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 📚!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Book Review: Hearts Abroad by Skye McNeil

Hearts Abroad by Skye McNeil



Publisher & Release: Hot Tree Publishing, February 2, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Colorado & London

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Length:  300+ Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Taking a break from screenwriting in New York City, Londyn Bellerose takes a nannying job in Colorado to get away from the hubbub. A summer to live without regrets is all she wants. While her boss is British, gorgeous, and a millionaire, he has no clue how to have fun. Determined to mend the relationship between father and daughters, Londyn doesn’t expect to fall for the museum curator.

Londyn is American and everything Callum Archer swore to never fall for again. With her carefree spirit and energetic smile, she’s perfect to nanny Callum’s two daughters. The problem is she’s also perfect for him. She’s sassy, musical, and tends to speak her mind more than she means to.

When old history and new dreams threaten her happily ever after, will Londyn and Callum’s love survive?

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the first book I’ve read by Skye McNeil, 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.

I loved, loved Brittany and Bailey. They are so adorable and made the book so much fun to read. The dialogue is sparkling and natural. The premise is unique. Now, the pacing is a bit slow in the middle of the book and the story went on too long, but not so much that it took away from my overall enjoyment.

Londyn Bellerose’s character is endearing. Her growing love for Callum’s daughters is amazing and touched my heart. Londyn is a loyal friend and has a child-like side to her personality that is very appealing.

Callum is an engaging hero. He has a huge reason to mistrust women after what happened with his children’s mother. Most men would be hesitant to enter into a relationship with a woman who in some ways reminds him of Jessica. His character is a bit stiff at times, but not so much that it kept me from liking him.

Now, the romance between them has many lovely moments, but Ms. McNeil dragged out the physical attraction way too much, making the story much longer than it needed to be. Unfortunately, that did color my opinion a bit. Overall though, the chemistry between the hero and heroine is good, and the book has a satisfying and very romantic ending.

If you enjoy light-hearted romances with adorable children, and can overlook the sagging middle, then you will like Hearts Abroad. I do look forward to reading the next book in this series. Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Book Review: Trailblazer by Anna Schmidt

Trailblazer by Anna Schmidt



Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, January 1, 2019

Time and setting:  1800s, America

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Length:  352 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.25 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

MEET THE HARVEY GIRLS: These real-life pioneering women were symbols of elegance in the wild frontier: taming rough manners, falling in love, and changing the face of the West forever.
Grace Rogers is ready for the adventure of a lifetime. With her family's farm falling on hard times, she accepts a position with the prestigious Fred Harvey Company and heads for Juniper, New Mexico. There she meets a handsome cowboy who quickly turns her head. Too bad the Harvey Girls are forbidden to marry...
Nick Hopkins has a plan: buy a little land, marry, and raise a family—in that order. But after meeting Grace, he can't keep away. Their only choice is to marry in secret...but Nick isn't the only man entranced by Grace's charms, and this unexpected rival doesn't plan on taking no for an answer. He will have her, no matter the cost: to Grace, to Juniper, or to the happily ever after Grace and Nick fought so hard to make their own.
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Vikki’s Musings

Trailblazer has an interesting premise, so when I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net Galley, to read and review, I took the opportunity. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

 Trailblazer is an engaging romance with endearing characters and a unique plot. The pacing is good and kept me enmeshed in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the historical details involving the Harvey Girls. 

Grace Rogers’ character is extremely likable. I became vested right away and remained so until the last page. She is hard working, determined, and loyal. She wants to follow through on the commitments she made to her family. 

Nick Hopkins is a great hero. He has all the qualities I love most. His determination to earn Grace’s love and respect melted my heart. I truly wanted him to find his happy ending. He also doesn’t let adversity stand in his way either.

The romance between Nick and Grace is sweet and heartwarming. The sexual tension between them is strong. I loved the romantic setting Nick puts together for Grace, making sure she can not only feel his love but to see it as well. This is a lovely part of the story.

If you are a fan of western romance that takes you back to days gone by, then you will enjoy Trailblazer as much as I did. I found the Harvey Girls fascinating and can’t wait to read the next book in this series. Happy reading!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Book Review: The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake

The Duke I Once Knew by Olivia Drake



Publisher & Release: St. Martin’s, December 31, 2018

Time and setting:  Regency, London

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Length:  333 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

When two childhood sweethearts find themselves together after years apart, does their romance have a chance to be rekindled now that he’s a duke and she’s a governess? Olivia Drake’s new Unlikely Duchesses series begins with The Duke I Once Knew, where first love is always the sweetest...
For years, Abigail Linton devoted herself to caring for her parents and her siblings’ children. Now, eager to create a life of her own, Abby seizes upon a position as a governess on a neighboring estate. Unfortunately, her absentee employer is Maxwell Bryce, the Duke of Rothwell, the notorious rake who once broke her youthful heart. But since he hasn’t set foot on his estate for fifteen years, Abby assumes she’ll never have to lay eyes on him ever again. Then, from out of nowhere, Max appears. He is stunned to come face to face with the girl next door he fell for years ago—before he went away, and she stopped writing to him. . .even though Abby swears that he is the one who left her without a word. Could it be that this spirited, witty spinster has won Max’s heart all over again—and that they may have a second chance at love?
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Vikki’s Musings

This is the first book I’ve read by Olivia Drake in quite some time, and I enjoyed it. Thanks goes to the publisher, via Net Galley, for the chance to read and review. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

The Duke I Once Knew is an entertaining Regency romance with engaging characters and an intriguing plot. The writing flows beautifully, and the pacing is excellent. The book has just the right amount of details, while still allowing me to use my imagination.

