Early Review: Flashed by Zoey Castile

Flashed by Zoey Castile
Series: Happy Endings #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 27th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

When a man makes his living by his looks, he can forget that love—and lust—are more than skin deep. But the right woman can remind him . . .

A former soccer player, stripper, and model, legendary party boy Patrick Halloran finally gets his big break starring in the summer blockbuster. But when an accident leaves him changed forever, he hides away in his secluded Montana ranch. Only his new housekeeper is allowed inside—with one rule: she’s not allowed to see him. But Pat sees her, and she’s the most stunning woman he’s ever laid eyes on. Even her voice is beautiful. Still, Pat can’t allow himself to get close to anyone. Not without a fight at least . . .

Magdalena “Lena” Martel is a long way from Queens, New York. After a rough patch, the aspiring artist is working her way through college—even if it means keeping house for a man whose gruff voice she can only hear through a closed door. Still, Lena senses Pat’s got a good heart, maybe even a lovable one. She’s intrigued—until his anger sends her running into the freezing woods. Now Pat will have to find her—and when he does he may have found the one woman who can thaw his heart—not to mention the rest of him. But can their new bond survive the paparazzi—and their personal demons?

Flashed is without doubt my favorite of the Happy Endings series! I’ve enjoyed Stripped and Hired, but Flashed was just a wonderful read. I loved the Beauty and the Beast (and a little bit of Cinderella) vibes. Pat is an amazing tortured hero and I felt for him so hard! His heroine Lena is lovely and the perfect sunny balance to his grouchy ways. Flashed is much heavier and emotional than the previous two books in the series but absolutely a must read.

Patrick Halloran climbed to such great heights as a model, actor, stripper, and former soccer player, but we all know the saying the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Pat couldn’t have fell harder when a car accident leaves his younger brother in the hospital and Pat beyond scarred and disfigured. He loses the one thing that made his life so successful – his gorgeous looks – and now he’s too traumatized to even leave his house. But when a friend hires him a lively housekeeper, he finds himself wanting to overcome his traumatic past and be the man she deserves.

Lena is a struggling art student who is in debt because of her stepmom. She takes on the housekeeping job because she needs the money but doesn’t expect to have such a grouch for a boss. Still, she keep a great attitude and outlook and happily fixes and cleans Pat’s house. I loved the way the story was executed. Lena isn’t allowed to look upon Pat and see what he looks like, so they communicate through text and voice. The little things they did for each other made it believable that they would fall in love. Lena’s Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage came across so well through the food she makes Pat and the music she plays to annoy him. Their romance is slow and sweet and I couldn’t help but root for their HEA!

There’s not much of stripping or dancing if that’s what you’re expecting, since the first two books are very much about strippers and Pat is now only a former stripper. Flashed has a very different feel than the other books, but I loved that about this book. I’m not sure if this is the final book in the Happy Endings series or not. Either way, Zoey Castile has yet to let me down and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next!


lacey


Reading Order: Happy Endings series

 

#1 ~ Stripped: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Hired: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Flashed: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads


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Early Review: Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: August 6th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The bestselling author of The Simple Wild and Keep Her Safe and “master of steamy romance” (Kirkus Reviews) delivers a sizzling novel about an ambitious and high-powered executive who reconnects with her first love: the boy who broke her heart.

Life is a mixed bag for Piper Calloway.

On the one hand, she’s a twenty-nine-year-old VP at her dad’s multibillion-dollar real estate development firm, and living the high single life with her two best friends in a swanky downtown penthouse. On the other hand, she’s considered a pair of sexy legs in a male-dominated world and constantly has to prove her worth. Plus she’s stuck seeing her narcissistic ex-fiancé—a fellow VP—on the other side of her glass office wall every day.

Things get exponentially more complicated for Piper when she runs into Kyle Miller—the handsome new security guard at Calloway Group, and coincidentally the first love of her life.

The guy she hasn’t seen or heard from since they were summer camp counselors together. The guy from the wrong side of the tracks. The guy who apparently doesn’t even remember her name.

Piper may be a high-powered businesswoman now, but she soon realizes that her schoolgirl crush is still alive and strong, and crippling her concentration. What’s more, despite Kyle’s distant attitude, she’s convinced their reunion isn’t at all coincidental, and that his feelings for her still run deep. And she’s determined to make him admit to them, no matter the consequences.

K.A. Tucker wrote one of my favorite books of 2018, The Simple Wild, so to say I was excited for her next contemporary romance would be an understatement. She knows how to write stories that will appeal to your emotions and heart, which is exactly what happened with Say You Still Love Me. Reading this book was like an emotional roller coaster I never wanted to get off of. If you love second chance romances that will hit you in the face with summer feels and nostalgia, read this book.

Second chance romances are my favorite, and Say You Still Love Me hit all the right buttons for me. The main characters met and fell in love at summer camp as teenage counselors, but Kyle never contacted Piper again after that one summer. Thirteen years later, Piper has just received control of her father’s company and she needs to prove to her dad and her employees that she’s the right fit for this multi-million dollar company. Just when things are looking up, her past love shows up as the new security guard at her office building, and feelings resurface. It’s almost as if the decade that passed without each other never happened. The privileged, wealthy girl is still very much in love with the boy from the wrong side of the tracks.

I LOVED these Piper and Kyle. You can feel the absolute heartbreak, the longing, the adoration that these two still hold for each other. They might not have gotten on the right foot during their reunion, but over time I couldn’t help but swoon over how clearly the two worship each other. We get some great juxtaposition between alternating chapters of past and present, with the past chapters set in summer camp. We can see Piper and Kyle falling in love for the first time alongside them relearning each other in the present and falling in love all over again. This kind of storytelling reminded me a lot of another 2018 favorite, Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren, so if you liked that book, you’ll probably like this one too.

