When April moves into Hummingbird House, she is intrigued by her mysterious landlord, Dai.
With a bruised heart and a distinct lack of furniture, she spends the summer getting to know the other occupants. As she smartens up her home and makes peace with her recent past, she befriends Paul, a solitary ex-chef, and Betty, an elderly lady who lives in the basement flat.
But Hummingbird House holds many secrets, and the relationships of the tenants are not as straightforward as they seem. April learns some shocking truths one eventful night, and realises that victims and villains can look the same.
The Landlord of Hummingbird House is a contemporary novel exploring unlikely friendships, unexpected love interests, and family relationships. Here, everyone is in need of a second chance – and appearances can be deceptive.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The reader, not sure what to expect, is drawn into this insightful and poignant tale gently. The carefully drawn characters are full of flaws, secrets and wisdom and make this addictive reading. This multi-viewpoint story gives the reader an omnipotent view of the characters and events.
April is the latest tenant in the house. She is healing from a breakup, and her life is now an emotional journey of self-realisation. She offers help and support to the others in the house even if they are not sure they need or want it.
Friendship, humour, poignancy and romance, are believably written into this contemporary story. Hummingbird House’s characters and ethos are vibrant and vividly portrayed and make this immersive reading.
When Stina and Jack move to an old rural cottage, they’re hoping for a fresh start.
Their new home is run-down compared to their neighbour’s, but generous Mrs Barley quickly becomes a friend. Until Stina sees a mysterious figure in the widow’s garden, and her happy new life begins to unravel. And when she hears strange noises in the night, she is forced to question if Mrs Barley is what she seems.
Why do the other villagers whisper about her? Why is she so eager to help the couple? And what is she hiding in her picture-perfect home?
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The opening chapter of this story takes the reader back to 1964 and a domestic scene, relatable yet with sinister implications. Time moves forward to 2012 when Stina and her partner move into Whisper Cottage. Stina’s unplanned pregnancy, the catalyst for the country move. Immediately there are echoes with the book’s beginning, and you wonder if they too will feel the pressures of raising a young child.
This is an atmospheric story with hints of supernatural events and the possibility of mental health issues for the young expectant mother. Stina is an unreliable protagonist. The reader is never sure if she sees what she thinks she does. The villagers’ archaic reaction to Stina’s neighbour is complex, disturbing and believable.
The intricate world-building slows the pace but is integral to the story’s authenticity. The plot twists are impactful. This is an intriguing gothic style mystery with hints of domestic noir and psychological suspense.
Anne Wyn Clark lives in the UK, in the Midlands, with her husband, son and a feisty chinchilla. She has three (now grown-up) children and five grandchildren. She is particularly partial to Italian food, decent red wine (or any coloured wine come to that…) and cake – and has been known to over-indulge in each on occasions. She is passionate about animals and their welfare. Whilst she has enjoyed writing for many years, a love of all things gothic inspired her to try her hand at producing something dark and twisty, culminating in the haunting Whisper Cottage.
What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend’s phone holds the directions to true love?
‘Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend’s phone?’
‘He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I’m the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.’
And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday. So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn’t expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more…
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus – Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is a heartwarming romantic comedy with an element of mystery set in California. Maya’s life is not turning out how she planned. When a career-making assignment implodes, Maya decides to surprise her boyfriend in California. Maya’s text to her boyfriend is answered by a stranger who has unwelcome news but offers a chance for fun that she decides to accept., Vividly created characters immerse the reader in their story. The romance is gentle, and there’s a mystery to solve. With lots of heartache and humour, this is a lovely escapist read for those who believe in love, serendipity and soulmates.
OLIVIA LARA‘s love for words started as a child when she spent her summer vacations watching her grandfather, who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania, edit hundreds of books. She is a former journalist for a newspaper and a television network in Bucharest, now a Marketing VP in San Francisco – in between she lived in France where her love for Paris and the Alsace region was born. Her first book, Someday in Paris, became a B&N, Apple, Kobo and Amazon Top 100 Bestseller and was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Awards. She lives in the Bay Area, California.
When Detective Kjeld Nygaard is called to the discovery of a body in the burnt-out shell of a house, his heart sinks. He never wanted to see this house again. The house of a notorious serial killer. The house where he rescued Louisa Karlsson from being murdered.
But when they discover the body is in fact Louisa, the mystery deepens. It can’t be the old serial killer. He’s dead.
Then another body is found, again killed in the exact place where Kjeld saved them from another murderer. Another survivor dead.
With the clock ticking Kjeld and his partner Detective Esme Jansson are desperate to stop any more survivors from being murdered. But every clue they find leads to a dead end. Why is the killer picking off people Kjeld rescued? Could it be connected to another of his previous cases?
When Kjeld’s daughter is kidnapped – it’s a race against time to save her life. Can Kjeld stop the killer without paying the ultimate price or will he be the last one alive?
