Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Medical Romance

The Heart of Doctor Steele Colette Dixon 5*#Review @CDixonBooks @crimsonfoxpub @rararesources #histfic #HistoricalRomance #MedicalRomance #BlogTour #BookReview #TheHeartofDoctorSteele

Are the rumors about him true? She intends to find out. 

The mysterious Dr. Steele has taken up residence next door, and scandalous rumors about him are spreading through Margaret Landeau’s small Massachusetts town. Rumors of women he’s ill-used and exploited for his experimental surgeries. Never one to believe gossip, Margaret arms herself with a basket of baked goods and ventures to discover the truth from the man himself.

John Steele has lost everything. His parents, his aunt, too many women he intended to save, and his good name. All he has left is his aunt’s home in a far-flung village and a library he’s stocked with whiskey. He has nothing to offer anyone. Especially not the bold woman next door whose passion for healing reminds him of the man he once was.

But when a dangerously ill girl arrives on his doorstep, pleading for help, Margaret is thrust into his world. She will learn who the real Dr. John Steele truly is, and soon, not even his dark past can stop her from fighting for the brilliant doctor she now loves. But he must deny his crushing desire for her—loving a man like him can only cast a shadow over her own bright future.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is such an absorbing story full of historical medical details, the emergence of female emancipation and a misunderstood and scandalous hero. This story explores society’s prejudices against the pioneers of medicine who dared to try something different to help their patients.

John Steele flees to his deceased aunt’s house amid a scandal that threatens to ruin his medical career and has devastated him emotionally. He is the subject of gossip, but Margaret likes to make her own decisions and what she finds is a complex, driven man whose motives are predominately good.

The chemistry between them is sizzling even though Margaret is naive and John anxious for her reputation. The romance is full of conflicts, both external and internal, but worth the angst.

The characters are believably flawed and easy to empathise, the historical and medical detail is fascinating, and the plot is original and riveting.

Colette Dixon

Colette Dixon writes steamy stories with heart and humor about slightly tortured people who learn how love can heal. For more years than she cares to admit, she worked in a hospital while dreaming up love story plots. A farm girl who landed in Chicago, she loves to eat (food made by others), drink tea, and sun herself at every chance she can get to survive the Midwest winter.

Twitter Instagram Facebook

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

The Maiden and the Mercenary Nicola Locke 4*#Review @NicoleLockeNews @MillsandBoonHistorical @HarlequinBooks @rararesources #harlequinhistorical #BlogBlitz #BookReview #MillsandBoonHistorical #HistoricalRomance #LoversandLegends #MondayBlogs #Giveaway

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This medieval romance is part of the Lovers and Legends series. The romance between a serving girl and a mercenary masquerading as a servant is a forbidden romance trope and is full of adventure, danger and passion.

The lighthearted romance between two individuals with hidden agendas, but a common purpose counters the malevolence underlying the story. Their romance is intense, passionate and secretive. The plot contains intrigue and the threat of being found out, as Louve and Biedeluue indulge their attraction whilst trying to achieve their necessary missions.

The author creates a believable sense of history and a disturbing ethos which changes with the whim of the evil lord. The characters are flawed and relatable, and the romance is the flame that carries them through.

Giveaway to Win a £20 / $20 Amazon Gift Card

(Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Nicole Locke

Nicole first discovered romance novels hidden in her grandmother’s closet. Convinced that hidden books must be better, Nicole greedily read them. It was only natural she should start writing them (but now not so secretly).

Instagram Facebook Twitter Website

 

Posted in Cover Reveal, Cozy Mystery, Mystery

The Mystery of Montague House Emma Davies #CoverReveal @EmDaviesAuthor #SummerandWynterMystery @rararesources #Mystery #cozymystery

When Summer meets Wynter…

With enough rooms to fill a Cluedo board several times over, Montague House has often been the subject of rumour and gossip. Tales of strange goings on, an owner who disappeared one day and was never seen again, not to mention the treasure that rumour has it lies at its heart… But now the present owner has died and the house is to be sold. It looks as if the opportunity has come to finally settle the stories once and for all.

Clodagh Wynter doesn’t believe in ghostly goings on and tall tales of secrets. She has her feet very firmly on the ground and, tasked with the job of valuing and cataloguing the house and all its contents, she’s simply looking forward to working in such a glorious setting. And if she happens across a priceless painting, well, that’s just icing on the cake.

