Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom by Cheryl Carpinello

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Although having higher expectations for this book, I wasn’t overly disappointed – not that I would pick up the next title or something, but it didn’t have me wishing to leave it at DNF state…

Young Prince Gavin wishes for nothing more than to grow up quickly and become a knight like the rest of his royal family. So does his friend, Bryan, a blacksmith apprentice. So when an old man they both consider dear gets accused of having stolen a jewel very important for Gavin’s kingdom, they enlist the help of their other friend, Phillip, and rush to help prove the man innocent. But the adventure they find themselves into might prove much harder than they originally thought…

Honestly, there were some parts I found fine thanks to the plot twists and some others I could have done without. It;s a good thing that the pace was fast and the story short, so it didn’t take me too long to finish the book. If I had been some years younger, I would have immensely enjoyed it. So, if we’re talking about middle grade, this is a perfect book. However, it doesn’t fall in that category of middle grade fantasy that adults could enjoy as well.

That being said, I’m not into finding out the rest of Gavin’s life – even with the new member added to the royal family, which was a total shocker, if you ask me.

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

2cupcakes

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Holding the Dream (Dream Trilogy #2) by Nora Roberts

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“I’m in love with you. Deal with it.” – Byron De Witt

Now THIS is so much better! Unlike Margo’s story, Kate’s was such a fresh breath of air!

In the second book of the Dream Trilogy, Kate Powell, Laura’s cousin and the practical one of the trio, is having some health issues. Issues that she repeatedly ignores and makes worse. But her health isn’t the only thing going downhill in her life currently. After finding out that her father stole from his company when he was alive, she takes an even bigger hit when she’s reported for practically the same thing. As she’s trying to bring her life back to its former balance, Kate is about to find out that not everything has to be part of a plan – and trusting her body in the very capable hands of Byron De Witt seems like the most logical first step.

I have to say, I immensely enjoyed this one. Unlike Margo, Kate was spanky and feisty, with a good head on her shoulders and tons of dry wit in her arsenal. She didn’t dream of fame and all that crap the blonde bimbo wanted, instead she wished for stability and intended to work hard to get it. Now that’s the kind of female lead I can totally relate to in a book!


Next to her, Byron was the perfect man to stand and thrive – seriously! Because the guy was no Josh! (yes, I hate Margo’s man, too) He was sweet, and gentlemanly, and used his heart in wonderful equality with his mind. Not only that, but he was also man enough to let Kate take the reins when he saw it worked out better, and yet go all “caveman” on her when she crossed the line. He was perfection and then some! And when he seriously started courting her – honestly, there’s no other way to put it, judging from what he did to and for her – I nearly melted on my seat!

Together, they were a badass duo. He took care of her health and her relaxation, she made sure he wouldn’t slack off – not that he often did. And they had so much in common, although it was subtle. I’m telling you, the perfect relationship! One that was meant to happen and spelled “forever” bright and clear! (if you’re hesitant to believe me, just read this line of Byron’s:
“You’re not beautiful,” he said in a quiet statement that made her brow knit. “Why do you look beautiful when you’re not?” – the man clearly loved her for what he saw inside, not because she was a fuckable piece of meat!)

I’m so glad this wasn’t like the first book. I wouldn’t have been able to take it had it been the same disappointment the previous one proved to be… Now, to review the third one…

“I’m a mess. I’m insane. I’m in love with you.” – Kate Powell

RATING:

4cupcakes

Betrayed (Rockfort Security #2) by Rebecca York

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“Elena, I love you. I had a hard time admitting that to myself. And it was hard to say it.” – Shane Gallagher

So… I may have been a bit disappointed with Shane’s book. Not so much that I didn’t enjoy it, mind you. It’s just that I had high expectations from the guy and he sort of screwed me over with his antics…

Shane Gallagher is the second member of the Rockfort Security that we read about. He has been betrayed before – cheated on thanks to his dearest ex-wife, lied to, and so on. Understandably, he has trust issues when it comes to women. Enter Elena Reyes, a woman he meets while he’s undercover in her company. She has the looks that make him drool, but the package comes with a lot of secrets. And Shane knows that a secretive woman is even harder to trust – especially when all evidence points towards her helping the suspects he’s after…

I can’t say I couldn’t feel Shane when it came to trust the opposite gender. Having a spouse cheat certainly lays a terrible ground for all others to come. So I guess his suspicious nature was reasonable to a certain extent. But there were times where I really wanted to punch him! Even when Elena was obviously not the main suspect, he kept accusing her and treating her like crap. It was the sole reason behind the 4-cupcake rating, mind you!


