Soulbound by Kristen Callihan

51C4dmm6v8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Soulbound (Darkest London #6)

Author: Kristen Callihan

Publisher: Hachette Book Group 2015

Genre: Paranormal

Pages: 366

Rating:  4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: TBR Reduction; Ebook; Seriously Series; 52 Books – W50

Once two souls are joined . . .
When Adam’s soul mate rejected him, there was more at stake than his heart. After seven hundred years of searching, his true match would have ended the curse that keeps his spirit in chains. But beautiful, stubborn Eliza May fled-and now Adam is doomed to an eternity of anguish, his only hope for salvation gone . . .

Their hearts will beat together forever
No matter how devilishly irresistible Adam was, Eliza couldn’t stand the thought of relinquishing her freedom forever. So she escaped. But she soon discovers she is being hunted-by someone far more dangerous. The only man who can help is the one man she vowed never to see again. Now Adam’s kindness is an unexpected refuge, and Eliza finds that some vows are made to be broken . . .

An enjoyable volume in this series. I wasn’t a fan of Eliza or Adam in the previous books, but they definitely grew on me over the course of this one. I really came to pull for them throughout the book. The storyline was fun. The ending was satisfactory. But my favorite part was encountering all the previous characters in the series. The little glimpses of Ian and Archer were great. And I liked seeing more from Lucien and Sin. The ending left the series open for another book.  At least I hope so…

Darkest London

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The Prince Kidnaps a Bride by Christina Dodd

Prince-Kidnaps-a-Bride-210x339Title: The Prince Kidnaps a Bride (The Lost Princesses #3)

Author: Christina Dodd

Publisher: Avon Books

Genre: Romance

Pages: 362

Rating:  3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: TBR Reduction; A to Z: P; Seriously Series

Betrothed in the cradle, Princess Sorcha and Prince Rainger were destined to rule their countries together. Then revolution sent Sorcha to a remote Scottish convent—and Rainger into a dungeon so deep rumor claimed he was dead.

Now danger threatens, and Sorcha must travel home with a simple fisherman as her companion—Prince Rainger in disguise. Changed by his imprisonment from a careless lad to a dangerous man, he’s determined to win back his kingdom—and the woman he wants more than life itself. But can he protect a woman who believes every person she meets is her friend, every tavern is an opportunity to sing bawdy songs, and each turn in the road hides new adventure? To keep his princess safe, he must resort to his most treacherous weapon: seduction.

Well I finished the trilogy. This wasn’t the best at all. I hated Sorcha and Prince Rainger annoyed me in this volume. The entire set-up of their relationship really bugged me. I just couldn’t understand the continual lying and disguises. And some of the interactions were just ridiculous! Oh well. Another series I can cross off my list.

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The Barefoot Princess by Christina Dodd

Barefoot-Princess-210x339Title: The Barefoot Princess (The Lost Princesses #1)

Author: Christina Dodd

Publisher: Avon Books

Genre: Romance

Pages: 349

Rating:  4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: TBR Reduction; Seriously Series

Life in exile has taught the passionate Princess Amy to hate injustice, and on the enchanting English isle of Summerwind, she finds injustice personified in the powerful and wickedly handsome Jermyn Edmondson, marquess of Northcliff. Since he has stolen the islanders’ livelihood, Amy decides to stealhim. She kidnaps the arrogant nobleman, chains him with his own manacles, and holds him for ransom.

It’s a simple plan, destined to succeed. Surely Jermyn’s uncle will pay his ransom. Alas, his uncle would be delighted if someone killed his nephew and left him to inherit the title and fortune. And holding the furious, guileful, sensual Jermyn chained in her basement provides a challenge to Amy’s restraint…and her virtue.

