Tag: Tracy’s Reviews

Guest Review: How to Lose a Highlander by Michelle McLean

Posted May 17, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: How to Lose a Highlander by Michelle McLeanReviewer: Tracy
How to Lose a Highlander by Michelle McLean
Series: The MacGregor Lairds #1
Published by Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: May 15th 2017
Genres: Medieval, Historical
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Forced into marriage by their king in order to stop years of inter-clan feuding, Sorcha Campbell and Malcolm MacGregor are each determined to drive the other away. Malcolm knows he can never trust his new shrewish wife, despite the fact that everything he observes seems to prove that she’s not only trustworthy, but utterly perfect for him. Sorcha knows she can never let her guard down around the man she believes betrayed her father, yet the longer she’s with him, the more she discovers he is nothing like she was led to believe. They’ll have to fight their way through past prejudices and their own determination to destroy their union in order to gain their perfect HEA in this Taming of the Shrew meets How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days tale.

Sorcha Campbell’s father may be a highlander but and she obviously part Scottish but she’s been brought up by her English mother in England.  She’s lived at court most of her life and she doesn’t want that to change. She’s been proposed to many times but her father has turned them all down as no one has been good enough for her.

The Campbell’s and the MacGregor’s won’t stop raiding each other’s lands and the king decides that it must come to an end.  The king decides that Sorcha will marry Malcolm MacGregor and make the two families kin.  No one is happy with the decree but they can’t go against the king.  Sorcha decides to do everything she can to make him get an annulment and strangely enough, Malcolm has the same idea.  After the marriage the pair just frustrate the hell out of each other to no avail.  Sorcha gets to know the people of the MacGregor clan and she starts to doubt that all of the horrible things her father had told her about them were true.  She starts to find a home and decides that she needs to try to make hers a real marriage with Malcolm.  Unfortunately Malcolm finds it hard to trust – especially a Campbell.

This was a great little story.  I really liked Malcolm and Sorcha and their plans to irritate each other to death in order to get an annulment.  It didn’t work with either of them but it was funny.  I admit that did get old rather quickly and was happy when the author moved on to getting the pair together.  It was done slowly but very well and I thought it was nice that Sorcha didn’t go from hating Malcolm to loving him.  It took a while and that was a good thing.

Overall I thought it was a cute story. I’m interested to see who the next Laird in the series is so I’m sure I’ll be reading the next book when it comes out. 🙂

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Guest Review: Live Out Loud by Marie Meyer

Posted May 12, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Live Out Loud by Marie MeyerReviewer: Tracy
Live Out Loud by Marie Meyer
Published by Forever Yours
Publication Date: April 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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four-stars

I thought I'd live in silence forever . . . and then I met him.

I'll never be able to hear, but music has always been a source of comfort for me. Rather than listen to the rhythm, I can actually feel the beat pulsing through me. It's pure bliss. So the moment I saw Thorin playing his guitar, I was mesmerized. I'd never seen anything more beautiful . . . or intimate. I couldn't tell where his body ended and the song began. He's everything I need in my life . . . I'm falling fast, hard, and deep.

I want him more than anything. But while I live in silence, Thor lives in secrets. He's holding something back-something that's keeping this intensity, this longing from being real. And the silence may be too loud to bear . . .

Harper King is deaf but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying music.  Her friend takes her out one night to see a band that she’s crushing on and Harper ends up connecting with the guitarist of the band, Thor.  Thor is enamored of Harper as she is with him.  They end up going out and despite the difficulties in communicating they manage just fine.

Harper is in school and doing her pharmacy clinical rotation at a children’s hospital and doing really well.  She lives with a friend and far away from her parents.  She loves her parents but they try to coddle her because of her deafness.  Despite their coddling, they never learned sign language which she hates.  She believes that if they loved her enough they would have made every effort to learn to communicate with her in her language.  When Thor states his desire to learn sign language, Harper is beyond thrilled.  She tells him that she’ll teach him ASL if he’ll teach her how to play the guitar.

Thor has had a hard life.  His father, who used to be a good dad became an abuser.  His favorite punching bag is Thor’s mother but Thor finally got his mother away from his dad.  He fears, however, that he’ll become just like his dad and this has kept him from any long-term relationships. Despite his fears he can’t seem to keep himself away from Harper.  He wants it all but his fears may tear them apart.

