Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Romance, Travel

Under a Siena Sun 5*#Review @TAWilliamsBooks @canelo_co @rararesources #UnderaSienaSun #publicatonday #Romance #Travel #Siena #Italy

Lucy needed a change of scene. She didn’t expect the change of a lifetime.

Doctors Without Borders has been Lucy Young’s life for the past four years. After being rescued from a conflict zone, she’s making a change from saving lives under gunfire to practising medicine in safe, serene Siena.

Now treating wealthy patients at a private clinic, she’s never felt less comfortable. She’s used to helping those in dire need – not those in need of a nip and tuck. Her turmoil grows when she encounters injured tennis star David Lorenzo, whose smiles make Lucy forget her aversion to the rich.

She’s soon falling for the sportsman but is she losing herself in this world of excess? All she’s ever wanted was to help the underprivileged, so can her future lie in Siena at the clinic – with David?

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

My Thoughts…

This author is always good for romance, storytelling and travel. This book has all of these, but this is more than a lighthearted romantic travelogue. Lucy is a dedicated doctor working in war-torn areas of the world. The beginning sets the scene for her recent life.

Life in Italy is idyllic but conflicted for Lucy, the social inequality of healthcare disturbs her, as does her role in it. The romance with a rich reclusive man is intriguing and realistic. Vivid imagery and first-hand knowledge describe the setting, which is a sensory delight.

The perfect Summer escapist read, especially as I am writing this review amid rain and thunder.

T.A.Wiiliams

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Travel

A Quiet Death In Italy Tom Benjamin 4*#Review @Tombenjaminsays @LittleBrownUK #Constable #CrimeFiction #Italy #PrivateDetective @rararesources #AQuietDeathInItaly #RachelsRandomResources #FridayThoughts #FridayFeeling

Bologna: city of secrets, suspicion . . . and murder

A dark and atmospheric crime thriller set in the beautiful Italian city of Bologna, perfect for fans of Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin and Philip Gwynne Jones.

When the body of a radical protestor is found floating in one of Bologna’s underground canals, it seems that most of the city is ready to blame the usual suspects: the police.

But when private investigator Daniel Leicester, son-in-law to a former chief of police, receives a call from the dead man’s lover, he follows a trail that begins in the 1970s and leads all the way to the rotten heart of the present-day political establishment.

Beneath the beauty of the city, Bologna has a dark underside, and English detective Daniel must unravel a web of secrets, deceit and corruption – before he is caught in it himself.

Tom Benjamin’s gripping debut transports you to the ancient and mysterious Italian city less travelled: Bologna.

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I received a copy of this book from Little Brown Books – Constable and the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Private Investigator Daniel’s intuition and experience make him an insightful and tenacious detective. He explores Bolgona’s radical past in this politicised murder mystery, searching for past connections with the present murder. The investigation is complex and intriguing as authentic characters come to life in a vibrant setting rife with inefficient bureaucracy, corruption and evil.

Tom Benjamin started off as a reporter before moving to the press office at Scotland Yard and running drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He moved to Bologna where his work as doorman at a homeless canteen inspired him to create English detective Daniel Leicester in a series that serves up equal helpings of the local cuisine and ubiquitous graffiti; the city’s splendour, decay, and danger.

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Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, International Thriller, Thriller, Travel

The Sacred Spoils Will Adams 4*#Review @canelo_co The Rossi & Nero Thrillers #Archaeology #Thriller #International #Italy #Mystery #BookReview #WillAdams

To the victor go the spoils…

Historian Carmen Nero, in southern Italy to help a friend search for ancient riches, is caught up in the murderous schemes of the Calabrian Mafia.

Cesco Rossi, a quick-witted conman on the run from a brutal group of neo-Nazis, is about to be confronted by his tragic past.

Israeli Professor Zara Gold is on a mission to find Judaism’s most sacred relic.

For the tomb of Alaric I, the Visigoth king who sacked and looted Rome of its most fabulous treasures, is on the point of being revealed. And who knows what secrets may lie within?

The race to uncover history’s greatest lost fortune has begun…

An astounding and twisting mystery 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This book is a fusion of international thriller and historical puzzle. Set predominately in Italy this is intriguing and fast-paced. The story is full of historical detail, which sets the scene for the mystery con man Rossi and historian Nero needs to unravel.

