Review: Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha

Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha
Series: Mercenary Librarians #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 28th 2020
Links: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Deal with the Devil is Orphan Black meets the post-apocalyptic Avengers by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author duo Kit Rocha.

Nina is an information broker with a mission—she and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to save the hopeless in a crumbling America.

Knox is the bitter, battle-weary captain of the Silver Devils. His squad of supersoldiers went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents, and now he’s fighting to survive.

They’re on a deadly collision course, and the passion that flares between them only makes it more dangerous. They could burn down the world, destroying each other in the process…

Or they could do the impossible: team up.

This is the first book in a near-future science fiction series with elements of romance.

I’ve been wanting to read Kit Rocha’s fantasy/post-apocalyptic/dystopian romances for years. I own a bunch of their Beyond books in audio but for some reason haven’t gotten to them yet. But when I saw they were writing a new dystopian romance series, about mercenary librarians of all things, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Deal with the Devil is the first in this epic new series and I enjoyed it! It’s action-packed and there is plenty of romance to go around. It’s a solid first installment, with great world-building, and I already can’t wait to read more from this series.

Reading Deal with the Devil reminded me of how much I enjoy dystopian books and that I don’t read enough of them regularly! I liked the way the authors set up this futuristic, survivalist world where it’s every man and woman for themselves. The characters are intriguing (again, MERCENARY. LIBRARIANS. Who don’t hesitate to kill to protect those they care about!) and I was honestly surprised, in the best way, by how much fun they were. While there are serious moments, there is still a ton of great banter between our Librarians and Silver Devil soldiers. Nina and her librarian squad are kickass (she literally kills multiple men in the very first scene). Knox and his band of supersoldiers were fascinating to read about, and the ticking time bomb on their lives had me on the edge of my seat.

I’m so glad I finally got the chance to read one of Kit Rocha’s books. They balanced out the suspense, action, and romance perfectly well in this and I cannot wait for more romances between the Librarians and Devils. I do wish we’d gotten more of the librarian aspect of the series title in the book, but hopefully we’ll get more in future releases.


lacey


Reading Order: Mercenary Librarians series

#1 ~ Deal with the Devil: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Devil You Know: Ebook • Goodreads (Aug. 31, 2021)


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Review: The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe

The Devil of Downtown by Joanna Shupe
Series: Uptown Girls #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: June 30th 2020
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The final novel in Joanna Shupe’s critically acclaimed Uptown Girl series about a beautiful do-gooder who must decide if she can team up with one of New York’s brashest criminals without losing something irreplaceable: her heart.

Manhattan kingpin.
Brilliant mastermind.
Gentleman gangster.

He’s built a wall around his heart…

Orphaned and abandoned on the Bowery’s mean streets, Jack Mulligan survived on strength, cunning, and ambition. Now he rules his territory better than any politician or copper ever could. He didn’t get here by being soft. But in uptown do-gooder Justine Greene―the very definition of an iron fist in a velvet glove―Jack may have met his match.

She wears hers on her sleeve…

Justine is devoted to tracking down deadbeat husbands and fighting for fair working conditions. When her mission brings her face-to-face with Jack, she’s shocked to find the man behind the criminal empire is considerably more charming and honorable than many “gentlemen” she knows.

Forming an unlikely alliance, they discover an unexpected desire. And when Justine’s past catches up with them, Jack may be her only hope of survival. Is she ready to make a deal with the devil…?

I’ve been such a huge fan of the Uptown Girls series – and Joanna Shupe – ever since I discovered the series earlier this year. Three kickass sisters who go against the grain by following their minds and hearts, and the rough men they fall for? Yes to all of that, and more. With The Devil of Downtown, we get the third, youngest, and final sister, Justine’s story, and of course she falls for the most powerful, most dangerous man in Gilded Age New York City: top gangster Jack Mulligan. I loved these two characters, and though I’m sad to see the series end, it went out with a bang.

Justine is a do-gooder. She’s like a vigilante private investigator, helping those in need who can’t help themselves. Her latest case leads her to Jack Mulligan, the kingpin of Manhattan’s underground. They end up working together on her case to find a missing/deadbeat husband. And from the very moment they meet, the two are intrigued with each other. Their chemistry is fiery from the get-go, which I’m not surprised about, given that this is a Joanna Shupe book. All the books I’ve read from her are STEAMY, and The Devil of Downtown is no exception. I loved Justine and Jack’s banter together, and there’s even a bowling scene that was hot. Who knew you could make bowling of all things sexy?

