Review: The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan

The Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan
Series: All the King’s Men Duet #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 28th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Power. Passion. Betrayal.

Kennedy Ryan delivers the epic first installment of the All the King’s Men Duet.

Raised to rule, bred to lead and weaned on a diet of ruthless ambition.

In a world of haves and have nots, my family has it all, and I want nothing to do with it.

My path takes me far from home and paints me as the black sheep. At odds with my father, I’m determined to build my own empire. I have rules, but Lennix Hunter is the exception to every one of them. From the moment we meet, something sparks between us. But my family stole from hers and my father is the man she hates most. I lied to have her, and will do anything to keep her. Though she tries to hate me, too, the inexorable pull between us will not be denied.

And neither will I.

This book is ABSOLUTE PERFECTION. It deserves all the stars and all the love. I haven’t felt this giggly and excited about a read in a while, but The Kingmaker blew. me. away. It’s sexy, smart, aware – I LOVED the way Kennedy Ryan blended the romance and politics. Also… Maxim and Lennix were on fire together!!! This book without a doubt is definitely going on my best of 2019 list and right now I’m willing to do anything to get my hands on the sequel.

It’s been a while since my last Kennedy Ryan read, but reading The Kingmaker reminded me of how much I love her writing. Everything from the romance, the second chance, the heroine’s Native American heritage, the hero’s sustainability ambitions, all were seamlessly blended together in a thoughtful, meaningful, and addicting read. Have I mentioned how much I love this book?

When Lennix and Maxim first meet, they find an instantaneous connection together over their youthful ambition and desire for a better world. She’s trying to save her Native American ancestors’ land, and she doesn’t know that he’s the son of the corporation’s CEO trying to destroy that land. They never expect to see each other again after their time in jail after a protest, but years later, they reunite in a chance encounter in Amsterdam. They have one week left before they move to opposite sides of the Earth, but they use that week to its fullest. Theirs is a whirlwind, passionate romance that had me swooning and wanting an HEA for them, even though I knew they wouldn’t get one… yet.

“How does it feel knowing you could bring a man like me to my knees?”

The Kingmaker is divided into three parts, and the last part is the second chance Maxim and Lennix deserve ten years later. It’s a beautiful, emotional, and sexy as hell second chance. Lennix wants nothing to do with Maxim and Maxim is determined to win the heart of the woman who stole his a decade ago. If you thought these two were steamy in their 20s, that’s NOTHING compared to them in their 30s. They’re all grown up now, Maxim especially. You will absolutely be fanning yourself over this man, his desire to save Mother Nature, and how single-minded he is to make Lennix love him again.

He was my first. Ten years ago when we made love, I didn’t know a passion like this was rare, something to be coveted and chased and clutched, but tonight, I know it’s a comet shooting across the sky and all we can do is ride its fiery trail.
Now I know.

If there’s a romance you need to read this year, it’s The Kingmaker. Lennix is one of the strongest, most passionate and admirable heroines I’ve ever read. Maxim will have you heart-eyeing for days. I fell so hard for this couple and the first part of their epic love story. Now I am DYING to read The Rebel King!


lacey

Reading Order: All the King’s Men Duet

#1 ~ The Kingmaker: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ The Rebel King: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (Nov. 17, 2019)


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Early Review: Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: August 6th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The bestselling author of The Simple Wild and Keep Her Safe and “master of steamy romance” (Kirkus Reviews) delivers a sizzling novel about an ambitious and high-powered executive who reconnects with her first love: the boy who broke her heart.

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is still alive and strong, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

K.A. Tucker wrote one of my favorite books of 2018, The Simple Wild, so to say I was excited for her next contemporary romance would be an understatement. She knows how to write stories that will appeal to your emotions and heart, which is exactly what happened with Say You Still Love Me. Reading this book was like an emotional roller coaster I never wanted to get off of. If you love second chance romances that will hit you in the face with summer feels and nostalgia, read this book.

Second chance romances are my favorite, and Say You Still Love Me hit all the right buttons for me. The main characters met and fell in love at summer camp as teenage counselors, but Kyle never contacted Piper again after that one summer. Thirteen years later, Piper has just received control of her father’s company and she needs to prove to her dad and her employees that she’s the right fit for this multi-million dollar company. Just when things are looking up, her past love shows up as the new security guard at her office building, and feelings resurface. It’s almost as if the decade that passed without each other never happened. The privileged, wealthy girl is still very much in love with the boy from the wrong side of the tracks.

