I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
‘The Final Trail’, is book five in ‘The Trail Series’ set predominately in Birmingham. I haven’t read the previous books in the series, but I enjoyed this one, as the characters are well written and there is sufficient back story.
The immersive, intense writing style makes it easy to connect with the characters and work out their motivations and relationships. The short chapters each from a main characters point of view, lets the reader see developments from several points of view.
Business, family and politics are the points of conflict. The suspense building is good, especially around the political aspects involving Erik. This story explores many areas of life. Business crime, family, love and politics, are all fused into an adrenaline-packed story.
Reading this book makes me want to read the whole series.
When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees an advert for a midwife in the remote town of Virgin River, she decides this is the perfect place to escape her heartache and to revitalise the nursing career she loves.
However, her hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving: the cabin is uninhabitable, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. But when a tiny baby is abandoned on a front porch, Mel must decide whether to stay and help or cut her losses and leave.
Helped by local barman, and former marine, Jack Sheridan Mel must face her past and finds that there may be a future in Virgin River after all.
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon in return for an honest review.
Virgin River begins with a familiar and popular trope in the romance genre, of grieving widow, starting over in a small town, away from everything she knew before. Bereaved Melinda, takes up a midwife and nurse practitioner post in a remote rural small town Virgin River. She is promised cosy accommodation, a thriving medical practice in need of her skills and a lovely town to live in.
What she finds is less than ideal. Layered on top of her perilous emotional state, she feels like getting back in her car and heading back to the city, even if the memories there are too painful to live with.
An emotional event makes her stay in the short term because she’s not a quitter, but a consummate professional and big-hearted woman. Little by little the town and its inhabitants draw her in and she begins to enjoy the generosity, caring spirit of a small town, even if it is accompanied by gossip and mostly well-meant interference.
This idyllic story, which captures the small town ethos, has authentic, relatable characters, who you long to know more about. They are why it is an engaging read. There are many other books in this series, so it is likely your favourite will get their own story told, in a later book.
The romance is gentle and sensitive taking account of Melinda’s loss. Although it reflects conservative values to women, this is in keeping with the culture and setting. Contemporary issues are explored too, again viewed from a small town point of view, which is interesting and realistic.
There is a successful TV series based on the Virgin River books, and the quality of the characters and charm of the contemporary story shows why this is the case.
When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it’s up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she’s the only one who knows that Jane exists!
Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…
But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.
Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!
I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I was intrigued by the ideas behind this story, and after reading it, I can confirm it fulfils its potential.
It begins conventionally with Rose who lives in Bath, loves Jane Austen and doesn’t realise what a lovely person she is. Hardworking, she is appreciated by her boss and her long-distance Californian friend Morgan, who is finally coming to Bath. Rose has a long term crush on an archaeologist, she only sees briefly in a professional capacity once a year. She dreams of a happy ever after but doesn’t have the self-belief to make it a reality.
Then everything changes, and you have to suspend belief, but if you do the fictional adventure with a historical legend is fun. The setting in Bath is well described and the characters are believable, even if the scenario they are playing is pure fantasy.
This is a good story of friendship, romance, self-realisation and time travel, something for everyone in this tale.
A proud bookworm since childhood, Cass writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.
She has an over-active imagination, is prone to crying with happiness as much as she is at sadness, but when it comes to her writing she leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.
Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine, and enjoys them in any combination. She currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.
Ada has lived all her life in Southern California, which makes her intolerant to any weather above or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. She grew up much more fond of reading than sports or socializing and still tends to ignore everyone she loves, all her responsibilities and basic life needs when she’s in the middle of a book.
She is luckily married to a handsome and funny man who doesn’t mind that the laundry never gets put away and she has three amazing children. Ada spent over a decade as a photographer before dedicating herself to writing, though she still believes that life should be documented well and often.
There is nothing she loves more than a good, subtle love story whether it be in real life, tv, movie, theatre or book form… well, except cake. She also really loves cake.
Lily Harper is an events organiser, but her neat, ordered world has just exploded. First she lost her job, then she lost her fiancé. Her five-year plan is looking increasingly shaky.
Lost and lonely, Lily heads home to her childhood village, and accepts the position of live-in housekeeper at the grand but welcoming Willow Tree Hall. It’s not exactly her dream job – Lily is more used to arranging parties than pantries – but at least she’s working.
