Tracey

Tracey

I'm a 40 something avid reader of pretty much anything, have 2 kids, a cat and a husband along with a 2 seater convertible (mid life crisis car!). While I read pretty much anything I particularly enjoy paranormal romance, historical romance and general romance - guess I am sucker for a happy ending.

Mar 262014
 

Made in Nashville: HarperImpulse Contemporary Romance 10 years ago Honor Blackwood was Nashville’s brightest country music star until an attack on stage left her with scars both physical and emotional.

Country rebel and rock star, Jared ‘Jed’ Marshall hears Honor singing and wants her on his tour but she hasn’t sung publicly for 10 years and is determined not to start now. Will he wear her down, and is his interest in her, or her voice?

Well at the end of this I was melted in a puddle on the floor and wanted me a Jared of my own!

This story has everything I could wish for – romance, sex, emotions both high and low and of course more romance.  Oh yes, plus a very sexy guy!

Jared and Honor are both flawed emotionally and their development throughout the story is believable and emotional. They seem to get together fairly quickly and all seems to be going well then bam, you get hit from left field with something. There were two moments in the story I didn’t see coming at all (and I’m not going to give them away and spoil it) but I will say that one part was so cleverly done, it had me expecting something totally different.

I love Jared, he is hot, sexy, a total romantic and a bad boy – what’s not to love? Honor could easily have become an irritating character who was a bit of a wuss, but as her self confidence increased, so did her spine and she grows into a great character.

At the heart of Made in Nashville is the romance, but it becomes so much more with the angst and strong emotions running through it. I went through all the emotions you could possibly think of but, importantly for me, I finished the book in a very good state of mind.

Some people might be put off because it’s heavily based in the country music scene in America, and the book blurb talks up the country music angle. Well I am from the UK and know nothing about country music and I loved it.

Overall, this really is a great story – I cried, I laughed, I sighed and I smiled and I could not put it down (I was even reading while cooking tea). This is the first book I’ve read by Mandy Baggot and I need more!

As at 26th March 2014 the Kindle version is only 99p on Amazon – go buy it if you love romance.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Mandy Baggot
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)

Feb 172014
 

Truly, Madly, Deeply From wedding days to special anniversaries, steamy one night encounters to everlasting loves, Truly, Madly, Deeply takes you on an unforgettable romantic adventure where love really is all you need.

This is a collection of 24 new stories from some of today’s best romantic authors including Katie Fforde, Carole Matthews and Miranda Dickinson. There really is something for everyone here, but I must confess I did not like all the stories, and some authors that were new to me and I will not look to read again. However, there were also a number of authors who I had never read before that will definitely have me looking for more of their work – Nikki Moore (she made me cry!), Alison May and Heidi Rice to name but three.

I have to say I’m not a big fan of short stories like this, as there is not enough time to really develop characters or a story. Having said that, I am amazed at how well some authors could drag me into their story in only a few pages.

I am also an extremely quick reader so short stories like these can take only a matter of a couple of minutes to read. Probably why I prefer a longer story I can get my teeth into. I do like a drawn out romance :)

This is however a great collection of stories and if you are the sort of person who likes to read in bite sized chunks this is perfect. Romance abounds and as mentioned you may discover some new authors to add to your reading shelf.

Please note this is a review of the paperback version, the e-book contains a number of bonus stories which I have not read.

Book Information
  • Author: Sue Moorcroft
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Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Feb 032014
 

Just For Christmas When Alex Munro learns that the love of her life is getting married to another girl, all she wants to do is to be alone – and as far away from Edinburgh as possible. Moving to a Cornish Cottage, which comes complete with the world’s scruffiest dog, Alex finds that her new neighbours are determined to involve her in their madcap Christmas festivities. Then she meets her sexy neighbour Ruan and somehow Alex doesn’t want to be alone this Christmas after all.

I picked this book up because I love Christmas stories and it seemed like a perfect book to curl up with on a cold winters day.  I really enjoyed it and it met that criteria perfectly – it was romantic, funny and emotional.

The cast of characters are likeable and everyone from Buoy the dog to Lucy the barmaid have their own stories and personalities that shine through. This is not just a story about Alex and Ruan, it’s a story about life in a tight knit community and the people (and animals) who get under your skin before you know what’s happening.

