Release Day Review: Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen
Series: Hello Goodbye #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 21st 2017
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

I love anything Sarina Bowen writes, but I have to say I think this is the most adorable M/M romance I’ve ever read. I had all the heart eye emojis while reading Josh and Caleb’s lovely, emotional, heartwarming story. I seriously ADORED this book! If you’re looking for a sweet, unique M/M romance, you’ll definitely need to read Goodbye Paradise!

Josh and Caleb grew up in Paradise, and for the past two decades, they’ve been living in this cult, working as laborers and getting few benefits from it. One perk of the job though, is the fact that Josh can be around his best friend Caleb… and he can long for him from afar. No one can know that Josh has got a crush on his best friend, who’s a guy, because they’ll be sure to kick him out of Paradise and leave him homeless. But that day comes sooner than later when the cult finds little use in Josh anymore. But when Caleb escapes so he can stand by Josh’s side, can they possibly start a new life together from practically nothing?

As they make their way to Massachusetts to find a woman named Maggie who left Paradise years ago and made a home for herself, Josh and Caleb are once again side by side, but now out in the open. It’s here that Caleb finally makes his move and shows Josh that it’s okay to love a man, because he loves Josh back. Despite how much Josh tried to keep his feelings hidden, loving Caleb was as easy as breathing and there was nothing that could stop him from being with the man he’s loved for so long.

I reached up, circling him in my arms, pulling him down beside me. “I love you.” I could say that without guilt. Because loving someone wasn’t a sin. Other things… sure. But love could never be a crime.

I absolutely adored everything about Josh and Caleb’s story. The raw and beautiful love they have for each other was so simple and easy… it was everything surrounding them that made their lives difficult. But these two are nothing if not hardworking and persistent, and even before the end of the novel, I knew Caleb and Josh would survive and thrive in their new lives.

Goodbye Paradise brought out ALL the feels and emotions out of me. My heart honestly couldn’t stop overflowing with happiness over Caleb and Josh’s love for each other. They are absolutely perfect for each other – I can’t imagine a sweeter couple than them! I almost wish this book was longer, because I didn’t want to let go of their story. I loved this book – and I can’t wait for more M/M from Sarina Bowen!

“I’m so hard for you right now. That’s never going to change. Whether I’m stupid or smart, and whether you still love me anymore, or not. I never could help loving you. It’s just the way that I’m wired.”


lacey

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


Reading Order: Hello Goodbye series

 

#1 ~ Goodbye Paradise: Ebook • Goodreads
#2 ~ Hello Forever: Goodreads (release date TBA)


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Release Day Review: Dirty Souls by Karina Halle

Dirty Souls by Karina Halle
Series: Sins Duet #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 20th 2017
Links: EbookGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

From New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle comes DIRTY SOULS the much-anticipated, nail-biting CONCLUSION to the sexy and thrilling Black Hearts…”

Violet McQueen has always been a sensitive soul. Troubled and misunderstood, she never realized her place in the world, nor her true potential…until she met Vicente Bernal.

From birth, Vicente Bernal has always known his place in the world – he’s been groomed to be a ruthless king. Yet for a man whose soul has become morally bankrupt, it’s only through Violet he’s realizing the worth of someone’s heart.

But at what cost?

With a deadly game set in motion taking them from the stark deserts of California to the steamy jungles of Mexico, Violet and Vicente’s forbidden relationship will be put to the test. Boundaries will be pushed, lines will be crossed and souls will get very, very dirty.

Because how do you choose between blood and love when both might get you killed?

After the slightly disappointing first book in the Sins Duet, I was hoping that Dirty Souls would make up for what I didn’t feel in Black Hearts by actually making me grow invested in Vicente and Violet’s star-crossed romance. It didn’t, BUT I will say it was a hell of a conclusion to the McQueens’ and Bernals’ story. It’s nonstop action and insanely hot, filthy sex. It’s a no-holds-barred kind of read, which I admired. If you loved Black Hearts, you will most likely love Dirty Souls just as much!

I need to figure out how to keep this forever. Her, me, the open desert. I don’t fucking need anything else. I may be young but I know enough that sometimes you don’t need the world. You just need that one person to rule the world with.

Violet and Vicente are on the run from their parents. Violet has found out that her whole life and family has been a lie, and Vicente is trying to protect her from the people who want to harm her – his father and his men. But try as they might to make their world just the two of them, reality comes crashing down and both are taken by Javier to Mexico. Can Vicente and Violet’s love withstand the test of time, or will Javier succeed in breaking the both of them?

