Tag: Reviews

Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted July 13, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang, James Patrick Cronin
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #1
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen
Publisher: Self-Published, Audible Original
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Audible Escape, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 356
Length: 11 hours and 52 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

What if you fell in love with the one person you'd sworn to destroy?

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara's homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home - a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas - and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

This popped up as a recommended read in Audible Escape. The blurb was intriguing so I decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed both narrators. From the very first I was pulled into this novel. I ended up purchasing the ebook so I could read when I wasn’t able to listen.

Lara and her half-sisters were raised in a desert compound for one purpose – to take down The Bridge Kingdom from the inside. As part of a 15 year treaty, one of them must marry the King of Ithicana (the Bridge Kingdom). Lara isn’t the chosen one, but she betrays her sisters to take her place as Queen in order to save their lives. Her goal is simple; Learn as much about the country and the Bridge as possible, so her father and his forces can take it over. Ithicana and her new husband are nothing like she thought they’d be, and it isn’t long before she begins questioning everything.

This was such a stellar story. I was sucked in from the very first page. Lara was such a multi-faceted character. Her whole life she’s been told Ithicana and her King are the reason so many in her country are starving. Although she doesn’t have a lot of love for her father, she does want better for her people. I completely understood why she made the choices she did. From beginning to end, I felt her struggle and determination to do what was right. My heart broke for her at the end, even as I wanted to rage at her. There never came a point when I didn’t understand her plight or her reasons for doing the things she did.

Aren wasn’t as complex of a character. He wanted what was best for his country, and he hoped for a true alliance with Lara’s father, though of course he was wary of ever getting it. Of the two, he was more open and sweet. He just wanted to be able to allow his country men and women to leave, or pursue other dreams, rather than become soldiers. I liked him, but I didn’t feel the same connection to him that I did Lara.

This book ended in a cliffhanger and I immediately dove into the second book.

The politics and intrigue, the personal relationships and Lara’s struggle to do what she was trained to do when her heart was telling her otherwise was very well done. I highly recommend this series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

four-half-stars


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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Posted July 10, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. MaasReviewer: Holly
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult
Pages: 419
Length: 16 hours and 7 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas is the first book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series. I’ve had this book in my TBR pile for years. Recently I requested a good Paranormal/Fantasy series on Twitter, and this was one of the top recs, so I dug it out. I had the Kindle version with the audio add-on, so I read and listened. The narrator was good. I really enjoyed the writing and the world-building, but I found the story moved slow at times and I had a hard time focusing on it. The second half picked up, however, and I was fully invested in Feyre and her journey.

For hundreds of years the Faeries and Humans have been bound by a treaty that keeps the Faeries from killing humans and/or keeping them as slaves. Feyre and her family live near the wall that separates the two lands, in abject poverty. While she’s out hunting, she kills a wolf that turns out to be faerie and forfeits her life in return. Rather than killing her, Tamlin, the faerie who comes for her, tells her she must come and live with him over the wall in Prythian. Once she arrives in the Spring Court, she’s surprised to learn she won’t be a prisoner, but rather a permanent guest. Her whole life she’s grown up hating the faeries for how they treat humans. As she spends time with Tamlin and the other faeries at the Spring Court, she comes to realize there’s more to the story than she ever knew..and not all faeries are bad.

At the beginning of the novel, Feyre was a hard character to like. Her vain, shallow mother has died, and her father has lost their fortune and retreated into himself, leaving Feyre to care for him and her two self-absorbed sisters. She’s had to teach herself to hunt, how to barter for what they need and how to survive in a world so unlike the one she was meant to inhabit. This has made her hard and a little jaded, not to mention focused solely on herself and her own needs (or those of her family). It’s not that I blamed her, as I understand what poverty can do to a person, but it didn’t make her very likable in the beginning. As she settles into life in Prythian and relaxes her guard, I came to enjoy her more. The novel spans several months, which gives us an opportunity to watch her grow and blossom away from the oppressing burdens of her human life. This is the Feyre she was meant to be, but with a core of steel she may have never grown otherwise.

