Release Day Review: Fumbled by Alexa Martin

Fumbled by Alexa Martin
Series: Playbook #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 23rd 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

A second chance doesn’t guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted.

Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she’s built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it’s all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.

T.K. Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he’s moved on.

When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they’ve suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they’ll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.

I was a huge fan of Alexa Martin’s debut novel, Intercepted, so when I heard she’d be writing more stories for the Denver Mustangs football team, I was ecstatic. And even more so when I discovered Fumbled would be a second chance romance, which is my go-to romance trope. Alexa Martin did not disappoint with this second novel – I love the way she writes tough, independent heroines, and the heroes who will do anything for them!

Poppy Patterson is a single mother whose life revolves around her beloved son. She’s worked hard to provide for them both, and she couldn’t be prouder of Ace. She’s built a good life for the two of them, but when her high school sweetheart, and the man who got her pregnant, shows back up in her life, all of the feelings she thought she’d moved on from come crashing back. She wants her son to have his father in his life, but will she be able to protect her heart from TK Moore this second time around?

TK is living the football dream he’s always wanted for himself. There’s just one thing missing, and he realizes what it is when he discovers Poppy and Ace – his family. There are secrets that need to be aired out, but bottom line, TK wants to be a part of his family’s life. Where Poppy is rightfully wary and hesitant to restart their relationship, TK goes all in with helping and providing for his family. He’s determined to win Poppy’s heart, and being the big sweetheart that he is, Poppy has no chance of guarding her heart from him.

While I liked TK, Poppy was what made the story for me in Fumbled. I admired the hell out of this woman, who created an amazing life for her and her child on her own. She’s smart, funny, head-strong, and an incredible mother. I was also impressed with the way the author chose to portray football, which is not always about money and glory. Poppy knows the dangers and risks that come with this professional sport and has important discussions with TK and Ace about it.

Fumbled is another fantastic sports romance from a romance author who knows how to write, and write well. There’s a good setup within this book for the next couple in the Playbook series, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!


lacey


Reading Order: Playbook series

#1 ~ Intercepted: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Fumbled: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Blitzed: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Dec. 3, 2019)


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Review: When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 9th 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In 1960s Florida, a young Cuban exile will risk her life–and heart–to take back her country in this exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.

Beautiful. Daring. Deadly.

The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez–her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost.

As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future–but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything–not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart…

What an unforgettable read! Beatriz’s story took my breath away – this novel was one I couldn’t put down. I’ve loved Chanel Cleeton’s writing for years now, but it truly shines when she writes historical fiction (though I still LOVE her romances). When We Left Cuba takes us on the wild, daring, touching story of a woman who seeks to reclaim her home and country from the revolution that’s stolen everything from her and her family.

It is 1960s Florida, Palm Beach, one year after the Perez’s were exiled from Cuba and forced to seek asylum in America. The family has settled, but Beatriz has not. Her heart is restless for her home country, and she’ll do anything to go back, including take down Fidel Castro with the help of the CIA. I absolutely loved Beatriz. She is a proud, brave, and passionate heroine. We witness the ups and downs of her trying to break away from the society girl mold she’s lived her whole life to her involvement with Cuban and American politics, the constant circle of hope, devastation, fear, and love she feels. She falls in love with a forbidden senator, but that doesn’t stop her from continuing on with her quest for revenge and justice.

I’m unbelievably impressed with the way Chanel Cleeton was able to weave Beatriz’s fictional story with real life historical events. It felt seamless and genuine, and Chanel’s writing easily transported me to this tumultuous time period. The political intrigue, the history, the passion, it all blended so well and kept me hooked onto the pages. When We Left Cuba is a beautifully-written, unputdownable historical novel that I can’t recommend enough.


lacey


Also by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana is a standalone companion to When We Left Cuba

Next Year in Havana: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Wild Aces series

  

#1 ~ Fly With Me: My Review • EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Into the Blue: My Review • EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ On Broken Wings: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Review: Out of Time by Monica McCarty

Out of Time by Monica McCarty
Series: The Lost Platoon #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 31st 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy 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.

