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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Release Day Review: Motion by Penny Reid

Motion by Penny Reid
Series: Laws of Physics #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 11th 2019
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

One week.
Home alone.
Girl genius.
Unrepentant slacker.
Big lie.
What’s the worst that could happen?

Mona is a smart girl and figured everything out a long time ago. She had to. She didn’t have a choice. When your parents are uber-celebrities and you graduate from high school at fifteen, finish college at eighteen, and start your PhD program at nineteen, you don’t have time for distractions outside of your foci. Even fun is scheduled. Which is why Abram, her brother’s best friend, is such an irritant.

Abram is a talented guy, a supremely gifted musician, and has absolutely nothing figured out, nor does he seem to care. He does what he feels, when he feels, and—in Mona’s opinion—he makes her feel entirely too much.

Elements of Chemistry is one of my FAVORITE new adult romances, so to say I was excited for Penny Reid’s next NA trilogy would be an understatement. We met Abram previously in Capture, part 3 of EoC, and I have to admit I was fascinated with him. He carried so much depth and emotion that I had to know his story, and now we finally have it! At least the first part of it. Motion is a fantastic beginning to Mona and Abram’s slow (slooow) burn romance and I’m unashamedly greedy for more of them already. If you’re in the mood for something different, with unique, weird, unforgettable characters, you need to read this book (and basically all of Penny’s books).

Mona is not your average girl. She’s wicked smart and at nineteen, has already started her PhD program. But for being such a smart girl, she can’t rope her way out of the big mess her estranged, identical twin sister throws her into. Lisa is in jail but she needs Mona to pretend to be her until she gets out so that their parents don’t find out and cut her off. And not only that, Mona needs to convince Abram, their brother’s best friend, that she is her wild sister, someone who is Mona’s complete opposite. Things become even more complicated when Mona realizes she way, wayyy attracted to Abram.

Did he move? Or were we always standing this close? And why wasn’t I cringing away? Goodness, his face would be nice to sit on.
AAHHHH!

Mona as Lisa and Abram are stuck in a house together for a week, and this forced proximity allows these two to get to know one another on a deeper level. Even when Mona tries her hardest to be Lisa, little Mona-isms still manage to reach the surface, which is what Abram falls for. And once Mona knows there’s more than meets the eye with this supposed slacker, she starts to develop feelings for him too. The blazing chemistry that’s always between them certainly doesn’t hurt. But with Mona lying about who she is, can anything real last between them when the truth comes out?

“You have to tell me what you want,” he whispered gruffly. “If you don’t want me, tell me. But you have to know, you must know, I only want to make you happy.”

I love Penny Reid’s kind of humor, which is intelligent yet awkward. This is the very definition of Mona, in fact. At first, she comes across as very standoff-ish and doesn’t seem to connect with anyone. But as we get to know her, her love for Moby Dick, and her ridiculous yet hilarious phrases, her quirks become endearing and you just want to give this girl a hug. Abram himself is just SWOON. How can you not love a guy who reads and loves romance, and Lisa Kleypas books at that?

As you may know, Motion ends of a cliffhanger. As brutal as it is, it is the kind of cliffhanger that you expect, and it’s juicy enough that you want the next book ASAP. Luckily, we don’t need to wait too long for Space, as it’s only a month away. I can’t wait to dive deeper into these characters with the next installment – March needs to get here sooner!


lacey


Reading Order: Laws of Physics series

  

#1 ~ Motion: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Space: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads (March 11, 2019)
#3 ~ Time: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads (April 15, 2019)

The Laws of Physics series is a spinoff of the Elements of Chemistry series!
You don’t have to read one to read the other, however.

Reading Order: Elements of Chemistry series

Attraction by Penny Reid Heat by Penny Reid Capture by Penny Reid Elements of Chemistry by Penny Reid

#1 ~ Attraction: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Heat: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Capture: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#1-3 ~ Elements of Chemistry Bundle: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Blog Tour // Review: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: January 29th 2019
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Crush (n.): a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

Buy Links:
Ebook • PaperbackHardcoverAudible
HarperCollinsBarnes & Noble

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The Hating Game is one of my all time favorite books, so to say I was excited for Sally Thorne’s next release would be an understatement. Even though I didn’t quite obsess over 99 Percent Mine like I did THG, I still adored Darcy and Tom. The beginning was a little rough for me to get into, but once I hit my stride, I absolutely didn’t want to stop reading.

