A Lila Review: Swings & Roundabouts (The Power of Zero #4) by Jackie Keswick

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Jack Horwood. Vigilante, hacker, security specialist. Partner to Gareth Flynn. Adoptive father to their two teenage boys. Happily juggling long days and short nights.

Gareth Flynn. Ex-army officer. Ace negotiator. Righter of wrongs. Family man. Away from home more often than he likes.

Desperate for a relationship reset, Jack treats Gareth to a romantic getaway and Sweden’s frigid peace gives them the break they both need. But Jack’s a trouble magnet and the next dead body just a wild skidoo ride away.

Can love, teamwork, and trust survive the troubles that follow them around? Can Jack save what’s become so important to him?

Swings and Roundabouts shows the family Gareth and Jack have created during this series. I love Gareth and it’s interesting to see how much he had changed, and at the same time, has stayed the same as he makes Jack his priority. Jack has grown as a person too but his quirky personality still intact.

The story has three parts, not equally divided but well-balanced. The story starts pretty much into Jack’s and Gareth’s day to day routine. With how Nico and Daniel are integrating into regular life and how they are adjusting to the up and downs. The second part includes the romantic getaway, and the last part shows how everything comes together in the end.

There’s a lot of introspect and some self-recrimination from Gareth’s and Jack’s points of view. Dealing with the kids, their jobs, and their relationship is taking a toll on them, but at the same time is making them get closer. They have a great support system which is also present in this story. It’s nice to see everyone back for this installment.

As always, the author descriptions are great. Especially, anything related to food. Once again, this book has made me hungry, even if I’m not adventurous enough to try to half the recipes.  The weather was another nice integration in the story, as well as the small details as clothing and decorations. And the humor it’s on spot as always.

Overall, this is a great addition to the series. I hope this is not the last time we get to enjoy this couple and their band of misfits and adventures.

The cover by Maria Fanning shows all the elements from previous books–colors, silhouettes, and Jack’s tattoo–to create a cohesive cover. Even when it’s not too appealing.

Sale Links:  Amazon | Nook

Book Details:

ebook, 340 pages
Published: May 13, 2018, by Jackie Keswick
ISBN: 9781717103819
Edition Language: English

Series: The Power of Zero
Book #1: Job Hunt
Book #2: Ghosts
Book #3: House Hunt
Book #4: Swings & Roundabouts

Review Tour and Giveaway – Swings & Roundabouts (The Power of Zero #4) by Jackie Keswick

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Length: 100,000 words approx.
 
The Power Of Zero Series
 
Book #0 – The Power Of Zero
Book #1 – Job Hunt
Book #2 – Ghosts
Book #3 – House Hunt
 
Blurb
 

Jack Horwood. Vigilante, hacker, security specialist. Partner to Gareth Flynn. Adoptive father to their two teenage boys. Happily juggling long days and short nights.


Gareth Flynn. Ex-army officer. Ace negotiator. Righter of wrongs. Family man. Away from home more often than he likes.


Desperate for a relationship reset, Jack treats Gareth to a romantic getaway and Sweden’s frigid peace gives them the break they both need. But Jack’s a trouble magnet and the next dead body just a wild skidoo ride away.


Can love, teamwork, and trust survive the troubles that follow them around? Can Jack save what’s become so important to him?


Expect action, drama, and hot romance in book 4 of the Power of Zero series.



May 14 – Megan’s Media Melange
May 18 – RAM PA Group, MM Good Book Reviews
May 21 – Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews
May 25 – Gay Media Reviews, Book Review By Virginia Lee, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

Author Bio
 

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.


Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.


And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.


For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops, or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:


Website: http://www.jackiekeswick.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ctY9RD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackieKeswick
FB: https://www.facebook.com/JackieKeswick
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jackiekeswick/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jackie-keswick
Queeromance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jackie-keswick/

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Release Blitz and Giveaway for Swings & Roundabouts (The Power of Zero #4) by Jackie Keswick

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Length: 100,000 words approx.
 
