Tag Archives: Review

Team TBR Challenge Review: How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole

How to Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole
Contemporary romance released by Avon on December 1, 2020

When Shanti Mohapi weds the king of Njaza, her dream of becoming a queen finally comes true. But it’s nothing like she imagined. Shanti and her husband may share an immediate and powerful attraction, but her subjects see her as an outsider, and everything she was taught about being the perfect wife goes disastrously wrong.

A king must rule with an iron fist, and newly crowned King Sanyu was born perfectly fitted for the gauntlet, even if he wishes he weren’t. He agrees to take a wife as is required of him, though he doesn’t expect to actually fall in love. Even more vexing? His beguiling new queen seems to have the answers to his country’s problems—except no one will listen to her.

By day, they lead separate lives. By night, she wears the crown, and he bows to her demands in matters of politics and passion. When turmoil erupts in their kingdom and their marriage, Shanti goes on the run, and Sanyu must learn whether he has what it takes both to lead his people and to catch his queen.

This book has been on my TBR pile (digitally speaking) for a while. I was hesitant to read this because Alyssa Cole often described it as a “Bluebeard” retelling, and that is not one of my favorite tales. However, I’m here to say that this isn’t a creepy or gory retelling, it is focused on the emotional structure of the story. The only tricky part for me about this book was fully comprehending Chanti’s motives, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book and cheering at the happy ending. Plus, we meet a secondary character that is hilarious and acts as a sort of catalyst, and for fans of Cole’s Reluctant Royals series, there are cameos by a lot of characters in this book. Chanti has a lot of drive, but she doesn’t know what she’s walking into when she agrees to marry Sanyu, who is not emotionally ready to be king or husband but who is willing to learn. This book is set in a fictional country on the continent of Africa and is interwoven with the places Cole has created in her Reluctant Royals series. Continue reading

Review: Wild Sign by Patricia Briggs

Wild Sign (Alpha and Omega book 6) by Patricia Briggs
Urban Fantasy released by Orbit on March 16, 2021

Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear–before it’s too late–in this thrilling entry in the #1 New York Times bestselling Alpha and Omega series.

In the wilds of the Northern California mountains, all the inhabitants of a small town have gone missing. It’s as if the people picked up and left their possessions behind. With a mystery on their hands and no jurisdiction on private property, the FBI dumps the whole problem in the lap of the land owner, Aspen Creek, Inc.–aka the business organization of the Marrok’s pack.

Somehow, the pack of the Wolf Who Rules is connected to a group of vanished people. Werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham are tasked with investigating, and soon find that a deserted town is the least of the challenges they face.

Death sings in the forest, and when it calls, Charles and Anna must answer. Something has awakened in the heart of the California mountains, something old and dangerous–and it has met werewolves before.

I was very excited when I got my little hands on this book (digitally speaking) and I’ve re-read it, and every time I finish it, I’m left with that good book satisfaction that quickly turns to a sort of sadness that the book is over, the characters and their world no longer vividly a part of mine. All of this to say, I really enjoyed this book. This is the latest in the Alpha and Omega series, featuring the couple Anna and Charles. It is loosely tied to Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series, but I’ve read all the Alpha and Omega books without feeling like I was lost, so if you don’t want to read about twenty books to get up to speed on this one, you’ll be just fine. I do think that it is better to have read the other books in the Alpha and Omega series, because you get to see Anna and Charles develop as characters; you get to see them get even better as a couple; and you get to see secondary characters be more fleshed out, like Bram. Anna and Charles are on another mission on behalf of Bram (Charles’s father). The mission brings to light the pasts of Bram and his wife, which are tangled up with that evil mentioned in the blurb–and it really is pretty gruesome. That brings me to a content warning for abuse and incest–it isn’t on the page, but it is mentioned by other characters. What I enjoyed most, and what kept this book from becoming too creepy and scary for me, was Anna and Charles’s constancy and their warm relationship. Continue reading

Team TBR Challenge Review: The Vampire’s Cursed Kiss by Kristen Painter

The Vampire’s Cursed Kiss (Shadowvale book 2) by Kristen Painter
Paranormal romance released by Kristen Painter on June 24, 2019

Shadowvale isn’t your typical small town America. The sun never shines, the gates decide who enters, magic abounds, and every resident bears some kind of curse.

Vampire Constantin Thibodeaux was cured of his sun “allergy” when he moved to Shadowvale. Now he runs the local bookstore, which is really just a sideline to filling his own library. Books, unlike people, are far more forgiving of his prickly nature. But he doesn’t care if people don’t like him. He is who he is. And he’s happy. Well, he’s content. Okay, he’s…fine.

