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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Review: The Chase by Elle Kennedy

The Chase by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 6th 2018
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.

OHHH MY GOD. I loooved The Chase!! Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus series is one of my favorite college/new adult/sports romance series ever, so the anticipation for its spinoff series was REAL. I’m so happy to say that Elle Kennedy did not disappoint with The Chase (though does she ever!?). I adored Summer and Fitzy’s story. I literally had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading them. And these new hockey boys Elle introduced had me cracking up like crazy – though I did love seeing some old, beloved characters too 😉 If you loved the Off-Campus series, you definitely need this spin-off series in your life!

I want a man with clear intentions. A man who makes an effort and is excited to spend time with me. A man who actually wants to want me.
If he has to fight himself to be with me, then chances are he’d never fight for me if it came down to it.
What woman would ever choose somebody like that?

I adore a good opposites-attract romance, and you can’t get more opposite than with Summer and Fitzy. Summer is your privileged, dramatic, outgoing, fashion-loving girl, while Fitzy is a drama-hating, introverted, game-playing/-making nerd and hockey player. One’s all light and the other is pretty gloomy. But despite their differences, these two have wanted each other from the very start – but they get off to a rough start when Summer overhears Fitzy judging Summer as an airhead. And… they also become roommates (awkward). Can he make her believe that he sees her for who she really is: his sunshine?

… I never felt truly alive until Summer.
I don’t want to be with a woman who hides in the shadows with me, because that enables me to keep hiding. And that’s what I’ve done for years—hidden pieces of myself from my parents, my friends, chicks, the world. I want someone who encourages me to step out of my comfort zone, and Summer is that someone.

I had the BEST time reading The Chase. It’s funny, smart, relatable, sexy – everything I wanted in a college sports romance and more. Do I believe that the Briar U series has the potential to live up to its predecessor? Absolutely. I fell in love with Fitzy and Summer, their sweet, hilarious, slightly angsty romance, and can’t wait to read more of the new characters. I am dying to get my hands on the next book. I can’t get enough of Elle Kennedy’s fantastic storytelling!


lacey

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


Reading Order: Briar U series

#1 ~ The Chase: Ebook • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Risk: EbookGoodreads (Feb. 18, 2019)

Reading Order: Off-Campus series

The Deal by Elle Kennedy The Mistake by Elle Kennedy The Score by Elle Kennedy 

#1 ~ The Deal: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Mistake: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ The Score: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ The Goal: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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Early Review: Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill
Series: Heirs of Chicagoland #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 14th 2018
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In the first thrilling installment of Chloe Neill’s spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series, a new vampire will find out just how deep blood ties run.

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

I have been a big fan of Chloe Neill’s since I discovered her Chicagoland Vampires series years ago. The first few books are still some of my favorite paranormal/urban fantasy reads. I did however put the series on hold around book 10, but when I heard the author would be releasing a new spinoff series, I knew I had to catch up on the CV series. Fast forward to me racing through the last few books and figuring out just how Merit and Ethan ended up with a baby, and I finally get to Wild Hunger. I honestly wasn’t sure how this spinoff series about their child would turn out, but I have to say that I was not disappointed! I had so much fun returning to the world Chloe Neill created and fell in love with Elisa Sullivan.

Elisa is the only known born vampire to exist. Born to the powerhouse vampire couple of Chicago, she is the princess of Cadogan House, though that doesn’t mean she’s spoiled. She’s smart, headstrong, and responsible – she wants to be treated like any other vampire and goes training in Paris to get that equal treatment. But when she returns home to Chicago for peace treaty talks, tension is brewing between the vampires, werewolves, and fae. All hell breaks loose when one of her friends is framed for murder, with Elisa caught right in the middle.

I loved this exciting, new, fresh take on the vampire world Chloe Neill created. Elisa makes a fantastic heroine and investigator, a role previously held by her mother. I am so happy with her love interest as well: Connor Keene, the future king of the shifter Pack. They’ve known each other their whole lives, most of which they spent annoying each other, but Elisa’s years away from Chicago makes them see each other in a new light. I see so much potential for the two of them and they are definitely what I’m most excited about for the rest of the series! I loved seeing old faces, but Chloe Neill writes them in a way that doesn’t overshadow this new generation. Wild Hunger is a great start to this spinoff series, with plenty of action, political intrigue, chemistry between the main characters, and I already can’t wait for more.


lacey


Wild Hunger is the first book in the spinoff series of the Chicagoland Vampires series. Though it can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the CV series as well.

Reading Order: Chicagoland Vampires series

   
 
   
   

#1 ~ Some Girls Bite: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Friday Night Bites: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Twice Bitten: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Hard Bitten: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Drink Deep: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Biting Cold: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#7 ~ House Rules: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#8 ~ Biting Bad: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#8.5 ~ Howling for You: Ebook • Goodreads
#9 ~ Wild Things: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#10 ~ Blood Games: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#10.5 ~ Lucky Break: EbookGoodreads
#11 ~ Dark Debt: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#12 ~ Midnight Marked: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#12.5 ~ Phantom Kiss: Ebook • AudibleGoodreads
#13 ~ Blade Bound: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#13.5 ~ Slaying It: EbookGoodreads


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