The Power Of Zero Series
 
Book #0 – The Power Of Zero
Book #1 – Job Hunt
Book #2 – Ghosts
Book #3 – House Hunt
 
Blurb
 

Jack Horwood. Vigilante, hacker, security specialist. Partner to Gareth Flynn. Adoptive father to their two teenage boys. Happily juggling long days and short nights.


Gareth Flynn. Ex-army officer. Ace negotiator. Righter of wrongs. Family man. Away from home more often than he likes.


Desperate for a relationship reset, Jack treats Gareth to a romantic getaway and Sweden’s frigid peace gives them the break they both need. But Jack’s a trouble magnet and the next dead body just a wild skidoo ride away.


Can love, teamwork, and trust survive the troubles that follow them around? Can Jack save what’s become so important to him?


Expect action, drama, and hot romance in book 4 of the Power of Zero series.

 
Author Bio
 

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.


Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.


And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.


For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops, or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:


Website: http://www.jackiekeswick.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ctY9RD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackieKeswick
FB: https://www.facebook.com/JackieKeswick
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jackiekeswick/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jackie-keswick
Queeromance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jackie-keswick/

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Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

A Lila Review: House Hunt (The Power of Zero #3) by Jackie Keswick

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

House HuntJack Horwood hates owing favors. But when a simple day out to treat Gareth to the best oysters in England leads to a discovery of drugs and counterfeit money—things that neither Jack nor Gareth have the jurisdiction to handle—he has to call in help. Help that doesn’t come cheap, and that forces him to do something he promised himself he’d never do again—walk away from Gareth and the family he’s starting to make for himself.

Three months undercover is a long time. After missing Gareth’s birthday, Jack is determined not to miss their first anniversary. But coming home and being home are two very different things. So when he is asked to assist with a corporate espionage investigation, Jack can’t say no, despite knowing it will impact his already straining relationship.

Except, of course, he’s walking into a trap….

House Hunt is a less elaborate version of the first book in the series. Instead of overlapping events, we get to see them happening one after the other; affecting, not only their outcomes but Jack’s and Gareth’s relationship and newly formed family.

In my opinion, this streamlined version of events took away from the complexity of Jack’s life and mind. Perhaps, now that he has Gareth in his life, things are not as chaotic as in the beginning, but I missed the intensity of following unrelated plots, all at ones. There’s no lack of action, just a simple structure that wasn’t present in Job Hunt.

There’s a separation between the drugs and counterfeit undercover work, the MC’s life together, and the corporate espionage investigation. This is not bad, it just slows the middle part of the story and makes the ending feel rush. Not enough time to enjoy the resolution. And my biggest pet-peeve were the fade-to-black scenes, not only the sex scenes but the majority of the transitions.

As before, the author did an excellent job getting the reader into the story, the MCs’ mood, and the British landscape. Food plays another important role from the opening scene to the very end. It not only shows how much Gareth care, but how aware Jack is of Gareth’s attentions and his need to take care of others.

The characters didn’t live in a bubble even when most of them worked at Nancarrow Mining. They had relationships and a role to play in order to advance the overall plot. But we do get the sense of home when Jack and Gareth were at Richmond, Gareth’s house. It was their space to be a couple, to learn how to be together when the stress of their real life tried to blindside them.

Jack’s and Gareth’s relationship moves forward in this installment, and we get to see a side of them we had hope for before. There’s more background about their time together in the Army, and what Gareth does for Aidan. Plus, more Nico and Daniel and a house hunt for their family to be together.

Overall, another good addition to The Power of Zero series. I’d definitely look forward to more about Jack, Garreth, and their band of misfits.

