Author: Tracy

Guest Review: What If You & Me by Roni Loren

Posted August 18, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: What If You & Me by Roni LorenReviewer: Tracy
What If You & Me by Roni Loren
Series: Say Everything #2
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: July 6, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The world can be a scary place. At least, that's what Andi Lockley's anxiety wants her to believe. It doesn't help that she narrowly escaped a dangerous man years ago, or that every relationship since has been colored with that lingering fear. But things are better now―she's channeling everything into her career as a horror novelist and true crime podcaster, and her next book may be the breakthrough she needs.

If only her grumpy new neighbor would stop stomping around at all hours of the night.

Former firefighter Hill Dawson can't sleep. After losing part of his leg in a rescue gone wrong, he's now stuck in limbo. He needs to figure out what he's supposed to do with his life, and he can't let himself get distracted by the pretty redhead next door. But when someone breaks into Andi's place, Hill can't stop himself from rushing in to play the hero. Soon, a tentative bond forms between the unlikely pair. But what starts out as a neighborly exchange quickly turns into the chance for so much more...if Andi can learn to put aside her fear and trust in herself―and love―again.

New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren blends heat and heart in this emotionally charged story.

Andi is a woman on a mission to help all women be as safe as they can.  She went through some serious trauma when she was a teen and wants to help women avoid putting themselves at risk.  While she writes horror novels, she runs a podcast called, What Can We Learn From This?” She tells stories about crimes and how women can be more careful, and what they can learn from past incidences.

She’s just moved into a duplex when she hears stomping on the other side of the wall.  When she starts watching a horror movie, which includes screaming of course, her neighbor bangs on her door.  Meeting Hill Dawson, retired firefighter, scares her as she doesn’t know him, but she’s definitely attracted to him.

Hill didn’t ever want to retire from the fire department, but after losing part of a leg in a fire, he didn’t have a choice.  He’s dealing with his life, depression and a whole host of other things when he meets Andi.  She seems to have her life together, but she’s also a scared rabbit and something in him wants to calm her.

The pair eventually decide to act on their attraction to each other but only as friends-with-benefits.  The question is, can they hold back the deeper feelings they have for each other?

This was a cute story.  We slowly, throughout the story, find out what happened to Andi when she was younger – which was pretty scary.  I can see how she would be more than a bit paranoid of life in general.  I loved how that trauma didn’t stop her from putting herself out there and making a name for herself with her books and podcasts.

Hill was a super nice guy, and I really loved him and Andi together.  That said, he pulls a stunt near the end of the book that had me rolling my eyes and getting incredibly frustrated with him.  It really stopped a lot of the enjoyment I was getting from the story.  If this hadn’t had happened I would have scored this book much higher.

Overall it was cute contemporary romance.  I didn’t read the first book in this series, but didn’t feel like I needed to in order to enjoy this book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Say Everything

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Dream Spinner by Kristen Ashley

Posted July 30, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Dream Spinner by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Tracy
Dream Spinner by Kristen Ashley
Series: Dream Team #3
Also in this series: Quiet Man, Dream Maker, Dream Chaser
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 393
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Hattie Yates has finally met the man of her dreams. Yet years of abuse from her demanding father have left her petrified of disappointment. She’s already failed to reach her goal of becoming a professional ballerina—she can’t handle the terrible consequences of another dream becoming a nightmare. But when a stalker sets their sights on Hattie, there’s only one man she dares to hope can help . . .

Axl Pantera knows Hattie is the only woman for him. Yet despite the attraction burning between them, Hattie refuses to let him in. The former soldier is determined to woo her into letting down her walls. And when danger comes calling, he’s up against more than her wary and bruised heart. Axl will do anything to prove to Hattie that they’re meant to be, but first, he’ll need to keep her safe.

Hattie has lost her self-confidence.  She wanted to become a professional dancer, but that didn’t happen.  With her father verbally abusing her and telling her what a disappointment she is to him, she doesn’t love herself so therefore feels like no one else can love her.

Axl is totally into Hattie but knows that she needs time.  When she gets a stalker, he feels like time is up and makes his move.   Hattie isn’t really receptive, but when the stalker issue starts to heat up, she finally gives in.

I really liked Hattie and Axel together.  Their relationship was really the glue that held this book together.  The stalker issue was kind of bland.  The overall story arc throughout the series is dealt with but even that wasn’t too exciting.  I felt that this was more to do with family issue between Hattie, Axl, Hattie’s father and mother as well as Axl’s parents.  While that’s no a bad thing, per se, it just didn’t make for an exciting read.

Ashley threw in all of the secondary characters from other books in this story as well and that was almost too much.  I get those friendships are a huge part of why these books work, but occasionally I hit my boiling point and then it just seems to be overload.

If you’re into this series already than this is a nice addition to the series, but I certainly didn’t love it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Dream Team

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor

Posted July 26, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregorReviewer: Tracy
A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor
Series: The Widow Rules #1
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Get ready for lost wills, broody dukes, and scorching hot kissing all over London in A Duke in Time by Janna MacGregor.

