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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Review: Last Guard by Nalini Singh

Last Guard by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy-Changeling Trinity #5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 20th 2021
Links: EbookHardcover • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands. . . .

Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.

For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed “imperfect” by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel for the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.

To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet . . . or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.

We’ve got a Psy-Psy romance for this 5th Trinity book! Even though this isn’t my favorite kind of pairing (I say this even though my all time favorite PC book is Psy-Psy lol), Payal and Canto’s romance is lovely and heartwarming. They are a part of Designation A, who are essentially the foundation and backbone of the Psy race, and unfortunately, they’re dying.

Canto, a Mercant, brings the formerly unknown A’s together and finds Payal, the girl who saved his life when he was a boy. There were lots of Heart of Obsidian vibes here, which made me happy. Payal reminded me of Kaleb, Silent and ice cold to prevent herself from the chaos inside of her learning out. Canto was the perfect hero to bring love and passion in her life and break down her walls. There’s also disability rep here, with Canto in a wheelchair.

I really enjoyed Last Guard! It’s always a joy to be back in this world. All the bear cameos made me smile. I’m crossing my fingers we’ll get another bear changeling romance because I can never get enough of them. And I’m still looking forward to a Nikita/Anthony book, if we ever get one!


lacey


Reading Order: Psy-Changeling Trinity series

 

#1 ~ Silver Silence: My ReviewEbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Ocean Light: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Wolf Rain: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Alpha Night: EbookPaperbackHardcoverAudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Last Guard: EbookHardcover • AudibleGoodreads


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Review: The Wedding Game by Meghan Quinn

The Wedding Game by Meghan Quinn
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: March 1st 2021
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn’s latest bauble is the charming story of a crafting queen battling a jaded divorce lawyer on a wedding reality show.

Luna Rossi is a veritable crafting genius—she can bedazzle and bead so hard her Etsy site is one of the hottest in the world. So it’s only natural that Luna would convince her brother and his husband-to-be to compete on The Wedding Game, a “do-it-yourself” TV show, for the title of Top DIY Wedding Expert.

As a jaded divorce lawyer, Alec Baxter scoffs at weddings and romance. But when his recently engaged brother begs him to participate in The Wedding Game, Alec grudgingly picks up a glue gun and prepares for some family bonding.

Both fierce competitors, Luna and Alec clash on national TV as harsh words and glitter fly with abandon. But as they bicker over color swatches and mood boards, they find themselves fighting something else: their growing mutual attraction. While Luna is torn between family loyalty and her own feelings, Alec wonders if he might have been wrong about love and marriage all along…

I love romances that center around TV show competitions, but I’ve never read one about a DIY wedding competition! The Wedding Game is a fun, quirky rom-com from Meghan Quinn, featuring a DIY expert and a jaded divorce lawyer who compete to create the ultimate dream wedding for their brothers.

Luna loves her brother Cohen and wants the best for him and his fiancé. So when she see the chance to enter a competition to win a penthouse and dream wedding, she signs them up. With her DIY skills as the owner of a famous Etsy store, she’s sure to win. Alec is a hot-shot lawyer with a strained relationship with his younger brother Thad. Thad used to idolize Alec growing up, since Alec was the only one in their family to take care of him. But now, after leaving Thad to pursue his career and never checking back in, Alec feels guilty and wants a chance to mend their broken relationship. When newly engaged and soon-to-be father Thad asks Alec to join him on The Wedding Game, he can’t say no.

Luna and Alec’s romance is so much fun. It’s a great enemies-to-lovers romance with plenty of banter and bickering, especially while they’re on set and fighting for the number one spot. I enjoyed the slow progression of their romance, and there was some good added drama with trying to keep their new relationship a secret from the TV crew and their brothers. Cohen, Thad, and their respective fiancé(e)s were also really entertaining! They brought so much humor and heart to the story. I didn’t mind at all that they almost stole the spotlight from Luna and Alec’s romance.

The Wedding Game is a great read if you want a light-hearted romance with strong family ties. It’s got a great cast of characters, some silly humor, and a whole TV show competition. Right now I’m really hoping we get a book for Luna and Alec’s best friends!


lacey


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Review: Exposed by Kristen Callihan

Exposed by Kristen Callihan
Series: VIP #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: July 13th 2021
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

Brenna

There are some people in life who know exactly how to push your buttons. For me, it’s Rye Peterson. We can’t spend more than ten minutes together before we’re at each other’s throats, which makes working together that much harder. Rye is the bassist for Kill John, the biggest rock band in the world, and I am his publicist. It doesn’t help that the man is gorgeous, funny, talented, and…never takes anything seriously. Avoidance is key.

But everything changes when he overhears something he shouldn’t: a confession made in a moment of weakness. Now the man I’ve tried so hard to ignore is offering me the greatest temptation of all—him.

Rye

Brenna James is the one. The one I can’t have. The one I can’t get out of my mind. Believe me, I’ve tried; the woman loathes me. I managed well enough—until I heard her say she’s as lonely as I am. That she needed to be touched, held, satisfied. And I could no longer deny the truth: I wanted to be the one to give her what she craved.