This is the third cover by Maria Fanning and the concept still very similar— showing a main event in the story. Personally, it feels more like a café than a house, but the whole idea works well.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 300 pages
Published: March 30, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781634771382
Edition Language: English

Series:  The Power of Zero
Book #1: Job Hunt
Book #2: Ghosts
Book #3: House Hunt

Jackie Keswick is Talking Impeccably Tailored Pinstripes and House Hunt (The Power of Zero, #3), Don’t Miss Out! (Guest Post)

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House Hunt

House Hunt (The Power of Zero, #3) by Jackie Keswick
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Art by Maria Fanning

Sales Links at Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Jackie Keswick here today to talk about House Hunt, the latest release in The Power of Zero series. Welcome, Jackie. What are you sharing with us today?

Impeccably Tailored Pinstripes by Jackie Keswick

Hi, I’m Jackie Keswick, and I’m on the road with House Hunt, the third book in the Power of Zero series. Many thanks for offering me a place to stop and chat for a while.

While The Power of Zero tells the story of Jack Horwood, Gareth Flynn and the two boys they rescue from a pimp, many reviewers have noted that the series has a whole raft of secondary characters. I really can’t argue with that. After all, I put them there myself. For reasons. One of which is that I don’t think romantic relationships exist in a bubble. The love story between Jack and Gareth is influenced and shaped by the people around them and their actions: demands made by Lisa separate Jack and Gareth, Nico’s and Daniel’s needs make both of them consider whether their relationship is strong enough to build a future… and many times Aidan Conrad’s detached common sense points them in the right direction when they’ve veered off-track.

Aidan Conrad, helicopter-flying barrister and impeccably pinstriped allround badass, is one of my favorite characters. He’s not any one person, but he is someone I definitely would love to meet. Aidan is an amalgam of men who have inspired me over the years: people I worked for and with, a couple of book boyfriends, and… David Gandy. And he has long hair, which I find as sexy on a man as Jack’s long legs and shapely butt or that perfect V that Gareth has going on.

The other thing I like about Aidan is that he’s a chameleon. Slap a wig and gown on him and he’ll stand up in court, unruffled and serene, laying down the law. Ask him to defend someone against the odds, and Aidan will pretend that the law is for other people until he has the whole story. As he points out to Jack:

“I watched a friend get sent down for something he didn’t do, just because all available evidence pointed that way. I couldn’t stomach that, so I started to study law hoping that, one day, I could make a difference.

I tend to take cases that aren’t what they seem. In the case I told you about just now, the client would have gone to prison for a good long time had he been convicted. All the available evidence pointed to him being the guilty party, yet I believed the story he told me and searched for evidence that supported his belief that he was being framed. Cases like this one are how it all started. And it’s still the bulk of what comes across my desk.”

It’s no surprise that Jack takes to Aidan the moment they meet. Aidan is a fixer like Gareth, he thrives on crusades like Jack and he has a keen appreciation for skills – even unconventional ones like Raf’s and Skylar’s.

At 45, Aidan is the eldest of my cast of characters. He’s made a success of reconciling two very different careers, and after bringing up his daughter by himself, he can appreciate the task that Jack and Gareth take on when they decide to make Daniel and Nico part of their family. Appreciate it, and step in to help before anyone even thinks to ask.

Aidan doesn’t mince his words. He’s not afraid to knock heads together or serve up unpalatable truths. He tells Jack the moment they meet that not talking to Gareth will get him nowhere. He tells Gareth equally plainly that making assumptions about Jack is stupid. He doesn’t mind calling it as he sees it, but despite the gruff exterior he’s a teddy bear when it comes to people he cares about.

High on the list of those people is Alexandra Marston. While it may not be obvious, Gareth is aware of Aidan’s feelings for Alex and tries to help out – much to Jack’s amusement.

“You really want to see him shacked up with Alex, don’t you?”

“Why not? They deserve each other—and I mean that in the nicest possible way,” Gareth defended himself. “They’ve been dancing around each other for years.”

“Have you tried locking them in the stationery cupboard?”

Gareth groaned and Jack couldn’t get over the image of Gareth Flynn, matchmaker. The guy was working so hard to get his two friends to admit they had feelings for each other it was actually hilarious.

“Seriously, though, do you know what’s stopping them?”

