ARC Review: Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlett #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 19th 2015
Links: Ebook • Hardcover • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.

Only the greatest loves can survive great danger. . .

Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine needs Scarlet’s help to free him. For a lifelong thief, this newfound allegiance to the crown-her family-is a strange feeling.

Scarlet knows that helping Eleanor will put her and those she loves back in Prince John’s sights. Desperate not to risk anyone’s life but her own, Scarlet formulates a plan to help save the king on her own. But fate-and her heart-won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long. Even if Scarlet and Rob can together stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England, will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

I love this series so much. Scarlet and Rob hold a special place in my heart. After reading and absolutely adoring the first two books in the series, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the third and final book. It’s a bittersweet thing that we’ve come to the end of Scarlet’s incredible story. I honestly never wanted it to end – I could read about Scarlet, Rob, and the rest of the gang forever! I love A.C. Gaughen’s unique writing and the refreshing take on the Robin Hood story. This series is honestly one of the best fairytale retellings I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

As much as I loved the first two books, I’m a bit disappointed in myself that I couldn’t really get into Lion Heart in the beginning. It had been so long since I last read the second book, and it took me a while to remember everyone and to piece everything back together. But it was easy enough to just keep reading and slowly catch up on the story. In Lion Heart, Scarlet takes us readers on one last, final journey – to protect the ones she loves from the evil Prince John and to fight for the man she’s in love with.

Scarlet is such a unique, fascinating heroine that I love with all my heart. She’s a character I look at with such admiration. Despite the ways Prince John has tried to sabotage her and her loved ones, she never stops her stand against him. And not only does she fight for her loved ones, she uses her position of power as the daughter of King Richard to fight on behalf the weak and poor. And no matter how many times Prince John pushes her down, Scarlet always gets back up.

“I am not weak, and i am not broken, and I will not be hurt by you. … I am King Richard’s daughter, and I am lionhearted too.”

I’d forgotten how much I was utterly in love with not only Scarlet, but also Rob. My heart freaking flipped every time Rob appeared by Scarlet’s side, a place he’s absolutely meant to be. Rob and Scarlet both have scars, but together, they can overcome them, support one another, and fight for their future. And, oh, how my heart melted each and every time Rob showed his love and devotion towards Scarlet.

“As long as you love me, I’ll be here, hidden somewhere in your heart.”

I really wish there was more at the end. If there was just a few more chapters, so I could see exactly how the characters ended up, then I would have loved this book perfectly. But I was left hanging, longing for more, even though it was a fairly concrete, solid ending.

I may not have loved this book as much as the first two, but this series overall is without a doubt one of my favorite series of all-time. It’s incredibly well-written, with a fascinating historical plot and characters you grow to love and adore. And seriously, Rob is to die. for.

“I didn’t deserve this–I couldn’t do this–until you, Scarlet. So if there’s something I’m meant for, it’s you.”

I highly, highly recommend this series! I’m so incredibly sad it’s over, but Scarlet’s story is a must read!

4 hearts
lacey

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


Reading Order: Scarlet series

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen Lady Thief by AC Gaughen Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

#1 ~ Scarlet: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Lady Thief: My Review • Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Lion Heart: Ebook • HardcoverGoodreads


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Blog Tour + Early Review & Giveaway: Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen

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Welcome to the official Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen blog tour! I absolutely adored Scarlet, and I’m so ecstatic to be a part of Lady Thief’s tour! For today’s stop, I review the brilliantly written Lady Thief. Don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway below!

Lady Thief by AC Gaughen

Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #2 (full reading order below)
Release Date: February 11th 2014
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Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and the royal court has come to Nottingham to appoint a new sheriff. The people hope that Prince John will give them a champion, but the prince has different plans . . . involving Scarlet and Lord Gisbourne.

Scarlet must put aside her weapons and boys’ clothing to join the dark and plotting court. She will do anything to outwit the Prince and win a life with Rob, but hidden within the court is a secret no one was supposed to discover. When the truth is revealed, Scarlet will have to pay a steep price.

Featuring a strong girl heroine who will appeal to fans of Grave Mercy and Throne of Glass, this sequel to Scarlet will leave readers breathless for more.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • IndieBound

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Oh. My. GOD! I honestly didn’t think Lady Thief could meet the high expectations I had after Scarlet, but Lady Thief blew me away! It’s a stunning, incredible sequel to Scarlet. I wholeheartedly loved Lady Thief, with its cast of unforgettable, lovable characters and unique writing. If you loved Scarlet, Lady Thief will not disappoint you! And if you haven’t read Scarlet, you really should–A.C. Gaughen’s Scarlet series is one of my favorite series ever! It’s an action-packed historical fiction, a refreshing fairytale retelling, and a heart-stopping romance all wrapped into one mind-blowing package.

“I love you, Scarlet. Go on, now, before you steal my sanity too,” he said.
“Too?” I questioned.
His grin by the moon were wicked and handsome. “Thief of my heart.”

