Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Novella

Christmas at Ladywell Nicola Slade 4*#Review @nicolasladeuk @crookedcatbooks #giveaway #PublicationDay @rararesources #Festive #novella #timeslip

#ChristmasAtLadywell

A time for spilling secrets…

Having refurbished her inherited house and upcycled her whole life in the process, Freya – now happily married to Patrick, and with a small child –  has to transform her tiny stone barn into a romantic hideaway for a mystery guest who is also looking for change. With Christmas only a week away, things don’t go according to plan…

In the past old uncertainties are resolved when an elderly woman seeks the truth of a legend on Christmas Eve and confesses to a deception; a Tudor wife listens to a story that must never be repeated and is given a precious relic that must never be displayed; and in the early nineteenth century an old woman tells a younger one the story of the hares at Ladywell.

Past and present are only a whisper apart when Freya learns of an astonishing discovery that will make Ladywell famous, but meanwhile, her house is full of unexpected visitors, she has a turkey to cook – and a very special secret of her own that must be told.

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

My Thoughts…

This novella is a Christmas visit to ‘The House At Ladywell’, the first book in this series, which I have yet to read. There is a helpful character list, with each characters motivation, or special quality. This is useful if you haven’t met the characters before.

The story is divided into the past and present, There is an engaging contemporary story with a festive theme. A mystery that connects the present day to the historical timeslip elements in the story, which cover different historical periods. All of this is in a novella format, and yet it reads like a novel, the contemporary story isn’t rushed. The historical interludes add information and interest to the main plot.

I enjoyed the story and the characters, and although it reached a satisfactory conclusion, I wanted more. So, I’m off to read The House At Ladywell and recommend this festive offering, if you’re seeking something atmospheric, and original for your Christmas reading.

#NicolaSlade

Nicola Slade is an award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary mysteries and romantic fiction, all set in and around Winchester and Romsey in Hampshire – which is where she lives. The House at Ladywell – a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes – won the Chatelaine Grand Prize for Romantic Fiction at the CIBA awards in April 2019.

She is the author of the mid-Victorian Charlotte Richmond mysteries and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries and The Convalescent Corpse, published November 2018, is the first in a new series, The Fyttleton Mysteries, set in 1918.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance

The Giving Heart Toni Blake 4*#Review @AuthorToniBlake @HQNBooks #Romance @RRBookTours1 #BlogTour #TheGivingHeart #PublicationDay #SummerIsland #Friendship #RRBookTours #HQNBooks

#TheGivingHeart

Spend a white Christmas on Summer Island, where the fires are warm and the romance is hotter

Lila Sloan wonders why she ever thought house-sitting for her sister Meg on the remote Summer Island was a good idea. And to make matters worse, local real estate developer Beck Grainger is trying to cut down the beautiful trees that line the property. Lila can’t let this happen; Meg will never forgive her.

Beck can understand Lila’s anger—sort of. The trees are actually on the neighboring property, and the land was zoned for development months ago, so his plans were no secret. But he dislikes being at odds with his friend’s sister, especially because Lila is appealing in every way: loyal, quick-witted and completely stunning.

Lila hates that she’s so attracted to Beck, who seems like a genuinely good man, despite his tree-murdering tendencies. And their chemistry is off the charts. She just wishes he’d let this development go. As Summer Island counts down to a snowy Christmas, Lila and Beck will have to strike a compromise that seems impossible for them both—or risk losing the best thing either of them has ever had.

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

My Thoughts…

The second in the Summer Island series, it’s close to Christmas and it’s snowing, the idyllic setting for this lovely feel-good romance. Lila is on Summer Island to help her older sister Meg, who is taking time out with her new boyfriend. Lila is hurting, after a bad experience at work, which forces her to rethink her career. Helping her sister gives her the solitude she needs until someone disturbs it. Forcing Lila into a confrontation she neither needs or feels capable of, but she has to protect her sister’s business and their childhood memories.

Lila and Beck feel the heat, despite the snow and their difference of opinion. Their relationship is full of conflict, as they battle over the wood, their unwanted feelings, emotional angst and the other person in their relationship. It is through compromise, friendship and understanding of each other’s emotional damage, that finally makes them see that they may have a future.

This reads well as a standalone story, but the cast of characters are lovely, and I would like to read the first one and those that follow.

