Recent Reads | Bride and Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice

Posted March 14, 2024 / Book Reviews, Recent Reads / 0 Comments

Recent Reads | Bride and Finlay Donovan Rolls the DiceBride by Ali Hazelwood
Genres: Adult, Paranormal
Published by Berkley on February 6, 2024
Format: Audio/Physical (400 pages) • Source: Borrowed, Spotify Audiobooks
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A dangerous alliance between a Vampyre bride and an Alpha Werewolf becomes a love deep enough to sink your teeth into in this new paranormal romance.

Misery Lark, the only daughter of the most powerful Vampyre councilman of the Southwest, is an outcast—again. Her days of living in anonymity among the Humans are over: she has been called upon to uphold a historic peacekeeping alliance between the Vampyres and their mortal enemies, the Weres, and she sees little choice but to surrender herself in the exchange—again...

Weres are ruthless and unpredictable, and their Alpha, Lowe Moreland, is no exception. He rules his pack with absolute authority, but not without justice. And, unlike the Vampyre Council, not without feeling. It’s clear from the way he tracks Misery’s every movement that he doesn’t trust her. If only he knew how right he was….

Because Misery has her own reasons to agree to this marriage of convenience, reasons that have nothing to do with politics or alliances, and everything to do with the only thing she's ever cared about. And she is willing to do whatever it takes to get back what’s hers, even if it means a life alone in Were territory…alone with the wolf.

This book was really something. I kind of have no idea what to make of it. I had previously avoided Hazelwood’s books becuase I just didn’t think they were for me. The Reylo fanfic inspiration and the continuous use of big man/small girl are just not for me. I saw absolute rave reviews for this one and thought maybe THIS is a Hazelwood I could read and get on board with. It’s a paranormal romance with werewolf and a vampire in a world where both species coexist (kind of) with humans.

It took a solid 100 pages to get interesting and less confusing but I did get more hooked after that point. The book has an arranged marriage between a werewolf groom and vampire bride to help broker peace between their people for a while. Beyond that, the MC Misery (yes that’s her name) is trying to find her best friend that went missing. So there were two main elements – a romance and a mystery – and I’ll tell ya, the mystery and political backdrop are what kept me reading.

The romance absolutely gave me the creeps and thanks to Ali Hazelwood, I’ll never think of a knot the same again. It was just WEIRD. I think the politics and mystery were 20x more interesting than the romance and luckily those were at the forefront of most of the book. I was genuinely surprised by the reveals and events at the end, which is why my rating is decent when it all comes together.

I didn’t love Hazelwood’s writing – it was definitely cheesy and like she was trying too hard for the MC to be funny or interesting. I will continue to avoid her other series as planned but I do think the world here was interesting. There’s a HINT of a potential companion novel option at the very end and I do fear I would read a second book if she wrote it.

What a bizarre reading experience lol.

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

Recent Reads | Bride and Finlay Donovan Rolls the DiceFinlay Donovan Rolls the Dice by Elle Cosimano
Series: Finlay Donovan #4
Genres: Adult, Mystery/Thriller
Published by Minotaur Books on March 5, 2024
Also by this author: Finlay Donovan Is Killing It, Finlay Donovan Knocks 'Em Dead, Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun
Format: Audio/eARC (320 pages) • Source: Everand, Publisher
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From New York Times bestseller Elle Cosimano comes Finlay Donovan Rolls the Dice―the fiercely anticipated next installment in the beloved Finlay Donovan series.

Finlay Donovan and her nanny/partner-in-crime Vero are in sore need of a girls’ weekend away. They plan a trip to Atlantic City, but odds are―seeing as it’s actually a cover story to negotiate a deal with a dangerous loan shark, save Vero’s childhood crush Javi, and hunt down a stolen car―it won’t be all fun and games. When Finlay’s ex-husband Steven and her mother insist on tagging along too, Finlay and Vero suddenly have a few too many meddlesome passengers along for the ride.

Within hours of arriving in their seedy casino hotel, it becomes clear their rescue mission is going to be a bust. Javi’s kidnapper, Marco, refuses to negotiate, demanding payment in full in exchange for Javi’s life. But that’s not all―he insists on knowing the whereabouts of his missing nephew, Ike, who mysteriously disappeared. Unable to confess what really happened to Ike, Finlay and Vero are forced to come up with a new plan: sleuth out the location of Javi and the Aston Martin, then steal them both back.

But when they sneak into the loan shark’s suite to search for clues, they find more than they bargained for―Marco's already dead. They don’t have a clue who murdered him, only that they themselves have a very convincing motive. Then four members of the police department unexpectedly show up in town, also looking for Ike―and after Finlay's night with hot cop Nick at the police academy, he’s a little too eager to keep her close to his side.

If Finlay can juggle a jealous ex-husband, two precocious kids, her mother’s marital issues, a decomposing loan shark, and find Vero’s missing boyfriend, she might get out of Atlantic City in one piece. But will she fold under the pressure and come clean about the things she’s done, or be forced to double down?

I don’t know what to say about this one that hasn’t already been said! I’m fully aware this series gets more ridiculous as it goes on but I still generally enjoy each installment. I didn’t love the cop vibes of the previous book but I was less annoyed by the characters and their insane behavior in that book compared to this one. The premise of this one was more fun though.

Vero and Finlay (along with her ex-husband, mother, and children…) head to Atlantic City to try to find Javi and a ton of nonsense ensues. There were some very absurd moments in this one but it was fun to have Finlay and Vero trying to balance all of their secret missions while keeping her family occupied and clueless to what they were really doing down there. And once it seems like they have way too much on their plate, members of their local police department head down to chase a lead… yes, including her boyfriend Nick. I’ve definitely checked out on the romance at this point for various reasons but that’s not what I’m here for anyways. I like a cozy, fun mystery and this series fits the bill still.

I keep wondering how it’s possible that Cosimano can keep going with the same storylines when there are too many bad guy names to even keep track of. I genuinely didn’t even try to remember them all as I was reading; it may have affected my enjoyment because sometimes I got confused but it was an overall easy read.

Based on the ending (no spoilers), I’m hopeful the upcoming books will finally be centered around a different mystery. Cosimano has spent four books generally chasing the same crime family and interconnected murderers and bad guys so eventually (like now) it wore thin a little. I’d love for this series to shift to where Finlay is less in the middle of things (meaning she’s not getting caught up in murders herself) to her being more of a true amateur sleuth.

Overall this was still quirky, fun, and a bit much a lot of the time. Catch me still seated for book five!

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