Release Day Review: Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas

Devil in Disguise by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Ravenels #7 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 27th 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

New York Times bestseller Lisa Kleypas returns with an enthralling and steaming romance between a Scot with a mysterious past and strong-willed lady looking for adventure—and love.

“The devil never tries to make people do the wrong thing by scaring them. He does it by tempting them.”

Lady Merritt Sterling, a strong-willed young widow who’s running her late husband’s shipping company, knows London society is dying to catch her in a scandal. So far, she’s been too smart to provide them with one. But then she meets Keir MacRae, a rough-and-rugged Scottish whisky distiller, and all her sensible plans vanish like smoke. They couldn’t be more different, but their attraction is powerful, raw and irresistible.

From the moment Keir MacRae arrives in London, he has two goals. One: don’t fall in love with the dazzling Lady Merritt Sterling. Two: avoid being killed.

So far, neither of those is going well.

Keir doesn’t know why someone wants him dead until fate reveals the secret of his mysterious past. His world is thrown into upheaval, and the only one he trusts is Merritt.

Their passion blazes with an intensity Merritt has never known before, making her long for the one thing she can’t have from Keir MacRae: forever. As danger draws closer, she’ll do whatever it takes to save the man she loves . . . even knowing he might be the devil in disguise.

I am dying over how wonderful this book was. It was everything I wanted and more from a Lisa Kleypas romance. I loved Merritt and Keir so much. The passion and love between them stole my heart. Devil in Disguise is now one of my new favorite Lisa Kleypas historicals!

Devil in Disguise is book 7 in the Ravenels series but I’m not sure why that is. You might be able to read it fine as a standalone but I would recommend reading the Wallflowers series first, because this book is the second generation of that series. Not a lot of Ravenels actually show up. Merritt, our widowed heroine, is Lillian and Marcus’ oldest daughter and is in charge of her late husband’s shipping company. Her newest business partner is Keir, our very first Scottish Lisa Kleypas hero. The connection between them is instantaneous and fantastic to read!

Keir and Merritt killed me in the best of ways. I was swooning over their romance, which does happen quickly, but then a wrench is thrown in that slows things down and evens out the pacing. I adored how gone both of them were over each other. Keir is a total grumpy sweetheart and it was too easy to love him. There’s a bit of suspense in this with someone going after Keir, so in between the romance, mystery, and family drama, there’s never a dull moment in this read.

If you loved Sebastian from Devil in Winter, I am happy to say you’ll get to see a lot of him here! We even get a few chapters in his POV. I won’t spoil anything, but I had no problem with the connection between Sebastian and Keir. Honestly, it was just a delight seeing the Wallflowers cast (well, half of them) again and I can only hope we get more second generation books in the future!

Merritt and Keir are perfection together. There’s a reason why Lisa Kleypas is so beloved and why she’s my favorite historical romance author. I fall so hard for every one of her stories – and heroes – and cannot wait to read more!


Reading Order: Ravenel series


#1 ~ Cold-Hearted Rake: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Marrying Winterborne: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Devil in Spring: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Hello Stranger: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Devil’s Daughter: My ReviewEbook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Chasing Cassandra: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#7 ~ Devil in Disguise: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads


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Release Day Review: Tryst Six Venom by Penelope Douglas

Tryst Six Venom by Penelope Douglas
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: June 3rd 2021
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

𝑨𝒘𝒂𝒚 𝒈𝒂𝒎𝒆𝒔, 𝒃𝒂𝒄𝒌 𝒔𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒔, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒆𝒓 𝒓𝒐𝒐𝒎 𝒂𝒇𝒕𝒆𝒓 𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔… 𝑮𝒆𝒕 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒚!

𝘾𝙇𝘼𝙔

Marymount girls are good girls. We’re chaste, we’re untouched, and even if we weren’t, no one would know, because we keep our mouths shut.

Not that I have anything to share anyway. I never let guys go too far. I’m behaved.

Beautiful, smart, talented, popular, my skirt’s always pressed, and I never have a hair out of place. I own the hallways, walking tall on Monday and dropping to my knees like the good Catholic girl I am on Sunday.

That’s me. Always in control.

