Tag: mini reviews

Wrap Up | June 2019

I really felt like I read only 5 or 6 books in June but nope. I read 13! I would prefer to break up a wrap up over 5 books into two posts but I wasn’t paying attention 😅

I had a few let downs this month and one book I decided to drop.

Fate's Edge The Edge 3 Ilona Andrews Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

Fate’s Edge (The Edge #3) by Ilona Andrews ★★★★☆

Fate's Edge (The Edge, #3)

This is an urban fantasy series set in the Edge which is a realm between the Broken (our world) and the Weird (mirror to our world but with magic). The series is meant to be paranormal romance and definitely starts out that way but by this book I think it’s more like urban fantasy with more focus on the suspense plot than the relationship.

Taken as urban fantasy it’s a brilliant book but taken as paranormal romance it doesn’t quite work.

A Bogie in the Boat (Linx & Bogie #2) by Elizabeth Hunter ★★★★★

A Bogie in the Boat (Linx & Bogie, #2)

I really hope Hunter will write more and maybe longer books in this series. So far the stories have been pretty short but really engaging. It’s a buddy story about a woman and the ghost of a detective who constantly tries to get her to solve mysteries.

The Ice Princess (Princes Trilogy #3.5) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★☆

The Ice Princess (Princes Trilogy, #3.5)

Super short story at the end of Hoyt’s Princes trilogy about the madam of Aphrodite’s Grotto. I’m generally not a fan of short romances but since I already had an idea of Carol’s character from previous books I actually enjoyed this one.

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang ★★★★★

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)

Oh my gosh, I loved this!! I was really surprised by this book! I didn’t expect to like about about a male escort and I also was not prepared for how steamy this book is! I totally judged it by it’s cover and expected a sweet and silly romantic comedy style story. It is certainly sweet but not at all silly.

The Kiss Quotient is available on kindle unlimited

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers #1) by Penny Reid ★★★★★

Truth or Beard (Winston Brothers, #1)

Loved this and another surprise for me for pretty much the same reasons as above. I expected a homey small town story but there’s a slight edge to it that pushes it out of that category. We follow Duane Winston who has had the hots for Jessica for most of his life but she’s mad for his identical twin brother.

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The Taken (Celestial Blues #1) by Vicki Petersson ★★★★☆

The Taken (Celestial Blues, #1)

I stumbled across this book on Scribd and listened to it based solely on the cover. I love the rockabilly elements from the main female character. This is a noir urban fantasy mystery series (yes please!) following rockabilly reporter Kit and ex-P.I. fallen angel Griffin as they look for her friends murderer.

Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin #1) by Gena Showalter ★★★☆☆

Last Kiss Goodnight: An Otherworld Assassin Novel

I’m in two minds about this book. I think the world was well built and interesting but the characters were pretty one-shot and a little generic. Another small issue I have is that the main female character is deaf but I think the way her deafness is portrayed wasn’t very realistic (though I can’t say that for sure). Last Kiss Goodnight is a sci-fi romance about an alien zoo in a circus run under the iron fist of Vika’s father when Soloman is captured and put on display in the zoo.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje ★★★★★

The English Patient

I adored this but it is a bit of a heavy read so I really took my time with it. I’ve been reading it since January and finished it up this month. I’m really happy I took my time with it and soaked in what the book had to say. The English Patient centers around four people in a villa in Italy at the end of World War 2 coming to terms with what has happened to them over the past few years.

Hyde & Seek (Hyde #1) by Layla Frost ★☆☆☆☆

Hyde and Seek (Hyde #1)

Say hello to my only one star read this year (so far). I only finished it because I wanted to complete a square on the Romanceopoly board. I don’t want to get really negative about this book because a lot of people seem to love it (I’m in the minority) but this really wasn’t for me. None of the characters felt realistic and the main female character was bordering on a Mary-Sue. She seems to have Beyonce’s figure (but feels she’s too curvy), smells like cake and every man and his uncle wants to bang her because she listens to metal and has tattoos.

