Release Day Review: Soul in Darkness by Wendy Higgins

Soul in Darkness by Wendy Higgins
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: February 12th 2019
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

People travel from afar to the small isle in the Aegean Sea hoping for a single glimpse of Princess Psyche. Their adoration for the mortal woman is so all-consuming that citizens begin to shower her with the very gifts and offerings they once left at the alter of Venus, goddess of love and beauty.

But gods are known for their jealousy.

Cupid, the god of love, takes pleasure in causing strife and mischief in the lives of humans. He uses love as a weapon, humoring in the weakness of people at the whims of their feelings. When his mother Venus approaches him about punishing the human girl who dares to steal her offerings and affections from the people, Cupid gladly accepts.

Psyche’s punishment is to be given to a mysterious creature who only comes to her in the dark of night under the pact that she will never lay eyes on him. She is terrified of this stranger, who the oracle described as a serpent. Her mate, however, is masterful in his dealings with his bride. He takes his time, morphing her fears into different sensations completely.

Based on the Roman/Greek mythology of Cupid and Psyche from Lucius Apuleius, New York Times bestseller Wendy Higgins brings the tale to life, weaving layers that show exactly how a sacrificial lamb can be enchanted by an unseen monster.

Y’all, I loved this book something fierce. It is SO, so good, and definitely up there as one of my favorite reads of the year. I love mythology retellings, especially Greek/Roman ones, and this Cupid/Psyche retelling was brilliant and beautifully written. I fell so hard for the story and felt for the struggle Psyche faces with her unknown husband. It’s a pure, romantic read I highly recommend!

“It has been decided. Hers will be a funeral wedding to a dar-deeded winged serpent. Many call him a monster. Your dear Psyche will call him Husband.”

Psyche is the princess of her small island and is considered to be the most beautiful woman to exist. Unfortunately, this angers Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, as her worshippers have turned to worship Psyche instead. To appease Venus and to save her people, Psyche is forced to marry a monster. The rules are simple: the monster will be her husband, she will spend her nights with him, and she must never lay eyes on him or touch him.

“You can have my body, creature of the night, but you will never have my soul.”

I knew the basics of Psyche and Cupid going into this book, so I appreciated even more the author’s unique take on that story. Wendy transports you to this wondrous, ethereal world of gods and monsters, and she makes you fall in love with Psyche and her mysterious husband. Psyche may have been forced into her marriage, but she doesn’t take it lying down. She uses the little power she has to make a life for herself in the new house she lives in with her husband, and takes any bit of independence he gives her. The husband is not so much a monster after all. He is kind, thoughtful, generous – the kind of husband Psyche never dreamed he would be. But who exactly is he? And why was she chosen to be his bride? There’s more at play than what she knows, and slowly, as she starts to fall for her mysterious husband, the truth starts to unravel.

The chemistry between Psyche and Cupid is intense. I was afraid going in that it would lie more on the YA side of steam, with fade-to-black moments, but rest assured this is not the case in Soul in Darkness! I lived for the sexy moments between these two fascinating characters. They both are placed in impossible situations but manage to make something beautiful and lasting out of it.

“Your beauty will never fade in my eyes, Psyche.” His words and voice rolled over me, sweet and heady. “My wife. My princess. The one who shot me with her love.”

I’m incredibly happy with this retelling and I hope Wendy Higgins decides to do more in the future. Her writing captivates you and makes you believe in the love between her characters. I swooned for Cupid and cheered for Psyche – my heart ached at how romantic their love story was. If you love any type of retelling, you absolutely must read Soul in Darkness!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


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Release Day Review: Motion by Penny Reid

Motion by Penny Reid
Series: Laws of Physics #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 11th 2019
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

One week.
Home alone.
Girl genius.
Unrepentant slacker.
Big lie.
What’s the worst that could happen?

