Friday, August 30, 2019

Book Review: An Amish Christmas Kitchen by Leslie Gould, Jan Drexler, Kate Lloyd

An Amish Christmas Kitchen, Three Novellas by Leslie Gould, Jan Drexler, Kate Lloyd

Publisher & Release: Bethany House, September 3, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Pennsylvania

Genre: Amish Romance

Length: 298 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

As the weather grows cold and the nights grow long, the cheer and warmth of the Christmas season is one thing all readers can find comfort in. This collection from bestselling Amish fiction novelists Leslie Gould, Jan Drexler, and Kate Lloyd finds the beating heart at the center of the holiday and offers three novellas that celebrate family, faith, and especially the sights and smells of a bustling holiday kitchen. 

Leslie Gould tells the story of how, in the wake of a heartbreaking loss, a young Amish woman finds unexpected comfort and hope in a yearly baking tradition surrounding the local Lancaster Christmas market. Jan Drexler offers a sweet tale of a shy Amish woman who decides to use her gift for sweets to woo a local Amish boy with her beloved Christmas cookies. And Kate Lloyd offers a heartwarming tale of a woman's unexpected discovery about the truth of her past, and the warm and welcoming Amish family table she finds herself invited to on Christmas.

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Vikki’s Musings

An Amish Family Christmas by Leslie Gould

This is a heartwarming story where an unhappy Amish girl has a second chance at love and how her new friendship with a Mennonite woman opens her heart to her ex-boyfriend. I enjoyed An Amish Family Christmas. It deals with heartache and how words misunderstood had led to the breakup between Noelle and the hero. 

It took me a bit of time to warm up to the heroine. Noelle’s tender concern and care for her ill father helped me see her in a better light. That shows her true nature. Noelle’s friendship with the Mennonite young woman, Holly, was the best thing for Noelle. Holly’s vivacious and optimistic personality helped her a great deal. Ms. Gould does a credible job taking Noelle from a depressed young woman to one who is willing to give Jesse a second chance.

Jesse is the hero. He went to Montana, leaving Noelle to deal with her ill mother and heartbroken. Now, he’s returned a widower with an infant daughter. I liked Jesse from the start. He tries so hard to talk to Noelle, but she kept pushing him away. Fortunately, Holly plays the matchmaker and makes it possible for him to finally speak with Holly. While the ending is positive, it felt rushed to me. Nonetheless, an enjoyable Christmas tale with a positive message. 

An Amish Christmas Recipe Box by Jan Drexler

A heartwarming Christmas romance with engaging characters and lesson to look beyond the surface. Ada has a crush on Amos who works in her father’s woodworking shop. Another young man befriends her, offering friendship and a sympathetic ear. 

When the Amos derides Ada’s efforts to attract his attention, Matthias stands up for her. That sealed the deal for me, and I really hoped Ada’s eyes would be opened to the much better man in her life.

I enjoyed the message and the emotional writing in An Amish Recipe. It shows how looks are not everything. The heart of a person is much more important, and Matthias has a heart of gold. I am glad I had the chance to read this well-written novella, my favorite of the three! 

An Unexpected Christmas Gift By Kate Lloyd

This story is about a young woman searching for her birth mother. Her search takes her to Amish country where she meets relatives that she discovered from a DNA test. It shows the open hearts of the family, and Maria yearns to be a part of this loving family.

The romance is lightly sprinkled in lightly and is more eluded to than shown. I liked the characters, especially the matriarch of the family. It has an enjoyable, if somewhat abrupt ending.

If you enjoy sweet Amish Christmas stories with engaging characters and heartwarming plots, then you will love An Amish Christmas Kitchen. It’s sure to put you in the mood for the upcoming holidays. Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Book Review: How to Love a Duke in Ten Days by Kerrigan Byrne

How to Love a Duke in 10 Days by Kerrigan Byrne

Publisher & Release: St. Martin’s Press, August 27, 2019

Time and setting:  Regency England

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 446 Pages

Rating:  3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

 These men are dark, bold, and brave. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees...
Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.
Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.
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Vikki’s Musings

How to Love a Duke in 10 Days is the first book in Kerrigan Byrne’s new series, Devil You Know. I’m so glad I accepted an invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review in advance of publication. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

What an exciting reading experience! From the first scene until the last, I was completely enmeshed in this thrilling, high suspense romance. Ms. Byrne’s superior skills with Regency romance is evident immediately. This is the best historical I have read this year. 

