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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Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: War of Hearts by Samantha Young

War of Hearts by Samantha Young
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: October 1st 2019
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Thea Quinn has no idea what she is. All she knows is that her abilities have been a plague upon her life since she was a child. After years of suffering at the hands of a megalomaniac, Thea escaped and has been on the run ever since.

The leadership and protection of his pack are of the utmost importance to Conall MacLennan, Alpha and Chief of Clan MacLennan, the last werewolf pack in Scotland. Which is why watching his sister slowly die of a lycanthropic disease is emotional torture. When Conall is approached by a businessman who offers a cure for his sister in exchange for the use of Conall’s rare tracking ability, Conall forges an unbreakable contract with him. He has to find and retrieve the key to the cure: dangerous murderer, Thea Quinn.

Thea’s attempts to evade the ruthless werewolf are not only thwarted by the Alpha, but by outside dangers. With no choice but to rely on one another for survival, truths are revealed, intensifying a passionate connection they both fight to resist. At war with themselves and each other, Conall and Thea’s journey to Scotland forces them to face a heartrending choice between love and betrayal.

Buy Links:
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This was my first paranormal romance of Samantha Young’s and I really did enjoy it! PNR holds a special place in my heart so when I heard SY would be writing a new book in this subgenre, I was jumping for joy. And not only is it PNR, it’s SHIFTER PNR! War of Hearts dives us into a fantastic, new paranormal world that I’m really hoping we get more of. I loved the main characters (there’s even a scene where they’re forced to share a bed in a hotel) and even though the book wasn’t perfect, I definitely say give it a try if you love this author or PNR!

Thea Quinn is on the run from her abuser. She’s indestructible, has insane healing abilities, but doesn’t fit into the vampire/werewolf/witch/etc mold, and has no idea what she is. Conall MacLennan is the alpha of the Scotland werewolf pack, and in order to save his dying sister, he makes a deal to deliver Thea to a man in exchange for her healing blood. He’s told Thea is a lying, manipulative murderer, so why is it when he finds her and the more time he spends around her, the more he doubts that that’s who she is?

Thea and Conall are BADASS. Thea can kick ass like nobodies business – she’s had to learn to defend herself since being on the run for years. I also felt for her too. She’s been through so much awful things that you can’t help but hurt for her. As the alpha of one of the most powerful werewolf packs in the world, obviously Conall can hold his own too. He’s gruff and intense and 6 1/2 feet of gorgeousness. I loved all the action and fight scenes Thea and Conall get into. Samantha Young did a fantastic job at keeping you on the edge of your seat and glued to the pages with all the action!

As much as I loved Thea and Conall’s characters, I had some issues with the romance, particularly with the pacing of it. It’s pretty much non-existent for a good chunk of the first half of the book, except for some underlying chemistry. But that was fine, because I was loving the slow burn. But then the “oops, there’s only one bed in this hotel room” thing happened (which I’m a sucker for), and things moved at a warped speed. Yes, it is a fated mates kind of romance, which normally I love, but in this case I think it was a bit too fast for them to start saying “I love yous” so soon. Also, it was pretty obvious what Thea was pretty early on in the book. But I don’t know if it’s because I read a ton of PNR/fantasy romance?

Still, this is a solid read I would recommend if you love shifter romances. It’s full of action, with great main characters. We get to travel all across Europe along with Thea and Conall. We’re left with a little tease at the end and I do actually want more books from this world. I also have a feeling that many of SY’s contemporary readers will want to give this a try, and I say go for it!


lacey

Now here’s an excerpt from War of Hearts! ❤

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Stepping back inside the motel room, Thea halted as Conall came out of the bathroom. His height caused a logistical problem for her next move.

Although his color hadn’t fully returned to normal, the wolf was looking much stronger. She didn’t know if she could take him in a fight when he was at full strength, which was more than a little concerning. As if he’d read her mind, he cut her an expressionless look. “You should have left me to die, lass.”

“Probably. I guess I’m just going to have to take the chance you were bluffing.”

He frowned and opened his mouth to question her, but Thea had already made her move.

Before he could comprehend it, she was on the bed behind him and reaching for his head before his weakened reflexes could catch up.

The crack of his neck echoed around the room, causing a sick lurch in Thea’s stomach.

For some reason, stupid tears stung her eyes as she watched his body hit the ground with an almighty thud. Why should she care? It wasn’t like he was dead. She’d knocked him out. For … however long he took to heal.

And he had stuck her with that goddamn injection.

