Tag: Holly’s Reviews

Review: Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Posted October 25, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Forbidden by Beverly JenkinsReviewer: Holly
Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
Series: Old West #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 389
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns with the first book in a breathtaking new series set in the Old West

Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.

Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .

My book club chose Forbidden for this month. I am not a fan of historical Westerns in general. I did really enjoy this one, however. As a friend pointed out, this felt more like a small-town contemporary romance set in the old West, rather than a true Western. While that may not appeal to some, it definitely appealed to me.

I really loved Eddy. She was such a smart, capable woman who stood by her convictions and worked hard for a better future, I easily connected with her. She stood up for herself and wasn’t willing to compromise her ethics or morals, which was lovely. She also had a great sense of humor.

I didn’t care for Rhine as much. I’m not exactly sure why Eddy was fixated on him. She didn’t seem the type to be swayed by the physical only, yet I didn’t see much of a connection between them outside of good ol’ sexual chemistry. He did do a lot of good for the community, but he was such an ass that I really had a hard time liking him.

Forbidden is a well-written, easy-to-read novel. I loved the town, the secondary characters, and Eddy. I even liked the romance. I just wished she’d ended up with someone else.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Old West

four-stars


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Joint Review: Archangel’s Light by Nalini Singh

Posted October 25, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Archangel’s Light by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee & Holly
Archangel's Light by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Justine Eyre
Series: Guild Hunter #14
Also in this series: Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Blade, Archangel's Consort, Archangel's Storm, Archangel's Storm (Guild Hunter #5), Archangel's Legion, Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6), Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Shadows, Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter, #8), Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter #1), Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart, Archangel's Heart (Guild Hunter, #9), Archangel's Kiss, Angels' Blood, Archangel's Viper (Guild Hunter, #10), Archangel's Viper, Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter, #3), Archangel's Prophecy, Archangel's War, Archangel's War , Archangel's Kiss, Archangel's Sun
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 400
Length: 11 hours and 23 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Nalini Singh returns to the world of the Guild Hunters for the most highly anticipated novel of the beloved series—a love story so epic it’s been half a millennia in the making…
Illium and Aodhan. Aodhan and Illium. For centuries they’ve been inseparable: the best of friends, closer than brothers, companions of the heart. But that was before—before darkness befell Aodhan and shattered him, body, mind, and soul. Now, at long last, Aodhan is healing, but his new-found strength and independence may come at a devastating cost—his relationship with Illium.
As they serve side by side in China, a territory yet marked by the evil of its former archangel, the secret it holds nightmarish beyond imagining, things come to an explosive decision point. Illium and Aodhan must either walk away from the relationship that has defined them—or step forward into a future that promises a bond infinitely precious in the life of an immortal…but that demands a terrifying vulnerability from two badly bruised hearts.

We finally get Bluebell & Sparkle’s story! Well, part of it anyway.

Casee: First thing is first. Is this title appropriate since Ilium isn’t an archangel yet?

Holly: I think it’s a play on Aodhan and Illium being Raphael’s light, and a glimpse of what’s to come when Illium ascends.

Casee: One thing that is so special about this book is the glimpses into Aodhan and Illium’s past with Raphael. It’s hard to reconcile the Raphael in the Yesterday chapters to the Raphael in Angels’ Blood. It definitely makes me want to go back and read Angels’ Blood. Actually, I want to reread the whole series. I always feel that way after a book comes out in this series. We also got a bit of Raphael and Elena, whom I always adore reading about.

Holly: I loved the Yesterday chapters, too. It was great seeing glimpses of Aodhan and Illium growing up together. My heart hurt for them at their various trials and tribulations. I always wondered exactly what happened to Aodhan. It was so hard reading about it, but I’m so glad we found out what happened. You’re right, they are each other’s person, and that came out in so many ways.

Casee: I did feel so bad for Illium. When Aodhan realized that everyone but Raphael had abandoned Illium in some way, I think my eyes might have teared up a little. I loved how Caliane’s words made Aodhan think beyond his pain & think about Illium. The closeness of their friendship and changing relationship is what I loved most about this book. I liked the sexy parts. The admitabbly short sexy parts.

I also laughed like no one’s business when I read this:

“Literally throwing up his hands, Illium said, “Fine. I’m going over there”. He pointed to the far side of the site. “Nowhere near your sparklehole vicinity”

Hahaha.

Holly: Yes, I really loved seeing Aodhan and Illium with Raphael. I think my favorite interactions were the ones with Nassir, though. I just loved how he was with them. And when he found Aodhan? Oh, my heart broke.

Casee: What about the sexy times between Aodhan & Illium? Were you satisfied? Did you expect more?

