Tag: Holly’s Reviews

Review: Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews

Posted April 7, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sweep with Me by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #4.5
Also in this series: Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1), Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2), One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3), Clean Sweep, Sweep of the Blade
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 10, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 140
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A charming, short novella in the Innkeeper Chronicles, from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ilona Andrews.

Thank you for joining us at Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, during the Treaty Stay. As you know, we are honor-bound to accept all guests during this oldest of innkeeper holidays and we are expecting a dangerous guest. Or several. But have no fear. Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your hosts, Dina Demille and Sean Evans, will defend you at all costs. [But we hope we don’t have to.]

Every winter, Innkeepers look forward to celebrating their own special holiday, which commemorates the ancient treaty that united the very first Inns and established the rules that protect them, their intergalactic guests, and the very unaware/oblivious people of [planet] Earth. By tradition, the Innkeepers welcomed three guests: a warrior, a sage, and a pilgrim, but during the holiday, Innkeepers must open their doors to anyone who seeks lodging. Anyone.

All Dina hopes is that the guests and conduct themselves in a polite manner. But what’s a holiday without at least one disaster?

Sweep with Me is a novella set in Gertrude Hunt, a magical intergalactic Inn, featuring Sean and Dina. It takes place a very short time after the events of One Fell Sweep.

After Dina almost died trying to protect Gertrude Hunt, she and Sean are in desperate need of some down time. Unfortunately for them, this is the one time of year they’re unable to refuse a guest at the Inn. Now they have angry intellectual space-chickens debating the meaning of life, a soulless killer on a pilgrimage and the leader of an off-planet world with murky intentions requesting the Inn set up a meeting with a ruthless business man. Sean and Dina do their best to keep their guests safe from harm and from each other.

I love the Innkeeper Chronicles. I was very happy to visit Dina and Sean at Gertrude Hunt. This novella was a lot of fun. This world is so well drawn I feel like I’m there with them every time I open a book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Innkeeper Chronicles

four-stars


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Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper

Posted April 2, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 318
Length: 8 hrs and 52 mins
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

Author of the beloved Half Moon Hollow series of vampire romances (Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs), Molly Harper has created a standalone paranormal romance in which a dilapidated haunted house could bring star-crossed lovers together—if it doesn’t kill them first!

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper is a stand-alone paranormal romance. I started this book months ago and quit about halfway through. I was mostly just bored with the story. I was recently on a flight and forgot to download a new audiobook, so I turned this one on since it was already on my device. The second half was much better than the first.

Nina Linden is struggling to keep her landscape business afloat since her former business partner and ex started sabotaging her. Though the place is said to be haunted and/or cursed, she takes a job to bring an abandoned private island back to life. Billionaire Deacon Whitney wants to revive the Whitney Estate, the family’s private island that’s rumored to be cursed. He doesn’t believe in ghosts or curses, but he knows others do so he’s paying double the rates. Nina doesn’t expect to be attracted to Deacon..or to be having strange visions of herself as a maid in a gothic mystery.

Deacon’s flighty cousin, interior decorator ex-girlfriend and architect best friend are there helping, along with a cleaning service. The novel jumps around a lot, and in the beginning I had trouble following everyone and everything. I came to really like the cast of characters and the way the novel flashed back and forth between the developing romance of Deacon and Nina and Jeff, the architect, and Cindy, the owner of the cleaning service, but the second half didn’t make up for the first.

I enjoyed the setting and the romance. Harper is generally good for a laugh, and I found myself smiling several times over the antics of the characters. The mystery plot was kind of a dud, but I enjoyed the paranormal/ghost aspects. Not my favorite of Harper’s novels.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Joint Review: Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs

Posted March 26, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Smoke Bitten by Patricia BriggsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #12
Also in this series: Frost Burned , Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Blood Bound, Fire Touched, Silence Fallen , Moon Called, Blood Bound , Iron Kissed, Bone Crossed , River Marked , Frost Burned, Storm Cursed , Night Broken, Fire Touched, Storm Cursed
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Mercy Thompson, car mechanic and shapeshifter, faces a threat unlike any other in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

I am Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman. My only “superpowers” are that I turn into a thirty-five pound coyote and fix Volkswagens. But I have friends in odd places and a pack of werewolves at my back. It looks like I’m going to need them.

Centuries ago, the fae dwelt in Underhill–until she locked her doors against them. They left behind their great castles and troves of magical artifacts. They abandoned their prisoners and their pets. Without the fae to mind them, those creatures who remained behind roamed freely through Underhill wreaking havoc. Only the deadliest survived.