Hyde & Seek is available on kindle unlimited

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered #1) by Tessa Bailey ★★★☆☆

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered, #1)

This book has been hyped quite a bit recently among romance readers and I’m kind of in two minds on whether it deserves it or not. On one hand I enjoyed it and on the other it featured tropes that I’m sick of. A lot of people have been commenting on it’s steaminess level as well but I didn’t think it was that high (read The Professional by Kresley Cole if you want a super steamy book). We follow Travis who has just returned home after an injury has ends his pro baseball career and Georgette, a professional clown, who has been on love with him her whole life. They both want to change their image so decide to fake date for a bit.

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough ★★★★☆

The Thorn Birds

This was so close to being a 5 star read but some things really annoyed me around the middle of the book. Mostly character actions so we won’t get into it 😉 The story was a wonderful sweeping saga following the Cleary family but mainly the daughter Meggie. There are a lot of interesting looks at gender in the book especially perceived gender roles and how the people are influenced by their religion.

The Raven Prince (Princes #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★★

The Raven Prince

One of my absolute favourite historical romances!! There are strong Beauty and the Beast themes in this one but it isn’t really a retelling. I LOVE books with Beauty and the Beast themes 💜

The Leopard Prince (Princes #2) by Elizabeth Hoyt ★★★★★

The Leopard Prince (Princes Trilogy, #2)

This one has the most interesting subplot following along the romance. It’s a murder mystery, SHEEP MURDER!! It’s a lot of fun to read and unravel with the characters while they fall in lurve.

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didn't finish

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

An Unkindness of Magicians

I love the premise of this book but when listening to the audiobook I found it to be a bit of a mess. I decided to stop listening around halfway and I’m going to try the print book at some point and see if I follow it better.

Books Read – August

Blue Moon (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #8)The Second SexThe Professional (The Game Maker, #1)Sweet Ruin (Immortals After Dark, #16)Lover's Knot (Dorina Basarab, #3.5)Shadow's Bane (Dorina Basarab, #4)Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2)One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)Devil to Pay (Night Huntress, #3.5)Shadow's Seduction (Immortals After Dark, #17; The Dacians, #2)The Matchmaker's Playbook (Wingmen Inc., #1)Shadowed Souls

Blue Moon (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #8)Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton

★★★☆☆

Book no. 8 in the Anita Blake series. In this one, Richard has been accused of rape and Anita dashes off to sort it all out. Her presence is not welcomed by the local vampire group or local law enforcement. This one kind of annoyed me. There was a bit too much relationship drama. This book is probably the real turning point for the series when it becomes nothing but group sex scenes.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Extracts from The Second Sex by simone de Beauvoir Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

The Second SexExtracts from The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir

★★★★☆

Very interesting. This edition features the original books introduction, chapter 14 and the conclusion. It’s kind of like a taster for the full book which was published in 1949 and made a big impact. The book explores the inequalities between women and men.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

The Professional (The Game Maker, #1)The Professional by Kresley Cole

★★★★☆

The Game Maker romance series book 1. Natalie has been searching for her birth parents in Russia and discovers her father is actually a vor in the mafiya and that her life is in imminent danger. Her father dispatches Sevastyan to protect her and bring her back to Russia where things get a lot more interesting. Love this book 😍
Some elements of the plot are a little bit far-fetched but it’s fine. It’s pure indulgent book yumminess. And of course super hot!! I think if you enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey for the kinky sex then you will probably enjoy this book.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Sweet Ruin (Immortals After Dark, #16)Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole

★★★★☆

Book 16 in the paranormal romance series Immortals After Dark.  Jo and her brother are orphans and living on the streets. They’re separated through tragedy and Jo discovers she is something other than human. She spends the rest of her life simply existing until she meets an assassin on the hunt for a mutual enemy. It took me a while to get into this one. I didn’t really like the main characters but I’m glad I stuck with it. It’s one of the more interesting books in the series and borders on science fiction a bit.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Lover's Knot (Dorina Basarab, #3.5)Lover’s Knot by Karen Chance

★★★★★

3.5 in Dorina Basarab series and a free ebook novella available on the author’s site and the links below.  In this one, Dory is on a rescue mission in France after her beau goes missing along with the European consul. I loved this addition to the series. It really sets the tone for the next novel in the series Shadow’s Bane.

