Release Day Review: Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 10th 2018
Links: EbookHardcover • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Love, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

My very first 6 star review of 2018 (and the first in a while) has to go to Love and Other Words, a gorgeously written love story by one of my favorite authors, Christina Lauren. I can’t remember the last time I was this wholeheartedly obsessed with a book. I finished L&OW last week and I’ve yet to stop thinking about it. The storytelling was incredible, the blend of past and present seamless. I couldn’t get enough of Macy and Elliot. If there’s one book you need to read this year, let it be this one.

I adore second chance romances – it is one of my go-to tropes, but I admit there have been few and far between that have been done perfectly. With second chance romances, I need angst, heartache, but most of all, I need to believe in the love that still exists. L&OW was everything I wanted in a second chance romance – and also so much more. Told in alternating chapters of Then and Now, we have teenaged Macy and Elliot who meet, connect, become best friends, and fall in love for the first time, alongside their adult counterparts, who reunite for the first time in eleven years and fall in love for the second time.

The way Christina Lauren handled the alternating chapters was stunning – each chapter connected, despite the eleven year difference in timeline. My heart was full from the beginnings of first love between Macy and Elliot, yet I loved even more that the foundations of their all-consuming love was built on friendship. I hurt and hoped for these two characters in the present timeline, as Elliot fights for the only woman who has ever held his heart. I can’t even tell you how in love I am with this man. He’s bookish, nerdy, a writer, and knows Macy is his one and only soulmate. There is no other woman for him, and he is not letting this chance to make her believe in love again go.

I read L&OW in one sitting. I literally could not put this book down, nor did I want to let the characters go by the time I got to the end. Elliot and Macy’s love story of friendship, heartbreak, and second chances absolutely stole my heart. Theirs is a love that is tender, raw, and beautiful beyond words. This book is now my favorite read of 2018 so far – it is pure perfection.


lacey


Also by Christina Lauren:

  

Dating You / Hating You: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Autoboyography: Ebook • Hardcover • Audible • Goodreads
Roomies: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

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: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Roomies by Christina Lauren
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From subway to Broadway to happily ever after. Modern love in all its thrill, hilarity, and uncertainty has never been so compulsively readable as in New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren’s (Beautiful Bastard, Dating You / Hating You) new romance.

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin McLoughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions.

Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago.

Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?

This is the kind of read that, when you finish, makes you say, “WHY DID THIS BOOK HAVE TO END!?” I couldn’t get enough of Roomies! I knew, as soon as I heard what it was about (marriage! of! convenience!) that I HAD to get my hands on it. I don’t typically read the marriage of convenience trope if it’s not a historical romance, but I had to give Christina Lauren’s modern take of the trope a try – and it was FANTASTIC. It’s an all-consuming, delightful read that I literally couldn’t put down. If you love well-written, unique, adorable contemporary romances, READ ROOMIES!

Every week, Holland Bakker goes out of her way in New York City to go to a certain subway station to admire the street musician who plays captivating music on his guitar. She’s developed a crush over the past few months watching and listening to him, but she’s never actually gone up to him and talked to him. Until one day she’s being attacked by a homeless man and the musician saves her… but leaves before she gets to thank him.

Holland wants to find a way to show Calvin her gratitude (and totally not because he’s gorgeous and has an Irish accent), and coincidentally, her Broadway musical director uncle is in need of a brilliant musician. Calvin blows the theater away with his music, but unfortunately can’t take the job… because he’s been living in the U.S. illegally for four years. Holland, wanting to do everything possible for this opportunity to work, offers to marry Calvin and pretend to be in love to help him gain U.S. citizenship. Ignoring the fact that she’s got feelings for him and oh, they’re lying to the government, everything should work out, right?

I swear that I was smiling for 90% of Roomies, it’s THAT much fun to read. I got swept away in the story, NEEDING Calvin and Holland to make their fake marriage a real one, and hoping alongside these characters that Calvin gets to stay in the U.S. I adored all the characters in the story – Holland in all her awkwardness and slow self-discovery, Calvin and his growing devotion and adoration for Holland, Holland’s supportive uncles who are so in love and compliment each other so well. I love that Roomies is not just about the romance between Holland and Calvin (though that shines pretty freaking well all on its own) but also about music and developing self-worth and being content in who you are. This book is brilliant, though I didn’t expect any less from Christina Lauren. I didn’t want Roomies to end, and am already craving more of Calvin and Holland. I highly recommend this book!


lacey


Also by Christina Lauren:

  

Dating You / Hating You: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Autoboyography: Ebook • Hardcover • Audible • Goodreads
Love and Other Words: EbookHardcover • PaperbackGoodreads (April 10, 2018)

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: Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton

Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton
Series: Hudson Valley #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 12th 2016
Links: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton brings her trademark blend of funny and sexy to this second contemporary romance in the brand-new Hudson Valley series!

