Series Review: Gothic Love Stories

Book CoverToo Wicked to Kiss, Too Sinful to Deny, Too Tempting to Resist, & Too Wanton to Wed
by Erica Ridley
My Rating: 3.5-Stars
Genre: Gothic Romance
Release Date: out now
Formats: Kindle Unlimited, eBook, or Paperback

The Gothic Love Stories series by Erica Ridley consists of books that were previously released before and have been edited and re-released. Books three and four were published under different titles in their prior editions: Too Tempting to Resist was known as Romancing the Rogue and Too Wanton to Wed was known as Dark Surrender.

Unlike a lot of Ridley’s writing, these books were darker and more substantial in length. The gothic theme is strong throughout three of the four titlesI found it lacking in Too Tempting to Resist, but the story was enjoyable regardless as a general historical romance. This series has murder, mystery, ghosts, creepy castles, intriguing plots, engaging characters, and so much more.

Each book is standalone with no cliffhangers and a HEA.

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Series Review: Magic and Mayhem

Book CoverKissed by Magic, Must Love Magic, & Smitten by Magic by Erica Ridley
My Rating: 3.5-Stars
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Release Date: out now
Formats: Kindle Unlimited or eBook ($1/$3/$3)

The Magic and Mayhem series by Erica Ridley consists of books that were previously released before and are being edited and re-released. Out of the three, I had only read Kissed by Magic in the past when it was titled Let It Snow. The book Must Love Magic was previously released as Charmed, and Smitten by Magic was previously released as Midwinter Magic.

What I really enjoy about Erica Ridley’s writing is that her books are fast-paced, adventurous, and full of character development. While each title varies in the depth in which that is accomplished, she writes memorable stories that will stick with you in the days that follow.

Magic and Mayhem‘s books are all lighthearted and fun as well as a bit sexy. They each feature magic in different ways, from fairy tale castles to a paranormal courtroom to a bureaucracy of angels. There’s curses and talking horses and backfiring mechanical wands that turn things into pumpkins. Each book promises a fun fantasy adventure with a HEA.

The one thing the stories suffer from is something I find myself mentioning more and more often: the endings can be sudden and there’s no epilogues. When I spend time taking that romantic journey with the story’s main characters, I also want either an ending that doesn’t feel rushed or a glimpse into the future to show that yes, things continued to work out. In Must Love Magic, how did Daisy and Trevor juggle two completely different worlds? Did Sarah and Javier make a difference in the world with their new positions in Smitten by Magic? I don’t need all the answers, but I do desire some reassurance.

Individual book comments:

Kissed by Magic (3.5 stars): Lance needs some money and decides to rob a cursed castlewhat could possibly go wrong? There he meets Marigold, who has been trapped in a loop that repeated her birthday day for the past 6,000 years. It’s a lonely existence, and it’s up to Lance to break the curse and set them both free. This story has a classic fairy tale vibe that will give you warm fuzzies inside. Marigold must grow beyond her fears that she’ll lose Lance just like she’s lost everyone else, but it’s Lance that transforms the most throughout the story as it takes some unexpected twists and turns.

Must Love Magic (4 stars): Daisy le Fey just wants to earn her wings, and the tooth fairy business is sure to do that. It’s a shame that her mentor sent Daisy to retrieve a recently unearthed tooth that happens to be resting beneath an archaeologist’s face. Trevor needs more credibility and less crazy-fairy in his life. Up for tenure against an exasperating colleague, Trevor needs to decide what’s more important: work or love. Must Love Magic has some fantastic world building as we’re introduced to the realm of Nether-Netherland. Both the main and side characters were fully fleshed out. The biggest flaws of Daisy and Trevorthat the both were status-seekerstook longer for the characters to overcome than I expected. The few times to story went to the villain’s point of view detracted from what could have been an interesting element of surprise in the story’s events. However, I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and the many humorous hurdles they had to overcome.

