Posted in Book Review

The Duchess Deal Tessa Dare 5* Review

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My Thoughts…

‘The Duchess Deal’, is the first Regency romance I’ve read in a couple of years. A clever mix of humour and poignancy laced through with sensual romance, Ash and Emma’s story is the perfect weekend read.

The Duke of Ashbury’s reclusive life is disturbed when desperate seamstress, Emma demands payment for his ex- fiancee’s wedding gown. From their first meeting, you can tell that Emma is a strong, independent woman, ready to defy convention and risk all to ensure her survival. Ashbury believes her intrusion to be serendipitous and wastes no time in making her an unlikely offer, he is brusque, haughty and hurting and the marriage of convenience he proposes riddled with rules designed to protect his already battered heart and self-esteem.

The couples unlikely romance is aided and abetted by Kahn, the butler and Mary, the ladies maid and indeed the whole of the Duke’s staff at his London residence. They want to see the Duke happy and believe Emma is the perfect match for him.

Painfully disfigured from a horrific war injury Ashbury’s prickly nature is exacerbated, he shuns society and human contact and has only allowed the marriage of convenience to get an heir; enabling him to honour his father’s memory and fulfil his duty to his tenants. Emma sees the man beneath the scars, moved by his sense of responsibility and caring nature. Falling in love will make her vulnerable and is something she can’t afford to risk, but is it already too late?

The plot has good pacing, the necessary twists and lots of humour, which counterbalance the angst the couple experience, as they battle their internal demons and external nemeses to get their happy ever after.

Emma’s friendship with an unusual set of ladies gives her courage as she fights to understand her complicated husband, I look forward to reading about their lives in later books.

The Duchess Deal is an engaging, lively, sensual Regency romance with delightfully flawed, likeable characters and a lovely balance of laughter, kisses and tears.

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

 

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Posted in Book Review

Runaway Bride Mary Jayne Baker 5* Review

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Posted in Book Review

Best Friends Carys Jones: Blog Tour – Extract and 4* Review

Four friends, a terrible secret, and one week to stay alive…

Grace doesn’t have a family. That was taken away one dreadful day when she was just six, and her twin brother Peter was killed. Instead, she has her best friends and flatmates – Jasper, Franklin and Aaron – and nothing can tear them apart.

Living in London, and trying desperately to make a living, the four friends are rapidly running out of money and hope. So, when they find a discarded suitcase in a skip, they can’t believe their eyes when its contents seem to answer all their prayers.

But then there is a knock on their door, and a very disgruntled thug with revenge on his mind gives them one week to return his belongings, or they will pay with their lives. Soon the fractures in their friendships begin to show, and when one of them ends up fighting for his life, the stakes are raised even higher.

Will any of them get to the end of the week alive, or will the best of friends become the deadliest of enemies…

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mKlVg0

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2DMGC34

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2mMlsKp

iBooks: https://apple.co/2rk5pZN

Extract

Fifteen Years Later

It was raining. The streets of London were awash with water. It gathered in rivers beneath the kerb and dripped down from gutters. Grace stepped out of the tube station and smiled as the first wet drops splashed against her. She walked boldly down the street, head held high, savouring the sensation as the rain soaked through her thin trench coat and began to damply settle against her skin.

She moved as her name suggested – with poise and elegance. With the measured steps of a prowling cat, she wove her way through the congested street, dipping beneath low hanging umbrellas and skirting around the larger puddles. Grace was like the water; fluid with her motions and able to fit through the smallest gap. Her body was slight and lithe and when she walked her feet were always turned out, the tell-tale mark of a dancer.

To Grace the rain was glorious. She laughed to herself as she tilted her head up to meet the pewter sky above.

God’s tears.

That’s what her mother believed rain to be. And whenever the sky darkened she’d pluck the twins from their beloved swing set in the local park and hurry them back to their cramped flat. It was a sin to get wet.

“The sorrow,” she’d lament as she closed the curtains and turned up the heating, “you can’t let God’s tears and sorrow touch you else it’ll sink in.”

As she moved further away from the station, the bodies swarming along the street thinned and Grace was able to stretch out her arms. The rain washed against her, purifying and icy. Her hair that was held in a tidy bun became sodden, the tan shade of her coat darkened. Still, Grace dawdled, stretching out every step on her way back to her flat. She was never in a rush, especially when it rained.

