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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Blog Tour // ARC Review & Excerpt: Fall by Kristen Callihan

The next book in Kristen Callihan’s incredible rock star romance series is here!
Check out my review for Fall and an excerpt below!

Fall by Kristen Callihan
Series: VIP #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 23rd 2018
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The first time I met Jax Blackwood things went a little sideways.

In my defense, I didn’t know he was Jax Blackwood—who expects a legendary rock star to be shopping for groceries? More importantly, a blizzard was coming and he was about to grab the last carton of mint-chocolate chip.

Still, I might have walked away, but then he smugly dared me to try and take the coveted ice cream. So I kissed him. And distracted that mint-chip right out of his hands.

Okay, it was a dirty move, but desperate times and all that. Besides, I never expected he’d be my new neighbor.

An annoying neighbor who takes great pleasure in reminding me that I owe him ice cream but would happily accept more kisses as payment. An irresistible neighbor who keeps me up while playing guitar naked–spectacularly naked–in his living room.

Clearly, avoidance is key. Except nothing about Jax is easy to ignore—not the way he makes me laugh, or that his particular brand of darkness matches mine, or how one look from him melts me faster than butter under a hot sun.

Neither of us believes in love or forever. Yet we’re quickly becoming each other’s addiction. But we could be more. We could be everything.

All we have to do is trust enough to fall.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunes

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“Be with me. Let’s fall together, Button.”

We’ve all had fantasies of falling in love with a rock star who loves you back, right? At least I have, and let me tell you, those fantasies come to life in Kristen Callihan’s latest rock star romance, Fall. This is the third book in the VIP series, and though it can be read as a standalone, I recommend reading the previous two books to get a better sense of the band (Kill John) and its dynamics to have a better experience while reading Fall!

Managed was one of my top favorite books of 2016, so to say I was excited for Fall would be an understatement. John “Jax” Blackwood intrigued me since he first appeared in the VIP series, and his story gutted me and wrecked me, just like I knew it would. Even though it might seem like he’s a man on top of the world as one of the most famous rock stars ever, he has his demons and his downfalls. He battles depression, anxiety, and suicide just like any other person, and Kristen Callihan handles his struggles in a way that is honest, raw, and respectful.

Stella Grey is your average girl who is just trying to get through life after her father abandoned her at eighteen, leaving her to barely make ends meet and continue paying for their apartment. She works as a professional friend, constantly caring for and giving to others, but not receiving much back. All that changes when she meets John, though she has no idea who he is at first and steals the last mint chocolate ice cream out from under him. She becomes his new neighbor when she pet-sits for one of the members of Kill John. Through moments of friendship, laughter, and deep conversation, the two start to fall in love in the most heartfelt, adorable way possible.

“It’s nothing special,” I whisper. I’m just me, a girl like any other.
Under lowered lids, he looks at me, his expression solemn. “You’re extraordinary.”

I highly recommend giving Fall a try if you’re looking for something a little deeper and more raw in your romances. I loved John and Stella together – they felt like real people with real struggles, and I couldn’t get enough of their story. Kristen Callihan continues to amaze me with her writing, and I can only hope we’ll get more books about the rest of the Kill John band!


lacey

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

Now here’s an excerpt from Fall! ❤

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The air between us shifts. I’m filled with a strange giddiness, wanting to laugh for the fun of it, but I’m also too warm, my limbs oddly heavy as if simple movements might be too much for me.

His tone turns soft and cajoling, teasing the truth out of me. “Are you going to tell me what you do?” When I say nothing, the corners of his eyes crinkle. “I see. You’re going to torture me a bit.”

The warm, fuzzy feeling grows as I shrug. “Torture feels apropos in this scenario.”

He hums again, taking another step toward me. “What makes you think I won’t like being tortured by you?”

The heat of his body and the scent of his skin makes my head light and my pulse pound. How did it get to this point where the highlight of my day is flirting with Jax Blackwood? Despite the thrill, I know I’m in over my head. I haven’t gone out on a date in months because I form attachments, I get emotional, and then I hurt when they inevitably leave. And this man will leave. He is as bright and fleeting as a camera flash. I’ll be left with the image of him seared into my memory and nothing more.

I tell myself all of this, the voice in my head as stern as possible. But it doesn’t make me back away. It doesn’t stop my body from somehow straining toward his without even moving. Because it might be stupid of me, but I want to feel something that isn’t planned. Something, for however briefly, that’s real.