I convinced her that it would just be physical, mutual satisfaction with nothing deeper. But the moment I have her, she becomes my world. I’ve never given her a good reason to trust me before. Now, I’ve got to show Brenna that we’re so much better together than we ever were apart.

Things are going to get messy. But getting messy with Brenna is what I do best.

I’m always SO happy to read a Kristen Callihan book, and Exposed did not disappoint! I adore this rock star romance series and its cast of characters, so it was a delight to be back with them. It’s got a frenemies-to-lovers romance between a bassist and the band’s PR manager. Their romance has been years in the making and when they finally fall into bed for a frenemies-with-benefits fling, they can’t get enough. I enjoyed Brenna and Rye so much!

Brenna and Rye have been at each other’s throats for years. There has always been a simmering tension between and they finally get to act on it when, after overhearing Brenna talk about needing some all-consuming sex, Rye offers himself up on a platter for her. He never expects to fall so hard for her – or for her to be so adamant against being with him for real. But there’s nothing that can stop him from proving to Brenna that the feelings between them are real and that he’s worth taking a chance on.

Kristen Callihan is always so good at drawing me back into a series even though it’s been years since I last read it. Reading Exposed was like being back with a group of friends, even though they’re all rock stars. What I love about these characters is how dow-to-earth they are, despite all the fame and glory. Brenna and Rye’s romance is also so wonderful to read. I love an unexpected pursuing hero, and Rye is exactly that. You just know how much this man adores Brenna even though they haven’t always gotten along. The care and attention he gives to his heroine is swoon-worthy! Brenna herself is a take-charge heroine who you can’t help but root for and love. She’s had to climb her way up in her industry to be the successful woman she is today.

Exposed might not have topped my love for my #1 VIP book, Managed, but it easily takes the #2 spot. I had so much fun with Brenna and Rye’s heartfelt, steamy romance. I loved how much we get to see the rest of the band members and their significant others and can only hope we get Whip’s story next!


lacey


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Audiobook Review: The Stand-In by Lily Chu

The Stand-In by Lily Chu
Audiobook Publication Date: June 15th 2021
Length: 10 hours and 55 minutes
Narrated by: Phillipa Soo
Links: Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

How to upend your life:

  • Get fired by gross, handsy boss
  • Fail to do laundry (again)
  • Be mistaken for famous Chinese actress
  • Fall head-first into glitzy new world

Gracie Reed is doing just fine. Sure, she was fired by her overly “friendly” boss, and yes, she still hasn’t gotten her mother into the nursing home of their dreams, but she’s healthy, she’s (somewhat) happy, and she’s (mostly) holding it all together.

But when a mysterious SUV pulls up beside her, revealing Chinese cinema’s golden couple Wei Fangli and Sam Yao, Gracie’s world is turned on its head. The famous actress has a proposition: Due to their uncanny resemblance, Fangli wants Gracie to be her stand-in. The catch? Gracie will have to be escorted by Sam, the most attractive – and infuriating – man Gracie’s ever met.

If it means getting the money she needs for her mother, Gracie’s in. Soon Gracie moves into a world of luxury she never knew existed. But resisting Sam, and playing the role of an elegant movie star, proves more difficult than she ever imagined – especially when she learns the real reason Fangli so desperately needs her help. In the end, all the lists in the world won’t be able to help Gracie keep up this elaborate ruse without losing herself…and her heart.

I enjoyed The Stand-In so much! I loved the fun concept of standing in for a celebrity because you’re a lookalike. The audio is narrated so well – Phillipa Soo does an incredible job bringing not just Gracie, but also Sam and Fangli to life. And look at that beautiful cover! If you love romances set in the movie star world with all the glitz and glam (as well as the not-so-glamorous side), I highly recommend you try this audio.

Gracie Reed is our Chinese-Canadian heroine who looks so much like famous Chinese actress Wei Fangli that she’s offered the chance of a lifetime by Fangli to take the movie star’s place temporarily. In exchange for money that will help put Gracie’s mother in a nursing home, Gracie will pretend to be Fangli, go to fancy events, and accompany Fangli’s friend and supposed boyfriend, Sam Yao, who also just happens to be the sexiest man alive. How can a girl say no to all of that?

This story was so much fun! I loved watching Gracie learn how to enter and be a part of this world of wealth and fame. The developing friendship between Gracie and Fangli was lovely to read. As she gets more comfortable in her new role, Gracie also learns that Fangli’s life isn’t as perfect and fancy as she thinks. There are great discussions about anxiety and depression between them.

The romance between Sam and Gracie is definitely a highlight. They are prickly with each other right from the start. Sam is quite judgmental and arrogant but Gracie is quick to knock him off his pedestal. I adored the banter between them and their slow burn enemies-to-lovers romance. Though I will admit that towards the end of the book Gracie asks Sam to do something that made me totally side-eye her.

The Stand-In is an entertaining and surprisingly down-to-earth read. All of the characters have their own flaws but that makes them all the more endearing and relatable. It’s a great audio to pick up!


lacey


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