“You’ll catch your death acting like that,” a stern-faced woman with a northern accent commented as she scurried past, shielded beneath her Radley umbrella. Grace wanted to laugh in the woman’s face. It was people who brought death, not water. But it wasn’t the stranger’s urge for caution, but her Manchester twang that made Grace begin to hurry home. She had once spoken with a similar cadence, but during her years spent at a prestigious ballet school, she’d learned to phase it out, adopting a more clipped, formal accent.

She didn’t need another reminder of home. Nor had she wanted to give the rest of the girls in her class another reason to see her as an outcast. Grace was already strange in their eyes. They came from homes with front doors, back gardens, places where parents came in pairs.

Up ahead a battered blue door flung open, and a handsome dark-haired guy burst out. He headed directly for Grace, extending his arms which made his long wool coat fan out behind him like a cloak.

“Jesus Christ,” he exclaimed as he reached her. “What have I told you about your damn rain fetish? Now get your ass inside.”

“I don’t have a fetish, Franklin,” Grace assured him as she followed him into the small communal hallway which led up to their two bedroom flat.

“Yes, you bloody do,” Franklin feverishly shook off the minuscule cluster of raindrops which had landed on him during his short time outside. He behaved like the dark clouds lingering over London were releasing acid rather than water. “Whenever it rains I find you swanning around outside like you think you’re Kate Bush. Now get in, hurry.”

“I am hurrying.” Grace ascended a steep staircase, made a sharp right turn and found her front door. It was of bare, unvarnished wood. She gently kicked the base, and it opened without protest. Franklin followed her inside and paused to secure the many deadbolts on the inner side of the door.

 My Thoughts…

Believable characters that are easy to empathise. A realistic, plot and a vibrant easy to imagine setting all make Best Friends worth reading. The pacing is perfect, and the internal and external conflict balance is good.

Four young adults share a small flat and face a constant battle of paying the rent without sacrificing their dreams. They are drawn together because of they are all artists, an actor, dancer, musician and writer. They all have something missing in their family lives, ranging from being different to their siblings to suffering years of unthinkable abuse as a child.  They are family, but this bond is tested when something they thought would be their salvation turns sour.

The friendship is tested to breaking point, but each of them face up to their fears and, finds something worthwhile from the traumatic two weeks they experience.  For me, the plot isn’t as exciting as the blurb suggested, but the character development and the conflict within the group make it worth reading.

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

Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2rmTGti

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2Dpix5D

Website: http://bit.ly/2mS51gj

 

Posted in Book Review

The Taste of Blue Light Lydia Ruffles 2* Review

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An incandescent, soul-searching story about a broken young woman’s search for a truth buried so deep it threatens to consume her, body and mind.

These are the things Lux knows:
She is an artist. 
She is lucky. 
She is broken.

These are the things she doesn’t know:
What happened over the summer.
Why she ended up in hospital.
Why her memories are etched in red. 

Desperate to uncover the truth, Lux’s time is running out. If she cannot piece together the events of the summer and regain control of her fractured mind, she will be taken away from everything and everyone she holds dear.

If her dreams don’t swallow her first.

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

An intense, original story but it is so dark and specific. One person’s vision of mental illness, if you don’t share this viewpoint then connecting with the main character and the plot is hard work and probably not worth the effort. The pacing is too slow.
I am not the intended age group, but I have read a lot of YA literature and usually enjoy it, so I guess it’s just this story that’s not for me.
I received a copy of this book from Hodder Children’s Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 

Posted in Book Review

Prosecco and Promises A.L.Michael – Blog Tour: Extract and 5* Review

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Mia’s dad has always been her idol. Now, she faces losing him, and he is insisting that she leave England to visit her mother’s family on the Italian island of Ischia.

Arriving on the island, Mia is embraced by the warm, crazy relatives she hardly knows. Despite her doubts about the trip, it is in Italy that Mia discovers connections to a part of her life that’s been missing, and during the sun-soaked days and steamy nights Mia falls for handsome local Salvatore. But as the day of her departure draws nearer can she risk having her heart broken twice in one summer? 

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

Prosecco and Promises Cover

Extract from Prosecco and Promises…

‘My father had booked the flight and had sprung for business class. I knew he’d probably have tried for first class, but Marjorie would have reined him in, talking about how pointless physical objects wouldn’t make up for my emotional loss. For once, she was right. Plus, it was amazing how I managed to feel guilty about absolutely everything. I felt guilty when I enjoyed the taste of the coffee in the terminal before my flight, the smooth, rich espresso going cold as I hovered around drinking it. Dad loved espresso. Loved.