“Aidan’s daughter.”

“She’s what—twenty-three or so? And she objects to her father—?”

“No.” Gareth rubbed a hand across the back of his neck, as if he could rub away the embarrassment. “Emily doesn’t object. It’s Aidan. He never thought of remarrying after his wife died. Emily was four or so and he was still serving. It must have been hell when he was deployed. He still looks out for her, like the overprotective oaf he is.”

“I can see why the two of you get on so well,” Jack commented.

Jack’s not wrong there. Both Gareth and Aidan are fiercely protective. And not at all impressed when they’re faced with anything that reeks of disloyalty. Aidan in particular is apt to hold a grudge, even when that’s likely to deprive him of something that part of him really wants.

So while Aidan keeps a weather eye on Jack, Gareth, Nico and Daniel, intent to insure the happy-ever-after of their experiment in making families, it may need Gareth’s or even Jack’s intervention to make sure that Aidan doesn’t face the end of the journey all alone.

But then, straight-talking, meddling and taking the odd rap… that’s what friends are for, right?

Jack Horwood hates owing favors. But when a simple day out to treat Gareth to the best oysters in England leads to a discovery of drugs and counterfeit money—things that neither Jack nor Gareth have the jurisdiction to handle—he has to call in help. Help that doesn’t come cheap, and that forces him to do something he promised himself he’d never do again—walk away from Gareth and the family he’s starting to make for himself.

Three months undercover is a long time. After missing Gareth’s birthday, Jack is determined not to miss their first anniversary. But coming home and being home are two very different things. So when he is asked to assist with a corporate espionage investigation, Jack can’t say no, despite knowing it will impact his already straining relationship.

Except, of course, he’s walking into a trap….

Series: The Power of Zero, Book 3
Length: Novel / 96k
Genre: Suspense/Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: 30th March 2016

About Jackie Keswick

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurrent dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig. She’s spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with a husband, a cat and a tandem.

Jackie loves stories about unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She has a thing for green eyes and tight cyclist’s butts and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.

Jackie’s current obsession is a green-eyed hacker-turned-vigilante by the name of Jack Horwood. The first two parts of his story, Job Hunt and Ghosts, are available from Dreamspinner Press and anywhere books are sold.

For questions and comments, not restricted to green-eyed hackers or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:  Twitter | Facebook | Jackie’s Website |


House Hunt is available as ebook or paperback fromHouse Hunt

A Lila Review: Ghosts (The Power of Zero, #2) by Jackie Keswick

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5       ★★★★★

GhostsThree months after the ending of book #1, we are back at Gareth’s house days before Christmas. Nancarrow Mining is out for the holidays, and the MCs are getting ready for the festivities. Jack and Gareth enjoyed some quiet time before family and friends filled the house.

As the days passed, we experienced the challenges of making a relationship work. They celebrated Boxing Day, New Years, and Valentine’s by the end of the story. All these celebrations framed the evolution of the relationships, not only between the MC but the rest of the characters as well.

Together, they worked to have all their ghosts put to rest.

Ghosts is a novella that zooms into the lives of Daniel and Nico and how it affects Jack and Gareth. This installment is more of an extension than a story on its own, especially after reading Job Hunt’s epilogue. We get to see and hear from most of the characters, again. Plus, we found out about Goran’s trial and sentencing.

 But the majority of the book revolves around Jack and the boys trying to deal with their “Ghosts” and how to move forward with their lives. It’s a limited view into building a family for the four of them and all the obstacles they had to tackle to get there. There’s no extra drama or cases, just a small side plot about finding Daniel’s parents and its repercussions.

The author summarized it well in this quote, “Love is something enduring that lets you deal with your past, live in the present, and look towards a future.”

I do need to say that the first chapter in this story made me crave a good beef pie and mash potatoes. The recipes and meals were important before, but now, they have center stage. Everything from the preparation to the consumption had a purpose and translated well into writing. The author continues to have a great way to integrate all the senses in her prose.

