Posted in Book Review, Holiday Romance, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Dreaming of Tuscany – #BlogTour -5*#Review T.A. Williams @canelo_Co @TAWilliamsBooks

The glamour of Hollywood. The magic of the Tuscan countryside. One big decision…

Beatrice Kingdom (Bee to her friends) wakes up in hospital in Tuscany. After an accident on a film set leaves her burned and scarred, she feels her whole life has been turned upside down.

Bee is offered the chance of recuperating in a stunning Tuscan villa in the company of a world-famous film star, the irascible Mimi Robertson. Here amid the vines and olive groves, Bee quickly finds there’s more to the place than meets the eye, not least a certain Luca(and Romeo the dog).

As she comes to terms with her injuries and her new life takes shape, Bee will have to travel a road of self-discovery… and make a huge decision.

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

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

My Thoughts…

Bee’s life will never be the same again. After a near-fatal accident on a film set in Siena, she takes the chance to recuperate and rediscover who she is. Her film star companion, is diva-like, and she’s never lived in the country, but she never been physically scarred before and she needs time to come to terms with the new her. A remote Tuscan villa is a perfect place for this.

The characters in this story are complex and authentic and the well-paced plot is full of romance, self-realisation, mystery and humour. Culture, cuisine and celebrity give the story its vivacity and Romeo, the Labrador is perfectly described, and so lovable. The Tuscan setting comes to life in this story and you can imagine the vineyards, hills and history that epitomises it.

A lovely story of food, glamour, history and love with a memorable Italian flavour and setting.

T.A. Williams lives in Devon with his Italian wife. He was born in England of a Scottish mother and Welsh father. After a degree in modern languages at Nottingham University, he lived and worked in Switzerland, France and Italy, before returning to run one of the best-known language schools in the UK. He’s taught Arab princes, Brazilian beauty queens and Italian billionaires. He speaks a number of languages and has travelled extensively. He has eaten snake, still-alive fish, and alligator. A Spanish dog, a Russian bug and a Korean parasite have done their best to eat him in return. His hobby is long-distance cycling, but his passion is writing. Twitter @TAWilliamsBooks

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Posted in Book Review, Domestic Thriller, Friendship, Suspense

The Promise- Teresa Driscoll-4*#Review @TeresaDriscoll @AmazonPub

It was their darkest secret. Three schoolgirls made a promise – to take the horrible truth of what they did to the grave.

Thirty years later, Beth and Sally have tried to put the trauma behind them. Though Carol has distanced herself from her former friends, the three are adamant that the truth must never come to light, even if the memory still haunts them.

But when some shocking news threatens to unearth their dark secret, Beth enlists the help of private investigator Matthew Hill to help her and Sally reconnect with estranged Carol ­– before the terrible act they committed as teenagers is revealed.

Beth wishes she could take back the vow they made.

But somebody is watching and will stop at nothing to ensure the secret stays buried. Now, with her beloved family in peril, can Beth still keep the promise?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Thomas &Mercer via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An unexpected event brings a terrible secret to the forefront of Beth’s mind, although her life since teenage has been blighted by the promise, she and her two friends made. Told mainly from Beth’s point of view this is a domestic rather than psychological thriller. The present-day story centres around her family and friends and is more of a suspenseful family drama.

Two further points of view are also key to the story, Carol, one of Beth’s school friends and Mathew, the private detective she and her friend Sally hire to find Carol.

The promise and the secret it protects isn’t revealed until two- thirds through the book, although there are clues before this. The late reveal doesn’t spoil the story, which explores Beth, Carol and Sally’s state of mind as the weight of keeping the promise intensifies. The plot is clever and there are two unexpected twists, which impact significantly on the characters and outcome of the story. These are believable but do stray away from the original storyline.

