Book Review: Her Survivor by Vonnie Davis

PTSD has become prevalent in a lot of the romance novels I’ve read, and it’s usually well done. This book spends quite a bit of time talking about it, which I appreciated because I think it’s a good way to highlight and teach readers more about it. It’s not a side’s almost the main theme of the story.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A man who lost his leg serving as a SEAL goes to a small town to deal with his PTSD where he meets a pretty woman dealing with secrets and trauma of her own. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Dealing With the Scars
Dustin lost his leg and gained a good deal of facial scarring from his last tour of duty, but the physical issues are nothing compared to the PTSD he’s had since getting back. When his SEAL buddy, ZQ, invites him to his quiet ranch for some rest and relaxation, he takes him up on the offer, only to find that the man has offered his architectural services to the local bookstore owner.  This pisses Dustin off at first, especially when he finds himself attracted to the woman, knowing there’s no way a woman is going to want him with all of his issues.
Hiding Out
Kelcee loves the little bookstore she inherited and her small town, but there’s also an underlying fear that she’s going to be found by someone in her past who she knows wants her dead. Still, she’s feisty and doesn’t take crap from people, and so when her first interaction with Dustin involves a heavy dose of rudeness on his part, she lets him know it. But when Dustin calls to apologize and they start to get to know each other, he becomes the one person she feels safe with.


Love and Trauma
Their new relationship is a little rocky. Dustin has a lot of hang ups, but he also gets violent when he has nightmares, and it terrifies him to know he could hurt Kelcee. He’s also afraid to go out in public and it takes him awhile to realize that Kelcee doesn’t care about any of that. She just wants to be with him and help him through his PTSD as much as she can. He pushes her away, but when her life becomes endangered, he realizes how much he needs her in his life.


An Issue with Multiple Faces
The PTSD was shown in different forms to highlight how different people deal with it. Several of the side characters have it, including characters I believe we’re going to see in future stories. Dustin and Kelcee both have it, and it’s definitely a contrast to see how each one handles it.


Winning Dialogue
I enjoyed this story even though there were a few things that annoyed me. On the positive side, I really liked the small town feel of the story and most of the banter between Kelcee and Dustin. She was compassionate and caring towards him, but when he got out of line, she didn’t hesitate to tell him where to go. I also enjoyed the side characters, but they seemed to add a lot of sub-plots to the story, and at times I felt they took away from the romance between Dustin and Kelcee, which was the part I really wanted.


Curves For the Win
I liked that Kelcee was a plus-sized heroine, and some of her feelings about that and how people treated her were handled realistically and thoughtfully. Some people were mean, others didn’t care. Kelcee handled it well, as she’d learn to accept herself and wasn’t self conscious when things go intimate. I did get a little tired of people, including her, referring to her “teacup ass.” While endearing at first, and though I understand it was kind of one of those cute running gag things, it felt a bit overused.


The Romance Factor
Dustin lets Kelcee in and hopes to be able to have a real relationship with her. The fact that he tried to hide his PTSD was kind of sweet (if maybe not the right thing to do). When he pulls away because he’s afraid he’ll hurt her in one of his violent moments, the pain and conflict between the two gave me such feels. 5/5

The Steam Factor
Though not super spicy, there are a few sensual moments between the sheets. 3/5

Final Thoughts
One thing that stood out to me was that I got a feel for the characters mostly through their action and dialogue, and though I usually like to get the inner thoughts and emotions to a higher degree, the way this book was written really worked for me. Even with minor annoyances, there were some great quirks (the older woman who reads BDSM novels was awesome) and I enjoyed the story overall. I’m looking forward to see how the other characters are handled in future novels.

Book Review: Stacked Up by Sidney Halston

I feel like these books just keep getting better as the series goes on, and even when I have issues with them, I still have a really hard time tearing myself away.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
An MMA fighter falls for a single mother who’s hiding from her ultra-religious stepfather, despite the fact that the doesn’t want kids. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Going Out On Her Own
Penny ran away from her stepfather a year ago after he’d put her in a home for pregnant women when someone who worked for him convinced her to sleep with him. As a television evangelist, her stepfather cares more about his image than her, and she no longer wants anything to do with that life. So she heads to Tarpon Springs with her baby to start a new life, difficult as it may be. She has to hold two jobs and can still barely make ends meet. Luckily, she has people willing to help her out, but it doesn’t keep her from feeling lonely and helpless.

The Anti-Kid Hero
Travis has had a thing for Penny ever since she showed up in town. Though he doesn’t admit it to anyone, he’s kept an eye out for her since she started working at the local bar he patronizes. Even though she opens up to him one night and cries on his shoulder, he still doesn’t know much about her. So when he finds out she has a daughter (after they’ve slept together), he’s shocked and hurt that she never shared that detail.

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Of course, part of the reason she didn’t share is because Travis spends an inordinate amount of time talking about how doesn’t like kids and doesn’t want any. It’s kind of understandable why she’s hesitant, and I’m usually the one who champions being up front at the beginning about these things.

Maybe Not All Kids
When the father of her child shows back up, a tool being used by her stepfather to get her back, Travis helps Penny and Belle regardless of the fact that he’s said he doesn’t want a kid in his life. It’s not long before he falls in love with both of them and does everything he can to make sure Penny’s family problems go away (short of murder). I thought I’d be annoyed by the way I knew the plot was going to unfold. I mean, duh, we know he’s going to eventually accept them both, right? But honestly? I loved how it was written and how despite his protests, Travis actually seemed to love Belle before he did Penny. I mean, there was affection there, but the connection he formed with the little girl was really sweet.

The Romance Factor
I loved the way Travis takes care of Penny, and though I got annoyed with his constant back and forth on wanting to take care of her and wanting to be mad at her for not telling him about Belle, I could also understand his feelings on the matter. The romance was particularly strong in the protectiveness he showed her and the care she showed him, taking care of him and supporting him in a way no one had before (also, Travis had mom issues, which figured into his reluctance to get into a real relationship). 4/5


The Steam Factor
The sexy times are not super frequent but they’re super hot when they happen. 5/5

Final Thoughts
I really enjoyed Travis and Penny’s story and it was nice seeing the couples from the other books in the series, especially Enzo and JL from the last book who have twins of their own in this one. The MMA fighting isn’t prevalent though, so if you’re looking for a lot of fighting, it’s there, but not frequent. Still a great read with flawed but likable characters.