Tag: Romance

Review: Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

Posted October 25, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Forbidden by Beverly JenkinsReviewer: Holly
Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins
Series: Old West #1
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 389
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
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns with the first book in a breathtaking new series set in the Old West

Rhine Fontaine is building the successful life he's always dreamed of—one that depends upon him passing for White. But for the first time in years, he wishes he could step out from behind the façade. The reason: Eddy Carmichael, the young woman he rescued in the desert. Outspoken, defiant, and beautiful, Eddy tempts Rhine in ways that could cost him everything . . . and the price seems worth paying.

Eddy owes her life to Rhine, but she won't risk her heart for him. As soon as she's saved enough money from her cooking, she'll leave this Nevada town and move to California. No matter how handsome he is, no matter how fiery the heat between them, Rhine will never be hers. Giving in for just one night might quench this longing. Or it might ignite an affair as reckless and irresistible as it is forbidden . . .

My book club chose Forbidden for this month. I am not a fan of historical Westerns in general. I did really enjoy this one, however. As a friend pointed out, this felt more like a small-town contemporary romance set in the old West, rather than a true Western. While that may not appeal to some, it definitely appealed to me.

I really loved Eddy. She was such a smart, capable woman who stood by her convictions and worked hard for a better future, I easily connected with her. She stood up for herself and wasn’t willing to compromise her ethics or morals, which was lovely. She also had a great sense of humor.

I didn’t care for Rhine as much. I’m not exactly sure why Eddy was fixated on him. She didn’t seem the type to be swayed by the physical only, yet I didn’t see much of a connection between them outside of good ol’ sexual chemistry. He did do a lot of good for the community, but he was such an ass that I really had a hard time liking him.

Forbidden is a well-written, easy-to-read novel. I loved the town, the secondary characters, and Eddy. I even liked the romance. I just wished she’d ended up with someone else.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Old West

four-stars


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Review: Sarazen’s Fury by Isabel Wroth

Posted October 6, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Sarazen’s Fury by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Sarazen's Fury by Isabel Wroth
Series: Sarazen Saga #5
Also in this series: Sarazen's Claim, Sarazen's Vengeance, Sarazen's Betrayal, Sarazen's Hunt
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 28, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Happy For Now, Continuing Story Arc
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 219
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

-YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

With Tarek away on a hunting trip, and T’mai gone off to round up more of the uncovered conspirators, Brennaugh is the only one qualified to provide assistance when an entire squadron of his best men go missing on S4. Four days. He should have only been gone for four days. He gave his word.

-PLEASE DON’T LET GO.

Tara awakens from a nightmare to discover her worst fears have come true. The rescue party has been ambushed, and Brennaugh has been captured by their enemy. Tara knows Brennaugh is still alive—she can feel him—but all she can sense through their bond is white hot primal fear and anger. Ignoring all protests about concerns for her safety, Tara joins the reinforcements on S4, determined to find her mate and bring him home.

Tara was one of the original humans rescued from the Starsong. She was reluctant to be mated to Brennaugh, a scarred and fierce warrior, but four years later she could not be happier with him. When he’s called off-planet to find some missing soldiers, Tara agrees to wait for him. But when he doesn’t return and his crew believes he’s gone feral, Tara knows she’s the only one who can save him.

I really liked Tara and how she handled everything that was thrown at her in this novel. She didn’t buckle under the stress and in fact came out shining on the other end. My heart hurt for her and what she had to deal with from Brennaugh’s mom and family, but I loved how protective she was of him and her pregnancy. I also loved how Brennaugh loved her, and how he realized his mistakes and apologized to her.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sarazen Saga

four-stars


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Review: Sarazen’s Hunt by Isabel Wroth

Posted October 5, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sarazen’s Hunt by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Sarazen's Hunt by Isabel Wroth
Series: Sarazen Saga #4
Also in this series: Sarazen's Claim, Sarazen's Vengeance, Sarazen's Betrayal, Sarazen's Fury
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Happy For Now, Continuing Story Arc
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 392
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

-GOOD LUCK ON THE HUNT. Newly-appointed Commander Kalix has been tasked with a crucial mission for the Sarazen race: discover the fates of the remaining human starships, and bring home the survivors—if there are any left, that is… His crew come upon the wrecked remains of the Sestrenka, and the chattering captain’s logs set them on the trail of a human colony established over twenty years ago. Moika, the hope of the starbound human race. But as Kalix and his warriors grow closer in their search, the distress signals show there is something terribly wrong on Moika. Something deathly wrong.

