Early Review: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: May 11th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Read, a sparkling new novel that will leave you with the warm, hazy afterglow usually reserved for the best vacations.

Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.

Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since.

Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.

Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong?

After absolutely loving Beach Read, I couldn’t wait for more romances from Emily Henry! When I heard People We Meet on Vacation had the friends to lovers trope, I knew it would be perfect for me. One of my favorite tropes combined with Emily Henry’s style of writing and humor? SOLD. And to no one’s surprise, I fell head over heels for People We Meet on Vacation. Once again, another Emily Henry book is going on my ‘best of the year’ list!

Poppy and Alex have been best friends since they first met during freshman orientation at college. They couldn’t be more opposite – Poppy is wild, impulsive, has wanderlust, and travels the world for a living. Alex is a homebody: he’s stable, level-headed, is living in the same town he grew up in, and works at the high school he attended. They have nothing in common, but they connect, and every summer since they met, they’ve gone on vacation together.

I’m usually not a fan of unrequited love… unless both sides are feeling it. Which is exactly what Alex and Poppy go through. They both love each other but put the sake of their friendship ahead of that love, which makes that friendship work, until two years ago when everything was ruined. They haven’t spoken to each other in those two years, but now Poppy has one last chance, one last vacation, to save their relationship and maybe, possibly take it to the next level.

Poppy and Alex are ADORABLE. I had so much fun reading about them, especially during the ‘before’ chapters that would take place during each vacation they went on. If you’re not a fan of alternating chapters and switching timelines, this book might not be for you, but the way Emily Henry set it up was perfect for me. I was legitimately smiling and giggling during their hilarious conversations. Poppy’s quirky sense of humor and Alex’s deadpan meshed so well together. And I even loved their vacations too, both the good ones and the bad. Just a fair warning, this book will make you want to travel.

I loved this friends to lovers romance. It had the perfect amount the humor and angst. I can only hope Emily Henry continues to write more contemporary romances because I’ve become an even bigger fan since Beach Read!


lacey


Other Books by Emily Henry

Beach Read: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 13th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine comes the clever, funny, and unforgettable story of a muscular, tattooed man hired as an assistant to two old women—under the watchful eye of a beautiful retirement home manager.

Dazzle (n): Brightness that blinds someone temporarily.

Position Vacant: Two ancient old women residing at Providence Retirement Villa seek male assistant for casual exploitation and good-natured humiliation. Duties include boutique shopping, fast-food fetching, and sincerely rendered flattery. Good looks a bonus—but we aren’t picky.

An advertisement has been placed (again!) by the wealthy and eccentric Parloni Sisters. The salary is generous and the employers are 90 years old, so how hard could the job be? Well, none have lasted longer than a week. Most boys leave in tears.

Ruthie Midona will work in Providence’s front office, and be at the Parloni’s beck and call, forever. That’s sort of her life plan. If Ruthie can run the place in her almost-retired bosses’ absence, with no hijinks/hiccups, she has a shot at becoming the new manager. She might also be able to defend her safe little world from Prescott Development, the new buyer of the prime site. Maybe after all that, she can find a cute guy to date. All she needs to do is stay serious—and that’s what she does best.

Until, one day, someone dazzling blows into town.

Teddy Prescott devotes his life to sleeping, tattooing, and avoiding seriousness. When Teddy needs a place to crash, he makes a deal with his developer dad. Teddy can stay in one of Providence’s on-site maintenance cottages—right next door to an unimpressed Ruthie—but only if he works there and starts to grow up.

Ruthie knows how this sweetly selfish rich boy can earn his keep—and be out of her hair in under a week. After all, there is a position vacant…

This was so perfectly charming, quirky, and adorable. Basically, everything I wanted in a Sally Thorne romance. I went into this with high expectations after loving The Hating Game and actually enjoying 99 Percent Mine, and I’m happy to say Sally Thorne didn’t let me down! My heart was just so HAPPY reading this lovely story. I’m already putting Second First Impressions on my ‘best of 2021’ list!

The thing I loved most about SFI was how unique it was. It’s set in a retirement home, the heroine works there as a manager (she’s 25 going on 80, which, relatable), there are two 90-year-old residents/menaces in need of an assistant to torture, and the hero is a dorky, tattoo-artist airhead in need of some lessons in responsibility, so he takes the position.

