Friday, August 21, 2020

Book Review with featured author: Fated Always by Becky Flade

Fated Always by Becky Flade



Publisher & Release: Tirgearr Publishing, August 12, 2020

Time and setting: Present Day, Trapper’s Cove

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 211 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Friendship. Secrets. Murder.

When her best friend, Sawyer Gavin, roars into town on his motorcycle, Tala Gael thinks life couldn’t get any better. What she couldn’t have anticipated was his appearance heralding a time of change in her quiet, comfortable existence.

With her life turned upside down, Tala resists Sawyer’s advances, clinging to the familiar. Tragedy changes her mind, but as she takes the leap of faith into Sawyer’s arms, they find themselves suspects in a murder investigation. And Tala learns she’s not the only person in Trappers’ Cove keeping an impossible secret.

Jealousy is when you worry someone will take what you have; envy is coveting what someone else has; and both can lead to murder.

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and author for the complimentary copy of Fated Always for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. My opinions are my own, and no one has influenced them.

Fated Always is a novel with plenty of action and suspense. The pacing pulled me in from the start and kept my in its thrall until the last page. The writing flows smoothly with the just the right amount of description.

Tala Gael’s character is a loner due to the secrets she keeps and her career choice as a researcher of wildlife. Tala is satisfied with her life and her current boyfriend, but when her childhood friend roars into town on his motorcycle, all that changes. Her confusion when she realizes there’s a strong attraction between them helped me to become vested in her character.

Sawyer Gavin has returned to take over the veterinarian practice in town. He and Tala were best friends as children, but now he wants more than friendship. I enjoyed his determination to pursue the attraction between them.

The romance takes a while to develop because of the man in Tala’s life, but when she discovers he’s nothing like the man she believed him to be, things heat up quickly. The passion between the couple is combustible, and I enjoyed the love scenes.

The suspense is ever building and kept me reading as fast as possible. The scene when her boyfriend turns ugly when she attempts to break it off with him, is exciting and graphic, turning this into a bit of a thriller. The climax was well above my expectations, making this book a fantastic read.

If you enjoy romantic suspense with a great second chance romance, and with engaging characters, then you will love Fated Always as much as I did. This is book 4 in Ms. Flade’s Fated series, but reads well as a stand-alone novel. Happy reading!

Excerpt:

“Do you feel that?” he asked. 
“Of course I do, Sawyer. It’s pressing into my hip.” 
He laughed, he blushed, and Tala tried with all her being not to be seduced.  
“Not that. Well, not just that.” He tucked his finger under her chin and raised her face until their mouths aligned. 
Tala held her breath. Did he mean to kiss her? Why aren’t I backing away?
“Can’t you feel how right this is? I can feel you in every bit of me, Tee. It’s an awareness that is always with me, like the sensation of being watched but better. It’s the knowledge that we belong together. That we fit. Be honest—don’t you feel it too?” 
She twisted away, but he held on. He keeps pushing me. 
“What if I said I did? Then what? When it falls apart, we’ve lost more than a lover. We’ve each lost our best friend.” She touched his cheek. “I couldn’t live with that. You’re too important. Let it go.”
“Who says it’ll fall apart? Why would it? Who is your mom’s best friend? Your dad’s?” He did not wait for an answer. “Why can’t we have both too?”
She didn’t have an answer. She was too proud to admit she was too afraid to risk it. She closed her eyes against the weight of his stare and the truth reflected in it. She wouldn’t give him what he wanted. She loved him too much.

Author Bio:

When I was little I thought everyone had stories in their head. When I found out that wasn’t true and that only special people had stories to tell, I wanted to be one of the people who shared their stories with the world. Here I am, making my own dreams come true, one happily ever after at a time. 
I'd love to have you visit with me at any of my virtual homes or write to me directly at beckyfladeauthor@gmail.com  
Sign up for her quarterly newsletter & be entered for a chance to win a free book (one winner per month)!  http://eepurl.com/7WDZj

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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Book Review with featured author: Once in a Blue Moon by Sharon Sala

Once in a Blue Moon by Sharon Sala



Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, August 25, 2020

Time and setting: Present Day, Blessings, GA 

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction

Length: 300 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Sala brings you back to Blessings, Georgia
How often do you find a love like this?
Cathy Terry is tired of running. Full of fear and hope, she backpacked across the country to Blessings, Georgia, not knowing if or when her abusive ex-husband would catch up to her. In Blessings she glimpses a safe haven and the closest feeling to home she's had in a long time—even more so when she meets Duke Talbot. The sweet, strong, and handsome rancher provides a shoulder to lean on. The stakes get higher as the community embraces her and her relationship with Duke deepens—but can Cathy claim a new home and family before her past claims her?

