Monday, May 27, 2019

Book Review: The Cowboy's Daughter by Jamie K. Schmidt

The Cowboy’s Daughter, Three Sisters Ranch, Book 1 by Jamie K. Schmidt

Publisher & Release: Tule Publishing, June 06, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Texas

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 1.5 Flame

Page Count: 178 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

She’s moved home, but can she move on?

One night with professional bull rider Trent Campbell had been everything that Kelly Sullivan had fantasized about. Unfortunately, it cost her everything. When she became pregnant, her father threw her out because she wouldn’t tell him the baby's father was his rodeo hero—the hero who ghosted her when she tried so many times to tell him about their daughter.

Trent Campbell never forgot the best night of his life. It was what kept him going when a 2,000-lbs bull ended his career and almost his life. Throughout his long recovery, thinking of Kelly and wishing he still had his stolen phone so he could contact her, were what got him through the tough days—that, and his bull-headed stubbornness that he’d not only walk again, he’d ride.

When Kelly returns to Last Stand, Texas, in a last-ditch effort to keep her family from selling the Three Sisters Ranch, she has a plan to make her father proud of her again by turning part of the land into a portrait studio location. Her father, however, has already temporary leased Trent some land for a rodeo school. Kelly and Trent still have the same explosive chemistry, but now the stakes are higher. If she lets Trent into her life, it won’t only be her heart he breaks this time if he leaves, it will be their daughter’s.

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the first book I’ve read by Jamie K. Schmidt, but it will not be the last! Thanks goes to the publisher, via Net-Galley, for giving me the chance to read and review The Cowboy’s Daughter prior to publication. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

The Cowboy’s Daughter is a heartwarming romance with an adorable five-year-old, and a unique plot involving a second chance at love between a bull rider and the woman he could never forget. The writing is emotional, bringing tears on more than one occasion. I loved Kelly’s irascible father. He’s so stubborn but loveable! In fact, I enjoyed all the characters. Ms. Schmidt is very good at character development.

Kelly is such a sweetheart! I fell in love with her from the first page. She’s smart, determined and is will willing to return to Three sisters Ranch to help save it, even though her father turned his back on her when she needed him the most. There’s so much to admire! She truly deserves to find her happy ending.

Trent is an awesome hero. He’s so forgiving and accepting. Most men would not have been so understanding when he finds out his mentor’s decisions kept him away from his daughter. His determination to put his hurt aside and accept Kelly and his daughter into his life is amazing. 

The chemistry is swift and powerful when Kelly and Trent see each other again. Even though there’s plenty of hot, sexual scenes, their underlying love is emotional and added to the enjoyment tremendously.

If you’re looking for a romance that will put a smile on your face, you will love The Cowboy’s Daughter as much as I. I can’t wait to read the next book in this outstanding series. Happy reading!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Book Review: The Farmer's Bride by Kathleen Fuller

The Farmer’s Bride by Kathleen Fuller

Publisher & Release: Zondervan, June 4, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Birch Creek

Genre: Amish Romance

Book Length:  304 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

They promised to keep each other’s secrets . . . not realizing they were about to make some of their own. 
Martha Detweiler has a problem many Amish women her age would envy: she’s the only single woman in a community of young men, and they’re all competing for her favor. Overwhelmed by the unwanted attention, Martha finds herself constantly fleeing from her would-be suitors, dismayed at what her life has come to. 
Birch Creek’s resident matchmaker, Cevilla Schlabach, suggests a solution: Martha and the bishop’s son, Seth Yoder, should pretend they are dating. What better way to keep the other young men away? 
But Seth is the only man around not interested in Martha. He has a secret hobby that keeps him away from social gatherings: woodcarving. Having grown up in poverty, he’s determined to keep his father’s farm successful, even if it means he has no time for dating. Then Delilah Stoll, a new resident of Birch Creek, eyes Seth as the perfect man for her granddaughter. Suddenly Cevilla’s proposition doesn’t seem all that ludicrous. Can Seth and Martha convince their family and friends to leave them alone? 
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Vikki’s Musings

Kathleen Fuller is one of my favorite Amish fiction authors, so when I discovered The Farmer’s Bride on Net-Galley, I eagerly requested it. Thanks goes to the publisher for allowing me to read and review, prior to publication. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

The Farmer’s Bride is a lovely romance with engaging characters and an interesting and unique plot. The pacing is nice and steady, keeping me reading, wanting to find out what would happen next. 

Martha Detweiler’s character is enchanting. Her love of family is apparent from the first page. She has a dilemma since she’s the only single female in Birch Creek. When her friend, Cevilla suggests a plan, she hesitates. Pretending to enter into a courtship with Seth Yoder is deceitful, but desperate to have the other men in the district leave her be, she reluctantly agrees. They quickly learn that they have a mutual desire, when she stumbles on his shed.

Seth loves woodcarving and hopes to turn it into more than a hobby. He’s kept it from his family, so when Martha discovers his hobby, and expresses the desire to learn, he agrees to teach her what he knows, so she’ll keep his secret. Seth is a man of his word, but soon realizes there is an attraction between him and Martha. I enjoyed his conflict between his duty to his father and his passion for woodcarving. I also enjoyed the tug of war he has over his feelings for Martha.

