Tag: Reviews

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran

Posted August 21, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Duke of Shadows by Meredith DuranReviewer: Holly
The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: May 8, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 388
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, New to Me Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

In a debut romance as passionate and sweeping as the British Empire, Meredith Duran paints a powerful picture of an aristocrat torn between two worlds, an heiress who dares to risk everything...and the love born in fire and darkness that nearly destroys them.

From exotic sandstone palaces...

Sick of tragedy, done with rebellion, Emmaline Martin vows to settle quietly into British Indian society. But when the pillars of privilege topple, her fiancé's betrayal leaves Emma no choice. She must turn for help to the one man whom she should not trust, but cannot resist: Julian Sinclair, the dangerous and dazzling heir to the Duke of Auburn.

To the marble halls of London...

In London, they toast Sinclair with champagne. In India, they call him a traitor. Cynical and impatient with both worlds, Julian has never imagined that the place he might belong is in the embrace of a woman with a reluctant laugh and haunted eyes. But in a time of terrible darkness, he and Emma will discover that love itself can be perilous -- and that a single decision can alter one's life forever.

Destiny follows wherever you run.

A lifetime of grief later, in a cold London spring, Emma and Julian must finally confront the truth: no matter how hard one tries to deny it, some pasts cannot be disowned...and some passions never die.

I remember when The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran was first released. There was much fanfare and everyone seemed to love it. I often have bad luck when it comes to books everyone else loves, so I put off reading it. Years went by and, though it’s been sitting in my TBR pile for a decade, I never did read it. Casee chose it as one of her picks for me for our Summer Reading Challenge, so I dug it out. It turned out to be a lovely read.

This is a dark, complex read. Emmaline, our female lead, suffers much trauma. A shipwreck, then war in India. She is much affected by her trials and tribulations, and that came across well on page. I was fully wrapped up in her journey. Part one, especially, was hard to get through. So much violence. There was somewhat of a disconnect in Part two, however. I found myself getting impatient with the story, and also struggling to readjust to life in London ballrooms. Which, I think, speaks well of the author and how well she brought me into Emma and Julian’s story in India.

As for the romance, I truly felt the connection Julian and Emma had. I also felt their anguish at all that had come between them. I did find some of their actions not in keeping with their characters, however. Especially when they reunite in England. But I was able to move past it. Something I had a harder time moving past was all the exclamation points Duran used! They were relentless! Sometimes two or three per paragraph!

Still, all in all, I think Casee chose well for this one. Shocking, I know.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Untamed Delights by Suzanne Wright

Posted August 21, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Untamed Delights by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Untamed Delights by Suzanne Wright
Series: The Phoenix Pack #8
Also in this series: Wild Hunger, Wild Hunger , Carnal Secrets
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: July 16, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 381
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

Return to the sensual and feral stirrings of the Phoenix Pack as a woman who’s already bound to one man is tempted by a wolf who’s bound only to his nightly desires.

Cat shifter Mila Devereaux can’t help but see it as a betrayal. That her one true mate imprinted himself on another female was hard enough to accept. Struggling to be at peace with her loveless fate, she doesn’t fight the suggestion of entering an arranged mating. Then she meets Dominic, a pack enforcer with a notorious reputation. It’s in his very scent. This irresistible playboy—and delicious badass wolf—is making Mila’s fantasies come alive again.

Alarming, compelling, and heady with sensual energy, Dominic is an expert at making women shed their inhibitions. Now everything about him—his killer smile, his perfectly sculpted body, and his smooth-as-honey voice—is drawing in a captivating new catch. But for the first time in his life, Dominic is feeling more than a fling. He finds himself tantalized by a female who makes him think of forever. He wants all of Mila and won’t be satisfied until he has it.

As the passion grows wild, so does the risk. They’re falling in love in the shadows and secrets of their pasts. And it’s threatening to destroy everything Mila and Dominic are fighting for. And are destined for.

Untamed Delights is the final book in Suzanne Wright’s Phoenix Pack series. I’m sad to see the end of it, but I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next from Wright.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting Dom’s book. He’s the one who constantly tossed cheesy lines at all the women in previous books, but you could tell there was more to him.

