Review: Out of Time by Monica McCarty

Out of Time by Monica McCarty
Series: The Lost Platoon #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 31st 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

A team of Navy SEALs go on a mission and disappear without a trace—they are The Lost Platoon.

With his men scattered to all corners of the globe after a disastrous secret op in Russia, Lieutenant Commander Scott Taylor is trying to find out who was responsible for leaking the information that killed half his platoon. Were it not for Natalie Andersson, the woman he’d been secretly dating in the Pentagon who’d warned him of the danger, he knows they’d all be dead. Scott is devastated when he hears that the woman he loved and hoped to marry has been killed for helping him—until he learns that Natalie was the spy who betrayed them. But when his search to clear his name brings him face-to-face with a very much alive Natalie, Scott realizes that justice and vengeance might not be as clear-cut as he thought.

Natalie Andersson, or as she was born Natalya Petrova, has put the memories of her early childhood in Russia behind her. She never dreamed that she would be at the center of an elaborate “sleeper” espionage program. Even when she learns the truth, she refuses to spy for the country of her birth, until the Russians threaten the lives of the only family she’s ever known. But Natalie is the worst spy in the history of spying, falling for her target. When her attempt at misdirection leads to irreversible consequences, she’s forced to run for her life, with her lover hot on her tail.

This book is without doubt my favorite of the Lost Platoon series. This sexy, action-packed series has been a roller coaster of a ride and wrapped up wonderfully in Out of Time. I’ve been sucked in to the suspenseful plot and hot romances, so it’s bittersweet knowing that this is the end of Navy SEAL Team Nine. But even though I hated to see it end, it was so worth the read.

It’s Lieutenant Commander Scott Taylor’s turn to get his romance, but this time it involves secret identities and betrayal. Scott had secretly been dating Natalie Andersson and been preparing to propose to her when half his team is killed and the rest had to scatter across the globe and go into hiding, including himself. If that wasn’t enough, he finds out Natalie has died in a car accident… except she hasn’t. She’s alive and well, but all his love for her died along with her fake death when he discovers that she’s double-crossing the U.S. and working for Russia and the people who killed his team. Of course, not all things are black and white, and there is much more to Natalie’s story than just betrayal.

Not only do we get Scott and Natalie’s edge-of-your-seat romance, we finally get Colt and Kate’s long-awaited HEA. They are a big reason why I loved this book so much. Monica McCarty has teased us bit by bit with this heart-wrenching divorced couple’s relationship over the past few books, and their story finally comes together in Out of Time. Colt realizes he’s messed up the best thing to ever happen to him. Kate isn’t sure she can go through a relationship with him again. The angst, the tears, the heartbreak were REAL, and I just couldn’t put their second chance romance down.

She’d made him think that he could make her happy.
But he’d never believed it—not really.
Maybe that had been the problem. But he swore if she gave him another chance he would make it his life’s mission to prove her right. He’d do whatever it took to make her happy. Colt didn’t have any right to ask for that second chance, but he was going to do it anyway.

Out of Time is jam-packed with action and suspense. Scott needs to protect Natalie from those trying to kill her, and will go to the ends of the earth to do so. Natalie has a lot of explaining and making up to do, but once we get her side of the story, we realize how tough and resilient this woman is. The heart-pounding action is the perfect compliment to the passion and intensity of their love story.

“You’re so incredible. I don’t know how I got so lucky.”

I just love this group of characters so much. Even though this is the end of the Lost Platoon, I can only hope we get more romantic suspenses from Monica McCarty in the future. She mixes suspense and romance so well, it’s hard to put down. I can’t recommend this series enough for those who love this genre!


lacey


Reading Order: The Lost Platoon series

  

#1 ~ Going Dark: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Off the Grid: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Out of Time: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads


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Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: January 7th 2019
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From USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author L.J. Shen comes an enemies-to-lovers romance with a twist…

They say your first kiss should be earned.

Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.

They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

Mine were broken before we left church.

They say your heart only beats for one man.

Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.

They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.

I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.

One kiss.
Two men.
Three lives.
Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

Buy Links:
Amazon US • Amazon UKAmazon CAAmazon AU
PaperbackAudible

review button

The Kiss Thief is my first read of 2019 and it’s already going on my favorites list for the year! TKT is deliciously hot, intense, and angsty, which is exactly what I expect from L.J. Shen. She blew me away with this arranged marriage romance, which a filthy, crude older hero and a younger heroine who finds independence and empowerment within herself. The story reminded me a bit of Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (one of my all time favorite romances) in terms of the forced marriage and the hero’s pride, but it’s different from it as well. There’s a bit of mafia, politics, and even gardening in this fantastic read, which I highly recommend everyone try. TKT had me hooked and I never wanted it to let me go.

