Tag: Holly’s Reviews

Review: Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues by Molly Harper

Posted June 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
Series: Mystic Bayou #2.5
Also in this series: How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1)
Publisher: Audible Studios
Publication Date: June 6, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 3 hrs and 3 mins
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A hilarious new standalone novella brimming with otherworldly charm from the reigning queen of paranormal romantic comedy Molly Harper!

Ingrid Asher is the newest resident of Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where shapeshifters, vampires, witches and dragons live alongside humans.

Ingrid doesn’t ask for much. The solitary tree nymph just wants to live a quiet life running her ice-cream shop in peace. Unfortunately, she can’t seem to shake her new neighbor, Rob Aspern, head of the League’s data science department and so good looking it just isn’t fair.

If there’s one thing Ingrid doesn’t need, it’s someone poking around in her business. But the more she gets to know the hunky mathematician, the more she finds herself letting her guard down. Can she trust him with her secrets, or will her past destroy everything?

Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues by Molly Harper is was a cute, light story set in the town of Mystic Bayou, where mythical creatures have lived in peace for hundreds of years. Ingrid Asher is a tree nymph who recently decided to move to Mystic Bayou to open a creamery. She’s still recovering from a terrible betrayal by someone she trusted, so she doesn’t open up easily. The residents of Mystic Bayou are strange to her, for they’re all open and want to be her friend.

Rob Aspern is generally pretty slick with the ladies, but Ingrid has flustered and all kinds of tongue-tied. She seems wary around everyone else, but she’s downright icy to him. As he works on winning her trust, he finds himself falling for her.

This was a very short listen. I really enjoyed both narrators and easily fell into the story. I love Mystic Bayou and I was ridiculously excited to return to the world. I’m sad it was so short, but that’s about me wanting more from the world than a reflection of the story itself. I thought things wrapped up nicely and the story ended on a sweet note (more “let’s see where this goes” than “Let’s live happily ever after”).

I can’t wait for the next installment.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Mystic Bayou

four-stars


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DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

Posted June 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire KannReviewer: Holly
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
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dnf

High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she's spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”

Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it'll go away if they can't make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn't want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?

I discovered this book while browsing NetGalley. I don’t usually read YA, but the cover caught my eye (I absolutely adore it..that girl is super cute) and the blurb was interesting, so I decided to give it a try. It started out great. I like Kann’s writing style – simple, yet beautiful. The story flowed well and I was really feeling Winnie, her family and the town.

Sadly, things went downhill around page 40. I thought I was getting a fun story about a girl trying to save her granny’s diner, but that’s not what this is. Part of the problem stems from the stream-of-consciousness writing style. The chapters don’t really seem to go anywhere. Every thought Winnie has is on paper for us to read, so the chapters feel like rambley thoughts, rather than a story that’s headed somewhere. The blurb mentions a baking contest, but aside from a slight mention, there was little of that in the first quarter of the story. Winnie is supposedly happy with who she is, but suddenly the entire focus of the story shifted to her weight. The sudden shift in focus took me by surprise and turned me off the story.

This may have worked better for me if I’d gone into with different expectations. As it is, I wasn’t invested enough in the story or the characters to continue.

Rating: DNF

dnf


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy Monroe

Posted June 13, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy MonroeReviewer: Holly
The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain by Lucy Monroe
Series: Royal Brides #5
Also in this series: Hired: The Sheikh's Secretary Mistress
Publisher: Harlequin Presents
Publication Date: July 1, 2006
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 184
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: three-stars

Principe Claudio Scorsolini's future wife must make a suitable figurehead for his people and provide him with an heir. Claudio's convenient union with Therese is hailed a success: his subjects have fallen in love with her and she's performed her duties in the bedroom -- to Claudio's immense satisfaction.However, Therese has secretly fallen in love with her husband. How can their marriage survive when she knows she can never give Claudio a child?

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

This review was originally posted on June 3, 2008.

The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain is the final book in Lucy Monroe‘s Royal Brides Trilogy from Harlequin Presents.

I’m very happy to report that Lucy Monroe didn’t disappoint at all with this novel.
Throughout the other books, we caught glimpses of Therese and Claudio and we knew something was amiss with Therese, and I for one, had a hard time waiting to find out what it was. Much as it pains me to admit it, however, it was worth the wait.

Princess Therese Scorsolini knows her husband, Prince Claudio – heir to the throne -, married her for convenience and the heirs she could produce for him. She hadn’t harbored any delusions about her husband’s feelings towards her, and that was why, when she found out she had a disease that was causing her to become infertile, she knew she’d have no choice but to offer him a divorce.

Prince Claudio knows nothing of his wife’s health problems, but he has noticed her change in behavior and has made his own assumptions based on them. Terribly wrong assumptions. When Therese explains that they must divorce, he doesn’t give her a chance to explain why, simply reacts, assuming he already knows the reason, that she’s found someone else. He’s pissed about it, of course, and says some things to her that later come back to haunt him, but he swears his anger is justified.

Of course, eventually he learns the real reason she’s asking for a divorce and besides having a lot of making up to do, he also has his work cut out for him convincing Therese that a divorce isn’t the way to go.

This was a sweet and – for me, at least – a very emotional read. LM is amazing at taking real life issues and bringing them to life in a very positive way. All women face different issues, whether they be physical or emotional and I think LM does a fabulous job of addressing them, without making me feel preached to.