Ruthie is like a grandma in a 25-year-old’s body who’s trying to come out of her shell of anxiety and monotony. She’s sweet but shy and doesn’t know her full potential. I loved seeing her learn more about what she wants out of life and seeing her grow to love herself. Teddy is a precious sweetheart (dare I say teddy bear) who, even though he has some growing up to do, worships the ground Ruthie walks on. And honestly, what more could I ask for from a hero? There are all these little moments and little things that Teddy does that show how hard he falls for Ruthie, how much he respects and cherishes her. Even though this book is told only from the heroine’s POV, we get to see all of that so clearly and I LOVE when an author is capable of illustrating a hero this way.

This romance is just so wholesome, funny, and precious – it was exactly the heartfelt and feel-good romance I was looking for from Sally Thorne. I know it’s hard not to compare this to THG or even 99% Mine, but I truly feel like a lot of people would enjoy SFI whether or not they loved her previous books. I literally finished it with a smile on my face. I loved it!


lacey


Other Books by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
99 Percent Mine: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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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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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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Early Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas

Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Ravenels #6 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 18th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

​Everything has a price . . .

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her . . .

Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.

When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.

The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun . . .

I’ve been on such a Lisa Kleypas roll lately. First, I read Again the Magic and it blew my mind. Then, of course, after I read that I HAD to read Marcus’ book, It Happened One Autumn. Next I ended up rereading Devil in Winter and then finally read the final Wallflowers book for the first time. I made it halfway through before the ARC of Chasing Cassandra landed on my kindle and I had to drop everything to start it.

I absolutely adore the Ravenels series – not quite as much as the Hathaways when it comes to family sagas from LK, but I love it nonetheless. With Chasing Cassandra we get the last and final Ravenel family member getting her HEA with a man who will do anything to have her. Tom Severin has been mentioned in a few previous books as the friend of West and Winterborne. He’s made a fortune for himself as a railroad mogul – in this case, he reminded me so much of Winterborne with his rags to riches story, and also Harry Rutledge from Tempt Me At Twilight. Both Tom and Harry are obsessed with their heroines right from the get-go, worshipping them and willing to do anything to have them. Tom also does not believe in love, thinking that he’s incapable of feeling it or of receiving it. But meeting Cassandra changes everything for him. Not only does he desperately want her for his wife, he’s feeling new emotions like *gasp* love for the very first time.

“Perfection is impossible. Most mathematical truths can’t be proved. The vast majority of mathematical relations can’t be known. But you… standing here in your bare feet in that dress… you’re perfect.””

I LOVED getting to know Tom and Cassandra. Tom first comes across as very robotic – logical, cold, ruthless, and unemotional. But with each tender interaction he has with Cassandra, we see him opening his heart to not just her but the whole Ravenel family, which made MY heart so incredibly happy. I loved seeing his character develop in such a lovely way. Cassandra is the Ravenel that we honestly saw the least of. I didn’t know much about her other than the fact that she was Pandora’s twin. But the more I read of her, the more I loved her character too. She’s such a sweet and headstrong young woman. All she wants is to find love and have a family of her own, basically the complete opposite of her sister, but that’s okay too. She knows she’s found a once-in-a-lifetime with Tom and she’s not willing to accept anything but his whole heart.

“Nothing has been exciting or satisfying for years. With you, though, everything is new. All I want is to be with you.”

The blurb hints that this is a marriage of convenience, and while there is one, the story doesn’t really revolve around that and it doesn’t happen until much later in the book. Mostly, it’s Tom being ridiculously loving and tender to Cassandra without him even realizing it. I was SWOONING over all the heart-stopping things he says. Their chemistry is fantastic. I just loved their developing relationship so, so much!

When I finished this book, I honestly didn’t even realize it was the final book until I started writing this review. Now I’m feeling bittersweet. While I would’ve loved an epilogue to wrap up the Ravenel family, I still was happy with how CC ended. It’s an emotional, heartwarming book that you don’t want to miss if you love Lisa Kleypas. All I can say now is PLEASE give us a new family series to obsess over (like the Marsden children)!


Reading Order: Ravenel series


#1 ~ Cold-Hearted Rake: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Marrying Winterborne: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Devil in Spring: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Hello Stranger: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Devil’s Daughter: My ReviewEbook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Chasing Cassandra: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Feb. 18, 2020)


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