Now one of those prisoners has escaped. It can look like anyone, any creature it chooses. But if it bites you, it controls you. It lives for chaos and destruction. It can make you do anything–even kill the person you love the most. Now it is here, in the Tri-Cities. In my territory.

It won’t, can’t, remain.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

Smoke Bitten is the 12th book in the Mercy Thompson series.

Since Mercy claimed the Tri-Cities as Pack territory, and the Fae and Vampires called a truce with them, things have gotten interesting. Since fighting a coven of black witches, things have been strange between Mercy and Adam. Things come to a head when his ex-wife causes trouble for them, so of course, that’s when they discover something has escaped from Underhill- the magical lands the Fae used to inhabit before she kicked them out – and it’s causing havoc for Mercy and the pack. Now Mercy needs to figure out how to kill the Smoke Demon, and how to fix what’s wrong between her and Adam…before it’s too late.

Holly: Another stellar novel in the Mercy Thompson series. I love how the relationships she has with Adam and Bran continue to evolve as the series progresses. Mercy’s relationship with the members of the pack is interesting. Sometimes I want to beat them over the head, and yet I love them all. I’m really looking forward to seeing how things change in the future with them.

Rowena: I agree that this was another stellar novel. I just keep right on adoring Mercy with each and every single book. I love that she’s not a dramatic person but she doesn’t shy away from the drama that finds itself at her doorstep. She’s such a laid back, mellow person but whoa boy if you come for her or anyone she loves. She’s much different than Kate Daniels but no less kick-ass, IMO.

I was all over the place, emotionally, in this book. I was pissed off for Ben, pissed off at Adam for being a raggedy ol’ bitch ass and then hurt for both Mercy and Adam once I realized that he wasn’t being a raggedy ol’ bitch ass on purpose. Haha. Hell, I even hurt for Stefan but I was also super happy to get some Bran and everyone. This book just made me happy for the most part. I freaking love this world.

Holly: I was so angry at Adam at first, and the pack, too. Like, “really, this again? Ugh!” Like you, I ended up hurting for them all once I realized why they were acting the way they were.

Rowena: I love that Mercy never gives up on anybody in the pack, Adam included.

Holly: What did you think of Aurielle? I never really liked her in the previous books, but she grew on me here.

Rowena: At the beginning of this book, I wanted to karate chop Aurielle into next week. I could not stand that she takes Christy’s side each and every single time. I’m glad that she got over herself and did what was right in the end because if she continued to treat Mercy the way that she did, I would hate her and hold a grudge against her, no matter how much she was redeemed. I loved that Jesse enjoyed making her squirm. And I love how loyal Jesse is to Mercy.

Holly: I love how loyal and strong-willed Mercy is, too. I’m wondering more about Aurielle’s reason for freaking out. Do you feel for her nah?

Rowena: To be honest, no. I’m not feeling for her because I cannot stand it when teenagers lash out at others when they’re hurting and I hate it even more in grown-ass adults. Aurielle annoys the shit out of me and the way that she handled all of this shit at the beginning of this book pissed me off so I’m pretty meh toward her right now. I don’t hate her because she did eventually come around but other than that? Meh. She not only put herself at risk, but she also put Daryl at risk, against his wishes and that pisses me off too.

Holly: I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Aurielle, either, because she’s been pretty awful to Mercy from the beginning. Her extreme protectiveness toward Christy is not only misplaced but makes her a liability to the pack, IMO. It’s not that I don’t feel for the overall plight of the female wolves, but Aurielle just makes me angry. Still, by the end of the book I was less mad at her. She grew on me over the course of the novel.

Rowena: I’m really liking the lengths that Mercy and Adam are taking to make Aiden a part of the family. When Mercy called him, her son, I smiled and enjoyed seeing Aiden’s reaction to it. Ahhh, have I told you how much I love this book?

Holly: I love how Aiden has become part of the family. I just love how Mercy continues to collect people. Joel, Aiden, etc.

Rowena: Am I missing something with Wulfe? I still don’t understand what he’s doing with Mercy?

Holly: I’m not sure yet what’s going on with Wulfe. I have a feeling this will turn into something in the future.

What do you think of Underhill?

Rowena: Underhill is smart as hell, and the lengths she went to get what she wanted in this book show us how dangerous she is. I’m curious if we’ll see more from her in future books.