Lady Thief follows shortly after Scarlet’s ending (and can I just say how THANKFUL I am that A.C. Gaughen wrote a sequel to Scarlet? Because I am so, so happy she did). Scarlet’s true identity as a woman of high class, as Marian of Leaford, is finally out in the open, the love between Scarlet and Rob has blossomed, but things aren’t exactly going well right now. For one thing, Scarlet is married to Lord Gisbourne, who is an evil man. Scarlet had to marry Gisbourne in order to save Rob, who was tortured horribly. Rob is safe now, but he constantly has nightmares in which he harms Scarlet in his sleep. There’s tension brewing between Robin Hood and his Merry Men, but there’s no doubt that all of them, Rob, Scarlet, John, and Much, will stick by each other through thick and thin. I’d missed the four of them, and I loved revisiting the bonds and camaraderie between them again.

Scarlet is once again a total badass in Lady Thief. I adore Scarlet. She’s a fierce, strong, compassionate girl who loves with all her heart, and will protect those she loves with everything she has. In Lady Thief, she always puts those she loves above herself–she’d give her life for them, and she basically does when she agrees to be a proper wife for her husband. Even in the midst of political drama including a cruel, despicable prince, Scarlet never gives up and never goes down without a fight. She fights for the people of her town, and especially for Rob and for their love. I love her for her perseverance, for fighting to have the future she wants with Rob. It’s an incredibly difficult road getting to their happily ever after, but Scarlet doesn’t give up.

And do you know what A.C. Gaughen has done to me? She’s made me fall head over heels in love with Robin Hood. I never gave a crap about the fairy tale Robin Hood before, but then I read about Scarlet’s Rob and it was love at first page. In Lady Thief, he’s a little broken after his torture, and attacking Scarlet in his sleep isn’t helping him get better. Even though the book is in Scarlet’s POV, I could just feel his shame and agony over hurting Scarlet, even unintentionally, because he just loves her so much. He’s such a vivid character, someone I can conjure up in my mind so easily. He’s loyal, compassionate, loving, and he has such a kind heart. He’s a thoroughly good man, and he and Scarlet are absolutely perfect for each other.

“It’s strange,” he said low in my ear. “When night falls my chest is full of fear, but holding you like this, Scar, I can’t help but feel grateful. Joyous. By the light of day, I still cannot fathom that I’m the one you love.”
I turned a little to look at him. “I do love you. I always will.”

Oh my goodness, my heart flutters every single time Rob opens his mouth. He and Scarlet are so much more romantic in Lady Thief, and I was grinning so much! They fight so hard to find a way to annul Scarlet’s marriage to Gisbourne, and they won’t stop until they can finally be together out in the open. They have a captivating, passionate love that made me swoon and sigh. It’s sometimes painful too, because they just have so many obstacles in the way of their happily ever after.

“These schemes may benefit the people, Scarlet, but I fight for you.” His hands squeezed my waist a little bit, and it made my blood run fast. “I will always fight for you.”

The other characters in Lady Thief are just as compelling as Scarlet and Rob. They all have their distinctive personalities, even the evil characters, and they made Lady Thief such a great book to read. There’s never a dull moment, and especially in the second half of the book, I was at the edge of my seat, nearly biting my nails. Things get intense in this book, and I loved every second of it!

Lady Thief is an absolute must read–Scarlet fans, you don’t want to miss this one! This whole series is brilliant–the story is executed perfectly, and the characters are so consuming to read about. I highly, highly recommend the Scarlet series–it’s unputdownable and unforgettable!

5 hearts
lacey

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

Reading Order: Scarlet series

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen Lady Thief by AC Gaughen Lion Heart by A.C. Gaughen

#1 ~ Scarlet: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Lady Thief: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Lion Heart: My Review • Ebook • HardcoverGoodreads

Quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change.

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I am shamelessly addicted to staying up far too late (it feels like stealing time), diet coke (it burns so good), Scotland (stupid country stole my heart and won’t give it back. Interpol has been ineffective for prosecution) and thieves (so I guess I’m not that mad at Scotland).

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Lady Thief tour prize

 Winner will get an amazing prize pack, including: a sword necklace, a lady thief tote bag, lady thief stickers and lady thief and scarlet bookmarks.
Giveaway is open to US Only. | Must be 13+ to Enter

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Early Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards #1
Publication Date: October 1st 2013
Purchase: Ebook • Hardcover
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher (Walker Children’s Books) in exchange for an honest review

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain–people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

AH!! You have no idea how ecstatic I was to read this book. Because I just adore Simone Elkeles. I fell in love with her How to Ruin series and then I totally hit the jackpot with her Perfect Chemistry series. And once I found out she was going to write a new book, a new series, I totally fangirled! Wild Cards did remind me a bit of Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (with the whole football player heroine), but I knew that Simone would put in that special spark that makes her characters so relatable and unique. And she did! I enjoyed Wild Cards very much!

