Review: Wicked and True

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: Wicked and TrueWicked and True: Zyron & Tessa Part 2 (Wicked & Devoted, #4) by Shayla Black
Series: Wicked & Devoted #4
on March 23, 2021
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: Sexy and action-packed story. I got exactly what I wanted from the story — with one exception. I was annoyed by Tessa’s actions which started the trouble with the couple. Ultimately, I was pleased that the book acknowledged her mistakes. And the couple is hot. Fun book.

THE STORY: The second part of Zy and Tessa’s story. Zy is trying to uncover the mole at the company and is now given two choices — his friend and the woman he has fallen for. Tessa is confronted with a choice that no woman should have to make, threatening her new relationship with Zy.

OPINION: The setup in the first book explodes in this book as all the tightly wound parts of the story explode in an action-packed story. Zy and Tessa are a good couple. He is protective and she really needs protection from some of her dumb choices! At the same time, she is a good person that goes with her heart rather than thinking through her choices.

This book begins with things really moving between Zy and Tessa. Then things fall apart quickly as Tessa has to make a choice that tears them apart. That was the part that bothered me about this book. She just makes a stupid decision. It annoyed me because the decision just didn’t make sense. However, I’m glad I continued with the story because she acknowledges the flaw in her reasoning by the end. While I wish she had realized it earlier, I did appreciate that the book acknowledges the mistakes that both she and Zy make in the story.

The story is really hot, and there is even quite a bit of hot angry sexy tension between Zy and Tessa in this one. Other than my complaint about Tessa’s decision-making, I really enjoyed how the story built tension and let the action play out in the story.

The book reads really fast, and everything gets resolved with Tessa and Zy by the end — although there are lingering storylines that continue with the next couple in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book’s timeline overlaps with the other books in the series so if you read them in order you already know more about the romance of One Miles and Brea and get a preview of Trees and Laila.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WICKED AND TRUE is part two of the story of Zyron and Tessa and is also the fourth book in the Wicked & Devoted series. This book should only be read after WICKED AS LIES since it is really one story. While this two-part story is part of the Wicked & Devoted series, these two books (making one story) can be read apart from the series as a whole.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I originally received an eARC of this book in order to provide a review. I did not review this book until after its publication and after I had purchased my own copy of this book. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-stars

Review: When She Dreams

Review: When She DreamsWhen She Dreams (Burning Cove, #6) by Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove #6
Published by Berkley Books on May 3, 2022
Genres: Historical
Pages: 320
Goodreads
three-half-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this book, but it is my least favorite of the series because there is so much going on in the suspense/story that I missed the moments between the hero and heroine. They and their relationship felt less well-defined and concrete and thus I had less interest in their romance.

THE STORY: Maggie Lodge hires a private investigator Sam Sage to find out who is involved in attempting to blackmail her absent employer. The two end up traveling to Burning Cove to investigate. Both have bad relationships in their background, but Maggie also fears men who have attempted to take control of her ability to lucid dream. In Burning Cove Sam and Maggie run into charlatans, doctors who claim knowledge of lucid dreaming, and a killer. At the same time, Maggie and Sam are attracted to one another and yet have reservations about risking themselves again.

OPINION: This book was okay and it delivers on the mystery/suspense, but I was much less engaged with the couple. Both of the main characters have bad relationships in their background, but nothing about it really felt like it had affected them. The whole relationship between Sam and Maggie was too simple. There was no drama and no real connection.

I’m not sure where the relationship went wrong, but I know that I really wasn’t attached to the relationship. The suspense is supposed to drive the relationship forward, and there was too much that Sam and Maggie did apart. Too many scenes where they weren’t together. All that weakened the connection between the characters.

The book wasn’t terrible. I enjoyed it. I just wanted much more. I probably won’t return to it again.

WORTH MENTIONING: Luther and Raina make an appearance in this book. The bad thing was I wanted more of their story than Sam and Maggie.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WHEN SHE DREAMS is the sixth book in the Burning Cove series. This book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

 

three-half-stars

Review: Blood Moon

Review: Blood MoonBlood Moon (Kate Burkholder, #13.5) by Linda Castillo
Series: Kate Burkholder #13.5
Published by Minotaur Books on April 26, 2022
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Pages: 64
Goodreads
four-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: The story was a bit suspense rather than a true mystery and it ended up making me smile. I love it when Kate and John get to do an investigation together even when it is a small slice of life.

THE STORY: Kate Burkholder, the Chief of Police in Painters Mill gets called out late at night when a man is attacked by something that defies description. Kate and John track the creature during the night as it wreaks havoc on Painter Mill.

OPINION: The story here is pretty thin, but it is a bit scary, suspenseful, and ultimately fun. I love these small little interludes because the stakes are pretty low compared with the big novels. Kate can be funnier. She can take John along with her just because. The story here is exactly the type one might expect that a Chief of Police for a small town would confront — when not dealing with multiple murders as in the main novels!

WORTH MENTIONING: For fans of Kate and John, I would read this story just for the last scene alone.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BLOOD MOON is book 13.5 of the Kate Burkholder series. This is a very short story/slice of life and it is not necessary to read the rest of the series for this although there is not much here except meeting Kate and John and having a small mystery solved.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Big Duke Energy

Review: Big Duke EnergyBig Duke Energy (Seasons of Sin Anthology Collection, #1; Victorian Rebels, #8) by Amalie Howard, Christi Caldwell, Janna McGregor, Kerrigan Byrne, Stacy Reid
Published by Oliver-Heber Books on March 29, 2022
Genres: Historical
Pages: 610
Goodreads
four-stars

This is an anthology of five novellas that are not connected to one another. The conceit of the collection is that these are the stories of secondary characters from each author’s other series.

