Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Friday Read, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Romance, Travel

Christmas Island Natalie Normann 5*#Review @NatalieNormann1 @0neMoreChapter_ @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours  #ChristmasIsland #Norway #Festive #Christmas #Romance #Friendship #BookTour #BookReview #FridayReads

Cosy up in front of a fire and discover Christmas the Norwegian way…full of romance, cosy traditions and hygge!

In the bleak midwinter…
A really frosty wind is making Holly’s life absolutely miserable

After all the years of hard work it took Londoner Holly Greene to become a doctor, now it could all be taken away and she only has herself to blame. She’s retreating to her brother’s rustic home on an island off the coast of Norway to lick her wounds. Only, it’s the middle of winter and icy slush plus endless darkness isn’t exactly the cheery, festive getaway she had imagined.

Nearly stumbling off the edge of a cliff in the dark, Holly is saved by Frøy, a yellow-eyed cat of fearsome but fluffy proportions, and his owner – grouchy, bearded recluse, Tor. Tor has his own problems to face but the inexplicable desire to leave a bag of freshly baked gingerbread men on Holly’s doorstep is seriously getting in the way of his hermit routine.

Call it kindness, call it Christmas, but Holly’s arrival means midwinter has never looked less bleak.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Christmas Island captures Norwegian festive traditions with vibrant descriptions and vivid sensory imagery. Inclement weather and seemingly unending darkness show why a bright Christmas celebration is necessary for the islanders. The atmospheric opening chapters introduce Holly, a doctor running from her life and hoping to find solace on the island. Instead, she gets lost, wet and is frightened in her first few hours on the island.

Tor is living a reclusive life on the island and is a mystery to the friendly islanders. His cat Troy is the reason he meets Holly, and the two have an interesting dynamic. The friendship and eventual romance is gentle and reflects their past hurts. The sense of community and customs makes this a heartwarming and uplifting read.

Natalie Normann grew up in a shipping town on the west coast of Norway and always wanted to be a writer. Actually, she wanted to smoke cigars and drink whiskey like Hemingway but settled for chocolate and the occasional glass of Baileys.

Her writing journey started with short stories in women’s magazines until her first book was published in 1995.

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Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

The Single Dad’s Christmas Proposal Ella Hayes 5* Review @EllaHayesAuthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #MillsandBoonInsiders #Romance #festive #parenting #relationships #Chamonix #Paris #Christmas #MillsandBoonTrueLove #HarlequinRomance #TheSingleDadsChristmasProposal

A life-changing winter escape!

Extreme snowboarder Dax is no stranger to a challenge. Still, nothing could have prepared him for his greatest challenge yet: fatherhood! Six-year-old Yann was kept a secret by his late mother. Now Dax is determined to make up for lost time. But with a work commitment in Chamonix, he needs a step-in nanny…Will Simone say yes to Dax—and a Christmas to remember?

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

My Thoughts…

Dax is an extreme snowboarder with a tragic past and a six-year-old son he has just met. Single mother Simone has an understanding of what Dax is experiencing. Their children are friends. Dax needs someone to take care of his son at Christmas in Chamonix. Is Simone willing to be that person?

The Parisian setting for the couple’s first meeting is atmospheric and magical, drawing the reader into the story’s festive ambience. Their first meeting sparks an attraction even though they don’t initially realise the significance of it. Simone and Dax are lovely characters who have to overcome their emotional barriers to find happiness. The romance is gentle, and the conflicts, to their being together, authentic.

This story has everything you want in a festive romance, characters you believe in, heartwarming emotion and a happy conclusion.

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

The Cosy Cottage in Ireland Julie Caplin 5*#Review @JulieCaplin @0neMoreChapter_ #RomanticEscapes @rararesources #Ireland #CookerySchool #CelebrityChef #lawyer #Romance #Travel #HolidayRomance #TheCosyCottageinIreland #BlogTour #BookReview @Juleswake

Snuggle up in your favourite armchair and take a trip across the Irish sea for comfort food, cosy cottage nights and a heartwarming romance…

Talented lawyer Hannah Campbell is after a change in her workaholic Manchester life – so on an uncharacteristic whim she books herself a place at the world-renowned Killorgally Cookery School in Country Kerry. But on her first night in Ireland, sampling the delights of Dublin, Hannah can’t resist falling for the charms of handsome stranger Conor. It’s only when Hannah arrives at her postcard-pretty home at Killorgally for the next six weeks that she discovers what happens in Dublin doesn’t quite stay in Dublin …

Nestled amongst rolling green hills and breath-taking countryside, the cookery school throws Hannah and Conor together – for better or worse.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Dublin is brought to life in an atmospheric and visual way in the first few pages of this story. Hannah and Conor’s first meeting is full of humour and simmering passion. When this becomes something more, it seems like a natural progression even though it is out of character for Hannah.