Emotional romance, compassionate friendships and a lovely snowy setting make this a perfect holiday romantic read.

THE GIVING HEART by Toni Blake – Excerpt

Five long, cold minutes later a tall, broad-shouldered man wearing a winter coat with blue jeans and some weird, worn, leathery sort of cowboy hat on his head came walking down from the direction of West Bluff. Despite herself, and for the first time ever in her life, she found herself envying work boots like the ones he had on because they appeared so sturdy and dry. She braced herself for a fight.

When she looked up at him, two things struck her simultaneously. First, he was ridiculously handsome—with dark hair peeking out from beneath that dumb hat, and dark stubble on his chiseled jaw to match. And second, his warm brown eyes wore that same confused, cautious look as the man on the bulldozer’s as he said, “I’m Beck Grainger. And…there seems to be some sort of problem here?”

Lila drew back. This was Beck Grainger? Who Meg had spoken of so fondly? And even Suzanne, too, during their short visit yesterday, had mentioned him as a friend. Meg had told her he’d been interested in dating Suzanne and she’d declined, but they both still thought he was a great guy.

“Well, I’m Lila Sloan,” she said. “And yes, there’s a problem. I’m not letting you destroy Meg’s property value like this.”

Beck Grainger’s dark eyebrows shot up beneath his leathery brim. “You’re Meg’s sister?”

She gave a terse, crisp nod.

The handsome man sighed, shifting his weight from one work boot to the other. “Look, no one is trying to destroy anyone’s property value. And I assumed Meg knew about this. It’s not a secret. It was brought publicly before the town council and zoned for residential use back in the spring.”

Ugh. None of this was good news. But Lila was certain Meg didn’t know. Her sister had been dealing with a lot this past year and perhaps hadn’t been paying attention to island business. They’d actually discussed these very woods over the Thanksgiving table last week, recalling how they’d played here as children when their grandmother was still alive and running the place. Meg said that a couple of years ago she’d crossed the stream to plant some shade-loving trillium and blue cranesbill among the trees, and that the small blooms had added color visible from the patio each of the last two summers. Meg loved and valued these trees. And Lila brimmed with anger that no one had made Meg aware of this—but that was neither here nor there. “I can assure you she doesn’t know.”

The handsome man’s brow narrowed skeptically. “Well, if it’s a problem for her, why didn’t she just pick up the phone and call me?”

“Because she’s away right now—traveling. And even if she were here, she wouldn’t have known you were the person to call. And maybe she would have done something sensible—because Meg is definitely sensible—like contact someone on the town council. But I, being less sensible and more rash, took a more direct approach. Meg left me in charge of the inn while she’s away—and I can’t let you do this. I just can’t.”

The tilt of Beck Grainger’s handsome head told her he was going to try reasoning with her. “You know, it’s not gonna be that bad. Luxury homes. With big yards. They’ll fit into the landscape.” He even ended the sentence with a wink. Was he serious? Given what Lila had been through recently, he was definitely barking up the wrong tree with an elitist suggestion that rich people made better neighbors.

“I don’t care what you’re building—you’re doing it at the expense of my sister’s inn. People stay here because of the ambiance and atmosphere. They stay here to listen to crickets in the trees and see fireflies blinking in the woods. We played in these trees as kids. They’ve been growing here since…well, since before Summer Island was even Summer Island. I can’t let you tear them down.”

#ToniBlake

USA Today bestselling author Toni Blake’s love of writing began when she won an essay contest in the fifth grade. Since then, she has written over twenty contemporary romance novels. Her books have received the National Readers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers’ Best Award, her work has been excerpted in Cosmopolitan, and she has been nominated for a RITA Award. Toni lives with her husband in Northern Kentucky.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Romance

His to Defend Rhenna Morgan 4*#Review @RhennaMorgan @CarinaPress @RRBookTours1 #HisToDefend #NOLAKnights #RRBookTours #CarinaPress #Romance #BlogTour #BookReview

#HisToDefend

Book one of NOLA Knights, the heart-stoppingly sexy spin-off series by Men of Haven author Rhenna Morgan

His world. His rules. Her love.

Though his methods may be rough, when it comes to protecting what’s his, Russian vor Sergei Petrovyh’s heart is always in the right place. That’s never been more true than when the gorgeous Evette Labadie asks him for a job. He knows enough to keep his hands off someone as beloved by the locals as Evie, but there’s something about her that calls to him—no matter how badly he burns to make her his.

