Friday, June 26, 2020

Book Review with featured author, Lucy Gilmore: Puppy Kisses

Puppy Kisses by Lucy Gilmore


Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks, Casablanca, June 30, 2020

Time and setting:  Present Day, USA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 352 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

These adorable service puppies
are matchmakers in the making...
Dawn Vasquez never takes life too seriously. But when she rescues a golden retriever named Gigi, Dawn begins to imagine what it'd be like to settle down and let someone rely on her for a change. Unfortunately, Adam Dearborn—a handsome, hopelessly buttoned-up cattle rancher in need of a guide dog—has also fallen in love with the little ball of fluff and stubbornly insists that no other animal will do.
Adam isn't sure what drives him to fight to keep Gigi for himself, but he suspects it has something to do with his growing—and unfortunate—attachment to Dawn. Her whirlwind spirit and sunny disposition might make her a delight to be around, but they also make her unsuited for the difficult life of a rancher. He should be able to put her out of his head. But what's a love-struck cowboy to do when what he wants and what he needs have never seemed so far apart? And can he allow himself to take a chance on everything Dawn has to offer: puppy kisses, puppy love...and her.
Service Puppies Series:
Puppy Love (Book 1)
Puppy Christmas (Book 2)
Puppy Kisses (Book 3)

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of Puppy Kisses by Lucy Gilmore for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. My opinions are my own and no one has influenced me in any way.

Puppy Kisses is the third book in Ms. Gilmore’s Forever Home series. It’s a light-hearted romance with plenty of carefree moments and delightful banter between the hero and heroine. The pacing kept me engaged from the first page to the last.

Dawn Vasquez’s character is footloose and fancy free. She lives life on her own terms with no filter. She flits from one brief relationship to another until she meets the hero. He is the game changer for her, but she doesn’t want to admit it. 

Adam Dearborn is an endearing hero. His blindness makes him vulnerable without making him weak. His surprising attraction to the quirky Dawn blows him away, but her offer of a no strings attached affair is too tempting to pass up. I thoroughly enjoyed his confusion over where he wants his feelings for her to go.

The romance between Dawn and Adam blazes to life early in the story and burns hot. The sexual scenes are visceral, yet filled with emotions. Although more graphic, especially in the early part of the story than my personal preference, they are absorbing. I truly wanted this great couple to find their happy ending.

If you enjoy lighted-hearted contemporary romances with engaging characters and a unique plot, then you will love Puppy Kisses as much as I did. I’ve enjoyed this delightful series and highly recommend these enjoyable novels. Happy reading!

Author Bio:


Lucy Gilmore is a contemporary romance author with a love of puppies, rainbows, and happily ever afters. She began her reading (and writing) career as an English literature major and ended as a die-hard fan of romance in all forms. When she's not rolling around with her two Akitas, she can be found hiking, biking, or with her nose buried in a book. She also writes under the penname Tamara Morgan.



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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Book Review with featured author, Jo Ann Brown: An Amish Mother's Secret Past

An Amish Mother’s Secret Past by Jo Ann Brown


Publisher & Release: Love Inspired, July 1, 2020

Time and setting:  Present day, Vermont

Genre: Amish Fiction

Length: 224 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Every woman deserves a fresh start…

Can an Amish widow’s past

cost her a future filled with love?
Widow Rachel Yoder has a secret: she’s a military veteran trying to give her children a new life among the Amish. Though she’s drawn to bachelor Isaac Kauffman, she knows she can’t tell him the truth—or give him her heart. With her forbidden past, Rachel can never be the perfect Plain wife he’s looking for…

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks goes to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of An Amish Mother’s Secret Pastby Jo Ann Brown for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. My opinions are my own and no one influenced me in any way.
An Amish Mother’s Secret Past is a well written Amish romance with endearing characters and a sweet romance. The pacing kept me enmeshed from the beginning to the end. It has enough descriptive writing to give me the strong sense of the Amish community.

Rachel Yoder’s character is a widow with two adorable daughters. Her late husband was in the military, and she is also a veteran. When he dies, she returns to her Amish upbringing, slipping into the familiar of the new Amish community in Vermont although she’s never been baptized. I liked her a great deal and wanted her to open her heart to the hero.

