Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Book Review: Going Home by Judith Kim

Going Home by Judith Keim



Publisher & Release: Wild Quail Press, February 13, 2019

Time and setting:  20thcentury, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction

Book Length:  256 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

In 1970, Violet Hawkins’ only wish at eighteen is to escape her life in the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system and make her way to the west coast to enjoy a mellow life and find the love she’s been missing all her life. 

She makes it to San Francisco, but soon learns she needs a job if she’s to live properly. A kind, young man named Kenton Chandler offers her a sandwich and a job at his father’s inn and vineyards. 

With nothing to lose, Lettie takes him up on his offer and begins a whole new life in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She immediately falls in love with the land and is fascinated with the idea of growing grapes in order to make wines. She, Kenton, and Rafe Lopez become friends as she learns about running the small inn on the property. 

At the same time, she marries Kenton, a stroke kills his father. And then before she can tell Kenton she’s pregnant, he dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken and burdened with the gift of the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery, she’s left with the task of making them a success. Struggling to raise a child alone while working to grow the business, Lettie makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the first book I’ve read by Judith Keim, and it will not be the last. I’m so glad I accepted an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review. My opinions are my own are not influenced in any way.

I thoroughly enjoyed Going Home. It’s unique because it follows a woman’s entire adult life. I enjoy women’s fiction, and this is an excellent one. The pacing is great, keeping me engaged from the beginning to the end. 

Lettie’s character is complex. She is flawed and at times impulsive, but she is so interesting, I fell in love with her. It’s no wonder she’s in a hurry to find someone to love after growing up in foster care. I could understand how she fell so quickly for Rafe, only to be cast off because he bows to his family’s expectations. She does not let it color her future. When love comes along with her friend, Kenton, again she falls hard and fast.

There are actually two main male characters and a key secondary one in Going Home. Rafe who marries another to satisfy his family and Kenton, the young man who saves Lettie from a life on the streets in San Francisco. Then Kenton’s father, a man who takes Lettie under his wing.

Rafe’s character did not appeal to me in the beginning of the book but more than redeems himself by the end of the book. I shall not say more because I do not want to have any spoilers.

Kenton’s character is steadfast and offers Lettie the stability she craves and a family who will love her. My heart ached when he is tragically killed in a car accident. Theirs was a love cut short.

The key secondary character is Kenton’s father. He recognizes Lettie’s talent in knowing what wine is best. He grooms her for his winery, which is a godsend for her. When he dies, she inherits Chandler Hill Inn and Winery and makes it highly successful.

As I mentioned, Going Home follows Lettie’s life. I felt her joy in first love, the fulfillment she begins to feel with Kenton. The pain of losing him so soon, before she even had a chance to tell him they were expecting a child. Lettie is not a natural born mother but none the less, she raises her daughter to be an independent young woman with a huge heart. I enjoyed following her life from young girl to a mature older woman, one who makes some mistakes while learning from them, and lives a full life.

I’m glad I took a chance on Going Home. If you enjoy women’s fiction, then you will love Going Home as much as I. I will definitely look for more books by Ms. Keim. Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Book Review: The Governess by Christi Caldwell

The Governess by Christi Caldwell



Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, February 12, 2019

Time and setting:  Regency, London

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Length:  379  Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Regina (Reggie) Spark has loved Broderick Killoran, the resourceful and protective proprietor of the Devil’s Den, ever since he saved her from the streets and made her his right hand at the notorious gaming hell. For just as long, Reggie has never admitted her true feelings for him. Nor has she revealed her spirited ambitions—to buck convention and expectations and open a music hall.
While Broderick built his gaming empire with ruthless cunning, his loyalty to his employees is boundless. So when he learns of Reggie’s plan to leave his side and take charge of her own future, the betrayal cuts Broderick to the core. He responds as he would to any business rival…with swift retribution.
Instead of wilting, the savvy Reggie rebounds with a fury that shocks Broderick and stirs a desire he’s been holding in reserve for only ladies of nobility. But as their seductive battle of wills ignites under the harsh spotlight of the London Season, secrets are exposed as well—ones that could be ruinous in decent society but invaluable for the heart.