I loved Therese, and I felt that her reasons for insisting on the divorce insecurities were totally valid. She stood her ground, too, when Claudio finally came to his senses and didn’t cow to him. I love that.

Claudio was an awesome hero, too. I love how amazing Lucy is at making me hate a hero and then fall in love with him. He said and did some things when Therese first asked for a divorce that made me so angry I wanted to beat him, but once he realized his mistakes he did everything he could to make up for his earlier stupid actions and make the heroine realize how much he truly cared for her.

I loved the entire premise of the story. The characters were wonderful, the storyline amazing and I didn’t even mind the shortness of the story. LM did an amazing job of wrapping this trilogy up. The only thing I disliked about this book was that it ended. LOL I can’t wait to see what LM has in store for us next!

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

Royal Brides


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Review: Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 7, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Rises by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Kate Daniels #6
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
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 327
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

Atlanta is a city plagued by magical problems. Kate Daniels will fight to solve them—no matter the cost.

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews is the 6th book in the Kate Daniels series. I love Kate, Curran and all the rest. I’m always excited to fall back into this world.

This book really brought Kate’s past to the forefront and gave us insight into what she’ll be dealing with when the fight with her father finally comes to fruition. I probably shouldn’t, but I really like Hugh. I love how he needles Kate and Curran.

Speaking of Curran..I wanted to beat him in this book. I knew there had to be a reason for him to act the way he did, but it didn’t make it easier to read. My heart broke for Kate. It isn’t often I truly want to smack Curran, but it happened here.

Her sparring session with Hugh was one of the highlights of the book.

And I cried toward the end. Sniffle.

The world and these characters are so complex and well-nuanced. My emotions were engaged from the first page. This series is not to be missed.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 5, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: Clean Sweep by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Casee & Holly
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Series: Innkeeper Chronicles #1
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)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2013
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 235
Length: 7 hours and 55 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

Clean Sweep is the first book in the Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews. It’s my favorite of all their series (maybe), and I forced Casee into reading it because. Just because.

Dina Demille runs an Inn for otherworldly beings. In order to keep Earth safe from other races with superior technology, it was made a neutral stopover point and Inns were set up to house travelers. The first priority of Innkeepers is to keep their guests safe, while keeping their existence a secret from the outside world. Gertrude Hunt is Dina’s inn. It’s a fledgling Inn that was dormant for a long time and doesn’t have a lot of power or a high rating among other Inns, but she’s determined to change that. Her parents, and their Inn, disappeared and she’s determined to find them. The more travelers that come by her Inn, the better chance someone will recognize her parents from the photo that hangs in the front room and can tell her what happened to them.

Dina crosses paths with her neighbor, Sean Evans, an alpha-strain werewolf, when something starts killing the neighborhood dogs. She asks him to take care of it and he blows her off. She decides to handle it herself, but she and Sean keep butting heads.

When a group of vampires show up and it turns out they’re connected to the thing killing the neighborhood dogs, Dina and Sean must work together, along with Arland, the vampire Lord Marshall, to figure out what’s going on, keep the neighborhood safe and protect the humans from finding out what’s happening.

Holly: So, what did you think? Are you glad I forced -ehem- gently encouraged you to read it?

Casee: You call that “gently encouraging”? I call it severe harassment.

I am glad that I finally listened to Clean Sweep. I truly love Ilona Andrews. They are a spectacular writing duo. The world building here is really wonderful because it doesn’t bog down the book (see: Magic Bites). You learn about this world without being bored to tears. I found Dina to be an amazingly strong heroine and I really admired her. She hasn’t given up on finding her parents which is a great burden to bear on its own and she’s also running what is basically a brand new Inn.

Did you like Dina from the beginning?

Holly: I actually wasn’t sure about her in the very beginning. But I warmed up to her quickly.

Casee: I loved the dynamic of her relationship with Sean from the start. How Sean played dumb, how Dina wouldn’t let him. Really, really amusing.

Holly: I love how her relationship with Sean progresses over the novel. When she starts insulting him and he doesn’t get it, I laughed out loud. I like how they come to rely on each other. I get all melty every time I read the Costco scene when he comes to rescue her.

Speaking of the Costco scene, how amazing was that? Dina, her magic, the whole scenario. I loved it.

Casee: I effing loved the woman in Costco that helped her kill the stalker. Classic Costco crazy right there. Holy shit, she opened concrete. Concrete for shit’s sake. Dina knew she would most likely die, but she did it anyway because she knew she had to protect the secret of magic. That was another reason I loved her. She had such loyalty to the cause (for lack of a better word).

Holly: When they dump bleach on the creature and then the woman who’s helping Dina says “Don’t mess with Texas” I about died laughing. Dina is pretty amazing.

Casee: What did you think of Arland? It was hysterical when he drank the coffee. I was really laughing out loud. So funny.

Holly: I love Arland. It’s hard for me to talk about this book without considering the rest of the series. I’ll say I loved Arland here – he was hilarious – but I love him more as the series goes on.

Casee: Holy mothereffing shiitake mushrooms. You just gave me a mothereffing spoiler. Arland is in the subsequent books? I’m excited to hear that.

Holly: Yes, I gave you a spoiler. We see Arland again.

Casee: I am giving this a 4 out of 5. You?

Holly: I’m giving this 4.25 out of 5. I loved the world-building, the Inn, Dina and her guests, Sean, Arland..all of it.

Final Grades

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

Innkeeper Chronicles

four-stars


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