Review: The Truest Thing by Samantha Young

The Truest Thing by Samantha Young
Series: Hart’s Boardwalk #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: August 18th 2020
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Nine years ago, Emery Saunders moved to Hartwell to start her life over as a bookstore owner. Her inability to trust people made it hard for her to find a place in the small community until Jessica Lawson moved to town and befriended the shy beauty.
But there was one person in Hartwell who tried to befriend Emery long before Jessica arrived…

Jack Devlin has his secrets. One of them is that he fell hard for Emery the moment she appeared in Hartwell. Another is that his father blackmailed him into covering up a dark family tragedy. It forced Jack to sever his relationships to protect the people he cared about. Yet, staying away from Emery has not been easy throughout the years and he hasn’t always succeeded. When Jack’s mixed signals hurt Emery once again, she puts him out of her heart for good.

Until the Devlin family secret is finally revealed, freeing Jack from his father’s machinations. What Jack wants more than anything is to repair his relationships, starting with Emery.
However, Emery isn’t ready to forgive and Jack’s not ready to give up.
And when the town’s latest scandal ties Jack and Emery together, Jack is not above using their new reality to prove to Emery once and for all that their love is worthy of the legend of Hart’s Boardwalk.

It’s been a long time coming for Emery and Jack. When they were first introduced in the Hart’s Boardwalk series, I knew I need their romance asap. It’s been a few years, but The Truest Thing is finally here and it was just as angsty and tortured like I expected! Though book three, Things We Never Said is still my favorite of the series, I’m so glad we get to read this much awaited story and would highly recommend it for longtime fans of the series.

Emery moved to the small boardwalk town of Hartwell nine years ago to open a bookstore/coffee shop. She was insanely shy around others and never made any friends, at least not until the heroine from book one moved in, but from the moment she met Jack, a local resident, there was something there between them. Unfortunately, the town player who never wanted to settle down and the new shy, awkward resident meant that neither could come forward and act on their chemistry. To make matters worse, a few years later Jack turned his back on his friends and the community to work with his evil, heartless father. But through it all, Emery saw who Jack was deep down and never stopped rooting for him.

Usually, this kind of dynamic – the town manwhore hero and the shy virgin heroine – doesn’t work for me. It’s not my favorite thing to read in romances, but somehow Samantha Young made it work. I never really hated Jack for all the hurtful things he did, though I do feel like he could’ve groveled a bit more to Emery. Emery didn’t come across as a pushover and I was rooting for her to find her inner strength and go after what she wanted. I enjoyed the way these two characters finally were able to be together, though it’s certainly not an easy road. The nine years they’ve known each other have been fraught with drama, hurt, and heartache, but we all know that Jack and Emery are everything to each other.

I love this cast of characters Samantha Young has created and am so sad to say goodbye to them. I love the small town community and the setting of Hartwell, which is brought to life through the author’s writing. For anyone who has been waiting for Emery and Jack, wait no more. It’s an angsty, emotional, and steamy final book to the series!


lacey


Reading Order: Hart’s Boardwalk series

 

#1 ~ The One Real Thing: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Every Little Thing: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Things We Never Said: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#4 ~ The Truest Thing: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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Review: Black Tangled Heart by Samantha Young

Black Tangled Heart by Samantha Young
Series: Play On #4 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: May 14th 2020
Links: EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

To my siblings, Jane was a friend. A pseudo-sister, the girl we grew up with.
To me? She was everything.
Our passion consumed us.

When our world fell apart, I thought our love would be the thing that held us together.
She was the love of my life. But she abandoned me when I needed her most.
And I’ll never forgive her.

For years I’ve been planning my revenge against the people who took everything from me.
Jane won’t be an exception. I’m coming for her.
She knows it.

She says she wants to help me serve my version of justice on the people who hurt me.
I’ll let her.
She probably thinks it will save her from me.

It won’t.

Black Tangled Heart took me by surprise by how gripping and addicting it was! I enjoyed the first Play On book and though I haven’t read the second yet, I was still excited to see what Samantha Young had in store for us. As soon as I started reading, I was HOOKED onto Jane and Jamie’s story. It’s a story of first love, revenge, and second chances. There are moments that will hit you in the gut and give you ALL the feels. The romance is beautifully passionate and messy at the same time. I highly recommend this one if you want something unique and unputdownable!

This book is split into two different parts: the past, when Jane and Jamie first fall in love as teenagers, and the present, when they reunite as adults and are filled with revenge. In the past, Jane is a foster child when Jamie’s family moves in next door. His family becomes her pseudo-family and slowly, we see their love develop and bloom into something deep and beautiful. They may have only been teens, but the strength of their love is everlasting. Then tragedy strikes them, leaving the two heartbroken and eventually split apart for years. Now, Jamie is back in Jane’s life, feeling hurt, angry, and wanting revenge against the people who hurt his family… and wanting revenge against Jane.

