Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, Medical Romance, Romance, Romance -Dark and Steamy

Mills and Boon Holiday Reads #Reviews #MillsandBoonInsiders @MillsandBoon #HistoricalRomance #Romance #Medical #Military #BookReviews @Bronwynscott @scarlet_wilson @JossWoodbooks @CaraLockwood

I received copies of these books from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for honest reviews.

The Earl’s heir

And the rebel artist

Artist Artemisia Stansfield has four months to prove herself to the Royal Academy of Arts. When she finds out that aristocratic art critic, Darius Rutherford, has been snooping in her studio, she’s furious! Sparks of anger turn into flames of desire, but one lapse in judgement could give Darius all the fuel he needs to ruin her, as a lady and as an artist! Unless she trusts him enough to take the risk…?

My Thoughts… 5*#Review

This story has a fascinating theme. It’s full of pertinent historical detail that illustrates the struggle of female artists at this time. The chemistry between Artemisia and Darius in this slow-burn, but ultimately passionate romance is memorable. The emotional connection deepens as the couple get to know each other, and support the other through the conflicts they face.

The character and story development are notable, and it’s an enjoyable reading experience.

A missed blind date…

…leads to a chance at forever!

After exchanging messages for months via a dating app, Surgeon Ivy Ross is finally ready to meet up with ‘Mr. Right’. But when work calls her away the chance is lost…until fate intervenes and Ivy’s blind date – Travis King – arrives as her new Senior Medical Officer…aka her boss! Travis and Ivy know mixing business and pleasure is a bad idea, but sometimes bad ideas feel so good…

My Thoughts… 4*#Review

An interesting setting focusing on medics in the Navy is the background for Ivy and Travis’ romance. Meeting on a dating app, chemistry sparks and they decide to meet, but duty calls and Ivy doesn’t show. Their first meeting is unexpected and difficult as the logistics of a workplace romance on a ship are difficult and forbidden.

Both of the characters are relatable with conflicted and believably written romance. Ivy’s dedication to her career, and Travis’ struggle with his mental health, add additional conflict and give this story authenticity.

This is an original medical/military romance.

If I kiss you,
there’s no going back…’

Hosting South Africa’s wedding of the year at his exclusive safari lodge is Radd Tempest-Vane’s ticket to restoring his family’s empire. As long as he finds a new florist, fast! Brinley Riddell is the perfect candidate. She’s also an immediate distraction.

For Brin, this lucrative job is her chance to be free of the family who never thought her good enough. Radd may be proud, and strictly off-limits, but he’s the sexiest man she’s ever met! Surely one impossibly steamy encounter won’t upend their simple business deal…?

My Thoughts… 4*#Review

This is an atmospheric story, full of vibrant sensory imagery that immerses the reader in the setting. The story follows one man’s quest to rebuild his family’s legacy and a woman’s need to distance herself from her grasping family.

Both characters, are strong and have trust issues, which mean love and romance are not on their life list. A powerful and instantaneous attraction upsets their carefully laid plans and makes for a heated and passionate love affair. Brin has a secret which threatens their new understanding and is the major conflict in this story.

A love that is as decadent, deadly and desirable as the story’ setting is the perfect escapist read.

She’s definitely not invited…
But that won’t stop her

Heiress Asha Patel just crashed a party without knowing that the decadent masquerade ball is for exclusive members. The moment she sees gorgeous, delectably sexy French host Mathis Durand, Asha knows she wants membership more than anything. But Durand has something else in mind for the desi bombshell… Is Asha willing to pay the dangerously high price?

My Thoughts… 3*#Review

This story has potential, but the characters are not as relatable as they could be and the mystique and sensuality of the secret club and masquerade ball is not fulfilled. The love scenes are well-written but the emotional connection is lacking for me.

Posted in Book Review, Festive Read, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Mills and Boon Holiday Reading #Reviews @MillsandBoon #MollyCoopersDreamDate #TheChristmasExchange #Film @BarbaraHannay #StacyConnelly #AnneOliver #OneWinterWedding #BookReviews #TheChristmasWeddingPlanner

I received a copy of these book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for honest reviews.

Molly’s Diary April 10th

So, I’ve finally done it. I’ve house-swapped my little cottage in Australia for a snazzy bachelor pad in Chelsea. I can’t wait to explore London. Most of all I’m hoping to meet my dream man, my secret fantasy: a perfect English gentleman. Though I’m starting to wonder whether Patrick, my house-swapper, might actually be HIM! Is that ridiculous?