Lady Alexander Lane’s character captured me from the prologue. What happens to her is a woman’s worst nightmare. No wonder she spends ten years disguising her femininity and fearing the dark side of men. She paints them all with the same brush and with powerful reason. 

When she meets Piers, the Duke of Redmayne, she only sees a roughly dressed man with a powerful, physical presence. Yet instead of her old demons bursting forth, she’s amazed at her lack of true fear, even though she witnesses his fierce side. She is shocked when she realizes he is none other than the duke who is to wed her friend, one of their bonded trio, bound by each other’s secrets.

Piers is an intriguing hero with great depth. He not only bears the physical scars from a brutal attack, hidden inside, is plenty of hurt from a childhood fraught with disappoint and disillusionment. My heat ached for him. Although he has great reason to distrust women, there is something about the bookish, anthropologist that calls to him, and he accepts her astonishing offer to take Francesca’s place as his bride. Thus, begins a tale of adventure and mayhem.

The chemistry between Alexandra and Piers jumps off the page! Even though she has a terrifying fear of men and anything sexual, she cannot deny her overwhelming attraction, nor can Piers deny his compelling desire for her. Ms. Byrne masterfully builds the sexual tension from their first meeting and keeps it growing throughout the book until the very end. That’s my favorite aspect of historical romance, and her mastery thoroughly entranced me!

If you enjoy historical romance, then you will love How to Love a Duke in 10 Daysas much as I. This book is rich with all the aspects that will call to your love of this sub-genre. This is a novel with complex characters that will pull at your heartstrings, and it has an action-packed plot that will have you waiting breathlessly for the next suspenseful scene. This is an amazing start of an incredible new series. Ms. Byrne has set her bar high, and I can’t wait to read the next book. Happy reading!

How to Love a Duke in Ten Days Blog Tour Q&A
Q: What inspired you to write How to Love a Duke in Ten Days?
A:  I’ve always been one of those women who have enjoyed fierce female friendships. I think that soulmates, even for heterosexual women, can be just as necessary with other women as with men, and a real hero must not just love and respect you, but also your tribe. I wanted to write a series where historical heroines could truly have it all, education, dreams, businesses, wealth, genius, revenge, hot sex, AND true love. Where the sacrifices were made on their behalf instead by them, and where their heroes learn to lift them up in all ways, heal their pains, calm their fears, become their best friends, and protect them with what I hope is a great balance between alpha hotness and progressive sensitivity. 

Q: Is there one thing you would like readers to take away from this story?
A: That’s tough because I packed a lot in there! I would say the one thing from this book, specifically, is that happiness is attainable against the odds, even when overcoming the worst that people can do to one another. Even though I’m a grown up and a cynic, I still like to write books that remind me that true love conquers all, because that love can come from so many people. 

Q: Can you describe your typical day writing this book?
A: This book was especially difficult for me to write, so I spent a great deal of time in my bathrobe. I would get up, my fantastic husband would make me coffee, I’d call my critique partner and we’d do a bit of brainstorming, and I’d write and rewrite for hours, stress, cry, throw things, walk the dog, eat, snack, eat some more, facebook way too much, and then finish under word count, binge a tv show or a book until I stared at the ceiling into the wee hours. Oh, and there was drinking in there at regular intervals.
Glamorous, I know!

Q: Describe the hero and heroine of How to Love a Duke in Ten Days in three words each.
A: The Duke of Redmayne:           Wary. Wounded. Wicked.
      Lady Alexandra Lane:              Brave. Brilliant. Beautiful.       

Q: What is the one thing that the heroine, Alexandra, can’t live without?
A: She cannot live without her two dearest friends in the entire world, Miss Cecelia Teague, and Lady Francesca Cavendish. They literally buried a body for her, and would defend her to the death.

Q: What was your hardest scene to write in How to Love a Duke in Ten Days? Your favorite?
A: As with many (most) of my novels, the prologues are the hardest to write, and read, I suspect. Usually I take the characters to the very edge of their breaking point, often times pushing them over so they have what seems like insurmountable conflicts to overcome both internally and externally. So, for this book, Alexandra’s assault was the most difficult thing to get through, and boy did I enjoy being able to help Piers put her back together, because he was just the perfect hero for her. Tender, empathetic, a good sense of humor, and a large dose of protective alphaness.