Isaac Kauffman is the typical Amish hero and a delightful one. He yearns for a family but doesn’t believe he deserves one. He too has secrets, so he is more accepting of Rachel’s. Although his need for perfection gives the heroine a different impression.

I enjoyed the lovely romance between Rachel and Isaac. They don’t have the usual courting relationship that most Amish have. They are a bit older than many Amish couples. Rachel’s exposure to the Englischer lifestyle influences her decisions and choices. Her fear to tell Isaac about her past causes a lot of internal conflict, making this an enjoyable reading experience.

If you enjoy Amish romances with characters that will pull at your heartstrings and one that has a unique plot, then you will love An Amish Mother’s Secret Past as much as I did. I’m so glad I found this excellent novel. Happy reading!

Author Bio:


Jo Ann Brown has been creating characters and stories for as long as she can remember. Her first stories were populated with her friends and sisters. She wrote her first novel in high school, and it happily resides in the forgotten depths of her file cabinet. Fast forward through college, serving in the US Army as a quartermaster officer, getting married, and increasing her blessings with three children...and Jo Ann sold her first book in 1987. Since it was published in 1988, she has sold over 100 titles and has become a best-selling and award-winning author. Romantic Times called her “a truly talented author.” She writes romance, mystery, and YA under a variety of pen names. Now she is writing Amish romances for Love Inspired and Annie’s Fiction as Jo Ann Brown.
Her books have been translated into nearly a dozen languages and are sold on every continent except Antarctica. A sought-after speaker, she has been teaching creative writing for over 20 years, and she established several popular fiction courses at Brown University. She resides in Florida with her husband and about a zillion little lizards in her yard.

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Monday, June 22, 2020

Book Review and Featured Author, Judith Keim: A Summer of Surprises by Judith Keim

A Summer of Surprises by Judith Keim


Publisher & Release: Wild Quail Publishing, June 23, 2020

Time and setting:  Present Day, Northwest USA

Genre: Women’s Literary Fiction

Length: 245 Pages

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Jill Conroy is tricked by her sister into becoming the housekeeper and cook for the summer at Seashell Cottage where Greg Campbell and his nephew, Brody, have been hired to do maintenance projects on the house. Annoyed at first, Jill soon realizes how wonderful it is to be away from her home in New York and the memories of her deceased, emotionally abusive husband. 

Soon the magic of the beach heals Jill enough for her to decide to move to Florida permanently to make a new life for herself. Her part-time work at a summer camp and the promise of a new job as a third-grade teacher in the fall make it seem as if her future is set. But a visit from her sister, followed by her mother, reveals secrets that surprise them all. Jill learns to accept the idea of love not only from Brody but from his daughter, Kacy, as the summer brings even more surprises. 

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for a complimentary copy of A Summer of Surprises by Judith Keim for the purpose of reading and reviewing. My opinions are my own, and no one has influenced them in any way.

A Summer of Surprises is a well written novel with enchanting characters and a unique plot. The writing pulled me in right away and kept me engaged until the end. The story has plenty of emotionally charged scenes.

When Jill Convoy arrives at seashell cottage for her summer vacation, she learns she’s to be the housekeeper to Greg Campbell and his nephew, Brody while they remodel the cottage. She should have realized her sister had hidden the truth from her. She’s attracted to Brody and becomes attached to his daughter. I liked her character and could identify with her lack of confidence. Her ex-fiancĂ©e had really torn down her self-esteem.

Greg Campbell is a great hero. He is a loving father and helps his uncle. His patience with Jill amazed me. He will wait as long as she needs for her to be comfortable in her new life. 

The romance is sweet and develops slowly due to Jill’s need to make a new life in Florida. This is a story of a young woman overcoming the loss of her dreams, finding many things she thought were true are not. Her willingness to start anew with her sister touched me.