Katherine Vareck is in for the shock of her life when she learns upon her husband Meri's accidental death that he had married two other women. Her entire business, along with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be a royal supplier, is everything she's been working for and now could be destroyed if word leaks about the three wives.

Meri's far more upstanding brother, Christian, Duke of Randford has no earthly clue how to be of assistance. He spent the better part of his adult years avoiding Meri and the rest of his good-for-nothing family, so to be dragged back into the fold is…problematic. Even more so is the intrepid and beautiful Katherine, whom he cannot be falling for because she's Meri's widow. Or can he?

With a textile business to run and a strong friendship forming with Meri's two other wives, Katherine doesn't have time for much else. But there's something about the warm, but compellingly taciturn Christian that draws her to him. When an opportunity to partner in a business venture brings them even closer, they'll have to face their pasts if they want to share each other's hearts and futures.

Recently widowed Katherine arrives at her husband’s solicitor’s office for the reading of the will.  Unfortunately, she then finds her dead husband’s other two wives in attendance as well.  One is very pregnant!  She wants to talk to the Duke of Randford, her husband’s older brother, but he wants nothing to do with the women or his brother’s business.

Katherine takes matters into her own hands and invites the women, Constance and Blythe, to her home.  She realizes that there is no money to be had from her dead husband and these women’s reputations are on the line.  When the public finds out that they were all married to the same man, all hell will break loose.

While Christian, the Duke of Randford, truly wants nothing to do with the women his brother married, he finally realizes that he can’t just leave them all to their own devices.  He’s surprised when he finds out that Katherine has taken them home and goes there to see if he can be of assistance.  Though he wishes that things were easier, he soon realizes that there is a tangled web.  This on top of the fact that he finds Katherine incredibly attractive and soon wants her for himself.

This was a cute story.  Not only did it deal with the three women as well and the romance between Katherine and Christian, but also with Katherine’s business.  I loved that the author made Katherine more or less a self-made woman who truly didn’t care what the public thought about her.  She wanted the royal commission for her linen business, however, and that forced her to play the ton’s game.

Christian, while acting the jerk at first, soon showed his true colors as a really nice guy.  He wanted to help the women and did all he could to make sure that their reputations wouldn’t be hurt.  I did like Katherine and Christian together, but I found Katherine completely out of character when it came to the sex scenes.  Maybe I’m turning prude in my old age, but it just didn’t fit with her character.  IDK.

Gregor wrote a sweet story with a little twist at the end.  While I liked the book it didn’t love parts of it, including when Katherine was blackmailed for something from her past.  It was ok, but wasn’t too exciting.  Overall a decent read.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley

Posted May 19, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: An Earl, the Girl and a Toddler by Vanessa RileyReviewer: Tracy
An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler by Vanessa Riley
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: 1st & 3rd
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
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three-stars

A witty and moving story from the acclaimed author of A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby, about the lengths to which a woman will go for the love of her child…and the love of a man who knows her worth. Breaking with traditional Regency rules and customs, Vanessa Riley pens an unforgettable story perfect for fans of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton, Evie Dunmore, and Eloisa James looking for something fresh and stirring!

Masterminded by the ton's most clever countess, the secret society The Widow's Grace helps ill-treated widows regain their reputations, their families, and even find true love again--or perhaps for the very first time...

Surviving a shipwreck en route to London from Jamaica was just the start of personal maid Jemina St. Maur's nightmare. Suffering from amnesia, she was separated from anyone who might know her and imprisoned in Bedlam. She was freed only because barrister Daniel Thackery, Lord Ashbrook, was convinced to betray the one thing he holds dear: the law. Desperate to unearth her true identity, Jemina's only option is to work outside the law--which means staying steps ahead of the formidable Daniel, no matter how strongly she is drawn to him...

Married only by proxy, now widowed by shipwreck, Daniel is determined to protect his little stepdaughter, Charlotte, from his family's scandalous reputation. That's why he has dedicated himself not just to the law, but to remaining as proper and upstanding--and boring--as can be. But the closer he becomes to the mysterious, alluring Jemina, the more Daniel is tempted to break the very rules to which he's dedicated his life. As ruthless adversaries close in, will the truth require him and Jemina to sacrifice their one chance at happiness?

Jemima St. Maur was put into Bedlam after a shipwreck.  She has amnesia and couldn’t remember who she was, she still can’t remember and seeks the truth of her past.  She’s saved (in book one of this series) by Daniel Thackery, a barrister who helps his aunt get widows out of trouble.

Daniel was married by proxy to Phoebe, who was also on the ship that went down, but his wife didn’t survive.  He was presented with a baby who he believed was Phoebe’s child, even though she had never mentioned a child in her letters.  He decides to raise the child as his own.