I love her with my dark and dangerous heart. I love her with my wicked and dirty soul.
I love her enough to raze the world around me to the very ground, just so we can be together.

I enjoyed Vicente and Violet’s characters more in this sequel, mainly because they didn’t feel as naive as they did in the first book. I loved the way they were around each other, but I have to admit I started skimming the sex scenes when I was deeper in the story because, even though they were hot, they started to feel like filler. Still, Karina Halle knows how to write erotic scenes filled with chemistry, but I just grew a little tired of them when there seemed to be too many scenes of them.

We get a lot more of Ellie and Javier’s POVs in this book. I liked the contrast between them and their children, the fact that their children are what they could have been if it weren’t for the lies. But then the book felt like it was focused too much on the parents’ past and story rather than Violet and Vicente’s, which was what I really wanted. That’s one of the main reasons I couldn’t love this series more, because I really wanted more of the main characters rather than their parents. But it was still nice to see beloved characters again, even if one of them (*cough* Javier) become a little unlikable.

The Sins Duet might not be a favorite of mine from Karina Halle, but it’s a dark, gritty read that had me on the edge of my seat. It was a crazy, intense ride, and while I didn’t love it, I’m still glad to have read it. If you love the author, you should definitely check this series out – especially if you love the Artists Trilogy or Dirty Angels series!


lacey

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


Reading Order: Sins Duet series

 

#1 ~ Black Hearts: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Souls: EbookGoodreads

The Sins Duet is a standalone spinoff series of The Artists Trilogy and the Dirty Angels series. Here are the reading orders for both series (which you don’t need to read before starting Black Hearts).

Reading Order: The Artists Trilogy

   

#0.5 ~ On Every Street: EbookAudible • Goodreads
#1 ~ Sins & Needles: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Shooting Scars: My Review •  EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Bold Tricks: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Dirty Angels series

Dirty Angels by Karina Halle Dirty Deeds by Karina Halle Dirty Promises by Karina Halle

#1 ~ Dirty Angels: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Deeds: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Dirty Promises: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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Review: Black Hearts by Karina Halle

Black Hearts by Karina Halle
Series: Sins Duet #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 19th 2017
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

I wasn’t supposed to know about her. I never should have found her. And I sure as hell shouldn’t have taken her…

From a New York Times bestselling author comes a BRAND NEW smoldering romantic suspense that will get your pulse racing, your thighs clenching and the pages turning.

For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he’s known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he’s been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he’s not supposed to know about – a woman from his father’s checkered past – he sets out to California to find her behind his father’s back.

What Vicente doesn’t expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman’s twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can’t resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he’d stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants – why shouldn’t he have Violet too?

Soon his wants turn into a sexual obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.

In a world of hot sex, raw love and damaging lies, these forbidden and star-crossed lovers are going to have to fight tooth and nail for their happy ending.

Our families would die before they ever let us be together.

I was SO excited when I heard that Karina Halle would be writing this series. I was a huge fan of the Artists Trilogy when it first came out, and though I still haven’t read the Dirty Angels series, it’s been on my tbr because of none other than Javier! Now we finally get Ellie and Camden’s, and Javier and Luisa’s children’s story. This is a star-crossed lovers romance like no other. Violet McQueen’s mother and Vicente Bernal’s father were lovers turned enemies, and now their children get the chance at a love that could have been.

Vicente Bernal has known his drug lord father to be the ruthless, dangerous, insane, almost-cruel man he’s been all his life. But when he finds letters written by his father from a time when he was actually sane and possibly with a heart, he’s determined to find the woman who brought out the man Javier Bernal used to be – Ellie Watt, now Ellie McQueen. When he arrives in America with a fake identity, Vicente isn’t sure of the path that will get him to Ellie, but when her daughter, Violet, appears in front of him, it seems as if fate was deciding which path he should take.

“You’re everything I’ve ever needed,” he says through a lustful groan. He bites his lip, the corded muscles of his neck straining. “I was famished, starved, for you. For this.”

Violet McQueen doesn’t know why, but she’s always felt like her family was just a little bit… off. Her parents are hiding something, and when she finds out about a grandfather who was supposed to be dead her whole life had died only recently, she sets out to uncover the lies told by her parents. Along the way she meets the gorgeous, mysterious Vicente – the passion and lust between them is fierce, and it isn’t long before she finds herself falling and trusting him. But what will happen when she finds out that another person she loves has been lying to her?

“You’re mine, Violet,” I murmur roughly against her mouth, my fingers pressing into her cheekbones. “I don’t care how that sounds, but it’s all truth. You belong to me.”