Q: Why do you write historical romance? 
A:  I’ve always romanticized the past. I can’t help it. I love the pace and the aesthetic, the gowns and the suits and the manners and the manors. I love to do historical research and it’s so fun to see how much we are influenced by the past and how, even though so much has changed through the centuries, people really haven’t. Also, it’s fun to play with language, mystery, and sex in a time when a scandal was still possible. *wink.

Q: Is there another particular author that inspires you or that you enjoy reading? 
A: There is a LIST! I would say in historical romance, though, it’s always always Lisa Kleypas. She has a grasp on the characterization of historical folks that I can never hope to attain. I’m just in awe of her every word.

Q: Where do you go or what resources do you use to make sure your novels are historically correct? 
A: I love to find books about a time period at B&N or my local bookshops. I go to Harper’s Bazaar for fashion, and a slew of Victorian references for the time period. I do read blogs and sometimes consult with historians and experts.

Q: Did you learn anything surprising while researching for this novel?
A: Many things! I learned how truly difficult it was to attain an education as a woman as little as a hundred years ago. It’s really incredible how far we’ve come in a century. 

Q: What do you do when faced with writer’s block, if you ever are? 
A: Oh man. I often am. I usually try to shake it loose with a brainstorming conversation with a few friends I have who always seem to be able to unstick me. I rely heavily on the creativity of others as well as my own.

Q: How did you feel the first time you realized one of your books was a big success? 
A: I didn’t believe it. It seems surreal every time I truly realize that a story I wrote entertained another human. Let alone more than one. I’m like… they paid to read it? WHAT? 

Q: What’s next for the Devil You Know series? 
A: I’m especially excited for the next book ALL SCOT AND BOTHERED because it’s about Alexandra’s best friend the curvy vicar’s daughter, Cecelia Teague. She inherits London’s most infamous and successful brothel, and one imposing, surly Scottish enemy along with it. She and Lord Ramsay, the Lord Chief Justice with an axe to grind against her establishment, can’t be in a room together without the sparks flying. I can’t think about this book without smiling.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: I hope you enjoy this trio of roguish redheads as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Author Bio:

Kerrigan Byrne is the best-selling author of THE HIGHWAYMAN, THE HUNTER, THE HIGHLANDER, THE DUKE, THE SCOT BEDS HIS WIFE, and coming 8/28/18 is THE DUKE WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.

She lives on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington with her dream boat husband. When she's not writing and researching, you'll find her on the water sailing and kayaking, or on land eating, drinking, shopping, and taking the dogs to play on the beach.

Kerrigan loves to hear from her readers! To contact her or learn more about her books, please visit her sites:

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Book Review: Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, August 27, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Seattle Area

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Length: 199 Pages

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Once, I would never have imagined myself here. But I’m settled now. In a place I love, in a home I renovated, spending time with new friends I adore, and working a job that fulfills me. I am reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future.
Then Garrett Frost moves in next door.
He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging force of nature that disrupts the careful order of my life. I recognize the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. I fear I’m too fragile for the storm raging inside him, too delicate to withstand the pain that buffets him. But he’s too determined…and too tempting.
And sometimes hope soars above even the iciest desolation.
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Vikki’s Musings

It’s been quite some time since I’ve read one of Sylvia Day’s novels, so when I received a request from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review, I immediately accepted. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Butterfly in Frost starts with the heroine walking dogs with her friend. When they come upon a runner, Teagan loses touch with her surroundings, to the point she stumbled in front of a car. The hero saved her, and she feels an immediate desire for him.

At first, I thought she recognized him due to her visceral reaction to him, but when no reference occurs where she has any internal thoughts to having met him before, I dismissed that feeling.

However, I remained confused throughout much of the story. When I finished reading the tale, I went back and reread it to see if I had missed something! I did not. What a spectacular surprise at the end!

Teagan’s character remained a mystery throughout much of the book. She had clearly suffered a tremendous loss at some point in her past, which has her battling depression daily. Although the story lends one to believe it was from the torrid affairs her ex-husband committed during their marriage, I sensed it must be deeper than that but could not figure out what it could be. This sense of something kept me glued to my Kindle, and I could not read fast enough! 

The budding relationship between her and her new neighbor happens extremely fast, and turns tantalizingly sensual, solidifying my sense that there is more that I do not know, so I waited breathlessly for all to be revealed.