Sprite and all around party girl Andromeda Merriweather loves her carefree life – or at least she did until her sister cursed her into a magical time out. Thankfully, she’s just been set free by a totally hot, but kind of grumpy vampire. Too bad this handsome grouch now holds the key to her freedom, something she’ll only get if he agrees to abide by the rules of her curse.

Constantin isn’t interested in the terms and conditions Andromeda gives him, until he needs her to be his temporary girlfriend to shut his brother up. Then Constantin agrees. But what happens after a surprisingly fun evening creates brand new problems for both of them. Sure, two opposites can attract, but will that attraction last? Or are they both too cursed to give love a chance?

I adore paranormal romance (PNR). Now, I started reading romance when I was a young thing, maybe 11 or 12. I cut my teeth on Harlequin and Silhouette category romances, dipping my toes into the waters of historical romance. Think Bertrice Small, Judith McNaught, and Johanna Lindsey. I also read horror and especially loved the now defunct Twilight: Where Darkness Begins imprint. Sprinkled in were SFF books by Anne McCaffrey, Robin McKinley, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Douglas Adams. It’s no wonder that when I stumbled across PNR in the late 90s that I read almost everything in sight. PNR can be a wonderful blend of SFF, contemporary romance, and horror. It’s amazing!

I  purchased the fist two books in Kristen Painter’s Shadowvale series because I was going to be traveling and was loading up my kindle with  books that would be quick reads. A friend had recommended Kristen’s books, and these two seemed like they would make great car reading. I know I read the first book in the series, The Trouble With Witches, but for whatever reason, The Vampire’s Cursed Kiss sat on my kindle until recently, when I was dealing with vaccine brain and once again needed something light to read. Continue reading

Guest “Lightning Reviews”: The Billionaire’s Kittens by Karen Booth & Piper Trace

With a little sweet and a lot of heat The Billionaire’s Kittens series offers up gorgeous billionaires, spicy happenings in the boardroom and bedroom, and lots and lots of cute cuddly kittens. For those unfamiliar with the series here’s a quick recap in time for book eight which releases today.

The Billionaire's Kittens by Karen Booth & Piper Trace coverThe Billionaire’s Kittens – He wanted her body but he fell for her kittens.

Thurston Howard knew he was in trouble the first time he saw the little furry kitten in the lobby of the building he lived in and owned. The kitten looked exactly like one he owned as a child. He wasn’t prepared for the kitten’s owner to be even cuter than her furry feline companion. 

This book is told in alternating POVs of Thurston and Amber Darling who owns her own feline rescue, Amber’s Darlings. It works well here since they are so different but it’s those differences that make this book work. This is a friends to lovers romance that will find you rooting for the couple to realize that friends do indeed make the best lovers. Plus who can resist a man who loves kittens? Continue reading

Team TBR Challenge Review: Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert

Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters #3) by Talia Hibbert 
Contemporary romance published by Avon on March 9, 2021

Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong – so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins a wedding, her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself – even though she’s not entirely sure how…

Jacob Wayne is always in control. The uptight B&B owner expects nothing less than perfection from his employees, so when a purple-haired tornado of a woman applies for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car – supposedly by accident.

Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen – and his spare bedroom. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else…

Act Your Age, Eve Brown is a great conclusion to The Brown Sisters trilogy (I reviewed Get a Life, Chloe Brown here and Take a Hint, Dani Brown here). This book delivers the same funny, sexy beats as the prior books in the series. Eve and Jacob quickly develop this beautiful relationship where they can be themselves with each other and not second guess how they’re coming across or put up a front. It’s just lovely (and super hot!).

(Note: Please read the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book for content warnings.) Continue reading

[Belated] Team TBR Challenge Review: I Think I Might Love You by Christina C. Jones

I Think I Might Love You (Love Sisters Book 1) by Christina C. Jones
Contemporary romance released by Christina C. Jones on April 25, 2019

Jaclyn Love is a magnet for trouble – it seems to follow her wherever she goes.

Unfortunately for Kadan Davenport, she also seems to be a magnet for him – even after a disastrous first impression that leaves him – literally – black and blue.

Jaclyn is busy trying to find some sort of balance, and Kadan is just trying not to get swept up in the chaos.

In a small city like Blakewood, it’s hard to avoid each other… especially when each additional encounter makes them wonder if they really want to.