Or so they think. The truth is that it’s easy for me to resist them, because what I truly want, they can never be. Something soft and smooth. Someone dangerous and wild.

Unfortunately, what I want I have to hide. In the locker room after hours. In the bathroom stall between classes. In the showers after practice. 𝑀𝑦 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑑 𝑠𝑤𝑖𝑚𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝑀𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑢𝑝 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑘𝑖𝑟𝑡.

For me, life is a web of secrets. No one can find out mine.

𝙊𝙇𝙄𝙑𝙄𝘼

I cross the tracks every day for one reason—to graduate from this school and get into the Ivy League. I’m not ashamed of where I come from, my family, or how everyone at Marymount thinks my skirts are too short and my lipstick is too red.

Clay Collins and her friends have always turned up their noses at me. The witch with her beautiful skin, clean shoes, and rich parents who torments me daily and thinks I won’t fight back.

At least not until I get her alone and find out she’s hiding so much more than just what’s underneath those pretty clothes.

The princess thinks I’ll scratch her itch. She thinks she’s still pure as long as it’s not a guy touching her.

I told her to stay on her side of town. I told her not to cross the tracks.

But one night, she did. And when I’m done with her, she’ll never be pure again.

Tryst Six Venom is Penelope Douglas’ very first F/F romance and I have been DYING to get my hands on it ever since she started teasing about it. It’s a bully romance set in high school, and normally I don’t gravitate towards these kinds of reads but I trust Penelope Douglas and I trust her process. TSV ended up being a gripping, entertaining, emotional read – I highly recommend it especially if you love Punk 57 or Bully!

Good girl Clay comes from a wealthy family. Bad girl Olivia comes from the wrong side of the tracks. They hate each other, they’re on the same lacrosse team, and Clay has made Liv’s life hell their entire time in high school. Unfortunately, Liv can’t retaliate since the rich kids at their school don’t experience any kind of repercussions. So she keeps to herself and works hard to survive long enough to graduate and go to an Ivy League out of the state.

The relationship between Liv and Clay is toxic. At least at first. It’s full of turmoil and angst and anger and hurt. There’s so much to unpack between them but underneath it all is also an unwanted attraction. Liv is out and Clay is confused and scared about her sexuality. All she knows is that she just wants Liv.

It’s a roller coaster of emotions when you read TSV. My heart HURT for these two, not just regarding their budding love and romance but also for both of their wrecked homes. Clay’s brother passed away years ago, leaving her parents a mess. Liv and her brothers have lived day by day making ends meet ever since their parents died. I loved the fact that Penelope Douglas was able to make me so invested in the secondary characters! I fell in love with Liv’s brothers (who I wouldn’t mind books for. Especially Macon!!!) and I found myself rooting for Clay’s parents to get back together. It was a fantastic cast of well-rounded, developed characters.

The main reason why I’m not rating this higher is that I did struggle to get into the story in the beginning. The hate was so real and brutal, and I had no idea how Clay and Liv would be able to move past all the hurt and heartache. But I always tell myself to trust in PD and before I knew it, I was hooked. I really enjoyed Clay and Liv and their romance. Their chemistry is insane and I’m always in awe of how PD can unravel her characters and build them back into something even better. If you love your NA romances on the more intense and angsty side, you can’t go wrong with this.


lacey


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Release Day Review: Famine by Laura Thalassa

Famine by Laura Thalassa
Series: Four Horsemen #3 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 1st 2020
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
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.

Ana da Silva always assumed she’d die young, she just never expected it to be at the hands of Famine, the haunting immortal who once spared her life so many years ago. But if the horseman remembers her at all, he must not care, for when she comes face to face with him for the second time in her life, she’s stabbed and left for dead.

Only, she doesn’t quite die.

If there’s one thing Famine is good at, it’s cruelty. And how these blighted bastards deserve it. Try as he might, he can’t forget what they once did to him. But when Ana, a ghost from his past, corners him and promises pain for what he so recently did to her, she and her empty threats captivate him, and he decides to keep her around.

In spite of themselves, Ana and Famine are drawn to each other. But at the end of the day, the two are enemies. Nothing changes that. Not one kind act, not two. And definitely not a few steamy nights. But enemies or reluctant lovers, if they don’t stop themselves soon, heaven will.

