Release Day Review: Dreams of 18 by Saffron A. Kent

Dreams of 18 by Saffron A. Kent
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: October 10th 2019
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

“You don’t go around kissing your best friend’s dad, do you?
Even though that’s all you ever dream about.”

Violet Moore is in love with a man who hates her.

Well, to be fair, she kinda deserves it.

On her eighteenth birthday, she got drunk and threw herself at him, causing a huge scandal in their sleepy suburban town.

Now everyone thinks she’s a slut and he has disappeared. Rumor has it that he’s been living up in the mountains of Colorado, all alone and in isolation.

But Violet is going to make it right.

She’s going to find him and bring him back.

No matter how cruel and mean he is, how much he hurts her with his cold-hearted and abrasive ways, she won’t give up.

And neither will she think about his tempting lips or his sculpted muscles or his strong hands. The hands that she wants on her body, touching her, feeling her skin…

The hands that make her want to forget everything and kiss Graham Edwards – Mr. Edwards, actually – again.

Because you don’t go around kissing your best friend’s dad, do you?

Even though that’s all you ever dream about.

I really wanted to love this one more! I love age gap and forbidden love in my romances, so I had high expectations going into this, despite it being my first Saffron A. Kent book. And this book was HOT – no denying that. It delivers on all the taboo and forbidden-ness that I was hoping for. But the romance itself was lacking a bit in the development side. It was very much instalove, which I personally don’t mind. But in this case, I needed something MORE to make me believe in this couple, especially with how different the main characters are.

Violet first meets her new, older next door neighbor when she’s 16. She’s a loner but becomes best friends with Graham’s son, who’s in the same class as her. Nothing happens with Graham except a buildup of fantasies and lust until she’s 18, when she kisses him on her birthday, which ends up spiraling both their lives out of control. Violet is sent to a mental institution and Graham moves across the country. 10 months later, Violet shows up on Graham’s doorstep wanting to make things right… and Graham wants nothing to do with her.

If you love asshole, surly heroes, Graham is your man. I was really interested in seeing how Violet would break down his walls and get him to warm up to her. Violet is cute and quirky, but has a huge anxiety disorder that makes it difficult for her to go out. She only ever feels safe with Graham, which I thought was so sweet. Graham took a while for me to warm up to, just because he is SUCH a huge jerk to Violet. I got a little tired of it after a while, but I did love how alpha and possessive he was around Violet.

When sex got involved, things went a little downhill for me. It’s filthy, with a TON of dirty talk, but there’s just sooo much sex that the romance wasn’t at the forefront anymore. I wanted to see Graham and Violet fall for each other outside of sex, but we didn’t get much of that.

I enjoyed SAK’s writing, but the story itself wasn’t for me. Apparently this book connects with Medicine Man, so maybe if you loved that one, you might enjoy Dreams of 18 too. But even though I didn’t love this book, I definitely want to read more from this author!


lacey


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Review: Wrapped Up in You by Jill Shalvis

Wrapped Up in You by Jill Shalvis
Series: Heartbreaker Bay #8 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 24th 2019
Links: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

It’s love. Trust me.

After a lifetime on the move, Ivy Snow is an expert in all things temporary—schools, friends, and way too many Mr. Wrongs. Now that she owns a successful taco truck in San Francisco and an apartment to call home, Ivy’s reinvented life is on solid ground. And she’s guarded against anything that can rock it. Like the realities of a past she’s worked hard to cover up. And especially Kel O’Donnell. Too hot not to set off alarms, he screams temporary. If only his whispers weren’t so delightfully naughty and irresistible.

Kel, an Idaho sheriff and ranch owner, is on vacay, but Ivy’s a spicy reason to give his short-term plans a second thought. Best of all, she’s a tonic for his untrusting heart, burned once and still in repair. But when Ivy’s past intrudes on a perfect romance, Kel fears that everything she’s told him has been a perfect lie. Now, if only Ivy’s willing to share, Kel will fight for a true love story.

Even though I’ve only read a few books in the Heartbreaker Bay series, I’ve adored them all, so I had no doubt this latest one would also be another hit from Jill Shalvis! It’s about the holidays, tacos, and San Francisco – how could I not enjoy all that together?

Ivy Snow has reinvented herself from the struggling childhood she had growing up to a taco truck owner who’s hugely successful in San Francisco. She’s her own boss, is about to put a down payment on a brand new spanking apartment, and has a group of amazing friends, though she still keeps a bit of distance from them. Then enters a friend of a friend, Kel O’Donnell, a sheriff and ranch owner temporarily in the Bay Area for “vacation,” who turns her world upside down.