Abigail Linton’s character is endearing. While she has an overbearing family, who think they know what is best for her, she is determined to make her own way. She is also a good friend to the young lady under her care. 

Maxwell Bryce is an awesome hero. He has any of the characteristics I love in a male protagonist. Although he is definitely a rake of the first order, he takes his responsibility to his sister and the dukedom seriously. When he discovers his father kept his letters from reaching Abigail and did not give him hers, I could feel his confusion and pain.

The romance between Abigail and Maxwell is lovely. The sexual tension shows the expertise of the author to understand it is one of the most desirable characteristics of historical romance. The soft touches, the lingering kisses are what it’s all about in that sub-genre, and this book has them in abundance.

If you enjoy Regency romances with engaging characters, then you will enjoy The Duke I Once Knew as much as I. I look forward to reading the next book in this delightful series. Happy reading!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Blog Tour with Book Review: Defending Chloe by Susan Stoker


Defending Chloe by Susan Stoker



Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, December 4, 2018

Time and setting:  Present Day, 

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Length:  316 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Gorgeous women don’t just stumble onto Ronan Cross’s remote property. But this one—vulnerable, victimized, and needing the kind of help only Ronan can offer—tells a story that makes his blood boil almost as hot as his need to protect her.
Since her father’s death, Chloe Harris has become a prisoner. Her own brother, a flesh peddler and low-level player in the Denver Mafia, is forcing her to sell her body for an endgame Chloe never saw coming: control over a vast fortune. Her only way out is to run—straight into the arms of the one hard-bodied man she can trust.
Defending Chloe could rain punishment down on the Mountain Mercenaries. Her brother has Mob connections and the local police in his pocket. But Ronan still has an edge—the unshakable loyalty of his deadly teammates. As well as an unquenchable thirst for retribution…and Chloe.

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Vikki’s Musings

Defending Chloe is an exciting romantic suspense, and I want to thank the publisher, via Net-Galley, for the opportunity to read and review Susan Stoker’s newest release. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Defending Chloe from the first page to the last. This book has all the ingredients that make romantic suspense a pleasure to read. I’ve read many books by Ms. Stoker, and for me, this is her best. The writing flows beautifully and is emotionally-charged.

Chloe’s backstory engaged me immediately. Although she had initially bowed to her brother before she realized his evil, she is determined to break away from the devious plan he has for her. She fights like a tiger when cornered. I liked her character a great well.

Ronan Cross is a great hero. He stands for justice, he believes in saving other in peril and does it in an honorable way. He is perfect for Chloe in so many ways. I truly wanted him to earn her trust and her respect.

The romance between Chloe and Ro is gentle and the sexual tension builds at the same pace as their friendship. Although they fall in love quickly, they still manage to discover what makes each of them tick. I found their romance sweet and tender. I was really glad they found their happy ending.

If you enjoy romantic suspense with good amount of suspense and a great love story, then you will love Defending Chloe. The epilogue gives the reader the set up for the next book in this outstanding series, and I can’t wait to read it. Happy reading!

Meet "Mountain Mercenary" Ronan Cross From Defending Chloe

1) Greetings Ronan, or can I just call you Ro?
Ro is fine. 2) I understand that you are part of Mountain Mercenaries, a secret group of ex-military men who save women and children from dangerous situations. Can you comment on this group?
No. As you said, it’s a secret group. 3) What about your handler Rex? He is particularly secretive.
Rex is amazing. I’ve never met him, but I don’t have to have met him to know he’s one scary bad ass dude. He knows people from all levels of law enforcement, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had the President’s phone number programmed into his phone as well. But, like anyone in this line of business, he’s got some demons. Me and my fellow Mercenaries just hope they don’t come back and bite us in the ass one day. 4) There have been some major changes within the Mercenaries lately -- especially with the introduction of Allye your teammate Gray Rogers’ significant other. How has having a civilian woman in the mix changed things? Does it make you think of anything that you may want in your future?
Allye is great. Love her. None of us had ever thought much about women…or at least having anything permanent with any specific woman, but seeing Gray with Allye makes me realize that one day I’d love to have a relationship like theirs. I want a woman who can stand up to me when I’m being a wanker but who isn’t adverse to letting me be a guy. And before you ask, what I mean is that I know myself, I’m gonna want to open her door and pay for shit. I’ll have no problem telling my woman that I love her, but I don’t want someone who will lose their shit if I track a little bit of mud in the house. Does that make sense? 5) Definitely. So what do you do for fun? You know, when you aren’t saving damsels in distress!
I’m a mechanic. I tinker with cars for fun. There’s nothing like taking in a car that won’t run, and turning it inside out to figure out what the problem is. The best feeling ever is when that beauty is driven off after I’ve given her new life. 6) And finally, tell us a bit about women in your life. Do you have a special someone?
Not yet. Although I have to tell you, I met the most intriguing woman the other day. There was just something about her that I can’t forget. Of course, there’s the little matter of figuring out who gave her the bruise she was sporting on her back and making sure she’s safe, but otherwise….
***

Excerpt: Defending Chloe by Susan Stoker

Chloe stared at all the clothes on the bed. Allye had arrived with a dozen bags in hand and told her she’d picked up a “few things” to tide her over.