With his men scattered to all corners of the globe after a disastrous secret op in Russia, Lieutenant Commander Scott Taylor is trying to find out who was responsible for leaking the information that killed half his platoon. Were it not for Natalie Andersson, the woman he’d been secretly dating in the Pentagon who’d warned him of the danger, he knows they’d all be dead. Scott is devastated when he hears that the woman he loved and hoped to marry has been killed for helping him—until he learns that Natalie was the spy who betrayed them. But when his search to clear his name brings him face-to-face with a very much alive Natalie, Scott realizes that justice and vengeance might not be as clear-cut as he thought.

Natalie Andersson, or as she was born Natalya Petrova, has put the memories of her early childhood in Russia behind her. She never dreamed that she would be at the center of an elaborate “sleeper” espionage program. Even when she learns the truth, she refuses to spy for the country of her birth, until the Russians threaten the lives of the only family she’s ever known. But Natalie is the worst spy in the history of spying, falling for her target. When her attempt at misdirection leads to irreversible consequences, she’s forced to run for her life, with her lover hot on her tail.

This book is without doubt my favorite of the Lost Platoon series. This sexy, action-packed series has been a roller coaster of a ride and wrapped up wonderfully in Out of Time. I’ve been sucked in to the suspenseful plot and hot romances, so it’s bittersweet knowing that this is the end of Navy SEAL Team Nine. But even though I hated to see it end, it was so worth the read.

It’s Lieutenant Commander Scott Taylor’s turn to get his romance, but this time it involves secret identities and betrayal. Scott had secretly been dating Natalie Andersson and been preparing to propose to her when half his team is killed and the rest had to scatter across the globe and go into hiding, including himself. If that wasn’t enough, he finds out Natalie has died in a car accident… except she hasn’t. She’s alive and well, but all his love for her died along with her fake death when he discovers that she’s double-crossing the U.S. and working for Russia and the people who killed his team. Of course, not all things are black and white, and there is much more to Natalie’s story than just betrayal.

Not only do we get Scott and Natalie’s edge-of-your-seat romance, we finally get Colt and Kate’s long-awaited HEA. They are a big reason why I loved this book so much. Monica McCarty has teased us bit by bit with this heart-wrenching divorced couple’s relationship over the past few books, and their story finally comes together in Out of Time. Colt realizes he’s messed up the best thing to ever happen to him. Kate isn’t sure she can go through a relationship with him again. The angst, the tears, the heartbreak were REAL, and I just couldn’t put their second chance romance down.

She’d made him think that he could make her happy.
But he’d never believed it—not really.
Maybe that had been the problem. But he swore if she gave him another chance he would make it his life’s mission to prove her right. He’d do whatever it took to make her happy. Colt didn’t have any right to ask for that second chance, but he was going to do it anyway.

Out of Time is jam-packed with action and suspense. Scott needs to protect Natalie from those trying to kill her, and will go to the ends of the earth to do so. Natalie has a lot of explaining and making up to do, but once we get her side of the story, we realize how tough and resilient this woman is. The heart-pounding action is the perfect compliment to the passion and intensity of their love story.

“You’re so incredible. I don’t know how I got so lucky.”

I just love this group of characters so much. Even though this is the end of the Lost Platoon, I can only hope we get more romantic suspenses from Monica McCarty in the future. She mixes suspense and romance so well, it’s hard to put down. I can’t recommend this series enough for those who love this genre!


lacey


Reading Order: The Lost Platoon series

  

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


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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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Release Day Review + Excerpt: Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #11 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 30th 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly passionate Guild Hunter world, where human-turned-angel Elena Deveraux, consort to Archangel Raphael, is thrust center stage into an eons-old prophecy…

Midnight and dawn, Elena’s wings are unique among angelkind—and now they are failing. The first mortal to be turned into an immortal in angelic memory, she’s regressing. Becoming more and more human. Easier to hurt. Easier to kill.

Elena and Raphael must unearth the reason for the regression before Elena falls out of the sky. Yet even as they fight a furious battle for Elena’s very survival, violent forces are gathering across the world. In China, the Archangel Favashi is showing the first signs of madness. In New York, a mysterious sinkhole filled with lava swallows a man whole. In Africa, torrential monsoon rains flood rolling deserts. And in Elena’s mind whispers a haunting voice that isn’t her own.

This time, survival may not be possible…not even for the consort of an archangel.

“I will undo the universe for you.” Tear it to pieces, leave it as broken as his heart would be if he didn’t have Elena.

