Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

The Dating Game Sandy Barker 5*#Review @sandybarker @0neMoreChapter_ #Friendship #Dating #Romance #RealityTV @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #TheDatingGame

‘Hilarious and highly original’

Julie Houston, bestselling author of A Village Affair

Once upon a time, twelve women joined the hottest reality TV show looking for love. Except one had a secret identity . . .

Abby Jones is a serious writer. Or at least she will be, one day. Right now, she spends her time writing recaps of reality television under a secret identity.

When a recap for The Stag – the must-watch dating show – goes viral, her editor thinks she should be on set, writing the drama as it happens. The good news: the next season will be filmed in Sydney. Sun, sea and a glamorous trip abroad, this could be Abby’s big break.

The bad news: the producers don’t just want Abby to write the recaps, they want her to be on the show. Abby can’t think of anything worse than being undercover and followed around by cameras. But her career depends on it, and when she meets gorgeous producer Jack, Abby begins to wonder if this job might not be so bad after all . . .

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I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Whilst I can’t see the appeal of reality TV, the characterisation, humour and romance in this book kept me turning the pages. Abby is an easy to like character with a good heart and witty sense of humour. This book is a good balance of romance and comedy and is the perfect escape from real life, maybe just like the fictional show it features?

The romantic element has a realistic blend of conflict and emotion. The reader is invested in its outcome. The friendship dynamic is believably written. The show’s details are well-researched, immersing the reader in the world of reality TV. Enhanced with angst, believable characters and well-timed comic dialogue, this is an addictive original story.

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.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay Nicola May 5* #Review @NicolaMay1 @EyeAndLightning @rararesources #festive #BlogTour #BookReview #CICB

 

Meet old and new characters in the Bay for Christmas fun and frolics.

With both the Corner Shop and Cockleberry Café in safe hands, Rosa turns her attention to Ned’s Gift, the charity set up in memory of the great-grandfather whose legacy turned her life around.

Over at the Ship Hotel, Lucas has his work cut out with his devious new girlfriend and the mystery poisoning of an anonymous hotel inspector. Will the hotel still get its 3-star Seaside Rosette?

Will Mary find true love at last? Can Titch cope with the demands of the shop and being heavily pregnant. And can Rosa, with a baby of her own, pull off the Cockleberry Bay Charity Christmas Concert in time?

Christmas in Cockleberry Bay is a festive delight for fans of Rosa and her cheeky mini dachshund Hot, delivering a feast of unpredictable events and surprises.

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

My Thoughts…

Christmas in Cockleberry what could be nicer? It’s fun to return to Cockleberry Bay and its community at this festive time of year. Whilst this festive book is a complete story, the series is so special if you can read them all.

The story is full of vivid imagery, making the characters, events and setting easy to imagine. There are lots of characters and stories, so you need to concentrate, but it’s realistic and vibrant, and the dynamics are relatable to anyone who lives in a small community. For series regulars, there are updates on their favourite characters’ lives, and for new readers, there’s lots of festive fun, humour and intrigue.

This series would work well on television, it makes such good use of sensory imagery, with larger than life, memorable characters. It’s easy to see why this series is so popular, especially in such an uncertain world. It’s the perfect escapist read, definitely a festive book worth reading.

NIcola May

Nicola May is a rom-com superstar. She is the author of eleven romantic comedies, all of which have appeared in the Kindle bestseller charts. Two of them won awards at the Festival of Romance, and another was named ebook of the week in The SunThe Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay became the best-selling Kindle book in the UK, across all genres, in January 2019, and was Amazon’s third-bestselling novel in that year.

