Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Book Review: Forever my Hero by Sharon Sala

Forever my Hero by Sharon Sala

Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, February 26, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Blessings, GA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Book Length:  384 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Every storm they've weathered...has led them to each other
Dan Amos lost his wife and son years ago, when they inadvertently got in the way of a death threat meant for him. He's never had eyes for anyone since, and he doesn't want to. But fellow Blessings resident Alice Conroy sparks something inside him...
Newly widowed, Alice was disillusioned by marriage and isn't looking to fall in love anytime soon. Then a tropical storm blazes a path straight for the Georgia coast, and as the town prepares for the worst, Dan opens his heart and his home. The tempest is raging, but Alice and Dan are learning to find shelter...in each other.
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Vikki’s Musings

This is the seventh book in the Blessings, Georgia series by Ms. Sala. when I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, I eagerly accepted since I’d read the previous books and enjoyed them. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

I quickly became vested in the characters and the plot. The pacing is good and there was no sagging middle, which is a very good thing. One thing I did find disconcerting was a lot of head hopping. sometimes from one sentence to the next. that is the main reason I gave this book a little lower rating.

Alice is a wonderful heroine with all the characteristics I most admire. She has a fearless spirit, and while she has great reason to want to give up, she does not. She is an amazing mother, fiercely protective of her children, determined to give them the best. Although, she had a rough marriage with her late husband, she is willing to open her heart to love again.

Dan is a great hero. he is an honorable guy who doesn’t allow his tragic past to color his view of the world. I liked the way he looks out for others, including Alice. I truly admired him a great deal and wanted him to find his happy ending.

The romance between the hero and heroine is sweet, and even though it moved quickly, it still felt right. The chemistry is strong and very pleasing. The love scene is well written and enjoyable.

If you enjoy a story with engaging characters and an intriguing plot, then you will enjoy Forever my Hero. While I am not overly fond of Ms. Sala’s head hopping and giving so many characters a point of view, I will definitely read more books by her. Happy reading!


