Tag: Self-Published

Review: Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross

Posted July 21, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Waking the Dragon by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross
Series: Vale of Stars #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 255
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The Gladium Province is on the verge of civil unrest as humans and Morgons, the dragon-hybrid race, clash once more. But amid disorder can also arise passion.

When the bodies of three human women are discovered in Morgon territory—with the DNA of several Morgon men on the victims—it’s just a matter of time before civil unrest hits the Province. But for ambitious reporter Moira Cade, it’s more than just a story, and it may mean risking her own life.

Descending into the dark underworld of Morgon society, Moira is paired with Kol Moonring, Captain of the Morgon Guard, for her protection. Fiercely independent, Moira bristles at his dominance, and defies his will at every turn. Yet resistance proves futile when passion flares between them, awakening powerful emotions within both, body and soul. But as the killings continue, can their fiery newfound bond survive an even greater evil—one that threatens all of humanity, Morgonkind, and Moira’s very soul?...

Waking the Dragon by Juliette Cross is the first book in the Vale of Stars series, a spinoff of the Nightwing series, which I have not read. I definitely felt like I was missing some key pieces of information by starting with this series.

Moira Cade is a college student studying investigative journalism. When several young women turn up dead over the course of several months, Moira knows there’s more to the story than the Morgon and Human Guards are saying. With the help of a friend who works at the precinct, she’s investigating on her own. When she realizes the victims are all disappearing from Morgon games, she enlists the help of her brother-in-law and his security team to help her infiltrate them. She’s partnered with Kol Moonring, the Captain of the Morgon Guard. He’s over-bearing and possessive, but Moira just wants to focus on building her career.

On the surface this was an okay story, but below the surface it was kind of a mess. Moira is only 20 and a human. Yet she is the only one who figures out what’s happening with the murdered girls? A bunch of over-protective dragons agree to let a human girl investigate and act as bait for a murderous cult? None of that made sense. Add to it the fact that Moira was all, “I don’t need no man” until all of a sudden she did need a man and it was over for me. I may have felt differently if I’d read the previous series, but mostly this book just annoyed me.

I am interested in some of the secondary characters, and I enjoy Cross’ writing, so I may try another book in the series before moving on.

2.75 out of 5

Vale of Stars

two-half-stars


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Review: Gypsy King by Devney Perry

Posted June 30, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Gypsy King by Devney PerryReviewer: Casee
Gypsy King by Devney Perry
Series: Tin Gypsy #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 14, 2021
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 404
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The former Tin Gypsy motorcycle club has everyone in Clifton Forge, Montana convinced they’ve locked their clubhouse doors and ripped off their patches. Everyone but Bryce Ryan. There’s more happening at the club’s garage than muscle car restorations and Harley rebuilds. Her instincts are screaming there’s a story—one she’s going to tell.

As the new owner of the small town’s newspaper, Bryce is hungry for more than birth announcements and obituaries. When a woman is brutally killed and all signs point to the Tin Gypsies, Bryce is determined to expose the club and their leader, Kingston “Dash” Slater, as murderers.

Bryce bests Dash match after match, disappointed her rugged and handsome opponent turns out to be an underwhelming adversary. Secrets are exposed. Truths defeat lies. Bryce is poised to win this battle in a landslide.

Then Dash breaks all the rules and tips the scales.

One kiss, and she’s fighting to save more than just her story. She’s fighting to save her heart from the Gypsy King.

I started out reading this book but ended up listening to it on audio. I had a real problem getting into it. I got to chapter six and almost DNFed it. The heroine is a reporter. Reporters aren’t my favorite people so I had a mental block from the beginning. Then she got worse. It seemed like all she cared was getting the story on the front page of the paper, not finding out the truth. I’m really happy that I continued because it turned out to be a (mostly) great book.

The Tin Gypsy MC closed it doors a year prior. The club was going in a direction that President Dash Slater didn’t like. When they disbanded it was with the expectation that that part of their lives were over. They were law abiding, tax paying citizens. The violence that has been apart of their lives for so long was no longer a thing. Then there is a murder in Clifton Forge & the evidence points right to Dash’s father, Draven.

Bryce Ryan has just moved back to Clifton Forge from Seattle to work at her family’s newspaper. A hotshot in the Seattle TV anchor scene, Bryce was ready for a change when she goes home. She discovers pretty quickly that the town isn’t without its’ problems. When Draven Slater is arrested for the murder of a woman, Bryce is determined to tell the story. My problem with Bryce at the beginning was that she wanted the story so badly that she forgot all else. She was fine using people, including Dash.