Let’s start out on a personal and a positive note! This will be the last belated review – no more late TBR Challenge reviews from Limecello in 2021 after this! … >.> Which also I think this is supposed to be my last scheduled one for the year? Never mind that though. 🙃 Now! This book! I’m so glad I read it! I’ve already recommended it on social media. I own the ebook – but I actually just listened to the audiobook, and it’s fabulous! (The story is too of course – the narration is great too and there’s … one scene that I think really made it for me – but we’ll get there.) I fudged a little bit because Christina C Jones isn’t entirely new to me. I discovered her last year and have blown through a lot of her backlist. And listened to some of her books over and over [and over and over and over and over] already. Continue reading

Release Day Review: Dark Wizard by Jeffe Kennedy

*Editor’s Note: >.> OMG I’m going to go with “it’s Aidee not me” because 😜 it’s always her reviews right? But! This one I felt was necessary because we’ve never done it before. I don’t have the spoons to do the plug ins and coding for hide tags for spoilers – so I just made the font white, so in order to read the spoiler you have to highlight it. We’re taking it back old school and low tech.

Dark Wizard (Bonds of Magic Book 1) by Jeffe Kennedy
Fantasy romance released by Brightlynx Publishing on February 25, 2021

Dark Wizard by Jeffe Kennedy book coverShe ran from him… but couldn’t escape her heart.
Lord Gabriel Phel wants one thing: to rebuild the shattered fortunes of his people and restore his ruined house to its former station in the Convocation’s highest tiers of elegant society. Fortunately, through a wild chance of birth, he was born with powerful wizard magic, the first in his family in generations. If he can obtain a familiar to amplify his magic, a highborn daughter he can marry, to be mother to his children, he’ll be that much closer to saving his family. With her by his side, he can ascend to such a position of power in the Convocation that he can destroy it forever.

Lady Veronica Elal, captive in her tower, has only one way out. To her bitter disappointment, she will never be a wizard. Instead, through a twist of fate, and despite her expensive Convocation Academy education, Nic is doomed to be a familiar like her mother. Forced to participate in the Betrothal Trials, she receives a wizard suitor for one night each month. Whichever man impregnates her will bond her to them forever. With no choice but to serve the one who wins her, Nic has one hope for control over her life: a wizard she can manipulate.

Gabriel Phel seems like the perfect choice for Nic’s gambit—he’s desperate and untutored in wizardry—but within moments of meeting him, she feels the bonds of magic tying them together. Afraid of losing her will to the compelling wizard who touches her heart like no other, Nic does the unthinkable: she runs. Pregnant and alone, Nic eludes monstrous hunters, searching for a safe haven. But when Gabriel catches up to her, their adventure has only begun.

I love fantasy and I love romance, but it has been difficult to find a book that balances both genres well. I’m pleased to inform you that this book does that. The fantasy world Kennedy has built for this series is not the kind that has dragons and giants; it is closer to political intrigues and magic at an intimate level–I say intimate because it is used for things like providing light and heat without using a match, or getting clean drinking water, which is surprisingly complicated, or having a perfectly tailored gown without lots of buttons or a zipper. And because the way magic happens is through a symbiotic effort; the wizard directs the magic into spells, and to be most effective, uses a familiar that is more or less a battery, providing more magic for the wizard. This relationship affects the society that exists in this world, and consequentially Veronica and Gabriel’s relationship. And before I get too carried away, Veronica’s child is not in danger in this book. However, there are mentions of rape and abusive relationships throughout the book. If you prefer strictly HEA endings, I would suggest waiting until the series is completed, because this book ends on a Happy For Now ending. Continue reading

Review: Harbor by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Harbor by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Contemporary romance released by Rebekah Weatherspoon Presents on June 27, 2020

Harbor by Rebekah Weatherspoon book coverBetrayed and set adrift…
Months before she’s set to walk down the aisle, assistant district attorney Brooklyn Lewis suffers an unthinkable loss. It’s bad enough her fiancé is violently taken from her, but along with her grief she must also process the fact that the man of her dreams was unfaithful. Friends and family want to see her heal, but Brooklyn doesn’t know how to move on from trauma and deception until she discovers she’s not the only one broken by this tragedy.

A light in the storm…
Attorney Vaughn Coleman and his partner Chris Shaw have also lost the love of their lives, who was found lifeless in the same bed as Brooklyn’s fiancé, taken from them by the same killer.

Unmoored by grief, Brooklyn, Chris, and Vaughn fall into a relationship that both fulfills them and threatens to pull them under the waves of guilt, but they soon realize it may take the love of three people to bring their battered ships back to shore.
*This romance features a polyamorous relationship between two men and a woman, with BDSM overtones*
While this is a stand alone novel, there are additional characters featured in other stories. Reading order for the characters in this story: Haven, Sanctuary, Rafe, Xeni, Harbor.

