Tag: Harper Collins

Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 5, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sapphire Flames by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee
Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy #4
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, Emerald Blaze
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 359
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrew comes an enthralling new trilogy set in the Hidden Legacy world, where magic means power, and family bloodlines are the new currency of society…

In a world where magic is the key to power and wealth, Catalina Baylor is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, and the Head of her House. Catalina has always been afraid to use her unique powers, but when her friend’s mother and sister are murdered, Catalina risks her reputation and safety to unravel the mystery.

But behind the scenes powerful forces are at work, and one of them is Alessandro Sagredo, the Italian Prime who was once Catalina’s teenage crush. Dangerous and unpredictable, Alessandro’s true motives are unclear, but he’s drawn to Catalina like a moth to a flame.

To help her friend, Catalina must test the limits of her extraordinary powers, but doing so may cost her both her House–and her heart.

Catalina Baylor is the head of House Baylor. When her sister married Rogan, the mantle of running the house passed down to Catalina. She doesn’t feel qualified enough to run a House, especially a relatively new one. When Runa Etterson, a Prime and ally of House Baylor comes to her asking for help. Runa’s mother and sister have been murdered. Runa wants to know who killed her loved ones so she can exact her revenge. Runa begs Catalina to take the case and Catalina can’t turn her down. She knows that if it was her sister and mother murdered, she would stop at nothing to find out who was responsible.

The case is suspicious from the beginning. The DNA of Runa’s sister doesn’t match the burnt corpse that was at the scene. It appears that her sister is alive, but has been kidnapped. Now that Runa and Catalina know this, they know it’s only a matter of time before they kill her. Catalina’s plans to find the killer all go to hell when Alessandro Sagredo shows up on the scene. Before he jumps out of the building of the morgue that Catalina has gone for answers, he tells her to stop looking for the killer or she will get hurt. Of course Catalina doesn’t listen to Alessandro and it’s not long before he pops back into her life.

I didn’t think I would enjoy Catalina as much as I did in this book. I liked her in the first three books of the series, but Diamond Fire was just not very impressive. It’s clear that in the time between Diamond Fire and Sapphire Flames, Catalina has grown up. She is strong enough to run House Baylor, she just questions herself constantly. That was pretty annoying. I really enjoyed the character growth in this book.

Catalina and Alessandro have a contentious relationship. They are very attracted to each other but they are from different Houses. That’s only one reason it will never work. Another is because Catalina is a Siren. She can lure men to her with just her voice and Alessandro is no exception. Catalina has had several mishaps with people that she accidentally used her voice on. Her life hasn’t been easy, but now she controls it and she can use it as a defensive weapon. An offensive one too.

I just adore the Baylor family. I love Penelope and Leon and Arabella. I love everyone in this series. It was nice that Nevada popped back in though it was just via a brief phone call. This book really focused on Catalina. I thought it was very well written.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Hidden Legacy

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Guarding a Notorious Lady by Olivia Parker

Posted March 25, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Guarding a Notorious Lady by Olivia ParkerReviewer: Tracy
Guarding a Notorious Lady by Olivia Parker
Series: Devine and Friends #3
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Exquisite trouble...

A woman of pristine breeding, Lady Rosalind Devine is also an unrepentant meddler and snoop—which is why her brother refuses to leave her to her own devices while on his wedding trip. But Rosalind will not make things easy for any unseen, unwanted "nursemaid"—and vows to use her considerable wiles to expose her mystery guardian.
Nicholas Kincaid, the Marquess of Winterbourne, agreed to secretly guard his friend's spoiled, stubborn sister, though her infuriating penchant for mischief is causing him to question his decision. Though bound by the rules of society—and friendship—Rosalind's spirit and sensuality have sparked a fierce desire in Nicholas to play a very different role in her life, one that entails passion, ecstasy...and unavoidable scandal.

This review was originally posted on May 27, 2011.

Rosalind’s brother, Gabriel, is going on his wedding trip for three months. Gabriel knows that his sister is very sought after and that the minute he leaves town the men that have been after her beauty and money will come calling. All those men that Gabriel has been successful in keeping away will now pounce since he’s gone. So he decides to get someone to watch over Rosalind while he’s gone.

Rosalind is determined to find out who her guardian is so that she can either charm him into laying off his guard – or paying him off. But when she finds out that her guardian is Nicholas Kincaid, the man she’s been in love with for years, she realizes that her hopes of shaking the man are completely dashed.