Holly: I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of Underhill in the future. There are obviously things working with the Fae and I’m sure that will come up later.

Rowena: The villains continue to be interesting in me. There are so many different monsters to take out with every book and they’re all so different. They all have different motives and different backgrounds and I’ve been interested in every single book so I think Briggs is doing a great job with keeping me invested in what goes on with her characters…even when they piss me the hell off.

Holly: I love how wide and varied all the villains are, and how fresh the series is even after all these books. I’m excited to see where things go from here.

Rowena: Tad and Jessie, huh? Thoughts on that?

Holly: I don’t think Tad and Jesse are a thing. They’re more like siblings than anything else. I’m curious what Gabriel’s note to Jesse said.

Rowena: I read somewhere that people were shipping them and I didn’t really see why everyone was doing that while reading this book so I was curious if I was the only one or not.

Holly: I don’t ship them. They’ve always been more like siblings to me. Plus Tad feels too old for Jesse. She’s just out of high school and he’s in his mid-20s in age, but his life experience makes him seem a lot older. Maybe in a few years I would buy it, but not right now.

Rowena: Overall, this book was another great addition to this series and after 12 books, I’m STILL hyped for this series so I’d say this was a good one. I give it 4.25 out of 5 stars. You?

Holly: Like you, I’m still invested in this series after 12 books, so Briggs is obviously doing something right. I’m going to give it 4.25 out of 5 as well.

Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Mercy Thompson

four-stars


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Featured Review: Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Posted March 25, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Featured Review: Magic Slays by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee, Holly, and Rowena
Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #5
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
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: May 31, 2011
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Kate Daniels has quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but starting her own business isn't easy when the Order starts disparaging her good name. And being the mate of the Beast Lord doesn't bring in the customers, either. So when Atlanta's premier Master of the Dead asks for help with a vampire, Kate jumps at the chance. Unfortunately, this is one case where Kate should have looked before she leapt.

Casee: I finally went into reading mode today and was able to finish this book. Holy cow. I think it’s my favorite in the series so far. Everything about it was amazing. Kate is such an awesome heroine. I just can’t get enough of her.

Holly: I feel like the series really picks up with this book. I liked book 3, but this is the first book in the series I really loved. The way the relationships develop, the plot, all of it was stellar.

Casee: I agree. There was a cohesiveness to this book that really stuck with me. I loved seeing Kate’s relationships with all the people in her life. It’s funny because she started out a loaner and now she has all these people in her life.

Rowena: For me, the series really picked up with book 3, Magic Strikes but this was another great addition to the series. I’m really liking how Kate’s circle of loved ones keeps growing and growing. I’m also really enjoying seeing her business grow from one employee to four. Do we see more from Ascansio? He got on my nerves in the beginning but he really grew on me.

Casee: Ascansio got on my nerves too. He really redeemed himself when he protected Julie.

Holly: Ascanio got on my nerves at first, too, but I loved how he protected Julie. I also loved how she kicked his ass. Ha. Serves him right.

Rowena: Yes!! I forgot all about how much he annoyed me until Julie showed up and gave him the verbal smackdown. As much as I’d love to see more between Ascansio and Julie, it’s Derek and Julie that I’m much more invested in. I can’t wait to read more between them.

Casee: Speaking of Julie, holy hell! I can’t even imagine what will happen if she finds out what Kate did.

Holly: Julie. Dude. I can’t even with that whole thing.

Rowena: My heart hurt for the choices that Kate had to make and it continued to hurt seeing Curran try and fail to be okay with her choices. Ilona Andrews does a great job of pulling the feels right out of me. From beginning to end, I was invested in every single thing in this book.

Holly: My heart hurt for Kate, too. Do you really think it was necessary for her to do what she did, though? It’s hard, but maybe she should have let that go. You know what I mean? (I’m trying not to include spoilers)

Rowena: I kept wondering if maybe there was something else they could have done to save Julie but everyone was panicked and I honestly believe that Kate did the best she could to save her kid so I’m not mad about it. I hope that Julie is able to forgive Kate when she finds out because I know she’s going to find out. Right?

Holly: Derek and Julie are both awesome alone. I can’t wait for you two to get farther along in the series so we can discuss more!

Casee: I was happy to see more of Derek. I heart him. I love how he protects Julie. As for Julie, I’m sure she will find out. That’s going to be interesting for sure.

