Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Medical Romance, Romance

Awakening His Shy Vet Shelley Rivers 5* #Review @SRiversAuthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #MillsandBoonMedical #MillsandBoonInsiders #Romance #Vet #SecondChance #BookReview #HarlequinMedicalRomance

They’re looking for a fresh start…

…with each other?

After the tragic death of his wife, horse trainer Kern MacKinley shut himself off from the world – and love. Until the arrival of vet Ruby Day. Ruby may be reserved, but she has an unrivalled way with animals. And it’s not just her patients, Kern discovers, that Ruby has the ability to heal. Once he lets Ruby in, for him there’s no going back – but can he heal her too?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an engaging romantic story. The two main characters are easy to like, and you feel their angst. Their emotional pain diminishes as their relationship develops into friends and something more. The animals and Ruby and Kern’s affinity for them give the story its unique quality. There’s a relatable cast of supporting characters most likeable, one notably not.

This is an emotional story with great characters and gentle healing romance.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

The 12 Christmases of You & Me Jennifer Joyce 5*#Review @Writer_Jenn @rararesources #Festive #SecondChance #romcom #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview

What if you could go back in time and fix the biggest mistake of your life?

Two years ago, Maisie’s best friend walked out of her life and she hasn’t heard from him since. When she wakes up in 1994, she naturally assumes she’s dreaming. But when she finds herself in the past again the next night and her actions in the dream alter her present-day life, she begins to wonder if she’s somehow hopping back in time. And if she is time-travelling, can she save her friendship with Jonas?

When Maisie is forced to relive Christmases of the past, will she face up to her mistakes, or make them all over again?

The 12 Christmases of You & Me is a magical tale of friendship, first loves, and learning to live in the present.

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

My Thoughts…

The idea of Christmas past, present and future is used here as a festive twist to explore coming of age, friendship and love from Maisie’s point of view. The story begins in the present, and the humour and connection between Maisie and Lily are engaging. Maisie realistically revisits past Christmases. She learns from her mistakes and omissions and subtly alters her future.

This is a story about growing up and changing friendships with a magical festive twist. The characters are relatable and engender emotions in the reader. The story is heartwarming and humorous.

Jennifer Joyce

Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters. She’s been scribbling down bits of stories for as long as she can remember, graduating from a pen to a typewriter and then an electronic typewriter. And she felt like the bee’s knees typing on THAT. She now writes her books on a laptop (which has a proper delete button and everything).

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Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Romance

A Will, A Wish, A Wedding Kate Hardy 5*#Review @katehardyauthor @MillsandBoon #Romance #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonTrueLove #Romance #Butterflies #SecondChance #EnemiestoLovers #BookReview #AWillAWishAWedding

Will an unexpected legacy…
…lead to wedding bells?

When Hugo Grey’s aunt leaves her house to Alice Walters – a complete stranger! He is baffled. Especially as the will states Hugo must help Alice convert it into a butterfly centre! He and Alice clash over everything, except his attraction to the captivatingly feisty butterfly expert which is hard to ignore…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Believable characters and an original plot make this story engaging and romantic. Intelligent and kind Alice has a history of picking the wrong man. Widower Hugo is struggling to live without his soulmate. They meet at a will reading, and first impressions are not favourable, but gradually they grow and nurture each other towards happiness.

The Butterfly and ecological themes add authenticity to the story. The romance is gentle, and the characters endear themselves to the reader. You want them to find happiness together.

This is a heartwarming tale with a relatable plot and engaging characters.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance

The Summer of Taking Chances Lynne Shelby 4*#Review @LynneB1 @AccentPress #Romance #SecondChance #Seaside #SummerRead @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #BookReview #BlogTour #ThursdayThoughts

Would you take the second chance you’ve always dreamed of?

It’s been ten years since Emma Stevens last laid eyes on Jake Murray. When he left the small seaside village of South Quay to chase the limelight, Emma’s dreams left with him.

Now Emma is content living a quiet and uneventful life in South Quay. It’s far from the life she imagined, but at least her job at the local hotel has helped heal her broken heart.

But when Jake returns home for the summer to escape the spotlight, Emma’s feelings quickly come flooding back. There’s clearly a connection between them, but Jake has damaged her heart once already – will she ever be able to give him a second chance?

