Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: War of Hearts by Samantha Young

War of Hearts by Samantha Young
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: October 1st 2019
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Thea Quinn has no idea what she is. All she knows is that her abilities have been a plague upon her life since she was a child. After years of suffering at the hands of a megalomaniac, Thea escaped and has been on the run ever since.

The leadership and protection of his pack are of the utmost importance to Conall MacLennan, Alpha and Chief of Clan MacLennan, the last werewolf pack in Scotland. Which is why watching his sister slowly die of a lycanthropic disease is emotional torture. When Conall is approached by a businessman who offers a cure for his sister in exchange for the use of Conall’s rare tracking ability, Conall forges an unbreakable contract with him. He has to find and retrieve the key to the cure: dangerous murderer, Thea Quinn.

Thea’s attempts to evade the ruthless werewolf are not only thwarted by the Alpha, but by outside dangers. With no choice but to rely on one another for survival, truths are revealed, intensifying a passionate connection they both fight to resist. At war with themselves and each other, Conall and Thea’s journey to Scotland forces them to face a heartrending choice between love and betrayal.

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This was my first paranormal romance of Samantha Young’s and I really did enjoy it! PNR holds a special place in my heart so when I heard SY would be writing a new book in this subgenre, I was jumping for joy. And not only is it PNR, it’s SHIFTER PNR! War of Hearts dives us into a fantastic, new paranormal world that I’m really hoping we get more of. I loved the main characters (there’s even a scene where they’re forced to share a bed in a hotel) and even though the book wasn’t perfect, I definitely say give it a try if you love this author or PNR!

Thea Quinn is on the run from her abuser. She’s indestructible, has insane healing abilities, but doesn’t fit into the vampire/werewolf/witch/etc mold, and has no idea what she is. Conall MacLennan is the alpha of the Scotland werewolf pack, and in order to save his dying sister, he makes a deal to deliver Thea to a man in exchange for her healing blood. He’s told Thea is a lying, manipulative murderer, so why is it when he finds her and the more time he spends around her, the more he doubts that that’s who she is?

Thea and Conall are BADASS. Thea can kick ass like nobodies business – she’s had to learn to defend herself since being on the run for years. I also felt for her too. She’s been through so much awful things that you can’t help but hurt for her. As the alpha of one of the most powerful werewolf packs in the world, obviously Conall can hold his own too. He’s gruff and intense and 6 1/2 feet of gorgeousness. I loved all the action and fight scenes Thea and Conall get into. Samantha Young did a fantastic job at keeping you on the edge of your seat and glued to the pages with all the action!

As much as I loved Thea and Conall’s characters, I had some issues with the romance, particularly with the pacing of it. It’s pretty much non-existent for a good chunk of the first half of the book, except for some underlying chemistry. But that was fine, because I was loving the slow burn. But then the “oops, there’s only one bed in this hotel room” thing happened (which I’m a sucker for), and things moved at a warped speed. Yes, it is a fated mates kind of romance, which normally I love, but in this case I think it was a bit too fast for them to start saying “I love yous” so soon. Also, it was pretty obvious what Thea was pretty early on in the book. But I don’t know if it’s because I read a ton of PNR/fantasy romance?

Still, this is a solid read I would recommend if you love shifter romances. It’s full of action, with great main characters. We get to travel all across Europe along with Thea and Conall. We’re left with a little tease at the end and I do actually want more books from this world. I also have a feeling that many of SY’s contemporary readers will want to give this a try, and I say go for it!


lacey

Now here’s an excerpt from War of Hearts! ❤

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Stepping back inside the motel room, Thea halted as Conall came out of the bathroom. His height caused a logistical problem for her next move.

Although his color hadn’t fully returned to normal, the wolf was looking much stronger. She didn’t know if she could take him in a fight when he was at full strength, which was more than a little concerning. As if he’d read her mind, he cut her an expressionless look. “You should have left me to die, lass.”

“Probably. I guess I’m just going to have to take the chance you were bluffing.”

He frowned and opened his mouth to question her, but Thea had already made her move.

Before he could comprehend it, she was on the bed behind him and reaching for his head before his weakened reflexes could catch up.

The crack of his neck echoed around the room, causing a sick lurch in Thea’s stomach.

For some reason, stupid tears stung her eyes as she watched his body hit the ground with an almighty thud. Why should she care? It wasn’t like he was dead. She’d knocked him out. For … however long he took to heal.

And he had stuck her with that goddamn injection.