We’ve been e-mailing – and he sounds HOT! Oh, hang on, there’s another e-mail now – can’t wait to find out what Patrick’s been up to… What do you do when you realise the one you want is half a world away – living in your home, sleeping in your bed…?

My Thoughts… 4* #Review

This is a book in, ‘The Holiday’ house swap theme, but with some original differences that make this an engaging read. The couple, swop their homes, correspond by email, and gradually a relationship develops.

The reader gains important insight into both characters, from the emails, and diary entries. This adds to the story’s enjoyment. There’s a twist, which threatens the fledgeling relationship magnified because Molly is looking for an ideal man and has trust issues, but eventually love prevails and there’s a happy ever after.

The romance is gentle and sweet, making this easy to escape with and a heartwarming read.

One Winter Wedding

The perfect place to meet your groom

Once Upon a Wedding – Stacy Connelly
Wedding planner Kelsey Wilson’s business depends on her cousin’s wedding going off without a hitch. So when private investigator, Connor McClane shows up to stop the wedding Kelsey must stop him. But as sparks fly between the two might there be a wedding after all…

Bridesmaid Says ‘I do!’ – Barbara Hannay
Thrilled to be Bella’s bridesmaid, Zoe throws herself into her duties. But meeting the groom himself, sexy Kent Rigby, ruins everything…
What happens when you find the man of your dreams and he belongs to someone else?

The Morning After The Wedding Before – Anne Oliver
Emma Byrne takes her role as her sister’s Maid of Honour seriously. But drop dead sexy best man Jake Carmody is determined to loosen her up with a wedding night fling! Yet after the wedding, Jake must deal with the distinctly unfamiliar sensation he might want more…

My Thoughts… 3* #Review

This is a book of three stories, with a Winter wedding theme.

Once Upon a Wedding’ features wedding planner Kelsey and Connor, a private investigator. Kelsey has always felt second-best in her aunt’s family. Planning her cousin Emily’s wedding will prove her success to them and herself, but nothing is straightforward. Connor nearly took Emily from the family once before, and now he’s back. Can Kelsey save the wedding? There is a gentle slow-building romance between Kelsey and Connor fraught with conflicts. Family secrets, misunderstandings and trust issues are all explored in this classical romance.

‘Bridesmaid Says “I Do”‘ is a case of the bridesmaid falling for the wrong man, the groom. This book has an interesting setting and a sexy hero even though the romance is sweet. This has a rom-com plot, with the bridesmaid and groom falling in love. A recipe for disaster? Well, not if the bride’s affections are engaged elsewhere. Good characters, a nice romantic plot and a happy ending.

The Morning After the Wedding Before’ is a sexy romance about letting go of your inhibitions and responsibilities, and living for the day. Emma and Jake are a likeable couple. Even though Jake seems in control, he soon finds that he’s out of his depth.

This is a mix of romantic genres which will appeal to a wide audience of wedding romance lovers.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

Virgin River Series Robyn Carr #Reviews @RCarrWriter @MillsandBoon #BookReview #NetFlix #Romance #SmallTown #StartingOver #Loss #Grief #Friendship #holidayreads #AVirginRiverChristmas #ShelterMountain #MillsandBoonInsiders

I received a copy of these books from Mills and Boon in return for honest reviews.

Shelter Mountian

Discover Paige and Preacher’s Story…

In love, some people are worth fighting for…

For the second time in a year a woman arrives in the small town of Virgin River trying to escape the past.

John “Preacher” Middleton is about to close the bar when a young woman and her three-year-old son come in out of the wet October night. An ex-marine who has seen his share of pain, Preacher knows a crisis when he sees one and this woman is certainly frightened and in need of help. But Preacher’s instinct to protect is more than an engrained sense of duty, for Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in him — emotions that he has never before allowed himself to feel.

When Paige’s ex-husband turns up in Virgin River and secrets are revealed, Preacher knows his own future hangs in the balance. But if there’s one thing the marines has taught him, it’s that some things are worth fighting for…

My Thoughts… 5* #Review

The second book in the Virgin River series is Preacher and Paige’s story. It’s an emotional and heartfelt tale of domestic abuse, courage, and love. The book’s focus is Preacher and Paige, but there are other storylines and familiar characters integrated with the main story bringing the characters and setting to vibrant life.

