Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Cozy Mystery, Friendship, Mystery, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Snow Falls Over Sunnybrook, Little Duck Pond Café Rosie Green 5*#Review @Rosie_Green88 @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #romcom #Festive #cosymystery #LittleDuckPondCafe #ThursdayThoughts #SnowFallsOverSunnybrook

The chance to spend a night ghost-hunting alone with Hudson Holmes at Brambleberry Manor seems like a dream come true for Ruby Watkiss. Maybe, she thinks, this is their chance to get closer? But when mysterious goings-on start happening which have nothing to do with the spirit world, the pair are catapulted off on another sleuthing adventure. And as the snow starts to fall and emotions are rising at the Little Duck Pond Cafe, Ruby is faced with a double challenge. Can she be braver than she’s ever been, in order to rescue something very close to her heart? And can she convince Hudson that Christmas really can be the most wonderful time of the year?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The third cosy mystery featuring Ruby and Hudson starts at Halloween and leads to the intrepid pair of amateur sleuths spending the night in a supposed haunted room. Ruby is hoping for romance, but Hudson seems intent on avoiding the passion simmering between them. A mystery van leads to a real-life investigation that puts Ruby in danger and has the reader on tenterhooks.

There are appearances from other familiar characters in the Little Duck Pond Cafe to please regular readers as Ruby and Hudson’s potential romance experiences conflict and misunderstandings. The reader is absorbed in both cosy mystery and romantic comedy elements with a delightful festive ending.

Another perfect slice of life at the Little Duck Pond Cafe.

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. The latest, ‘The Wedding Cake Wish’, is out now. Look out for more Little Duck Pond Café tales in 2022, including ‘Chocolate Cake for Breakfast’ and ‘Christmas in June’.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Giveaway, Romance, Travel

Beauty And The Reclusive Millionaire Rachael Stewart 5*#Review @rach_b52 @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks @rararesources #MillsandBoonTrueLove #BookBlitz #BookReview #Romance #BeautyAndTheReclusiveMillionaire #giveaway

An unforgettable Greek escape…

with the man she never forgot! 

A-list actress Catherine Wilde has it all, but behind closed doors, she is fighting personal battles. So the chance to escape to the private Greek island of her best friend’s brother, Alaric, offers the tranquillity she craves. Except seeing Alaric again sets her heart rate soaring. Life might have changed him, but he can still make her feel alive—and when the torch she once held for him reignites, it’s impossible to ignore!

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourite fairytales, and this author gives the reader a contemporary slant on the original, brimming with drama, emotion and romance. Catherine and Alaric are both likeable protagonists who are lacking in self-worth. They need each other to realise they seek a love that completes them.

Their emotional connection is strong from the beginning, rooted in childhoods spent together. Both have suffered losses that have left them emotionally bereft. The conflicts between them are numerous, but their chemistry and history make romance inevitable. The passion reflects their emotional commitment, and the ending is romantic.

Rachael Stewart

Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories, from heartwarmingly romantic to wildly erotic. She’s been writing since she could put pen to paper as the stacks of scrawled-on pages in her loft will attest to. A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her very own hero and three awesome kids, and if she’s not tapping out a story, she’s wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors.

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Giveaway to Win a prize including 3 Rachael Stewart Paperbacks,

Heart Post Its and more (Open INT)

Prize Contains –

3 x paperbacks:

  • Tempted by the Tycoon’s Proposal
  • Surprise Reunion with His Cinderella
  • Beauty And The Reclusive Millionaire

And:

  • Cute Sloth Coffee Cup Place Mat
  • Novelty Pen
  • Heart Post-Its

*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 I reserve 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 be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for the despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, New Books, Romance, Travel

The Lost Girl in Paris Jina Bacarr 5*#Review @JinaBacarr @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #BlogTour #HistFic #WW2 #BookReview #Romance #Drama #secrets #perfume #France #Paris #TheLostGirlinParis

Brand new from the bestselling author of The Resistance Girl.

1940, Nazi-occupied Paris. A powerful story of love, tragedy and incredible courage, about one woman whose life is ripped apart by war and who risks everything to seek justice.

As Nazis patrol the streets of the French capital, Tiena is alone, desperate and on the run. After defending herself against the force of an officer, she must find a new identity in order to survive.