Speaking of …

Thea jumped off the mattress, avoiding Conall’s body. Earlier when she’d been treating his wounds, she’d spied the syringes in the first aid kit. Grabbing them, Thea hurried out of the motel room and toward the fields beyond. Quickly she dug a hole with her bare hands and buried the syringes. Hurrying back, she avoided staring at Conall because he looked very much dead.

She grabbed his wallet and as she took his money, leaving him his credit cards, a folded-up photograph caught her attention. Curiosity got the better of her and she pulled it out. Smoothing her fingers across the picture, she spotted who she thought was Conall only to realize it wasn’t. The man who looked like him was standing next to a much younger Conall, and Thea deduced it was his father. The younger Conall had his arm around the waist of a small, redheaded girl buried into his side. And beside the man she’d mistaken for Conall was a beautiful redheaded woman.

Was this Conall and his family?

They were standing on a rocky beach, a beautiful lake and mountains behind them.

Thea wondered which one of them was sick. Which of these people was he willing to sacrifice her for?

Memories of her own parents swelled in her throat, burning and screaming to get out. But Thea shoved them back down as she shoved the photograph into his wallet.

There were times she pulled those memories out and let herself swim in the pain because it was worth it to remember the happy moments.

But now was not the time.

With a ruthless supernatural sure to wake up from a broken neck wanting to kill her, and some unknown entity out there hunting her too, now was very much the time to go.

about the author button

Samantha Young is a New York Times and #1 International bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. On Dublin Street was Samantha’s first adult contemporary romance series and has sold in thirty countries. She has since published over thirteen romance titles including the New York Times Bestsellers Into the Deep, Hero, and her most recent contemporary romance Fight or Flight. When writing Adult Paranormal romance she writes under the pen name S. Young.

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Review: Wrapped Up in You by Jill Shalvis

Wrapped Up in You by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #8 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 24th 2019
Links: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

It’s love. Trust me.

After a lifetime on the move, Ivy Snow is an expert in all things temporary—schools, friends, and way too many Mr. Wrongs. Now that she owns a successful taco truck in San Francisco and an apartment to call home, Ivy’s reinvented life is on solid ground. And she’s guarded against anything that can rock it. Like the realities of a past she’s worked hard to cover up. And especially Kel O’Donnell. Too hot not to set off alarms, he screams temporary. If only his whispers weren’t so delightfully naughty and irresistible.

Kel, an Idaho sheriff and ranch owner, is on vacay, but Ivy’s a spicy reason to give his short-term plans a second thought. Best of all, she’s a tonic for his untrusting heart, burned once and still in repair. But when Ivy’s past intrudes on a perfect romance, Kel fears that everything she’s told him has been a perfect lie. Now, if only Ivy’s willing to share, Kel will fight for a true love story.

Even though I’ve only read a few books in the Heartbreaker Bay series, I’ve adored them all, so I had no doubt this latest one would also be another hit from Jill Shalvis! It’s about the holidays, tacos, and San Francisco – how could I not enjoy all that together?

Ivy Snow has reinvented herself from the struggling childhood she had growing up to a taco truck owner who’s hugely successful in San Francisco. She’s her own boss, is about to put a down payment on a brand new spanking apartment, and has a group of amazing friends, though she still keeps a bit of distance from them. Then enters a friend of a friend, Kel O’Donnell, a sheriff and ranch owner temporarily in the Bay Area for “vacation,” who turns her world upside down.

I adored Kel so, SO much. He was a sweetheart of a hero, so patient, swoony, and understanding with Ivy’s hangups. He has his own issues when it comes to love and relationships, after catching his mother cheating on his father, but there’s something about Ivy that compels him. He knows his time in SF is temporary, but maybe this is the right push for him to move back to the place that’s always felt like home to him.

Wrapped Up in You is heartfelt, emotional, and just a feel-good romance I couldn’t help but enjoy. I loved the main characters and I loved being back with the Heartbreaker Bay group of friends. One of my favorite parts of this book is watching Ivy open her heart up to her group of girl friends, all of whom are so supportive and amazing with Ivy. Go Girl Power! Even though I haven’t read every single book in this series, I didn’t feel lost at all, and now I want to go back and catch myself up because I adore all of these characters bunches!


lacey


Reading Order: Heartbreaker Bay series

 

#1 ~ Sweet Little Lies: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Trouble with Mistletoe: EbookHardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ One Snowy Night: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Accidentally on Purpose: My ReviewEbookHardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Chasing Christmas Eve: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4.5 ~ Holiday Wishes: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ About That Kiss: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Hot Winter Nights: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Playing for Keeps: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#8 ~ Wrapped Up in You: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#8.5 ~ Twist of Fate: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (Nov. 5, 2019)


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Review: Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne

Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne
Series: Central Park Pact #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 17th 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes the second delightfully charming installment in the Central Park Pact series, following a young widow whose newfound cynicism about love is challenged by a sexy, rough-around-the-edges contractor.

