Release Day Review: Soul in Darkness by Wendy Higgins

Soul in Darkness by Wendy Higgins
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: February 12th 2019
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

People travel from afar to the small isle in the Aegean Sea hoping for a single glimpse of Princess Psyche. Their adoration for the mortal woman is so all-consuming that citizens begin to shower her with the very gifts and offerings they once left at the alter of Venus, goddess of love and beauty.

But gods are known for their jealousy.

Cupid, the god of love, takes pleasure in causing strife and mischief in the lives of humans. He uses love as a weapon, humoring in the weakness of people at the whims of their feelings. When his mother Venus approaches him about punishing the human girl who dares to steal her offerings and affections from the people, Cupid gladly accepts.

Psyche’s punishment is to be given to a mysterious creature who only comes to her in the dark of night under the pact that she will never lay eyes on him. She is terrified of this stranger, who the oracle described as a serpent. Her mate, however, is masterful in his dealings with his bride. He takes his time, morphing her fears into different sensations completely.

Based on the Roman/Greek mythology of Cupid and Psyche from Lucius Apuleius, New York Times bestseller Wendy Higgins brings the tale to life, weaving layers that show exactly how a sacrificial lamb can be enchanted by an unseen monster.

Y’all, I loved this book something fierce. It is SO, so good, and definitely up there as one of my favorite reads of the year. I love mythology retellings, especially Greek/Roman ones, and this Cupid/Psyche retelling was brilliant and beautifully written. I fell so hard for the story and felt for the struggle Psyche faces with her unknown husband. It’s a pure, romantic read I highly recommend!

“It has been decided. Hers will be a funeral wedding to a dar-deeded winged serpent. Many call him a monster. Your dear Psyche will call him Husband.”

Psyche is the princess of her small island and is considered to be the most beautiful woman to exist. Unfortunately, this angers Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, as her worshippers have turned to worship Psyche instead. To appease Venus and to save her people, Psyche is forced to marry a monster. The rules are simple: the monster will be her husband, she will spend her nights with him, and she must never lay eyes on him or touch him.

“You can have my body, creature of the night, but you will never have my soul.”

I knew the basics of Psyche and Cupid going into this book, so I appreciated even more the author’s unique take on that story. Wendy transports you to this wondrous, ethereal world of gods and monsters, and she makes you fall in love with Psyche and her mysterious husband. Psyche may have been forced into her marriage, but she doesn’t take it lying down. She uses the little power she has to make a life for herself in the new house she lives in with her husband, and takes any bit of independence he gives her. The husband is not so much a monster after all. He is kind, thoughtful, generous – the kind of husband Psyche never dreamed he would be. But who exactly is he? And why was she chosen to be his bride? There’s more at play than what she knows, and slowly, as she starts to fall for her mysterious husband, the truth starts to unravel.

The chemistry between Psyche and Cupid is intense. I was afraid going in that it would lie more on the YA side of steam, with fade-to-black moments, but rest assured this is not the case in Soul in Darkness! I lived for the sexy moments between these two fascinating characters. They both are placed in impossible situations but manage to make something beautiful and lasting out of it.

“Your beauty will never fade in my eyes, Psyche.” His words and voice rolled over me, sweet and heady. “My wife. My princess. The one who shot me with her love.”

I’m incredibly happy with this retelling and I hope Wendy Higgins decides to do more in the future. Her writing captivates you and makes you believe in the love between her characters. I swooned for Cupid and cheered for Psyche – my heart ached at how romantic their love story was. If you love any type of retelling, you absolutely must read Soul in Darkness!


lacey

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


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Blog Tour // Review: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: January 29th 2019
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Crush (n.): a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

Buy Links:
Ebook • PaperbackHardcoverAudible
HarperCollinsBarnes & Noble

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The Hating Game is one of my all time favorite books, so to say I was excited for Sally Thorne’s next release would be an understatement. Even though I didn’t quite obsess over 99 Percent Mine like I did THG, I still adored Darcy and Tom. The beginning was a little rough for me to get into, but once I hit my stride, I absolutely didn’t want to stop reading.