Mila Devereaux, a Pallas cat, knows who her True Mate is, and she and her cat are salty because he imprinted on someone else. She wouldn’t accept him now even if he did come for her, because she feels he betrayed and abandoned her by choosing someone else. She wants him to be happy, but that doesn’t lesson the feelings of betrayal. She’s having a hard time living as part of her Pride, since she’s in constant contact with her True Mate and the shifter he chose. Dominic isn’t interested in finding his True Mate. He wants a partner, and he’d rather do the choosing than have fate choose for him. He’s wanted Mila for years, but after they spend a little more time together he knows he has to have her. He sets out to win her and her cat over.

I really liked the way he and Mila chose each other, though I did struggle with the whole fated mates aspect. Dominic choosing to be with her, despite knowing he has a True Mate somewhere in the world was sweet, but I was mildly bothered by the fact that Mila was just okay with it. As someone who felt betrayed by her True Mate choosing someone else, I thought she should have felt some kind of way about doing that to someone else.

That aside, I liked their relationship and watching them come together. I liked watching Dominic fall for her, and go all in. They had great banter and a lot of chemistry. It was also great seeing some of my favorite past characters, though I could have done without Greta and her constant sniping. That was funny 15 books ago. Now, not so much.

I didn’t care for the “villains”, but then I rarely do when it comes to SW’s books. Still, Wright always gets me wrapped up in her world, and this book was no exception.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Phoenix Pack

four-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Huge Deal by Lauren Layne

Posted August 20, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Huge Deal by Lauren LayneReviewer: Casee
Huge Deal by Lauren Layne
Narrator: Samantha Cook, Zachary Webber
Series: 21 Wall Street #3
Also in this series: Hot Asset (21 Wall Street, #1), Hard Sell (21 Wall Street, #2), Huge Deal , Hot Asset , Hard Sell , Huge Deal , Hot Asset, Hard Sell
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 7 hours and 19 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Even for a top-gun banker, temptation this hot is quite a gamble, in a sexy Wall Street romp from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.

An alpha among the wolves of Wall Street, Kennedy Dawson rose to the top of the pack by striking the right contracts at the right times. But there’s one deal that’s been giving him a run for his money—a pact to never again let his assistant, Kate, get under his skin. She may be smart, gorgeous, and sharp as a whip, but she’s definitely off-limits.

Kate Henley isn’t a banker, but she knows a thing or two about risk management—specifically, about managing her attraction to her smolderingly sexy boss. She already fell once, and Kennedy showed no sign of paying a return on her investment. So when Kennedy’s brother starts pursuing her, Kate figures she has the best of both worlds. Jack is charming, rich, very attentive, and the spitting image of his older brother.

It’s also making Kennedy think twice. But to win Kate’s heart, he’ll have to broker the deal of a lifetime…and prove he’s worth the risk.

This is the second book that Rowena chose for both Holly and I for our Summer Reading Challenge. While this book was Rowena’s favorite in the series, it comes in second for me.

Kate Henley is Kennedy Dawson’s executive assistant. She keeps his life running smoothly, both professionally and personally. It’s been years since Kate first came to work for the three best friends. Years since Kate fell in love with Kennedy Dawson. After years of not being noticed and then overhearing Kennedy say that she’s not appealing in the least, Kate works on getting over Kennedy. Which she does.

Kennedy Dawson is very old-fashioned. He likes his life well-ordered and boring. After years of being single, he’s dating a model which is out of the norm for Kennedy. Everything is going along exactly how Kennedy planned, which involves no messy emotions and certainly not love. Then he starts seeing Kate in a way that he’s never seen her before.

Kate doesn’t want Kennedy to notice her. She got over her crush on him years ago and she’s not looking to go back and pine for him. Kennedy ends up being more persistent than she ever expected and pursues her with a single-minded focus that she’s only ever seen in him.

I really did enjoy this book. I expected Kate to be love sick over Kennedy, but that was not the case at all. She was a very strong woman, which I always appreciate. Kennedy was very likable as well. I really enjoyed their story. I feel that this was a good conclusion to the 21 Wall Street series.

