Malie Pukui doesn’t believe in happy ever after. After a tragedy caused her to flee her family and friends in Devon she found a fresh start in Hawaii. Here, working at a surf school, she can give back to those in need and try to overcome the greatest loss in her life.
Moved around foster homes throughout his childhood, Todd Masters has worked hard to be able to offer a brighter future to young disadvantaged children. Now he has his own charitable foundation working with a surf school in Hawaii, a job he loves, but he still can’t put his past behind him.
When Malie rescues Todd from the sea a spark ignites between them, and the two wounded souls find a common ground. But amidst the surf, sunsets and sizzling kisses, can Malie let go of her past and risk something she’d locked away forever… her heart.
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Malie’s story, set in sunny Hawaii, is the second book in the Meet Me series. It’s easy to imagine the setting from the vivid description and sensory imagery. Malie’s life seems idyllic, and on a superficial level, it is, but deep down, Malie is suffering from grief and guilt and needs space away from her devastated parents to survive. Todd is outwardly successful with a caring heart, but his difficult early life means personal relationships are problematic and best avoided.
A growing friendship with chemistry and humour draws the couple closer to love, but their internal conflicts are many and make trust difficult for them both. Contemporary issues highlighted knowledgeably and positively makes this more than a conflicted and glamorous romance.
The enduring and strong friendship group surrounding Malie keeps her grounded and moving forward, knowing they want her happiness. This book moves on convincingly from the first story set in London and anticipates the next Meet Me book.
This is an engaging, romantic story with a contemporary focus and a perfect, escapist setting.
Anna’s world was shattered three years ago when her husband Spencer was killed in a tragic accident. Her friends and family think it’s time she moved on, but how can she when she’s lost her soulmate?
On New Year’s Eve, Anna calls Spencer’s old phone just to hear his voicemail greeting. But to her surprise someone picks up. Brody answers and is the first person who truly understands what Anna is going through. As they begin to speak regularly, Anna finds herself opening up and slowly she discovers how to smile again, how to laugh, even how to hope.
But Brody hasn’t been entirely honest with Anna. Will his secret threaten everything, just as it seems she might find the courage to love again?
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A bereaved young woman is the main focus of this insightful and sensitively written story. It shows that grief and finding the positivity to move on with your life is unique. Original plot twists and relatable characters make this an engaging story. The friendship that builds between the bereaved woman and the man who answers her husband’s old phone is realistically paced. You believe in the characters and the many heartbreaking moments in this story resonate. Ultimately, its a story of loss, love and most of all, hope.
Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.
But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?
A heartfelt story of life, death, friendship and family.
I received a copy of this audiobook from One More Chapter (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started to listen to this story. Eudora Honeysett is an older woman who is ready to die. The artwork on the cover is so bright and cheerful, so I continued to listen. The story unfolds into a delightfully, gentle, poignant story about finding friendship and family in later life.
Eudora is eccentric, opinionated and sad until she meets a young girl Rose and Stanley, a good-hearted widower and their friends and family. They see something worth saving in Eudora. Eudora’s current life experiences are increasingly positive, but flashback chapters show a life full of betrayal, loss and sacrifice.
Excellent narration makes the characters vibrant, especially Eudora. Her introspection and dialogue are witty, making her memorable.
This is a lovely story with relatable characters and events.
Danny is riddled with anxiety. But he wants to be strong for his wife Sam. She’s been through so much already. If only he had someone to talk to.
Sam is facing a very different future to the one she expected. She’s ready to move on, yet other people won’t let her. If only she had someone to talk to.
Their new neighbour Diana is hiding from her past. She wanted a new life. Now she’s got it she feels angry and alone. If only she had someone to talk to.
Each of them is hiding their pain. Each of them needs to heal. But only when they learn to let each other in will they finally be able to grow.
I received an audiobook from HQ (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This character-driven story features a multi-generational friendship. Told from three viewpoints Diana, Sam and Danny, it is a detailed emotional story that explores finding your true self, fitting in, honesty and loss.
It’s introspective and works well as an audiobook. The narrator is clear and engaging, voicing the characters believably and distinctly. The gentle pace enables the listener to know each character well, and the humour, insight and poignancy, make it an emotional read.
The parallels with nature that affects the characters’ lives are well crafted and make this an engaging, thought-provoking story.
I decided to write this book, because I didn’t want to stop living the story of what happened when Harry met Minnie. I didn’t want to forget any of it, even the sad parts. This story of unexpected friendship, of love, was a wonderful gift, and in the end, it made me and Minnie happy.
Martha Teichner, CBS Sunday Morning News correspondent and multi-award-winner.