I never really warmed up to Tamlin. He was different than I expected from the way he burst into Feyre’s home and forced her home with him; a bit old fashioned, but very sweet. He encouraged her to find herself and rediscover her love for painting, explore the area and make herself at home. Tamlin had his own agenda. Though he was kind to Feyre, it was obvious he was waiting on something from her. There were also several instances where he came off as very weak, not a warrior, for all his “I kill the bad things” vibes. I didn’t dislike him, necessarily, but I didn’t really like him, either.

Around the 70% mark, Feyre is forced to go Under the Mountain (another Court in Prythian, ruled by an evil faerie) to save Tamlin. This is where the novel really picked up. I loved watching Feyre use her wits and strength to survive and overcome. Still, it was hard to read, because while Feyre survived, parts of her were broken in the process. The latter part of the book was focused pretty much solely on Feyre. She was doing what she was doing for Tamlin, but he wasn’t really involved.

Having said that, I loved how Feyre changed and grew over the course of the book, and I was invested in her romance with Tamlin and her life in Prythian. The world-building and court politics and intrigues were very well done. I loved learning about the different Courts, being introduced to all the Faeries and coming to understand the truth behind Tamlin’s actions. Though this wasn’t a perfect read, I was invested in Feyre and her journey enough to continue reading, even through the slow parts. While it doesn’t necessarily end in a cliffhanger, I did immediately pick up the second book because I needed to see where Feyre’s story headed next.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

A Court of Thorns and Roses

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Light by Nora Roberts

Posted July 9, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Key of Light by Nora RobertsReviewer: Rowena
Key of Light (Key Trilogy, #1) by Nora Roberts
Series: Key Trilogy #1
Publisher: Penguin, Jove
Publication Date: October 28th 2003
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 334
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

The pleasure of your company is desired for cocktails and conversation. 8 pm, 4th September. Warrior's Peak.

When Malory Price is issued with the above invitation she is naturally suspicious, especially as Warrior's Peak is a local mansion straight out of a Hollywood movie. But with her overdraft at crisis limit and on the verge of losing her job at a local art gallery, she has little to lose by attending the event.

Only Malory is about to get more than she bargained for. At Warrior's Peak she finds that she and two other women are the only guests of their mysterious hosts. They are told an amazing story of magic, gods and goddesses; and of three demi-goddesses who have been cast into an eternal sleep, their mortal souls placed under lock and key. And in every generation, three women are born who alone have the power to free them - if they are prepared to accept the challenge.

Three women. Three keys to find. If one fails, they all lose. If they succeed - money, power and a new destiny awaits. It will take more than intellect, more than determination. They will have to open their hearts, their minds, and believe that everything is possible.

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

This review was originally posted on May 8, 2007.

Over the weekend, I forgot my Rock Star book at work and was too lazy to go all the way back to the office (once I got home and noticed my book wasn’t in my bag anymore) to get it so over the weekend I started and finished two books and this was the second book that I finished.

Book One of the Key Trilogy was a good opening for this series. It sparked my interest with the adventure that is presented to these three totally different and totally normal women. It showed a great deal of promise in the overall story and also with the secondary romances that followed.

I loved that all three of the women who were chosen were all so normal, not prissy perfect like regular heroines, they weren’t virginal, they weren’t mega rich and all that, they were your everyday average American women. They lived paycheck to paycheck, they were sometimes overdrawn in the bank, they were….normal.

Another thing I loved about this book is the same thing I loved in The Circle Trilogy, there’s a bigger story being told besides the romance story in these books and in this story, the start of all the other romances in the rest of the series. I love how Nora Roberts can make all of these thing fit perfectly in with everything else that is going on. She never loses me with all of the information pouring through the pages and I always lose myself in her books and in her characters’ lives and just in the story period.

