Monday, March 30, 2020

Book Review and Author Feature: A Long Bridge Home by Kelly Irvin

A Long Bridge Home by Kelly Irvin

Publisher & Release: Zondervan, February 11, 2020

Time and setting:  Present Day, Montana

Genre: Amish Fiction/Romance

Length: 336 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating:  4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

After her community in the awe-inspiring Montana mountains is suddenly consumed by a raging wildfire, one young Amish woman finds herself in a new town where she’s introduced to the Native culture of the Kootenai people. 
When the Mast family is forced to evacuate their home in the West Kootenai region of Montana, Christine chooses not to move with her family to her father’s childhood home in Kansas. Instead, she wants to stay closer to home and to her beau, Andy Lambright, who has yet to ask for her hand in marriage and who seems to be holding tightly to secrets from his past. 
Now, living with her aunt and uncle in St. Ignatius, Christine is on her own for the first time in her life. While working in her uncle’s store Christine meets Raymond Old Fox, whom she befriends, and he introduces her to his rich native culture with strong ties to the earth and nature. Despite the warnings of her aunt and uncle, Christine is inexplicably drawn to Raymond, and her mind is opened to a history and heritage far different from her own. 
With her newly expanding horizons, Christine wonders if she can return to the domestic life that is expected of her. Her heart still longs to be with Andy, but she isn’t the same person she was before the fire, and she wonders if he can accept who she is becoming. Has too much distance grown between them? Or can they bridge the gap from past to present and find their way back together?

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks goes the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of A Long Way Home by Kelly Irvin. I appreciate the chance to read and review this emotionally charged Amish fiction novel. My opinions are my own and are not influenced by the receipt of a copy.

A Long Way Home is a story of great hardship that turns a community’s life upside down. There are several main characters, some more interesting than others. There are several tragedies in this book, and my heart hurt for those.

Christine Mast’s character suffers the loss of her family when after the fire, they choose to return to Kansas. She doesn’t go with him since she hopes an Amish man wants her as her frau. While she lives with her uncle, she meets an Englischer, who shows her other ways to believe. I enjoyed her independence and determination to seek truth.

Andy Lambright is the hero. He’s in love with Christine and wants to make her his frau, but he has issues from his past he must resolve. He returns to his childhood home to confront those issues and see his father. I liked his character and enjoyed his determination to go to Christine with the past laid to rest.

As with many Amish novels, they interweave the romance around their Amish faith, so the primary focus is on their values and making sure they are following God’s plans and not their own desires. I enjoyed this couple’s journey to their happy ending.

If you enjoy Amish fiction with endearing characters and an intriguing plot, then you will like A Long Way Home. I’ve read many books by Kelly Irvin and enjoy her writing style and interesting plots. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

Kelly Irvin is the author of more than a dozen Amish books. Her latest series I Every Amish Season, featuring recently released Through the Autumn Air as well as Beneath the Summer Sun. The first book in the series, Upon a Spring Breeze, won the 2018 Readers Choice Award from the Faith, Hope, and Love Chapter of Romance Writers of America in the long contemporary romance category. The series is published by Zondervan/HarperCollins Christian Publishing.
She is also the author of the Amish of Bee County series that includes The Saddle Maker’s Son,  The Bishop’s Son and The Beekeeper’s Son. This last novel received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it “a delicately woven masterpiece.” The Beekeeper’s Son was a finalist in the national 2016 ACFW Carol Awards Contest in the romance category.  Kelly is also the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both from Harvest House. She has also penned two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine.
Among her other works are novellas in four collections, including  An Amish Christmas Gift (Snow Angels),  An Amish Market (Sweeter than Honey), An Amish Heirloom (The Midwife’s Dream), and An Amish Summer (One Sweet Kiss)
Kelly’s novelLove Redeemed, was a 2015 finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Carol Awards contest.
Kelly is also the author of Tell Her No Lies, a romantic suspense novel that releases in November from Thomas Nelson Publishing. Publishers Weekly called her first romantic suspense novel, A Deadly Wilderness, “a solid romantic suspense debut.” She followed up with No Child of Mind. She worked as a newspaper reporter for six years writing stories on the Texas-Mexico border. Those experiences fuel her romantic suspense novels set in Texas.
The Kansas native is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism. She has been writing nonfiction professionally for more than thirty years, including ten years as a newspaper reporter. She retired in 2016 after working 22 years in public relations for the City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department. She is a member of ACFW and Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers. In her spare time, she blogs, reads fiction, and loves her family.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Book Review: The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher & Release: Revell, January 1, 2012