Both Martha and Seth are strong in their faith, which is admirable, and neither have any desire for the world beyond their Amish community, so there is no struggle there. The primary conflict is the emotions they are developing for each other. Seth believes he has no time for courting, even if he does feel Martha would make him a fine frau. 

Martha’s struggle involves a past young man and his treatment of her when she tells him she’s not interested. She tired of evading the young men in the area. Since Seth clearly tells her he’s not interested, he’s perfect for the plan. The only problem––she is falling for him.

I thoroughly enjoyed the back and forth between this couple. It made the book a good read. It’s clear from the start, they like each other, and as the story progresses, they form a firm friendship. I truly wanted them to find their happy ending.

If you are a fan of Amish romance with charming characters and a plot that is different than what is found in this genre, then you will enjoy The Farmer’s Bride. I look forward to reading the next book in this series. Happy reading!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Book Review: Puppy Love by Lucy Gilmore

Puppy Love by Lucy Gilmore

Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, May 21, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, USA

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Book Length:  384 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.25 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

These adorable service puppies
are matchmakers in the making...
When Sophie Vasquez and her sisters dreamed up Puppy Promise-their service puppy training school-it was supposed to be her chance to bring some good into the world. But how can she expect to do anything when no one will take her seriously? 
Enter Harrison Parks: a rough, gruff, take-no-bull wildlife firefighter in need of a diabetic service dog. He couldn't be a more unlikely fit for Sophie or Bubbles-the sweet Pomeranian she knows will be his perfect partner-but when Sophie insists he give them both a shot, something unexpected happens: he listens. Even better, he keeps on listening, even as Sophie and Bubbles turn his lonely, uber-masculine world upside-down.
As it turns out, they all have something to prove...and more than enough room in their hearts for a little puppy love.
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Vikki’s Musings

From what can gather, Puppy Love is the debut novel for Lucy Gilmore, and the first book in a series. I’m glad I accepted an offer from the publisher to read and review in advance of publication. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Puppy Love is a fast-paced romance with lots of laugh-out-loud moments. The characters are engaging, and the plot is unique. The bantering between the hero and heroine is natural and delightful. Ms. Gilmore certainly tells an amusing, yet heartfelt story, and her writing is emotionally-charged.

Sophie Vasquez’s character is a sweetheart, and I fell in love with her immediately. As a cancer survivor, she’s been sheltered and protected most of her life. At times, she feels a bit smothered, but her love for her family keeps her from voicing her desire to live free from the shelter that encircles her. She’s determined to break free and sees her chance to do so when she has the opportunity to work with Harrison Parks and the puppy she’s identified as the one to most likely fit his needs, she grabs it with gusto. I adored her feisty attitude and her persistence. What an awesome character!

Harrison Parks is not your run-of-the-mill hero. He’s rugged instead of handsome, he’s a bit of a grouchy bear, and while he presents a tough-as-nails persona, he’s actually insecure. He doesn’t believe anyone will ever want him. After all, his mother deserted him and his father, when he ends up in a diabetic coma as a very young boy. He feels a great deal of pain and abandonment, which he hides from everyone. I loved seeing him fall hard for not only Sophie, but the ball of fluff, Bubbles, an adorable Pomeranian.

I enjoyed the premise of dog trainers who unite service animals with their right partners. Sophie’s sisters are lively, and I look forward to reading their love stories. Ms. Gilmore shows a great deal of talent with character development, for not only her main characters, but for the secondary ones as well. From Harrison’s grumpy father to Sophie’s meddling mama, they are all engaging.

The romance between Sophie and Harrison is more sexual than I initially expected. The passion ignites quickly and burns hot. It’s playful and fun. While I’m not a fan of the f-bomb, Ms. Gilmore manages to use it to enhance the feisty Sophie’s adventurous side.

If you’re looking for a romance that will put a smile on your face and have you chuckling as you read, while still managing to touch on plenty of deep emotion, then you will love Puppy Love. I can’t wait to read the next book in this delightful and funny series. Happy reading!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Book Review: The Dark Bones by Loreth Anne White

The Dark Bones by Loreth Anne White

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, May 21, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Northwest Canada

Genre: Romantic Thriller

Book Length:  440 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

She’s come back to solve the mystery of her father’s death and confront her own dark past.
When Detective Rebecca North left her rural hometown, she vowed never to return. Her father’s apparent suicide has changed that. The official report is that retired cop Noah North shot himself, knocked over a lantern, and set his isolated cabin ablaze. But Rebecca cannot believe he killed himself.
To prove it, she needs the help of Ash Haugen, the man she left behind. But Rebecca and Ash share more than broken hearts. Something darker lies between them, and the investigation is stirring it back to life. Clues lead them to the home of Olivia West and her deeply troubled twelve-year-old daughter, Tori. The child knows more about the murder than anyone can imagine, but she’s too terrified to say a word.
And as a cold-blooded killer resurfaces from the past, Rebecca and Ash begin to fear that their own secrets may be even harder to survive.

