Review: Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson

Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson
Series: Sometimes in Love #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: June 25th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

NEVER SAY NEVER
Sadie Gold is ready to take her career to the next level with the role of a lifetime. Finally, she can shake her reputation as a pretty face with more wealth and connections than talent. But Sadie is not prepared for the wild turn her own life is about to take. The man in charge of training Sadie for her most demanding role yet is none other than her first real boyfriend—the one who took her heart and ran away.

WHEN IT COMES TO LOVE
Bo Ibarra is as good-looking and irresistible as ever. Maybe even more so, now that everything once worked against them—Sadie’s pampered and privileged upbringing and Bo’s childhood in a family struggling to make ends meet—is in the past. But the future is still unwritten…and getting there, together, means coming clean about painful secrets and slashing through nasty tabloid rumors while trying to control the attraction that crackles between them. Maybe it’s finally time for them to walk off into the sunset and into a true and lasting love?

If you know me, then you know that second chance romances are my all-time favorite trope! Which was why I was unbelievably excited to start Once Upon a Bad Boy. I adored the previous book in the series and couldn’t wait to get to Sadie’s story. She was so amusing in Smitten by the Brit, especially that one popsicle scene. I’m glad to say her second chance with her childhood sweetheart did not disappoint. It’s a touching, romantic, sexy second chance romance that fans of the trope (and series) can definitely enjoy!

Eleven years ago, Bo and Sadie meant everything to each other. She was a rich girl, he was a poor boy, but they overcame everything to be together… or so Sadie thought. So when Bo breaks her heart the evening of their prom night, she moves on and refuses to think of him again. A decade later, it’s not so easy to ignore him anymore when he’s hired as the stunt coordinator on Sadie’s film.

Bo and Sadie both have something to prove. Bo needs to show his boss that he can run the stuntman company all on his own so he can take over, and Sadie needs to show the world that she was given her acting role on her own merit and not her family’s money and connections. They live very different, socioeconomic lives, and though Bo allowed that to tear them apart years ago, he recognizes that Sadie is the only woman he’s ever loved. I love the kind of second chance romance where you can clearly see the couple is meant for each other, and I got exactly that in this book. There’s enough tension and chemistry to light the book on fire every time Bo and Sadie are in a room together, which is often. It’s not an easy path to reconciliation and both are still full of regrets, but I really enjoyed the way they came back together even better than they were as teens.

While the book is fun and sexy, it’s definitely a little heavier than the previous book was. Melonie Johnson touches on a subject (that I can’t really say without spoiling) with respect and a conversation that needed to happen in a way I really admired. Maybe readers won’t agree with it, but it was a choice this character thought was the right one, and I can stand behind that!

Melonie Johnson is a fantastic writer and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for her readers next. If you haven’t read the Sometimes in Love series yet, I highly recommend it as the perfect summer reads. They’re fun and flirty, with the right amount of heat and intensity. I do plan on someday reading the first book when I have the time. I’m sure I’ll adore like I did the other two!


lacey


Reading Order: Sometimes in Love series

 

#1 ~ Getting Hot with the Scot: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Smitten by the Brit: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Once Upon a Bad Boy: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Review: Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson

Smitten by the Brit by Melonie Johnson
Series: Sometimes in Love #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 28th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

DEFINITELY, MAYBE…OR LOVE, ACTUALLY?

English professor Bonnie Blythe expects her life to play out like her favorite novels, especially now that her long-term boyfriend has finally proposed. So when a shocking discovery leads Bonnie to end her engagement, she decides to close the book on love. But the plot thickens when a brand-new character enters the scene—and quickens Bonnie’s heart.

With his brilliant blue eyes, sexy accent, and irresistible charm, Theo Wharton is like a romantic hero straight out of a Jane Austen novel. When fate places Bonnie in England for a summer—conveniently close to Theo—she realizes a hot friends-with-benefits fling is exactly what she needs to start a fresh chapter. Just as Bonnie begins to believe she’s falling in love, an eye-opening revelation into Theo’s life makes Bonnie feel like she’s wandered into one of her favorite books. Will Bonnie have the courage to risk her heart and turn the page with the dashing Brit to find her true happy ending after all?

I’ve had my eye on this series since seeing the first book around on Instagram, and I was so happy to find how much I ended up adoring its standalone sequel, Smitten by the Brit! All three of the books (which released within a three months of each other, gasp!) follow a group of girl friends who are all different, yet support and complement each other well. Book two follows English professor and Shakespeare/Austen nerd Bonnie Blythe, and the British man who sweeps her off her feet exactly like Mr. Darcy would.