Elena on the other hand was adorable. I liked her almost as much as I liked Morgan in the first book. Sure, Elena wasn’t exactly strong in mind and willpower. Her parents dictated her life even if she wasn’t under their control financially or in any other way. Her brother used her like no tomorrow and without finding any resistance. Everyone around her could just threaten her a little, and she would succumb to their wishes. Surprisingly, though, she still found it in herself to raise her head in the end and start taking matters into her own hands, risking her life for the good of her loved ones. And that’s where Elena was a bit better than Shane. She may not have been as strong from the start – but she certainly was a fast learner and and she had a big, golden heart, which made up for all her mistakes if you ask me. The woman didn’t have a single selfish bone in her body!

The pace was fast, with the main couple constantly on the run. The villain almost won in the end, which was a nice turn of events and showed that Rebecca York isn’t scared to be bold about it when it comes to her main characters. She throws everything at them, and still makes them prevail, in a quite realistic manner – losses and all. The dialogues were not as funny as in the first book, but that could have been because Shane was quite the bitter fellow, and Elena wasn’t exactly a talker – shy thing and all that. The love scenes were a nice touch, although I still prefer Morgan’s deed with Jack – perhaps because he didn’t try to guilt trip her or make it seem like something dirty afterwards, I don’t know.

I’ve also read Max’s book, and the review will come soon. Stay tuned for it!

“Oh, Shane, I knew I was falling in love with you, and I felt like I was messing it up.” – Elena Reyes

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

4cupcakes

Sins of the Heart (Otherkin #1) by Eve Silver

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Want a story that’s full of plot twists? With a male lead that’s hot and yet aloof, and a female lead that’s feisty and has a backbone that would put badass warriors to shame?

Search no more, for this book has it all!

Roxy Tam was once saved by Dagan Krayl, a sugar-loving soul reaper. Ever since then, her life has never been the same. Becoming one of the Daughters of Aset, Roxy is now trying to find the remains of Dagan’s dead brother and make sure they’re not used to resurrect said brother. But Dagan isn’t going to let anyone stand in his way of taking care of his family business, nor is he willing to let her go a second time. Turns out they might have to work together after all, even if they stand on opposing sides of this supernatural war.

I’m telling you, I loved this book, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one! Not only was it fast in pace, full of suspense, and I was left constantly wondering who the heck was the traitor who had caused all this mess, the main couple was HOT! Dagan was dominant and yet adorable in his possessive, lollipop-sucking ways, and Roxy was a match made in heaven for him, with her tendency to stand toe-to-toe with him and prove that’s she’s not the little girl he had saved so long ago.


Alastor and Calliope were also very interesting secondary characters. I can honestly say, I’m very much looking forward to reading more about them in the books to come! Not to mention, I really want to find out about the kid, and Lokan!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

5cupcakes

Shifting Darkness (A Forest of Darkness #4) by Kate Wendley

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Oh, wow, NOW we’re talking! Though the first three books were equally full of suspense and fast-paced action and romance, I feel like they paled in comparison to this one.

In the new book of the Forest of Darkness series, we learn Vince’s secret and watch him fight through numerous obstacles to finally get his own HEA. In case you didn’t notice, Vince is the cute half-korean guy that works at the bookstore Kaia likes to visit. He’s sort of her friend, too, but, as we found out earlier in the series through Anthony’s mind, the guy is a closeted shifter. In this book, though we continue reading about the growing relationship between the Vampire Master of Atlanta and his human bride, we also get to experience the romance in Vince’s life with another shifter, Penny.

Admittedly, I loved the family drama that the LaRue family had to offer a bit more than Anthony’s. The reason behind Vince’s father doing all those things to his mother was much more believable and justified in my eyes than what Isaac had done with his son. Not only that, but the Korean shifter was actually trying hard in his own way without patronizing his child. And while I would have liked some kind of spark between him and Vince’s mother, I have to say I wasn’t bothered by Ed in the mix – it made things even more interesting.