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Vikki’s Musings

I have become a great fan of Christi Caldwell’s delightful Regency romances. When I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review The Governess, I eagerly accepted. My opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

The Governess is another wonderful Regency with just the right amount of detail, giving me the ability to use my imagination. The pacing is great, moving the story along perfectly. The characters are engaging, and the plot riveting. I thoroughly enjoy suspense and this one has it in abundance.

Reggie’s character is easy to love. She has been part of the Killoran family for ten years, but she can no longer remain at Broderick’s side when she knows he will never return her feelings. When he learns she plans to leave, he bribes her into staying to help his sister in her introduction to society. My heart ached for Reggie. Most of the family turns against making her time with them very uncomfortable.

Broderick is a great hero, having the characteristics I love most. He is a stronger provider for his family. While they are not family by blood, it does not matter. He is a very complex character and his backstory is very heartbreaking. I was so pleased that he found his happy ending!

The chemistry between Reggie and Broderick is amazing. Ms. Caldwell is great at building the sexual tension as the story progresses, which what I love about historical romance. By the time the love scene occurs, it is burning up the pages.

If you enjoy a romance with great characters, an interesting plot with a good bit of suspense and great emotionally-charged writing, then you will love The Governess. This may very well be the best book she has written thus far. Of course, I said that about her last one! I can’t wait for the next book is this amazing series. Happy reading!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Book Review: My Kind of Forever by Tracy Brogan

My Kind of Forever by Tracy Brogan


Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, January 22, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Trillium Bay

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Length:  269 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

As the youngest mayor Trillium Bay has ever elected, Brooke Callaghan wants to prove she’s up to the challenge. She’s stepping out of her practical teacher flats and into her sister’s treacherously high heels…with disastrous results. But if she’s going to (literally) stumble her first day on the job, why not fall into the arms of a handsome stranger?
Leo Walker is a rarity on Wenniway Island. Not only handsome, he’s also single, funny, and—most importantly—interested in Brooke. Unfortunately, his reasons for being on the island are temporary, so in spite of the undeniable chemistry between them, he’s not a forever kind of guy.
When a private investigator arrives with news of a jewel thief hiding on the island, Brooke finds herself dealing with one kerfuffle after another, and Leo proves to be a delicious distraction. What does she really know about him, though? And the biggest question of all? Does this short-term romance hold the possibility of long-term love?

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the second book in the Trillium Bay series, and I enjoyed it. Thanks goes the publisher, via Net Galley, for the opportunity to read and review. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

This book has a great deal to offer. The small—town aspect is well done. Ms. Brogan’s writing is clean and flows well. The characters are engaging, including the secondary characters. The plot is unique, and there are a lot of delightfully humorous moments.

The heroine’s character is enjoyable for the most part. She certainly has plenty of energy and wants to do a great job as the new mayor. However, her lack of self-esteem made it hard for me to imagine her running a success campaign to win an elected seat. To me, it seems out of character. Nonetheless, I found her appealing and wanted her to find her happy ending.

As a hero, Elliot is a mixed bag. He isn’t a straight up guy with her and hides secrets even after they become romantically involved. Those flaws make it hard for me to admire him. Although, he does redeem his character by the end of the book.

The romance between the hero and heroine is strong and I enjoyed how their relationship developed. The chemistry is fairly intense at times, the love scenes are based more in the emotions than their physical attraction, not that there’s any lack of that.

If you enjoy a romance with engaging characters and plenty of humor, then you will enjoy Ms. Brogan’s newest offering. Although this one was not as enjoyable as the first book in the series, I still enjoyed it and will read the next book when it comes out. Happy reading!