Manhattan’s It Girl, Natalie Grayson, has it all: she’s a hot exec at a leading advertising firm, known industry-wide for her challenging and edgy campaigns. She’s got a large circle of friends, a family that loves her dearly, and her dance card is always full with handsome eligible bachelors. What else could a modern gal-about-town wish for? The answer, of course, is…cheese.

Natalie’s favorite part of each week is spending Saturday morning at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, where she indulges her love of all things triple cream. Her favorite booth also indulges her love of all things handsome. Oscar Mendoza, owner of the Bailey Falls Creamery and purveyor of the finest artisanal cheeses the Hudson Valley has to offer, is tall, dark, mysterious, and a bit oblivious. Or so she thinks. But that doesn’t stop Natalie from fantasizing about the size of his, ahem, milk can.

Romance is churning, passion is burning, and something incredible is rising to the top. Could it be…love?

I’ve loved Alice Clayton since Wallbanger first came out, and her newest books in the Hudson Valley series are just as fun and entertaining as her first book. This author does rom-com like no other, so if you’re a fan of funny, sexy books, you’ll want to get your hands on this series! These books will have you laughing with delight and also have you blushing like crazy the next. Cream of the Crop is another winner from Alice Clayton — Nuts is still my favorite Hudson Valley book, but this one was pretty unique and I absolutely adored the heroine!

We first met Natalie in Nuts as one of Roxie’s best friends, and we know that Natalie has got a bit of a crush on a certain dairy farmer. Normally, Natalie’s the most confident, self-assured woman there is, but every time she’s within the vicinity of Oscar Mendoza, her brain fries and she’s literally only capable of saying two words to him. It’s hilarious and endearing – Natalie is seriously one of my favorite heroines ever! I just love her confidence (when she’s not shy around Oscar) and I love how empowered she is. She owns every one of her curves and I really couldn’t admire her more.

When she gets the chance to visit Hudson Valley for a job, Natalie jumps at the chance not only to see her best friend, but also to see Oscar in all his dairy glory. There’s a hot chemistry between these two characters despite how frazzled she is around Oscar, but once she gets over it, holy crap do sparks fly. These two are crazy hot together – there might have been a litttle too much sex, but otherwise I really enjoyed the way they were together.

Cream of the Crop is pure, light-hearted fun, and the perfect drama-free summer read. The romance was simple and uncomplicated, and the setting of Hudson Valley is gorgeous and homey. It’s seriously such a fun read – and I already can’t wait to read more of the series!

4 hearts
lacey


Reading Order: Hudson Valley series

Nuts by Alice Clayton 

#1 ~ Nuts: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Cream of the Crop: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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ARC Review: Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst

Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst

Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst
Series: Billionaire Builders #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 31st 2016
Links: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Hot on the heels of her beloved Marriage to a Billionaire novels, New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst nails it with the first in an all-new sexy romance series featuring red-hot contractor siblings who give the Property Brothers a run for their money!

Ever the responsible eldest brother, Caleb Pierce started working for his father’s luxury contracting business at a young age, dreaming of one day sitting in the boss’s chair. But his father’s will throws a wrench in his plans by stipulating that Caleb share control of the family business with his two estranged brothers.

Things only get more complicated when demanding high-end home designer Morgan hires Caleb to build her a customized dream house that matches her specifications to a T—or she’ll use her powerful connections to poison the Pierce brothers’ reputation. Not one to ignore a challenge, Caleb vows to get the job done—if only he can stop getting distracted by his new client’s perfect…amenities.

But there’s more to icy Morgan than meets the eye. And Caleb’s not the only one who knows how to use a stud-finder. In fact, Morgan is pretty sure she’s found hers—and he looks quite enticing in a hard hat. As sparks fly between Morgan and Caleb despite his best intentions not to mix business and pleasure, will she finally warm up and help him lay the foundation for everlasting love?

