Release Day Review: War by Laura Thalassa

War by Laura Thalassa
Series: Four Horsemen #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 11th 2019
Links: EbookGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.

The day Jerusalem falls, Miriam Elmahdy knows her life is over. Houses are burning, the streets run red with blood, and a traitorous army is massacring every last resident. There is no surviving this, especially not once Miriam catches the eye of War himself. But when the massive and terrifying horseman corners Miriam, he calls her his wife, and instead of killing her, he takes her back to his camp.

Now Miriam faces a terrifying future, one where she watches her world burn town by town, and the one man responsible for it all is her seemingly indestructible “husband”. But there’s another side to him, one that’s gentle and loving and dead set on winning her over, and she might not be strong enough to resist.

However, if there’s one thing Miriam has learned, it’s that love and war cannot coexist. And so she must make the ultimate choice: surrender to War and watch humankind fall, or sacrifice everything and stop him.

I’m going to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but AHHHHHH!!! War is about the size of two average-sized books, and I pretty much read it in one sitting (when I knew I had uninterrupted reading time). I DEVOURED this book. It was everything I was hoping for as the sequel to Pestilence! I fell in love with War (even when I knew I shouldn’t) and the heroine is so kickass and awesome. War is a possessive, alpha mofo and once he claims Miriam as his wife, there’s no going back. This absolutely lived up to my expectations and now I can’t freaking WAIT for the next book!

Laura Thalassa has written some of my favorite fantasy romances, and now War is going near the top of my list. It’s dark, twisted, addicting, and unputdownable. War is the perfect kind of hate-to-love and love-to-hate hero. He reminds me of the hero from The Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley, with the same warlord, alpha-male vibes. Miriam holds her own against him, which made for some incredible, steamy chemistry. I was glued to their romance, to the way it turned from hate (on Miriam’s part), to reluctant feelings, and finally, to genuine love. I think Laura Thalassa did an amazing job portraying War’s character – he’s is not a good guy, but you can’t help but grow to love him.

The wait for War was 100% worth it. Right now I’m crying about the wait for Famine, though I know Laura Thalassa won’t disappoint with that one, whenever it releases!


lacey

I talk more about War on my new BookTube channel! Feel free to check it out 🙂


Reading Order: Four Horsemen series

 

#1 ~ Pestilence: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ War: Ebook • Goodreads
#3 ~ Famine: Goodreads (release date TBA)


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Review: Tangle by Adriana Locke

Tangle by Adriana Locke
Series: Dogwood Lane #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 2nd 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Sparks fly between a die-hard romantic and a sexy cynic in this fresh, funny romance from USA Today bestselling author Adriana Locke.

That cream-filled, caramel-topped doughnut should have been hers. Still, Haley Raynor can’t deny that the pastry thief with the dreamy blue eyes looks even more delicious. But moving in on a handsome devil like Trevor Kelly is bad news for a die-hard romantic like Haley. Trevor doesn’t believe in love. She does. Giving in to a fling and Trevor’s irresistible charms can’t end well. Can it? What can it hurt to give it a shot?

Girls always fall for Trevor, and in the end, he always ends up looking like a bad-boy cad. Still, spending some time with Haley and her smart-talking, kissable mouth sounds pretty perfect. Besides, he’s only going to be in Dogwood Lane for one week. How much trouble could they possibly get into?

The only answer? A “no falling in love” contract. All Trevor and Haley have to do is follow the rules and resist the attraction sizzling between them…before their hearts get completely tangled up in temptation.

After the wonder experience I had the last time I read a small town romance from Montlake Romance (That Second Chance), I couldn’t wait to experience this new small town romance from Adriana Locke! Though I didn’t quite love it as much as I did Meghan Quinn’s book, this was a solid contemporary romance read that I would recommend to fans of this trope. It’s sweet, the town is comforting and cozy, and I enjoyed the overall feel, though I wish I could’ve loved the main characters more. It’s book two in the Dogwood Lane series but can be read as a standalone, which is how I read it.

Haley and Trevor have the most adorable meet cute. It’s at a bakery and they argue over who gets the last donut (Trevor gifts it to Haley, the magnanimous man that he is). The two hit it off, with some great wit and banter, but they know they couldn’t be more different when it comes to love and relationships. Trevor has sworn never to get into a relationship or fall in love, and Haley wants exactly that. They make a contract between them: he promises not to break her heart and she promises not to fall for him. Easy, right?

Trevor is new to the small town but everywhere he goes, he sees Haley. And every time they bump into each other, they are so charming and adorable – they really bring out the best and most out of each other. We can clearly see them falling for one another, but Trevor is one of the most stubborn men I’ve ever read. He was mainly why I couldn’t enjoy the book more. He’s very adamant he’s not capable of love and that he doesn’t want the responsibility of another person loving him. He was frustrating right until the very end. I really wanted to shake some sense into him!