I LOVED these Piper and Kyle. You can feel the absolute heartbreak, the longing, the adoration that these two still hold for each other. They might not have gotten on the right foot during their reunion, but over time I couldn’t help but swoon over how clearly the two worship each other. We get some great juxtaposition between alternating chapters of past and present, with the past chapters set in summer camp. We can see Piper and Kyle falling in love for the first time alongside them relearning each other in the present and falling in love all over again. This kind of storytelling reminded me a lot of another 2018 favorite, Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren, so if you liked that book, you’ll probably like this one too.

Say You Still Love Me made me feel nostalgic over summer camp and I never even WENT to summer camp. K.A. Tucker made that camp setting come to life in this book, and it’s almost as if it’s another character itself. Which made this the perfect summer read. This is a romance that will hit you in the feels and I can’t recommend it enough!


lacey


Also by K.A. Tucker

Standalones

  

The Simple Wild: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
He Will Be My Ruin: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Keep Her Safe: My Review • EbookHardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Burying Water series

Burying Water by K.A. Tucker Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker Chasing River by K.A. Tucker Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker

#1 ~ Burying Water: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Becoming Rain: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Chasing River: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Surviving Ice: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: The Rose by Tiffany Reisz

The Rose by Tiffany Reisz
Series: The Red #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 16th 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Bestselling author Tiffany Reisz returns with an imaginative tale of lust and magic, and the dangers unleashed when the two are combined…

On the day of Lia’s university graduation party, her parents—wealthy art collectors with friends in high places—gift her a beautiful wine cup, a rare artifact decorated with roses. It’s a stunning gift, and one that August Bowman, a friend of her parents and a guest at Lia’s party, also has his eye on. The cup, August tells her, is known as the Rose Kylix, and it’s no ordinary cup. It was used in the temple ceremonies of Eros, Greek god of erotic love, and has the power to bring the most intimate sexual fantasies to life.

But Lia is skeptical of August’s claims of the cup’s mythology and magic—after all, he’s a collector himself, and she suspects he just wants to get his hands on this impressive piece of art. So he dares her to try it for herself, and when Lia drinks from the Rose Kylix she is suddenly immersed in an erotic myth so vivid it seems real—as though she’s living out the most sensual fantasy with August by her side…

Realizing the true power of this ancient and dangerous relic, Lia is even more wary of giving it up, though August insists it is only safe with him. He’s willing to pay the full value of the cup, but Lia has another type of trade in mind. One that finds them more tangled up in each other—and in fantasy—than either was prepared for.

The Red is one of my favorite books from Tiffany Reisz, and it certainly was one of the hottest books of hers I’d read… until The Rose. It’s hard for me to decide whether The Red or The Rose is steamier (they are both off-the-charts scorching), but since I’m all about Greek/Roman mythology, I’m gonna go ahead and say The Rose is TR’s hottest book yet, and as my queen of erotic romance, that’s saying something.

“I mean, the Rose Kylix is literally the cup of Eros. If you drink from it, you will experience your erotic fantasies. You will enter them, live them.”

I was incredibly excited for The Rose since it’s basically Greek mythology come to erotic life, but I was also pleasantly surprised to realize, once I got to reading it, that the heroine, Lia, is the daughter of the main character from The Red. We get plenty of Mona and her husband in The Rose, which I loved, and both are the kind of hilarious parents that live to embarrass their child. However, The Rose can stand on its own and you don’t need to read The Red to understand it, though I highly recommend the book!

A secret madam of an illegal escort agency, Lia Godwick is obsessed with all things Greek mythology. At her graduation party, her father gifts her a rare, ancient artifact called the Rose Kylix. This party is where she meets August Bowman, a beautiful, mysterious, older man who wants the Kylix for himself. He claims it holds the power to bring sexual fantasies to life, and here begins Lia’s sexual awakening, bringing all her Greek mythology fantasies to erotic life.

He met her eyes. “I’m going to make you fall in love with me. I don’t know how, but I am. Before this week is over, you’ll tell me you love me in this world.”
“Why?”
“Because you believe in Eros.”
She touched his face, his lips, his sweat-damp hair.
“I believe in you,” she said. “Isn’t that enough?”
“It’s a good start.”