There’s a well-described rural setting for the cookery school, with an eclectic mix of course attendees reminiscent of Bake-Off. that add variety with their believable dynamic. The romance has obvious chemistry but is conflicted as Conor has secrets, Hannah is so attracted to him, but she doesn’t want to be just another conquest. The story even has an intriguing mystery.

Gentle romance, humour and vibrant characters make this an engaging, romantic escape.

Julie Caplin

Julie Caplin, formerly a PR director, swanned around Europe for many years taking top food and drink writers on press trips (junkets) sampling the gastronomic delights of various cities in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Copenhagen and Switzerland. It was a tough job but someone had to do it. 

These trips have provided the inspiration and settings for her Romantic Escapes series which have been translated into fifteen different languages.

The first book in the eight strong series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Mystery, Romance

Autumn Dreams at Mermaids Point Sarah Bennett 5*#Review @BoldwoodBooks @Sarahlou_writes @rararesources #parenting #loss #secondchance #friendship #romance #family #coastal #community @bookandtonic #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #AutumnDreamsatMermaidsPoint

When her dreams of young love were cruelly shattered, Nerissa Morgan found it hard to move on. Now, at forty-three, everyone around her is enjoying life while she’s just going through the motions. With her boss retiring and rumours of a new doctor coming in to take over the practice she manages, change is coming, whether she’s ready for it or not.

Following the death of his beloved wife, Tom Nelson buried himself in work at his busy inner-London GP practice. When his teenage children find themselves in trouble at school, he realises he’s completely lost touch with them. Desperate to reconnect before it’s too late, he whisks his family away to the pretty seaside village of Mermaids Point determined to make a fresh start.

But all is not as idyllic as it seems. With his predecessor reluctant to let go of the reins and the children as distant as ever, the last thing Tom needs is an undeniable attraction to the woman he unexpectedly finds himself sharing a roof with…

Warm, escapist, feel-good and altogether brilliant story-telling from bestselling author Sarah Bennett.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Returning to Mermaids’ point in the Autumn is an emotional and uplifting experience. Readable, as a standalone, but if, like me, you read the first book in the series, it’s good to see what’s happened in the lives of the town’s coastal community.

Forty-three-year-old Nerissa has never moved on emotionally after the tragic loss of her first love. The reawakening of her dreams as a mature woman reflect the season. Nerissa’s life changes when Tom, the new doctor, moves into all aspects of her previously sedate existence. Tom is bereaved and has issues parenting his two children. Neither is looking for romance, but proximity and serendipity conspire against them, but will they take the chance on love?

Community, family and friendship are interwoven into this gentle contemporary romance making this a heartwarming read.

Sarah Bennett

Sarah Bennett is the bestselling author of several romantic fiction trilogies including those set in Butterfly Cove and Lavender Bay. Born and raised in a military family she is happily married to her own Officer and when not reading or writing enjoys sailing the high seas.

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Read my review of Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point

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

The Little Blue Door Francesca Catlow 4*#Review @FrancescaCatlow @SilverWoodBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #TheLittleBlueDoor #CorfuwithCatlow #SelfDiscovery #Loss #Love #Romance #Friendship #Family #Travel

In the post-pandemic world Melodie feels lost and alone, desperate to find something to remind her of her previous life. She sets out on a trip to Corfu to reconnect with happier times, only to be haunted by memories and events from the past. While travelling Melodie meets an intriguing and handsome man who has the potential to change her future. However, will the young girl from the plane with piercing green eyes be the one to open the door to Melodie’s fate?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a story of contrasts. It is emotional, filled with knowledgeable descriptions and immerses the reader in life on Corfu. I’ve read many stories about this island, but the contemporary edge and originality make this a little different. It’s Melodie’s story of returning to Corfu in the aftermath of the global pandemic we are currently living through.

The warmth of her Greek friends, their way of life, and her memories allow her to heal and look to the future as she experiences a heartfelt journey of self-discovery. There is a slow-burn romance with themes of friendship and family drama.

It’s an exploration of modern life with a vivid setting and well-crafted characters and relationships.

Francesca Catlow

Francesca Catlow loves to travel. Born and raised in the heart of Suffolk, Catlow has travelled extensively in Europe with her French husband and, more recently, their two young children. Of all the places she’s been it is the Greek islands that have captured her heart. She visits as often as family commitments allow.

She has previously written plays alongside being a lyricist and performer. This book is the first in a series.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Mystery, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

Escape to the Hummingbird Hotel Daisy James 5* #Review @daisyjamesbooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #RomCom Corfu #GreekIslands #UpLit #EscapetotheHummingbirdHotel

Welcome to the Hummingbird Hotel!