He’s too attuned to me not to notice. John’s lids lower as his attention slides down my body before easing back up to my face. Slowly, he rests his forearm on the wall beside my head. “Tell me, Stella,” he murmurs.

“No,” I whisper back, flirting, even though I shouldn’t.

His biceps bunch as he leans in, a smile dancing on his lips. “Tell.”

My breasts graze his chest, and I feel it in my toes.

“You’re crowding me.” I hate how breathy I sound.

“Can’t help it.” His voice is a rumble, the heat of his breath playing over my skin. He ducks his head, drawing close until our lips nearly brush, and when he speaks again, his tone is almost conversational, except for the husky quality that touches deep within my core. “You smell like strawberries. Fucking delicious.”

My lids flutter, and I swallow hard. “Ordinarily, I’d call you out on that cliché but since I’ve been eating strawberries, you aren’t exactly wrong.”

His chuckle is slow and easy, as he eases back and his gaze slowly travels over my face. “Were they sweet, Stella Button?”

He’s looking at my mouth like he might try to find out. My lips tremble in response, and John tracks the movement, his breathing getting deeper, faster. “You have two freckles on your lips. One on the top lip and one on the bottom corner.”

Those damn freckles. They were the bane of my adolescence. I hid them with lipstick and silently cursed whenever someone mentioned them.

Freckles don’t have any feelings, but I swear it’s as if he’s touching them.

“You’re just noticing this?” I try to make it sound like a joke, but it comes out weak and thready.

His own lips quirk. “Oh, I noticed. It’s distracting as hell. They’re like two little dots of butter toffee. Makes me want to lick them, get a taste.”

Oh, God. Lick them, please. I can almost feel it. I want to feel it.

No. Bad Stella. Behave.

John’s lips part a fraction like he just might take that taste.

“Back off,” I whisper. And yet somehow my traitorous hands find their way to his sides, running over the waistband of his jeans, holding him there.

John makes a sound deep in his throat and tilts his hips, pressing them against mine. A distinctly thick bulge nudges my belly. Both of us lose a breath, and then he’s closer, his cheek touching my temple. “You’ll have to let me go first.”

My thumbs slide under the edge of his shirt and find smooth, taut skin. A tremor goes through his body. I try to think, search for what the hell we’ve been talking about.

His lips brush the crest of my cheek as he murmurs against my skin. “Tell me what you do, Stella. You know you want to.”

My smile feels illicit. Somehow the action is directly tied to all my happy parts, making them draw hot and tight. “I don’t think I do.”

Another hum. “Liar. You’re dying to.”

Reading Order: VIP series

  

#1 ~ Idol: My ReviewEbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Managed: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Fall: EbookPaperbackGoodreads

about the author button

Kristen CallihanKristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Amazon Page


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Release Day Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Most men can’t handle Hazel. With the energy of a toddler and the mouth of a sailor, they’re often too timid to recognize her heart of gold. New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Roomies, Beautiful Bastard) tells the story of two people who are definitely not dating, no matter how often they end up in bed together.

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

Christina Lauren is easily in my top 10 most beloved authors. This author duo knows how to write romance, and write it well. Each new release of theirs brings something unique and fresh to the genre, and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is no different. Josh and Hazel stole my heart in their hilarious, adorable friends-to-lovers romance. If you love entertaining books with well-written characters that are utterly relatable, you definitely need this book in your life!

I love quirky heroines, and you don’t get any more quirky than Hazel. She looks at the world a little differently than other people, and Josh understands her in a way few others do and adores her all the more for it. Josh is her perfect match, the steady stability to Hazel’s wild ways. They’ve known each other for a decade since college, but after reuniting, their friendship grows even stronger. You can absolutely feel the strength in the foundation of their friendship, and I love how that friendship slowly grows into an epic love.

As much as I love alpha heroes, it’s the quiet, dependable heroes that always get to me. Josh’s support and adoration for Hazel is one of the best parts about this novel. In addition to that, Christina Lauren did a fantastic job at authentically writing about Josh’s life as a Korean-American. As an Asian-American myself, I couldn’t help but appreciate how seamlessly the authors wove Korean culture, from the language to the food, into the story.

