Tag: Zebra

Review: The Segonian by Dianne Duvall

Posted August 1, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Segonian by Dianne DuvallReviewer: Holly
The Segonian by Dianne Duvall
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: Aldebarian Alliance #2
Also in this series: The Lasaran, The Segonian
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 19, 2021
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 435
Length: 12 hours and 31 minutes
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Dianne Duvall brings readers the second stand-alone novel in a thrilling new sci-fi romance series full of action, humor, and happily-ever-afters.
Eliana's life has never been what one might term ordinary. At least, it hasn't been for a very long time. As a powerful Immortal Guardian, she spends her nights hunting and slaying psychotic vampires that most of humanity doesn't even realize exist. Then an opportunity arises that instantly makes her extraordinary existence seem downright boring. The leader of the Immortal Guardians asks her to guard a group of mortals who are embarking upon a voyage across the galaxy to the planet Lasara. How could she possibly say no?
In no time at all, Eliana is hurtling through space on board a Lasaran battleship and getting to know not one but two alien races. It's the most exciting adventure of her long life... until the ship is unexpectedly attacked. Amid the chaos and destruction that follow, she valiantly helps everyone she can before an explosion renders her unconscious. When Eliana awakens, she finds herself alone, floating in space, clad only in a spacesuit, with no ship in sight. Alone--that is--except for the warm, deep voice that carries over the comm in her helmet.
Commander Dagon and the crew of the Segonian battleship Ranasura respond to a distress call from their Lasaran allies and join a massive Alliance-wide search-and-rescue mission. He quickly achieves communication with a lone Earthling female and races toward her. Every time they speak, his fascination with her grows and he becomes more desperate to reach her before her oxygen supply runs out. Her strength, bravery, and humor entice him, even more so when she defies all odds and they meet in person.
As he and Eliana embark upon a quest to find her missing friends, a bond swiftly grows between them that deepens with every laugh and smile and tender touch they share. But they are not the only ones searching for Earthling survivors. When Eliana herself becomes the hunted and their enemies begin to close in, can the two of them fight their way to victory, or will their enemies take everything?

The Segonian by Dianne Duvall, the second book in the Aldebarian Alliance series, a spinoff of Duvall’s Immortal Guaridans series, features Eliana, a character we met in the previous series. She traveled in space to protect the Gifted Ones who chose to go to Lasara with Prince Taelon in the hopes of finding a quieter life. When their ship is attacked on the way there, Eliana ends up floating in space in a space suit. For weeks her only lifelines are Captain Dagan and the other Segonians on his ship. She’s never met them, but they become the most important beings in the world to her.

The early chapters where Eliana were floating in space were so gripping and heart-wrenching. Her strength and humor really came through, but I felt her loneliness and fear in a visceral way. I really love Eliana and Dagan. They had a great dynamic when all they could do was talk via comms. I also liked how they came to know one another once she was onboard his ship.

Their quest to find the others who were missing from the Lasaran ship was interesting, but I enjoyed their life on the ship more. Especially Eliana training with him and his men.

This is my favorite book in this spin-off series, and my second favorite of Duvall’s books to date.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Aldebarian Alliance

four-half-stars


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Lightning Review: Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall

Posted July 11, 2022 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Darkness Dawns by Dianne DuvallReviewer: Holly
Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: Immortal Guardians #1
Also in this series: Darkness Dawns, In Still Darkness
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited, Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 345
Length: 10 hours and 39 minutes
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

In this dazzling, sensual novel, Dianne Duvall beckons readers into a world of vampires, immortals, and humans with extraordinary gifts…where passion can last forever, if you’re willing to pay the price…

Once, Sarah Bingham’s biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing a wounded stranger, she’s landed in the middle of a battle between corrupt vampires and powerful immortals who also need blood to survive. Roland Warbrook is the most compelling man Sarah has ever laid hands on. But his desire for her is mingled with a hunger he can barely control…

In his nine centuries of immortal existence, no woman has tempted Roland as much as Sarah. But asking her to love him is impossible—when it means forfeiting the world she’s always known, and the life he would do anything to protect...

Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall is the first book in the Immortal Guardians series. I read the spinoff series, The Aldebarian Alliance, first, then picked this up to see what I missed. I listened to the audiobook, which narrated by Kirsten Potter, a favorite of mine.

