Thursday, May 25, 2017

Book Review: The Last in Love by Terri Osborn

The Last in Love by Terri Osburn

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, May 30, 2017

Time and setting:  Present Day, Ardent Springs

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Length: 269 pages

Heat Level: 2 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Abby Williams lost her husband—and the future she envisioned—to a roadside bomb in a foreign land, so a kitchen fire is no big deal. When the local firemen show up to put out the blaze, the army widow finds herself attracted to one hot volunteer firefighter…until she realizes it’s Justin Donovan, a man five years her junior.
Justin has long carried a torch for Abby. But after she got married ten years ago, he put her out of his mind, left Ardent Springs for Chicago, and got a job as a real estate developer. Now he’s back—for reasons he’d rather not share—and he wants to prove to Abby that age is nothing but a number. Will Abby’s reluctance and Justin’s secrets extinguish any attempts at romance? Or will the sparks between them ignite a second chance at love?

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Vikki’s Musings

Wow, I just love Terri Osburn’s down-to-earth characters and intriguing plots. The Last in Love is another awesome read. Thanks goes to the publisher and Net-Galley for allowing me to read this book in advance of publication.

Since the death of her husband, Abby Williams has just been going through the motions of living life. When she became a nurse, she wanted to help sick people, but the everyday duties have lost their appeal. She craves a career that will use her creative heart, but not until she’s laid off due to budget cuts, does she realize it.

When a kitchen fire brings Justin Donovan into her life, she’s amazed at the attraction she feels for this man who is five years younger than she. She watched him when she was a teenager so surely nothing can come of the spark between them.

Justin has always felt attraction to Abby since he was eighteen, but she had married, so he tried to move on. When the fire opens up possibilities, he blazes in. He’s not going to let this chance pass him by.

Can Justin convince Abby that the five years are unimportant, or will she deny what she feels and pass up on a chance for a forever kind of love?

I became enmeshed with these characters from the first page and remained so until the last. The pacing is excellent and kept me involved throughout the book. The plot is great, the characters are engaging. I love how Ms. Osburn develops her characters. This is definitely a character-driven novel. Her characters are real and so believable. They are flawed and do and react as someone in real life would to events that unfold in their lives.

Abby is an endearing character. I could feel her emotions as if they were my own. I loved her kind heart. She is a loyal friend and a great sister. She loves her mother and is not afraid to let anyone know how she feels. I enjoyed her internal struggle to accept that it’s okay to be older than Justin.

I loved Justin’s character from the first page to the last. His determination to convince her to give him a chance touched my heart in a big way. What I thoroughly enjoyed about Justin was his wonderfully flawed character. He experiences emotions that anyone in his situation would feel.

Bottom-line, this is a feel-good story with great characters and an interesting plot. I’m so glad I found Ms. Osburn’s books and can’t wait for her next one. I just love Ardent Springs and the wonderful characters in this small-town USA creation of the author’s imagination. Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Book Review: Merely a Marriage by Jo Beverley

Merely a Marriage by Jo Beverley

Publisher & Release: Berkley Original, May 30, 2017

Time and setting:  1817, England

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency

Book Length: 384 pages

Heat Level: 2 Flames

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

As England mourns the death of Princess Charlotte, Lady Ariana Boxstall has another succession in mind. Her brother, Norris, is a strapping young man, but he’s also happily unmarried and childless. Norris agrees to take a wife on one condition: that Ariana take a husband first. Although she realizes she risks a lifetime in a loveless marriage, for the sake of her family, Ariana accepts his challenge. 

When the Earl of Kynaston met Ariana eight years ago, he broke her heart. Since then, his own heart has been broken, and he’s sworn off love...until he sees Ariana all grown-up and his resolve is threatened.  

Could Ariana’s bargain with Norris actually lead her to happiness? With real love on the line, she must win over the one man who refuses to be had.

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Vikki’s Musings

Jo Beverley was one of my all-time favorite historical romance authors. I wept when I heard she had passed last May. I have read many of her books, and I also have quite a few in audio. I never tire of the wonderful Georgian world she created in her Malloran series, along with the Regency world in her Company of Rogues series.

Merely a Marriage paints the picture of her Regency world. While this book may not have had her final touches on it, I still enjoyed it. All the sexual tension she was a master at, is in this book. The pacing is wonderful, the characters vivid and the plot is well-thought out with a great many twists and turns.

Arianna is a troubled heroine with very poor self-esteem. As a young girl, she received her fair share of unkind, and at times, brutal comments for something she had no control over. While I did struggle with her thought processes, I still liked her character and was glad she got her happy ending.