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Chilling and claustrophobic, the second book in the Detective Kjeld Nygaard Scandi crime series draws the reader into a disturbing world of death. Attacks on survivors trouble Kjeld, as he struggles with guilt over his personal life and his connections to a serial killer. The dynamic between Kjedl and Esme, his partner, is believably written. We discover more about Esme’s personal life and find, she too, has secrets. The story intensifies as Kjeld tries to unravel the murders with their disturbing personal connection.
The story is rooted in Scandinavia, and this adds an engaging dimension, coupled with the complexly flawed protagonists, the menacing murders and the twisty plot.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return of an honest review.
The dramatic beginning sets the pace and scene for a twisty tale of betrayal and deception. The reader is given an omnipotent view of events, and the author’s use of dramatic irony is good. The main protagonists are unreliable, leading to unexpected twists to intensify the suspense and keep the reader guessing.
The author’s original perspective on the child abduction theme works well and delivers a poignant and suspenseful read.
Gemma Rogers was inspired to write gritty thrillers by a traumatic event in her own life nearly twenty years ago. Her debut novel Stalker was published in September 2019 and marked the beginning of a new writing career. Gemma lives in West Sussex with her husband, two daughters.
Julie Houston, bestselling author of A Village Affair
Once upon a time, twelve women joined the hottest reality TV show looking for love. Except one had a secret identity . . .
Abby Jones is a serious writer. Or at least she will be, one day. Right now, she spends her time writing recaps of reality television under a secret identity.
When a recap for The Stag – the must-watch dating show – goes viral, her editor thinks she should be on set, writing the drama as it happens. The good news: the next season will be filmed in Sydney. Sun, sea and a glamorous trip abroad, this could be Abby’s big break.
The bad news: the producers don’t just want Abby to write the recaps, they want her to be on the show. Abby can’t think of anything worse than being undercover and followed around by cameras. But her career depends on it, and when she meets gorgeous producer Jack, Abby begins to wonder if this job might not be so bad after all . . .
I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Whilst I can’t see the appeal of reality TV, the characterisation, humour and romance in this book kept me turning the pages. Abby is an easy to like character with a good heart and witty sense of humour. This book is a good balance of romance and comedy and is the perfect escape from real life, maybe just like the fictional show it features?
The romantic element has a realistic blend of conflict and emotion. The reader is invested in its outcome. The friendship dynamic is believably written. The show’s details are well-researched, immersing the reader in the world of reality TV. Enhanced with angst, believable characters and well-timed comic dialogue, this is an addictive original story.
Sandy is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob. She lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins.
When millionaire Mansur Ali is called urgently home to Somaliland, he’s shocked to find that thewoman who broke his heart needs his help. After an accident, Amal has lost many memories…including Manny’s marriage proposal and her rejection! Manny will help her seek treatment in Addis Ababa, but he’s resolved to keep his heart firmly off-limits. A promise that is tested when their journey brings them closer than ever before…
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in return for an honest review.
Second chance romance is always a favourite, and this one has the added dimension of an amnesia trope, which introduces additional conflicts and endless possibilities for Amal and Manny’s romance. The setting in Somaliland and Ethiopia allows the reader to explore a lesser-known region of Africa through the author’s insightful and vivid descriptions.
This romance has many layers, which draw the reader into the story. Amal and Manny are both successful entrepreneurs. Amal in Africa and Manny globally. They are both visionary and want to help rebuild and sustain their homeland, even though Manny never thought to return until his fate decreed otherwise. They both have romantic souls and deserve their second chance. It reflects cultural differences and issues faced by people of colour, which makes it contemporary and relevant.
The romance is gentle despite its many conflicts, and the ending is satisfying.
Guest Post – Finally Seeing Myself In Books By Hana Sheik
There’s a reason I call SECOND CHANCE TO WEAR HIS RING the book of my heart. I have written dozens of manuscripts before it, though none are likely going to see the light of day. When I sat down to write my first chapter of SECOND CHANCE TO WEAR HIS RING more than three years ago today, I knew I wanted to write characters who looked more like me. I wanted to wax poetic about beautiful brown skin, and I wanted to set my story in Somaliland—my other home.
So when Harlequin announced their Harlequin Romance Blitz I never thought the story I’d set in Somaliland and Ethiopia would stand a chance. I kept telling myself it wasn’t “glamourous” enough for the jet-set sparkling love stories in Harlequin Romance. But, of course, I was dead wrong! And I’m happy I was or else I wouldn’t be able to share my book with the world today.
In SECOND CHANCE TO WEAR HIS RING, I lightly touch on how looking different has placed barriers for my black Muslim hero, Mansur to achieving his success. The rest of the book celebrates the beauty of Africa, the history and the people living there today. It also shines a light on some of the continent’s problems, its progresses, and the possibility of its bright future. This last part is why I made my heroine, Amal an architect. I literally wanted her helping build on Africa.
