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

The Highlander’s Secret Son Jeanine Englert 4* #Review @JeanineWrites @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks @rararesources #BlogTour #MillsandBoonHistorical #HarlequinHistorical #BookReview #TheHighlandersSecretSon #Scotland #Giveaway

His first love

Now his sworn enemy…

What is Fiona MacDonald doing on the run across his lands? With a wee baby as well! Brandon once loved this woman with all his heart―until her family killed many of his clan. Now, as the new Campbell Laird, he must make sure she pays the price for her betrayal. But how can he claim his vengeance if what she says is true…? That her child is his son and heir!

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

My Thoughts…

An emotional and well-paced story about betrayal, forgiveness and love in the tempestuous eighteenth-century Scottish Highlands. Brandon and Fiona shared a forbidden love, both from different warring clans. Brandon’s clan is decimated by Fiona’s, and it appears she betrayed them. Forced to become the laird, Brandon has to forget Fiona until he finds her on his land with his baby.

This story explores the role of women in this historical period and shows that Fiona is a victim with no say in her future and subject to abuse. Brandon is Laird because of his brother’s grief. Bringing Fiona into the clan’s heart leads to many external conflicts despite the couples rekindling their feelings for each other. Brandon is forced to choose between Fiona and the clan with devastating results. The couple has to battle their internal feelings of self-worth and self-loathing to have a chance of a happy-ever-after.

This story is rich in historical detail, danger, deceit and unrequited desire.

Jeanine Englert

Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a Golden Heart ® Finalist, Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery. Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at www.jeaninewrites.com.

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Giveaway to Win  A bundle of Highland Treats (Open INT)

Prize contains:

1) One signed paperback copy of The Highlander’s Secret Son.

2) Bookmark and magnet book swag.

3) Scottish Blessing Bracelet.

4) Sterling Silver “Spread Your Wings and Fly” Necklace.

5) Red Journal.

Click on link to enter

*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 despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, New Books, Romance

A Secret Scottish Escape Julie Shackman 4* #Review @G13Julie @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #Romance #heartwarming #ASecretScottishEscape #BlogTour #BookReview

Escape to the beautiful Scottish Highlands for a heartwarming and feel good cosy romance that will whisk you away.

When Scotland’s sleepiest hamlet becomes the centre of hot gossip, Layla Devlin finds herself caught in a mystery…

When Layla’s fiancée has an unexpected heart attack and dies – in another woman’s arms, no less – Layla is determined to pack up and leave Loch Harris, the village she’s always called home. But an unexpected inheritance and love for her quiet corner of Scotland send her down a new path.

Now Layla finds herself facing a whole new kind of drama. Rumours swirl that a celebrity has moved into Coorie Cottage and Layla is determined to have him headline her opening night at local music venue The Conch Club. But the reclusive star is equally determined to thwart Layla’s efforts. Rafe Buchanan is in hiding for a reason, and soon his past comes to Loch Harris to haunt him…

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

My Thoughts…

This is a heartwarming story about finding your purpose in life. Layla feels heartbroken and betrayed when her fiance dies unexpectedly. His hurtful secrets make her want to run away. Music and helping the community she loves help her heal. She has supportive relationships with the father who raised her and her best friend. Mysterious men with secrets is a recurring theme in this story, and one of them offers a second chance for Layla if she’s courageous enough to try again. The setting is well described. This is an uplifting story of love and loss.

Julie Shackman

I am a contemporary romance author from Scotland, who is obsessed with stationery and handbags.

I am married with two sons and have a poodle cross Romanian rescue puppy called Cooper. A Secret Scottish Escape is my fifth book.

I trained as a journalist and studied Communication & Media. When I’m not reading or writing, I love getting out for long walks, listening to music and watching romcoms.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, New Books, Noir, Suspense

Buried For Good Alex Coombs 5*#Review @AlexHowardCrime @BoldwoodBooks #CrimeFiction #PIHanlon #Scotland #BuriedForGood #noircrime #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

On a remote island, everyone is a suspect…

When Private Investigator Hanlon is hired to protect famous yoga instructor Camille Anderson on her Scottish island retreat, she thinks this may be her simplest job yet.

But when an attack on Camille’s life goes wrong, it soon becomes clear that there is a murderer on the island – and Hanlon will stop at nothing to track them down.

With only a small group of guests the suspects are clear, but as the body count rises Hanlon must step up to find out who the killer is before it’s too late…

A tense, atmospheric page-turner from Alex Coombs.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The latest book in the PI Hanlon has action, self-realisation, romance and suspense. The plot is layered with many suspects, two crime threads and a cast of characters who are not what they seem.

I have enjoyed all the books in this series, but after reading the previous series where Hanlon is a police officer, I appreciated her creative character more. She is a clever and courageous woman with undoubted issues, but her many positive traits outweigh these and make her likeable.