She lives near Ascot racecourse with her black-and-white rescue cat, Stan.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Noir, Nordic Noir

Fallen Angels Gunnar Staalesen 4* #Review @OrendaBooks #FallenAngels #NordicNoir #GunnarStaalesen Translator Don Bartlett #BlogTour #BookReview #VargVeum

Ever-dogged Bergen PI Varg Veum has to dig deep into his own past as he investigates the murder of a former classmate. Eighth in an international-bestselling series of Nordic-Noir thrillers

When Bergen PI Varg Veum finds himself at the funeral of a former
classmate on a sleet-grey December afternoon, he’s unexpectedly
reunited with his old friend Jakob – guitarist of the once-famous 1960s rock band The Harpers – and his estranged wife, Rebecca, Veum’s first love.
Their rekindled friendship is thrown into jeopardy by the discovery of a horrific murder, and Veum is forced to dig deep into his own
adolescence and his darkest memories, to find a motive … and a killer.

Tense, vivid and deeply unsettling, Fallen Angels is the spellbinding, award-winning thriller that secured Gunnar Staalesen’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost crime writers.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I understand that this is the eight book in a long-running series, but this sees the private investigator Varg Veum as a younger man than some of the earlier books, in a story that delves into his past and shows how he became the man he is. So, in many ways, this is a good starting book for new readers like me. The story reads as a standalone and is true to the Nordic Noir genre.

The themes of good and evil and spirituality and sin underscore this story. It has noir themes which are disturbing to read but are essential to the character of the story. There is a murder mystery which has its roots in Varg’s past, which is described strikingly both in events and location.

The writing is immersive and vivid. The characters distinctive, but not likeable, which is often a given in this genre. It’s not an easy read, but it is insightful, and the Norwegian setting is of intrinsic interest too.

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway, in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty titles, which have been published in twenty-four countries and sold over four million copies.

Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Espen Seim. Staalesen has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and Where Roses Never Die won the 2017 Petrona
Award for Nordic Crime Fiction and Big Sister was shortlisted in 2019.

He lives with his wife in Bergen.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship, Noir, Suspense

The Memories We Bury H.A. Leuschel 4* #Review @HALeuschel @LoveBooksGroup #lovebookstours #Relationships #Psychological #Suspense #Fiction #Mother #Parenting #DomesticNoir #BlogTour #BookReview #TheMemoriesWeBury

An emotionally charged and captivating novel about the complexities of female friendship and motherhood, from the author of Manipulated Lives.

Lizzie Thomson has landed her first job as a music teacher, and after a whirlwind romance with Markus, the newlywed couple move into a beautiful new home in the outskirts of Edinburgh. Lizzie quickly befriends their neighbour Morag, an elderly, resourceful yet lonely widow, who’s own children rarely visit her. Everything seems perfect in Lizzie’s life until she finds out she is pregnant and her relationship with both Morag and Markus change beyond her control.

​Can Lizzie really trust Morag and why is Markus keeping secrets from her?

In The Memories We Bury the author explores the dangerous bonds we can create with strangers and how past memories can cast long shadows over the present.

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

My Thoughts…

The sense that something is not right hits you from the reading the initial pages of this story. The author creates a claustrophobic ethos with undercurrents of menace as the two main characters share their stories.

Morag and Lizzie are unreliable protagonists. This is evident from the outset, but what the reader doesn’t know is which viewpoint is the least trustworthy. Morag and Lizzie are believable characters. Lizzie’s lack of nurture in childhood left her with low self-esteem and vulnerable to manipulation. Morag’s childhood was similarly lacking in parental care. The fallout from her childhood only manifested when she became a mother.

The disturbing elements and suspense build as the story progresses. Guessing the outcome, as I did, makes the story a satisfying read. Both characters engender empathy, but in addition to poignancy, this story has a distinct domestic noir theme which is disturbing and makes you think.

Helene Andrea Leuschel

​Helene Andrea Leuschel gained a Master in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She later acquired a Master in Philosophy , specializing in the study of the mind.

Helene has a particular interest in emotional, psychological and social well-being and this led her to write her first book, Manipulated Lives, a collection of five fictional novellas, each highlighting the dangers of interacting with narcissists.

She lives with her husband and two children in Portugal.

