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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Audiobook Review: Make Me Yours by Tia Louise

Make Me Yours by Tia Louise
Series: Standalone
Audiobook Publication Date: October 23rd 2019
Length: 7 hours and 48 minutes
Narrated by: Lucy Rivers & Teddy Hamilton
Links: Audible • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review

He’s a billionaire single dad who needs help.
She’s a sassy single gal who needs work.
Live-in nanny? What could go wrong?

Remington Key: I left the Navy, scored a billion in tech, got married, and had a baby. I did everything by the book. Happily ever after, right?

Fast-forward four years, and I’m alone, raising my daughter, caring for my mother-in-law, and trying to keep my stuff together. How did this happen?

I was clearly drunk the night I offered a gorgeous girl in a bar $500 a day to be my live-in nanny. Or maybe it was my dick talking.

So what if I’ve been alone since forever? I’m focused on launching my new business, not bedding the sexy siren who sleeps down the hall.

At least that’s what I keep reminding myself…

Ruby Banks: Remington Key is distant, brooding, and drop-dead sexy. And when he scoops up his adorable four-year-old daughter Lillie and blows raspberries on her tummy while she squeals with delight, I totally swoon.

Bumping into him at our local pub that night slightly drunk and overly frustrated was a total accident. He needed help, and he offered me a ridiculous salary. I couldn’t say no. Right?

Now he’s given me the chance to pay off my debts and take control of my life. I can’t screw up this job. But as bad as I want to be good, I’m not sure I can fake it…

The way he watches me sends heat sizzling through my insides.
Our hands touch, our eyes meet, and I want to do very naughty things with my new boss.

Make Me Yours was such a sweet audiobook! This is actually my first Tia Louise book and now I’m thinking I need to read/listen to her others, especially Make You Mine. Obviously I went into this as a standalone, but it has characters that interconnect with MYM, so I’m sure if you enjoyed that read, you’ll enjoy this one too!

I was so looking forward to listening to this story because 1) it’s a single dad romance 2) it’s a falling-for-the-nanny romance and 3) it has Teddy Hamilton narrating the hero’s POV. These three things made the perfect combination and I just adored listening to Remi and Ruby’s story! We have a widowed hero and single dad who has been celibate since his wife passed, but when he meets the heroine, he feels a connection that he wants to pursue, something I LOVE in my heroes. Of course, it’s a little touchy when they make a deal – Ruby is hired to be Remi’s live-in nanny so she can pay her debts and he can get some space from his overbearing mother-in-law – but it’s clear from the get-go how meant to be they are. The chemistry is on fire and I so enjoyed seeing these two fall for each other!

Also, how can I not enjoy an audiobook that’s narrated by the lovely Teddy Hamilton? I first listened to his narration in Him/Us by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy and he has never disappointed me since. He did a fantastic job at narrating Remi’s voice. Lucy Rivers was new to me and she did a great job with Ruby’s voice. I would definitely listen to another audiobook of hers.

If you’re looking for a sweet audiobook that’s low on drama, Make Me Yours is the perfect choice. I already can’t wait to get to Make You Mine and I hope this isn’t the last time we see all of these characters.


lacey


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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.

Buy Links:
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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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