Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Romance, Travel

Tempted by the Runes Christina Courtenay 5*#Review @PiaCCourtenay @headlinepg @rararesources #HistoricalRomance #Vikings #timeslip #ContemporaryRomance #BlogTour #BookReview #Runes #Dublin #Iceland #Giveaway #TemptedbytheRunes

Born centuries apart. Bound by a love that defied time.

She couldn’t believe her eyes. The runes were normally so reliable and she had never doubted them before.

Madison Berger is visiting Dublin with her family for a Viking re-enactment festival when she chances upon a small knife embedded in the banks of the Liffey. Maddie recognises what the runes on the knife’s handle signify: the chance to have her own adventures in the past.

Maddie only intends to travel back in time briefly, but a skirmish in 9th century Dublin results in her waking up on a ship bound for Iceland, with the man who saved her from attack.

Geir Eskilsson has left his family in Sweden to boldly carve out a life of his own. He is immediately drawn to Maddie, but when he learns of her connection to his sisters-in-law, he begins to believe that Fate has played a part in bringing them together. Amidst the perils that await on their journey to a new land, the truest battle will be to win Maddie’s heart and convince her that the runes never lie…

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

My Thoughts…

Maddie, and Gier, are relatable vibrant characters who set out on an adventurous, romantic journey. The author creates a believably vivid Viking world using historical detail and sensory imagery.

Maddie is a likeable, impulsive character whose character develops with her timeslip adventure. The reality of 9th century Viking life jars with her theoretical knowledge, and she has to accept this and learn to achieve her true potential in the Viking world. Gier has knowledge of time travel, and he sees the runes as a sign, Maddie and he will be together. The chemistry between them builds with emotional commitment and proximity. Maddie remains the biggest challenge to their happiness. Can a twenty-first-century woman be fulfilled in a 9th Century Viking world?

This is an engaging tale of danger and desire with characters who resonate.

Christina Courtenay

Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014), and the RNA Fantasy Romantic Novel of the year 2021 with Echoes of the RunesTempted by the Runes (time travel published by Headline 9th December 2021) is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

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Giveaway to Win a signed paperback copy of Tempted by the Runes , a pair of silver Thor’s hammer earrings and a Thor’s hammer Christmas tree bauble (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the giveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for the despatch or delivery of the prize.

Read my review of Echoes of the Runes

Read my review of The Runes of Destiny

Read my review of Whispers of the Runes

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Romance, Victorian Romance

Farringdon’s Fate Linda Finlay 4*#Review @HQStories #BlogTour #Victorian #corsetière #RomanticSaga #EastDevon #Devon #BookReview #HistFic #HistoricalFiction #FarringdonsFate #LindaFinlay

A house. A dynasty. A gipsy’s curse.

One noble family. Five eligible daughters. A sealed fate.

Nettlecombe Manor, nestled in the rolling hills of Devon, is home to Lord Farringdon and his second wife, Lady Charlotte. As if running the vast estate wasn’t enough, Lord Farringdon has five daughters to keep him busy. Lady Charlotte is determined that the betrothal of the eldest, Louisa, should be celebrated with a ball which is the envy of Devon society and summons a corsetière from Exeter to measure them up for new corsets.  

Apprentice Jane Haydon arrives at Nettlecombe to do the fittings. Having never set foot in such a grand home, Jane is disturbed to hear tell of a gipsy’s curse which has haunted the family for generations, and a local wise woman’s vision that there will never be a wedding at Nettlecombe… 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Full of historical details, vivid descriptions and vibrant characters, this story is a must for fans of romantic sagas. Set in the late nineteenth century, it encompasses all the societal expectations. The story has drama, friendship, romance and tragedy. The Farringdon’s are under a curse, and it seems that it may well come true,

The story is very detailed and includes the craft of a corsetière, in keeping with this author’s style. Believable characters lyrical story writing make this an engaging read.

