Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Romance, Travel

Rome for the Summer Lynne Shelby 5*#Review @LynneB1 @AccentPress #Romance #writers #artists #histfic #arthistory #Italy #Rome #SummerRead #RomefortheSummer #love #secrets #lies #trust #Relationships #travel #Friendships @rararesources #BookReview #BlogTour

Kate Harper has always loved the painting that has hung in her parents’ dining room for years, never suspecting that it is worth a fortune. When her art dealer boyfriend cheats her family out of the proceeds of the painting’s sale, she is left devastated and alone.

Kate discovers that two hundred years ago, the girl in the painting, Charlotte Browne, ran off to Rome with the artist who painted her portrait, but her eventual fate is unknown.

Hoping to uncover the mystery of what happened to Charlotte, Kate seizes the chance of a summer job in Rome, where she strikes up a friendship with artist Jamie Taylor.

As they explore the city and start to piece together the surprising secrets of Charlotte’s life, Kate finds herself wondering if summer in Rome can mend a broken heart…

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

If you enjoy your romance with an art historical twist, this lovely story set mainly in Rome provides the perfect escape. Kate decides to take a summer job in Rome when her boyfriend proves untrustworthy. Working at a historical house previously home to nineteenth-century English artists and writers is an excellent way to heal and try to solve a mystery.

I enjoyed the gentle romance between Kate and Jamie and the incredible sense of place this story has. The historical mystery revealed through journal entries adds authenticity and interest to the contemporary novel. The author brings Rome in the summer to vibrant life, and the art history and historical detail make this an engaging read.

I loved the romantic conclusion too.

Lynne Shelby

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing (re-released in e-book as Meet Me In Paris), won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and her fifth novel, Love On Location, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novelists’Association Award – the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy.

When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city with her writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband and has three adult children who live nearby.

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

A Wedding in Tuscany Sandy Barker 5*#Review @sandybarker @0neMoreChapter_ #humour #romcom #Friendship #selfrealisation #sisters #Romance #Tuscany #Italy @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #AWeddinginTuscany #TheHolidayRomance

The Parsons sisters are all loved up.

Sarah is living in Sydney with Josh and their cat, Domino, but is anxious about her fast-approaching fortieth birthday.

And Cat is still living in London with her flatmate, Jane, but is in a long-distance relationship with Jean-Luc, her childhood sweetheart and recently rediscovered love.

One of the sisters receives a surprise wedding proposal – it’s a yes! – and everyone heads off to Tuscany for a destination wedding.

Reunite with favourite characters from the Holiday Romance series in one of the most beautiful locations yet for love, laughter, wedding vows, and just a smidge of sisterly mayhem

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

It’s the final book in The Holiday Romance series, and it’s a fabulous finale for sisters Sarah and Cat and their friends. Set in Tuscany, the wedding of Cat and Jean-Luc has angst, humour, romance and poignancy and more than lives up to its dramatic setting. I love the sisterly dynamic between Cat and Sarah, the vividly described location and the authentically written characters and relationships. The story has a good mix of laughter and reflective moments, and the ending is lovely.

Sandy Barker

Sandy is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob. She lives in Melbourne Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the Holiday Romance series with One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins.The series continues in That Night in Paris and A Sunset in Sydney followed by A Sunrise in Bali and A Wedding in Tuscany in 2022. Her standalone novel The Christmas Swap celebrates her favourite time of the year, and The Dating Game, a laugh-out-loud rom-com is set in the world of Reality TV.

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The Holiday Romance Series – Read my reviews.

One Summer in Santorini

That Night in Paris

A Sunset in Sydney

A Sunrise in Bali

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Travel

More Than You’ll Ever Know Katie Gutierrez 4* #Review @katie_gutz @MichaelJBooks @PenguinUKBooks #MoreThanYoullEverKnow #literarythriller #mystery #familydrama #relationships #truecrime #suspense #marriage #parenting #bookreview

Lore Rivera was married to two men at once, until on a baking hot day in 1986, one of them found out and shot the other. A secret double life, a tragic murder.

That’s the story the world knows.

It’s not the story that fascinates Cassie Bowman.

Carrying the weight of her own family tragedy, true-crime writer Cassie wants to know more about the mysterious woman at the heart of it all: Lore.

And to her surprise, Lore is willing to talk – about how a dance became an affair; how marriage became a murder.

As the two women grow closer, Cassie finds she can’t help but confess her own darkest secrets.

But when it becomes clear that there might be more to the night of the murder than anyone realised, can either woman face up to the thing they’ve been hiding from . . . the truth?