Time and setting: Present Day, Amish Country

Genre: Amish Fiction

Length: 322 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Julia Lapp has planned on marrying Paul Fisher since she was a girl. Now twenty-one, she looks forward to their wedding with giddy anticipation. When Paul tells her he wants to postpone the wedding--again--she knows who is to blame. Perpetual bachelor and spreader of cold feet, Roman Troyer, the Bee Man.

Roamin' Roman travels through the Amish communities of Ohio and Pennsylvania with his hives full of bees, renting them out to farmers in need of pollinators. He relishes his nomadic life, which keeps him from thinking about all he has lost. He especially enjoys bringing his bees to Stoney Ridge each year. But with Julia on a mission to punish him for inspiring Paul's cold feet, the Lapp farm is looking decidedly less pleasant.
Can Julia secure the future she's always dreamed of? Or does God have something else in mind?

Full of the plot twists and surprises her fans love, The Keeper is the first in a new series by bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher. Through touching family relationships and trials of the heart, Fisher's vivid characters grapple with yielding to God's will when it doesn't match their own.

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Vikki’s Musings

I found The Keeper by Suzanne Woods Fisher on Audiobooks and selected it as one of my free books since I’m a fan of Ms. Fisher’s Amish novels. I’m so glad I choose this excellent book. The writing is amazing as always, her characters have depth and the plot is unique.

The love story is a bit of a love triangle where for much of the story, Roman is helping her attract the attention of Paul, the young man she thought would marry her until he got cold feet. Low and behold…turns out Julia sees Paul without her rose-colored glasses and realizes he isn’t ready to settle down and might not be for years. Roman on the other hand exhibits all the characteristics she wants in a husband. Problem: Roman runs away from any deep emotions because carries a lot of baggage from his past. 

The Keeper is much more than a romance though. It’s about family, siblings, deep friendships and a strong faith. I suggest you have your box of tissues by your side because yo’re going to need them, especially toward the end. 

If you enjoy Amish fiction with endearing characters and an emotionally charged plot, then you will enjoy The Keeper as much as I did. Ms. Woods-Fisher’s novel are fast becoming an auto-buy for me. Happy reading!

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Book Review: Cowboy Firefighter Heat by Kim Redford

Cowboy Firefighter Heat by Kim Redford

Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, March 31, 2020

Time and setting:  Contemporary setting, Texas

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Western

Length: 352 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating:  4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

She's back and hotter than ever. Good thing this firefighting cowboy can handle the sparks.

When country singer Fern Bryant returns to her cabin in Wildcat Hall Park, the last thing she expects to find is Craig Thorne in her home...asleep in her bed. Fern had big dreams, and chasing those dreams required sacrifices. Unfortunately, Craig was the cowboy singer and firefighter she left behind. Much to her surprise, now they're the co-owners of her beloved Wildcat Hall Park.
Craig hasn't seen Fern since she left Wildcat Bluff County—and him—to sing on a cruise ship. When she storms back into town, the sparks between the two aren't only rekindled but burn hotter than ever. As long days turn into long nights, Craig is determined to show Fern that she belongs in Wildcat Bluff...and his arms.

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Vikki’s Musings
Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the chance to read and review Cowboy Firefighter Heat by Kim Redford before publication. The gift of a complimentary copy has not influenced my opinion in any way.

