Tag: Reviews

Review: Say It’s Forever by A.L. Jackson

Posted May 16, 2022 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Say It’s Forever by A.L. JacksonReviewer: Casee
Say It's Forever by A. L. Jackson
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Joe Arden
Series: Redemption Hills #2
Also in this series: Give Me a Reason
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 28, 2022
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 414
Length: 11 hours and 33 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Jud Lawson found me stranded in the rain.
Broken down on the side of the road in a deserted neighborhood with my piece of crap car.
I wasn't looking for a hero, and definitely not one who looks like him.
An obscenely hot, mountain-of-a-man who screams danger.
But I have little choice other than climbing onto the back of his bike.

One look at Salem Aguilar, and I'm hooked.
The girl is devastation wrapped in a black, seductive bow.
A knockout.
A dream.
Turns out, she needs a job, and I need the help.
Now I have a vixen strutting around my shop, and I'm the fool who's itching to reach out and take what he can't have.

But neither of us can ignore the burning attraction.
The fire that leads to a kiss.
A kiss that has us falling into my bed.
The connection that has me wanting the one thing I'd never thought I could have again.
Because monsters like me don't deserve love.

Only Salem has a secret, too.
She's been running for years, and her past just caught up to us...

Salem Aguilar is on the run from a husband that wants her dead. After four years of running, her brother talked her into coming to Redemption Hills & starting over. To say that Salem is nervous about staying in one place is an understatement. She has been on the run for so long, it’s hard for her to stay in one place for very long. It was a rainy night when her car broke down and her knight came to the rescue. Initially she’s very wary of Jud, which isn’t surprising. She learns that not only is a he a good person, but he is a genuinely good human. That doesn’t mean she’ll take a handout, so she talks Jud into letting her work for him in his office.

Jud is tortured af. He lost the thing that meant the most to him in this world. For years he’s been waiting, hoping that his ex-wife will bring his daughter back to him. Letting Salem and her little girl into his life is something that he is very leery of, but he can’t stay away from Salem anymore than he can stop himself from loving her little girl.

I read this book when it first came out, then I listened to it on audio. Andi Arndt & Joe Arden are two of my favorite narrators, so I was really excited to listen to it. It didn’t disappoint, in fact the audio was better. I really feel that I’m not doing this book justice in this review. It’s been a minute since I read it, but I still remember that it stayed with me for days after. Salem is such a strong female character. She’s been keeping herself & her daughter safe for the last four years. Jud wants to take some of the burden off her, but she doesn’t know how to let him.

I loved Jud & Salem together. I loved being able to see Trent, Eden, Gage, & Logan. I am so excited for Logan’s book!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Redemption Hills

four-half-stars


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Review: Magic Redeemed by K.M. Shea

Posted May 11, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Redeemed by K.M. SheaReviewer: Holly
Magic Redeemed by K.M. Shea
Series: Hall of Blood and Mercy #2
Also in this series: Magic Forged
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 20, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 284
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I thought life would be easier after I unsealed my magic. Spoiler: it’s not.

I want to free my family from my traitorous cousin, but with all the allies he’s got guarding his back, even my new powers won’t be enough to beat him. My best bet is to use my parents’ signet ring to prove my claim of leadership.

There’s just one problem…

I can’t find it!

Things aren’t looking so good for my vampire housemates, either. As Killian Drake’s conflicts with the fae get worse, it's clear that war will break out soon if something doesn’t change.

Plus, Killian has gotten really weird about smelling me and invading my personal space. Every time he comes near my heart almost pops out of my chest, but I’m sure that’s just terror caused by being so close to the most feared vampire in the region.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

So, I’m a wizard searching for a ring while trying to survive living with a bunch of vampires and their deadly and suddenly touchy-feely leader. Yeah, life is definitely not easier.

Hall of Blood and Mercy is an urban fantasy trilogy featuring all your favorite vampires, wizards, fae, and werewolves. It’s packed with humor, adventure, and a sweet, slow burn romance between a vertically challenged wizard and the most lethal vampire in town.

Much has changed for Hazel since she fled her house and sought refuge with the vampires. She has regained the full use of her magic and learned to fight and protect those she loves, but she still hasn’t figured out how to take her house back. The signet ring she needs to prove her identity has gone missing, and the council won’t swear her in as head of her house without it. Her traitorous cousin is still after her and she hates that her family is suffering while she figures out what to do.

To make matters worse, Killian is having trouble with the Fae, and there’s a good chance he’s going to war. As his vassal, Hazel will have to go to war with him, which means further putting her house at risk. If that wasn’t bad enough, Killian has also been really weird around her.