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

The Lost Girl in Paris Jina Bacarr 5*#Review @JinaBacarr @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #BlogTour #HistFic #WW2 #BookReview #Romance #Drama #secrets #perfume #France #Paris #TheLostGirlinParis

Brand new from the bestselling author of The Resistance Girl.

1940, Nazi-occupied Paris. A powerful story of love, tragedy and incredible courage, about one woman whose life is ripped apart by war and who risks everything to seek justice.

As Nazis patrol the streets of the French capital, Tiena is alone, desperate and on the run. After defending herself against the force of an officer, she must find a new identity in order to survive.

An accidental meeting with members of the Resistance gives her a lifeline, as she is offered the chance to reinvent herself as perfumer Angéline de Cadieux.

However, Angéline will never forget what happened to her and will do everything she can to seek revenge. But vengeance can be a dangerous game, and Angeline can only hide her true identity for so long before her past catches up with her, with some devastating consequences…

Paris, 2003. When the opportunity arises for aspiring journalist Emma Keane to interview world-renowned perfumer Madame De Cadieux about her life during World War Two, she is determined to take it. There are secrets from her own family history that she hopes Angéline may be able to help unlock.

But nothing can prepare Emma for Angéline’s story, and one thing is for certain – it will change her own life forever…

An absolutely heartbreaking, unforgettable historical novel of war, sacrifice and survival.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Believably crafted characters and vivid historical details bring this story to life for the reader. This story explores occupied France from the viewpoint of a young girl. The author captures the sense of danger and menacing ethos brilliantly. The vibrant descriptions and violent emotions are immersive.

The woman she becomes is a famous perfumer, and again the details give the character authenticity and depth. Her story is retold years later to a young journalist seeking answers about her ancestry. The secrets are devastating, the tragedy of war, and the evil of the occupying regime resonates.

This story balances action and introspection in an addictive way making this an absorbing and heartbreaking read but so worth the angst.

JinaBacarr

Jina Bacarr is a US-based historical romance author of over 10 previous books. She has been a screenwriter, journalist and news reporter, but now writes full-time and lives in LA. Jina’s novels have been sold in 9 territories.

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Posted in Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, New Books, Travel

Grace on the Horizon Emma Lombard @LombardEmma #Graceonthehorizon @lovebooksgroup @lovebookstours #TheWhiteSailsSeries #BookTour #Mystery #Romance #Adventure #BookReview #MondayBlogs

GRACE ON THE HORIZON is the second full-length novel in The White Sails Series. Grace and Seamus, united by their past experiences, are adrift on a raft of shame in the sea of 1830s London society. After a personal tragedy, Grace’s desperation to leave London forces Seamus to accept a dubious commission on the private explorer, Clover.

With the expedition financed by Colonel Hamilton and his private backers, Seamus is tasked with mapping a round-the-world voyage. But Colonel Hamilton has an additional package that requires delivery—Father Babcock—a priest wanted for murder. The church wants Babcock transported far from England to set up a new mission in South America.

Battling his overprotectiveness, Seamus breaks his oath to always tell Grace the truth and hides Babcock’s identity from her. But the journey aboard the Clover is far from smooth sailing, and Grace suspects a saboteur. Trapped within the ship’s confines, she must learn to forgive her husband’s well-intentioned duplicity and determine who wishes them harm—because now she also has her unborn child to protect.

Is it an aggrieved member of the Admiralty who believes Seamus disgraced the service by resigning his command to chase after Grace? Perhaps Grace’s father, Lord Flint, seeking revenge against her for ruining the family name? Or a jealous suitor determined to ruin the life Grace is trying to build with Seamus?

From the damp cobbled streets of London, around the freezing stormy tip of Cape Horn, and into the scorching dusty bush of New Holland, GRACE ON THE HORIZON promises another adventure on the high seas, bursting with action and suspense. It is historical women’s fiction that will appeal to fans of the strong female protagonist in Outlander and  Poldark.

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

My Thoughts…

The second in the White Sails series sees Grace on a dangerous adventure where she has more to protect than herself. The story is full of richly described historical details that make excellent use of sensory imagery. The time and place are brought to vibrant life, making this an exciting read.

