Monday, May 25, 2020

Book Review featuring author Allie Boniface: Autumn Allure

Autumn Allure by Allie Boniface

Publisher & Release: DFM Publishing, May 27, 2020

Time and setting: Present Day, New York 

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 262 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

It’s time for this playboy to face the music. He just never dreamed it would be a lullaby...

Bartender Nate Hunter enjoys his small-town, no-strings-attached life in Whispering Pines. Then a dying ex-girlfriend tracks him down to tell him he has a daughter he never knew existed. Nate doesn't know the first thing about being a father, but one look at Autumn and he's a goner, so he agrees to take care of her until her aunt returns at Christmas. 

When Nate asks the town’s librarian, no-nonsense Maxine Abbott, to move in with him and help take care of Autumn, she agrees, but only if he'll pretend to be her boyfriend and get her mother off her back. Their relationship of convenience works perfectly at first, until real feelings begin to invade their false romance. Then Autumn's aunt shows up early, and everything changes.

Will Nate and Maxine's budding love end in heartbreak before the last leaves fall?

If you love small towns, surprise baby and fake relationship stories, and swoon-worthy happy endings, then you'll love this sweet romance by a USA Today best-selling author!

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of Autumn Allure by Allie Boniface for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. A contemporary romance and Book 2 in her Whispering Pines series. My opinions are my own and no one has influenced me.

Autumn Allure is a well-written novel with engaging characters and an emotionally charged plot. The pacing is excellent and kept me enmeshed from the first page to the last. Ms. Boniface paints a lovely picture of the small-town Whispering Pines, giving me enough description without interfering with the story.

Maxine Abbott’s character is a delightful mix of prim librarian, loyal daughter, and friend. Maine, only her mother calls her that, she’s Max to everyone else, is ready for something to change in her life. She’s applied for the prestigious All Bright scholarship for years, but each year, she doesn’t get it. When she offers to help the hero take care of Autumn, she asks if she can move in and be his pretend girlfriend.

Max is an endearing character and stole my heart from the first page to the last. She’s so genuine with everyone and has the patience of a saint with her quirky mother. Her feelings run deep, and while she doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, she loves deeply.

Nate Hunter is an intriguing hero. He’s lived the life of a playboy, working as a bartender, always ready to party with his friends and has never had a girlfriend. He does love women and enjoys to sleeping with lots of them. I enjoyed his reaction when his past hits him. An ex-lover shows up, telling him he’s the father of a four-year-old daughter. The mother is dying, and she needs him to take Autumn until her sister returns from a mission trip.

Overwhelmed by fatherhood, when Max makes her offer, he’s relieved, but as he gets to know his daughter, and having Max around, he wants a different life. I became vested in his character from the start. He’s such an easy-going guy, but accepts responsibility without any hesitation. I enjoyed his transformation from party animal to Dad!

The romance between Max and Nate develops from a mutual desire to do right by Autumn. As they parent her together, the mutual attraction grows stronger by the day. I loved their sweet love story and wanted them to find their happy ending.

If you enjoy contemporary romance with characters that will tug at your heartstrings, then you will love Autumn Allure as much as I. I can’t wait to read the next book in this fantastic series. This is the third book I’ve read by the talented Ms. Boniface, and she’s becoming an auto-buy author for me. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

USA Today best-selling author Allie Boniface was born and raised in a tiny community in upstate New York, which probably explains her fascination with the magic of small-town life. She earned her B.A. in English from the University of Rochester in New York and a M.A. in English Literature from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Since 1997, she has enjoyed life in the northern NYC suburbs, where she lives with her husband and teaches English and Education to high school students. In her spare time, she and her husband love to travel. She is also a runner, a musician and an animal-lover.

Allie writes contemporary romance series set in small towns (with lots of secrets and spice!). She reads in all genres and loves chatting with other readers and writers about any topic under the sun. You can find her around the Web, at writers' conferences, giving workshops, swapping stories, and generally chatting about romance writing. 

