logo
Currently Browsing: reviews
May
23

Review: Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

Review: Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt Duke of Sin Author: Elizabeth Hoyt Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Bridget Crumb is a housekeeper of impeccable credentials. She was hired on to the Duke of Montgomery’s staff just over two weeks before he was banished from and supposedly left England. Bridget has her own secrets and motivations for working for Montgomery, and now that the Duke is back, she’s got to work harder than ever to find what she needs before she’s caught, or she gives in to the dark temptation that is the Duke of Montgomery. Although banished from his home,Val Napier, Duke of Montgomery, has been hiding in the walls of his estate for the past three months, collecting secrets so that he can blackmail his way back into society. What he didn’t expect was to come across his newly hired housekeeper snooping around his home. Discovering Bridget’s secrets just may become Val’s favorite new hobby. Although Duke of Sin is the tenth title in Ms. Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series, I was able to pick it up and enjoy it without any prior knowledge of the series. And oh how I enjoyed it! Not only is the overall story engrossing, but the romance is spectacular. As an anti-hero, Val shines, and Bridget is his perfect counterbalance while standing out in her own light. Like Capt. Jack Sparrow, Val’s moral compass is skewed. His horrible upbringing shaped him into a man who believes power over others is the only way to survive. He does what he wants, motivated by lust and pleasure. Uncaring of what others think, he thinks only of himself. Yet, his Bridget captivates his mind, heart, and soul. She shows him kindness and love, but is equally clever and devious, which Val understands and respects. “This is who I am, Séraphine. Naked, with blade and blood. I am vengeance. I am hate. I am sin personified. Never mistake me for the hero of this tale, for I am not and shall never be. I am the villain.” While he is motivated by power, Bridget is motivated by goodness and kindness. That doesn’t mean she is pure – anything but. Yet she gets through to Val. I love watching Val struggle with Bridget’s ideals and morals: first brushing them off, then listening. However, what I love most is that Val never strives to be a better man; he just wants to be a man Bridget will love. As Bridget and...
Read More
May
20

Review: Head Above Water by Hailey Edwards

Review: Head Above Water by Hailey Edwards Head Above Water Author: Hailey Edwards Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: Head Above Water is… awesome. I was really excited to get back to Cam and Graeson. Their story is compelling, wrought with sexual tension, and contains a twist in their romance I did NOT see coming!!! The over-arching series conflict with Charybdis continues to build and puzzle Cam, as well. I may have devoured this title in one sitting, had life not happened. I love the theme of ‘family’ in this title. Part of what we get to see involves Cam, Aunt Dot, and Cam’s cousin, Isaac. Blood relatives. The family dynamic is unique, and also draws parallels to a more traditional family structure. We also catch a glimpse of the Warg pack structure, which is also family. These opposing dynamics change and evolve through the story, and at the end I was left with this: family are those people who love you unconditionally, and always have your back. Not necessarily blood, but they can be. Pack, however, has its own set of rules. I wasn’t a fan (just because I didn’t like what happened, and it ticked me off on Cam & Graeson’s behalf), but they certainly propelled the story forward and added another layer to the conflict. I liked learning more about Dell in this title. I’m not sure exactly where her character is headed, but her tenacity, fierce loyalty, and her loving nature are definitely something to watch in future Gemini titles. Isaac got more page time, too. We learn about him and his thoughts about Gemini using their magic. He seems like he wants to connect with Cam, but doesn’t know how—like there’s this big chasm between them since she lost her twin. We got to see some members of the Warg pack, too. Their Alpha, Bessemer, is not on my list of favorites. His…consorts (yeah, I’ll use that word…) aren’t up there, either. By design, the Alpha was bossy as all get-out, and implemented archaic practices that were dangerous, and—to me—seemed uncaring and steeped in tradition, versus taking the health of the pack into consideration. Typical of pack structure dynamic/hierarchy. And, we get to see Thierry and Mai. 🙂 Grief does strange things to people. Support systems are super important. When there’s a breakdown in supports, it does wacky things to a person. In the first Gemini title, Graeson’s sister, Marie, was missing and found dead—a victim of Charybdis. As...
Read More
May
19

