Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Friendship, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense

The Unquiet Spirit Penny Hampson 4*#Review @penny_hampson @darkstrokedark @rararesources #Mystery #Suspense #Gothic

A new beginning. A house with a past. A man with secrets.

It was a dream come true…that turned into a nightmare.

Kate Wilson thinks moving back to Cornwall might be the answer to her prayers. But it isn’t long before she begins to have doubts. Is the house she inherited from her godmother haunted? Or is she going out of her mind? With a stalker, threats, and attempted break-ins, Kate’s troubles multiply.

Then there’s her enigmatic neighbour, the brooding Tom Carbis; a man with secrets he doesn’t wish to share. Can she trust him when he says he wants to help?

In her quest to unravel the mysteries surrounding her, will Kate uncover more than she bargains for?

Set in beautiful Cornwall, The Unquiet Spirit is a gripping suspense with paranormal and romantic elements.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an atmospheric story that is full of historical detail that adds to its authenticity. Kate unexpectedly inherits an old house from her godmother in Cornwall. Eager for a new start, she travels to Cornwall to claim her inheritance. A house with secrets.

Mystery, paranormal, romance and suspense are weaved into the well-paced plot. Engaging characters and detailed imagery makes this an enjoyable reading experience. The suspense building and paranormal twists immerse the reader in Kate’s world with an interesting conflicted, but romantic relationship with Tom, a man with secrets.

This is an engaging read with a wide reader appeal because of its cross-genre approach.

Penny Hampson

Some time ago Penny Hampson decided to follow her passion for history by studying with the Open University. She graduated with honours and went on to complete a post-graduate degree.

Penny then landed her dream role, working in an environment where she was surrounded by rare books and historical manuscripts. Flash forward nineteen years, and the opportunity came along to indulge her other main passion – writing. Penny joined the New Writers’ Scheme of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and  three years later published her debut novel, A Gentleman’s Promise, a  historical mystery/romance. Other books in the same genre soon followed.

But never happy in a rut, Penny also writes contemporary suspense with paranormal and romantic elements. Her first book in this genre is The Unquiet Spirit, published by Darkstroke.

Penny lives with her family in Oxfordshire, and when she is not writing, she enjoys reading, walking, swimming, and the odd gin and tonic (not all at the same time).

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes Jessica Redland 5* #Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #ChristmasonCastleStreet @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #Festive #Romance #Family #Love

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
It’s December on Castle Street; the fairy lights are twinkling, snow has settled and the festive season is in full swing.

For Carly, the owner of Carly’s Cupcakes, it’s the busiest time of year getting everyone’s Christmas treats ready on time. However with her clumsy sister, Bethany, as a co-worker, it’s proving a difficult task. They say you shouldn’t mix work with family. Maybe they have a point…

As Christmas approaches, Carly is also eagerly awaiting the return of her best friend to Whitborough Bay. Liam has no idea he’s been the object of her affection since their schooldays. After years of pining after him, can Carly pluck up the courage to finally tell him how she really feels by 25th December?

Could a little festive magic make all of Carly’s wishes come true this Christmas…?

Amazon UK

A heartwarming, short festive story of friendship and family from bestseller Jessica Redland. You can find out what happens to Carly next through exploring her best friend Tara’s story in Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café.

This is a new and updated version of Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes which has been previously published.

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

My Thoughts…

Every bit as comforting, delicious and festive as a Christmas cupcake this story leaves you with a lovely heartwarming hug. Carly has a successful cake shop in Whitsborough Bay on the North Yorkshire coast. Her love life is less successful than her career, and even that is in jeopardy. Bethany her younger sister is responsible for her business woes cake decorating doesn’t appear to be her thing.

The two sisters are opposites, and Bethany still retains the over-indulged air of a younger sibling. By the end, both have changed for the better, with Bethany maturing and Carly learning to fight for what she wants.

Aside from the family drama and the workplace humour, there is also a gentle friend to lover to romance which is perfectly festive. Carly’s is easy to empathise, and she engenders support from the local community because of her helpful nature.

This is an engaging story with relatable characters and charming festive sentiments.