But Jack goes against everything that Justine stands for, with the less than savory occupation that he has as a gangster. They are two completely different people, but when they’re together, they’re so right. I was hooked onto their romance, which kept me on the edge of my seat. I wasn’t sure how Joanna Shupe would play out their romance, how they would end up with an HEA, but I was happily along for the ride. I honestly can’t say enough good things about Joanna Shupe’s books, her fantastic writing, her complex characters. She once again wrote another hit in the series I couldn’t put down. And though this is the end of the Uptown Girls, I’m already looking forward to what other Gilded Age romances she has in store for us!


lacey


Reading Order: Uptown Girls series

#1 ~ The Rogue of Fifth Avenue: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Prince of Broadway: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Devil of Downtown: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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Review: Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa James

Say Yes to the Duke by Eloisa James
Series: The Wildes of Lindow Caste #5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 19th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

A shy wallflower meets her dream man–or does she?–in the next book in New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James’ Wildes of Lindow series.

Miss Viola Astley is so painfully shy that she’s horrified by the mere idea of dancing with a stranger; her upcoming London debut feels like a nightmare.

So she’s overjoyed to meet handsome, quiet vicar with no interest in polite society — but just when she catches his attention, her reputation is compromised by a duke.

Devin Lucas Augustus Elstan, Duke of Wynter, will stop at nothing to marry Viola, including marrying a woman whom he believes to be in love with another man.

A vicar, no less.

Devin knows he’s no saint, but he’s used to conquest, and he’s determined to win Viola’s heart.

Viola has already said Yes to his proposal, but now he wants her unruly heart…and he won’t accept No for an answer.

I’ve been really enjoying Eloisa James’ Wildes of Lindow Castle series and have been SO excited for Viola’s story because of how her story was set up at the end of Say No to the Duke. She’s a shy wallflower of a heroine who ends up being pursued by a Duke who’s determined to have her – how could I not love this?! Pursuing heroes are my favorite. This latest story from the Wilde siblings turned out to be so soft and sweet. I enjoyed Viola and Devin’s romance so much!

Viola is painfully shy and horribly antisocial, except when it comes to her beloved family and pets. She’s always been afraid of what society thinks of her, and being the Duke’s stepdaughter only makes her feel more like she doesn’t belong. But after listening in on the Duke of Wynter’s cold assessment of her, she realizes she doesn’t care what he thinks and isn’t afraid to speak her mind to him. With the help of her sister, she grows more confident in who she is and starts to break out of her wallflower shell.

Devin, Duke of Wynter, is in need of a wife. He’s settled on a Wilde sister who is NOT Viola, but is utterly shocked when the supposedly shy wallflower calls him out and is determined not to let him anywhere near her sister. He knows he is completely wrong about his assumptions of her and becomes bewitched and besotted with her kindness, her sharp mind, and her inner strength. She might be tiny in comparison to him, but her will is mighty.

Can I just repeat how soft and sweet this book is? I loved how the romance developed between Viola and Devin. Here we have one of the most powerful titled men in England who wants to marry Viola and win her heart… and all she wants from him is friendship. Oh, his biggest competition is a taken vicar. LOL. Viola believes herself to be in love with an engaged man, but soon enough starts to fall for Devin. She’s hesitant and afraid though that he’ll lose interest in her eventually and break her heart, but what she doesn’t realize is that Devin is SO far gone for this woman. This man is SWOONY. He is determined enough to make Viola his Duchess and give her the world that he accepts friendship from her, only so that he can grow closer to her and find other ways to woo her. He might be cold and stoic to everyone else, but he’s tender and sweet when it comes to Viola. You can see how much he grows to treasure her.

My only main complaint with this book was with the scenes near the ending. It felt very… strange and out of place. One is a scene in the vicarage that felt awkward and unnecessary, which is why my rating isn’t higher even though I loved the romance. When it came to the vicarage and the religious play everyone is setting up, I felt pretty bored and just wanted to go back to the romance.

Besides that awkwardness, I truly did enjoy this story. I loved being back with the Wildes, who are as close and fun a family as ever. Viola and Devin had me saying, “Aww” more than once, so if you want yourself a really cute historical romance, definitely give this one a try!


lacey


Reading Order: The Wildes of Lindow Castle series

#1 ~ Wilde in Love: Ebook • Hardcover • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Too Wilde to Wed: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Born to be Wilde: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Say No to the Duke: My ReviewEbook • PaperbackAudible Goodreads
#5 ~ Say Yes to the Duke: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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Review: Dirty Charmer by Emma Chase

Dirty Charmer by Emma Chase
Series: Royally #5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 19th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Abigail Haddock is stunning, sensible, and some would say…stuffy. But it’s not really her fault. She was raised in one of Wessco’s oldest, most affluent, aristocratic families—“stuffy” is their middle name. So is successful. Abby’s working overtime to distinguish herself as a top-notch physician, just as her family legacy demands.

