Lacy Literacy

Book Reviews, Discussions, Listicles, More

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Title: White Stag
Author: Kara Barbieri
Release Date: January 8th 2019
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village is burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—is taken captive by the malicious goblin Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens even as she tries to fight her growing attraction to him. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

Goblins goblins where art thou? I don’t know about you, but as a lover of all things faerie and cruel, goblins are an underrated favorite of mine and I’m so happy to see more books featuring these overshadowed folks. I had the chance to introduce White Stag as part of the blog tour, and I hope you guys will be as intrigued as I was when I first picked it up….shhhh I’m not quite done with the whole book yet, but so far I can say I find it intriguing, and goblins can be sexy you can’t change my mind! Anyway, the book comes out tomorrow, and here’s a little excerpt ❤

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Huge thanks to Avon for providing me with an ARC for Reviewing Purposes ❈ 

Book Cover - One Ghosted Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole.jpgTitle: Once Ghosted, Twice Shy (Reluctant Royals)
Author: Alyssa Cole
Release Date: January 8th, 2018
Category: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Alyssa Cole returns with a fun, sexy romance novella in the Reluctant Royals series!

While her boss the prince was busy wooing his betrothed, Likotsi had her own love affair after swiping right on a dating app. But her romance had ended in heartbreak, and now, back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy—so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart.

When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.


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Once Ghosted, Twice Shy reminded me that, yes, the Reluctant Royals universe IS THAT GOOD. I could spend 17 books in this universe and want more. Alyssa Cole does an amazing job with contemporary world-building. Reluctant Royals feels distinctive enough from our own world to enchant, but not in a way that makes you want to pick apart the differences. I can’t think of a contemporary series that feels as contemporary as when Likotsi tries to figure out which stranger on public transport is airdropping her photos. Moments like that are what the series is about. I adore it. In this, Alyssa Cole can do no wrong.

The part of Once Ghosted, Twice Shy that was more of a mixed bag was the novella format itself. Alyssa Cole has no problem fleshing out Likotsi and Fabiola. They’re strong individuals with unique traits (and tastes in fashion). I didn’t feel rushed getting to know Fabiola, who is first introduced in this novella. You get introduced to her partially via her dating app profile which was an efficient and effective way of introducing key traits without being mechanical. I really liked that Fabiola was in the middle of wanting to refocus her career towards running a small, jewelry business (and can someone who runs a merch shop PLEASE make Fabiola-inspired jewelry). Her motivations and decisions made sense despite the fast time frame. I also loved getting into Likotsi’s POV because I missed learning about Thesolo after reading A Duke by Default. Again, Cole’s worldbuilding is perfect. Likotsi thinks and talks about her believe in the goddess Ingoka. It creeps up in smaller ways from saying “goddess” to outright tenets of her religion. For both Fabiola and Liktosi, their character is laid out in the smaller details from clothing choices to lists. Cole pays such great attention to detail and it shows in all the aspects of the story.

What was a struggle for me was the shortness of it all. Once Ghosted, Twice Shy has alternating chapters: one from before Likotsi and Fabiola break up and one after. All the issues that caused Likotsi and Fabiola were addressed, I just wished they were more drawn out. I was enjoying their voices too much to want to be in their heads for small timeframe. Plus, the alternating timelines made me feel like I was jumping from past to present faster than I would’ve liked to keep in the mood.  Because I love Alyssa Cole’s full length novels in the series, I know what she can do when given more time to work out the story and I wanted that same execution from Once Ghosted, Twice Shy. 

Nevertheless, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy is a solid novella addition to the Reluctant Royals series and the perfect way to tide yourself over to the release of A Prince on Paper in April.

My Rating:

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“Attention, passengers, we apologize for the delay.” The MTA conductor’s voice was tinny, but the exasperation rang clear as the voice fuzzed through the speakers in the stalled subway car. “We are being held momentarily by the train’s dispatcher due to a malfunctioning signal. Or something. Thank you for your patience. We will be moving shortly. Maybe.”

Likotsi Adelele, mother of schedules and slayer of inefficiencies, would usually have been quite annoyed with her train being stuck on a bridge for half an hour with no explanation, but it was a special day: she had off from work. The full weekend! Two days to herself, a reprieve from managing meetings with dignitaries, heads of states, and business interests; planning royal dinners, royal date nights, and royal relaxation; and overseeing most aspects of the life of His Royal Highness, Bringer of Light and Love, Prince Thabiso Moshoeshoe of Thesolo, currently situated in Manhattan.

Or more time to think about her.

Likotsi tugged at the thigh of her trousers—teal gabardine with a matching blazer—before crossing her leg so that an ankle rested over her opposite knee, exposing bright yellow socks. She brushed away a speck of dirt that had lodged in one of the diamond-shaped perforations that decorated the aged tan leather of her new brogues. Her father had mailed her the shoes a few weeks back, a Christmas present to go under the giant fir tree lodged into a corner of the royal townhouse, since Naledi enjoyed partaking in Christian holidays. When Likotsi had finally been allowed to open the package, held hostage until four am on December 25 by an ever vigilant Naledi, she’d discovered a note inside: New shoes point toward the future, sweet daughter. You cannot keep wearing that which you have outgrown.

