Review: Wild at Heart by K.A. Tucker

Wild at Heart by K.A. Tucker
Series: The Simple Wild #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 18th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

​From the internationally best-selling author of The Simple Wild comes the continuation of a woman’s journey to Alaska and a life she never imagined for herself.

Calla Fletcher returns to Toronto a different person, struggling to find direction and still very much in love with the rugged bush pilot she left behind. When Jonah arrives on her doorstep with a proposition she can’t dismiss, she takes the leap and rushes back to Alaska to begin their exciting future together.

But Calla soon learns that even the best intentions can lead to broken promises, and that compromise comes with a hefty price–a log cabin in rural Alaska that feels as isolating as the western tundra.

With Jonah gone more than he’s home, one neighbor who insists on transforming her into a true Alaskan, and another who seems more likely to shoot her than come to her aid, Calla grapples with forging her own path. In a world with roaming wildlife that has her constantly watching over her shoulder and harsh conditions that stretch far beyond the cold, dark, winter months, just stepping outside her front door can be daunting.

This is not the future Calla had in mind, leaving her to fear that perhaps she is doomed to follow in her mother’s fleeing footsteps after all.

I have been SO freaking excited for the sequel to The Simple Wild, one of my favorite books of 2018, ever since K.A. Tucker announced she would be writing more of Calla and Jonah. TSW ended on a bit of an HFN, so it made sense that there would be more of their story to tell. I adored their romance and was a little nervous going into Wild at Heart – obviously, there is the question that goes with any sequel: will I love it as much as the first? While this sequel wasn’t quite the 5-star read that the first book was, I still loved being back with Calla and Jonah again and enjoyed this further glimpse into their lives in Alaska together! If you loved TSW, I highly recommend you give this sequel a try – Calla and Jonah are still very much together and in love, but they have plenty of new struggles to overcome.

Wild at Heart picks up fairly soon after the end of The Simple Wild – Calla has agreed to be with and move to Alaska with Jonah, but only if they move to a town that’s closer to a big city. So even though Jonah is ‘home’ in Alaska, they both have to deal with moving to a new town, finding and building a home, and making new friends and connections. Jonah is just as focused on planes as he was in the first book. He’s honestly the sexiest pilot I’ve ever read! Calla is determined to make Alaska her new home, because that’s where Jonah is. But when Jonah spends more time away in order to make enough money to build a life for the two of them, Calla needs to find herself not just a job, but a passion to dedicate her life while in this new environment.

There’s not a lot of drama when it comes to Wild at Heart, and I actually liked that. It’s not as thrilling or exciting as the first book, which felt like “OMG, ALASKA!!” but that doesn’t necessarily make it worse. This sequel is more of a “let’s build a new life here, together” type of story, with Jonah and Calla creating a home for themselves and settling down. I really enjoyed the new people Calla meets in town, though Agnes, Mabel, and Wren will always be my favorites. The story is sweet and heartwarming, with K.A. Tucker’s talented writing that will suck you right back into Alaska and remind you just why you love Jonah and Calla so much. Jonah still has the ability to make me swoon, though I did want to smack him a few times when he got frustrating. So if you’ve been missing these two and/or Alaska, you definitely need to read Wild at Heart.


Reading Order: The Simple Wild series

#1 ~ The Simple Wild: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Wild at Heart: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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Review: Whatever It Takes by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Whatever It Takes by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Series: Bad Reputation Duet #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 21st 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

​I HAVE A BAD REPUTATION.

Call me what you want: Bad Boy Next Door. Trouble. That Kid Who Can’t Do Anything Right.

When Willow moves into my neighborhood, nothing should have happened. She’s geeky. Shy. A true wallflower.

Willow is a good girl.
Too good for me.

And how the hell was I supposed to know that she’s related to Loren Hale—yeah, that douchebag celebrity that lives on my street. The same guy I’ve been pranking by spray painting vulgar words on his mailbox and worse. Much worse.

Don’t ask me why I do the things I do.
Don’t ask me why it had to be her.