Live Out Loud was a sweet romance.  The relationship between Thor and Harper was so lovely and one that I really enjoyed reading.

Thor’s issues with his dad are many – completely justifiable.  He wants to take care of his mother and keep her far away from his father.  It’s obvious to the reader that Thor’s fear of becoming his father is ridiculous as he’s such a kind and generous person, but he has to get that through his head before he can completely commit to Harper.  I loved that he finally managed to realize the truth and got his HEA with Harper.

While I really liked this book I have to say that it did lag at times.  I understood Thor’s problem but I had a hard time with how he kept things from Harper.  It made the book a bit frustrating at times, I must say.  Overall, however, the book was really good and one I definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet & Kristin Vayden

Posted May 11, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet & Kristin VaydenReviewer: Tracy
Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet, Kristin Vayden
Published by Blue Tulip Publishing
Publication Date: March 13th 2017
Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors), Contemporary Romance, Sports
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four-stars

Offsides by Elise Faber

Job title:
Executive Assistant for CEO of Prestige Media Group

Job description:
(1) Deal with a massive amount of emails.
(2) Schedule conference calls and meetings with top athletes and other hugely important people.
(3) Pick up dry cleaning and food, consult on tie selection, make dinner reservations, and book flights . . . basically act as a wife-on-steroids.
(4) THE IMPORTANT ONE: Do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with Devon Scott—demanding boss, former NHL player, and all-around gorgeous specimen of the male persuasion.

Job performance:
Failing.
Absolutely failing at number four.

Off Guard by Stephanie Fournet

Life couldn’t be better for Charlie Woodruff.

After a year of holding out, she’s finally landed the job she’s always wanted in the city of her dreams. An apartment she can afford and new friends at work make the transition easy.
When she meets a gorgeous stranger who makes her laugh and steals her breath, it seems like the icing on the cake...

Until Charlie discovers he’s a client.

Hutch Barlow — newly drafted wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders — looks like an avenging angel, hangs on her every word, and is completely off-limits. The trouble is he also refuses to take “no” for an answer.

And if she’s being honest, Charlie doesn’t want him to.

But seeing him means she could lose everything — including her heart.

Off Limits by Kristin Vayden

Everything about Ava screams off limits.
To want her is to invite disaster.
To pursue her is to risk my job.
To kiss her might cost me my best friend.
But all those risks seem small in light of the first problem.
She hates me.

To her I’m a sell out, choosing to advance my career rather than protect my biggest client.
Her brother.
And my best friend.
She hasn’t spoken to me in over a year, but that ends now.
Because I’m done with holding back.
To hell with the consequences.
Wish me luck . . .

Offsides by Elise Faber

Devon is a retired hockey player and now the CEO of Prestige Media Group.  Becca is his temporary assistant while his regular assistant is on maternity leave.  Devon is hot for Becca but knows that he shouldn’t get involved with an employee – even a temporary one.  Becca has got it bad for Devon but as much as she wants him her life is too crazy to get involved with him.  Her mother needs medical care and Becca works two jobs to try and pay the medical bills.  She’s also got an angry ex that is messing with her and is more than dangerous to both Becca and Devon.

This was a sweet boss/employee story.  Devon doesn’t hold out for very long before he’s giving in to his desire for Becca but I loved the sexual tension between the two of them.  I liked a lot about this story – the dialogue, the story, the passion between Devon and Becca – it was just a good read.

Story rating: 4 out of 5

 

Off Guard by Stephanie Fournet

Charlie has finally started the job of her dreams.  She’s recently moved to San Francisco and is out running when she runs into a fellow runner.  They hit it off and she thinks that maybe this guy might be someone she can really like until she finds out his name, Hutch Barlow, and realizes who he is, new wide receiver for the Oakland Raider, and that he’s a client of her boss.  Prestige Media Group – her new employer – strictly forbids employees from dating clients.  Charlie tries to get Hutch to understand that she can’t see him but Hutch refuses to take no for an answer – showing up at her apartment with dinner and his irresistible charm. Charlie finds herself falling in love with Hutch but she knows that she can never be with him as she’s not willing to sacrifice the career she’s always wanted.