Besides that, Tangle is a solid contemporary small town romance. I’m intrigued enough by the town and the secondary characters enough that I want to keep going with the series. This was my first time reading Adriana Locke, and although I didn’t love it, her writing is great and I know I’ll need to look into her other books!


lacey


Reading Order: Dogwood Lane series

#1 ~ Tumble: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Tangle: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Trouble: Ebook • Goodreads (Feb. 11, 2019)


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Spotlight // Guest Post + Excerpt & Giveaway: Only Ever You by C.D. Reiss

Only Ever You by C.D. Reiss is now available, and we’re spotlighting it today on the blog! We’ve got an interview with the author as well as a giveaway below!

Author Interview: C.D. Reiss

Please introduce your newest release.

Only Ever You is about a girl who planned for everything but never got what she hoped for, and a dweeb who hoped he’d to marry the girl, but never planned for it.

Rachel and Sebastian have an interesting history. They were friends as kids, but have lost touch as adults…

They’re really strangers when they reunite at 30, but they’re burdened by what they think they know about each other. Sebastian was supposed to be an artist and Rachel was supposed to be a screenwriter. They have to shake all that stuff loose before they can see each other. When they do, they’re strangers.

I think attraction between strangers is real. Sexual heat is real. But “hearts and flowers” are earned. (I know that sounds like I’m your dad telling you to mow lawns, but that’s where the magic is. Not the lawns.) In the time just before you’re struck by lightning there’s a real electricity. It’s pure potential and anything can go wrong. It’s the best thing ever.

When they were kids they made up a ‘contract’ to get married at 30—which is pretty much panned when they do meet up and have the most awkward first kiss EVER. How do they overcome such an incredibly uncomfortable situation?

They overcome it by running away!

Sebastian is thinking “now or never” because he thinks Rachel’s never going to think he’s any cooler than when she sees him in the office of his own company. And she isn’t ready because her whole idea of herself is tied up in what a failure she is. Neither one of them is feeling good enough about themselves to have a really hot first kiss, which is the same reason they’re not ready to get married.

Only Ever You by C.D. Reiss
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: July 9th 2019
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Rachel knew exactly what turning thirty would be like. She had a plan, after all. First college, then a climb up the professional ladder. Love, marriage, children. All of it was on the schedule.

The cheap Hollywood apartment wasn’t on the list. Neither was the string of heartbreaks. Or the effect her mother’s cancer had on her career.

It’s hard to stay practical and on point when everything takes a left turn.

Enter Sebastian, the nerd across the street. The boy she defended when he couldn’t defend himself. The best friend she promised she’d marry if life didn’t go according to plan.

Not only is he successful, confident, and gorgeous, but he also still has their handwritten marriage contract.

No one goes through with childhood wedding pacts.

That’s crazy.

But their families might just be crazy enough to rent a hall and set a date. All Rachel and Sebastian have to do is fall in love.

Buy Links:
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Now here’s an excerpt from More Than Anything! ❤

excerpt button

After I left her and CJ with Lucinda, I spent the weekly staff meeting wondering if Rachel was the same warrior I’d loved or if she was more the woman who’d held her laptop to her chest as if she needed protection.

I was obsessed.

I had to know.

Her text came in as I was leaving the meeting.

I need to check that we’re kidding

Before I could finish typing a response, I caught her coming out of the bathroom with her laptop under her arm.

Alone. Me and her. Nothing between us but the question of who we were and how we fit.

“Seb, I—”

She didn’t have a chance to finish. I crowded her back into the bathroom and locked the door behind us.

“Kidding about what?” I said.

“About getting married.”

“Why would that even be a question?”

“Our parents have been in negotiations about it.”

My mother couldn’t keep herself from talking if she tried, and I was her favorite subject.

“It might be a little soon for marriage, but—”

“Soon? I don’t like you seeing what I do for a living while you’re in a glass-walled office overlooking the ocean. I mean, I’m not marriage material, and the odds are that’s never going to change.”

“I don’t see why a date’s off the table.”

“Do you know what’s going to happen if we date?”

The list of possibilities was as long as my arm. I could have counted them off, from “We decide we hate each other” to “We end up in bed.” But I didn’t, because I was still trying to figure her out.

What did she want to hear?

With her wide eyes and parted lips, what did she want? Did she have a fondest wish where I was concerned? Was she leaning forward? Was her expression soft and yielding?

My mind spent too long deciding what to say, so my body spoke for me.