Bryce has met her match in Dash. Initially enemies, these two soon find that they have much more in common than they thought. Bryce realizes that the case may not be exactly what it seemed to be. Dash knows his dad didn’t murder anyone and is determined to prove it with or without Bryce’s help. They make a pact to share all information. If Dash withholds anything, Bryce will do a full expose about the Tin Gypsies.

While working together it doesn’t take long for both of them to realize that there is more afoot than just murder. What seemed cut and dried actually goes back further than any of them know. They only have a limited amount of time to find the real killer before Draven goes to jail. While doing that, they are uncovering secrets about Clifton Forge and the Tin Gypsies. Secrets that people would kill for.

I was fully prepared to give this book a 4 out of 5. Then View Spoiler » It was so unnecessary that it just ruined most of the book for me. I wish DP hadn’t gone in that direction. There didn’t seem to be a reason for it at all.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Tin Gypsy

three-stars


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Series Review: The Disciples by Cassandra Robbins

Posted June 14, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Series Review: The Disciples by Cassandra RobbinsReviewer: Casee
Lethal by Cassandra Robbins
Series: The Disciples #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 15, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 330
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Blade McCormick is not a nice guy.

He’s pure adrenaline and smells like smoke and leather—the kind of guy you look at and know he’s going to be a combination of nasty and irresistible. The moment I allowed myself to touch his hot skin and kiss his full lips, I. Was. Done.

Like currency, I’ve become part of a transaction. Blade took me to pay off a debt. I try to tell myself, Eve, you should hate him. He’s a bad guy. But then again, I’m not a good girl. Blade’s the president of the Disciples, the notorious motorcycle club. I should be frightened, yet somehow, he doesn’t scare me. If anything, I think I scare him.
It takes a lot of work to become the club’s Queen, but I’ll stop at nothing to have the King!

LETHAL

I’ve been heavily into MC romances for the last six months or so. They had never really been on my radar. Then Kristen Ashley burst into my life and that was that. So here we are, yet another MC series. I’m always happy to find a new author.

When Eve was 16, she met Blade. She didn’t know who he was, but she did try to stab him for getting into her space. Fast forward to when she’s 18. Blade has come back for her. He brands (brands!) her on her neck with the ring of the Disciples. I could barely stomach that, but I rallied on.

What I can’t get past is View Spoiler ». Not only that, but she has no remorse about it. While I very much enjoyed the characters and the storyline itself, I had a problem with Eve. A big one.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Series Review: The Disciples by Cassandra RobbinsAtone by Cassandra Robbins
Series: The Disciples #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 15, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 310
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

I don’t apologize or regret the destruction I’m about to cause. I’m at peace with what I must do… nothing can or will stand in my way. Not even the raven-haired beauty with golden eyes who haunts my dreams.No one is innocent in the story of my life. Fairy tales don’t exist!I. Make. No. Excuses.Everyone needs to atone, and I’m the man who is going to see to it.

ATONE

We didn’t get to know David in Lethal. All we knew was that his daughter was caught up in the MC’s drug war and was killed. David left his cut and his bike the day he learned of her death. Now he’s back and the first person he runs into is the one he hoped not to see.

I really did like Charlie and David. This is one of the better books in the series because it’s just so raw. David’s emotions are on right there on the page and I found myself wondering what I would do if I lost a child. It’s unimaginable.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Series Review: The Disciples by Cassandra RobbinsRepent by Cassandra Robbins
Series: The Disciples #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 6, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

There are two sides to every story.

I fell in love with a redheaded boy, a boy who was kind and good.

Until he wasn’t.

He broke my heart once, twice… I’ve lost count. Like a dark god, he haunts me. He smells like smoke and cinnamon, with danger seeping from every pore. He is my savior, my lover, exciting and addictive.

I should’ve seen it coming…

Never trust a Disciple. You have to sell your soul to the devil to get one to love you. I would.

I did.

My name is Dolores Dunghart and I might have done the unforgivable.

I don’t care if you judge me… I’ve judged myself.

But this is how we live.

And this is our love story.

Edge and Dolly forever.

