Review: Black Tangled Heart by Samantha Young

Black Tangled Heart by Samantha Young
Series: Play On #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 14th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

To my siblings, Jane was a friend. A pseudo-sister, the girl we grew up with.
To me? She was everything.
Our passion consumed us.

When our world fell apart, I thought our love would be the thing that held us together.
She was the love of my life. But she abandoned me when I needed her most.
And I’ll never forgive her.

For years I’ve been planning my revenge against the people who took everything from me.
Jane won’t be an exception. I’m coming for her.
She knows it.

She says she wants to help me serve my version of justice on the people who hurt me.
I’ll let her.
She probably thinks it will save her from me.

It won’t.

Black Tangled Heart took me by surprise by how gripping and addicting it was! I enjoyed the first Play On book and though I haven’t read the second yet, I was still excited to see what Samantha Young had in store for us. As soon as I started reading, I was HOOKED onto Jane and Jamie’s story. It’s a story of first love, revenge, and second chances. There are moments that will hit you in the gut and give you ALL the feels. The romance is beautifully passionate and messy at the same time. I highly recommend this one if you want something unique and unputdownable!

This book is split into two different parts: the past, when Jane and Jamie first fall in love as teenagers, and the present, when they reunite as adults and are filled with revenge. In the past, Jane is a foster child when Jamie’s family moves in next door. His family becomes her pseudo-family and slowly, we see their love develop and bloom into something deep and beautiful. They may have only been teens, but the strength of their love is everlasting. Then tragedy strikes them, leaving the two heartbroken and eventually split apart for years. Now, Jamie is back in Jane’s life, feeling hurt, angry, and wanting revenge against the people who hurt his family… and wanting revenge against Jane.

What a wild, emotional trip this book was! The passion and chemistry between Jane and Jamie is INTENSE. I loved the parallel between their sweet young love and the volatile passion it turned into. The story’s also got a good dose of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat. This book could’ve easily been a 5 star read for me – I was LOVING the past and the way it was set up. But I got mad at what happened during Jane and Jamie’s separation, and the part when they got back together was a little too easy after all the build up. I wanted Jamie to grovel a bit more for what he did. And the revenge plot gets resolved too conveniently, which is why I’m giving this book 4 stars instead of 5. Still, it’s a fantastic read that will take you on an emotional journey. If you love Samantha Young, you don’t want to miss this one!


lacey


Reading Order: Play On series


#1 ~ Play On: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ As Dust Dances: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Black Tanged Heart: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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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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Release Day Review: The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin

The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin
Series: Billionaires of Manhattan #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 28th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

I’m no Prince Charming, and the last thing I need is a Cinderella.

My instructions were simple: scour the city for a fake fiancée who’s not my type at all. Have her on my jet Monday morning, dressed appropriately for a yacht vacation.

I need a woman believable enough to convince a certain client that I’ve changed my playboy ways…yet nothing like the supermodels and socialites I usually have on my arm.

Somebody too annoying to tempt me–no emotional entanglements, thank you very much. This is business only.

If she’s unfazed by my looks and wealth, all the better.

Should be easy. Right?

Apparently not, because my people go and hire Tabitha. My hairdresser.

What were they thinking? Yes, I said annoying, but I didn’t mean Tabitha, the most frustrating woman in the world.

Tabitha is sunshiny. She has a pet hamster. She loves Hello Kitty, and she gets under my skin like nobody else.

As if that’s not bad enough, the minute we step on deck, she thinks that certain people on the yacht are up to something shady–based completely on her soap opera knowledge.

She won’t listen when I tell her she’s being ridiculous.

But as the days go by, I find that we’re actually having fun. And our fake kisses are heating up. And suddenly her wild theories aren’t sounding so strange after all…

Anyone else a sucker for the grump falling for the sunshine character trope? Or the fake engagement trope? If so, you’re in luck! Annika Martin’s latest rom-com has all that goodness (if you couldn’t tell, I love a good grump) and more. The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée is a fantastic, light-hearted romance that will have you smiling and giggling. It’s feel-good and adorable and exactly what I want in a rom-com!