Don’t think Evie hasn’t noticed the powerful Russian mafia boss who makes her favorite diner a regular stop. How can she not? He’s as hot as his reputation is dangerous. But everyone in her struggling New Orleans neighborhood knows he’s the man to turn to. And right now she needs money to get her son out of trouble.

Her other needs—needs she knows damn well Sergei can more than satisfy—will have to wait.

Evie soon finds herself playing Cinderella to a man who, despite what people believe, is definitely more prince than villain. She can’t help falling deeper in love with each passing day. But when a turf war between Sergei and a rival brings violence to her doorstep, Evie must come to grips with loving a man who will do anything to defend her…or walk away from her best chance at a happily-ever-after of her very own.

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

My Thoughts…

This story will draw lovers of contemporary fairytale romance in, like nectar to a bee.

Evie’s strength comes across in the first pages. She’s lost her job, but she has to find another immediately. Her son needs his schooling, and that costs. As the story progresses her character matures, her son is still the centre of her world, but now she realises her actions have consequences, what she has to decide is can she accept them?

Sergei, is an enigmatic man, physically commanding, this is a reflection of his inner strength. He protects those he values, but he is complex and not a good man, in the conventional sense. Organised crime and protection are his worlds, and whilst he would love Evie in his personal life, he keeps her to the fringes, not wanting to sully her.

This a ‘Cinderella’ type romance, but like all true fairytales, it isn’t all hearts and flowers. Crime, danger and violence are part of Sergei’s world. Evie struggles, but she is honest and law-abiding and has her son to think of. Can the chemistry they both feel ever be something more permanent?

The conflicts in this story are realistic and pose moral questions. Should Evie expose her son to a world of crime? Evie has made poor decisions in the past and is determined not to repeat them. So, the chances for a happy ever after for her and Sergei seems remote.

Despite the criminal ethos, the focus is on Evie’s struggle to find a better life for her son. Currently, they live in a poor, high crime area, where he is likely to be drawn into gangs and crime, simply because of where he lives.

Then there’s the romance…

The romance is gentle and courtly, in contrast to the sizzling chemistry. This makes it realistic, because Sergei, doesn’t want to hurt Evie in any way, and Evie has to decide if falling in love with a man like him, is worth the risk.

Compulsive chemistry, realistic contemporary issues and a gentle love story, make this an engaging modern fairytale romance.


#RhennaMorgan

A native Oklahoman, Rhenna Morgan is a certified romance junkie. Whether it’s contemporary, paranormal, or fantasy you’re after, Rhenna’s stories pack romantic escape full of new, exciting worlds, and strong, intuitive men who fight to keep the women they want. For advance release news and exclusive content, sign up for her newsletter at http://RhennaMorgan.com. You’ll also find all of her social links there, along with her smoking hot inspiration boards.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, New Adult Romance, Romance, Travel

Intimate Strangers Lasairiona E. McMaster 4*Review @QueenofFireLas @rararesources #NewAdult #ContemporaryRomance #InternetRomance #ComingofAge #BookReview #BlogTour

#IntimateStrangers

Is there such a thing as too perfect?

Lisa Millar wasn’t supposed to fall in love with a guy on the Internet. But she did.

Other than living over five thousand miles away in America, AJ Williams is seemingly her perfect match. Strikingly handsome, musically talented, plays hockey and has a typical college-guy life.

In a moment of carpe diem, Lisa flies from Ireland to Alabama to surprise her internet-beau and finds herself face to face with an inconceivable reality that she couldn’t possibly have prepared for.

How well can you truly know someone you meet online?

Will true love win out, or will AJ’s secret life be too much for Lisa to bear? 

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

My Thoughts…

The blurb for this book attracted me, even though I don’t usually read new adult romance, anymore. I need to think back thirty-nine years, to recognise how I would react in these circumstances, and whether I would risk everything for love, on the strength of an internet acquaintance.

There wasn’t internet in the 1980s, but I still changed the course of my life for love, after a short acquaintance, and so, the main character Lisa’s motivations are something I can relate to.

This contemporary romance is well-written, with an easy to read, style. The youth of the characters and the initial decisions they make are often immature, reading this now, but perfectly in keeping with their age group and intended audience.