I haven’t read the first book in the series, and I feel it would have been even more enjoyable if I had. This is a romantic story full of menace and mystery with cleverly crafted characters and settings.


Emma Lombard was born in Pontefract in the UK. She grew up in Africa—calling Zimbabwe and South Africa home for a few years—before finally settling in Brisbane Australia, and raising four boys. Before she started writing historical fiction, she was a freelance editor in the corporate world, which was definitely not half as exciting as writing rollicking romantic adventures. Her characters are fearless seafarers, even though in real life Emma gets disastrously seasick.

DISCERNING GRACE, is the first book in The White Sails Series.

 

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

The Girl From Bletchley Park Kathleen McGurl 5*#Review @KathMcGurl @HQStories @rararesources #Timeslip #HistFic #ContemporaryFiction #Mystery #Family #Secrets #WW2 #BlogTour #BookReview #TheGirlFromBletchleyPark #MondayBlogs

A country at war. A heartbreaking betrayal.

1942. Three years into the war, Pam turns down her hard-won place at Oxford University to become a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. There, she meets two young men, both keen to impress her, and Pam finds herself falling hard for one of them. But as the country’s future becomes more uncertain by the day, a tragic turn of events casts doubt on her choice – and Pam’s loyalty is pushed to its limits…

Present-day. Julia is struggling to juggle her career, two children and a husband increasingly jealous of her success. Her brother presents her with the perfect distraction: forgotten photos of their grandmother as a young woman at Bletchley Park. Why did her grandmother never speak of her time there? The search for answers leads Julia to an incredible tale of betrayal and bravery – one that inspires some huge decisions of her own…

Amazon UK Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

This is a dual timeline story set in WW2 and 2019, explores the world of codebreakers at Bletchley Park and the life of a twenty-first-century business owner. Recruited to work as a wartime codebreaker Pamela is intelligent but naive. Successful business owner Julia fights a constant work-life battle without any significant help from her husband. The two women’s stories converge as both face betrayal and heartbreak.

Full of intriguing historical details and contemporary issues, this is an engaging read. Both stories are immersive and enhance each other, producing a story full of family drama, friendship and secrets.

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives near the coast in Christchurch, England. She writes dual timeline novels in which a historical mystery is uncovered and resolved in the present day. She is married to an Irishman and has two adult sons. She enjoys travelling, especially in her motorhome around Europe.

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Posted in Book Review, Book Spotlight, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Romance

When the Music Stops Joe Heap 5*#Review @Joe_Heap_ @harperfiction @HarperCollinsUK #literaryfiction #music #love #life #loss #uplit #serendipity #BookReview #WhentheMusicStops @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam #Paperback #28October2021

Out in paperback today.

This is the story of Ella.
And Robert.
And of all the things they should have said, but never did.

‘What have you been up to?’
I shrug, ‘Just existing, I guess.’
‘Looks like more than just existing.’
Robert gestures at the baby, the lifeboat, the ocean.
‘All right, not existing. Surviving.’
He laughs, not unkindly. ‘Sounds grim.’
‘It wasn’t so bad, really. But I wish you’d been there.’

Ella has known Robert all her life.

Through seven key moments and seven key people, their journey intertwines.
 
From the streets of Glasgow during WW2 to the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of London in the 60s and beyond, this is a story of love and near misses.

Of those who come into our lives and leave it too soon.

And of those who stay with you forever…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a beautifully written story of life, love, loss and serendipity. Music and the number seven define the parameters of this story which explores Ella’s life and her lifelong love of Robert. The writing is lyrical, as Ella revisits her past at seven pivotal times and introduces seven characters who left their emotional mark on her life.

The flashbacks are vivid and written with historical details and insight. They immerse the reader into the story and make it believable. Throughout, Ella is authentic and flawed. Her mistakes are a reflection of her humanity, and they make you consider your life and choices. The love story is gentle and tragic, but this is real love, and its ending is worthy of angst.

