-stars


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Review: One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Posted December 20, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: One Fell Sweep by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Innkeeper Chronicles #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 20, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 340
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Dina DeMille may run the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, but she caters to a very particular kind of guest… the kind that no one on Earth is supposed to know about. Guests like a former intergalactic tyrant with an impressive bounty on her head, the Lord Marshal of a powerful vampire clan, and a displaced-and-superhot werewolf; so don’t stand too close, or you may be collateral damage.

But what passes for Dina’s normal life is about to be thrown into chaos. First, she must rescue her long-distant older sister, Maud, who’s been exiled with her family to a planet that functions as the most lawless penal colony since Botany Bay. Then she agrees to help a guest whose last chance at saving his civilization could bring death and disaster to all Dina holds dear. Now Gertrude Hunt is under siege by a clan of assassins. To keep her guests safe and to find her missing parents, Dina will risk everything, even if she has to pay the ultimate price. Though Sean may have something to say about that!!

The third book in the Innkeeper Chronicles takes us back to Gertrude Hunt, the magical Inn run by Dina DeMille. At the end of the last book, Sean Evans, Dina’s love interest, returned. This book is much more romance-heavy than the previous two, though the romance is still the secondary focus.

Dina, Sean, the Inn and additional characters ward off an attack from a religious group of fanatics. The Draziri, an alien race bent on exterminating the Hiru, another alien race who has never done them any harm, are attempting to infiltrate the Inn to fulfill their unholy quest. They don’t care about keeping their existence a secret or who gets in their way. Dina just rescued her sister from a dangerous situation and doesn’t want to put her back into the thick of battle, but no one comes to Gertrude Hunt and threatens her family or her guests. Dina will do whatever it takes to save the Hiru and repel the Draziri assault.

I love everything Andrews’ writes, but this may be my favorite series they write. I love the magic of the Inn and the strength Dina shows as she forges a new family and protects her guests and those she cares about. This is my favorite book of the series to date. I can’t wait to see what comes next for Dina, Sean and Gertrude Hunt.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Innkeeper Chronicles

four-half-stars


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Review: Rebel by Audrey Faye

Posted December 1, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Rebel by Audrey FayeReviewer: Holly
Rebel by Audrey Faye
Series: Ghost Mountain Wolf Shifters #3
Also in this series: Alpha, Heart
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 12, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 318
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

A note from Audrey: Some series can be read out of order - this isn’t one of them. Start with Alpha and welcome to Ghost Mountain!

A baby alpha who absolutely doesn’t want to upend her pack—and is going to do it anyhow.

Kennedy is a badass and she knows it.
She’s also scared. That she’s too strong. Too fierce. Too much. That her pack won’t be able to hold her, no matter how much she wants to stay.
We’ll just see what her pack has to say about that.

Rebel by Audrey Faye is the third book in the Ghost Mountain Wolf Shifters series. This is a series that should be read in order. The growth of the pack as a whole will lose impact if you don’t see where they started.

Kennedy is a 14 year-old with a very strong wolf. The entire pack knows she’s an alpha, and she’s afraid she’s going to lose her pack because of it. She’s afraid her wolf won’t be able to accept Hayden as alpha. As they heal, her wolf only gets stronger, and that means she may have to leave. But with the help of another very strong wolf, and the support of her pack, she’s able to create a Baby Pack of her own. As she navigates what it means to truly be an alpha, she also sees where her pack needs to go to finish healing…even if that means she’s going to have to leave sooner rather than later.

This is a series about a healing pack. It isn’t very often we see the focus on pack dynamics to this degree, and I’m loving it. There is very little external conflict in these books. It’s all about this pack healing and realizing their potential. I really enjoyed Kennedy and the other teenagers in the previous books, and I’m glad to see more of them here.

I like how the message – that submissives have power – is conveyed, and how the teenagers see the future better than the adults sometimes. I do feel like Hayden isn’t really living up to his role as Alpha. I understand that he needs to be holding the cape of others so they can shine, but he very much feels like an afterthought. I would love to see him front and center, taking a more active role in the future of the pack. That’s not to say I want him to take over, but it feels like he’s being sidelined and it doesn’t really work in context.

That aside, I love how the pack is coming together and figuring out their strengths. This journey is all about empowerment and healing and I’m here for it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Ghost Mountain Wolf Shifters

four-stars


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