What a wild, emotional trip this book was! The passion and chemistry between Jane and Jamie is INTENSE. I loved the parallel between their sweet young love and the volatile passion it turned into. The story’s also got a good dose of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat. This book could’ve easily been a 5 star read for me – I was LOVING the past and the way it was set up. But I got mad at what happened during Jane and Jamie’s separation, and the part when they got back together was a little too easy after all the build up. I wanted Jamie to grovel a bit more for what he did. And the revenge plot gets resolved too conveniently, which is why I’m giving this book 4 stars instead of 5. Still, it’s a fantastic read that will take you on an emotional journey. If you love Samantha Young, you don’t want to miss this one!


lacey


Reading Order: Play On series


#1 ~ Play On: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ As Dust Dances: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Black Tanged Heart: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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Review: Outmatched by Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young

Outmatched by Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: November 19th 2019
Links: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

What happens when a boxer finds chemistry with a geek?

Parker Brown can’t believe she needs to hire a fake boyfriend. When she landed her dream job in renewable energy, she thought she’d be entering a world at the forefront of progressive thinking. But the head boss prefers to promote employees who are “settled.” Thankfully, she’s found the perfect candidate, a fellow intellectual looking for some quick cash. What Parker gets is his protective big brother—Rhys Morgan. The tall, muscled ex-boxer with a foul mouth shows up just as her boss does, and now she’s stuck with the manipulative jerk.

Responsibility weighs heavily on Rhys. Now permanently out of the ring, he’s trying to hold together his late father’s gym and keep his younger brother, Dean, on the straight and narrow. To save Dean from himself, Rhys takes his place, ready to give this society girl a piece of his mind. Instead, he finds an opportunity. Even though they can hardly stand each other, posing as Parker’s boyfriend is a win-win deal. She gets to keep her job, and he’ll charm her star-struck boss into sponsoring his gym.

Problem is, they can barely keep their hands off each other. And what started as an easy deal isn’t so easy anymore. Because what future can a rough ex-boxer, afraid to open his heart, and a polished society geek, who has sworn off real relationships, possibly have?

They say opposites attract. These opposites are about to combust on impact.

When Samantha Young and Kristen Callihan announced that they would be writing a book together, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! I had no idea these two authors had ever even though about collaborating but I’m so glad they did. Their writing meshed together well – they know how to write relatable characters and humor, both of which made me fall in love with Parker, Rhys, and their enemies to lovers romance. If you’re a fan of either of the authors (which I am), you will more than likely adore Outmatched!

Parker Brown needs a fake boyfriend to impress her sexist boss and keep her job. Rhys Morgan needs money to keep his gym running and out of the red. So it would be a perfect setup for them to come to an agreement wouldn’t it? Except that to say that these two get on each others’ nerves would be an understatement. It’s a bit difficult for them to pretend to be head over heels in love, but they make it work. The one thing that goes right though, is the insane chemistry between them. They hate each other, but they can’t get enough of each other. This is the perfect case of ‘opposites attract,’ with Rhys being a huge, grumpy ex-boxer and Parker being a tiny, adorable nerd. She comes from wealth, he does not. I loved the way they genuinely come to slowly understand the other better, their background and where they come from, and ultimately fall for each other.

I love a smol, dorky, nerdy heroine and a big, gruff, grumpy hero. Parker and Rhys make the sweetest couple in this fake-relationship romance, with lots of great banter and tension. Samantha Young and Kristen Callihan did a fantastic job with this collaboration and I hope they write more together! I absolutely wouldn’t mind a book for Dean, Rhys’ brother!


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:
EbookPaperbackHardcover
Barnes & NobleiBooksKobo

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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! ❤

excerpt button

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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Blog Tour + Review & Excerpt: Villain by Samantha Young

Villain by Samantha Young
Series: Hero #1.5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
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The sexy and emotional companion novella to the New York Times bestselling romance HERO

Nadia Ray is not just a broadcast meteorologist. She’s Boston’s morning television It Girl. Successful and independent, she’s put a past she’s ashamed of behind her and is forging a future she can be proud of. However, when her new boss discovers her secret he blackmails her, intent on using Nadia’s popularity to make them the number one morning show in Massachusetts. He wants her to be part of uncovering the city’s biggest scandal – a secret billionaire Caine Carraway is hiding.

Soon Nadia is thrown into the path of Caine’s best friend: sexy, wealthy bachelor Henry Lexington. But she doesn’t encounter the dashing high society gentleman Henry is purported to be. Instead she’s faced with an insulting and defensive villain who misjudges her at every turn.

When Henry finally realizes the truth, and decides to make amends, Nadia wants nothing to do with him. But she underestimates his determination and charm and soon they find themselves embroiled in an intense, passionate affair.

