Publisher: Swerve

Guest Review: The Way Back to Us by Jamie Howard

Posted January 18, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Way Back to Us by Jamie HowardReviewer: Tracy
The Way Back to Us (Love Unplugged #3) by Jamie Howard
Series: Love Unplugged #3
Also in this series: All The Ways You Saved Me
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: December 12th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 350
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Goodreads
four-stars

Gavin MacCormack found the one. He fell in love. Hard. Until one night he ran out for some ice cream and came back to an empty dorm room, closets bare and nothing but a quick hand-written note saying, I’m sorry. Those two words taught Gavin the meaning of heartbreak. A feeling he never wants to encounter again. And as the lead singer of a Grammy award-winning band he's had plenty of opportunities for casual, no-strings fun, which is just the way he likes it.

Dani Winters has had more names than birthdays. On the run with her father for nearly as long as she can remember, she’s lived her life by three rules—always plan for the worst, maintain a low profile at all costs, and never let anyone get too close. Except she broke that last rule once and her heart has never forgiven her.

One chance encounter changes everything. Seeing Dani resurrects feelings in Gavin he thought were long buried, and this time he’s not letting her disappear without getting some answers. But Dani’s life is the definition of complicated and she’s playing with fire by letting Gavin back in. When the time comes to run again, Dani needs to decide if a life without love is worth living, or if it’s time to stop running and fight.

Gavin has been heartbroken for years.  He thought he was over his one true love, who suddenly left him without a word when he was in college.  When he sees her again he thinks he’s angry but really he just can’t believe that she’s back in his life.

Dani Winters has been running most of her life.  When she was in college the last thing she wanted to do was leave Gavin, as she loved him so much, but her life is unpredictable.  When she reappears in Gavin’s life she lets him know that it’s only for a short time.  He agrees they’ll be together as long as they can and when they have to part it will be fine.  They’re each lying to the other, however, because they both know that when they part the last thing it will be is “fine”.

The Way Back to Us was a wonderful reunion story.  With Dani coming back into Gavin’s life we didn’t quite know what to think.  The author was pretty closed-mouthed about what was going on with Dani until further along in the book.  We knew that Dani had been on the run for years but we didn’t know why until near the end of the book.  Because I didn’t know the facts it was hard for me to get too attached to Dani.  Sure, I knew that all would work out in the end (I mean, come on, it’s a romance novel!) but while I felt for her and her situation I felt more attached to Gavin and didn’t want him to get hurt.

I loved Gavin to pieces.  He was an incredible anchor for his (all female) family and a great friend.  The last think I wanted for him was to lose Dani again.  I was happy when he made the decision he did in the end I was truly happy when all worked out.  Howard had me on the edge of my seat there for a while – good on her as normally figure those things out ahead of time.  I never would have guessed the ending of this book.

Overall I’ve really enjoyed the Love Unplugged series and I’m looking forward to Ben’s story. If you haven’t picked up the series yet, you should do that as the books are wonderful.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Love Unplugged Series

four-stars


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Guest Review: Nikan Rebuilt by Scarlett Cole

Posted January 16, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Nikan Rebuilt by Scarlett ColeReviewer: Tracy
Nikan Rebuilt by Scarlett Cole
Series: Preload Series #3
Also in this series: Jordan Reclaimed, Elliott Redeemed
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: January 2nd 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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Goodreads
four-stars

Does the past ever really stay in the past?

Nikan can never be complete. He's got a rock group made up of the family he built for himself, more money than he knows what to do with, and a stream of groupies falling over themselves to date him. But none of them are her. The one regret that still plagues him, still taunts him with what he could have had.

Jenny is a survivor. Now running a group home after overcoming life in a cult lead by her manipulative father and watching her mother drink the poison he fed his followers, she fights to keep the light in the eyes of every boy who walks through her doors. Far from simple young love, Nik taught her to trust, showed her how good life could be. Before he formed the band. Before he became a famous rock star. Before he destroyed it all.

A chance meeting after years of no contact shows the connection still blazes between them. But will they have their second chance at love? Or will the weight of their past crush their future together?

