Release Day Review: Tryst Six Venom by Penelope Douglas

Tryst Six Venom by Penelope Douglas
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: June 3rd 2021
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

𝑨𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒈𝒂𝒎𝒆𝒔, 𝒃𝒂𝒄𝒌 𝒔𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒔, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒆𝒓 𝒓𝒐𝒐𝒎 𝒂𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔… 𝑮𝒆𝒕 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒚!

𝘾𝙇𝘼𝙔

Marymount girls are good girls. We’re chaste, we’re untouched, and even if we weren’t, no one would know, because we keep our mouths shut.

Not that I have anything to share anyway. I never let guys go too far. I’m behaved.

Beautiful, smart, talented, popular, my skirt’s always pressed, and I never have a hair out of place. I own the hallways, walking tall on Monday and dropping to my knees like the good Catholic girl I am on Sunday.

That’s me. Always in control.

Or so they think. The truth is that it’s easy for me to resist them, because what I truly want, they can never be. Something soft and smooth. Someone dangerous and wild.

Unfortunately, what I want I have to hide. In the locker room after hours. In the bathroom stall between classes. In the showers after practice. 𝑀𝑦 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑑 𝑠𝑤𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝑀𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑢𝑝 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑘𝑖𝑟𝑡.

For me, life is a web of secrets. No one can find out mine.

𝙊𝙇𝙄𝙑𝙄𝘼

I cross the tracks every day for one reason—to graduate from this school and get into the Ivy League. I’m not ashamed of where I come from, my family, or how everyone at Marymount thinks my skirts are too short and my lipstick is too red.

Clay Collins and her friends have always turned up their noses at me. The witch with her beautiful skin, clean shoes, and rich parents who torments me daily and thinks I won’t fight back.

At least not until I get her alone and find out she’s hiding so much more than just what’s underneath those pretty clothes.

The princess thinks I’ll scratch her itch. She thinks she’s still pure as long as it’s not a guy touching her.

I told her to stay on her side of town. I told her not to cross the tracks.

But one night, she did. And when I’m done with her, she’ll never be pure again.

Tryst Six Venom is Penelope Douglas’ very first F/F romance and I have been DYING to get my hands on it ever since she started teasing about it. It’s a bully romance set in high school, and normally I don’t gravitate towards these kinds of reads but I trust Penelope Douglas and I trust her process. TSV ended up being a gripping, entertaining, emotional read – I highly recommend it especially if you love Punk 57 or Bully!

Good girl Clay comes from a wealthy family. Bad girl Olivia comes from the wrong side of the tracks. They hate each other, they’re on the same lacrosse team, and Clay has made Liv’s life hell their entire time in high school. Unfortunately, Liv can’t retaliate since the rich kids at their school don’t experience any kind of repercussions. So she keeps to herself and works hard to survive long enough to graduate and go to an Ivy League out of the state.

The relationship between Liv and Clay is toxic. At least at first. It’s full of turmoil and angst and anger and hurt. There’s so much to unpack between them but underneath it all is also an unwanted attraction. Liv is out and Clay is confused and scared about her sexuality. All she knows is that she just wants Liv.

It’s a roller coaster of emotions when you read TSV. My heart HURT for these two, not just regarding their budding love and romance but also for both of their wrecked homes. Clay’s brother passed away years ago, leaving her parents a mess. Liv and her brothers have lived day by day making ends meet ever since their parents died. I loved the fact that Penelope Douglas was able to make me so invested in the secondary characters! I fell in love with Liv’s brothers (who I wouldn’t mind books for. Especially Macon!!!) and I found myself rooting for Clay’s parents to get back together. It was a fantastic cast of well-rounded, developed characters.

The main reason why I’m not rating this higher is that I did struggle to get into the story in the beginning. The hate was so real and brutal, and I had no idea how Clay and Liv would be able to move past all the hurt and heartache. But I always tell myself to trust in PD and before I knew it, I was hooked. I really enjoyed Clay and Liv and their romance. Their chemistry is insane and I’m always in awe of how PD can unravel her characters and build them back into something even better. If you love your NA romances on the more intense and angsty side, you can’t go wrong with this.


lacey


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Review: Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath

Scoundrel of My Heart by Lorraine Heath
Series: Once Upon a Dukedom #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 30th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Lorraine Heath begins an exciting new series with a breathtaking romance about a young woman who must marry a titled gentleman to obtain her inheritance and the unsuitable man she begins to fall madly in love with

She is desperate to wed a duke…

Lady Kathryn Lambert must marry a titled gentleman to claim her inheritance and has finally gained the attention of a duke. Yet she is unable to forget the scandalous second son who aided in her achievement—or his betrayal.

He wants what he can never possess…

Lord Griffith Stanwick is tormented by the bitter truth that as a “spare,” he will never be able to give Kathryn what she yearns to possess. But when his father is found guilty of treason, Griff detours into the dark and dangerous corners of London, haunted by memories of the woman lost to him forever.

