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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Release Day Review: The Rose by Tiffany Reisz

The Rose by Tiffany Reisz
Series: The Red #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 16th 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Bestselling author Tiffany Reisz returns with an imaginative tale of lust and magic, and the dangers unleashed when the two are combined…

On the day of Lia’s university graduation party, her parents—wealthy art collectors with friends in high places—gift her a beautiful wine cup, a rare artifact decorated with roses. It’s a stunning gift, and one that August Bowman, a friend of her parents and a guest at Lia’s party, also has his eye on. The cup, August tells her, is known as the Rose Kylix, and it’s no ordinary cup. It was used in the temple ceremonies of Eros, Greek god of erotic love, and has the power to bring the most intimate sexual fantasies to life.

But Lia is skeptical of August’s claims of the cup’s mythology and magic—after all, he’s a collector himself, and she suspects he just wants to get his hands on this impressive piece of art. So he dares her to try it for herself, and when Lia drinks from the Rose Kylix she is suddenly immersed in an erotic myth so vivid it seems real—as though she’s living out the most sensual fantasy with August by her side…

Realizing the true power of this ancient and dangerous relic, Lia is even more wary of giving it up, though August insists it is only safe with him. He’s willing to pay the full value of the cup, but Lia has another type of trade in mind. One that finds them more tangled up in each other—and in fantasy—than either was prepared for.

The Red is one of my favorite books from Tiffany Reisz, and it certainly was one of the hottest books of hers I’d read… until The Rose. It’s hard for me to decide whether The Red or The Rose is steamier (they are both off-the-charts scorching), but since I’m all about Greek/Roman mythology, I’m gonna go ahead and say The Rose is TR’s hottest book yet, and as my queen of erotic romance, that’s saying something.

“I mean, the Rose Kylix is literally the cup of Eros. If you drink from it, you will experience your erotic fantasies. You will enter them, live them.”

I was incredibly excited for The Rose since it’s basically Greek mythology come to erotic life, but I was also pleasantly surprised to realize, once I got to reading it, that the heroine, Lia, is the daughter of the main character from The Red. We get plenty of Mona and her husband in The Rose, which I loved, and both are the kind of hilarious parents that live to embarrass their child. However, The Rose can stand on its own and you don’t need to read The Red to understand it, though I highly recommend the book!

A secret madam of an illegal escort agency, Lia Godwick is obsessed with all things Greek mythology. At her graduation party, her father gifts her a rare, ancient artifact called the Rose Kylix. This party is where she meets August Bowman, a beautiful, mysterious, older man who wants the Kylix for himself. He claims it holds the power to bring sexual fantasies to life, and here begins Lia’s sexual awakening, bringing all her Greek mythology fantasies to erotic life.

He met her eyes. “I’m going to make you fall in love with me. I don’t know how, but I am. Before this week is over, you’ll tell me you love me in this world.”
“Why?”
“Because you believe in Eros.”
She touched his face, his lips, his sweat-damp hair.
“I believe in you,” she said. “Isn’t that enough?”
“It’s a good start.”

I don’t know what else to say besides that this book is non-stop titillation. Tiffany Reisz never ceases to amaze me with her ability to writes such fantastic erotica that gets my mind thinking and my body hot. You can clearly tell the amount of research that went into the Greek mythology retellings, but at the same time, I loved TR’s twist to the tales. We get retellings of the stories of Achilles, Apollo and Psyche, Zeus, Poseidon, and plenty more. Aethra and Poseidon’s story in particular stood out to me. The storytelling is so well done that TR makes you feel like you yourself are transported into these Greek mythologies.

She lay back again and let herself enjoy the terrible sweetness of being the cause of a man’s undoing. He was older, a mystery to her and vastly more experienced, and she could conquer him utterly while laying flat on her back. This was power even a god would envy.

