Early Review: Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai
Series: Modern Love #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 21st 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In Alisha Rai’s second novel in her Modern Love series, a reclusive investor goes viral, shoving her into the world’s spotlight—and into the arms of the bodyguard she’s been pining for…

OMG! Wouldn’t it be adorable if he’s her soulmate???

I don’t see any wedding rings <eyes emoji>

Breaking: #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl went to the bathroom AT THE SAME TIME!!!

One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a random guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire encounter with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae has the world swooning. Going viral isn’t easy for anyone, but Katrina has painstakingly built a private world for herself, far from her traumatic past. Besides, everyone has it all wrong…that #CafeBae bro? He isn’t the man she’s hungry for.

He’s got a <peach emoji> to die for.

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, offers his family’s farm as a refuge. Alone with her unrequited crush feels like a recipe for hopeless longing, but Katrina craves the escape. She’s resigned to being just friends with Jas–until they share a single electrifying kiss. Now she can’t help but wonder if her crush may not be so unrequited after all…

I have been so excited for Girl Gone Viral – for Katrina’s story – ever since reading and enjoying The Right Swipe. And after having finished GGV, I can say this is another success in the Modern Love series! But what else did I expect from Alisha Rai? I loved this story. Jas and Katrina are the sweetest cinnamon rolls and I adored their slow burn romance! If you’re in the mood for something fluffy that will make you feel all the bubbly feelings, you need to read this book.

In case you didn’t know, this is a BODYGUARD ROMANCE! A trope I don’t read that often, but love all the same. Jas has been Katrina’s bodyguard and protecting her for years, and both have been pining for each other for almost as long as they’ve known each other. There is plenty of longing and unrequited (but actually requited) loved between the two of them. Then Katrina goes viral on Twitter against her will, terrified of losing her privacy, and Jas sweeps her away to his secluded farm out in the California countryside. FINALLY, things start to heat up now that they’re in such close proximity together (and Katrina gets to accidentally see Jas shirtless a time or two).

Katrina and Jas are such pure characters. They are kindhearted and selfless people, which is the main reason why neither of them ever brought up their feelings to the other until now. Their romance is just so… SOFT. I loved the dynamic between these two characters who have known each other for YEARS, so they know all about the other person’s quirks, likes, and dislikes. There is also plenty going on outside of their adorable slow burn romance, with the tweets and the people behind them showing up all over the media, and Jas’ family conflicts, particularly with his grandfather, who wants Jas to inherit his farm.

I think I liked this even more than The Right Swipe. I know I’ve seen some reviews say that the romance was overshadowed (which I felt in TRS) but in GGV it never really felt that way to me! I didn’t mind at all that we get a ton about the viral tweet and Jas’s issues with his family, mainly because Jas and Katrina are always dealing with everything TOGETHER. They are such soft, lovely, complex characters and if you love the bodyguard trope, I can’t recommend this book enough!


lacey


Reading Order: Modern Love series

#1 ~ The Right Swipe: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Girl Gone Viral: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (April 21, 2020)


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Review: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
Series: A Gathering of Dragons #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 4th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

​A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil—until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…​

I’ve had so much hype ever since A Heart of Blood and Ashes got on my radar. I’m always on the looking for an epic fantasy romance, and this one sounded so promising. Plus, I’d read Milla Vane years ago not just under her pseudonym Meljean Brook (The Iron Duke is still one of my favorite fantasy romances!), but also when she published a novella under MV in an anthology. So I knew she could write incredible fantasy worlds – and she didn’t disappoint with this first A Gathering of Dragons book. It was a fantastic start to a new series that I already need more of!

An enemies to lovers romance, slow burn, political intrigue, spilled blood, and barbarian warriors – this fantasy romance has it all. AHoBaA kicks off with the murder of our hero Maddek’s parents, who were king and queen of their barbarian kingdom and part of an alliance council that formed out of a truce between all five kingdoms. Now Maddek is next in line for the throne, but first he wants revenge against the rival king he believed killed his parents… starting with their daughter. But Yvenne offers herself up as his bride instead, because the one thing she wants most in the world is her corrupt father’s death. Neither of them expects the insane amount of chemistry to build between them or that they would start falling for one another.