An accidental meeting with members of the Resistance gives her a lifeline, as she is offered the chance to reinvent herself as perfumer Angéline de Cadieux.

However, Angéline will never forget what happened to her and will do everything she can to seek revenge. But vengeance can be a dangerous game, and Angeline can only hide her true identity for so long before her past catches up with her, with some devastating consequences…

Paris, 2003. When the opportunity arises for aspiring journalist Emma Keane to interview world-renowned perfumer Madame De Cadieux about her life during World War Two, she is determined to take it. There are secrets from her own family history that she hopes Angéline may be able to help unlock.

But nothing can prepare Emma for Angéline’s story, and one thing is for certain – it will change her own life forever…

An absolutely heartbreaking, unforgettable historical novel of war, sacrifice and survival.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Believably crafted characters and vivid historical details bring this story to life for the reader. This story explores occupied France from the viewpoint of a young girl. The author captures the sense of danger and menacing ethos brilliantly. The vibrant descriptions and violent emotions are immersive.

The woman she becomes is a famous perfumer, and again the details give the character authenticity and depth. Her story is retold years later to a young journalist seeking answers about her ancestry. The secrets are devastating, the tragedy of war, and the evil of the occupying regime resonates.

This story balances action and introspection in an addictive way making this an absorbing and heartbreaking read but so worth the angst.

JinaBacarr

Jina Bacarr is a US-based historical romance author of over 10 previous books. She has been a screenwriter, journalist and news reporter, but now writes full-time and lives in LA. Jina’s novels have been sold in 9 territories.

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Posted in Book Review, Motivational, New Books, Non-Fiction, Poetry

The How  Yrsa Daley-Ward 4*#Review @PenguinUKBooks #YrsaDaleyWard #TheHow #BookReview #Instagram @yrsadaleyward #MondayBlogs

A treasure trove of inspiration and an invitation for personal renewal from the acclaimed author of bone and The Terrible

We still dream though, don’t we? We are gifted with a way into ourselves, night after night after night.

Yrsa Daley-Ward’s words have resonated with hundreds of thousands of readers around the world: through her books of poetry and memoir bone and The Terrible, through her powerful writing for Beyoncé on Black Is King and through her always-illuminating Instagram posts.

In The How, Yrsa gently takes readers by the hand, encouraging them to join her as she explores how we can remove our filters, and see and feel more of who we really are behind the preconceived notions of propriety and manners we’ve accumulated with age. With a mix of short, lyrical musings, immersive poetry and intriguing meditations, The How can be used to start conversations, to prompt writing, to delve deeper – whether you’re on your own or with friends, on your feet or writing from the solace of home.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Original personal thoughts give the reader a chance to share the author’s ideas for a healthy self. Written in a mix of exercises, ideas, and personal experiences, the book explores life’s challenges and how to attain your best self. There is an underlying honesty that is refreshing. The author doesn’t profess to have the solutions but suggests they are within each of us if we take the time to look.

There is an absorbing balance of lyrical musings and notes that keep the reader engaged. I particularly like the idea that dreams are important for happiness, and imagining what you want to be in as many details as possible brings it closer to fruition.

This book can be enjoyed on many levels and has a wide reader appeal.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Festive Read, Friendship, New Books, Romance

Strictly Christmas Spirit Helen Buckley 4*#Review @HelenCBuckley @ChocLituk #spotlight #Festive @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs #StrictlyChristmasSpirit


From disco balls to Christmas baubles …
Ex-dancer Emily Williams turned her back on the sparkle of popular dancing show Strictly Dancing with Celebs to help those in need. Now the only dancing she does is teaching lonely pensioners to waltz, and the closest she gets to disco balls is making baubles with the homeless people in her Christmas crafts class.
She’s certainly not star-struck when Hollywood heart-throb Blake Harris is sent to her at short notice for community service, and has no desire to babysit the arrogant actor with his bad boy antics and selfish ways. Christmas might be a time for miracles, but Blake seems to be a lost cause.
But Emily’s reasons for abandoning her dancing passion means she understands the Hollywood wild child more than she’d like to admit. Could their time together, coupled with a dash of Christmas spirit, lead to a miracle change of heart for them both?
Book 3 in Helen’s Spotlight series but they can all be read as standalone stories.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

If you enjoy your festive reading with gentle romance and examples of the true meaning of this time of year, this heartwarming story is for you. The reader meets Emily in the spotlight, where things are not going to plan. Then Blake is introduced as he hits a low point in his life. The setting for the story isn’t glamorous, but it’s a place of hope.