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

More Than You’ll Ever Know has a true crime vibe, an excellent sense of place and time and complex, flawed characters that immerse the reader in their lives. It’s an emotional exploration of marriage, parenthood and relationships and is gripping. The true crime aspect gives it a contemporary slant, but it tells the story from multi viewpoints and timelines.

Lore is an interesting character; she provokes Cassie to evaluate her life and past and face her truth. The crime aspect develops slowly and is more powerful because the reader is invested in the characters’ lives when secrets emerge. The final twists I did work out are poignant and resonate and deliver a fitting conclusion to this detailed and engaging story.

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…

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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 Blitz, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Giveaway, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

Daisy’s French Farmhouse Lorraine Wilson 5*#Review @Romanceminx @0neMoreChapter_ #RomCom #blogblitz #AFrenchEscape @rararesources #France #psychic #Dogs #pets #BookReview #loss #secondchances #DaisysFrenchFarmhouse #giveaway

Fly to France for the perfect summer getaway –without leaving your house! This a heartwarming, feel-good read.

Escape to heaven…
Daisy has never been lucky in love, and when her love life implodes—again—she flees to France. A summer in the sun helping out at her friend Poppy’s guesthouse is the perfect way to put unsuitable men behind her!
When Daisy finds herself dog sitting for two loveable rescues they quickly wind their way into Daisy’s heart. The trouble is, so does their owner – enigmatic widower and bookseller Anton! But she didn’t come to France to fall for another unattainable man…
Can they honour the past and take a chance on the future?

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Lorraine and her dogs

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher.

My Thoughts…

Daisy’s french escape as a result of misjudged love affair lets us meet up again with Poppy, JoJo and their lovely dogs. Daisy has psychometric abilities that have left her open to bullying and judgement from others, even her parents. Only her grandmother, who shares her gift, is supportive, and she is on a spiritual retreat. Poppy and JoJo welcome Daisy, who settles into life at the guesthouse complex. Dreaming of a new life in France, Daisy starts a dog-walking and pet sitting service and meets Anton.

Daisy and Anton become friends, but the attraction between them is undeniable. Any possible romance is conflicted as Anton is bereaved, and Daisy is determined to guard her heart this time. The sensual romance is lyrically written and interwoven with emotion. It endears the couple to the reader and makes this an engaging read.

I also enjoyed the folklore and historical details that enrich the story, the vibrant setting, and the delightful antics of the many dogs—a romantic tale woven with emotion, history, magic and humour.

Lorraine Wilson

Lorraine Wilson writes flirty, feel-good fiction for One More Chapter – a Harper Collins imprint – and is unashamedly fond of happy endings. She loves hearing from readers and feels incredibly grateful to be doing the job she always dreamt of.

She splits her time between the South of France and Cambridgeshire and is usually either writing or reading while being sat on, walked over or barked at by one of her growing band of rescue dogs.

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Read my reviews of the other books in the French Escape series

Giveaway to Win a L’OCCITANE Clary Sage Collection travel set (Open UK)

L’OCCITANE Clary Sage Collection travel set containing:

• 50ml Herbae par L’OCCITANE Clary Sage Shower Gel

• 50ml Herbae par L’OCCITANE Clary Sage Body Milk

• 100g Herbae par L’OCCITANE Clary Sage Scented Soap

• 30ml Herbae par L’OCCITANE Clary Sage Hand Cream

In a L’OCCITANE cosmetic bag

Click on the giveaway link to enter

*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 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 the despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Saga, Travel

A Mother’s Heart Carmel Harrington 5*#Review @HappyMrsH @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #IrishFiction #LiteraryFiction #FamilyDrama #saga #relationships #love #grief #secrets #parenting #Ireland #NewZealand #AMothersHeart

Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

While Rachel Butler likes her life in a pretty Dublin coastal village, her heart lies in Hawke’s Bay, where she grew up. Visiting for the first time since tragedy tore her family apart, she and her stepchildren fall for its beauty and outdoor lifestyle.

Malahide, Ireland

As Rachel picks up the threads of her life as a single parent, she can’t shake off the memories of her loving family in New Zealand – and her dream house, the villa on the bay. But it’s time to move forwards with their life in Ireland, close to the children’s grandparents, amid the familiar surroundings they all know well.

Until the children’s grandmother, still grieving, starts to interfere, questioning Rachel’s position as stepmother.

Until Rachel’s attempts to strengthen the family she loves so dearly backfires, pitting everyone against each other.

And until her late husband’s parents mend the rift that has existed as long as she’s been married – bringing with them an explosive secret . . .