I don’t know what else to say besides that this book is non-stop titillation. Tiffany Reisz never ceases to amaze me with her ability to writes such fantastic erotica that gets my mind thinking and my body hot. You can clearly tell the amount of research that went into the Greek mythology retellings, but at the same time, I loved TR’s twist to the tales. We get retellings of the stories of Achilles, Apollo and Psyche, Zeus, Poseidon, and plenty more. Aethra and Poseidon’s story in particular stood out to me. The storytelling is so well done that TR makes you feel like you yourself are transported into these Greek mythologies.

She lay back again and let herself enjoy the terrible sweetness of being the cause of a man’s undoing. He was older, a mystery to her and vastly more experienced, and she could conquer him utterly while laying flat on her back. This was power even a god would envy.

If you love Greek mythology, you absolutely need to read this book. It’s unique and completely different from anything else I’ve ever read. It’s dirty, decadent, and yes, romantic. I loved Lia’s story and I can only hope that TR gives us more in this series!


lacey

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


Reading Order: The Red series

#1 ~ The Red: My ReviewEbook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Rose: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads

Also by Tiffany Reisz

Standalones

 

The Bourbon Thief: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
The Night Mark: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
The Lucky Ones: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

The Original Sinners series

The Saint by Tiffany Reisz The Angel by Tiffany Reisz The Prince by Tiffany Reisz The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz
The Saint by Tiffany Reisz The King by Tiffany Reisz The Virgin by Tiffany Reisz The Queen by Tiffany Reisz
The Mistress Files by Tiffany Reisz 

#1 ~ The Siren: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Angel: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Prince: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ The Mistress: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ The Saint: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ The King: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ The Virgin: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#8 ~ The Queen: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
The Mistress Files: Ebook • Goodreads
The Confessions: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
The Chateau: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Picture Perfect Cowboy: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Space by Penny Reid

Space by Penny Reid
Series: Laws of Physics #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 11th 2019
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

One week.
Private cabin.
Famous physicist.
Still an unrepentant slacker.
What’s the worst that could happen?

Mona’s meticulously planned allotment of relaxation is thrown into chaos by the unscheduled appearance of her older brother’s band of friends, including the one person she’d hoped to never face again. Abram still makes her feel entirely too much, which is one of the reasons she disappeared after their one week together. But now, trapped on a mountain of snow and things unspoken, Mona will have to find a way to coexist with Abram, chaos and all.

What can I say about this book that doesn’t spoil besides that I wholeheartedly and completely loved it? I had so many questions when I got to the end of Motion. I was hoping that Space would provide the answers, and Penny Reid did not let me down. In Space, the truth is finally revealed, and we also get the answers to the mystery that was Abram in Elements of Chemistry.

It has been two and a half years since the fallout that ended book 1. Mona left Abram, Lisa replaced Mona, and both Mona and Abram are left wrecked from their one week together. Both move on with their lives, Mona with her academics and Abram with his music. It’s only when Mona’s brother, who is also Abram’s best friend, unknowingly invites the two of them to a cabin in the mountains with their friends that they come face to face for the first time in years – and Abram is out for revenge. But can he hurt the girl that hurt him like no other – but also the one girl his heart has never been able to let go?

I stared at her, and stared at her, and stared at her. I stared at her and I worked to keep my balance, because the floor and the earth moved beneath my feet. The cavern opened and stretched in front of me. I stared at her and I was afraid, because I knew.
My whole life, from this point forward, I would be a fool for Mona DaVinci.

As soon as I picked this book up, I couldn’t put it down. I loved Space even more than Motion – it was everything I wanted and more in the second installment of the Laws if Physics series. Mona and Abram have never been more real than they are in Space, and despite all that’s between them, this is a couple you know is meant to be together. You can feel the pain and anguish the two of them experience during their time apart, but also the hope and love that never disappeared when they reunite. I love that we get Abram’s POV in Space. I felt so much more connected with his character through his POV, and it doesn’t hurt that his POV just screams of his longing for Mona. Mona is able to be herself in all her awkward glory for the first time in front of Abram, and how can you not fall for her real self, who is caring, intelligent, dorky, and flawed? I am DYING to get my hands on the final book now – I absolutely need to know how Mona and Abram’s story concludes.

