Tag: Swerve

Guest Review: In Bed with the Beast by Tara Sivec

Posted June 4, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: In Bed with the Beast by Tara SivecReviewer: Tracy
In Bed with the Beast by Tara Sivec
Series: Naughty Princess Club #2
Also in this series: At the Stroke of Midnight
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

A tale as old as time: she needs a place to stay, he's a grump with a secret and an extra room...can love find a way?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

Living in her overprotective dad’s basement, shy Belle lives her life through books. Being a part of the Naughty Princess Club is the first adventure she’s ever had, plus she desperately needs the money to save one of her favorite places - the local library.

But when her new friends and new business gets her kicked out of her dad’s house, Belle is rescued by the surly Vincent “Beast” Adams who invites her to be his house guest until she gets back on her feet. Despite his attitude problem and long list of rules, Belle finds herself warming to the muscled man with a penchant for growling and starts seeing a gentle side to him that wasn’t there before.

Yet there’s a room that Beast keeps locked and Belle keeps getting hints that Beast is hiding something…can a nerdy librarian tame the beast or will their romance be over before it has a chance to blossom?

Belle is a book nerd.  She works in a library and that’s her dream job.  She lives in her dad’s basement and though she’s an adult, he is extremely overprotective of her.  When she met her two best friends, Cindy and Ariel, she never imagined she’d be starting a stripping business with them, but it happened.  She’s a bit anxious to actually do that stripping but she’s working on her confidence.  When she gets kicked out of her house by her dad she doesn’t want to bother her friends and ends up sleeping in the library.  She’s saved from that by an unlikely source – a man named Beast who works at the local strip club as a bouncer.

Beast, whose real name is Vincent, is completely besotted with Belle.  He takes her home and sets her up in his spare bedroom.  Despite his form of communication aka grunting, Belle finds him charming.  He shows her with deeds what a good guy he is.  They manage to have some hot interactions but Belle’s not sure if he’s just trying to help her with her confidence or not.  Belle is soon falling in love but when a secret that Beast is hiding comes out her belief in happily ever after is put to the test.

This was another great story in the Naughty Princess Club series.  I really loved Belle and her awkwardness.  She spouts statistics and little tidbits of knowledge when she gets nervous and I found it charming.

This book was in first person POV so of course we didn’t get any info from Beast, which was disappointing.  Beast had a hidden past that comes out (a good one!) and I would have loved to have known his thoughts on a lot of things that happened in the book.  Alas, it was not to be.  Despite that I thought he was a great guy who had serious communication issues.  He came through in the end, however so that was a plus.

This is definitely a romance between Beast and Belle, but it’s also sort of a coming-of-age story involving a 24-year-old.  That seems a bit odd, I know, but Belle had never really come out of her shell.  She’d been protected by her dad all her life and her friends were the ones she read about in books.  She did go to college and get her master’s degree, but I got the impression that she lived at home that whole time.  Meeting and befriending Cindy and Ariel were the first steps in getting her to be her own person.  I loved reading about how she was taking things step by step to change her life and lead it the way she wanted to lead it and doing it in her own way.

Overall I really liked this story – just as much as I liked the first book in this series, At the Stroke of Midnight.  If you’d like to read a couple of fun, contemporary romances then these are two I recommend picking up.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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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
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: May 1st 2018
Format: eARC
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
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: March 27th 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 300
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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 | 9 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
Also in this series: In Bed with the Beast
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
Format: eARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: December 12th 2017
Format: eARC
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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