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

Note to Self Anna Bell 5*Review @AnnaBell_writes @HQStories #romcom #contemporaryfiction #life #love #friendship #relationships #romance #humour #secondchance #blogtour #bookreview

It’s never too late to follow your heart.

One summer’s day seventeen years ago Edie and Joel meet.
Their connection is instant and a friendship is born, although Edie can’t help but wish for more. But just as she builds up the courage to lay her heart on the line, one night changes everything…

Edie’s moved on from the heartbreak of years ago. So the last thing she expects to receive on her thirty-fifth birthday is an email… from her eighteen-year-old self. As more emails arrive, she starts to remember what – or rather who – she left behind.

Following her own advice, Edie heads back to the place where it all began and finds her path unexpectedly crossing with Joel’s once more. Could this finally be their chance at love? Or are some things better left in the past?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Edie runs a successful family business, owns her flat and has a boyfriend who suits her lifestyle, a perfect life looking in, but when she receives an email from her teenage self, it forces her to question her choices and find the life she wants.

I enjoyed this poignant mix of coming of age, romantic comedy and self-realisation that draws the reader in and keeps them engaged. The believable characters are easy to visualise, and Edie’s emotional journey is full of heartbreak and heartwarming moments. The ending is breathtakingly romantic and the perfect conclusion to this lovely story.

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

A Golden Cornish Summer Phillipa Ashley 5* #Review @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #Cornwall #Romance #friendship #coastal #summer #UpLit #secondchance #secrets #family #AGoldenCornishSummer

Under the golden Cornish sun, buried treasure and family secrets will change Emma’s life forever…

Emma loved her life in the seaside village of Silver Cove. But when the discovery of the sunken treasure ignited a feud between her family and that of Luke, her first love, everything fell apart. Heartbroken and betrayed, she fled.

Now, as she wades into the sparkling surf for the first time in fifteen years, she remembers everything she loved about this beautiful place. Then a huge wave knocks her off her feet. Wet and dripping, Emma is rescued by none other than Luke – who is, to her dismay, even more, handsome than ever.

Emma starts to wonder if returning home was a huge mistake. Or could the real treasure have been waiting here for her all along?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Emma returns to the cornish coastal village where she grew up with trepidation. It’s work that draws her home, but when she meets her first love, she wonders if she has made a mistake coming home. The rekindling of Emma and Lukes’s friendship is emotional and a bit of a rollercoaster. Both have trust issues and find it hard to let go of the past.

I enjoyed the Cornish setting and the beachcombing theme. There is a good mix of drama, romance and self-realisation in this story Complex characters draw the reader into their lives with longheld secrets.

It’s an ideal beach read full of emotion, friendship and a happy conclusion.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Humour, Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

Retreat to the Spanish Sun Jo Thomas 5*#Review @jo_thomas01 @TransworldBooks #RetreatottheSpanishSun #food #sun #friendship #mystery #intrigue #romance #family #selfrealisation #women #community #holidayfiction #humour

Will a summer escape be the answer she’s looking for?
Eliza has a full house! When her three children grew up and moved out, she
downsized to a smaller property… but now they’re all back.

Every room in the house is taken, and Eliza finds herself sharing her bed with her eldest daughter and her daughter’s pug. Combined with the online course she’s trying to finish, plus her job to fit in, there just isn’t the peace and quiet that Eliza needs.

So when an ad pops up on her laptop saying ‘house-sitters wanted’, Eliza can’t resist the chance to escape. She ends up moving to a rural Finca in southern Spain, looking after the owner’s Iberico pigs, learning about secret gastronomic societies… and finding a new zest for life and love along the way.

From the bestselling author of Escape to the French Farmhouse comes a deliciously feel-good new story…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The humour and warmth are evident from the start of this heartwarming story full of friendship, mystery and romance. Eliza is a single mother whose children are now adults, and although they have all left home, they have now returned, and it’s crowded and full of angst. She is struggling with who she is apart from a mother of young adults and is studying for a new career but is not sure what it is yet. The chance to work as a homesitter in Southern Spain is scary but maybe just what she needs.

Josep is attractive but distant, but his house is lovely, and his dogs are adorable, so she looks forward to her new experience. There is humour when Eliza meets the pigs, and she soon finds skills she didn’t know she possessed. The Spanish Conversation Group is lovely and welcoming, but the problems begin when her employer returns unexpectedly.

I love the Spanish culture and food explored through the characters and the friendships between the women. The romance is gentle and believable, and the writing is full of sensory imagery, immersing the reader in the story.

The author has written a lovely, romantic story with an excellent sense of place and people and an emotional journey of self-realisation for Eliza.

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’4’soWoman’sour and Radio 2’2’she Steve Wright Show.

Jo’s debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller and won both the RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award.

Her recent book Escape to the French Farmhouse was a #1 bestselling eBook, and in every one of her novels, Jo loves to explore new countries and discover the food produced there, both of which she thoroughly enjoys researching.

Jo lives in Pembrokeshire with her husband and three children, where cooking and gathering around the kitchen table are a hugely important and fun part of their family life.

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

Beach House Summer Sarah Morgan 5*#Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #BlogTour #BookReview #BeachRead #Summer #Family #Love #friendship #media #celebrity #HolidayFiction #relationships #secrets #publicationday #paperback #California #BeachHouseSummer

When Joanna Whitman’s famous ex-husband dies in a car accident, she doesn’t know what to feel. Their dysfunctional marriage held more painful secrets than she cares to remember. But when she discovers that the young woman with him in the crash is pregnant, Joanna feels compelled to act, knowing exactly how brutal the media spotlight will be on celebrity chef Cliff Whitman’s ex-wife and his mysterious female friend.