I adore a good brother’s best friend romance, and this one has everything I like about the trope: chemistry, forbidden elements, childhood crushes, angst. It’s also funny, witty, and quirky. Darcy is just so different from any other heroine I’ve read, and I appreciated her for that. Tom is an absolute SWEETHEART – the shy to Darcy’s aggressive. Big, shy heroes are my favorite. If you like opposites attract, I think you’ll fall for Tom and Darcy.

We’re all shareholders in Tom Valeska: Jamie, Megan, and me. His mom and my parents. Loretta and Patty. Everyone who’s ever met him wants a piece of him, because he’s the best person there is. I quickly count up all of those people. I include his dentist and doctor. Maybe he’s 1 percent mine. That has to be enough. I have to share.

Darcy Barrett has had a life-long crush on childhood friend Tom Valeska, but him being taken as her brother’s best friend put a stop on anything romantic developing between them growing up. But when there’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be near and around him for long periods of time – a chance to flip a house with him – Darcy seizes it. And what ensues is a romance story that is awkward, charming, funny, and endearing.

Darcy is beautifully flawed and complicated. Her insecurities sometimes get the best of her, which she hides behind her snark and sass. She’s a very hot and cold character, which was off-putting in the beginning, but she grew on me by the end. She believes that she’s not good enough for Tom, but Tom is just so loving and supportive of her. He’s a big, gentled, kind-hearted man who blushes around Darcy but isn’t afraid to be protective and possessive of her. I couldn’t help but swoon for him.

“If you were mine, I’d be careful with you. I bet that’s something you haven’t had much of.”…
“What else would you do?” I’ve got that husky voice he likes.
The animal in him is honest with me. “Everything. If you were mine, I’d do everything.”

I really appreciated that Sally Thorne didn’t write a The Hating Game 2.0. 99 Percent Mine is very different from THG, but Sally’s wit and charm comes across well in her writing. If you enjoyed THG, I highly recommend you try this second novel of hers. ALSO! For all you Josh and Lucy fans, there’s the sweetest little epilogue to THG at the end of 99 Percent Mine and it. is. glorious!


lacey

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

Be sure to check out Sally’s previous novel, The Hating Game!

EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

about the author button

Sally Thorne is the USA Today-bestselling author of The Hating Game. She spends her days climbing into fictional worlds of her own creation. She lives in Canberra, Australia with her husband in a house filled with vintage toys, too many cushions, a haunted dollhouse and the world’s sweetest pug.

Website • Twitter • FacebookInstagram • Goodreads


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Blog Tour // Review & Giveaway: Life on the Leash by Victoria Schade

Welcome to today’s blog tour for Life on the Leash! If you love dogs, this is definitely the book for you. Check out my review below plus a chance to win a paperback copy!

Life on the Leash by Victoria Schade
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: September 18th 2018
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Must Love Dogs meets My Not So Perfect Life in this hilarious romantic comedy about a dog trainer who’s a master at managing her four-legged friends, but when it comes to her love life…let’s just say she still has a lot to learn.

Cora Bellamy is a woman who thrives on organization. She’s successfully run her own dog training business for years, perfectly content with her beloved rescue pitbull as the main man in her life. She’s given everything to her business, and her lack of social life (or slobber-free clothes) has been completely worth it.

But all that changes when she meets Charlie Gill, the hottest client she’s ever had. The only problem? Charlie’s taken. Luckily, Cora has a new friend—the sweet, lovably geeky Eli Crawford. More loyal than a retriever, he’s always there to help Cora with her problems, including her love life. That’s why she’s shocked to realize that even as things start heating up with Charlie, there might just be a more-than-friends spark between her and Eli, too.

As Cora’s life gets more tangled up than a dogwalker’s leashes—and as she prepares to audition for a dog-training TV show that may irrevocably change her entire life—she has to figure things out before it all goes straight to the dogs.