The reader has the opportunity to peek into the characters’ future and dig further into their pasts. If you want to know more about Daniel and Nico, this is the perfect addition for it. But I don’t think is necessary to read it before moving to the next book in the series.

I didn’t like the cover for book #1, Job Hunt, but Maria Fanning did an excellent job with the cover for this novella. It fits the previous book, and it has an important element of this installment.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

ebook, 112 pages
Published: February 10, 2016, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 1634768590 (ISBN13: 9781634768597)
Edition Language: English

Series:  The Power of Zero
Book #1: Job Hunt
Book #2: Ghosts
Book #3: House Hunt

A Lila Audiobook Review: Job Hunt (The Power of Zero #1) by Jackie Keswick and Narrator Fox Ballard

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Job Hunt AudiobookYou don’t greet your new boss dressed like an underage rent boy. But when Jack Horwood—ace hacker and ex-MI6 operative—opens the door to Gareth Flynn, he’s too busy to worry over details like that. And anyway, his potential new boss is his former Commanding Officer – the same guy Jack has had a crush on since he was seventeen. So he should understand, right?

 When he applied for the job in Nancarrow Mining’s corporate security division, Jack had hoped for peaceful days repelling cyber attacks. Maybe a bit of corporate espionage on the side. His plans didn’t include rescuing abused children, hunting pimps, or dealing with his overly protective and hot-as-hell boss, Gareth Flynn.

 Walking away is not an option. Jack never takes the easy way out. More than that, meeting Gareth raises old ghosts that Jack needs to put to rest. Rescuing kids. Taking risks. Saving the day. Jack can do all that – but deciding what to do about his attraction to Gareth isn’t the sort of cloak-and-dagger game Jack plays well. Yet Gareth, strong and smart and always on hand when needed, might be Jack’s salvation.

 Job Hunt is a complex thriller with multi-dimensional characters, and complicated twists and turns. There are enough questions and mysteries to keep the reader into the story and guessing its outcome. Following both investigations, it’s not complicated, but the  Nancarrow Mining’s cyber attacks plotline was not as well thought as the one involving Jack’s undercover work.

 I’m glad I listen to this story because all the distinct voices helped with the POV changes. Also, the narrator gave it an authenticity feel. Each character becomes an individual with their own quirks and traits.

 Even when a romantic plot is present in this book, the story is all about the cases the MCs are working. Jack is the real man character in Job Hunt. Gareth is there as a protector or sidekick more than someone that we get invested on.

 The rest of the ensemble can be considered as supporting characters instead of secondary because they were there in order for Jack to accomplish his goals. The author did an excellent job, though, making them memorable instead of simple fill-ins.

The sense of place and location is very present, even for someone that had never been in Richmond, Wimbledon, or any of the other areas mentioned. Everything from the smells, looks, and weather are taken into consideration. And the food had its own role in the story, too.

 In the end, Job Hunt is an enjoyable read, and its only downside is the amount of events unfolding at the same time. Together with some areas of internal dialogue.

 Fox Ballard did an excellent job with the narration. He made differentiating between the many POV changes easy. He’s one of the first narrators I had listened to that had managed to voice females characters without making them sound too masculine. All the accents were amazing, even when hard to understand at some points.

 I like the way the calls were integrated into the audiobook. They sounded authentic and gave the story a realistic boost. My only complaint would be about the music separating the chapters. It was kind of jungle fever and didn’t go with the book’s content. And, the pauses between chapters, and/or POVs, were too long.

 The cover by Maria Fanning didn’t work for me. It makes the books seem paranormal, which it is not. You have to be very close to it to realize it has the data information in the background. The audiobook cover is just a modify version of the original.

 Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Amazon | Audible

 Audiobook Details:

 Narrator: Fox Ballard
Length:  9 hours and  38 minutes

Published:  February 11, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN:  B01BMQFFE6
Edition Language: English

Series:  The Power of Zero
Book #1: Job Hunt
Book #2: Ghosts
Book #3: House Hunt