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Extract, Friendship, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult

Even If We Break Marieke Njjkamp #Extract @mariekeyn @SourceBooks @midaspr @amberachoudhary #Mystery #Thriller #YA #EvenIfWeBreak

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marieke Nijkamp comes a shocking new thriller about a group of friends tied together by a game and the deadly weekend that tears them apart.

For five friends, this was supposed to be one last getaway before going their separate ways—a chance to say goodbye to each other, and to the game they’ve been playing for the past three years. But they’re all dealing with their own demons, and they’re all hiding secrets.

Finn doesn’t trust anyone since he was attacked a few months ago. Popular girl Liva saw it happen and did nothing to stop it. Maddy was in an accident that destroyed her sports career. Carter is drowning under the weight of his family’s expectations. Ever wants to keep the game going for as long as they can, at all costs.

When the lines between game and reality start to blend with deadly consequences, it’s a race against time before it’s game over—forever.

Amazon UK

Extract from – Even If We Break MARIEKE NIJKAMP

 MARIEKE NIJKAMP is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where It Ends and Before I Let Go. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globetrotter, geek. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies, has served as an executive member of We Need Diverse Books, and is the founder of DiversifYA. She lives in the Netherlands. Visit her at mariekenijkamp.com.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Let Love Find You Johanna Lindsey 4*#Review @TransworldBooks #JohannaLindsey #RegencyRomance #HistoricalRomance @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview

HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT HUSBAND WHEN PASSION RULES YOUR HEART?

Lovely Amanda Locke, the daughter of a duke, has been out in London society for three years but has still not found a husband.

When she sets her sights on a wealthy nobleman known to be passionate about horses, she enlists Devin Baldwin, a darkly handsome breeder of horses, to be her riding instructor. Devin is well known for using his expertise to bring about the matching of eligible young ladies to suitable gentlemen…

But Amanda finds herself falling for the matchmaker instead, and her desire for a husband takes her in a wholly unexpected direction…

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I received a copy of this book from Random House UK – Transworld Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The second romance I’ve recently read by this author, and it is an enjoyable read. It is character-driven, and the main protagonists are full of passion and secrets. Devin is Regency society’s latest source of gossip, known as Cupid he is an unlikely, but successful matchmaker and therefore, he is welcome everywhere. Lady Amanda is a Duke’s daughter in her third season and desperate to marry for love.

After a few fiery encounters, the couple thrown together by circumstance find they fulfil Devin’s first rule of matchmaking physical attraction. Devin is on a mission, and that doesn’t include falling for Amanda.

Some of the language used in this grates a little, as it isn’t authentic for the period, but the heart of the story overcomes this.

The prologue hints of a poignant mystery which is gradually revealed and gives the story added conflict and depth. The chemistry between Devin and Amanda is steamy, and the ending positively dreamy.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

That Perfect Someone Johanna Lindsey 5*#Review @TransworldBooks #JohannaLindsey #RegencyRomance #HistoricalRomance @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview

LOVE, REVENGE, PASSIONS RUNNING HIGH…

Nine years ago, when Richard Allen’s greedy, ambitious father, the Earl of Manford, betrothed him to Julia Miller, the daughter of London’s wealthiest merchant, he was distraught. The pair can’t stand each other and Richard takes to the sea, determined to live his own life.

In the Caribbean, he joins a band of pirates and adopts the persona of a Frenchman named Jean-Paul. But when he returns to England on an errand for his captain, he finds himself completely smitten with a married woman, Georgina Mallory. She is indifferent to him, yet he persists in seeking her affections.

But when he attempts to woo her at a ball, the last thing he expects is to come face to face with Julia Miller, to whom he is still engaged.

But when Julia tries to wreak her revenge, not all goes quite according to plan…

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I received a copy of this book from Random House UK – Transworld Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

It’s a few years since I’ve read a book by this author who is a favourite of mine for this genre. This story is part of the Mallory Family series. Familiar characters feature, but they are not a big part of this story. Privateer John-Paul (Richard Allen) and businesswoman Julia are the main characters destined for marriage from her birth.

This archaic contract is the crux of this story and the main point of contention between Richard and Julia. When they meet as adults, their antagonism, falls into a simmering passion and the fun begins. The story is about forgiveness, love, and revenge. The chemistry between Julia and Richard makes this a page-turner. Their conversation makes this novel so entertaining, and their strength of character draws the reader’s empathy, for their situation.