I felt guilty about my comfortable seat on the plane whilst my father lay in his bed in pain. I felt guilty about the glass of prosecco and the movie I laughed at multiple times before remembering why I was travelling in the first place. I felt guilty at the sheer joy of knowing I had handed in my notice at the make-up counter, because I hadn’t known how long I’d be away for, and they couldn’t wait around – saying goodbye to that place had been a relief.

In the end, all that guilt and remembering to be unhappy was exhausting, and I fell into a dark, dreamless, uneasy sleep, waking up to that jolting feeling as my stomach stuck in my throat and the wheels of the plane extended.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, signore e signori, welcome to Naples.’

As I stepped off the plane into the warm sunshine, I took a deep breath. Not just to rid me of the chemical, ‘fake’ air circulating on that plane for hours, but to see if any memories lingered on the Italian breeze.

‘Every country smells different when you step off a plane, Mia,’ my father had said, a lifetime ago, ‘and soon, when you’ve been on enough journeys, you’ll get off a plane and you’ll smell home.’

Home smelled like wet summer grass and cool air. This smelled like dry air, like sand kicked up by salty seas, sucked into the atmosphere and whipped up in the wind. It smelled like the promise of juicy oranges and crystal waters. It smelled like coconut suntan cream and ice cubes on sticky fingers. But it didn’t smell like any memories at all. Just the warmth before summer began.

The last time I’d been to Ischia, it had been just after Mum died. My dad bought her ashes back to her home; he felt it was where she’d want to be. I’d met all these dark-haired people with clucking voices and sad looks. They’d stroked my hair and pinched my cheeks and paused their bursts of frantic Italian to call me a ‘poor little thing’. We spent a few weeks there, my dad hollow and echoing as he tried to show me the island, but was haunted by memories. He met my mother on Ischia. Stole her away back to England. Sometimes we’d walk past someone or some house, or he’d stop and pick up a shell on the beach, or stare past the pink sunset, like he wasn’t really there, but was back in the memory with her. It wasn’t the best time. And now he was sending me back, to the place I had been dragged to after my mother died, as my father drowned in his memories.

Now I would drown in mine.’

My Thoughts…

Mia is giving up on love, she lost her mother when she was just a child and can hardly remember her. Now, she is losing her precious father, who has always been there for her. Determined to be strong and stay with him to the end, he makes her promise to visit her mother’s home and meet her maternal family whilst he lives out his remaining days without her.

Anger is Mia’s dominant emotion, she’s furious with her father, her young step mum and most of all herself. Italy proves to be just what she needs but there is a great deal of angst, poignant discovery and forgiveness to be lived through before Mia appreciates this.

I love Mia she is such a beautiful mess, full of fear, guilt, self-reproach and the need to belong. She’s afraid to love, believing she will only experience the pain of losing again, Mia doesn’t feel she’s worth loving and so pushes everyone away. Her maternal family are loud and loving and they slowly get under her skin. Mia learns about her mother and finally feels that she has roots.  As her new family relive their memories of her mother, Mia begins to heal, and when her father dies, she finds that life does go on, even though she is devastated.

Meeting Salvatore is unexpected and it’s not love at first sight, he is rude and she is angry but when they find a common goal, they each see something they like in the other and sparks of a different sort begin to glow. The love story is gentle and realistic and lovely to read. A thoughtful, memorable story which is perfectly paced and hard to put down.

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

 
A.L.Michael

A.L. Michael is hurtling towards the end of her twenties a little too quickly. She is the author of 10 novels. Her most recent collection of books, The Martini Club Series, started with Cocktails and Dreams, to be followed by Prosecco and Promises, and Martinis and Memories. She likes to write about difficult women. Well, they say to write what you know. Andi works as a Content Writer, as well as a therapeutic facilitator. She has a bunch of degrees in stuff to do with writing and wrote her MSc dissertation on the power of creative writing in eating disorder recovery. She truly believes stories can change your life.

Twitter: @AlMichael_

Facebook: A.L. Michael

Website: A. L. Michael

Posted in Book Review

Reach for the Stars Kathy Jay 4* Review

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When Layla Rivers’ boyfriend of 12 years skips out on their round-the-world trip of a lifetime – without her – she does what experience has taught her to do best, hide away in the cosy Cornish village she calls home. But any hopes of laying low soon disappear when Hollywood’s hottest star & mutual acquaintance, the gorgeous Nick Wells, crash lands on her couch…naked!

