Release Day Review + Excerpt: The Thing About Love by Julie James

The Thing About Love by Julie James
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Links: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer blows the covers of two FBI agents who can’t hide who they are from each other…

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army Ranger clashed during their training at Quantico and gladly went their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to be assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with an old rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work together—a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a lot more complicated…

It’s been a long time since I picked up a Julie James novel (even though I don’t know why, because I’m a big fan of her work), but reading The Thing About Love reminded me of all the reasons why I love her and her books. She writes such fantastic contemporary romances starring FBI agents in a realistic, believable light. If you want contemporary romance done right, plus a little enemies-to-lovers trope and suspense, The Thing About Love will be the perfect read for you.

Six years ago, Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd first met at the FBI Academy in Quantico, where they ended up with the wrong first impressions of each other and clashing from the get-go. To say they didn’t get along would be an understatement, so it was a relief to graduate and go their separate ways. But now, when John moves back to Chicago after leaving his cheating girlfriend and receives what might be his last undercover assignment before joining the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, he is paired up with none other than his old nemesis, Jessica Harlow.

“John,” she said, her light blue eyes widening in surprise.
“Hello, Jessica.”
Nearly fifteen thousand special agents in the FBI, spread throughout the United States in fifty-six field offices, and she had to show up in Chicago for what was quite possibly his last undercover assignment.
As his new partner.
And here he’d thought HRT tryouts had been hell.

Newly divorced, Jessica is also looking for a fresh start in Chicago. She’s not happy about John being her partner, but she’s determined not to let their past get in the way of their assignment. But the more she’s around John and the closer she gets to him, she finds that her first impression of him might not have gone the way she thought it did. She gains a new perspective on John… and it’s one she finds herself falling for. But with John joining HRT and leaving Chicago in a few weeks, can they make a relationship between them work?

“Do you know how long I’ve waited for you to look at me this way?”
She assumed he was teasing her. “What are you talking about? You didn’t even like me for most of the time we’ve known each other.”
He bent his head before turning to go, his voice low and confident in her ear. “Or may I’m just that good of an undercover agent.”

I absolutely adored this book. The Thing About Love was sweet, funny, kickass – I had the best time reading it. Jessica and John had me grinning and giggling in spades. My heart was honestly so happy the whole time I was reading their story. I loved both their characters and how they made me laugh and swoon. Their banter is the absolute BEST – I loved it! If you’re ever in the mood for something light-hearted and fun about two undercover FBI agents who hate to love and love to hate each other, I highly recommend this book!


lacey

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


Now here’s an excerpt from The Thing About Love! ❤

excerpt button

Steeling himself, John turned around and smiled as Jessica approached. “Yes, Agent Harlow. How can I be of service?”

In response to his dry tone, she threw him a glare so cold it could’ve frozen all nine circles of Dante’s Hell. Fittingly, just nine of the many places he would rather be than stuck working with her on this investigation.

“Look, I’m not thrilled about this, either.” Keeping her voice low, she came to a stop next to him at the elevator bank. “I thought you were supposed to be on the Hostage Rescue Team already.”

“And I thought you were supposed to be in L.A.”

There was a quick flash in her eyes before she shrugged off his question. “Change of plans.”

The elevator arrived at their floor, and they both stepped inside. She hit the button for the seventh floor, where the public corruption squad was located. Standing on the opposite side, he pressed the button for floor five.

They faced off as the doors shut. She folded her arms across her chest and studied him with those crystalline blue eyes that could so cleverly mask her emotions.

As he knew well.

“We’re going to have to figure this out,” she said. “We’re supposed to be business partners in this.”

Thank you, yes, being a professional, he was aware of that. He took a step closer. “It’s called “undercover” work, Harlow. If I can pretend to be a gun-buying, murder-for-hire thug, I think I can handle playing some rich investor-type who wants to skirt a few measly zoning laws.” Even a rich investor-type who was apparently masochistic enough to get in bed with the likes of her.

Professionally-speaking.

“Measly zoning laws?” she repeated.

Ooh, now he’d gone and pissed her off. How nice it was, really, that they could pick up like this, right where they’d left off.

She drew in closer, tilting her head back to meet his gaze. He was over a foot taller than her, although he noticed that she was heightening a bit with those expensive-looking three-inch heels she wore.

“Our target in this investigation is the mayor of the thirteenth largest city in the United States. That’s a pretty big deal in my book.” She gestured to his facial scruff and hair. “And while I appreciate that this . . . Sons of Anarchy motif you’ve got going might ingratiate yourself with the gun-buying, murder-for-hire, organized-crime thugs of the world, that’s not quite going to fly with this sting operation.”