There’s a special camaraderie among early-morning dog walkers. In this special space and time, a chance encounter with an old acquaintance changed Martha Teichner’s world. As fate would have it, her friend knew someone who was dying of cancer, from exposure to toxins after 9/11, and desperate to find a home for her dog, Harry. He was a Bull Terrier, the same breed as Martha’s dear Minnie. Martha agrees to meet Harry and his owner Carol. What begins as a transaction involving a dog becomes a deep and meaningful friendshipbetween two women with complicated lives and a love of Bull Terriers in common.
Through the heartbreak and grief of Carol’s illness, the bond that develops changed Martha’s life, Carol’s life, Minnie’s life, Harry’s life.As it changed Carol’s death as well. Loneliness as a topic is becoming more and more prominent – especially in these uncertain times. This book explores what can happen when we take the time to talk to those around us.
This is a memoir of love and loss, of being in the right place at the right time, and of the mysterious ways a beloved pet can bring people together.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers in return for an honest review.
Emotional, honest and well written, this story is about pet friends, serendipitous meetings and the power of love. This book is full of interesting facts about New York, television journalism and design. With some lovely images in the centre of the book that poignantly illustrate the text.
Harry Met Minnie is lovely if a little sad to read. Those who share their lives with dogs will relate to the humour and poignancy of this book. The characters, both dog, and human are easy to like drawing the reader into their lives.
I enjoyed reading this biography/memoir.
Martha Teichner has been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning” since December 1993. Since joining CBS News in 1977, Teichner has earned multiple national awards for her original reporting, including 11 Emmy Awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and five James Beard Foundation Awards.
Martha has reported on some of the largest national and international stories of this era, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the run-up to the war in Iraq, the death of Princess Diana and the life and death of Nelson Mandela. She’s interviewed world leaders and other newsmakers, including then-first lady Hillary Clinton.
Now based in New York, Teichnerspent more than a dozen years as a foreign correspondent covering major international news. Teichner was twice assigned to the CBS News London bureau (1980-1984, 1989-1994), covering the Northern Ireland hunger strikes, the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and was one of only a handful of female war correspondents.
Teichner covered the Lebanon War, the 1st Intifada in 1988 in Israel and the West Bank, embedded with the US First Armored Division in the Persian Gulf War, covered the conflicts associated with the collapse of Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia) and spent three years in South Africa during the last years of apartheid. She reported on the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the Romanian revolution. Teichner also spent several weeks in the Bolivian jungle covering undercover operations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
Is there really such a thing as a second shot at true love?
After three wonderful years of marriage, librarian Juliette Fairhurst’s heart is shattered when her husband, Laurie, is taken from her much too soon. Devasted, Juliette decides to take a sabbatical and reconnect with her mother’s birthplace, the village of Glentorrin on the picturesque Isle of Skye.
Welcomed by most of the villagers, Juliette throws herself into an idyllic community life, taking on the role of temporary summer guardian at The Lifeboat House Museum; a role that offers her the perfect escape from the tragedy of her real life.
During her time on the island, Juliette clashes with brooding single dad and artist, Reid Mackinnon and is befriended by his son Evin and dog Chewie. It’s clear that divorced Reid is struggling and scarred by his own painful experiences.
Can these two lost souls find a lifeline to rescue each other? Or will their pasts scupper their second chance at real happiness?
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I’ve read most of this author’s recent books and always enjoyed the characters, the poignant real-life situations and the wonderful descriptions. This story has all of these and is an emotional, insightful story.
Widowed Juliette is still grieving the loss of her husband, but everywhere holds memories and she knows moving away is the only way to move forward with her life. She chooses Skye because of familial connections and hopes her healing can begin.
Skye brought to vibrant life, by the author’s descriptions, draws the reader into island life. The sense of community and reliance on each other is explored well in this story. The characters are flawed and recognisable. Juliette enjoys the anonymity she seeks then welcomes the friendship offered as she heals. Her relationship with Reid is difficult, but she sees his pain despite the emotional barrier he hides behind.
This is a gentle story, realistic and full of hope.
Lisa Hobman has written many brilliantly reviewed women’s fiction titles – the first of which was shortlisted by the RNA for their debut novel award. In 2012 Lisa relocated her family from Yorkshire to a village in Scotland and this beautiful backdrop now inspires her uplifting and romantic stories.
Alice Lang was wearing her favourite scarlet dress when she disappeared twenty-five years ago, and her memory still casts a long shadow.
‘The past was like water. Once the tide turned, you couldn’t hold it back.’
In the long, hot summer of 1995, twenty-two-year-old Alice Lang rents a caravan on a holiday park on the outskirts of the lively holiday resort of Severn Sands. She befriends Marnie, a shy, damaged little girl whose father is the park’s caretaker and whose mother died a few months earlier. Will, whose mother runs the bar, falls in love with Alice, and is unbearably jealous of anyone else she sees. Tensions rise until one evening Alice disappears from her caravan. She’s never seen again, and only her scarlet dress is found washed up on the shore.