Kynaston is also a troubled character. I would have liked to spend more time in his POV to better understand his anguish, but I could still feel his pain. I sensed his struggle because he is attracted to Arianna from the beginning. I will say, I would have liked his secret brought to Arianna’s attention sooner since so many people knew his story. That would have added more to the story.

If you love Jo Beverley’s writing, then you will still want to read her last book, even though it is not her finest. She will be greatly missed by all who enjoyed her books. Happy reading!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Miga Giveaway Blitz is hosting this giveaway. Winners must be 18 or older. United States and Canada only to ship the Kindle Fire. Otherwise, we can send the money for the kindle fire by amazon giftcard anywhere in the world. We will not sell or distribute your email address or any other information to any other company. Your information is for our blog only, to notify winners, and send prizes.

Grand Prize is a Fire Tablet with Alexa, 7" Display, 16 GB + 3 ebooks  and a second winner will receive a $10 Amazon Giftcard.

Backhand by Elise Faber

For A Little While by Mary J. Williams

Freeze Frame by Freya Barker

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Romance, Mystery
Date Published: February 2017
Only $0.99

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The fate of two best friends and the secret love between them is known only to a mysterious figure who offers to aid one in hiding the truth from the other...lest their lives and love meet a tragic end.

When Olivia Villalobos finds a bloodstained love letter she endeavors to deliver it before Chief Inspector SedeƱo finds it in her possession.

A city along the southern coast of Puerto Rico emerges in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War. Olivia, daughter of a drunkard police investigator who never knew the truth behind her mother’s disappearance, finds a bloodstained love letter in the hidden compartment of her father’s coat. Convinced it belonged to the man recently found dead she sets out to deliver it to the Labyrinth of Love Letters. A mysterious place believed to be an urban legend where the transients of forbidden love leave missives for one another. She enlists the help of Isaac Quintero to find the Labyrinth and they soon realize their quest has opened the door into Old Sienna’s darkest secrets—the perils, madness and depth of tragic love.

About the Author

Felix Alexander (1976-Present) is a Mexican-born, American-raised novelist, and poet of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent.

Acclaimed by readers for his poetic prose, his indie releases include: Dear Love: Diary of a Man's Desire, a collection of love letters and poems; The Romantic: A Love Story; and most recently an epic historical fantasy Shadows of Time: The Amulet of Alamin along with a mystery-thriller The Secret of Heaven.

Being third-generation military, after a grandfather and uncle who served in the Korean War and Vietnam War, respectively, Alexander is proud of his service in the U.S. Army, and grateful for his experience.

After his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, he embarked on the long and arduous journey of a writer. Having made a name for himself during his tenure, serving his country, he vowed to himself and his fellow soldiers that he would answer his true calling.

When not spending time with his children, a son and daughter, he journeys through the portals in his extensive, personal library. When he returns, he immerses himself in his writing, and pursues the scent of his muse.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Book 2 of the Wild Thistle Trilogy

Historical Romance
Date Published: May 17th, 2017

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Lady Faith MacAlister lives to provide for her clan with a skill she honed while hunting with her father. Since his death and final pledge, “Through Hope, Faith, and Honor, ye can rule” she proclaims herself as clan huntress. She loves the quiet of the woods, the thrill of the hunt and the exhilaration of a perfectly placed arrow. If only she could travel further than MacAlister lands to experience adventure. When an intruder interrupts her hunt and steals her away from MacAlister land and out to the sea—she may just experience the adventure she craves.

Graeme Ross must save the family home his father gambled away and regain the respect of his father and clan. When he stumbles upon a lovely lass in the forest, he secures her for ransom. He knows she was one of the MacAlister sisters, those who pledged to rule the clan. What Graeme didn’t expect was how this beautiful woman would entice him with her strength and determination. Graeme’s attraction to Faith cannot interfere with his quest to save his home, redeem his image in his father’s eyes. Graeme lets her go—worse he betrays their growing affection by feigning she means nothing to him.

Devastated, Faith goes back to her clan with a secret she must keep until Graeme comes back to her. Graeme travels to his father with the ransom money weighting his pocket and heart. Faith is better off without him, his vagabond ways and the loathing of his father and clan.

Can Graeme reconcile with his clan and have Faith as his?

Can Faith keep her secret until Graeme comes to his senses and realizes he loves her?

Separately, they yearn for one another, together their love will take them on an adventure of a lifetime.

About the Author

Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she'd sneak books into her textbooks during school. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a "closet" writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. 

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They have 3 children and keep busy cooking, movies, and of course reading!