I liked this one better than the first book in the series. Glad I kept reading the trilogy. Amy and Jermyn are fun characters. And the side characters give the book even more. I enjoyed the storyline and the reappearance of Prince Rainger. Really I could have done without the sex scenes. They were a bit much and I do lie a good sex scene. Oh well. I’m hoping to finish the series before I leave for Indiana…

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Someday My Prince by Christina Dodd

51fYf4H3btL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Someday My Prince (Princess #2)

Author: Christina Dodd

Publisher: Avon Books 1999

Genre: Romance

Pages: 384

Rating:  3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: TBR Reduction; Seriously Series; 52 Books – W43

Princess Laurentia leads a fairy-tale life, attending glittering balls and wearing beautiful gowns. But after the ball is over, Laurentia finds herself getting into bed…alone. She dutifully agrees to choose a husband, but when she casts her eyes over her sea of suitors, she doesn’t see a single man worthy enough to claim her.

But Who Will She Choose?

Then suddenly, she is swept off her feet by Prince Dominick, soldier of fortune, black sheep of his family…and the man hired to protect her. He’s brazen enough to steal her kisses, yet tender enough to soothe her with one touch. He makes no promises, speaks no vows of forever…yet Laurentia can’t help but hope that her prince has finally arrived.

Another disappointing fluffy romance. I did like this one better than the first book of the series, but I still didn’t like the characters very much. Laurentia has a bit of character and Dom is an interesting guy, but their relationship is fraught with issues. Overall I was just so disappointed in this book.

Princess

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The Runaway Princess by Christina Dodd

51HXhcqC6IL._SX293_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Runaway Princess (Princess #1)

Author: Christina Dodd

Publisher: Avon Books 1999

Genre: Romance

Pages: 360

Rating:  3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: TBR Reduction; Seriously Series

English orphan Miss Evangeline Scoffield has spent her life contenting herself with dreams. But with an unforeseen inheritance, she can afford one perfect summer. She buys herself expensive clothes, travels abroad, and presents herself as a lady of mystery. But she quickly discovers her mistake, for a darkly handsome man appears at her bedroom door, claiming to be a Crown Prince–and her fiancé. Her denials count for nothing. Danior will do anything to have her. Seduce her, abduct her, or when danger explodes about them, flee with his unwilling bride into a world of peril, promise and passion.

I was hoping that this would be a great feel-good romance after so many serious fiction books and nonfiction books. Alas, I was a bit disappointed in this one. I found Evangeline to be a huge contradiction of character. And Danior was a huge brut. The fact that he almost raped her really put me off him as a character. I enjoyed the storyline, but the characters really fell flat for me. I have the sequel sitting on my shelf. I may just read that next just to finish out the duo.

Princess:

  • #1 The Runaway Princess
  • #2 Someday My Prince

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Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

12680907Title: Bitterblue (Seven Kingdoms #3)

Author: Kristin Cashore

Publisher: Dial Books 2012

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 563

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: NPR Teen; Top 100 YA; TBR Reduction; What’s in a Name – Color; Seriously Series; 52 Books – W33

When Queen Bitterblue took the throne of Monsea, she was a child, and her advisers ran the kingdom for her. Now she is beginning to question their decisions, especially how they handle the legacy of her father Leck, who who ruled through his Grace—a special talent for mind-altering—and his taste for darkness and violence. Bitterblue needs to know Monsea’s past to lead it into the future, so she begins exploring the city streets at night, disguised and alone. As she does, she meets two thieves, who hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign. And one of them, with a Grace that he hasn’t yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

Not as amazing as Fire, but better than Graceling. This book grew on me throughout the 500+ pages. I’ll admit that it started slow. I wasn’t quick to love Bitterblue, but over time I could see her as more than the little girl you meet in Graceling. Once she meets Sapphire and Teddy, I was hooked. I loved seeing Bitterblue navigate the mysteries surrounding her kingdom and people. I love seeing more of Katsa and Po and even Fire! I loved getting to know Giddon. And the storyline held me until the end. I had to see who was responsible for the fires and killings and who was lying and who was telling the truth. A very good conclusion to the trilogy. (Just hang on through the first 50 pages or so)

Seven Kingdoms:

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Fire by Kristin Cashore

Fire_coverTitle: Fire (Seven Kingdoms #2)

Author: Kristin Cashore

Publisher: Firebird 2009

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 461

Rating:  5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: NPR Teen; Top 100 YA; Mount TBR; Seriously Series; 52 Books – W21

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her. Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books.