Andie Summer is a Finder of Things and desperately needs this job; she’s down to her last few tins of baked beans. So looking for hidden treasure sounds right up her street, even if there was something very fishy about the mysterious Mr Mayfair who hired her. Because it’s just like she said to her faithful Basset Hound, Hamish; I saw something out of the corner of my eye as I was leaving, and you know what that means. It’s never good news when I see something out of the corner of my eye…

As the unlikely pair are thrown together, it soon becomes very clear however that they are not the only ones searching for the treasure. And they’re going to need all their ingenuity, resourcefulness, not to mention chocolate biscuits, if they’re ever going to untangle the web of secrets that surrounds Montague House. One that reaches even further than they ever thought possible...

Amazon UK

Emma Davies

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty-something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a fifty-something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband and three children in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life.

Twitter Facebook Instagram

Posted in Cover Reveal, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

The Dream That Held Us Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang #CoverReveal @rhiannonjtsang @rararesources #TheDreamThatHeldUs #histfic #Romance #LiteraryFiction

“The Dream That Held US took me on an exquisite exploration if a love that crosses boundaries of time and culture.”

 Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House and You’ve Got My Number

“Deeply imbued with a certain wistfulness and haunting sense of loss brought out by the end of a glorious summer… Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang’s latest novel is a sensitive and skilful exploration of love, longing, and whether life sometimes relents to give us second chances.” Osama Siddique – author of Snuffing Out the Moon

“This book carries a universal message about love and finding your way in the world. I loved it.” Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House and You’ve Got My Number

Another stunning Anglo-Indian love story from the author of The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017.

October 1985, Ash Misra leaves a blood-stained Delhi for Oxford University. Haunted by a terrible secret, he just wants to forget. Music and fresh violence bring him to fellow student and amateur violinist, Isabella Angus, but duty and the burden of history keep them apart. A quarter of a century later against the background of the global ­financial crisis, Sir Peter Roberts, former Master of Woodstock College, receives a letter from Ash for Isabella. They are no longer young but they had made a tryst with destiny; old terrors and suppressed desires return.

Amazon UK Amazon

Publication Date – 21st January 2021

Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang

Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang is a British author whose work focuses on cultural and historical fault lines and has strong international themes.  Rhiannon was born and grew up in Yorkshire and has studied, lived and worked in Europe and Asia.  She read Oriental Studies (Chinese) at Oxford University and speaks Mandarin and Cantonese.  Rhiannon lives in a former farmhouse in rural England with her family.

Novels

The Woman Who Lost China, Open Books 2013

The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017

Short Story Anthology

Hong Kong Noir, Akashic Books 2019

Twitter Facebook You Tube  

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

The Forgotten Gift Kathleen McGurl 5*#Review @KathMcGurl @HQStories @rararesources #Timeslip #HistFic #ContemporaryFiction #TuesdayThoughts #Mystery #Family #Secrets #Parenting #BlogTour #BookReview #Geneaology #TheForgottenGift




What would you do to protect the ones you love?

1861. George’s life changes forever the day he meets Lucy. She’s beautiful and charming, and he sees a future with her that his position as the second son in a wealthy family has never offered him. But when Lucy dies in a suspected poisoning days after rejecting George, he finds himself swept up into a murder investigation. George loved Lucy; he would never have harmed her. So who did?

Now. On the surface Cassie is happy with her life: a secure job, good friends, and a loving family. When a mysterious gift in a long-forgotten will leads her to a dark secret in her family’s history she’s desperate to learn more. But the secrets in Cassie’s family aren’t all hidden in the past, and her research will soon lead her to a revelation much closer to home – and which will turn everything she knows on its head…

Discover a family’s darkest secrets today.

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

A dual timeline novel set in the Victorian era and the present day, this emotional story about love, family, and secrets is an engaging read. George and Cassie’s initial connection is through genealogy. George is a distant relative in Cassie’s family history. The story begins with an extract from George’s will noting a bequest to the wife of a prison chaplain. Moving to the twenty-first century, Cassie finds an unexpected connection in her family tree.

George is a naive man who seeks, but never finds, parental love, he needs. Cassie has parental love, but never recovered emotionally, from an early life experience. Cassie and George’s emotional vulnerability connects them. They are flawed and naive but easy to empathise. Both timelines give the reader a good sense of time and place. It’s easy to visualise the Victorian household and the differences in society’s expectation in the differing centuries.

