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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-09-24 17:16
Bridal Boot Camp (Little Bridge Island 0.5) - Meg Cabot

Short and sweet read, but ultimately felt a little rushed.

Roberta James, our protagonist, is a physical trainer who seems keen on putting up a tough front, when in reality she's pretty emotional when it comes down to it. We see a little bit of this in Bridal Boot Camp, mainly through her reaction to Somewhere over the Rainbow. For the most part though, we have to go off her friend's description of her as a "big softie who cries at weddings and is obsessed with rom-coms". I will say that I definitely prefer to gleam information on protagonists based on their actions within the narrative; showing vs. telling and all that jazz. The issue here is that with a short story, there's only so much room for showing. And the focus here is definitely moreso geared towards showcasing the budding relationship between Rob and Ryan, than the actual characters themselves.

I don't think that's necessarily the mark of bad writing, but is definitely something to bear in mind going into this one. If you're looking for anything more than a quick-fix romance, this might not be the best bet. However, if you are looking for a quick-fix, Cabot definitely delivers! The characters are fun, and there's definitely some cute moments as well as some raunchier ones as well! Personally, I think this would have been a better fit for me if it were novel length, with a bit more development in plot and characters, but I pretty much guessed that would be the case gong in. I think novellas are a hard thing to pull off, and this missed the mark for me.

I will say that the setting is pretty well fleshed out. I got a pretty decent impression on what Little Bridge Island is like, both in terms of geography and the society too. We know all the best places to grab coffee, learn the lay of the land in terms of who's who and I even found the section on street names to be pretty cute and memorable. And I guess that makes a lot of sense to focus on the setting, given that this serves mostly as a precursor to No Judgements. That definitely felt evident to me whilst reading Bridal Boot Camp, especially with the mentions of the upcoming hurricane that we already knows will settle over the island for the events of No Judgements.

Overall a fun quick read, but lacking a little depth for my taste. Cabot does a good job of setting the scene for the following instalment (the real focus of the series), and I'm definitely left hoping that it pays off. Fingers crossed No Judgements is more to my tastes!

Source: richlywritten.blogspot.com/2019/09/review-bridal-boot-camp-meg-cabot.html
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-09-22 19:03
Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy #4) - Ilona Andrews

Ilona and Gordon are back with a new addition to the Hidden Legacy series, and this time we're following Catalina. We got a little peak into her (younger) head with Diamond Fire, and I think we definitely needed that stepping stone from Navada to Catalina. I know a few people have struggled a little with the swap from the eldest Baylor sister that we'd all grown attached to, which is understandable. After all, we know reasonably little about Catalina. But isn't that kinda great? A fresh take on a world that we've already grown to love sounds perfect to me.

 I decided pretty early on that I wasn't going to re-read the previous three instalments leading up to the release of Sapphire Flames. And honestly I think it did me the world of good. I came in a little hazy on the events of Navada's triology, but remembered enough to feel comfortable in catching up pretty quickly. And as usual, our favourite author duo pave the way beautifully for returning and new readers. You could definitely cut in here if for some ungodly reason you felt the need to shun the previous books. Again, from the hours I've spent reading reviews for this one, I know that a fair amount of readers felt the loss of Nevada and Rogan in this one. But I think we really needed it to cement us in Catalina's narrative. I did at least! And in a way, this was really a introduction to a very new Catalina.

We had a taste of her in DF, as I mentioned, but 3 years have passed, and she's had to grow up. I say had to, because as Sapphire Flames opens, we're at the end of House Baylor's grace period, and as such, our protagonist is just about to really experience what it means to be Head of her House. Oh and there's the little issue of good people getting murdered. In terms of plot, we're thrown in deep straight off the bat. It'll come to absolutely no one's surprise that the execution of the hit the ground running start is pretty flawless.

Honestly the book is flawless, so if you were hoping for a 'but' at some point, you came to wrong place. I'm pretty damn smitten with the characters, setting, plot and general writing style. And lets just take a moment to discuss the setting. Sure, it's the same world we've walked in throughout the series, but damn if it isn't incredible. No one world builds quite like the Andrews. The magic structure is fresh and fun, you can tell they have a perfect control on the history of the world and the magic, and it really pays off. I struggled for a while trying to figure out exactly what is was that makes these books, more so even than the Kate Daniels series, so incredibly readable. And I think it's just that. Its no single part of the world or character building, or the fun and witty dialogue that makes's this so great. It's all of it. I honestly don't know how they do it, but at the risk of sounding cliche, picking up a Hidden Legacy book feels as easy as breathing. It's completely effortless. Some of my lucky Goodreads friends received ARC copies, and some of them read the book several times before it's official release date. Normally this would confuse me, because I'm not typically someone who easily re-reads within short frames of time. But let me tell you that I could just as easily have turned back to page one when I finished Sapphire Flames than put it down.