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of Once in a Blue Moon by Sharon Sala for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. My opinions are my own, and no one has influenced them.

I have now read quite a few books in this amazing series. At first, it took a bit of time to get used to Ms. Sala’s writing style, since so many characters have a point of view, and it changes quickly and often. Now that I have adjusted, I no longer find it distracting. In fact, I enjoy it.

Once in a Blue Moon is a delightful romance that kept me engaged from the first page to the last. The plot is so unique, and the characters are real, both are heartwarming and touched my heart. This book has a bit of it all. It gives a great feel to small town USA and the endearing characters in Blessings, Georgia. Once in a Blue Moon even has a bit of suspense, which I’ve come to expect in Ms. Sala’s books, and a wonderful love story to enhance my reading experience.

Cathy Terry’s character is spunky, a true survivor. Her ex-husband refuses to leave her alone, so she takes matters into her own hands and disappears, hiking across the country and landing in Blessings, Georgia. I loved her surprise when she meets the citizens and her amazement when she welcomed with open arms. As the survivor of an abusive husband, she deserves to find her soulmate.

Duke Talbot is a true southern gentleman and a charming hero who touched my heart from the first scene. His determination to get to know the mysterious Cathy quickly endeared him to me. He’s such a protector, going out of his way to embrace a stranger in trouble. 

The romance between Cathy and Duke is sweet, and the attraction is strong. It centers the love scenes more on the emotions and not the physical aspect of making love. I enjoyed their love story and wanted them to have a lovely happy ending!

If you like small town USA stories with an endearing set of characters, along with a great romance, then you will love Once in a Blue Moon as much as I did. Each book in this series is better than the last. Although Once in a Blue Moon reads as a stand-alone, I strongly suggest reading the books in order to capture the essence of this wonderful and quirky small town. Happy reading!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Audio Book Review with featured Author: London Restoration by Rachel McMillan

London Restoration by Rachel McMillan



Publisher & Release: Thomas Nelson, August 18, 2020

Time and setting:  WWII Aftermath, London

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 331 Pages

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

From author Rachel McMillan comes a richly researched historical romance that takes place in post-World War II London and features a strong female lead.
Determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II’s secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world.
London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville’s experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London’s churches intersect in MI6’s pursuit of a Russian agent named Eternity. Diana wants nothing more than to begin again with her husband Brent after their separation during the war, but her signing of the Official Secrets Act keeps him at a distance.
Brent Somerville, professor of theology at King’s College, hopes aiding his wife with her church consultations will help him better understand why she disappeared when he needed her most. But he must find a way to reconcile his traumatic experiences as a stretcher bearer on the European front with her obvious lies about her wartime activities and whereabouts.
Featuring a timeless love story bolstered by flashbacks and the excavation of a priceless Roman artifact, The London Restoration is a richly atmospheric look at post-war London as two people changed by war rebuild amidst the city’s reconstruction. 

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary audio copy of London Restoration by Rachel McMillan for the purpose of listening and reviewing prior to publication. My opinions are my own, and no one has influenced them.

London Restoration is an outstanding look at the start of the Cold War after WWII ends, and England’s effort to combat it. The characters hold secrets from their time during the war and both are afraid to tell the other. I thoroughly enjoyed the historical aspects of this amazing novel. I love old churches and the history behind them and have visited several mentioned in this book.

Diana Somerville’s character has many facets, one that prove fascinating. Since I too enjoy visiting historical places, I identified with her chosen path. I also became vested in her frustration over not being allowed to share why she wasn’t at her husband’s side when he received his injuries at the end of the war. 

Brent Somerville is an intriguing character. I liked him a great deal and could understand his fear of sharing what happened to him at the end of the war. I also admired his patience with Diana when she’s doesn’t tell him why she didn’t rush to him while he laid in a hospital suffering from severe injuries.

The love story between the couple is built on a firm foundation, and even though they must deal with what happened during the war, both are determined to find the way back to each other.