The brutal contrasts of Victorian society are portrayed well in a story with many poignant moments. George, despite his lack of worldliness, is loyal, and you want him to find the happiness he deserves. Both stories have family and love at their heart. The plot reveals its secrets in a way that keeps you turning the pages.

Believable emotion, clever connections and historical detail make this an intriguing and satisfying story.

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives in Bournemouth with her husband. She has two sons who have both now left home. She always wanted to write, and for many years was waiting until she had the time. Eventually she came to the bitter realisation that no one would pay her for a year off work to write a book, so she sat down and started to write one anyway. Since then she has published several novels with HQ and self-published another. She has also sold dozens of short stories to women’s magazines, and written three How To books for writers. After a long career in the IT industry she became a full time writer in 2019.

Twitter Facebook Website Instagram

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Travel

The Chalet Catherine Cooper 4*#Review @catherinecooper @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #TheChalet #FrenchAlps #CrimeFiction #Revenge #Secrets #BlogTour #BookReview

French Alps, 1998

Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.

20 years later…

Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.

Someone knows what really happened that day.And somebody will pay

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set in La Madiere France, this story evokes the ski resort ethos to create a believable setting with the author using sensory imagery well to create a claustrophobic atmosphere with a hint of menace. Multi-points of view highlight significant events and character motivations in this dual timeline story.

Set in 1998 and 2020 the story focuses on two groups of skiers’ stay in La Madiere. They have little in common in terms of age and financial status, but something sinister connects them. In 1998, a skiing trip ended tragedically for four young people. In 2020, The Chalet’s occupants lives unravel with the discovery of a body.

As dangerous secrets emerge, someone is seeking revenge creating a menacing ethos amongst the group of self-serving individuals in the Chalet. This an atmospheric story which makes a simple plot effective. The characters are hard to empathise, and whilst the outcome is guessable, it is relatable and resonates.

Catherine Cooper

Catherine Cooper is a journalist specialising in travel, hotels, and skiing who writes regularly for the Telegraph and the Guardian among others. She lives near the Pyrenees in the South of France with her husband and two teenage children, and is a keen skier. The Chalet is her debut novel. www.catherinecooperauthor.com

Twitter Instagram

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Folk Tales, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Travel

The Coral Bride Roxanne Bouchard 4*#Review @RBouchard72 Translator David Warriner @givemeawave @OrendaBooks #Detective #Quebec #TheCoralBride #DSMorales @RandomTTours

In this beautiful, lyrical sequel to the critically acclaimed We Were the Salt of the Sea, Detective Moralès finds that a seemingly straightforward search for a missing fisherwoman off Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula is anything but.

When an abandoned lobster trawler is found adrift off the coast of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, DS Joaquin Moralès begins a straightforward search for the boat ’s missing captain, Angel Roberts – a woman in a male-dominated world. But Moralès finds himself blocked at every turn – by his police colleagues, by fisheries bureaucrats, and by his grown-up son, who has turned up at his door with a host of his own personal problems.

When Angel’s body is finally discovered, it ’s clear something very sinister is afoot, and Moralès and son are pulled into murky, dangerous waters, where old resentments run deep…

An exquisitely written, evocative and poetic thriller, The Coral Bride powerfully conjures the might of the sea and the communities who depend on it, the never-ending struggle between the generations, and an extraordinary mystery at the heart of both.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is the sort of book you can get lost in. It’s claustrophobic, immersive and lyrical. Focused on a fishing community in Quebec, Canada, it has a similar quality to Icelandic and Nordic noir. The opening chapter is both beautiful and horrifying at the same time. It raises as many questions as answers.

DS Morales is an unusual man, a loner, a stranger whose motives are not immediately obvious to the community around him. He has a complex family life. This story brings the father and son dynamic into focus and serves as a contrast to the familial relationships exposed in the fishing community.

The plot keeps its secrets well, whilst providing numerous motivations for murder among Angel’s colleagues, family and friends. The insular nature of the community is well described and the importance of nature and folklore interwoven into the investigation giving it depth and originality.

This is a standalone read, but DS Morales is a complex and interesting man. Reading the first book where he features would make this even more enjoyable.

Roxanne Bouchard

Over ten years ago, Roxanne Bouchard decided it was time she found her sea legs. So she learned to sail, first on the St Lawrence River, before taking to the open waters off the Gaspé Peninsula. The local fishermen soon invited her aboard to reel in their lobster nets, and Roxanne saw for herself that the sunrise over Bonaventure never lies.