Likotsi had slipped the note and the shoes into her closet for the two weeks following the holiday. Today she would break them in, walking away from memories that should’ve evaporated long ago but had left residual damage, like stains on suede after a sudden downpour.

She winced as the conductor made another announcement, this one completely unintelligible static.

A train delay was fine. A train delay was delightful. Anything she encountered this weekend would be delightful because she was tired of the dejection that had nagged at her for months. Dejection was inefficient, and worse, it was pedestrian. Moping and wallowing had left a green tinge on the memories of her few perfect days in New York the previous spring, like the band of a fake gold ring. It was time to leave the shoes she had outgrown behind.

It was time to create new memories.

As far as interminable train delays went, being stuck on the Manhattan Bridge on a Saturday morning was about as good as one could get. Outside the window of the train, the January sunlight was dappling over the choppy, ice-strewn waves of the East River, tinting the muddy waters a silvery green-gold. The cold blue of the morning sky seemed endless as it stretched out over Brooklyn on one side and Manhattan on the other, holding all the promise of the recently arrived New Year.

A week before, Likotsi had watched the ball drop from the apartment of a translator she’d met at the UN. As she’d walked home, surrounded by drunken revelers, she’d wondered what it would’ve been like to kiss Fab at midnight instead.

No thoughts of her today. Enough.

On the Manhattan side of the river, the sharp angles of the skyscrapers were burnished with light, making it seem as if the impossibly tall buildings were sunbathing. New York City didn’t have majestic mountains or roaring waterfalls or rolling plains, like her homeland, but it was a beautiful city in its own way. It deserved better than to be the receptacle of memories that impeded her forward motion like a badly tailored suit that was too tight at the knees and elbows.

Likotsi had been working double duty as assistant to both Prince Thabiso and Naledi, his betrothed, for months. She’d been particularly dedicated to her job for the last seven months and three weeks, happy to work long hours and not just for the supplemental pay. Thabiso had gone from gently asking that she work less to outright commanding it.

She supposed she had been very. . . focused on keeping their schedules and making sure everything ran like clockwork.

The goat that wanders is the goat that gets lost. She hadn’t allowed herself to be lost to the pain of stinging rejection, especially over such a fleeting affair. She had focused, stayed on the path of international relocation and American apartment hunting and making sure that everything in her boss’s life was handled before he could think of it. There was a certain comfort in putting someone else’s life to order when her own felt uncharacteristically messy.

But now she was on vacation. The last time she’d taken time for herself in this manner had been, coincidentally, eight months before, when Thabiso had been busy hiding his royal identity while wooing Naledi. Likotsi had downloaded a dating app and made the error of swiping right on Fabiola C, located 0.3 miles away.


Fab’s bio had been seven words: Math. Jewelry. Dressing down is giving in. Dark brown skin, Bettie Page bangs, and an hourglass figure were what had initially caught Likotsi’s attention. Personality, talent, and drive were what had held it fast. An immediate, theretofore unknown connection was what had made Likotsi sure Fab was the one. Fab’s blunt, cold breakup had shattered that illusion, but the shards remained.

Fabiola C: I can’t do this. You’re leaving, right? It was funlet’s stop before it’s not.

Likotsi had thought the hurt would fade, eventually. It had been a temporary fling after all, and she was no slouch at those. While Thabiso had formerly held the title of the Playboy Pan Afrique, Likotsi had fared just as well in her own dating sphere, minus the fuckboy tendencies. In Thesolo, there were families anxious to settle their daughters with the prince’s right hand, and when she traveled? Well, women found it hard to resist a sharp suit and a soft smile. Surely a woman she’d only spent a few nights with shouldn’t have done her heart more than a glancing blow.

If Likotsi’s obsession with efficiency had taught her anything, it was that sometimes it was the briefest setback that toppled everything afterward like dominoes.



ALYSSA COLE is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who lives in the Caribbean and occasionally returns to her fast-paced NYC life. In addition to writing, she founded and hosted the Jefferson Market Library Romance BookAuthor Pic - Alyssa Cole Club and taught Romance Writing for Beginners. She speaks on topics such as writing erotic romance, writing multicultural romance, and self-editing. She has contributed romance-related articles to publications including RT Book Reviews, Heroes and Heartbreakers, Romance at Random, and The Toast. She has also started a bi-monthly column in the Romance Writer’s Report, Romancing the Globe, in which she chats with romance writers from around the world. When she’s not busy writing, traveling, and learning French, she can be found watching anime with her husband or tending to her herd of animals.