I loved Flynn. I loved Malory and I loved their story. I loved how Malory took things into her own hands and went after the things she wanted, she was open and honest, even when she wasn’t ready, I loved how she threw everything at Flynn and told him to just deal with it.

And he did. I love that Flynn dealt with everything that Malory threw at him and just handled it. I loved that he didn’t shy away from her, even when he was so unsure of them as a couple, of himself as her partner and just handled everything thrown at him, (you know because on top of this new romance with Malory, he had this key thing to deal with as well). He was a strong man and he was a good man, one that loved his sister and loved his life, even though he didn’t think he did. He also loved the woman of his dreams with all that he had and what romantic at heart wouldn’t appreciate that?

Malory was a great heroine. She was smart, beautiful and funny. She was very organized and she had a lot going for her, even after she was canned at her dream job, she reacted like any normal woman would, she cried, she was a jerk to everyone around her and then she let her friends take care of her until she was ready to get back on her feet again and when she did get back on her feet, she was unstoppable.

She was all things I admire in a heroine and I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

I enjoyed the cast of characters that we met in this story, from Dana’s sparkling personality and Zoe’s creative spirit to Jordan’s funny self and his deep blue eyes and Brad’s richy rich handsome and rugged blonde self who had the ability to handle anything given him whether it was a board meeting in a stunning suit or wearing jeans and a shirt and climbing on top of walls to watch the house that he was so obsessed with as a child with his friends. The entire cast was a delight to read and oh dang, how could I forget to mention Rowena and Pitte? Dude, I love that Rowena was so beautiful and in love and just graceful and all things other women envied….hehe, you go girl! =)

Dana’s turn is next (I cheated and looked) and I am very much looking forward to getting to know Jordan Hawke a lot more….this is a great story to read when you’re in the mood for mystery and a little bit of romance thrown in. Good times, I promise, good times.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: When He’s Dark by Suzanne Wright

Posted July 8, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: When He’s Dark by Suzanne WrightWhen He’s Dark by Suzanne Wright
Series: The Olympus Pride #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 334
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Cat shifter Bree Dwyer doesn't fear much. Ironically, what she fears most is the person who was put on the Earth just for her. Your true mate wasn't supposed to be cruel and twisted; wasn't supposed to be someone who’d never love or want to claim you. The rumors that her true mate is dead bring her only relief. Bree's intent on moving forward with her life and building a future with someone else. Sadly, the male she wants most is one she can never have—a hot-as-sin wolverine shifter who happens to be her boss … and the cousin of her predestined mate.

Aleksandr “Alex” Devereaux detests being bullshitted, but he’s been lying to himself for years—pretending he thinks of Bree as extended family; that he doesn't want her so bad he aches with it; that he can't feel himself weakening against her pull. The night they spend together changes everything. He's done fighting himself on what he wants. Someone isn't happy about that. Possibly the same 'someone' who's playing mind games with Bree, trying to scare her. They're succeeding, because too many leads point to the possibility that the culprit could be the one person that she's determined to believe is dead.

I was sad to see the end of the Phoenix Pack and Mercury Pack series, so I’m really glad Wright is doing this off-shoot. We were introduced to characters from the Olympus Pride in previous books, but this book stands alone well.

Bree is a pretty strong Omega, which means she can help others control their emotions. There are several Omegas in the Pride, but though she isn’t Primary, she is the strongest. She’s also the one least likely to put up with other people’s crap, or sugar coat things. As a result, she and the Primary Omega butt heads. Bree knows she’ll either have to take over as Primary or leave, so she’s planning to leave.

Alex Devereaux has other ideas. He’s wanted Bree for years, but he didn’t think she was ready for him. Now it doesn’t matter, he’s determined to make her his. When strange things begin to happen to Bree and she’s almost kidnapped, Alex knows he’s made the right choice. She needs him in all the ways.

I really liked Alex and Bree. They had a fun romance. I didn’t love the external plot. These are always pretty predicable for me and I had everything figured out early on. Still, I liked the romance and the characters enough that it didn’t bother me too much.