For Nick, Cornwall is supposed to be an escape from both his problems and the limelight, yet as the stars align and disarming Layla bursts into his world, his life only gets more complicated.

Will Nick and Layla fight against the undeniable connection between them or, under the warmth of the Cornish sun, will they follow their hearts’ desires?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

A lovely, romantic tale, which documents Layla’s roller-coaster emotional ride when her boyfriend of twelve years, leaves her to travel the world when she needs him most. Layla is the family member and friend everybody wants. She always puts everyone’s needs before her own.
Her serendipitous meeting with Nick, film star, and twin of her best friend’s husband gives her the chance to put her needs first by indulging in a no-strings affair. While Nick’s reputation as a ‘player’ appears exaggerated, his fear of commitment is not. He is looking to escape the media attention before the latest scandal in his life hits the headlines. A holiday romance which helps Layla regain her self-esteem is the perfect rest cure.
There are some humorous characters in this story but more poignancy and heartache than laughs but with plenty of sizzling romance and enough conflict to make the plot interesting this is an enjoyable lighthearted read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Posted in Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction

Fragile Lives Stephen Westaby – 5* Review

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An incredible memoir from one of the world’s most eminent heart surgeons, recalling some of the most remarkable and poignant cases he’s worked on.

Grim Reaper sits on the heart surgeon’s shoulder. A slip of the hand and life ebbs away.

The balance between life and death is so delicate, and the heart surgeon walks that rope between the two. In the operating room, there is no time for doubt. It is flesh, blood, rib-retractors and pumping the vital organ with your bare hand to squeeze the life back into it. An off-day can have dire consequences – this job has a steep learning curve, and the cost is measured in human life. Cardiac surgery is not for the faint of heart.

Professor Stephen Westaby took chances and pushed the boundaries of heart surgery. He saved hundreds of lives over the course of a thirty-five year career and now, in his astounding memoir, Westaby details some of his most remarkable and poignant cases – such as the baby who had suffered multiple heart attacks by six months old, a woman who lived the nightmare of locked-in syndrome, and a man whose life was powered by a battery for eight years.

A powerful, important and incredibly moving book, Fragile Lives offers an exceptional insight into the exhilarating and sometimes tragic world of heart surgery, and how it feels to hold someone’s life in your hands.

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

I’m not usually drawn to biographies, but this one interested me. An absorbing and provoking read, it captured my attention long into the night.

‘Fragile Lives’, documents a surgeon’s successful career, through a detailed description of keynote cases during a pioneering time for heart surgery. The medical terms are integral to the book, but they are understandable, and if you’re confused there is a glossary at the back. 

This is a  candid, passionate memoir. Every chapter demonstrates the surgeon’s dedication to his work, compassion for his patients and understandable frustrations with a system that focuses purely on outcomes rather than the quality of life.

 The real-life characters of this book are complex and memorable, I recalled some of the groundbreaking cases that became front page news, and it is fascinating to read the stories behind the headlines. 

For me, though it is the unknown cases, those that shaped this man’s career and life that are the most poignant. Even though, as a surgeon he appreciates the necessity of objectivity and not getting personally involved with his patients’lives, these cases prove that it’s not always possible to stand on the sidelines and sometimes you have to risk your own peace of mind for the greater good.

This story is as captivating as any fictional tale. The unpredictable twists and turns,  vivid characters and the life and death action will keep you reading until the last word.

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

 

Posted in Book Review, Book Spotlight

Steel Hawk Security – A Romantic Suspense Box Set: Jane Beckenham, Eve Devon, Sarah Ballance. 5* Review

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The Complete Series

Steel Hawk Security: A Romantic Suspense Box Set

 Publishes 8th February 2018

Strap in for sizzling chemistry and fast-paced, thrilling action, all the way from 1851 to present-day. Meet the company of alpha-honourable heroes and strong, spirited heroines in a world of high-tech security, feuding royals, and missing diamonds.

Beginning at the birthplace of great engineering and design, The Great Exhibition, London, 1851 and moving to present day, Steel Hawk has prospered for 150 years by securing some of the world’s most treasured possessions. Now a secret from the past threatens to destroy the company, and a new generation must take up the fight. But with the battle only half-won, Steel Hawk is about to learn that trust has a price.