This story lacks the menacing undertone necessary for a psychological thriller, but it still an absorbing read, as the women struggle with their promise, their mental health and the truth’s they have denied for too many years.
The ending is realistic and satisfying but it is the sadness of this story that resonates and makes it worth reading.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Romance, Romance -Dark and Steamy

Rachael Stewart 5*#Review- Mr One-Night Stand- #DAREblogtour- @MillsandBoon @rach_b52 #DoYouDare

One night only. 
Just think of the possibilities

The second she sees Mr Oh-So-Delicious, Jennifer Hayes knows she needs one night of crazy. No names, no strings, no rules. Except that Jennifer’s naughty one-nighter is actually Marcus Wright—her new business partner! Now they’re mixing business with all kinds of pleasure. But when it comes to falling in love her sexy Mr Wright is either Mr Wrong or the best mistake of her life…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills&Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

#Dare books always score top marks for hot and steamy romance and uber glamorous couples, but sometimes its hard to believe the situations they find themselves in. ‘Mr One-Night Stand’ creates the right set of circumstances for it to be believable, and that makes it so enjoyable to read.

Marcus is losing patience waiting for a business client, Jennifer is at her wits end with her business partner, who is late for a meeting. Neither are looking for the instant sexual attraction they experience as they lay eyes on each other. The quick progression of their encounter works, they are confident in all their abilities and used to getting what they want. They both know the rules but they are about to find out that no strings sex, doesn’t always come without complications.

The hot, sensual romance is well-written, but the one-night stand is not what it seems, and leads to both business and personal complications for the power couple. Marcus is running scared from love, it makes you weak and he can’t take the risk. Jennifer hasn’t time for love her commitments are too great.

The gradual realisation that they’re in too deep is fun to read, and you have to empathise. The conflicts they face are realistic but so worth the pain. The ending is worthy of such a deserving couple. Loved it!

Extract

CHAPTER ONE

Patience—he wasn’t known for it. Why should he be when he’d worked his entire life to ensure he got everything he wanted when he wanted it?

Flicking his wrist, he checked the time. Eight twenty-five.

Where the hell were they?

If being late was a last-ditch attempt at angling for more money, then Tony Andrews was an even bigger fool than Marcus had had him pegged for.

He waved away the approaching waitress who was eyeing his empty glass. He’d already indulged in a whisky and filled his one-drink-while-on-business quota. He wasn’t fool enough to indulge in more. Although the girl’s perfect parting pout made clear that it wasn’t just a drink being offered.

Not tonight. He smiled back.

He might be considered an arrogant ass by many, but no one could accuse him of lacking in manners.

Even his questionable childhood hadn’t beaten those out of him—much as his father might have tried.

It was hardly her fault he wasn’t up for it. She had appeal aplenty if surgically enhanced assets and peroxide hair were your thing.

But tonight was about work.

And work was work.

Sex was sex.

Never should the two be mixed. Not if you wanted to stay focused and come out on top.

He watched as she weaved her way back through the intimate arrangement of tables, breaking his gaze to scan again the people occupying the circular floor space of the exclusive rooftop venue. Andrews had chosen it for convenience, it being located only two

blocks down from his London HQ.

Very convenient for Andrews—not so sodding convenient for him. He rolled his shoulders and rechecked his watch.

What the hell was he doing?

He should’ve left ten minutes after the hour, not

sat there like some obedient monkey.

But then, he wasn’t there simply to catch up with

the man he was in the process of buying out. He was

there to be introduced to Andrews’ business partner—

soon-to-be his partner—Jennifer Hayes, before they

signed on the dotted line.

Not that the introduction would make any difference;

the deal was as good as done. But professional courtesy made him stay. That and the fact he was curious to meet her—the exec who’d turned a business into the largest successful start-up the industry

had seen in years.

He was convinced Andrews hadn’t been responsible for it. It was a wonder the man could still see straight, with his mounting gambling debts and outside work attentions. And then there was the drink problem. No one had confirmed it, but Marcus was sure he had one. He knew the signs well enough, thanks to dear old Dad.

So, yes, he doubted Andrews had done a full day’s work in years—and that meant one thing: Miss Hayes was the one carrying the company; she was the one he was effectively buying into.

He’d read her profile, noticeably devoid of any pictures, and figured her to be late thirties, early forties. A woman with shrewd business acumen, a bearing that bordered on cold, and a definite force in the boardroom—all of which he’d respect her for. So long as they were on the same page.