A quarter of a century later, the town is run down and nobody comes there anymore. Mr and Mrs deVillars, former owners of the holiday park, have passed the failing business onto their son Guy, who promptly sells the land for development. Builders clearing the land to create an expanse of executive homes uncover human bones. It has to be Alice.
Will and Marnie’s lives were entirely shaped by what happened that summer, and now Alice has been found, they must struggle to pin down their memories, to escape the secrets of the past, the lies they told and the unbearable guilt they’re both carrying.
They need to find out what happened to Alice. Who killed her? And why?
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story is wonderfully complex. Character-driven, it draws the reader into a world of decay, deceit and death. The discovery of human bones years after a young woman disappeared reopens old hurts in a town that is a shadow of its former self. Marnie, a child at the time of the disappearance, still bears the emotional scars. Will, obsessed with the missing girl Alice, is drawn back to the dying town of his birth, feeling there is unfinished business.
The story gives up its secrets as it unfolds and undulates between the present day and 1995. There are unexpected twists, emotional moments and relentless tension that builds to the story’s end. The setting is well created and complements the plot perfectly. This is a compelling story with many emotionally damaged characters, of which Marnie is my favourite.
This is an immersive story about ordinary people and extraordinary tragedy. It reads, like a Nordic noir set in the English seaside, an engaging balance of introspection and action it’s a page-turner.
Louise Douglas is the bestselling and brilliantly reviewed author of novels including The House By The Sea 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.
A lively wind danced across the estuary flatlands, shimmying the feathered heads of the reeds that lined the rhynes. Marnie Morahan headed back down the track with the dogs: her own beloved Tessy and the foster dog, a monstrous-looking animal that Jenna at the rescue centre had named Mister. He had short legs and a chest so barrelled that he waddled rather than walked. His head and neck were covered in scars and old wounds from his days as a bait dog, one ear almost completely gone, the other with chunks missing like a leaf got at by snails. His grizzled snout was encased inside a Silence of the Lambs-style muzzle designed to protect him from himself. If another dog came too close, Mister might try to kill it and he was already on his final warning. His next aggressive bite would be his last.
Marnie loved all animals, even difficult-to-love ones like Mister; especially ones like him. It was people she struggled with. It was a two-way street. Marnie didn’t trust people and most people thought she was weird with her old black clothes and boots, her piercings and tattoos, her hair shaved close to her skull, her sullen expression and downcast eyes; her reluctance to be involved with anyone except for her immediate family, Jenna and her dog-training clients. Her muteness. Marnie knew people called her a misfit, and worse. It didn’t hurt because she was used to it; she’d been the odd one out all her life. Sometimes she worried that her oddness would become an embarrassment to her daughter, Lucy, or worse, that bullies might target Lucy because of her, but fortunately Lucy was a sunny, friendly girl, popular at school. She accepted Marnie as she was and expected others to accept her too. Lucy understood that Marnie could no more change than the sun could rise in the west: she didn’t need to be close to people and people didn’t need to be close to her.
The track was stony. Gritty puddles had formed in the potholes. The grass that grew in shabby green strips was submerged in the wet. The hedgerows on either side had lost their leaves months earlier and were black and twiggy, and the branches of the wind-worn trees above were jagged, mistletoe growing like ragged hair in the pits of their joints. Deep ruts made by ploughs in undulating stripes across the fields were full of water that reflected the light.
Clouds raced across a high, wintry sky that morning; a flock of lapwings banked steeply into the air, flashing white then black. Tessy stopped to sniff at a pile of dung and Mister looked up at Marnie with bloodshot, prize-fighter eyes, confused because he did not understand the joys of sniffing.
Marnie put her hand in the pocket of her ancient coat and pulled out a handful of dried pilchards. She offered one to Mister through the muzzle, but the dog backed away, believing it to be a trick, expecting to be punished. Marnie dropped the treat on the ground. Mister stared at it, but made no move to eat it.
From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a tale of love, loss—and one last extraordinary dance.
Christmas Eve, 2019. Ninety-four-year-old Molly lies in her hospital bed. A stroke and a fall may have broken her body—but her mind is alive with memories.
London, 1940s. Molly is a bright young woman, determined to help the war effort and keep her head up despite it all. Life becomes brighter when she meets and falls in love with a man who makes her forget everything with one dance. But then war forces her to make an unforgettable sacrifice, and when she’s brought to her knees by a daring undercover mission with the French Resistance, only her sister knows the secret weighing heavily on Molly’s heart.
Now, lying in her hospital bed, Molly can’t escape the memories of what she lost all those years ago. But she is not as alone as she thinks.