I listened to the audio book of London Restoration and thoroughly became enmeshed once the story started. At first I wasn’t sure because it read like a documentary. Hannah Curtis is the narrator, and her lovely voice pulled me into the tale and kept me listening until the end. She brought the characters to life, and I could easily know which charter was speaking. There is richness and layers to her tone, and she read with just the right amount of emotion.

If you like historical fiction with strong romantic elements, and a narrator who adds to your listening enjoyment, then you want to grab your copy of this excellent novel. Whether you chose to read or listen to London Restoration, you are in for a treat. Happy reading and listening!

Author Bio:


My passion for all things Europe infuses my contemporary romances,  including the Vienna-set  Three Quarter Time series featuring Love in Three Quarter Time and Rose in Three Quarter Time. With Memory in Three Quarter Time publishing in 2020
2020 also finds my first foray into non-fiction with Dream, Plan, Go: a travel guide/ memoir that inspires you to adventure near and far (May, 2020).
I am also delighted to be writing historical romance set amidst the beautiful architecture of London and Vienna in the post-war years. The London Restoration releases in Fall 2020 and introduces readers to the gorgeous Christopher Wren churches blitzed during the War as well as the enigmatic codes of Bletchley Park. 
Stay awhile and explore. I'll always have new book recommendations as well as tips and tricks on how to find the world far away--or in your own backyard. 
I live in Toronto, my favourite film is Master and Commander, I am obsessed with Hallmark Christmas movies, Broadway musicals and Starbucks.

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Monday, August 17, 2020

Book Review with featured author: Everything a Lady is Not by Sawyer North

Everything a Lady is Not by Sawyer North

Publisher & Release: Entangled Publishing, August 17, 2020
Time and setting:  Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 213 Pages
Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns
Book Description: 
Lucy Locket, the long-lost granddaughter of a duchess, has never been a part of Society. One day, she was living a secluded life as the prisoner of a criminal, and the next day she was an heiress in a world she did not even remotely understand. She does not embody the typical qualities of a well-born lady...at all. She can't curtsy, she doesn’t hide her emotions, she’s too clever by far. But in three months, she must marry a suitor with a royally-bestowed title, or she forfeits a fortune—leaving her and the duchess in dire straits.

All Henry Beaumont wants is to prove himself to Society and step outside of his half-brother’s shadow. So when the duchess asks him for a personal favor involving her newly found granddaughter—with a hefty thank you reward at the end—he leaps at the opportunity. 

It seems as if Lucy is trading one prison for another. Henry has now become a permanent fixture as her charming yet iron-fisted taskmaster and tutor in the ways of High Society. Like oil and water, Lucy and Henry spar in an epic battle of wills—and even rapiers. But Lucy’s past and her surprising, undeniable feelings for Henry may doom their undertaking if he declares his love for her...because without a title, he can never be hers.

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Vikki’s Musings
Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of Everything a Lady is Not by Sawyer North for the purpose of reading and reviewing by publication. My opinions are my own, and no one has influenced them.

Everything a Lady is Not is a lovely Regency romance that took me to Regency London and the countryside with a new and refreshing twist. The pacing engaged me from the first page and kept me enthralled until the last.

Lucy Lockett, AKA Lady Margaret, is a delightful heroine, and one I became vested in from my first introduction. Her heartbreaking back story touched me and had me wanting her to find her way in the new world she finds herself thrown into with any warning. Mr. North manages to write of her struggle with the emotions a woman would feel when facing an environment so different than what one has experienced in the past. That’s somewhat unexpected since it’s not common for a man to write romance.

Henry Beaumont is a dashing hero with all the characteristics I enjoy most in Regency romance. I loved his willingness to help Lucy learn to navigate the haute ton. I enjoyed his confusion when he develops feelings for Lucy and the pain of believing he must help her find a husband when he wants her for his own.

The romance between the couple is lovely and as a sweetness to it. There’s plenty of the sexual tension between them, an aspect of historical romance I love. Unlike most romances, I feared there might be no happy ending for them since I couldn’t imagine how it could happen. Kudos to Mr. North for building that fear. It added greatly to my enjoyment!

If you like historical romance set in the Regency era with endearing characters and a unique plot, then you will enjoy Everything a Lady is Not as much as I did. This is the first book I’ve read by Mr. North. I plan to go back and read the his first one. Happy reading!