Garrett Frost is an intriguing hero. Early on, it’s revealed that he’s suffered the devastating loss of his family. This causes a few difficult issues since he’s with Teagan most of the time when their neighbor, Roxanne stops by, who is Teagan’s best friend. 

The chemistry between Teagan and Garrett is combustible from their first encounter. I loved the intensity of their attraction, while I confused by it at the same time. It kept me enmeshed, almost entranced, through the entire story! This is indicative of Ms. Day’s writing style, and what I’ve come to expect, when reading one of her novels. I’m a huge fan, and I have read many of her intriguing books.

If you enjoy a romance that is compelling with complex characters and a plot which unfolds tantalizingly slow, then you will enjoy Butterfly in Frost as much as I. Beware, although you will want to read this tale fast, read carefully to fully absorb the full impact. Happy reading!

Excerpt: Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

Roxy bounces on her feet with excitement. “Les and Marge sold their house.”

I blink. “I didn’t know they were selling.”

She laughs and heads toward the front door. “That’s the thing. They weren’t.”

“Wait, what?” I hurry after her as she steps outside.

I look to the right at my home, a lovingly restored butterfly-roofed midcentury, then on to the traditional house just beyond it that belongs—belonged—to Les and Marge. Including Roxy’s, all three of our homes have unique lots set between the homes that line the street and the Sound, affording us unhindered views of the water as well as exceptional privacy—all within a twenty-minute drive of the airport.

Roxy shortens the length of her stride to allow me to catch up, then glances over at me. “The day after you flew to New York, a Range Rover pulled into their driveway, and the guy inside offered them cash to close—and move out—in fourteen days.”

My step falters, and Minnie gets momentarily tangled in her leash. The dog shoots me what I would describe as an irritated look, then keeps trotting forward. “That’s crazy.”

“Isn’t it? Les wouldn’t say how much the offer was, but I’m thinking it was huge.”

We march up the inclined driveway, my head tilted back to take in the houses scaling the hillside. Designed with big windows to maximize the view, the homes have a look of wide-eyed wonder. Our little stretch of the Sound used to be a secret, but with the housing boom taking over Seattle and Tacoma, we’ve been discovered. Many residences are undergoing major renovation to suit the tastes of new owners.

Reaching the road, we turn left. To the right is a dead end.

“Well, if they’re happy,” I say, “I’m happy for them.”

“They’re overwhelmed. It was a lot to happen all at once, but I think they’re happy with their decision.” Roxanne stops when Bella does, and we wait as the two dogs mark one of their usual spots on the gravel edging the asphalt. There are no curbs on the streets in our neighborhood and no sidewalks. Just beautiful lawns and a profusion of flowering shrubs.

“We all tried prying information out of them,” she goes on, “but they weren’t sharing anything about the sale.” She gives me a sidelong glance. “But they did share a bit about the buyer.”

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Because Mike and I both think the buyer is someone famous. A film director maybe. Or an artist. Can you imagine? First Emily, a bestselling author. Then you, a reality-TV surgeon. Now this guy! Maybe we’re sitting on the new Malibu—beachside living without wildfires or state income tax!”

The mention of Roxy’s husband, Mike, coaxes an inner smile. A New York transplant like me, he adds a welcome touch of the life I left behind to the reality I’ve since created for myself—a reality that’s just been rocked by the loss of neighbors I like.

“What are the clues you’re working with?” I ask, deciding to play along. If I’ve learned anything the past year, it’s to accept the things I cannot change. A tough task for a control freak like me.

“Les pointed out to this guy that he hadn’t even seen the inside of the house. The guy said he didn’t need to. He knew already that ‘the light is perfect.’ I mean, who would say that? Gotta be someone who’s in visual arts, right?”

“Maybe,” I agree tentatively, disquieted by the unexpected conversation. The road rises sharply before us, the incline steep enough to put a little burn in my thighs. “Doesn’t mean he’s famous, though.”

“That’s the thing.” Her words carry a note of breathlessness. “Les wouldn’t give numbers, but he did say it was crazy the guy didn’t just buy that huge compound at the end of the street. That house is listed for three and a half million!”

My mind staggers at the thought. Les and Marge have—had—a beautiful home, but it’s not worth anywhere near that much.

“I think I saw the buyer once through that big arched window in the living room,” Roxy goes on. “The blonde with him was a looker. Supermodel skinny with legs for days.”

