Book Review

Book Review: Bonded Fate (Guardians of the Maiden #2) by Beck Michaels

Rating: ★★★☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 531 pages
Author: Beck Michaels
Publisher: Pluma Press
Release Date: August 3rd, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Joined by blood. Bound by destiny.

The stakes are higher, new questions will surface, and more blood will spill in the thrilling sequel of the Guardians of the Maiden fantasy series.

Reeling from Cassiel’s confession, Dyna struggles to understand what the Blood Bond means for them both, all the while trying to stay one step ahead of a newfound enemy. When reuniting with a familiar sorceress, she realizes the only way to defeat Tarn is to find her Guardians—all of them.

Cassiel never meant to tie himself to a human, especially one that inexplicably draws him. But then the bond develops a startling change, and it puts into question everything he thought he knew.

Zev straddles the line between human and wolf, unsure if his dark thoughts truly belong to the Madness. It’s growing stronger, determined to take over—and he may just let it.

The journey to get the answers they each need will test them all. But what Dyna doesn’t know is that it comes with a price, and it may cost more than she bargained for.

DID ANYTHING HAPPEN?

I wanted to love this more, BUT I’m still planning on moving forward with book three so all hope is not lost. I mostly feel like not that much actually happened? The crew kept getting attacked, but made no actual progress on their journey.

What did progress were some romantic plotlines, YAY. I did love those and am in love with all things Cassiel. Dyna, eh. She’s just not the heroine I’m here for [yet]. I will give her credit for making some progress. Dyna is a bit whiny and naïve about way too much, buuuut she did take the time to grow some necessary skills in magic/weaponry and practices moves us forward y’all. They’re relationship is all things I love about fantasy romance and I am here for more of it allllllll.

I love all of these points of view. It feels very epic fantasy with many characters and moving parts. I think [hope] a lot of the smaller things that happened here are precursors to the wild amount of things that can happen in book three.

The depth of the villain is starting to show and his buddy Von. I love that we get to see there side of the story too and needless to say, I’m cautiously excited to see where this moves to next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy Romance
  • Language: little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: servitude, physical and magical weaponry, suicidal ideation, grief, PTSD, near death experiences

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Book Review

Book Review: A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting by Sophie Irwin

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Sophie Irwin
Publisher: Pamela Dorman
Release Date: May 12th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A whip-smart debut that follows the adventures of an entirely unconventional heroine who throws herself into the London Season to find a wealthy husband. But the last thing she expects is to find love…

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. Left with her father’s massive debts, she has only twelve weeks to save her family from ruin.

Kitty has never been one to back down from a challenge, so she leaves home and heads toward the most dangerous battleground in all of England: the London season.

Kitty may be neither accomplished nor especially genteel—but she is utterly single-minded; imbued with cunning and ingenuity, she knows that risk is just part of the game.

The only thing she doesn’t anticipate is Lord Radcliffe. The worldly Radcliffe sees Kitty for the mercenary fortune-hunter that she really is and is determined to scotch her plans at all costs, until their parrying takes a completely different turn…

This is a frothy pleasure, full of brilliant repartee and enticing wit—one that readers will find an irresistible delight.

SMITTEN.

Who knew an unlikable MC would win my heart? I loved Kitty. She was the perfect dose of irreverent and incredibly loyal to her family and helping them get out of a bad situation. The way she dove head first into tackling how to be fancy (is the best way I’m putting it) was full of wit and charm. I flew through this audiobook because it was such a delight to read.

I loved the our male lead too. Radcliffe could not care one whit what Kitty was up to as long as it didn’t involve his brother, until he realized HE CARED TOO MUCH. Snap, I love a book like that. I really appreciate the depth paid towards both of their backgrounds. I felt in touch with these characters and didn’t question reasonings behind decisions as each one fell in line with the plot.

The side characters were quirky and added a bit of punch to the tale. It was fun to see the dating scene of the season and the continual need to be absolutely perfect when in all actuality not a soul is even close. Lots of charming moments, plenty of balls and dinners. And don’t we all love an amazing confession of love at the end?! Gold.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of parents

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Book Review

Book Review: The League of Gentlewomen Witches (Dangerous Damsels #2) by India Holton

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Paranormal/Historical/Fantasy Romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: India Holton
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 15th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the teahouse…

Miss Charlotte Pettifer belongs to a secret league of women skilled in the subtle arts. That is to say—although it must never be said—witchcraft. The League of Gentlewomen Witches strives to improve the world in small ways. Using magic, they tidy, correct, and manipulate according to their notions of what is proper, entirely unlike those reprobates in the Wisteria Society.

When the long lost amulet of Black Beryl is discovered, it is up to Charlotte, as the future leader of the League, to make sure the powerful talisman does not fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, it is most unfortunate when she crosses paths with Alex O’Riley, a pirate who is no Mr. Darcy. With all the world scrambling after the amulet, Alex and Charlotte join forces to steal it together. If only they could keep their pickpocketing hands to themselves! If Alex’s not careful, he might just steal something else—such as Charlotte’s heart.

LAUGH INDUCING.

I love the eccentricities of this story. It’s a wild combination of genres, characters and themes and that’s what makes it so good!! I found myself laughing, leaning into the unique nature and having a good time.

My only small issue was how the relationship started. It leans more towards an enemies with benefits vibe, and I personally have a harder time with benefits books. BUT. I will say, Charlotte and Alex truly grew on me. They kept denying the fact that they were clearly in looooove and it made for some hilarious situations. I really liked them by the end and thought everything wrapped up well (I’m curious if there’s another book coming??).

Even though things go all over the place, the plot is a strong note throughout. I like that this was easy to follow so when the points of view switched up or flying houses intruded, I knew where things were ultimately going. A great read, and the audio book was wonderful!

Overall audience notes:

  • Paranormal / Historical / Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: vague open door
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: kidnapping, explosions, physical altercations, weaponry

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Book Review

Book Review: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

Rating: ★★★☆ (3.5)
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 497 pages
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: January 19th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.

After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.

And the last thing they ever expected was each other.

But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop.

… she should have chosen the strip club. 

WELL.

I knew there might come a day when a Zapata book wasn’t my favorite. Unfortunately today is that day. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book a lot, but it was more on and off then a consistent lover for one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. The setting and theme were some of the best aspects.

The love interest, Dex, flirting with the a-hole/grump line waayyy too often for me. Maybe this is also showing that that type of hero isn’t my jam (which is fine!), but I kept waffling back and forth with how he treated Iris. There were some truly kind moments and a few great, don’t touch her moments too. A mixed bag for him though.

Iris was a great heroine…most of the time. I think she had a lot of spunk and was trying to make the best decision she could when obstacles kept being thrown her way. There were some truly frustrating moments where I could in no way, get behind what she was thinking. I don’t love dumb decision making.

Something that I don’t generally take off star rating for (and didn’t for this book), though I do like to mention, is that this is MUUUUUUCH steamier than I expected. I skipped many long scenes that were on the super graphic side. If you love this kind of steam, then I would recommend this backlist MZ read. If not, I’d go ahead and skip this and read some of her newer books.

The audio narration as always was stellar and it felt like a quick read even at 16 hours. I’m looking forward to continuing my backlist MZ books!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: heavy and strong
  • Romance: multiple very explicit open door
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: abandonment, cancer, death of a parent, gun violence, physical violence, infidelity (not with the main couple!), sexual assault

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