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Rumor Has It Author: Jill Shalvis Narrator: Karen White Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Animal Magnetism #4 Genre: Contemporary Romance Source: Purchased Kate takes care of everyone but herself. She is practically raising her two younger siblings with little help from her dad. She’s had one boyfriend in the past several years, and continually puts off the full scholarship to attend her dream graduate program in California. She’s had a crush on Grif since she was ten, and she’s trying hard to keep calm while he’s back for her best friend’s wedding. Grif is home for his sister Holly’s wedding, but what he hasn’t told anyone is that an IED explosion in Afghanistan nearly killed him and left him unemployed with a medical discharge from the Army. Now he has to decide if he’ll make peace with his father and his childhood home or head off and leave home, again. Rumor Has It is the fourth title in the delightful Animal Magnetism series. This time around the book features the slow-burning romance between Army veteran Grif and his sister’s best friend, Kate. The pair is adorable and genuinely sweet (Kate HATES to be called sweet!) Kate is tired of all the responsibilities in her life and wants just one wild night for herself, throwing herself at her childhood crush time and time again. Yet Grif won’t bite; he’s been threatened by his sister to stay far away from the vulnerable Kate. However, when they finally do connect, sparks fly! Their chemistry is palatable, and it’s a joy to watch them figure out how they fit into each other’s life. Other than a few poor decisions made by the characters, overall the book is highly enjoyable. However, I did do a major eye roll when Holly INTERRUPTS Kate’s second grade class to talk with her about sleeping with Grif. Not. Cool. Maybe I’m too responsible, but this was above the top ridiculous. I found the narration by Karen White more consistent from book to book, than in the previous books. Her voices for the two primary characters was fitting, adding the right mix to suit the personalities of both Kate and Grif. Her performance of the rest of the cast was also enjoyable. I up’d my listening speed to 1.5x this time around, and found it just right for me. Overall, I am really enjoying my extended stay in Sunshine, Idaho, with its sexy...
Read More
May
18

Review: Deadly Testimony by Piper J. Drake

Review: Deadly Testimony by Piper J. Drake Deadly Testimony Author: Piper J. Drake Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Gikany and Una liked this second novel in the Safeguard series.  Kyle and Lizzy are not the stereotypical couple in a military romance.  We enjoyed the honesty of their characters, their uniqueness, and their journey. Kyle and Lizzy do not have the typical roles that one sees in military romance.  Kyle is the “damsel” in the distress while Lizzy is the hero.  We enjoyed this change.  We liked how Kyle, although trained in martial arts, was not a fighter in that sense.  He was vulnerable, and we appreciated seeing a man struggle with the stress of being hunted.  Likewise, Lizzy is a stone-cold killer – when she needs to be.  Although this facet of her job has taken a toll, she was still warm and kind.  The warring character traits in Lizzy made her human.  The contrasts between Kyle and Lizzy complimented each other and we loved the respect Kyle had for her. For all of our enjoyment, we did encounter a couple of off notes.  We were slightly disappointed in the lack of background of Kyle. There was much about him that was alluded to, but not conveyed.  We understood his crimes, but not the full extent of his “badness”.  Don’t get us wrong, his selfish, egocentric ways lead him to being on the wrong side of the law, but he wasn’t inherently evil.  In fact, he was fairly noble and protective in his own ways, especially when he decided to clean up his act.  For all his faults, Kyle does try to do right. The other item is something of debate between Gikany and Una.  Gikany thought that Lizzy’s PTSD was minimized. It was mentioned in the beginning but never truly addressed.  Una thought that Lizzy wasn’t suffering from PTSD but struggling with the after-math of doing her job, compartmentalizing the realities of her role, and the job that she does as a sniper.  Either way, we found Lizzy’s battle-harden persona compelling as she protected Kyle while also falling for him. The plot of keeping Kyle safe from assassins was gripping. We liked the flow of the story and the rhythmic pace between the romance and the suspense.  Kyle and Lizzy were an intriguing couple and their honest, although quick, courtship and romance were mesmerizing.  Although the passion moved quickly, in the context of their roles, it was believable.  The bad...
Read More
May
17

