Posted in New Books, Book Review, Historical Romance, Blog Tour, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Victorian Romance

Search for the House of Dreams Alison Burke 3*#Review #AlisonBurke @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #HistoricalRomance #HistFic #VictorianRomance #FamilyDrama #SearchfortheHouseofDreams

It is the year 1847 in the elegant city of Bath where 18-year-old Genevre Stratton is treated more as a servant than a daughter in the elegant house where bills are not paid, and the rent is in arrears.                                                                                                                           

Appalled by the dishonesty and overriding social ambition beneath her parents’ veneer of respectability, only her love for her younger brother and sisters keeps her there.                      

Left to cope alone when their false world falls apart, she fights to keep her siblings together, until poverty forces her to yield them to the care of their half-brother, George Coleman.  Handsome, wealthy and charismatic, he is the enemy who becomes her lover.               

To surrender all to her passionate desire for him, or to keep the independence of a new-found musical career on the London stage? This is her choice to make until an unexpected call of duty takes her to Paris.                                                                                     

Must the old, dark secrets she discovers there alter the course of her life forever?

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

Set in Victorian times, this story is full of family drama, hard times and unlikely relationships.

Genevre is the daughter of a Victorian household that outwardly appears respectable and wealthy. Betrayal, deceit and a complete lack of parenting skills are what Genevre has to deal with. She desperately tries to keep her siblings together, protecting them from the depravity and deprivation of Victorian society. Her half brother is both her nemesis and salvation. Their relationship is complex and uncomfortable, especially when their feelings develop. It is indicative of this type of society and adds authenticity.

This is a dramatic story and aptly demonstrates the dire circumstance many women found themselves in. The characters are vividly written although many are unpleasant, they all add to the story.

An atmospheric story with strong characters. It gives the reader a good sense of the darker side of Victorian life.

Alison Burke

I was born in Lancashire and started my career by training as a State Registered general nurse. Later, I joined the army and became an officer in Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. On a posting to Malaya, now Malaysia, I found my true love. This was an ideal setting for marriage with young children, and now my memories are a wonderfully rich source of material for my writing.

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Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Scandalous Alchemy Katy Moran 5*#Review #KatyMoran @HoZ_Books #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #AlternativeHistory #NineteenthCentury #BookReview #ScandalousAlchemy #PublicationDay @RichardsonHelen

In a Bridgerton-style Regency world, three people are caught in a web of passion and deceit.

Fontainebleau in 1825 is a glittering international court, rich with intrigue, passion and simmering violence. Lieutenant Colonel Kit Helford must navigate these treacherous waters to deliver the beautiful, self-destructive Princess Royal to her prospective husband. Kit’s childhood friend, Clemency Arwenack, is tasked with safeguarding her royal mistress’s reputation as the princess awaits a marriage she is dreading.

But both have secrets they will hide at all costs. Kit is on the run—from a man shot and left for dead back in London and a lifetime of scandal that includes a liaison with the princess herself. He will do anything to salvage his family’s reputation. Clemency, meanwhile, conducts a perilous trade in lies and blackmail as she seeks to destroy the princess, not protect her.

With the princess’s life under threat, Kit and Clemency are pitted against each other, even as a dangerous attraction grows between them. The past hunts them both, remorselessly, relentlessly, and neither can escape it for long.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The third book in the Hester and Crow series set in an alternative Regency world. Written with vivid imagery, astute political insight, and scandalous romance, this book is an addictive delight for historical romance fans.

The characters are pure, romantic Regency, the female protagonist, is independent, intelligent and intriguing. Kit, the male protagonist, is scandalous, sexy and searching, for his happiness in a climate of betrayal and political intrigue.

There’s engaging romance, fascinating political manoeuvring and vibrant characters that befit the glamour of the Regency period.

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

Waiting To Begin Amanda Prowse 5*#Review @MrsAmandaProwse @AmazonPub #LakeUnionPress #eighties #ComingofAge #Love #forgivness #secrets #WaitingToBegin #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: what would you risk for a shot at happiness?

1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.

2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Bessie wanted to be an air hostess, she wanted to experience love, and all life, had to offer, but on her sixteenth birthday, her dreams started to crumble. This is an emotional and poignant coming of age story. It reflects on how your younger life can shape your future. The ethos of growing up in the 1980s, a time of change, is evocatively written. Bessie’s choices less, and her naivety greater, than for young women, in the twenty-first century.

Bessie, at fifty-three, is at a crossroads in her life. Her children are happy with their lives and independent of her. Her marriage is more a habit than a partnership, and her dreams, remain unfulfilled. This is a journey of self-realisation for Bessie. She has to reveal her darkest secret and forgive her younger self.