Three authors. Three full-length, standalone books of heart-pounding romantic suspense.

If you love historical romance and contemporary romance, steampunk elements, inventors, royalty, diamonds, bad-boys, alpha-geeks, co-workers-to-lovers, revenge, and psychological suspense with your mystery; then immerse yourself in the world of STEEL HAWK SECURITY and let the seduction begin…

Bk 1: To Love a Thief by Jane Beckenham

It’s one thing to lose your heart. Quite another to have it stolen. Years ago, notorious jewel thief “The Raven” vanished into the shadows. In 1851, Nathan Hawk emerges into a life of respectability, determined to make up for past sins. He and his business partner are introducing a lock they’re so sure can’t be broken, they’re displaying a priceless diamond, the royal Pasha Star, at the Great Exhibition. Rose Valetta’s father has been kidnapped, and she needs the Star to buy his freedom. She never expected to come nose-to-nose with Nathan. Their reunion is fraught with tension, especially when they discover the diamond in Nathan’s impregnable case is not the Pasha Star. With Nathan’s reputation in tatters, they race to find the real stone before it’s too late for Rose’s father. Too late to save the empire from a usurper. And too late to keep from losing their hearts.

My Thoughts…

This new box set kicks off with historical romantic suspense. Set in 1851, an iconic time for industrial development in England. Hawk Steel security is in its infancy and protecting a precious diamond is vital to the company’s reputation.

Nathan Hawk has so many secrets, an entire past life in fact and one he never wanted to revisit. Face to face with a girl he could never entirely forget, he finds his life infinitely more complicated than he would like.

Rose is no thief, but has to save her father, she never forgot Nathan Hawk, they shared her first kiss, but he left without a word, and Rose’s not going to open her heart back up to him again, even if she does need his help and expertise.

A fast-paced story with lots of action scenes, intrigue, and sensual romance. Rose is a courageous heroine, more comfortable in trousers than dresses she is a great character. Nathan is an anti-hero, he’s  a sexy bad boy with a soft heart.

This story lays the foundations for the stories that follow and the secrets that will threaten the Steel Hawk security dynasty for years to come.

Jane Beckenham writes historical and contemporary romance after falling for stories about love and hope. Inspired by happy ever afters, she found her own true love and together they adopted and raised two daughters. She lives with her family in New Zealand where writing is her addiction – and sure beats housework!

WEBSITE                   FACEBOOK              TWITTER

Bk 2: Heart of Steel by Eve Devon

Colleague, friend, lover… liar? Adam Steel is in crisis mode. A recent exposé claims a founder of Steel Hawk was actually The Raven, an infamous jewel thief. And his assistant, Honeysuckle Hawk, has a sordid past he never knew about. Proving he never really knew her, never should have trusted her, and definitely shouldn’t start falling for her. With her dirty laundry flapping in the media storm, Honeysuckle’s first instinct is to run. Two things make her stay: Adam’s insistence it’s better to show the world a united front, and her heart’s insistence by his side is where she belongs. Amid the ensuing damage control, all eyes are on Adam’s ability to develop a prototype to secure and protect the Pasha Star diamond. High stakes and long hours ignite passion… until the diamond is stolen and Adam’s own prototype shows Honeysuckle is a thief. Dare he trust her to help him expose the real criminal—before the mastermind wreaks havoc on the royal family?

My Thoughts…

Mystery, technology and steamy romance all interact in this fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense.
Adam Steel is the perfect geek hero, sexy, off the scale intelligent and yet surprisingly innocent in the rules of love, perhaps because of a secret in his past?
Honeysuckle Hawk sounds like a character from a 1920’s novel, and she is so easy to like. She fulfills her role as Steel’s assistant with consummate ease, but she is a complex character hiding many secrets. She has something to prove, both to her family and most importantly to herself.
The plot is suspenseful, as the mysteries surrounding Steel Hawk and their connection with the Zarrenburg royal family are uncovered. This is an action-packed tale with realistic, interesting characters. The chemistry between Adam and Honeysuckle is intrinsic to the story and results in sensual love scenes underscored by emotional commitment.
The storytelling is flawless and compelling and utterly page turning. 

Eve Devon writes romantic comedy, contemporary fiction and romantic suspense with sexy heroes, sassy heroines, and happily ever afters… She lives in leafy Surrey in the UK, a book-devouring, slightly melodramatic, romance-writing sassy heroine with her very own sexy-hero husband!