I had high expectations for Black Hearts, but it fell a little flatter than I expected. I never connected with either of the main characters – Violet was too naive and trusting and Vicente felt wishy washy and immature. I never really BELIEVED in the love that grew between them. It seemed like one minute they were in lust and the next minute they were in love. I get that they were in moments of action so it would be hard for them to have any down time, but I would’ve liked to see the romance bloom more genuinely. I actually started disliking the parents too, which was a disappointment because I loved them in their own books. Much of the book was just a little too boring and aggravating, and I just couldn’t find it in myself to care that much about all the problems going on in the book. However, these feelings could entirely be just me, so if you were a fan of either of the original series, please don’t let this review stop you from giving Black hearts and the Sins Duet a try! Hopefully you’ll enjoy it more than I did!


lacey

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


Reading Order: Sins Duet series

 

#1 ~ Black Hearts: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Souls: My Review • EbookGoodreads

The Sins Duet is a standalone spinoff series of The Artists Trilogy and the Dirty Angels series. Here are the reading orders for both series (which you don’t need to read before starting Black Hearts).

Reading Order: The Artists Trilogy

   

#0.5 ~ On Every Street: EbookAudible • Goodreads
#1 ~ Sins & Needles: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Shooting Scars: My Review •  EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Bold Tricks: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Dirty Angels series

Dirty Angels by Karina Halle Dirty Deeds by Karina Halle Dirty Promises by Karina Halle

#1 ~ Dirty Angels: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Deeds: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Dirty Promises: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: Riot by Tillie Cole

Riot by Tillie Cole
Series: Scarred Souls #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

BRUTAL. INTENSE. PASSIONATE. THE WORLD OF THE SCARRED SOULS.

They call me 901. I am a monster, a killer, a champion. In the blood pit I am a god. I have no name, no family, and no identity. When master says fight, I fight…until I am the only one left standing. I have one goal, to fight so well that I am freed. I don’t need friends, I don’t need women. They are weaknesses. I am strong.

Until I see her. She is gorgeous and kind and off-limits to me. She was stolen as a child to be the worst type of slave and now master wants her. What he wants, he gets. With a smile, she melts my brutal heart. I have never wanted anything more.

I need to make a choice. Freedom or Love. I cannot choose wrong.

I hadn’t read a good dark romance in a while, so I was in the perfect mood for it when I started Riot! Tillie Cole writes some great dark romances, with intense alphas and obsessive love, which is what I was expecting to get in this final Scarred Souls novel, and I wasn’t disappointed. This finale is a heart-pounding, dramatic ending to this dark, gritty series that I highly enjoy. Every moment in the series has been leading up to this book. If you’re a fan of Scarred Souls, you’ll definitely want to get your hands on Riot!

“You are the Arziani Pit Bull. You are feared. But to me, you are safety.”

901 is the most powerful fighter, the Master’s champion, of the blood pit. He was taken as an orphan and groomed to be the violent, killing machine that he is now. He is undefeatable and unfallable… until he sees 152, the High Mona who the Master uses for his sick pleasure. 901 has always known that to accept a woman into his heart would mean weakness, but there’s nothing that can stop him from falling for 152 as they embrace each other in this dark, hopeless world.

901 and 152’s story broke my heart. The way they were forced into this life and broken down… it’s awful. But despite it all, they both manage to find light in each other. Their romance grew slowly and beautifully (if a bit cheesy at times), and it was the light that balanced out the darkness of this blood pit underworld. But is there a way for these two to escape this broken world? Or will they forever be owned by the Master?

“Inessa and Ilya. Ilya and Inessa . . . more than just our numbers.”

Riot might not be my favorite of the Scarred Souls series (that belongs to Raze), but it’s definitely a fantastic conclusion that fans of the series shouldn’t miss. The build-up to the climax of the story was so well done – I loved it! All of the Scarred Souls characters have been through hell and back, and I’m so happy with the ending that they all get in this novel. The whole story is action-packed, suspenseful, and crazy intense – basically everything you expect in a Tillie Cole dark romance. The heroes are over-the-top alphas, the heroines are the perfect balance to them, the world is unabashedly violent and intense. If you haven’t read one of her dark romances yet, you haven’t experienced the genre!

“Inessa,” he said in a husky voice, “without you here with me, I’d rather be dead. With you in my heart, and me in yours, I am alive.”


lacey

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


Reading Order: Scarred Souls series

Raze by Tillie Cole Reap by Tillie Cole
  

#1 ~ Raze: My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Reap: My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Ravage: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Riot: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#1-2 ~ Scarred Souls: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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Release Blitz + ARC Review & Giveaway: Checkmate: This is Reckless by Kennedy Fox

Happy release day to Kennedy Fox – Checkmate: This is Reckless is live!

