Review: The Virgin and the Rogue by Sophie Jordan

The Virgin and the Rogue by Sophie Jordan
Series: The Rogue Files #6 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 28th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

A love potion…

Charlotte Langley has always been the prudent middle sister, so her family is not surprised when she makes the safe choice and agrees to wed her childhood sweetheart. But when she finds herself under the weather and drinks a “healing” tonic, the potion provokes the most maddening desire…for someone other than her betrothed.

With the power…

Kingston’s rakehell ways are going to destroy him and he’s vowed to change. His stepbrother’s remote estate is just the place for a reformed rogue to hide. The last thing he wants is to be surrounded by society, but when he gets stuck alone with a wallflower who is already betrothed… and she astonishes him with a fiery kiss, he forgets all about hiding.

To alter two destinies.

Although Charlotte appears meek, Kingston soon discovers there’s a vixen inside, yearning to break free. Unable to forget their illicit moment of passion, Kingston vows to relive the encounter, but Charlotte has sworn it will never happen again—no matter how earth-shattering it was. But will a devilish rogue tempt her to risk everything for a chance at true love?

It’s been a hot minute since I last read a Sophie Jordan historical romance. I’m more familiar with her contemporaries, but I have enjoyed her historicals in the past. The Virgin and the Rogue was my very first read in The Rogue Files series but it holds perfect well as a standalone, which I appreciated. I ended up enjoying it so much! It was a lovely, light-hearted, and easy read that already has me itching to go back and catch myself up on the rest of the series.

The book starts off with a love potion. Well, the heroine getting cramps from her period AND a love potion. Quite the start to a story, if I do say so myself. Charlotte drinks a “healing” potion given by her herbalist younger sister and all of a sudden, it’s made her very lusty. So when she runs into Samuel Kingston, she pounces on him.

This is honestly such a fun premise. Yes, you might have to suspend your beliefs to get into it, but I still enjoyed it all the same. When Charlotte and Kingston meet, they know they are the most unlikely of pairs. She’s a quiet, respectable, demure lady who is betrothed, while he is a former rogue and rakehell. He’s been celibate and clean for over a year and the last person he expects to break him of this is the proper Charlotte. But she shows him just how improper she is after she drinks her potion, and now he can’t get her out of his mind.

I adored Charlotte and Kingston! I loved how he called her Charlie and she called him Samuel, his first name. I always love when main characters get to call each other names no one else can. Theirs isn’t the easiest of romances, with Charlotte being engaged to another man and believing her wanting him is due to the potion, but I truly enjoyed the way the story played out. Charlotte is as endearing as she is frustrating, and I liked her character, faults and all. Kingston is the perfect match for her, the only one capable of bringing out her true character. He was so sweet but also knew when and how to push her. They made a fantastic couple!

The Virgin and the Rogue was a total hit, and now I’m kicking myself for not having read this series sooner. Charlotte’s older sister already has her book, and the next one is about the youngest sister, who I am SO excited for!


lacey


Reading Order: The Rogue Files series


#1 ~ While the Duke Was Sleeping: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Scandal of It All: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Duke Buys a Bride: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ This Scot of Mine: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
#5 ~ The Duke’s Stolen Bride: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
#6 ~ The Virgin and the Rogue: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads
#7 ~ The Duke Effect: EbookPaperbackAudioGoodreads (Oct. 27, 2020)


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Release Day Review: Sea of Ruin by Pam Godwin

Sea of Ruin by Pam Godwin
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 28th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Bennett Sharp is on the run.
Wanted for piracy, she fears neither God nor death nor man.
Except Priest Farrell.

The unfaithful, stormy-eyed libertine hunts her with terrifying possessiveness. Nothing will stop him from coming for her. Not his unforgivable betrayal. Not when she’s captured by the ice-cold pirate hunter, Lord Ashley Cutler.
She must escape Ashley’s prison and Priest’s deceit. But can she walk away from their twisted desires?

Two gorgeous captains stand on opposite sides of the law. When they collide in a battle to protect her, the lines blur between enemies and lovers.
Passion heats, secrets unravel, and hearts entangle until they break.
Can love prevail in the sea of ruin?

A dark historical romance with PIRATES. Need I say more?

I was a pirate captain, a rebel queen of the sea, fighting against the conformities of society and the oppressive laws of man.

Holy moly, I absolutely loved this book – it was addictive, gritty, intense, and unputdownable! I’ve been dying to read Sea of Ruin ever since I heard Pam Godwin was writing a dark historical romance. I’m a big fan of her dark romances and I couldn’t wait to see her twist on a historical setting. Sea of Ruin turned out to be yet another hit. I’m obsessed with this book! It had me unbelievably hooked onto the story, the romance, and its characters. I always say I want to read more pirate romances – and this is exactly the kind of pirate romance I want!

He captured my eyes. “It doesn’t matter how far we fall, how much pain we inflict, or how dark it becomes in the ruin. I’m going to be with you, waiting for you, loving you, forgiving you. I’m never letting go, Bennett. Never.”

The best suggestion I have for you is to go into this book blind, or with no expectations. Yes, it’s a bit of a love triangle, but also not. This book is nothing you expect. Pam Godwin blew my expectations out of the water the more and more I read. Her writing is fantastic and reminded me just why I love her dark stories so much. She holds nothing back in Sea of Ruin – it is very much a dark romance so proceed with caution.

I LOVED our heroine, Bennett. She’s a freaking pirate captain, the only daughter of one of the most infamous pirates in the world, and she certainly lives up to her father’s name. She experiences such tragic loss at the beginning, I cried and felt for her. She goes through so much in the book and I rooted for her through it all. She’s fierce, kickass, knows how to use a sword, and can handle not just one alpha, possessive man, but two.

The romance was freaking brilliant. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and honestly? I loved Priest and Ashley. Don’t make me choose between them, because I won’t. Both are different – Priest is dark and sensual, Ashley is cold and forbidding – but they are SO perfect for Bennett.

If you’re a fan of dark elements in your romances, you need to read this book. I can’t recommend it enough! As soon as I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. It’s an unforgettable tale full of romance, angst, steam, action, and adventure. If Pam Godwin ever wrote more historical romances, I’d snap it up in a heartbeat!

TW: rape, torture


lacey


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Release Day Review: The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin

The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin
Series: Billionaires of Manhattan #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 28th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

I’m no Prince Charming, and the last thing I need is a Cinderella.

My instructions were simple: scour the city for a fake fiancée who’s not my type at all. Have her on my jet Monday morning, dressed appropriately for a yacht vacation.

I need a woman believable enough to convince a certain client that I’ve changed my playboy ways…yet nothing like the supermodels and socialites I usually have on my arm.

Somebody too annoying to tempt me–no emotional entanglements, thank you very much. This is business only.

If she’s unfazed by my looks and wealth, all the better.

Should be easy. Right?

Apparently not, because my people go and hire Tabitha. My hairdresser.

What were they thinking? Yes, I said annoying, but I didn’t mean Tabitha, the most frustrating woman in the world.

Tabitha is sunshiny. She has a pet hamster. She loves Hello Kitty, and she gets under my skin like nobody else.

As if that’s not bad enough, the minute we step on deck, she thinks that certain people on the yacht are up to something shady–based completely on her soap opera knowledge.

She won’t listen when I tell her she’s being ridiculous.

But as the days go by, I find that we’re actually having fun. And our fake kisses are heating up. And suddenly her wild theories aren’t sounding so strange after all…

Anyone else a sucker for the grump falling for the sunshine character trope? Or the fake engagement trope? If so, you’re in luck! Annika Martin’s latest rom-com has all that goodness (if you couldn’t tell, I love a good grump) and more. The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée is a fantastic, light-hearted romance that will have you smiling and giggling. It’s feel-good and adorable and exactly what I want in a rom-com!

I’ve been wanting to read Annika Martin’s contemporary romances for a while. I’ve only ever read her dark romances, and I always find it so fascinating and impressive when authors switch up genres/subgenres – and do it well. Now I know for a fact that Annika Martin can do both dark and lighthearted romances, because I enjoyed The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée so much! We’ve got the grumpiest grump of a hero (which, if you include in a book, I’ll want to read it) who needs a fake fiancée to win over an account for his billion-dollar company. Rex wants to find someone he does not like and who is in no danger of falling for him… so he hires his hairdresser Tabitha. Tabitha, the sunshiniest girl he’s ever met, the woman he sees once a week for his hair, the one who owns a hamster, loves daytime soap operas, and gets on his nerves like no other.

“Don’t worry, your kindness is a secret between us. You’re my brutish, gothic Heathcliff, the alpha male who shows his soft side only to me. Ooh, that’s good.” Here she does one of her upwards finger-pointing gestures. “Right there. That’s our couples dynamic.”

Most of the story takes place on a giant yacht, so not only do we have fake fiancés, we’ve got fake fiancés who are forced to be in close proximity for the next two weeks. Rex and Tabitha are entertaining as all get out when they’re together – she’s constantly ruffling his feathers and he’s being a total grump about it. I loved their dynamic, with and without the fake engagement. And I loved being able to see Rex slowly let down his walls to let Tabitha in. She turns his life completely upside down with her adoring, sweet ways. She’s ridiculous and hilarious and I loved her for him.

It drives me crazy that I can’t read her right now. It drives me crazy that she isn’t wearing any of her secret little Tabitha things. She’s everything that drives me crazy, and everything that I ragingly, infuriatingly, frustratingly want.

