Publisher: Swerve

Guest Review: Lennon Reborn by Scarlett Cole

Posted May 1, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Lennon Reborn by Scarlett ColeReviewer: Tracy
Lennon Reborn (Preload #4) by Scarlett Cole
Series: Preload #4
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: May 1st 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 250
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

From the queen of heart-pounding, sexy, emotional romance Scarlett Cole comes Lennon Reborn, a stunning, shattering rock star romance in the Preload series.

Lennon McCartney is not a broken man. Because being broken implies being whole once. When a horrific accident deprives him of the one thing he loves—his talent as a fierce and explosive drummer—Lennon is left with a life chained by an abusive mother, by crushing guilt over a tragic past. A life he doesn’t want.

Dr. Georgia Starr is a legend. She’s one of the most successful neurosurgeons in the world, coming from a long-line of respected New York doctors. Her life is built around solving complex medical cases in order to bring relief and hope to sick children. But the one problem she can’t solve is how to live her life. How to be shake loose the burden of being her elitist, arrogant father’s daughter. How to be free.

Can a man who despises his life and a woman who desperately needs to live find the answers, and love, with each other?

**Warning: Deals with dark themes and deep personal struggles.**

If you’ve been reading the Preload series you know that all of the guys in the band grew up in a group home together, but before they all became family they each had horrible childhoods.  Lennon’s was no different and it broke my heart to read about what he went through as a child.

Because of his childhood he holds himself away from his band mates.  He feels like he’s just an extra and not really part of it all.  When he is injured in a tragic accident in New York while on the tour bus, he wants to just give up and die.  Luckily he is saved in more ways than one by Georgia.  She is there at Lennon’s time of need in lots of different ways and I loved her for it.  Georgia stayed with Lennon and figured him out pretty quickly.  She didn’t give up on him and in the end it payed off for her.  It payed off for Lennon as well as he began to see what a vital part he was of Preload as a band mat,e but more importantly in the personal lives of the band members.

The story was horrifying at times but filled with so much love and hope.  I’ll admit I’m sad that this series is ending.  As horrible as it was to read about the Preload issues, I think that Cole did an excellent job of bringing them to a place where they could love and be loved.  Her heroes and heroines are smart and strong in their own ways and I truly enjoyed the whole series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Preload Series

four-stars


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Guest Review: It Happened in the Highlands by May McGoldrick

Posted April 27, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: It Happened in the Highlands by May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
It Happened in the Highlands by May McGoldrick
Series: The Pennington Family #2
Also in this series: Romancing the Scot
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: March 27th 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 300
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Lady Josephine Pennington was jilted by her fiancé once rumors spread about her questionable origins. Her adoptive parents have always provided her with the love and protection she’s needed to feel secure, and over the last sixteen years she’s molded herself to meet the expectations of others. When she receives a package containing sketches where the subject is eerily familiar, Jo believes she might have found a clue to the identity of her birth mother.

When Captain Wynne Melfort ended his engagement to Jo Pennington sixteen years ago, he never imagined he would see her again. But after he uncovers information that could reveal the truth about Jo’s parentage, Wynne feels bound by duty to right an old wrong and inform her of his find. He didn’t expect for feelings long thought dead to resurface, for in his mind a love departed was gone forever.

As they strive to unravel the mystery of her birth, Jo must learn how to trust the man who’d once rejected her, and Wynne must reconcile his head with his heart. But as secrets of the past begin to surface, evil forces will stop at nothing to keep Jo from uncovering the truth and reclaiming her legacy. Together, Jo and Wynne must fight the deadly menace lurking deep in the Highland mists.

Josephine was raised by the Pennington’s, a prominent family in Scotland, but her mother was unknown.  Just a woman who Lady Pennington had helped give birth on the side of the road named Jo. Raised as one of the Pennington children, Josephine never felt any different until she went to London for a season.  There she met the love of her life, Captain Wynne Melfort, but everyone else whispered and publicly ridiculed her.  She figured she could endure it because of Wynne, but when he breaks their engagement, Jo is devastated.

Now it’s sixteen years later and Josephine is quite happy with her life. She takes take of her family and loves her nieces and nephews.  When she gets a note from a mental institution she’s intrigued enough to stop by on her way to her brother’s house.

Wynne didn’t want to break off his engagement to Josephine but he was shipping out and he felt since he couldn’t be there to protect her from the ton it was better for everyone.  He never stopped loving Jo, however.  He is now back in Scotland helping to run a mental institution with her best friend and he has taken custody of his 10 year old son who had previously been living in Jamaica.  When one of the non-verbal patients sketches out picture after picture of a woman that looks like Josephine he’s not sure what to make of it.