Rowena: Overall, this story really worked for me but it wasn’t my favorite of the bunch so far. I’m really happy that I’m reading this series and each book so far has gotten better and better. I am loving Kate, I am loving Curran and I’m loving everyone else that we meet that is a part of Kate’s family. I thought that Curran handled the pack shit where Kate is concerned a whole lot better than Adam did in the Mercy Thompson series so Curran is my number one boo thang right now. Haha. I’m really enjoying the different aspects of the Kate Daniels world and I thought there was a lot of interesting things covered in this one so I definitely recommend it.

Casee: I loved Kate and Curran in this book. There are so many things to love. Their interactions just make me laugh. They are both two very strong individuals, but they still make it work.

Holly: There are so many things I want to talk about with you two, but you need to read farther into the series. We’ll talk more next month.

Rowena: I can’t wait to discuss all of those things with you but yeah, it’ll have to wait until next month.

Holly: This isn’t my favorite book in the series, but it is a really good book. I love how Kate’s world keeps expanding, and how she and Curran come together. This is a series I think everyone should read, and I’m thrilled you two are finally getting caught up.

Rowena: I’m giving it 4.25 out 5 stars. What about you guys?

Casee: I give this one a 4.25.

Holly: I’m going to give a 4 out of 5.

Final Grades

Casee: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands

Posted March 12, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands
Series: Devil of the Highlands #2
Also in this series: Taming the Highland Bride
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 371
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She was ready to let her heart run wild . . .Merry Stewart has had enough! Enough of her brothers, whose behavior would make even the most improper lady blush. Enough of their Highland home, which would surely have fallen to ruin were it not for her. She dreams of escaping into the arms of her betrothed, Alexander d'Aumesbery, even though they haven't yet met. But when they do, Merry is devastated. It seems he's no better than the men in her family.

So beautiful, so brazen . . . From the moment he meets Merry, Alexander is determined to make her his. Desperate to convince her he's nothing like the members of her roguish clan, he will prove he is every bit the well-mannered gentleman. Yet, beneath it all beats a heart as intense and uncontrollable as hers. And finally, when his life is threatened, Merry realizes he's the husband she's been waiting for . . . and their passion becomes the one thing that cannot be tamed.

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

This review was originally posted on March 24, 2010.

I only just discovered Sands’ historicals last year. Prior to that I though she wrote only paranormals. Since discovering her medievals I’ve gone on a buying binge, gobbling up her backlist. I’ve found her novels to be quick, light reads. While this was more of the same, I wasn’t quite as satisfied with it.

I think many of the actions of the heroine were supposed to be kind of cutesy but they were kind of dry instead. I wasn’t laughing or smiling over her antics as much as I have in the past. I’m not sure if it was my mood while reading or a reflection of the book but there you go. I think the problem might have been that they just went on too long. There were a ton of instances where she had to be clever and find solutions to problems (carting her husband around after he’d been bashed in the head or drugged) and that didn’t leave a lot of time for the romance.

I really liked the way Alex tried to make Merry understand he wasn’t like her father and brothers. Because of a series of misunderstandings and the actions of outside forces, Merry thinks he’s a drunkard like her family. His disappointment over her feelings for him and the way he tries to fix it were sweet. It did bother me that Merry was so much in charge during the book, though. I like my medieval warriors to be just that..warriors. Because Alex was hurt so much Merry was mostly left in charge of running the keep and training the men. This bothered Alex quite a bit, but he wasn’t able to do much about it since he was always drugged or recovering from beatings.

The mystery plot annoyed me only because no one seemed to take the threats seriously. Every time something happened to Alex it was explained away or considered an accident. I wasn’t surprised at who the villain was, though the reasons behind it were interesting.

Something that really bothered me, and I’m sure this will prove just how shallow I am: the first time Merry sees Alex he’s falling down drunk. He isn’t normally a drinker, but he had a bad tooth that was causing him pain so he drank whiskey to dull the pain of having it removed. But..it was never mentioned why it had to be removed, or what tooth it was. Was it one of his front teeth, so now when he smiles he’s gap-toothed? Was it infected because he doesn’t believe in personal hygiene? I wondered about it all throughout the book. I guess it was just a little bit too much reality in my fiction.

Still, it was readable and I enjoyed the main story. I’m also looking forward to reading The Hellion and the Highlander, Merry’s oldest brother’s book.

3.75 out of 5

Devil of the Highlands

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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