3.5 out of 5

Olympus Pride

three-half-stars


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Review: Desolation Road by Christine Feehan

Posted July 6, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 11 Comments

Review: Desolation Road by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Desolation Road by Christine Feehan
Series: Torpedo Ink #4
Also in this series: Judgment Road (Torpedo Ink #1), Judgment Road, Vengeance Road (Torpedo Ink #2), Vendetta Road
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Take the ride of your life with the Torpedo Ink motorcycle club in this thrilling romance novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.    Torpedo Ink is Aleksei “Absinthe” Solokov’s whole life. They’re his brothers, his family—his everything. But that doesn't stop him from wanting something that only belongs to him. That’s why the tough biker has spent the last six weeks at the library, reading every book he can get his hands on and watching the prim and proper librarian who makes his blood rush.    For the past six weeks, Scarlet Foley has been fantasizing about the handsome, tattooed man whose eyes follow her every move. She senses he's dangerous. She wants him to get close enough to touch. She wishes she could let him know the real woman, not the one she pretends to be. But Scarlet has a plan to carry out, and she can’t afford any distractions.   Absinthe is well aware that Scarlet is hiding something. She’s a puzzle he intends to solve, piece by intoxicating piece….

Aleksei “Absinthe” Solokov lives and breathes Torpedo Ink. He, along with his brothers and sisters, survived hell on earth to get where they are today. Absinthe thinks he only needs his family, but that changes when he decides to head to the library for some quiet time. It’s at the library that he lays eyes on her. The Librarian. For six weeks he travels between Caspar and the library, all to spend time in the same building as the woman that suddenly and irrevocably caught his eye. Absinthe knows he’s not a good man. Not even that is going to keep him away from the woman that brings his body to life, for the first time in his entire life.

Scarlet Foley has noticed Absinthe in her library. How can she not notice the gorgeous, tattooed stranger that has been coming in for six weeks. Scarlet never thought she would find a man that would intrigue her like Absinthe has. Her feelings about him are irrelevant because Scarlet has someone after her. She promised herself years ago that she would never be put in a position again where someone she loved would get hurt. Scarlet has a past that she’s hiding and she won’t let anyone get close enough to find out her secrets. Until Absinthe.

Their attraction is mutual and fiery. Scarlet never thought that she would find a man that would be her equal in all aspects of life, but that’s exactly what she’s found with Absinthe. What she doesn’t expect is the demons that he has in his past and still carries with him in the present. Absinthe doesn’t want to burden Scarlet with his past and so it seems that the relationship will not work after all. Scarlet wants an equal partner and Absinthe is apparently not going to be that person. Then he tells her everything. Well, almost everything.

As they’re getting to know each other, Absinthe knows that Scarlet isn’t as she seems. She’s not just the sexy librarian that he was first attracted to. She never lets her back face the door, she carries weapons, and she’s more than cautious about her surroundings. Of course, Torpedo Ink being who and what they are, they find out her secrets. Absinthe is appalled when he learns about her past. He would have preferred to learn it from Scarlet herself, but they can’t afford to wait to find out in their line of business. Armed with all the information he has on her, Absinthe can now protect her. And protect her he will.

This was my least favorite book of the series. To say that I hated it would be harsh, but it was so freaking close to hate. Each member of Torpedo Ink have their own horror stories about what they had to go through growing up in Russia. Absinthe had a fetish that carried over from those days. View Spoiler » Like WTAF. This book made me realize that Feehan’s writing has been subtly changing over the last few books. There are some things she won’t touch and sometimes she goes way overboard. Will the real Christine Feehan please stand up?

I always enjoy going back to the Torpedo Ink world, I just didn’t enjoy this book as much as I was expecting to. I really liked Absinthe in the previous books. He was incredibly intriguing and I couldn’t wait to read his book. Now I wish I hadn’t.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Torpedo Ink

two-stars


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