Her first task is to arrange the Willow Tree Hall summer fete. Lily is in her element, writing to-do lists and organising bunting and baking – until her old flame Jack Carter turns up in the village. Lily hasn’t seen Jack in over ten years, when he sped off on his motorbike, taking with him the pieces of her broken heart.
Lily vowed she would never forgive him. But as Willow Tree Hall weaves its magic, Lily finds she might just give Jack a second chance after all…
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Book 4, and the final one in the Willow Tree Hall series can be read as a standalone as Lily and Jack’s story is the focus. There are some familiar faces, for those of us who have read previous books in the series. and it’s good to reacquaint with those and see how their lives have moved on.
Lily and Jack, both have emotional baggage from their past to come to terms with, both individually and together. Their connection gives the story its slow-building sweet romance, with plenty of angst and anger to overcome.
The perilous state of the hall and the need to secure its future remains a perennial problem. Jack’s a catalyst in this, but friendship proves stronger than financial reward and makes you like him even more.
The authentically crafted, complex characters, and the delightful rural setting make this a lovely escapist story, perfect to read when you need a little me time.
Guest Post – Alison Sherlock – The Willow Tree hall Series – Inspiration
Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall is the last book in my Willow Tree Hall series. All of my previous books had been standalone but the idea for this series is to discover the lives and loves of those who live at Willow Tree Hall throughout all four books.
The idea for Willow Tree Hall actually came from watching Downton Abbey! I watched the programme and wondered what it would be like to live in a grand stately home in the present day. As I researched the subject, I realised that many of our country estates had fallen into disrepair due to the high running costs. And thus became the ‘eureka’ moment that began the plot for Book 1 in the series, Love Begins At Willow Tree Hall.
The renovation and transformation of Willow Tree Hall continue with Summer Secrets at Willow Tree Hall, A Winter Wedding at Willow Tree Hall and finally with Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall, although you don’t need to read them in any particular order.
I was a tiny bit worried about writing a series but it’s actually been great fun to write as I loved having the chance to catch up with my characters each time I began a new book.
This time, the story concentrates on Lily who is the head gardener’s grandaughter. Lily has been living in London so when she is forced to head back to the local village, it’s all a bit of a shock for her!
The hero is Jack, Lily’s very first love and cause of some major heartbreak in her past. They haven’t seen each other for almost a decade and so Lily has a huge shock when, as her new role of housekeeper, they bump into each other at Willow Tree Hall!
But it’s not just Lily and Jack who need to find their happy ever after. This time, the whole of Willow Tree Hall itself is in danger …
In fact, I am heartbroken to be leaving the Harris family and all their friends behind with this last book. Will I be able to leave the village of Cranley and Willow Tree Hall behind me forever? Never say never is my motto!
Alison Sherlock enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Alison lives in Surrey with her husband and a daft golden retriever. TwitterFacebook
“I JUST NEED TO KNOW…WHICH ONE OF YOU SLEPT WITH MY HUSBAND?”
My One Month Marriage – Shari Low
You know that “till death do us part” bit in the wedding vows? Well, Zoe Danton believed it. One month after she said “I do”, the man she loved is gone, given his marching orders after Zoe discovered a devastating secret.
As teenagers facing a crushing loss, Zoe made a pact with her three sisters to stick together no matter what. Now she’s discovered that one of them may have been the reason her husband betrayed her. She’s lost her happy-ever-after, but has she lost a sister too?
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Not the most uplifting of titles, but certainly one that starts you turning the pages. Whilst Zoe’s unfortunately short marriage draws you into this story, what you find within the pages is an excellent family drama, full of emotions, laughter, lies, loss and secrets and many poignant moments that make you think.
The characters and setting are authentic and relatable, and despite the different viewpoints and timescales, it’s easy to read. You care about the characters, whilst experiencing a gamut of emotions with them.
Zoe and her three sisters are close especially after the loss they suffered as young girls. The family drama affected each of them in differing ways as they coped with it, and the resultant women are on the surface strikingly different personalities. This is a complex story, moving between the sisters’ points of view and the past and present. You learn what has made them into the women they are, and the connection they have Zoe’s failed marriage.