Charming, witty, and warm-hearted, Life on the Leash inspires you to cheer for every underdog looking for love.

Buy Links:
Amazon EbookAmazon PaperbackBarnes & NobleIndieBound

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The main reason why I had to read Life on the Leash was because it was a romance that had DOGS in it!! I adore dogs of all shapes and sizes (I have my own Pomeranian who is the love of my life, much like the heroine), so I absolutely had to read this book – and it turned out as adorable as I hoped it would be. It’s not too romance-heavy, but if you’re a dog lover, Life on the Leash should definitely be on your radar.

Cora Bellamy is a natural with dogs and has turned her love for dogs into a career as a professional dog trainer in D.C. She barely has a social life as it is, but when an opportunity to audition for a TV show that’s about dog training appears, she can’t pass it up. And just when her professional life seems to be taking off, her social life comes knocking… in the form of two very different men.

Cora’s new client Charlie is everything she’s ever dreamed of – except he’s got a serious girlfriend. Eli is a new friend who is nerdy and sweet, someone she can always turn to. In between navigating her way between these two men, Cora continues to help new dog owners and even save a few dogs with her compassionate heart. I found myself charmed by Cora, though at times I did get frustrated at the love triangle. The romance didn’t feel as fleshed out as I thought it could be, but I did love the dogs and the dog training aspect of the story. Overall, I thought Life on the Leash was a fun, light-hearted novel with a very chick-lit feel. If you’re in the mood for something fluffy (and furry), this one’s for you!


lacey

about the author button

Victoria Schade is an author, speaker and dog trainer known for her upbeat approach to living and working with dogs. She’s published two books, “Bonding With Your Dog; A Trainer’s Secrets for Building a Better Relationship” and “Secrets of a Dog Trainer: Positive Problem Solving for a Well-Behaved Dog.” LIFE ON THE LEASH is her first novel.

She’s a frequent resource for the media, including the CBS Early Show, The View, WEtv, and FOX. Victoria has been featured in The Washington Post, Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple Magazine, Reader’s Digest, The Bark, and many dog-specific publications. She currently serves as a pet expert for petMD and PawCulture, writing training and behavior content and appearing in educational videos.

Website • Twitter • FacebookInstagram • Goodreads

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(1) Paperback of Life on the Leash
(US only)

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Release Day Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Most men can’t handle Hazel. With the energy of a toddler and the mouth of a sailor, they’re often too timid to recognize her heart of gold. New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Roomies, Beautiful Bastard) tells the story of two people who are definitely not dating, no matter how often they end up in bed together.

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them…right?

Christina Lauren is easily in my top 10 most beloved authors. This author duo knows how to write romance, and write it well. Each new release of theirs brings something unique and fresh to the genre, and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating is no different. Josh and Hazel stole my heart in their hilarious, adorable friends-to-lovers romance. If you love entertaining books with well-written characters that are utterly relatable, you definitely need this book in your life!

I love quirky heroines, and you don’t get any more quirky than Hazel. She looks at the world a little differently than other people, and Josh understands her in a way few others do and adores her all the more for it. Josh is her perfect match, the steady stability to Hazel’s wild ways. They’ve known each other for a decade since college, but after reuniting, their friendship grows even stronger. You can absolutely feel the strength in the foundation of their friendship, and I love how that friendship slowly grows into an epic love.

As much as I love alpha heroes, it’s the quiet, dependable heroes that always get to me. Josh’s support and adoration for Hazel is one of the best parts about this novel. In addition to that, Christina Lauren did a fantastic job at authentically writing about Josh’s life as a Korean-American. As an Asian-American myself, I couldn’t help but appreciate how seamlessly the authors wove Korean culture, from the language to the food, into the story.

