Early Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas

Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Ravenels #6 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 18th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

​Everything has a price . . .

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her . . .

Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.

When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.

The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun . . .

I’ve been on such a Lisa Kleypas roll lately. First, I read Again the Magic and it blew my mind. Then, of course, after I read that I HAD to read Marcus’ book, It Happened One Autumn. Next I ended up rereading Devil in Winter and then finally read the final Wallflowers book for the first time. I made it halfway through before the ARC of Chasing Cassandra landed on my kindle and I had to drop everything to start it.

I absolutely adore the Ravenels series – not quite as much as the Hathaways when it comes to family sagas from LK, but I love it nonetheless. With Chasing Cassandra we get the last and final Ravenel family member getting her HEA with a man who will do anything to have her. Tom Severin has been mentioned in a few previous books as the friend of West and Winterborne. He’s made a fortune for himself as a railroad mogul – in this case, he reminded me so much of Winterborne with his rags to riches story, and also Harry Rutledge from Tempt Me At Twilight. Both Tom and Harry are obsessed with their heroines right from the get-go, worshipping them and willing to do anything to have them. Tom also does not believe in love, thinking that he’s incapable of feeling it or of receiving it. But meeting Cassandra changes everything for him. Not only does he desperately want her for his wife, he’s feeling new emotions like *gasp* love for the very first time.

“Perfection is impossible. Most mathematical truths can’t be proved. The vast majority of mathematical relations can’t be known. But you… standing here in your bare feet in that dress… you’re perfect.””

I LOVED getting to know Tom and Cassandra. Tom first comes across as very robotic – logical, cold, ruthless, and unemotional. But with each tender interaction he has with Cassandra, we see him opening his heart to not just her but the whole Ravenel family, which made MY heart so incredibly happy. I loved seeing his character develop in such a lovely way. Cassandra is the Ravenel that we honestly saw the least of. I didn’t know much about her other than the fact that she was Pandora’s twin. But the more I read of her, the more I loved her character too. She’s such a sweet and headstrong young woman. All she wants is to find love and have a family of her own, basically the complete opposite of her sister, but that’s okay too. She knows she’s found a once-in-a-lifetime with Tom and she’s not willing to accept anything but his whole heart.

“Nothing has been exciting or satisfying for years. With you, though, everything is new. All I want is to be with you.”

The blurb hints that this is a marriage of convenience, and while there is one, the story doesn’t really revolve around that and it doesn’t happen until much later in the book. Mostly, it’s Tom being ridiculously loving and tender to Cassandra without him even realizing it. I was SWOONING over all the heart-stopping things he says. Their chemistry is fantastic. I just loved their developing relationship so, so much!

When I finished this book, I honestly didn’t even realize it was the final book until I started writing this review. Now I’m feeling bittersweet. While I would’ve loved an epilogue to wrap up the Ravenel family, I still was happy with how CC ended. It’s an emotional, heartwarming book that you don’t want to miss if you love Lisa Kleypas. All I can say now is PLEASE give us a new family series to obsess over (like the Marsden children)!


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: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Feb. 18, 2020)


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Review: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
Series: A Gathering of Dragons #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 4th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

​A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil—until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…​

I’ve had so much hype ever since A Heart of Blood and Ashes got on my radar. I’m always on the looking for an epic fantasy romance, and this one sounded so promising. Plus, I’d read Milla Vane years ago not just under her pseudonym Meljean Brook (The Iron Duke is still one of my favorite fantasy romances!), but also when she published a novella under MV in an anthology. So I knew she could write incredible fantasy worlds – and she didn’t disappoint with this first A Gathering of Dragons book. It was a fantastic start to a new series that I already need more of!

An enemies to lovers romance, slow burn, political intrigue, spilled blood, and barbarian warriors – this fantasy romance has it all. AHoBaA kicks off with the murder of our hero Maddek’s parents, who were king and queen of their barbarian kingdom and part of an alliance council that formed out of a truce between all five kingdoms. Now Maddek is next in line for the throne, but first he wants revenge against the rival king he believed killed his parents… starting with their daughter. But Yvenne offers herself up as his bride instead, because the one thing she wants most in the world is her corrupt father’s death. Neither of them expects the insane amount of chemistry to build between them or that they would start falling for one another.

This book was SO FREAKING GOOD! It was a little slow to get into in the beginning, with all the world-building and info dumping we’re getting hit with straight off. There are a ton of characters and kingdoms to keep track of. But once I hit my reading stride I couldn’t put this book down. I’ve been wanting a new, epic fantasy (romance) to get obsessed with, and AHoBaA hit all the right buttons for me. Alpha, barbarian warrior; heroine who uses her words and brain to kick ass; a delicious, sexy slow burn in a marriage of convenience; and some epic world-building. The pacing is fairly slow but it’s never boring. I loved the amount of steam we got as well as a good dose of angst between our main characters. I was HOOKED onto the romance – I was so glad that despite everything going on, Milla Vane made the romance the main focus of the story.