I read this in a day and enjoyed it for its originality, realism and supernatural twist.

Joe Heap

Joe Heap was born in 1986 and grew up in Bradford, the son of two teachers.

His debut novel The Rules of Seeing won Best Debut at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards in 2019 and was shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Reader Awards.

Joe lives in London with his girlfriend, their two sons and a cat who wishes they would get out of the house more often.

A note from Joe:
At a summer season in Ramsgate, 1959, two ice skaters held a party. My grandfather, a Glaswegian saxophonist who would rather have gone to the pub, was convinced by a comedian on the same bill to come along. My grandmother, another one of the ice skaters, sat down next to him and spilt her drink in his lap. Though she has since denied it, her first words of note to him were ‘Oh no, not another Scot.’

Nobody could have guessed how much would spin off that moment, myself and this book included.

Posted in Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Romance

Her Secret War Pam Lecky 4*#Review @pamlecky @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #WW2 #espionage #IrishFiction #PublicationDay #WomeninWar #secrets #HerSecretWar

A moment that ruins her life

On 31st May 1941, Germany drops bombs on neutral Dublin and Sarah Gillespie loses her family and home that fateful night. Days later, the man she loves leaves Ireland to enlist in the RAF.

A decision that changes her life

With nothing to keep her in Ireland and a burning desire to help the war effort, Sarah seeks refuge with relatives in Hampshire, England. But before long, Sarah’s family history catches up with her.

A mission that could cost her life

Sarah is asked to prove her loyalty to Britain through uncovering a spy at Vickers Supermarine, the manufacturers of the legendary Spitfire fighter plane. But to progress with her mission, she must become involved with a fifth columnist. And so the most dangerous game she’s ever played ensues…
  

A gripping story that explores a deadly tangle of love and espionage in war-torn Britain.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story is told from an Irish woman’s perspective bringing refreshing originality to its WW2 setting. Sarah seeks solace with her Uncle and his family in England after the devastating loss of her family in Dublin. Embracing an English way of life, she does her bit for the war effort.

Sarah’s nationality and skills embroil her in a dangerous espionage mission that threatens everyone she values. This story has friendship, family drama and romance alongside the intriguing world of wartime espionage. There are intricate historical details and believable character development in an ethos of courage and danger, and it’s an engaging read.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Psychological Suspense, Suspense

The Room in the Attic Louise Douglas 5* #Review @LouiseDouglas3 @BoldwoodBooks #Family #Drama #Secrets #grief #loss #Suspense #mystery #Gothic #SocialHistory #mothers #women #Psychological #BookReview #BlogTour #boldwoodbloggers #TheRoomintheAttic @rararesources

A child who does not know her name…

In 1903 fishermen find a wrecked boat containing a woman, who has been badly beaten, and a young girl. An ambulance is sent for, and the two survivors are taken to All Hallows, the imposing asylum, hidden deep on Dartmoor. The woman remains in a coma, but the little girl, Harriet, awakens and is taken to an attic room, far away from the noise of the asylum, and is put in the care of Nurse Emma Everdeen.

Two motherless boys banished to boarding school…

In 1993, All Hallows is now a boarding school. Following his mother’s death and his father’s hasty remarriage, Lewis Tyler is banished to Dartmoor, stripped of his fashionable clothes, shorn of his long hair, and left feeling more alone than ever. There he meets Isak, another lost soul, and whilst refurbishment of the dormitories is taking place, the boys are marooned up in the attic, in an old wing of the school.

Cries and calls from the past that can no longer be ignored…

All Hallows is a building full of memories, whispers, cries from the past. As Lewis and Isak learn more about the fate of Harriet, and Nurse Emma’s desperate fight to keep the little girl safe, it soon becomes clear there are ghosts who are still restless.