I will pivot now and talk book covers.
More and more I’m seeing romance books with covers of black models, black couples, and black families. It’s also thrilling to see more authors from marginalized backgrounds and communities telling their stories.
Speaking of covers, when I saw the cover of SECOND CHANCE TO WEAR HIS RING, I just about nearly cried. I was happily stunned for the first few minutes after seeing it, and then I showed my sister, and I remember her saying that the model on the cover was gorgeous. I wholeheartedly agree! I still thank the cover gods every day.
Seeing the cover also reminds why I am building a brand writing black love stories, black Muslim romances, and diverse happy-for-nows and happily ever afters. I dying to build a library of romances for the next generation of black, Muslim and POC romance readers, one book at a time. Being a part of this movement to diversify bookshelves is both humbling and triumphant.
I will close this guest post off by sharing four fun facts about SECOND CHANCE TO WEAR HIS RING:
It features a black Muslim hero and heroine.
It’s set in Hargeisa, Somaliland and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (though mostly Ethiopia).
I have only visited Somaliland—but I’m planning a trip to Addis Ababa soon!
I love the amnesia trope, even though it was a tricky one to write!
It’s been lovely visiting your blog, Jane! Thank you for having me.
Hana Sheik falls in love every day reading her favourite romances and writing her own happy-ever-afters. She’s worked as a data entry operator, customer service rep, telemarketer, and ghostwriter—but being a romance author is without a doubt the best job ever! Born in Somalia, she moved to the beautiful capital of Canada as a toddler, and still lives there happily with her family.
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the giveaway link above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will benpassed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.
The Therapist is an addictive blend of cleverly crafted characters, nail-biting psychological suspense and a puzzling plot. Alice and Leo move into the exclusive gated development in London to begin their lives together. Alice is unsure if London life will suit her, but Leo wants to live in London, and she wants to see more of him.
Told exclusively from Alice’s perspective, she soon reveals herself as an unreliable protagonist. A past family tragedy still defines her life, and she sees the change of lifestyle as a way of living again. Alice dislikes The Circle’s sinister ethos. A series of unexpected revelations intensify her emotional vulnerability to breaking point. Everyone has secrets, and Alice isn’t sure who she can trust. The house’s tragic history immerses Alice until her life starts to unravel, pushing her relentlessly towards danger.
Short passages from the past with undefinable characters intensify the sense of menace and suspense towards the climactic, twisted conclusion. The final shocking twist is well disguised. This is a book you won’t want to put down. It will have you checking you’ve locked the doors.
Escape to hills high above the French Riviera with international bestseller Jennifer Bohnet.
After tragically losing her husband, Nicola Jacques and her teenage son Oliver relocate to his father’s family’s Olive Farm in the hills above the French Riviera.
Due a family feud, Oliver has never known his fathers’ side of the family and Grandpapa Henri is intent that Oliver will take over the reins of the ancestral farm and his rightful inheritance.
Determined to keep her independence from a rather controlling Grandpapa, Nicola buys a run-down cottage on the edge of the family’s Olive Farm and sets to work renovating their new home and providing an income by cultivating the small holding that came with the Cottage.
As the summer months roll by, Nicola and Oliver begin to settle happily into their new way of life with the help of Aunts Josephine and Odette, Henri’s twin sisters and local property developer Gilles Bongars.
But the arrival of some unexpected news and guests at the farm, force Nicole and Aunt Josephine to assess what and where their futures lie.
This book was previously published as The French Legacy.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A poignant story of family, grief and second chances in the South of France. The characterisation and setting of this story immerse the reader into Nicola and Oliver’s lives. This is a multi-generational story with Henri, Oliver’s grandfather, as the strict, unbending Patriarch. Josephine and Odette Oliver’s great aunts welcome Nicola and her son unreservedly and are instrumental in working towards the compromise essential for the family to heal.
Romance flourishes from loss, and Nicola has to decide where her heart lies. Vivid descriptions evoke the reader’s imagination to visualise the location and the events that unfold. This is a character-led story, and each one is lovingly crafted into a believable individual who the reader can like or dislike.
Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The opening chapter gets the reader’s attention in this story of relationships and self-discovery. Emmy is a believably flawed protagonist who learns what matters to her when she returns to her home town amid sadness and scandal. The shallowness of celebrity status and the intrusiveness of social media are explored. The story is set in the prelude to Christmas with the focus on a local pantomime. This book showcases quintessentially British humour, which I loved balanced with moments of poignancy. The romance is secondary to the family drama and Emmy’s self-realisation journey.
The characters are varied and relatable, and the festive setting gives the story an extra sparkle.
Portia MacIntosh is a bestselling romantic comedy author of 16 novels, including The Plus One Pact and My Great Ex-Scape. Previously a music journalist, Portia writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real-life experiences.