I sucked in a breath, realizing for the first time what we were.
A story of a Nemesis and a Villain with no chance at a happy ending.
Where the prince doesn’t save the princess.
He tortures her.
And the beauty doesn’t sleep.
She’s stuck.
In a nightmare.

Nineteen-year-old Francesca Rossi is the beloved daughter of a powerful mafia man of The Outfit, and she’s always known how her future would be spelled out: to marry Angelo Bandini, the love of her life and heir to another powerful mafia family. But the future that she’s always thought was set in stone is turned upside down when her father arranges her instead to marry Senator Wolfe Keaton, a powerful political man who holds all the cards. Francesca refuses to make things easy for her fiancé, as she knows Angelo is the one meant for her… even when Wolfe is the one who awakens her mind and body.

Wolfe Keaton was a kiss thief, but it wasn’t only a kiss that he stole. He stole my heart, too. Ripped it from my chest and put it in his pocket.

Wolfe has an agenda: to take down The Outfit, starting with Francesca’s father. He’s determined to exact his revenge, and that includes taking Francesca as his wife and collateral damage. He expects a good, subservient girl of a wife, but instead gets a woman who grows and learns to stand up for herself and doesn’t take his shit lying down. Wolfe is cruel and ruthless at times, but it’s in these moments we get to see Francesca shine with her strength and independence. And it’s obvious that no one brings him to his knees like Francesca.

“It is you that I love. It is you whom I want. It is you whom makes living a spectacular thing I want to experience, rather than participate in reluctantly, every day.”

I always say I hate the asshole heroes, but man, there is just something about L.J. Shen’s heroes that I cannot resist. Maybe it’s their passion. Maybe it’s their growing obsession for their heroines. It most definitely has to do with the epic groveling Leigh makes her heroes do to win the heroines’ hearts. I adored Francesca, and while it took me a bit to warm up to Wolfe (when I say he’s a jerk, I mean he’s a JERK), I eventually fell in love with him as well. I was addicted to their romance, their push and pull, their passion. If you’re worried about the love triangle aspect, you don’t need to. It is very clear who the hero is (if my review hasn’t already said it). And if you love angst, age gaps, and arranged marriages, you definitely need TKT in your life.


lacey

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

Now here’s an excerpt from The Kiss Thief! ❤

excerpt button

“Are you sure you’re on my card?” I turned to the man with a polite yet distant smile. I was still disoriented from the exchange with Angelo when the stranger pulled me against his hard body and pressed a possessive hand lower than socially acceptable on my back, a second from groping my butt.

“Answer me,” I hissed.

“My bid on your card was the highest,” he replied dryly.

“The bids are undisclosed. You don’t know how much other people have paid,” I kept my lips pursed to keep myself from yelling.

“I know it’s nowhere near the realm of what this dance is worth.”

Un-freaking-believable.

We began to waltz around the room as other couples were not only spinning and mingling but also stealing envious glances at us. Naked, raw ogles that told me that whomever the blonde he’d come to the masquerade with was, she wasn’t his wife. And that I might have been all the rage in The Outfit, but the rude man was in high demand, too.

I was stiff and cold in his arms, but he didn’t seem to notice—or mind. He knew how to waltz better than most men, but he was technical, and lacked warmth and Angelo’s playfulness.

“Nemesis.” He took me by surprise, his rapacious gaze stripping me bare. “Distributing glee and dealing misery. Seems at odds with the submissive girl who entertained Bishop and his horsey wife at the table.”

I choked on my own saliva. Did he just call the governor’s wife horsey? And me submissive? I looked away, ignoring the addictive scent of his cologne, and the way his marble body felt against mine.

“Nemesis is my spirit animal. She was the one to lure Narcissus to a pool where he saw his own reflection and died of vanity. Pride is a terrible illness.” I flashed him a taunting smirk.

“Some of us could use catching it.” He bared his straight white teeth.

“Arrogance is a disease. Compassion is the cure. Most gods didn’t like Nemesis, but that’s because she had a backbone.”

“Do you?” He arched a dark eyebrow.

“Do I…?” I blinked, the courteous grin on my face crumpling. He was even ruder when we were alone.

“Have a backbone,” he provided. He stared at me so boldly and intimately, it felt like he breathed fire into my soul. I wanted to step out of his touch and jump into a pool full of ice.