Ashley Blake can’t believe it when Joanna shows up in her hospital room and suggests they hide away at her beach house on a sleepy stretch of the California coast. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley can’t turn down Joanna’s offer. Yet she knows that if Joanna ever found out the real reason Ashley was in that car, their tentative bond would shatter instantly.

Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy, but her return causes major waves in the local community, especially for the man she left behind years ago. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future, and to avoid causing any trouble for Joanna. But as secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is about to be put to the test.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The death of celebrity chef and serial cheater Cliff draws two unlikely women together in an unexpected friendship. When his ex-wife Joanna decides to help pregnant Ashley, escaping to Joanna’s beach house to avoid the media means she has to face her past and the friends she left behind.

I love the emotion and the vivid characterisation in the multilayered story. Past loves and secrets all have to be faced, and friendship endures. The Californian coastal setting and the glamour of the beach house give the story vibrant, sensual imagery, adding authenticity.

This story has believably flawed characters, a great holiday setting and a complex set of relationships that deliver an engaging story.

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

Summer at the French Café Sue Moorcroft 5* #Review @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK #Romance #Family #Secrets #BlogTour #Summer #relationships #Alsace #France #BookCafé #Bookshop #Café @rararesources #Friendship #BookReview #SummerattheFrenchCafé

Sparkling sun, strolls in the gorgeous French countryside, that first sip of cool, crisp wine – Summer is Kat’s favourite season. And this year should be no exception…

As soon as Kat Jenson set foot in the idyllic French village of Kirchhoffen, she knew she’d found her home. Now she has a dreamy boyfriend, a delightful dog and the perfect job managing a bustling book café in the vibrant Parc Lemmel.

But when she learns her boyfriend isn’t all he seems, it’s the start of a difficult summer for Kat. Vindictive troublemakers, work woes and family heartache follow, and the clear blue sky that was her life suddenly seems full of clouds.

Then she gets to know the mysterious Noah, and her sun begins to shine brighter than ever. But Noah has problems of his own – ones that could scupper their new-found happiness. Together, can they overcome their many obstacles, and find love again?

Amazon UK Kobo Apple WHSmith Bookshop.org Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

In the Alsace region of France, summer is not without its emotional complications for Kat, the manager of a bustling book café. Looking forward to a lovely summer in a job she loves, her relationship implodes with subsequent difficulties at work that threaten her career. Having her brother Solly and meeting the enigmatic Noah are the positive influences in her life, but they are not without problems, and Kat is reluctant to risk taking a chance on love again.

Romance is a theme of this story, but it’s conflicted with Kat and Noah’s emotional past and his current family drama. Blended families are another predominant theme explored through Kat and Noah’s experiences. Lies and secrets complicate their lives, and they have to work hard to be together.

Despite the angst and the drama, there are many lighthearted moments in this realistically plotted story, and I particularly enjoyed those with Kat’s cute dog Angelique. I also enjoyed the believably flawed characters, the storytelling, and the vibrant setting.

Sue Moorcroft

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has reached the #1 spot on Kindle UK and Top 100 on Kindle US. She’s won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary. Her novels, short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.

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

Spring Blooms at the Hummingbird Hotel Daisy James 5* #Review @daisyjamesbooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #RomCom #Corfu #GreekIslands #UpLit #SpringBloomsattheHummingbirdHotel

Escape to the gorgeous island of Corfu with this wonderfully uplifting romantic comedy, the fourth in a brand-new series from the author of The Cornish Confetti Agency and Villa Limoncello.

Welcome to the Hummingbird Hotel!

When Corfu’s newest hotelier Abbie Coleman is asked to host a Bakes & Beaches retreat for a group of Bake Off enthusiasts from a regional TV and radio station, she knows she needs as much help as she can get. Baking is not her forte, and with cupcakes, traybakes, pastries and showstoppers to co-ordinate – along with a whole host of terrifyingly high-octane water sports – she’s worried that her guests’ culinary creations will be more ‘curdled catastrophes’ than ‘tasty triumphs’. For any successful enterprise, preparation is key, so, along with her new assistant manager and all-around astrological guru Felix Morgan, Abbie sets about preparing a long and detailed To-Do list.

But this is the Hummingbird Hotel, and the words ‘straightforward’ and ‘drama-free’ do not feature on the menu. So, when the salted caramel cupcakes are heavier on the salt than the caramel, and a guest’s expensive watch takes an unscheduled dip in the pool, Abbie must once again join forces with the chef-turned-vineyard owner – and now fiancé – Nikos Angelopoulos, to unravel the mystery and maintain the hotel’s reputation for delivering beautiful bakes instead of mayhem and mistakes.

Can she turn burnt buns into sumptuous soufflés? Or will her future on Corfu be over before it’s begun?

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

It’s good to be back at the Hummingbird Hotel, things have moved on a bit since I was last here, in book one, but this is a great standalone read. Abbie is hosting a bake-off. The characters are complex and relatable, and there is a good mix of humour and mystery. The lovely setting and vivid descriptions make this a fun, uplifting read. It’s the perfect book to escape from an English winter.

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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Read my review of Escape to the Hummingbird Hotel (Book1)

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?

Amazon UK Amazon

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