I adore a good brother’s best friend romance, and this one has everything I like about the trope: chemistry, forbidden elements, childhood crushes, angst. It’s also funny, witty, and quirky. Darcy is just so different from any other heroine I’ve read, and I appreciated her for that. Tom is an absolute SWEETHEART – the shy to Darcy’s aggressive. Big, shy heroes are my favorite. If you like opposites attract, I think you’ll fall for Tom and Darcy.

We’re all shareholders in Tom Valeska: Jamie, Megan, and me. His mom and my parents. Loretta and Patty. Everyone who’s ever met him wants a piece of him, because he’s the best person there is. I quickly count up all of those people. I include his dentist and doctor. Maybe he’s 1 percent mine. That has to be enough. I have to share.

Darcy Barrett has had a life-long crush on childhood friend Tom Valeska, but him being taken as her brother’s best friend put a stop on anything romantic developing between them growing up. But when there’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be near and around him for long periods of time – a chance to flip a house with him – Darcy seizes it. And what ensues is a romance story that is awkward, charming, funny, and endearing.

Darcy is beautifully flawed and complicated. Her insecurities sometimes get the best of her, which she hides behind her snark and sass. She’s a very hot and cold character, which was off-putting in the beginning, but she grew on me by the end. She believes that she’s not good enough for Tom, but Tom is just so loving and supportive of her. He’s a big, gentled, kind-hearted man who blushes around Darcy but isn’t afraid to be protective and possessive of her. I couldn’t help but swoon for him.

“If you were mine, I’d be careful with you. I bet that’s something you haven’t had much of.”…
“What else would you do?” I’ve got that husky voice he likes.
The animal in him is honest with me. “Everything. If you were mine, I’d do everything.”

I really appreciated that Sally Thorne didn’t write a The Hating Game 2.0. 99 Percent Mine is very different from THG, but Sally’s wit and charm comes across well in her writing. If you enjoyed THG, I highly recommend you try this second novel of hers. ALSO! For all you Josh and Lucy fans, there’s the sweetest little epilogue to THG at the end of 99 Percent Mine and it. is. glorious!


lacey

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

Be sure to check out Sally’s previous novel, The Hating Game!

EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

about the author button

Sally Thorne is the USA Today-bestselling author of The Hating Game. She spends her days climbing into fictional worlds of her own creation. She lives in Canberra, Australia with her husband in a house filled with vintage toys, too many cushions, a haunted dollhouse and the world’s sweetest pug.

Website • Twitter • FacebookInstagram • Goodreads


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Review: Off the Grid by Monica McCarty

Off the Grid by Monica McCarty
Series: The Lost Platoon #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 3rd 2018
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC 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.

Investigative reporter Brittany Blake may have stumbled upon the story of a lifetime in her search for her missing brother. When he seemingly disappears overnight, she refuses to accept the Navy’s less-than-satisfying explanation. She begins her own investigation, which leads her to top-secret SEAL teams, covert ops, and a possible cover up…

John Donovan is having trouble biding his time, waiting for his Commanding Officer to figure out who set up their platoon. John’s best friend and BUD/S partner, Brandon Blake, was one of the many lives tragically lost in the attack against his team. When Brandon’s sister, Brittany, tracks John down, looking for answers, he realizes that she may be their best bet–or bait–for finding out who is targeting SEAL Team Nine.

The Lost Platoon series is the kind of romantic suspense that I LIVE for. I am utterly addicted to the action, the steam, and the chemistry between the main characters. I put off reading Off the Grid until the third book released so I could binge them back to back, and boy am I glad I made this decision. I was in romantic suspense heaven continuing this fantastic series. Off the Grid is the middle child of the series, though it doesn’t have the middle book syndrome. There is so much that happens, both in terms of the romance(s) and overall plot arc, so if you enjoyed Going Dark, you’re definitely going to want to read this follow-up!

Brittany Blake is an investigative reporter who knows something has happened to her missing brother. The U.S. military gave excuses for the missing men in SEAL Team Nine, but Brittany is determined to uncover the truth. The first step to doing so? Connecting with her brother’s best friend and fellow SEAL, John Donovan… the man who broke her heart years ago.

John Donovan and the rest of the surviving SEAL Team Nine men are off the grid. They can’t let either the U.S. or Russia know that they are the sole survivors of a Russian attack, as they were never supposed to be on Russian soil. But their secrecy is in jeopardy when John’s dead best friend’s sister starts nosing her way to the truth. John is tasked with distracting and eventually stopping Brittany from her investigation. But he can’t help the connection that he’s always felt for her, that flares up just as strongly now as it did five years ago.

