Thursday, April 30, 2020

Book Review and author feature: Promise at Pebble Creek by Lisa Jones Baker


Promise at Pebble Creek by Lisa Jones Baker


Publisher & Release: Zebra Books, April 28, 2020

Time and setting:  Present Day, Pebble Creek
Genre: Amish Fiction
Length: 288 Pages
Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart
Rating:  4.5 Gold Crowns
Book Description: 
Lisa Jones Baker’s beloved Hope Chest of Dreams series follows a new generation blessed by treasured hand-carved chests that hold—and inspire—precious dreams . . .
 
Amish country girl Hannah Lapp lives for adventure—the kind found in favorite novels and the stories she secretly writes. And at her family’s popular tourist store, she’s fascinated by the different Englischers she meets. Especially when Marcus Jackson comes to town. She’s sure there’s more to the ex-city boy than his quiet, helpful ways, and she’s curious to find out just what it is . . .
 
Marcus fled Chicago before his brothers’ life of crime ruined his future. He’s not sure exactly why God’s plan brought him to this quaint little town. Or why his growing friendship with the bubbly, inquisitive Hannah has him trusting her with his past. But when local stores are robbed and suspicion falls on Marcus, can he and Hannah come together to prove his innocence—and make their own happy-ever-after ending?
 
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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks goes to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of Promise at Pebble Creek by Lisa Jones Baker for purposes of reading and reviewing prior to publication. An Amish fiction romance. My opinions are not influenced by anyone.


Promise at Pebble Creek is well written with endearing characters and a unique plot. The pacing is excellent and kept me engaged from the first page to the last. There is novel has an excellent sense of the Amish life. A beautiful story of strong Christian values and decisions that must be made when one accepts the Lord.

Hannah Lapp’s character is easy to love. Her sweet nature and dedication to her beliefs is heartwarming. She is so attracted to the new young Enlischer that has arrived in their small community to work for her brother. She’s a bit different from the typical Amish heroine. She loves reading adventure books, and she even starts writing her own adventure story. It’s sweet and innocent.

Marcus Jackson is a fantastic hero. He’s recently found the Lord and has made significant changes in his life. That why he came to Pebble Creek from Chicago. He’s searching for answers that will give him a better understanding of God. He is attracted to Hannah and her family, but he isn’t sure he can become Amish.

The romance between Hannah and Marcus is sweet and stems from their blossoming friendship. I enjoyed the way the romance builds and how both characters do a lot of soul searching. For their love to last one will have to choose a different way of life.

If you enjoy Amish fiction with engaging characters and a plot that will tug at your heart, then you will love Promise at Pebble Creek as much as I. This the first book I’ve read by Ms. Baker, but it will not be the last. Happy reading!


Excerpt:

Marcus stopped for a moment and arched a brow.  Then he realized the real reason he wanted to return to Amish Edibles.  It was to see Hannah.




Author Bio:

WELCOME to my page! I author Amish Inspirational Fiction; the sixth and final book of my HOPE CHEST OF DREAMS series, PROMISE AT PEBBLE CREEK, will be available next week! I grew up near Arthur, Illinois, and became acquainted with the Plain Faith at an early age when they custom-made and installed our kitchen cabinets. On weekends, my parents and I frequented the quaint Amish town, often the setting of my stories, where we purchased our meat, cheese, and home-made baking spices. Now, decades later, I still love visiting; the town and the people yet intrigue me, and I so appreciate the talent of quilt-making almost as much as I love horse and buggy rides. Oh...and I never leave without a visit to my fav store, Stitch and Sew! But there is much more to this perplexing group than meets the eye; they are extremely disciplined, hard-working, and honest...and they don't all think alike. For these reasons, writing about them is my passion. 

I was fortunate to have been raised in a loving, Christian home by two wonderful parents: a reading specialist mother who plays the piano, and a retired Junior High Principal father who's also an avid fox hunter. I have a B.A. in French Education, and I'm a former school teacher who loves gardening, cooking, reading, positive thinkers, and every dog I meet. Although I'm a homebody, travel has played a large part of my life. Over three decades of working with the airline industry has landed me on five out of seven continents. 