School was officially out for the day, and parents were standing outside their cars, making sure they were in plain sight today so that their children would not be afraid.
Dan was on his way back to his truck when Alice got out. She waved at him, then stood out on the sidewalk so Patty could see her. She would be looking for their car, not Dan Amos’s truck.
Dan jogged over to where she was standing and tossed his crowbar into the truck bed.
“You were amazing,” Alice said. “I was afraid you would get hurt, too.”
He grinned. “It appears I haven’t lost my roping skills.”
Alice’s eyes widened. “I thought you were a lawyer before you came here.”
“I was once, but I grew up on a ranch in Texas. My parents still live on it, but both of my brothers run it now. When we were kids, we all worked the ranch,” he said.
“So I guess you ride horses, too?” she said.
Grinning, Dan pointed to his boots and belt buckle. “Yes, ma’am. This stuff’s not for show.”
Alice laughed and then heard the bell ring and turned toward the school. Within moments, kids began emerging through the front doors. “Here they come,” she said.
Dan was still trying to get past how her laugh made him feel when the children began coming outside. To his surprise, there was actually a kind of order to their exit. Teachers walked with part of the students toward buses, while other teachers walked with the in-­town riders. He was wondering who would be driving the injured driver’s bus when he saw a man come jogging out behind some of the kids and head that way.
“That’s the PE coach. I’ll bet he’s going to be the substitute driver,” Alice said, and then pointed. “There’s Patty! Oh…she doesn’t see my car.”
“We’ll fix that,” Dan said, and once again, he picked Alice up by the waist and swung her up and into the truck bed. Now she was heads above everyone. “Wave! She’ll see you,” Dan said.
Alice’s heart was hammering as she turned and waved, and then kept on waving until suddenly Patty saw her, smiled, and waved back.
“She saw you, right?” Dan asked.
“Yes, she did! Thank you so much.”
“Ready to get down?” he asked.
She nodded.
This time, he let the tailgate down and then held out his arms. She sat down on the tailgate, then he lifted her off and set her on her feet.
“We should have driven my car. Then you wouldn’t have to be helping me up and helping me down,” she said.
“What’s the fun in that?” he asked, grinning as he set her back into his front seat.
She was a bit taken aback by the teasing, then laughed. Moments later, they began moving up in line along with everyone else. Within a couple of minutes, they were at the loading zone. Dan jumped out and opened the back door of his truck.
“One more Conroy girl to load up, and then we’re good to go,” he said as Patty came running.
As soon as she was buckled in the back seat, she started talking.
“Mama, a girl named Shirley threw up on teacher’s shoes at lunch. I got a happy face on my workbook page and skinned my knee at recess! Did you know there were mean dogs at our school? Will they come back? I might be a’scairt tomorrow.”
Dan was grinning. “Does she ever stop to take a breath?”
“Rarely,” Alice said, then turned around to look at Patty. “Good for you for getting a happy face. That makes Mama’s face happy, too. We did know about the dogs. Mr. Amos saw the dogs and ran to help the bus driver. He stopped the dogs, and the police came and took them away. You don’t have to be scared about anything, okay?”
“Okay, Mama. Thank you, Mr. Amos.”
“You’re welcome, Patty.” Then he glanced at Alice. “Do you need anything before I take you home?”
“No, thank you. We have all we need,” she said.
“Okay then,” he said, and turned left at the stop sign by the school.
“Mama, is Charlie gonna have to walk home by himself? Won’t he be a’scairt, too?”
Alice shook her head. “Charlie walks home every day, and no, he won’t be scared. Charlie is a big boy, remember?”
Patty nodded.
Dan smiled as he drove, enjoying the little girl’s chatter and Alice’s calm demeanor. He was actually disappointed when he reached their house and pulled up into the driveway.
“Well, ladies, you’re home. Alice, if you will bear with me one more time, I’ll help you two out and see you to the door like the gentleman my mama raised me to be.”
He circled the truck, helped Alice down first, and then Patty. Once Patty’s feet touched the ground, she was running toward the house and already on the porch, airing her cheerleader skills by running from one end of the porch to the other, cheering as she went.
Dan laughed out loud at the surprised expression on Alice’s face.
Alice sighed. “Don’t encourage her.”
“Is that even possible?” he asked, as he helped her up the steps. “House key?”
She handed it to him. “It’s the one with the pink nail polish on it, remember?”
“Got it,” he said, unlocked the front door, and then stood back out of the way as Patty danced through the doorway and into the house. Dan was still grinning as he dropped the key ring into Alice’s palm. “It has been a pleasure to spend this time with you and your mini me, Ms. Alice. Maybe we could do this again sometime when there’s nothing else calling your attention.”
Alice was so shocked by the invitation that she forgot to answer.
Dan hesitated. That wasn’t the response he was hoping for. “Uh…so, is that a silent yes, or a silent no?”
She blinked. “Oh. I’m sorry. Uh…it’s a yes, and thank you?”
His heart skipped a beat. Here he was, wanting to kiss her again. He settled for a touch on her forearm. “Take care of that hand,” he said, and left before he made a bigger fool of himself or she changed her mind.
He was on his way home before the shock of what he’d done finally hit. “I cannot believe I asked her on a date.” He drove a whole block farther. “I can’t believe she said yes,” he added. He got home and all the way inside his house with one last question yet unasked. Was tomorrow too soon?

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Book Review: Going Home by Judith Kim

Going Home by Judith Keim

Publisher & Release: Wild Quail Press, February 13, 2019

Time and setting:  20thcentury, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction

Book Length:  256 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

In 1970, Violet Hawkins’ only wish at eighteen is to escape her life in the Dayton, Ohio, foster-care system and make her way to the west coast to enjoy a mellow life and find the love she’s been missing all her life. 

She makes it to San Francisco, but soon learns she needs a job if she’s to live properly. A kind, young man named Kenton Chandler offers her a sandwich and a job at his father’s inn and vineyards. 

With nothing to lose, Lettie takes him up on his offer and begins a whole new life in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. She immediately falls in love with the land and is fascinated with the idea of growing grapes in order to make wines. She, Kenton, and Rafe Lopez become friends as she learns about running the small inn on the property. 

At the same time, she marries Kenton, a stroke kills his father. And then before she can tell Kenton she’s pregnant, he dies in an automobile accident. Heartbroken and burdened with the gift of the Chandler Hill Inn and Winery, she’s left with the task of making them a success. Struggling to raise a child alone while working to grow the business, Lettie makes a shocking discovery that changes everything.

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the first book I’ve read by Judith Keim, and it will not be the last. I’m so glad I accepted an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review. My opinions are my own are not influenced in any way.

