Release Day Review: Fumbled by Alexa Martin

Fumbled by Alexa Martin
Series: Playbook #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 23rd 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

A second chance doesn’t guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted.

Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she’s built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it’s all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.

T.K. Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he’s moved on.

When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they’ve suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they’ll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.

I was a huge fan of Alexa Martin’s debut novel, Intercepted, so when I heard she’d be writing more stories for the Denver Mustangs football team, I was ecstatic. And even more so when I discovered Fumbled would be a second chance romance, which is my go-to romance trope. Alexa Martin did not disappoint with this second novel – I love the way she writes tough, independent heroines, and the heroes who will do anything for them!

Poppy Patterson is a single mother whose life revolves around her beloved son. She’s worked hard to provide for them both, and she couldn’t be prouder of Ace. She’s built a good life for the two of them, but when her high school sweetheart, and the man who got her pregnant, shows back up in her life, all of the feelings she thought she’d moved on from come crashing back. She wants her son to have his father in his life, but will she be able to protect her heart from TK Moore this second time around?

TK is living the football dream he’s always wanted for himself. There’s just one thing missing, and he realizes what it is when he discovers Poppy and Ace – his family. There are secrets that need to be aired out, but bottom line, TK wants to be a part of his family’s life. Where Poppy is rightfully wary and hesitant to restart their relationship, TK goes all in with helping and providing for his family. He’s determined to win Poppy’s heart, and being the big sweetheart that he is, Poppy has no chance of guarding her heart from him.

While I liked TK, Poppy was what made the story for me in Fumbled. I admired the hell out of this woman, who created an amazing life for her and her child on her own. She’s smart, funny, head-strong, and an incredible mother. I was also impressed with the way the author chose to portray football, which is not always about money and glory. Poppy knows the dangers and risks that come with this professional sport and has important discussions with TK and Ace about it.

Fumbled is another fantastic sports romance from a romance author who knows how to write, and write well. There’s a good setup within this book for the next couple in the Playbook series, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!


lacey


Reading Order: Playbook series

#1 ~ Intercepted: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Fumbled: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Blitzed: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Dec. 3, 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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Release Day Review: The Rose by Tiffany Reisz

The Rose by Tiffany Reisz
Series: The Red #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 16th 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Bestselling author Tiffany Reisz returns with an imaginative tale of lust and magic, and the dangers unleashed when the two are combined…

On the day of Lia’s university graduation party, her parents—wealthy art collectors with friends in high places—gift her a beautiful wine cup, a rare artifact decorated with roses. It’s a stunning gift, and one that August Bowman, a friend of her parents and a guest at Lia’s party, also has his eye on. The cup, August tells her, is known as the Rose Kylix, and it’s no ordinary cup. It was used in the temple ceremonies of Eros, Greek god of erotic love, and has the power to bring the most intimate sexual fantasies to life.

But Lia is skeptical of August’s claims of the cup’s mythology and magic—after all, he’s a collector himself, and she suspects he just wants to get his hands on this impressive piece of art. So he dares her to try it for herself, and when Lia drinks from the Rose Kylix she is suddenly immersed in an erotic myth so vivid it seems real—as though she’s living out the most sensual fantasy with August by her side…

Realizing the true power of this ancient and dangerous relic, Lia is even more wary of giving it up, though August insists it is only safe with him. He’s willing to pay the full value of the cup, but Lia has another type of trade in mind. One that finds them more tangled up in each other—and in fantasy—than either was prepared for.

The Red is one of my favorite books from Tiffany Reisz, and it certainly was one of the hottest books of hers I’d read… until The Rose. It’s hard for me to decide whether The Red or The Rose is steamier (they are both off-the-charts scorching), but since I’m all about Greek/Roman mythology, I’m gonna go ahead and say The Rose is TR’s hottest book yet, and as my queen of erotic romance, that’s saying something.

“I mean, the Rose Kylix is literally the cup of Eros. If you drink from it, you will experience your erotic fantasies. You will enter them, live them.”