Author Bio:


After self-publishing science fiction novels over a period of years, I made the truly odd move into historical romance. Although romance is a strong thread in nearly all my works, I came to straight-up, nothing-but-romance only after turning fifty. Since then, I am plagued by the question, “What took me so long?” My awakening began rather innocuously when I casually watched the 2015 version of Poldark. Before I knew, I was falling headlong into the abyss of historical romance and read fifteen such novels over a three-month span. However, no number could sufficiently scratch my itch for more, so I did what any writer would do and began constructing stories of my own. In April of 2019, I received my first contract with Entangled Publishing.

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Book Review with featured Author: If You Adore Me by Ciara Knight

If You Adore Me by Ciara Knight



Publisher & Release: Self-Published, August 11, 2020

Time and setting:  Present Day, Sugar Maple, Tennessee

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 203 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Raised by her abuelo after Stella Frasier’s parents abandoned her in search of fame, she struggles to keep her auto repair shop open in honor of the one man who kept her safe. Her only option to save her failing business is to embrace the life she despises when fame-monger Knox Brevard strolls into her town with the promise of endless customers. All she has to do is sell her soul to the internet producer, a price she vows never to pay until an eviction notice is posted on her garage door.

Knox Brevard hides from real emotional connections after he failed to protect the woman he loved from a suicide bomber in Iraqi. Becoming an internet sensation has allowed him to maintain superficial relationships until he meets a strong, independent woman who forces him to be vulnerable. With a television producer offering to take his show to a new level, he has to convince Stella Frasier that the show is her only option. The problem is, she’ll only agree if he proves himself worthy by opening his heart and sharing his truth. A truth that leaves him wounded and hopeless.

Will fear win, or will Knox and Stella be strong enough to allow true love to shine through?

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the author and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of If You Adore Me by Ciara Knight for the purpose of reading and reviewing. My opinions are my own, and no one has influenced me.

If You Adore Me is set in a small rural town in Tennessee and has a lovely array of supporting characters. At first, I had trouble getting into this book, but then I discovered it’s the second book in the series, so I continued reading, and I’m so glad I did. The story started coming together for me. As with other Ciara Knight novels, this book has warmth and shows the advantages of living in a small town.

Stella Frasier’s character does fit the mold of most heroines in romance novels. To say she’s unique is an understate. At first I wasn’t sure I would like her, but I soon discovered she’s a great character with many facets to her personality. I identified with her concerns over in having a relationship with the hero after what happened when they knew each other in the past.

Knox Brevard is a great hero with many of the characteristics I adore, and just his good looks. His character has plenty of depth, and I could understand his need to hold his emotions in check because of the trauma from his past. I enjoyed his baby steps in opening up to Stella, and his willingness to accept Stella as the independent woman and not try to change her. He’s exactly the right guy for her.

The romance between the hero has plenty of trials to overcome, but most of them are external and that worked for me. The emotional connection is strong and satisfying. I truly wanted them to find their happy ending!

If you like small town romances with a great cast of characters and an emotionally charged plot, then you with love If You Adore Me as much as I did. It had been a while since I had read one of Ms. Knight’s heartwarming novels, and this one is a fine example of why I enjoy her books. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