Her fifth novel (first translated into English) We Were the Salt of the Sea was published in 2018 to resounding critical acclaim, sure to be followed by its sequel, The Coral
Bride. She lives in Quebec
.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Festive Read, Historical Romance, Mystery, Victorian Romance

A Princess By Christmas Julia London 5*#Review @JuliaFLondon @MillsandBoon #BlogTour #BookReview #ARoyalWedding #MillsandBoonInsiders #APrincessByChristmas #MillsandBoonHistorical #Festive

A Secret. A Lie. A Revolution.

Hollis Honeycutt has written her London gazette since the death of her husband – featuring fashion plates, marriage advice, and the latest gossip in and around Mayfair. But now she feels her gazette should have more meaning, cover topics of more consequence than the latest curl cream.

The opportunity presents itself when Hollis overhears rumours of a potential coup in the Kingdom of Wesloria, a coup linked to the highest level of government in London. During her investigation Hollis spies a man with no business lurking around peace talks, and determines to expose him for the traitor he most certainly must be.

When Weslorian Marek Brendan was fifteen he was shocked to discover his heritage was not what he believed – he was whisked away from the Weslorian palace when he was born because there was fear that corrupt forces would try and kidnap him. Now he is determined to stop these corrupt forces staging a coup in his home country. Except for the beautiful woman whose questions are putting his own investigation at risk. Yet soon Marek realises that pretty Hollis can help him. But when he confides his suspicions, Hollis’s loyalties are tested and she must choose between her loyalties to her family, or her heart…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The third book in the ‘A Royal Wedding’ series features Hollis, a widow who is feeling left behind in the romance stakes when her sister Eliza,(The Princess Plan) and her best friend Caroline (Royal Kiss and Tell) find true love.

Hollis is an engaging character conflicted with moving on and keeping her husband’s memory alive. She’s independent, opinionated and a little outrageous for the staid Victorian society and a fabulous character because of these things. Marek’s secret will rock the foundations of Wesloria. He fights his attraction to Hollis fearing she will betray him. Their slow-burn romance is conflicted from the start.

This story is complete and reads like a standalone. However, if you want to know more about Eliza and Caroline and understand the royal world of Alucia and Wesloria read the other books in the series too.

This story has political intrigue at its heart, and its the investigation of a suspected coup in Wesloria that divides and then unites the unlikely couple. The dialogue between Hollis and Marek is witty and informative. Hollis’ introspective thoughts are well written and give important insights into her motivations and personality. The romance is gentle but insistent. There’s a festive twist to this story which gives a perfect picture of Victorian Christmas.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Mystery, Science Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

Nine Rachelle Dekker 4*#Review @RachelleDekker @RevellBooks #thriller #SCFI #Friendship @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #Ninetour #BookTour #BookReview

Zoe Johnson spent most of her life living in the shadows, never drawing attention to herself, never investing in people or places. But when a wide-eyed, bedraggled teenager with no memory walks into the diner where Zoe works, everything changes. Now, against her better judgment, Zoe, who has been trying to outrun her own painful memories of the past, finds herself attempting to help a girl who doesn’t seem to have any past at all. The girl knows only one thing: she must reach a woman in Corpus Christi, Texas, hundreds of miles away, before the government agents who are searching for her catch up to them.

Award-winning author Rachelle Dekker throws you into the middle of the action and keeps the pressure on in this page-turning story that, asks Are we who the world says we are–or can we change our story and be something more?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The action and suspense begin from the first pages, which set the scene for a fast-paced disturbing novel. The multi-viewpoint plot alternates between intimate insight and an omnipotent view of proceedings.

The plot is a fusion of conspiracy, crime, mystery and sci-fi delivering a compelling and unsettling thriller. Some of the concepts are familiar, but the author gives them an original slant and ramps up the suspense with a layered plot reveal.

Lucy and Zoe’s emotional and physical journey is conflicted and violent, but their friendship nurtures positive change in both. A satisfying ending leaves some questions unanswered.