I’m panting when we reach the top; Roxy, who hits a gym most days of the week, is not.

A quarter mile farther, there’s a street to the right leading to Dash Point. Beyond that and straight ahead, the road slopes back down and around until it’s at water level. Redondo Beach is there, as is Salty’s, a restaurant on stilts in the water with expansive views of Poverty Bay and beyond. I’m about to wax poetic about Salty’s seafood chowder when a runner dashes around the corner at a full sprint. His sudden appearance rattles me. A closer look makes me freeze midstride. My breath locks in my lungs.

There are too many things to register at once, so my mind attempts to absorb the whole man. Dressed only in black shorts and shoes, he is a visual feast of deeply tanned skin, intricate sleeves of tattooed art, and sweat-slicked, flexing musculature.

And his face. Sculpted. Square-jawed. Brutally, breathlessly handsome.

Roxy, now a few feet in front of me, gives a low whistle. “Hot damn.”

Author Bio:

Sylvia Day is the #1 New York Times, #1 USA Today, #1 Sunday Times, #1 Der Spiegel, and #1 international bestselling author of over twenty award-winning novels sold in more than forty countries. She is a #1 bestselling author in twenty-eight countries, with tens of millions of copies of her books in print.

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Monday, August 26, 2019

Book Review: A Duke a Dozen by Shana Galen

A Duke a Dozen by Shana Galen

Publisher & Release: Self Published, September 3, 2019

Time and setting:  Regency, London 

Genre: Historical Romance

Book Length:  249 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

They call him the Doomed Duke.

Phineas Duncombe, ninth Duke of Mayne, should not be the duke. After all, he had four—count them—four older brothers! Phin never wanted the dukedom, and the suspicious circumstances of the eighth duke’s death lead Phin to question the Countess of Longstowe. The beautiful widow isn’t at all what Phin expected. He’s intrigued by her and determined to seduce her. The countess is not interested in Phin romantically, but when she comes to him with another request, he can’t deny it. A few days in the country with Lady Longstowe reveal two truths to the new duke. One, he cares for the countess much more than any other woman he’s ever known. Two, Phin either has very bad luck or someone is trying to kill him.

They call her the Wanton Widow.

Annabel was barely eighteen when she was married to the elderly Earl of Longstowe. A harsh, sadistic man, the earl’s death was not something Annabel mourned. Now in her mid-forties, Annabel enjoys her widowhood and has no desire to ever be under a man’s thumb again. Not even a handsome duke like Mayne, who is far too young for her anyway. Annabel’s one desire is to find the daughter who was taken away from her. For that she needs a man with power and status. She needs the Duke of Mayne. When the two are thrust together, Annabel struggles to fight her attraction to the charming Phin. She’s losing the battle. But can she ever trust another man, especially with the one part of herself she’s never given away—her heart?

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Vikki’s Musings

As with all of Shana Galen’s historical romances, she has again delivered a tale with sparkling dialogue and an adventure-packed plot. I’m so glad I accepted an invitation from the author, to read and review A Duke a Dozen, book six in the Survivors series. My opinions are my own and are not influence in any way.

Phineas, the Duke of Manne, is thrust into a role he’d never expected, nor wanted. Losing the four brothers who stood between him and the dukedom is beyond his comprehension, leaving him reeling. While dealing with this massive undertaking, the last thing he needs or wants is a widow beseeching him to use his influence to help her find her missing twenty-year-old daughter.

That sets up the need for Phin and Annabel’s daily contact, which creates a perfect storm of emotions and sexual tension. Each knows nothing can come of their attraction for each other. There are just too many obstacles for anything permanent. Nonetheless, their passion cannot be denied. Can they put aside all those reasons, or must duty end their liaison, breaking both of their hearts?

A Duke a Dozenis another fine example of Shana Galen’s talent as an author. Her characters are vibrant and fully fleshed out. The story flows smoothly, and the plot is beyond unique. Most heroes are older than the heroines in Regency romances. Ms. Galen has the heroine many years older! That alone had me eagerly flipping the pages on my Kindle, dying to see how she would pull this off.

At first, I had my doubts that Annabel, fifteen years older than the hero, could ever appeal to me, but I must admit––she’s such an intriguing character, I suspended my skepticism. Her back story is heartbreaking. Not only did she have an abusive marriage with the late earl, the man stole her daughter away when the child was only a toddler. That alone made me want her to finding happiness.

