Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Review: Home Free (+$25 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Home Free 
Author: Claire McEwen  
Series: Sierra Legacy #4
Pages: 384
Date Published: 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Special Release
Format: Kindle
Genre: Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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His first taste of freedom was only the beginning…

Arch Hoffman has paid for his crimes. All he wants is to come home to rural California and start over. He's not looking to be a hero when he rescues a wedding cake from hitting the dirt at the ranch next door. But culinary artist Mandy Allen's irresistible smile makes him glad to save the day—and thankful that they're neighbors. 

Mandy's just the distraction Arch needs. Her sweet voice quiets the memories that threaten his chance to be a better man, and he's determined to help her confront her fears. But the past is its own prison, and even love might not be enough to set them free.

~My Thoughts~
Arch is a reformed bad boy, looking to make a comeback. Mandy is a woman in a rut, trying to make something of herself. When Arch plays hero to Mandy's damsel in distress, sparks fly and the two are drawn together in a way that may get both of them on the right track. 

Well, McEwen certainly doesn't waste any time. Right from page one, she started the story rolling with the meet-cute and simultaneous character development for Mandy. We get an immediate sense of who she is, and of course when her day gets saved, we can't help but fall a little for Arch. 

I didn't read the first books in this series. Although this puts me at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to character knowledge and setting the stage for this book, I also think it kept me free from prejudices about Arch. It's clear that he was somewhat of a bad guy in past books, and now he's supposed to be the main lead of a romance book! But since I didn't really see him being a jerk, I only know him as the reformed prisoner who's looking for a second chance. *queue melting hearts* 

Now, Mandy was not really my favorite. While I can get on the same page with her about feeling like I'm in a rut, I sort of felt like she wasn't doing anything to move herself forward. Anyone who just mopes about their lives or themselves without actively trying to change for the better drive me right up a tree. Mandy just didn't seem to appreciate what she had going for her, and what an interesting person she was/could be. Like any good author does, eventually McEwen made Mandy grow on me so that I liked her (nearly) as much as I liked Arch. 

The writing style was rustic and easy, and had more colloquialisms than you could swing a cat at. This book will definitely appeal to the country-lovers and bad-boy fans, and was a cute, simple romance that resolves itself nicely! 
~Try an Excerpt!~

He turned, surprised, and saw Mandy hurrying after him. In her hand was a paper plate piled high with an enormous slice of cake. He started back toward her, admiring how elegant she looked in that wine-colored dress.

“You saved it. You earned a slice.” She was a little out of breath, like she’d jogged, cake and all, to catch him.

Arch tried to remember the last time someone had reached out to show him a kindness like this—he couldn’t. The plate was heavy in his hand, she’d put so much cake on it. “You’re a good person.” He blurted it out like an awkward kid. He had no experience with generosity.

“I just made a whole lot of cake.” Her smile was fleeting but kind.

“Well, this will make the walk home a whole lot better.”

There was silence while they looked at each other. Total strangers who’d done each other a good deed today, and maybe found a small seed of friendship. He needed to let her get back to her sister’s wedding. “Nice to meet you, Mandy. Thanks for sticking up for me back there.”

“Of course.” She took a step back and waved “Welcome home, Arch.”

It was more of a welcome than he’d ever, in his most wishful dreams, hoped to get. He watched her walk lightly back up the drive, her full skirt swaying right down to the tops of her pretty brown cowboy boots. She was much more than a fairy like Tinker Bell. She was a guardian angel. A vision from heaven.

He looked down at the plate she’d brought him. White cake, chocolate cake, a few different kinds of icing. The first mouthful was a revelation of sugar and cream. He closed his eyes and tried to absorb the flavors. To savor such a fine taste. She might have heaped his plate, but her kindness today was sweeter than any cake. And he would never, ever get enough of sweetness like that.
~Meet Claire!~ 
Claire McEwen lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When not dreaming up new stories, she can be found digging in her garden with a lot of enthusiasm but, unfortunately, no green thumb. 

Claire enjoys discovering flea-market treasures, walking on the beach, dancing, traveling, and reading, of course! She loves to write complex heroes and heroines who grow and find themselves through their search for love. 

Claire will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


  1. Dying to find out what his crimes were.

  2. I enjoyed the post and am looking forward to learning more. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

  4. I enjoyed the excerpt, thank you.

  5. Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

  6. Great review, this sounds like a book I'll enjoy reading :)

  7. Looking forward to this one (too). In previous books, I've enjoyed how some parts of the stories could have been over-worded, but weren't; they're always written with a great pace for the reader to follow. I've teared up on occasion too, so am wondering if you'll get me with this book too, LOL!
    Thanks so much!

  8. Looking forward to reading the book. It's already on my ereader.

  9. I really enjoyed reading the entire post, thank you!

  10. Enjoyed reading your review. I always admire the author who can make a hero out of a former really bad boy. Doesn't work every time, but when it does, it's good.