I adored Kel so, SO much. He was a sweetheart of a hero, so patient, swoony, and understanding with Ivy’s hangups. He has his own issues when it comes to love and relationships, after catching his mother cheating on his father, but there’s something about Ivy that compels him. He knows his time in SF is temporary, but maybe this is the right push for him to move back to the place that’s always felt like home to him.

Wrapped Up in You is heartfelt, emotional, and just a feel-good romance I couldn’t help but enjoy. I loved the main characters and I loved being back with the Heartbreaker Bay group of friends. One of my favorite parts of this book is watching Ivy open her heart up to her group of girl friends, all of whom are so supportive and amazing with Ivy. Go Girl Power! Even though I haven’t read every single book in this series, I didn’t feel lost at all, and now I want to go back and catch myself up because I adore all of these characters bunches!


lacey


Reading Order: Heartbreaker Bay series

 

#1 ~ Sweet Little Lies: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Trouble with Mistletoe: EbookHardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ One Snowy Night: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Accidentally on Purpose: My ReviewEbookHardcover • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Chasing Christmas Eve: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4.5 ~ Holiday Wishes: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ About That Kiss: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Hot Winter Nights: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Playing for Keeps: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#8 ~ Wrapped Up in You: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#8.5 ~ Twist of Fate: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (Nov. 5, 2019)


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Review: Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne

Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne
Series: Central Park Pact #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 17th 2019
Links: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes the second delightfully charming installment in the Central Park Pact series, following a young widow whose newfound cynicism about love is challenged by a sexy, rough-around-the-edges contractor.

There are no good men left in New York City. At least that’s Claire Hayes’s conviction after finding out her late husband was not the man she thought he was. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her cheating husband, Claire sets out to redesign her boring, beige Upper East Side brownstone and make it something all her own. But what starts out as a simple renovation becomes a lot more complicated when she meets her bad-tempered contractor Scott Turner.

Scott bluntly makes it known to Claire that he only took on her house for a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and he doesn’t hesitate to add that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess with a penchant for pink. But when long workdays turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction…

This series is SO MUCH FUN! Lauren Layne gives us a delicious grumpy hero of a contractor in this newest installment of the Central Park Pact series. Just imagine a widow who’s trying to make her life pop with lots of color (especially pink) and a grump who is very anti-pink together. Total opposites (she’s very upper class and he is not) but perfect together anyway. If you liked Passion on Park Avenue, you will adore this Love on Lexington Avenue too!

If you’ve read Passion on Park Ave, then you know that Claire was the wife of one philandering husband, and at his funeral she swears off all men. All she wants is to leave her vanilla life behind and focus on fixing up her inherited brownstone, with the help of one gorgeous, surly contractor and his dog. Scott does not have time for spoiled rich ladies, which he think Claire is, but he does see the potential in her home and agrees to help fix it. Seeing each other every day, being around each other all the time, the two grow an unlikely friendship full of jokes and banter. But when Claire needs help in the one-night-stand category and starts working herself up to it with other men, what happens when Scott starts feeling jealous?

Lauren Layne always knows how to deliver a feel-good contemporary romance. Do I wish things were more explicit than fade-to-black with this series? Yes, but I can’t complain about the delicious chemistry that Scott and Claire work up to. I love a good grumpy hero and you don’t get any more gruff than Scott. I even made a grumpy hero list on YouTube thanks to him. Theirs is a bit of a slow burn romance, but each moment that leads up to that HEA is just so swoony and fun. I really enjoyed this romance of opposites attracting. I’m dying to get my hands on the next and final Central Park Pact book now!


lacey


Reading Order: Central Park Pact series

#1 ~ Passion on Park Avenue: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Love on Lexington Avenue: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Marriage on Madison Avenue: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Jan. 28, 2020)


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Review: Beard With Me by Penny Reid

Beard With Me by Penny Reid
Series: Winston Brothers #6 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: September 16th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

‘Beard With Me’ is the origin story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire (aka Claire McClure) and is just the beginning of their epic love story.

No one is better at surviving than Scarlet St. Claire and making the best out of circumstances beyond her control is Scarlet’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, she’d be the last person on earth, hermitting like a pro, singing along to her CD Walkman, and dancing like no one is watching.

Scarlet is clever, Scarlet is careful, and Scarlet is smart . . . except when it comes to Billy Winston.