“’Thirteenth largest city in the United States?’” he scoffed. “Just how many hours did you spend reviewing the case files last night?”

She smiled sweetly as the elevator arrived at her floor. “Enough to get the jump on you.”

Then the doors sprang open, and she gave him a friendly wave, once again stepping into the role of Ms. Congeniality. “So glad we got to catch up like this, Agent Shepherd. We’ll talk again soon.”

He watched her stride confidently down the hallway as the elevator doors closed between them.

Enough to get the jump on you.

Not for long, sweetheart.

Time for him to get cracking on that case file.


Don’t miss Julie James’ FBI/US Attorney series!

Reading Order: FBI/US Attorney series

  
  

#1 ~ Something About You: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ A Lot like Love: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ About that Night: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Love Irresistibly: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ It Happened One Wedding: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Suddenly One Summer: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads


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Release Day Review: Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen
Series: Hello Goodbye #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 21st 2017
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

I love anything Sarina Bowen writes, but I have to say I think this is the most adorable M/M romance I’ve ever read. I had all the heart eye emojis while reading Josh and Caleb’s lovely, emotional, heartwarming story. I seriously ADORED this book! If you’re looking for a sweet, unique M/M romance, you’ll definitely need to read Goodbye Paradise!

Josh and Caleb grew up in Paradise, and for the past two decades, they’ve been living in this cult, working as laborers and getting few benefits from it. One perk of the job though, is the fact that Josh can be around his best friend Caleb… and he can long for him from afar. No one can know that Josh has got a crush on his best friend, who’s a guy, because they’ll be sure to kick him out of Paradise and leave him homeless. But that day comes sooner than later when the cult finds little use in Josh anymore. But when Caleb escapes so he can stand by Josh’s side, can they possibly start a new life together from practically nothing?

As they make their way to Massachusetts to find a woman named Maggie who left Paradise years ago and made a home for herself, Josh and Caleb are once again side by side, but now out in the open. It’s here that Caleb finally makes his move and shows Josh that it’s okay to love a man, because he loves Josh back. Despite how much Josh tried to keep his feelings hidden, loving Caleb was as easy as breathing and there was nothing that could stop him from being with the man he’s loved for so long.

I reached up, circling him in my arms, pulling him down beside me. “I love you.” I could say that without guilt. Because loving someone wasn’t a sin. Other things… sure. But love could never be a crime.

I absolutely adored everything about Josh and Caleb’s story. The raw and beautiful love they have for each other was so simple and easy… it was everything surrounding them that made their lives difficult. But these two are nothing if not hardworking and persistent, and even before the end of the novel, I knew Caleb and Josh would survive and thrive in their new lives.

Goodbye Paradise brought out ALL the feels and emotions out of me. My heart honestly couldn’t stop overflowing with happiness over Caleb and Josh’s love for each other. They are absolutely perfect for each other – I can’t imagine a sweeter couple than them! I almost wish this book was longer, because I didn’t want to let go of their story. I loved this book – and I can’t wait for more M/M from Sarina Bowen!

“I’m so hard for you right now. That’s never going to change. Whether I’m stupid or smart, and whether you still love me anymore, or not. I never could help loving you. It’s just the way that I’m wired.”


lacey

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


Reading Order: Hello Goodbye series

 

#1 ~ Goodbye Paradise: Ebook • Goodreads
#2 ~ Hello Forever: Goodreads (release date TBA)


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Release Day Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson #10 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Links: EbookHardcover • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In the #1 New York Times bestselling Mercy Thompson novels, the coyote shapeshifter has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when Mercy’s bond with the pack—and her mate—is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone…

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes—only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

Y’all, the Mercy Thompson series is one of my favorite urban fantasy series of all time. Although I have to admit that the Alpha & Omega series is my top fav from Patricia Briggs, there’s nothing like delving back into Mercy and Adam’s story. They were the first I fell in love with from this author, so they’ll always hold a special place in my heart. There’s something different about Silence Fallen compared to the previous books in the series though, and it’s a change I loved – we get more of Adam’s POV! But everything else about this latest installment is classic Mercy Thompson – funny, action-packed, heartwarming, and just plain awesome. This was everything I expected and more from Patricia Briggs!

I tried to reach out to Adam through our mate bond and touched … emptiness. Silence had fallen between us, not the electric, expectant kind. This silence was the emptiness that falls in the dead of night in the middle of a Montana when the world is encased in snow and icy cold, a silence that engulfed my soul and left me alone.

On her way to the market, Mercy gets kidnapped right from underneath her and her pack’s nose. Usually, when this happens (this has happened a couple times – it’s Mercy), she’s able to contact Adam through their mate bond. But this time, outside magic is preventing her from contacting her husband for help. Mercy is used to trouble though, and manages to escape her prison from Europe’s most powerful vampire… only to find out she’s been taken to Italy, and runs for her life.