Speaking of …

Thea jumped off the mattress, avoiding Conall’s body. Earlier when she’d been treating his wounds, she’d spied the syringes in the first aid kit. Grabbing them, Thea hurried out of the motel room and toward the fields beyond. Quickly she dug a hole with her bare hands and buried the syringes. Hurrying back, she avoided staring at Conall because he looked very much dead.

She grabbed his wallet and as she took his money, leaving him his credit cards, a folded-up photograph caught her attention. Curiosity got the better of her and she pulled it out. Smoothing her fingers across the picture, she spotted who she thought was Conall only to realize it wasn’t. The man who looked like him was standing next to a much younger Conall, and Thea deduced it was his father. The younger Conall had his arm around the waist of a small, redheaded girl buried into his side. And beside the man she’d mistaken for Conall was a beautiful redheaded woman.

Was this Conall and his family?

They were standing on a rocky beach, a beautiful lake and mountains behind them.

Thea wondered which one of them was sick. Which of these people was he willing to sacrifice her for?

Memories of her own parents swelled in her throat, burning and screaming to get out. But Thea shoved them back down as she shoved the photograph into his wallet.

There were times she pulled those memories out and let herself swim in the pain because it was worth it to remember the happy moments.

But now was not the time.

With a ruthless supernatural sure to wake up from a broken neck wanting to kill her, and some unknown entity out there hunting her too, now was very much the time to go.

about the author button

Samantha Young is a New York Times and #1 International bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. On Dublin Street was Samantha’s first adult contemporary romance series and has sold in thirty countries. She has since published over thirteen romance titles including the New York Times Bestsellers Into the Deep, Hero, and her most recent contemporary romance Fight or Flight. When writing Adult Paranormal romance she writes under the pen name S. Young.

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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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Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: Broken Knight by L.J. Shen

Broken Knight by L.J. Shen
Series: All Saints High #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 20th 2019
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From USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author L.J. Shen comes a new, standalone romance about first loves, betrayal and loss.

Not all love stories are written the same way. Ours had torn chapters, missing paragraphs, and a bittersweet ending.

Luna Rexroth is everyone’s favorite wallflower.
Sweet.
Caring.
Charitable.
Quiet.
Fake.
Underneath the meek, tomboy exterior everyone loves (yet pities) is a girl who knows exactly what, and who, she wants—namely, the boy from the treehouse who taught her how to curse in sign language.
Who taught her how to laugh.
To live.
To love.

Knight Cole is everyone’s favorite football hero.
Gorgeous.
Athletic.
Rugged.
Popular.
Liar.
This daredevil hell-raiser could knock you up with his gaze alone, but he only has eyes for the girl across the street: Luna.
But Luna is not who she used to be. She doesn’t need his protection anymore.
When life throws a curveball at All Saints’ golden boy, he’s forced to realize not all knights are heroes.
Sometimes, the greatest love stories flourish in tragedy.

Buy Links:
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God. I don’t even know how I feel about this book, if I’m being completely honest. Broken Knight is raw, emotional, gutting – every word you can think of that means a hit to the feels, perfectly describes BK. I enjoyed it, but at what emotional cost? The part near the end had me so conflicted, because I don’t know whether I loved it or hated it. And of course LJ Shen would do this to her readers – I love and hate her equally for doing this to us! LOL.

They used the word smitten because batshit crazy wasn’t cute. But everyone knew I was smitten with chicken wings and vintage Tumblr porn, not with Luna. With Luna, I was in fucking everything. Love. Lust. Obsession. Take your pick.

Finding out who Luna would end up with, Knight or Vaughn, has been a question since Pretty Reckless released. Well, maybe even before then. But now that Broken Knight is here, we all know that Luna’s hero is the one and only Knight Cole, her very best friend, protector, and love. Luna and Knight have a very unconventional friends-to-lovers romance. They grew up together, the mute and the popular, charming jock, and have been in love with each other since forever, but don’t want to risk losing their friendship for more. But it’s Knight’s last year of high school and Luna’s first year of college, and Knight doesn’t want to wait anymore. He wants to claim the one woman he knows is meant for him… but Luna doesn’t make it easy. And because Knight gets hurt in the process, he wants to hurt Luna back.

I loved Luna’s character. She goes through a whole transformation throughout BK and I couldn’t help but be so proud of her by the end. Knight makes her go through some pretty awful things – there is a lot of annoying OW/OM drama. It’s immature, over-the-top, angsty… everything you expect from such young characters who are trying to grow up. But I loved Luna and Knight was such a mini-Dean I couldn’t help but slowly grow to love him too.

“There was never any doubt you were a Cole, Knight. You weren’t a choice; you were destiny.”