I kissed her hard and was met with teeth and stiff resistance. It was a kiss I’d wanted since I’d had hairless armpits and a voice somewhere in the low soprano range. I’d dreamed about it. Fantasized about it. Thought about it so hard in the middle of the night I could practically feel it.

But never, ever in my fantasies did she push me away so hard I fell back against a towel dispenser, watching her face twist into surprised rage as the machine spit out a ragged rectangle of brown paper.

“That was—”

“Messed up. I know.”

“Then why? What is wrong with you?”

She was livid, just like she would have been. Just like she should have been.

The tiger within Rachel was in there, and my attempt to tease her out had probably alienated her. She’d be right to never speak to me again.

“I’m sorry,” I said with my hand on the door lock. “I misread you. It won’t happen again.”

I started to open the door, but she held it closed.

“If we date, my mother’s going to get her hopes up that I’m going to settle down. And I’m sorry, Seb, but if we break up while she’s in chemo, it’s going to crush her.”

“You don’t even know if she’s sick again.”

“You’re right.” She pointed a rigid finger at me as if I were her mother. “I’m going to make her tell me.”

“You’re really beautiful when you’re telling it like it is.”

She slid her hand off the door. Having been called out, the warrior was sent into hiding.

No. I wouldn’t accept that. I wouldn’t allow it.

“Let’s just go out and catch up,” I said. “Saturday.”

“Can’t. Saturday’s the soonest I can talk to Mom.”

I unlocked the door. “I’m sorry about . . . the thing.”

“Kissing me?”

“No, wasting paper towels. Of course kissing you.”

“Next time, give a girl a little warning.”

Next time? Her eyes darted to the door. Was she calculating the distance to her getaway? Or making sure it was closed?

“How about now?” I asked.

“Now what?”

“Fair warning. Now.”

I stepped a little closer and put my hands on her arms. Not right away. I let them hover an inch away before touching her to give her the chance to move away. A chance I was sure she’d take.

“Seb, really?”

But she didn’t move away.

Not this time. When I laid my hands on her biceps, she leaned in to me just a little. I smelled the floral lotion on her skin and a hint of cool water on her breath.

“Really.” I slid the laptop from her arms and placed it on the counter. “This is your warning.”

You’re doing this. I cannot believe you’re doing this.

“It doesn’t feel like a warning,” she said, and again—I noted—she didn’t move away.

“Flashing red lights.” My lips brushed her cheek, heading for her mouth. She felt better than I ever imagined. “A buzzer, maybe.”

“Just a kiss?” she asked, her lips moving against mine.

Before I could consummate what she was agreeing to, I was smacked by a swinging door.

“Oh!” CJ said. “I’m sorry! I was looking for you.”

Rachel snatched up her laptop and walked out. CJ raised an eyebrow with good reason, since I was in the ladies’ room. I left, and we all gathered in the hall.

Awkward.

“Well,” Rachel said. “Thanks for showing us your tedious financial-sector company.”

“Thank you for coming,” I said and let them walk away. I could have done or said much more, but not without getting her into trouble. She glanced back at me when they turned the corner, as if she wanted to make sure I was still there.

about the author button

CD Reiss is a New York Times bestselling author. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God, but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up, she’s at the well hauling buckets. Born in New York City, Reiss moved to Hollywood, California, to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere—but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

Reiss is frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut, which is flattering but hasn’t ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood. If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine. Text cdreiss to 77948 to get a notification whenever she has a new release.

Website • Twitter • FacebookGoodreads

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$25 Amazon Gift Card and Digital Copy of Only Ever You

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Review: Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson

Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson
Series: Sometimes in Love #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: June 25th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

NEVER SAY NEVER
Sadie Gold is ready to take her career to the next level with the role of a lifetime. Finally, she can shake her reputation as a pretty face with more wealth and connections than talent. But Sadie is not prepared for the wild turn her own life is about to take. The man in charge of training Sadie for her most demanding role yet is none other than her first real boyfriend—the one who took her heart and ran away.

WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE
Bo Ibarra is as good-looking and irresistible as ever. Maybe even more so, now that everything once worked against them—Sadie’s pampered and privileged upbringing and Bo’s childhood in a family struggling to make ends meet—is in the past. But the future is still unwritten…and getting there, together, means coming clean about painful secrets and slashing through nasty tabloid rumors while trying to control the attraction that crackles between them. Maybe it’s finally time for them to walk off into the sunset and into a true and lasting love?

If you know me, then you know that second chance romances are my all-time favorite trope! Which was why I was unbelievably excited to start Once Upon a Bad Boy. I adored the previous book in the series and couldn’t wait to get to Sadie’s story. She was so amusing in Smitten by the Brit, especially that one popsicle scene. I’m glad to say her second chance with her childhood sweetheart did not disappoint. It’s a touching, romantic, sexy second chance romance that fans of the trope (and series) can definitely enjoy!