The story has seasonal predictability but does explore contemporary issues in a meaningful way. The romance between Emily and Blake is inevitable, but there are many conflicts and misunderstandings.

The cast of characters add authenticity and the romance grows believably. It’s an easy and uplifting read that makes you think.

Helen Buckley

Ever since I was little I wanted to be a writer, to turn daydreams into books. I’m fascinated by fame, in love with Happy Ever Afters, and enthralled by slow-burn romances. I squeeze in time to write around looking after my two sons. 

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Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, New Books

The Duke’s Counterfeit Wife Louise Allen 5*#Review @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #MillsandBoonHistorical #HarlequinHistorical #MillsandBoonInsiders #HistoricalRomance #TheDukesCounterfeitWife

A feigned marriage

A very real attraction…

When their ship is commandeered, Nicholas Terrell, Duke of Severton, saves stranger Sarah Parrish by claiming she’s his wife! She’s more valuable if their captors believe she’ll bring them a duchess’s ransom, but now Nicholas is compelled to share a cabin with his distractingly beautiful faux bride… Outspoken Sarah enchants him like no debutante ever has. Yet, as a lady’s companion, Sarah’s completely unsuitable for a duke. So surely a real match between them is impossible?

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

Sarah is escaping her tragic past by seeking employment as a companion. Nicholas, a Duke, is researching a possible investment into shipping. Both are on a ship attacked by pirates. Nicholas saves Sarah by claiming her as his wife. What follows is a romantic adventure with cleverly crafted characters and absorbing historical details. The romance grows believably from friendship as mutual respect leads to mutual attraction. There are numerous obstacles to romance, but after much adventure and angst, they get their happy-ever-after.

This is an engaging historical romance with dangerous adventure and simmering passion.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Detective, New Books, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

The Cold Killer Ross Greenwood 5* #Review #DIBarton @greenwoodross @BoldwoodBooks #CrimeFiction #PsychologicalThriller #suspense #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #TheColdKiller

It’s hard to live when you think you deserve to die…

When a tired old inmate is found dead in his cell, the prison is obligated to investigate and so DI Barton attends. The men he interviews have been convicted of some of the worst things a human being can do, but it appears likely that the death was due to natural causes.

When the house of the dead man is burgled and that crime is followed by a suspicious fire, Barton desperately needs to speak to his widow, but she’s nowhere to be found.

In the space of twenty-four hours, everyone he wants to talk to has vanished. Then he receives some post that makes him believe he could be the next to disappear.

Barton’s investigation goes full circle, through a series of brutal murders, back to the prison, and all signs are pointing to the fact that he’s made a terrible mistake.

There’s a violent killer on the loose, who wants everyone to learn that some people deserve to die.

DI Barton is back as Ross Greenwood continues with his bestselling series.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a complex investigation with multi viewpoints and an insight into the prison system. DI Barton and his team investigate a series of killings that have few leads. A flawed and likeable character DI Baton uses experience and insight to solve his investigations. This series retains an authentic edge, and the author’s knowledge of the prison system reinforces this.

Some of the subjects explored are disturbing, and there is a necessary violent element in keeping with the storyline. The insights into the killer’s mind are absorbing. Believably flawed characters, realistic settings and a twisty plot make this an engaging read for crime fiction enthusiasts.

Ross Greenwood

Ross Greenwood is the bestselling author of eight crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked every day with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough.

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Read my reviews of the first three books in the series:

The Snow Killer, The Soul Killer, The Ice Killer

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Historical Romance, New Books, Victorian Romance

Snow-Kissed Proposals Jenni Fletcher, Elisabeth Hobbes 5*#Review @JenniAuthor @ElisabethHobbes @HarlequinBooks @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonInsiders #HarlequinHistorical #MillsandBoonHistorical #VictorianRomance #Novella #Festive #Scotland #Derbyshire #PublicationDay @rararesources #BookReview #SnowKissedProposals

A snowy Victorian ChristmasTwo festive short stories!

In The Christmas Runaway by Jenni Fletcher: wilful, independent heiress, Fiona MacKay, impulsively runs away to a remote Scottish tower where she’s trapped in the snow with equally headstrong, deliciously dishevelled Angus Drummond.