She doesn’t have time for nonsense.

Tommy Sullivan’s all about nonsense.

Sure, he’s an elite bodyguard with lethal skills and co-owner of the renowned, S&S Securities Firm—protector of the wealthy and titled. But he’s also rowdy, fun and thoroughly irresistible.

Tommy knows how to have a good time, and he’s never seen someone more in need of a good time than Abby. The lass needs long, wet, filthy kisses—STAT—and he’s just the man for the job.

It doesn’t take long for a wildly sexy, sinfully satisfying, no-strings attached arrangement to turn into something more. Something sweet and addictive and real. But Tommy and Abby are too royally stubborn to admit it.

Opposites attract, everyone knows that. But can their red-hot relationship last—can they love…for forever?

I love Emma Chase. She’s written some of my favorite contemporary romances/rom-coms (Tangled! Sustained!), so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the newest in her Royally series! I recently caught myself up on this royal romance series and was so excited to hear that Tommy would get his story. I enjoyed his and Abby’s romance so much. It’s sweet, sexy, feel-good… all things that Emma Chase is good at writing.

Dirty Charmer is quite the opposites-attract romance. We’ve got our easy-going, charmer, playboy hero who doesn’t come from money and now owns a bodyguard company, and proper, no-nonsense, aristocratic surgeon-in-training heroine who doesn’t have time for fun or games. They first meet when she cares for him at her hospital when he gets hurt, but truly get to know each other when her family hires him and his company as temporary bodyguards. Tommy is so flirty with Abby and determined to bring out her lighter, fun side. I just loved the way these two were with each other!

What begins as a no strings attached affair turns into something more when Tommy realizes he no longer cares for the playboy lifestyle and only wants Abby. I love a heroine knocks a manwhore hero off his feet. Dirty Charmer was just a blast to read – Tommy is a sweetheart, Abby is such a strong, admirable heroine. These two totally worked together and I enjoyed their romance so much! This isn’t quite a royal romance as no one actually belongs to royalty, but if you’re a fan of the series, this new installment is a must read.


lacey


Reading Order: Royally series

 

#1 ~ Royally Screwed: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Royally Matched: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Royally Endowed: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Royally Yours: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
#5 ~ Dirty Charmer: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads


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Review: Black Tangled Heart by Samantha Young

Black Tangled Heart by Samantha Young
Series: Play On #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 14th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

To my siblings, Jane was a friend. A pseudo-sister, the girl we grew up with.
To me? She was everything.
Our passion consumed us.

When our world fell apart, I thought our love would be the thing that held us together.
She was the love of my life. But she abandoned me when I needed her most.
And I’ll never forgive her.

For years I’ve been planning my revenge against the people who took everything from me.
Jane won’t be an exception. I’m coming for her.
She knows it.

She says she wants to help me serve my version of justice on the people who hurt me.
I’ll let her.
She probably thinks it will save her from me.

It won’t.

Black Tangled Heart took me by surprise by how gripping and addicting it was! I enjoyed the first Play On book and though I haven’t read the second yet, I was still excited to see what Samantha Young had in store for us. As soon as I started reading, I was HOOKED onto Jane and Jamie’s story. It’s a story of first love, revenge, and second chances. There are moments that will hit you in the gut and give you ALL the feels. The romance is beautifully passionate and messy at the same time. I highly recommend this one if you want something unique and unputdownable!

This book is split into two different parts: the past, when Jane and Jamie first fall in love as teenagers, and the present, when they reunite as adults and are filled with revenge. In the past, Jane is a foster child when Jamie’s family moves in next door. His family becomes her pseudo-family and slowly, we see their love develop and bloom into something deep and beautiful. They may have only been teens, but the strength of their love is everlasting. Then tragedy strikes them, leaving the two heartbroken and eventually split apart for years. Now, Jamie is back in Jane’s life, feeling hurt, angry, and wanting revenge against the people who hurt his family… and wanting revenge against Jane.

What a wild, emotional trip this book was! The passion and chemistry between Jane and Jamie is INTENSE. I loved the parallel between their sweet young love and the volatile passion it turned into. The story’s also got a good dose of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat. This book could’ve easily been a 5 star read for me – I was LOVING the past and the way it was set up. But I got mad at what happened during Jane and Jamie’s separation, and the part when they got back together was a little too easy after all the build up. I wanted Jamie to grovel a bit more for what he did. And the revenge plot gets resolved too conveniently, which is why I’m giving this book 4 stars instead of 5. Still, it’s a fantastic read that will take you on an emotional journey. If you love Samantha Young, you don’t want to miss this one!


lacey


Reading Order: Play On series


#1 ~ Play On: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ As Dust Dances: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Black Tanged Heart: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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