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: Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne Long

Angel in a Devil’s Arms by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 29th 2019
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From USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long comes the second book in an exciting new historical romance series, the first since her beloved Pennyroyal Green series.

He has devil’s blood in his veins. At least, that’s always been the legend. How else could the Duke of Brexford’s notorious bastard son return from the dead? The brutal decade since Lucien Durand, Lord Bolt, allegedly drowned in the Thames forged him into a man who always gets what—and who—he wants. And what he wants is vengeance for his stolen birthright . . . and one wild night in Angelique Breedlove’s bed.

Angelique recognizes heartbreak when the enigmatic Lord Bolt walks into The Grand Palace on the Thames, and not even his devastating charm can tempt her to risk her own ever again. One scorching kiss drives home the danger.

But in the space between them springs a trust that feels anything but safe. And the passion—explosive, consuming—drives Lucien to his knees. Now his whole life depends on proving his love to a woman who doesn’t believe in it . . . because his true birthright, he now knows, is guardian of Angelique Breedlove’s heart.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunesIndieBound

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I was initially excited to read Angel in a Devil’s Arms when I realized the heroine would be a character I met in the first Palace of Rogues book, Angelique! She was the mistress of the heroine’s late husband in Lady Derringer Takes a Lover and I loved the friendship development between the two ladies in that book. They bond together and run an inn, which is the main setting for this follow-up novel. I’d say if you haven’t read the first book, you can go into this one as a standalone.

Lucien is the bastard son of a Duke and a black mark on the family. After his father married, he turned to ignore Lucien and his mother, focusing on his new wife instead. This leads to Lucien acting out and stirring scandal and gossip for the Duke’s family. In this way, Lucien’s character is similar to Angelique’s. Both have shameful pasts they want to move on from, and they help and lean on each other to do so.

I liked Angelique and Lucien, but I never really fell in love with them or their story. I struggled with this book the same way I struggled with the first – Julie Anne Long’s writing/storytelling is just too wordy and slow for my taste. It took a while for me to become interested in the story, which wasn’t all that exciting given Lucien’s revenge plot.

I wish I could’ve loved this more, but I think if you’re a fan of JAL’s style of writing, you’d have less problems with it than I did. There is going to be a third book but I’m not eagerly awaiting it like I was when I finished the first book.


lacey

Reading Order: The Palace of Rogues series

#1 ~ Lady Derring Takes a Lover: My ReviewEbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Angel in a Devil’s Arms: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads

about the author button

USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up (and she has the guitars and fringed clothing stuffed in the back of her closet to prove it), but writing was always her first love. Since hanging up her guitar for the computer keyboard, her books frequently top reader and critic polls and have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Rita, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and The Quills, and reviewers have been known to use words like “dazzling,” “brilliant,” and “impossible to put down” when describing them. Julie lives in Northern California.

Website • Twitter • FacebookGoodreads


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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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Release Day Review: Dreams of 18 by Saffron A. Kent

Dreams of 18 by Saffron A. Kent
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: October 10th 2019
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

“You don’t go around kissing your best friend’s dad, do you?
Even though that’s all you ever dream about.”

Violet Moore is in love with a man who hates her.

Well, to be fair, she kinda deserves it.

On her eighteenth birthday, she got drunk and threw herself at him, causing a huge scandal in their sleepy suburban town.

Now everyone thinks she’s a slut and he has disappeared. Rumor has it that he’s been living up in the mountains of Colorado, all alone and in isolation.

But Violet is going to make it right.

She’s going to find him and bring him back.

No matter how cruel and mean he is, how much he hurts her with his cold-hearted and abrasive ways, she won’t give up.

And neither will she think about his tempting lips or his sculpted muscles or his strong hands. The hands that she wants on her body, touching her, feeling her skin…

The hands that make her want to forget everything and kiss Graham Edwards – Mr. Edwards, actually – again.

Because you don’t go around kissing your best friend’s dad, do you?

Even though that’s all you ever dream about.

I really wanted to love this one more! I love age gap and forbidden love in my romances, so I had high expectations going into this, despite it being my first Saffron A. Kent book. And this book was HOT – no denying that. It delivers on all the taboo and forbidden-ness that I was hoping for. But the romance itself was lacking a bit in the development side. It was very much instalove, which I personally don’t mind. But in this case, I needed something MORE to make me believe in this couple, especially with how different the main characters are.

Violet first meets her new, older next door neighbor when she’s 16. She’s a loner but becomes best friends with Graham’s son, who’s in the same class as her. Nothing happens with Graham except a buildup of fantasies and lust until she’s 18, when she kisses him on her birthday, which ends up spiraling both their lives out of control. Violet is sent to a mental institution and Graham moves across the country. 10 months later, Violet shows up on Graham’s doorstep wanting to make things right… and Graham wants nothing to do with her.

If you love asshole, surly heroes, Graham is your man. I was really interested in seeing how Violet would break down his walls and get him to warm up to her. Violet is cute and quirky, but has a huge anxiety disorder that makes it difficult for her to go out. She only ever feels safe with Graham, which I thought was so sweet. Graham took a while for me to warm up to, just because he is SUCH a huge jerk to Violet. I got a little tired of it after a while, but I did love how alpha and possessive he was around Violet.

When sex got involved, things went a little downhill for me. It’s filthy, with a TON of dirty talk, but there’s just sooo much sex that the romance wasn’t at the forefront anymore. I wanted to see Graham and Violet fall for each other outside of sex, but we didn’t get much of that.

I enjoyed SAK’s writing, but the story itself wasn’t for me. Apparently this book connects with Medicine Man, so maybe if you loved that one, you might enjoy Dreams of 18 too. But even though I didn’t love this book, I definitely want to read more from this author!


lacey


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