Mona is a smart girl and figured everything out a long time ago. She had to. She didn’t have a choice. When your parents are uber-celebrities and you graduate from high school at fifteen, finish college at eighteen, and start your PhD program at nineteen, you don’t have time for distractions outside of your foci. Even fun is scheduled. Which is why Abram, her brother’s best friend, is such an irritant.

Abram is a talented guy, a supremely gifted musician, and has absolutely nothing figured out, nor does he seem to care. He does what he feels, when he feels, and—in Mona’s opinion—he makes her feel entirely too much.

Elements of Chemistry is one of my FAVORITE new adult romances, so to say I was excited for Penny Reid’s next NA trilogy would be an understatement. We met Abram previously in Capture, part 3 of EoC, and I have to admit I was fascinated with him. He carried so much depth and emotion that I had to know his story, and now we finally have it! At least the first part of it. Motion is a fantastic beginning to Mona and Abram’s slow (slooow) burn romance and I’m unashamedly greedy for more of them already. If you’re in the mood for something different, with unique, weird, unforgettable characters, you need to read this book (and basically all of Penny’s books).

Mona is not your average girl. She’s wicked smart and at nineteen, has already started her PhD program. But for being such a smart girl, she can’t rope her way out of the big mess her estranged, identical twin sister throws her into. Lisa is in jail but she needs Mona to pretend to be her until she gets out so that their parents don’t find out and cut her off. And not only that, Mona needs to convince Abram, their brother’s best friend, that she is her wild sister, someone who is Mona’s complete opposite. Things become even more complicated when Mona realizes she way, wayyy attracted to Abram.

Did he move? Or were we always standing this close? And why wasn’t I cringing away? Goodness, his face would be nice to sit on.
AAHHHH!

Mona as Lisa and Abram are stuck in a house together for a week, and this forced proximity allows these two to get to know one another on a deeper level. Even when Mona tries her hardest to be Lisa, little Mona-isms still manage to reach the surface, which is what Abram falls for. And once Mona knows there’s more than meets the eye with this supposed slacker, she starts to develop feelings for him too. The blazing chemistry that’s always between them certainly doesn’t hurt. But with Mona lying about who she is, can anything real last between them when the truth comes out?

“You have to tell me what you want,” he whispered gruffly. “If you don’t want me, tell me. But you have to know, you must know, I only want to make you happy.”

I love Penny Reid’s kind of humor, which is intelligent yet awkward. This is the very definition of Mona, in fact. At first, she comes across as very standoff-ish and doesn’t seem to connect with anyone. But as we get to know her, her love for Moby Dick, and her ridiculous yet hilarious phrases, her quirks become endearing and you just want to give this girl a hug. Abram himself is just SWOON. How can you not love a guy who reads and loves romance, and Lisa Kleypas books at that?

As you may know, Motion ends of a cliffhanger. As brutal as it is, it is the kind of cliffhanger that you expect, and it’s juicy enough that you want the next book ASAP. Luckily, we don’t need to wait too long for Space, as it’s only a month away. I can’t wait to dive deeper into these characters with the next installment – March needs to get here sooner!


lacey


Reading Order: Laws of Physics series

  

#1 ~ Motion: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Space: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads (March 11, 2019)
#3 ~ Time: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads (April 15, 2019)

The Laws of Physics series is a spinoff of the Elements of Chemistry series!
You don’t have to read one to read the other, however.

Reading Order: Elements of Chemistry series

Attraction by Penny Reid Heat by Penny Reid Capture by Penny Reid Elements of Chemistry by Penny Reid

#1 ~ Attraction: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Heat: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Capture: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#1-3 ~ Elements of Chemistry Bundle: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Blog Tour // Review: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: January 29th 2019
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Crush (n.): a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

Buy Links:
Ebook • PaperbackHardcoverAudible
HarperCollinsBarnes & Noble

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The Hating Game is one of my all time favorite books, so to say I was excited for Sally Thorne’s next release would be an understatement. Even though I didn’t quite obsess over 99 Percent Mine like I did THG, I still adored Darcy and Tom. The beginning was a little rough for me to get into, but once I hit my stride, I absolutely didn’t want to stop reading.