Sarah is a professor on break for the summer. She’s leaving electronics behind and focusing on growing a garden and decompressing. She’s doing some late night gardening when she comes across a man being attacked. She comes to his aid and brings him home. Roland is a centuries old Immortal Guardian. His colleagues and friends call him “anti-social”, but he has good reason to keep away from people and trust no one. Except Sarah gets under his skin. He doesn’t want to want her, but he can’t stop himself. When it becomes apparent that Sarah may be in danger for her part in helping him, he knows he’ll have to keep her with him. If only he and his brethren weren’t Immortal Vampire Slayers she knows nothing about.

I liked this story, but I thought the romance came on pretty fast. Sarah learned about the existence of paranormal beings and fell in love with one in like a day. That aside, the world building was good and I’m excited for the next book.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Immortal Guardians

three-half-stars


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Lightning Review: Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall

Posted June 13, 2022 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Lightning Review: Darkness Dawns by Dianne DuvallReviewer: Casee
Darkness Dawns by Dianne Duvall
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Series: Immortal Guardians #1
Also in this series: In Still Darkness, Darkness Dawns
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 345
Length: 10 hours and 39 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

In this dazzling, sensual novel, Dianne Duvall beckons readers into a world of vampires, immortals, and humans with extraordinary gifts…where passion can last forever, if you’re willing to pay the price…
Once, Sarah Bingham’s biggest challenge was making her students pay attention in class. Now, after rescuing a wounded stranger, she’s landed in the middle of a battle between corrupt vampires and powerful immortals who also need blood to survive. Roland Warbrook is the most compelling man Sarah has ever laid hands on. But his desire for her is mingled with a hunger he can barely control…
In his nine centuries of immortal existence, no woman has tempted Roland as much as Sarah. But asking her to love him is impossible—when it means forfeiting the world she’s always known, and the life he would do anything to protect...

Darkness Dawns is the first book in Duvall’s Immortal Guardians series. While this isn’t my favorite book, I really enjoyed the world that has been created.

Roland has been an Immortal Guardian for hundreds of years. Roland is slow to trust due to the fact that he was betrayed by two women he thought he loved. Sharing his secret has not done him well in the past & he has no intention of ever sharing his secret again. Sarah has no idea that the paranormal exists. She has no idea what an Immortal Guardian is and vampires? Seriously? I thought she took it rather well, even a little too well.

Overall, this book is not the best in the series. It’s actually my least favorite, but I have been really enjoying Roland & Sarah in subsequent books. Overall, I’m really glad I read this one.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Immortal Guardians

three-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Dinner on Primrose Hill by Jodi Thomas

Posted October 17, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 8 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Dinner on Primrose Hill by Jodi ThomasDinner on Primrose Hill by Jodi Thomas
Series: Honey Creek #3
Publisher: Kensington, Zebra
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
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The delightful and touching new novel from the bestselling author of dozens of treasured romances. Return to the picturesque Texas town of Honey Creek—a place where friendship and warm welcomes can be relied on, and love always finds a way…

Benjamin Monroe is pretty sure how his life will play out. He’ll continue teaching chemistry in his small college, and spend his free time biking through the valley. Eventually, he’ll retire to putter around in his garden and greenhouse.
His colleague, Virginia Clark, is not one for routines. She’s chatty, spontaneous, and bubbly, and before Benjamin realizes what happened, she’s talked him into collaborating on a research project—studying the mating habits of college students. Virginia knows her desire to work with Benjamin is motivated by more than the potential prize money . . . and hopes he might not be quite as indifferent as he seems to be.

Ketch Kincaid, one of Benjamin’s star students, returned to college after serving in the army. He needs something to get his mind off his recent breakup and collecting research data might do it. And there’s another distraction on the horizon—a woman who looks like she, too, knows about heartache.

Soon enough, their project, “The Chemistry of Mating,” is gaining notoriety. Friends, neighbors . . . the whole town has become involved. But no matter what the data determines, one conclusion seems inescapable: love follows its own rules . . .

Excerpt

Dr. Benjamin Monroe folded his notes and placed them in the worn leather briefcase he’d carried since graduate school. His lecture room at Clifton College was empty now. Peaceful. He always liked the stillness after class. He’d done his job, and he took pride in that.