The story takes place in Scotland on an atmospheric island, Glasgow and the rural west coast. There is a murder mystery ethos to the first part of the story, with all the suspects marooned on an island battered by severe weather. There are also elements of psychological suspense and the supernatural which keep the reader guessing.

The clues to the final reveal are all there but well hidden. The suspense building leads to a climactic ending and a positive personal conclusion.

Alex Coombs

Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He is the author of the highly acclaimed DCI Hanlon series.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Harper’s Highland Fling by Lizzie Lamb 4*#Review @lizzie_lamb @lovebooksgroup #HarpersHighlandFling #lovebookstours #Romance #BookTour #BookReview

After a gruelling academic year, headteacher Harper MacDonald is looking forward to a summer holiday trekking in Nepal. However, her plans are scuppered when wayward niece, Ariel, leaves a note announcing that’s she’s running away with a boy called Pen. The only clue to their whereabouts is a footnote: I’ll Be in Scotland. Cue a case of mistaken identity when Harper confronts the boy’s father – Rocco Penhaligon and accuses him of cradle snatching her niece and ruining her future. At loggerheads, Harper and Rocco set off in hot pursuit of the teenagers, but the canny youngsters are always one step ahead. And, in a neat twist, it is the adults who end up in trouble, not the savvy teenagers. Fasten your seatbelt for the road trip of your life! It’s going to be a bumpy ride!  

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a well-written romance with two likeable relatable characters and a cross country adventure to find their missing teenagers. The characters are believably flawed, and the chemistry between them builds realistically. The dialogue is clever and often humorous. The road trip setting works well bringing the protagonists up close and personal in an authentic way. The author brings people and places alive using vivid imagery, giving the story authenticity and depth.

A humorous, romantic adventure with an unlikely couple whose emotional journey mirrors the miles they travel between Cornwall and Scotland.

With Scottish, Irish, and Brazilian blood in her veins, it’s hardly surprising that Lizzie Lamb is a writer. She even wrote extra scenes for the films she watched as a child and acted out in the playground with her friends. She is ashamed to admit that she kept all the good lines for herself. Luckily, she saves them for her readers these days. Lizzie’s love of writing went on hold while she pursued a successful teaching career, finishing up as a Deputy Headteacher of a large primary school. Since deciding to leave the profession to realise her dream of becoming a published novelist, Lizzie hasn’t looked back. She wrote Tall, Dark and Kilted – which echoes her love of her homeland in every page, not to mention heroes in kilts – and published it. Lizzie loves the quickfire interchange between the hero and heroine – like in old black and white Hollywood movies – and hope this comes over in her writing.  

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, ganglit, Noir, Suspense

Missing For Good Alex Coombs 4*#Review @AlexHowardCrime @BoldwoodBooks #CrimeFiction #PIHanlon #Scotland #ganglit #MissingForGood #noircrime #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

Is she alive, or is she missing for good…?

When the estranged daughter of Scotland’s premier art dealer goes missing, Private Investigator Hanlon is hired to find out where Aurora is.

But what she thinks will be a relatively straightforward job, soon turns dangerous. The missing girl has a troubled past but what made Aurora suddenly pack her bags and disappear?

Hanlon has her work cut out for her. The stakes are rising and she needs to get to the bottom of the case before someone else is attacked.

And is Aurora still alive, or is she missing for good?

A gripping new case for feisty female Private Investigator, Hanlon.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The second book in the Hanlon series, now a private investigator she takes on her first case, not the simple missing person’s case its first seems. Aurora has secrets and is hiding from her art dealer father who also is not the upstanding businessman he portrays. The story darkens as it progresses, as Hanlon comes up against drug dealers, gangs and people with secrets that they will kill to keep hidden.

Hanlon continues to have anger issues and remains a closed book to most her relationship with her dog shows her lighter side. She is an enigma but excellent at her role. This gritty, graphic ganglit but Hanlon isn’t afraid of danger given her background at the Met and is determined to find out the truth.

If you like your crime fiction hard-boiled this will suit you.

Alex Coombs

Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He has written four well reviewed crime novels as Alex Howard.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Memoir

Green Hands Barbara Whitton 5*#Review @I_W_M #BarbaraWhitton @RandomTTours #WW2 #WomensLandArmy #LandGirls #1940s #Britain #BlogTour #BookReview #GreenHands @angelamarymar #wartimeclassics #WartimeBritain

I received a copy of this book from The Imperial War Museums in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is an authentic representation of what life in the Women’s Land Army (WLA) was like for many. The land girls worked on the land and maintain the food supply chain for Britain at War. They endured relentless work and ridicule until their vital contribution to the war effort was recognised.

This story prefaced by an introduction from the Imperial War museum which provides salient historical, and social details. Historical details of farming in the war years provides the backdrop for a lovely story of acceptance, friendship, romance, and humour.