It intrigued him that he hadn’t come across any pictures. Not even a professionally enhanced shot used to support all those public accolades. Maybe she didn’t go in for that kind of vanity. Or maybe Andrews did all that for her. He was certainly everywhere. Even the

Forbes article he’d thrust into his hands at a charity auction last month, when he’d put forward his proposition, had highlighted the success of the business but featured Andrews alone, his greased back hair and cocky grin filling half the page.

The memory of that expression goaded Marcus

further now as he waited and waited, fingers drumming on the tabletop, his patience hitting breaking point.

Seriously—enough was enough. The papers would

be taken care of in less than twenty-four hours regardless. He might as well meet her then.

Tugging at the cuffs of his shirt, he made to stand

up just as the cables of the glass elevator started to

shift. New arrivals?

He settled back and waited for them to come

into view.

It wasn’t Andrews. That was immediately obvious.

The small, balding lift attendant was being dwarfed by a statuesque redhead who made even the impressive lift look small. He wasn’t the only one noticing either. Her hair was pulling every eye in the room. Its cascading waves ran down her back, glinting in the ambient light, impossible to ignore.

Its dramatic colour was a striking contrast to the black dress that clung to her curves before halting modestly at the knee. His gaze dropped lower still, to her exposed calves, to the subtle shimmer that teased with the possibility of stockings. And then came her shoes, her severe black stilettos…

Heat assaulted his groin.

Fuck me.

He wasn’t going anywhere. Not just yet. Andrews could have the extra time for free

sdr
Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

4* #Reviews -Julie Houston – Goodness Grace and Me – The One Saving Grace @Aria_Fiction @JulieHouston2

When Harriet’s husband, Nick, throws in his safe, but boring job in order to set up a new business during a recession, Harriet is distraught. More so when she realises Amanda, her old enemy from school is back.

Amanda, it turns out, is Nick’s new boss’s wife and will be accompanying Nick on his business trips to Italy. How will Nick not succumb to the ruthless charms of the utterly gorgeous Amanda once he’s away in glamorous Milan?

Knowing Nick is at risk of being seduced is bad enough, but when Harriet’s best friend Grace falls madly in love with Sebastian, Amanda’s much younger son, it can only mean trouble ahead.

Determined to fight for her man, Harriet’s seduction techniques go into overdrive. Unfortunately, she is hampered in her attempts by two bolshy teenagers, an increasingly eccentric mother and a job teaching cantankerous children. Not to mention there seems to be something very strange going on at the bottom of her garden! Can Harriet save her marriage, as well as her friendship with Grace? And what will happen if Nick’s new venture fails, especially now that the one thing Harriet has not even considered in all this mess appears to be staring her right in the face…?

Amazon UK

When Harriet Westmoreland goes into labour with twins in Harvey Nichol’s men’s underwear department at exactly the moment she sets eyes on Alex Hamilton, it marks the start of a year of madness – for her, her family and, at times, it seems most of the West Yorkshire village of Midhope.

Giving birth only two months after Harriet, her lifelong best friend Grace has her own craziness to contend with. As both women hurtle down unexpected and very different paths, they flounder in a maelstrom of passion and confusion, perilously clinging on as the chain of events threatens not only their comfortable, ordinary lives but also their very existence.

Amazon UK

I received copies of these books from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I decided to read and review these two novels together as they are a series and feature the same main characters. If you are a fan of laughter when you read, you will enjoy these stories, which have great characters, and even greater insight into family life and relationships.

The plot is varied and peppered with funny, poignant and romantic moments. It’s written in a visual style, so it’s like watching a film as the plot unfolds.

A lovely romantic comedy series which highlights with charm and humour family life, relationships and the problems women face in society.

Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Literary Fiction

Dear Rosie Hughes – Melanie Hudson- 5*#Review @HarperImpulse @Melanie_Hudson_

The best friendships are worth fighting for…

It’s been fifteen years since Aggie’s friendship with Rosie Hughes ended abruptly. But now she’s heard from the village rumour mill that Rosie is off to war, she knows her best friend needs her more than ever – despite what’s happened between them in the past.

