Sunday, June 19, 2016

Book Tour for Hartstrings by L.L. Collins (Review)

Readers looking for a memorable story will find themselves drawn to this emotionally intense tale of domestic abuse set in the rock star world.  Keep reading to get a tempting glimpse of Hartstrings by L.L. Collins, the third installment in the Jaded Regret series, along with my impressions of it.  After you get an unforgettable taste of this story of survival make sure to add it to your bookshelf!

Tanner Hart, the All-American bad boy bass guitarist of Jaded Regret, has one motto— play women’s bodies like he does the strings of his guitar— hard, in tune, and giving it his all until the show is over. The only strings he wants attached to him are the ones he plays on the stage.
He has quite the reputation, even with his own band, and he likes it that way. It keeps the truth of who he really is locked deep inside. But there's so much more to him than anyone really knows....
Now that he’s successful, he can afford to find out what really happened to the only girl who’s ever held his heart. The only thing is…will he really want to know the truth?
When Mackenzie ‘Mac’ Shepard finds herself in a situation she’s been in too many times before, she expects to do what she’s always done— cover it up, accept the apologies, and move on. She knows trying to get out is futile. What she doesn’t expect is for the world famous Tanner Hart to burst into her life like a knight in sexy armor.
When their lives collide and hearts get involved, can Tanner keep his hartstrings from being tangled up in his past, or can he make a new kind of music... with his heart?



As a reader obsessed with rock star romances I knew I'd enjoy this book and in many ways I did. What I didn't expect was the powerful emotions this story engendered as it depicted the life of a woman dealing with domestic abuse and the equally bruised rock star whose early years were rife with abuse. This balance of a sweet and sexy romance with the sensitive but brutal depiction of abuse hit me hard and pulled me in wholeheartedly. From the first page to the last it's a heavy journey these two hurt souls take, full of twists and turns, but by the end it's an immensely satisfying journey.

Tanner's considered the manwhore of the rock star world and until recently it's a role he's been happy to embrace. In a single moment though, coming to the rescue of a woman being abused, everything changes for him and he realizes he can no longer hide behind the party boy facade, no longer live a life of meaninglessness. For so long he's been running from the past but involving himself in Mackenzie's life has his past colliding with his future as his supportive friendship slowly becomes more in a relationship full of angst, danger, and tears. Tanner's a sexy beast, playful with a cocky attitude, and it was a compelling journey he undertook in accepting his past. In many ways he was the quintessential hero as he always put Mac first, never rushing her after the years of abuse she endured, and helped her discover her truth worth in many subtle ways. He was a drool-worthy hero who exuded sex appeal with a protective nature and softer side that had him shedding a tear or two and endearing him to me completely.

For years Mackenzie's been trapped in a nightmare, one that's left her lost and alone. Years of mental and physical abuse has left her self-esteem in shreds with the belief that she's unlovable and deserves what she gets. In real life I could never understand what keeps a woman in this situation, but Ms. Collins vividly depicted the negativity and desolation Mac had been reduced to which had me feeling more sympathetic rather then frustrated with her. Fear for her father and for her future kept her stuck and it's only through the unconditional support of Tanner that she finds the strength to leave. It's not an immediate recovery though as the threat of her ex-boyfriend lingers throughout the story leaving readers on edge. Alongside the danger is a sweet romance full of sexual tension as she's attracted to Tanner but scared of committing to another man so soon. She also doesn't want to be a project for him, knowing his past she doesn't want him to see her only as a victim needing to be saved. Her conflicted feelings has their romance moving at a glacial pace until everything bubbles over into a scorching encounter that redefines their connection. Mac's a talented and smart woman who became so demoralized that she no longer recognized herself. Seeing her gain strength and find love for herself was an endearing and powerful thing to see which left a tear in my eye as I cheered her on. She and Tanner were both hurt by the actions of others, betrayed in the worst possible way, which made their connection unbreakable despite the paparazzi and his overzealous groupies. They were both there for each other when they needed each other most and definitely deserved their HEA.

This was a powerful story, full of intense emotions that led to lots of tears while reading. Tanner might have looked carefree from the outside but he was hiding a lot of pain from his childhood due to an abusive father. It's left him fearful of becoming that kind of monster which meant keeping to one-night stands. Meeting another person equally as scarred has him wanting to be the man she needs which is the first step in both of them healing. Mac was at her weakest at the start of the story with life slipping away from her. Meeting Tanner brought her back to life and the longer they were together the brighter that spark became during their friends to lovers relationship. Ms. Collins shined a bright light on domestic abuse through vividly depicted scenes that had me cringing. The legal issues surrounding it were further depicted and left you feeling a bit helpless but thankful that Mac had such a large support group courtesy of the bandmates who are like family to Tanner. Though this story is set in the rock star world it doesn't take up a large part of the story. Readers get just a tempting glimpse of the chaos and eccentricities of fame as this story is more about Mac and Tanner's quiet moments of bonding. It's ultimately an unforgettable story, despite the overly dramatic and cliched confrontation with her ex at the end, that sensitively but powerfully deals with this important issue. Though this is the third installment in the Jaded Regret series it stands strongly on its own telling its empowering tale and shouldn't be missed!

My rating for this is an A-/B+

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.



SNARED (Book #2):  AMAZON (US)  |  AMAZON (UK)  |  AMAZON (CA)  |  AMAZON (AU)


L.L. Collins loves spending her days in the Florida sun with her husband and two boys, reading, and writing. L.L. has been writing since she was old enough to write. Always a story in her head, she finally decided to let the characters out made her lifelong dream of becoming an author come true in the self-publishing world. She’s the author of the Living Again Series and the Twisted Series, plus a new standalone, Back to the Drawing Board. Look for more of her emotionally charged novels soon!

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