This story tackles contemporary issues with sensitivity and immerses the reader in the story. If you are a fan of the TV series, get to know the characters and their lives in depth by reading the books. I enjoyed the TV series more, after reading some of the books.

A Virgin River Christmas – Book 4

A Christmas Miracle in Virgin River

Last Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband, Bobby. This Christmas she’s come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life, and gave her three more years with him. Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby to safety in Fallujah four years ago then disappeared. Since then, Marcie’s letters to Ian have gone unanswered.

When Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River she finds a man haunted by his past and afraid to look to his future. Not easily scared off Marcie pushes her way into Ian’s reclusive life to see beyond his pain to the man he once was. The man he can be again.

Ian doesn’t know what to make of the determined young woman who forces him to look into the painful past and, what’s worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

My Thoughts… 4* #Review

This story focuses on Marcie a recent widow and Ian, a marine who despite his bravery gives up on his career and life to become a recluse in the mountains near Virgin River.

There are appearances from Virgin River regulars, but this is a story of healing and love between the two newcomers.

This is a gently paced, emotional and festive story. Marcie and Ian build a relationship that moves from animosity to understanding in a remote mountain setting.

It highlights the effect of war on veterans, a recurrent series theme, and also shows how a caring community helps everyone within it,

This is a heartwarming, romantic story which resonates.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Crime, Festive Read, Murder Mystery

#TheChristmasKiller Alex Pine 4*#Review @JPCarterAuthor @AvonBooksUK #ChristmasRead #Festive #CrimeFiction #DIJamesWalker

DI James Walker is ready for a quiet family Christmas in the sleepy village of Kirkby Abbey.

But when he opens an early Christmas present left on his doorstep, he soon realises it is no gift. Inside is a gruesome surprise, and a promise – twelve days, twelve murders. Not long after, the first body is found, half-frozen in the snow.

As the blizzards descend, panic spreads through the remote Cumbrian village – there’s a killer amongst them, and with eleven more victims to go, anyone could be next….

Can James stop the killer before they strike again?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts

I initially read a sampler of this book in the Summer and only read the full version this month.

This is a police procedural with a festive setting. James, a detective inspector in the Met moves to Cumbria when the threat of vengeance from a gangland boss looms. The village in Cumbria, the childhood home of his wife Annie has its share of deceit, hate and secrets but is someone willing to kill?

James is a likeable protagonist, straightforward and dedicated. Annie’s past in the village is chequered. Has her moving back started something dreadful?

There are no murders, only menace and threats in the early part of the book. Suspense builds and the reader realises that this is going to be a Christmas the villagers’ don’t forget.

The murders are suspenseful but not overly graphic. The police investigation is realistic and the conflict and crossover of personal and professional for Detective, James relatable.

Whilst I worked out the murderer, this added to the reading experience making the story authentic and immersive. There is little character development for the investigation team, but hopefully more will be revealed as th series progresses?

This is a good holiday read for crime fiction readers.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Historical Romance, Medical Romance, Romance

Mills and Boon Holiday Reads #Reviewed @MillsandBoon @LouiseRegency @Sophie_Pembroke @AnnieONeilBooks #MarcellaBell #MillsandBoonInsiders #Romance #MillsandBoon #HolidayReads

I received a copy of these books from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for honest reviews.

A Marquis in Want of a WifeLouise Allen

Ross Vincent, Marquis of Cranford, with his scarred face and formidable disposition knows he’s hardly a catch. But he needs a wife to take care of his motherless son. Shy, scholarly Prudence Scott seems ideal: she has no expectation of love or passion. She’ll care for his baby in return for the protection of his name. Yet seeing Prudence on their wedding day tests Ross’s willpower to not take his new wife to bed…

My Thoughts … 4*

A marriage of convenience against the backdrop of Waterloo makes this an exciting read. Prue is an intelligent woman who makes a youthful mistake. Ross, a widower, gives her way of preserving her reputation. Their relationship becomes convivial and then romantic, but Waterloo intervenes with near-disastrous results for their life together. Prue is a strong character who matures in the face of adversity and her growing love for Ross and his son. Ross has to learn to trust, something which takes him a while and almost loses him everything. The emotional connection in this story is believable, and Prue’s relationship with her friends is relatable.

