Posted in Book Review, Bookstagram, New Adult Romance, Romance, Romantic Suspense

Trust In You Julia Firlotte 4* #Review @juliafirlotte @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #Intrigue #Summer #Love #comingofage #FallingForYou #Secrets #RomanticSuspense #NewAdultRomance #Kansas #TrustinYou #Bookstagram #BookstagramTour #Instagramjolliffe01

From the moment she met him, Ella Peterson had questions. As always, though, she’s too shy to ask.

Older and sexy as hell, mysterious Adam Brook soon sweeps sheltered Ella off her feet; but is he as perfect as he appears to be, or is there more to him than he’s telling her?

When events spiral out of Ella’s control, she learns the person she needs to rely on most is herself and her instincts on who to trust in the future.

It’s just that her instincts are screaming at her to trust Adam; it’s what he tells her that makes that a problem.

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This is the first book in the Falling for You series and ends with a ‘happy for now’ conclusion.

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Ella is eighteen and naive. Life’s not been easy for her, bullied at school, losing her father and uncle, and then emigrating with her sisters to Kansas to live on her deceased uncles farm, has left her hurting and vulnerable.

Being teased by some local young men reminds her of past bullying and makes her shy and withdrawn. An instant connection with one of group unsettles her. Told entirely from Ella point of view in the first person, the reader feels everything she does, and it makes the story immersive and intense. From a slow start, the story soon becomes addictive reading. Ella is an engaging character, easy to empathise and like.

Her emotions and motivations are well described and portray a young woman on the brink of falling in love perfectly. The precarious financial situation Ella and her sisters are in, draws them into a world they are both unfamiliar with and unprepared for.

The explosive chemistry between Adam and Ella make the love scenes, hot and passionate. Adam’s secrets lead to conflict and danger for Ella. Ella’s vulnerability is an underlying theme, and some of the situations she faces, are disturbing. Her character development is notable and makes her character believable and relatable.

The plot is intriguing and makes reading the next book in the series a must.

Julia Firlotte

Julia is an avid reader of all things romance, and she has read hundreds of books across a variety of sub-genres and began writing her own novels in 2018. Four books are currently in various stages of editing and completion, the first of which is finished and will be on sale in spring 2020.

Julia has always been passionate about languages and fiction and has a degree in Languages And Trade and an A-Level in English Literature. When Julia is not writing or editing her own novels, she usually has her nose in books by other authors and is otherwise kept busy caring for her family, going to the gym and carrying out her day job. Julia lives on the South Coast of England with her two children, husband and cats.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Noir, Suspense, Thriller

Locked in Fear Liz Cowley, Donough O’Brien 4*#Review @urbanebooks #Lovebookstours @LoveBooksGroup #Crime #PoliceProcedural #BlogTour #BookReview #LockedinFear #AliceDiamond @lizlifepoetry @Quirkyhistory

The stunning new thriller from the authors of Serial Damage. In a sleepy country village, Detective Inspector Robin Marshal – now in retirement – is nearly killed by a stranger. His friend Alice, a police psychiatrist, discovers that the murder attempt was almost certainly ordered by a terrifying criminal, ‘Big Mack’, currently incarcerated in a notoriously violent prison. There his criminal kingdom controls not only the inmates but many of the guards, through the power of money and the threat of extreme violence.

When Alice goes to work in the prison to find out more, she too becomes a target, her car machine-gunned on a country road, and Robin is attacked again while recovering in Spain.

Under pressure from an outraged public and with political concern rising, the authorities try to put a stop to Big Mack’s activities. But everyone is under threat when he is suddenly at large following a murderous escape. How can this evil kingpin be stopped?

Locked in Fear is a gripping thriller.

Publishes in March 2020

Amazon UK Urbane Publications

I received a copy of this book from Urbane Publications in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Suspenseful and sinister this story starts with an unexpected and near-fatal attack. The action keeps the adrenaline pumping throughout the book’s twists and turns. Ex-policeman Robin and psychologist Alice have been in the line of fire before. They have history and are firm friends. Some of the characters previously featured in the first novel, Serial Damage.

The insight into prison life and problems is well-researched. The characters are realistically flawed and don’t shy away from moral dilemmas. The character development focuses on the protagonists, but a little more insight into the antagonists would have increased impact on the reader.

I like the pacy, short-headed chapters and the gradual suspense building, which rises and falls believably. The ending is clever and unexpected.