Honest and relatable, this story does present our internet lovers with plenty of conflicts, which test their feelings and motivations. The twisty plot tells an engaging story, and the characters are authentic.

The first in the Lisa Millar series, it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

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

Being Someone Adrian Harvey 4* #Review @UrbaneBooks @ade_harvey @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #Romance #SelfDiscovery #Adventure #BlogTour#LifeChoices

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Being Someone is a life story, a love story, a human story. 

James has fallen through life, plotting a course of least resistance, taking each day as it comes and waiting for that indefinable something to turn up, to give his story meaning. His journey lacks one vital element a fellow traveller. Then he meets Lainey. Confident. Beautiful. Captivating. And James rewrites himself to win her heart. Lainey gives James a reason to grow, paints a bright future, promises the happy ending he has sought so keenly. But when we discover we can live the greatest story of all, are we able to share the pages with someone else? 

Being Someone is an emotive tale of love, of self-discovery and adventure a story of the eternal search for happiness in another, without ultimately losing ourselves.  

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

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My Thoughts…

A thought-provoking contemporary story, about life choices, and the mystery that is love.

The story begins with a story told to James, one of the protagonists, about an elephant and his mahout. The story is one of love, respect and trust, which is shattered by one careless, almost unconscious action. Leaving the elephant guilty and lonely, seeking solace by honouring his dead mahout, until his own demise. Whilst this is a beautiful, poignant tale, you, like James, question what relevance it may have to his life story until it does.

James is a twenty-first-century man, entitled, and content to let life come to him until he meets the one, Lainey, who unsettles him and makes him want more. She is a vital, passionate woman, and their love story is epic, but then life happens, and the cracks appear.

The story explores their love, the conflicts they face, both internal and external, and the consequences of the life choices they make, for their forever happiness. It is brutal in parts, and honest, and James’ often appears cold and unfeeling, but it is interesting to explore his emotions and motivations.

The settings add to the story by echoing their relationship status, The first story’s relevance becomes clear as the story progresses.

An engaging contemporary love story, and insight into relationships in the twenty-first-century.

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The Love Islands Collection – 3* Review

 

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My Thoughts…

Perfect to get you in the holiday mood. Island romance from sweet to sensual with sexy heroes and strong heroines and colourful, vibrant settings.

Brought to carry his Heir – Jane Porter

Held captive…

When Georgia Nielson is asked to be the surrogate for an enigmatic tycoon, she can’t afford to say no. Before she realizes that she’s struck a deal with the devil, she’s trapped on his isolated Greek island, with no escape from the brooding master who stalks its shores!

Carrying his child!

Scarred by the loss of his wife, Nikos Panos’s future rests on leaving behind a legacy. But Georgia’s constant presence threatens to unleash the powerful hunger he’s kept caged for so long. If he wants defiant Georgia to submit, he must confront the demons that haunt him…

 A surrogate and a billionaire alone on a Greek Island. Angst and heartache give way to passion and understanding in this fast-paced sensual romance. Both protagonists ride the emotional rollercoaster to find happiness.

The Doctor She Left Behind – Scarlet Wilson

After five years with Doctors Without Borders, Nathan Banks is close to burnout – and a job in the stunning Whitsundays is the perfect fresh start! Until Nathan discovers his new colleague is his ex – Rachel Johnson! But could this twist of fate finally make these docs confront their past and face their future… together?

Second chance romance.  Neither wants to be in the same place, but an unexpected matchmaker and circumstances make it necessary. Nathan and Rachel, learn to forgive and move on to a future together.

A Miracle for the Baby Doctor – Meredith Webber

Conceived in paradise.

When beautiful embryologist Fran Hawthorne is offered the opportunity to work on a Pacific island for a month, she seizes the chance to escape the humiliation of her ex-husband’s betrayal. But Fran isn’t prepared for Steve Ransome, the handsome doctor heading the clinic. After years of struggling to conceive with her ex, Fran is tempted to give in to the pure passion that burns between them. Only their “temporary” fling results in her carrying the child she thought she’d never have.

A lovely romance with a medical theme. Easy reading, plenty of angst, poignancy and romance. An entertaining read, even if you’re not a medical romance fan.

His Accidental Heir – Joanne Rock

The Boss’s Baby Bargain.