No one is better at fighting than Billy Winston and raging against his circumstances—because nothing is beyond his control—is Billy’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, he’d be the first person on earth to lead others to safety, overcome catastrophe, or die trying.

Billy is fearless, Billy is disciplined, and Billy is honorable . . . except when it comes to Scarlet St. Claire.

I AM NOT OKAY!!!! Words can’t describe how much I need Beard Necessities in my life. Right now.

If the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts, then my soul was Scarlet.

I stayed up until 1AM finishing Beard With Me up, and it was so worth it. I knew I would love Billy and Scarlet, and Penny Reid didn’t disappoint. Even though this origin story wasn’t quite as angsty as I expected (except in the last 15% of the book, which was hit after hit to the heart), I loved getting to see how Billy and Scarlet met and fell in love for the first time as teens. Their friends-to-lovers story is sweet, slow, and so beautiful. I hurt for their family struggles but the love they found in each other made me so happy, even when I knew it wouldn’t end happily.

If you love the Winston family, you will be seeing them in all their glory in Beard With Me! This origin story gives us a great insight on how this family grows up and especially how Billy loves and takes care of all of them. I really just wanted to give this boy a great big hug for all the sacrifice and work he puts into caring for his family.

My heart ached for Scarlet and her loneliness. It’s not easy growing up as the daughter of an MC president, with parents who couldn’t care less about you. But she finds a new family in Billy and the Winstons, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when you know that her love story doesn’t end well, at least for now.

Can you tell how much I love Scarlet and Billy? They are on their way to becoming my favorite couple of the series, and we haven’t even gotten their actual book yet. These are two wonderful humans who deserve the best of things, not least of which is a second chance at love, which I am SO READY FOR!!!


lacey


Reading Order: Winston Brothers series

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid Grin and Beard It by Penny Reid Beard Science by Penny Reid
   

#1 ~ Truth or Beard: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Grin and Beard It: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Beard Science: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Beard in Mind: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Dr. Strange Beard: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ Beard With Me: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#7 ~ Beard Necessities: EbookGoodreads (Nov. 4, 2019)


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Release Day Review + Excerpt & Giveaway: Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: August 27th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From #1 New York Times bestselling phenomenon Sylvia Day comes a hotly anticipated and passionate new love story.

Once, I would never have imagined myself here. But I’m settled now. In a place I love, in a home I renovated, spending time with new friends I adore, and working a job that fulfills me. I am reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future.

Then Garrett Frost moves in next door.

He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging force of nature that disrupts the careful order of my life. I recognize the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. I fear I’m too fragile for the storm raging inside him, too delicate to withstand the pain that buffets him. But he’s too determined…and too tempting.

And sometimes hope soars above even the iciest desolation.

IT’S FINALLY HERE!!! Sylvia Day’s next book post-Crossfire series is finally here. And while I can’t say that I loved it, I am SO happy she has a book out and that this means we have even more to come from this author.

Butterfly in Frost is a good-sized novella, not a full length book. It’s a quick, fast-paced, emotional read with the CRAZIEST twist at the end that I truly didn’t see coming. Teagan is a doctor living in Washington who works with pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. She works with Eva Cross(!) and keeps a quiet, steady life since moving away from Manhattan. Then her new neighbor moves in next door and Garrett Frost is all man, all gorgeousness, and all determined to win her heart.

I liked Garrett and Teagan’s story, but it was way too short and quick of a read. We only get to touch the surface of these characters and their issues, especially Teagan and her depression. Things progress insanely fast, romance-, sex-, and relationship-wise. I really wish we got something full-length for them because I know I would’ve loved it a lot more. The plot twist at the end though was FANTASTIC. I actually loved the twist and the way it changed how I looked at the entire story. Most of the problems I had with this book was explained with this twist, though it still wasn’t enough to make me fully love the book.

Sylvia Day can write, there’s no doubt about it. I’m still very much eagerly awaiting her Blacklist duet and praying it’ll be released soon. In the meantime, if you’ve missed Sylvia Day, I still encourage you to try this novella out.


lacey

Now here’s an excerpt from Butterfly in Frost! ❤

excerpt button

Roxy bounces on her feet with excitement. “Les and Marge sold their house.”

I blink. “I didn’t know they were selling.”

She laughs and heads toward the front door. “That’s the thing. They weren’t.”

“Wait, what?” I hurry after her as she steps outside.