This story is immersive and memorable, with experiences many can relate to.

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty seven novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’, ‘The Things I Know’ and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.

A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

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

The River Between Us Liz Fenwick 5*#Review @HQStories @liz_fenwick #Cornwall #BlogTour #HistoricalFiction #Saga #Family #WW1 #Gardens #Renovation #Romance #Love #Loss #HistFic #TheRiverBetweenUs #SecondChances

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric and lyrical story of love, loss and familial relationships. Written in dual timelines, 2019 and the early twentieth century during WW1 and its tragic aftermath. The Cornish setting is wonderfully described and gives the story its mystical and timeless qualities.

The characters are diverse and relatable, and the different relationships are full of emotion. The plot is layered and beautifully woven together to allow the reader some precious moments of escapism.

Guest Post: Top Five…Cornish Restaurants – Liz Fenwick

I love food. Some days I wish I didn’t but I do. I’m lucky that Cornwall produces some of the best and that local restaurants have so much fabulous produce to work with which makes choosing my top five restaurants hard so I’ve called in the family for their input.

  1. New Yard Restaurant (and New Yard Pantry) at Trelowarren – they’ve just received a green Michelin star and they have earned it. The restaurant adapted through the pandemic and now operates in a slightly different way. It is a set menu which different every night and it is an adventure. I have been delightfully surprised at the combinations and new foods I’ve been introduced to. When booking make sure they know of any food allergies so they can adapt your meal. And the attached New Yard Pantry produces great small plates plus pizzas for lunch, and their cakes….
  2. Porthminster Beach Café…for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Great food and superb setting. My mouth is watering thinking about the salt and pepper squid…
  3. Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow…I’ve been lucky enough to eat there twice. Superb.
  4. The Square in Porthleven…again local foods brilliantly served.
  5. The Mussel Shoal in Porthleven (note: on the quay side in the open and a very small kitchen so there can be no rush. Food is only served from 12:30 to 18:30)

Liz Fenwick – I was born in Massachusetts and after nine international moves – the final one lasting eight years in Dubai- I now live in Cornwall and London with my husband and a cat. I made my first trip to Cornwall in 1989, bought my home there seven years later. My heart is forever in Cornwall, creating new stories.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Friendship, New Books, Political Thriller, Romance, Thriller, Young Adult

Codename Firefly C.J. Daugherty #CoverReveal @CJ_Daugherty @moonflowerbooks @midaspr #CodenameFirefly #YAThriller #Conspiracy #ComingofAge #Spy #Political

Head back to school this September with the latest instalment of the UK’s most gripping boarding school series. Perfect for readers aged 13 and upwards Codename Firefly is a thrilling teen crime novel that tackles subjects including mental health and politics while also being an engaging and compelling read that teens will devour.

When Gray Langtree, the daughter of the UK Prime Minister, is moved to an elite boarding school for her own protection, she thinks she’ll finally be safe from both the press and the assassins who tried to kill her mother.

But Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. It allows no computers or phones. Its students are an odd mixture of the gifted, the tough and the privileged. And then there’s the secretive Night School, which only a select few students are invited to, and whose activities other students are forbidden even to watch. 

Gray has a hard learning curve in front of her discovering who she can be friends with and who is not to be trusted. When the school grounds are broken into one night,  Gray starts having panic attacks and the school begins to feel like a very dangerous place indeed.

Dylan, a mysterious American student, seems to know more than he should – but he’s always there when Gray needs him. Can she trust him? Can she trust anyone? As winter closes in and darkness falls, Gray will have to think fast.

The hunters are coming…

Codename Firefly  is the second book in a new Night School spin off series that sees CJ Daugherty back at her spine tingling best.  Gripping, thrilling, and filled with intrigue, Codename Fireflyexplores the nexus of power in the UK from a teenager’s point of view. 

C.J. Daugherty

A former crime reporter and accidental civil servant, C.J. Daugherty began writing the Night School series while working as a communications consultant for the Home Office. The young adult series was published by Little Brown and went on to sell over a million and a half copies worldwide. A web series inspired by the books clocked up well over a million views. In 2020, the books were optioned for television. She later wrote The Echo Killing series, published by St Martin’s Press, and co-wrote the fantasy series, The Secret Fire, with French author Carina Rosenfeld.

While working as a civil servant, she had meetings at Number 10 Downing Street, and saw people disappearing through a small door leading to a staircase heading below ground level. This visit became the inspiration for Number 10.  FYI: She still doesn’t know if there are tunnels below Number 10. But she hopes there are.