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Vikki’s Musings

Wow, just wow! What a fantastic read. This is a new Romantic Thriller by Loreth Anne White. Thanks goes to the publisher for the opportunity to read and review in advance 0f publication. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

The Dark Bones grabbed my interest from the first page, and I remained enthralled to the last. It’s an extremely fast paced novel, and I was totally surprised when I realized it was 440 pages long. The characters are compelling, and the plot is full of plenty of bone chilling suspense. This is definitely a thriller!

Rebecca North’s character returns when she learns of her father’s passing from an apparent suicide. This does not sit well with her because she’d talked to him shortly before his death, and he was following a lead that involves the disappearance of two people twenty years before. Her first love is involved as well. 

I loved Rebecca’s determination to exonerate her father and restore his dignity. She starts her own investigation into her father’s death and quickly determines it’s no suicide. I loved her strong sense of right and wrong. When she realizes Ash must be part of her search for the truth, she pushes aside her heart break over what he did so long ago for the good of her investigation.

Ash Haugen is an interesting hero with a great deal of hidden pain. He regrets hurting Rebecca, the only woman he’s ever loved. I loved his humble attitude and determination to help Rebecca, even though it causes him a huge amount of remorse and guilt. I loved his willingness to protect Ricky, the thirteen-year-old who has little to no stability in his life. 

The romantic element is excellent. I really wanted Rebecca and Ash to find their way back to the love they’d shared as teenagers. The bond between them is incredibly strong and very believable. 

The mystery in this chilling tale is intense and intriguing. It’s certainly a page turner and kept me glued to my Kindle. The climax is fantastic and so worth the wait. The villains are evil, and Ms. White holds them close to her chest. I love it when I’m surprised when I learn who is behind the gruesome events that unfold.

If you enjoy romantic thrillers with deep, dark secrets, with amazing characters and plenty of bone-chilling moments, then you will loveThe Dark Bones as much as I. Ms. White is one of my favorite suspense authors. When a book of hers comes available, I don’t even have to read the book description to know I want to read it. Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Book Review: Cliff's Edge by Meg Tilly

Cliff’s Edge by Meg Tilly

Publisher & Release: Berkley, May 21, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Pacific Northwest

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Book Length:  329 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Meg Tilly returns with a second gripping romantic suspense novel set on the idyllic Solace Island in the Pacific Northwest.

Eve Harris is all set to house-sit and run the bakery she shares with her sister while Maggie goes on her honeymoon, but there's one problem—the house is already occupied. By a movie star. He claims to be her brother-in-law's friend, and not only does he insist on staying, he also offers to help. Playing house has never been so tempting...

Rhys Thomas is looking for a place to lie low after wrapping up his latest film, so when Luke offers up his house as a safe haven, Rhys sees the perfect opportunity for a little R & R. But rest is the last thing on his mind as he and Eve grow close. 

But Eve and Rhys are not as alone as they think. And as danger trails Eve, it will take everything Rhys has to save the woman he loves.

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Cliff’s Edge is the first book I have read by Meg Tilly. This is the second novel in Ms. Tilly’s series, Solace Island. Thanks goes to the publisher, via Net-Galley, for inviting me to read and review in advance of publication. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Cliff’s Edge is an interesting read with engaging characters and an intriguing plot. The pacing is good, keeping me enmeshed from the beginning to the end. I was completely surprised when the villain is revealed. I never saw it coming, which is always a plus.

Eve Harris is an enchanting character. Her passion is her art, but she’s discouraged when she can’t sell her work to anyone besides her friends and family. She’s dedicated to her sister and will do whatever it takes to give Maggie the honeymoon she deserves, even though she’s ill-equipped. She’d a dismal baker, and even though her sister has prepared lots of items in advance, she can’t even manage to bake them without burning the pies and cookies. 

This is the part of the story I had a problem with. I could not imagine leaving Eve in charge because Maggie had to realize it would be a disaster. The other issue I have is Eve’s debt. There’s no way I would let my sister struggle when the man I married has bucketsful. Of course, Eve is as stubborn as they come.

Rhys is an outstanding hero with many facets to his personality. He is immediately attracted to Eve. Although, she nothing like his previous women. Eve is not a short-fling type of woman, but that’s okay, since he’s grown tired of meaningless hook-ups with groupies who only see his superficial actor’s fa├žade. He offers to help her with her dilemma. Fortunately, his hobby is cooking, and he’s a great one. He takes over the kitchen, letting Eve run the front, which she does most proficiently. 

The romance is strong between Eve and Rhys, and I enjoyed them as a couple and could see them having a lasting relationship. The sexual scenes are well-written with the emotions of the act more important than the physical aspects.

Ms. Tilly gives the villain a POV that is graphic and chilling regarding his plans for Eve, with no hint as to his identity. As the story progresses his obsession only grows in intensity. There are several murders that occur, one that involves an individual who has played a major role in Eve’s life. That was most shocking and gruesome.

If you like a romance with plenty of suspense, and a fulfilling love story, then you will enjoy Cliff’s Edge. While I had a difficult time buying into some of the plot points, nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Happy reading!