Love not to be denied…

As the duke’s courtship intensifies, Kathryn discovers Griff has become a man to be reckoned with. When old passions flare and new desires ignite, she must decide if sacrificing her legacy is worth a lifetime shared with the scoundrel of her heart.

I have heard such fantastic things about Lorraine Heath and her historical romances, and I finally got the chance to read her for the first time, starting with the first book in her newest Once Upon a Dukedom series, Scoundrel of My Heart. It apparently is a spinoff of a book from her previous series, but even though I didn’t read Beauty Tempts the Beast, I had no problem starting with this spinoff. But I do want to go back and read the original series now!

Kathryn is a lady who must marry a titled gentleman in order to inherit her grandmother’s beloved cottage. Her best friend’s brother Griffith is unfortunately untitled and a second son. She asks him for help on how to woo a certain Duke into offering her marriage, and this is how she and Griff get close and start to develop feelings for each other. But having read the blurb, I was pretty much waiting on the edge of my seat for the other shoe to drop for these two. And it certainly does. Griff’s family has been ruined and stripped of all their titles. This happens right when the two of them are on the cusp of something more too, which adds so much excitement and intensity.

One year later, Griff has made a comeback in terms of money and reputation (sort of). He’s now the owner of a popular, exclusive club that caters to the “unwanted” or “undesirables” in London high society. And Griff and Kathryn still want each other, even knowing they can’t be together. Griff decides to continue playing matchmaker for Kathryn against his own jealous wishes. And now Kathryn is torn between her duty and her heart.

This was a solid historical romance read that was equal parts passionate and endearing. These characters go through so many ups and downs, so many emotions, and I was rooting for them every step of the way. If you love lots of longing in your romances, there is plenty of it here. I also loved the idea of Griff’s club being open exclusively to untitled men, wallflowers, spinsters, and the like. I would love if we get even more of this club in future Once Upon a Dukedom books. Speaking of which, I am now dying for the Duke’s book and Griff’s brother Marcus’ book! I enjoyed Lorraine Heath’s writing so much here and can’t wait to devour her backlist.


lacey


Reading Order: Once Upon a Dukedom series

#1 ~ Scoundrel of My Heart: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Duchess Hunt: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Sept. 28, 2021)


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Review: Waiting For A Scot Like You by Eva Leigh

Waiting For A Scot Like You by Eva Leigh
Series: Union of the Rakes #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 23rd 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Eva Leigh concludes her Breakfast Club and 80s movie-inspired Regency series with a merry widow and a stoic major on a bumpy road to love…

Adjusting to life in peacetime isn’t easy for Major Duncan McCameron. Escorting a lady on her journey north seems like the perfect chance to give him some much-needed purpose. That is, until he learns the woman in question is the beautiful, bold, reckless Lady Farris. She makes his head spin and being alone together will surely end in disaster.

Beatrice, the Dowager Countess of Farris, is finally free of a stifling marriage and she has no plans to shackle herself to any other man. Ready to live life to the fullest, she’s headed to a week-long bacchanal and the journey should be half the fun. Except she’s confined to a carriage with a young, rule-abiding, irritatingly handsome Scottish soldier who wouldn’t know a good time if it landed in his lap. But maybe a madcap escapade will loosen him up…

Between carriage crashes, secret barn dances, robbers, and an inn with only one bed, their initial tension dissolves into a passion that neither expected. But is there a future for an adventure-loving lady and a duty-bound soldier, or will their differences tear them apart?

I recently binged on the first two Union of the Rakes books by Eva Leigh and have been dying to read the third and final book! I was especially excited because it’s got two romance tropes I love: grumpy + sunshine characters, a road trip, age gap (with an older heroine), and forced proximity. I enjoyed Duncan and Beatrice’s romance so much. It’s definitely my favorite of the series!

Our stoic Major hero Duncan has been asked to escort widowed Dowager Countess Beatrice to Nottinghamshire for… a week long orgy. Beatrice’s marriage was less than happy and she’s taking charge of her life after being freed from her husband. She wants all the pleasure she can get and she refuses to ever marry again. Duncan is very much an uptight, rule-following sort of man. They are opposites (yay for the opposites attract trope) but still perfect for each other.

I had a lot of fun with this book. If you love road trips and small adventures, this book would be great. I loved the nods to Ferris Buehler’s Day Off and Footloose. It’s steamy, entertaining, and… there’s only one bed! I would recommend this one, especially if you enjoy the rest of the series.


lacey


Reading Order: Union of the Rakes series

 

#1 ~ My Fake Rake: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Would I Lie to the Duke: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Waiting For A Scot Like You: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Happily Letter After by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Happily Letter After by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: December 1st 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From New York Times bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward comes a love story about taking chances and the surprises that come with them.