As he often did, he turned to the long, narrow windows behind his podium and looked out over his hometown. From the third floor he could see east all the way to the river and north to where the land rose in rolling hills. There was a balance here that calmed his soul. A wide valley that nestled three small towns, but his town, Clifton Bend, was the best because the college rested in its center.

Benjamin hadn’t missed a class in twelve years. At forty-two he always came on time and well prepared. Routine ruled his life. He liked working with his dad on their farm every weekend and loved biking through the valley on sunny afternoons. The exercise kept him lean and tanned, just as his work kept him sharp.

What he didn’t like was spring break. It interrupted his routine. A worthless holiday, but he’d help his father on their little farm and manage to keep busy.

“Dr. Monroe?” A nervous, high-pitched voice bombarded his thoughts. “May I speak to you about something? It’s important.”

A creature with auburn hair, glasses too big for her face, and huge blue eyes leaned around the door. Professor Virginia Clark.

He plowed his long fingers through his straight, mud-colored hair. If teachers were allowed a nemesis, Miss Clark, the biology instructor, would be his. As far as he was concerned, all they had in common was age.

Benjamin was tempted to say, “No, you can’t speak to me,” but that would be unprofessional.

To her credit, Miss Virginia Clark was bubbly on a down day. Her voice was too high, her manner of dress was in no way appropriate, and her legs were too short. On a good day she was exuberant and misguidedly thought they were not only colleagues but friends.

He’d always hated bubbly people; they made him nervous. But she taught two doors down in the biology lab and officed next to him. Some days he swore he could hear her laughing or running around her tiny workplace like a squirrel in a box.

Right now, she was charging toward his podium like Grant taking Richmond. Too late to say no or run, so all he could do was watch her approach.

Another observation—professors should never bounce.

Miss Clark bounced. She was a bit on the chubby side; a head shorter than he was, and the white lab coat did not conceal her curves. Her corkscrew hair seemed to be dancing to a hard rock beat, and her breasts . . . well never mind them. Unprofessional, he thought as he watched her coming down the steps row by row, breasts moving to their own beat.

“I need your help, Dr. Monroe.” She stopped one foot too close to him.

He fought the urge to step back.

“Of course, Miss Clark, I’m at your service,” he offered. Maybe she needed a ride or she was locked out of her office, again. He could make time to be kind. After all, they were colleagues.

“I’d be happy to help any way I can.”

“Good. I was afraid you’d say no. It’s a great opportunity and we can split the work and the money.”

Benjamin raised an eyebrow. “What work?”

“My research paper entry for the Westwin Research Journal has been approved as one of five finalists. The winner’s findings will be published in the journal as well as winning the ten-thousand-dollar prize.” She smiled. “Just think, we’ll be famous. Last year’s subject was how aging relates to location. The winner was interviewed on the Today show.”

She was bouncing again. This time with excitement. “I might finally get to go to New York City. I’ve always dreamed of seeing plays and walking through Central Park. They say you can hear the heartbeat of the whole world in the streets of New York.”

Benjamin fell into her pipe dream for a second. “If I had money to blow, I’d go to Paris and see Marie Curie’s office and lab. I’ve read every book about her dedication, her work, her life. Imagine walking the streets she walked.”

He didn’t mention that he’d also find his mother, if she was still alive. She’d left him when he was four years old, saying she must paint in Paris for a few months, but she never came back.

He had only one question for her. Was the life she’d given him up for worth it?

Miss Clark frowned at him as if measuring his sanity. “Paris, really Benjamin, sometimes you surprise me.”

When he frowned at the use of his first name, she sighed, obviously reading his thoughts.

“Dr. Monroe,” she corrected. “We could split the research and the writing. I’ve already obtained the president’s approval for a small survey. All we have is a month to get this done, but we’ve got spring break to kick off our project with a bang.”

He nodded slowly, not willing to jump in, but willing to listen. “What is our topic of research?”

Blushing, she added, “Redefining sexual attractions in today’s world.”

Benjamin straightened slightly.

Miss Clark giggled. “We could call it, ‘The Chemistry of Mating.’”

He swallowed hard as she turned and bounced out of the room.

For a few moments, Benjamin forgot to breathe. Calamity had blown in on a tornado with red hair.

The only good news. Spring break wasn’t going to be boring.