I’m cursed. Simple as that. But here’s the thing about people who are cursed—they break everything they touch.

And yet. . .I still want to touch her. ​

I truly never thought I’d see the day where we finally get Willow and Garrison’s much-awaited full story!!! I am beyond happy and grateful Krista & Becca Ritchie have finally given it to us – at least the first part. Luckily, book two of the Bad Reputation Duet is out only a week after Whatever It Takes! This is a new adult romance that’s a spinoff of the Addicted series, though you don’t have to read the original to understand this duet. But if you are a fan of the Addicted world and all its fantastic characters, you’ll want to get your hands on WIT immediately!

Originally, Willow and Garrison’s beginning was released on Wattpad, and it was such an adorable, wholesome new adult romance. We have two complete opposites who connect over their loneliness and bond over all things nerdy like comic books. In Whatever It Takes, we do get to see those original chapters again. The book is told in past and present POVs, so the past chapters are mainly made up of what we’d read on Wattpad, which I honestly didn’t mind reading again. We get to see how Willow and Garrison first meet alongside their present-day, long-distance relationship and how they deal with living across an ocean from each other. It was an interesting contrast to read about their relationship at two different points – one being sweet, slow, romantic, and the other full of longing and little bit of heartbreak.

I loved being back in this world. I enjoyed Garrison and Willow’s story so much, but I LOVED seeing the Calloways, Hales, Cobalts, and Meadows again. Seeing the Core 6 in their element made my heart sing. But don’t worry, if you haven’t read any of the original books, I don’t think you’ll feel lost. It’s just an amazing cast of secondary characters 😉

If you enjoy NA romances, WIT is a must read. There are parts that are set in college, a first love between a bad boy and a good girl, and a little bit of angst. It was just a great first book in this duet and I’m dying to get my hands on Wherever You Are!


Reading Order: Bad Reputation Duet

#1 ~ Whatever It Takes: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Wherever You Are: EbookGoodreads (Jan. 28, 2020)

The Bad Reputation Duet is the spinoff of the Addicted & Calloway Sisters series! However, you don’t need to read the original series to understand the Bad Reputation Duet.

Reading Order: Addicted/Calloway Sisters series

Addicted to You by Krista & Becca Ritchie Ricochet by Krista & Becca Ritchie Addicted for Now by Krista & Becca Ritchie Kiss the Sky by Krista & Becca Ritchie Hothouse Flower by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Thrive by Krista & Becca Ritchie Addicted After All by Krista & Becca Ritchie Fuel the Fire by Krista & Becca Ritchie Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie Some Kind of Perfect by Krista & Becca Ritchie

#1 ~ Addicted to You: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Ricochet: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Addicted for Now: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.1 (Calloway Sisters #1) ~ Kiss the Sky: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.2 (Calloway Sisters #2) ~ Hothouse Flower: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ Thrive: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Addicted After All: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3.1 (Calloway Sisters #3) ~ Fuel the Fire: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3.2 (Calloway Sisters #4) ~ Long Way Down: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3.5 (Calloway Sisters #4.5) ~ Some Kind of Perfect: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads

The Like Us series is the spinoff series of the Addicted & Calloway Sisters series.

Reading Order: Like Us series

 

#1 ~ Damaged Like Us: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Lovers Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Alphas Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Tangled Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Sinful Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Headstrong Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Charming Like Us: EbookGoodreads (June 23, 2020)
#8 ~ Wild Like Us: Goodreads (2020)


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Audiobook Review: Starfish by Lisa Becker

Starfish by Lisa Becker
Series: Standalone
Audiobook Publication Date: December 10th 2019
Length: 8 hours and 33 minutes
Narrated by: Erin Mallon & Sebastian York
Links: Audible • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review

Ambitious graduate Marin Collins accepts a four-month internship at a prestigious public relations firm to work on a tech account, but her plans are derailed when she’s assigned to go on the road with touring rock band Kings Quarters, hailed by Rolling Stone as the next big thing.