The story explores abuse, lack of choice, social class and the position of women in society in a sensitive way, with a love story that makes it memorable.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour

Midsummer Dreams Ian Riddle @riddleian 4*#Review @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours @MTP_Agency #MidsummerDreams

Midsummer Dreams is a lyrical history of the lives, loves and, in particular, the dreams of several of the inhabitants of the small village of Treddoch Harbour. Treddoch, as it’s referred to locally, is a fictional, atypical, once fishing, now touristy, community situated on Cornwall’s southern coast. Everybody has their dreams, though none more so than the inhabitants of Treddoch. In their case, and this is where they differ from the mainstream, as well as having their own, personal dreams, the residents of Treddoch Harbour also have the one dream, the overarching dream, that singular dream that binds them as a community. This is the dream of having a ‘good Season’. For many of them, who rely on the tourists for their income, their money’s only to be made in the summer, when the tourists are abroad. Winter months can be dire. 

The action is set on the one day, Midsummer’s Day, starting at dawn and ending with dusk. The story’s told through the voice of a tour guide as he takes the reader around the village, introducing the characters one by one, starting with the late Butcher and his Wife, now interred in the local cemetery!

“Polperro very much inspired this novel,” admits the author. “I wanted to take people beyond the daytrips they experience in these villages, to really get to know the people and what they strive for – which is a strong summer season that allows them to keep their families buoyant all year. There’s a massive collective spirit among the locals, that outsiders seldom see.”

Continuing, “I’m so thrilled that many people have likened the book to Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood’. It’s a story that will capture the hearts of people from all walks of life, with its innocent undertones and deep longing for stability among forces the locals can’t control.”

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has a quaint, quirky style which draws the reader into the Treddoch Harbour residents’ world. The reader has an omnipotent view of the village and its inhabitants, even those who are dead, through the information imparted by the tour guide.

Its originality is engaging, and it captures the tourist coastal village’s ethos perfectly. The season’s success is the Treddoch Harbour’s inhabitants’ collective dream and underpins the events on Midsummer Day.

There’s a list of players with chapters corresponding to acts in a play. Insightful character portraits and vivid descriptions make this a treat for all the senses.

Ian Riddle

I was born a long time ago now and like both Mary Wesley and Sir Christopher Bland have taken to writing rather late in life.

Following graduation from the University of East Anglia (UEA), which has subsequently become something of a literary mecca since my days there, I worked, briefly, as an Economist in London but soon moved to Cornwall, where, together with my wife, I ran my own business for many years. We lived in the small Cornish fishing village of Polperro which has provided a rich source of material for my first novel, Midsummer Dreams, due to be published Spring 2019.

I began work on the novel last January and eight months later had a rough draft ready but feeling the need of a break from it I put the manuscript to one side and thought to write just a couple of short stories. Twelve months and fifteen stories later it became clear that it was time to put this volume, Collected Writings to bed and return to where I left off, one year past, especially as I can already feel a second volume of shorts tugging at my sleeve.

After over forty years in Cornwall I crossed the Tamar and moved back to England (!) a short while ago, although only as far as Devon, where I still maintain a ‘day job’. How much longer this will last though, I’m not sure. Writing can become a seductive and powerful mistress for which one can easily develop an all consuming passion.

With thanks to Michael Terence Publishing www.mtp.agency

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Love at the Little Wedding Shop by the Sea Jane Linfoot 5*#Review @janelinfoot @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #romcom #Cornwall #LittleWeddingShopbytheSea #BlogTour #BookReview

St Aidan: a cosy Cornish village where friendships are made for life and it’s always cocktail hour somewhere…

‘A pure delight’ Debbie Johnson

Return to your favourite little wedding shop by the sea for love, laughter and a romance to sweep you off your feet!

It’s the most romantic day of the year but the girls aren’t just gearing up for Valentine’s Day and a busy wedding season ahead, it’s also the 10 year anniversary of their beloved shop!

Jess is planning the party of the decade and with the champagne and cocktails flowing, sparks are going to fly…and not just from the fireworks display!

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

My Thoughts…

This is one of my favourite rom-com series, and this book is one of the best. Full of heartbreak, humour, and romance it takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions in a lovely Cornish setting. I’ve read all the books in the series, but this one is a complete story, so enjoyable as a standalone read.