In Their Snowbound Reunion by Elisabeth Hobbes: fifteen years ago, Amy Munroe and Anthony Matthews were cruelly parted, and each blames the other. When Amy becomes Anthony’s new housekeeper, their passion is reawakened!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

‘Snow-Kissed Proposals’ is set in Scotland and Derbyshire, two festive novellas with independent heroines and wintry settings.

The Christmas Runaway’ is set in northeast Scotland, where Fiona’s ill-considered winter trip leads to conflict, friendship and romance. The bleak and forbidding setting is the perfect place for Fiona and Angus to meet. Their relationship develops from enemies to friends and is full of witty banter and conflict right to the end.

Their Snowbound Reunion’ is set in Derbyshire and is a story of second chances and forgiveness. Amy and Anthony enjoyed a brief but ill-fated romance. When they meet again, there is still something between them. This is a lovely second chance romance with characters that are easy to empathise with and a happy ending.

Both these Victorian romances are engaging and the perfect book to read in front of a cosy fire.

Jenni Fletcher is the award-winning author of 15 historical romances. She has been nominated for 4 RoNA Awards and won the Libertà Books Shorter Romantic Novel Award in 2020. She lives in Yorkshire with her family and can be contacted via Twitter @JenniAuthor. Facebook

Elisabeth Hobbeswriting career began when she finished in third place in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in 2013.  She was offered a two-book contract and consequently had to admit secret writing was why the house was such a tip.  She is the author of numerous historical romances with Harlequin Mills & Boon covering the Medieval period to Victorian England, and a Second World War romantic historical with One More Chapter. She lives in Cheshire because the car broke down there in 1999 and she never left. Twitter Facebook

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Childrens Books, Giveaway, New Books, Non-Fiction

Horsing Around Lexi Rees 5*#Review @lexi_rees #Motivational #ActivityBook #Kidlit #ChildrensBooks #Horses #Riding #BlogBlitz #BookReview #Learning #Art #Quiz @rararesources #HorsingAround

Calling all pony fans!

This journal and activity book is bursting with pony-fuelled fun. Whether you’re preparing for your first lesson or out collecting rosettes every weekend, this book has everything you need. 

✓ set your riding goals and track your progress

✓ record your best riding moments

✓ tackle the horsey games and puzzles

✓ test your equestrian knowledge

✓ giggle at the funniest horse jokes

✓ try the fun pony-themed arts and crafts

✓ save your precious pony memories

Can you complete all the challenges and become a riding superstar?

Amazon UK Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an ideal activity journal for any pony obsessed young person. Its easy to understand layout, relevant questions, and horse orientated activities make it educational and fun. It charts both weekly and monthly progress with pony care and riding. There is space to record the pony you rode that week and what activities you did, what you learnt and what you need to practice. There are art projects, quiz and fun activities to complete, all reinforcing knowledge learnt.

Like all the journals written by this author, the emphasis is on having fun. However, her horsey knowledge ensures the young people learn meaningfully too. It will appeal to both boys and girls. It’s the perfect contemporary equivalent of the pony annuals I used to read.

Lexi Rees

Lexi Rees was born in Scotland but now lives down south where she’s a slave to a carrot obsessed gelding, a frisky mare, a dog who’s convinced he’s not been fed in a month, and a house of hungry boys.

She writes action-packed adventures and fun activity books for children. She wrote Horsing Around in response to a predominance of pink in the existing pony book market which her own son found off-putting.

She’s passionate about developing a love of reading and writing in children and, as well as her creative writing workbook, she has an active programme of school visits and other events, is a Book PenPal for three primary schools, and runs a free online #kidsclub and newsletter which includes book recommendations and creative writing activities.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Extract, Festive Read, Friendship, New Books, Romance

A Bookshop Christmas Rachel Burton 5*Review #ABookshopChristmas #RachelBurton @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Festive #Romance #BlogTour #BookReview

A Snowstorm. A stranger. A Spark. It should be the perfect start to the perfect love story.

But real life is far messier and more complicated than in the pages of the books in Megan Taylor’s family bookshop – the last few years have left this young widow in no doubt of that. Moving back home to York should have been a fresh start, but all it did was allow her to retreat from the world.

When prize-winning author Xander Stone rams his supermarket trolley into her ankles and then trashes her taste in books, Megan is abruptly awoken from her self-imposed hibernation. It’s time to start living again, and she’s going to start by putting this arrogant, superior – admittedly sexy – stranger in his place.