I listened to this book on audio and really enjoyed it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

21 Wall Street

four-stars


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Lightning Reviews: Fire Inside, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Wild Like the Wind by Kristen Ashley

Posted August 16, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Kristen Ashley, how I love thee.

Lightning Reviews: Fire Inside, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Wild Like the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #2
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free, Own the Wind
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: First Person, Third Person
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 432
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Lanie Heron isn't looking for love-no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club . . .

For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She's too polished and too classy for his taste. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can't say no. And he doesn't regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that's ever happened to him-in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that.

After almost dying trying to protect her fiancé, Lanie Heron is a shadow of her former self. Once upon a time she was the life of the party, now she just wants to be left alone. By everyone but one person.

When Lanie propositions Hop, he is floored. He’s always watched Lanie, but knew she wasn’t for him. Now he can’t turn her away.

Hop and Lanie’s story was sweet. I thought I would find Lanie more annoying than I did. She was just about unbearable in Motorcycle Man. She was just too much. While this book is not my favorite in the series, it was still a good read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Lightning Reviews: Fire Inside, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Wild Like the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #3
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free, Own the Wind
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Multiple
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 640
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

Meet the intense and sexy bad boy bikers of the Chaos Motorcycle Club in Carissa and Joker's story from Kristen Ashley's New York Times bestselling series.
The ride of her life . . . Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy---until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa's pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . . In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he's the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa's acting, it's clear she's falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker's secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa---or ride away forever . . .

I read this book ages ago, but didn’t review it. I don’t know why that is because I adored this book. Loved it. This book is my favorite in the Chaos MC series.

Carson “Joker” Steele loved Carissa Teodoro since he was a boy. She was untouchable. After rescuing her on the side of the road, Joker knows he won’t give her up. Ever.

Carissa doesn’t recognize Joker as the sweet boy from high school. It’s clear that he’s been through his fair share of trials since she last saw him. She’s also gone through more than any person should have to. Fighting for custody of her child, paying child support, all of it has taken it’s toll. Now she has the Chaos MC behind her and her life abruptly changes. She just has to convince Joker to take a chance on them.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Lightning Reviews: Fire Inside, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Wild Like the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #4
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free, Own the Wind
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: October 27, 2015
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Multiple
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 624
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

The flame never dies . . .

Millie Cross knows what it's like to burn for someone. She was young and wild and he was fierce and even wilder-a Chaos biker who made her heart pound. They fell in love at first sight and life was good, until she learned she couldn't be the woman he needed and made it so he had no choice but to walk away. Twenty years later, Millie's chance run-in with her old flame sparks a desire she just can't ignore. And this time, she won't let him ride off . . .

Bad boy Logan "High" Judd has seen his share of troubles with the law. Yet it was a beautiful woman who broke him. After ending a loveless marriage, High is shocked when his true love walks back into his life. Millie is still gorgeous, but she's just a ghost of her former self. High's intrigued at the change, but her betrayal cut him deep-and he doesn't want to get burned again. As High sinks into meting out vengeance for Millie's betrayal, he'll break all over again when he realizes just how Millie walked through fire for her man . . .

When Millie Cross sees Logan “High” Judd after twenty years, it slays her. He was the boy that she loved fiercely, then left. She had her reasons, but never told Logan what those were. She just broke his heart (and hers in the process) and walked away. Millie has been a shadow of herself since she left him. Seeing him again changes everything. She decides that it’s time to tell Logan why she left him. Then maybe she can move on from the hell she’s been living in. Close the door on the past for good.

Logan “High” Judd cannot believe his eyes when the former love of his life walks back into his life. Millie Cross destroyed him when she walked away. The last thing he wants is her back in his life. High sends her away in the cruelest of ways, not knowing the sacrifice that Millie made for him. When he finally finds out what she gave up, he’s devastated.