Milla returns to the Cornish village she left after her mother’s death broken with betrayal. Living above a wedding shop and running Brides Go West with her deceitful friend is like rubbing salt in her wounds. She survives with strong friendships from childhood friends and her unexpected attraction to Nic.

There are lots of misunderstandings, laugh out loud moments and simmering passionate occurrences amidst the wedding fayres and planning but is true love a possibility for Milla?

Engaging characters, humour, and poignancy and heart-stopping romance make this a perfect Summer read.

Jane Linfoot

I write fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines, and lots of heart. Writing is fab, because I get to wear pretty shoes instead of wellies. I live in a cottage up a mountain road in Derbyshire, where my family and pets are kind enough to ignore the domestic chaos. Happily, we’re in walking distance of a supermarket. I love hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage, most things french. When I’m not on facebook, and can’t find an excuse for shopping, I’ll be walking, or gardening. On days when I want to be really scared, I ride a tandem.

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Psychological Thriller

One Perfect Morning Pamela Crane 4*#Review @MentalMommyPam @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #AudioBook #Friendship #Secrets #HarperCollinsAudio #domestic #noir #PsychologicalThriller #OnePerfectMorning

She’s made her bed, and now he’s lying dead in it…

Mackenzie, Robin and Lily have been inseparable since college. Twenty years on, they all live in the same neighbourhood with their perfect homes, perfect families, perfect lives.

But in their idyllic suburban town, no one truly knows what goes on behind closed doors. For each of these women is crumbling under the weight of a secret, a betrayal, a lie.

And when the worst happens, will the unbreakable bond of their friendship survive, though it’s started to fray at the edges?

One dead husband. Three women with motives. And they’re all best friends who have each other’s backs – or do they…?

A sharp, twisty and utterly addictive suspense novel.

Amazon UK Audible UK

I received a an audiobook from Avon Books UK – Harper Collins Audio UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I listened to an audiobook copy of this story, which is absorbing and enjoyable.

The narrator is professional and brings each of the characters to life through her different voices. It’s easy to feel part of the dialogue with her narration.

The story begins on the precipice of something awful and then goes back in time to discover what events lead to this moment. Predominately told from three points of view it explores the women’s longstanding friendship and the secrets they hide with each other and alone.

The characters are diverse and relatable you are invested in their lives. You empathise with them because of their flaws and mistakes. The logical plot has many twists and features domestic abuse, rape, and murder. The crimes are heinous, but not overly graphic, but the emotional and physical damage is believable.

The conclusion ties up any loose ends and gives hope, and possible future dilemmas for Lily, Mackenzie and Robin.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romantic Comedy

Bride Squad Runaway Caroline Grace-Cassidy and Lisa C Carey @CGraceCassidy 3* #Review @LisaCCarey1 @bwpublishing #BrideSquadRunaway @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Ava O’Hara is finally marrying hunky Simon, the love of her life. The wedding dress is on, the make-up is done, the bridesmaids are ready and the guests are eagerly awaiting her big moment. Then, as she’s just about to walk down the aisle on what should be the happiest day of her life, she discovers a shocking secret about Simon. In utter disbelief, Ava makes a quick getaway – rescued by her loyal Bride Squad!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a new take on the runaway bride trope. It focuses on the runaway bride and her two friends. Ava ignores the signs things aren’t right in her relationship until the wedding day when there’s a revelation she can’t ignore. She runs from her wedding with her two best friends on a life-affirming road trip around Ireland.

There are angst laughter and romance in this story, which lets the women get to know each other again and realise why they are friends. A lighthearted tale full of emotion which will resonate with its readers.

Caroline Grace-Cassidy and Lisa C Carey
Image Credit IFTA’s 2016 No Reproduction fee © Michael Chester

Writer and actress Caroline Grace-Cassidy is the author of 7 novels. She co-owns Park Pictures, with whom she has written and directed 7 short films. Caroline is a regular panelist for The Elaine Show on Virgin Media One and contributes to Women’s Way, Irish Country and Weekender Magazine. She lives in Dublin.