I thoroughly enjoyed Going Home. It’s unique because it follows a woman’s entire adult life. I enjoy women’s fiction, and this is an excellent one. The pacing is great, keeping me engaged from the beginning to the end. 

Lettie’s character is complex. She is flawed and at times impulsive, but she is so interesting, I fell in love with her. It’s no wonder she’s in a hurry to find someone to love after growing up in foster care. I could understand how she fell so quickly for Rafe, only to be cast off because he bows to his family’s expectations. She does not let it color her future. When love comes along with her friend, Kenton, again she falls hard and fast.

There are actually two main male characters and a key secondary one in Going Home. Rafe who marries another to satisfy his family and Kenton, the young man who saves Lettie from a life on the streets in San Francisco. Then Kenton’s father, a man who takes Lettie under his wing.

Rafe’s character did not appeal to me in the beginning of the book but more than redeems himself by the end of the book. I shall not say more because I do not want to have any spoilers.

Kenton’s character is steadfast and offers Lettie the stability she craves and a family who will love her. My heart ached when he is tragically killed in a car accident. Theirs was a love cut short.

The key secondary character is Kenton’s father. He recognizes Lettie’s talent in knowing what wine is best. He grooms her for his winery, which is a godsend for her. When he dies, she inherits Chandler Hill Inn and Winery and makes it highly successful.

As I mentioned, Going Home follows Lettie’s life. I felt her joy in first love, the fulfillment she begins to feel with Kenton. The pain of losing him so soon, before she even had a chance to tell him they were expecting a child. Lettie is not a natural born mother but none the less, she raises her daughter to be an independent young woman with a huge heart. I enjoyed following her life from young girl to a mature older woman, one who makes some mistakes while learning from them, and lives a full life.

I’m glad I took a chance on Going Home. If you enjoy women’s fiction, then you will love Going Home as much as I. I will definitely look for more books by Ms. Keim. Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Book Review: The Governess by Christi Caldwell

The Governess by Christi Caldwell

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, February 12, 2019

Time and setting:  Regency, London

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Length:  379  Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Regina (Reggie) Spark has loved Broderick Killoran, the resourceful and protective proprietor of the Devil’s Den, ever since he saved her from the streets and made her his right hand at the notorious gaming hell. For just as long, Reggie has never admitted her true feelings for him. Nor has she revealed her spirited ambitions—to buck convention and expectations and open a music hall.
While Broderick built his gaming empire with ruthless cunning, his loyalty to his employees is boundless. So when he learns of Reggie’s plan to leave his side and take charge of her own future, the betrayal cuts Broderick to the core. He responds as he would to any business rival…with swift retribution.
Instead of wilting, the savvy Reggie rebounds with a fury that shocks Broderick and stirs a desire he’s been holding in reserve for only ladies of nobility. But as their seductive battle of wills ignites under the harsh spotlight of the London Season, secrets are exposed as well—ones that could be ruinous in decent society but invaluable for the heart.

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Vikki’s Musings

I have become a great fan of Christi Caldwell’s delightful Regency romances. When I received an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review The Governess, I eagerly accepted. My opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

The Governess is another wonderful Regency with just the right amount of detail, giving me the ability to use my imagination. The pacing is great, moving the story along perfectly. The characters are engaging, and the plot riveting. I thoroughly enjoy suspense and this one has it in abundance.

Reggie’s character is easy to love. She has been part of the Killoran family for ten years, but she can no longer remain at Broderick’s side when she knows he will never return her feelings. When he learns she plans to leave, he bribes her into staying to help his sister in her introduction to society. My heart ached for Reggie. Most of the family turns against making her time with them very uncomfortable.

Broderick is a great hero, having the characteristics I love most. He is a stronger provider for his family. While they are not family by blood, it does not matter. He is a very complex character and his backstory is very heartbreaking. I was so pleased that he found his happy ending!

The chemistry between Reggie and Broderick is amazing. Ms. Caldwell is great at building the sexual tension as the story progresses, which what I love about historical romance. By the time the love scene occurs, it is burning up the pages.

If you enjoy a romance with great characters, an interesting plot with a good bit of suspense and great emotionally-charged writing, then you will love The Governess. This may very well be the best book she has written thus far. Of course, I said that about her last one! I can’t wait for the next book is this amazing series. Happy reading!