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Book Review: Dare Me Again by Shelly Alexander

Dare Me Again by Shelly Alexander



Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, January 15, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, USA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Length:  285 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Hot-wired and restless, financial wizard Elliott Remington doesn’t turn down a dare. This time it’s to coordinate a service-dog boot camp for veterans at his family’s resort. Success means a one-way ticket to the West Coast to pursue his dream career. But it comes with a hitch: teaming up with his ex, who vanished on him ten years ago with nothing more than a kiss-off note.
As fiery as her hair and as stubborn as her name, Rebel Tate did what she had to do—for Elliott’s sake and her own. A dog whisperer with a keen sense of survival, she’s lived a tough life. Here she is, back in Angel Fire Falls, doing what she loves, next to a man she’s never forgotten. While the flame between them still smolders, neither is ready to get burned.
For Elliott, trusting Rebel is a gamble. For Rebel, sharing the secrets that sent her running is a risk. Now, while finishing a job that could define both their futures, two hearts are about to collide—and a second chance at true romance could be the greatest dare of all.

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This is the second book in the Angel Falls series. I read the Dare Me Once and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I eagerly looked forward to reading Dare Me Again. Thanks goes the publisher, via Net Galley, for the opportunity to read and review. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

The premise for this book is very interesting, and I enjoyed the characters a great deal. Ms. Alexander did a great job giving enough detail regarding the dog training without becoming too technical. The pacing is good, and the dialogue is realistic and flows well.

 Rebel Tate is an intriguing character, and I liked her a lot. She had a rough start in life, but her perseverance has carried her through. Her love for rescue animals is commendable and came through loud and clear. Although she left Angel Falls on bad terms, she is brave enough to return and try to make it right.

Elliott Remington is a drool-worthy hero, and while he’s driven, he’s open minded and is willing to reveal his secrets to Rebel as she opens up to her. Theirs is a give and take relationship, and I enjoyed it tremendously.

The romance between Rebel and Elliott is great with plenty of sparks flying in all directions from their first meeting. The chemistry is strong, and the love scenes are satisfying. I really wanted them to find their happy ending.

If you enjoy contemporary romance with engaging characters and an interesting plot, along with a bit of humor, then you will enjoy Dare Me Again. I look forward to the next book in this great series. Happy reading!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Book Review: A Merciful Fate by Kendra Elliot

Merciful Fate by Kendra Elliott



Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, January 15, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, USA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Length:   Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Raised by preppers, survivalist and FBI agent Mercy Kilpatrick has a deep-rooted need for a safe place. Her getaway in the Cascade Foothills is her secret. But when skeletal remains are unearthed—those of a murdered man linked to a notorious heist—Mercy realizes she isn’t the only one with something to hide.
Thirty years ago, an armored-car robbery turned deadly. The mastermind was captured. Four conspirators vanished with a fortune. One of them, it appears, never made it out of the woods alive. For Mercy and her fiancé, Police Chief Truman Daly, their investigation opens old wounds in Eagle’s Nest that cut deeper than they imagined. Especially when a reckless tabloid reporter draws fresh blood. It’s clear to Mercy that somebody in this close-knit community is not who they seem to be.
Some are still shattered by the heist. Some still have reason to be afraid. But which one will kill again and again to hide three decades of secrets? To land this case, it’s up to Mercy to unmask a familiar stranger before someone else dies.

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Vikki’s Musings

I always know I’m in for a treat with a new release from Kendra Elliott. When I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, I eagerly agreed to read and review the fifth book in her Mercy Kilpatrick series. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

As with all of Ms. Elliot’s books, the characters are real and flawed, the plot is intriguing and there’s plenty of emotions running high. One of the things I enjoy most about her books is the suspenseful scenes. She has a way of keeping me on the edge of my seat from the first page until the last.

I love Mercy’s character and in each of these books, it only grows stronger. While she’s complicated and has a lot of pent-up issues, she never lets them hold her back. She’s fierce in her determination to be the best FBI agent possible and protects her niece like a mama bear.

Truman is a drool-worthy hero any woman will love, and I’m one of them. He’s an honorable, caring man, and he’s so patient with Mercy. He never lets anything rattle him, whether it’s a case or Mercy. 

While the romance is secondary in Merciful Fate, it’s still strong and adds a lot to the story. In Merciful Fate, Mercy and Truman’s relationship has progressed quite a lot, which pleased me immensely. 

The suspense in this book builds as the tale of mystery and intrigue unfolds. Lots of good things to move the plot along. Ms. Elliott keeps her cards tight against her chest, so I was completely surprised by the characters involved in the heist.