When florist-to-the-stars Abbie Coleman catches a glimpse of her boyfriend through the window of Tiffany’s, she couldn’t be more excited. Keen to share her happiness, she organises a huge surprise party for all their family and friends… except things don’t quite work out as she expected, and instead of planning a flower-filled wedding, she finds herself single, and fired from a job she loves.

Desperate to escape her heartbreak, she jets off to her aunt’s quirky Hummingbird Hotel on the gorgeous island of Corfu. Little did she know that instead of spending her time lounging by the pool, drinking cocktails, and soaking up the sun, she’d be stepping into the role of the island’s newest hotelier.

The arrival of unexpected guests sends Abbie into a tailspin of panic, and she’s forced to turn to snippy, but charismatic, vineyard owner-turned-chef, Nikos Angelopoulos, for help. Why does the kitchen fill with smoke whenever she makes coffee? Why is there a naked man swimming in the pool? And why do the hotel’s toiletries turn their guests’ hair pink?

Despite all the chaos, the Hummingbird Hotel works its magic on Abbie, and she finds herself with a decision to make. Will she return home to the drizzly grey skies of London? Or will she take a leap of faith and embrace the new opportunities that little corner of paradise has to offer, and maybe, just maybe, discover a sprinkle of romance along the way?

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

My Thoughts…

Abbie is a character who draws the reader into her world within minutes of meeting her. She’s creative, compassionate and hopeless at picking the right man. Discovering her estranged aunt’s legacy in Corfu is the perfect solution.

The chemistry between Abbie and the gorgeous but grumpy Nikos provides the humour, poignancy and romance in this story. The Hummingbird Hotel is not what she expects, and she is gifted with a mystery to solve, new opportunities and an unforgettable journey of self-realisation.

I love the relatable and vibrant characters. The vividly described setting allows the reader escapist virtual travel, and a lovely ending paves the way for the next book in the series, which I can’t wait to read.

Daisy James

Daisy James loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. She especially likes to create sunshine-filled settings in exotic locations – the Caribbean, Tuscany, Cornwall, Provence – so she can spend her time envisioning her characters enjoying the fabulous scenery and sampling the local food and drink.

When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

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

Secrets on the Italian Island T.A.Williams 5*#Review @TAWilliamsBooks @canelo_co #RomCom #Romance #Friendship #Elba #EscapetoTuscany #SecretsontheItalianIsland #PublicationDay #BookReview #Labrador @rararesources #Geologist #Environmentalist

Her work has got in the way of relationships before – but never like this

Anna’s job as a geologist takes her all over the world, including to the beautiful island of Elba, where she’s sent to look for precious metals. And the island isn’t the only thing that’s gorgeous – she can’t believe her luck when she meets windsurfer Marco and sparks fly.

But Anna must keep her role on Elba a secret to avoid upsetting the locals, which means lying to Marco even as they grow closer. When her old friend Toby visits, Anna suddenly finds herself torn between the attentions of the two men. However, Anna’s not the only one keeping secrets.

Is Marco being entirely honest with her? And why did Toby really come to visit?

A fun and escapist romance.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The perfect book to escape a rainy day. This story follows Anna, a geologist on the Island of Elba seeking rare geological treasures. There is a good mix of humour, mystery and romance in this story. Complex characters with secrets, not immediately obvious, to Anna add to the story’s conflicts. Anna’s life has lacked romance, but Elba is rich in men as well as minerals. Her encounters with Jack and Labrador George are insightful and poignant, adding emotional depth to this romantic comedy.

This is a heartwarming travel romance with vibrant characters, vivid settings and gentle romance.

T.A.Williams

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Sunlight Over Crystal Sands Holly Martin 5*#Review @HollyMAuthor #BlogTour #BookReview #RomCom #Holiday #SunlightOverCrystalSands

Love is in the air on the sun kissed sands of the Cornish coast, where the sea sparkles and romance sizzles on golden beaches. This stunning new novel by Holly Martin, bestselling author of Ice Creams at Emerald Cove, is guaranteed to steal your heart this summer.

Lyra Thomas has dreamed of living on Jewel Island ever since she first visited its breathtaking shores. And now her dream has come true – she has her own little cottage and a brand new job. But when Lyra sets out for a bike ride to explore her new home, a mishap has her crash-landing at the feet of the very handsome Nix Sanchez.

A true gentleman, Nix comes to Lyra’s rescue. His face is so familiar and yet they are strangers. But the more they talk, Lyra feels as though she has known Nix forever. What follows is the most magical night of Lyra’s life… until the spell is broken when the next morning she finds Nix has gone.