Smitten by Magic (3 stars): Sarah Phimm is Javier’s guardian angel. She’s been there since the day he was born, and he was blissfully unaware of ituntil now. Forced to reveal herself, Sarah struggles to do her job by keeping Javier alive as he battles his conscious by performing risky good deed after risky good deed. The setting lost me mid-story though: where did that hardware store come from in the middle of nowhere? Why did Javier have cell phone service? Little details like that detracted from the believability factor of the setting, which was quite the contrast right after reading Must Love Magic. Regardless, this story had me hooked until the end, when it dropped off in an extremely rushed and convenient ending (that Javier did not react enough to at all).

The entire Magic and Mayhem series is available now!

I received an ARC of all three books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Review: Good Omens (Updated)

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, WitchGood Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve never read anything by either Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett before, so I went into Good Omens with no expectations. The story focuses on the coming apocalypse, its players, and how the forces of Good and Evil are working to sway things their way.

This is a repost of my original December 2016 book review, with an update about the May 2019 Good Omens miniseries.

UPDATE (June 2019): Good Omens has been released as a miniseries on Amazon (and is free for Prime members to watch). It encompasses the heart of this book and (in my opinion) excels it through its engaging visuals, actors, and storytelling. My criticisms regarding the book are not an issue in the miniseries. Watch it here!

(The book review continues below.)

The story is a fairly quick read, though the first 50-60 pages are a bit tough to get through. I consider myself to have a good sense of humor and enjoy a lot of British humor, and while I could recognize all the things that should be funny, I have to admit none of them actually made me laugh. (Had I been about 10 years younger? Probably.) But the writing was lighthearted and poked fun at everything, a contrast that worked well with the subject matter.

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Review: Haunted Hearts

Book CoverHaunted Hearts by Kimberly Dean
My Rating: 4-Stars
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: October 3, 2018
Formats: eBook ($4), Paperback ($13)

Callie Thompson has inherited an old house in Shadow Valley and is thrilled for a fresh start in life. Never mind the creepy footsteps, doors that lock themselves, wailing, and flickering lights. Nor the fact that the entire town seems terrified of the place. Or that silly speeding ticket she got her first night from local policeman Carter Landry.

Carter has better things to do than to deal with the new girl in town and her creaking home. As a spurt of oddball mischief occurs leading up to Halloween, and with a federal prisoner on the loose, he doesn’t have the time. Or so he keeps telling himself.

In Haunted Hearts, Carter and Callie make an excellent team as they battle ghosts both real and imaginary. Some of the plot points are easy to guess along the way, while others will leave you pleasantly surprised. Callie makes a positive impact on Shadow Valley as she stands up for what she believes in. The characters are strong, dynamic, and likeable, and the town of Shadow Valley, as well as its quirky denizens, come to life.

This is a paranormal book with a mildly creepy but non-terrifying vibe that won’t keep you up all night—unless you can’t wait to read how this couple’s happily ever after will succeed… and if Callie will ever pay that speeding ticket.

I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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A Month of Reading: April Book Reviews (Part Two)

Picking up where I left off yesterday, today’s batch of books include both fantasy and romance titles:

FantasyShadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell and White Sand Volume 1 (graphic novel).

RomanceFire in His Kiss (also fantasy), the new Beauty novella quartet (also fantasy), Sonata for a Scoundrel, and Wrong Turn, Right Direction.

Reviews are in order of date read. (My star ratings are explained here.)

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Fire in His Kiss  by Ruby Dixon 4.5-Stars

I reviewed the first book in Dixon’s newest post-apocalyptic dragons-on-Earth series last month and while it was enjoyable, I was left unimpressed with the world building and had hoped Dixon would start explaining why, or at least who, these dragons are. With Fire in His Kiss she managed to do just that.

“Emma pulls out her gun with shaking hands and points it at Dakh. ‘W-what the f*ck is he?'”

This book reveals quite a bit about the dragons’ past lives before they were forced onto Earth. The exact cause of the cataclysmic event called the Rift is still unknown, but that’s okay–for now. We also discover ways that non-fort dwellers are hiding from attracting the attention of dragons.

“This is about my survival, and I’m just going to have to suck it up. Women have been trading their bodies for safety ever since the Rift. I’m no different from any of them at the end of the day.”

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