Say You Still Love Me made me feel nostalgic over summer camp and I never even WENT to summer camp. K.A. Tucker made that camp setting come to life in this book, and it’s almost as if it’s another character itself. Which made this the perfect summer read. This is a romance that will hit you in the feels and I can’t recommend it enough!


lacey


Also by K.A. Tucker

Standalones

  

The Simple Wild: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
He Will Be My Ruin: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Keep Her Safe: My Review • EbookHardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Burying Water series

Burying Water by K.A. Tucker Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker Chasing River by K.A. Tucker Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker

#1 ~ Burying Water: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Becoming Rain: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Chasing River: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Surviving Ice: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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Early Review: The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai
Series: Modern Love #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 6th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Alisha Rai returns with a sizzling new novel, in which two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom.

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

– Nude pics are by invitation only

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…

Alisha Rai is a wonderful contemporary romance author. I love her love stories and her diverse characters. Her Forbidden Hearts series is FANTASTIC. So I had high hopes going into The Right Swipe and I wasn’t disappointed! I enjoyed this one SO much. It’s very steamy and the dating-app rivalry aspect was fun. It has its fluffy moments, but there are also so many good meaningful, emotional moments that made this book a well-rounded read.

The series is called Modern Love, which I think fits perfectly. The Right Swipe is all about feminism, technology, dating apps, and the whole culture and lingo that comes along with it. Rhiannon is the CEO and founder of one of the most popular dating apps, though she herself is cynical in love. The last time she used her app Crush, there was a possibility of something more, except he ghosted her after their first meeting. That is, until he shows up all big and gorgeous as the new spokesperson for her rival company’s new campaign, a company she wants to buy.

I adored Samson, who is the sweetest, most respectful hero ever. He had a good reason for ghosting but he’s determined this second time around to win back Rhiannon’s trust and work his way into her heart. Rhiannon is a ball-buster CEO, but she’s also flawed and quick to make snap judgments. She’s not the easiest heroine to love in the beginning, but the more I read her, the more I understood and felt for her. She’s an empowering heroine I admired so much.

There are some great discussions about assault in the workplace as well as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) with Samson’s family history of football. These topics as well as Rhiannon’s goal of buying her rival company almost overshadows the romance, but I didn’t even care, because they’re so well-written and relevant in real life. Alisha Rai did an amazing job at writing such a complex, multilayered story.

I’m SO ready for the next Modern Love book, which is about Rhiannon’s best friend. I’m highly invested in all of these characters and I can’t wait to see how they’ll turn out! Oh, and if you loved Forbidden Hearts, you get to see some lovely cameos at the end of The Right Swipe!


lacey


Reading Order: Modern Love series

#1 ~ The Right Swipe: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads (Aug. 6, 2019)
#2 ~ Girl Gone Viral: EbookGoodreads (April 21, 2020)


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Early Review: Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost

Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Rebel #1
Publication Date: October 30th 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • HardcoverAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In this thrilling new Night Rebel series set in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress world, sexy and ruthless vampire Ian finally meets his match!

The Rule Breaker…

Master vampire Ian is unrepentant, shameless…and every shade of wicked. He’s made one too many enemies in his two centuries of existence, including Dagon, a demon who now lays claim to his soul. Ian’s only chance to escape Dagon is to join forces with a Law Guardian, but he’s never been able to abide by the rules for long.

The Law Maker…

Veritas’ normal role is police, judge, and jury to reprobates like Ian. But she has her own ax to grind with Dagon, so if she can use Ian as bait…well, all’s fair in law and war. As they scour supernatural hotspots to perfect their trap, Veritas soon realizes Ian’s carefully cultivated, devil-may-care roguish image hides something much more powerful. And Ian discovers Veritas has shocking secrets of her own. As they’re drawn to each other with a passion as intense as their peril, either love or justice will prevail. But each will have devastating consequences.

Shades of Wicked was one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. I love Jeaniene Frost and her Night World books (Vlad is mine, everyone), so when she announced that everyone’s favorite side character Ian would be getting his own story, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I had no doubt I would enjoy it, but I didn’t realize I would love it THIS much. I honestly wasn’t sure how Jeaniene Frost was going to make the world’s greatest manwhore fall for one woman and one woman only, but she did it in such an impressive way. This isn’t an instalove story but rather a slow burn romance that was so worth the wait. But now I’m dying over the ending and need book two stat!

Ian is the epitome of everything a manwhore is: beyond sexual, shameless, dirty, and utterly wicked. This worked as a secondary, comic relief character in previous series, but now we get to see something deeper beyond that. Not to say that he changes an inch of his wild ways when he meets his match in Law Guardian Veritas, who is his opposite in every way. He is still his cocky self, but seeing him focus 100% of his sensuality on one woman is a heady thing.

Veritas is quickly becoming one of my favorite PNR heroines. We’ve seen glimpses of her in previous books, but now we get to know who she truly is, and she’s not the stuffy, law-abiding vampire everyone thinks she is. She makes a fantastic, strong, relatable heroine, and I’m so glad that she is the one to knock Ian off his feet (literally and figuratively).

I don’t want to talk too much about the plot, since it’s best to just experience it, but I do want to say that it’s a testament to Jeaniene Frost’s writing skill that it was so easy to dive back into this unique, fantastic paranormal world she created first in Halfway to the Grave. It felt like I never left the world, and we get plenty of cameos of old favorites, which was a plus. It’s not entirely necessary to read the Night Huntress and Night Prince series before starting Shades of Wicked, though I highly recommend it, not just because they are great series themselves. But whether you’re starting Shades of Wicked on its own or after reading 10+ Night World books, you absolutely won’t be disappointed with this sexy, action-filled paranormal romance.


lacey


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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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