She laughed, totally impervious to any suggestiveness. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that. Five years ago she used to blush when he said things like that to her.

I enjoyed Brittany and John’s characters, though at times they did seem immature. John is known as the funny guy in his team, and I loved the light-heartedness he brought to the book. He’s also a bit of a player, and I wanted Brittany to make him work just a bit harder to win her over, but I can’t blame the girl for falling so easily into his arms. A six foot plus, 200+ pound alpha-male that is allll muscle? I wouldn’t say no either.

He almost didn’t recognize himself. Brittany had turned him into some kind of less evolved, possessive, jealous version of John Donovan.

In addition to John and Brittany, we also get more of Kate and Colt’s story that we initially learned about in Going Dark. I’ll admit, a big part of why I wanted to continue the series was to get Kate and Colt’s (hopefully) happy ending, and in Off the Grid, we definitely see them heading in the HEA direction, though it’s not quite there yet. As far as second chance romance goes, this one is spectacular. All the angst and all the heartache!

Off the Grid is a fantastic installment in the Lost Platoon series, but trust me, it only gets better from here. The suspense is well done – it kept me guessing who did what. Brittany and John’s relationship starts off fast in bed, but the slower development of feelings is worth the read. As far as military romances/romantic suspenses go, this one is SO good.


lacey

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


Reading Order: The Lost Platoon series

  

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


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ARC Review: Prisoner of Night by J.R. Ward

Prisoner of Night by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #16.5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 7th 2019
Links: Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From #1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward comes an unforgettable story of passion and vengeance in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world.

When Ahmare’s brother is abducted, there is nothing she won’t do to get him back safely. She is unprepared, however, for the lengths she will have to go to save his life. Paired with a dangerous but enticing prisoner, she embarks on an odyssey into another world.

Duran, betrayed by his father, imprisoned in a dungeon for decades, has survived only because of his thirst for vengeance. He has been biding his time to escape and is shocked to find an unlikely and temporary freedom in the form of a determined young female.

Battling against deadly forces and facing unforeseen peril, the pair are in a race to save Ahmare’s brother. As time runs out, and the unthinkable looms, even true love may not be enough to carry them through.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood is one of those must-read PNR series that everyone knows, reads, and loves, and for good reason. There’s nothing quite like this world of vampires and alpha-males, both of which I can never get tired of if J.R. Ward writes it. Some of my favorite bookish heroes have come from this series (RHAGE!) and for that I will forever be grateful to the Warden.

In Prisoner of Night, we get a little break from the BDB boys and are introduced to two new main characters: Duran, whose father sold him into imprisonment for twenty years, and Ahmare, who will risk anything to save her brother’s life. These two have one common enemy, Chalen, who is Duran’s tormentor and holds Ahmare’s brother hostage. They must band together in order to free themselves of Chalen, even while having their own agendas. There’s an immediate connection between them, but they try to ignore it to reach their end goal.

Ahmare kind of made him want to stick around.
Even though that was crazy talk.

While I can’t say that I loved this novella, it was a nice addition to the BDB world. It doesn’t add anything to the main storyline, but we do get to discover new characters that maybe we’ll see in the future again. And not only do we get Ahmare and Duran’s romance, we get a bonus love story in this novella too, though I wish both were fleshed out just a bit more. Now, I’m dying for the next actual BDB book, The Savior, which is Murhder’s book! I can’t wait to see what J.R. Ward has in store for us in his book!


lacey

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


Reading Order: Black Dagger Brotherhood series

    
    
    
   

#1 ~ Dark Lover: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Lover Eternal: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Lover Awakened: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Lover Revealed: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Lover Unbound: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Lover Enshrined: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Lover Avenged: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#8 ~ Lover Mine: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#9 ~ Lover Unleashed: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#10 ~ Lover Reborn: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#11 ~ Lover at Last: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#12 ~ The King: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#13 ~ The Shadows: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#14 ~ The Beast: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#15 ~ The Chosen: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#15.5 ~ Dearest Ivie: EbookGoodreads
#16 ~ The Thief: EbookHardcover • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#16.5 ~ Prisoner of Night: Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#17 ~ The Savior: EbookHardcoverAudibleGoodreads (April 2, 2019)

Don’t miss the spinoff series.

Reading Order: Black Dagger Legacy series

  

#1 ~ Blood Kiss: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Blood Vow: Ebook • HardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Blood Fury: My Review • Ebook • HardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Blood Truth: EbookGoodreads (Aug. 13, 2019)


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