Fern Bryant’s character had big plans and left her sister in charge of Wildcat Hall Park. Now she’s returned a little dissolute because her plans didn’t work as she’d wanted. She is ready to take over the hall in time for the big festival. I liked her character and enjoyed her loyalty to her employees and to her town.

Craig Thorne is a fantastic, hot hero. Not only is he a hot firefighter, he’s a rancher and a talented singer. He’s in love with Fern and never moved on when she left for her stint as a performer on a cruise ship. Her return is his chance to get her back. I loved his determination to win her heart.

This is a second chance romance, one of my favorite troupes. They are much more realistic because the relationship, the established sexual pull, makes this a yummy reading experience. The chemistry between Fern and Craig makes for a sensual reading experience.

Cowboy Firefighter has plenty of substance that kept me flipping the pages of my Kindle as fast as I could read. At no time did I feel that the story dragged, which is always great. I also loved the array of endearing characters of Wildcat Hall. Just love the bull and the little girl!

If you enjoy a romance with plenty of heat, along with great humor that will have you chuckling with a smile on your face, then you will love Cowboy Firefighter Heat. I look forward to reading your next book. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

Kim Redford is the bestselling author of Western romance novels. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos for inspiration. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she's a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider--when she takes a break from her keyboard.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

Jace: Kings of Country Book 1 by Sasha Summers

Jace (Kings of Country Book1) Sasha Summers

Publisher & Release: Sourcebooks Casablanca, March 31, 2020

Time and setting:  Present Day, USA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 416 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Flame

Rating:  4.25 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Let the music carry you away in this brand-new series featuring the King family and their country music dynasty
Music is all he has...but is it enough to heal them both?

Jace Black went from an oilfield roughneck to an overnight singing sensation. Now he's working on a duet with country music legend Krystal King, and he's determined to earn his way to the top. But the more time he spends with Krystal, the more he finds himself falling for her—and he's beginning to be more interested in her than he is in making a name for himself.
Krystal King grew up on stage and in the spotlight. No matter how golden her life appears, her past left deep wounds. But Jace Black makes her wish things were different. To do that, she'd have to risk letting him in... And that might be too big a risk for her battered heart to take.

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the opportunity to read and review Jace, Kings of Country, Book 1 before publication. My opinions are my own and are not influence by the complimentary copy.

There’s plenty to love about this book. The characters are complex, and the plot is intriguing. Jace, Kings of Country, kept me engaged from the beginning to the end. It’s clear that Ms. Summers did loads of research concerning the music industry. I enjoyed the King family and look forward to the next book in her new series.

Krystal King’s character is feisty and has a wall as thick as Jericho. What happened to her as an innocent young girl had a lasting effect on her. While I admit to getting frustrated with hot and cold attitude with our amazing hero.

Jace Black is a fantastic hero. His patience with Krystal is astonishing. Most men would have given up on Krystal, but he sees the true Krystal underneath her prickly persona. He too has baggage, but he refuses to allow it to influence his choices. He’s such an honorable man.

The romance between Krystal and Jace is very up and down with Krystal giving into the overwhelming sexual pull, then turning almost instantly into a shrew (B***H). That irritated me hence the 4.25 Gold Crown rating.

If you enjoy lots of high emotion, hot sex and want an introduction to the amazing King family, then you will love Jace, Kings of Country. I plan to read the next book in this series when it’s released. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

Sasha Summers grew up surrounded by books. Her passions have always been storytelling, romance and travel–passions she uses when writing. Now a best-selling and award winning-author, Sasha continues to fall a little in love with each hero she writes. From easy-on-the-eyes cowboy, sexy alpha-male werewolves, to heroes of truly mythic proportions, she believes that everyone should have their happy ending–in fiction and real life.
Sasha lives in the suburbs of the Texas Hill country with her amazing and supportive family and her beloved grumpy cat, Gerard, The Feline Overlord. She looks forward to hearing from fans and hopes you’ll visit her online. 