Vince as a male lead was pretty nice. He had those Alpha tendencies but his health and the multiple blows his self-esteem had gotten over the years slowed him down a lot. So many flaws, and insecurities, and yet so much effort to live life as much as he could, to make sure his loved ones got everything they wanted. He was truly such a sweet, heartbroken guy, even when he snapped at those around him, and watching him struggle really pulled at my heartstrings.


Now, Penny… She was okay, I guess… At some points I got frustrated with her constant attitude and the whole “rebel without a reason” theme she had going on – and she gave Vince the hardest time in the history of snappy female heroines ever! Ready to start shooting her mouth and get insulted at every single breath she thought he took wrong! BUT! I have to admit, though it pains me, that most women her age do that – I certainly did back then. So, thumbs up to Kate Wendley for making a young woman so realistic! That was brilliant and done wonderfully!

As for the pace, it was fast as always and without a moment’s rest. The story keeps getting more and more intriguing, and instead of undoing all the knots, each addition to the series only adds more to the mix! I love it! I never know what new things will come this way with each new title!

P.S.: the people need some Zach loving, by the way! God, this man get hotter and hotter, and so funny yet mysterious! He needs a woman who’ll appreciate him for more than his sexy ass! Just saying…

***I was given a review copy via Reeading Alley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

4cupcakes

Worthy of Song and Story (Stian the Viking, #1) by Neal Chase

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I’m going to be quick about this because I really don’t have the time with my exams going on this weekend.

This was like a weird, and rather failed, Percy Jackson story – with Norse mythology, though (and no, Magnus Chase doesn’t count as something like that because that’s actually enjoyable). We get the child with the divine parents, who at first doesn’t know his heritage, and then he tries to help and save said parents. Honestly, it would have been much better, but Stian ruined it all by himself. I seriously have seen only a handful of main characters like him – and I hope they remain as many as that, really.


I would have liked to say that I view it this way because I’m no longer a child and this is obviously fiction for children, but in all honesty, I think me being an adult is actually what kept me reading this book until the very end. My teenage self would have stopped midway. My 10-year-old self would have “gifted” it like she was oh so generous to some unfortunate classmate pretending to want them to enjoy it, only to bask in the secret knowledge that the other kid really had no clue they were reading low quality fiction – unless they were as fanatic readers as I was, in which case they would have found me after they started reading it to throw it at my head (yes, I was a mean and snobbish bookworm brat, I’ll admit as much).

So, no more Stian for me, thank you very much – and no Dahlia, too, because she was even worse than him at times…

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

cartoon-cupcake

Daring to Dream (Dream Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts

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“I love you, Margo. Maybe it was my poor sense that made me love you before. But I’m even more in love with the woman I’m with now.”– Joshua Templeton

Ugh, WHY must every trilogy or series have at least a main character I can’t stand? Not only that, but when it happens to be the one leading the story in the first book, it makes the situation even worse!

As you may have already guessed, I’m talking about Margo – for those of you who may have witnessed my rants on Facebook while I was reading her story. Well, OK, maybe a little bit of Josh, too.

We’re talking about two self-centered, shallow, arrogant and vain people who somehow were in love with each other ever since their childhood, yet decided to screw around since they figured out on their own (?) that there would be no chance in hell the other might like them back. And now that the – I’m seriously trying not to unleash all of my swearing vocabulary on Margo to show what I really believe of her – female of the pair has found herself in a pinch – OF HER OWN MAKING, MIGHT I ADD!!! – the male swoops in, and tries to make her his. Only, Josh is also a jealous as heck dude – not that I blame him, though it was still irritating – and while he wants Margo, he can’t find it in himself to trust her either – again, understandable, but there is only so much my poor nerves can take of petty males and their equally petty females, thank you very much…


The only times when those two showed SOME resemblance of altruistic kindness and caring for a person other than themselves, was when Laura, Josh’s sister and Margo’s friend, came in the picture. I swear, those scenes were the only ones where I felt I might like them a little bit – but then they were left alone again, and I resumed my position of banging my head against the wall.

All in all, the book escaped the DNF section because: a) it’s NR, and I respect the woman’s awesome way of telling a story, even if its characters suck, and b) the dialogues, and Kate, were worth the time and struggle to finish this.