I was incredibly excited for The Rose since it’s basically Greek mythology come to erotic life, but I was also pleasantly surprised to realize, once I got to reading it, that the heroine, Lia, is the daughter of the main character from The Red. We get plenty of Mona and her husband in The Rose, which I loved, and both are the kind of hilarious parents that live to embarrass their child. However, The Rose can stand on its own and you don’t need to read The Red to understand it, though I highly recommend the book!

A secret madam of an illegal escort agency, Lia Godwick is obsessed with all things Greek mythology. At her graduation party, her father gifts her a rare, ancient artifact called the Rose Kylix. This party is where she meets August Bowman, a beautiful, mysterious, older man who wants the Kylix for himself. He claims it holds the power to bring sexual fantasies to life, and here begins Lia’s sexual awakening, bringing all her Greek mythology fantasies to erotic life.

He met her eyes. “I’m going to make you fall in love with me. I don’t know how, but I am. Before this week is over, you’ll tell me you love me in this world.”
“Why?”
“Because you believe in Eros.”
She touched his face, his lips, his sweat-damp hair.
“I believe in you,” she said. “Isn’t that enough?”
“It’s a good start.”

I don’t know what else to say besides that this book is non-stop titillation. Tiffany Reisz never ceases to amaze me with her ability to writes such fantastic erotica that gets my mind thinking and my body hot. You can clearly tell the amount of research that went into the Greek mythology retellings, but at the same time, I loved TR’s twist to the tales. We get retellings of the stories of Achilles, Apollo and Psyche, Zeus, Poseidon, and plenty more. Aethra and Poseidon’s story in particular stood out to me. The storytelling is so well done that TR makes you feel like you yourself are transported into these Greek mythologies.

She lay back again and let herself enjoy the terrible sweetness of being the cause of a man’s undoing. He was older, a mystery to her and vastly more experienced, and she could conquer him utterly while laying flat on her back. This was power even a god would envy.

If you love Greek mythology, you absolutely need to read this book. It’s unique and completely different from anything else I’ve ever read. It’s dirty, decadent, and yes, romantic. I loved Lia’s story and I can only hope that TR gives us more in this series!


lacey

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


Reading Order: The Red series

#1 ~ The Red: My ReviewEbook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Rose: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads

Also by Tiffany Reisz

Standalones

 

The Bourbon Thief: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
The Night Mark: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
The Lucky Ones: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

The Original Sinners series

The Saint by Tiffany Reisz The Angel by Tiffany Reisz The Prince by Tiffany Reisz The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz
The Saint by Tiffany Reisz The King by Tiffany Reisz The Virgin by Tiffany Reisz The Queen by Tiffany Reisz
The Mistress Files by Tiffany Reisz 

#1 ~ The Siren: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Angel: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Prince: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ The Mistress: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ The Saint: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ The King: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ The Virgin: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#8 ~ The Queen: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
The Mistress Files: Ebook • Goodreads
The Confessions: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
The Chateau: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Picture Perfect Cowboy: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 19th 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself…as none other than West Ravenel.

West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire…not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.

Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?

Only the devil’s daughter knows…

Is there anything that can rival my love for Devil in Spring? Probably not, but I’ll keep on reading more of Lisa Kleypas’ wonderful historical romances in the meantime. Devil’s Daughter is the latest installment in the incredible Ravenels series, featuring the beloved daughter of Evie and Sebastian, Phoebe.

Phoebe, Lady Clare, lost her childhood friend, love, and husband from an illness too young. She is left in mourning with her two young children when West Ravenel enters her life. She remembers him as the bully who made her late husband’s childhood miserable, and she continues with that grudge when she first meets him. But as she gets to know this man, she realizes that he’s all grown up and completely different from the jerk he was as a young boy.

When Phoebe asks West to help out with her deteriorating farms, he can’t help but say yes. He’s drawn to the beautiful widow, though his troubled past makes him believe he’s not good enough for her. But since his transformation in book one, we know West is a compassionate, intelligent, and wonderful man who deserves happiness. I loved the fun chemistry and banter that sparks between these two. It was so obvious that Phoebe and West were meant to be together!

One of the many things I love about Lisa Kleypas is how she has her characters defy societal norms, be they in subtle or obvious ways. Phoebe is a widow, which means she has to dress and act a certain way for a certain period of time, but being the headstrong woman that she is, she does what she wants. West is a modern man who can appreciate past traditions while also welcoming future inventions when it comes to running a farm.