Holly: I was super angry when I finished the book, because it felt like we got nothing in the romance department from then. But then I saw that their story will be continued in another book and I was okay with it.

Casee: Samesies. I felt so disappointed at the end of the book. It felt like Nalini kind of copped out on the romance, but now we know that is not true. I’m so excited to see these two in future books.

I had no idea that Illium and his father (Aegoan?) were so close when he was young. I just can’t imagine how devastating it would be to lose a parent like that. And what he did to Sharine? Unforgivable. Bastard. I’m giving this book a 4 out of 5. What about you?

Holly: I was really glad to learn more about both Illium’s and Sharine’s relationships with his father. It was interesting to learn more of their backstory, and it explained so much.

I’m going to give this a 4 out of 5. I would have given it 3.5 if not for the promise of more in the future. I love Bluebell and Sparkle and I can’t wait for more from them.

Ratings

Casee: 4 out of 5.
Holly: 4 out of 5.

Guild Hunter Series

four-stars


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Review: The Monster Mash by Angie Fox

Posted October 20, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Monster Mash by Angie FoxReviewer: Holly
The Monster Mash by Angie Fox
Series: Monster M*A*S*H* #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 340
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Ancient gods. Modern war. And a star-crossed couple who could use some divine intervention.

The day I was drafted into the army of the gods, all I knew about being a MASH surgeon was what I’d learned from Hawkeye Pierce and Hot Lips Houlihan. Now here I am, Dr. Petra Robichaud, in the middle of an immortal war, assigned to a MASH camp with a nosy sphinx, a vegetarian werewolf, and an uptight vampire who really needs to get a life.

At least they’re all too busy with their own dramas to discover my secret: I can see the dead. It’s a forbidden gift, one that can get me killed, so I haven’t told a soul.
Until the arrestingly intense Galen arrives on my operating table, half-dead and totally to-die-for. When his spirit tries to slip out of his fatally wounded body, I impulsively slip it back in. Call it a rash resurrection. One I’ll live to regret.

Now Commander Galen of Delphi knows my secret, and he’s convinced I’m part of an ancient prophecy—one that can end the war for good. But taking a chance could cost me everything. And it would be easier to convince him to leave me alone, except now the prophecies are starting to come true…

Warning: This novel contains a hefty dose of danger, drama, practical jokes, pet swamp lizards, brooding demigods, adventure, romance, and heart—in a MASH camp where everybody knows your business.

*The core of this book was originally called Immortally Yours, published by St. Martin's Press in 2012. The author has rewritten it into the way she always envisioned the story to be, which means it is now a romantic comedy instead of an angsty book. Oh, and there are a lot more pet swamp lizards, too.

Petra Robichaud has been conscripted into the war between Heaven and Hell. Assigned to a MASH unit as a surgeon, she’s biding her time until she makes enough rank to get some interesting cases. When a patient lands on her table and she accidentally saves his life by binding his soul to hers for a brief period of time, she knows her life will never be the same. She can see spirits – not just the ghostly kind, but the essence of people as well.

As soon as Commander Galen of Delphi realizes what Petra can do, he knows she’s the one who will fulfill the prophesy and end the war. Convincing her of same may take some time…which is why he makes sure she can’t ship him out as soon as she realizes he knows her secret. Now he has a limited amount of time to make her realize she is exactly what the world needs, while also keeping her abilities a secret, lest the higher ups realize what she can do and kill her to prevent the prophesy from being fulfilled.

This book was previously published under the title Immortally Yours, which I didn’t realize until after I finished it and saw the author’s note about it. The premise was interesting, and I liked aspects of it, but the writing was really choppy and uneven. Things would be smooth and then bam, the dialogue wouldn’t make sense or would seem really choppy. I also struggled with the way Petra held herself back. We weren’t told until later why she had trust issues, and the novel is so lighthearted that it didn’t make sense in context. She just came off seeming rude and selfish. I understood a little better once her “deep, dark secret” was revealed, but even then the author didn’t really sell me on her angst.

I would have rated this higher for the romance alone, because I really liked Galen, but the way Petra acted kind of killed it for me. I also didn’t like how things ended, with a sort of pause. I understand this is a continuing series, but eh. It didn’t really work for me.

I read the blurb for the next book and I have zero desire to read her rekindling a romance with an ex – especially since we were told her “love” for Galen supposedly saved the world in this book.

