Beard Up by Lani Lynn Vale Review

LLV - Beard Up - cover image


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Ghost [gohst] noun: the soul of a dead person, a disembodied, vague, shadowy spirit wandering among or haunting living persons; a mere shadow or semblance; a trace.

That noun sums up Ghost and what his life has become with painful precision. He is barely living, merely existing but never thriving. There wasn’t much that could pull him from the darkness he willingly inhabits…except one thing. Her.
She is the reason he’s done what he’s done, and his life has become what it has become.

He haunts his former life, lurking in the background, surviving on occasional glimpses of the only thing good that is left in his miserable life. The horror he has inflicted upon her is nothing compared to the terror that waits for her when someone moves in to take her from him.

The thing about being stuck in the past is that it is like walking through life backwards. She is always looking back, so she doesn’t see what is happening in front of her. Unfortunately for her, it turns out that the ghosts of the past aren’t nearly as terrifying as the monsters of the future.

They say that true love is like a ghost, something that many talk about but few have seen. It’s a good thing for that, too, because he’ll need that element of surprise to protect her. Hopefully when the dust settles, he’ll be able to resurrect more than just himself.


As a huge Lani Lynn Vale fan, I, like the rest of her diehard readers, have been eagerly anticipating the release of this book. Seriously, the wait for Beard Up has been like the romance book world’s version of who shot JR! Vale has been having a grand old time dropping hints and mercilessly teasing her readers, hoarding details and carefully doling out information about this book. She created a firestorm amongst her readers as they debated and speculated about this hero’s identity. As a long-time fan who’s read every word she’s written, I’ve enjoyed that added element of camaraderie and excitement surrounding each release in the Dixie Wardens Rejects series.

I’m going to be purposefully vague in this review because, as I stated, the identity of the hero is an enormous spoiler. It’s no secret that I’m a diehard Lani Lynn Vale fan. I love her books, I love her writing style and the fictional worlds she’s created in Kilgore, Benton and now Mooresville. Her sense of humor is a never-miss source of amusement for me, and everything about her books from the way she pieces them together to the plots and the characters just seem to tick off all my boxes. It all comes together for me, every single time, and it’s why she’s secured a spot as one my top favorite authors.

So, while I may always be impressed with this author’s work, I’m thrilled to say that she is in top form here and exceeded my high expectations of her. Vale penned a suspenseful, sexy and satisfying read full of emotion that drew me in from the first page and made this a difficult book to put down. It was positively gut-wrenching watching this hero haunt his former life, and his longing to return to it was a palpable thing. I felt genuine relief – mine and the heroine’s –  when the pieces snapped into place for her. Their reunion was loving and sexy, and I cheered this couple on as they reconnected and made up for lost time.

One of my favorite parts of any Lani Lynn Vale book is her unique sense of humor. It’s laugh-out-loud funny and witty, and she used it here to balance out the emotion and intrigue with astounding success. More than just hot and hilarious, though, Beard Up was action-packed with an interesting, exciting suspense plot. As if all of that wasn’t enough to catapult this book on to my 2017 top favorites list, readers are treated to liberal appearances by many characters from previous Dixie Wardens books in this book.

Vale’s Dixie Wardens Rejects series, along with the last few books in the Dixie Wardens series, have all been leading up to this book, and Lani Lynn Vale did not disappoint. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this book, enduring months of insinuations in her books, and I can honestly say that it was well worth the wait. She delivered a soul-healing, hard-earned, second-chance love story that was passionate, moving and exciting. Quite simply, she not only lived up to the hype she created around this book, she knocked it out of the park, and it’s is my opinion that Beard Up is Lani Lynn Vale’s best work yet. Five smooches from me!

~ Danielle Palumbo