Just as she is beginning to enjoy life again, the worst happens and Megan begins to wonder if she should have stayed hidden away. Because it turns out that falling in love again is about more than just meeting under the mistletoe…

Amazon UK Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus via NetGalley in retirn for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

There is a trend for bookshop romances, and this one has a seasonal twist. Set in York, it’s Megan and Xander’s story, which has a rocky start. Megan is still grieving her husband when she returns home to run the family bookshop. The bookshop is an atmospheric setting, and Megan is a likeable character. Meeting Xander is memorable, but his attitude doesn’t endear him to Megan even though he does have his attractions.

The plot is well-written with quirky supporting characters, vivid imagery and witty dialogue. There is conflict and seasonal events and a well-deserved happy ending.

Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton has been making up stories for as long as she can remember and always dreamed of being a writer until life somehow got in the way. After reading for a degree in Classics and another in English Literature she accidentally fell into a career in law, but eventually managed to write her first book on her lunch breaks. Now she writes from a small bedroom looking out over hydrangeas, lavender bushes and rambling roses, in a little house in Yorkshire that she shares with her husband and their three cats. She loves words, Shakespeare, tea, The Beatles, dresses with pockets and very tall romantic heroes (not necessarily in that order).

Find her on Instagram as @RachelBWriter or follow her blog at rachelburtonwrites.com.

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Extract from A BookShop Christmas – Rachel Burton

Everybody left the bookshop that night hooting with laughter at the fact Trixie had yet another new boyfriend.

“I wonder how long this one will last,” Bella said.

“I wonder how young he is,” Missy replied.

“Come on, you two,” Dot said, ushering the women out of the door. “Leave Trixie alone.” And with a flurry of goodbyes they were gone.

“You go up, Mum,” I said as I locked the door behind them. “I’ll finish off down here.”

“Are you sure?” she asked, and I noticed the flash of worry across her brow.

I smiled. “I’m fine, Mum, really.” I was fine, wasn’t I?

At least a lot closer to fine than I’d been in a long time. I wanted my mother to stop worrying about me; I wanted to stop hearing the note of concern in my father’s voice every time he called. I knew why they worried. I knew what a mess I’d been after Joe died, and Mum and I had always been close, so she was bound to be concerned. But recently their concern had started to make me feel claustrophobic and I’d taken that as a good sign, another step forward, as though I was managing to finally get away from the cotton wool haze of grief I’d been living in for so long.

I listened to my mother’s footsteps on the stairs as she made her way up to the flat above the shop and I sat down for a minute under the lights of the Christmas tree and thought about how much my life had changed in the last three years. I still missed Joe so much and there were times when feelings of guilt and emptiness still completely overtook me, but the times when I didn’t think about him, when I didn’t feel empty and alone, were starting to be more frequent.

When Mum suggested I come back to York for a while I’d been concerned that the memories here would be as bad as the ones in London, but they were different, more distant somehow, less immediate – and I found myself able to remember the time I’d spent with Joe in York in a more gentle way, a way that didn’t feel like a punch in the stomach every time I woke up.

Besides, Taylor’s Bookshop had needed me, or at the very least it had needed me to give it some TLC.

“I don’t know what happened,” Mum had said when I’d been back a few weeks and had started examining the state of the bookshop, and – more importantly – the bookshop’s accounts, in more detail. “I knew something needed doing but time just got away from me somehow.”

But I’d known it wasn’t time that was the problem. When Dad had left for his ‘bigger life’ in London, not only had he abandoned his wife and daughter but the bookshop he’d inherited from his parents as well. Mum had never had very much to do with the bookshop when I was growing up – she’d spent her days in her writing room, so when Dad left she didn’t have any idea what to do to keep the business running and a roof over our heads.

I’d been working part-time in the shop since I was a teenager so I was able to help Mum out, and between me and Fred Bishop – Dad’s friend who’d worked in the bookshop for years – we were able to keep things ticking over. When it had come to choosing a university, I’d chosen York so that I could be nearby and continue to help out at the weekends. But when Joe and I had moved to London, even though Mum and I had spoken on the phone several times a week, I’d stopped thinking about the bookshop every day for the first time in my life and I hadn’t really realised how much it had been spiralling downhill.