I really enjoyed High and Millie’s book. I didn’t think I would like it as much as I did.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Lightning Reviews: Fire Inside, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Wild Like the Wind by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
Wild Like the Wind by Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos MC #5
Also in this series: Own the Wind (Chaos, #1), Own the Wind, Ride Steady, Ride Steady, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Walk Through Fire, Free, Own the Wind
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Multiple
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 438
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: three-half-stars

The brother known as Hound has a reputation. He’s all about cracking heads, having a good time, and when the Chaos Motorcycle Club needs someone to do the tough job, they call on him.

But Hound has a secret. He fell in love with a woman years ago. She’s untouchable. Unattainable. And even when her status changes, for Hound, it remains the same.

Keely Black had it all early and lost it all not long after. Thrown into an abyss of loss and grief, she’s faced a life of raising two sons alone and battling the rage at all that had been ripped from them.

And why.

Words spoken in anger open Hound’s and Keely’s eyes. For Hound, he sees he’s wasted his life loving the wrong woman. Keely sees she’s wasting her life not opening herself to the love of a good man.

Keely Black has been living in the past for eighteen years. Her husband, Black, was murdered because he was part of the Chaos MC. Now her boys want to become prospects with the same club. she wants to support them but her fear is too great.

Hound has loved Keely since the first moment he saw her. After Black was murdered, Hound was there for Keely. As a friend and a stepfather to her boys. Now she wants him, but Club rules say she’s off limits. Hound can’t stay away from her and they start a steaming hot affair. The time comes when they have to pay the piper and Hound can only hope that he can keep the Club that is his life and the woman that has recently become his life.

I didn’t think I would like this book as much as I ended up liking it. I highly disliked Keely at first. I ended up really loving her. Loving both her and Hound individually and together as a couple.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Chaos


three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day

Posted August 15, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa DayReviewer: Tracy
Vampire in Atlantis by Alyssa Day
Series: Warriors of Poseidon #7
Also in this series: Atlantis Awakening (Warriors of Poseidon, #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 311
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The most unexpected of all allies to Poseidon's warriors has proven to be the fiercest-Daniel, a vampire and Night Guild mage. But even the strongest alliance can be destroyed when a vampire's oath crosses paths with a maiden's quest, and an eleven-thousand-year-old desire is reborn.

Ready to face the dawn and die after 11,000 years as a vampire, Daniel walks into the Reflecting Pool on the Washington Mall and ends up in Atlantis, at the mercy of Serai, a long-dead warrior princess he could never forget.

Yet Serai is not dead. Centuries earlier she and several others had been magically put into suspended animation to ensure the continuation of the Atlanteans. But the magical jewel that keeps them safe has been stolen, and, now awake, Serai must find it to save the other sleeping women.

Together, Daniel and Serai search for the stone and renew their relationship, stalked by an evil that isn't about to let them succeed.

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

This review was originally posted on Nov 15, 2011.

Daniel was just a blacksmith’s apprentice in Atlantis when he met the beautiful Serai. It was love at first sight and they longed to be together. Unfortunately many things happened to keep them apart. Atlantis was attacked, Daniel turned into a vampire, Atlantis submerged into the ocean and Serai put into stasis to one day be awoken to marry High Prince Conlan.

Eleven thousand years have passed since that time. Daniel is ready to face the dawn and end it all when he finds himself not only alive but in Atlantis and facing the women he thought long dead. He is mesmerized once again and eager to help her with whatever she needs.

Serai broke out of the stasis but she doesn’t want to be put in and knows she must get out of Atlantis immediately. She was told that Daniel died all those years ago and when he appears before her she’s shocked. They fight together to find a gem from Poseidon’s trident, the Emporer, and try to save the other women in stasis.

This is book 7 in this series and my least favorite of the bunch. While it was an interesting story to a point and continued the overall story arc that will be concluded in future books, it just lacked that extra something that made it captivating. The story was good but I found myself kind of well, bored at points.

I really liked Daniel and of course Serai was a strong female character but they were a bit melodramatic for me. Yes, I know that they’d been apart and thought the other dead – I would probably be very vocal about my feelings too if that happened…but it just didn’t have a truly realistic feel to me.

While the story was good and had a bit of an extra romance with the vampire Nicholas and the witch Ivy it unfortunately just fell a bit short from the other books in the series.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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

three-stars


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