THE EARL ON THE TRAIN by Kerrigan Byrne (Victorian Rebels) — Sebastian Moncrieff has been the villain and when he runs into Veronica Weatherstoke again (and whom he kidnapped in the past), Veronica knows that he is up to no good. Indeed, he is but he can also be convinced to be helpful to Veronica’s own plans. This is a hot little story, and I loved this “epilogue” of a sort to the Victorian Rebels story as it resolves these two minor characters’ story in a satisfying manner. Readers of that series should definitely pick this one up. I loved these two. The “plot” is completely irrelevant and that is fine. The story wisely just focuses on the relationship between Sebastian and Veronica. Rating: 4.5 Stars.

THE WOLF OF WESTMORE by Amalie Howard (Regency Rogues) — Lady Jocelyn Capehart is to be married off by her father to a disgusting man. So she decides to have a night to herself and attend an auction at the notorious club of Wulfric Bane, Duke of Westmore who is the avowed enemy of her family — and the man she buys in the auction for herself. I loved this story. It is hot and sexy and has hints of both Romeo and Juliet and also Little Red Riding Hood. I haven’t read the other books in the series, but I understood enough for this story and this book made me want to read the other books (as characters make an appearance here). Jocelyn is very active and determined to live her own life. Does the book feel like much of the character’s thoughts and motivations are too contemporary — yes — but I took this more like a historical fantasy for those who need to be coddled with modern tropes. Rating: 4.5 stars.

PUT UP YOUR DUKES by Janna MacGregor (Cavensham Heiresses) — Amelia and Martin Richmond have been married and estranged for five years. Martin’s work publishing The Midnight Cryer the famous gossip pamphlet keeps them apart as Amelia cannot live with Martin destroying people with gossip. A threat to Martin’s business, however, brings the couple under the same roof for the first time since right after their marriage and challenges whether they can live together or must part for good. I really enjoyed the setup for this story. The situation and characters seemed well constructed for a great story. However, I got annoyed with Amelia’s nagging after a while. The story became “she is perfect” and “he must concede everything”. I was annoyed and the rest of the story was not satisfying to me. Rating: 2.5 stars.

DUKE OF EVERY SIN by Stacey Reid (Unknown Series) — Ethan Benedict, Duke of Bainbridge one night finds a baby left on his doorstep. When Lady Verity Stanton comes to claim the child who is her illegitimate nephew, the Duke refuses to return him and instead proposes a marriage of convenience between the two. The boy is Verity’s sister’s child with Ethan’s deceased friend. I wish I knew what series this book is connected with (if any) it would give me somewhere to begin reading Reid’s works. I enjoyed the emotional connection between Ethan and Verity. Yes, the setup is a bit ridiculous, but how it works out was pretty great. Rating: 4 stars.

LOVED AND FOUND by Christie Caldwell (Scandalous Affairs/Heart of a Scandal) — Lady Edith Peregrine, the Marchioness of Bouchier after years of marriage to a man she despised is now free. Lieutenant Thaddeus Phippen has returned from war and encounters Edith whom he loved until she married. Secrets are revealed in this story. I absolutely loved the setup of this story, but the resolution was too quick and didn’t really feel like a resolution. I needed 20 more pages with this couple in their happiness. Almost really good. Rating: 3 stars.

four-stars

Review: Kiss Hard

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: Kiss HardKiss Hard (Hard Play, #4) by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #4
Published by Tka Distribution on May 3, 2022
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 329
Goodreads
five-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: Absolutely lovely story. Lacks high drama but instead is about two people navigating a new relationship with one another. I adored Daniel and Catie and am amazed that Singh was able to develop a completely different type of relationship in the Esera family. Highly recommend.

THE STORY: Daniel, the youngest of the Esera clan, is — of course — amazing at rugby and is ready to make his own name apart from his brothers. Catie River has been around the Esera family for years (she is the sister of Ina from CHERISH HARD). Through their teenage years and continuing to today, Daniel and Catie have a “frenemies” relationship. When Daniel’s profession and reputation are threatened, Catie agrees to a temporary fake relationship to distract the public. The time the two begin to spend with one another, however, begins to bring forth emotions for one another neither expected to deal with for one another.

OPINION: I loved this book which somewhat surprised me because I had expected more plot in the story. Instead, this is really a character book with two people who thought they knew one another really well discovering love for one another.

Daniel is simply adorable. He is so caring of Catie that I am not surprised that she falls for him. He understands her limits and her independence and yet is supportive. His problems felt realistic and something that the youngest child in a family of overachievers has to confront. Singh walks a careful line between making Daniel strong and yet at the same time making him vulnerable and uncertain. I loved him and was not surprised that Catie could not resist him.

Catie had incredible depth and complexity in her character. I thought that Singh handled the issues involving Catie being a paralympic athlete and what being a double amputee means for a young woman involved in a romance and sexual relationship. I thought that every moment here was done with sensitivity and yet Catie is never a “victim”. She has agency and her physical condition is only one part of her.

Daniel and Catie were sweet and yet really, really hot together. I especially appreciated that the two talked through and worked through their difficulties. There wasn’t a lot of drama between them because they talked things out, were mature about their needs and desires and just acted like thinking adults.

I finished this book feeling very satisfied and with complete faith that these two are perfect for one another. I simply was amazed that Singh was able to navigate this story without the normal drama one might expect from a contemporary romance.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are some small updates for readers of the series about the other couples who make appearances.

CONNECTED BOOKS: KISS HARD is the fourth book in the Hard Play series. The romance here is self-contained and thus it can be read as a standalone. The series, however, deals with the Bishop family and thus other characters and couples from the series make appearances here.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

five-stars