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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Review: He’s a Brute by Chloe Liese

He’s a Brute by Chloe Liese
Series: Tough Love #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 6th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

One dark and handsome control-freak sports star meets one smarty pants bioengineer with hair to match her fiery temper. It’s an experiment straight out of sexual thermodynamics.

Every good scientist knows the second law of thermodynamics: the universe’s disorder, entropy, is always increasing. Professionally and personally speaking, Nairne’s familiar with the principle. After a streak of costly fame, now she’s set on saving the world, microscope in hand, and there’s no time for romance. Problem is, when a rude, despicably sexy Adonis shows up to run their board meeting, chemistry and its ensuing chaos become more than a formula—now they’re a burning hot reality.

Mafia prince. Professional footballer. Bad boy demeanor and a reputation for being as talented between the sheets as he is on the pitch. Rumors are the man’s an absolute brute. And he turns out to be just as demanding, controlling and vicious in person as he is on paper. The Law of Attraction’s proven true, as Nairne finds herself accepting Zed’s proposal: rough, wild stress release, more orgasms than she can count, and most importantly—no falling in love.

Agreement in place. End date secured.

No attachments. No forever.

What could possibly go wrong?

Book One in the Tough Love Series—an enemies to lovers, suspenseful romance, full of sexy Italians, bedroom negotiations, feisty heroines, and an ending that’ll both satisfy you and leave you ready for more!

I’ve been making it a goal to read more debut authors in 2019, and I’m so happy that I can include Chloe Liese to my list! I wanted to read this book because 1) I LOVED the cover and 2) the blurb sounded so intriguing. Mafia, sports, AND science? I was definitely game. I ended up really enjoying Nairne and Zed’s story – if you’re looking for something a little different in your contemporary romances, you should give this a try!

Former professional soccer player and current bioengineer Nairne MacGregor is set on saving the world with science. She’s in the US for school and work, but in a few months, she’ll be back home to Europe. Which means she has no time to meet anyone, much less fall in love. But all that changes when she meets the boss at her new job. Zed Salvatore is confident, assertive, and has too much swagger for his own good. He’s an alpha through and through, and he’s never met anyone who can hold their own against him… until Nairne.

I don’t want to break her. I want to possess her.

There’s a serious chemical attraction between Zed and Nairne from the moment they meet at a board meeting. Zed wants to explore what they have while Nairne is more reluctant. But once they do start exploring, boy do they set things on fire. I’d almost say He’s a Brute is lite-erotica – they begin a Dominant/submissive relationship in bed (which stays in bed), and while it’s nothing like Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinner series, it’s HOT and a little kinky. Zed has a filthy mouth on him that I couldn’t get enough of!

The one thing that detracted me from fully loving this book was that there seemed to be too much going on to fully devote enough time to each aspect. Zed is part of the mafia in Boston, with a leader role, but he doesn’t do much on the pages relating to the mafia. It was definitely overshadowed by the sports aspect of the story, though I did love all the soccer talk. I also loved the little twist towards the beginning of the book that changes the dynamics of the characters and how I perceived them. Other than that, the writing is fantastic, especially for a debut – I can’t want to read more from Chloe Liese and more about Nairne and Zed.


lacey

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


Reading Order: Tough Love series

#1 ~ He’s a Brute: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ She’s a Spitfire: EbookGoodreads (June 24, 2019)


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Review: Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt

Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt
Series: Greycourt #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 18th 2018
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Freya de Moray is many things: a member of the secret order of Wise Women, the daughter of disgraced nobility, and a chaperone living under an assumed name. What she is not is forgiving. So when the Duke of Harlowe, the man who destroyed her brother and led to the downfall of her family, appears at the country house party she’s attending, she does what any Wise Woman would do: she starts planning her revenge.

Christopher Renshaw, the Duke of Harlowe, is being blackmailed. Intent on keeping his secrets safe, he agrees to attend a house party where he will put an end to this coercion once and for all. Until he recognizes Freya, masquerading among the party revelers, and realizes his troubles have just begun. Freya knows all about his sins-sins he’d much rather forget. But she’s also fiery, bold, and sensuous-a temptation he can’t resist. When it becomes clear Freya is in grave danger, he’ll risk everything to keep her safe. But first, he will have to earn Freya’s trust…by whatever means necessary.