Awakening His Shy CinderellaSophie Pembroke

Damon knows Rachel’s always prioritised her family’s needs above her own and it’s time for her to step out of her comfort zone! Damon usually steers clear of commitment, but neither can resist indulging in a very temporary affair! Only when the time comes, can he walk away…?

My Thoughts … 5*

I love modern fairytales, especially at this time of year and this one is magical and romantic and has a contemporary edge. It’s easy to recognise the characters, there’s the wicked stepmother, and the two ugly sisters who despite being outwardly glamorous are mean spirited inside. Rachel doesn’t want to cause her father extra stress, but that doesn’t stop her having dreams, including her longtime crush on her best friend’s brother Damon. Damon doesn’t fit in with his family either, and never feels good enough. The attraction, between Rachel and Damon, simmers gently but grows as they acknowledge their emotional response to each other. There’s a fairy godmother who sees what they could be and plenty of evil and magic occurrences as the story plays out. Sensory imagery immerses the reader in this magical tale, and the multi-layered characters are believable. A lovely story to escape with during the festive holidays.

Christmas Under the Northern Lights – Annie O’Neil

After her fiancé’s shocking betrayal, District Nurse Audrey Walsh hopes to escape Christmas on remote Bourtree Island! Instead, she’s met by a gorgeous man in a Santa suit… Dr. Cooper MacAskill! They’re stuck working (and living) together ‘til New Year, both with their demons to face. Except their inconvenient attraction, and the warmth of this island community offers them healing and happiness – if they have the courage to take it!

My Thoughts … 4*

This is an atmospheric festive romance set on a remote Scottish isle. Christmas cheer is the last thing Audrey feels when she discovers her fiance with another woman, weeks before the wedding she paid for. Heartbroken and in need of cash, she takes a District Nurse locum role as she reassesses her life goals. Cooper grew up on the island. Grieving over his grandmother’s death, he feels guilty and wary of the islanders’ reception. The author believably creates the island world with a relatable cast of characters within the community. The romance and spectacle of the Northern Lights engage the readers’ senses and immerse them in the setting. Audrey and Cooper learn more about themselves and each other in this gentle romance with a well researched medical theme. This is a heartwarming, festive medical romance.

Stolen to Wear His Crown – Marcella Bell

Mina has finally achieved her dream of becoming chief scientific advisor of Cyrano when she’s stolen from the interview room! She’s taken directly to the palace chapel where the terms of a secret betrothal mean she must marry the King – immediately.

My Thoughts … 4*

A fictional kingdom, an unusual heroine, and a determined king make this an interesting romance. The world created is pure fantasy but with some realistic elements. Mina is an intelligent but unworldly woman, fixated on her career and just about to achieve her objective. Zayn knows his duty and will never let his personal feelings get in the way of it. There are elements in this story that defy belief, but if you accept them and Zayn’s often autocratic behaviour, this is a good romance with strong characters full of conflict, glamour and the chance of love.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Mystery, Romance, Travel

Together by Christmas Karen Swan 5*#Review @KarenSwan1 @panmacmillan #Festive #secrets #mystery #Friendship #Family #Romance #TogetherbyChristmas

When Lee first came to Amsterdam, it was with a newborn baby and a secret.

Five years later, her life is approaching normal: her career as a celebrity photographer is flourishing, her son Jasper is growing up, and they are enjoying the run-up to Christmas with their tight circle of close friends.

But all this changes one morning when Lee finds a book in the basket of her bicycle – and scrawled inside it, a desperate message. Who left it for her, and why?

Lee feels compelled to help and tracks down the book’s author, Sam. With an instant, undeniable connection it seems they might have a shot at a real future together.

Until her past comes calling.

As the snow falls and ice thickens on the city’s canals, the secret Lee has never told resurfaces. Suddenly everything she holds dear hangs in the balance.

Christmas is a time for being together – but what if the truth means she ends up alone?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is an engaging mix of family, friends, romance, and secrets, with topical themes, and a festive twist. The first chapters highlight an important relationship and hint at dramatic events revealed as the story unfolds. The relationships are complex, and Lee, the main protagonist, conflicted about many things. Damaged by the past, she focuses on her son and the good in her life, but as her past surfaces, she needs to confront it to heal.

Believable characters, a vibrant setting and festive events keep the reader entertained. This is an immersive and at times claustrophobic story but the festive customs and strong friendships counteract the angst, and the ending is a satisfying conclusion.