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Book and Audio Review: Help Wanted by Barbara Valentin and narrated by Wendy Rich Stetson

Help Wanted by Barbara Valentin

Publisher & Release: Gemma Halliday Publishing, May 11, 2015

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy

Book Length: 207 pages

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

From bestselling romance author, Barbara Valentin, comes another hilarious and heartwarming Assignment: Romance novel...

When Claire Nelson decided that her happily-ever-after lay not in marriage but in a spot on the New York Times bestseller list, she vowed never to tie the knot. But that was before she met Paul Mendez, handsome and charming enough to have her breaking said vow and marrying him shortly after college.

Almost fifteen years and four sons later, Claire is now a burned out breadwinner ready to ditch her quest for happily-ever-after, and Paul has traded his dream of chairing corporate board meetings for volunteering at PTA meetings as a stay-at-home dad. Feeling trapped in a demanding job, Claire's repeated attempts to get Paul to return to work fall flat. Contemplating divorce, she drafts a letter to the Plate Spinner, a popular advice columnist, asking for help. But when the reply contains an offer that may just put her bestselling author dreams back on track, Claire’s only question is: will Paul be on board? Or does her charming husband make a surprise move of his own?

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Vikki’s Musings

I recently read/listened to Fresh Start by Barbara Valentin and thoroughly enjoyed it. Wendy Rich Stetson asked if I would be interested in listening to this book, and since I loved the first book in this series, I eagerly accepted. Help Wanted is another great example of romantic comedy!

Claire Mendez is stuck in a dead-end job, but since she’s the bread-winner ever since her husband lost his job and decided to be a stay-at-home dad to their four boys. She’s grown resentful toward her husband and is questioning her commitment to their marriage.

When she receives her pink slip, she sees this as a chance to shake up her life in more than one way. While browsing the want ads, she stumbles across and advertisement for a writer of an advice column in a magazine. Unable to resist, she answers the ad and receives an offer to interview. Part of the process, the editor sent her a few letters from people needing advice, and she needs to write her responses.

The editor loves her answers and immediately offers her the part-time position. She accepts it, and fortunately, an old friend in her old career offers her a temporary position, one which will still give her the opportunity to write the column. Unsure of her husband’s reaction, she does not tell him about the column.

When Paul realizes his marriage is on the line and that Claire is close to calling it quits, he finds a temporary position as an accountant. He does not tell his wife since he can work from home and still handle their boys.

Can these secrets each is keeping from one another work in their favor and ultimately save their marriage?

Help Wanted is a hilarious romantic comedy with plenty of heart. The couple’s boys add a lot of flavor to the story. The pacing is fast and makes this book an easy read/listen. Although it has its serious moments, they are dealt with in a light- hearted manner that does not take away from the seriousness of the couple’s issues.

Claire is a great character. I fell in love with her from the first page to the last. I could understand her resentment toward her husband and her disappointment in having to give up her dreams because her husband has given up on his. She deals with her problems with humor and does not allow her difficulties affect her boys.

Paul lost his corporate job through no fault of his own, but nonetheless, it destroyed his confidence, rather than risk failure again, he has thrown himself into being a great dad. I completely understood why he made the decisions he did, but I was glad he could recognize he needed to change.

If you enjoy great characters, in interesting plot and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, then you will love Help Wanted. Wendy Rich Stetson does another fantastic job bring the characters to life. Her narration is so good, I will go out of my comfort zone and listen to books I normally would not consider. I highly recommend Help Wanted, you’ll love it as much as I did. Happy reading!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Book and Audio Review: Breeze: Capturing the Heart of Agility by C.S. Bills

Breeze: Capturing the Heart of Agility by C.S. Bills

Publisher & Release: Self-published, November 18, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Book Length: 233 pages

Heat Level: Sweet

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

“Weave,” Kate said, in her most positive and encouraging voice. Breeze hit the weaves and Kate ran alongside of him, “Weave, weave, weave, weave,” she said as he pulled through and out the last one.
“Yes!” Kate raced to the tunnel, willing Breeze to take the far entry. He did it. Kate felt herself tense. Her heart was pounding.
We just might do this. We just might do this...

When Kate buys Breeze, a black and white border collie puppy, he soon becomes the center of her life. And when they see agility for the first time, both Kate and Breeze are hooked.
But Kate is still struggling with a pain-filled past. She wants to stop grieving and start living again, and now, with Breeze, has come a glimmer of hope. Agility may just be the ticket to a bright new life for the two of them.

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Vikki’s Musings

Wow! What an awesome read. This book is so far from my usual read, and I didn't have any idea how I would feel since there isn't even a romantic element to this story. This is a tale of grief, friendships, new beginnings and embracing what life sends your way.