If you’re a fan of rom-coms and friends-to-lovers, I can’t recommend this book enough. Josh and Hazel’s story is fresh, genuine, and romantic. Christina Lauren left me with a smile on my face by the end of the book, but that’s no surprise for me. They’ve been knocking their 2018 releases out of the park, and I already can’t wait for more from them!


lacey


Also by Christina Lauren:

Standalones:

   

Dating You / Hating You: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Autoboyography: Ebook • Hardcover • Audible • Goodreads
Roomies: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Love and Other Words: My Review • EbookHardcover • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Beautiful Bastard series

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren Beautiful Bitch by Christina Lauren
Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren Beautiful Bombshell by Christina Lauren Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren Beautiful Beginning by Christina Lauren
Beautiful Beloved by Christina Lauren Beautiful Secret by Christina Lauren Beautiful Boss by Christina Lauren 

#1 ~ Beautiful Bastard: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Beautiful Bitch: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Beautiful Stranger: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2.5 ~ Beautiful Bombshell: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Beautiful Player: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3.5 ~ Beautiful Beginning: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3.6 ~ Beautiful Beloved: My Review • Ebook • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Beautiful Secret: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4.5 ~ Beautiful Boss: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Beautiful: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Wild Seasons series

 Dirty Rowdy Thing by Christina Lauren Dark Wild Night by Christina Lauren Wicked Sexy Liar by Christina Lauren

#1 ~ Sweet Filthy Boy: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Rowdy Thing: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Dark Wild Night: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Wicked Sexy Liar: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: August 7th 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

City girl Calla Fletcher attempts to reconnect with her estranged father, and unwittingly finds herself torn between her desire to return to the bustle of Toronto and a budding relationship with a rugged Alaskan pilot in this masterful new romance from acclaimed author K.A. Tucker.

Calla Fletcher was two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this new subarctic environment, Jonah—the quiet, brooding, and proud Alaskan pilot who keeps her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. As time passes, she unexpectedly finds herself forming a bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago.

It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

The Simple Wild is now one of my new favorite reads of 2018! I almost cried at the end of this book, while I was taking public transportation. That’s how intensely emotional this book is, since I rarely ever cry while reading. I fell in love with Calla, her family, Jonah, flying, and Alaska in this phenomenal read. This is definitely my favorite K.A. Tucker read to date and I highly recommend this beautifully written book – it’s the kind of read that you won’t be able to forget.

City girl Calla Fletcher never thought she would travel to a remote town in Alaska of all places, but when someone who works with her estranged father tells her that he has terminal cancer, she packs her bags to go see the man who abandoned her for over two decades, who always chose his job as a pilot over his daughter, before he’s truly gone from her life.

At its heart, The Simple Wild is about relationships and taking chances. Calla is woefully unprepared for the wilds of Alaska – but what city girl wouldn’t be? But she takes the chance to go see her father and reconnect with him after decades in the hopes she won’t have any regrets about their relationship by the time he’s gone. She takes a chance on Alaska, on its unforgiving nature and the close-knit community that the Alaskan small town has. And she takes a chance on a surly, gorgeous pilot named Jonah, who she can’t help but go head to head with. But even after letting all these new experiences and people into her heart, can a city girl at heart and the wilds of Alaska truly mesh?

The Simple Wild quite simply wrecked me. As soon as I picked it up, I couldn’t stop reading Calla’s heartfelt story. I felt for this girl, the way she tries to make a new relationship with her father, the way she stands up to Jonah and falls slowly in love with him. I never expected to fall in love with Alaska, but K.A. Tucker writes the place in a way that makes it come to life. I am beyond impressed with this breathtaking story and highly recommend it for those who want more in their contemporary romances!


lacey


Also by K.A. Tucker

Standalones

 

He Will Be My Ruin: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Keep Her Safe: My Review • EbookHardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Burying Water series

Burying Water by K.A. Tucker Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker Chasing River by K.A. Tucker Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker

#1 ~ Burying Water: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Becoming Rain: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Chasing River: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Surviving Ice: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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