Will she be able to find peace—and finally understand that what seemed to be an ordinary life was anything but?
I received a copy of this book from the author via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Love and loss affect Molly’s life from an early age. She’s kept a secret for many years. Molly’s engaging life story shows her courage in the face of adversity. The characters are vivid, and the historical details add to the authenticity. The relationships are believable and are what make this story so addictive.
This is an emotional story that keeps you turning the pages.
Praise for Amanda Prowse:
‘A powerful and emotional work of fiction’ – Piers Morgan ‘Deeply moving and emotional, Amanda Prowse handles her explosive subjects with delicate skill’ – Daily Mail ‘Uplifting and positive, but you will still need a box of tissues’ – Hello! ‘A gut-wrenching and absolutely brilliant read’ – The Irish Sun ‘You’ll fall in love with this…’ – Cosmopolitan ‘Deeply moving and eye opening. Powerful and emotional drama that packs a real punch.’ – Heat ‘Magical’ – Now magazine
Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty six novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’, ‘The Things I Know’ and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.
A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.
Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…
I received a copy of these books from Mills and Boon in return for honest reviews.
Discover Paige and Preacher’s Story…
In love, some people are worth fighting for…
For the second time in a year a woman arrives in the small town of Virgin River trying to escape the past.
John “Preacher” Middleton is about to close the bar when a young woman and her three-year-old son come in out of the wet October night. An ex-marine who has seen his share of pain, Preacher knows a crisis when he sees one and this woman is certainly frightened and in need of help. But Preacher’s instinct to protect is more than an engrained sense of duty, for Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in him — emotions that he has never before allowed himself to feel.
When Paige’s ex-husband turns up in Virgin River and secrets are revealed, Preacher knows his own future hangs in the balance. But if there’s one thing the marines has taught him, it’s that some things are worth fighting for…
My Thoughts… 5* #Review
The second book in the Virgin River series is Preacher and Paige’s story. It’s an emotional and heartfelt tale of domestic abuse, courage, and love. The book’s focus is Preacher and Paige, but there are other storylines and familiar characters integrated with the main story bringing the characters and setting to vibrant life.
This story tackles contemporary issues with sensitivity and immerses the reader in the story. If you are a fan of the TV series, get to know the characters and their lives in depth by reading the books. I enjoyed the TV series more, after reading some of the books.
A Virgin River Christmas – Book 4
A Christmas Miracle in Virgin River
Last Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband, Bobby. This Christmas she’s come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life, and gave her three more years with him. Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby to safety in Fallujah four years ago then disappeared. Since then, Marcie’s letters to Ian have gone unanswered.
When Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River she finds a man haunted by his past and afraid to look to his future. Not easily scared off Marcie pushes her way into Ian’s reclusive life to see beyond his pain to the man he once was. The man he can be again.
Ian doesn’t know what to make of the determined young woman who forces him to look into the painful past and, what’s worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.
My Thoughts… 4* #Review
This story focuses on Marcie a recent widow and Ian, a marine who despite his bravery gives up on his career and life to become a recluse in the mountains near Virgin River.
There are appearances from Virgin River regulars, but this is a story of healing and love between the two newcomers.
This is a gently paced, emotional and festive story. Marcie and Ian build a relationship that moves from animosity to understanding in a remote mountain setting.
It highlights the effect of war on veterans, a recurrent series theme, and also shows how a caring community helps everyone within it,
This is a heartwarming, romantic story which resonates.
Struggling with grief after the death of her mother, successful author Kaylee Sloan needs a distraction, to come to terms with life and meet her looming deadline.
With Christmas approaching, Kaylee rents a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing and as she drives north through the mountains she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local bar is the heart of the town and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a stranger in need.
Welcomed by those in Virgin River, Kaylee starts to see her life in a new light. And as she becomes more involved in the town and the people in it, especially local artist and dog trainer Landry Moore, Kaylee realises she may have found her peace. As Christmas approaches, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to mend a broken heart than Virgin River.
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon in return for an honest review.
Kaylee returns to Virgin River to finish her latest novel and survive Christmas without her mum. An unexpected event forces her to accept the communities help and leads her life, in an unforeseen direction.
The story is relatable with easy to empathise characters in most cases. The animal characters add a heartwarming dimension, and the romance is slow-burning with conflict and a satisfying conclusion. Bereavement and moving on after loss are explored in this story positively and sensitively. Whilst Christmas is not the predominant theme in this book there is a festive twist, as the inhabitants give Kaylee new Christmas memories and show her the true meaning of Christmas.
This is a character-driven story focusing on Kaylee and Landry who both have life-changing emotional journeys to make when they meet. The cast of characters will be familiar to those who follow the series but to new readers, they soon become friends too.
If you enjoy small-town romance with a realistic edge and supportive community, this is a series worth reading.