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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, Friendship, Novella, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Blue Skies Alana Oxford 3 *#Review @AlanaOxford @rararesources #BlueSkies #Romance #Serendipity #RomCom #Novella #SweetRomance #BlogTour #BookReview

Life isn’t always a walk in the park, but when Patrice takes her Pomeranians to the park after a rough day at the office, fate steps in. An unlikely hero comes to the rescue when one of her dogs gets loose. Short, pale, and kind of cute, Seth doesn’t have a lot of confidence with the ladies, but he hits it off with Patrice.

But some things might be too good to be true. While Patrice wonders if Seth could possibly be “the one”, fate steps in again with a horrible twist. Will it be a deal breaker or just a storm before bright blue skies?

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

My Thoughts…

The author manages to create a credible love story in novella format.

Patrice and Seth are relatable characters, and the romance is sweet, but there’s plenty of believable conflict getting in the way of their happy ever after. The dialogue and setting reflect that this is North American sweet romance. I struggled to connect with the characters and the setting, but I can appreciate that this will appeal to many.

Alana Oxford

Alana Oxford is a Michigan author of romcoms, sweet romance, and humorous women’s fiction. She wants her stories to bring sunshine and smiles to her readers. She enjoys improv comedy, moody music, everything book related, and has an ongoing love affair with the United Kingdom.

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

The Christmas Swap Sandy Barker 5*#Review @sandybarker @0neMoreChapter_ #Festive #Christmas #Holiday #Friendship #Women #Romance #Family @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads

Christmas is coming and best friends Chloe, Jules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!

Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.

The only thing better than one Christmas romance is three.

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I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Three women, friends since they met on holiday as young girls are all living good lives, but when it comes to Christmas they all feel it’s time to shake things up a little. Chole, Jules and Lucy agree that a house swap at Christmas will meet their needs and what follows is festive, fun and full of romance.

The characters are relatable and the plot peppered with Christmas activities and memories,
vivid locations and love. There are three romances, all different, but equally believable and heartwarming.

If I had to pick a favourite it would be Lucy and Will, she’s introverted and doesn’t realise how lovely she is, and Will does. The glamour of Archer and Chloe’s romance is good to read. Jules and Matt’s relationship is less romantic than the other two, but it’s realistic and has its moments. The three stories bound together by the three women and Christmas make this an engaging festive read.

Sandy Barker

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. She loves exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when she travels, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, film buff, wine lover and coffee snob.

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Novella, Romance

Jesse’s Girl Tara September 4*#Review @TaraSeptember #Narrator @verla_bond #Audiobook #Review #Romance #Friendship @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #JessesGirl

🎶 “I wish that I had Jesse’s Girl”*

Successful Texas lawyer, Reade Walker, curses that damn song every time it plays, all too aware of the irony of its lyrics. After all, he has been secretly and painfully enamored with Jesse’s girl, Gwen, for nearly a decade. It was love at first sight for him, but sadly she’s not his girl. She belongs to the one man who betrayed him and knows Reade’s hidden family secret. Yet Reade can’t seem to love anyone except the one woman he can’t have. Or can he make her mine? When Gwen Clark’s senator husband runs off with his intern and all their money, the ensuing scandal turns her life upside down. Deserted, penniless and desperate to provide for her six-year-old daughter, Gwen has no one to turn to but Reade Walker. The one man her heart desperately wants, but her pride dreads having to ask for help. Despite welcoming them into his home, it seems like Reade can barely stand being in the same room with her anymore, let alone under the same roof—in the same bedroom. But Gwen is determined to get her life back on track. It is past time to rediscover her own dreams…if only she can keep her aching heart from breaking all over again.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this audiobook in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a friend to lover romantic novella with relatable characters and sensual romance. I listened to this story in audiobook form, and it was enjoyable. The narration is professional, and her interpretation of the characters and the plot immerses the reader in the story making it an authentic experience.

The plot is easy to follow with great sensual tension between Gwen and Reade. There is also a charming family element to this story, which makes the happy ever after more rewarding. This easy to listen to audiobook is perfect for lovers of sensual romance and happy endings.