The main reason why I can’t give this full 5 stars is because I feel like Luna and Knight’s romance was overshadowed by more of the heavier, emotional aspects of this book. Knight goes through substance abuse because he is dealing with his mother’s illness. Because of this, BK felt more like Knight’s story than Luna’s, which was a little disappointing since I loved her character so much. But just because the romance was overshadowed doesn’t mean the story itself was bad. It was well-written, with great character development, and I truly couldn’t put the book down. The good, the bad, the ugly, all of it is beautifully written and I applaud LJ Shen for doing so.

If you enjoyed Pretty Reckless, you will most likely enjoy Broken Knight. They are similar in terms of angst and drama. BK can be read as a standalone, but I’d suggest reading Ruckus and Scandalous from the Sinners of Saint series to get a better sense of Luna and Knight’s families. Right now, I can’t wait to get my hands on Vaughn’s book, and I’m crossing my fingers that his heroine is who I hope it will be!


lacey

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

Now here’s an excerpt from Broken Knight! ❤

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Right now I wanted to just be here in silence with my best friend. And somehow, I don’t know how, but Luna sensed it. So we sat there for what felt like two hours but was probably a lot less, until I opened my eyes again. Her eyes were closed, too. I watched her for a while.

When she opened her eyes, it felt like she took something away from me.

“Let’s jump,” she said.

“I’m quite fond of my limbs, Moonshine.”

“Stop being such a big baby.”

“Big, quarterback baby who just finished a football season in one piece and would like to keep all his body parts intact.”

She crawled out of the treehouse and settled on the branch. It was thick, but I doubted it could carry my muscular ass for more than a few seconds before snapping. I rolled my eyes and settled next to her. She slipped her hand in mine.

“Three, two, one.”

It was a short, sweet way down.

Reading Order: All Saints High series

 

#1 ~ Pretty Reckless: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Broken Knight: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Angry God: Goodreads (2019)

about the author button

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

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Release Day Review: War by Laura Thalassa

War by Laura Thalassa
Series: Four Horsemen #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 11th 2019
Links: EbookGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

They came to earth—Pestilence, War, Famine, Death—four horsemen riding their screaming steeds, racing to the corners of the world. Four horsemen with the power to destroy all of humanity. They came to earth, and they came to end us all.

The day Jerusalem falls, Miriam Elmahdy knows her life is over. Houses are burning, the streets run red with blood, and a traitorous army is massacring every last resident. There is no surviving this, especially not once Miriam catches the eye of War himself. But when the massive and terrifying horseman corners Miriam, he calls her his wife, and instead of killing her, he takes her back to his camp.

Now Miriam faces a terrifying future, one where she watches her world burn town by town, and the one man responsible for it all is her seemingly indestructible “husband”. But there’s another side to him, one that’s gentle and loving and dead set on winning her over, and she might not be strong enough to resist.

However, if there’s one thing Miriam has learned, it’s that love and war cannot coexist. And so she must make the ultimate choice: surrender to War and watch humankind fall, or sacrifice everything and stop him.

I’m going to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but AHHHHHH!!! War is about the size of two average-sized books, and I pretty much read it in one sitting (when I knew I had uninterrupted reading time). I DEVOURED this book. It was everything I was hoping for as the sequel to Pestilence! I fell in love with War (even when I knew I shouldn’t) and the heroine is so kickass and awesome. War is a possessive, alpha mofo and once he claims Miriam as his wife, there’s no going back. This absolutely lived up to my expectations and now I can’t freaking WAIT for the next book!

Laura Thalassa has written some of my favorite fantasy romances, and now War is going near the top of my list. It’s dark, twisted, addicting, and unputdownable. War is the perfect kind of hate-to-love and love-to-hate hero. He reminds me of the hero from The Golden Dynasty by Kristen Ashley, with the same warlord, alpha-male vibes. Miriam holds her own against him, which made for some incredible, steamy chemistry. I was glued to their romance, to the way it turned from hate (on Miriam’s part), to reluctant feelings, and finally, to genuine love. I think Laura Thalassa did an amazing job portraying War’s character – he’s is not a good guy, but you can’t help but grow to love him.

The wait for War was 100% worth it. Right now I’m crying about the wait for Famine, though I know Laura Thalassa won’t disappoint with that one, whenever it releases!


lacey

I talk more about War on my new BookTube channel! Feel free to check it out 🙂


Reading Order: Four Horsemen series

 

#1 ~ Pestilence: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ War: Ebook • Goodreads
#3 ~ Famine: Goodreads (release date TBA)


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