Review: Wedding Girl by Stacey Ballis

Review: Wedding Girl by Stacey Ballis Wedding Girl Author: Stacey Ballis Reviewer: Nima Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Wedding Girl is a delightfully indulgent book. All in one, it’s an ode to comfort food, old black and white movies, specifically The Little Shop Around the Corner, and family. The Little Shop Around the Corner (1940) was remade into the 1998 blockbuster You’ve Got Mail and Wedding Girl gives nods to them both. It was a slow seduction, but Ballis totally won me over. The story begins with a personal disaster.  Sophie Bernstein, the child of nurturing, successful hippies (think of Sandra Bullock’s parents in Two Weeks Notice,) has her perfect life mapped out with the perfect man.  The reader arrives on the day of her perfect wedding when Mr. Perfect not only leaves her, and all of the bills, at the altar, but elopes with their business partner to St. Barts. Feeling hurt and embarrassed is not a good combination.  Sophie goes into a depression and lashes out at people who’ve been good to her.  It results in getting herself fired.  With massive debt to pay-off, Sophie sells her condo and moves in with her grandmother.  Her behavior has gotten her black-balled so her only shot at some income is the forty year old neighborhood corner bakery.  Her talents are sorely wasted on two kinds of cake, butter cookies and rye bread. But it’s a job.  Sophie sums it up when she says, “I think maybe after everything that happened last year, after everything that was leading up to what I always thought was my dream fell apart—my dream job and my dream guy and my dream life—I just don’t know if I have it in me to dream that big again.”  From there Sophie begins to rebuild her life and her skills, finding love along the way. Unlike petite Margaret Sullavan and Meg Ryan, our heroine is a size sixteen.  I loved that it was not an issue for anyone, including her love interest.  In fact, she’s an emotional eater and actually gains some weight while she goes through life-changing stress. Sophie describes herself as, “…officially beyond voluptuous and well into lumpy.” She finds it inconvenient, but it’s blissfully not a major story point.  It was a pleasure to read about someone talented and normal who wasn’t obsessed with her weight.  Furthermore, long sections are devoted to menus, ingredients, cooking, and eating.  I felt like I gained a couple pounds just from the...
Read More
May
16

Review: Winning Her Over by Alexa Rowan

Review: Winning Her Over by Alexa Rowan Winning Her Over Author: Alexa Rowan Reviewer: Nima Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Although Winning Her Over is the first in Alexa Rowan’s new BigLaw Series, it is a stand-alone book. The story is a sweet tale of girl meets boy, boy screws up, boy wins girl back, and everyone lives happily ever after.  It is a quick, uncomplicated read.  Unfortunately, that is a criticism as well as a compliment. Cal Wilcox is unrealistically hot, as most romance heroes are, and probably more so when you consider the hours that are involved with making partner at a major law firm.  His ambition doesn’t leave time for lengthy workouts and meal planning, yet he is physically a calendar-worthy specimen of man meat.  His sexiest feature to me, however, is his confidence.  Using charm, not force, he doesn’t take “no” for an answer when he sets his sights on Brenna Nakamura.  That, more than anything, made him appealing to me. Brenna is to be commended for making her dreams come true and walking away from a lucrative career to do it.  She works hard to fight negative stereotypes about massage therapists and make her small business successful.  I liked that Brenna was smart, but made the time when someone came along who was worth the effort.  She stood up for herself when circumstances necessitated it rather than adopting a victim mentality. She was equally ready to forgive when confronted with a man who was truly repentant.  Sadly, all these adults behaving like actual adults, while being a refreshing change from the standard romance fare, doesn’t sustain much in the way of drama or conflict.  This is the one to read by the pool this summer when you’re sun-drowsy because there aren’t many plot points to hold on to and it can be finished in a single afternoon. Rowan has invited us to expect a series, “where smart, ambitious heroes and heroines struggle with realistic conflicts as they seek love, success, and that elusive work-life balance.”  She’s a good writer and I’m eager to see her explore this “elusive” problem in future books, hopefully with more dialog and more conflict, and without relying on typical stereotypes. My Rating: B, Liked It About the Book: Massage therapist Brenna Nakamura is struggling to keep her small business afloat, and she has no time for dating. Besides, the only guys she meets are her clients, and they’re off-limits. But her newest client—a devastatingly gorgeous...
Read More
May
13