If you enjoy women’s fiction with plenty of depth and substance and endearing characters, then you will enjoy A Summer of Surprises as much as I did. I have fast become a fan of Ms. Keim’s novels. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

I’ve loved stories and reading from the time I played “Librarian” with my sister as a young girl. Living in a relatively small town in upstate New York, reading became a way to experience the world in a way I couldn’t otherwise do.
Many a hot, summer afternoon was spent reading, sprawled on the front-porch “glider”, escaping to a time and place far from there. My mother was an avid reader, some might suspect to keep her sanity while raising three active children – especially when my brother was doing experiments with his chemistry set! 
Books were always present – being read, ready to go back to the library or about to be discovered. Information from the books was shared in general conversation, giving all of us a wealth of knowledge. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to the idea of writing stories early on.
I particularly love and write novels about women who meet unexpected challenges with strength and find love along the way. A child or dog in the story is a plus. 
As J.S. Keim, I’ve written middle-grade fantasy stories for kids. I especially like to write about kids landing in unexpected places, meeting characters real and fantastic, and learning to see the world in a different way. 
A hybrid author who both has a publisher and self-publishes, Ms. Keim writes heart-warming stories. Her books are based, in part, on many of the places she’s lived or visited and on the interesting people she’s met, creating believable characters and realistic settings her many, loyal readers love. 
Presently, I lived in Boise, Idaho with my husband and our two dachshunds, Winston and Wally.

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Friday, June 12, 2020

Book Review with featured author Alexa Aston: To Save a Love

To Save a Love by Alexa Aston

Publisher & Release: Dragonblade Publishing, June 18, 2020

Time and setting:  Regency England

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 218 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Both wronged by their fathers . . . two damaged souls longing for love and salvation . . .

Book 4 in the exciting new Soldiers and Soulmates series from bestselling author Alexa Aston has arrived. Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Childhood sweethearts Desmond Bretton and Anna Browning defy their powerful fathers and elope to Gretna Green when Anna is told she will marry a viscount old enough to be her grandfather. Caught before they cross the Scottish border, Dez is shipped off to the army, where he learns of Anna’s suicide. Though a dozen years pass, Dez still loves the girl who always held his heart.

Though everyone is told Anna died, her father places his daughter in a madhouse to punish her for her rebellious behavior. Anna retreats inside herself to a world of her own making in order to cling to her sanity. Dez, her lost love, is a huge part of that perfect world.

When Dez becomes the Earl of Torrington, he discovers Anna is still alive and with her cousin’s help, they free her from Gollingham Asylum. Dez knows the girl he loves still lingers within Anna and is determined to liberate her, as well as other women imprisoned at the madhouse.

Can Dez save the sanity of the woman he loves—or will Anna be lost to him forever?

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks goes to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of To Save a Love by Alexa Aston for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. My opinions are my own and no one has influenced them.

To Save a Love is a well-written Regency historical romance with compelling characters and a plot that will pull at your heartstrings. The pacing is excellent keeping me enmeshed from the first page to the last. Ms. Aston’s writing is emotional and brought me to tears.

Anna Browning’s character is amazing! Her experiences are heart wrenching and brought tears to my eyes on multiple occasions. Her indominable strength comes through in her ability to overcome her horrific adversities. Her love for the hero is unshakable and will not be denied. 

Dez, the Earl of Torrington, is a fantastic hero. He is unwilling to accept defeat, whether on the battlefield or with his lady love. His patience with Anna is admirable and undaunting. His determination to dig deep to help Anna touched my soul.

The romance between Anna and Dez is sweet and based on their young love for each other at eighteen. While apart for almost twelve years, they each still possess an abundance of love for each other. The passion between them is poignant and long overdue.

If you enjoy Regency romance with deep emotions and a love that will not die, then you will love To Save a Love as much as I. The ending is so fulfilling and had me  cheering. I’m so glad I have reacquainted myself with Ms. Aston’s writing. I highly recommend this book, along with her others. I look forward to reading her next novel. Happy reading!