I adore a good brother’s best friend romance, and this one has everything I like about the trope: chemistry, forbidden elements, childhood crushes, angst. It’s also funny, witty, and quirky. Darcy is just so different from any other heroine I’ve read, and I appreciated her for that. Tom is an absolute SWEETHEART – the shy to Darcy’s aggressive. Big, shy heroes are my favorite. If you like opposites attract, I think you’ll fall for Tom and Darcy.

We’re all shareholders in Tom Valeska: Jamie, Megan, and me. His mom and my parents. Loretta and Patty. Everyone who’s ever met him wants a piece of him, because he’s the best person there is. I quickly count up all of those people. I include his dentist and doctor. Maybe he’s 1 percent mine. That has to be enough. I have to share.

Darcy Barrett has had a life-long crush on childhood friend Tom Valeska, but him being taken as her brother’s best friend put a stop on anything romantic developing between them growing up. But when there’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be near and around him for long periods of time – a chance to flip a house with him – Darcy seizes it. And what ensues is a romance story that is awkward, charming, funny, and endearing.

Darcy is beautifully flawed and complicated. Her insecurities sometimes get the best of her, which she hides behind her snark and sass. She’s a very hot and cold character, which was off-putting in the beginning, but she grew on me by the end. She believes that she’s not good enough for Tom, but Tom is just so loving and supportive of her. He’s a big, gentled, kind-hearted man who blushes around Darcy but isn’t afraid to be protective and possessive of her. I couldn’t help but swoon for him.

“If you were mine, I’d be careful with you. I bet that’s something you haven’t had much of.”…
“What else would you do?” I’ve got that husky voice he likes.
The animal in him is honest with me. “Everything. If you were mine, I’d do everything.”

I really appreciated that Sally Thorne didn’t write a The Hating Game 2.0. 99 Percent Mine is very different from THG, but Sally’s wit and charm comes across well in her writing. If you enjoyed THG, I highly recommend you try this second novel of hers. ALSO! For all you Josh and Lucy fans, there’s the sweetest little epilogue to THG at the end of 99 Percent Mine and it. is. glorious!


lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Be sure to check out Sally’s previous novel, The Hating Game!

EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

about the author button

Sally Thorne is the USA Today-bestselling author of The Hating Game. She spends her days climbing into fictional worlds of her own creation. She lives in Canberra, Australia with her husband in a house filled with vintage toys, too many cushions, a haunted dollhouse and the world’s sweetest pug.

Website • Twitter • FacebookInstagram • Goodreads


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Spotlight Tour // Excerpt & Giveaway: Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet

Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet
Series: Endeavor #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 1st 2019
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Tess Bailey: the galaxy’s Most Wanted.
Captain Tess Bailey is in deep trouble. She and her crew are on the run, pursued by a tyrant who’ll take them dead or alive. Tess’s best hope is a tall, dark, and much-too-appealing stranger, Shade Ganavan, who says he can help her. But his motivations are far from clear…

Shade Ganavan: arrogance, charm…and that special something that makes you want to kick him.
With the dreaded Dark Watch closing in, what Tess and Shade don’t know about each other might get them killed…unless they can set aside their differences and learn to trust each other before it’s too late.

Buy Links:
Amazon EbookAmazon Paperback • Barnes & NobleiTunes • Kobo

Now here’s an excerpt from Nightchaser! ❤

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“What happened to your ship?” Ganavan asked, nodding vaguely toward where I thought the Squirrel Tree must have been from here. “The Dark Watch blow it full of holes?”

Nerves exploded inside me. It was a joke. He was joking. I forcibly calmed my racing heart. “Unexpected asteroid belt.”

“You fire your navigator for that?”

I shook my head. “It wasn’t her fault.”

He nodded, his hands moving to his hips. I noticed scars on his knuckles and wondered how many times he’d split his skin open punching someone in the face. I had a few of those myself. Prison brawls. They happened.