Eleven years ago, Bo and Sadie meant everything to each other. She was a rich girl, he was a poor boy, but they overcame everything to be together… or so Sadie thought. So when Bo breaks her heart the evening of their prom night, she moves on and refuses to think of him again. A decade later, it’s not so easy to ignore him anymore when he’s hired as the stunt coordinator on Sadie’s film.

Bo and Sadie both have something to prove. Bo needs to show his boss that he can run the stuntman company all on his own so he can take over, and Sadie needs to show the world that she was given her acting role on her own merit and not her family’s money and connections. They live very different, socioeconomic lives, and though Bo allowed that to tear them apart years ago, he recognizes that Sadie is the only woman he’s ever loved. I love the kind of second chance romance where you can clearly see the couple is meant for each other, and I got exactly that in this book. There’s enough tension and chemistry to light the book on fire every time Bo and Sadie are in a room together, which is often. It’s not an easy path to reconciliation and both are still full of regrets, but I really enjoyed the way they came back together even better than they were as teens.

While the book is fun and sexy, it’s definitely a little heavier than the previous book was. Melonie Johnson touches on a subject (that I can’t really say without spoiling) with respect and a conversation that needed to happen in a way I really admired. Maybe readers won’t agree with it, but it was a choice this character thought was the right one, and I can stand behind that!

Melonie Johnson is a fantastic writer and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for her readers next. If you haven’t read the Sometimes in Love series yet, I highly recommend it as the perfect summer reads. They’re fun and flirty, with the right amount of heat and intensity. I do plan on someday reading the first book when I have the time. I’m sure I’ll adore like I did the other two!


lacey


Reading Order: Sometimes in Love series

 

#1 ~ Getting Hot with the Scot: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Smitten by the Brit: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Once Upon a Bad Boy: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson
Series: Sometimes in Love #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 28th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

DEFINITELY, MAYBE…OR LOVE, ACTUALLY?

English professor Bonnie Blythe expects her life to play out like her favorite novels, especially now that her long-term boyfriend has finally proposed. So when a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, she decides to close the book on love. But the plot thickens when a brand-new character enters the scene—and quickens Bonnie’s heart.

With his brilliant blue eyes, sexy accent, and irresistible charm, Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel. When fate places Bonnie in England for a summer—conveniently close to Theo—she realizes a hot friends-with-benefits fling is exactly what she needs to start a fresh chapter. Just as Bonnie begins to believe she’s falling in love, an eye-opening revelation into Theo’s life makes Bonnie feel like she’s wandered into one of her favorite books. Will Bonnie have the courage to risk her heart and turn the page with the dashing Brit to find her true happy ending after all?

I’ve had my eye on this series since seeing the first book around on Instagram, and I was so happy to find how much I ended up adoring its standalone sequel, Smitten by the Brit! All three of the books (which released within a three months of each other, gasp!) follow a group of girl friends who are all different, yet support and complement each other well. Book two follows English professor and Shakespeare/Austen nerd Bonnie Blythe, and the British man who sweeps her off her feet exactly like Mr. Darcy would.

If you’re planning on diving into Smitten by the Brit without having read the first book like me, you absolutely can! Just know, I do plan on going back and catching up 😉 At first, I was overloaded with just how many characters there are, but each has a distinct personality that I recognized who was who soon enough. Bonnie made an endearing heroine, with her love for all things British literature. I admired her sense of strength after being betrayed by her former fiancé, and for going after what she wanted: the man she met and connected with the summer before, and a new teaching job all the way in England.

Theo Wharton couldn’t be more dreamy if he tried! He’s a gentleman with a kind and caring heart. He holds a secret of his own, and he has to decide if he’ll choose to follow the path his family has laid out for him, or going against expectations and going after what he wants in life. If that includes a certain gorgeous redhead, so be it. I enjoyed the parallels between Bonnie and Theo’s independent stories – Melonie Johnson did an excellent job at writing these two characters. They had fun, witty banter that had me grinning on occasion. Theo is beyond charismatic and I was swooning over him as much as Bonnie was.

I’ve been wanting to add new/debut authors to my reading list, and I’m so glad I chose Melonie Johnson. Technically this isn’t her debut novel, but since she debuted this year, I’m counting it! If you’re looking for a fun, delightful read that sweeps you off to England, you definitely need to read this book. I’m so impressed with the writing and characters that I’m diving straight into the next book!


lacey


Reading Order: Sometimes in Love series

 

#1 ~ Getting Hot with the Scot: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Smitten by the Brit: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Once Upon a Bad Boy: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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