Of course nothing is plain sailing and there a few misunderstandings along the way along with one huge problem when Alex’s reason for running to Cornwall turns up – what a jerk he is!

I love Ruan, fell in love with him the minute he stormed into the pub soaking wet looking to kill the new harbour master. The description of him was so perfect I wanted to move down there myself (but not to be a harbour master!)

Away from everything she knows, Alex has an opportunity to find herself and realises she’s not the person she and everyone else thought she was for so many years.

Ultimately this is a feel good romance perfect to escape with for a few hours and leaves you feeling very satisfied. I will definitely be looking for more by this author

Book Information
  • Author: Scarlett Bailey
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Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Dec 052013
 

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (Rules of Scoundrels) For twelve years ‘Temple’ has been known as the killer Duke. Having no memory of the night his life changed forever, he has accepted the moniker and forged a life as one of the proprietors of the notorious casino ‘The Fallen Angel’.  When his ‘victim’ Mara Lowe turns up offering him the chance for absolution, he is determined revenge will also be his, but the best laid plans and all that…

This is the third book about the men of The Fallen Angel and I love it. These books are about a seedier side of Regency London and Ms. MacLean certainly knows how to bring it to life.

We have been introduced to Temple – in reality William Harrow Duke of Lamont – in the previous books in this series but this is the one where we really find out what makes him tick. I love him as a character, he has so much depth and is just desperate to be loved and have a family of his own… and of course just oozes sex appeal!

I found it hard to warm up to Mara to start with after the really crappy thing she did to Temple, but as the book progressed and we got more of her back story, things started to make sense and I was rooting for their happy ending. I did find it irritating the way she refused to tell Temple about that night, although I guess his words “Nothing you could say would make me forgive” made her feel there was no point. After all, she had to think of what impact telling him the truth all in one go would have on others.

This is definitely a darker book than the previous two and emotions are running high throughout. There were some very tense and dramatic scenes and of course some very romantic ones, and I really enjoyed it. At times you are reminded of how lethal the men of the Fallen Angel are when one of their own is threatened – no matter who the aggressor may be!

Passion and emotion just flew off the pages and once I’d warmed up to Mara I was totally drawn in. Of course you know it will all be okay in the end, but the journey certainly had its ups and downs!

Overall an excellent addition to the Rules of Scoundrels series, full of drama, emotion and of course romance. Only Chase left to go now, and I cannot wait for his story.

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah MacLean
  • Series: Rules of Scoundrels (3)
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Rating: ★★★★☆ 

 

Nov 262013
 

Sleigh Bells in the Snow Workaholic Kayla Green hates Christmas and just wants to hide until it’s all over, so when she needs to go to snowy Vermont to woo a potential new client over the holidays, she jumps at the chance.  Jackson O’Neill is desperate to save the family business and hopes marketing hotshot Kayla is just the person to do it. Kayla soon realises that far from avoiding Christmas and families, she is about to face her biggest challenge both personally and professionally.

Romance and Christmas – two of my favourite things, so what could be a better combination in a book, and this story does not disappoint. Kayla and Jackson are great characters, complete opposites in their outlooks on life and work which leads to sparks flying both sexual and emotional.

It was good to see how much Kayla developed as a character, as Jackson and his family started to get under her skin and breaking down her barriers. I think her changing emotions were well written. She could also be a bit clueless at times which led to some humorous moments – I mean heels in snow!

Jackson is gorgeous, my kind of guy and if I could have him wrapped up for Christmas I would be happy (but don’t tell my husband!).

There are some truly romantic moments in this book and at the end I had a smile and a satisfied sigh. The setting is perfect for a Christmas story and the imagery created by the author’s writing is so good, I felt like I should have a log fire and snow boots!

I defy anyone to not be feeling christmassy at the end of this book, probably not so good in June, but at this time of year – perfect.

The rest of the O’Neill family are introduced and there are some real characters in there. I’m looking forward to finding out more about them in future books

The author has created a cast of characters I cannot wait to find more about and a setting that I cannot wait to return to. I have always enjoyed Sarah Morgan’s books and this longer novel is a real treat, a must for fans of romance and Christmas and at 99p for the UK Kindle edition (November 2013) what are you waiting for?