Feeling foolish Lyra vows to be more careful with her heart from now on. She’ll pretend Nix never existed. But destiny has other ideas and in a perfect twist of fate Lyra will discover that Nix Sanchez is impossible to forget…

Escape to sundrenched Jewel Island this summer where love, laughter and the thrill of adventure await. This gorgeous, romantic, feel-good read is perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jill Mansell and Sue Moorcroft.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Jewel Island is an idyllic setting for book 4 in the series. Lyra and Nix feature in this story, which also includes cameos from characters in the previous books. Lyra finds trusting others difficult. Nix has secrets too. Their meeting is chaotic and comical, but embarrassment and laughter soon turn to passion and intimate revelations as their unexpected attraction unfolds. Life and its conflicts intervene and send the couple on a romantic adventure full of conflicts, humour and misunderstanding.

This engaging story immerses the reader in life on Jewel Island and its iconic hotel with relatable characters, fun, and lots of romance. It’s addictive and uplifting reading and the perfect book for a summer afternoon.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Romance, Travel

Summer at the French Olive Grove 5*#Review Sophie Claire @HodderBooks @SClaireWriter #Romance #Family #Friendship #Rural #Village #Provence #grief #BookReview #Holiday #France #SummerAtTheFrenchOliveGrove

Filmmaker Lily’s life is all about work and adventure. So when she suffers an accident on her travels and finds herself recuperating in the quiet French seaside village where she spent her childhood, she can’t wait to escape. Not least because Olivier – Lily’s childhood friend and former crush, who she has spent the last thirteen years avoiding – is staying next door . . .

Strong-minded masterbaker Olivier is happily settled in St Pierre, preparing to marry and put down roots. But Lily’s return to the village risks turning his carefully-laid plans upsidedown, and as the pair rediscover their familiar rivalry and fun, sparks fly.

Is Lily really as fearless and independent as she seems on the surface – or is she just running from the past? And what if Olivier is the only one who can teach her what it really means to be brave?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Lily is an intrepid filmmaker with a conscience. Whilst filming at a coffee cooperative run by women in Columbia filming Lily is courageous in protecting the women when they are threatened but doesn’t come out of the incident unscathed. Returning to her grandmother in Provence has bittersweet memories, especially when she is met at the airport by Olivier, her best friend and teenage crush.

The friends to lovers romance between Lily and Olivier is conflicted. It develops realistically with many heartwarming, humorous and heartbreaking moments. Lily’s grandmother is a lovely character who has always positively influenced her life. The story flows well with an absorbing setting and believable cast of supporting characters.

The romantic tension is intense, and the reader realises how important the couple’s friendship is. Lily and Olivier undergo significant character development until they reach a dramatic and satisfying conclusion.

Friendship, family romance and self-realisation make this an engaging summer read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

The Summer Seekers Sarah Morgan 5*#Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #BeachRead #Summer #Family #Love #MothersandDaughters #RoadTrip #RomCom #HolidayFiction #Multigenerational #TheSummerSeekers #Route66

Get swept into a summer of sunshine, soul-searching, and shameless matchmaking with this delightfully big-hearted road-trip adventure!

Kathleen is eighty years old. After she has a run-in with an intruder, her daughter wants her to move in to a residential home. But she’s not having any of it. What she craves—what she needs—is adventure.

Liza is drowning under the daily stress of family life. The last thing she needs is her mother jetting off on a wild holiday, making Liza long for a solo summer of her own.

Martha is having a quarter-life crisis. Unemployed, unloved and uninspired, she just can’t get her life together. But she knows something has to change.

When Martha sees Kathleen’s advertisement for a driver and companion to share an epic road trip across America with, she decides this job might be the answer to her prayers. She’s not the world’s best driver, but anything has to be better than living with her parents. And traveling with a stranger? No problem. Anyway, how much trouble can one eighty-year-old woman be?

As these women embark on the journey of a lifetime, they all discover it’s never too late to start over.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The Summer Seekers encapsulates a Summer road trip, a marriage in trouble and three women at different life stages, all in need of emotional support. This multi-generational story is humorous, poignant and romantic as it explores friendship, marriage and mothers and daughter relationships.

Kathleen loves her rambling Cornish cottage close to the beach packed with a lifetime of memories. Liza is the lynchpin of her family, weighed down with her catastrophising and keeping her family’s life stress-free. Kathleen and Liza are emotionally estranged but still care deeply for each other. Martha, unconnected with the women, facilitates Kathleen’s latest adventure despite Liza’s misgivings and her own anxiety.

Martha and Kathleen take a road trip on Route 66. Liza reconnects with her true self in her Cornish childhood home. This is not a travelogue, but there are some good descriptions of places visited.

Gentle romance, relatable characters, and an uplifting conclusion. An addictive Summer read.