Honey Creek

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: October 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Jodi Thomas

Author Photo

With millions of books in print, Jodi Thomas is both a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over 50 novels and countless short story collections. Her stories travel through the past and present days of Texas and draw readers from around the world.

In July 2006, Jodi was the 11th writer to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. With five RITA’s to her credit, along with National Readers’ Choice Awards and Booksellers’ Best Awards, Thomas has proven her skill as a master storyteller.

Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, Thomas also served as Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling, renovating a historic home, and “checking on” two grown sons and four grandchildren.


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Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley

Posted May 19, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa RileyReviewer: Tracy
An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: 1st & 3rd
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
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three-stars

A witty and moving story from the acclaimed author of A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby, about the lengths to which a woman will go for the love of her child…and the love of a man who knows her worth. Breaking with traditional Regency rules and customs, Vanessa Riley pens an unforgettable story perfect for fans of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton, Evie Dunmore, and Eloisa James looking for something fresh and stirring!

Masterminded by the ton's most clever countess, the secret society The Widow's Grace helps ill-treated widows regain their reputations, their families, and even find true love again--or perhaps for the very first time...

Surviving a shipwreck en route to London from Jamaica was just the start of personal maid Jemina St. Maur's nightmare. Suffering from amnesia, she was separated from anyone who might know her and imprisoned in Bedlam. She was freed only because barrister Daniel Thackery, Lord Ashbrook, was convinced to betray the one thing he holds dear: the law. Desperate to unearth her true identity, Jemina's only option is to work outside the law--which means staying steps ahead of the formidable Daniel, no matter how strongly she is drawn to him...

Married only by proxy, now widowed by shipwreck, Daniel is determined to protect his little stepdaughter, Charlotte, from his family's scandalous reputation. That's why he has dedicated himself not just to the law, but to remaining as proper and upstanding--and boring--as can be. But the closer he becomes to the mysterious, alluring Jemina, the more Daniel is tempted to break the very rules to which he's dedicated his life. As ruthless adversaries close in, will the truth require him and Jemina to sacrifice their one chance at happiness?

Jemima St. Maur was put into Bedlam after a shipwreck.  She has amnesia and couldn’t remember who she was, she still can’t remember and seeks the truth of her past.  She’s saved (in book one of this series) by Daniel Thackery, a barrister who helps his aunt get widows out of trouble.

Daniel was married by proxy to Phoebe, who was also on the ship that went down, but his wife didn’t survive.  He was presented with a baby who he believed was Phoebe’s child, even though she had never mentioned a child in her letters.  He decides to raise the child as his own.

Two years later Jemima and Daniel have a bit of a love/hate relationship.  They don’t necessarily get a long, but when they’re together there’s a very strong attraction.  Daniel finally decides that he has mourned for Phoebe long enough and wants to make Jemima his mistress.   Jemima’s not opposed to the idea, but she is wary of Daniel as she’s positive he’s keeping information from her about her past and the shipwreck.

This was my first read by Vanessa Riley.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style as it seemed a bit all over the place.  I also didn’t feel that the hero and heroine actually had a lot of chemistry.

I liked Jemima…to a point.  She was pretty headstrong, and I liked that about her.  That said, I felt the author took that too far and went into I’m-so-headstrong-I’m-going-to-make-stupid-decisions territory. There was also the constant on/off with Daniel as Jemima couldn’t decide if she was going to trust him or not.  Granted, she had every reason not to trust him as he’d kept a lot of stuff (about her) to himself. She wasn’t even aware she’d been in a shipwreck until he told her – two years later! Still, the on-again off-again love was annoying at times.

Daniel was a smart man – a barrister who worked for the crown.  Even so, he was looked down upon because he was mulatto.  Even when he inherited an Earldom, people still turned their noses up at him.  He was a good man for taking in the baby (Hope) and raising her, and he was a good father.  He helped his aunt with her business of saving widows and their families.  I admired his dedication to his aunt and her cause, as well as his dedication to Hope and fatherhood in general.  Unfortunately, I just didn’t like him all that much as a man.  He kept so much a secret, even when his marriage was failing, he still couldn’t come completely clean.  I found it so frustrating.

Overall I didn’t find the story very satisfying.  Not liking the couple as a couple put a damper on the whole experience.  While I really loved the blurb for this book, the story itself just didn’t do it for me in the end.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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