I liked this volume even more than Graceling. There was something about Fire that just grabbed me from page one. I wanted to see her journey in its entirety. I wanted her to find peace and happiness. I wanted to see what happened in the Dells and the fate of the mysterious boy. Initially I was wary of reading a companion novel, but realized that this is a great book that happens to be set in the same world as the previous book. Such a fascinating world it is. I especially loved the inclusion of the monster animals in this volume. How different the monsters are from the gracelings in the Seven Kingdoms, and yet they have similarities. Definitely a must read!

Seven Kingdoms:

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A Secret Affair by Mary Balogh

Title: A Secret Affair (Huxtable Quintet #5)

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Dell Books 2010

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 368

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: TBR Reduction; Mount TBR; 52 Books – W19; Seriously Series

Born a commoner, Hannah Reid has been Duchess of Dunbarton since she was nineteen years old. Now her husband is dead and, more beautiful than ever at thirty, Hannah has her freedom at last. To the shock of a conventional friend, she announces her intention to take a lover—and not just any lover, but the most dangerous and delicious man in all of upper-class England: Constantine Huxtable. Constantine’s illegitimacy has denied him the title of earl, so now he denies himself nothing. Rumored to be living the easy life of a sensualist on his country estate, he always chooses recent widows for his short-lived affairs. Hannah will fit the bill nicely. But once these two passionate and scandalous figures find each other, they discover that it isn’t so easy to extricate oneself from the fires of desire—without getting singed.

Not the strongest book of the series and definitely not my favorite. I was never a fan of Constantine’s and this book didn’t make me like him any better. I also wasn’t a huge fan of Hannah. She just seemed so naive that I couldn’t get over her behavior.  Really I have this novel 3 stars on account of the previous books. This volume just didn’t interest me…

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At Last Comes Love by Mary Balogh

Title: At Last Comes Love (Huxtable Quintet #3)

Author: Mary Balogh

Publisher: Dell 2009

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 416

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: TBR Reduction; Mount TBR; 52 Books – W17; Seriously Series

Only desperation could bring Duncan Pennethorne, the infamous Earl of Sheringford, back home after the spectacular scandal that had shocked even the jaded ton. Forced to wed in fifteen days or be cut off without a penny, Duncan chooses the one woman in London in frantic need of a husband. A lie to an old flame forces Margaret Huxtable to accept the irresistible stranger’s offer. But once she discovers who he really is, it’s too late—she’s already betrothed to the wickedly sensual rakehell. Quickly she issues an ultimatum: If Duncan wants her, he must woo her. And as passion slowly ignites, two people marrying for all the wrong reasons are discovering the joys of seduction—and awaiting the exquisite pleasure of what comes after….

Another good fluffy historical romance to cleanse my palate between more serious books. I enjoyed Duncan and Margaret’s story, but I’m starting to think that Jasper and Kate was my favorite of the series so far. This one was a bit annoying in that I just wanted Duncan to tell Margaret the truth once and for all. None of this half truths nonsense! Every time he was upset with her reaction, I really wanted to slap him upside the head. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading their story. And the big twist at the end was unpredictable.

Huxtable Quintet

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Allegiant by Veronica Roth

download (7)Title: Allegiant (Divergent #3)

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books 2013

Genre: Dystopian Fantasy

Pages: 544

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: NPR Teen; Mount TBR; TBR Reduction; Ebook; Seriously Series

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

An interesting ending to the Divergent trilogy. I am a bit disappointed in how it ended. Mainly I couldn’t get over how abrupt the last twist was. However, I was more in touch with Tris and Four this volume. I was also excited to see more of the outside world and side characters like Cara (really got to love her in this volume). And lots more world building… Overall I really enjoyed this series.

Divergent:

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