For his part, Shade Ganavan watched me like a hawk, and I wasn’t quite sure why. I could tell he was interested, but this seemed to go beyond normal awareness. I could have sworn he took in my every blink and breath.

Finally, he said, “I might not have the metal you need for a few days, sugar.”

“You might not have your tongue if you call me ‘sugar’ again.”

His expression flared with a heat I felt branch out into every part of me. The man definitely liked to be provoked, and for some reason, I liked provoking him. I think I even liked it when he provoked me.

His countenance changed suddenly, sharpening. “You know how to carry through on a threat?” he asked quietly.

I frowned. “You want me to slice out your tongue?”

“I want to know if your sharp edges can actually cut.”

“Why?” He’d lost me. Was this kinky talk, and I wasn’t getting it? I wasn’t a virgin or totally inexperienced. There had been Gabe. But then he’d run one way that day and I’d run the other, and we’d never seen each other again.

Shade’s voice came to me on a low whisper over the tinkling of the bell I’d just noticed, but there was nothing seductive about it. “Because the Dark Watch just followed you into my shop.”

*

Panic iced me over, and I froze. It couldn’t be. How did they know?

“Who?” I mouthed more than said aloud.

Shade’s eyes flicked over my shoulder. He gave a slight shrug, speaking so quietly I essentially had to read his lips as well. “I don’t know every goon they’ve got.”

“Uniform?” I breathed.

“Black,” he mouthed back.

I exhaled. A trooper, then. If it had been my uncle coming for me, he would have been wearing red.

I lifted the shiny metallic cartridge box I still had in my hand. “You’re sure all forty rounds are in here?” I asked in a normal voice again, angling the box to reflect what was behind me. I saw a soldier I didn’t recognize. Probably just some Sector 2 guy in here looking for a knickknack or spare part.

I tried to act casual, even though adrenaline was making me jittery underneath. My relief was cerebral. My body hadn’t caught up yet.

“How much for this?” I asked.

“Fifteen,” Shade said, taking the box of bullets from me. “I’ll ring it up.”

I followed him to the register and then paid, only once darting a glance at the soldier who was perusing the shelves a good twenty feet from me. When Shade handed me back the cartridge box and my change, our fingers brushed, but I was too nervous to appreciate the brief contact.

Chuckling, he said, “I thought you were going to walk off without paying for that.”

What in the galaxy made him think that?

“I’m not a petty thief,” I said, coolness creeping into my voice. When I stole something, it wasn’t measly cartridges for guns we hardly used. It was cure-all vaccines and food for the starving and prisoners of war.

“I was teasing.” Shade cocked his head to one side, looking almost sorry.

I blinked. Oh. All right, then. Clearly, I needed a manual on flirting. I felt myself turn crimson again.

“You remember where to find me when you have those parts?” I asked.

He nodded. “See you soon…”

His sentence seemed unfinished. He might have been about to add Tess or another antagonizing sugar, but he chose not to say anything else when the soldier came up beside me and plunked a shaving kit down on the counter.

Ducking my head, I turned and left Ganavan’s Products and Parts, not looking up or slowing down again until I’d reached the base of the Squirrel Tree.

The Dark Watch was on Albion 5, just like they were everywhere. And where there was one, there were many.

Reading Order: Endeavor series

#1 ~ Nightchaser: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Starbreaker: Ebook • Goodreads (April 28, 2020)

about the author button

Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England where she spent much of her time tromping around in the woods and making up grand adventures in her head. It was inevitable that one day she would start writing them down. Drawing on her Greek heritage for the setting and on her love of all things daring and romantic for the rest, her debut trilogy, The Kingmaker Chronicles, took form. She writes what she loves to read: epic exploits, steamy romance, and characters that make you laugh and cry.

Her first novel, A Promise of Fire, won several Romance Writers of America chapter contests, including the Orange Rose Contest and the paranormal category of the prestigious Golden Pen.