Devil’s Daughter is another hit from the queen of historical romance. LK has yet to disappoint me, with this series or otherwise. Right now, I’m dying for the next book, which will be about Cassandra!


lacey


Reading Order: The Ravenels series


#1 ~ Cold-Hearted Rake: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Marrying Winterborne: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Devil in Spring: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Hello Stranger: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Devil’s Daughter: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Chasing Cassandra: Goodreads (Feb. 25, 2020)


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Release Day Review: Soul in Darkness by Wendy Higgins

Soul in Darkness by Wendy Higgins
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: February 12th 2019
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

People travel from afar to the small isle in the Aegean Sea hoping for a single glimpse of Princess Psyche. Their adoration for the mortal woman is so all-consuming that citizens begin to shower her with the very gifts and offerings they once left at the alter of Venus, goddess of love and beauty.

But gods are known for their jealousy.

Cupid, the god of love, takes pleasure in causing strife and mischief in the lives of humans. He uses love as a weapon, humoring in the weakness of people at the whims of their feelings. When his mother Venus approaches him about punishing the human girl who dares to steal her offerings and affections from the people, Cupid gladly accepts.

Psyche’s punishment is to be given to a mysterious creature who only comes to her in the dark of night under the pact that she will never lay eyes on him. She is terrified of this stranger, who the oracle described as a serpent. Her mate, however, is masterful in his dealings with his bride. He takes his time, morphing her fears into different sensations completely.

Based on the Roman/Greek mythology of Cupid and Psyche from Lucius Apuleius, New York Times bestseller Wendy Higgins brings the tale to life, weaving layers that show exactly how a sacrificial lamb can be enchanted by an unseen monster.

Y’all, I loved this book something fierce. It is SO, so good, and definitely up there as one of my favorite reads of the year. I love mythology retellings, especially Greek/Roman ones, and this Cupid/Psyche retelling was brilliant and beautifully written. I fell so hard for the story and felt for the struggle Psyche faces with her unknown husband. It’s a pure, romantic read I highly recommend!

“It has been decided. Hers will be a funeral wedding to a dar-deeded winged serpent. Many call him a monster. Your dear Psyche will call him Husband.”

Psyche is the princess of her small island and is considered to be the most beautiful woman to exist. Unfortunately, this angers Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, as her worshippers have turned to worship Psyche instead. To appease Venus and to save her people, Psyche is forced to marry a monster. The rules are simple: the monster will be her husband, she will spend her nights with him, and she must never lay eyes on him or touch him.

“You can have my body, creature of the night, but you will never have my soul.”

I knew the basics of Psyche and Cupid going into this book, so I appreciated even more the author’s unique take on that story. Wendy transports you to this wondrous, ethereal world of gods and monsters, and she makes you fall in love with Psyche and her mysterious husband. Psyche may have been forced into her marriage, but she doesn’t take it lying down. She uses the little power she has to make a life for herself in the new house she lives in with her husband, and takes any bit of independence he gives her. The husband is not so much a monster after all. He is kind, thoughtful, generous – the kind of husband Psyche never dreamed he would be. But who exactly is he? And why was she chosen to be his bride? There’s more at play than what she knows, and slowly, as she starts to fall for her mysterious husband, the truth starts to unravel.

The chemistry between Psyche and Cupid is intense. I was afraid going in that it would lie more on the YA side of steam, with fade-to-black moments, but rest assured this is not the case in Soul in Darkness! I lived for the sexy moments between these two fascinating characters. They both are placed in impossible situations but manage to make something beautiful and lasting out of it.

“Your beauty will never fade in my eyes, Psyche.” His words and voice rolled over me, sweet and heady. “My wife. My princess. The one who shot me with her love.”

I’m incredibly happy with this retelling and I hope Wendy Higgins decides to do more in the future. Her writing captivates you and makes you believe in the love between her characters. I swooned for Cupid and cheered for Psyche – my heart ached at how romantic their love story was. If you love any type of retelling, you absolutely must read Soul in Darkness!


lacey

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


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