Liz Cowley, whose family comes from Connemara, is a long-time fan of poetry, she enjoyed success with her first collection, A Red Dress, published in 2008 and her second, What am I Doing Here? (2010), which were then made into a theatrical show. Her next book ‘And guess who he was with?’ published in 2013, and two poetry books for gardeners, Outside in my Dressing Gown, and Gardening in Slippers, are bestsellers. Serial Damage was her first novel.

Her latest thriller, Locked in Fear, written with Donough O’Brien publishes in March 2020.

Donough enjoyed a successful marketing career in Britain, Ireland and the US. His previous books include Fame by Chance, Banana Skins, Numeroid, and In the Heat of Battle: a study of those who rose to the occasion in warfare and those who didn’t. His latest historical book was WHO? The most remarkable people you’ve never heard of. He has co-authored thrillers Peace Breaks Out with Robin Hardy and Serial Damage with his wife Liz Cowley.

His latest book Locked in Fear will be published in March 2020.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Bookstagram, Crime, Noir, Suspense

Perdition’s Child Anne Coates 5*#Review @UrbaneBooks @Anne_Coates1 @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #PoliceProcedural #Crime #CrimeFiction #HannahWeybridge #Journalist #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs

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I received a copy of this book from Urbane Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Having read Dancers in the Wind the first book, in the Hannah Weybridge series, I eagerly anticipated reading this fourth book and it is an addictive read. Hannah, an investigative journalist, is a dedicated investigator. She believes justice for the victim is worth the personal danger. As a single mother, Hannah is a realistic character, with contemporary relatability. The 1990s setting means less advanced forensic science and technology, making deduction and intuition skills vital, for crime investigation.

The plot is original and cleverly written, full of menace and twists, to keep you reading. There are connections to previously known characters, but the story is standalone.

Anne Coates

For most of her working life in publishing, Anne has had a foot in both camps as a writer and an editor, moving from book publishing to magazines and then freelancing in both. Having edited both fiction and narrative non-fiction, she has also had short stories published in a variety of magazines including Bella and Candis and is the author of seven non-fiction books. Telling stories is Anne’s first love and nearly all her short fiction as well as Dancers in The Wind and Death’s Silent Judgement began with a real event followed by a ‘what if …’. That is also the case with the two prize-winning 99Fiction.net stories: Codewords and Eternal Love.

Perdition’s Child published February 2020

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Read my review of Dancers in the Wind

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Humour, Romance, Romantic Comedy

The First Date Zara Stoneley 5* #Review @0neMoreChapter_ @ZaraStoneley #Romance #RomCom #BlogTour #BookReview #TheFirstDate @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation

Right place.
Right time.
Wrong guy …

After breaking up with her childhood sweetheart, clueless dater Rosie has found herself in a boyfriend-drought. So when she finally swipes right on a guy who seems interested, she can’t wait to meet up IRL.

​Until she’s left standing alone. In a bar. Ghosted.

Enter Noah. Confident, funny … and a serial first dater. Offering to give Rosie a crash course in seduction, this could be just what she needs. Until her matchmaker turns out to be the best date she’s ever had – and Rosie wonders if she wants the fake dates to be the real ones after all …

A hilarious, heartwarming romantic comedy about what happens when the wrong guy turns up at the right time.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts

There is always an original zany charm in Zara Stoneley’s novels. Rosie is determined to end her boyfriendless state and turns to an online dating app because she’s a modern girl and knows that’s where she’ll meet the man of her dreams. Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, things do not go to plan, and she ends up embarrassingly alone at the bar. Noah never a man to miss an opportunity moves in for the charm offensive, and the two hit it off, as friends when he agrees to give out of practice Rosie, lessons on first dates.

What follows is often amusing, sometimes poignant and gently romantic. Rosie has issues about her father, which dominates her life, and stops her from being the person she could be. The characters are quirky but believable, and the plot has a few surprises.

Zara Stoneley

Zara Stoneley is the USA Today bestselling author of ‘The Wedding Date’.

She lives in a Cheshire village with her family, a lively cockapoo called Harry, and a very bossy (and slightly evil) cat called Saffron.

Born in a small village in the UK, Zara wanted to be a female James Herriot, a spy, or an author when she grew up. After many (many) years and many different jobs, her dream of writing a bestseller came true. She now writes about friendship, dreams, love, and happy ever afters, and hopes that her tales make you laugh a lot, cry a little, and occasionally say ‘ahhh’.