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Rachel loses the man she loves but still has his children, who she loves dearly. Thankful that he had the foresight to make her an adoptive parent, she faces life without him. Born in New Zealand, she has a close relationship with her family, who adore the children. The children’s biological mother’s parents are not happy with things, and this story explores the conflict, emotion and love of Rachel’s determination to achieve the best family for her children.

Each believably flawed vibrant character enriches the story that shows how grief manifests itself differently and how this affects family relationships. Lyrical writing evokes the settings and adds depth to this character-driven story.

It is a heartwarming, poignant story with strong female characters. Rachel is a lovely woman who places the children’s welfare at the heart of everything she does, making this incredibly engaging to read.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Psychological Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Thriller, Travel

One of the Girls Lucy Clarke 5*#Review @lucyclarkebooks @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #BookReview #GreekIsland #HenWeekend #relationships #friendship #love #secrets #psychologicalthriller #psychological #suspense #OneoftheGirls #PublicationDay

WE WERE DYING FOR A HOLIDAY

The six of us arrived on that beautiful Greek island dreaming of sun-drenched beaches and blood orange sunsets, ready to lose ourselves in the wild freedom of a weekend away with friends.

On the first night, we swam under a blanket of stars.

On the second night, the games began on our clifftop terrace.

On the third night, the idyll cracked, secrets and lies whispering in the breeze.

And by the final night, there was a body on the rocks below . . .

WHO WOULD KILL FOR IT?

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Six women spend a Hen weekend on a remote Greek Island, in an idyllic villa away from civilisation. Sounds lovely, and the island and coastal villa are, but not everyone wants to be there, and not everyone is what they first seem. Atmospheric and claustrophobic the tension deepens as the women’s secrets unravel. The villa’s setting is picturesque but close to an unforgiving cliff drop.

Told from the six women’s viewpoints, the reader learns about their pasts, motivations for being on the island, and relationship dynamics. Each character is believably flawed and unreliable in their perceptions of past events and present relationships. All have secrets, and the air of menace increases as proximity makes friendships falter.

I like the detailed characterisations and the dynamic between the women. It explores themes of bullying, parenting and self-realisation through the characters, and all develop in complex ways as the story progresses. The intensity is palpable and keeps the reader riveted. The twists are dramatic, and the ending is impactful and perfectly paced.

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?

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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, International Thriller, New Books, Political Thriller, Thriller, Travel

Outcast Chris Ryan 4* #Review @ExSASChrisRyan @ZaffreBooks @rararesources #MilitaryThriller #BlogTour #BookReview #Outcast #politicalthriller

After single-handedly intervening in a deadly terrorist attack in Mali, SAS Warrant Officer Jamie ‘Geordie’ Carter is denounced as a lone wolf by jealous superiors.

Now a Regiment outcast, Carter is given a second chance with a deniable mission: locate SAS hero-gone-rogue, David Vann.

Vann had been sent into Afghanistan to train local rebels to fight the Taliban. But he’s since gone silent and expected attacks on key targets have not happened.

Tracking Vann through Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Carter not only discovers the rogue soldier’s involvement in a conspiracy that stretches far beyond the Middle East – but an imminent attack that will have deadly consequences the world over . . .

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

SAS Warrant Officer Jamie (Geordie) Carter is courageous, intelligent, and a recent hero, but he still trains soldiers in Chile, despite his skills. A lone wolf’s strengths in dark combat make him a threat to the hierarchy, and he has made powerful enemies. With his career on a downward trajectory, he loses his cool, and the end of his SAS career seems inevitable. A deniable operation in Afghanistan finding a lost operative seems his only option. He finds himself in Afghanistan and Tajikistan after the withdrawal of western forces, looking for the man who changed his life.

Atmospheric and full of action, this military thriller is addictive reading with its integral authenticity and contemporary setting and themes. Geordie is believably flawed but likeable. His military skills are unrivalled but tempered with a humanity that makes him relatable. The twists are good—the sense of danger and not knowing who is trustworthy increases the suspense.

I like the characterisation, authentic plot and the real-time focus of the story.

Chris Ryan -Image credit Mick Kavanagh

Chris Ryan was born in Newcastle.

In 1984 he joined 22 SAS. After completing the year-long Alpine Guides Course, he was the troop guide for B Squadron Mountain Troop. He completed three tours with the anti-terrorist team, serving as an assaulter, sniper and finally Sniper Team Commander.

Chris was part of the SAS eight-man team chosen for the famous Bravo Two Zero mission during the 1991 Gulf War. He was the only member of the unit to escape from Iraq, where three of his colleagues were killed and four captured, for which he was awarded the Military Medal. Chris wrote about his experiences in his book The One That Got Away, which became an immediate bestseller. Since then he has written over fifty books and presented a number of very successful TV programmes.

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