Release Day Review: Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas

Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Ravenels #7 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 27th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

New York Times bestseller Lisa Kleypas returns with an enthralling and steaming romance between a Scot with a mysterious past and strong-willed lady looking for adventure—and love.

“The devil never tries to make people do the wrong thing by scaring them. He does it by tempting them.”

Lady Merritt Sterling, a strong-willed young widow who’s running her late husband’s shipping company, knows London society is dying to catch her in a scandal. So far, she’s been too smart to provide them with one. But then she meets Keir MacRae, a rough-and-rugged Scottish whisky distiller, and all her sensible plans vanish like smoke. They couldn’t be more different, but their attraction is powerful, raw and irresistible.

From the moment Keir MacRae arrives in London, he has two goals. One: don’t fall in love with the dazzling Lady Merritt Sterling. Two: avoid being killed.

So far, neither of those is going well.

Keir doesn’t know why someone wants him dead until fate reveals the secret of his mysterious past. His world is thrown into upheaval, and the only one he trusts is Merritt.

Their passion blazes with an intensity Merritt has never known before, making her long for the one thing she can’t have from Keir MacRae: forever. As danger draws closer, she’ll do whatever it takes to save the man she loves . . . even knowing he might be the devil in disguise.

I am dying over how wonderful this book was. It was everything I wanted and more from a Lisa Kleypas romance. I loved Merritt and Keir so much. The passion and love between them stole my heart. Devil in Disguise is now one of my new favorite Lisa Kleypas historicals!

Devil in Disguise is book 7 in the Ravenels series but I’m not sure why that is. You might be able to read it fine as a standalone but I would recommend reading the Wallflowers series first, because this book is the second generation of that series. Not a lot of Ravenels actually show up. Merritt, our widowed heroine, is Lillian and Marcus’ oldest daughter and is in charge of her late husband’s shipping company. Her newest business partner is Keir, our very first Scottish Lisa Kleypas hero. The connection between them is instantaneous and fantastic to read!

Keir and Merritt killed me in the best of ways. I was swooning over their romance, which does happen quickly, but then a wrench is thrown in that slows things down and evens out the pacing. I adored how gone both of them were over each other. Keir is a total grumpy sweetheart and it was too easy to love him. There’s a bit of suspense in this with someone going after Keir, so in between the romance, mystery, and family drama, there’s never a dull moment in this read.

If you loved Sebastian from Devil in Winter, I am happy to say you’ll get to see a lot of him here! We even get a few chapters in his POV. I won’t spoil anything, but I had no problem with the connection between Sebastian and Keir. Honestly, it was just a delight seeing the Wallflowers cast (well, half of them) again and I can only hope we get more second generation books in the future!

Merritt and Keir are perfection together. There’s a reason why Lisa Kleypas is so beloved and why she’s my favorite historical romance author. I fall so hard for every one of her stories – and heroes – and cannot wait to read more!


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: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Devil in Disguise: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Last Guard by Nalini Singh

Last Guard by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 20th 2021
Links: EbookHardcover • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands. . . .

Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.

For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed “imperfect” by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel for the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.

To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet . . . or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.

We’ve got a Psy-Psy romance for this 5th Trinity book! Even though this isn’t my favorite kind of pairing (I say this even though my all time favorite PC book is Psy-Psy lol), Payal and Canto’s romance is lovely and heartwarming. They are a part of Designation A, who are essentially the foundation and backbone of the Psy race, and unfortunately, they’re dying.

Canto, a Mercant, brings the formerly unknown A’s together and finds Payal, the girl who saved his life when he was a boy. There were lots of Heart of Obsidian vibes here, which made me happy. Payal reminded me of Kaleb, Silent and ice cold to prevent herself from the chaos inside of her learning out. Canto was the perfect hero to bring love and passion in her life and break down her walls. There’s also disability rep here, with Canto in a wheelchair.

I really enjoyed Last Guard! It’s always a joy to be back in this world. All the bear cameos made me smile. I’m crossing my fingers we’ll get another bear changeling romance because I can never get enough of them. And I’m still looking forward to a Nikita/Anthony book, if we ever get one!


lacey


Reading Order: Psy-Changeling Trinity series

 

#1 ~ Silver Silence: My ReviewEbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Ocean Light: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Wolf Rain: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Alpha Night: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Last Guard: EbookHardcover • AudibleGoodreads


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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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Review: The Devil in Her Bed by Kerrigan Byrne

The Devil in Her Bed by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Devil You Know #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 9th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

​The Devil in Her Bed is the final book in the stunning Devil You Know trilogy by USA Today bestselling author Kerrigan Byrne!

He lives in secret service to the Crown—a man of duty, deception, and an undeniable attraction to a woman who threatens to tear his whole world apart.

They call him the Devil of Dorset. He stands alone, a man of undeniable power. Moving in and out of shadows, back alleys and ballrooms, he is unstoppable and one of the Crown’s most dangerous weapons. However, when he sets his sights on the undeniably beautiful Countess of Mont Claire, Francesca Cavendish, he doesn’t realize that he has met a match like no other.

TRUE LOVE WEARS NO DISGUISE

Francesca is a countess by day and stalks her prey—those responsible for the death of her family—by night. What she does not expect is to be thrown into the path of the devil himself, the Earl of Devlin. She has secrets of her own and he seems determined to lay them bare. Can her heart survive finding the love of her life and losing him when all is revealed?

I am just a little bit devastated I didn’t love this one. I had such high hopes for Francesca ever since she was introduced in book 1, and I loved the setup for her romance in book 2. You can probably guess who the mysterious “Devil of Dorset” is from the ending of All Scot and Bothered. I have one main reason why I was disappointed by this (which I’ll get into below), but I will say that even though it’s my least favorite of the series, I was still hooked onto the pages. Kerrigan Byrne always writes sexy, exciting, almost suspenseful historical romances with fantastic heroines and antiheroes, and The Devil In Her Bed hit the spot regarding that.

Francesca is the last of the 3 Red Rogues to get her story and she’s always been the most mysterious one. She lives her life as a Countess, but it turns out her true goal in life is to get revenge against the people who killed her family and the people her family worked for. Francesca has a secret past full of murder and deceit, and she’s so much more than she seems. She’s a fierce, strong, intelligent heroine I loved pretty much from the start. And one of my favorite parts about this series is the wonderful female friendship between Francesca, Cecelia, and Alexandra, so I was happy to get even more of that brilliant friendship in this book.

Our hero goes by so many names that I don’t even know what to call him without slightly spoiling things, lol. His identity isn’t that much of a secret if you’ve kept up with the series, and the prologue gives you a good sense of who he is anyway. He’s still an intriguing character – he’s dark, tortured by his past, and works as a spy for the government. All of those things should’ve made me love him, but the main reason I couldn’t get into the romance as much as I wanted to was that this hero thinks Francesca is someone else for almost the entire book. So it was hard for me to buy that he loved Francesca for her, rather than for someone else. I don’t blame him for thinking she’s someone else because of her hidden identity, but he kept going on and on about being in love with this person from his past that I just wasn’t sold enough on him loving the real Francesca.

I’m sad the ending to this series didn’t quite live up to my expectations, but I’ll still be reading anything Kerrigan Byrne writes. I love her storytelling and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next!


Reading Order: Devil You Know series

#1 ~ How to Love a Duke in Ten Days: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ All Scot and Bothered: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Devil in Her Bed: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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