This was an adorable story.  I loved Hutch’s persistence with Charlie even knowing that she was off-limits to him.  He just liked her so much and was willing to give up a lot to be with her that it warmed my heart.  I think a lot of people would have thought he was ridiculous but I found it romantic and lovely.  Fournet has a way with words and she did a great job writing this story.

Story rating: 4 out of 5

 

Off Limits by Kristin Vayden

Markus and Bryce were college roommates and best friends.  Bryce got drafted into the NFL and Markus got hired by Prestige Media Group and becomes his agent.  Bryce has a twin, Ava, who Markus has been in love with for forever.  He wants nothing more than to make Ava happy but she hates him because she thought at one point in Bryce’s career that Markus was selling out and taking a risk with Bryce’s life.  Bryce has gotten a concussion but recovered and went back onto the field.  Ava believed that Bryce’s life was on the line if he got hit again but he was fine.  Five years later Ava still hates Markus – or at least acts like she does.  She can’t resist the man for long as she’s always had a thing for him. Markus should stay away from his best friend’s sister but he just can’t do it once she finally forgives him.

Unfortunately this was my least favorite of the three stories.  I didn’t feel the chemistry between Markus and Ava as I felt I should.  I also didn’t feel the whole forbidden love thing that the whole anthology was based on.  There were some decent parts of the story but overall I didn’t care for Off Limits.

Story rating: 3 out of 5

 

Overall book rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Love Me Again by Jaci Burton

Posted May 10, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Love Me Again by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Tracy
Love Me Again by Jaci Burton
Series: Hope Series #7
Also in this series: Hope Flames, Hope Ignites, Hope Burns, Love After All, Make Me Stay, Don't Let Go
Published by Jove Books
Publication Date: May 2nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
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four-stars

When Loretta Simmons returns to Hope, Oklahoma, after a disastrous marriage, she’s determined to remain independent for the sake of her daughter. The only thing standing in her way is Deacon Fox—the man she loved and walked away from years ago.

Since Loretta owns the bookstore right next to his current renovation project, Deacon can’t escape the woman who broke his heart. Throw in her adorable little girl and one ridiculously oversized dog, and they’re almost a family. Only he can’t be that guy—what they had was once in a lifetime.
But love has a funny way of re-opening a door you thought was firmly closed…

Loretta and Deacon were in a relationship in high school and even talked about their future life together.  Loretta’s parents had other ideas for her future and being the dutiful daughter she’d always been she ended up dumping Deacon and getting married to another man, Tom. Loretta’s life with Tom was anything but fun but she got a wonderful daughter, Hazel, out of her marriage.  When she divorced her cheating, controlling husband she wanted nothing more than to be an independent woman and show her daughter how strong women could be without a man involved.

Loretta moved back to her hometown of Hope after her divorce.  The bookstore she started is next to a building that Deacon’s construction company is working on.  Deacon first meets Hazel and loves her personality.  When Hazel gets a dog Deacon offers to help her with the training.  When he’s out at the farm that Loretta bought he offers to give her a bid for some work that needs to be done around the farm.  This puts him on the farm quite a bit between the training and the work.

Deacon was heart-broken after Loretta broke up with him but he moved on. He dated some and started his own construction company with his friend Reid.  He didn’t hold a grudge against Loretta for breaking up with him and while things are awkward with her when she first returns to town he can’t stop staring at the beautiful woman she’s become.

Deacon falls in love with Hazel and would do anything for Loretta’s incredible child.  Deacon and Loretta get closer and soon start a relationship. Neither are sure it’s the best idea but they just can’t stay away from each other.

Another great addition to the Hope series.  I loved both Deacon and Loretta and I really loved the fact that this was a pretty light and airy story with little to no angst.  The author gave us a lovely second chance romance.