If you’re planning on diving into Smitten by the Brit without having read the first book like me, you absolutely can! Just know, I do plan on going back and catching up 😉 At first, I was overloaded with just how many characters there are, but each has a distinct personality that I recognized who was who soon enough. Bonnie made an endearing heroine, with her love for all things British literature. I admired her sense of strength after being betrayed by her former fiancé, and for going after what she wanted: the man she met and connected with the summer before, and a new teaching job all the way in England.

Theo Wharton couldn’t be more dreamy if he tried! He’s a gentleman with a kind and caring heart. He holds a secret of his own, and he has to decide if he’ll choose to follow the path his family has laid out for him, or going against expectations and going after what he wants in life. If that includes a certain gorgeous redhead, so be it. I enjoyed the parallels between Bonnie and Theo’s independent stories – Melonie Johnson did an excellent job at writing these two characters. They had fun, witty banter that had me grinning on occasion. Theo is beyond charismatic and I was swooning over him as much as Bonnie was.

I’ve been wanting to add new/debut authors to my reading list, and I’m so glad I chose Melonie Johnson. Technically this isn’t her debut novel, but since she debuted this year, I’m counting it! If you’re looking for a fun, delightful read that sweeps you off to England, you definitely need to read this book. I’m so impressed with the writing and characters that I’m diving straight into the next book!


lacey


Reading Order: Sometimes in Love series

 

#1 ~ Getting Hot with the Scot: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Smitten by the Brit: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Once Upon a Bad Boy: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Blog Tour // Review + Giveaway: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry


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I’m so excited to be a part of Only a Breath Apart‘s tour!
You can check out my review below as well as a fantastic tour giveaway!

Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: January 22nd 2019
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Bestselling author Katie McGarry’s trademark wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance is given a new twist in the gritty YA contemporary novel, Only a Breath Apart.

They say your destiny is carved in stone. But some destinies are meant to be broken.

The only curse Jesse Lachlin believes in is his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year.

A fortuneteller tells Scarlett she’s psychic, but what is real is Scarlett’s father’s controlling attitude and the dark secrets at home. She may be able to escape, but only if she can rely on the one boy who broke her heart.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings, but as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleBook Depository

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I’ve loved Katie McGarry since I first read Pushing the Limits back in 2012, the first book to ever make me ugly cry, and I’ve been a fan ever since. She knows how to write heartfelt books that are packed with emotion, and Only a Breath Apart was no different. There were SO many feels, so much heartache – it truly is an emotional roller coaster reading this book, with all its ups and downs. In the end, it made for a fantastic, unputdownable read. If you love young adult books with grit and heart, you need to read this one!

I always love the idea of childhood friends coming back together, and in this case, Katie McGarry puts a little twist to it. Jesse and Scarlett were best friends who meant so much to each other as kids, but something tore them apart when they were fifteen. Years later, Jesse’s grandmother leaves a stipulation to her will: Jesse and Scarlett must reconcile. It’s not an easy road, nor is it one either of them want, but through all the trials and tribulations involving family, secrets, and abuse, these two come out at the end stronger.

The character development is fantastic – I loved the way Scarlett and Jesse grew alongside each other, the way they supported and loved each other. Katie McGarry writes in a way that makes it so easy to connect with her characters. The book itself is not easy to read – there are some real heartbreaking tragedies, but the connection Scarlett and Jesse have always left me with hope. Only a Breath Apart is a powerful, poignant, and must read novel that I highly recommend!


lacey

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Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. She is the author of the Pushing the Limits and Thunder Road series.

Website • Twitter • FacebookInstagram • Goodreads

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5 Winners will receive a Copy of ONLY A BREATH APART by Katie McGarry

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Review: Million Dollar Devil by Katy Evans

Million Dollar Devil by Katy Evans
Series: Million Dollar #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 28th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Big-city sophistication meets carnal hunger in this devilish contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katy Evans.

Heir apparent to her father’s company, Lizzy Banks needs a man. The perfect man. But when the rich “fundbabies” she usually rubs shoulders with prove impossible to hire, she takes a chance on a raw beast of a man salvaged from the wreckage of a bar brawl.

James Rowan earns a modest income as a YouTube daredevil, but he can’t refuse Lizzy’s million dollar deal. As she polishes his rough edges, creating a sophisticated gentleman fit for the highest circles of society, not only does she bring out the perfect man—it’s like she’s making the man of her dreams. How can she resist?

Though Lizzy loves seeing James in his clothes—and out of them—he isn’t the kind of man you bring home to Daddy. Her father’s disapproval and the pressure of the campaign have her eyeing the straight and narrow, but Lizzy’s finding it awfully hard to resist the devil on her shoulder…

The premise of Million Dollar Devil had me hooked and intrigued. There the clash of the classes trope – rich girl, struggling boy – opposites-attract, and a sort of reversed-gender Pretty Woman thing going on. Katy Evans has always been a solid author for me, doling out book after book of steam, chemistry, and hot AF alpha-male heroes. While this book has everything that KE is usually so good at, it lacked something that was in all her other books I loved. It was a bit of the writing, the characters didn’t work for me… While it’s not a bad read, it’s not as good as I’m used to from this author.