In fact, I'd say it was a great deal harder to put it down than to just start it all over again. This series is so addictive, that I'm pretty much ruined for all other books. If I had to reach for any series, it would hands down be this one. And with the ending of Sapphire Flames, I'm left desperately ready for a sequel. You can bet any money in the world that I will be spending every book until Hidden Legacy #5 just slightly disappointed, because nothing quite lives up to this standard. I'm almost tempted to say that I wish I'd waited to read Sapphire Flames until closer to the next release. 'Almost', because I'd be doing myself such a disservice. Honestly I've said it before and I will say in again and again until someone stops me: No one else write quite like Ilona and Gordon. There such an energy to every word, can you can tell how much love goes into each piece of writing.

 On the subject of love, lets talk romance. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about Alessandro and Catalina, mostly because I wasn't fully sold on Alessandro going in. I know, I'm surprised too. Happy to say that that was pretty swiftly nipped in the bud. We learned more about him pretty early on, that immediately had me sold. What can I say? All it takes is confidence, a nice smile and the ability to murder a man and then jump out a glass window. I'm a girl of few needs. But less on myself and Alessandro, and back to him and our new protagonist. I loved these two. In just one book, we really got a chance to see them in a variety of scenarios, and it was a nice chance to see how they reacted to each other. Angry, annoyed, flirty, protective, to name a few.

We went in knowing that Catalina had issues when it came to her magic and the possibility of any romantic endeavours was pretty off the table as far as she was concerned. Thankfully for her (and us as readers), Alessandro is pretty keen to put things very much on the table (or sink, I'm looking at you chapter 14). I was worried that I'd find the issue of Catalina's powers and the relationship a little iffy, but actually it was nice to see her vulnerable. As Head of House, she has to be everything but vulnerable, so the moments we get of her like that are pretty great.

Going in, I had a lot more questions about Catalina than Alessandro, but boy have the tables turned. Honestly I could go on and on and on about this one, but I'm in danger of spending all night glued to my laptop staring bleary eyed at the screen while typing away all my thoughts. I'll leave you with this quote:

"He should've never kissed me. He was mine now and I wanted him." 

If that doesn't have you eagerly awaiting the next instalment, I don't know what will. (Other than a pregnant Nevada finally returning, unveiling secrets about Alessandro and seeing how many more sacrifices Catalina is willing too make for the people she loves.)

 

Source: richlywritten.blogspot.com/2019/09/test-3.html
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review 2017-03-28 14:52
Review - Taming the Pack Box Set by Wendy Sparrow
Taming the Pack Boxed Set - Wendy Sparrow

I really enjoyed all three stories in this book. With great characters, witty banter, and an interesting plot that was carried throughout the books, Taming the Pack had just about everything I like in a paranormal romance.

I had previously read the first book, Past My Defenses, when it was originally released. Vanessa and Dane were great. She’s a wolf that has allergies, he’s a human forest ranger, and together these two were lots of fun! Vanessa runs when things get difficult, but she’s in heat so it’s a bit hard for her to run away from the man she has scent-matched to, even if he is a human! Dane is just trying to figure out how the wolf he had in his cage could possibly be this woman who just ran off on him. These two didn’t have the easiest time getting together, but it was a whole lot of fun watching them get there.

In This Weakness for You, we get to see Jordan fighting his scent-match to Christa – not only has he been there, done that and it didn’t work out so well with having a mate, it turns out Christa is Dane’s sister…and after all the grief Jordan gave Dane about Vanessa he knows Dane will kill him if he even thinks about going near his sister! Christa has to be one of my most favorite characters in a long time. She’s feisty, confident, and really lives for each day and moment – all this in spite of life’s set backs, including the fact that she has MS. She doesn’t let Jordan get away with anything – from pushing her away to being over-protective, she always called him on his actions.

“And then there’s this…” He took a step back and shifted. One minute, he was a man – the next, a large black wolf beside a pile of clothes.

Christa’s eyes widened and she stared. “Oh, well…” Then, she wrinkled up her nose and tilted her head. “You know, I’d actually considered that, but there’s no way to ask that without sounding insane.”


The black wolf stared. Jordan’s primal intelligence had been expecting panic and shock. This amused acceptance was…confusing.


His mate scooted farther back in the bed with a yawn. “So now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, can you stay?”


He didn’t move.


His female leaned forward and whistled while patting the bed.


There was a brief fight between his stubborn human intelligence and the instinctual desire to be with his female. Also…she’d just
whistled. His pride couldn’t fight the altered primal mind-set. Mine. Mate. Mine. The black wolf jumped on the bed and lay down beside her.

And in Crazy Over You we finally get to see Sheriff Travis Flynn meet his match, uh, scent-match – even if she seems to walk a bit on the other side of the law! LeAnn just wants to find her brother and falling for the sexy sheriff is not part of the plan. Travis has seen his two friends find their mates and wants what they have…and if that means pulling out all the stops to keep LeAnn with him and maybe breaking a law or two along the way, well, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do.

He gestured between them. “Us. We’ve scent-matched. It means we’re mates.”

So…she wasn’t expecting that. She stood there blinking stupidly. He’d said that. Her mouth opened and closed. It was insane. Sure, there was this primitive sort of connection between them – she didn’t just kiss anyone – but this pull…this brain-frying lust…it’d fade. They weren’t mates. “Does that line work often?”