I loved the healing Breeze brings to Kate. I've never heard of agility training, but it was the best thing that could have ever happened for Kate. While there is no romantic HEA, there is a fantastic happy ending for the heroine!

If you're looking for an uplifting story that will have you cheering and wiping a few years away, then this is a book you will not want to miss. I'm so glad Wendy Stetson suggested this one. She is the narrator, and as always she brings the characters to life, reading with just the right level of emotion. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves dogs especially, but whether that is the case of not, you will love this story. Happy reading!

YA Romance
Date Published: 11/04/2017
 Publisher: Leap of Faith Publishing

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Sean Johnson's life as a small-town farmhand has been nothing but predictable, but when he meets Sophia Hillingdon at the local animal sanctuary, she gets him out of an eighteen-year rut, away from the mundane existence on the farm, and a grieving, drunken father.

Sophia is the first person who understands him and makes him believe that he might get out of their small town, who tells him, he has the potential to be whoever he wants to be and do whatever he wants to do.

But as their relationship unfolds, it is the most devastating of news that will change both of them forever.


Her face was nearer than it had ever been. Her skin felt smooth and warm. All I could do was lean further into her, losing myself in the moment. And then there were her piercing blue eyes-even more extraordinary up close. Before I knew it, I’d brought my hands to her chest as our parting lips collided. We kissed for hours, inhabiting each other with such force as our bodies rolled across the cooled grass. She was the change I had been searching for. It was the first time I realized; I could be anywhere in the world, but nowhere without her.

About the Author

Hugo Driscoll is a 25-year-old British author and content writer for an online publication in London.
​When he's not working, you can usually find him writing in the basements of cafes or looking serious in black and white photos.
You can also find Hugo on Twitter, Facebook, and his personal blog, which he updates regularly.
Seven Days with You is his first novel.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Making it Right by Catherine Bybee

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, May 9, 2017

Time and setting:  Present Day, Northwest Pacific

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Length: 350 pages

Heat Level: 1.5 Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

In the final book in bestselling author Catherine Bybee’s Most Likely To trilogy, River Bend’s rebel follows in her father’s footsteps to become sheriff. But it might be time to forge her own path…
Some kids inherit a family business; Jo Ward inherited a badge. Once voted Most Likely to End Up in Jail, the town wild child has become sheriff—hell-bent on uncovering the truth about her father’s mysterious death. Life is quiet in rustic River Bend, but Jo longs for something beyond her small hometown and the painful memories it holds. All that keeps her sane is the support of her best friends, Melanie and Zoe.
But when Jo signs up for an expert law enforcement training seminar, she meets Gill Clausen, whose haunting eyes and dangerously sexy vibe just may challenge her single-minded focus. Commitment-phobic Jo can’t deny her attraction to the arrogant federal agent, and when odd things start happening around River Bend and danger surrounds her, she realizes she’ll need his help to discover who’s out to remove her from River Bend…permanently.
As Jo and Gill work together, it’s clear they make a great team. But can Jo loosen her grip on the past enough to let love in and reach for the future?

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Vikki’s Musings

Catherine Bybee is fast becoming one of my auto-buy authors. This is the third book in the Most Likely to series and completes the stories of three best friends. When I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review, I immediately accepted.

Jo Ward is sheriff of River Bend. Her father was sheriff before his untimely death, and Jo believes his death was no accident. Although many years have passed, she is not willing to let it go.

While attending a law enforcement seminar to gain additional tools in her investigation, she meets Gill Clausen. The attraction between them is too strong to deny, and she believes she is involved in a fling that will end when the seminar does. Imagine her surprise when Gill shows up in River Bend determined to turn their brief affair into something more permanent.

Will Gill convince Jo he is worth giving up her commitment phobia, or will Jo keep her heart locked up?

Making it Right is a nice finish to this excellent series. This romance has a fantastic hero and a snarky heroine, great pacing, and an intriguing plot. While this one is not my favorite of the three books, I did enjoy it and was glad to see Jo get her happy ending.

Jo is a kick-some-butt kind of heroine, yet is still able to show her vulnerable side. I ended up liking her more than I expected since that is not my favorite character arch. What I liked most about her character was her desire to help teens. Her heart was in the right place.

Gill is yummy as the hero. He has all the ingredients I love in the male lead. He’s honorable, loyal and caring. He truly wants to earn Jo’s trust and her love and is willing to hang in there when she tries to push him away.

If you enjoy a romance with a great set of characters, and one with plenty of action mixed in, then you will love Making it Right. While it is not necessary to read the books in this series, I do recommend reading the other two books as well. Happy reading!