Phin’s character makes an interesting hero. Although he’s dealing with such upheaval in his life, he cannot resist helping Annabel find her daughter. Not only is he a war hero, he has a tender heart as well. That had me immediately falling in love with Phin. His patience and care of Annabel touched me deeply.

Although Phin and Annabel should not fit, they do in a most spectacular way. Annabel believes she’s frigid, and Phin proves she’s not, and he does it in a most deliciously entertaining way. The chemistry between them is amazing, and I truly wanted them to find a way to be together and beat the odds!

If you’re a fan of Regency romances with plenty of emotion and compelling characters, then you will love A Duke a Dozenas much as I. I highly recommend this book and this very talented author. This book is a fantastic addition to her Survivor’sseries. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

Shana Galen is three-time Rita award nominee and the bestselling author of fast-paced, witty, and adventurous Regency romances. Kirkus says of her books, "The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun," and RT Bookreviews calls her books "lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching." She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She's happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Book Review: Big Chance Cowboy by Teri Anne Stanley

Big Chance Cowboy by Teri Anne Stanley 

Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks, August 27, 2019

Time and setting:  Present Day, Texas

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 384 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

At Big Chance Dog Rescue,
Even humans get a second chance
After a disastrous mistake disbanded his Army unit, Adam Collins has returned home to Big Chance, Texas. He just wants to sell the family ranch, set up his sister and grandfather with the funds, and then ride off into the sunset. 
Lizzie Vanhook has landed back in her hometown, heartbroken and jobless. Adding to her troubles is the unruly stray who's claimed her as his own. Lizzie knows she's in over her head. Enter Adam—not only does he work with dogs, he's also tall, dark, handsome, and the one who got away...
Adam wants nothing to do with other people, much less dogs. But when his old flame asks him to help her train her scruffy dog, he can't say no. As his reluctant heart opens up, the impossible seems possible: a second chance with the woman he's always loved in a place where he, his friends, and the other strays who show up can heal and call home, Big Chance, Texas.
More praise for Big Chance Cowboy:
"Love...and puppies... Be prepared to fall in love with this cast of characters and this book." —JENNIE MARTS, 
USA Today bestselling author of the Cowboys of Creedence series
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Vikki’s Musings

Big Chance Cowboy is the first book in Teri Anne Stanley’s new series, Big Chance Dog Rescue. I adore dogs, so when I read the book description, I eagerly accepted the invitation from the publisher, via Net-Galley, to read and review. My opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

This is the first book I have read by Teri Anne Stanley, and I thoroughly enjoyed this emotionally-charged romance. The premise for this book is excellent and very believable. The secondary characters are intriguing, and I can’t wait to read their stories. The pacing is perfect and kept me turning the pages.

Lizzie Vanhook’s character is immediately appealing. Her sassy, yet vulnerable personality, is endearing, and I fell in love with her right away. No wonder she has a poor body image! Not only did her ex-boyfriend constantly harp on her weight, he also made light of her career goals as well. While his character is not actually in this book, Ms. Stanley gave me enough in Lizzie’s backstory to make me detest the jerk. The heroine deserved much better, so I truly wanted her to find her happy ending.

Adam Collins is my favorite kind of hero. He’s tortured and has shouldered a ton of guilt when his k-9 didn’t sense the explosives that killed and injured several of his team. My heart ached for him. He’s such a great guy and was not responsible for the explosion. I also wanted him to get the girl!

Lizzie and Adam knew each other in high school and even shared an intimate moment, but he left for the army, leaving a heartbroken Lizzie behind. When they meet again, the sparks fly immediately. The chemistry between them is combustible, and I loved the banter between the pair. They are perfect for each other.

Big Chance Cowboy sets up the rest of the books in this series. His teammates who show up at his ranch are as broken as Adam, with not only emotional scars, but physical ones as well. Each one of the guys will make great heroes!

I must mention the amazing dogs. D-Day, the rescue Lizzie can’t resist when he hops in her car uninvited and won’t leave, Loretta and her adorable newborn puppies that Adam and Lizzie save when they find her torn up, clearly used and abused by a dog fighting ring, and last but by no means least, Patton, the rescue who ends up tied to the mailbox, all will make outstanding service animals. I can’t wait to see the guys train these remarkable dogs.