Review: The Brick Wall by Stephanie Julian

Review: The Brick Wall by Stephanie Julian The Brick Wall Author: Stephanie Julian Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B/B- What I’m Talking About: Shane “The Brick Wall” Conrad plays goalie for the Reading Redtails hockey club. He’s going though a rough spot and decides to stay in Reading for the Christmas holiday rather than head home to Minnesota to see his family. Even though he didn’t want to go out, he decides to take up assistant captain Cary Lenville’s offer to join his family and friends for dinner. Although once he arrives, he realizes he can’t leave soon enough, as long as Bliss is at his side. Bliss Vescovi loves her life in Reading, close to her job and family. She watches over her special needs adult brother and helps her aunt run a popular bridal boutique. Even though her own wedding fell apart two years ago, she still loves helping brides-to-be find the perfect dress. Bored and restless at friend Lori Lenville’s party, she’s ready to go until the gorgeous Shane Conrad enters the room. Bliss wants some one-night action, and when she sees Shane enter the party, she decides he’s the one for the job. The Brick Wall is the first book in Ms. Julian’s new Redtails Hockey contemporary romance series. The book does a great job creating the setting and filling in the world with likable, interesting characters. Individually, and as a couple, I liked Shane and Bliss. They are both strong people who aren’t afraid to go after what they want. Yet both are slightly vulnerable and worried about getting hurt. Each is very kind and sweet, with just enough naughty, providing for some extremely steamy scenes. I did feel that their initial encounter was a bit over the top with respect to Shane’s insta-lust reaction to Bliss and her voice, but once that first night was over, I found the reactions more even-keeled and less hokey. As much as I enjoyed the characters and their romance, I wanted more. I don’t know if this book is indicative of the series to come, but it was short. Too short. The author uses elapsed-time sections, with several weeks passing by with just the proverbial turn-of-the-page. I wanted more time getting to know Shane and Bliss and seeing them together outside the bedroom. Additionally, I was frustrated with the jump in time towards the end of the book, when I think there was no communication between Shane and Bliss (I was a little confused at...
Read More
May
12

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Black Blade Series Author: Jennifer Estep Narrator: Brittany Presley Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Black Blade #3 Genre: Urban Fantasy / Young Adult Source: purchased/audible Bright Blaze of Magic Bright Blaze of Magic is the third and final story in the wonderful young adult urban fantasy Black Blade trilogy. The book hits all the right marks needed for the successful conclusion of a series: bringing to end the overarching storylines and finishing on a positive note. The story begins shortly after the exciting conclusion of Dark Heart of Magic, with the younger Sinclairs: Lila, Devon, and Felix, breaking into the Draconi Mansion to steal Victor’s magic infused black blades. With the help of new ally Dia, things have gone as smoothly as possible over the past couple of weeks. However, time is up and Victor is ready to make his move against the rest of the Cloudburst Falls Families. Overall, I enjoyed the final adventure in the Black Blade series which brought to close the war between the families and filled in all the details of Victor’s backstory and his dastardly plans. I loved seeing how much Lila has grown over the course of the three books, going from loner to a valued and loved member of the Sinclair family. I also enjoyed seeing her make connections with the monsters around town and learning more about her mother and her own roots. While predictable in where the story would end, the whys and hows were interesting and kept me engrossed in the tale. With that said, I felt that this book was lacking the richness and fullness of the previous two titles. Bright Blaze of Magic focused pretty much solely on the battle between the Victor and the other Families. The book felt like one fight scene after another, with little else. In the previous books, there was a central mystery to be solved, but not so with Bright Blaze of Magic. This, coupled with the amount of repetitious thoughts, actions, and phrases, made the story drag at times, and I found my thoughts wandering as I listened. The narration by Ms. Pressley remained spot on and highly enjoyable. She gives the primary characters the vibrancy of their youthful years without making them come across young or immature. One difference for me this time around; I listened to the book at 1.5x instead of my usual 1.25x. I’m not sure if this is...
Read More
May
11