Adam and his pack are racing against time to catch up to Mercy. With the help of vampires Stefan and Marsilia, his packmate Honey, the goblin king, a witch, and one Matt Smith (not The Doctor), they’re on their way to Europe and Mercy. But they know she’s tough and a survivor, so she’ll be able to stay alive while Adam deals with paranormal politics with Bonarata. Nearly half the book is in Adam’s POV, which made me so happy. I loved getting inside his head and seeing how he deals with the pack and outsiders. And it was lovely to see how much Adam loves and adores his wife and would do anything to protect her. I really hope Patricia Briggs gives us more of Adam’s POV in future books!

“My love,” he said, his voice intent. “You are welcome to all that I am, all that I have. I would destroy the planet for you. I was even diplomatic for you, which was a bigger sacrifice.”

In this novel, we also get to learn more about Mercy’s Coyote heritage, specifically about ghosts. If you thought we knew all there was to know about Mercy, you’d be wrong. She continuously surprises us with the new strengths and powers she possesses. She’s one of my all-time favorite heroines ever – I could read the series for her forever!

If you love urban fantasy and haven’t experienced this series yet, what are you waiting for!? It’s such an incredible, unique world Patricia Briggs has created. The characters are beloved and so entertaining to read about. I seriously enjoyed reading Silence Fallen and can’t wait for the next installment!


lacey

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


Reading Order: Mercy Thompson series

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs Iron Kissed by Patricia Briggs
 Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs River Marked by Patricia Briggs
Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs   

#1 ~ Moon Called: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Blood Bound: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Iron Kissed: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Bone Crossed: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Silver Borne: EbookHardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ River Marked: EbookHardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Frost Burned: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#8 ~ Night Broken: EbookHardcover • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#9 ~ Fire Touched: My Review • EbookHardcover • Audible • Goodreads
#10 ~ Silence Fallen: EbookHardcover • Audible • Goodreads


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Audiobook Review: Lacybourne Manor by Kristen Ashley

Lacybourne Manor by Kristen Ashley
Series: Ghosts and Reincarnation #3 (full reading order below)
Audiobook Publication Date: January 24th 2017
Length: 16 hours and 52 minutes
Narrated by: Abby Craden
Links: Audible • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review

In 1522, the very night they were wed, Royce Morgan and his new bride, Beatrice Godwin, were murdered on their way home to Lacybourne Manor. After the cruel deed was done, a local witch came across their bodies, witnessing firsthand the tragedy of star-crossed lovers. Vowing that Royce and Beatrice would someday uncross those stars, using magic mixed with murder as well as true love, she linked their spirits together with hers (because someone had to protect them) forever…or until their reincarnated souls find happily ever after.

Now arrogant, forbidding Colin Morgan lives at Lacybourne, knowing, from lore (as well as the portraits of Royce and Beatrice that hang in Lacybourne’s hall and the small fact that he looks exactly like Royce Morgan), that he is the reincarnated soul of his ancestor. One stormy night, flighty, free-spirited, scarily kind-hearted Sibyl Godwin comes to Lacybourne and it doesn’t escape Colin’s notice that Sibyl is the spitting image of Beatrice. However murder, magic, a warrior’s heart beating in a modern man’s chest, a woman bent on doing good deeds even if they get her into loads of trouble, a good witch whose family has vowed throughout the centuries to protect true love, distrust, and revenge make a volatile cocktail.

This means the path to happily ever after is paved with tranquilizer darts, pensioners on a rampage, Sibyl’s bad morning moods, heartbreaking misunderstandings, and all kinds of magic, good and bad.

Lacybourne Manor just might be my favorite Ghosts and Reincarnation audiobook I’ve listened to so far! It was the kind of story that I was waiting to get from KA that I didn’t from the last two books. They were good, but definitely didn’t feel up to KA par, but Lacybourne Manor wowed me in the best way possible! I adored listening to Colin and Sibyl’s story – it’s a true reincarnation romance, so if you’re interested in that sort of thing, I highly recommend giving this a listen!!

Hundreds of years ago, newlyweds Royce and Beatrice were murdered on their wedding night due to a spell that was meant to keep the lovers apart. When a witch came across their bodies, she cast a spell and set in motion the reincarnation of the two star-crossed lovers. In present day, Royce and Beatrice are now Colin and Sibyl. Colin has always been told stories of him being fated to find and love the reincarnated Beatrice, but by the time she arrives to Lacybourne Manor in the form of Sibyl, Colin has been too jaded and broken to believe in fate or love. He treats Sibyl poorly, not believing that they’re meant to be together.