REPENT

We finally get Edge and Dolly’s backstory. Man that’s some fucked up shit right there. I honestly have no idea what Edge saw in Dolly. She was a shrew that tried to stab him. Yes, you read that right. She tried to stab him. Dolly was jealous, vindictive, and childish. This one was hard to read. Edge was amazing but Dolly? Meh.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Series Review: The Disciples by Cassandra RobbinsIgnite by Cassandra Robbins
Series: The Disciples #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 13, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Casee's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

ANTOINETTEAxel Fontaine has a giant…At least that’s what everyone says. Unfortunately, it’s true.

All. Of. It.

He’s dangerous, scary, and addictive. Without a doubt, the last person I should fall for is the VP of the Disciples MC.

I’m out of my league.He’s a six-foot-four, blue-eyed biker god.

I’m an ex-ballerina turned stripper who should run away.

But how do you escape the one man who ignites your body and consumes your very soul?

Axel doesn’t do relationships. But I’m betting on ME to change his mind.

AXELI don’t do relationships. I don’t do drama, and I definitely don’t do love.

I’m not Prince Charming. I’m the VP of the Disciples and the club is my family. The last thing I need is a violet-eyed enchantress who smells like candy and has some sort of voodoo chemistry that’s messing with my mind.

She needs to go. She’s a distraction…a weakness I can’t have. Men like me fall in lust, not love. So, why is she still here?

IGNITE

This is my favorite book in the series. A down-on-her-luck ballet dancer finds herself at the Disciples strip club. She has to make money somehow and waiting tables isn’t going to cut it. When Axel and Antoinette first meet, its fireworks. Axel takes one look at her and tells her she’s not cut out for the job.

Antoinette is not going to let Axel ruin her chance of making money. She goes to Crystal (this was weird too) to see if she’ll hire her behind Axel’s back. She does, of course. The night of her debut doesn’t go how she expects it when Axel covers her up and hustles her off the stage before she could even dance.

I just loved this one. I loved how prickly Antoinette was. I loved how Axel was so determined not to fall in love like his brothers have done. He didn’t stand a chance.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Overall, I would give this series a 3.75. I had a problem with all the heroines getting pregnant by the epilogue. Like, hello? You can be happy without babies. It was very cliched. That doesn’t mean I won’t read the rest of the series!

The Disciples

two-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh

Posted May 20, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Rock Addiction by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Rock Addiciton by Nalini Singh
Series: Rock Kiss #1
Also in this series: Rock Courtship, Rock Addiction, Rock Courtship, Rock Hard, Rock Hard, Rock Redemption, Rock Redemption, Rock Redemption, Rock Addiction, Rock Courtship, Rock Hard, Rock Wedding, Rock Wedding, Rock Wedding, Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, #1), Rock Hard (Rock Kiss, #2), Rock Redemption (Rock Kiss, #3), Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss, #4), Rock Addiction
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 9th 2014
Pages: 406
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A bad boy wrapped in a sexy, muscled, grown-up package might be worth a little risk…

Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media’s harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin, and a touch that could become an addiction.

A one-night stand with the hottest rock star on the planet, that’s all it was meant to be…

Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that, he’ll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late, Molly realizes it isn’t only her body that’s become addicted to Fox, but her heart…

I just recently re-read this book, and it was just as good this time around. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend the entire series.

This review was originally published on September 8, 2014

A curious thing happened when I read this book. The first time through, I struggled a bit with the pacing and didn’t warm up to Molly until the 2nd half of the book. I loved the second half, but I was lukewarm about the first.  Then I started thinking about a particular scene in the first part of the book and ended up doing a full re-read. I fell in love. I have no idea why, but I really connected with Molly the second time around. Maybe because I knew all her secrets, so her motives made more sense? Or perhaps I just paid more attention to her and not as much to Fox? I’m not sure. What I can say is I devoured it the second time around. And the third. And the fourth. Fox and Molly are both complex, emotionally compelling characters. I adored this book.

Fox sees Molly at a party and decides he wants to take her home. She’s been on his mind all night. He gets his chance when she decides to duck out early, and he takes her home. Once there, he decides one night will never be enough. She sings to him in a way no other woman ever has, and he isn’t ready to give up her song. If only Molly felt the same way.

After an ugly scandal ruined Molly’s childhood and forced her to grow up far too soon, she’s kept her world tightly controlled. Fox threatens to shatter that control with his sexy lip-ring and overwhelming personality, but she has no desire to ever be the in the spotlight again. If only Fox wasn’t so addictive…she might be able to resist.