Review: Dominated by Maya Banks + #Giveaway

Review: Dominated by Maya Banks + #Giveaway Dominated Author: Maya Banks Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: I’m not sure what it is, but Dominated felt really slow to me until about the 70% mark. I was a bit meh about the characters, and annoyed by the characterization. I think I’m going to chalk it up, however, to the fact that I just wasn’t in the mood for this type of book. Evangeline started of as a pretty whiny character. She irritated my soul when she was with or around Drake, to be honest. The glimpses of her with Maddox and Silas balanced it out for me, a little though. I’ve never been a fan of the sweet and innocent turning submissive when they’re super inexperienced, either. I think D/s relationships are something to be explored after there’s trust in a relationship. Which brings me to another issue I had with the book. Evangeline went back to Drake after an incident from the previous title in the Enforcers series. To be honest, I cannot identify with Evangeline at all. As a person, I am larger-than-life and in-your-face about things—once I get to know and trust you. I’m about empowerment, not oppression. That’s exactly how I felt the relationship between Drake and Evangeline was. I’m willing, however, to note that it’s probably due to my own past. Maybe I saw too much of my former self in Evangeline, and too much of my ex in Drake. Again, it’s a really personal thing. I’m not going to recommend this title to someone with a history of emotional abuse. It’s triggering. Drake is a typical self-made billionaire with a dash of The Godfather tossed in. I don’t mean the Marlon Brando character specifically—just the whole mafia vibe. Until he was whiny for a while. Alpha males that get whiny when they’re broken annoy me. This could TOTALLY be my perception, though. Seriously. And the sex. OMG. I think from the 20% to the 70% mark, this title was All. The. Sex. In LOTS of ways. Menage involved, folks—if that’s not your reading kink, pass on this one. Actually, it got to be too much and I caught myself skimming until the ménage scene for a bit. Seriously, I think my favorite parts of Dominated involved Silas. I’d be all-in if he were to get a book and get a HEA. Maddox too. And all the rest of Drake’s brothers. And, at about the 70% mark, it got...
Read More
May
10

Review: Tieryn’s Fury by Abigail Owen

Review: Tieryn’s Fury by Abigail Owen Tieryn’s Fury Author: Abigail Owen Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Tieryn’s Fury is the third novel in the Shadowcat Nation series.  Although we enjoyed the couple’s journey in this installment more, the mythology takes a bit of a turn. The Shadowcat Nation series is a fascinating paranormal romance series.  The series centers on mountain lion shifters with wolf, bear, and other animal shifters in the background.  Some of the shifters possess an additional special ability, such as the ability to heal or see the future.  They are rare and therefore protected.  The mountain lion shifter coalition has agreed to only allow each dare (community) to only have one of these special shifters each.  These shifters are cosseted, but their freedom is quite limited. Tieryn is one of these shifters: she has the ability to heal.  We appreciated her stubbornness and drive.  We enjoyed her journey with Shane.  We were intrigued when we were first introduced to this disfigured shifter in Andromeda’s Fall and we wanted to know more about him.  Tieryn and Shane are a good match and the give and take between them was gripping. We were astounded by what we learn about Charles – the odd shifter from the Bear dare.  His background opens up a new aspect to the world, one we are not sure about.  As each book slowly divulges more about the mythology, we aren’t sure where this element will lead.  We look forward to learning more and seeing how this really does fit into the overall world. The escalation of the overarching conflict reaches a pinnacle in this novel as we learn the reasons behind it.  It is shocking to find out who is behind the war and why this war is being waged, but we enjoyed this storyline.  Although the overt fighting may have eased, the war continues.  We are eager to see how this plays out in the next novel. Overall we liked Tieryn’s Fury.  The journey of Shane and Tieryn was captivating.  The revelation of the lead antagonist was gripping and we look forward to the continuing overarching plot line.  Although the mythology opened up in a strange way, we are intrigued by it and looking to learning more in the next installment. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: The day Shane Callahan lost his wife and was forced to run from the only home they’d ever known was the day he’d vowed...
Read More
Page 30 of 137« First...1020...2829303132...405060...Last »
logo
Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes