Early Review: Flashed by Zoey Castile

Flashed by Zoey Castile
Series: Happy Endings #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 27th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

When a man makes his living by his looks, he can forget that love—and lust—are more than skin deep. But the right woman can remind him . . .

A former soccer player, stripper, and model, legendary party boy Patrick Halloran finally gets his big break starring in the summer blockbuster. But when an accident leaves him changed forever, he hides away in his secluded Montana ranch. Only his new housekeeper is allowed inside—with one rule: she’s not allowed to see him. But Pat sees her, and she’s the most stunning woman he’s ever laid eyes on. Even her voice is beautiful. Still, Pat can’t allow himself to get close to anyone. Not without a fight at least . . .

Magdalena “Lena” Martel is a long way from Queens, New York. After a rough patch, the aspiring artist is working her way through college—even if it means keeping house for a man whose gruff voice she can only hear through a closed door. Still, Lena senses Pat’s got a good heart, maybe even a lovable one. She’s intrigued—until his anger sends her running into the freezing woods. Now Pat will have to find her—and when he does he may have found the one woman who can thaw his heart—not to mention the rest of him. But can their new bond survive the paparazzi—and their personal demons?

Flashed is without doubt my favorite of the Happy Endings series! I’ve enjoyed Stripped and Hired, but Flashed was just a wonderful read. I loved the Beauty and the Beast (and a little bit of Cinderella) vibes. Pat is an amazing tortured hero and I felt for him so hard! His heroine Lena is lovely and the perfect sunny balance to his grouchy ways. Flashed is much heavier and emotional than the previous two books in the series but absolutely a must read.

Patrick Halloran climbed to such great heights as a model, actor, stripper, and former soccer player, but we all know the saying the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Pat couldn’t have fell harder when a car accident leaves his younger brother in the hospital and Pat beyond scarred and disfigured. He loses the one thing that made his life so successful – his gorgeous looks – and now he’s too traumatized to even leave his house. But when a friend hires him a lively housekeeper, he finds himself wanting to overcome his traumatic past and be the man she deserves.

Lena is a struggling art student who is in debt because of her stepmom. She takes on the housekeeping job because she needs the money but doesn’t expect to have such a grouch for a boss. Still, she keep a great attitude and outlook and happily fixes and cleans Pat’s house. I loved the way the story was executed. Lena isn’t allowed to look upon Pat and see what he looks like, so they communicate through text and voice. The little things they did for each other made it believable that they would fall in love. Lena’s Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage came across so well through the food she makes Pat and the music she plays to annoy him. Their romance is slow and sweet and I couldn’t help but root for their HEA!

There’s not much of stripping or dancing if that’s what you’re expecting, since the first two books are very much about strippers and Pat is now only a former stripper. Flashed has a very different feel than the other books, but I loved that about this book. I’m not sure if this is the final book in the Happy Endings series or not. Either way, Zoey Castile has yet to let me down and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next!


lacey


Reading Order: Happy Endings series

 

#1 ~ Stripped: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Hired: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Flashed: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Release Day Review: War by Laura Thalassa

War by Laura Thalassa
Series: Four Horsemen #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 11th 2019
Links: EbookGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.

The day Jerusalem falls, Miriam Elmahdy knows her life is over. Houses are burning, the streets run red with blood, and a traitorous army is massacring every last resident. There is no surviving this, especially not once Miriam catches the eye of War himself. But when the massive and terrifying horseman corners Miriam, he calls her his wife, and instead of killing her, he takes her back to his camp.

Now Miriam faces a terrifying future, one where she watches her world burn town by town, and the one man responsible for it all is her seemingly indestructible “husband”. But there’s another side to him, one that’s gentle and loving and dead set on winning her over, and she might not be strong enough to resist.

However, if there’s one thing Miriam has learned, it’s that love and war cannot coexist. And so she must make the ultimate choice: surrender to War and watch humankind fall, or sacrifice everything and stop him.

I’m going to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but AHHHHHH!!! War is about the size of two average-sized books, and I pretty much read it in one sitting (when I knew I had uninterrupted reading time). I DEVOURED this book. It was everything I was hoping for as the sequel to Pestilence! I fell in love with War (even when I knew I shouldn’t) and the heroine is so kickass and awesome. War is a possessive, alpha mofo and once he claims Miriam as his wife, there’s no going back. This absolutely lived up to my expectations and now I can’t freaking WAIT for the next book!

Laura Thalassa has written some of my favorite fantasy romances, and now War is going near the top of my list. It’s dark, twisted, addicting, and unputdownable. War is the perfect kind of hate-to-love and love-to-hate hero. He reminds me of the hero from The Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley, with the same warlord, alpha-male vibes. Miriam holds her own against him, which made for some incredible, steamy chemistry. I was glued to their romance, to the way it turned from hate (on Miriam’s part), to reluctant feelings, and finally, to genuine love. I think Laura Thalassa did an amazing job portraying War’s character – he’s is not a good guy, but you can’t help but grow to love him.

The wait for War was 100% worth it. Right now I’m crying about the wait for Famine, though I know Laura Thalassa won’t disappoint with that one, whenever it releases!


lacey

I talk more about War on my new BookTube channel! Feel free to check it out 🙂


Reading Order: Four Horsemen series

 

#1 ~ Pestilence: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ War: Ebook • Goodreads
#3 ~ Famine: Goodreads (release date TBA)


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Review: That Second Chance by Meghan Quinn

That Second Chance by Meghan Quinn
Series: Getting Lucky #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 7th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn delivers a smart and cheeky romance about love’s power to lift hearts . . . and curses.

It was supposed to be an innocent night, celebrating my brother’s birthday. Nothing was supposed to go wrong. We’d vowed to be on our best behavior after all . . .

But it only took one rowdy night with my brothers to flip my world upside down. One unlucky encounter saddled us with a family curse and the promise of doomed relationships. I laughed it off immediately. “Yeah, right,” I thought. “A love curse. Ha!”

Boy, was I wrong.

Word spreads quickly in a town like mine; rumors about that night soon made us the most eligible yet untouchable bachelors in Port Snow, Maine. As a subject of endless gossip and speculation, I could kiss my dating life goodbye.

It would have stayed that way if Ren Winters, the new girl in town, hadn’t crashed into my life. Brave, beautiful, and smart—her vivacious thirst for a fresh start has given me hope that maybe, just maybe, I can have one too.

Everyone wishes for that second chance . . . but could this really be mine?

I haven’t been THIS delighted in a book in a while! That Second Chance is one of the most charming romances I’ve ever read. It’s set in the small town of Port Snow, Maine, and legit, Meghan Quinn wrote this small town with so much heart that I wanted to move there. This was my first novel from Meghan Quinn as well, but you can be sure that it won’t be my last. I’ve become a huge fan of her writing and storytelling after reading this book. I’m absolutely dying for more of this series already!

I love discovering a series that centers around a group of family members. With the Getting Lucky series, we follow four brothers who’ve had a love curse placed upon them after a rowdy night in New Orleans. Griffin is the eldest, and a widower. He believes in the love curse because only a few days after he and his brothers were ‘cursed,’ his wife passes away. He’s been going through the motions for the past few years now, working at the family fudge shop and volunteering as a firefighter. Everything changes when a new resident moves into their quaint small town, and he’s the first to greet her – by rescuing her after a moose-related car accident.

Ren needs a new change of pace from her former life in Los Angeles. She chooses to move to the opposite side of the country to be a math teacher. It’s scary and overwhelming, but with the help of her first Port Snow friend Griffin Knightly, she easily finds a new home in this small town. I LOVE the fact that Ren and Griffin become friends first. Friends-to-lovers is my kryptonite, and the romantic development (which was paced perfectly slow and steady) felt so much more genuine between these two after they became friends. They are seriously adorable, taking trips around town, camping, setting up her new house together, all the while bantering playfully with each other. I loved every scene they had together and I couldn’t get enough of them. The main source of conflict for their romance is predictable, but I enjoyed the way it played out. The love curse is a little cheesy, but I really had no problem with it!

What makes That Second Chance such a solid small town romance is how real the town and its inhabitants feel. The Knightlys are such a charming family and all their friends are hilarious and sweet. Meghan Quinn has me so invested in this town and characters now – I can’t wait for each of the Knightly boys to get their own books. I only hope I’ll love them as much as I did Ren and Griffin!


lacey


Reading Order: Getting Lucky series

#1 ~ That Second Chance: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ That Forever Girl: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (Aug. 27, 2019)


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Review: When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 9th 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In 1960s Florida, a young Cuban exile will risk her life–and heart–to take back her country in this exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.

Beautiful. Daring. Deadly.

The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez–her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost.

As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future–but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything–not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart…

What an unforgettable read! Beatriz’s story took my breath away – this novel was one I couldn’t put down. I’ve loved Chanel Cleeton’s writing for years now, but it truly shines when she writes historical fiction (though I still LOVE her romances). When We Left Cuba takes us on the wild, daring, touching story of a woman who seeks to reclaim her home and country from the revolution that’s stolen everything from her and her family.

It is 1960s Florida, Palm Beach, one year after the Perez’s were exiled from Cuba and forced to seek asylum in America. The family has settled, but Beatriz has not. Her heart is restless for her home country, and she’ll do anything to go back, including take down Fidel Castro with the help of the CIA. I absolutely loved Beatriz. She is a proud, brave, and passionate heroine. We witness the ups and downs of her trying to break away from the society girl mold she’s lived her whole life to her involvement with Cuban and American politics, the constant circle of hope, devastation, fear, and love she feels. She falls in love with a forbidden senator, but that doesn’t stop her from continuing on with her quest for revenge and justice.

I’m unbelievably impressed with the way Chanel Cleeton was able to weave Beatriz’s fictional story with real life historical events. It felt seamless and genuine, and Chanel’s writing easily transported me to this tumultuous time period. The political intrigue, the history, the passion, it all blended so well and kept me hooked onto the pages. When We Left Cuba is a beautifully-written, unputdownable historical novel that I can’t recommend enough.


lacey


Also by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana is a standalone companion to When We Left Cuba

Next Year in Havana: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Wild Aces series

  

#1 ~ Fly With Me: My Review • EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Into the Blue: My Review • EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ On Broken Wings: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Review: The Reigning and the Rule by Calia Read

The Reigning and the Rule by Calia Read
Series: Surviving Time #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 18th 2018
Links: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Étienne Lacroix and I had a fire I thought would never die.
Our love was timeless.
An irreversible decision sent me back to the present day with a family I barely recognize, but I am determined to find a way back to Étienne.
I can survive time. But I can’t survive life without him.
Time bends to no one’s demands, so I must fight with everything I have to return to the past. However, I am terrified that the past I once knew might not look the same, and the man who once called me his surviving trace will no longer be waiting for me.

Time bends to no one’s demands but sometimes love does…

One of my FAVORITE new-to-me authors I discovered in 2018 is Calia Read. I saw the synopsis for The Surviving Trace – a time travel romance – and knew I had to read it. A heroine who somehow travels back to the early 1900s in the Southern U.S. and takes over the life of a woman who looked exactly like her and had the same name? I had to so many high expectations, and I was absolutely blown away by this phenomenal book. The writing, the characters, and the story all sucked me in and I couldn’t get enough of Serene and Etienne. By the time I got to the end, I was DYING for their next book. Thankfully, Calia Read didn’t let me down!

The Reigning and the Rule is the direct sequel, so you need to read The Surviving Trace beforehand. I honestly won’t say much about the plot, since it continues on from book one. All you need to know is that it’s just as good as book one, maybe with even more twists and turns. As soon as I picked this book up, I couldn’t put it down. I was easily sucked back into Serene’s baffling journey, the love she found with Etienne, and how she’ll do anything to keep it. She is such a strong, determined heroine, and I loved her for it. Etienne is as swoony as EVER. God, I love that man.

SO many emotions ran through me while reading this sequel. There’s a constant question of “What’s going to happen next?” and a heaping dose of angst to go with. The Surviving Time series is a must-read, whether you like time travel romances or not. It’ll transport you to another world that you never want to leave! Just a fair warning though, the ending will make you scream!!! I couldn’t believe Calia Read left us there, and I’d give my soul up to read the third, and maybe final?, book.


lacey


Reading Order: Surviving Time series

#1 ~ The Surviving Trace: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ The Reigning and the Rule: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Echoes of Time: Goodreads (May 26, 2019)


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