WEBSITE                   FACEBOOK              TWITTER                              

Bk 3: Dangerous Illusions by Sarah Ballance

Keep your lovers close, your enemies closer. Especially if they’re one and the same. With Steel Hawk reeling from explosions at Zarrenburg Castle, company lawyer Edward Long’s legendary stoicism has been severely tested. It’s clearly an inside job, and no one is deeper inside than Edward— which leaves him squarely center-frame. Someone is using him to bring down the company he loves. Worse, the PI that Adam Hawk sends to investigate… there’s something off about her. And something that seriously turns him on. Operating under an assumed name, Sophie Hawk aims to dig deeper into the company’s systems than any other investigator would dare. Especially with the prime suspect’s hot gaze tracking her every move. As their dueling intellects strike sparks, the rising heat threatens the trip wires Edward has set up around his heart— and the secret that ties him to a man who’ll stop at nothing to claim his right to rule the house of Zarrenburg. Or, if he can’t have it, destroy it— and everyone connected to it.

My Thoughts…

The third book in the series is contemporary romantic suspense, but the mysteries and problems of Steel Hawk Security and the house of Zarrenburg go back much further.

Edward, the company lawyer, has his suspicions about who is sabotaging the company and the royal family, but from the outside, he looks guiltier than most. Edward is again a geeky type of hero, but he is brave and loyal, despite outward appearances.Sophie Hawk has a vested interest in the company’s problems but working undercover, no one knows that. There is instant chemistry between Edward and Sophie. The dialogue is punchy and peppered with sarcastic remarks. The fighting soon turns to passion but can they trust each other?

There is a sinister ambience to this story because if Edward isn’t guilty someone unknown is, and they haven’t finished yet. A roller coaster ride of suspense, mystery, and romance. A great ending to a well thought out trilogy.

Sarah Ballance lives on the US mid-Atlantic coast with her husband and children. She writes in many genres and loves creating unforgettable stories while putting her characters through an unkind amount of torture—a hobby that has nothing to do with living with six children!

WEBSITE                   FACEBOOK              TWITTER      

BUY LINKS:

AMAZON      BARNES & NOBLE             GOOGLE       iBOOKS         KOBO        

 I received a copy of this box set from the authors in return for an honest review.   

Posted in Book Review

The Little Cafe in Copenhagen – Julie Caplin – 5* Review

Welcome to the little cafe in Copenhagen where the smell of cinnamon fills the air, the hot chocolate is as smooth as silk and romance is just around the corner…

Publicist Kate Sinclair’s life in London is everything she thought she wanted: success, glamour and a charming boyfriend. Until that boyfriend goes behind her back and snatches a much sought-after promotion from her.Heartbroken and questioning everything, Kate needs to escape.

From candles and cosy nights into romantic late-night walks through the beautiful cobbled streets of Copenhagen, Kate discovers how to live life ‘the Danish way’. Can the secrets of hygge and happiness lead her to her own happily-ever-after?

Amazon UK

 Amazon

My Thoughts…

This story captures the essence of Denmark, with a whistle-stop tour of the main attractions and an exploration of the Danish way of living. Kate is a publicist, who is determined to enjoy the life her mother wanted for her, but when she lands a contract, no one has time for she questions her life choices. Is she happy? Does she need to babysit her family?  Is this the life her mum wanted her to have?

Taking six journalists to Copenhagen puts Kate right out of her comfort zone, but she wants to prove herself and get the promotion that always seems just out of reach. Meeting Eva and exploring her lovely cafe and its menu, is life changing for Kate. Gradually she begins to understand the concept of Hygge and how choosing wisely in all things can lead to a fulfilling life.

Clever, pacy plotting and believable, flawed characters make this story an exciting read. There many funny and poignant moments and plenty that irritate the hell out of you, especially the way the PR agency treat Kate and some of the early antics of the journalists. The journalists are fab characters, and as Kate gets to know them, she finds that beneath their hardened, professional persona they are lovely people. 

 The Little Cafe in Copenhagen is just like one of my favourite Danish pastries; rich, sweet, often fruity, and with a lovely romantic ending, the icing on top.

I am looking forward to reading  Sophie’s story ‘The Little Brooklyn Bakery, which is previewed at the end of this story’.