Checkmate: This is Reckless by Kennedy Fox
Series: The Checkmate Duet #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Add to Goodreads

Drew Fisher is the type of guy every girl wants.
Noble police officer by day, charming prince by night.
He has no idea the effect he has on women, especially me–his little sister’s best friend.
I’m the blonde Southern belle who lives up to the cliché, except I have my own quirks. I’m smart as a whip, can change my own oil, and recite The Pledge of Allegiance backward, but he doesn’t see that girl.

It’d be easier to forget him if he wasn’t my roommate and if the first thing I saw in the morning wasn’t his shirtless body covered in tattoos. I’ve crushed on him since the day we met, but he’s made it perfectly clear where we stand. Just friends.

I know I need to move on and accept that his feelings will never be mutual, but every day he smiles at me, I’m left dreaming of what if.
He has girl issues, and I’ve got a crush I can’t deny.
We’re friends, but I want more.

One drunken hookup leaves us with much more than a platonic friendship. Pretending it never happened proves to be more difficult than anticipated.

A crazy ex-girlfriend, a dangerous war of stolen glances, and passionate kisses leads to the most reckless battle yet. I won’t be a pawn in his game, but I’ll play by his rules if it will show him I’m the one worth breaking them for.

Checkmate, Prince Charming.

Buy Links:
Amazon • iTunes • Kobo

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It seems as if I love every single trope, but seriously, friends-to-lovers gets me every time. There’s always something so genuine and sweet about these kinds of romances! So Drew and Courtney’s story in this new Checkmate Duet was totally my thing – I definitely enjoyed it more than the previous duet about Viola and Travis. It was a lot less cheesy dramatic and thankfully we don’t have a manwhore hero this time… just an annoying, manipulating ex. Fans of Kennedy Fox will most likely enjoy Drewtney as much as Traviola, only instead of enemies-to-lovers, we have friends-to-lovers!

Courtney is Drew’s little sister’s best friend, they’re roommates, she has a tiny crush on him, he has a girlfriend who’s a major bitch… but it’s all good, right? For the past few years, Courtney has been totally fine with being one of Drew’s best friends. She wouldn’t mind if he ended his toxic relationship with his awful girlfriend, but for now she’s been waiting on the sidelines for her chance with him, which finally comes when Drew sees Mia exactly for the lying, cheating, manipulating person that she is.

“God, Court…where have you been all of my life?”
She pulls back and looks up at me. I run my fingers through her wet hair and rest my palm against her cheek. Moving in closer, she speaks against my lips before I can kiss her. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

Drew and Courtney are fun and sweet together – Drew finally realizes how perfect they are once Mia is out of the picture. They’re flirty, have great chemistry, and fall fast and hard for each other. But what happens when Mia doesn’t stay out of the picture and is out to ruin Drew’s newfound love?

I loved Courtney. She’s my favorite kind of heroine – tough, feisty, able to hold her own, and unapologetic. She’s the perfect balance for Drew, who is more calm and steady. I enjoyed the way their relationship grew in this first part of their story – it gets cheesy and predictable, but the romance itself is still enjoyable. I’m not the biggest fan of Kennedy Fox’s writing in this series – it’s a little too simple and boring for my taste, but it’s nothing unbearable and I do feel like the author duo improved since their first book. This might not be the best friends-to-lovers romance I’ve ever read, but it’s an easy story to get sucked into. I’m excited to see what happens in Drewtney’s sequel – after that slightly predictable cliffhanger, I need more!

“I’ll never stop wanting you, Courtney. You’ve completely stolen my heart, and for the first time, I don’t want it back. It’s yours.”

3.5 hearts
lacey

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

Reading Order: The Checkmate Duet series

   

#1 ~ This is War: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ This is Love: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ This is Reckless: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#4 ~ This is Effortless: Ebook • Goodreads (April 25, 2017)

about the author button

Kennedy Fox is a duo of bestselling authors who share a love of You’ve Got Mail and The Holiday. When they aren’t bonding over romantic comedies, they like to brainstorm new book ideas. One day, they decided to collaborate together under a pseudonym and have some fun creating new characters that’ll make your lady bits tingle and your heart melt. If you enjoy romance stories with sexy, tattooed alpha males and smart, independent women, then a Kennedy Fox book is for you!

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$25 amazon gift card + signed paperback of Checkmate: This is Reckless

ENTER HERE


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