I love Jennifer Probst’s Searching For series, so when I heard she’d be writing something new, I couldn’t wait to read it. I’ll be the first to say that I don’t particularly know anything about construction and I don’t watch Property Brothers, but I was excited to see how Ms. Probst would bring that to life in the Billionaire Builders series. I can’t say that I loved Everywhere and Every Way, but it was a good read and a good introduction to the Pierce brothers and their upcoming books.

When his father dies, Caleb expects to inherit Pierce Brothers Construction, so he’s shocked when his father’s will states that he won’t get the company unless he works with his two younger, estranged brothers. It’s tough work to convince them, but Tristan and Dalton finally give in to working at their family’s company, despite the fact that the three of them can’t seem to have a conversation that doesn’t end in a fight. Their newest assignment is to build a magnificent home for Morgan Raines’ client, and even though it seems like an impossible feat, the brothers try to find a way to work with each other.

Morgan is a tough, independent, career-driven woman, and she gets hands-on when working on a construction site, to the shock of the builders. She’s reluctantly attracted to one of the Pierce brothers, but she’s determined to remain professional, despite how irresistible Caleb is. Caleb himself doesn’t make it easy for Morgan, determined to get her into his bed. But as they spend more time together working on the house, feelings start to get involved, and it’s Caleb who tries to make Morgan see how good they could be together.

This was a sweet, if slow contemporary romance. I really enjoy the way Jennifer Probst builds up her romances, and though Caleb and Morgan’s was a little too slow for my taste, I still did enjoy reading their story. I’m especially excited to see where the author will take us with Tristan and Dalton’s stories. If you’re a fan of Jennifer Probst or an HGTV fan, you should give Everywhere and Every Way a try – you might like it more than I did!

3 hearts
lacey


Reading Order: Billionaire Builders series

Everywhere and Every Way by Jennifer Probst 

#1 ~ Everywhere and Every Way: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Any Time and Any Place: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads (Jan. 24, 2017)


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Early Review: From This Day Forward by Lauren Layne

From This Day Forward by Lauren Layne
Series: The Wedding Belles #0.5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: June 6th 2016
Links: EbookGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in this prequel to USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s The Wedding Belles series about three high-powered New York City women who can plan any wedding—but their own.

Up-and-coming wedding photographer Leah McHale’s career is on the rise–thanks in no small part to the Wedding Belles, the elite New York wedding planning agency that always throws top-tier business Leah’s way. So when one of the Belles asks Leah to fill in at the former First Daughter’s wedding, Leah is overjoyed to say yes–until she finds out who she’ll be working with.

Jason Rhodes is the one man who was able to capture Leah’s heart and, once he had it, promptly stepped all over it and left her broken. Now he’s working side-by-side with her at the biggest wedding of the season and Leah is determined to give him the cold shoulder. Despite his persistence, she is not going to fall for his charming, impish ways again. Not even if he still has that killer, irresistible smile…

Wheeee!!! A brand new Lauren Layne series! And it’s about weddings, too, which honestly sounds like heaven to me. The Wedding Belles kicks off with a sweet novella, a second chance romance between wedding photographers Leah and Jason. These two are still bitter and hurt over the end of their relationship – can they overcome their differences in order to work together… and win that happily ever after they capture on camera all the time?

It was both everything she remembered, and more. Somehow it was more. More intense than it had ever been, and somehow more important, too.

Lauren Layne always writes the best contemporary romances, and even with this quick novella, I was charmed and hooked onto the story. I’m not a big fan of miscommunication being used in romances, but somehow LL made it work for Leah and Jason. I could feel their heartbreak… and the feelings that they still have for each other. The chemistry between them has never died, and when they reunite, it seems to have grown even hotter. Their romance is as sweet and it is sexy, which made for a thoroughly enjoyable, satisfying read.

“Fuck. I love you. I didn’t know it back then. I didn’t know what I was feeling, and I treated you—us—carelessly. But I know it now, Red, and I swear to God, I am not letting you go ever again. … I won’t stop chasing you, and I sure as hell won’t stop loving you.”

From This Day Forward is a charming and irresistible novella. It’s a great introduction to The Wedding Belles series, which will be about the wedding planners Leah and Jason work with. I honestly can’t wait to read more – I’m sure the series be another hit from LL!

4 hearts
lacey

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


Reading Order: The Wedding Belles series

 To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

#0.5 ~ From This Day Forward: EbookGoodreads
#1 ~ To Have and to Hold: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ For Better or Worse: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#3 ~ To Love and to Cherish: EbookPaperback • Goodreads (Oct. 18, 2016)


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