There are no good men left in New York City. At least that’s Claire Hayes’s conviction after finding out her late husband was not the man she thought he was. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her cheating husband, Claire sets out to redesign her boring, beige Upper East Side brownstone and make it something all her own. But what starts out as a simple renovation becomes a lot more complicated when she meets her bad-tempered contractor Scott Turner.

Scott bluntly makes it known to Claire that he only took on her house for a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and he doesn’t hesitate to add that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess with a penchant for pink. But when long workdays turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction…

This series is SO MUCH FUN! Lauren Layne gives us a delicious grumpy hero of a contractor in this newest installment of the Central Park Pact series. Just imagine a widow who’s trying to make her life pop with lots of color (especially pink) and a grump who is very anti-pink together. Total opposites (she’s very upper class and he is not) but perfect together anyway. If you liked Passion on Park Avenue, you will adore this Love on Lexington Avenue too!

If you’ve read Passion on Park Ave, then you know that Claire was the wife of one philandering husband, and at his funeral she swears off all men. All she wants is to leave her vanilla life behind and focus on fixing up her inherited brownstone, with the help of one gorgeous, surly contractor and his dog. Scott does not have time for spoiled rich ladies, which he think Claire is, but he does see the potential in her home and agrees to help fix it. Seeing each other every day, being around each other all the time, the two grow an unlikely friendship full of jokes and banter. But when Claire needs help in the one-night-stand category and starts working herself up to it with other men, what happens when Scott starts feeling jealous?

Lauren Layne always knows how to deliver a feel-good contemporary romance. Do I wish things were more explicit than fade-to-black with this series? Yes, but I can’t complain about the delicious chemistry that Scott and Claire work up to. I love a good grumpy hero and you don’t get any more gruff than Scott. I even made a grumpy hero list on YouTube thanks to him. Theirs is a bit of a slow burn romance, but each moment that leads up to that HEA is just so swoony and fun. I really enjoyed this romance of opposites attracting. I’m dying to get my hands on the next and final Central Park Pact book now!


lacey


Reading Order: Central Park Pact series

#1 ~ Passion on Park Avenue: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Love on Lexington Avenue: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Marriage on Madison Avenue: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Jan. 28, 2020)


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Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: Broken Knight by L.J. Shen

Broken Knight by L.J. Shen
Series: All Saints High #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 20th 2019
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From USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author L.J. Shen comes a new, standalone romance about first loves, betrayal and loss.

Not all love stories are written the same way. Ours had torn chapters, missing paragraphs, and a bittersweet ending.

Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.
Sweet.
Caring.
Charitable.
Quiet.
Fake.
Underneath the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves (yet pities) is a girl who knows exactly what, and who, she wants—namely, the boy from the treehouse who taught her how to curse in sign language.
Who taught her how to laugh.
To live.
To love.

Knight Cole is everyone’s favorite football hero.
Gorgeous.
Athletic.
Rugged.
Popular.
Liar.
This daredevil hell-raiser could knock you up with his gaze alone, but he only has eyes for the girl across the street: Luna.
But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore.
When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he’s forced to realize not all knights are heroes.
Sometimes, the greatest love stories flourish in tragedy.

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God. I don’t even know how I feel about this book, if I’m being completely honest. Broken Knight is raw, emotional, gutting – every word you can think of that means a hit to the feels, perfectly describes BK. I enjoyed it, but at what emotional cost? The part near the end had me so conflicted, because I don’t know whether I loved it or hated it. And of course LJ Shen would do this to her readers – I love and hate her equally for doing this to us! LOL.

They used the word smitten because batshit crazy wasn’t cute. But everyone knew I was smitten with chicken wings and vintage Tumblr porn, not with Luna. With Luna, I was in fucking everything. Love. Lust. Obsession. Take your pick.

Finding out who Luna would end up with, Knight or Vaughn, has been a question since Pretty Reckless released. Well, maybe even before then. But now that Broken Knight is here, we all know that Luna’s hero is the one and only Knight Cole, her very best friend, protector, and love. Luna and Knight have a very unconventional friends-to-lovers romance. They grew up together, the mute and the popular, charming jock, and have been in love with each other since forever, but don’t want to risk losing their friendship for more. But it’s Knight’s last year of high school and Luna’s first year of college, and Knight doesn’t want to wait anymore. He wants to claim the one woman he knows is meant for him… but Luna doesn’t make it easy. And because Knight gets hurt in the process, he wants to hurt Luna back.