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah Morgan
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Nov 132013
 

The Sum of All Kisses: Number 3 in series (Smythe-Smith Quartet) Hugh Prentice has never had patience for dramatic females, and if Lady Sarah Pleinsworth has ever been acquainted with the words shy or retiring, she’s long since tossed them out the window. Besides, a reckless duel has left this brilliant mathematician with a ruined leg, and now he could never court a woman like Sarah, much less dream of marrying her.

This is the third novel in the Smythe-Smith quartet and another great book from Ms. Quinn. Something I always love about her work is the way she wraps romance and humour around a great story-line.

The prologue refers to the same event as the prologue in the previous book but it’s told from the other point of view, and the fall out from that comes to a head towards the end of this book in a dramatic fashion.

Sarah is a complete drama queen and does everything in the most dramatic fashion possible, Hugh is a bit of a nerd and the sparks that fly when they interact are anything but boring. Hugh has a damaged leg and emotional scars but an imperfect man is always more loveable!

Of course no book in this series would be complete without the usual references to the annual musicale and it’s hilarious watching Sarah and her cousin Iris trying to dissuade Daisy from performing an impromptu performance.

The minor characters in this book are as great as the protagonists, in particular Sarah’s youngest sister Frances who steals the show at times.

Overall a great book with equal parts humour and romance, a must for fans of Julia Quinn.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Series: Smythe-Smith Quartet (3)
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Nov 052013
 

The Proposal Amy Carroll is left heartbroken when her rich boyfriend dumps her just before Christmas.  A native New Yorker with no money to fly home, she faces a lonely Christmas.  Eccentric British aristocrat Georgia Hamilton has unfinished business in New York and puts an advert out for a companion to travel with her over Christmas. The solution to both their problems.

The story takes place in modern day with flashbacks to the 1950′s and Georgia’s days as a debutante. I didn’t realise we still had debutantes as late as that, I assumed it had all died out years previously. It was really interesting seeing snippets of what life was like for someone in that situation, and the descriptions were both vivid and colourful.

The story itself is quite simple – a tale of lost love, regrets, betrayal and ultimately new beginnings, but the writing is very descriptive and emotive. It certainly managed to make me cry. I will say the ending was not exactly what I hoped for, but it was good and I finished the book in a happy place. It’s always very important to me that books should leave me feeling satisfied!

The two female leads initially seem quite different but this book shows how alike they are and how young women in any generation have similar problems! Amy is awkward in Georgia’s wealthy world, just as in the 1950′s when Georgia was a debutante who did not really fit in.

The 1950′s story unfolds gradually as we are transported between modern day Manhattan and 1950′s London. Once the true tragedy of Georgia’s situation becomes clear, Amy is determined to do what she can to put it right.

This is primarily Georgia’s story but along the way Amy discovers herself and realises that she deserves more than she has been settling for. Both the characters are likeable and Georgia in particular is just how I would like to be as an old lady (but without the tragic past obviously!)

Overall, The Proposal is an emotional read which leaves you reeling and I defy anyone to not shed at least a few tears through this.

Book Information
  • Author: Tasmina Perry
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Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Oct 102013
 

Darkhouse (Experiment in Terror) Perry Palomino is 20 something and stuck in a job she hates with a family who don’t understand her. She has always had weird things happening to her, but the nightmares she is having this time are much darker. Drawn to her uncle’s abandoned lighthouse, she starts seeing things that make no sense and meets up with a trespassing amateur ghost hunter – Dex Foray – which is when things go from bad to worse!

This is not my usual kind of book – not enough romance for one thing, but having said that, by the end I was enjoying it. This seems more like a young adult book even though the main characters are 22 and 30 something. They behaved  like a couple of teenagers at times with their decisions and actions.

I have to confess Dex annoyed the hell out of me. What a prat, and I don’t understand what Perry sees in him. I can tell he has lots of secrets which will no doubt appear in future books and will become more likeable, but at the moment he is not for me. Perry is also not the most likeable of characters, but she did make me laugh at times. I expect the romance between these two will be developed over future books but it was definitely lacking here.