OMG. What an ending!!! I don’t remember the last time Nalini Singh left us readers in such suspense in the Guild Hunter series since maaaybe book one, but boy do I need the next book asap!

In Archangel’s Prophecy, we’re back to my favorite couple of the series, Elena and Raphael. Change has been building up over the course of previous books, and no one knows the outcome of the next Cascade, which is nearing every day. Elena, a mortal turned angel, has started losing the feathers of her wings bit by bit. What does the world have in store for this once-mortal and her beloved archangel and friends?

The Guild Hunter series is one of my favorite urban fantasy worlds to get lost in. Nalini Singh breathes life into every one of her books, and this latest installment is no different. I loved being back with Elena and the gang, despite so many disasters striking. Elena is as badass with a heart of gold as ever. She fights with strength and love against the struggles she faces as her wings fail her in this book. I fall in love with Raphael over and over again with every GH novel – there’s something about an all-powerful being who is cold as ice but only tender and romantic to the woman he loves that gets to me. And he’s never been so vulnerable as when the love of his immortal life seems to be losing her immortality. The plot had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading, and right now, I’m absolutely dying for the next book in the series. I honestly have no idea what’s in store for the Guild Hunter world, but I have no doubt Nalini Singh will make it epic.


lacey


Now here’s an excerpt from Archangel’s Prophecy! ❤

excerpt button

Illium turned in a direction that would take them to the Catskills if they kept on going.

Sweeping closer to him, she said, “You just want to fly?”

Hair rippling in the quiet but cutting wind, he twisted down in a complicated fall before flying back up to her side. She laughed at his showing off. That was Illium. An angel of violent power who had a heart that might almost be mortal. And, these days, she could appreciate his tricks again. Not a single angel in the city had been ready to witness his acrobatics in the immediate aftermath of the day he’d crashed out of the sky.

Elena would never forget her screaming fear.

To his credit, Illium had flown with absolute discretion for months, letting the memory dull and fade.

When he returned to her side today, his face was flushed, the gold of his eyes rich. “Sky’s too beautiful to shut ourselves away in a club.”

“Just don’t forget I’m not as fast as you. Also, I’m currently lame.”

Illium lifted one cupped hand close to his shoulder, the other moving back and forth . . . and she realized he was playing a tiny violin in response to her morose tone.

“Crossbow, Bluebell.” Narrowed eyes. “Remember the crossbow.”

He dived, his wicked laughter floating up on the night air. Lips twitching, Elena continued to glide, letting the air currents sweep her along with cold but gentle hands. Illium, meanwhile, flew circles around her—but he never went far, always close enough to halt her descent should she tumble.

She landed a number of times to rest her wings, once in an isolated park whispering and dark. A luminescent insect appeared then disappeared from sight before she could truly see it, an earthbound star. The ghostly owl sitting on a tree branch watched her with eyes even more luminous.

A sigh deep in her mind, an old, old presence restless in Sleep.

The hairs rose on her arms.

Then Illium shot them both up into the sky again, and together, they flew far beyond the diamond-bright skyline of the city and over the sleeping homes of ordinary people who lived in a world of vampires and angels, blood and immortality.

Another rest stop for Elena.

Another throb of pain from the cut on her forearm.

Another watchful owl, this one landing on Illium’s shoulder without his knowledge. Ashwini had told her not to be afraid of the owls, so Elena ignored the goose bumps and said, Hello, with her mind. A good night to fly.

A vein began to throb at her temple.

The answer came a long time later, after they were in the air again, the glow of the sinkhole visible from the distance.

It has been an eon since I flew.

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Nalini Singh, 2018.


Reading Order: Guild Hunter series

Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh Archangel's Kiss by Nalini Singh Archangel's Consort by Nalini Singh Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh
Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh Archangel's Shadows by Nalini Singh Archangel's Enigma by Nalini Singh
   Angels' Flight by Nalini Singh

#1 ~ Angels’ Blood: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Archangel’s Kiss: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Archangel’s Consort: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Archangel’s Blade: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Archangel’s Storm: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Archangel’s Legion: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Archangel’s Shadows: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#8 ~ Archangel’s Enigma: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#9 ~ Archangel’s Heart: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#10 ~ Archangel’s Viper: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#11 ~ Archangel’s Prophecy: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#0.4, #0.5, #0.6, #3.5 ~ Angels’ Flight: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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