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Book Review featuring author, Amelia Grey: Gone with the Rogue

Gone with the Rogue by Amelia Grey



Publisher & Release: St. Martins Press, April 28, 2020

Time and setting:  Regency England

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 290 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating:  4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

A powerful handsome rogue finally meets his match in Gone With the Rogue, the second book in the First Comes Love series from bestseller Amelia Grey.
She had an acceptable marriage of convenience. Now widowed, can this determined and beautiful mother find true and forever love?
The sinking of the Salty Dove took her husband’s life—but it didn’t drown Julia Fairbright’s courage to endure. She creates a proper life for herself and her young son. But now, the ton’s most notorious rogue is back, and how he makes Julia feel is anything but proper. She can’t deny the desires he awakens in her, even though she knows that the handsome devil will surely break her heart.
Garrett Stockton owns a successful shipping company and is rumored to have a woman on every continent and half-a-dozen in England. The truth, however, is that Garrett has but one mistress: the wide-open sea. That is, until he meets Julia, whose spirit of independence matches his own. What begins as a flirtatious battle of wits turns far more passionate than either of them could have imagined. Suddenly, Garrett’s only desire is to sail into the sunset with Julia as his wife and young Chatwyn his son. But she won’t take his hand—how can he convince her that his love is real and his heart is hers?

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of Gone with the Rogue by Amelia Grey for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. An emotionally charged Regency romance. My opinions are my own and no one has influenced me in any way.

Gone with the Rogue is an engaging romance with endearing characters and a unique plot. The pacing pulled me in and kept me enmeshed until the end. The dialogue is sparkling and emotional. I adore Regencies and this has the aspects I love most in this sub-genre of romance.

Julia Fairbright’s character is a lovely heroine with all the aspects of a Regency main character. She is a young widow with a precocious son, and the duke, her father-in-law, is a tyrant who rules her life. Even though she know it’s a danger, she cannot resist the charming gentleman who helped her when she finds herself stuck in a tree.

Garrett Stockton is an honorable rogue who has returned to England bent on purchasing his childhood home, but not for sentimental reasons. When he by chance meets the heroine, he is drawn to her and senses there is more to her than what she shows to society. He is a true gentleman and wants to save the damsel in distress, but Julia is very independent, so he has to work to win her!

The romance between Julia and Garrett is combustible and passionate. However, they are also friends. They work together to solve the mystery of the duke’s machinations. I adore the build of sexual tension and Gone with the Rogue has plenty. I truly wanted them to find their happy ending.

If you enjoy a Regency novel that offers more than the standard fare with an intriguing plot and characters you’ll love, then you will enjoy Gone with the Rogue as much as I. I look forward to reading the next one in this series. Happy reading!

Author Bio:


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Grey read her first romance book when she was thirteen. She's been a devoted reader of love stories ever since.

Amelia has been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.

With more than twenty-five books published, she is a two-time winner of the prestigious Booksellers Best Award. She's also won the Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill Awards. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the Maggie Award. Amelia's books have been published in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and Japan.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Book Review with featured author, Sophie Barnes: Her Seafaring Scoundrel

Her Seafaring Scoundrel by Sophie Barnes



Publisher & Release: Sophie Barnes, April 28, 2020

Time and setting:  Regency England & the open seas

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 320 Pages

Heat Level: 1 flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

he last thing she wants is a husband...
Least of all one determined to win her heart...


Lady Cassandra has no desire to marry. But when Captain Devlin Crawford brings scandal to her doorstep and offers salvation, she cannot say no. Not with her daughter's future at stake. So she decides to accept Devlin's offer, provided he agrees to never being intimate with her. For although Cassandra is drawn to Devlin, she refuses to dishonor the memory of her one true love.

Devlin knows he's made a mess, but now that it's done, marrying Cassandra doesn't seem like the worst idea in the world. Far from it, though it will take serious effort on his part to convince her of this. Especially since she's never stopped mourning the man she was meant to marry over a decade ago. So once they set off on a grand ocean voyage, Devlin embarks on his greatest adventure yet - the wooing of his wife.

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the author and Net Galley for a complimentary copy of Her Seafaring Scoundrel for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. A Regency romance and book 3 The Crawfords. My opinions are my own and no one has influenced me in any way.

Her Seafaring Scoundrel is an emotionally charged reading experience with engaging character and an intriguing plot. The pacing is fantastic and kept me enmeshed in the story from start to finish.