If you’ve read any of the other books in the Preload series you know that Nikan grew up in a group home, met his best friends – his family – and they formed a metal band called Preload.  Nik’s girlfriend while growing up was Jenny, who also lived in a group home (not the same one).  They moved out of the home and Preload started on their journey to stardom. They fell in love and planned on being together forever.  That is until Preload went on their first tour and Nik slept with someone else.  Jenny was brokenhearted and ended up disappearing before Preload got back from their tour, never to see Nik again.

Jenny ended up going to school and becoming a social worker and worked in a group home.  When the opportunity to run the same group home that Nik and the boys had grown up in, she takes it because it would be her first opportunity to be in charge – her dream.  She knows there’s a possibility of running into Nik but she doesn’t expect it to happen so quickly and when it happens she’s wasn’t prepared for how the meeting affected her.

Nik never stopped thinking about Jenny.  He knows he fucked up all those years ago and has never stopped looking for Jenny or regretting what he did.  When he sees Jenny again he tells her exactly how he’s feeling about her and that he wants her back.  Jenny wants nothing to do with Nik but he’s persistent and soon Jenny is falling under his spell once again.

This was another great book in the Preload series.  This book showed us a different side of Preload than what we’ve seen before and I liked that we got down to the nitty gritty with the boys and their issues.  Nik had always been the glue that kept it all together but that was stressful for him and he didn’t want everyone relying on him constantly.  He also really didn’t like playing metal even though that’s what the band played.  He wanted to make his own music but didn’t want to give up on Preload either.  It was a tough thing to be caught in the middle of and hard for Nik to bring it up to the guys and actually have them understand.  On top of those issues he was trying to get Jenny back and he was trying to focus solely on her.  I felt for this guy.  Yes, it was a complete asshole move to sleep with a freaking groupie when he had the love of his life back home, but I think that Cole really showed us how he had changed, grown, matured over the years.  I honestly believed that he would never do that again.

Jenny’s situation was crazy.  Her father had been a cult leader and had eventually tried to poison his followers – when that happened he made Jenny’s mother go first and she died before the authorities stepped in and saved a lot of lives.  She’d arrived in the group home when she was about 13 years old and Nik had been her rock.  When he betrayed her, she didn’t know what to do with herself, but it didn’t stop her from making her own dreams come true. She was also dealing with getting letters from her father who was trying to get her to visit him in prison telling her he’d changed (yeah, right).  I admired Jenny’s strength with all she was going through with her dad and Nik as well as her dedication to the kids in the homes.  I also liked that she didn’t give in to Nik right away.  Yes, they ended up together, but she didn’t make it an easy road for him.

Overall the book was a really great one and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Preload Series

four-stars


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Guest Review: Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick

Posted November 20, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
Romancing the Scot by May McGoldrick
Series: The Pennington Family #1
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 300
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Goodreads
four-stars

Hugh Pennington—Viscount Greysteil, Lord Justice of the Scottish Courts, hero of the Napoleonic wars—is a grieving widower with a death wish. When he receives an expected crate from the continent, he is shocked to find a nearly dead woman inside. Her identity is unknown, and the handful of American coins and the precious diamond sown into her dress only deepen the mystery.

Grace Ware is an enemy to the English crown. Her father, an Irish military commander of Napoleon’s defeated army. Her mother, an exiled Scottish Jacobite. When Grace took shelter in a warehouse, running from her father’s murderers through the harbor alleyways of Antwerp, she never anticipated bad luck to deposit her at the home of an aristocrat in the Scottish Borders. Baronsford is the last place she could expect to find safety, and Grace feigns a loss of memory to buy herself time while she recovers.

Hugh is taken by her beauty, passion, and courage to challenge his beliefs and open his mind. Grace finds in him a wounded man of honor, proud but compassionate. When their duel of wits quickly turns to passion and romance, Grace’s fears begin to dissolve…until danger follows her to the very doors of Baronsford. For, unknown to either of them, Grace has in her possession a secret that will wreak havoc within the British government. Friend and foe are indistinguishable as lethal forces converge to tear the two lovers apart or destroy them both.

Grace and her father are in Antwerp having just gotten off of a ship from the colonies.  When their baggage carriage turns up at their inn without their trunks Grace goes down to see what happened.  When she returns to her room she finds her father dead and people searching her room. She runs and street urchins help to hide her.  After a long run they manage to hide her in a crate with a plan to come back to get her.  Unfortunately the crate is then nailed shut and put on a ship to Scotland. No amount of yelling attracts anyone’s attention.  Grace doesn’t see the light of day for another five days.