When resort developer Cameron McNeill goes undercover to root out problems at his prized island property, his first discovery is the irresistible concierge, Maresa Delphine. Her business smarts are vital to his mission. But the struggling single mom could help with his personal mission, too: fulfilling the marriage terms of his grandfather’s will. Maresa is overwhelmed caring for her infant niece and tending to the demands of the resort’s sexy mystery guest. When he reveals himself as the owner, she’s thrown for a loop. But when he proposes…can she resist his brand of trouble in paradise? 

Luxury location, Sexy billionaire and a successful, family orientated heroine, who sees the good in everyone and puts her family above herself. A passionate romance but a strictly business marriage makes this a lovely read with lots of conflict and angst for  Maresa, a timely wake-up call for Cameron and thankfully a happy ever after for the reader.

Claiming His Wedding Night – Louise Fuller

“You owe me a honeymoon.” 

Addie Farrell’s marriage to casino magnate Malachi King lasted exactly one day until she discovered their love was a sham. Now, with funding for her children’s charity about to be cut, Addie must face her husband and their dangerously seductive chemistry once again 
Humiliated and frustrated after Addie’s sudden departure, Malachi seizes the chance to put the power back where it belongs: in his hands. The deal: Malachi will give her the money she desperately needs if she returns to his side and finally he will claim his long-awaited wedding night

While this is certainly a passionate story, it lacks romance, Addie and Malachi’s sexual attraction brought them together and even after five years it remains, simmering under the surface. His ‘Indecent Proposal’ offer to continue the funding for her charity if she gives him his honeymoon, is outdated. The couple’s true feelings eventually surface, and the ending is happy, but both characters are hard to empathise.

Still So Hot -Serena Bell

Your “Dating Boot Camp” Itinerary 

Day One: 

Fly to a luxurious, five-star resort in St. Barts with your personalized dating coach, Elisa Henderson. Show up on the plane with a guy you just picked up. Find out Brett Jordan isn’t just a drool-worthy hottie with a-rockin’ hard bod—he’s also a total player…and Elisa’s former best friend! 

Day Two: 

Be problematic. Disappear with a cute paparazzo. Besides, Elisa and Brett are now alone in a tropical paradise, and Elisa’s about to break the first commandment of date coaching: Thou Shall Not Sexily Ravage Your Client’s Date. Lost clients, naughty nighttime shenanigans, sleazy paparazzi… Can Elisa avoid a complete PR disaster, or is her reputation about to get the boot?

Think ‘I’m a Celebrity’ and ‘Love Island’ gone wrong and you’ll be in the zone for this sexy romance. Friends becoming lovers is the trope, and it makes easy beach reading.

Beach reading for Contemporary, Medical and Sexy Romance fans.

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

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Conquering His Virgin Queen – Pippa Roscoe – 4*Review

Six months ago, their marriage ended…

He has twelve hours to claim her back!

Odir Farouk is about to become king—but to take his throne, he needs his errant wife by his side! Odir denied his hunger for Eloise, refusing to compromise power for passion. His rejection drove her away. Now Odir has until news of his succession breaks to win back his queen…and pleasure will be his most powerful weapon!

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My Thoughts…

A little escapism is always lovely. Internationally themed, this contemporary romance allows the reader to see what life is like living with a prince and it’s not as romantic as it first appears.

Eloise accepts an arranged marriage because she likes Odir and believes they could grow to love the other. Odir, bound by duty ignores her after their marriage and finally sends her away when he thinks she has forsaken her marriage vows. She runs away, but now he finds her and wants her back, but she has other ideas.
Odir is afraid loving Eloise will weaken him and threaten his kingdom. Eloise will only be his wife again, without compromise and their rekindled passion seems doomed to fail.
I like the structure of this novel; each chapter covers an hour in their reunion, the sense of time slipping away from them increases the story’s dramatic tension and makes it fast-paced.
Character-driven, past tragedy and heartache are explored, making their actions more understandable. Loyalty and duty rule both their lives, everything they do is for others. To achieve the love they both desire, they must consider what they want as individuals, and at times this seems to be unlikely.
Sensual love scenes echo their poignant journey. Complex characters, both Eloise and Odir negotiate a problematic emotional path full of angst and pain before they realise what is truly important to them.
A fascinating snapshot of the professional and personal faces of a royal romance, which doesn’t stint on angst, drama and romantic sensuality.
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.