I mentioned little to no angst and one of the things I loved about this book was that Loretta and Deacon were so…adult.  I mean that in the best way.  There were no ridiculous misunderstandings and when it came to Loretta being upset with Deacon, he knew it.  He also said to her that she needed to talk to him about what was bothering her rather than sitting at home by herself being mad at him and him not being about to defend himself if necessary.  I mean, geez, what a novel concept, right?  Two people talking things out and communicating – what is the world coming to? 🙂  That was one of my favorite parts of the book.

Another favorite of mine in the book was, you guessed it, the dog…Otis.  Burton loves animals in her stories and this was a good one.  Otis was a gigantic goofy great dane who was a big love-bug.  Hazel had picked him up at the pound when her mother said she could get a dog.  Loretta was hoping for a small dog like a chihuahua but no, Hazel picked the biggest dog she could find.  It was adorable and so was Otis.  I loved him to pieces and wanted him for my own.

Overall the story was great.  We got to interact with characters from previous books and catch up with them so if you’ve read all of the books in the series you’ll enjoy that part.  The book has a lot going for it – adorable little girls, love, romance, a goofy dog and some pretty hot sex scenes.  It’s definitely a book I recommend as it was just fun to read.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Wedded Bliss by Celeste Bradley

Posted May 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Wedded Bliss by Celeste BradleyReviewer: Tracy
Wedded Bliss by Celeste Bradley
Series: Worthington #5
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: May 2nd 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
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four-stars

As a ship's captain, high-born bastard Morgan Pryce has spent his life sailing away from England. The last thing he needs is a wife. But when he fears that his titled half brother Neville is about to be snared by a gold-digger, Morgan aims to protect Neville by trapping the lovely crook into marriage first. He knows he can't allow himself to believe a word she says. If only she wasn't so convincing .

Determined beauty Bliss Worthington is not terribly fond of finding another man waiting for her at the altar after all, no one tricks a Worthington and gets away with it. Somehow she must persuade her dangerously handsome new husband to grant her an annulment because her heart is set on his brother. Soon the newlyweds must deal with a secret but mutual attraction. Morgan finds himself oddly devastated by her tenderness and braveness. When Neville shows up to rescue her from a loveless marriage, she will have to quickly decide which man is the right one for her...."

Bliss Worthington and Neville, Duke of Camberton, love each other.  Bliss knows that Neville’s uncle is against their relationship so Bliss takes it upon herself to plan a clandestine wedding.  She sent notes to Neville telling him of the plans and headed to the church the night of the wedding.  Unfortunately her notes had been read by Neville’s uncle and not Neville.  The uncle talked Neville’s half-brother, Morgan into taking Neville’s place at the wedding.  He stated that Bliss was a manipulative gold digger and as Morgan loved his brother dearly and would do anything for him, he agreed.

Bliss is obviously heart-broken and distraught when she finds out that she’s married the wrong man.  She tries to talk Morgan into an annulment but he won’t agree.  She does all she can to talk him into it with no luck.  Morgan just wants to consummate the marriage and move on.  His uncle promised him that he would own the ship he’s been sailing for his brother’s fleet and he wants that more than anything.

As time goes on and Morgan gets to know Bliss he finds that she’s not the person that his uncle made her out to be.  He starts to question his uncle and his motives and then starts to realize what he’s done to his brother.  His guilt eats at him but he can’t feel too bad about the marriage as he falls in love with Bliss.

This was a very sweet story that I really enjoyed.  I thought that Bliss was a lovely heroine and I admired her continued strength after everything she’d been through in her life.  She kept her calm and just went on with life as best she could, despite the circumstances.  She never planned on falling for Morgan – she thought she loved Neville!  But as she gets to know Morgan and her feelings grow she realizes that she never truly loved Neville and probably would have been miserable with him.  I loved the way the author wrote Bliss and the dawning realization of her feelings for Morgan – it was done well.

Morgan was the bastard son of a duke but his father had always treated him as a son and not someone he needed to forget about.  He let his sons play together and as such the pair created a bond that Morgan thought was unbreakable.  When he realized the mistake he had made in believing his uncle and marrying Bliss he felt horrible.  The confrontation between Morgan and Neville was awesome and while it turned out well it kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened.

Overall I thought it was a lovely historical romance.  While it’s the fifth book in the series I thought it was a great stand-alone.  This was my first read by Bradley but it definitely won’t be my last.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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