Hugh Pennington has taken up ballooning and is anxious to open his new gondola.  When he opens it he is shocked to find a woman who is almost dead inside.  He and his sister take her to their home and nurse her back to health.  Despite being half dead Hugh can’t deny that he’s intrigued by how this woman came to be in his gondola.

When Grace awakens she doesn’t know where she is or who has been taking care of her.  The people seem nice but she’s the daughter of an Irish man who was a colonel in Napoleon’s army – he fought against her hosts!  She pretends to have amnesia and tries to figure out how to leave.  She spends time with Hugh and his sister Jo and the more time Grace and Hugh spend together the more she comes to care for him.  She knows that nothing can come of it, however, as she can never tell him who she is.

I have to say that the more that I read May McGoldrick’s book, the more I like this author.  The premise of this book is very different from what I’ve read in the past.  With Grace being the daughter of someone who fought for the French in the French wars.  It was pretty interesting and I have to say that I found it enthralling.  Throw in the almost-dying-by-being-locked-in-a-crate scenario and this book had my whole attention.

Hugh and Grace’s romance was sweet.  While it seemed to happen pretty quickly there was definitely a bit of time in between Grace waking up and the end of the book, McGoldrick just didn’t show us every minute of it.  I appreciated that as I could still feel the time moving and didn’t feel like the romance was rushed in any way.

Jo, Hugh’s sister, was a lovely woman.  She was a spinster and was supposedly happy with that but I could tell she wanted a family of her own.  I certainly hope that she gets her own book.

I definitely recommend reading this book as it was a good one.  Then be sure to read about Hugh’s brother, Gregory, in the Christmas in Kilts anthology – that was a good one too.

Rating; 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Enchanted by the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall

Posted November 14, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Enchanted by the Highlander by Lecia CornwallReviewer: Tracy
Enchanted by the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall
Series: A Highland Fairy Tale #4
Also in this series: Beauty and the Highland Beast, When a Laird Finds a Lass, The Lady and the Highlander
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: November 14th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Gillian MacLeod is shy and quiet, the least likely of all her sisters to seek out excitement and adventure. But on a moonlit night at a masquerade ball, Gillian steals a kiss from a mysterious stranger, knowing she’ll never see him again.

John Erly, disowned by his noble English father, started a new life in Scotland. Most people are suspicious of the foreign mercenary and he does everything is his power to avoid romantic entanglements. But he can’t forget the bewitching beauty who kissed him in the dark, and stole his heart, even though he has no idea who she might be.

A year later, John is given the duty of escorting Gillian to her wedding and immediately recognizes her as the temptress he’s dreamed of for months. There’s not much he can do when she's promised to another man, but fate intervenes and this time, passion—and adventure—can’t be denied. Honor demands he stay away from the MacLeod’s enchanting daughter, but love has a very different ending in mind...

Gillian is fascinated by John Erly, an Englishman and the Captain of her brother-in-law’s army.  Gillian has always been quiet and shy and because of this she has let her family think and speak for her for her whole life.  When Gillian has the opportunity at a masquerade ball to be an unknown she takes the opportunity to seek out John.  He soon is enchanted and takes her into the garden.  They kiss and it’s amazing!  When people start entering the garden Gillian is afraid it will be her family and takes off, leaving only her mask behind.

Gillian leaves with her father the next day and doesn’t return for almost a year.  Though she has never forgotten the amazing kiss with John but she returns now so that her brother-in-law can take her to Edinburgh to get married.  She knows she can never marry John (because he’s English and her father would never allow it) so she has accepted the marriage proposal from a man who’s older than her father.

John has never forgotten the kiss he shared with the mystery woman and it’s haunted him for the many months since.  When he sees Gillian again he figures out she was the one he kissed.  He vows to stay away from her as he knows she’s betrothed.  When circumstances change and John is asked to take Gillian to Edinburgh to be married he can do nothing but agree.  Events cause the two to be together by themselves and they finally admit to themselves they’re in love.  Of course with Gillian getting married John isn’t about to stand in the way of her future but…things have a funny way of working out for the best – it’s a fairy tale after all!