Enter Brad Osterhauser, the reluctant rock star who would rather be coding computer games than penning Grammy-nominated songs.

Traveling by bus, city to city with a group of practical joking bandmates and a greedy manager, Marin and Brad forge a friendship and forbidden romance over a shared love of Seinfeld episodes, stolen moments and Red Vines.

But when Marin’s accused of betraying her company and the band, will Brad come to her defense or believe she was disloyal to him for the sake of her career?

I adore rock star romances, but it seems like they’re being published few and far between, which means I don’t read them as often as I used to a few years ago. So when I had the chance to listen to Starfish, I was excited. It’s not really about the glam and glory life of rock stars – it’s a more realistic aspect to it, as the heroine is interning at a PR firm with a rock star band as a client. The book was surprisingly down-to-earth for a rock star romance, but I appreciated a different take on this trope.

When Marin Collins goes on tour with rock band Kings Quarters, she expects the rock star life to be all about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It’s… not. It’s non-stop, on the road bus touring, lots of jokes and banter between bandmates, and a really sweet guitarist she can’t not fall for. But obviously as the band’s PR company’s new intern, she can’t exactly get involved with a client without losing her internship. So Marin and Brad try the friends route, which leads to a ton of longing, some back and forth between do we or don’t we, and lots of flirting. The romance is fairly low on drama but the audio was still an entertaining listen. It definitely helps that two of my favorite narrators, Erin Mallon and Sebastian York, narrate Marin and Brad!

If you’re looking for something that’s sweet and slow, Starfish is a great romance to try! I’m really glad I got to try this new-to-me author for the first time. I’m not sure if she’ll be writing any books for the other members of Kings Quarters, but I wouldn’t mind if she does!


lacey


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Review: Beard Necessities by Penny Reid

Beard Necessities by Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #7 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 4th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Billy Winston’s family is going to see him happy and in love if it’s the last thing they do.

No one deserves a happily-ever-after quite as much as the second oldest Winston brother and his lady love, Claire McClure (aka Scarlet St. Claire). Cruelty and circumstance tore them apart almost twenty years ago. Secrecy and bitterness kept them separated.

But you know who’s tired of their separation and stubbornness? Everyone. Especially Billy Winston’s family. And now they’re going to do something about it.

Well-meaning interference means the star-crossed lovers can’t stop tripping over each other in the hills of Tuscany, the catacombs of Rome, and the waterways of Venice. Billy and Claire find themselves thrown together and at the mercy of the Winston siblings’ shenanigans.

But will their forced proximity bring them together? Or push them even further apart?

This second-chance romance brings back the entire Winston gang, playing cupid in one last story of love, hi-jinks, and family collusion.

Oh, my heart. I couldn’t be happier for Billy and Claire (aka Scarlet) getting their second chance at an HEA. I loooved all the Winston family shenanigans (hello, Cletus!) and that epilogue made me SO damn happy, my heart was bursting. As bittersweet as this finale is, I couldn’t think of a lovelier ending for the Winston Brothers series, but I am also so thankful we’re getting a Cletus and Jenn series later on!

“But Scarlet,” he said my name reverently, gently, like it was a prayer he repeated often, “I didn’t need to see or touch or taste paradise to know how deeply and irrevocably I am in love with you. That hasn’t changed. That is as constant as my soul, which has been, and will always be, forever yours.”

Billy and Claire’s story has been YEARS in the making, which means years of torturous anticipation for their second chance. Penny Reid wrecked my heart in the best of ways with Beard with Me, so when this final Winston Brothers book landed on my kindle, I dove right in with no hesitation. The beginning was slow and a bit frustrating, I’m not going to lie. I was expecting Billy to be full-on pursing the love of his life, but he chose not to. I felt exactly how the rest of the Winstons did, which was wanting to smoosh Billy and Claire and force them to get back together, because we ALL know how meant to be they are.

Thankfully neither Billy nor Claire spend too much time resisting each other or the love that has always burned between them. It takes a lot communication and patience between them, but once the romance picks back up, I couldn’t put the book down! There’s decades-long worth of tension and longing, and when it explodes, it EXPLODES.