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Book Review with featured author, Denise Hunter: Carolina Breeze

Carolina Breeze by Denise Hunter

Publisher & Release: Thomas Nelson, May 19, 2020

Time and setting:  Contemporary, Blue Bell, North Carolina

Genre: Christian Women’s Fiction/Christian Romance

Length: 336 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

A jilted bride. A struggling innkeeper. And a romantic mountain getaway that changes everything
Rising Hollywood star Mia Emerson is looking for a safe place to land in the wake of a public breakup and celebrity scandal, and she finds it in the lake town of Bluebell, North Carolina—the location of her canceled honeymoon. She wants nothing more than to hide and wait for the tabloids to die down.
Soon after her arrival at the Bluebell Inn, Mia meets Levi Bennett, who runs the inn along with his two younger sisters. Drawn to one another from the start, Mia trusts Levi to keep her location from the press, and Levi confides in Mia about the precarious financial state of the inn—a secret he’s been keeping from his sisters.
When Mia and Levi discover an old journal that hints at a rare diamond necklace hidden in the inn, they set off on a treasure hunt to find the long-lost heirloom. What they don’t expect to surface are feelings they thought were safely locked away. Mia and Levi must decide if falling in love again is too big a risk—or if it will uncover a treasure of its own instead.
“A breeze of brilliance! Denise Hunter’s Carolina Breeze will blow you away with a masterful merge of mystery, chemistry, and memories restored in this lakeside love story of faith, family, and fortune.” —JULIE LESSMAN, award-winning author
·       The second novel in the Bluebell Inn Romance series
·       Book one: Lake Season
·       Book two: Carolina Breeze
·       Book three: Autumn Skies – Available October 2020
·       Full-length romance (c. 87,000 words)
·       Includes Discussion Questions for Book Clubs

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of Carolina Breeze by Denise Hunter for the purpose of reading and reviewing prior to publication. My opinions are my own and no one has influenced them in any way.

Carolina Breeze is a well-written novel with engaging characters and an intriguing plot. There is an excellent mystery involving a treasure hunt. The pacing kept me enmeshed in the tale from the first page to the last.

Mia Emerson’s character is an actress who comes on what should have been her honeymoon without the groom. Her grandparents owned the Blue Bell Inn, and she wants to learn more about them since she never met them. Her backstory had me vested in her character from the start. My heart ached for the bewildered and rejected child she must have been.

Levi Bennett is a hero with all the traits I enjoy the most. He’s a brother determined to do right by his sisters. When their parents die in a car crash, his dad lived long enough for him to ask Levi to watch over his sisters. He takes it to the extreme and shelters them from the reality that their parent’s inn is in deep financial debts which he has been juggling. He is no time for romance, but when Mia checks in, he’s a goner. His backstory also pulled me in and had me wanting to give him a hug and a shoulder to help him carrying what he perceives as his burdens.

The romance between Levi and Mia is sweet and creates a powerful bound of friendship. Levi can’t resist her though, so he recognizes his feelings for her could easily develop into love. Mia is struggling with a dilemma that puts her on the radar of social media which has the potential to ruing her acting career while recovering from the break off of her engagement. She’s pulled to Levi, but it takes her a little longer to realize she’s falling in love with him. I really wanted them to find a way to make their happy ending work!

If you enjoy Christian romances with characters that will tug at your heartstrings and have you rooting for them, then you will love Carolina Breeze as much as I. I plan to go back and read the first book in the Blue Bell Inn series. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

I write heartwarming, small-town love stories. My readers enjoy the experience of falling in love vicariously through characters and can expect a happily-ever-after sigh as they close the pages of my books. Does that sound like you? Hang around a bit.
You can read free chapters right here on my site. Just find the book you want to read and click on the “Preview” button right below it. Or go to my Contest page—I give away a signed book or a gift card every month. There’s also a printable booklist on the "Books" page. And don't forget to check out the recipes!

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Monday, May 18, 2020

Book Review with featured author, Carrie Lighte: Her Amish Suitor's Secret

Her Amish Suitor’s Secret by Carrie Lighte

Publisher & Release: Love Inspired, June 01, 2020

Time and setting: Present Day, Maine

Genre: Amish fiction

Length: 224 Pages

Heat Level: 1 Sweetheart

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

Sometimes the truth comes at a cost.

Can she forgive him

when she learns his true identity?
Posing as an Amish groundskeeper at Rose Allgyer’s lakeside cabin retreat, Englischer Caleb Miller is determined to clear his brother’s name of theft. But as he’s drawn to Rose’s good nature, the burden of his ruse gets heavier—especially after learning Rose was deceived by her ex-fiancĂ©. Still guarded, will Rose trust Caleb with her heart when she discovers he isn’t who he claims to be?

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy for the purpose of reading and reviewing Her Amish Suitor’s Secret by Carrie Lighte prior to publication. My opinions are my own and no one has influenced them.

Her Amish Suitor’s Secret is a well written Amish fiction with engaging characters and a plot that will touch your heart. The pacing kept me engaged from the first page to the last. There’s a bit of a mystery too.