-LEAVE NO SKIN EXPOSED. Alec, Firstborn Moika, is a hardened young woman and the defacto leader of the colony on Moika—because all that remain are she, her sister, and a ragtag band of Moika-born children. The hostile natives who dwell in the water, known only as “Scylla,” have decimated the colony’s population. When all hope seems lost, the Sarazen appear and offer the survivors sanctuary: an end to their suffering, an end to the running, and an end to the killings. A return to civilization. But for Alec, who spent most of her life herding and protecting the colony, it’s a bittersweet rescue. All she’s known is fighting but suddenly the gauzy promise of peace is dangled in front of her. Will the deep anger she feels at being an outsider ever subside?

When Tarek retired from active service to be with his mate, Kalix was promoted to fill his role as Commander. Kalix has been tasked with finding the remaining 4 Earthen ships. When he discovers the wrecked remains of the Sestrenka, he fears all is lost. Until he finds transmissions from the planet Moika and realizes there are at least some of the survivors.

Of the 2000 settlers who were left on Moika, only a handful of children remain. Alec, a firstborn Moika, has been their defacto leader since she was 16 and the last of the adults were murdered by hostile water-dwelling native creatures. They’ve had to fight for survival for so long, she feels lost and alone once they’re rescued. Dealing with grief over the loss of her sister, and the devastating realization that she and Kalix were mates, but he left her behind on purpose, Alec doesn’t know what to do with herself. She’s so used to caring for everyone and keeping everyone alive, she’s at odds now that they’re all safe and cared for.

I really loved how fierce and protective Alec was. My heart broke for her at the beginning of the novel, and her continued grief really got me as the story went on. I loved how she used her anger to fuel her, but managed to be caring and loving (in a gruff sort of way) to the children she helped raise on Moika. I also loved how she pushed Kalix and made him see things from her perspective. The overarching storyline from previous books was furthered here, and I enjoyed the twists and turns.

I don’t feel like I’m really doing these books justice with my reviews. The world is very complex and there are a lot of moving parts.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sarazen Saga

four-stars


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Review: Sarazen’s Betrayal by Isabel Wroth

Posted October 1, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Sarazen’s Betrayal by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Sarazen's Betrayal by Isabel Wroth
Series: Sarazen Saga #3
Also in this series: Sarazen's Claim, Sarazen's Vengeance, Sarazen's Hunt, Sarazen's Fury
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 306
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Cassie had come to Saraz with the promise of a new life, a new home, and a mate who would cherish and adore her always. The first two promises have been fulfilled, but as the new pride leaders settle into their rule, the threat to the lives of the human hybrid mates escalates. As the pressure to solve the mystery increases, Cassie's mate does less adoring and less cherishing. Leaving her alone to fend for herself day after day. Leaving her alone to doubt the truth.

Falken's hunt for the identities of the traitors threatening his mate and the lives of all the human hybrids who now call Saraz home, has taken him far longer than anticipated. Sleepless nights spent digging through what feels like insurmountable amounts of data have become nights spent away from Cassie. Leaving her to doubt their bond. To doubt him.

While they grow closer to identifying the traitors, Cassie and Falken grow farther and farther apart. Betrayal rocks the pride and in its wake, the realization that the threat is far closer to home than they realized. As the shock of that betrayal settles, can Cassie and Falken repair what has been broken between them? Or will the traitors take advantage of their fractured bond and destroy the pride?

Warning: This review contains spoilers. Please read the Content Warnings!

Cassie was born on the Starsong, one of 5 ships launched from Earth with what remained of the human race. Because resources aboard the ship are finite, population control was enforced. Only those women who had the highest IQs were allowed to breed, while all the other women were sterilized. Cassie scored so high she was chosen as the one to birth the next generation aboard the ship. Only they didn’t want to wait for her to carry each child to term, so they sedated her and removed her eggs instead, using surrogates to carry the babies to term. In an effort to protect herself from more emotional trauma, she closed herself off from everyone else aboard the ship and spent most of her time alone. When they’re attacked by a vicious alien race, it’s only by chance that Cassie is saved, along with a handful of others.

When they’re rescued by a passing alien ship, and Cassie is told she’s been mated to one of the warriors, she’s less-than-thrilled, for obvious reasons. Only Falken slowly wins her over by treating her with respect and making it known that he cares for her happiness above all else.