There are a couple of content warnings I want to provide before diving into this review. The book talks about death and infidelity. This is a romance between three people, Brooklyn “Brook,” Shaw, and Vaughn. What I liked most about this book is that Weatherspoon starts off in a place of grief and confusion, but successfully gets the characters, and by extension the readers, to a happy ending. Vaughn and Shaw grow just as much as Brooklyn, although their growth felt more intertwined because Vaughn and Shaw already have an established relationship before meeting Brooklyn. We also get to see a lot of female friendships on Brooklyn’s side of the story, which I always enjoy. Continue reading

“Not” TBR Challenge Review: A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer

*Editor’s Note: I don’t normally do this but this was submitted by Aidee on July 21, 2019, and it was supposed to be a TBR Challenge Review. Obviously I have no idea which month/topic now and … *crawls under a rock* so – my apologies to Aidee, and Wendy the amazing organizer of the annual TBR Challenge, and other participants. [It also seems there are two blurbs/back cover copies, and they have sufficiently different information, so I’m adding both.]

A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer
Fantasy romance released by Ace on July 5, 2005

A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer book coverOn an alternate Earth, where the population is ninety percent female and a man is sold by his sisters to marry all the women in a family, Jerin Whistler is coming of age. His mothers are respected landed gentry, his grandfather a kidnapped prince, and his grandmothers common line soldiers blackballed for treason, trained by thieves, re-enlisted as spies, and knighted for acts of valor. Jerin wants to marry well, and his sisters want a husband bought by his brother’s price.
~*~*~*~
In a world where male children are rare, a man is a valuable commodity—to be sold to the highest bidder…

It isn’t easy being the oldest boy in a house run by women—especially for Jerin Whistler. The grand-matriarchs of his clan are descended from soldiers, spies, and thieves. That’s partly what’s kept their family alive in the wilderness. But it also means Jerin’s doomed to marry the girls next door—a fate he’s convinced is worse than death. But Jerin gets in even worse trouble when, in the process of a daring rescue, he falls in love with a royal princess who’s as high above his station as it’s possible to be.

Ren knows that Jerin is too far below her class to be an appropriate match for her and her royal sisters. But then she hears rumors of a long-held Whistler family secret—one that might provide a way for them to finally be together. Unfortunately, she still has four sisters to convince. And that’s before Jerin even comes to the capital—where simmering political tensions will threaten not just their love, but all their lives…

I’ve read this book more than once, but didn’t read it when it was first published in 2005. I wasn’t into romance at the time, and while this book has a healthy amount of court intrigue and is set in an alternate universe, a step sideways from ours, it focuses on the romantic relationship between Jerin and Ren, and to a lesser extent, Ren’s sisters. As the cover copy makes clear, this is a world where men have multiple wives, but it is a matriarchal society, not a patriarchal one. The cover image, I’m told, is misleading. I mostly enjoyed this book, though upon thinking about it for the review, I noticed somethings that left me feeling slightly uneasy. Continue reading

Team TBR Challenge Review: Crave by Evelyn Sola

Crave (Clark Family Book 1) by Evelyn Sola
Contemporary romance published by Evelyn Sola on March 2, 2020

Sandra
Before THAT night, the over the top party and the cake incident, I spent Saturday nights with girlfriends, lamenting my life over margaritas.
I wasn’t ready for Jacob Clark. He was sin and dark edges, wrapped in regret. He was my Kryptonite. His words oozed over me like warm honey. His dark eyes pricked my soul, and his touch….those fingers set my skin on fire.
Of course he was too good to be true. And before I could wipe the icing off my greedy lips, I was walking away.
So, why was he invading her dreams?

Jacob
She was the remedy to everything. Until my family, my past, provoked me.
I made one little scene, and Sandra walked away without a word, despite our mind-blowing connection.
When I finally barged in on her life again, she told me she didn’t want me. I told her in her pretty face she did. She more than wanted me.
Remember the ache? When I’m with her, it goes away.
If she wants a chase, I’ll give her one.
Who knows? When I catch her, I might never let go.

[So … late is better than never, right? 😅] The way I think about this book is: what if you met your perfect match on the worst night of their life? While it wasn’t the worst night of Jace’s life … he’s reacting to it still. I actually listened to the audiobook – it’s narrated by Mari and Troy Duran. I’ve listened to other books Mari narrated before, but Troy was new to me, and *fans self* his voice, y’all. Anyway. This book! I’m glad I stuck with it because at first glance, the hero is not very “hero material.” … But we quickly find out why – and it’s such a great, sexy contemporary. I’m also a major sucker for a smitten hero. Another bonus is – the dogs! Zeus (a bull mastiff!) and Lady (a poodle). Low key the detail and attention to the dogs is what kept me initially reading/listening when I might’ve DNF’d otherwise. So many authors write a dog into their books and just never mention them again. Not the case here. And also, once we got into the actual story with Jake and Sandy, I was hooked. Continue reading