Tag: Penguin

Review: Heart on a Leash by Alanna Martin

Posted April 26, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Heart on a Leash by Alanna MartinReviewer: Holly
Heart on a Leash by Alanna Martin
Series: Hearts of Alaska #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

A pack of rescue huskies inspires love and romance in a coastal Alaskan town fractured by feuding families—but can young pups really teach frozen hearts new tricks?

Taylor Lipin has made it her life's mission to leave her hometown and its ridiculous, century-old feud with the Porters behind. But when her sister needs help running the family inn, Taylor agrees to return to Helen, Alaska on a temporary, definitely not longer than two weeks, basis. Or so she thinks, until she's quite literally swept off her feet and into enemy territory by three happy huskies and their drool-worthy owner, Dr. Josh Krane.

Though Josh didn't grow up in Helen with the rest of his Porter cousins, he's heard the stories: Porters rescue huskies. The Lipins are cat people. Keep to your pack. But Taylor is too tempting to give up—plus, his dogs love her.

As Taylor and Josh grow closer, tensions in the town escalate and the need for secrecy starts taking a toll. Soon they'll need to decide whether their newfound love is just a summer fling or if they've found their forever home.

I adopted a husky puppy a few months ago, so the cover and blurb immediately caught my attention. I was a little sad the puppies didn’t play a larger part in the story (they were present, but I thought they’d have more on page time or play a larger role), but they were still cute and made this a fun read.

Taylor Lipin left home for college and never looked back. She’s happy living in California – until her sister calls to tell her their parents are getting a divorce and she needs to come back home to help out with the family Inn. Taylor has no intention of agreeing, but an unexpected layoff means she has no good reason to refuse. She’s determined to find another job ASAP, so she doesn’t have to deal with her crazy town and a wacky family feud between her family and another in town. Of course she never planned for a hot romance with Dr. Josh Krane…

Josh moved to Helen, Alaska after medical school to take part in a loan forgiveness program – if he works in Helen for 5 years a major part of his student debt will be forgiven. He didn’t expect to love it, but the town has grown on him. Sure, they have some weird quirks – like that strange family feud – but overall the town is charming. It becomes even better when Taylor moves back. Josh is immediately smitten, but their families are on opposite sides of the feud and no one is happy about them being together.

I liked both Taylor and Josh. I thought their romance was cute. They had really fun, witty banter that made for an easy read. But I had two major issues with this story.

1) Taylor is allergic to dogs and Josh has 3 very fluffy huskies. She mentioned, several times, needing to take her allergy meds to be comfortable around them. I love dogs and I completely understand why she’d want to spend time with them. But spending a few hours with them is not the same as living with them full time. I realize it’s a fictional story, but I kept thinking about how uncomfortable it would be to live your every day life like that. If she and Josh end up married, she’s going to take allergy meds every day for the rest of her life just to be comfortable in her own house? I don’t know, that seemed like a stretch.

2) The family feud was ridiculous. It wasn’t just an argument between two families that was out of control. It was a multi-generational thing that included violence. I expected something kind of light-hearted based on the cover/blurb, but it was very toxic and awful. I was very dissatisfied with the lack of resolution on that score. Breaking and entering, vandalism, smear campaigns against Taylor and Josh both from members of their families…it was horrible. Having that as the mail conflict really took away from the romance and my overall enjoyment.

I enjoyed parts of this story and thought there were some really cute elements, but the family feud thing really made it hard to get through. I don’t know if I’ll continue the series.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Posted December 21, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Binds by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #9
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, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks, Iron and Magic, Magic Triumphs , Magic Triumphs
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 333
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

The new, “heart-stopping”* novel in the New York Times bestselling series that “defines urban fantasy.”*

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…

Magic Binds is the ninth book in the Kate Daniels series and this book had a lot of the end is near vibes going for it, at least for me. Kate and Curran are planning their wedding and stuff just keeps coming up that they have to deal with and most of the shenanigans start and end with her evil ass manipulator of a father, Roland.

It took me a while to get this book read because I was super distracted by a bunch of other stuff going on in my life. This pandemic has introduced me to a bunch of new to me things and reading kind of fell to the side but I knew that I wanted to read this book and I knew that I was going to finish the Kate Daniels series this year and so I kept right on pushing through until there was no turning back. The Ilona Andrews duo are really good at their job. After nine books, you’d think that they would run out of steam but nope, they just keep right on delivering the goods.

I enjoyed this one a lot and I didn’t think I could love Kate and Curran any more than I already did but reading this book made a liar out of me. I loved them both more. I really like that though they’re both these serious badasses, at the end of the day, they’re just as normal as you and me. Kate had a job, she had a family and friends and she had a whole lot of responsibility. She didn’t take any of these things for granted and she worked her ass off to be there for everyone, get the job done, and made sure to be home every night to make dinner. It’s so easy to see yourself in Kate and in each and every single book, I connected with what she was going through, what she was feeling, and even though I didn’t always agree with her, I still really loved her character.

In this book, she’s dealing with her father taunting her, trying to drag her into one mess after another mess and she doesn’t have time for him or his shenanigans but when he kidnaps her friend, she can’t just sit idly by while Roland tortures him so she decides that she’s had enough of Roland’s shit and goes to get her friend.

This one is another winner and I am so sad that my reading adventure with Kate front and center is coming to an end. I’m really looking forward to continuing in the same world with the Aurelia Ryder and even the Iron Covenant series but I’m sad that Kate and Curran’s series is coming to an end. It’s been a really great reading adventure and this book was just one of many wonderful journeys. I love seeing everyone come together to help Kate fight the bad guys and there’s just so much goodness in this one. The humor that we all know and love, the action is there, and the characters are all shining examples of why this series is so popular. If you haven’t read this book (I’m looking at all of my So Cal blogger buddies), you should definitely fix it. It’s SOOOOO GOOOD, I promise!

Final Grade

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts

Posted July 16, 2020 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Knowledge by Nora RobertsReviewer: Rowena
Key of Knowledge (Key Trilogy, #2) by Nora Roberts
Series: Key Trilogy #2
Also in this series: Key of Light (Key Trilogy, #1), Key of Valor (Key Trilogy, #3)
Publisher: Penguin, Jove
Publication Date: November 25th 2003
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 338
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

You are the Key. The lock awaits.

What happens when the very gods depend on mortals for help? That's what three very different young women find out when they are invited to Warrior's Peak.

To librarian Dana Steele, books and the knowledge they hold are the key to contentment. But now that search for knowledge must include the second key needed to release three souls held captive by an evil god. In each generation three are chosen who have the power to release them - if they dare accept a challenge that could promise them great riches but also grave danger...

And now it is Dana's turn.

She won't be alone, for she's formed fast friendships with two very different women. But she can't allow herself to be distracted by the return of the man who broke her heart so long ago, for a danger beyond anyone's imagination is determined to keep her from completing her quest.

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

This review was originally posted on May 13, 2007.

Book Two in this trilogy follows Dana Steele through her journey of finding the key of knowledge that will free the second daught of the glass. It follows her while she finds her destiny and deals with her past, her present and prepares for her future.

Dana is straight up and takes no bullshit from anyone. Most especially her exboyfriend, Jordan Hawke. The man who walked away from her and what they shared in the two years that they were together with no backward glance.

His up and leaving left her very bitter with him and men in general. She doesn’t trust him farther than she can throw him which isn’t at all. And with him back home and mixed up in this key business right along with her makes her madder than all get out. She hates that he’s back and in her life again because the last time he was in her in life and in her heart, he crushed it. She doesn’t trust herself to keep things light and friendly with him and she gets all pissed off when she finds out that in order for her to find the key that she needs to find, she needs to make things right with Jordan because Jordan is part of her quest in finding the key.

Dana needs Jordan in order to find her key and she needs to get to the bottom of why he left and see things from his perspective in order for her heart to survive another encounter with Jordan Hawke, who is the only man that she has ever loved.

This book was the bomb.

I’m serious, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about this story, I loved Dana’s hardheadedness where Jordan was concerned and I understood it. It did get on my nerves a bit but more over, I just plain understood why she was with the way she was with him but she wasn’t playing stupid over why she was acting unreasonable where he was concerned. She didn’t deny that she was still in love with him which made her the way she was around him, all surly and bullheaded.

I loved Jordan and all of his issues, his sense of humor and just everything about him. Jordan was a fantastic hero and I hella enjoyed reading about him trying to make things right with Dana. I loved reading his reasons for leaving and I loved reading how he wooed Dana back into his corner, I loved that he didn’t try to breeze right over what he did to her before but really wanted her to understand and forgive him for what happened between them before.

I loved his writing, I loved his role in all of this, I just plain loved Jordan Hawke. He was my most favorite thing about this book, maybe this series. He was my favorite hero in Key of Light and I really enjoyed him in this story but I have a feeling that Brad is going to be my favorite hero in this series…there’ s just something about Brad that I’m looking forward to reading in his book.

I loved how Dana and Jordan fought to overcome the evil bastard in this series, I loved how they fought together and their love was what got them through, corny as all get out but I was diggin’ it.

This book was another definite winner from Nora Roberts, although I’m having a hard time believing that Nora Roberts will write something that I don’t like. I just like her writing style, it’s the bomb diggity for me! She knows just how to rock her stories to get the most out of them and make me love the characters, the storylines and just everything about them!

One thing I didn’t really care about in this story was Jordan’s nickname for Dana, which was Stretch. That’s no fault of the author though since it only reminds me of a harsh nickname that a woman that I know was called when she was younger. They called her Stretch for an entirely different reason that Jordan called Dana that and so everytime Jordan called her Stretch, I cringed because I kept thinking about poor Amy.

But aside from that, the book was fantastic!

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 24, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Joint Review: Magic Breaks by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #7
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, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Shifts, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Iron and Magic, Magic Binds, Magic Triumphs , Magic Triumphs
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 402
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
five-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

No matter how much the paranormal politics of Atlanta change, one thing always remains the same: if there’s trouble, Kate Daniels will be in the middle of it…

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews is the 7th book in the Kate Daniels series. Kate has more responsibilities than ever now that she’s mated to the Beast Lord of Atlanta. While Curran is away Kate has to play Beast Lady to the Pack and deal with all their nonsense, plus keep her PI business afloat and prepare for dear old dad to come calling. Things are never dull in Kate’s world….

Holly: I’ve been dying for you to finally make your way to this book. Magic Breaks is my favorite book of the series. It’s so awesome.

Did you love it? Let’s discuss.

Rowena: For some reason, my favorite book remains Magic Strikes. That book was just so much fun for me and even though Kate and her gang were going through some pretty stressful shit, I freaking loved the entire book. That’s not to say that I didn’t love the crap out of this book too. I love seeing Kate really come into her powers more and more with each passing book. Kate was put in a really tough spot with the pack while Curran was gone but just like I knew she would, she handled her shit and kept her wits about her to take care of everything, and everyone.

Holly: I love Magic Strikes, too, but man did my heart hurt reading it. This was focused more on the action, I think. It was interesting how Curran was gone for most of the book. They’re a great team, but I like that Kate handles things without him, too.

Rowena: I could feel how anxious she was trying to find Curran but holy shit, at the end??? When she goes to claim Robert and Christopher? I about jumped up and did a happy dance twerk for her at 2 in the morning. I freaking loved it! Kate Daniels is a freaking dawg and good luck to anyone trying to cross her…including her Dad. Man, this was a damn good book.

Holly: The way she rescued Robert and Christopher had me jumping up and down. She’s such a badass.

Rowena: Yeah, when Curran finally gets back, it felt like that scene in Lord of the Rings where Gandalf rides to the rescue with his army to save the day…only Kate didn’t really need him to save the day but boy did I feel the relief from her when she sees him and is so damn glad that he’s safe and alive. This book was filled to the brim with action, with emotion and just everything that I’ve come to love in a Kate Daniels book. Ilona Andrews is my favorite.

Holly: Yeah, her relief was palpable, but she absolutely did not need to be rescued. I love that theirs is a true partnership. They’re equals. They support each other and help each other problem solve, but never does it feel like they’re anything but true partners.

Rowena: I do agree that Curran and Kate have a true partnership because they get on each other’s nerves and I love that we see them bicker and fight with each other. Their relationship is far from perfect but they still love the hell out of each other.

Holly: I love how nuanced all these characters are. Take Jennifer, for example. She’s the alpha of Clan Wolf, and she’s a shithead. She does everything she can to make Kate’s life hell. But she’s also a grieving widow and sister, so while I never liked her or forgave her, she had more depth than some cardboard villain.

Rowena: Same. There are characters that I absolutely adore but there are also characters that I tolerate and Jennifer is one of them. Her character does have depth and I certainly appreciate Andrews efforts in writing each of their characters because they all have a certain level of depth to them whether they’ve been on the scene since the beginning or the newer characters. I just enjoy the hell out of this series as a whole and this book was fantastic. I am so looking forward to seeing what’s next for Kate Daniels and her crew but I am not looking forward to finishing this series. I’m not ready to say goodbye to any of them.

Holly: This is such a great book because it clears up a lot of little threads from previous books, but it also opened up more for the future. I’m really excited for you to continue on.

Rowena: From beginning to end, this book wrapped me up tight and didn’t let go and even though there were times when I was annoyed with the pack, with what was thrown at Kate at every turn, I still enjoyed the hell out of this one and definitely recommend. This one gets 4.75 out of 5 stars from me. What about you?

Holly: I was definitely invested in this book. It gets better every single time I read it. I love Kate, Curran and all their friends and family. I give it 4.75 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 4.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4.75 out of 5

Kate Daniels

five-stars


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Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews

Posted June 15, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Shifts by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Rowena
Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #8
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, Magic Slays, Gunmetal Magic, Magic Gifts, Magic Rises, Magic Tests, Magic Stars, Magic Steals, Magic Breaks, Magic Breaks, Iron and Magic, Magic Binds, Magic Triumphs , Magic Triumphs
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 343
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-half-stars

In the latest Kate Daniels novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews, magic is coming and going in waves in post-Shift Atlanta—and each crest leaves danger in its wake…

After breaking from life with the Pack, mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate—former Beast Lord Curran Lennart—are adjusting to a very different pace. While they’re thrilled to escape all the infighting, Curran misses the constant challenges of leading the shapeshifters.

So when the Pack offers him its stake in the Mercenary Guild, Curran seizes the opportunity—too bad the Guild wants nothing to do with him and Kate. Luckily, as a veteran merc, Kate can take over any of the Guild’s unfinished jobs in order to bring in money and build their reputation. But what Kate and Curran don’t realize is that the odd jobs they’ve been working are all connected.

An ancient enemy has arisen, and Kate and Curran are the only ones who can stop it—before it takes their city apart piece by piece…

Magic Shifts is the eighth book in the Kate Daniels series and the action just keeps right on coming. I’m still trippin’ that Curran isn’t View Spoiler » I didn’t know what to expect from these two after the shenanigans from the last book but never fear, Ilona Andrews is here to keep the party going. Kate and Curran are trying to figure things out without the pack and I think I’m going to like where they end up. Curran’s already got a plan and bringing it all together with Kate’s help should be a lot of fun.

So when George calls on Curran and Kate for help in trying to locate her boo thang, Eduardo who had gone missing the day before. Curran considers George a sister since George’s father, Mahon, practically raised him after Curran’s own parents died and so, of course, he was going to help her, even though his hands were tied because they weren’t allowed to try to sway anyone to leave the pack with them for 30 days and helping George could be considered Curran doing exactly that but Kate and Curran work their way around that and they’re on the case.

Seeing Kate and Curran work side by side in figuring out this case was a lot of fun for me. They’re serious couple goals. They’ve got that grown folks kind of love that I just love. They are fiercely loyal to each other and the way that they love each other is just super sweet (and steamy when the mood strikes). They’re a good team and they haven’t lost any of their magic since they’ve gotten together. Some TV couples suffer from becoming that boring couple after they’ve spent so much time and energy finding each other that when they finally get together and are happy, they’re kind of boring. I’m not going lie, a tiny part of me was scared that it was going to happen to Curran and Kate but nope. The magic is still there and I am still Team Kate and Curran.

It’s been pretty interesting seeing Roland try to be a part of Kate’s life. I’m mighty curious to see where that goes and what Roland has up his sleeve. I’m also pretty curious about what the heck Hugh’s been up to since that guy fell from Roland’s grace. I can feel the trouble brewing and it’s headed straight for Kate and I have every faith that Kate is going to kick everybody ass. She’s going to kick ass and take everyone’s name and I’m almost there. I can’t believe that the end is in sight and on one hand, I’m thrilled but on the other hand, I’m sad that my journey through the Kate Daniels world is almost done. I’m not ready to say goodbye and I’m not ready to move on. Sigh.

Anyway, this is another great addition to an already top tier series and I enjoyed it so much so I definitely recommend. Read this series if you haven’t already. So good!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Kate Daniels

four-stars


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