The slow burn here was sooo good!!

I kind of forgot how awful these Horsemen are in the beginning, even though they are literally the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Famine might be the worst one of them yet, but that made the payoff for him falling in love that much better. The heroine here is a prostitute and feisty enough to stand up to Famine. I really enjoyed their dynamic and banter.

Ana da Silva once saved Famine’s life years ago when she was a teen. Years later, after having to sell her body in order to survive in this apocalyptic world, she sees him again – but he doesn’t recognize or remember her. He leaves her to die but she manages to survive. And what does Ana do? She gets pissed. She goes back to him and threatens him, which only amuses Famine. But he keeps her around because he’s intrigued by her fire.

This slow burn enemies-to-lovers romance was fantastic! I loved Ana and Famine’s dynamic, how they constantly kept getting in each other’s faces. Ana is definitely not afraid of a little ole Horseman of the Apocalypse. I thought the pacing was great and the way they slowly fell for each other worked well for me.

I love this fantasy romance series, despite our terrible (anti)heroes, and this book has only made me that much more excited for Death’s book! Even though it’s not my favorite (mine is still War), Famine is another great installment that will make you question your morals.


lacey


Reading Order: Four Horsemen series

 

#1 ~ Pestilence: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ War: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Famine: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Death: Goodreads (release date TBA)


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Release Day Review: Sea of Ruin by Pam Godwin

Sea of Ruin by Pam Godwin
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: April 28th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Bennett Sharp is on the run.
Wanted for piracy, she fears neither God nor death nor man.
Except Priest Farrell.

The unfaithful, stormy-eyed libertine hunts her with terrifying possessiveness. Nothing will stop him from coming for her. Not his unforgivable betrayal. Not when she’s captured by the ice-cold pirate hunter, Lord Ashley Cutler.
She must escape Ashley’s prison and Priest’s deceit. But can she walk away from their twisted desires?

Two gorgeous captains stand on opposite sides of the law. When they collide in a battle to protect her, the lines blur between enemies and lovers.
Passion heats, secrets unravel, and hearts entangle until they break.
Can love prevail in the sea of ruin?

A dark historical romance with PIRATES. Need I say more?

I was a pirate captain, a rebel queen of the sea, fighting against the conformities of society and the oppressive laws of man.

Holy moly, I absolutely loved this book – it was addictive, gritty, intense, and unputdownable! I’ve been dying to read Sea of Ruin ever since I heard Pam Godwin was writing a dark historical romance. I’m a big fan of her dark romances and I couldn’t wait to see her twist on a historical setting. Sea of Ruin turned out to be yet another hit. I’m obsessed with this book! It had me unbelievably hooked onto the story, the romance, and its characters. I always say I want to read more pirate romances – and this is exactly the kind of pirate romance I want!

He captured my eyes. “It doesn’t matter how far we fall, how much pain we inflict, or how dark it becomes in the ruin. I’m going to be with you, waiting for you, loving you, forgiving you. I’m never letting go, Bennett. Never.”

The best suggestion I have for you is to go into this book blind, or with no expectations. Yes, it’s a bit of a love triangle, but also not. This book is nothing you expect. Pam Godwin blew my expectations out of the water the more and more I read. Her writing is fantastic and reminded me just why I love her dark stories so much. She holds nothing back in Sea of Ruin – it is very much a dark romance so proceed with caution.

I LOVED our heroine, Bennett. She’s a freaking pirate captain, the only daughter of one of the most infamous pirates in the world, and she certainly lives up to her father’s name. She experiences such tragic loss at the beginning, I cried and felt for her. She goes through so much in the book and I rooted for her through it all. She’s fierce, kickass, knows how to use a sword, and can handle not just one alpha, possessive man, but two.

The romance was freaking brilliant. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and honestly? I loved Priest and Ashley. Don’t make me choose between them, because I won’t. Both are different – Priest is dark and sensual, Ashley is cold and forbidding – but they are SO perfect for Bennett.