“Make no mistake, what just happened between us was momentous for me. My life and heart have been forever transformed. You are the architect and artist of my own personal paradise. Now, when I close my eyes, I won’t need to imagine what heaven feels like. I’ll know.”

Penny Reid takes us on a gorgeous journey around Italy with all of the Winstons. I loved how determined they were (particularly Cletus) to bring Billy and Claire back together, no matter what scenarios they had to come up with. Having this family all together in the Italian countryside is a total RIOT, and I’m a little devastated that their stories are over for now. But Beard Necessities was absolutely worth the wait, not just for this long-awaited couple, but for the Winston family as a whole. Each one has a love and family of their own, and I’ll be forever grateful to Penny for giving us such a lovely, unforgettable cast of characters!


lacey


Reading Order: Winston Brothers series

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid Beard Science by Penny Reid
   

#1 ~ Truth or Beard: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Grin and Beard It: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Beard Science: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Beard in Mind: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Dr. Strange Beard: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Beard With Me: My ReviewEbookPaperbackGoodreads
#7 ~ Beard Necessities: EbookPaperbackGoodreads


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Review: Outmatched by Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young

Outmatched by Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: November 19th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

What happens when a boxer finds chemistry with a geek?

Parker Brown can’t believe she needs to hire a fake boyfriend. When she landed her dream job in renewable energy, she thought she’d be entering a world at the forefront of progressive thinking. But the head boss prefers to promote employees who are “settled.” Thankfully, she’s found the perfect candidate, a fellow intellectual looking for some quick cash. What Parker gets is his protective big brother—Rhys Morgan. The tall, muscled ex-boxer with a foul mouth shows up just as her boss does, and now she’s stuck with the manipulative jerk.

Responsibility weighs heavily on Rhys. Now permanently out of the ring, he’s trying to hold together his late father’s gym and keep his younger brother, Dean, on the straight and narrow. To save Dean from himself, Rhys takes his place, ready to give this society girl a piece of his mind. Instead, he finds an opportunity. Even though they can hardly stand each other, posing as Parker’s boyfriend is a win-win deal. She gets to keep her job, and he’ll charm her star-struck boss into sponsoring his gym.

Problem is, they can barely keep their hands off each other. And what started as an easy deal isn’t so easy anymore. Because what future can a rough ex-boxer, afraid to open his heart, and a polished society geek, who has sworn off real relationships, possibly have?

They say opposites attract. These opposites are about to combust on impact.

When Samantha Young and Kristen Callihan announced that they would be writing a book together, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! I had no idea these two authors had ever even though about collaborating but I’m so glad they did. Their writing meshed together well – they know how to write relatable characters and humor, both of which made me fall in love with Parker, Rhys, and their enemies to lovers romance. If you’re a fan of either of the authors (which I am), you will more than likely adore Outmatched!

Parker Brown needs a fake boyfriend to impress her sexist boss and keep her job. Rhys Morgan needs money to keep his gym running and out of the red. So it would be a perfect setup for them to come to an agreement wouldn’t it? Except that to say that these two get on each others’ nerves would be an understatement. It’s a bit difficult for them to pretend to be head over heels in love, but they make it work. The one thing that goes right though, is the insane chemistry between them. They hate each other, but they can’t get enough of each other. This is the perfect case of ‘opposites attract,’ with Rhys being a huge, grumpy ex-boxer and Parker being a tiny, adorable nerd. She comes from wealth, he does not. I loved the way they genuinely come to slowly understand the other better, their background and where they come from, and ultimately fall for each other.

I love a smol, dorky, nerdy heroine and a big, gruff, grumpy hero. Parker and Rhys make the sweetest couple in this fake-relationship romance, with lots of great banter and tension. Samantha Young and Kristen Callihan did a fantastic job with this collaboration and I hope they write more together! I absolutely wouldn’t mind a book for Dean, Rhys’ brother!


lacey


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