Rose Allgyer’s character is just what I expect with an Amish heroine, mostly. She’s dedicated to her faith and family. However, she’s not looking for a suitor or husband after the rough breakup with the last man who courted her. She’s determined to save enough money to start her own business. 

Caleb Miller is not the typical Amish hero. First, he’s an Englischer impersonating as an Amish man. Since he is fluent in German, he pulls it off. Since his fake image is necessary to save his brother from prison, he must succeed and find the culprits that will prove his brother’s innocence. I enjoyed his character and could feel his desperation.

The romance between Rose and Caleb is a slow build, typical of an Amish romance. While I liked both characters, I didn’t feel a powerful connection between them. Although I wanted them to find their happy ending.

If you enjoy Amish fiction with a strong spiritual message and an intriguing mystery to solve, then you will like Her Amish Suitor’s Secret. This is the third book in this series, but this novel and easily a stand-alone read. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

Carrie Lighte enjoys traveling to Amish communities across the United States and she hopes to visit a few in Canada soon, too. When she isn't writing, reading or researching, she likes to hike, kayak and spend time at the beach.

She loves hearing from readers and can be found at or on Twitter.

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Book Review with featured author, Kate Hewitt: Into the Darkest Day

Into the Darkest Hour by Kate Hewitt

Publisher & Release: Bookouture, May 14, 2020

Time and setting:  Dual setting, WW II and present day

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 395 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

She had to step outside and hold the paper up to the moonlight to read it, but when she was able to make out the words, her heart felt as if it would drop right out of her chest. Because the message was in German. 

1944, London:
When Lily meets enigmatic GI Matthew in war-torn London, she doesn’t expect to fall in love. While her sister starts a reckless affair with another GI, Lily tries to hide her growing feelings for Matthew.

But Matthew has a devastating secret. One that could change their lives forever.

Present day, USA:
Abby lives a quiet life on an apple farm in Wisconsin. Tormented by survivor’s guilt after the tragic deaths of her mother and brother, Abby leaves the orchards as little as possible, keeping her life small, peaceful and safe… Until she is contacted by Englishman Simon Elliot, who arrives nursing a heartbreak of his own, and bearing a World War Two medal that he claims belonged to Abby’s grandfather.

Together they begin to piece together the heartbreaking story of their relatives’ war. But as the story brings Abby and Simon closer—tentatively beginning to lean on one another to heal—they uncover a dark secret from the past.

And like Lily and Matthew nearly eighty years before them, it will make Abby and Simon question whether you can ever truly trust someone, even when they have your heart…

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Vikki’s Musings

Thanks go to the publisher and Net-Galley for the complimentary copy of Into the Darkest Day by Kate Hewitt for the purpose of reviewing and reading prior to publication. My opinions, my own and no one has influenced them.

Into the Darkest Day is a well-written and edited novel set in 1944 and present day. There are several principal characters since Ms. Hewitt set her book in two different times. It became a bit tedious to read and dragged. Although I enjoyed Lily and Matthew’s story a great deal. For me, the Abby and Simon storyline wasn’t as compelling. 

Lily and Matthew meet when her parents open their home to two American servicemen. They develop and friendship which turns into more as the story progresses. The author’s vivid description of Lily’s emotions over the letters she must write to families of war causalities is gripping. Matthew’s response to the death camps is heart wrenching and brought tears to my eyes.

Abby and Simon’s storyline didn’t work for me. The character development could have been stronger. They too form a friendship as they try to solve the mystery of the medals and how the pieces fit together. Their backstory is tragic, but their emotions toward them wasn’t as emotional as I would have liked.

Ms. Hewitt clearly did her research and her graphic descriptions of the death camps, the imprisoned people found alive, and the devastating bombing England endured during WW II is gripping and broke my heart. This is stellar, and I enjoyed it tremendously.

If you enjoy WW II novels with realistic descriptions and a lovely romance between Lily and Matthew with a satisfying ending, then you will enjoy Into the darkest Day. Overall, I enjoyed this novel, and I’m glad I accepted the invitation. Happy reading!

Author Bio:

Kate Hewitt is the bestselling author of many novels of women's fiction, including the Hartley-by-the-Sea series set in the Lake District, the Willoughby Close series set in the Cotswolds, and Tales From Goswell written as Katharine Swartz. Her novel A Mother's Goodbye has been called 'unputdownable' and 'the most emotional book I have ever read' by readers. Her latest novel, Not My Daughter, is out now, and No Time to Say Goodbye is available for preorder.

She lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five young(ish) children, along with their two Golden Retrievers. Join her newsletter for monthly updates and giveaways at, or be part of her Facebook groups Kate's Reads.

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