Zara’s bestselling novels include ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘No One Cancels Christmas’, ‘The Wedding Date’, ‘The Holiday Swap’, ‘Summer with the Country Village Vet’, ‘Blackberry Picking at Jasmine Cottage’ and the popular Tippermere series – ‘Stable Mates’, ‘Country Affairs’ and ‘Country Rivals’.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Holiday Romance, Romantic Comedy

Sunrise Over Sapphire Bay Holly Martin 5*#Review @HollyMAuthor #romcom #uplit #BlogTour #BookReview #SunriseOverSapphireBay #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation #MondayMorning #mondaythoughts

Fall in love with the beautiful Jewel Island this summer, where the sapphire sea sparkles, the golden sun warms your skin and the islanders melt your heart. From the bestselling author of The Little Village of Happiness comes Holly Martin’s most romantic novel yet.

Aria Philips has lived on Jewel Island all of her life. Even when her sisters Clover and Skye left its stunning shores for bigger and better things, Aria stayed to help her father run their family hotel.

A year after her father’s death Aria’s done everything she can to keep things afloat but the hotel has long been struggling to make a profit. With so few guests Aria risks losing the only home she’s ever had.

Noah Campbell earned his fortune from making hotels a success, and he also just happens to be staying on Jewel Island this summer. Could he be the answer to Aria’s problems? If only he hadn’t kissed her under the willow tree the year before and never called her again. It had been the most incredible kiss of her life, but clearly business and pleasure should never be mixed.

As gorgeous and charming as Noah may be, Aria vows to keep things professional while she seeks his help. But for the past year Noah has been keeping a secret and his return to Jewel Island is about to change Aria’s life forever…

Soak up the sun in Sapphire Bay with this feel-good novel you won’t be able to put down. An unforgettable summer romance

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Gentle romantic comedy set in a picturesque coastal setting. Aria is generous and loving, adopted as a baby, after being abandoned by her birth mother, she always feels the need to fit in. Noah is an astute and rich business developer, but his attraction to Sapphire Bay is personal. Aria and Noah are good people, but with significant trust, and in Aria’s case self-worth, issues. Their relationship is conflicted but full of humour, passion and poignancy.

Authentic characters and a simple plot make this an easy read, filled with heartwarming and uplifting moments, balanced with misunderstanding and sadness. Most of the characters are likeable, but someone has a vindictive agenda. The hotel is a vibrant setting, with lots of scope for future stories?

Enjoyable, escapist reading, perfect.

Holly Martin

I live in a little white cottage overlooking the sea. I studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by an even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of my colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when I knew I had to escape. I quit my job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, I emerged wide eyed and terrified that I now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. I taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave me a lot of time to plan out my stories and I now write full time, doing what I love.

I have been writing for 6 years. I was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance 2012. My short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology in 2013. I won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with my novel The Guestbook. I was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014.

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Posted in Author Guest Post, Blog Blitz, Guest post, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Travel

Through Dust and Dreams. An African Adventure Roxana Valea ​#GuestPost @roxana_valea @rararesources #Travel #memoir #Africa #ThroughDustandDreams #BlogBlitz #SundayThoughts #RachelsRandomThoughts

At a crossroads in her life, Roxana decides to take a ten-day safari trip to Africa. In Namibia, she meets a local guide who talks about “the courage to become who you are” and tells her that “the world belongs to those who dream”.

Her holiday over, Roxana still carries the spell of his words within her soul. Six months later she quits her job and searches for a way to fulfil an old dream: crossing Africa from north to south. Teaming up with Richard and Peter, two total strangers she meets over the Internet, Roxana starts a journey that will take her and her companions from Morocco to Namibia, crossing deserts and war-torn countries and surviving threats from corrupt officials and tensions within their own group.

Through Dust and Dreams is the story of their journey: a story of courage and friendship, of daring to ask questions and search for answers, and of self-discovery on a long, dusty road south.

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Guest Post – Roxana Valea

Through Dust and Dreams.

Follow your dreams

“The world belongs to those who dreams.” he told me looking deep into my eyes.

I was a tourist on a ten day safari trip in Namibia. He was the tour guide. We were finishing our drinks late at night under the full moon. The rest of the tourists were already asleep but I didn’t want to go to sleep. It was my last night in Africa and I didn’t feel ready to go back and face my job, my life, my flat, and all the emptiness I left behind.