I do have to say, sadly, there are no actual dragons in this book (they used to exist, but not anymore), but there are Dragons! They are basically Maddek’s bodyguard/friends. Other than that, I can’t wait to read more of this fantasy world. I’m so glad we don’t have to wait too long for the next book (only five months!). Even though this first book concludes Maddek and Yvenne’s romance and revenge subplot, there is still an over-arcing plot that deals with a dangerous, powerful being that’s about to wreak havoc. I’m so looking forward to where Milla Vane will take us next.

Also, if you want to see the map of this world, Milla Vane has one! Sadly it didn’t make it into the book.


Reading Order: A Gathering of Dragons series

 

#1 ~ A Heart of Blood and Ashes: EbookPaperback • Goodreads (Feb. 4, 2020)
#2 ~ A Touch of Stone and Snow: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (July 7, 2020)


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Review: Whatever It Takes by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Whatever It Takes by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Series: Bad Reputation Duet #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 21st 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

​I HAVE A BAD REPUTATION.

Call me what you want: Bad Boy Next Door. Trouble. That Kid Who Can’t Do Anything Right.

When Willow moves into my neighborhood, nothing should have happened. She’s geeky. Shy. A true wallflower.

Willow is a good girl.
Too good for me.

And how the hell was I supposed to know that she’s related to Loren Hale—yeah, that douchebag celebrity that lives on my street. The same guy I’ve been pranking by spray painting vulgar words on his mailbox and worse. Much worse.

Don’t ask me why I do the things I do.
Don’t ask me why it had to be her.

I’m cursed. Simple as that. But here’s the thing about people who are cursed—they break everything they touch.

And yet. . .I still want to touch her. ​

I truly never thought I’d see the day where we finally get Willow and Garrison’s much-awaited full story!!! I am beyond happy and grateful Krista & Becca Ritchie have finally given it to us – at least the first part. Luckily, book two of the Bad Reputation Duet is out only a week after Whatever It Takes! This is a new adult romance that’s a spinoff of the Addicted series, though you don’t have to read the original to understand this duet. But if you are a fan of the Addicted world and all its fantastic characters, you’ll want to get your hands on WIT immediately!

Originally, Willow and Garrison’s beginning was released on Wattpad, and it was such an adorable, wholesome new adult romance. We have two complete opposites who connect over their loneliness and bond over all things nerdy like comic books. In Whatever It Takes, we do get to see those original chapters again. The book is told in past and present POVs, so the past chapters are mainly made up of what we’d read on Wattpad, which I honestly didn’t mind reading again. We get to see how Willow and Garrison first meet alongside their present-day, long-distance relationship and how they deal with living across an ocean from each other. It was an interesting contrast to read about their relationship at two different points – one being sweet, slow, romantic, and the other full of longing and little bit of heartbreak.

I loved being back in this world. I enjoyed Garrison and Willow’s story so much, but I LOVED seeing the Calloways, Hales, Cobalts, and Meadows again. Seeing the Core 6 in their element made my heart sing. But don’t worry, if you haven’t read any of the original books, I don’t think you’ll feel lost. It’s just an amazing cast of secondary characters 😉

If you enjoy NA romances, WIT is a must read. There are parts that are set in college, a first love between a bad boy and a good girl, and a little bit of angst. It was just a great first book in this duet and I’m dying to get my hands on Wherever You Are!


Reading Order: Bad Reputation Duet

#1 ~ Whatever It Takes: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Wherever You Are: EbookGoodreads (Jan. 28, 2020)

The Bad Reputation Duet is the spinoff of the Addicted & Calloway Sisters series! However, you don’t need to read the original series to understand the Bad Reputation Duet.

Reading Order: Addicted/Calloway Sisters series

Addicted to You by Krista & Becca Ritchie Ricochet by Krista & Becca Ritchie Addicted for Now by Krista & Becca Ritchie Kiss the Sky by Krista & Becca Ritchie Hothouse Flower by Krista & Becca Ritchie
Thrive by Krista & Becca Ritchie Addicted After All by Krista & Becca Ritchie Fuel the Fire by Krista & Becca Ritchie Long Way Down by Krista & Becca Ritchie Some Kind of Perfect by Krista & Becca Ritchie

#1 ~ Addicted to You: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Ricochet: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Addicted for Now: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.1 (Calloway Sisters #1) ~ Kiss the Sky: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.2 (Calloway Sisters #2) ~ Hothouse Flower: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ Thrive: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Addicted After All: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3.1 (Calloway Sisters #3) ~ Fuel the Fire: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3.2 (Calloway Sisters #4) ~ Long Way Down: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3.5 (Calloway Sisters #4.5) ~ Some Kind of Perfect: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads

The Like Us series is the spinoff series of the Addicted & Calloway Sisters series.