As Rosie faces a desert full of danger and Aggie falls further from the path to love she’ so wants, the two friends write each other letters.

The comfort in their shared words is an anchor to the life they knew before…and the only constant in a world as increasingly unpredictable as the wind.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review

My Thoughts…

It’s the authenticity and warmth of this story that kept me reading. Cleverly constructed as electronic letters and emails between Rosie, stationed in the Middle East, on the eve of the Iraq War in 2003 and Aggie, her estranged childhood friend. The two women, now in their mid-thirties rekindle a friendship that they both need at this pivotal time in their lives.

Mixed in with family letters and letters from friends both past and present, they tell the story of the women’s lives, their feelings, and let the reader travel on their journey of self-discovery in two vastly different settings.

This is a poignant story. It’s easy to imagine how Rosie feels so far from home and empathise.

The plot is well-paced, original. Every letter reveals another clue to women’s past lives and their state of mind. The characters are believable and flawed but you want them to be happy.

The ending is beautifully drawn together with a twist that resonates. One of my favourite stories so far this year and I’ve already read forty books.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Magic, Romantic Comedy

A Slice of Magic – 4* #Review – A. G. Mayes @HarperImpulse @AG_Mayes

A plea she can’t ignore, a town of secrets and a magical recipe for love – or disaster…

Susanna Daniels has spent over twenty years wondering why her beloved Aunt Erma disappeared from her life. When Aunt Erma leaves a voicemail asking for help at her pie shop, Susanna thinks she’s finally going to get the answers she’s been waiting for. But when Susanna arrives in the small town of Hocus Hills, Aunt Erma is gone, leaving only a short note, her mischievous dog, Mitzy, and a pie shop with a mind of its own to run…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

There’s some lovely world building in this quirky cozy mystery. If you accept the fantasy, then this is good escapist read, full of unique characters, magic and romance.

Susanna has a lot to contend with in Hocus Hills, first she’s in charge of a pie shop and she can’t cook. She needs to solve the mystery of her aunt’s disappearance, and then there are the strange goings on in the town and the pie shop.

A magical mystery to solve, lots of characters to hold your interest, and a blooming romance, what more could you ask for? Oh, I forgot there’s pie too, so be prepared.

Posted in Book Review, Literary Humour, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Love Heart Lane – 5*#Review – Christie Barlow @HarperImpulse @ChristieJBarlow

When Flick Simons returns to the cosy village of Heartcross she only expected to stay for a few days. The white-washed cottages of Love Heart Lane might be her home, but the place holds too many painful memories, and of one man in particular – Fergus Campbell.

When a winter storm sweeps in, the only bridge connecting the village to the mainland is swept away. As the villagers pull together, Flick finds herself welcomed back by the friends she once left behind. And as the snow begins to melt, maybe there is a chance that Fergus’s heart will thaw too…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

What I love about this author’s books is that she is a true storyteller, she introduces you to a community full of interesting characters, highlights serious issues affecting women. Particularly, the general perception of what’s expected fo women in given situations, and shows through Flick’s experience, how emotionally damaging it can be for the woman. Especially, if she feels she cannot express her grief or true feelings because of what people may think. There’s also a lovely second chance romance and a beautiful rural setting.

This promises to be a heartwarming series, with a realistic mix of humour, poignancy and romance.

Posted in Book Review, Literary Fiction

Mr Doubler Begins Again – Seni Glaister – 5*#Review @HQstories @HQDigitalUK @SeniGlaister

Baked, mashed, boiled or fried, Mr Doubler knows his potatoes. But the same can’t be said for people. Since he lost his wife, he’s been on his own at Mirth Farm – and that suits Doubler just fine. Crowds are for other people; the only company he needs are his potato plants and his housekeeper, Mrs Millwood, who visits every day.

So when Mrs Millwood is taken ill, it ruins everything – and Mr Doubler begins to worry that he might have lost his way. But could the kindness of strangers be enough to bring him down from the hill?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I love the current trend of novels featuring older characters in a protagonist role. Perhaps, its because I am closer to being older than young myself?