I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth Hoyt’s after discovering her Maiden Lane series. Not every book was a hit, but there were enough that it felt bittersweet when the series came to an end. When she announced she’d be releasing a new series though, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Not the Duke’s Darling is the first in the Greycourt series, setting the stage for a new cast of characters. While I enjoyed the characters, I had a hard time connecting with the story and couldn’t fully love it as much as I hoped to.

The foundation of Freya and Christopher’s story starts fifteen years earlier, after a tragic event that tears apart friends and families. Christopher and his best friend, Freya’s brother Ran, become estranged for the next decade and a half, leaving him on one side and the de Morays on the other. Fast forward to the present, and Christopher is back from India to run his dukedom and Freya is a Wise Woman disguised as a chaperone. As a member of the secret order of Wise Women, Freya is not your typical woman. She’s fierce, with an intelligent mind and exceptional fighting skills. When they meet again for the first time in years, Christopher doesn’t recognize her, but Freya vows revenge on the man who wronged her brother.

Christopher and Freya have an explosive relationship. Their chemistry is off the charts, and not just because she wants revenge on him. Even though Christopher doesn’t recognize Freya at first, that doesn’t stop him from wanting her. Her wit and sharp tongue leave him desperate to be around her. There was a bit of a reversal in roles with these two, with the hero being all in with the heroine, and the heroine being more on the reluctant side, which I enjoyed. Freya’s prickliness gave her character depth, and I couldn’t help but be entertained as Christopher tore down her walls.

“Don’t change. Don’t ever change. I like your prickliness, your scowls, the way you argue with me so fiercely. I want a lioness, not a lamb.”

What didn’t work so well with me were the various subplots that the author tried to tie all together. It felt messy, trying to juggle the Wise Women order, Freya’s mission to save a duchess, Christopher’s late wife, his time in India, someone targeting Freya, the tragedy that happened years ago between three best friends, and even the POV of the next book’s heroine, whose story is being set up in this book. When there is so much going on, it’s hard to make everything as fully fleshed out as possible, which is mainly what made me hold back from enjoying the story.

Not the Duke’s Darling has its issues, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to continue with the series. I’m intrigued enough with the hero and heroine of the next book to want to pick it up, and hopefully it balances plotlines better.


lacey


Reading Order: Greycourt series

 

#1 ~ Not the Duke’s Darling: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ When a Rogue Meets His Match: PaperbackGoodreads (July 30, 2019)


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Release Day Review: All the Way by Kristen Proby

All the Way by Kristen Proby
Series: Romancing Manhattan #1
Publication Date: August 21st 2018
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new Romancing Manhattan series, three brothers get more than they bargain for as they practice law, balance life, and navigate love in and around New York City.

Finn Cavanaugh is known for being a force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. He owns a successful law firm with his brother and brother-in-law in Manhattan. On the rare occasion that he has down time, he spends it at his home in Martha’s Vineyard. But when Finn’s troubled niece goes to stay with him for the summer in Martha’s Vineyard, he’s reluctant to take time off from work. That is, until he meets his beautiful new neighbor, London.

London Watson is a Tony Award winning actress on Broadway. When tragedy strikes her family, leaving her alone and injured, she flees Manhattan for Martha’s Vineyard. Hoping she can figure out how to pick up the pieces of her life, London is convinced that she’ll never be able to return to the stage. But when she meets the charming young girl next door and her sexy uncle, they soon lure London out of her shell as she finally begins to heal from the wounds of her past.

But when London feels confident enough to return to the spotlight, she’s dealt another devastating blow. Will the newfound love between London and Finn be enough to conquer all? Or will it be over before it has a chance to grow…?

All the Way is the first standalone in Kristen Proby’s Romancing Manhattan series featuring a Broadway actress and her new, sexy neighbor. After a tragic fire kills her parents and leaves her with a broken leg, London can’t go on stage anymore and flees to Martha’s Vineyard to heal, both inside and out. There, she encounters Finn and his adorable but acting out niece, and finds that as she heals, maybe she does have room in her heart and life for love.

I struggled to connect with Finn and London, though I did enjoy their story. I think what mainly threw me off was the prologue, when Finn asks London out to dinner right after he’s read her parents’ will. Yeah… not appropriate at all. I had to double check the blurb to make sure he was actually the hero when I read that. After that, it seemed like that whole scene was ignored and the story continued on as usual but it put a damper on the hero in my eyes. Thankfully, I enjoyed Kristen Proby’s writing and would definitely give the rest of the Romancing Manhattan series a try!