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Friday, March 13, 2020

Book Review with Featured Author: In Bed with the Earl by Christi Caldwell

In Bed with the Earl by Christi Caldwell

Publisher & Release: Montlake Romance, March 17, 2020

Time and setting:  Regency England, London

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 383 PagesHeat Level: 1 Flame

Rating:  4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

To solve a mystery that’s become the talk of the ton, no clues run too deep for willful reporter Verity Lovelace. Not even in the sewers of London. That’s precisely where she finds happily self-sufficient scavenger Malcom North, lost heir to the Earl of Maxwell. Now that Verity’s made him front-page news, what will he make of her?
Kidnapped as a child, with no memories of his well-heeled past, Malcom prefers the grimy spoils of the culverts to the gilded riches of society. Damn the feisty beauty who exposed the contented tosher to a parade of fortune-hunting matchmakers. How to keep them at bay? Verity must pretend to be his wife. She owes him.
The intimacy of this necessary arrangement—Verity and Malcom thrust together in close quarters—soon sparks an irresistible heat. But when the charade ends, the danger begins. Will love be enough to protect them from a treacherous plot devised to ruin them?

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the chance to read and review In Bed with the Earl by Christi Caldwell. A Regency Romance. My opinions are my own and are not influence by the complimentary copy.

In Bed with the Earl is the first book in Christi Caldwell’s new series, The Lost Lords of London, and a great beginning. I can always count on an emotionally charged story, and this book delivers that expectation. The pacing is good and kept me engaged from the start.

Verity Lovelace is our heroine. She has a gossip column with a London paper and is working on solving the mystery of the Earl of Maxwell. She is also responsible for her young sister, and while she’s the daughter of an earl, she’s illegitimate. She’s been on her own since the earl passed. I enjoyed her feistiness and grit. Regency England is not a place for a young woman with no resources.

Malcolm North is a fantastic hero with all the characteristics I love most. He has very few memories of his life as the heir to the Earldom. Kidnapped as a child and thrown into the seedy life in the underbelly of London, he’s ill prepared to assume the title when he’s found. As a tosher who crawls through the sewers looking for lost treasurers, he has no use for London Society. I could feel his frustrations when he believes Verity will do anything for her story.

In Bed with the Earl has all the sexual tension I love in Regency romance. The Irresistible pull between Verity and Malcolm is combustible. Each have their own reason to believe they aren’t what the other needs. I’m pleased they overcame the obstacles in their path to true love.

If you enjoy historical romance with plenty of deep emotion and characters that you’ll fall in love with, then you will love this novel as much as I. This is a great start to Christi Caldwell’s new series. I can’t wait to read the next one. Happy reading!

“May I help you, Miss Lovelace?” 

That lethal purr sounded from the front of the room, a silky taunt. 

With a gasp, the page slipped from her fingers and fluttered to a damning place at her feet. 

Mr. Bram yanked the cloths from his eyes, and he took in Verity beside Mr. North’s open desk. And all the color left his face. “Oh, bloody hell.” 

Oh, bloody hell, indeed. And all thoughts of having been rescued by a savior, and even the importance of this story, fled in the face of the danger staring back at her in his ruthless gaze. 

He is going to kill me… 

Verity swallowed hard. “If you’ll excuse us?” Mr. North murmured. 

Verity took a step toward the door. 

“Not you, Miss Lovelace.” 

Mr. Bram climbed awkwardly to his feet. “Oi’m so sorry,” he said hoarsely, an apology that went ignored by Mr. North. 

Her heart lurched. Every muscle in her body lurched. This was bad. Which would have been the understated statement of the century. She curled her toes into the soles of her borrowed slippers and followed the stranger’s—nay, he was no longer a stranger in name—the Earl of Maxwell’s gaze. As dread slowly wound its way through her, Verity curled those digits all the tighter. 

And as it was all the easier to focus on matters within her control, she looked to her older patient as he limped across the room. “Be sure and try out those remedies, Mr. Bram.” She felt Mr. North sharpen his gaze on her person. “And I’ve something that might help with that limp, too,” she promised. 