The action is adrenaline-pumping and violent, aptly illustrating the people chasing Rossi and Nero. Sub-plots converge as the menace intensifies. Rossi and Nero are an unlikely partnership, but they need each other to survive. The mystery’s complexities complement the action sequences drawing the reader into the story.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Travel

The Summer Villa Melissa Hill 4*#Review @melissahillbks @MillsandBoon @HQStories #Italy #Travel #Friendship #Reunion #Summer #Food #Secrets #Book Review #MillsandBoonInsiders

Three women. One summer reunion. Secrets will be revealed…

Villa Dolce Vita, a rambling stone house on the Amalfi Coast, sits high above the Gulf of Naples amidst dappled lemon groves and the fragrant, tumbling bougainvillea. Kim, Colette and Annie all came to the villa in need of escape and in the process forged an unlikely friendship.

Now, years later, Kim has transformed the crumbling house into a luxury retreat and has invited her friends back for the summer to celebrate.

But as friendships are rekindled under the Italian sun, secrets buried in the past will come to light, and not everyone is happy that the three friends are reuniting… Each woman will have things to face up to if they are all to find true happiness and fully embrace the sweet life.

An epic summer read about food, friendship and the magic of Italy.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon HQ in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The bright sunny cover reflects the perfect summer escapism this novel provides. A story of angst friendship and secrets plays out over two-time frames. Despite their different background and lives, a lifelong friendship is formed at the Villa Dolce Vita in Italy between three women.

The Italian location is vibrant and the perfect contrast to the deceit and secrets. Complex, flawed protagonists draw the reader into their stories. The plot has surprises, and it’s pace intensifies, as it reveals its secrets.

An escapist summer read.

Posted in Book Review, Romance, Travel

Marrying His Runaway Heiress Therese Beharrie 5*#Review @ThereseBeharrie @MillsandBoon #MillsandBoonTrueLove #MillsandBoonInsiders #Romance #Italy #Family#Drama #BookReview

A diamond isn’t forever…
until it’s from the right man!

For journalist Elena John, heading to Italy on assignment is her chance to avoid her impending arranged marriage. But Micah Williams, the star of her article, is nothing like the uptight tycoon she expected. Alone in Italy she falls under his charming spell. But can Micah offer a counter-proposal?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

From their first meeting, Elena and Micah’s attraction clashes with their shared hostility. Both lack familial love growing up. They have a distorted view of relationships. Fear of rejection makes their romance conflicted.

The settings are glamorous and add romance to the story. Elena and Micah are complex, flawed characters. Their likeability makes you want them to be happy with each other. Circumstances conspire and finally, they find the courage, to achieve their happy ever after.

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

One Italian Summer Lori Nelson Spielman 5*#Review @lnelsonspielman @AvonBooksUK #Romance #Travel #FamilyDrama #Italy #secrets #BlogTour #BookReview #TravelTuesday

Three women. One family curse. The summer of a lifetime.

For generations, no second-born daughter in the Fontana family has married. Lucy desperately wants to find love, but for her cousin Emilia, their family curse is a blessing in disguise.

But then their Great Aunt Poppy declares she’ll reunite with her long-lost love on her eightieth birthday – and break the curse once and for all.

And so the three women embark on a journey to Tuscany to fulfil Poppy’s last wish. But the secrets they uncover there could change their family forever…

A gorgeous story about love, family, and finding yourself in the unlikeliest of places

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

An engaging romantic story that spans familial generations from post-war Italy to North America.The Fontana family curse still prevails. Aunt Poppy is determined to end it with the help of her great-nieces Emilia and Lucy on a life-changing trip to Italy.

The story reveals family secrets told from Emilia’s and Poppy’s points of view. The family dynamics and individual characters are authentic and relatable. The settings are vivid and bring the story to life.

This is a charming, poignant romantic story. Full of humour, misunderstandings and self-sacrifice.

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

That Night in Paris SandyBarker 5*#Review @0neMoreChapter_ @sandybarker @rararesources #TheHolidayRomance #Travel #Romance #friendship #BookReview #BlogTour #Humour #Paris #Italy #ThatNightinParis #PublicationDay #RachelsRandomResources

Note to self: don’t sleep with your flatmate after a curry and two bottles of wine… especially if he’s secretly in love with you and wants you to meet his mum.

​Cat Parsons is on the run. She doesn’t do relationships. After ten years of singlehood even the hint of the ‘L’ word is enough to get Cat packing her bags and booking herself onto a two-week holiday. ​

A European bus tour feels like a stroke of genius to dodge awkward conversations at home. But little does Cat realise that the first stop will be Paris, the city of love itself.