For Nicholas the whole guarding of Rosalind is complete torture. He has to watch a woman that he’s been in love with for years – even though he won’t admit to himself that’s he’s in love with her – and it’s making him a crazy man. He tries to keep his distance but Rosalind draws him like a bee to honey. Even though he knows that at times he’s unnecessarily mean he can’t seem to be completely cruel when all he wants is to be near her.

Do you ever read that just hits all your buttons and you end up finishing it with a great big smile on your face? This was that type of book for me. I really liked book one in this series and book two was good too, although not as good as the first for me…but this one just worked for me in almost every way.

I loved Nicholas – he was gorgeous and strong but he could be gentle and humble as well and it made his character on the page just come alive that much more for me. Rosalind was so much more fun in this book than she seemed in other books because we got to know her better and we didn’t just see the face that she was showing to the world. She was only 24 but had been out for so many seasons. Sure she’d gotten marriage offers but she had been in love with Nicholas for years and wasn’t willing to marry anyone, including Nicholas unless she knew that the man truly loved her. Parker showed us Rosalind’s vulnerability and I really liked that about this book. The banter back and forth between the h/h was just fantastic and made me laugh on occasion.

Just a great love story that I will definitely be reading again in the future.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Devine & Friends

four-half-stars


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Review: Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta Chase

Posted March 24, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta ChaseReviewer: Holly
Ten Things I Hate About the Duke by Loretta Chase
Series: Difficult Dukes #2
Also in this series: A Duke in Shining Armor, A Duke in Shining Armor, Ten Things I Hate About the Duke
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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Series Rating: four-stars

USA Today bestselling author Loretta Chase continues her Difficult Dukes series with this delightful spin on Shakespeare's classic, The Taming of the Shrew.

Cassandra Pomfret holds strong opinions she isn’t shy about voicing. But her extremely plain speaking has caused an uproar, and her exasperated father, hoping a husband will rein her in, has ruled that her beloved sister can’t marry until Cassandra does.

Now, thanks to a certain wild-living nobleman, the last shreds of Cassandra’s reputation are about to disintegrate, taking her sister’s future and her family’s good name along with them.

The Duke of Ashmont’s looks make women swoon. His character flaws are beyond counting. He’s lost a perfectly good bride through his own carelessness. He nearly killed one of his two best friends. Still, troublemaker that he is, he knows that damaging a lady’s good name isn’t sporting.

The only way to right the wrong is to marry her…and hope she doesn’t smother him in his sleep on their wedding night.

Ten Things I Hate About the Duke is the second book in Lorreta Chase’s Difficult Dukes series. I haven’t read the first book in this series, but I quite enjoyed this one. I don’t think I missed much by skipping book one, though I will probably go back and read it at some point.

Cassandra Pomfret is opinionated and not afraid to challenge the views of others – which has made her something of a pariah in society. She’s perfectly fine with that, but her exasperated father has pulled out the big guns; If Cassandra doesn’t wed, her younger sister can’t either. She isn’t sure what she’s going to do about her father’s decree, but she knows she won’t be able to get around it if the Duke of Ashmont completely ruins her reputation – which he’s about to do.

Ashmont is drunk and in despair over almost killing his best friend in a duel – which is the only reason he accidentally compromises Cassandra Pomfret. Probably. Now there’s only one thing to do – get her to agree to marry him. But Cassandra isn’t like the women who usually fall all over themselves around him. She’s…refreshing. And stubborn. He’ll have to do something drastic if he wants her to agree – like become respectable?

Cassandra was a great character, and I like how she brought about such change in Ashmont. Chase writes strong women so well. I really loved how Cassandra spoke her mind and wasn’t afraid to live outside society. I also loved how she had such love for her younger sister she was willing to do what she must on her behalf. Ashmont wasn’t a very likable character to start, but he grew and changed as the novel progressed.

I do think it was a bit slow in parts. The first quarter or so especially seemed slow. I did enjoy the banter and the development of both characters and their romance. I just wished it had picked up a little sooner.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Difficult Dukes


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Review: The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

Posted March 15, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia QuinnReviewer: Casee
The Viscount who Loved Me by Julia Quinn
Series: The Bridgertons #2
Also in this series: The Duke and I
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 5, 2000
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 391
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 Historical Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, This Author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London's most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry. And in all truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better...

--Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, April 1814

But this time the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn't just decided to marry--he's even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended's older sister, Kate Sheffield--the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate's the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams...

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes to not make the best husbands--and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate's determined to protect her sister--but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony's lips touch hers, she's suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself...

Anthony Bridgerton has decided it’s time to do his duty. He is going to get married and produce an heir before he dies. He even has his future bride picked out. Anthony doesn’t intend to love his bride, but he will care for her. Unfortunately for him, his intended’s sister is putting a major crimp in his plans. It’s well known through the ton that Kate Sheffield has to approve of the man her sister will marry.

Kate is determined that Edwina won’t end up with someone like Anthony Bridgerton. She’s also determined to dislike him no matter how charming he is. Kate’s (almost) hatred of him was hard to read. She had such a low opinion of herself. She always compared herself to her sister, though it hasn’t ever effected their relationship. She’s also not bitter about the fact that Edwina is beautiful and Kate herself is not (or so she thinks). Kate loves Edwina dearly and she wants her to marry for love and nothing less.

As Anthony starts to court Edwina, he gets to know Kate much better. He likes what he sees. While Edwina seems like she will make a perfectly suitable wife, it’s Kate he wants. Which is exactly why he can’t have her. He knows that he could fall in love with her and there is no way he’s going to take that chance. Anthony’s father died when he was just becoming a man and it affected him deeply. He’s convinced that he’s not going to live past the age his father was when he died.

I’m hooked. Anthony & Kate have hooked me on the series. After the cluster that was The Duke and I, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue reading the series. What Daphne did was so fucked up that I had a hard time getting past it. I decided to ignore what she did and move onto Anthony’s book. I am so glad that I did. This book was wonderful. Although, as I mentioned above, Kate didn’t think she was as important as her sister. She was very strong willed, but lacking self-confidence. Or so it seemed.

I’m really looking forward to reading the next book in this series. And I can’t wait for Colin’s book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Bridgertons

four-stars


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Review: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn

Posted March 8, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Duke and I by Julia QuinnReviewer: Casee
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Series: The Bridgertons #1
Also in this series: The Viscount who Loved Me
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: December 5, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 433
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Duke and I is a romance set in the Regency era.

In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable… but not too amiable.

Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.

Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.

The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule...

Since everyone has seen Bridgerton, I decided to watch it too. I was on episode number two when I realized that I couldn’t continue without reading the book first. I decided to pickup the book after speaking to Holly about it. There are apparently a few things in the TV series that aren’t in the books. I read this book in two days. It’s such an easy read, even for someone like me that isn’t into historicals right now. I was immediately pulled in and then spit out on the last page. That’s how engrossed I was in this book.

Daphne Bridgerton is in the midst of her first season. She has many male friends, but no suitor. She’s too honest and real for the men to really pursue her. Daphne speaks her mind, which is very refreshing. When she first meets Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, she has an instant dislike for him. He’s too attractive, too rich, too everything. Daphne and Simon meet and come up with a plan. Simon has no desire to marry nor have children. Daphne needs to marry before she turns into a spinster (which she is on the verge of). What better way to accomplish their individual goals than pretend to have a romance?

Their plan goes swimmingly at first. Daphne has more suitors than she knows what to do with. Unfortunately, now that she has all these suitors, she doesn’t want anyone except Simon. When they are caught in a compromising position by Daphne’s older brother, Simon is immediately called out for a duel. Fortunately for him, Daphne saves the day. She persuades Simon to marry her though he tells her that he can’t have children. That kills her dream of being a mother but she believes she loves Simon enough to make that sacrifice.

I liked everything up until that one scene. The scene where she basically rapes Simon while he’s drunk? Yeah, that was completely unacceptable and disgusting. I was horrified by the fact that she thought it was okay. Although she felt bad for duping Simon, she feels justified because he didn’t tell her he didn’t want kids, he told her that he couldn’t have kids. Simon tells Daphne why and she still goes ahead when she knows his reasons. Like I said…disgusting. I don’t think she deserved Simon at all after that. She never apologized for what she did, thinking she was in the right. Which was absolute bullshit.

Other than that, I really did enjoy this book. I loved the Bridgertons, especially Violet. She was such an amazing mother. When she was explaining to Daphne about the wedding night, I just about died laughing. So there were positive elements to this book. I just had a hard time getting past what Daphne did to Simon.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Bridgertons

three-half-stars


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