If you’re a fan of dark elements in your romances, you need to read this book. I can’t recommend it enough! As soon as I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. It’s an unforgettable tale full of romance, angst, steam, action, and adventure. If Pam Godwin ever wrote more historical romances, I’d snap it up in a heartbeat!

TW: rape, torture


lacey


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Release Day Review: The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin

The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin
Series: Billionaires of Manhattan #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 28th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

I’m no Prince Charming, and the last thing I need is a Cinderella.

My instructions were simple: scour the city for a fake fiancée who’s not my type at all. Have her on my jet Monday morning, dressed appropriately for a yacht vacation.

I need a woman believable enough to convince a certain client that I’ve changed my playboy ways…yet nothing like the supermodels and socialites I usually have on my arm.

Somebody too annoying to tempt me–no emotional entanglements, thank you very much. This is business only.

If she’s unfazed by my looks and wealth, all the better.

Should be easy. Right?

Apparently not, because my people go and hire Tabitha. My hairdresser.

What were they thinking? Yes, I said annoying, but I didn’t mean Tabitha, the most frustrating woman in the world.

Tabitha is sunshiny. She has a pet hamster. She loves Hello Kitty, and she gets under my skin like nobody else.

As if that’s not bad enough, the minute we step on deck, she thinks that certain people on the yacht are up to something shady–based completely on her soap opera knowledge.

She won’t listen when I tell her she’s being ridiculous.

But as the days go by, I find that we’re actually having fun. And our fake kisses are heating up. And suddenly her wild theories aren’t sounding so strange after all…

Anyone else a sucker for the grump falling for the sunshine character trope? Or the fake engagement trope? If so, you’re in luck! Annika Martin’s latest rom-com has all that goodness (if you couldn’t tell, I love a good grump) and more. The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée is a fantastic, light-hearted romance that will have you smiling and giggling. It’s feel-good and adorable and exactly what I want in a rom-com!

I’ve been wanting to read Annika Martin’s contemporary romances for a while. I’ve only ever read her dark romances, and I always find it so fascinating and impressive when authors switch up genres/subgenres – and do it well. Now I know for a fact that Annika Martin can do both dark and lighthearted romances, because I enjoyed The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée so much! We’ve got the grumpiest grump of a hero (which, if you include in a book, I’ll want to read it) who needs a fake fiancée to win over an account for his billion-dollar company. Rex wants to find someone he does not like and who is in no danger of falling for him… so he hires his hairdresser Tabitha. Tabitha, the sunshiniest girl he’s ever met, the woman he sees once a week for his hair, the one who owns a hamster, loves daytime soap operas, and gets on his nerves like no other.

“Don’t worry, your kindness is a secret between us. You’re my brutish, gothic Heathcliff, the alpha male who shows his soft side only to me. Ooh, that’s good.” Here she does one of her upwards finger-pointing gestures. “Right there. That’s our couples dynamic.”

Most of the story takes place on a giant yacht, so not only do we have fake fiancés, we’ve got fake fiancés who are forced to be in close proximity for the next two weeks. Rex and Tabitha are entertaining as all get out when they’re together – she’s constantly ruffling his feathers and he’s being a total grump about it. I loved their dynamic, with and without the fake engagement. And I loved being able to see Rex slowly let down his walls to let Tabitha in. She turns his life completely upside down with her adoring, sweet ways. She’s ridiculous and hilarious and I loved her for him.

It drives me crazy that I can’t read her right now. It drives me crazy that she isn’t wearing any of her secret little Tabitha things. She’s everything that drives me crazy, and everything that I ragingly, infuriatingly, frustratingly want.

Now I am absolutely looking forward to reading Annika Martin’s other billionaire rom-coms! This one read completely fine as a standalone, so I’m sure the others can be too. I’m also DYING to read the next book in the series, another opposites attract romance, about the shy friend who confronts the owner of the building they live in!


lacey

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


Reading Order: Billionaires of Manhattan series

#1 ~ The Billionaire’s Wake-Up-Call Girl: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Most Eligible Billionaire: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Breaking the Billionaire’s Rules: Paperback • Goodreads
#4 ~The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
#5 ~ Return Billionaire to Sender: Goodreads (Sept. 2020)


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