Her books have been translated into 24 languages and been bestsellers in multiple countries. She lives with her husband, the BAFTA nominated filmmaker, Jack Jewers. 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, New Books

The Highlander’s Secret Son Jeanine Englert 4* #Review @JeanineWrites @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks @rararesources #BlogTour #MillsandBoonHistorical #HarlequinHistorical #BookReview #TheHighlandersSecretSon #Scotland #Giveaway

His first love

Now his sworn enemy…

What is Fiona MacDonald doing on the run across his lands? With a wee baby as well! Brandon once loved this woman with all his heart―until her family killed many of his clan. Now, as the new Campbell Laird, he must make sure she pays the price for her betrayal. But how can he claim his vengeance if what she says is true…? That her child is his son and heir!

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

My Thoughts…

An emotional and well-paced story about betrayal, forgiveness and love in the tempestuous eighteenth-century Scottish Highlands. Brandon and Fiona shared a forbidden love, both from different warring clans. Brandon’s clan is decimated by Fiona’s, and it appears she betrayed them. Forced to become the laird, Brandon has to forget Fiona until he finds her on his land with his baby.

This story explores the role of women in this historical period and shows that Fiona is a victim with no say in her future and subject to abuse. Brandon is Laird because of his brother’s grief. Bringing Fiona into the clan’s heart leads to many external conflicts despite the couples rekindling their feelings for each other. Brandon is forced to choose between Fiona and the clan with devastating results. The couple has to battle their internal feelings of self-worth and self-loathing to have a chance of a happy-ever-after.

This story is rich in historical detail, danger, deceit and unrequited desire.

Jeanine Englert

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a Golden Heart ® Finalist, Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery. Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at www.jeaninewrites.com.

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Giveaway to Win  A bundle of Highland Treats (Open INT)

Prize contains:

1) One signed paperback copy of The Highlander’s Secret Son.

2) Bookmark and magnet book swag.

3) Scottish Blessing Bracelet.

4) Sterling Silver “Spread Your Wings and Fly” Necklace.

5) Red Journal.

Click on link to enter

*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.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Gothic Fiction, New Books, Thriller

Whisper Cottage  Anne Wyn Clark #CoverReveal @EAClarkAuthor  @AvonBooksUK #gothic #thriller #Preorder #WhisperCottage #HearTheWhispers #September2

We’re revealing the cover of a new gothic thriller called Whisper Cottage by Anne Wyn Clark

When Stina and Jack move to an old rural cottage, they’re hoping for a fresh start.

Their new home is run-down compared to their neighbour’s, but generous Mrs Barley quickly becomes a friend.   Until Stina sees a mysterious figure in the widow’s garden, and her happy new life begins to unravel. And when she hears strange noises in the night, she is forced to question if Mrs Barley is what she seems.  

Why do the other villagers whisper about her? Why is she so eager to help the couple? And what is she hiding in her picture-perfect home? 

Publication Date – 2nd September 2021

#Preorder Amazon UK

Did you #HearTheWhispers? 🤫Pre-order the haunting new thriller that will keep you up for hours!Whisper Cottage by @EAClarkAuthor is out 2nd September.  https://amzn.to/3fzirZ7

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, New Books, Suspense

Pandora Susan Stokes-Chapman – An Extract… 4*Review #HistoricalFiction #histfic #LiteraryFiction #Georgian #London #Mystery #Legend #Greek #Intrigue #Pandora #Extract #Review

An exclusive sample of Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman, featuring the first thirteen chapters.

A pure pleasure of a novel set in Georgian London, where the discovery of a mysterious ancient Greek vase sets in motion conspiracies, revelations and romance.

There is a fine line between coincidence and fate…

London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young man seeking acceptance into the Society of Antiquaries. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore her parents’ shop to its former glory, and to escape her uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has ever known about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora deals with themes of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

Out on 27 January 2022

Pre-order now. Amazon UK

I received an extract of this book from Random House UK Vintage via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I have read an extract of this book, thirteen chapters, and I am intrigued to read what follows.

Set in Georgian England, the story weaves a mystical ethos as it introduces the main players of this Greek-inspired story. It centres on a recovered vase taken from a shipwreck. Pandora has aspirations to be a jewellery designer but is thwarted by misogyny. Her parents died mysteriously, leaving her in the care of her uncle Hezekiah who hasn’t respected her parents’ legacy. Edward is a young man with ambition. He wants to study antiquities and be accepted by the professional society, but his class stimies him despite being sponsored by a young aristocrat who appears emotionally attached.

The scene is set for Pandora and Edward to meet as her interest in her uncle’s latest acquisition intensifies. The extract ends as Pandora finds the vase…

This is atmospheric, with complex characters and an intriguing mystery. The legend suggests the reader can envisage what come next but can they. The historical detail and lyrical prose make this an absorbing and immersive reading experience that I would like to continue.