Sibyl has also had dreams of finding her one true love, the man of her dreams, and has long since given up finding him… until she meets Colin. But the cold, callous jerk surely can’t be her fated soulmate, right? Colin and Sibyl have a rocky start, but after getting to know Colin deeper, she finds that he’s not as terrible as she first thought. Slowly they warm up to each other – but is their newfound love enough to break a centuries-long curse that threatens to tear them apart?

I loved listening to Lacybourne Manor. In the previous books in the series, I had a hard time paying attention to the narration for some reason, but it wasn’t the case with this audiobook, because I was HOOKED onto the story. Sibyl and Colin’s star-crossed romance was a heartfelt, emotional listen, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Abby Craden’s narration has definitely grown on me too. I really hope the rest of the Ghosts and Reincarnation series will come out in audio soon!

Lacybourne Manor is now available on Audible: http://amzn.to/2lv26qF

4.5 hearts
lacey


Reading Order: Ghosts and Reincarnation series

 
  

#1 ~ Penmort Castle: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Sommersgate House: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Lacybourne Manor: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Fairytale Come Alive: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#5 ~ Lucky Stars: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads


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Review + Giveaway: Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis

Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 24th 2017
Links: EbookHardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

There’s no such thing as a little in love…

Elle Wheaten’s priorities: friends, career, and kick-ass shoes. Then there’s the muscular wall of stubbornness that’s security expert Archer Hunt—who comes before everything else. No point in telling Mr. “Feels-Free Zone” that, though. Elle will just see other men until she gets over Archer . . . which should only take a lifetime . . .

There’s no such thing as a little in lust…

Archer’s wanted the best for Elle ever since he sacrificed his law-enforcement career to save her. But now that she’s earned happiness and success, Archer just wants Elle 24/7. Their chemistry could start the next San Francisco Earthquake, and Archer doesn’t want to be responsible for the damage. The alternative? Watch her go out with guys who aren’t him . . .

There is such a thing as…

As far as Archer’s concerned, nobody is good enough for Elle. But when he sets out to prove it by sabotaging her dates, she gets mad—and things get hot as hell. Now Archer has a new mission: prove to Elle that her perfect man has been here all along…

I freaking ADORED this book!! I was in the mood for a feel-good contemporary romance, which Jill Shalvis definitely delivered. This is only my second book by her, and my first in the Heartbreaker Bay series, but I’m thinking I need to read the rest of this series and more from her backlist… asap! Gah, this book was seriously so sweet and funny. I swooned over Elle and Archer’s story. If you’re ever in the mood for a romance that will totally put a smile on your face, you need to get your hands on Accidentally on Purpose!

Elle used to have a crush on Archer, which started back when he saved her when she was a teenager, but she’s been trying to find other men to get over him. It doesn’t help that now, years later, they’re working in such close environments that a day can’t go by without seeing each other. They have a brilliant chemistry between them – they get on each others’ nerves, they’re the only ones that can rile the other up, and they definitely want each other. Archer has tried to stay away from Elle for her sake, but watching her date men that aren’t good enough for her and will never be good enough for her is starting to break him. So he decides to take matters into his own hands and give her the man she needs… himself.

God. He already couldn’t remember what it’d been like before her. He’d thought everything was great in his life but then he’d been thrown a curveball in the form of this gorgeous, passionate woman who he suddenly couldn’t get enough of.
Which made it official. He was hers, completely. “You’re beautiful, Elle,” he said, pressing tight against her. “The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

Elle is such a fantastic heroine! Her stubbornness and strength had my admiration, and her banter with Archer had me giggling and dying for more. Anytime these two characters were together on the pages, I honestly couldn’t stop smiling. They are ADORABLE together – they just don’t realize it. 😉 Their friends had me cracking up as well – I definitely need to get on reading the other couples’ books soon!

The easiest way to make me happy with a book is to give me a hero who works hard to win the heroine’s love, and Archer did just that. He’s a little gruff and just as stubborn as Elle… but the way he worshipped Elle had me having hearts in my eyes. If you’re a fan of well-written, funny, feel-good romances, I highly recommend you pick up this book. Accidentally on Purpose was such a fantastic read – I’m really hoping Jill Shalvis’ other books are like this one, because if so, I’m going to love them all!

“You’re gorgeous,” he said reverently. “The best thing that’s ever happened to me.” He met her gaze. “I’ve never wanted anything or anyone the way I want you.”

4.5 hearts
lacey


Reading Order: Heartbreaker Bay series

  

#1 ~ Sweet Little Lies: EbookHardcover • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Trouble with Mistletoe: EbookHardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Accidentally on Purpose: EbookHardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads


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Paperback copy of Accidentally on Purpose
(US/CAN only)

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