Tara September

Blogger and former PR executive for The Walt Disney Company, Tara holds a Master’s degree in journalism & communications from New York University. She also spent a semester abroad during her undergrad at Queen Mary University in London. For over a decade before publishing, Tara has penned a popular lifestyle, travel and parenting blog at TaraMetBlog.com

Always an avid romance reader, she has been daydreaming about being an author since school. Dozens of bad dates, four cities and adventures later, she still finds it impossible that she met her husband on a New York City subway. They now live in sunny Florida with identical twin boys and four cats underfoot/on her laptop/everywhere. Fueled by an IV of green tea and sometimes Champagne, she’s finally writing the happily ever after tales she’s been dreaming about.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller

The Lazarus Charter Tony Bassett 4*#Review @tonybassett1 @rararesources #Spy #Thriller #BlogTour #BookReview #TheConradPress #RachelsRandomResources #WednesdayThoughts

Bob Shaw is baffled to see a man in a brown coat at a bustling Underground station. Surely it can’t be his friend, the scientist Professor Morley? Morley perished weeks before in a blazing car. Is the man an impostor or did his friend fake his death?

​This fascinating and ingenious thriller tells of Bob’s battle to find out the truth, helped by his wife Anne.  They are confronted by ruthless enemies and forced to flee their home in this fast-paced spy thriller from the author of Smile Of The Stowaway.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story combines sound investigation with an edgy political spy thriller. Schoolteachers Bob and Anne find themselves involved in political crime-solving. This puts them in danger from several sources, some surprising and some not.

This pacy thriller keeps you hooked with its contemporary theme and believable plot. Authentically crafted characters and a twisty storyline make this an addictive read. The main protagonists are ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations, which makes the story engaging and relatable.
The second book in the series, it reads as a standalone too.

Tony Bassett

Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine. After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life’ magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street. Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People’ where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department. He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard’, broke the news in the `Sun’ of Bill Wyman’s plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People’ of Rod Stewart’s secret love child. On one occasion, while working for `The People’, he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway’, is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years.  He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren.  He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.

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

Distorted Days Louise Worthington 4*Review @louiseworthing9 @rararesources #Friendship #urbanfiction #literaryhumour #ContemporaryFiction #BookReview #BlogTours #FridayReads #FridayThoughts

If she could speak to them, she would say they have exploded her heart, released firecrackers through her senses. She wishes she could call the police, the ambulance, the fire brigade, to arrest and anaesthetise and waterboard the bastards.

So what happens when your husband runs off with your best friend? When you discover the dead body of an old man halfway through your delivery round? When your house is burgled and you get beaten up? Doris, Andy and Colleen are about to find out. They’re also about to discover that you can find friendship and support in the oddest of places…

Heart-rending, humorous and above all authentic, Distorted Days is an exquisitely written account of the ways in which life can knock you off our feet – and how you can pick yourself up again. If you’ve experienced the fickleness of fortune, this is a book that you’ll never forget.

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

My Thoughts…

The book cover depicts the darkness, and tragic events in the story, perfectly. Original and poignant, the story reflects on the darker side of human life. How bad things happen to good people, without any apparent reason. Individual characters’ eccentricities, give them an authentic relatable voice. Depressing events fail to dominate, the book’s positive ethos. Friends are found in unlikely places. Courage emerges to move forward, even though every forward step is accompanied by several backward ones, in the beginning.

Good, evil, and everything in between is explored through the characters’ misfortunes. Human resilience and tenacity are celebrated. Multilayered, realistic characters draw you into their lives. You want them to find happiness. Claustrophobic feelings are balanced with often satirical humour.

An observant, poignant and witty story, full of complex characters, realistic events and believable responses.

Louise Worthington

Louise is the author of ‘Distorted Days’ and ‘Rachel’s Garden of Rooms.’ ‘The Entrepreneur’ will be available later in 2020. ‘The Thief’, a short story published by Park Publications, is available to download Louise Worthington’s website. 

Before writing full time, Louise worked mainly as an English teacher after getting a degree in Literature and later, studying business and psychology at Masters level.

​Louise grew up in Cheshire and now resides in Shropshire.

“Louise’s characters, without exception, are skillfully wrought which make the reader genuinely care for them.”

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