Posted in Adventure Fiction, Audiobook Review, Historical Fiction

Ascent Jed Mercurio 4*#Review @jed_mercurio @PenguinUKBooks Vintage Digital #Ascent #PenguinRandomHouseUKAudio #AudioBook #Review Narrator John Hopkins

A truly stunning novel of one man’s dangerous obsession with immortality, from the BAFTA award-winning creator of Bodyguard and Line of Duty

ONE OF THE GUARDIAN‘S ‘1000 NOVELS EVERYONE MUST READ’

Yefgenii Yeremin is a flyer and a phantom.

Destined to go down in Soviet history books as ‘Ivan the Terrible’, the most deadly fighter pilot of the Korean War, one moment of madness sees Yefgenii throwing his reputation to the wind. Exiled to a remote Arctic base, his name unknown and victories uncelebrated, he must endure a fate worse than death: anonymity.

But when a man arrives from Moscow’s Space Committee in search of a volunteer prepared to sacrifice himself for his country, Yefgenii seizes his one last chance of immortality.

Amazon Audible UK Waterstones

I received a copy of this audiobook from Penguin Random House UK Audio via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an intense story well suited to the audiobook. The narrator keeps the listener’s engagement throughout.

The story explores the historical period from the Korean War in the 1950s to the space race in the 1960s from the Russian viewpoint. Yefgenii Yeremin lost his family during WW2 and suffered life-changing emotional damage. His early life is brutal and devoid of nurture. Disturbing to listen to it shapes him into to driven man he becomes.

His missions during the Korean War are deniable and secret and eventually leave him without the recognition he seeks. The relationships between the fighter pilots are complex and relatable. The story is absorbing as it moves to the frozen north and anonymity. Yefgenii is always seeking something just beyond his reach. He denies himself basic human comforts and emotions desired by most people. His part in the space race gives him a chance of the immortality he seeks but at the expense of everything else in his life.

The research is detailed, and the sense of place and time succinct. The story is an absorbing mix of action and introspection, poignant and with a conclusion that resonates.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Saga

A Ration Book Daughter Jean Fullerton 5*#Review @AtlanticBooks @CorvusBooks @JeanFullerton_ #HistoricalRomance #WW2 #EastEnd #London #1942 #LondonBlitz #BlogTour #saga #Family #Friendship #Rationing #HistFic #RationBookSeries @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway #PublicationDay #ARationBookDaughter

Not even the Blitz can shake a mother’s love.

Cathy was a happy, blushing bride when Britain went to war with Germany three years ago. But her youthful dreams were crushed by her violent husband Stanley’s involvement with the fascist black-shirts, and even when he’s conscripted to fight she knows it’s only a brief respite – divorce is not an option. Cathy, a true Brogan daughter, stays strong for her beloved little son Peter.

When a telegram arrives declaring that her husband is missing in action, Cathy can finally allow herself to hope – she only has to wait 6 months before she is legally a widow and can move on with her life. In the meantime, she has to keep Peter safe and fed. So she advertises for a lodger, and Sergeant Archie McIntosh of the Royal Engineers’ Bomb Disposal Squad turns up. He is kind, clever and thoughtful; their mutual attraction is instant. But with Stanley’s fate still unclear, and the Blitz raging on over London’s East End, will Cathy ever have the love she deserves?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I always enjoy reading books in the Ration Book series because of the authentic settings, historical detail and believable characters. The simple plot allows this character-driven story to draw the reader into London during World War two, making it an immersive reading experience.

This story follows Cathy, a young mother, married to an abusive and bigoted man currently fighting in North Africa. The story reads fine as a standalone, but the series is engaging, and it’s best to read all the books in the series.

This is a story of forbidden love and making the best of your life. Cathy is a courageous and likeable character, as is Archie, her new lodger, and the reader empathises with them. Realistically paced and well-researched. It’s easy to visualise the setting. It incorporates serious issues but manages to keep the story entertaining.

Jean Fullerton

Born and bred in East London Jean is a District Nurse by trade and has worked as a NHS manager and as a senior lecture in Health and Nursing Studies. She left her day job to become a full-time writer in 2015 and has never looked back.

In 2006 she won the Harry Bowling Prize and now has seventeen sagas published over three series with both Orion and Atlantic all of which are set in East London.

She is an experienced public speaker with hundreds of WI and women’s club talks under her belt, plus for the past fifteen years she has sailed all over the world as an enrichment speaker and writing workshop leader on cruise ships.

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Giveaway to Win one of 6 copies of A Ration Book Daughter Paperbacks (Open to UK Only)

Click on this link to enter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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 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.