Two years later Jemima and Daniel have a bit of a love/hate relationship.  They don’t necessarily get a long, but when they’re together there’s a very strong attraction.  Daniel finally decides that he has mourned for Phoebe long enough and wants to make Jemima his mistress.   Jemima’s not opposed to the idea, but she is wary of Daniel as she’s positive he’s keeping information from her about her past and the shipwreck.

This was my first read by Vanessa Riley.  I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style as it seemed a bit all over the place.  I also didn’t feel that the hero and heroine actually had a lot of chemistry.

I liked Jemima…to a point.  She was pretty headstrong, and I liked that about her.  That said, I felt the author took that too far and went into I’m-so-headstrong-I’m-going-to-make-stupid-decisions territory. There was also the constant on/off with Daniel as Jemima couldn’t decide if she was going to trust him or not.  Granted, she had every reason not to trust him as he’d kept a lot of stuff (about her) to himself. She wasn’t even aware she’d been in a shipwreck until he told her – two years later! Still, the on-again off-again love was annoying at times.

Daniel was a smart man – a barrister who worked for the crown.  Even so, he was looked down upon because he was mulatto.  Even when he inherited an Earldom, people still turned their noses up at him.  He was a good man for taking in the baby (Hope) and raising her, and he was a good father.  He helped his aunt with her business of saving widows and their families.  I admired his dedication to his aunt and her cause, as well as his dedication to Hope and fatherhood in general.  Unfortunately, I just didn’t like him all that much as a man.  He kept so much a secret, even when his marriage was failing, he still couldn’t come completely clean.  I found it so frustrating.

Overall I didn’t find the story very satisfying.  Not liking the couple as a couple put a damper on the whole experience.  While I really loved the blurb for this book, the story itself just didn’t do it for me in the end.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: Tempting Fate by Kerrigan Byrne

Posted May 12, 2021 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Tempting Fate by Kerrigan ByrneReviewer: Tracy
Tempting Fate by Kerrigan Byrne
Series: Goode Girls #4
Publisher: Oliver-Heber Books
Publication Date: May 11, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 236
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Disfigured in fighting pits as a lad, Gabriel Sauvageau has lived his entire life without the touch of a woman. As the brains and brawn behind London’s most ferocious smuggling syndicate, he knows he doesn’t deserve shy, bespectacled Felicity Goode. But that doesn’t stop him from watching her. Guarding her.
Wondering if her gentle touch would soothe his savage soul.
Though she wiles away hours immersed in the pages of romance novels, shy and anxious Felicity Goode has vowed never to become a bride. How can she share a life—not to mention a bed—with a man if she can’t bring herself to share a simple conversation without trembling and stuttering? Once news of her obscene inheritance circulates through the ton, she is barraged not only by a slew of suitors, but also several distressing threats against her life.
What she needs is a bodyguard.
The large, scarred ruffian she finds on her stoop is exactly what she has been looking for.
So why does his presence make her tremble in ways that have nothing to do with fear?

Felicity is the youngest of four girls.  Her parents have died and her siblings have married.  She is now not only in charge of her household, she’s in charge of her father’s fortune.  His will specifies it is all hers, including his shipping business, if she marries a title – but only if it’s a Viscount or higher.  (He’s not asking for much, really.)  Unfortunately, Felicity isn’t the type to care about titles – she’s a quiet, kind, giving person who wants to work in her garden and take care of those she loves.

When Felicity is attacked she puts an advertisement in the paper looking for men who can be her personal protection.  She finds Gareth Severand in her yard and brings him in for an interview.  When Gareth finds out why she needs protection, he immediately wants the position.  Felicity hires him and moves him into her house.

Gareth is actually named Gabriel Savageau.  He and his brother Raphael ran a notorious smuggling ring until they decided to get out of the business.  Both Raphael and Gabriel then faked their own deaths. Raphael is married to Mercy, Felicity’s sister.  The first time Gabriel saw Felicity he knew she was his, but at the time his face was disfigured.  He has since had reconstructive surgery and was only at Felicity’s house to have one last look at her before he left the country.  Obviously, he gets waylaid and is more than happy to protect her from whomever is out to hurt her.

Gareth and Felicity work to find out who keeps attacking Felicity and why.  Gareth believes it is his old second in command, Marco, out to get Felicity to get to Gabriel.  But there are other forces at work and many secrets being hidden from Felicity and Gareth.

I really enjoyed this story.  I hadn’t read the first three books in this series, so I wasn’t sure if this was “standalone” enough for me to fall in.  Luckily for me, it was, and I was able to enjoy the story without feeling like I was left in the dark about some things.

I really enjoyed Felicity in this story.  Even though she’s pretty low-key, she stands up for what she believes in and is fiercely loyal to those she loves.  She had her hang-up, but she didn’t let them take over her life and rule it.

Gabriel was not someone I thought I would enjoy as a hero, but he worked for me.  He loved Felicity and was willing to do what needed to be done, and change what needed to change in order to be with her.  Luckily for him, he didn’t need to change that much.

Overall it was a great story. Byrne added a twist at the end that I wasn’t expecting and that was a nice surprise.  In the end I was quite happy I read the book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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