While not a terrible novel, a lot of it didn’t work for me.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

Monster M*A*S*H*

two-half-stars


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Review: Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel Wroth

Posted October 11, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel Wroth
Series: Portrait of Death #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 19, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 427
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Three years ago, I held her pink silk toe shoe in my hand, helplessly watching the cab drive away before I could give it back to her. The next morning when I stood in front of the portrait drying on my easel, I knew the beautiful ballerina would soon die. Her portrait is one of two hundred and twenty-seven. Each one of the subjects is the victim of murder, and I’ve painted them all. I’ve kept my morbid ability a secret for twenty years, terrified someday, someone would find out.

Someday has arrived, and the someone banging down my door today demanding answers is a gorgeous, irate homicide detective armed with a photo of one of my paintings right there on the front page of the most popular tabloid in the city. He peppers me with questions I can’t answer, and despite my worst fears being realized, all I can think about is painting this man, alive, and with far fewer clothes on.

Detective Callum Graham tells me the dead ballerina I painted is his sister, and she's been missing for three years. Missing, he says firmly, as though any other conclusion is unacceptable. My inappropriate thoughts of seeing him naked, vanish. How do I explain to this man, this brother desperate to find his baby sister alive, that she’s been dead for two years, eleven months, and three weeks?

Portrait of Death: Unforgotten is the first book in a contemporary romantic suspense series by Isabel Wroth. I generally avoid romantic suspense at all costs, but I really enjoy paranormal romance novels that feature psychic characters so I figured I’d give this a go. I’ve read most of Wroth’s backlist and I have to say this was not my favorite.

When Jo paints a portrait of her baby brother dead in a pond as a child, her parents have her committed to a mental institution, where she remains for two years despite her brother drowning while she was committed. For 20 years she’ll go into a trance after touching an object belonging to a random stranger, and end up painting their Portrait of Death. She’s come to realize over the years that they are all murder victims, but she can’t tell anyone, unless she wants to end up back in the institution. Until a scorned ex-lover leaks photos of her gallery.

Detective Callum Graham is shocked to see a death painting of his missing sister on the cover of a tabloid paper. He’s sure he’s finally found the killer. Jo knows she needs to protect her secrets at all costs, but it’s hard to resist the pain in the detective’s eyes.

I really disliked what an ass Callum was to Jo. I understand him thinking she was a murderer based on her paintings (that’s definitely some serial killer shit), but even after presented with proof that she couldn’t have committed the crimes, and proof that she was psychic, he refused to believe her. Even after they started getting intimate with each other, he would accuse her of being part of the murders, or just make stupid, asshole remarks to her for no reason. She pushed back and called him out on it, which is the only reason I kept reading, but it wasn’t enough. Especially since she would get distracted by how “hot” he was and then couldn’t stay mad.

On top of that, the police procedural stuff was very poorly done, and the whole mystery plot was easily figured out. There were also a lot of typos and errors. I spent most of the book irritated at one thing or another.

View Spoiler »

I kept reading because I liked the premise, but it wasn’t as well executed as the author’s other books. I don’t think I’ll read the next one.

Rating: 2.75 or 3.0 out of 5

Portrait of Death

three-stars


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Review: Sarazen’s Fury by Isabel Wroth

Posted October 6, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Sarazen’s Fury by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Sarazen's Fury by Isabel Wroth
Series: Sarazen Saga #5
Also in this series: Sarazen's Claim, Sarazen's Vengeance, Sarazen's Betrayal, Sarazen's Hunt
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 28, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Happy For Now, Continuing Story Arc
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 219
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

-YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

With Tarek away on a hunting trip, and T’mai gone off to round up more of the uncovered conspirators, Brennaugh is the only one qualified to provide assistance when an entire squadron of his best men go missing on S4. Four days. He should have only been gone for four days. He gave his word.

-PLEASE DON’T LET GO.

Tara awakens from a nightmare to discover her worst fears have come true. The rescue party has been ambushed, and Brennaugh has been captured by their enemy. Tara knows Brennaugh is still alive—she can feel him—but all she can sense through their bond is white hot primal fear and anger. Ignoring all protests about concerns for her safety, Tara joins the reinforcements on S4, determined to find her mate and bring him home.

Tara was one of the original humans rescued from the Starsong. She was reluctant to be mated to Brennaugh, a scarred and fierce warrior, but four years later she could not be happier with him. When he’s called off-planet to find some missing soldiers, Tara agrees to wait for him. But when he doesn’t return and his crew believes he’s gone feral, Tara knows she’s the only one who can save him.

I really liked Tara and how she handled everything that was thrown at her in this novel. She didn’t buckle under the stress and in fact came out shining on the other end. My heart hurt for her and what she had to deal with from Brennaugh’s mom and family, but I loved how protective she was of him and her pregnancy. I also loved how Brennaugh loved her, and how he realized his mistakes and apologized to her.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sarazen Saga

four-stars


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