A friend once told me that I live eighty percent of my life in my imagination and twenty percent in the real world. I can’t deny this. I know growing up I drove my family and teachers insane. In my defense, I wasn’t intentionally ignoring my fifth-grade math teacher by watching an ant crawl across the wall for several hours. I was on a grand adventure with a special-ops army ant that was defending his colony from the evil palmetto bugs.
In sixth grade, my adventures came to a screeching halt when I was moved from the regular education classroom to, what my classmates referred to as the stupid trailer, hidden behind the school. Okay, that wasn’t the word they taunted, but the other word shall not be used. This was the day my best friend said she couldn’t be my friend anymore because I was too dumb. For years, I fought my imagination, believing it was something evil that kept me from learning, but it never felt right to me.
When I graduated high school, I tried junior college because I didn’t know what else to do, but when I read about dance auditions at Walt Disney World, I knew I had to try. It was a long shot, but I auditioned anyway and made it. I’d like to say I got the part because I was such an amazing dancer, but honestly, I wasn’t. Instead, after many grueling days of auditions I made it to the final round. After being lined up, the judges stated there were five spots remaining. When they reached halfway down the line, and only had one spot left to fill, I stepped forward and said, “what about me?” The judge in charge said, “Okay.” Yep, that’s how I got the part, and how I learned if you want something you have to go after it.
This door opened into a world full of imaginative people like myself. I felt like I’d arrived home. Unfortunately, after a year and a half, at nineteen years of age, my dance career ended due to a foot injury. With my tail between my legs, I returned home and went to college. I again, abandoned my imagination and worked hard to prove I could be as smart as everyone else, earning a 3.89 in my first two years. For a decade or so, I worked and studied, avoiding the voices in my head, or the settings that drew me from the real world. Although, I wrote a few short stories that were published in literary magazines during college, I never fully embraced my imagination until after I married and had children.
When my kids were young, my husband and I decided I should stay home with them. It was a tough decision, after spending my life proving that the little girl with a speech impediment and language disorder could succeed. At first, I struggled with the extra time and lack of socialization, but then my husband gave me a gift I’ll never forget, a swift kick in the butt. He told me to get over myself and write the damn book.
Knowing my husband is always right; I embraced my adventures into ‘ciaraland’ instead of trying to push them from my mind and wrote my first novel. Even though my first novel wasn’t published, the minute I wrote ‘The End’ I knew I’d found my true calling. After completing some craft classes, I embarked on another grand adventure full of fantastical elements and crazy plot twists, and then several more. I’m proud to say each of the following books have been published, receiving accolades beyond my wildest imagination.
I’ll always struggle with attention span, public speaking and language issues while writing. I know telling stories is what I was born to do. If I even inspire one person, lifting them to a place beyond their everyday world, then I’ve accomplished more than I’d ever dreamed possible.
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Monday, August 3, 2020

Book Review with featured author: Always a Wallflower by Emily E.K. Murdoch

Always a Wallflower by Emily E.K. Murdock


Publisher & Release: Dragonblade Publishing, August 6, 2020

Time and setting:  Regency London

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 164 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Always the wallflower and never the bride - imprisoned by fear to watch life at the sidelines…

Lady Letitia Cavendish is a Cavendish, but only a cousin of the current Duke so even her name isn't enough for potential suitors to court her. She's a wallflower, terrified of putting herself forward, and so life continues on without her.
But at two and twenty, things are getting desperate. 

The most confident rake in town, Edward Wynn, is a handsome devil - and being the Viscount of Stulsemere doesn't hurt. When, despite his best efforts, he's partnered with the most boring lady at Almack's, he resigns himself to twenty minutes of silence.

And is astonished. Lady Letitia is nothing like what he expected, and after she storms off and leaves him standing, Edward has to know more.

He's determined to understand her. She's torn between remaining invisible and finally making a good match. Personalities collide and compromise seems out of reach as the unexpected happens.

What will society say as the biggest rake courts the wallflower of the season? Can Letitia ever take a step towards a happily ever after?

This full length novel is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and is part of a series that can be read in any order. Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of Always a Wallflower by Emily E.K. Murdock for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. My opinions are my own, and no one has influenced them.

Always a Wallflower is a delightful Regency romance with an endearing heroine and a flawed hero. The plot pulled me into the story from the first page and held me in its thrall until the last. The novel has a lovely setting that allowed me to escape to the historical period.

Lady Leticia Cavendish is an enchanting heroine. While naïve, she knows what she wants in a husband and marriage. Her shyness has kept her a wallflower until she meets the hero. He brings her out of her shell.

Edward Wynn is the typical London Rake and has a difficult time giving up his seduction of women. When he meets the heroine, he senses something different as he chases after her. His emotions are confusing because he’s never experienced them before and has a hard time recognizing love. He clings to his old behaviors until he must let them go if he wants to gain the respect and love of Lady Leticia.

The romance between Leticia and Edward is combustible, but the hero is so used to his old ways, he makes terrible decisions, driving Leticia away. While I wanted to shake him several times, I still loved him and wanted him to reform and get the girl.

If you enjoy romances set in the glittering world of Regency England with a heroine who will pull at your heartstrings and a hero that desperately needs reforming, then you will love Always a Wallflower as much as I did. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

Welcome! I love to read and write sweet and steamy historical romance, and if you love falling in love then you've come to the right place. 

Enjoy my sweet romances written as Emily Murdoch, and my steamy romances as Emily E K Murdoch. 

A SPRINGTIDE MEETING is currently free!

I am a historian and writer, and have a varied career to date: from examining medieval manuscripts to designing museum exhibitions, to working as a researcher for the BBC to working for the National Trust. 

My books range from England 1050 to Texas 1848, and I can't wait for you to fall in love with my heroes and heroines! 

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