All Lizzy Banks wants in life is to impress her father and inherit his billion-dollar company. She’s tasked with one last chance to show him that she has what it takes to take over when he retires: find the perfect man to become the face of the company’s new line of men’s clothing. Then she meets James “Jimmy” Rowan – YouTube daredevil, protective older brother, and a gorgeous man who is in need of some cash. They strike a million dollar deal to clean up and sophisticate the man so he can become the model Lizzy needs.

I wish I could’ve loved Million Dollar Devil more. It’s probably my least favorite Katy Evans book. The writing just was NOT working for me. I couldn’t connect with the characters or their narratives (we get both their POVs) and at times I felt like one was too good for the other. I usually like the opposites-attract trope – Lizzy is as proper and good as a girl can get, while Jimmy is rough around the edges and a little dangerous – and while the chemistry is through the roof, I couldn’t bring myself to really root for them. I wish the story and characters could’ve been fleshed out a bit more.

Million Dollar Devil didn’t work for me, but if you love Katy’s more recent works, if might work for you. I’m still looking forward to and will read the next Million Dollar book, so I haven’t given up yet!


lacey


Reading Order: Million Dollar series

#1 ~ Million Dollar Devil: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Million Dollar Marriage: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (July 23, 2019)


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Review + Giveaway: Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne

Passion on Park Avenue by Lauren Layne
Series: Central Park Pact #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 28th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, the first in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps.

For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

How freaking CUTE was this book!? Lauren Layne has yet to disappoint me with her fabulous contemporary romances, and Passion on Park Avenue, the first in her new Central Park Pact series, is no different. I had such a fun time with Naomi and Oliver, as well as the women Naomi makes a pact with: Claire and Audrey. The series centers around these three women who had a relationship with a man… unknowingly at the same time. I loved that they made the most of it and became such good friends. I adored this start to a new series!

I know I can always count on LL to deliver a feel-good yet meaningful contemporary romance with a strong heroine and swoony hero. Naomi is the rags-to-riches CEO of a jewelry company she started from the ground up. She thought she had the perfect life, career, and boyfriend… until that boyfriend died, and it turns out not only was he married, he also had another girlfriend in addition to Naomi. Lauren Layne could’ve taken the women’s first meeting in all sorts of directions, but I loved the one she took: Naomi, Claire (the wife), and Audrey (the other girlfriend) bond and make a pact to help each other when it comes to seeing men for who they are. This girl-bond is probably my favorite part of this book. They are all so loving, sarcastic, and supportive of each other – everyone needs friends like these women!

Now onto the romance… The chemistry between Oliver and Naomi is delicious. There’s a bit of hate-to-love going on, with lots of great banter and sexual tension. I wouldn’t say this book is incredibly steamy, but LL knows how to write tension! All of their scenes were so much fun to read, and I even loved Oliver’s grandfather, who has Alzheimer’s.

Passion on Park Avenue is a quick and delightful read. I zipped through it so fast and easily. Fans of the author will definitely have fun with Naomi and Oliver. It’s the perfect summer-y read and I can’t wait for the next two books!


lacey


Reading Order: Central Park Pact series

#1 ~ Passion on Park Avenue: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Love on Lexington Avenue: Ebook • PaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Sept. 17, 2019)


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**CLOSED** ✨ PAPERBACK GIVEAWAY!! ✨ Happy Tuesday and happy release day to @laurenlayneauthor – PASSION ON PARK AVENUE is here! To celebrate, I’ve partnered up with @gallerybooks to give away a paperback copy to one US winner! This is a sweet, feel-good contemporary romance with an incredibly strong female friendship at its heart. Y’all need to read this book! 💖 · HOW TO ENTER: • Follow me @laceybooklovers & @laurenlayneauthor • Like this post and show some love to my recent posts • Tag 2 friends · BONUS ENTRIES: • Share this giveaway on your story & mention me • Tag more friends (each one counts) · FINE PRINT: • Ends Monday June 3 • Open US only (sorry INTL folks, this one is straight from the pub!) • Giveaway is not associated with or endorsed by Instagram · · · · · #bookgiveaway #laurenlayne #passiononparkavenue #contemporaryromance #reading #currentlyreading #readromance #romancestagram #romancereads #amreading #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookblog #bookblogger #booklover #bookaddict #bookloversforlife #booksofinstagram #bookworm #booklove #booknerd #igreads #igbooks #instabooks #bibliophile #booksofinstagram #booksbooksbooks #booksofinsta #romancereader

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