Tag: Holly’s Reviews

Review: Soul of the Witch by Deanna Chase

Posted September 11, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Soul of the Witch by Deanna ChaseReviewer: Holly
Soul of the Witch by Deanna Chase
Narrator: Gabra Zackman
Series: Witches of Keating Hollow #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 14, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 242
Length: 6 hours and 12 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Welcome to Keating Hollow, the village full of love, magic, and cupcakes, and where nothing is more important than family.

At age eighteen, after a potion tragically backfired, Abby Townsend left Keating Hollow and her magic behind to find redemption. Ten years later, after being summoned by her family, she’s back. As soon as she drives into town, she’s already plotting her inevitable exit, but she can’t quite escape the pull of the tightly knit magical community or the soulful gaze of the one man she’s never forgotten. And when an eight-year old witch not only leads her back to her magic, but also steals her heart, Abby’s about to learn what it means to embrace the soul of a witch.

I found this while browsing KU and decided to give it a try after reading the blurb. After an incident just before high school graduation that left her best friend dead, Abby left Keating Hollow and has spent the ten years since running from her past and her magic. When her father becomes ill she agrees to come home to help him and her sisters. Seeing “the one who got away” the second she comes into town doesn’t help her feel any better about the situation, but she can’t deny there’s a certain appeal about being back home with the people who know and love her best.

Clay was devastated when Abby left town, even though he knew why she felt she couldn’t stay. Now that she’s back home he’s having a hard time keeping away from her, but his daughter has to be his priority and he can’t risk letting her get attached to Abby when she’s made it clear she won’t stay.

As Abby works to unlock her magic and forgive herself, they both realize what they have might be enough to save them both.

This was a quick, light read. I enjoyed the town of Keating Hallow, as well as Abby and her sisters. I didn’t love that the “mystery” of what happened in the past was drug out until almost the end of the book, but I still enjoyed reading about Abby settling back in the town. I do wish we’d had more of Olive, Clay’s 8-year-old daughter. The romance was sweet and I liked the story overall.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Witches of Keating Hollow


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Review: Queen of Snow by Laura Burton & Jessie Cal

Posted September 4, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Queen of Snow by Laura Burton & Jessie CalReviewer: Holly
Queen of Snow by Laura Burton, Jessie Cal
Narrator: Emma Faye
Series: Fairy Tales Reimagined #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genres: Fairytale
Pages: 154
Length: 4 hours and 37 minutes
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Series Rating: four-stars

Before she was The Snow Queen... she was a Princess on the run.

Princess Aria has one goal: collect the mirror shards to the Mirror of Reason to create a portal that will take her far away from the Chanted Kingdom. Before The Evil Queen kills her like she did to Aria's family.

But when Jack Smith from Oxford stumbles into her life through a portal in his grandfather’s study, there’s something familiar about him. A connection so strong, she can't ignore.

Jack is not only shocked to discover that fairytales are real, but confused as to why a pirate is after him.

So, if he wants to survive in this foreign land, and return home, he needs to help Aria complete the Mirror of Reason.

But as Aria struggles to control her ice powers, something awakens inside of Jack.

As his heart stirs for the young Princess, he cannot help but wonder if he’s found his true home, after all?

Another book in this series came up as a recommended read on Kindle and I was intrigued, so I figured I’d start with the first in the series. I don’t know if I would have read it if I’d known it was YA, but I ended up enjoying it regardless, so I’m glad I didn’t know. The pacing is a little off. Sometimes it felt like a drag to get through and other times things seemed to move too fast, but the writing was good and I found myself invested in the story of Jack and Aria.

Jack gets pulled into a magical land through a mirror he finds in his grandfather’s home after he passes away. He ends up with Aria and follows her as she attempts to collect shards of the Mirror of Reason, which will act as a portal between his world and hers. She wants to get out of her world before the evil queen finds her and he wants to get home.

This is a mashup of various fairytales. I enjoyed the way the story wove around everyone. It kind of reminded me of Shrek, in the way that the fantasy characters are all together. I have to be honest, the end…wasn’t my favorite.

View Spoiler »

That aside, I liked the story enough to download the next in the series.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5.

Fairy Tales Reimagined


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Lightning Review: Things We Hide from the Light by Lucy Score

Posted August 21, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Things We Hide from the Light by Lucy ScoreReviewer: Holly
Things We Hide From the Light by Lucy Score
Narrator: Lila Winters, Sebastian York
Series: Knockemout #2
Also in this series: Things We Never Got Over
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 21, 2023
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 589
Length: 17 hours and 36 minutes
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Series Rating: four-stars

Nash Morgan was always known as the good Morgan brother, with a smile and a wink for everyone. But now, this chief of police is recovering from being shot and his Southern charm has been overshadowed by panic attacks and nightmares. He feels like a broody shell of the man he once was. Nash isn’t about to let anyone in his life know he’s struggling. But his new next-door neighbor, smart and sexy Lina, sees his shadows. As a rule, she’s not a fan of physical contact unless she initiates it, but for some reason Nash’s touch is different. He feels it too. The physical connection between them is incendiary, grounding him and making her wonder if exploring it is worth the risk.
Too bad Lina’s got secrets of her own, and if Nash finds out the real reason she’s in town, he’ll never forgive her. Besides, she doesn’t do relationships. Ever. A hot, short-term fling with a local cop? Absolutely. Sign her up. A relationship with a man who expects her to plant roots? No freaking way. Once she gets what she’s after, she has no intention of sticking around. But Knockemout has a way of getting under people’s skin. And once Nash decides to make Lina his, he’s not about to be dissuaded… even if it means facing the danger that nearly killed him.

Things We Hide from the Light is the second book in the Knockemout series. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2023. I loved the first book, Things We Never Got Over, and I was so excited to get Nash’s story! With Lina! Ahh!!! I got it from KU the day it was released and purchased the audio add-on so I could listen when I wasn’t able to read.

Sadly, I was underwhelmed. I found myself frustrated by Nash for the majority of the book. I had such a hard time with his “hurt feelings” and the way he treated Lina. Maybe I wasn’t as invested in her lie by omission as I should have been, but his level of anger and the way he lashed out was so over the top I had a really hard time with it. Since I didn’t understand his level of anger, I had a hard time forgiving him for acting the way he did. That’s not to say Lina was blameless, but it was really Nash I struggled with. I did enjoy being back in Knockemout and the secondary characters.

It may have just been my reading mood and not the book, so take that with a grain of salt. YMMV.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5



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Review: Finally Mine by Lucy Score

Posted August 14, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Finally Mine by Lucy ScoreReviewer: Holly
Finally Mine by Lucy Score
Narrator: Melissa Moran
Series: Benevolence #2
Also in this series: Pretend You're Mine, Finally Mine
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 26, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 458
Length: 11 hours and 30 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Who is he if not a hero?
Aldo Moretta has always been the hero. The strongest, the fastest, the bravest. He fought for his country and built a thriving business in his hometown. With friends and family never more than a few blocks away, there was just one thing he was missing. The right girl.

She’d fallen for the wrong guy. The bad guy. But now that she’s finally free, Aldo isn’t going to miss his second chance. Not until his last deployment goes horribly wrong. He was prepared to give his life, but he wasn’t ready for an injury that takes a piece of him. How can he be her hero now?

Who is she if not a victim?
Gloria Parker walked away from a relationship that almost cost her her life. But the shame clings to her like a shadow. She’s wasted ten long years on the wrong man. When the right one returns home scarred and broken, she sees a kindred spirit. But as Gloria rebuilds her life, brick by brick, she wonders if she’s cut out for love. Real love.

Will they find a way to heal together or will their wounds keep them from the happiness they both crave?

I got the ebook from KU then purchased the audio add-on and switched between reading and listening. I enjoyed the narrator.

Gloria has spent ten years in an abusive relationship. Aldo wanted her in high school and now that she’s decided to take her life back he wants to be part of it. He knows she needs time, but he can’t chance her finding someone else, so he makes his intentions clear before he deploys for 6 months with the National Guard. Only the Aldo who returns isn’t the one who left. As the two of them deal with their scars, they’ll have to decide if they can make a relationship work.

I really enjoyed both Gloria and Aldo. Some parts were hard to read, but the overall feel of the novel was upbeat. I loved that Aldo just wanted Gloria to find herself and be happy. He was loving and supportive of her, even when he couldn’t love himself. I also liked that Gloria recognized that she needed to sort herself out before she could get into a relationship.

I accidentally read this series backwards (I started with book 3), but it’s one of Score’s better efforts, in my opinion.

Rating: 4 out of 5



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Review: Loverboy by Sarina Bowen

Posted July 24, 2023 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Loverboy by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly
Loverboy by Sarina Bowen
Narrator: Joe Arden, Emma Wilder, Vanessa Edwin
Series: The Company #2
Also in this series: Moonlighter, Moonlighter
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 278
Length: 9 hours and 11 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: three-stars

Secrets, desires, and exquisite pie. It’s all in a day’s work at The Company.
Growing up, I was the rough guy from the wrong neighborhood who couldn’t catch a break. Posy was the pampered girl I tried to impress. But all she gave me was a single kiss before I had to skip town.Now I’m back, and the tables are turned. Posy runs a struggling pie shop. I’m the VP of a secretive billion-dollar security company. Not that I can tell her.There’s a murderer on the loose in New York, and he seems to spend a lot of time at Posy’s shop. It’s my job to identify him before he can harm a hair on her pretty head.Going undercover as Posy’s new barista wasn’t my idea. I don’t even drink coffee. But now I have to call her “boss,” and do everything the curvy perfectionist asks of me. I’d forgotten how much we infuriate each other, and that she somehow fills me with both irritation and desire in the same breath.There’s nobody more skilled at stealth ops than me. I can bring this killer down. Right after I take a cold shower. And just as soon I figure out how to make a skinny peppermint latte with milk poured in the shape of a kitten...

I really enjoy Sarina Bowen’s books as a whole. She does romance really well and I love falling into her stories. Having said that, I am not a fan of her writing romantic suspense.

Posy runs a pie shop and is doing her best to make ends meet. Unfortunately, she can’t find a good barista and she’s killing herself trying to do it all. When Gunnar turns up and seems like the answer to her prayers, she wants to turn him away on principle since he burned her once already when she was just out of college, but she can’t since she’s desperately in need of help and he seems kind of down on his luck. If only she wasn’t still attracted to him…

Gunnar is a security specialist. When a murderer seems to be taunting their firm and the police from Posy’s pie shop, he agrees to go undercover to figure out what he can. He doesn’t expect to still be attracted to Posy, or to what to help her in all the ways. He can’t tell her what he’s up to, but he vows to keep her safe.

There were so many cringe-worthy moments for me in this book. All of the “Security Specialists” seemed so incompetent, plus the whole “lying to her for her own good” trope was really frustrating. I enjoyed some parts of the novel, and I was curious how things would play out with her ex, which is why I kept reading. But the rest was a complete let-down. I do not plan to continue the series.

Rating: 2 out of 5

The Company


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