Get the book: Amazon | Kobo

Shadow's Bane by Karen Chance Dorina Basarab 4 Elaine Howlin Bookstagram

Shadow's Bane (Dorina Basarab, #4)Shadow’s Bane by Karen Chance

★★★★★

Dorina Basarab book #4. Loved it! My full review for this book is available here. Dory is investigating fae slavers while dealing with her vampire side’s growing powers.

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Sweep in Peace (Innkeeper Chronicles, #2)Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews

★★★★★

The Innkeeper Chronicles book #2. My full review is available here. Loved this! It’s so different from the usual urban fantasy fare. In this book, Dina is hosting peace talks between 3 warring factions in her inn. Tensions are high especially after the arrival of a mystery guest near the end.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #3)One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

★★★★★

The Innkeeper Chronicles book #3. My full review is available here. In this book, Dina must rescue her sister and niece from an extremely dangerous planet and then offers sanctuary to an endangered alien race. Her inn ends up under siege from the race determined to wipe her guests’ species from existence. Loved it again! I’ve given every book in this series so far five stars, what more do you need to know?!

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Devil to Pay (Night Huntress, #3.5)Devil to Pay by Jeaniene Frost

★★☆☆☆

Night Huntress #3.5. This is about a guy who has been possessed by a demon trying to end his life so he won’t hurt people anymore. He’s saved by a vampire who has lost her zest for life and discovers it again through trying to help him. An ok short story. Very heavy on the instalove. I think short stories aren’t a good format for a complete romance.
Cat and Bones make a quick and kind of pointless appearance. If they hadn’t shown up this story could have been read as a stand-alone set in the same universe but their appearance makes it a little spoilery for the main series.

Get the book: Amazon | Google | Kobo

Shadow's Seduction by Kresley Cole Elaine Howlin Literary Blog

Shadow's Seduction (Immortals After Dark, #17; The Dacians, #2)Shadow’s Seduction by Kresley Cole

★★★★☆

Immortals After Dark #17; The Dacians #2 and Cole’s first M/M romance. This is a friends to lovers story following Mirceo and Caspian who were introduced in previous books. I’m not as into the Dacian’s as the other supernatural groups in the world. I miss the Valkyries and not even Nix showed up in this one which disappointed me but overall this is a great paranormal romance.

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The Matchmaker's Playbook (Wingmen Inc., #1)The Matchmaker’s Playbook by Rachel Van Dyken

★★★☆☆

A contemporary romance about two college students that run a matchmaking service for women. Ian is trying to set up Blake with her childhood crush when he breaks the cardinal rule of Wingman Inc. and starts to have feelings for his client. This was an ok book. Good enough for me to finish. Mildly entertaining and I will probably read the next book in the series but definitely not a favourite. It’s just a bit too tropey.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository |Barnes & Noble

Shadowed SoulsShadowed Souls edited by Jim Butcher

★★★★☆

I actually only read two of the stories included in this anthology because the others are part of series I haven’t read yet. The theme running through the stories is a bit… bleak.

Cold Case by Jim Butcher
Oh, that ending! Why must you constantly toy with my emotions, Jim?! This is the story that gives the collection its name. Molly’s new position as Winter Lady is weighing heavy on her and changing her in uncomfortable ways.

Sleepover by Seanan McGuire
I absolutely love McGuire’s writing. EVERYTHING I have read by her has been a treat. This story focuses on a half human half succubus woman who is coerced into searching for a young girl. There is quite a bit of world building for a stand-alone short story but it’s no less enjoyable for it. Not as depressing as Butcher’s story but still a bit bleak at the end.

Get the book: Amazon | Book Depository | Google | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


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