Excerpt:

Anna threw her arms around Dez in gratitude, pressing her body against his. Memories flooded him of holding her. Kissing her. Longing to make love to her. As she snuggled closer, he thought how they seemed like two halves, coming together as a whole after years of separation.
With a recklessness that he couldn’t resist, Dez lowered his mouth to Anna’s. He brushed his lips against hers softly. He would do anything to see her made whole again.
She grew still. He knew he had acted too quickly. Had probably destroyed every bit of trust he’d gained with her. Reluctantly, he lifted his mouth from hers.
Meeting her gaze, something flickered in her eyes. Confusion. Wonder. Delight. With widening eyes, she reached up and grabbed on to his hair and forced his mouth back down to hers. He tried to lift it but Anna was having none of it. Her grip tightened and kept him in place as she started kissing him. Hungrily. Greedily. Over and over.
Then Anna broke the kiss. She searched his face, her body trembling.
“You’re real,” she croaked.
He wasn’t the Dez from her past. He was from now. She hadn’t created him from the black hole of nothingness. It was really, truly Dez.
And he was here . . .
She wasn’t mad after all. Dez had found her. Rescued her from that vile asylum. He had taken her out and brought her to the place they loved.
She would never let him go.
“Yes, Anna. I am real. You are not at Gollingham anymore. Lord Shelton—your cousin, Tom—and I came and got you the minute we knew you were there.”
Images flashed in her mind. Scattered and confusing. She remembered voices. A carriage. She thought of fragments this Dez—her Dez—had told her. She had heard some of it but pushed the rest aside, simply reveling in having him with her. But this was a flesh and blood man, not some imagined creature she had kept hidden in the recesses of her mind and resurrected when she most needed him.
This. Was. Dez. 
Her Dez.
The love of her life.
He cradled her face tenderly. “You are free, Anna. You will stay free. I will see to that. I would give my life for you.”
She knew he would. He had loved her. Wanted to wed her.
He had saved her.

Author Bio:

Award-winning, internationally bestselling author Alexa Aston lives with her husband in a Dallas suburb, where she eats her fair share of dark chocolate and plots out stories while she walks every morning. She loves reading, watching movies, and attending sporting events when she’s not watching Survivor, The Crown, or The Great British Baking Show.

A former history teacher, Alexa’s historical romances are set during the Regency and Medieval Eras—where she brings to life loveable rogues and dashing knights.

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Monday, June 8, 2020

Book Review and author feature: The Lyon's Laird by Hildie McQueen

The Lyon’s Laird by Hildie McQueen


Publisher & Release: Dragonblade Publishing, June 17, 2020

Time and setting: Regency England, London

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 129 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Enter the world of the most notorious gambling den in London, where matches are made... unusually. Welcome to the world of THE LYON'S DEN: The Black Widow of Whitehall Connected World, where the underground of Regency London thrives... and loves.

After being caught in the most embarrassing of situations that leaves her with a permanent limp, Evangeline Prescott’s reputation is beyond repair, and so her mother takes it upon herself to approach the Widow of Whitehall in an attempt to find her a suitable husband.

In London for a short season, Scottish Laird Camren MacLean accepts an intriguing invitation to a prestigious gambling den where he loses a high stakes card game. The price of his loss is for him to marry a stranger within a week.

A beautiful socialite, a handsome Laird, and a game of chance. Can anyone win?

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for a complimentary copy of The Lyon’s Laird by Hildie McQueen for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. This is a sweet Regency romance. My opinions are my own and no one has influenced them.

The Lyon’s Laird is a novella with engaging characters and a unique plot. The pacing captured me and kept me in its thrall from the beginning to the end. While there a few minor editing mistakes, they didn’t interfere with my reading enjoyment. 

Evangeline Prescott’s character is feisty and a delight. When she made her curtsey to the ton, she created a scandal that led to a permanent injury and ruined her. When her parents decide to find her a husband, it doesn’t thrill her, but her mother ensures her that she can find her someone she can love. I enjoyed her interaction with her mother, the hero and her dearest friend.

Laird Camren MacLean is a great hero. When he enters a game of chance at the Lyon’s den, he’s confident he will win, but his confidence is misplaced, so he must wed a woman the proprietor choses. While frustrated, he honors his word. After all, he’s of an age to wed. I enjoyed his easy-going demeanor and his responsibility to his clan.

The romance between Evangeline and Camren is sweet and fulfilling. This is more along the lines of the old fashioned traditional Regency romances. While there is a strong attraction between them, other than a few innocent kisses, it has no graphic sexual scenes. That worked for me, but if you enjoy a sensual Regency, then you might want to pass on this one.

If you enjoy sweet historical romances with characters that will tug at your heart and an enchanting plot, then you will enjoy The Lyon’s Laird as much as I. This is the second book I have read in the Lyon’s Den series, and I look forward to the next book. Happy reading!