I loved Luna’s character. She goes through a whole transformation throughout BK and I couldn’t help but be so proud of her by the end. Knight makes her go through some pretty awful things – there is a lot of annoying OW/OM drama. It’s immature, over-the-top, angsty… everything you expect from such young characters who are trying to grow up. But I loved Luna and Knight was such a mini-Dean I couldn’t help but slowly grow to love him too.

“There was never any doubt you were a Cole, Knight. You weren’t a choice; you were destiny.”

The main reason why I can’t give this full 5 stars is because I feel like Luna and Knight’s romance was overshadowed by more of the heavier, emotional aspects of this book. Knight goes through substance abuse because he is dealing with his mother’s illness. Because of this, BK felt more like Knight’s story than Luna’s, which was a little disappointing since I loved her character so much. But just because the romance was overshadowed doesn’t mean the story itself was bad. It was well-written, with great character development, and I truly couldn’t put the book down. The good, the bad, the ugly, all of it is beautifully written and I applaud LJ Shen for doing so.

If you enjoyed Pretty Reckless, you will most likely enjoy Broken Knight. They are similar in terms of angst and drama. BK can be read as a standalone, but I’d suggest reading Ruckus and Scandalous from the Sinners of Saint series to get a better sense of Luna and Knight’s families. Right now, I can’t wait to get my hands on Vaughn’s book, and I’m crossing my fingers that his heroine is who I hope it will be!


lacey

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

Now here’s an excerpt from Broken Knight! ❤

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Right now I wanted to just be here in silence with my best friend. And somehow, I don’t know how, but Luna sensed it. So we sat there for what felt like two hours but was probably a lot less, until I opened my eyes again. Her eyes were closed, too. I watched her for a while.

When she opened her eyes, it felt like she took something away from me.

“Let’s jump,” she said.

“I’m quite fond of my limbs, Moonshine.”

“Stop being such a big baby.”

“Big, quarterback baby who just finished a football season in one piece and would like to keep all his body parts intact.”

She crawled out of the treehouse and settled on the branch. It was thick, but I doubted it could carry my muscular ass for more than a few seconds before snapping. I rolled my eyes and settled next to her. She slipped her hand in mine.

“Three, two, one.”

It was a short, sweet way down.

Reading Order: All Saints High series

 

#1 ~ Pretty Reckless: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Broken Knight: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Angry God: Goodreads (2019)

about the author button

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

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Early Review: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
Series: Modern Love #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 6th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Alisha Rai returns with a sizzling new novel, in which two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom.

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

– Nude pics are by invitation only

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…

Alisha Rai is a wonderful contemporary romance author. I love her love stories and her diverse characters. Her Forbidden Hearts series is FANTASTIC. So I had high hopes going into The Right Swipe and I wasn’t disappointed! I enjoyed this one SO much. It’s very steamy and the dating-app rivalry aspect was fun. It has its fluffy moments, but there are also so many good meaningful, emotional moments that made this book a well-rounded read.

The series is called Modern Love, which I think fits perfectly. The Right Swipe is all about feminism, technology, dating apps, and the whole culture and lingo that comes along with it. Rhiannon is the CEO and founder of one of the most popular dating apps, though she herself is cynical in love. The last time she used her app Crush, there was a possibility of something more, except he ghosted her after their first meeting. That is, until he shows up all big and gorgeous as the new spokesperson for her rival company’s new campaign, a company she wants to buy.

I adored Samson, who is the sweetest, most respectful hero ever. He had a good reason for ghosting but he’s determined this second time around to win back Rhiannon’s trust and work his way into her heart. Rhiannon is a ball-buster CEO, but she’s also flawed and quick to make snap judgments. She’s not the easiest heroine to love in the beginning, but the more I read her, the more I understood and felt for her. She’s an empowering heroine I admired so much.

There are some great discussions about assault in the workplace as well as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) with Samson’s family history of football. These topics as well as Rhiannon’s goal of buying her rival company almost overshadows the romance, but I didn’t even care, because they’re so well-written and relevant in real life. Alisha Rai did an amazing job at writing such a complex, multilayered story.

I’m SO ready for the next Modern Love book, which is about Rhiannon’s best friend. I’m highly invested in all of these characters and I can’t wait to see how they’ll turn out! Oh, and if you loved Forbidden Hearts, you get to see some lovely cameos at the end of The Right Swipe!


lacey


Reading Order: Modern Love series

#1 ~ The Right Swipe: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Aug. 6, 2019)
#2 ~ Girl Gone Viral: EbookGoodreads (April 21, 2020)


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