“Of course, I do,” I responded, my spine stiffening. “What’s with the manners? Were you raised by wild coyotes?”

“Give me an example,” he said, ignoring my quip. I was beginning to draw away from him, but he jerked me back into his arms. The glitzy ballroom distorted into a backdrop, and even though I was starting to notice that the man behind the demi-mask was unusually beautiful, the ugliness of his behavior was the only thing that stood out.

I am a warrior and a lady…and a sane person who can deal with this horrid man.

“I really like Angelo Bandini.” I dropped my voice, slicing my gaze from his eyes and toward the table where Angelo’s family had been seated. My father was sitting a few seats away, staring at us coldly, surrounded by Made Men who chatted away.

“And see, in my family, we have a tradition dating back ten generations. Prior to her wedding, a Rossi bride is to open a wooden chest—carved and made by a witch who lived in my ancestors’ Italian village—and read three notes written to her by the last Rossi girl to marry. It’s kind of a good luck charm mixed with a talisman and a bit of fortunetelling. I stole the chest tonight and opened one of the notes, all so I could rush fate. It said that tonight I was going to be kissed by the love of my life, and well…” I drew my lower lip into my mouth and sucked it, peering under my eyelashes at Angelo’s empty seat. The man stared at me stoically, as though I was a foreign film he couldn’t understand. “I’m going to kiss him tonight.”

“That’s your backbone?”

“When I have an ambition, I go for it.”

A conceited frown crinkled his mask, as if to say I was a complete and utter moron. I looked him straight in the eye. My father taught me that the best way to deal with men like him was to confront, not run. Because, this man? He’d chase.

about the author button

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

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Early Review: Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost

Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Rebel #1
Publication Date: October 30th 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • HardcoverAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In this thrilling new Night Rebel series set in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress world, sexy and ruthless vampire Ian finally meets his match!

The Rule Breaker…

Master vampire Ian is unrepentant, shameless…and every shade of wicked. He’s made one too many enemies in his two centuries of existence, including Dagon, a demon who now lays claim to his soul. Ian’s only chance to escape Dagon is to join forces with a Law Guardian, but he’s never been able to abide by the rules for long.

The Law Maker…

Veritas’ normal role is police, judge, and jury to reprobates like Ian. But she has her own ax to grind with Dagon, so if she can use Ian as bait…well, all’s fair in law and war. As they scour supernatural hotspots to perfect their trap, Veritas soon realizes Ian’s carefully cultivated, devil-may-care roguish image hides something much more powerful. And Ian discovers Veritas has shocking secrets of her own. As they’re drawn to each other with a passion as intense as their peril, either love or justice will prevail. But each will have devastating consequences.

Shades of Wicked was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. I love Jeaniene Frost and her Night World books (Vlad is mine, everyone), so when she announced that everyone’s favorite side character Ian would be getting his own story, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I had no doubt I would enjoy it, but I didn’t realize I would love it THIS much. I honestly wasn’t sure how Jeaniene Frost was going to make the world’s greatest manwhore fall for one woman and one woman only, but she did it in such an impressive way. This isn’t an instalove story but rather a slow burn romance that was so worth the wait. But now I’m dying over the ending and need book two stat!

Ian is the epitome of everything a manwhore is: beyond sexual, shameless, dirty, and utterly wicked. This worked as a secondary, comic relief character in previous series, but now we get to see something deeper beyond that. Not to say that he changes an inch of his wild ways when he meets his match in Law Guardian Veritas, who is his opposite in every way. He is still his cocky self, but seeing him focus 100% of his sensuality on one woman is a heady thing.

Veritas is quickly becoming one of my favorite PNR heroines. We’ve seen glimpses of her in previous books, but now we get to know who she truly is, and she’s not the stuffy, law-abiding vampire everyone thinks she is. She makes a fantastic, strong, relatable heroine, and I’m so glad that she is the one to knock Ian off his feet (literally and figuratively).

I don’t want to talk too much about the plot, since it’s best to just experience it, but I do want to say that it’s a testament to Jeaniene Frost’s writing skill that it was so easy to dive back into this unique, fantastic paranormal world she created first in Halfway to the Grave. It felt like I never left the world, and we get plenty of cameos of old favorites, which was a plus. It’s not entirely necessary to read the Night Huntress and Night Prince series before starting Shades of Wicked, though I highly recommend it, not just because they are great series themselves. But whether you’re starting Shades of Wicked on its own or after reading 10+ Night World books, you absolutely won’t be disappointed with this sexy, action-filled paranormal romance.


lacey


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Release Day Review: Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #10 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 28th 2018
Links: Ebook • Hardcover • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can’t-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

It feels like the final Kate Daniels book has been a long time coming, but at the same time, I can’t believe it’s already here, and that Kate and Curran’s adventures are actually over. This series is without doubt my all-time favorite urban fantasy series ever, so it’s hard say goodbye to characters that have been in my life for over half a decade. I’ll try to keep the spoilers for the rest of the series to a minimum (though the blurb does give you a good enough hint of what’s to come), but just know that this epic finale was everything I ever wanted in the last Kate Daniels book!