If you love Greek mythology, you absolutely need to read this book. It’s unique and completely different from anything else I’ve ever read. It’s dirty, decadent, and yes, romantic. I loved Lia’s story and I can only hope that TR gives us more in this series!


lacey

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


Reading Order: The Red series

#1 ~ The Red: My ReviewEbook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Rose: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads

Also by Tiffany Reisz

Standalones

 

The Bourbon Thief: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
The Night Mark: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
The Lucky Ones: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

The Original Sinners series

The Saint by Tiffany Reisz The Angel by Tiffany Reisz The Prince by Tiffany Reisz The Mistress by Tiffany Reisz
The Saint by Tiffany Reisz The King by Tiffany Reisz The Virgin by Tiffany Reisz The Queen by Tiffany Reisz
The Mistress Files by Tiffany Reisz 

#1 ~ The Siren: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ The Angel: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ The Prince: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ The Mistress: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ The Saint: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ The King: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ The Virgin: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#8 ~ The Queen: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
The Mistress Files: Ebook • Goodreads
The Confessions: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
The Chateau: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Picture Perfect Cowboy: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Space by Penny Reid

Space by Penny Reid
Series: Laws of Physics #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 11th 2019
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

One week.
Private cabin.
Famous physicist.
Still an unrepentant slacker.
What’s the worst that could happen?

Mona’s meticulously planned allotment of relaxation is thrown into chaos by the unscheduled appearance of her older brother’s band of friends, including the one person she’d hoped to never face again. Abram still makes her feel entirely too much, which is one of the reasons she disappeared after their one week together. But now, trapped on a mountain of snow and things unspoken, Mona will have to find a way to coexist with Abram, chaos and all.

What can I say about this book that doesn’t spoil besides that I wholeheartedly and completely loved it? I had so many questions when I got to the end of Motion. I was hoping that Space would provide the answers, and Penny Reid did not let me down. In Space, the truth is finally revealed, and we also get the answers to the mystery that was Abram in Elements of Chemistry.

It has been two and a half years since the fallout that ended book 1. Mona left Abram, Lisa replaced Mona, and both Mona and Abram are left wrecked from their one week together. Both move on with their lives, Mona with her academics and Abram with his music. It’s only when Mona’s brother, who is also Abram’s best friend, unknowingly invites the two of them to a cabin in the mountains with their friends that they come face to face for the first time in years – and Abram is out for revenge. But can he hurt the girl that hurt him like no other – but also the one girl his heart has never been able to let go?

I stared at her, and stared at her, and stared at her. I stared at her and I worked to keep my balance, because the floor and the earth moved beneath my feet. The cavern opened and stretched in front of me. I stared at her and I was afraid, because I knew.
My whole life, from this point forward, I would be a fool for Mona DaVinci.

As soon as I picked this book up, I couldn’t put it down. I loved Space even more than Motion – it was everything I wanted and more in the second installment of the Laws if Physics series. Mona and Abram have never been more real than they are in Space, and despite all that’s between them, this is a couple you know is meant to be together. You can feel the pain and anguish the two of them experience during their time apart, but also the hope and love that never disappeared when they reunite. I love that we get Abram’s POV in Space. I felt so much more connected with his character through his POV, and it doesn’t hurt that his POV just screams of his longing for Mona. Mona is able to be herself in all her awkward glory for the first time in front of Abram, and how can you not fall for her real self, who is caring, intelligent, dorky, and flawed? I am DYING to get my hands on the final book now – I absolutely need to know how Mona and Abram’s story concludes.

“I need someone to listen to my heart.” His face inched closer. “And it only wants to beat for you.”


lacey


Reading Order: Laws of Physics series

  

#1 ~ Motion: ReviewEbook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Space: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ Time: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads (April 15, 2019)

The Laws of Physics series is a spinoff of the Elements of Chemistry series!
You don’t have to read one to read the other, however.

Reading Order: Elements of Chemistry series

Attraction by Penny Reid Heat by Penny Reid Capture by Penny Reid Elements of Chemistry by Penny Reid

#1 ~ Attraction: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Heat: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Capture: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#1-3 ~ Elements of Chemistry Bundle: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 26th 2019
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A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunesIndieBound

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Lady Derring Takes a Lover is my first Julie Anne Long book. I know many who love her work, so I was excited to dive into this. While I didn’t love it, I did overall enjoy the writing and the characters. JAL has a particular writing style that distinguishes her from other historical romances I’ve read, which I appreciated.