There was a lot of filler in this book that felt unnecessary to me. I wish this book had been better edited. So much could have been left out. I liked the progression of the story. Hazel’s training and her determination to figure out her magic was good. I also like Killian and his vampires.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Hall of Blood and Mercy

three-half-stars


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Review: Magic Forged by K.M. Shea

Posted May 9, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Magic Forged by K.M. SheaReviewer: Holly
Magic Forged by K.M. Shea
Series: Hall of Blood and Mercy #1
Also in this series: Magic Redeemed
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 28, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 263
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I'm one scrappy wizard. As someone with barely a flicker of magic, I've spent my life being mocked and surviving fights with bullies. But when my parents die in an accident, and I find myself responsible for our whole wizard house and family, I know my usual tactics aren't going to cut it.

The situation veers from bad to catastrophic when my backstabbing cousin stages a coup and takes my family hostage. I barely manage to flee, but the only supernatural willing to help me is Killian Drake - the most feared vampire in the region, and a far more deadly villain than the jerk threatening my family.

Is Killian sexy and charismatic? Heck yeah.

He's also so powerful that my flight or fight instincts kick in every time our eyes meet. And he's definitely using me as his personal magic detector in his feud against the local fae.

But Killian is also the first person to believe I might have more than just a scrap of magic. And if I can convince him to train me, I might get strong enough to free my family and get my house back.

I'm not sure what happens when a scrappy wizard is taught how to fight by a hall of deadly vampires, but I'm about to find out.

Magic Forged is the first book in the Hall of Blood and Mercy trilogy, which features vampires, wizards, fae, and werewolves. It's packed with humor, adventure, and a sweet, slow burn romance between a vertically challenged wizard and the most lethal vampire in town.

Magic Formed by K.M. Shea is the first book in the Hall of Blood and Mercy series, which is set in the world of Magiford, a Supernatural City in the Midwest. I read the Crown of Shadows trilogy last year, which is set in this world, but comes later in the timeline. I enjoyed the world enough to go back and start here.

Hazel is a member of one of the oldest Wizard Houses in the Midwest. Her parents were well-respected and loved, but she’s an outcast because she’s a magical dud. When her parents are killed in a car accident she has to become the head of the house as the only bloodline descendant. The fate of her house and her family rest solely on her shoulders. Unfortunately, members of her house don’t think she’s the best choice for the job and stage a coup. She’s forced to flee to save her life and those of the rest of her family members. She ends up the only place she knows she’ll be safe from those who would kill her or force her into marriage….with the Vampires. Killian Drake is the most feared vampire in the region. He keeps all of the other vampires in check, and there’s no way members of her family will attack him to get to her. As a vassal of his house, she’s required to serve in his household and render aid as he requests, but it’s worth it to buy some time to figure out her next steps.

Living with Killian and his vampires isn’t what she thought it would be. They train Hazel to fight and teach her to use her small amount of magic in ways she never anticipated. They also convince her that she may have more magic than she’s aware of. As Hazel tries to figure out how to save her house and navigate vampire politics, it soon becomes apparent there’s more to Killian than meets the eye…and he seems to be focused on her.

I struggled with the pacing a bit. There were times when it seems like nothing was happening and it was a chore to get through a chapter, then things would pick up and I’d read a 1/4 of the book before I realized it. Hazel’s desire to save her house was on the backburner for most of the book, which was strange to me considering that was the whole premise of the series. That aside, I did like the book. Hazel’s training was interesting to read about and I liked the mystery of Killian and what he was up to.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Hall of Blood and Mercy

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Scoundrel’s Daughter by Anne Gracie

Posted May 2, 2022 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Scoundrel’s Daughter by Anne GracieReviewer: Tracy
The Scoundrel's Daughter by Anne Gracie
Series: The Brides of Bellaire Gardens #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 336
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When Lady Charlton is forced into becoming London's most reluctant matchmaker, sparks fly and romance ensues, from the national bestselling author of Marry in Scarlet.

Alice, Lady Charlton, is finally free of her dominating husband, but on the verge of her new life, she is trapped when a blackmailer threatens to publish letters that could ruin her. To protect the secrets of her past Alice must find a lord for his daughter, Lucy, to marry.

Alice reluctantly agrees to find the girl a noble husband but when Lucy arrives, she's difficult and uncooperative and has no interest in her father's scheme. A lord, she says, will only look down his nose at her—and she's having none of that!

Desperate to retrieve the letters, Alice enlists the aid of her handsome young nephew, Gerald, who in turn seeks the help of his former commanding officer, James, Lord Tarrant. James is soon beguiled by the marriage-averse widow and sets out to change her mind. And each time they meet, Gerald and Lucy strike sparks off each other.

To find happiness, Alice and Lucy will have to be brave and trust in each other and the men who are attempting to win their hearts.