Moving on to the story – I do not really read scary stories (I am a wuss) so to me this seemed quite scary! Probably very tame for people who read horror, but the descriptions and imagery were excellent.  I was scared at times – the creepy clown lady in particular made me shudder. It took a while to get going but I did get dragged into the story and was keen to find out what was going to happen next.

There were lots of unanswered questions at the end and I do not really feel the lighthouse story was fully explained, but I guess with ghosts there is more that is unexplained than explained. I also get the impression there is much more to Perry than we have seen so far. I note there are a number of books in this series so have no doubt the characters and their relationship will develop.

Overall If you are not big on romance and like scary stories with kooky characters you will probably love this book,  for me the story was fairly good but the lack of romance and my irritation with the characters made it only average.

Book Information
  • Author: Karina Halle
  • Series: Experiment in Terror (1)
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Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Oct 032013
 

The Arrangement: Number 2 in series (Survivors' Club) Blinded by a cannon blast on the Napoleonic battlefields. Vincent Hunt, Lord Darleigh, needs to escape the well-meaning, meddling – and matchmaking – of his family. Luckily, he is saved by a stranger, a lady with a captivating voice. When Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, there seems only one solution…

This is the second book in the Survivors Club series but can easily be read as a stand alone. Vincent is so young compared to the usual heroes from this period yet seems so much older than his years due to what he had to endure. He is very much wounded on the outside and Sophia, in her own way, is wounded on the inside.

Circumstances throw them together and this story is about their developing relationship rather than any major angst, murder or mayhem. It is all about the romance. Yes there are misunderstandings, but nothing that made me throw my hands up in frustration! Ms. Balogh manages to weave a story that holds the attention without the dramatics.

Despite being blind Vincent is confident in himself (well mostly anyway), while Sophia in complete contrast is suffering from a severe lack of self esteem. Together they manage to bring out the best in each other and the character development is a key part of the story. I love the romance of the story and the characters are perfect for each other.

In summary, a very well written story that focuses on the characters and the way they evolve and develop as they heal each other. A great romantic read.

Book Information
  • Author: Mary Balogh
  • Series: Survivor's Club (2)
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Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Sep 252013
 

New York To Dallas: 33 As a rookie cop with good instincts and a dose of luck, Eve Dallas was instrumental in bringing the notorious Paedophile Isaac McQueen to Justice. Twelve years on Eve is a decorated homicide Lieutenant when McQueen escapes, determined to carry on where he left off  – but this time it’s personal, this time he wants Eve. The action moves to Dallas and the monsters from her past have to be confronted head on, along with the monster of the present.

Wow, well what can I say that I haven’t already said about this series. This is a pivotal book in the Eve Dallas series and really lays to rest the story of Eve’s background that has been rumbling and revealed, piece by piece in the previous 32 books.

Eve is taken out of her New York comfort zone and has to assist in the investigation in Dallas.  While this gave a whole new host of characters to love, I did miss the old favourites back in New York. We do get to see snippets of them in the latter half of the book though and there are also some humorous moments as Eve comments on the differences between New York people and Dallas people.

This was a very intense and emotional book to read – there is a major link to Eve’s past revealed, and for once I saw it coming! Yay me! Eve and Roarke develop an even deeper relationship as a result of what happens and through dealing with the intense emotions that get brought up. Seeing the character development across the previous books is one of the great things about this series for me.

Unlike previous books there is no murder to investigate, at least not until the latter stages (and then we know who did it) but it is all focused on a kidnapping. As a homicide cop I am surprised Eve is able to take such a lead in another city, in an area she does not normally deal with, but McQueen makes it very personal.

If you have never read this series before and did not fancy reading 30+ books you could theoretically pick it up here and have a good idea of where the characters came from. You might even be better starting with the first book after this – Celebrity in death because New York to Dallas really feels like the end of an era. In fact if I did not know the story had continued I would be worried this was the end!

If you do start with this one be aware this is not really typical of the series. The usual stories are much more focused on murder and the solving of it although the character relationships do play a big part.

In summary I still love this series, this is the most emotional book yet and if you have read any of the previous In Death series you do not want to miss this one!

Book Information
  • Author: J.D. Robb
  • Series: In Death (33)
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Rating: ★★★★★