Lisa C Carey has been a celebrity handler, screenwriter, Eurovision jury member, and green card lottery winner. She has survived earthquakes, dug her way through a glacier, and lived on a remote island in Fiji. Born and raised in Dublin, Lisa currently lives in Los Angeles. Bride Squad Runaway is her debut novel.

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

Someday in Paris Olivia Lara 5* #Review @olilara_writes @HoZ_Books @Aria_Fiction #GuestPost #Romance #Serendipity #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #soulmates #Love #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources #SomedayInParis

Finding the one is only the beginning…

1954. Zara is fifteen the first time she meets Leon. During a power cut in a small French museum, the two spend one short hour in the dark talking about their love for art, Monet and Paris. Neither knows what the other looks like. But both know their lives will never be the same.

1963. In Paris, Leon no longer believes he will ever find the girl he lost that night. Zara thinks she has already found him. When they meet at an exhibition, they don’t recognise each other – but the way they feel is so familiar…

Over the course of thirty years, Zara and Leon are destined to fall in love again and again. But will they ever find a way to be together?

‘It’s about dreams and taking chances. Missed opportunities and mistakes. Loss and sacrifice. But above all, it is about love. The kind of love that survives time, distance… even death. The kind of love I wish for you.’

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My Journey to Publication

In May 2020, Someday in Paris, my debut novel was published. I am still incredibly excited, three months later and find reasons to celebrate every single week— getting amazing reviews from readers and bloggers around the world, seeing my book becoming an international bestseller on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and Kobo, getting lovely messages from people everywhere, telling me how much they loved the story and how it moved them and sometimes even impacted them. Am I still sometimes pinching myself that I am now a published author? Constantly!

But how did I get to this point? Definitely not overnight. The road to publication, at least for me, was a rollercoaster that officially took five years and unofficially about nine.

Timeline

I wrote partial manuscripts between 2011 and 2015 (I shelved all of them)

I wrote the first book in 2015 (Someday in Paris)

I edited the first book all through 2016

I started the second book in 2017

I got an agent in 2017

It didn’t work out (long story)

I finished the second book in 2018

I got a new agent in the summer of 2018

I edited the first book for the next six months

We went on submission in the Spring of 2019

I wrote a third book in 2019

I signed a 2-book publishing deal in the summer of 2019

Edited the first book some more

Published my first book in the summer of 2020

I wrote a fourth book in 2020

And voila. Here we are.

So what does this all mean?

I think it means…keep at it and it will happen. I could’ve given up countless times between 2011 and 2019. Countless! The journey to publication for almost all new writers is a sum of rejections, silence, waiting, editing, editing again, writing, writing some more, hoping, trying and trying again. Ups and downs and downs and ups. It was the same for me. When I was at my lowest point in this journey (where my younger self would’ve probably just moved on), I stomped my feet, dried my tears, made myself a strong cup of coffee, opened my laptop and kept at it. Was it worth it? Oh, you bet! Knowing my story is out there for people to read, is worth it. Knowing there will be more to come…so worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s next?

My second book will be published next year. And yes, it is a love story, but that’s all I’m going to say for now (except for the fact that I’m super excited to share it with readers everywhere and I hope they will love it as much as I do). I’m also working on my next book. It is a story that’s been with me for quite a while and I feel I’ve let it ‘simmer’ long enough. I’m loving every minute I get to spend with the characters and taking my time with their story, because I know I will be missing them once I type ‘the end’.

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

My Thoughts…

A magical romantic tale. Full of love, pain serendipity and tragedy. Fate and faith are instrumental in this gently paced tale. It’s perfect escapism to give flight to your belief in magic and romance. Told from two viewpoints its character-driven, but the setting is vital and almost a character too.

Leave your weary cynicism behind and get lost in this timeless love story.

Olivia Lara

OLIVIA LARA was born and raised in Bucharest in a family of book lovers and storytellers. Since university she has worked as a journalist and marketer in Romania, France and the United States. She is currently a marketing executive in San Francisco and lives in the Bay Area with her husband, young daughter and four cats. Someday in Paris is her first novel.

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Goodreads Giveaway For eBook copy of Someday in Paris – Olivia Lara

Open to US only

Format:

Kindle book

Availability: 50 copies available.

GIVEAWAY LISTED BY

Head of Zeus

Giveaway dates: Sep 07 – Oct 05, 2020

Countries available: U.S.