Are they ghosts the boys hear at night in the room above, are they the unquiet souls from the asylum still caught between the walls? And can Lewis and Isak bring peace to All Hallows before the past breaks them first…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric and chilling, The Room in the Attic brings All Hallows to life in a disturbing and resonating way. The story is told predominantly in dual timelines. 1903, when All Hallows was an asylum and 1993 when it housed a draconian boarding school. Lewis returns in the present day as a grown man, but the past makes him want to run.

The character-led stories are emotional with elements of gothic fiction and psychological suspense. The characters are believably vibrant and immerse the reader into their world. The social history and social injustice explored in the 1903 story is disturbingly poignant. The plight of the two boys in 1993 is equally harrowing, and their grief makes them susceptible to paranormal occurrences.

The mysterious plot’s clever twists let the characters shine and enthral the reader. The author captures perfectly the sense of fear, hopelessness and sadness that pervades, All Hallows.

Louise Douglas

Louise Douglas is the bestselling and brilliantly reviewed author of 6 novels including The Love of my Life and Missing You – a RNA award winner. The Secrets Between Us was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. She lives in the West Country. Louise’s first book for Boldwood, The House by the Sea was published in March 2020.

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

The Secrets of Hawthorn Place Jenni Keer 5*#Review @JenniKeer @AccentPress #Love #Secrets #DualTime #HistFic #contemporaryFiction #Romance @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview

Love will always find a way… Discover the intriguing secrets of Hawthorn Place in this heartfelt dual-time novel, filled with warmth and charm, perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Cecelia Ahern.

Two houses, hundreds of miles apart…yet connected always. When life throws Molly Butterfield a curveball, she decides to spend some time with her recently widowed granddad, Wally, at Hawthorn Place, his quirky Victorian house on the Dorset coast. But cosseted Molly struggles to look after herself, never mind her grieving granddad, until the accidental discovery of an identical Art and Crafts house on the Norfolk coast offers her an unexpected purpose, as well as revealing a bewildering mystery. Discovering that both Hawthorn Place and Acacia House were designed by architect Percy Gladwell, Molly uncovers the secret of a love which linked them, so powerful it defied reason. What follows is a summer which will change Molly for ever…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This multi-layered story with love at its centre and a myriad of everyday and magical occurrences draws the reader into two believably created worlds. In the present day, Molly returns to her family when her relationship fails, she is difficult to warm to initially, but her character development is satisfying as the story progresses. Taken to a late Victorian world, the reader sees the constraints of society and the pain of true love evident for Percy, an architect and his true love.

Two houses in Dorset and Norfolk are the setting for this dual timeline story. There’s intrigue, magic and self-realisation as Molly uncovers family secrets and finds herself in the process. Cleverly crafted relatable characters, vividly described settings rich in contemporary and historical detail make this lovely story a resonating reading experience.

Giveaway to Win a Signed copy of the Secrets of Hawthorn Place, plus chocolate and a sparkly pen. (UK Only)

Click on this 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 despatch or delivery of the prize.

Jenni Keer

Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing commercial women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere, with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.

Jenni is also the author of The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker and The Unexpected Life of Maisie Meadows.

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Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, New Books

Daughters of War Dinah Jefferies 5*#Review @DinahJefferies @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #France #Sisters #WW2 #DaughterofWar #MondayBlogs

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The first book in this historical fiction trilogy set in WW2 is an emotional and sensory delight. Cleverly created characters draw the reader into their tumultuous lives in occupied France. The story focuses on three sisters living in an idyllic setting in Dordogne, France, which is blighted by enemy occupation and the ravages of war. Hélène, the eldest, a nurse and surrogate mother to the younger women. Elise, the rebel whose courage leads to impulsive acts that may have far-reaching repercussions and Florence, the youngest, a dichotomy of practicality and dreamer.

The beautifully described setting is evocative of the place and time. Intricate world-building and historical details bring the characters and setting to authentic and vibrant life. The plot reflects the dangers and deprivations of war in an immersive way. Empathy is the reader’s paramount emotion, as the sisters and the community try to maintain hope and humanity in dire circumstances. Emotive and thought-provoking, it resonates.

Dinah Jefferies