This book was SO FREAKING GOOD! It was a little slow to get into in the beginning, with all the world-building and info dumping we’re getting hit with straight off. There are a ton of characters and kingdoms to keep track of. But once I hit my reading stride I couldn’t put this book down. I’ve been wanting a new, epic fantasy (romance) to get obsessed with, and AHoBaA hit all the right buttons for me. Alpha, barbarian warrior; heroine who uses her words and brain to kick ass; a delicious, sexy slow burn in a marriage of convenience; and some epic world-building. The pacing is fairly slow but it’s never boring. I loved the amount of steam we got as well as a good dose of angst between our main characters. I was HOOKED onto the romance – I was so glad that despite everything going on, Milla Vane made the romance the main focus of the story.

I do have to say, sadly, there are no actual dragons in this book (they used to exist, but not anymore), but there are Dragons! They are basically Maddek’s bodyguard/friends. Other than that, I can’t wait to read more of this fantasy world. I’m so glad we don’t have to wait too long for the next book (only five months!). Even though this first book concludes Maddek and Yvenne’s romance and revenge subplot, there is still an over-arcing plot that deals with a dangerous, powerful being that’s about to wreak havoc. I’m so looking forward to where Milla Vane will take us next.

Also, if you want to see the map of this world, Milla Vane has one! Sadly it didn’t make it into the book.


Reading Order: A Gathering of Dragons series

 

#1 ~ A Heart of Blood and Ashes: EbookPaperback • Goodreads (Feb. 4, 2020)
#2 ~ A Touch of Stone and Snow: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (July 7, 2020)


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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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Review: Beard With Me by Penny Reid

Beard With Me by Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #6 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 16th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

‘Beard With Me’ is the origin story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire (aka Claire McClure) and is just the beginning of their epic love story.

No one is better at surviving than Scarlet St. Claire and making the best out of circumstances beyond her control is Scarlet’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, she’d be the last person on earth, hermitting like a pro, singing along to her CD Walkman, and dancing like no one is watching.

Scarlet is clever, Scarlet is careful, and Scarlet is smart . . . except when it comes to Billy Winston.

No one is better at fighting than Billy Winston and raging against his circumstances—because nothing is beyond his control—is Billy’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, he’d be the first person on earth to lead others to safety, overcome catastrophe, or die trying.

Billy is fearless, Billy is disciplined, and Billy is honorable . . . except when it comes to Scarlet St. Claire.

I AM NOT OKAY!!!! Words can’t describe how much I need Beard Necessities in my life. Right now.

If the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts, then my soul was Scarlet.

I stayed up until 1AM finishing Beard With Me up, and it was so worth it. I knew I would love Billy and Scarlet, and Penny Reid didn’t disappoint. Even though this origin story wasn’t quite as angsty as I expected (except in the last 15% of the book, which was hit after hit to the heart), I loved getting to see how Billy and Scarlet met and fell in love for the first time as teens. Their friends-to-lovers story is sweet, slow, and so beautiful. I hurt for their family struggles but the love they found in each other made me so happy, even when I knew it wouldn’t end happily.

If you love the Winston family, you will be seeing them in all their glory in Beard With Me! This origin story gives us a great insight on how this family grows up and especially how Billy loves and takes care of all of them. I really just wanted to give this boy a great big hug for all the sacrifice and work he puts into caring for his family.

My heart ached for Scarlet and her loneliness. It’s not easy growing up as the daughter of an MC president, with parents who couldn’t care less about you. But she finds a new family in Billy and the Winstons, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when you know that her love story doesn’t end well, at least for now.

Can you tell how much I love Scarlet and Billy? They are on their way to becoming my favorite couple of the series, and we haven’t even gotten their actual book yet. These are two wonderful humans who deserve the best of things, not least of which is a second chance at love, which I am SO READY FOR!!!


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: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#7 ~ Beard Necessities: EbookGoodreads (Nov. 4, 2019)


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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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