If you enjoy a novel with plenty of high suspense with a great “who-done-it plot,” then you will love Merciful Fate. I do recommend reading the other books in this series before reading this one, so you’ll fully appreciate Mercy and Truman. Happy reading!



Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Book Blitz: Before We Were Perfect by S.D. Moore


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Drama, Dramatic Comedy, Women's Fiction
Publisher: Moon Leaf Publishing
Published: January 2018

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Before We Were Perfect has been adapted into an award-winning screenplay titled Perfectly Normal in Flagstaff. The screenplay won Best Feature Script in the 2018 Top Indie Film Awards and a 2018 Silver Screen award in the Nevada International Film Festival.



Inspired by true events; Before We Were Perfect is a dramatic comedy about the Havreaux family and their ragin' Cajun uncle. Julz Havreaux is a beautiful young woman with imperfections who meets an imperfect handsome wounded warrior turned writer. Through comedic mishaps and drama, they discover that in spite of their imperfections they are perfect together. Contains adult themes, intense drama, sensuality, humor, and love.


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About the Author

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Multiple award-winning Author: S.D. Moore writes in spite of being a brain-damaged, heart damaged Air Force veteran who also battles Lupus. She is the author of the award-winning screenplay, Perfectly Normal in Flagstaff which won a 2018 Silver Screen award in the Nevada International Film Festival. S.D. is also the author of Readers' Favorite 2017 International Gold Medal (1st place) winning horror novel Wicked Prayers, the award-winning Adventures of PJ and Split Pea and the workbook Basics to Business: Minding Your Business with Excel. She is also a patented inventor of The Portable Hot Sink System; has an ABD towards a Doctorate of Education, holds dual master's degrees in management and human resources development.


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Monday, December 31, 2018

Book Review: Nameless by Marni MacRae

Nameless by Marni MacRae



Publisher & Release: Self-published, September 26, 2017

Time and setting:  Present Day, Kentucky

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction

Book Length:  375 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

A young woman awakes in a field with no memory of how she got there or who she is. Struggling to put the pieces together from a past just out of memory’s reach, Eve finds a new name and a new beginning in Brighton Valley. But no matter how safe she feels or how much she grows to love the people in her new life, Eve knows her past holds a secret that may destroy her chance at happiness.

Driving along highway 83, Nick happens upon a girl on the side of the road. Soaked to the bone with rain and battling back fear of a past she can’t recall, Nick is drawn to the strength of soul and frail beauty the young woman possesses. Naming her Eve to help her fill the void, Nick finds he cannot resist the draw to know her, protect her. But the closer he gets to the sweet, mysterious, Eve, the harder it becomes to let go. And he knows he must. For Eve cannot truly be his until she confronts the demons of her past.

Nameless shows us the heart of what family means, beyond blood and name. How one person can affect so many, changing hearts in the process of finding her place in the world. Can Eve choose love with an empty slate? And if her memories return can that love endure the choices they bring?

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Vikki’s Musings

Wow, just wow. Loved Nameless from the first page to the last! The characters are vibrant, and the plot is emotionally charged with plenty of heart . Thanks go to the author for reaching out to me and letting me know about her amazing book!

Eve is enchanting and her wonder at everything new had me chuckling on multiple occasions. Her open, loving way stole my heart. Eve his so broken in the beginning but by the end she is a vibrant, fascinating woman who knows where she belongs.

Nick is such a fantastic hero. He's so patient and kind but still a strong, honorable man. His unconditional love and support for Eve is remarkable. It takes a great man to love so selflessly. He is willing to sacrifice all for Eve.

The romance, while very swift, is tender and filled with deep emotion. Eve and Nick fall for each other immediately and it only grows stronger throughout the book. I truly wanted them to find their happy ending.

The secondary characters are heart-warming and real. I am so glad I found this wonderful book. I highly recommend Nameless to all who enjoy a romance with engaging characters and one that shows a strong woman's path to finding herself. This is definitely not a typical romance but so much more. It's a story you don't want to miss. Happy reading 📚!