“I love you, Josh. God help both of us.” – Margo Sullivan

RATING:

2cupcakes

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time #1) by Robert Jordan

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Oh, this one has been waiting on my shelf for waaaaaay too long! I’m not kidding, I think back when I was 20 years old, I had taken a vacation trip to Rhodes, and I had this very book in my bag – and that was 6 years ago! I know, I know, I took much longer than one would expect of me to finish it, but in my defense, it was the kind of book you don’t just breeze through at your own convenience, so…

Rand al’Thor has always been a normal boy, a farmer, a sheepherder. But when Trollocs attack his village, the truth is far from what he believed. Hunted down by the Dark One himself, Rand will have to face more dangers than he ever thought possible, and man up in more ways than one – not only in order to survive, but also in order to protect the world from the great evil that has been stirring once again.

OK, I’ll admit, Robert Jordan’s writing takes some getting used to. It took me forever to slowly and painfully reach the middle of the book – once I did, it was much easier for the story to flow. The build-up, despite the fast pace, was quite slow in my eyes, and there were too many descriptions at times or outstretched inner thoughts and battles in the characters. It was easy to lose focus and interest, and there had been MONTHS between some chapters for me to get back at reading it.


Fortunately, it all seemed to pick up after the first half of the book was done. Thank God for small miracles! After that, it was easy to lose myself in the story and finally enjoy it, agonizing over the characters and their unfortunate accidents that never seemed to stop. Well, OK, not ALL the characters…


Egwene and Rand couldn’t be any more boring if they TRIED. Too cliché, if you ask me, too predictable, and, more often than not, plainly annoying. The girl especially grated on my poor nerves. She was just so… girly? I don’t know, she really reminded of heroines I used to find in young adult romances – back in my dark highschool days, may they forever stay burried there – and this gave me the hibby jibbies every time she had to appear on the page. And Rand was way too much like the usual cliché hero.

As it is, I enjoyed this book thanks to all the others! Loial was adorable, and Moiraine so brilliantly mysterious. Mat was hilarious, and would have been my top favorite as it happens with every comical relief in any other series I’ve read, but… Perrin won my heart. That sweet, gentle, but firm giant of a young man, always worrying for everyone, always trying to help, always keeping his feet firmly on the ground. And that little tidbit with the wolves made me like him even more, because FUCK YEAH, WOLVES!!! As for romance, trust me, Nynaeve and Lan held more intimate and romantic moments in the few lines they allowed themselves to show their feelings than Rand and Egwene in all their private encounters!


The story itself is full of darkness and gore, the way a true medieval tale should be, and reminded me of Feist’s works – only a bit lighter, I suppose, because no one does Dark Ages Fantasy the way that man does. I dare say, I’m officially hooked to see what happens next – with Perrin, Mat, Nynaeve and Lan, I mean, Rand and Egwene can go hang themselves for all I care – and I WILL, at one point, get started on the second book – which is also sitting on my shelf, gathering dust, the poor thing…

RATING:

3cupcakes

Curse of the Healer (The Derbfine Series #1) by Ashley York

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Every time I think Ashley York has thrown at me everything there is left to surprise me pleasantly in a story, she seems to take it as a personal challenge and surpasses even herself with the next book she has coming up. Each story of hers is like a whole new experience, and while many characters in them are ones I’ve seen in her other stories as well, they still manage to catch me off guard!

Aednat and Diarmuid’s story was no different. From the beginning I could see I was gonna love this couple and what would unfold for them, seeing as they were both looking for something completely different in a life-partner. Aednat wanted someone who would accept her with her stubborness and her healing abilities – along with a certain part of her body that had caused her to be set apart from the rest of society. Diarmuid wanted a docile, quiet woman, someone who would take his word as law and sit obediently at home. Both, however, ended up together, and the result was one none of them expected – it was even better!

Though it took a possible threat on Aednat’s life and freedom to push them to get married, Diarmuid was all too eager to accept – no matter how much he acted otherwise. And Aednat herself did find him a nice specimen – even if she couldn’t obey him most of the times, no matter how much her life was put in danger each time she ignored his warnings.

We’re talking about two very stubborn people, equally strong-headed and dominant, and it was wonderful to see them sumbling around each other every time they were trying to make things work. And when they tried to compromise some parts of themselves to co-exist? Magic, pure magic, I tell you!