Told from Bee’s point of view, the story shows how three young girls coped or didn’t with life in the land army. The author employs sensual imagery allowing the reader to imagine the characters, events and setting.

There are some important social differences in this book, compared to contemporary society. Women were doing men’s work and seen as filling in. After the war, many women didn’t remain in the workforce especially in the farming industry.

The book highlights the importance of working as a community and the hardships faced by the land girls and the country as a whole from rationing. It shows another often overlooked contribution to women in the workforce in the 1940s. It provides a dramatic representation of historical facts through relatable characters and events.

MARGARET HAZEL WATSON (writing under the pseudonym Barbara Whitton) was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1921. She was educated at the Church High Girls School in Newcastle, and later sent to St Leonards School in St Andrews. Due to study Art in Paris, her training was curtailed by the outbreak of the Second World War.

Having volunteered for the Women’s Land Army (WLA) in 1939, she worked as a Land Girl for around a year before moving to the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) and later joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) as a driver, where she remained for the duration of the war. Her novel Green Hands is a fictionalised account of her time spent as a Land Girl, detailing the back-breaking hard work and intensity of her experience with good humour and an enchanting lightness of touch. During her time with the ATS she met her husband Pat Chitty and they were married in 1941. After the war, she wrote a number of accounts of her wartime experience and retained an interest in art, literature and horticulture throughout her life. She died in 2016.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Magic, Romance, Romantic Comedy

A Wish For Jinnie Audrey Davis 5*#Review @audbyname @rararesources #romcom #magic #humour #friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #AWishForJinnie #MondayBlogs #MondayMorning #RachelsRandomResources #MondayMotivation

What if wishes really could come true? 

When Jinnie Cooper is dumped by her fiancé, and exiled to a job in an antiques shop in a sleepy Scottish village, little does she know a battered old lamp is about to shake up her life. 

Genie Dhassim grants wishes. But he also wants a few of his own to come true. Letting him explore the outside world proves nerve-wracking as Dhassim has an uncanny knack of putting his pointy-slippered foot in it. 

As Jinnie grows closer to her employer Sam, Dhassim discovers his time on earth is running out. 

Can both Jinnie and Dhassim find true happiness? Or are those wishes that cannot be granted?

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

My Thoughts…

Everyone needs a little magic in their life and Jinnie more than most. Losing her job and her lover, left her broke and heartbroken and having to move to a village on the outskirts of the city she loves. This story is character-driven. All the characters are believable and relatable and add to the story’s ambience. Then there’s the gene, who makes her life unpredictable but helps her start to live again.

Humour, poignant moments and romance characterise this lovely story, which is heartwarming and magical. The perfect escape from life’s troubles.

Audrey Davis is a Scottish-born former journalist, now resident in Switzerland. Her newspaper career saw her cover events in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands, as well as working for a London-based movie magazine writing reviews and carrying out interviews.

She self-published her debut romantic comedy novel A Clean Sweep in June 2017, following an online Open University course in Writing Fiction.

Audrey followed up with a short, darker prequel A Clean Break before beginning work on a rom-com novella trilogy with a ghostly twist – The Haunting of Hattie Hastings. Again, reviews across the board were excellent, and it was combined into a standalone novel in November 2018.

A Wish For Jinnie is her third standalone novel.

Apart from writing, Audrey enjoys travel and spends a lot of time in Edinburgh. She is an avid cook, watcher of scary movies and reluctant gym-goer.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Suspense, Thriller

Silenced For Good Alex Coombs 4* #Review @AlexHowardCrime @BoldwoodBooks #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #BoldwoodBloggers #RachelsRandomResources

Detective Hanlon is addicted to violence. She likes the rush, the danger, the losing control…

When Hanlon is suspended from the force for assaulting a suspect, she escapes to the remote Scottish island of Jura, home to the mysterious Corryvreckan whirlpool.

But wherever Hanlon goes, violence is sure to follow.

As soon as she checks into The Mackinnon Arms, Hanlon senses something isn’t quite right about the staff at her home for the week. 

Sure enough, within days of arriving, the body of a member of staff is found floating in the sea. While police believe she was claimed by the local whirlpool, Hanlon isn’t so sure. 

As she pieces together the evidence, dark secrets begin to unravel. Can Hanlon work out what is going on before another floating body is found…?

The start of a gripping new crime series.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

In this gritty, gripping Scottish crime thriller, DCI Hanlon is driven and on the edge, as she battles addictive anger issues. An enforced break on the Isle of Jura, one of the Western Isles, finds her embroiled in a series of grisly crimes.

Hanlon and politically correct are at opposite ends of the spectrum, She’s arrogant and hard. Character traits that get her in trouble with her bosses at the Met. Told predominately from her point of view, this story is insightful. The plot is simple, with enough possible suspects and twists to keep it interesting. I did guess the major twist, but it’s a good story, with a memorable detective, with scope for more cases.