If you’re a fan of this author, you will probably enjoy All the Way more. Though I would skip the prologue 😂 London is a self-assured, independent woman while Finn is older and protective of her. The book is full of sexy and sweet, with a little drama at the end. If that sounds right up your alley, I say go for it!


lacey


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Release Day Review: Taming Him by Kennedy Fox

Taming Him by Kennedy Fox
Series: Bishop Brothers #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the authors in exchange for an honest review

Alex Bishop is your typical cowboy.
Charming, sexy, and wears a panty-melting smirk.

Working on the ranch helped build his solid eight-pack and smoking body. He’s every girl’s wet fantasy and he knows it too. Alex doesn’t follow the rules of your typical playboy bachelor. After wining and dining his dates and giving them the best night of their lives, he always sends flowers and calls the next day—even if it’s to say, let’s just be friends. His mama taught him manners after all and his southern blood knows how to be a gentleman. Still, that isn’t enough to tame the wildest of the Bishop brothers.

River Lancaster has finally met the man of her dreams. Too bad after six months of romantic bliss, she finds out he’s married. With a broken heart and blind rage, she books herself a ticket to Key West, Florida. Tired of cheaters and liars, she’s set on escaping to forget he ever existed. Who needs a man when there’s an all-you-can-drink margarita bar, anyway? That’s what she tells herself until she bumps into the right guy who can make all those bad memories disappear.

Even if it’s only temporarily.

Two weeks on the beach is what they both need. No strings attached, no expectations, no broken hearts. Too bad the universe has other plans—one that’ll change the entire course of their lives in just nine short months.

*A contemporary romance with a little Southern drama. Each book features a different Bishop brother and can be read as a complete standalone. HEA guaranteed!*
Not suitable for readers under 18 due to adult language and sexual content.

I’m a sucker for a good cowboy romance! I don’t read these as often as I want to, but when Kennedy Fox offers me a chance… I’m not going to say no. I ended up enjoying this first Bishop Brothers book – it’s light-hearted, uncomplicated (if a bit all over the place), and fun. There are cowboys and a no-strings-attached vacation fling… what could go wrong?

“Alex Bishop is your typical cowboy.” That would be accurate. He’s the youngest of the Bishop brothers and has lived, worked, and breathed his family’s farm for as long as he’s been alive. He’s also a playboy extraordinaire. So when he and his friend get the chance to go on an all-expenses paid vacation, he snaps up the chance. What he doesn’t expect is to meet a gorgeous pediatric nurse that, although they start off as no-strings-attached lovers, would steal his heart.

I’ll admit, when Alex was first introduced, I was not a fan. I’m not a fan of the manwhore hero but KF plays a little of the instalove factor when Alex and River meet, so I had no worries about Alex fooling around with random women. Alex grew on me even more when he showed River what he, his family, and his ranch were like. You could really feel that cowboy life and love coming through.

The main reason I can’t give this a higher rating is because of the surprise that’s not really a surprise that happens in the middle of the book. I felt it was a little contrived and honestly, handled a little too easily. I wanted a little more depth and emotion when it came to this part of the book, but the story kept feeling as fun and light-hearted as ever. That’s not to say that’s not a good thing, especially if that’s the kind of read you’re looking for. But for my tastes, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

Overall, Taming Him is a promising start to KF’s new cowboy series. I enjoyed it for the most part, and am looking forward to the rest of the Bishop brothers’ books. I’m so excited to see these boys get knocked on their asses by love!


lacey


Reading Order: Bishop Brothers series

#1 ~ Taming Him: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Needing Him: EbookGoodreads (April 17, 2018)
#3 ~ Chasing Him: Goodreads (2018)
#4 ~ Keeping Him: Goodreads (2018)

Also by Kennedy Fox:

Reading Order: Checkmate Duet series

 
 
 

#1 ~ This is War (Travis & Viola #1): EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ This is Love (Travis & Viola #1): EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ This is Reckless (Drew & Courtney #2): My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ This is Effortless (Drew & Courtney #2): My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ This is Dangerous (Logan & Kayla #1): My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ This is Beautiful (Logan & Kayla #2): EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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