An affair Nadia knows must come to an end before their feelings grow any deeper and he discovers her secrets.

After all, Henry Lexington isn’t the only one who played the part of a villain once…

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunes • Kobo

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Hero was one of my favorite reads back in 2015. I remember wanting Nadia and Henry’s story so bad, and now we finally have it! Samantha Young doesn’t disappoint – I adored their novella. It’s quick and hot, but with enough heart and emotion to get you hooked onto the characters and story despite the short length. Plus, it’s got the enemies-to-lovers trope, which I’m always up for.

When Nadia and Henry first meet, they make terrible first impressions on one another, leading them to make quick judgments about the other, despite the wild attraction between them. Unfortunately, Henry ends up being in the wrong here, but this charming, suave man is nothing if not determined to win the good favor – and eventually, the heart – of the one woman he can’t get out of his mind.

“I was born into a life of privilege … but I never knew true wealth until I met you, Nadia Ray.”

Mix in some good groveling, plenty of steamy scenes, and cute banter, and you have the novella that is Villain. I enjoyed this novella SO much – not only did I adore Nadia and Henry, but it was also great to see Caine and Alexa again! I’d definitely recommend this novella if you loved Hero, or if you need a good, short contemporary romance fix!


lacey

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

Now here’s an excerpt from Villain! ❤

excerpt button

Shaking off the memory of yesterday, I grabbed my purse and opened the door to my apartment with every intention of jumping in a cab to the address Joe had given me.

However, a man blocked my way.

He stood in my doorway, his fist raised as if to knock.

Shocked, I stared up at his familiar face.

Why the hell was Henry Lexington standing in my doorway?

His vibrant blue eyes met mine and for a moment, neither of us said a word. Silence stretched thinly between us, and I suddenly realized I was holding my breath.

Lexington quite abruptly broke the silence. “Miss Ray?”

“Yes, what—”

“We need to talk.” He pushed past me and walked into my apartment without an invitation.

For a moment, I stood there with my mouth open, asking myself if that had just happened. Were people really that rude?

I stared after him, watching him disappear out of my hall and into my sitting room.

All my papers on Carraway were in there!

“Hey!” I called, shutting the door and hurrying after him. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Lexington stood in the middle of my small sitting room, his back, thankfully, to my desk. His expression was sullen, cool, and calculating. This was not the charming, hedonistic millionaire I’d read about. “I could ask you the same thing, Miss Ray.”

“Excuse me?” Cold sweat prickled under my arms. Did he know? How did he know? If he didn’t know, why the hell else would he be here? Why was he here and not Carraway?

I waited anxiously for Lexington to stop boring through my face with his hard eyes. “I assume you know who I am.”

“You’re Henry Lexington.”

“And you, Miss Ray,” he turned and strode over to my desk, fingering my papers, “are going to let a certain story die.”

My belly flipped unpleasantly.

Goddammit. “What?” I said.

Lexington raised an unimpressed eyebrow. “Imelda Worthington.”

Fuck.

“That blank expression isn’t fooling anyone, Miss Ray. I know she said a few unfortunate things to Richard Peters, your boss, and I know you’ve been calling her ever since.”

Despite my guilt, despite knowing I was in the wrong here, this privileged asshole had burst into my apartment to intimidate me. Like hell! “You do, do you?”

His eyes narrowed. “Imelda informed me of what’s been going on and asked me to kindly give you a message.” He prowled toward me and I suddenly felt real fear. I didn’t know this man and he was here to shut me up. How far would he go? I steeled myself, not wanting him to see my fear. If my expression gave me away, however, I didn’t know; all I did know was that Henry Lexington stopped a good foot from me. It still wasn’t enough. He stood at over six feet, his broad shoulders fitted into a perfectly tailored three-piece suit. He had big, masculine hands, one hidden in his pocket, the other resting on his flat stomach over a suit button. Henry Lexington had a swimmer’s build—sleek but powerful—and I could only guess at the strength beneath his suit. I struggled not to feel overwhelmed by his large, magnetic presence, as much as I struggled not to feel fear.

“You’ll leave her alone,” he demanded.

Guessing there was no point in being coy considering he’d seen my desk, I asked, “Why are you here instead of Carraway?”

Lexington flashed me a wolfish grin that didn’t reach his eyes. “Because I’m the nice one. Caine scares Imelda. He scares most people. Not you, though.” He took another step toward me, seeming to be cataloguing every little nuance of my face. “And if you’re not careful, that lack of fear could ruin you, Miss Ray.”

Reading Order: Hero series

 

#1 ~ Hero: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
#1.5 ~ Villain: Ebook • Goodreads (Dec. 5, 2017)

about the author button

Samantha Young is the New York Times,  USA Today  and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows.  Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us was published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook & hardback June 2017. Play On is an adult contemporary romance and the first in a brand new series set in Scotland.

Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for HeroOn Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.

Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.

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