Joined by new friends, Cat has got two weeks, eight countries and a hell of a lot of wine ahead of her. As they discover hidden treasures and the camaraderie of life on the road, will Cat find a new way of looking at love?  

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter and the Author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This book is what everyone needs to read right now. An enticing mix of friendship, humour, romance and sightseeing is the perfect escape when you can’t go anywhere. The second in the holiday romance series, this follows Cat’s travelling adventures around France, Italy and many other European countries in a few weeks. She books the trip on a whim, running from an awkward situation with her London flatmate. A perfect complete story, but the previous book in the series, One Summer in Santorini, is worth reading too, to find out what happens to Cat’s sister Sarah.

Cat’s impromptu travelling buddies are great characters they add authenticity, humour and poignancy to the story. The sightseeing is fabulous and gives the book depth, vivid imagery and provides atmospheric settings for this story of love and life. The romance is conflicted, gentle and engaging.

Sandy Barker

I’m a writer and traveller with a lengthy bucket list and cheeky sense of humour, and many of my travel adventures have found their way into my books. I’m also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover, and a coffee snob, though my writing is mostly fuelled by copious mugs of strong, milky tea (no sugar).

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Suspense, Travel

The House By The Sea Louise Douglas 4* #Review @LouiseDouglas3 @BoldwoodBooks #FamilyDrama #Ghosts #Secrets #grief #loss #Italy #Sicily #Villa #Crime #Suspense #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #MondayBlogs

#TheHouseByTheSea

When Edie’s mother-in-law, Anna DeLuca, dies, she is relieved. Edie blames Anna for the accident that destroyed her family. So, when her will lures Edie to Sicily and the long-abandoned Villa Della Madonna del Mare, she sees through Anna’s games.

Suspecting Anna is meddling from beyond the grave to try to reunite her and her ex-husband, Joe, Edie is determined to leave Italy as soon as possible. But before she can, the villa starts to shed its mysterious secrets.

Who are the girls beside Anna in her childhood photos, and why has one of them been scratched out? Why does someone, or something, want them to leave the past untouched? The villa is a place where old ghosts feel at home, but does their legacy need to be laid to rest before Edie and Joe can move on…

Bestselling author Louise Douglas returns with a captivating, chilling and unforgettable tale of betrayal, jealousy and the mysteries hidden in every family history.

Amazon UK

#boldwoodbloggers

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

My Thoughts…

‘The House by the Sea’, is an atmospheric, emotional family drama, with ghostly and menacing elements. On one level, it is a poignant family story, of loss, and the emotional damage losing a child wreaks to the parents left behind. Another level brings a story of forgiveness, new beginnings and learning to live again. Within this, there are dangerous secrets and strange supernatural influences entangled in the old villa and its gardens.

Set in Sicily, Edie and Joe are forced together, to claim and decide what to do with their inheritance from Joe’s, recently deceased mother, Anna. Edie blamed Anna for the death of her son Daniel, and Joe and Edie’s marriage disintegrated with his death. The villa is a character in its own right, in this story. Rundown, it still has a powerful appeal and draws Edie and Joe gradually together. There are many hidden secrets, some supernatural elements and mysteries to solve before Edie and Joe can begin their healing together.

The plot has many levels which are cleverly intertwined to reveal past secrets. Edie and Joe, are understandably complex damaged people, still grieving their lost son. This story has many poignant moments, but ultimately it is heartwarming and uplifting. The suspense builds as the story progresses, leading to an adrenaline-fueled climax, tinged with a tender, supernatural moment, which is both believable and necessary for the story to reach its positive conclusion.

The cast of supporting characters are authentic and although the story is gently paced, it is absorbing and you keep turning the pages wanting to know what next.

A lovely, poignant tale of love and loss and forgiveness.

Louise Douglas

Louise Douglas is the bestselling and brilliantly reviewed author of 6 novels including The Love of my Life and Missing You – an RNA award winner. The Secrets Between Us was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. She lives in the West Country.

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Posted in Book Review, Book Spotlight, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel

Dreaming of Verona T.A.Williams 5*#Review @canelo_co @tawilliamsbooks @rararesources #DreamingofVerona #PublicationDayPush #BookReview

#DreamingofVerona

Verona is the City of Love. But will Suzie find romance there or, like Romeo and Juliet, will it all end in tears?