Alex Coombs

Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He has written four well reviewed crime novels as Alex Howard.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Romance, Suspense

The Forbidden Promise Lorna Cook 5*#Review @AvonBooksUK @LornaCookAuthor #BlogTour #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #WW2 #Scotland #Saga #timeslip #Contemporary #fiction #romance #drama #secrets

Scotland, 1940:
War rages across Europe, but Invermoray House is at peace. Until the night of Constance’s twenty-first birthday, when she’s the only person to see a Spitfire crash into the loch. Constance has been longing for adventure – but when she promises to keep the pilot hidden, what will it cost her?

2020:
Kate arrives in the Highlands to turn Invermoray into a luxury bed-and-breakfast, only to find that the estate is more troubled than she’d imagined. But when Kate discovers the house has a murky history, with Constance McLay’s name struck from its records, she knows she can’t leave until the mystery is solved…

How will one promise change the fate of two women, decades apart?

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My Thoughts…

Not having read the author’s debut novel, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I needn’t have worried.

This is engaging and easy to read. Full of drama, poignancy, risk and romance. Drawn into both stories from their first chapters, this timeslip novel has believable, easy to like characters, authentic historical detail, a beautiful setting, in a timeless story of forbidden love and desperate times.

There are secrets in both timelines and plots twist. I did work out the tragic historical twist but knowing, just increased the dramatic irony and suspense.

If you’re looking for a story to sweep you away to a different place and time, this is it.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Humour, Paranormal

Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Vampire Menace 4* #Review @OlgaWojtas @SarabandBooks @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #Humour #HistFic #cozymystery #BlogTour #BookReview

The intrepid librarian Shona McMonagle, erstwhile Marcia Blaine Academy prefect and an accomplished linguist and martial artist, finds herself in an isolated French mountain village, Sans-Soleil, which has no sunlight because of its topography. It’s reeling from a spate of unexplained deaths, and Shona has once again travelled back in time to help out.

Forging an uneasy alliance with newly widowed Madeleine, Shona is soon drawn into a full-blown vampire hunt, involving several notable villagers, the world-renowned soprano Mary Garden – and even Count Dracula himself. Will Shona solve the mystery, secure justice for the murder victims and make it through a deathly denouement in the hall of mirrors to return to present-day Morningside Library?

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

My Thoughts…

Shona McMonagle is an enigmatic and decidedly quirky character, which is just as well, because ‘Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Vampire Menace’, is a strange tale. It takes a little getting into, especially if this is your first encounter with the talented librarian, a former prefect of Miss Blaine’s academy, and now intrepid time traveller. The adventure is standalone but would be more immersive if you were familiar with the character, and the reasons for time travel. Read the first book if you can. before embarking on this.

Set in the ominous-sounding French village Sans-Soleil, Shona has to extricate herself from a coffin and a room full of mirrors before finding out, where she is. The first people she meets are frankly strange, and she soon finds typical of the village. The story is a complex blend of history, historical characters and mind-blowing fiction, and it works. To enjoy this you have to accept the intricate world-building and immerse yourself in the adventure, and acerbic very witty humour, both verbal and visual.

The plot is absorbing, full of historical facts and historical characters, who are cleverly blended with the fictional ones. Shona is certain of her capabilities, and she is undoubtedly intelligent and well-educated, the perfect advertisement for Miss Blaine’s academy, However, she is not the most intuitive of amateur sleuth’s and there are many examples of dramatic irony in this story. The reader knows more than the protagonist, or at least understands, what they are reading. This makes for many humorous moments.

Shona’s thought processes and dialogue with her fellow characters are witty and enjoyable. The distinctly Scottish humour can be appreciated wherever you hail from.

The story is well-paced and written with visual imagery, that lets the reader enjoy the period and setting, as well as the relentless adventure.

If you enjoy an original, unique reading experience, this is something you should read.

Olga Woitas

Olga Wojtas is an unconventional – and very witty – writer of postmodern crime fiction whose surrealist humour has been compared to the likes of PG Wodehouse, Jasper Fforde and the Marx Brothers. Her debut novel, Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar, has been published in the UK and US to great critical acclaim – being longlisted for the inaugural Comedy Women in Print Prize 2019, shortlisted for a CrimeFest Award, and named as one of the best mysteries and thrillers of the year by Kirkus. A journalist for more than 30 years, Olga was Scottish editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement before she began adding creative writing to her portfolio. She won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2015 and has had numerous short stories and several novellas published. Olga lives in Edinburgh, where she once attended James Gillespie’s High School – the model for Marcia Blaine School for Girls, which appears in Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the novel that inspired the Miss Blaine’s Prefect series.