I’ve been wanting to read Annika Martin’s contemporary romances for a while. I’ve only ever read her dark romances, and I always find it so fascinating and impressive when authors switch up genres/subgenres – and do it well. Now I know for a fact that Annika Martin can do both dark and lighthearted romances, because I enjoyed The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée so much! We’ve got the grumpiest grump of a hero (which, if you include in a book, I’ll want to read it) who needs a fake fiancée to win over an account for his billion-dollar company. Rex wants to find someone he does not like and who is in no danger of falling for him… so he hires his hairdresser Tabitha. Tabitha, the sunshiniest girl he’s ever met, the woman he sees once a week for his hair, the one who owns a hamster, loves daytime soap operas, and gets on his nerves like no other.

“Don’t worry, your kindness is a secret between us. You’re my brutish, gothic Heathcliff, the alpha male who shows his soft side only to me. Ooh, that’s good.” Here she does one of her upwards finger-pointing gestures. “Right there. That’s our couples dynamic.”

Most of the story takes place on a giant yacht, so not only do we have fake fiancés, we’ve got fake fiancés who are forced to be in close proximity for the next two weeks. Rex and Tabitha are entertaining as all get out when they’re together – she’s constantly ruffling his feathers and he’s being a total grump about it. I loved their dynamic, with and without the fake engagement. And I loved being able to see Rex slowly let down his walls to let Tabitha in. She turns his life completely upside down with her adoring, sweet ways. She’s ridiculous and hilarious and I loved her for him.

It drives me crazy that I can’t read her right now. It drives me crazy that she isn’t wearing any of her secret little Tabitha things. She’s everything that drives me crazy, and everything that I ragingly, infuriatingly, frustratingly want.

Now I am absolutely looking forward to reading Annika Martin’s other billionaire rom-coms! This one read completely fine as a standalone, so I’m sure the others can be too. I’m also DYING to read the next book in the series, another opposites attract romance, about the shy friend who confronts the owner of the building they live in!


lacey

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


Reading Order: Billionaires of Manhattan series

#1 ~ The Billionaire’s Wake-Up-Call Girl: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Most Eligible Billionaire: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Breaking the Billionaire’s Rules: Paperback • Goodreads
#4 ~The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#5 ~ Return Billionaire to Sender: Goodreads (Sept. 2020)


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Review: Lovewrecked by Karina Halle

Lovewrecked by Karina Halle
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 25th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

What happens when you take a grumpy yet oh-so sexy groomsman, add a cheerful maid-of-honor that gets under his skin, and strand them on a deserted island together? Lovewrecked is the sexiest, funniest, sweetest romantic comedy of the year, from the NYT bestselling author of The Pact and A Nordic King

Daisy Lewis is experiencing a relentless string of bad luck.

Fortunately, Daisy has her sister’s destination wedding coming up. A week of sand, sea, and sun in the South Pacific as the maid-of-honor is exactly what Daisy needs to forget her upturned life and focus on the positive.

That is until Daisy meets the best man.

If you take tall, dark, and handsome, and add a dash of rugged, a pinch of brooding, and a whole lot of sexy, you’ve got Tai Wakefield. Unfortunately he’s also a major grump, total alpha, and seemingly out to antagonize Daisy at every turn.

As if being part of the wedding party with Tai wasn’t bad enough, Daisy’s bad luck soon resurfaces when she ends up on a cramped sailboat with Tai and the newlyweds.

Which then shipwrecks on a deserted island near Fiji.

Okay, so they aren’t completely alone. There’s an oddball research scientist who has been isolated for far too long, they have rundown bungalows as shelter, stores of water and canned food, plus a feral goat named Wilson.

It’s Lost…without the smoke monster.

But with rescue weeks away, Tai and Daisy realize the only way they’re going to get through this mess is to stop fighting and start working together.

And with their guards down, they get closer.

A lot closer.

Soon, Daisy realizes that the only thing worse than being stuck on a deserted island, is being stuck on a deserted island with a man she hates to love and loves to hate.

A man that can break her heart.