Fox is everything you’d expect from Nalini Singh. An alpha rock star with a sexy lip ring and whiskey voice. Jealous, possessive, sex on a stick… and surprisingly sweet and tender. I struggled with was why Fox was so fixated on Molly. I wish we’d been given more to explain why he was so attracted to her in the beginning, and why he wanted to own her after their first brief encounter. I get he was attracted to her, but his deeper feelings made little sense. As the story progressed I didn’t doubt his commitment or his feelings, but in the beginning they were hard to swallow.  His quick claim on Molly was surprising, but I can’t deny he worked it well.

“You know when you get the whisper of a melody in your head, or the murmur of a song? And you have the gut feeling that if you could just hear the rest of it, just capture the music”—the need an ache as frustrating as it was piercing —“you’d have something fucking amazing?”

Noah nodded.

“Yeah well, that’s what it feels like with Molly.” The most potent whisper of his life. “I’m not about to walk away from that.”

 

Molly is understandably hesitant to enter into a relationship with Fox. Not only is he a man with a bad reputation, he’s a man who lives his life in the limelight – somewhere Molly never wants to be.

“You’ll go,” she said, gripping the counter behind her and fighting back tears. “After a month, you’ll go. But I’ll still be here, living my life. Being famous, even by association… I can’t handle it, Fox.”

Despite her reservations, Molly is the perfect fit for him. She’s bold, knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. And if she’s just as possessive and jealous as Fox? Well, let’s just say that led to some of my favorite scenes. Both are a bit damaged, but they complete each other.  I fell in love with them.

The band is a family. I felt like I came to know each member in turn through their interactions with Molly and Fox. That Molly and Fox became home base for the band was lovely. I liked how they accepted Molly and treated her as one of their own. Each time they were on page I felt like I was sitting down with a close-knit family.  They had their share of problems but they worked through things together. Same with Molly’s best friend Charlie, and her sister Thea. I like that she had friendships outside her relationships with Fox.

This is spicier than many of her other books, but that worked so well. The sex scenes were smoking hot. There were quite a few more than I’m used to seeing from Singh, and some of them felt gratuitous. The makeup and angry sex scenes were some of the best, but others didn’t need to be included, in my opinion.

The story is sizzling hot. It has all the elements needed to be a winning romance. Singh really knows how to work the story to captivate her readers. The story is emotional, twisted, sweet and sexy all at once.  I’m only sorry it ended.

4.25 out of 5

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

four-half-stars


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Review: Shield-Maiden: Under the Hunter’s Moon by Melanie Karsak

Posted April 21, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shield-Maiden: Under the Hunter’s Moon by Melanie KarsakReviewer: Holly
Shield Maiden Under the Hunter's Moon by Melanie Karsak
Series: The Road to Valhalla #2
Also in this series: Shield Maiden Under the Howling Moon
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: May 21, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 460
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

When the gods play in mortals’ lives, the only certain outcome is uncertainty. Especially when that god is Loki.

In the course of a night, I found out my entire life was a lie. Now, Yrsa, Eydis, and I will set off to recover Tyrfing. I must leave Dalr—and the dream I’d shared with Hofund—behind. Eydis is sure the gods have plans for me. I hope she’s right. For on the distant island of Bolmsö, the last of my father’s line is besieged by enemies, and only the blood of a berserker can make things right again.

Hervor has been treated poorly by her grandfather the jarl her entire life. Now she has finally learned the truth of her parentage and sets off to seek Tyrfing, a dwarven blade that will prove her lineage. Masquerading as Hervarth, a young male, she and Yrsa, her mother-not-mother, travel to the island of Bolmso, where Hervor meets her family and tries to earn her place with them. There she learns what it means to be a family, and how healthy a clan can be under the right kind of leadership.

The first 1/4 or so of this book was pretty slow for me. I had a hard time staying focused on the story. Around the 30% mark things picked up, but there was still a lot of unnecessary filler in the novel. I really enjoyed the people of Bolmso, the wolves, the magic of the Isle and the way the Gods talk to Hervor. As a whole, I enjoyed the story and I really like Hervor. I did have a hard time with how she was determined to find the sword no matter what. Even when warned against it, she was set on her course and that was that. Still, I like her. I was glad to see her change and grow under her grandfather. I was also happy to see Leif and Hofund return.

I am enjoying Hervor’s journey, and I can’t wait to see where things go next.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Road to Valhalla

four-stars


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