“I need someone to listen to my heart.” His face inched closer. “And it only wants to beat for you.”


lacey

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


Reading Order: Laws of Physics series

  

#1 ~ Motion: ReviewEbook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Space: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Time: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads (April 15, 2019)

The Laws of Physics series is a spinoff of the Elements of Chemistry series!
You don’t have to read one to read the other, however.

Reading Order: Elements of Chemistry series

Attraction by Penny Reid Heat by Penny Reid Capture by Penny Reid Elements of Chemistry by Penny Reid

#1 ~ Attraction: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Heat: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Capture: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#1-3 ~ Elements of Chemistry Bundle: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Review: Out of Time by Monica McCarty

Out of Time by Monica McCarty
Series: The Lost Platoon #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 31st 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

A team of Navy SEALs go on a mission and disappear without a trace—they are The Lost Platoon.

With his men scattered to all corners of the globe after a disastrous secret op in Russia, Lieutenant Commander Scott Taylor is trying to find out who was responsible for leaking the information that killed half his platoon. Were it not for Natalie Andersson, the woman he’d been secretly dating in the Pentagon who’d warned him of the danger, he knows they’d all be dead. Scott is devastated when he hears that the woman he loved and hoped to marry has been killed for helping him—until he learns that Natalie was the spy who betrayed them. But when his search to clear his name brings him face-to-face with a very much alive Natalie, Scott realizes that justice and vengeance might not be as clear-cut as he thought.

Natalie Andersson, or as she was born Natalya Petrova, has put the memories of her early childhood in Russia behind her. She never dreamed that she would be at the center of an elaborate “sleeper” espionage program. Even when she learns the truth, she refuses to spy for the country of her birth, until the Russians threaten the lives of the only family she’s ever known. But Natalie is the worst spy in the history of spying, falling for her target. When her attempt at misdirection leads to irreversible consequences, she’s forced to run for her life, with her lover hot on her tail.

This book is without doubt my favorite of the Lost Platoon series. This sexy, action-packed series has been a roller coaster of a ride and wrapped up wonderfully in Out of Time. I’ve been sucked in to the suspenseful plot and hot romances, so it’s bittersweet knowing that this is the end of Navy SEAL Team Nine. But even though I hated to see it end, it was so worth the read.

It’s Lieutenant Commander Scott Taylor’s turn to get his romance, but this time it involves secret identities and betrayal. Scott had secretly been dating Natalie Andersson and been preparing to propose to her when half his team is killed and the rest had to scatter across the globe and go into hiding, including himself. If that wasn’t enough, he finds out Natalie has died in a car accident… except she hasn’t. She’s alive and well, but all his love for her died along with her fake death when he discovers that she’s double-crossing the U.S. and working for Russia and the people who killed his team. Of course, not all things are black and white, and there is much more to Natalie’s story than just betrayal.

Not only do we get Scott and Natalie’s edge-of-your-seat romance, we finally get Colt and Kate’s long-awaited HEA. They are a big reason why I loved this book so much. Monica McCarty has teased us bit by bit with this heart-wrenching divorced couple’s relationship over the past few books, and their story finally comes together in Out of Time. Colt realizes he’s messed up the best thing to ever happen to him. Kate isn’t sure she can go through a relationship with him again. The angst, the tears, the heartbreak were REAL, and I just couldn’t put their second chance romance down.

She’d made him think that he could make her happy.
But he’d never believed it—not really.
Maybe that had been the problem. But he swore if she gave him another chance he would make it his life’s mission to prove her right. He’d do whatever it took to make her happy. Colt didn’t have any right to ask for that second chance, but he was going to do it anyway.

Out of Time is jam-packed with action and suspense. Scott needs to protect Natalie from those trying to kill her, and will go to the ends of the earth to do so. Natalie has a lot of explaining and making up to do, but once we get her side of the story, we realize how tough and resilient this woman is. The heart-pounding action is the perfect compliment to the passion and intensity of their love story.

“You’re so incredible. I don’t know how I got so lucky.”

I just love this group of characters so much. Even though this is the end of the Lost Platoon, I can only hope we get more romantic suspenses from Monica McCarty in the future. She mixes suspense and romance so well, it’s hard to put down. I can’t recommend this series enough for those who love this genre!


lacey


Reading Order: The Lost Platoon series

  

#1 ~ Going Dark: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Off the Grid: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Out of Time: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads


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