When Suzie is hired to accompany spoiled, abrasive Lady Alexandra Tedburn on an all-expenses-paid holiday to Italy, she fears the trip will be a disaster.

But she soon discovers there’s more to Alex than shopping and tantrums, and she’s determined to help her realise her potential – against Alex’s authoritarian father’s wishes.

As they settle in Verona, Suzie can’t stop thinking about local artist Michael, who is still mourning the tragic death of his wife. With Suzie’s future uncertain, and Michael’s past
holding him back, it seems there’s no hope for romance in the city of
star-crossed lovers… or is there?

A gorgeously uplifting and moving story

Amazon UK  Amazon

DreamingofVerona

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

My Thoughts…

This book is just what you need to read on a cold, cloudy, February afternoon. Romance and sunshine in Shakespeare’s Verona certainly hit the spot.

Suzie, gets the chance to be a paid companion to Lady Alexander Tedburn, and visit Italy, particularly Venice and romantic Verona. Not a historic romantic adventure, but a contemporary story of friendship, romance and travel despite the fact, Alex’s father’s ideas are firmly rooted in the nineteenth century.

Alex and Suzie’s friendship flourishes, and gradually Alex gains the confidence to believe in herself and follow her dreams, despite her father and his wealth.

Suzie is clever but yet to find her niche career, and lacks romance in her life. Verona is her dream destination, but will her dreams come true? Or end in tragedy like Shakespeare’s Juliet?

There is a lovely blend of friendship, humour, romance and travel in this story, which is written in the author’s usual engaging, knowledgeable style. Having visited Lake Garda, Verona and the surrounding area, the story bought back fond memories of the place and its culture, which is vividly described and gives the story its unique selling point for me.

The romance is angst-ridden and gentle but ultimately satisfying. The characters are diverse and realistic, and the plot is simple but full of interest and draws the story to a lovely hopeful conclusion for Alex and Suzie, both in terms of career and romance.

#TAWilliams

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations and, as a writer, I obviously have to go there in person and check them out first. I love my job…

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Fantasy, Magic

The Violinist’s Apprentice Isabella Mancini 3 *#Review @darkstrokedark @crookedcatbooks @AuthorMancini @IsabellaManci10 #TimeSlip #historical #fantasy #Italy #17thCentury #BlogTour #BookReview #MondayBlogs @rararesources


#TheViolinistsApprentice

A dark journey through time.

It’s on a group trip to Rome that something terrifying and mysterious happens, whirling musical Clementina back in time to 17th century Italy. Amidst court intrigue and creaking carriages, Rome becomes a chiaroscuro backdrop to her growing feelings for young violin-maker Antonio Stradivari. But soon he discovers that Clementina is not all she appears. She must surely be a witch.  How can she return to the 21st century again? Meanwhile, in an icy corner of the Arctic, a professor plots.

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#BlogTour

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

#TheViolinistsApprentice Image Credit Isabella Mancini

My Thoughts…

An original plot that involves timeslip from the 21st-century present day to 17th century Italy. The story centres around Clementina, a young girl who is naive and impressionable. A fusion between timeslip and fantasy in a contemporary and historical setting, it does require you to open your mind, to magic, time travel.

It takes a while, to set the scene, as the book is mainly told from Clementina’s point of view. Some chapters introduce a strange mystical woman. In Clementina’s contemporary school there is a rather creepy man, who is instigating the quest for objects, from the seven wonders of the world. There is a tenuous connection with twenty-first-century environmental problems.

I like the story’s themes, and the timeslip into 17th century Italy, but the plot seems overly complex and it’s hard to follow all the elements, as written, even though you understand the reason for them. The writing is vivid and descriptive, but the author’s vision and fantasy world need to be clearer to the reader.

#IsabellaMancini

Isabella Mancini is the nom de plume of prolific author Olga Swan, published by Crooked Cat Books.  She has a BA Hons (Open) in English Language and Literature and a lifelong love for writing and language. For 12 years she lived in SW France but returned to the UK in 2017, where she now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and elderly French rescue dog Bruno.

Previous books by Olga Swan:

An Englishwoman in America, From Paradis to Perdition, Pensioners in Paradis, The Mazurek Express, Lamplight, Vichyssoise, 3rd Degree Murder.

Twitter Facebook Facebook Group: Books, Music and the Past Amazon page for Isabella Mancini Amazon page for Olga Swan

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