My love story all started with a letter.

Only it wasn’t from the man I’d eventually fall in love with. It was from his daughter. A sweet little girl named Birdie Maxwell who’d written to the magazine that I worked for.

You see, once a year my employer fulfilled a few wishes for readers. Only that column didn’t start up again for months.

So I fulfilled some of her wishes myself. It was harmless…so I thought. Until one day I took things too far.

While anonymously granting yet another of Birdie’s wishes, I got a look at her father. Her devastatingly handsome, single dad father.

I should have stopped playing fairy godmother then. I should have left well enough alone. But I just couldn’t help myself. I had a connection to this girl. One that had me acting irrationally.

Like when I showed up on their doorstep.

Happy Letter After was SUCH an adorable read! It’s endearing, sweet, feel-good; it’s exactly what I’m looking for in a single parent romance. It’s got a unique meet cute: the heroine, Sadie, comes across a letter from Birdie, Sebastian’s daughter, at her workplace. They write back and forth until Sadie decides to leave a present for Sadie, accidentally is seen by Sebastian, who thinks she’s the dog-sitter he’s hired, and starts training their new pet. It’s a little bit ridiculous but totally works in this story. I had so much fun reading about Sadie, Sebastian, and Birdie. I adored their family and this romance!

Sebastian is a widower and single father. I’m always a sucker for single parent romances and this one was such an enjoyable read. I thought it was hilarious that Sebastian thought Sadie was his new dog trainer – but luckily the lie doesn’t hold up for too long until the truth comes out. This is when our main characters start to slowly fall for each other, albeit reluctantly at first. Sebastian has Birdie to think of first, always, but he soon realizes that he can’t live without Sadie in his life and does everything he can to woo and romance her.

Your heart will melt when you read this book. Not just because of the romance, but also the sweet relationship between Sadie and Birdie, who both have lost their mothers and connect over this. Sebastian is also so swoony when he’s with his daughter too – he’s a fantastic father. I just adored this romance so much and if you love single parent romances like I do, you need to read this one!


lacey


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Review: The Wreckage of Us by Brittainy Cherry

The Wreckage of Us by Brittainy Cherry
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: October 20th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Never in a million years did I think it would be Ian Parker who saved me…

I know I should stay away from Ian Parker.

But when my drug-dealing stepdad kicks me out, I have nowhere to go. Squatting in an abandoned shed on Ian’s grandpa’s farm seems like as good a plan as any.

Ian finds me there, of course, and he insists on me moving into his spare room. I should say no, but the appeal of a roof and a warm bed is too much. Not to mention Ian’s brown eyes and strong arms.

We’re nothing alike, but the spark between us is undeniable. My life is finally looking up.

Until I call the cops on my stepdad and unintentionally get my pregnant mom arrested.

Now I have to sacrifice my dreams to take care of my mom’s baby. She’s the only family I have left. Meanwhile, Ian’s band is taking off; his dreams are coming true.

Ian is my one chance at love. I just hope he doesn’t become the one chance that got away.

When I went into The Wreckage of Us, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even read the blurb, just dove right in. But I knew, since it was a Brittainy C. Cherry book, I would get an angsty romance, and that’s exactly what I got! It’s a new adult romance set in a small town, with a heroine down on her luck and a hero who wants to chase his dreams of stardom. It’s kind of a rock star romance too, with Ian becoming a musician. If you’re a fan of Brittainy Cherry’s books, I highly recommend this one. It’s got her signature jerk hero, plenty of drama/angst, all wrapped up in a great, entertaining package. I enjoyed this romance so much!

At eighteen, Hazel has just been kicked out of her home, leaving her homeless and jobless. Her luck turns though when she’s hired on the town’s ranch, owned by Ian’s grandfather. This puts Hazel and Ian in close proximity, though to say they don’t get along would be an understatement. They get off on the wrong foot from the get-go, especially with Ian acting like the ass that he is. But slowly, as they work on the ranch each day and get to know each other better, Ian falls for Hazel and shows her he’s not quite the jerk he seems to be.

While their romance is growing and steaming up, Hazel is given responsibility of her newborn sister. This forces her to stay in their small town all the while Ian’s music is taking him around the world and onto the stage. I loved the angst and tension during these parts, mainly because I knew how devoted Ian and Hazel were to each other. Their love is fierce and powerful, and not even thousands of miles that separate them can break the bond they have with each other.

If you’re looking for an emotional read, Brittainy Cherry delivers in The Wreckage of Us. I was aching for Hazel and Ian as they go about their long distance troubles, but also swooning over Ian’s adoration for Hazel. Hazel is a tough, strong heroine who doesn’t give up easily, which was my favorite thing about her character. This was a solid romance with a young but everlasting love, and I would love to see the rest of Ian’s band get their stories!


lacey


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