If you enjoy contemporary romance with plenty of heart and characters you’ll want to love, then you’ll be as delighted as I with Big Chance Cowboy. I can’t wait to see which of these great guys will be the next hero. Happy reading!


Houston was three hours and a couple of broken dreams behind her when Lizzie Vanhook crossed the Chance County line, right about the same time the Check Tire Pressure light in her dashboard blinked on.
Crap.She’d been in the homestretch. There was something symbolic about an uninterrupted beeline home, to the place she planned to find her center of gravity. Maybe start doing yoga. Eat all organic. Drink herbal tea and learn to play the pan flute.
Flipping the turn signal, she pulled into Big America Fuel and stopped near the sign for Free Air. She stepped out onto the cracked gray asphalt and bent to search for the pressure gauge her dad always insisted she keep in the pocket of the door but came up empty.
She abandoned the driver’s side and went to the passenger door, hesitating when she noticed the dog leaning against the nearby air pump. The bigdog. It was missing some significant patches of hair, and the rest was black and matted. Its big, shiny teeth were bared in what she hoped was a friendly smile. Its football-player-forearm-sized tail thumped the ground, raising a cloud of sunbaked, Central Texas dust. Lizzie sneezed. The dog stopped wagging and raised an ear in her direction.
“Good boy,” she told it, hoping that was the right thing to say. It was one thing to misunderstand the intentions of a tiny fuzzball of a dog and need a few stitches. Ignoring a warning from something this size could be lethal. It had to weigh at least a hundred pounds.
She kept the beast in her peripheral vision while she bent to search for the tire gauge. Ah ha!
“Y’all need some help?”
“No!” Lizzie straightened and turned, the pressure gauge clenched in her raised fist.
“Whoa there!” A sun-bronzed elderly man, about half Lizzie’s size, held his hands in front of him in a gesture of peace.
“I’m sorry,” she said, relaxing slightly. “The dog—” She gestured but the thing was gone.
“Didn’t mean to scare you, darlin’,” the old man said, tilting hisBig Americaball cap back. “We’re a little slow today, so I thought I’d check on you.” He indicated the vacant parking lot.
“It’s fine,” she said. She should remember she was back on her own turf, where it was way more likely that a stranger at a gas station really didwant to help you out rather than distract you and rob you blind. “It’s been a long drive, and I’m a little overcaffeinated.”
“No problem. You local?”
“Yes,” Lizzie said. Even though she’d been gone for years, it was about to be true again.
The attendant squinted at the tool she carried. “You got a leaky tire?”
“I don’t know.” She stooped to unscrew the cap of the first valve. “The little light went on while I was driving.” Nope.That one wasn’t low. She put the cap back on and continued her way around the car while her new friend followed, chatting about Big Chance. He wondered about the likelihood the Chance County High School quarterback would get a scholarship offer. Lizzie had no idea; she hadn’t been keeping up. He speculated on the probability that the Feed and Seed might close, now that there was a new Home Depot over in Fredericksburg. She expected she’d hear about it from her mom and dad if the local place was closing and wondered if her friend Emma still worked there.
It had been ages since Lizzie had spoken to Emma, and a wave of guilt washed over her. Finally, the last valve was checked, and she screwed the cap back on. She reached through the open window and dropped the tire gauge on the passenger seat while she said “Everybody’s full. Must be a false alarm.” She wrinkled her nose as she caught a whiff of the interior of her car. Sheesh.The service station probably sold air fresheners; maybe she should invest in one. Compared to the breezy, wide open spaces of home, her car smelled like an inside-out dead deer. She wanted to get home, though, so she decided to deal with it later.
It wasn’t until she was backing out onto the main road that she realized the awful smell inside her vehicle wasn’t just long-drive funk. There was something—something big and black and furry—sitting in the middle of her back seat, panting and grinning in her rearview mirror.

Excerpted from Big Chance Cowboy by Teri Anne Stanley. © 2019 by Teri Anne Stanley. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

When Teri Anne Stanley isn’t writing sassy, sexy, love stories from her home, she’s probably doing some sort of arsty-crafsty thing and hanging with Mr. Stanley, her three favorite children, and the dogs. Sometimes she’s masquerading as a day job science geek. She’s definitely not cooking or cleaning. Visit her online at Teri Ann lives near Sugartit, Kentucky (which is between Beaver Lick and Rabbit Hash. Seriously). 


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