I sort of flip flopped between liking Ashtyn one moment, and then not really feeling her the next. She’s an amazing football player, and while that’s definitely admirable, I know next to nothing about football. BUT Simone Elkeles is able to write Ashtyn in a way that I could still totally relate to and connect with. She’s a girl with big dreams, but she never really had anyone to support them or her. Even though she does have her football friends, she’s still lonely–until Derek comes in. But I did enjoy her character overall, mostly because of her growth and transformation, though not as much as I would have liked to. Throughout the book, Ashtyn learns to stand up for herself, to grow confident in who she is and who she’s meant to be. And I loved the fact that she never gives up on Derek. She gives her whole heart and effort for those she cares about, and Derek is one of them. The tension between them is off the charts!

Derek is the perfect mix of good guy and bad boy. And he’s got the rockin’ bod to top it all off 😉 YUM! Derek’s the type of guy who does what he wants and doesn’t care about what anyone thinks of him. He reminded me a bit of the Fuentes brothers from the Perfect Chemistry series (!!!) , with the bad-boyness and the sarcasm. So if you loved the Fuentes brothers, you’ll most likely fall for Derek too 😉 Derek’s got a lot of angst in him, which was perfect for me, because I love angtsy book boys! He’s got secrets from the beginning of the book, and he’s closed off. He hides his heart between a delicious wall of sarcasm, sexiness, and fantastic pranks. AKA he has a hard time opening his heart up to Ashtyn. He knows he wants her, but he doesn’t think he’s good enough for her. Grrr, the frustration!!

Ashtyn and Derek go head to head with each other all the time. It doesn’t help that the very first time they meet each other, Ashtyn stabs Derek in the foot with a pitchfork. I laughed SO hard at that. Seriously, if that scene doesn’t make you laugh, I don’t know what will. And while the entire book isn’t as ridiculously hilarious as that, there are still a whole bunch of funny moments. Derek has his fair share of laughs, with his endless wit and rebel attitude. *sigh* I just swoon so hard for a guy who can make me laugh. Plus, there’s the incredible tension that builds up between Derek and Ashtyn… whew! Very nicely done, Simone Elkeles. I was hooked onto their romance from the very beginning.

I finished this in a day, if that tells you anything. Everything you can expect from a Simone Elkeles book–a hot bad boy, funny, likable characters, a fantastic romance–is found in Wild Cards. I give it 4 hearts! Can’t wait to read the next book! (I’m hoping it’s Jet–who doesn’t believe in love. So excited to see if and how Simone will change that boy’s ways…)

4 hearts
lacey

Early Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: September 24th 2013
Links: Ebook • Hardcover • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher (Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books) in exchange for an honest review

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

I’ve never read a book by Trish Doller before, but I was thoroughly impressed. I requested a copy from Netgalley because of the premise and gorgeous cover. And I’m so glad I did because I enjoyed this book so much! It was slow and raw and heartwarming and sweet, and shows so much how you absolutely can find love no matter who you are, what you are, what you’ve done or where you’re from.

Callie was a great narrator. She was real, even though she had been on the run with her mom for twelve years. She’s hesitant about going back into a normal life, but I mean, who wouldn’t if you’ve never had any semblance of a normal life for over a decade? I wanted to feel sorry for her, but she’s a tough girl. She can handle her own, as she’s been doing the past twelve years, even if some things in her past do continue to haunt her. And the fact that she’s so resistant to her father and his family makes it hard for her to see how much they love her. Her new (well, technically it’s ‘old’) family is loving and welcoming, but Callie can’t accept their love. She feels like she’s betraying her mother, whom she still loves. But eventually, her family worms their way into her heart, and Callie knows that she’ll do anything for them, and that they’ll do anything for her. They teach and give her the unconditional love she never really had, and it was so touching and uplifting to read.

Greek culture is a pretty big part of the book, which was refreshing. The town Callie’s father lives in is a Greek tourist-y place, and Callie finds work selling Greek-like souvenirs with her cousin Kat. I never really read books that feature Greek culture, so it was a good kind of different to read about the food, the people, the language. I loved the Greek touch to the book! Made me want to go to Greece, see some Greek boys… *sigh*

Alex Kosta is the older boy Callie meets who she instantly is intrigued with. He’s beautiful but has something inside him that makes her want to know all his secrets, and tell him all her secrets. Their relationship was slow and awkward and bittersweet. I didn’t really connect with Alex, but I still felt he was perfect for Callie. He brought out the best in her, made her feel, and made her fall in love. And Callie is different for him as well. They connect in a way that they never have with anyone else before, and they show each other that love is possible for them both.

Favorite quote:

There are so many maybes in life, but sometimes you just have to put your faith in possibility.

I enjoyed reading this book so much. The dark and gritty balanced perfectly well with the sweet and heartwarming. I definitely recommend it for those who like their books a bit slow but moving. Now I’m really looking forward to reading Trish Doller’s first book, Something Like Normal.

4 hearts
lacey

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


Also by Trish Doller

 

Something Like Normal: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
The Devil You Know: Ebook • Hardcover • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads


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