I thought it was only a big statement called in by too much alcohol. I pretended I didn’t hear it. But somewhere deep down, it touched me. What are my dreams? I asked myself. I didn’t know. I hadn’t asked myself the question.

I went back the next day and returned to a life that was a far cry from what I really wanted. Not that I actually knew what was it that I really wanted. But then, something magic happened. I started to dream again. New things came into my mind, at the beginning like a shy day dreaming thought that would quickly disappear. Slowly, these thoughts turned into constant companions. Thoughts  like “I want to go back to Africa. I want to travel. I want to find a job that has meaning. I want to explore where I really want to live and what type of job I really want to do.” And then another though hit me with the power of a hammer: these were more than wishes.

These were my dreams.

And then, six month later, when I was offered a moment of choice, I took it. I chose to get up and go follow these dreams and turn them into reality. I left my job and went back to Africa.

Dreams are not wishes. They are not frustrations about things that should have happened in a certain way and didn’t. They are also not the product of imagination, some bubble that comes and stays with us for a while and then departs as unexpectedly and suddenly as it came. Dreams come from somewhere deep down, from the bottom of our soul. Dreams originate from the very fabric of who we really are and come to tell us a story about why we were born and what we are meant to do here, on earth. Dreams are the way your soul talks to us.

In the high Andes, the shamans, the medicine men and women of the descendants of the Incas, say that we dream the world into being. What they mean is that the reality that surrounds us – where we live, who we marry, what type of job we do – all this is a product of a dream that we have dreamed at some point. We might have done this unconsciously and didn’t fully understand what reality we had called into our life. But we may choose to do this consciously, select the dreams that we dream and then watch how this unfolds in reality.

Because, you see, in order to dream your world into being, it’s enough to hold your dreams in your consciousness. Be aware of them. Let them live in you. Let them inspire you.

So I kept these dreams alive and  six months after my return from the ten day safari in Namibia, I found a once in a life time opportunity to cross Africa from North to South, in a Land Rover, in the company of two others.

And here’s the last catch. Things come to us because we dreamed them. But then we need to take the decision to follow them. The opportunity could have come and gone and I could have stayed in my  meaningless job and carried on with my  empty life in my small flat. But I decided differently.

And with this, a whole new world opened up. Because my African guide was right, the world does belong to those who dream.

If you want to know the whole story, read my travel memoir, “Through Dust and Dreams – The Story of an African Adventure”

Roxana Valea

Roxana Valea was born in Romania and lived in Italy, Switzerland, England and Argentina before settling in Spain. She has a BA in journalism and an MBA degree. She spent more than twenty years in the business world as an entrepreneur, manager and management consultant working for top companies like Apple, eBay, and Sony. She is also a Reiki Master and shamanic energy medicine practitioner.

As an author, Roxana writes books inspired by real events. Her memoir Through Dust and Dreams is a faithful account of a trip she took at the age of twenty-eight across Africa by car in the company of two strangers she met over the internet. Her following book, Personal Power: Mindfulness Techniques for the Corporate World is a nonfiction book filled with personal anecdotes from her consulting years. The Polo Diaries series is inspired by her experiences as a female polo player–travelling to Argentina, falling in love, and surviving the highs and lows of this dangerous sport.

Roxana lives with her husband in Mallorca, Spain, where she writes, coaches, and does energy therapies, but her first passion remains writing.

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Posted in Biography, Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction

If Clouds Were Sheep Sue Andrews 5*#Review @ShepherdessSue @CrumpsBarnStudio #AutoBiography #memoir #sheep #farming #motivational #BookReview #Paperback #IfCloudsWereSheep #Cotswolds #Dreams @MsLornaGray

mde

If Clouds Were Sheep…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This honest and humorous memoir gives a unique insight into sheep farming in the Cotswolds.

When their friendship leads to love, Sue is happy to share Aubrey’s boyhood dream of farming sheep. Sue shares life experiences, people who influenced their lives and the characterful animals integral to their farming dream.

It’s an engaging and immersive read, sharing life’s ups and downs, of farming sheep. Their dedication and respect for the animals are evident, and the reader soon realises that farming is a way of life rather than a job. Humorous and poignant anecdotes, fill the pages of this memoir. There are lots of interesting facts about sheep farming.

An inspiring and motivational memoir that proves dreams can be chased and won.