Lady Cassandra’s character is endearing. She stole my heart from the start. She has not had an easy time. Her betrothed died days before their marriage and she found out she carried his child. Her parents and society cast her off. Her brother buys her cottage where she takes in orphans and other women who find themselves in a similar situation to her. She spends her life running her orphanage and her daughter. She will do anything to ensure Penelope’s happiness.

Devlin Crawford is our hero and is a great character. He’s spent years roaming the high seas, never spending more than a few weeks in England. When he arrives at his brother’s ducal residence, he agrees to attend his ball. He defends Lady Cassandra’s honor and informs the gossip they are betrothed. Although he has no plans to live in England, he does want to protect Cassandra. He has admired her from afar for years.

The romance between Cassandra and Devlin is a rocky road with plenty of emotions going on between them. Cassandra has mourned her Timothy and doesn’t want a true marriage, but the attraction between her and Devlin is too strong to ignore. There’s fantastic sexual tension between them. There’s a totally unexpected twist, which makes this a fantastic read!

If you enjoy Regency romance with amazing characters and an emotionally charged plot, then you will love Her Seafaring Scoundrel as much as I. Ms. Barnes is a talented author, and I’m so glad I agreed to read this. It had been some time since I’d read one of her books. I will be reading the prior books in this great series. Happy reading!


FUN FACTS ABOUT SOPHIE

1.     She took tap dancing lessons from the age of six until the age of ten.
2.     Un-agented, she managed to secure her first contract with Avon Books – her number 1 publisher of choice. She has also made her own website and her first five book trailers on her own. Coming up with creative marketing ideas, like the advent story that she ran on her website in 2013, and the online flip book she created for Lady Sarah’s Sinful Desires, has been a fun experience for her.
3.     When relaxing with family and friends, she loves to play board games – especially Carcasonne, Bohnansa and Puerto Rico.
4.     Her favorite ‘costume movie’ is Gone with the Wind.
5.     As much as she’s always enjoyed writing, it was never something that she thought she’d make a career of, but rather something she imagined would make a good hobby one day. Fortunately, her opinion about that has changed.
6.     She used to love acting and has played both the wicked witch in a Snow Whitepantomime, Adriana in Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors and an old, dying woman in Oliver Twist.
7.     Of all the countries she’s ever traveled to, her favorites are New Zealand and Mallorca. She hopes one day to visit Greece, China and South Africa too.
8.    She loooooooooooves Tiramisu and Creme Brulee.
9.     Her favorite art museums are, Musee D’Orsay in Paris and Glyptoteket in Copenhagen.
10.  She spent ten years of her childhood in the south of Spain.
11.   As far as theatrical performances go, her favorites are: The Phantom of the Operaand The Magic Flute. Unfortunately she’s only seen the first half of Phantom since she spent the second half in a London hospital.
12.  Her favorite movies are: SabrinaThe Princess BrideTo Catch a ThiefSomewhere in Timeand My Fair Lady.
13.  Her favorite TV shows are: Blacklist, Blind Spot and Supernatural
14.  She enjoys DIY and is proud of having put up molding on her own while her husband was away on business.
15.  Sophie loves Christmas, especially in Scandinavia where it’s the biggest holiday of the year.


Author Bio:


Born in Denmark, Sophie has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian.
She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.
While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.
When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, cooking, gardening, watching romantic comedies and, of course, reading. She currently lives on the East Coast.
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Monday, April 27, 2020

Book Review with featured author: A Duke Too Far by Jane Ashford

A Duke Too Far by Jane Ashford



Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, April 28, 2020

Time and setting:  Regency England

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 352 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating:  3 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Peter Rathbone, Duke of Compton, is mourning the loss of his sister Delia, but the work of keeping his family's deteriorating estate afloat is never done. When Miss Ada Grandison, a close friend of his sister, arrives with a mysterious letter that she claims holds the secret to saving the family home, Peter is skeptical to say the least...his life is about to get even more complicated.
Ada is eager to do whatever she can to help the Rathbones. She brings clues that Delia claimed would change everything for the family and that lead Ada and Peter on a hunt to unravel the past. But they'll have to face their painful memories—and their true feelings for each other—to discover the truth.

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks goes to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of A Duke Too Far by Jane Ashford for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. A Regency romance book 4 in The Way to a Lord’s Heart. My opinions are my own and no one has influenced me in any way.

A Duke Too Far is well-written, but there are several problems. The pacing is extremely slow, which made it difficult to remain engaged and become vested in the characters. The best part of the book is the mystery involving the hidden treasure. I enjoyed that aspect of the novel. I also enjoyed the characters’ struggle with grief.