Alice is thrilled to be alone.  She doesn’t have much money, but she’d rather that then what she had when her husband was alive.  Alice’s deceased husband was an ass (hereafter referred to as The Ass).  He belittled and denigrated Alice at every turn, especially in public.  He was horrid and when he died, he left most of his wealth to his mistress.

Alice is happy, despite her financial situation, until she receives a visit from a Mr. Bamber.  He is in possession of letters that The Ass wrote to his mistress.  In these letters The Ass wrote horrible things about Alice, even about their time in bed together during their marriage, that are most embarrassing. Bamber states he will release these letters to the public if Alice doesn’t do what he wants – which is to have Alice bring out his daughter in society.  Not wanting the letters to get out, Alice agrees.

After a rough start, Alice and Lucy soon start making the rounds of balls and routs to introduce Lucy to society.  Lucy is introduced as Alice’s goddaughter so this put’s Alice’s nephew’s guard up since he’s never heard of Lucy. While Gerald is looking into Lucy, Gerald’s commanding office when he was in the Army, James, has set his sights on Alice.  Of course after the marriage she had, Alice has no desire to marry again, ever.

This was my second time reading this story.  I liked Alice so very much and my heart went out to her.  After 18 years with The Ass she was done with marriage for good.  James really had his work cut out for him in trying to woo her.  He was a father to three girls, and I loved how much he cared for them.  They really came first for him and that was obvious to the reader.  I thought that Alice and James made a great couple though I felt their romance was on the slim side.  He saw her and decided she was The One and it moved quickly from there.  I did enjoy reading about their time together, but it was fast.

Lucy and Gerald were also perfect for each other.  Unfortunately, I felt there was even less of a romance between these two.  They argued constantly and then they were kissing and getting engaged.  Granted, Lucy thought it was a fake engagement, but only Gerald knew it was real. While we got to know Lucy, I didn’t feel like I knew Gerald all that much by the end of the book.

Despite my issues with the romances the overall setting and tone and writing in the book kept my attention and I enjoyed the story.  I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Brides of Bellaire Gardens

three-half-stars


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Review: Bombshell by Sarah Maclean

Posted April 27, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Bombshell by Sarah MacleanReviewer: Holly
Bombshell by Sarah MacLean
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Series: Hell's Belles #1
Publisher: Harper Collins, Avon
Publication Date: August 24, 2021
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 394
Length: 10 hours and 6 minutes
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean returns with a blazingly sexy, unapologetically feminist new series, Hell’s Belles, beginning with a bold, bombshell of a heroine, able to dispose of a scoundrel—or seduce one—in a single night.

After years of living as London’s brightest scandal, Lady Sesily Talbot has embraced the reputation and the freedom that comes with the title. No one looks twice when she lures a gentleman into the dark gardens beyond a Mayfair ballroom…and no one realizes those trysts are not what they seem.

No one, that is, but Caleb Calhoun, who has spent years trying not to notice his best friend’s beautiful, brash, brilliant sister. If you ask him, he’s been a saint about it, considering the way she looks at him…and the way she talks to him…and the way she’d felt in his arms during their one ill-advised kiss.

Except someone has to keep Sesily from tumbling into trouble during her dangerous late-night escapades, and maybe close proximity is exactly what Caleb needs to get this infuriating, outrageous woman out of his system. But now Caleb is the one in trouble, because he’s fast realizing that Sesily isn’t for forgetting…she’s forever. And forever isn’t something he can risk.

Bombshell is the first book in a spinoff of Maclean’s Scandal & Scoundrel series. I purchased the ebook, then requested the audiobook from the library since I have a long commute every day. I really like the narrator, Mary Jane Wells. I did struggle with the first couple chapters of the audiobook because there are a lot of characters and names that are introduced or discussed. Since I didn’t read the original series, I wasn’t familiar with any of them and it was confusing trying to keep everyone straight. After the first few chapters I easily fell into the story. I ended up switching between the ebook and the audiobook.

As much as this is the start of a new series, I do feel like I was missing some key information by not reading the previous Talbot sisters’ books. I may go back and read the series just to catch up.

I really enjoyed Sesily. She’s woman comfortable with herself and not afraid to go after what she wants. I loved her friendship with the other Hell’s Belles, and how they worked behind the scenes to fight injustices. I also liked that she didn’t take responsibility for the actions of anyone else.

I also enjoyed Caleb. He was able to hold his own against Sesily, which was good considering what a strong personality she had. I did become frustrated with the way his “big secret” was hinted at over and over again, but not revealed. That’s a personal preference. I don’t like when the reader is kept in the dark, especially since I had already guessed most of it. The romance was sweet, but honestly it was Sesily and the Belles who stole the show.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars


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