When she arrives neither are ready for their feelings to bubble back to the surface but they are ready to find out if the non-verbal man has a connection to Josephine and if so, what it is.

McGoldrick has once again written a lovely romance that had me completely invested.  In book one I was curious about Josephine and what exactly her story was so I was quite happy when I found out that I wasn’t going to have to wait to find out.

Josephine was a wonderful person inside and out.  She was just a gem and while she had her faults, there weren’t many.  I was intrigued by the hunt for her true history and to find out where she came from, although I knew no matter what the Pennington’s wouldn’t let her feel like she wasn’t always part of the family.  That family was perfect for Jo to grow up in and I loved them to death.

Wynne was a little harder for me to get to like.  He had been on the high seas and though he had a son in Jamaica he left the child’s grandmother to raise him until she feared for his life because of the country’s upset.  I hated that he had left his son, Cuffe, for so long and this was also a point of contention with Cuffe and Wynne.  Cuffe wanted to be back taking care of his grandmother and resented his father for taking him away.  It was a great part of the book, Cuffe and Wynne coming together.  I was happy that McGoldrick decided to add this element to the story.

I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more romance between Wynne and Josephine. Since neither had ever stopped loving the other, once they confessed their continued feelings…they were kind of together. I liked that they got their HEA but A) I wanted a little bit more romance and B) I wanted Wynne to have to work for it a little harder. Lol

In the end it was a good story and I really enjoyed reading it.

Rating: 3.5/4 out of 5

The Pennington Family Series

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec

Posted February 28, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 8 Comments

Guest Review: At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara SivecReviewer: Tracy
At the Stroke of Midnight by Tara Sivec
Series: Naughty Princess Club #1
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
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Goodreads
four-stars

Once upon a time Cynthia was the perfect housewife. Between being the President of the PTA and keeping her home spotless without a hair (or her pearls) out of place, her life was a dream come true. Her husband was once her knight in shining armor, but now he’s run off with all their money…and the babysitter.

Dressed as a princess at the annual Halloween block party on Fairytale Lane, she meets two other “princesses” also facing money troubles: antique store owner Ariel and librarian Isabelle. When the women are invited to wear their costumes to a party where they’re mistaken for strippers, Cindy, Ariel, and Belle realize that a career change could be the best way to make their money problems go bippity-boppity-boo.

But can structured Cindy approach a stripper pole without sanitizing wipes? And could the blue-eyed anti-prince that has been crossing her path become Cindy’s happily ever after?

Cindy is barely hanging on. Her husband has cleaned out their bank accounts and run off with the barely legal babysitter, leaving Cindy and her teenage daughter high and dry.  Cindy is the head of the PTA and a “proper” woman so she tries to hide her husband’s defection for as long as possible.  When she becomes friends with the neighborhood pariah, Ariel, after a bit of a rough start, she realizes that she needs to make a future for herself and her daughter as, obviously, her husband isn’t coming back.

At a Halloween block party one of Cindy’s neighbors ask her, Ariel and their friend Belle to “perform” at a party.  They think that being hired as princesses for a children’s party is an awesome idea but when they get there they figure out that it’s a bachelor party and they were hired to strip.  They get out of that situation but the stripping idea sticks with them.  They decide to start a stripping business of their own, but they need help.  They head to a high-class strip joint to learn some moves from one of the girls, but the owner of the place, PJ Charming, has it out for Cindy.  Or is it that he just wants her for himself?

This was an unexpectedly cute story.  I obviously read the blurb before reading it but it was so much more than I expected.

Cindy was a real piece of work before her husband left, and even afterward.  She had spent years trying to be the perfect wife but her life was…beige.  Her clothes were beige, her shoes, home furnishings and life were all beige.  Her husband leaving ends up being the best thing for her because she learned how to be herself and that wasn’t who she had been while married.  Becoming friends with Ariel & Belle, and becoming an independent woman were all so good for her and I loved seeing her come into her own.

The relationship with PJ was hot and spicy and oh so good.  It could also be very sweet and I loved that.  PJ was a good guy who was really trying to protect Cindy (and keep her for himself).  Yes, he acted like an ass a few times but I thought he more than made up for that.

Overall this was a good book and I definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a fun and humorous book to read.  I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, that’s for sure.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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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