Until they arrive on his home planet, when he disappears for work and she rarely sees him. She sees how the others treat their mates and can only conclude Falken is unhappy being with her.

Falken doesn’t realize how his absences are hurting Cassie until he underestimates her intelligence and she asks for a divorce, something those of his race have never heard of before. Realizing his mistake, he’s determined to prove to Cassie that she’s everything to him. Only she’s been hurt too many times, and there may be no forgiveness in her.

I actually liked Cassie the least going into this book, but I was firmly on her side once we realized what had happened to her in the past and how Falken made her feel. She was angry and sarcastic, but those were defense mechanisms and honestly warranted where Falken was concerned.

I was really enjoying their story. Cassie was learning to open up to him, and Falken was learning not to take advantage of her or take her for granted. Because of her past, Cassie’s independence was important to her, and having her choices taken away was a trigger.

Which is why the book completely lost me when Falken spanks Cassie for a dumb decision she made. Not as part of a sexual encounter, but as punishment. As if she were an errant child. The worst part? Aside from some mild embarrassment, Cassie doesn’t really seem to care. And again later, when she’s treated like a child by him and others, she just shrugs it off. It was so out of character and made me so angry, I nearly quit reading there. The only reason I kept going was to find out how a certain part of the overarching story played out.

Up until that point, this was my favorite book of the series. That scene and the one that followed completely ruined the story for me. I’m sad and disappointed it turned out this way. I wanted better for Cassie.

Rating: 2.75 out of 5

Sarazen Saga

two-half-stars


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Review: Sarazen’s Vengeance by Isabel Wroth

Posted September 29, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Sarazen’s Vengeance by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Sarazen's Vengeance by Isabel Wroth
Series: Sarazen Saga #2
Also in this series: Sarazen's Claim, Sarazen's Betrayal, Sarazen's Hunt, Sarazen's Fury
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 7, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 153
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Book 1.1 of the Sarazen Saga This book is part of a SERIES. It could be read alone and enjoyed as is. Suggested to be read following Book 1, Sarazen's Claim. There is a happy ending, but as this is part of a SERIES, the ever after part comes later. Not a cliffhanger so much as a continuation.

Having gone from invisible engineering personnel, to one of the few remaining human survivors, Andi Starsong is struggling to acclimate to her new situation. She's been identified as a potential mate by one of the hulking Sarazen warriors, and if that wasn't terrifying enough, he's come to claim her.

Ohlen's little mate is terrified of him. Despite having done everything he can think of to put her at ease, Andi shies from him each time he so much as glances his way. He can no longer deny the roaring of his beast, the instinct that tells him she is in danger. He has no choice. He must claim her.

When the warship reaches Sarazen territory, Ohlen and Andi must navigate their blossoming bond and the danger of the treachery brewing within the pride. Treachery that could destroy more than just their bond.

There is a lot of dark content in this series. Please review the Content Warnings before reading this review and/or the series.

Sarazen’s Vengeance by Isabel Wroth is the 2nd book in the Sarazen Saga. Originally this was listed as a 1.1 novel, but the author updated it recently. This story starts out concurrently with the previous, which means there is a lot of overlap in the story. I felt like we got pretty much everything we needed from the first book, so the overlap was just frustrating. Having said that, I liked Andi and Ohlen enough that I was able to read through it.

Andi has been brutalized her entire life. Every year on her birthday since her 16th, one of her superior officers corners her and rapes her. She is powerless to stop him aboard the Starsong, and being rescued by a giant warrior race isn’t exactly comforting to her. Especially when one of them claims she is his mate. But Ohlen isn’t like the other males she’s known; he’s kind and patient, and makes sure she feels safe and wanted. He’s also able to give her something no one else can – Strength. a transfusion of his blood will allow her to become a shapeshifter, which means she never has to be weak or powerless again.

I really loved how sweet Ohlen was with Andi. The other males were all kind of chauvinists, but Ohlen didn’t try to railroad Andi or keep secrets from her. He was open and honest from the beginning, and wanted nothing more than her to find happiness. I loved how she came to trust him, and how he was available to her at all times, because that’s what she needed.

Despite how cute they were together, I found the first part of the novel to be rather boring, since it was just a repeat of what we’d already read in the first book. Things picked up more when they went planet-side.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Sarazen Saga

three-half-stars


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