If you ever wanted to read a rom-com about getting shipwrecked and stuck on a deserted island, and NOT have to worry about anyone dying on that deserted island, Lovewrecked is your book! This was a hilarious, low angst/drama, entertaining romance that I highly recommend.

I’ll admit, if you ever show me a romance with the grumpy hero + sunshine heroine trope, I will read it 99% of the time. This trope just always gets to me! I love the dynamic and Karina Halle writes it wonderfully in Tai and Daisy’s relationship. They get off on the wrong foot from the very second Daisy lands in New Zealand and it only gets better when they get themselves into trouble (along with Daisy’s sister and her new husband) by getting shipwrecked on their way to Fiji and forced on an island together.

I had a grin on my face pretty much the entire time I read Lovewrecked. Daisy and Tai are so funny and charming together, and once the romance picked up, I was swooning! There were times when I genuinely laughed out land over the craziness everyone gets up to while stranded on the island (like a certain someone using some poisonous leaves when there’s no toilet paper around). This book was truly a blast to read and I already can’t wait for another rom-com from Karina Halle!


lacey


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Early Review: Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai
Series: Modern Love #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 21st 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In Alisha Rai’s second novel in her Modern Love series, a reclusive investor goes viral, shoving her into the world’s spotlight—and into the arms of the bodyguard she’s been pining for…

OMG! Wouldn’t it be adorable if he’s her soulmate???

I don’t see any wedding rings <eyes emoji>

Breaking: #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl went to the bathroom AT THE SAME TIME!!!

One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a random guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire encounter with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae has the world swooning. Going viral isn’t easy for anyone, but Katrina has painstakingly built a private world for herself, far from her traumatic past. Besides, everyone has it all wrong…that #CafeBae bro? He isn’t the man she’s hungry for.

He’s got a <peach emoji> to die for.

With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, offers his family’s farm as a refuge. Alone with her unrequited crush feels like a recipe for hopeless longing, but Katrina craves the escape. She’s resigned to being just friends with Jas–until they share a single electrifying kiss. Now she can’t help but wonder if her crush may not be so unrequited after all…

I have been so excited for Girl Gone Viral – for Katrina’s story – ever since reading and enjoying The Right Swipe. And after having finished GGV, I can say this is another success in the Modern Love series! But what else did I expect from Alisha Rai? I loved this story. Jas and Katrina are the sweetest cinnamon rolls and I adored their slow burn romance! If you’re in the mood for something fluffy that will make you feel all the bubbly feelings, you need to read this book.

In case you didn’t know, this is a BODYGUARD ROMANCE! A trope I don’t read that often, but love all the same. Jas has been Katrina’s bodyguard and protecting her for years, and both have been pining for each other for almost as long as they’ve known each other. There is plenty of longing and unrequited (but actually requited) loved between the two of them. Then Katrina goes viral on Twitter against her will, terrified of losing her privacy, and Jas sweeps her away to his secluded farm out in the California countryside. FINALLY, things start to heat up now that they’re in such close proximity together (and Katrina gets to accidentally see Jas shirtless a time or two).

Katrina and Jas are such pure characters. They are kindhearted and selfless people, which is the main reason why neither of them ever brought up their feelings to the other until now. Their romance is just so… SOFT. I loved the dynamic between these two characters who have known each other for YEARS, so they know all about the other person’s quirks, likes, and dislikes. There is also plenty going on outside of their adorable slow burn romance, with the tweets and the people behind them showing up all over the media, and Jas’ family conflicts, particularly with his grandfather, who wants Jas to inherit his farm.

I think I liked this even more than The Right Swipe. I know I’ve seen some reviews say that the romance was overshadowed (which I felt in TRS) but in GGV it never really felt that way to me! I didn’t mind at all that we get a ton about the viral tweet and Jas’s issues with his family, mainly because Jas and Katrina are always dealing with everything TOGETHER. They are such soft, lovely, complex characters and if you love the bodyguard trope, I can’t recommend this book enough!


lacey


Reading Order: Modern Love series

#1 ~ The Right Swipe: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Girl Gone Viral: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (April 21, 2020)


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