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

Posted in Book Review

The French Adventure – Lucy Coleman 5* Review

 

Suddenly unemployed and single, Anna escapes to her parents’ beautiful house in France for a much-needed recharge – and to work out what she wants to do next with her life now her carefully mapped out plan has gone out the window.

Anna gives herself 6 months to recuperate, all the while helping renovate her parents’ adjoining gites into picturesque B&Bs. But working alongside the ruggedly handsome Sam on the renovation project, she didn’t expect for life to take an unexpected, if not unwelcome, twist…

Amazon UK 

Amazon

My Thoughts…

The setting for this story makes it special from the beginning. Anna is at a crossroads in her life, she has a plan and thought it was working out but soon discovers it isn’t. Arriving at her parents’ French B&B gives her chance to heal from her toxic relationship and plan her next move. Anna’s journey is more than a hop over the channel, it brings her into contact with Sam, her polar opposite, he doesn’t plan and doesn’t see the need to finish everything he starts,  yet they manage to work together renovating two smaller properties on their parent’s estate. There are lots of renovating tips as the story progresses, which increase the story’s visual impact, very useful also if you want to do any house renovation. 🙂

Sam has a tragic secret, which blights his life,  his attitude frustrates Anna, but she can’t help but like him, maybe because of their differences. There’s a mystery to solve and some lovely characters to meet, and there’s Karl, Anna’s ex-boyfriend who won’t leave her alone, but is this more about saving face than a broken heart? Anna’s journey of self-discovery is at a realistic, gentle pace but the setting combined with the possibility of romance and the mystery Anna and Sam have to solve makes this an easy to read, page-turner, with a believable outcome.

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

Here’s an extract from The French Adventure…

‘Karl sidles up to me. Nestling his body up against my back, he wraps his arms around my waist to give me a hug. I continue to unwrap a few cheeses and lay them out on a platter, laughing as he buries his head in my hair. We always come back to my place after a night out. He lives like a bachelor, and his fridge is never stocked.

‘You’re very quiet tonight, Anna. Anything I should be worried about?’

I tried to join in with the spirit of the film, but with my head filled with so many conflicting emotions, it was hard to concentrate. I’m on the brink of challenging him about our situation and telling him how unhappy I am with the way things are. Tonight, all I could think about was how I would begin that conversation. But there’s an underlying problem. Assuming that Karl immediately wants to do the right thing and make me happy, rather than risk losing me, what if I don’t suddenly feel my life is complete, after all?

What if things don’t fall nicely into place? It’s like I have this disconnect. I want to love him; I want this to be right. However, I can’t engage until he’s proven beyond any doubt whatsoever that he loves me. Only then will I truly know how I feel and hopefully be able to say that back to him.

‘I’m… tired. That’s all.’

‘Hey,’ he turns me round so he can stare into my eyes. I have a cheese knife in one hand and a piece of kitchen towel in the other. ‘I don’t like to think of my girl overdoing it. If you need to take some time off the boss is saying yes.’

When he looks down at me with that look on his face, it’s a different Karl I see. There is a vulnerable streak there, a softness to him that never shows at work.

‘I’ll be fine. It’s only that… sometimes I’m not sure what the future holds.’

Damn it, Anna, why do you have to soften it? Ask him outright! Or are you scared you won’t get the answer you think you want?

‘The future is bright, I can promise you that. We’re going to be trailblazers, Anna. You’re going to love being driven around in a Porsche and taken to the best restaurants. And it’s not just my success we’re talking about here, Anna, we’re a team. Your parents are going to be very proud of their daughter’s achievements.’

I stare back at him, trying hard to hide my bitter disappointment.

‘I just want to be happy, Karl, and have a good work/life balance. Work is only a part of it.’

He looks at me and emits a slow sigh.

‘I see this as a start, and my aspirations go way beyond that. I don’t want a mediocre life, I want it all – for us. One day I’m going to run my own company and prove to my father I have what it takes.’

I met Karl’s parents once, and that was enough. I felt uncomfortable in their company as if I wasn’t good enough for their son. Which was bad enough, but the way his father treated him was appalling. He kept asking questions and challenging every single little thing. I knew Karl was embarrassed and we hardly spoke a word on the journey back home.

‘Money and material things don’t necessarily bring happiness, Karl.’ I catch his eye, even though I can see he doesn’t want to listen.’

Lucy lives in the Forest of Dean in the UK with her lovely husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy. Her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Lucy won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.