The story itself was proof of York’s magnificent talent. The woman must have been a bard in her past life, there’s no other explanation! She uses pace like no other before or after her, and heck if she doesn’t make it seem easy (of course we all know it isn’t). Fast and slow are always connected in a dangerously deceptive waltz, one where you think the plot is going to go one way, but with a gentle and subtle turn, it suddenly leans towards a whole other direction. You simply can’t let your guard down with this author!

P.S.: And guess who made a cameo appearance? That’s right, Sean and Thomasina! Oh, I had missed those two!

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

5cupcakes

Legacy Lost (Hell’s Valley Book 2) by Jillian David

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“I love you, Eric. I don’t know what to do with a world that doesn’t have you in it.” – Shelby Taggart

Have you ever wished you were able to know what people think? To tell truth from lies, to read emotions and thoughts, to see what truly makes someone tick? Well, the Taggarts would be the first to tell you, it’s not such a wonderful skill to possess.

True to what she gave us in the first book, Jillian David went on to tell the story of Shelby next – the only girl of the Taggart family. Now, before I go on, let me remind you that Shelby was Kerr’s twin, who could read emotions, and most of the times suffered thanks to her abilities, since everyone’s feelings seemed to reflect on her and could seriously wear her down. She also had an on-off thing going with Eric Patterson, Kerr’s close friend and partner who helped with the Taggart ranch. In the previous book, Eric found out about the Taggarts’ skills when they were all trying to help Sara, Garrison’s beloved. It was clear from that particular scene where he defended Shelby and demanded she stopped using her powers if they were taking such a toll on her, that we knew he was gonna be the male lead in Shelby’s story. And it was as pleasant as it was expected.

See, Eric didn’t exactly have a stellar childhood, and his family could be described, at the very best, to be found wanting. So, he was insecure and kept his heart closed, to the point that even Shelby couldn’t always read him – and that’s before he found out about her family, which says a lot about Eric’s self-control. However, what Shelby at first didn’t know, was that Eric held a torch for her – and boy, was that thing blazing hot or what? Let me tell you, people, the moment that Eric snapped out of his tightly kept self-control, was a beautiful one indeed. The man was so full of emotions, and felt everything way too powerfully, it was simply breathtaking. He had a passion the likes of which I have rarely seen in literature, and when the dam broke and he let it all out, it was no wonder Shel freaked out and tried to back off.

This isn’t of course to say that she was entirely right in her choices. During the book, Eric got hurt many times, and the poor guy was doing everything in his power to make a name for himself, a good one, all the while tripping over his feet to make Shelby see just how good they were together. I lost count of the times he got a flat out rejection not only with her words, but also with her actions.


But she had her reasons, and I couldn’t blame her for that. Shelby had to live with everyone’s feelings projected on her tenfold, and that’s a big burden to be carried by a single person. However, given her life so far, how she had to always act as the mediator between her brothers, and take care of her father who seemed hell bent on dying before it was time to do so, it’s quite understandable why she would be forgetting that she, too, needed help, that she wasn’t supposed to do it all alone. She seemed to get it when Eric’s life was in danger – and speaking of danger, let me tell you, the way Shelby treated the Big Bad Thing in her book was marvellous! And hilarious, too, I was rolling around laughing my head off!

What I especially loved in this book – other than the hot scenes and the dialogues that can cause abs to form from all the laughter – was the comeback of some much loved characters from the Hell to Pay series. The minute I saw them, I screamed like a banshee on her first date! Holy crap I had missed them! And they got connected with the story, uniting this series with their own, and tying loose ends, all the while giving off a sense of continuation of their adventures, in a way that I had never imagined. Excellently done, Mrs. David!


Now I can’t wait to read Vaughn’s story – not that he’s above Kerr in my Book Boyfriend List, but I sensed a little something between him and that doctor, and maaaan, I love romances where the leads butt heads! They lead to some interesting steamy make-up scenes, as proven by Eric and Shelby!

P.S.: I finally realized how the titles connect with each sibling, and it was freaking awesome!

“Shelby Taggart, would you consider a long-term relationship with a cynical cowboy like me who wants to do some pretty bad things to your body?” – Eric Patterson

***I was given an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***

RATING:

5cupcakes