Excerpt:

Camren arrived at 29 Hart Street at precisely two in the afternoon as per his instructions. He was greeted at the door by a footman. Just inside the door stood an elegant blonde woman, the barely noticeable gray strands in her upswept blonde hair and soft laugh lines did little to distract from her beauty.
“Welcome, Laird. I am Olivia Prescott.” She smiled at him and he bowed slightly to her. “Please come in. My daughter is in the drawing room.” He was just about to ask if she was the one he was to marry. He would not have minded getting to know the woman, although she was definitely older than him.
She paused just a few steps further. “My daughter is not aware of your identity, but I did tell her you are the man she is to marry. I am hopeful that after spending time alone, you and she will find each other suitable.”
“You are aware that I lost a game and that is how I come to be here?” Camren asked.
The woman nodded. “Yes, fully. Each man at the table was handpicked by me.”
Understanding dawned and he prepared himself for the woman in the drawing room, just on the other side of the slightly open doors. Whomever the woman was, was probably lacking in every way.
“May I have a moment?”
“Of course,” the woman replied, not seeming at all taken aback by his request. “Why don’t you go into my husband’s study and then enter through double doors that connect into the sitting room when you are ready?”
She motioned to a doorway and then walked away.
Camren paced the length of the small room, wishing to be anywhere but there. If only there was a way out of the predicament he’d gotten himself into. He was not a coward nor would he ever go back on his word. However, this was a situation that he’d never thought to be caught in.
He blew out a long breath and reached for the doorknob.
Upon opening it and stepping into the sunlit room, he did not see anyone right away . His first thought was that the woman had gotten upset at his hesitance and left.
Then movement by a set of French doors caught his attention. Just outside stood a vision in lilac. The young woman was bent at the waist petting a huge, orange cat.
“Lucille, how did you get out? What a sly little devil you are.”
Camren studied the younger version Olivia Prescott. She was womanly, her breasts full and her waist slender. She was not a waif, which pleased him.
Seeming to sense his perusal, she straightened and stared at him with wide, green eyes.
“Miss Prescott, I am Laird Camren Maclean,” he said, bending at the waist.
Her lips parted and she leaned to the side to look past him. When not seeing anyone, she met his gaze and then looked away. Her chest lifted and lowered and when she took a step and swayed, he reached out.
“I’m fine. I am not about to swoon.”
Then taking several more steps with a pronounced limp, she entered the room.
Only English society would find a limp to be a reason for someone as beautiful as her not to be marriageable.
“Would you like something to drink?” She went to a sideboard. “I need something...”
She poured sherry into two glasses and held one out for him.
Camren accepted it, noting she’d yet to give him her full name. “What is your first name?”
“They didn’t give you any information either?” She looked surprised. 
“No, only the address and time to be here.”
She drank the sherry down in two sips and motioned to a chair. “Would you please sit? Your height makes my neck hurt.”
The young woman was outspoken. He liked that she did not hesitate to speak her mind. “After you.”
They sat in chairs facing one another.
“My name is Evangeline.” She didn’t elaborate as to whether there was a second name.
“Your name suits you perfectly,” he replied, meeting her gaze. “It’s beautiful.”
She let out a breath. “Thank you.”
“Did you ask your mother to do this?” He tried to keep his voice even, not sure why he found fault in the idea of a woman forcing a man into marriage.
She lifted her pert nose into the air. “No, Sir, I did not. Nor do I agree with this entire charade. I must ask, why would you?”

This story was so much fun to write. I hope you get a chance to read the delightful story!

Hildie

Author Bio:


Sign up for Hildie's newsletter to receive exclusive content, free reads and upcoming release dates here: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/t7e4q0 (copy and paste)

ENTICING. ENGAGING. ROMANCE.

USA Today bestselling author Hildie McQueen Author of Medieval Highlander and American historical romance as well as a few contemporaries, Hildie writes something every reader will enjoy.

Most days Hildie McQueen can be found in her overly tight leggings and green hoodie, tapping away at a keyboard with a cup of Earl Grey tea at her elbow. When taking a break, she tiptoes to the window to spy on the landscaper. 

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