“You know it’s not a line. You can feel it. That’s why you kissed me. It’s either that or you’re really…”

“Slutty?”

“I was going to say friendly.”
And did I happen to mention Lucifer? The devil-cat that belongs to Christa? Loved how Lucifer was woven into these stories – from Vanessa’s allergies to Jordan’s heart to heart “talks” with the cat – Lucifer was one awesome kitty…even if he could truly resemble his namesake at times!

Although there wasn’t a lot of steam in any of these books, there was some great tension between the characters as they either fought their attraction or continued to be in denial about their scent-match. There was a lot of cute play between the characters – like the sheriff stripping to get LeAnns attention and Christa wanting to experience some dirty talk – so I was more than satisfied with a bit of sizzle, especially that there was also a good dose of humor that always seemed to accompany it!

The over-arching story line that was carried between these three books was great – and even though all the books do wrap us nicely on their own and can be read as stand-alones, there is a nice tie-in between all the books. I really enjoyed the world and characters that have been created, and the human/lycan connection was a nice twist to the traditional werewolf lore. There were a lot of great characters in all the books and I would love to see more books written in this world! This is definitely a series to check out!
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review 2017-03-21 12:05
Review - Thunder Wolf by Heather Long
Thunder Wolf (Wolves of Willow Bend Book 11) - Heather Long

I just love this series and Thunder Wolf helps move this story arc of the Enforcers forward, giving us a bit more insight into the Enforcer world as well as revealing more information about the threat of the Russian Volchista.

Hadley and John were both great characters. I just loved watching Hadley go all Enforcer on her charges, keeping them in line and reminding them that just because she may be small, doesn’t mean that she still can’t kick some serious butt. John wants Hadley – no ifs, ands, or buts…except as an Enforcer relationships aren’t something you can do. Of course, from the beginning of this story arc you can feel that the world is changing for these wolves, and maybe involvement is not a liability. I loved that even though John’s base instinct was to protect Hadley, he respected her Enforcer ability and let her take care of herself, never trying to step in front of her, always fighting beside her. It was great seeing these two work together and play together – and I loved how Hadley could bring about that playful side in John.

I also love the way that Heather Long manages to interweave the stories of the packs into each book, allowing us to keep track of the goings on and spend time with some of the characters from previous books. And continuing to see different sides of Julian, the head of the Enforcers, is always interesting – and has me anticipating his book!

As I’ve said before, this is one of my favorite series. I think the only thing keeping me from a 5-star rating on this one was I didn’t feel as emotionally vested in the characters as I have in so many of the other books, which may have been a result of both characters being Enforcers and both were fairly well adjusted – I felt like I was watching a great story rather than being a part of it. Again, still enjoyed this one, just finding it hard to rate it the same as some of the other books in the series that I loved!

Although I think you can read this one as a stand-alone there are a lot of tie-ins to the overall story arc which may make this one a bit harder to follow along with – and really, this entire series is worth the read so why not start at the beginning!

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review 2017-03-21 11:58
Review - Missing Justice by Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano
Missing Justice (The Justice Team Book 7) - Adrienne Giordano,Misty Evans

Once again the writing team of Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano delivers a book full of romance, suspense, and enough twists and turns to keep you engaged in the story right to the very end.

Taylor and Matt were an awesome pairing. These two had chemistry which extended beyond the bedroom. They were such a great team working together, and I loved the fact that their romance seemed to happen naturally and without a lot of drama once they decided to give things a try. Matt was perfect for Taylor – she’s been burying some pretty serious stuff far down and he refused to let her get away with keeping things bottled up. He was also quick to recognize that Taylor could take care of herself and didn’t need him to go all alpha and caveman on her, but he also just as quick to recognize when she needed him to lean on. Taylor was a bit intense and career-driven, but I really loved watching her pair up with Matt and the Justice Team when she gets pulled from her duties.

I loved how the plot was laid out, making you feel like you were discovering the various pieces of evidence and clues right along with Taylor and Matt. It was fun seeing the tie-in to the Justice Team and their involvement in the case. Anytime Mitch shows up you just know you are in for a fun time! And the sisters – I’m so excited to hear that there will be a series featuring the two sisters that run the PI firm that Matt works for…they are going to be so much fun!

I may be in the minority with this, but I did find the ending didn’t quite work for me. I would have liked it to have been a bit different (not the tie up of the major story line, but a secondary plot point in the book) – things tied up a bit too nicely and felt too predictable, and I would have loved to have seen the ending of that secondary plot point be carried forward in future books in this series. I know others won’t agree since the ending tied up all the loose ends, but I did find myself thinking “no, please don’t let that resolve because I can see this being woven into so many other stories” as I was getting to the end of the book. Not a huge thing, but I would have loved to have seen things end a bit differently.

Overall, this was another great read by Evans and Giordano. Their combined voices always deliver great dialogue and a story that is seamlessly constructed. This can certainly be read as a stand alone but I guarantee you’ll want to go back and read the other books if you start here!

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