“A few things?” Chloe asked in disbelief.

Allye laughed. “Ro said money was no object, and he wanted you to have enough things so you could have a choice of what to wear and not have to do laundry every night. I had to guess at your sizes, but I got some stuff with elastic waists just in case I was wrong in my assumptions.” Then the other woman began dumping the bags and showing off what she’d bought.

A shy smile formed as Allye’s words sank in. The thought that Ro wasn’t thinking about money, only her comfort, made Chloe feel good. Really good.

Allye smiled back as she said, “Ro doesn’t have to let you stay here, Chloe.”

“What do you mean?”

“Rex has a ton of contacts. And I mean a ton. This is what the Mountain Mercenaries do. They help get women out of bad situations. Ro could’ve asked Rex to set you up with one of the underground resources he has. You know, a safe house? You’d be just as safe there as you are here. But for some reason, Ro refused to even consider it. I know for a fact Gray suggested it. But you’re still here. He gave me his own money to get you stuff to wear. And he insisted that I find this for you.” Allye pulled out a bottle from a small bag she’d been holding.

Chloe recognized the brand of lotion she used.

“I’m going to say this only once, then I’ll never bring it up again . . . but I feel like I kind of have to.”

Chloe tensed.

“Don’t hurt him,” Allye said. “These guys . . . they’re total badasses. Professional soldiers. They can kick ass like you’d never believe. They go into situations no one else would dare. They take chances, and they’ll do whatever it takes to rescue women. I don’t know the other guys all that well yet, but I know Gray, and I have a feeling that deep down, they’re all scarred in one way or another. They’re all committed to saving women and children from the evils in the world, and there must be a deeper reason behind that than just wanting to do the right thing. And if Ro is anything like Gray, once he’s committed, he’s committed. He’ll move heaven and earth to make sure you’re happy, content, and safe. That’s how Gray is with me. I know without a doubt that Gray will never cheat on me, and he goes to great lengths to make sure I’m satisfied . . . in every way, if you know what I mean.”

Chloe stared at Allye with wide eyes as she continued.

“Ro strikes me as the same kind of man. I’m still getting to know the guys on the team, but I feel they wouldn’t be as close as they are if they didn’t have the same values and beliefs. Ro acts like the standoffish Brit more often than not, but he feels as deeply as anyone I’ve ever met. He likes you, Chloe. I was surprised when he actually left you here alone. He thought you’d bolt. Hell, thought you’d leave. But you didn’t. And that means something to Ro.

“All I’m saying is that if you’re using his help to get away from your brother, good, I don’t blame you . . . but don’t lead him on. Ask if you can go into witness protection. Or into the underground program the Mountain Mercenaries have set up. Don’t stay here and make him think there’s something between you if you don’t feel that way.”

It was a long speech from the other woman, and Chloe felt the butterflies in her stomach again. She hadn’t thought much about how Ro was feeling because she was so uncertain herself and felt so out of control. But the idea of Ro keeping her around for a personal reason was appealing. More than appealing. She thought about how he’d washed her hair, how his hands had felt on her scalp. A man who was simply rescuing yet another woman from a bad situation wouldn’t do that, would he?

Allye cleared her throat, and Chloe realized she was waiting for her to say something. “I won’t lead him on,” Chloe said quickly. She hadn’t thought she’d want a boyfriend for a very long time after living under her brother’s controlling thumb, but Ro was nothing like Leon. He was bossy and tended to do things without asking her, but Chloe somehow knew if she objected or pushed back, Ro would listen to her and be flexible.

“Cool,” Allye said with a relieved sigh. “Now, shall we figure out which of this stuff you like and want to keep?”

Chloe smiled tentatively at the other woman. “Yeah. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. I have a feeling we’re going to be good friends,” Allye said, handing the bottle of lotion to Chloe and turning back to the bed.

Watching her dig through the clothes and start to put them in some sort of order, Chloe gripped the plastic bottle tightly. Allye would never know how much her words meant. It had been a long time since Chloe’d had a friend. A true friend.

Author Biography

Susan Stoker is a New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose series include Ace Security, Badge of Honor: Texas Heroes, SEAL of Protection, Unsung Heroes: Delta Force, and Mountain Mercenaries. Married to a retired army noncommissioned officer, Stoker has lived all over the country—from Missouri to California to Colorado to Texas—and currently lives under the big skies of Tennessee. A true believer in happily ever after, Stoker enjoys writing novels in which romance turns to love. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website, www.stokeraces.com, or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/authorsusanstoker.


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