Now I am absolutely looking forward to reading Annika Martin’s other billionaire rom-coms! This one read completely fine as a standalone, so I’m sure the others can be too. I’m also DYING to read the next book in the series, another opposites attract romance, about the shy friend who confronts the owner of the building they live in!


lacey

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


Reading Order: Billionaires of Manhattan series

#1 ~ The Billionaire’s Wake-Up-Call Girl: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Most Eligible Billionaire: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Breaking the Billionaire’s Rules: Paperback • Goodreads
#4 ~The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#5 ~ Return Billionaire to Sender: Goodreads (Sept. 2020)


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Review: Don’t Go Stealing My Heart by Kelly Siskind

Don’t Go Stealing My Heart by Kelly Siskind
Series: Showmen #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 22nd 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Some people would call Clementine Abernathy a criminal. She considers herself a modern day Robin Hood, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Not exactly on the up-and-up, but she knows what it’s like to lose everything. Her latest heist involves swiping a priceless Van Gogh from its owner, who’s supposed to be an egotistical trust-fund brat.

Turns out Jack David is a sexy, kind-hearted man…and Clementine is in trouble. Falling for her mark would make her the World’s Dumbest Conwoman, but Jack is charmingly persistent, always singing sweet songs in her ear.

And that earth-shattering kiss? She never stood a chance.

Now she’s imagining a fresh start with this dashing man, but that means telling Jack about her past. And other nefarious sorts are after the same painting. Too soon, Clementine learns what it means to risk it all for love.

I LOVED THIS BOOK! It’s adorable, quirky, dorky, and so, so sweet. I loved the shy hero – he was the perfect guy for the Robin Hood heroine. This book had so many random things, from Elvis impersonators, bearded dragons with matching names, to a painting heist, but it all completely worked for me! If you’re looking for a rom-com (with a hint of suspense) to read this spring, let it be this one.

Don’t Go Stealing My Heart had me hooked from the blurb. A Robin Hood heroine who steals from the rich to give to the poor? And her next mark is none other than the hero?? Sign me up for ALL of that. I had high expectations going into this, but I was truly taken by surprise with how charming this romance turned out to be, with such lovable main characters. Clementine is a sweetheart of a heroine, despite the not-so-good things she does for a good cause. Jack is a cinnamon roll of a hero – pure and kind-hearted! He’s also so adorkable – he’s a freaking Elvis impersonator! I fell head over heels in love with him. He’s shy and blushing at first when it comes to Clementine, but as they get to know each other, his swooniness (is that a word?) and a bit of an alpha edge to him comes out. They were just PERFECT for each other and I really can’t describe how much I loved both of them.

Obviously, Clementine is trying to hide the fact that she’s planning on stealing from Jack, with Jack being none the wiser. There’s a little bit of angst and heartache when it comes to that, but this book as a whole just made my heart happy. I can’t recommend this enough if you want something feel-good that will put a smile on your face. This book is already going on my “best of 2020” list!


lacey


Reading Order: Showmen series

 

#1 ~ New Orleans Rush: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Don’t Go Stealing My Heart: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Royally Endowed: EbookPaperback • Goodreads (Sept. 26, 2020)


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Review: If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane

If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: March 24th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real?

When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.

Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend…

I’ve been wanting to read Mhairi McFarlane ever since her last release, Don’t You Forget About Me, came out last year. I heard such high praise for it so when I had the chance to read this new women’s fiction book of hers, I grabbed it! If I Never Met You turned out to be a charming, entertaining, and very British romance (but still on the WF side) between two co-workers to pretend to date for their own selfish reasons and end up falling for each other instead. I’m a sucker for the fake relationship trope and I was so happy with the way Laurie and Jamie’s turned out!

Laurie has been dumped by her long-time boyfriend, who she imagined creating a family and future with, and now she has to deal with the office gossip about her ex moving very quickly with another woman… and getting her pregnant. She wants to stick it in her ex’s face, so when she gets stuck in an elevator with Jamie and he offers to pretend to be her new loving boyfriend to the rest of the office, how can she refuse?

Jamie wants to have Laurie, the golden girl of the office, as his pretend girlfriend to better his image to the higher-ups for a promotion. They go on romantic dates, post cute photos on Instagram, and genuinely become friends. I loved this new friendship of theirs, how they grow to care for each other and just have fantastic banter anytime they have a conversation. The writing is witty and fun, and even though I did get a little bored during the first hundred pages (in which Laurie is constantly thinking about her ex), the rest of the book is engaging.

I’d say if you love Talia Hibbert’s romances, you should give this book a try. The characters in this book are fun and quirky, and of course there are a ton of British-isms sprinkled throughout. Laurie and Jamie make a wonderful fake and real couple, and I really loved that they built their romance over the foundation of friendship. The humor, snark, and charm all worked together and I already can’t wait to read more from this author.


lacey


Also by Mhairi McFarlane

 

Don’t You Forget About Me: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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