Follow Alyssa📱

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To celebrate the release of ONCE GHOSTED, TWICE SHY by Alyssa Cole, we’re giving away a paperback copy of A Princess in Theory!


GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 1/14/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.


The Earl I Ruined is the total, unlikeable heroine package set in a world you can’t help but get lost in…

Since reading The Earl I Ruined, I’ve kept my feelings about it relatively under lock and key. How am I supposed to talk about a book that made me feel one too many emotions in the greatest way possible? How am I supposed to talk about a book that made me feel like the author glimpsed into my soul and saw everything I needed at the end of 2018 and put it in one book? Well, it starts with lots of key-smashes and screaming about it with Eri.

  Huge thanks to the Author for providing me with an ARC for Reviewing Purposes via Netgalley ❈ 

Book Cover - The Earl I Ruined by Scarlett Peckham.jpgTitle: The Earl I Ruined (Secrets of Charlotte Street #2)
Author: Scarlett Peckham
Release Date: December 11th, 2018
Category: Adult
Genre: Historical Romance

She’s beautiful, rich, and reckless…

When Lady Constance Stonewell accidentally ruins the Earl of Apthorp’s entire future with her gossip column, she does what any honorable young lady must: offer her hand in marriage. Or, at the very least, stage a whirlwind fake engagement to repair his reputation. Never mind that it means spending a month with the dullest man in England. Or the fact that he disapproves of everything she holds dear.

He’s supposedly the most boring politician in the House of Lords…

Julian Haywood, the Earl of Apthorp, is on the cusp of finally proving himself to be the man he’s always wanted to be when his future is destroyed in a single afternoon. When the woman he’s secretly in love with confesses she’s at fault, it isn’t just his life that is shattered: it’s his heart.

They have a month to clear his name and convince society they are madly in love…

But when Constance discovers her faux-intended is decidedly more than meets the eye—not to mention adept at shocking forms of wickedness—she finds herself falling for him.

There’s only one problem: he can’t forgive her for breaking his heart.

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halloween: a time of vampires, hobgoblins, draculas, boogens, and headless mice… And Community references.

Finally, it’s that day of the year: Halloween, the best holiday in the history of forever. Something about last-minute costumes, ghost romances, candy (sans candy corn), horror films, and the California weather that always remains in the high 80’s despite it being fall, never fails to enchant.

To honor this auspicious holiday, Eri and I are bringing you our Halloween Reading Recommendations complete with ghosts some more real than others, vampires, shifters, and also books in which pumpkins are somehow involved. Expect Romance and non-Romance reads.

Note: All pun names were curated by me (Eri) and I take full credit/blame for how cheesy they are. – Eri. And I’m responsible for the never-ending Community references. I will take your thanks now – Alexis.  Also, we’d like to thank our friend Mana for creating the amazing banner as we were both too busy to do it ourselves.

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About a month ago on September 27th, a life changing journey began: I decided to read the Hidden Legacy series.

Since I marathon-ed the series in that single weekend, I haven’t been the same since. Despite not having been a fan of the series as long as others, I can definitively say I have been starving for new series content (and already started my series re-read). Diamond Fire delivered on that craving in a spectacular way while making me fall even deeper in love with Catalina Baylor and the Hidden Legacy world.

❈ Huge thanks to Avon for providing me with an ARC for Reviewing Purposes ❈

Book Cover - Diamond Fire by Ilona AndrewsTitle: Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy #3.5)
Author: Ilona Andrews
Release Date: November 6th 2018
Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy

Content Warning: lesbophobia

Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle.  Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan’s extensive family overruns his mother’s home.  Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic.  But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her sister’s happiness. Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.

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October 1st is a special day, and not only because it’s now time to get fully into the Halloween Spirit. Today is the release day for one of my favorite author’s latest books: Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert.


In honor of the release day, check out an excerpt from Mating the Huntress and an opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card curtsey of Talia Hibbert!

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The Governess Game is my favorite Governess Romance of all time. Tessa Dare took a trope I don’t normally gravitate towards and made it golden.

The second installment of Girl Meets Duke is Tessa Dare at her best with charming supporting characters, an easy to root for couple, and multiple funerals for someone’s doll ― which is much more fun that it sounds, trust me.

❈ Huge thanks to Avon for providing me with an ARC for Reviewing Purposes ❈

Book Cver - The Governess Game by Tessa Dare.jpgTitle: The Governess Game (Girl Meets Duke #2)
Author: Tessa Dare
Release Date: August 28th 2018
Category: Adult
Genre: Historical Romance

Content Warning: on page Panic Attack

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson.

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart . . . without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling . . . and he’s in danger of falling, hard.

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A few weeks ago, I was drafting a post about my favorite heroines of 2018 (so far). Then, I come to a startling conclusion: the book covers were all blue. A conspiracy? Perhaps. Something that will forever make me think of the Halsey song Colors? Yes. The perfect post idea? Most definitely.

Today, I’m sharing my favorite books of 2018 (so far) that all have blue covers.

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