Delilah Swanpoole has just left her husband, who has left her with a mountain of debt. The only thing she inherits is a random building by the docks. Though she didn’t love her late husband, she cared for him, so she was surprised to find out he was in debt… and had a mistress. She meets this mistress, Angelique, and they form a wary truce that eventually deepens into a strong friendship and business relationship regarding the abandoned building.

Captain Tristan Hardy is tasked with tracking a cigar smuggling operation, and this leads him to the building that Delilah is now the owner of. He needs to investigate how much she was involved with the smuggling, if at all, but doesn’t expect to grow feelings for her. I’ll admit, I never particularly connected with Tristan as much as I did Delilah – he’s a very reserved and calm person, though I did enjoy the way his and Delilah’s relationship deepened. They bring out something different in each other, and it was fun reading their flirtation and banter.

Delilah is definitely my favorite part about this book. She is lost after her husband’s death, trying to navigate a life without financial security or even a home, but the one thing she does have is her dignity. She keeps her head high and strong, eventually learning about herself and what she wants in life. Her character development is wonderful!

Even though I didn’t love it, Lady Derring Takes a Lover is a strong historical romance that I’d recommend if you want something different than your typical romance with a duke or rake. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!


lacey

Now here’s an excerpt from Lady Derring Takes a Lover! ❤

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She’d taken two steps when he said, his voice raised only a little, “Lady Derring . . . something puzzles me.”

She halted.

Closed her eyes.

Took a shuddering breath for courage.

Turned back to him. From the relatively safe distance of three feet, she said, “Surely not. We’ve established you know everything.”

His smile was small and patient. “You seem to excel at so very much here at The Grand Palace on the Thames. Yet you can’t seem to disguise how much you want me.”

Reading Order: The Palace of Rogues series

#1 ~ Lady Derring Takes a Lover: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Angel in a Devil’s Arms: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (Oct. 29, 2019)

about the author button

USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up (and she has the guitars and fringed clothing stuffed in the back of her closet to prove it), but writing was always her first love. Since hanging up her guitar for the computer keyboard, her books frequently top reader and critic polls and have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Rita, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and The Quills, and reviewers have been known to use words like “dazzling,” “brilliant,” and “impossible to put down” when describing them. Julie lives in Northern California.

Website • Twitter • FacebookGoodreads


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Review: Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas

Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Ravenels #5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 19th 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he’s a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband’s life a misery, and she’ll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces himself…as none other than West Ravenel.

West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire…not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn’t bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She’s the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.

Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?

Only the devil’s daughter knows…

Is there anything that can rival my love for Devil in Spring? Probably not, but I’ll keep on reading more of Lisa Kleypas’ wonderful historical romances in the meantime. Devil’s Daughter is the latest installment in the incredible Ravenels series, featuring the beloved daughter of Evie and Sebastian, Phoebe.

Phoebe, Lady Clare, lost her childhood friend, love, and husband from an illness too young. She is left in mourning with her two young children when West Ravenel enters her life. She remembers him as the bully who made her late husband’s childhood miserable, and she continues with that grudge when she first meets him. But as she gets to know this man, she realizes that he’s all grown up and completely different from the jerk he was as a young boy.

When Phoebe asks West to help out with her deteriorating farms, he can’t help but say yes. He’s drawn to the beautiful widow, though his troubled past makes him believe he’s not good enough for her. But since his transformation in book one, we know West is a compassionate, intelligent, and wonderful man who deserves happiness. I loved the fun chemistry and banter that sparks between these two. It was so obvious that Phoebe and West were meant to be together!

One of the many things I love about Lisa Kleypas is how she has her characters defy societal norms, be they in subtle or obvious ways. Phoebe is a widow, which means she has to dress and act a certain way for a certain period of time, but being the headstrong woman that she is, she does what she wants. West is a modern man who can appreciate past traditions while also welcoming future inventions when it comes to running a farm.

Devil’s Daughter is another hit from the queen of historical romance. LK has yet to disappoint me, with this series or otherwise. Right now, I’m dying for the next book, which will be about Cassandra!


lacey


Reading Order: The Ravenels series


#1 ~ Cold-Hearted Rake: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Marrying Winterborne: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Devil in Spring: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Hello Stranger: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Devil’s Daughter: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Chasing Cassandra: Goodreads (Feb. 25, 2020)


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