If you’re a fan of rom-coms and friends-to-lovers, I can’t recommend this book enough. Josh and Hazel’s story is fresh, genuine, and romantic. Christina Lauren left me with a smile on my face by the end of the book, but that’s no surprise for me. They’ve been knocking their 2018 releases out of the park, and I already can’t wait for more from them!


lacey


Also by Christina Lauren:

Standalones:

   

Dating You / Hating You: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Autoboyography: Ebook • Hardcover • Audible • Goodreads
Roomies: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Love and Other Words: My Review • EbookHardcover • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Beautiful Bastard series

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren Beautiful Bitch by Christina Lauren
Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren Beautiful Bombshell by Christina Lauren Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren Beautiful Beginning by Christina Lauren
Beautiful Beloved by Christina Lauren Beautiful Secret by Christina Lauren Beautiful Boss by Christina Lauren 

#1 ~ Beautiful Bastard: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Beautiful Bitch: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Beautiful Stranger: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ Beautiful Bombshell: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Beautiful Player: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3.5 ~ Beautiful Beginning: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3.6 ~ Beautiful Beloved: My Review • Ebook • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Beautiful Secret: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4.5 ~ Beautiful Boss: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Beautiful: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Wild Seasons series

 Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren Dark Wild Night by Christina Lauren Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren

#1 ~ Sweet Filthy Boy: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Rowdy Thing: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Dark Wild Night: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Wicked Sexy Liar: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads


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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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Early Review: Stripped by Zoey Castile

Stripped by Zoey Castile
Series: Happy Endings #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 28th 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Skilled, sculpted, and sexy, the men of adult entertainment are the kind of guys a woman reserves for her fantasies, not her reality. But is there more to these professional hotties than meets the eye? . . .

The day Robyn Flores meets Zac Fallon is one of those days. You know, when you’re already late for work. Mostly because you haven’t really slept since your best friend abandoned you for her fiancé and her exponentially better life. The kind of day you drag yourself to the cleaners to pick up your laundry, only to discover you’ve got the wrong bag—Star Spangled sequined thong, anyone? So Robyn is definitely not ready for the ridiculously gorgeous guy at her front door, except that they have each other’s clothes. But then, is any woman ever ready to meet the love of her life?

There’s just one problem: Zac Fallon is not the love of Robyn’s life. Zac knows, despite the all-too-intimate dinner they share, he doesn’t have a shot at her. Because the next time Zac sees Robyn, he’s front and center of the male revue headlining her best friend’s bachelorette party. So much for wooing the pretty schoolteacher, much less impressing her old-fashioned family, with his upstanding lifestyle. Now he’s only got one way to win his dream girl. It’s gonna be the steamiest, most irresistible seduction she’s ever seen. And this time it will be no act . . .

I had such high hopes for Stripped – I mean, a stripper and a fifth-grade teacher? To say I was intrigued would be an understatement, and I ended up adoring Fallon and Robyn. Their romance was surprisingly so much sweeter than I expected, but just as dirty and sexy as I was hoping a stripper romance would be. It was so easy to fall into the story, the writing, the characters. Zoey Castile is a new author you don’t want to miss. And if you’re a fan of Magic Mike, you absolutely need to read Stripped!

Robyn Flores’ life is a bit of a mess. She’s an elementary school teacher who is perpetually late getting to work. She used to have plans growing up on how exactly her life would turn out, and it’s all spiraled out from under her. But things start to change when she finds a sequined thong in her laundry… a thong that belongs to her next door neighbor, who is also one of the strippers who shows up at her best friend’s bachelorette party.

Fallon is not ashamed of being a stripper, and why should he be? He embraces his job that has led him to become successful and comfortable in life, a change from his childhood. He sees no shame in what he does, though he hates that people disrespect him and look down on him when they find out what he does for a living. He and Robyn feel an instant connection the moment they meet and the chemistry between them is on fire. I loved every moment they were together, as they banter with each other and form a closer bond. Fallon is absolutely perfect for Robyn, with the way he treats her so preciously. The way he embraces his job helps Robyn discover and embrace her own true passion in life. Robyn frustrated me a bit with her back and forth – in both life and with Fallon – but that was balanced out by how kindhearted Fallon was. Stripped was surprisingly low on drama, but it worked for their story.

As far as first books in a series go, Stripped was fantastic. It was entertaining, funny, but also had its meaningful moments. Also, Zoey Castile is way too talented at writing stripper scenes, because they just come to life right out of the pages. And they are HOT. I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for her readers with the rest of the series, and I’m so excited to see more strippers fall in love!


lacey


Reading Order: Happy Endings series

  

#1 ~ Stripped: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads (Aug. 28, 2018)
#2 ~ Hired: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads (Feb. 26, 2019)
#3 ~ Flashed: Goodreads (2019)


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