This was another great fairy tale inspired romance in the Highland Fairy Tale series.  This one was loosely (and I do mean loosely) inspired by Cinderella.  Gillian drops her mask after she kisses John and gets back to her room at midnight.  That about covers the similarities.  Despite that it was a great story.

Gillian, as I said before, had let everyone think and talk for her all her life.  I have no idea why as she was smart and funny.  Yes, shy, but her family just drove right over her time and again – even when she did want to talk.  I was happy that when it came down to what she truly wanted (John) she opened her mouth and stood up for herself and their relationship.

John was a good man who had had a rough life but had settled into his duties as Captain in Scotland.  It wasn’t what he had planned for his life, but he did his job well.  He never expected to fall in love with a highland lass but when he did he tried to do the honorable thing. I had to admire the guy and his scruples.  I was also happy when he finally put his and Gillian’s happiness first – that was pretty great.

If you haven’t read this series, and you like fairy tales, then you should definitely pick up one of these great books.

Rating: 4 out of 5 

four-stars


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Guest Review: With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins

Posted October 19, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: With This Christmas Ring by Manda CollinsReviewer: Tracy
With This Christmas Ring by Manda Collins
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: October 3rd 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

A wallflower determined to fulfill a dying promise, the rogue she jilted years ago, and an orphaned baby are all brought together amidst the magic of Christmas in this new novella from Manda Collins.

Miss Merry Parks makes a deathbed promise to a schoolfriend that her infant daughter will be taken to her absent father. There’s only one problem—to find the baby’s father, she’ll have to consult his cousin, Viscount Wrotham, the man she jilted five years ago. The man she couldn’t forget.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, is stunned to find Merry Parks—looking more lovely than ever--on his doorstep with an infant in her arms. His shock soon turns to dismay when he learns his own cousin William is the man who abandoned his wife and child. As head of the family he’s duty bound to see right is done. But he can't let this opportunity pass. He’ll take Merry and the baby to his cousin, but he’ll woo her back in the process.

Merry agrees to travel with Alex and the baby to Wrotham Castle, where the entire Ponsonby family has gathered for Christmas, but her plans to see the baby settled then leave are ruined by a snowstorm. After five years apart, Alex and Merry will spend the week getting reacquainted. Perhaps it’s the spirit of the holiday, or the magic of the season, but there could be something else in the air this Yuletide…A Christmas Reunion.

When Merry’s friend, Charlotte, gives birth she asks Merry to find the father for her right before she dies.  Charlotte had eloped but then her fiancé left her at her parents’ house and never returned.  The father is the cousin of Viscount Wrotham. Merry had been engaged to Viscount Wrotham five years ago but had ended the engagement despite her love for him.  She still loved him and it certainly made her anxious to have to go to his house to find baby Lottie’s father.

Alex Ponsonby, Viscount Wrotham, never stopped loving Merry Parks.  The note she’d left him ending their engagement was so vague he never truly figured out why she ended it.  He’s been in Paris but now that he’s back in London he’s determined to find Merry and see if he can win her back. He certainly doesn’t think she’ll knock on his door with a newborn asking for his cousin!  Alex is relieved when he finds out that the baby isn’t Merry’s, that’s for sure.  They determine that the cousin, Will, is at the family estate as it’s right before Christmas and Merry and Alex end up traveling together to deliver the baby.  Merry gets snowed in at Alex’s estate and can’t make it home for Christmas.  Alex is thrilled as this just means he gets to spend more time with Merry and he takes his chances with winning her back.

With This Christmas Ring turned out to be a lovely little Christmas surprise for me.  It was a sweet story that didn’t throw a lot drama into the story just for drama’s sake (although there was once part…).  I enjoyed Merry and her character as well as Alex’s.  The pair truly never stopped loving each other so it wasn’t all that difficult to get back together.  Family interference had sent Merry away once and it looked for a bit like it would happen again but it all turned out well in the end.

The story of Charlotte and Alex’ cousin, Will, was quite sad and made my heart break a little.  The situation was a tad distressing but had Charlotte not died then we wouldn’t have had a story so I had to keep reminding myself of that – despite the tragedy of it all.

In the end the story was a sweet, fast read and one I definitely enjoyed

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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