Some of the storylines are repeated, seen from a different point of view, but this part of this author’s writing style and is not a negative, but a way to see why the characters are motivated to act as they do.
A lovely story of family and sisters and learning to let go of the past.
Extract from My One Month Marriage – Shari Low
But back to the point. Yvie and Marina are right. If I worked anywhere else – the Civil Service, Top Shop, NASA – then none of this would have happened.
And to quote everyone in the entire history of the world who ever messed up, I just wish I could go back in time and change so many things.
In fact, right now I’d settle for just understanding what has happened to my life because there are still so many questions. So many uncertainties.
My phone buzzes and I stretch over a ceramic planter in the shape of a pair of wellies (from Auntie Geraldine – she has a picture of Alan Titchmarsh on her kitchen wall) to retrieve it from the table beside the sofa.
Marina’s heels click into the room and in my peripheral vision I can see that she slides elegantly into the armchair by the window, plate of sushi in hand.
The name at the top of the notification makes my anxiety soar. Roger Kemp. Sadly, no relation to anyone who was ever a member of Spandau Ballet. Or that slightly scary bloke who played Grant Mitchell in EastEnders and now makes documentaries about criminal gangs and serial killers.
With a shaking thumb, I swipe open the message.
Roger Kemp is a friend and client, the director of a hotel chain that employs our agency for all its marketing needs. After the proverbial hit the fan, I’d asked him for a favour. A slightly underhand, confidentiality-breaching, possibly borderline-illegal favour. With a bit of luck, the bloke that makes the documentaries about true crime won’t find out about it.
I’d asked Roger to check on who paid for a room in one of his hotels last weekend, on the night that my husband broke his vows only thirty days after making them. You know, that fairly insignificant one about being faithful in good times and bad. You see, I know it wasn’t my husband because he’d put his credit cards in my handbag that evening, so it must have been someone else. The other woman.
The thought forces me to take another swig of the unidentifiable pink cocktail.
Anyway, the favour I’d requested of Roger would mean asking someone in his financial team to pull up the credit card records and sharing the sordid details with me.
Now I stare in disbelief at the answer, typed right there on the screen of my phone.
Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In Winter and With Or Without You and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow and her first title for Boldwood will be My One Month Marriage in January 2020.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This the second book I have read in the ‘Edinburgh crime mysteries’ and ‘Hunter’s Blood’ is a cleverly written, vividly characterised story. The fourth book in the series it reads well as a standalone.
The story begins with an episode of dangerous driving that is witnessed by all the main protagonists, all react but none follow up their actions. There are numerous, distinct plot threads, all seem unconnected but as the story progresses they are weaved together to reveal, a tapestry of crime and death.
Hunter has direct connections to some of the incidents and becomes involved in a professional capacity in others. The team dynamic is strong among the detectives. this aids the investigation, even though they are diversified and investigating different elements.
Written in an immersive, vivid style that draws you into the plot, it lets you experience everything, bad and good. Some of the story’s characters are linked through previous crimes, falling on either side of the law. There are many grey areas too. Making the story authentic and realistic.
Hunter is likeable and easy to relate to, he is described using visual imagery making it easy to imagine him and his actions as you read. Connecting you to the story and the main character.
The story captures the ethos of its setting, and even if you are unfamiliar with the area, it speaks to you, and grounds the actions, increasing the impact.
A solid police procedural with a cleverly linked plot, complex characters, who are relatable and a believable ending. Another chilling, riveting crime mystery with the enigmatic Hunter.
Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge and Hunter’s Force are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fourth book in the series, Hunter’s Blood, is out now.
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Esther’s life isn’t perfect (whose is?) – but she’s happy enough living in her little flat with her boyfriend, Josh.
But that’s about to change.
Bored out of her mind in work, she wishes that something, anything, would happen to liven her life up.
Unfortunately, her wish comes true when Josh calls her from the airport to tell her he’s going to work in a bar in Spain, and she’s not invited, Esther is devastated, and her unhappiness is compounded when she discovers she can actually view the bar via a webcam link and watch him chatting up other girls.
But when she inadvertently clicks on a link to another webcam which shows a pretty cottage and the rather hunky man who lives in it, her interest is piqued and she wishes she could get to know him.
Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.
She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.
She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it. TwitterFacebook