The series and all of Kate’s battles, both internal and external, have all led to this final round with her father Roland. With the help of her husband, the former Beast Lord, her friends, the Pack’s shifters, and the People’s vampires, Kate must protect Atlanta and her son from Roland and a mysterious, ancient foe who is hell-bent on ruling the world.

I loved Magic Triumphs. It is jam-packed with action and humor, everything I love in a KD book. There’s no better series that can combine witty banter and epic fight scenes as well as this series. Kate is a hilarious heroine, sarcastic and self-deprecating. She’s also epic and badass, willing to give her all to protect her family. I loved seeing her and Curran in a new perspective as parents with baby Conlan. As much as I hate to say goodbye to Kate and Curran, they have been through hell and back, and this conclusion is a very well-deserved ending for them.

Every book in this series has blown my mind, and I’m just amazed at how everything comes together in this finale. Ilona Andrews has written one of the most incredible urban fantasy worlds with the KD series, and I can only hope that there are more stories to tell. For now, I’m happy that they did justice with Kate and Curran, who will forever be two of my favorite characters in the book world!


lacey


Reading Order: Kate Daniels series

 
   
   

#1 ~ Magic Bites: Ebook • PaperbackSpecial EditionAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Magic Burns: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Magic Strikes: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Magic Bleeds: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Magic Slays: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Magic Rises: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Magic Breaks: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#8 ~ Magic Shifts: EbookHardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#9 ~ Magic Binds: EbookHardcoverAudible • Goodreads
#10 ~ Magic Triumphs: EbookHardcoverAudibleGoodreads


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Review: The Chase by Elle Kennedy

The Chase by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 6th 2018
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.

OHHH MY GOD. I loooved The Chase!! Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus series is one of my favorite college/new adult/sports romance series ever, so the anticipation for its spinoff series was REAL. I’m so happy to say that Elle Kennedy did not disappoint with The Chase (though does she ever!?). I adored Summer and Fitzy’s story. I literally had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading them. And these new hockey boys Elle introduced had me cracking up like crazy – though I did love seeing some old, beloved characters too 😉 If you loved the Off-Campus series, you definitely need this spin-off series in your life!

I want a man with clear intentions. A man who makes an effort and is excited to spend time with me. A man who actually wants to want me.
If he has to fight himself to be with me, then chances are he’d never fight for me if it came down to it.
What woman would ever choose somebody like that?

I adore a good opposites-attract romance, and you can’t get more opposite than with Summer and Fitzy. Summer is your privileged, dramatic, outgoing, fashion-loving girl, while Fitzy is a drama-hating, introverted, game-playing/-making nerd and hockey player. One’s all light and the other is pretty gloomy. But despite their differences, these two have wanted each other from the very start – but they get off to a rough start when Summer overhears Fitzy judging Summer as an airhead. And… they also become roommates (awkward). Can he make her believe that he sees her for who she really is: his sunshine?

… I never felt truly alive until Summer.
I don’t want to be with a woman who hides in the shadows with me, because that enables me to keep hiding. And that’s what I’ve done for years—hidden pieces of myself from my parents, my friends, chicks, the world. I want someone who encourages me to step out of my comfort zone, and Summer is that someone.

I had the BEST time reading The Chase. It’s funny, smart, relatable, sexy – everything I wanted in a college sports romance and more. Do I believe that the Briar U series has the potential to live up to its predecessor? Absolutely. I fell in love with Fitzy and Summer, their sweet, hilarious, slightly angsty romance, and can’t wait to read more of the new characters. I am dying to get my hands on the next book. I can’t get enough of Elle Kennedy’s fantastic storytelling!


lacey

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


Reading Order: Briar U series

#1 ~ The Chase: Ebook • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Risk: EbookGoodreads (Feb. 18, 2019)

Reading Order: Off-Campus series

The Deal by Elle Kennedy The Mistake by Elle Kennedy The Score by Elle Kennedy 

#1 ~ The Deal: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Mistake: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ The Score: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ The Goal: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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