The older man stopped. “Do ya, now?” 

She may as well have promised him the sun, moon, and stars for the way he looked at her. “Oh, yes. You’ll require—” 

“Bram,” Mr. North snapped, and the older man instantly scuttled off, but not before flashing her an apologetic look. 

“It is really not Mr. Bram’s fault. He’s not done anything wrong. You really shouldn’t take your…” 

Not taking his eyes from her person, he reached behind him with an agonizing slowness and drew the door shut. Click. That soft but decisive snap that served as a seal of her fate. 

Just like that, Verity’s bravado flagged. She clutched at the fabric of her skirts. Wanting to be the composed reporter gathering her research, and undaunted in the face of peril. 

And she came up … pathetically empty. 

That cold smile affixed to hard lips remained in place, a grin that no person would dare mistake for anything but the feral threat it was. He pushed away from the door and started a languid stroll toward her. 

Had she truly been relieved about determining the identity of her savior and captor?

It was now all muddled. 

“Now, Miss Lovelace? If that is your name?” 

“M-my name?” Wasn’t it? Even her name eluded her in that moment. “Of course it is.” Her voice ended on a croak as he drew ever closer; the ice that frosted his gaze sprang her to the reality now facing her, the menace that spilled from his broad frame. Mayhap she’d been wrong. Because she’d experience with earls—was, in fact, the daughter of one. They were nothing like the predatory devil that stalked her now. “I am Miss Verity Lovelace. What grounds would I have to lie?” She hurried to place the chair of his desk between them as another barrier. 

He stopped his pursuit. “And how may I help you?” 

Ironically, the stranger—the gentleman—could have uttered no truer words than those. 

They fortified her, and sent resolve creeping back into her spine as she brought her shoulders back. Verity met his gaze squarely. “Are you the Earl of Maxwell?” 

Except, she already knew as much … she simply sought the confirmation from the gentleman’s mouth. 

His eyes grew shuttered, but not before she caught the flash of horror in their blue-black depths.

He was a man unaccustomed to being challenged. And his unsettledness eased away further frissons of fear. Verity slid out from behind his desk chair and glided slowly across the room. She stopped when only a handful of steps separated her from the very stranger who’d put a knife to her earlier that night. 

“Do I look like an earl?” he countered, belated with that reply—that deliberately evasive one. 

Taking that as an invitation to study him, Verity peered at Mr. North. That slightly hooked nose, which had been broken one or more times, did little to conceal the aquiline appendage that served as a signal of his birthright. The small white nicks and scars merely marred a canvas of otherwise flawless high, chiseled cheeks and a hard, square jawline. 

Glorious. Her pulse throbbed a beat harder. His features, melded with those flaws, only served to mark him beautiful in his masculinity. 

His mouth crept up in a tight, one-sided smile that didn’t meet pitiless eyes. “Did you have a good look, Miss Lovelace?” 

He’d noted her appreciation. Verity’s cheeks burnt, and she curled her toes into the soles of her borrowed slippers. He merely sought to disconcert her. It was a familiar state she’d found herself many times before, with many men before him. Feigning nonchalance, Verity gave her head a little toss. “You have the look and the tones of an earl,” she pointed out. “And more…” She gestured to those private missives she’d availed herself to. “You have letters written regarding the Baron Bolingbroke.” Verity stretched up on her tiptoes so she could at least hold his gaze and not be peered down at. “Therefore, Mr. North, I would say you are, in fact, the Earl of Maxwell, after all.”


Author Bio:

USA TODAY Bestselling, RITA-nominated author CHRISTI CALDWELL blames Julie Garwood and Judith McNaught for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and pick up her laptop to try her hand at romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections, and she rather enjoys torturing them before crafting them a well-deserved happily ever after! 

Christi makes her home in southern Connecticut where she spends her time writing her own enchanting historical romances and caring for her three spirited children! 

If you'd like the latest information about Christi's releases, future books, and free bonus material, be sure and subscribe to her newsletter! 

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