I look to the right at my home, a lovingly restored butterfly-roofed midcentury, then on to the traditional house just beyond it that belongs—belonged—to Les and Marge. Including Roxy’s, all three of our homes have unique lots set between the homes that line the street and the Sound, affording us unhindered views of the water as well as exceptional privacy—all within a twenty-minute drive of the airport.

Roxy shortens the length of her stride to allow me to catch up, then glances over at me. “The day after you flew to New York, a Range Rover pulled into their driveway, and the guy inside offered them cash to close—and move out—in fourteen days.”

My step falters, and Minnie gets momentarily tangled in her leash. The dog shoots me what I would describe as an irritated look, then keeps trotting forward. “That’s crazy.”

“Isn’t it? Les wouldn’t say how much the offer was, but I’m thinking it was huge.”

We march up the inclined driveway, my head tilted back to take in the houses scaling the hillside. Designed with big windows to maximize the view, the homes have a look of wide-eyed wonder. Our little stretch of the Sound used to be a secret, but with the housing boom taking over Seattle and Tacoma, we’ve been discovered. Many residences are undergoing major renovation to suit the tastes of new owners.

Reaching the road, we turn left. To the right is a dead end.

“Well, if they’re happy,” I say, “I’m happy for them.”

“They’re overwhelmed. It was a lot to happen all at once, but I think they’re happy with their decision.” Roxanne stops when Bella does, and we wait as the two dogs mark one of their usual spots on the gravel edging the asphalt. There are no curbs on the streets in our neighborhood and no sidewalks. Just beautiful lawns and a profusion of flowering shrubs.

“We all tried prying information out of them,” she goes on, “but they weren’t sharing anything about the sale.” She gives me a sidelong glance. “But they did share a bit about the buyer.”

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Because Mike and I both think the buyer is someone famous. A film director maybe. Or an artist. Can you imagine? First Emily, a bestselling author. Then you, a reality-TV surgeon. Now this guy! Maybe we’re sitting on the new Malibu—beachside living without wildfires or state income tax!”

The mention of Roxy’s husband, Mike, coaxes an inner smile. A New York transplant like me, he adds a welcome touch of the life I left behind to the reality I’ve since created for myself—a reality that’s just been rocked by the loss of neighbors I like.

“What are the clues you’re working with?” I ask, deciding to play along. If I’ve learned anything the past year, it’s to accept the things I cannot change. A tough task for a control freak like me.

“Les pointed out to this guy that he hadn’t even seen the inside of the house. The guy said he didn’t need to. He knew already that ‘the light is perfect.’ I mean, who would say that? Gotta be someone who’s in visual arts, right?”

“Maybe,” I agree tentatively, disquieted by the unexpected conversation. The road rises sharply before us, the incline steep enough to put a little burn in my thighs. “Doesn’t mean he’s famous, though.”

“That’s the thing.” Her words carry a note of breathlessness. “Les wouldn’t give numbers, but he did say it was crazy the guy didn’t just buy that huge compound at the end of the street. That house is listed for three and a half million!”

My mind staggers at the thought. Les and Marge have—had—a beautiful home, but it’s not worth anywhere near that much.

“I think I saw the buyer once through that big arched window in the living room,” Roxy goes on. “The blonde with him was a looker. Supermodel skinny with legs for days.”

I’m panting when we reach the top; Roxy, who hits a gym most days of the week, is not.

A quarter mile farther, there’s a street to the right leading to Dash Point. Beyond that and straight ahead, the road slopes back down and around until it’s at water level. Redondo Beach is there, as is Salty’s, a restaurant on stilts in the water with expansive views of Poverty Bay and beyond. I’m about to wax poetic about Salty’s seafood chowder when a runner dashes around the corner at a full sprint. His sudden appearance rattles me. A closer look makes me freeze midstride. My breath locks in my lungs.

There are too many things to register at once, so my mind attempts to absorb the whole man. Dressed only in black shorts and shoes, he is a visual feast of deeply tanned skin, intricate sleeves of tattooed art, and sweat-slicked, flexing musculature.

And his face. Sculpted. Square-jawed. Brutally, breathlessly handsome.

Roxy, now a few feet in front of me, gives a low whistle. “Hot damn.”

about the author button

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, #1 Sunday Times, #1 Der Spiegel, and #1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels sold in more than forty countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in twenty-eight countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print. Visit the author at www.sylviaday.com.

Website • Twitter • FacebookInstagramGoodreads

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$100 Amazon Gift Card and a Signed Copy of Sylvia Day’s BUTTERFLY IN FROST

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