Rachelle Dekker

Rachelle Dekker is the Christy Award-winning author of The Choosing, The Calling, and The Returning in the Seer series. The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker and coauthor with him of The Girl behind the Red Rope, Rachelle was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She writes full-time from her home in Nashville, where she lives with her husband, Daniel, and their son, Jack. Connect with Rachelle at www.rachelledekker.com.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Guest post, Historical Fiction, Humour

The Spy Who Inspired Me Stephen Clarke 5*#Review @sclarkewriter #PAF @RichardsonHelen #humour #historical #WW2 #France #Female #Spy #satirical #BlogTour #BookReview #TheSpyWhoInspiredMe

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story highlights the role of female spies in WW2. Their commitment and courage is something often overlooked, but many died in service of their country. This story parodies a well-known male fictitious spy as he finds himself in an uncomfortable alliance with a female spy who is everything he isn’t, but would like to be.

Lemming’s major contribution to the war effort appears to be working his way through the females who work alongside him until he meets his match in Margaux. She flatters his ego but makes him uneasy. When they meet again, he realises why.

Thrown in an uneasy alliance the unlikely couple travel to occupied France where Margaux shows Lemming what really happens behind enemy lines. Comically, and once you get to know him predictably, Lemming retreats into his vast imagination and rewrites the story covering himself in glory.

The immersive writing style and relatable characters draw the reader into the fictitious world from the start. Good use of sensory imagery brings the history and location vividly to life, so the reader feels they are on the mission too.

Humour and satire underpin this story making it an enjoyable read with characters, events and places that resonate.

Guest author Post – Stephen Clarke – The Spy Who Inspired Me

My new novel The Spy Who Inspired Me is a reaction against the old-fashioned Bond girl. The most Bond-girlish of them all, for me, is the dubiously named Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. In the original novel, she’s the feisty leader of a lesbian criminal gang, one of the key players in a plan to rob West Point. Then she meets 007, decides he’s cute, and suddenly she’s betraying her criminal chums and turning straight. It’s the same with the clairvoyant Solitaire in Live and Let Die – she sleeps with Bond (her first lover), loses her powers and becomes more or less enslaved to him.

The suggestion is that a woman will abandon all her ill-advised feminine foibles as soon as she meets a “real” man. It’s old-school gender nonsense.

This is why for The Spy Who Inspired Me, I decided to reverse the roles. The spy on the cover, Margaux Lynd, is a tough, highly-trained agent with plenty of mission experience. But when she lands in Occupied France in April 1944, she gets saddled with a scared, inexperienced, older male sidekick who just wants to go home to his clean shirts and his limitless supply of handmade cigarettes. The man is modelled on, but – for legal reasons mainly – not named after Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming. My character’s name is Ian Lemming. (You see, nothing at all like “Fleming”.)

The real Fleming was a suave playboy who spent most of the war in a comfortable Admiralty Office, a world away from the harsh everyday realities of spying. Meanwhile, dozens of women were being sent undercover into Occupied Europe. And they were the inspiration for Margaux Lynd. These real-life heroines joined up with the Resistance and acted as radio operators, go-betweens, recruiters and spies. Many were caught by the Gestapo, and then there was no Bond-like banter with their interrogator before a miraculous dash for freedom and a finale in a luxury bed. It was usually a short trip from the torture chamber to the firing squad.

Women agents were valued by the Allies because they exploited Nazi sexism – most Gestapo officers thought that German Frauen existed to breed Aryan babies, and found it hard to believe that a woman would do perilous “male” work like spying. In many ways, that is what Ian Lemming in The Spy Who Inspired Me believes, too. Only gradually does he come to respect, and then fear, the ruthless female secret agent he is forced to work with.

And as the two of them sneak across Occupied France and into Paris, Lemming begins to fantasize about a world in which a suave male spy would lord it over the ladies, while enjoying all the comforts he’s missing from back home – champagne, hot water, a change of underwear. As a reaction to the humiliations and deprivations he’s suffering, we sense that a macho superhero is being created in his head. And while Lemming fantasizes, his female mentor Margaux Lynd has to concentrate on completing her mission – and begging him never to attempt real undercover work ever again.

The Spy Who Inspired Me published on November 12 by pAf Books.

Stephen Clarke – Image Credit Marie Liss

Stephen Clarke is the bestselling author of the Merde series of comedy
novels (A Year in the Merde, Merde Actually, Dial M for Merde et al) which
have been translated into more than 20 languages and sold more than a
million copies worldwide.

Stephen Clarke has also written several serious-yet-humorous books on Anglo-French history, such as 1000 Years of Annoying the French (a UK number-one bestseller in both
hardback and paperback), How the French Won Waterloo (or Think They Did), and The French Revolution & What Went Wrong. He lives in Paris.

Twitter Website