Ada Grandison is the heroine. She was close friends with the hero’s late sister. She arrives unannounced at the duke’s home accompanied by her chaperone and three school friends. They want to help the duke discover the treasure, but he has no faith in the rumors that his late father and sister insisted existed.

Peter Rathbone, the Duke of Compton is our hero. He’s inherited the title, along with a broken-down estate and no funds to improve his prospects or properties. The last thing he needs is a gaggle of women showing up on his doorstep. I did like his character but would have enjoyed more depth.

The romance between the hero and heroine is sweet, but minimal, more like what high school teenagers would have. Both the hero and heroine are immature. There isn’t much sexual chemistry between the couple at all.

If you enjoy mysteries and not that into romance, then A duke Too Far by Jane Ashford my work for you. I did like the premise for this book, but the execution fell short for me. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was entranced by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Born in Ohio, she has lived in New York, Boston, LA, and London.
Jane has written historical and contemporary romances. Her books have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Croatia, Russia, Latvia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. She has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews.

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Friday, April 24, 2020

Book Review featuring author Debbie Burns: Head Over Paws

Head Over Paws by Debbie Burns



Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, April 28, 2020

Time and setting:  Present Day, St. Louis Area

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 352 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.5  Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Who rescued who? Love can lead to your forever home in this charming contemporary romance from best-selling author Debbie Burns. 
Olivia Graham isn't in a place to have a dog of her own, but her new position as a volunteer rescue driver for the local animal shelter will keep her close to her four-legged friends. When she's called to transport pets that have been misplaced by flooding, she doesn't hesitate to help, but then her aging car breaks down...
Veterinarian Gabe Wentworth, former EMT and firefighter, is also heading to the rescue site and reluctantly agrees to pick up Olivia on the way. After a bad breakup, Gabe's embraced the hermit life. When he meets Olivia, he can't deny their irresistible mutual attraction, and his first thought is to run the other direction. But then the two band together in a risky maneuver to save a beautiful abandoned dog from rising floodwaters. The more Gabe learns about the woman who would risk everything to save vulnerable animals, the more he realizes what he might be willing to risk...

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks goes to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of Head Over Paws by Debbie Burns for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. A contemporary Romance for animal lovers! My opinions are my own and no one has influenced them.

Head Over Paws is an enthralling novel with engaging characters and an animal lovers plot. As with other books in Rescue Me series, Mr. Burns’ writing style pulled me in from the first page and kept me enmeshed until the last page. 

Olivia Graham’s character is easy to love right away. Not only is she a teacher, she’s a dog lover and goes to lengths to rescue animals in destress. She’s coming out of breaking off an engagement with her childhood sweetheart when she meets the hero and an immediate attraction develops to the point, she kisses him within hours of meeting. 

Gabe Wentworth is an intriguing hero with a good deal of baggage from a broken engagement. His ex-fiancĂ©e broke it off when he lost his firefighter and EMT career and decided to become a veterinarian. When he meets Olivia, in an attempt to save a dog stranded, he’s drawn to her for several ways, not only physical attraction. Since he’d sworn off women, it shocks him. I enjoyed his internal conflict between the attraction and his baggage.

The romance between Olivia and Gabe is lovely and grows steadily once they reconnect. There was a problem with her missing cell phone that kept them apart after their first meeting. While there are some internal conflicts, the biggest issue is external. I may be in the minority, but I love it when there isn’t doubt over whether they should be with each other. I was routing for them to find their happy ending because they’re such a great fit for each other.

If you’re an animal lover, enjoy endearing characters and an emotionally charged plot, then you will love Head Over Paws as much as I. I’ve enjoyed this series, and not only recommend this novel, I urge you to read the other four books. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

Debbie Burns is the award-winning author of the RESCUE ME romance series featuring love connections of the two and four-legged kind. Her writing commendations include a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and a TOP PICK from RT Book Reviews for A NEW LEASH ON LOVE and an Amazon Best Book of the Month for My FOREVER HOME. Books one through four are available now, including LOVE AT FIRST BARK released July 2019.

Debbie lives in Saint Louis with her family, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine Coon cat who everyone loves anyway. Her hobbies include hiking, gardening and daydreaming, which of course always leads to new story ideas.

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