Reading Order: Like Us series

 

#1 ~ Damaged Like Us: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Lovers Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Alphas Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Tangled Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Sinful Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Headstrong Like Us: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Charming Like Us: EbookGoodreads (June 23, 2020)
#8 ~ Wild Like Us: Goodreads (2020)


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Review: Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey
Series: Hot & Hammered #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 14th 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey returns with a unique, sexy romantic comedy about a young married couple whose rocky relationship needs a serious renovation…

Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippie. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

YAASSSSSS!!!! The hype for Rosie and Dominic was REAL ever since I read Fix Her Up. I was expecting all the good angst and groveling in Love Her or Lose Her and Tessa Bailey gave all that to me and then some. I did have my frustrations with Dominic but I loved him (and Rosie) anyway. This was SO MUCH FUN to read and I have to say I loved it even more than FHU. The heartache, the humor, the sexy times… all of it together made a fantastic read. And if you’re expecting your classic TB alpha, dirty-talking hero, look no further than Dominic.

My favorite kinds of romance tropes are ones where the main characters have some sort of history together: second chance romance, friends to lovers, the brother’s best friend romance, etc. And of course, the already married couple trope! (Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s what the trope is called but we’ll go with that.) I’ve read some amazing romances where the hero and heroine are already married (and not in a marriage of convenience) at the beginning of the novel and I’m so glad to say Love Her or Lose Her is another hit to add to my list. Rosie and Dominic are high school sweethearts, but their marriage has fallen on the rocks ever since Dominic came back from his time in the army. He doesn’t communicate with Rosie anymore and she’s about had enough. She wants a divorce, Dominic doesn’t, they’re still completely in love with one another… so what do they have left? Marriage couples counseling.

“You really thought I wouldn’t take any chance—any chance—to get you back, didn’t you?” His voice roughened. “Fuck, Rosie. You can’t be serious.”

I just adored Rosie and Dominic and their path to an HEA (again). They both have their own journeys, Rosie with her career and passion for cooking, Dominic with learning how to communicate, but together is where they truly shine. You can clearly tell how much these two are meant to be together and I loved getting to be a part of that experience.

“I’ll do anything you ask me to do,” he said in a gravelly voice. “Except walk away.”

Tessa Bailey is one of my all-time favorite authors and rarely does she let me down. She always gives me exactly what I expect (a kickass heroine, obsessed alpha hero, all the steam) and she absolutely delivers with this newest release! Right now, I’m dying for Bethany’s story, and if you’ve read this book, then you know who her enemies-to-lovers romance will be with!


lacey


Reading Order: Hot & Hammered series

#1 ~ Fix Her Up: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Love Her or Lose Her: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Tools of Engagement: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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Review: Winter Tales by Tiffany Reisz

Winter Tales by Tiffany Reisz
Series: The Original Sinners #8.7 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 19th 2019
Links: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Return to USA Today bestseller Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series with Winter Tales, a collection of three fan-favorite Christmas novellas plus a brand-new novella exclusive to this anthology.

In December Wine, the long-awaited story of Nora Sutherlin’s first meeting with Nico can finally be told. Nora enlists her editor (and sometimes lover) Zach Easton on a mission to track down Kingsley’s long-lost son. Nicolas “Nico” Delacroix turns out to be young, strikingly handsome, and very French. He wants nothing to do with his father…but everything to do with Nora.

This special holiday-themed collection also includes the novellas Poinsettia, The Christmas Truce, and The Scent of Winter (previously available only as ebooks). A bonus short story starring Søren rounds out the Winter Tales anthology.

I am always SO happy when Tiffany Reisz writes anything related to my favorite erotica series ever, The Original Sinners. This is one of the few series that I can never get tired of. I adore everything about Nora, Søren, Kingsley, and the rest of this brilliant cast of characters. Any time I pick up a book or story with them, it’s like coming back to old (kinky) friends. And whether it’s a full length book or a holiday themed novella, I’ll take anything and everything from TR. This time, with Winter Tales, we get four novellas plus a bonus short story that all work perfectly with the winter holiday.

December Wine, the new novella in this collection, is probably my favorite of the five, mainly because I just love Nico so, so much. I wish we got more of him and Nora! We finally get to see how these two met for the very first time in France, and we can tell how besotted they become despite being complete strangers. I just want a full length book for them PLEASE! I need to know everything that happened between them meeting to how Nora became his Dom.

We also get novellas featuring Søren and his time with Magdalena in Italy, Søren and Kingsley sharing a cabin in the woods in the winter, and of course one with the dirty trio all together. The bonus short story takes place after the final Original Sinners book, which turns out not to be the final one anymore! God bless, but we are getting more of the OS world, and this short story is a little bridge to the upcoming book, The Priest.

Tiffany Reisz amazes me every time I open up one of her books. Her writing is stunning, the way she’s able to write love, kink, and humor so flawlessly. I cannot get enough of her words and I’m so glad we aren’t done with the Original Sinners series just yet!


lacey


Reading Order: The Original Sinners series


  

 

#1 ~ The Siren: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Angel: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Prince: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3.2 ~ The Mistress Files: EbookGoodreads
#4 ~ The Mistress: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ The Saint: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ The King: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#6.3 ~ Michael’s Wings: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ The Virgin: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#8 ~ The Queen: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#8.2 ~ The Confessions: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#8.3 ~ Mischief: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#8.4 ~ The Chateau: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#8.5 ~ Picture Perfect Cowboy: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#8.7 ~ Winter Tales: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#9 ~ The Priest: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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