‘Mr Doubler Begins Again’, is the story of a man who has lost his wife and retreated into his home and business because it’s what he knows, what he likes, and most importantly it won’t leave him. His children visit, but his main contact with the outside world is Mrs Millwood his housekeeper, who not only keeps his house but also makes sure he receives the emotional support he needs.

His reliance on his trusty housekeeper is shaken when she is hospitalised and he finds his life is lonely, and not as full as he thought.

Told in a charming way, the reclusive Mr Doubler learns to trust others and to give friendship in return.  Just like his potatoes, people are many varieties and some are better suited than others.

The characters are steeped in authenticity, and the rural way of life is celebrated. Not everyone has good intentions, but all have a part to play in Mr Doubler’s reemergence from his grief.

A lovely story full of poignant, relatable moments.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Thriller

In Safe Hands-4*#Review- J.P. Carter- @AvonBooksUK @JPCarterAuthor

When nine children are snatched from a nursery school in South London, their distressed parents have no idea if they will ever see them again. The community in the surrounding area in shock. How could this happen right under their noses? No one in the quiet suburban street saw anything – or at least that’s what they’re saying.

But DCI Anna Tate knows that nothing is impossible, and she also knows that time is quickly running out. It’s unclear if the kidnappers are desperate for money or set on revenge, but the ransom is going up by £1million daily. And they know that one little boy, in particular, is fighting for his life.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DCI Anna Tate has ever worked on – not only because nine children are being held hostage, but because she’s pretty sure that someone close to them is lying…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Another interesting female detective with a past that threatens her professionalism. Anna is a likeable protagonist and her dilemmas are both realistic and relatable. She is the Senior Investigating Officer on a mass abduction case. She knows from personal experience what the parents are going through but can she be focused and objective enough to bring a successful outcome to a such a devastating event?

Having your children abducted at gunpoint is every parents’ nightmare and this is uncomfortable reading at times. The stories of the children and their parents help to set the crime in context and present many possible motives and suspects. The characters’ flaws make them believable and many of the parents are not easy to empathise.

Generally, this is a fast-paced story, which produces an authentic kidnap scenario. The suspense is created well and sustained throughout and the ending is satisfactory, although there are questions left for Anna that will no doubt be revisited in subsequent stories.

Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Romance

The Man I Fell In Love With Kate Field 4* #Review @katehaswords @AvonBooksUK

Sometimes we find happiness where we least expect it…

After twenty years of quiet, contented marriage, Mary Black can’t help but find her eyes drawn to a particularly handsome man at a Christmas party. But her world is suddenly turned upside down when she sees her husband next to him, holding his hand.

For the sake of her children, Mary has no choice but to pick herself up and start again. She hosts family meals that includes her ex-husband and his new partner. She copes with her children wanting to spend less time with her, and more time with their “fun” dads. And she tries her very best to ignore Leo’s gorgeous brother, who has been living in New York for many years, but has just come back to town…

After living a life of sliding doors and missed opportunities, can Mary finally put herself first and take a chance that could change everything?

AmazonUK

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

My Thoughts…

Everyone’s who’s married or been married, knows that it’s not the stuff of fairytales. Marriage takes understanding and hard work to sustain. Mary Black thought she’d nailed it. She’d put her husband, and then her family first, but when her marriage imploded she was helpless to stop it.

Finding her husband loved another was a devastating discovery. The secrets he kept made her whole marriage a lie. Mary’s ingrained sense of family makes her protect their teenage children, whatever the personal cost. Mary is a strong, selfless character and this story explores her emotional journey of self- discovery. Will she discover her sense of self-worth and be brave enough to take the opportunities for personal happiness that come her way?

This story has a lovely balance of humour, poignancy and romance. Every woman of a certain age will share some of the emotions Mary experiences and understand how she suffers from a lack of self-esteem. Her character is realistic and easy to empathise, and you want her to find her romantic happiness.

The genuineness of this novel makes it a heartwarming read that lets you escape for a little while.