A French master’s graduate and former English teacher, Amanda lives in Paris, France. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children who will soon be correcting her French.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram • Goodreads

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5 copies of Nightchaser

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Review: Out of Time by Monica McCarty

Out of Time by Monica McCarty
Series: The Lost Platoon #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 31st 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

A team of Navy SEALs go on a mission and disappear without a trace—they are The Lost Platoon.

With his men scattered to all corners of the globe after a disastrous secret op in Russia, Lieutenant Commander Scott Taylor is trying to find out who was responsible for leaking the information that killed half his platoon. Were it not for Natalie Andersson, the woman he’d been secretly dating in the Pentagon who’d warned him of the danger, he knows they’d all be dead. Scott is devastated when he hears that the woman he loved and hoped to marry has been killed for helping him—until he learns that Natalie was the spy who betrayed them. But when his search to clear his name brings him face-to-face with a very much alive Natalie, Scott realizes that justice and vengeance might not be as clear-cut as he thought.

Natalie Andersson, or as she was born Natalya Petrova, has put the memories of her early childhood in Russia behind her. She never dreamed that she would be at the center of an elaborate “sleeper” espionage program. Even when she learns the truth, she refuses to spy for the country of her birth, until the Russians threaten the lives of the only family she’s ever known. But Natalie is the worst spy in the history of spying, falling for her target. When her attempt at misdirection leads to irreversible consequences, she’s forced to run for her life, with her lover hot on her tail.

This book is without doubt my favorite of the Lost Platoon series. This sexy, action-packed series has been a roller coaster of a ride and wrapped up wonderfully in Out of Time. I’ve been sucked in to the suspenseful plot and hot romances, so it’s bittersweet knowing that this is the end of Navy SEAL Team Nine. But even though I hated to see it end, it was so worth the read.

It’s Lieutenant Commander Scott Taylor’s turn to get his romance, but this time it involves secret identities and betrayal. Scott had secretly been dating Natalie Andersson and been preparing to propose to her when half his team is killed and the rest had to scatter across the globe and go into hiding, including himself. If that wasn’t enough, he finds out Natalie has died in a car accident… except she hasn’t. She’s alive and well, but all his love for her died along with her fake death when he discovers that she’s double-crossing the U.S. and working for Russia and the people who killed his team. Of course, not all things are black and white, and there is much more to Natalie’s story than just betrayal.

Not only do we get Scott and Natalie’s edge-of-your-seat romance, we finally get Colt and Kate’s long-awaited HEA. They are a big reason why I loved this book so much. Monica McCarty has teased us bit by bit with this heart-wrenching divorced couple’s relationship over the past few books, and their story finally comes together in Out of Time. Colt realizes he’s messed up the best thing to ever happen to him. Kate isn’t sure she can go through a relationship with him again. The angst, the tears, the heartbreak were REAL, and I just couldn’t put their second chance romance down.

She’d made him think that he could make her happy.
But he’d never believed it—not really.
Maybe that had been the problem. But he swore if she gave him another chance he would make it his life’s mission to prove her right. He’d do whatever it took to make her happy. Colt didn’t have any right to ask for that second chance, but he was going to do it anyway.

Out of Time is jam-packed with action and suspense. Scott needs to protect Natalie from those trying to kill her, and will go to the ends of the earth to do so. Natalie has a lot of explaining and making up to do, but once we get her side of the story, we realize how tough and resilient this woman is. The heart-pounding action is the perfect compliment to the passion and intensity of their love story.

“You’re so incredible. I don’t know how I got so lucky.”

I just love this group of characters so much. Even though this is the end of the Lost Platoon, I can only hope we get more romantic suspenses from Monica McCarty in the future. She mixes suspense and romance so well, it’s hard to put down. I can’t recommend this series enough for those who love this genre!


lacey


Reading Order: The Lost Platoon series

  

#1 ~ Going Dark: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Off the Grid: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Out of Time: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads


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