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

My Thoughts…

This is an emotional, romantic story. Set in an idyllic south coast seaside town, first love, teenage mistakes and lost opportunity all feature, in this second chance story.

Emma considers her life choices when her first love Jake returns to the town ten years later. With flashbacks to their teenage life, the story is full of angst and conflict balanced with may humorous moments.

Emma is flawed but easy to empathise. Affected by past decisions, she needs to move on, but can’t until she sees Jake again. Jake is arrogant and world-weary. Eventually, he gains insight, and the chance of a happy-ever-after is feasible.

The cast of characters make the story believable and balance the intensity between Emma and Jake.

The story flows and has an addictive quality that keeps you reading enjoyably until the conclusion.

Lynne Shelby

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing, was published when it won a national writing competition. She has worked at a variety of jobs from stable girl to child actors’ chaperone to legal administrator, but now writes full time. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre watching a musical, or exploring a foreign city – Paris, New York, Rome, Copenhagen, Seattle, Athens – writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.

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

Barefoot on the Beach Katylyn Duncan 4*#Review @katlyn_duncan @HQDigitalUK #Romance #Beach #Wedding #Summer #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #SecondChance #Marriage #contemporaryfiction #Relationships #BarefootontheBeach @Harper360 @Harper360UK @HQStories #NewEngland

Renee Clarke is perfectly happy just the way she is…​

Renee may be thrilled to be planning her sister’s wedding, but after witnessing her mother’s two failed marriages, she has always vowed that she is better off on her own.​

But when Renee discovers that Luc Hardy has moved next door, her world is knocked off kilter. Luc was her whirlwind summer romance as a teen and, more importantly, her first love. Now he’s back in West Cove, looking more handsome than ever.

​There is no escaping the romance in the air this summer. With the wedding planning in full swing, Renee begins to believe that she might be able to put her childhood reservations about marriage aside.

​Yet when her mother arrives, she stirs a torrent of emotions in Renee’s heart.  She’s up to her old tricks again–boasting about her latest conquests–reaffirming Renee’s lack of faith in love.

As Renee’s happily-ever-after hangs in the balance, will Luc be able to convince her that true love can last forever?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Barefoot on the Beach is a second chance romance with family drama. The multilayered plot delves into dysfunctional family dynamics. It explores how children may be affected by the success or failure of their parent’s relationship. Renee is anti-marriage because of her mother’s influence, even when she meets Luc again, she is wary of falling in love.

As she plans her sister’s wedding, she reacquaints with Luc. Their chances of happy ever are remote in the face of their internal conflicts and past nurturing. The setting is well described and immersive, the perfect wedding location.

A gently paced story because of Renee’s internal analysis of her family relationships and her view of marriage, but the romance is lovely and eventually finds a way to win. Believable, strong characters and simple but effective plotting tell an engaging story of family relationships and love in an iconic New England setting.

Katlyn Duncan

Coming from a small town in Western Massachusetts, Katlyn Duncan always had her head in the clouds. Working as a scientist for most of her adult life, she enjoyed breaking down the hows and whys of life. This translated into her love of stories and getting into the minds of her characters.

Currently, she’s a full-time author and freelance writer. When she’s not writing, she’s obsessing over many (many) television series’.

She currently resides in Southern New England with her family. Check out more about her writing and current TV addiction in her newsletter, and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

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

Art and Soul Claire Huston 4*#Review @ClaraVal #ContemporaryRomance #Romance #ArtandSoul #UpLit #secondchance @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #BookReview #BlogTour

There’s no problem Becky Watson can’t fix. Except her own love life…

Struggling single mother Becky Watson longs to revive her career as a life-fixer, working miracles to solve her clients’ problems, no matter how big or small. Since the birth of her two-year-old son she has been stuck preventing wedding fiascos for the richest and rudest residents of the Comptons, a charming, leafy area of southern England known for its artistic heritage.

So when semi-reclusive local artist Charlie Handren reluctantly hires Becky to fix his six-year creative slump, she’s delighted to set him up with a come-back exhibition and Rachel Stone, the woman of his dreams.

Though they get off to a rocky start, Becky and Charlie soon become close. But as the beautiful Rachel becomes Charlie’s muse, Becky is forced to wonder: will giving Charlie everything he wants mean giving up her own happily ever after?

A heart-warming, uplifting romance served with a generous slice of cake.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Art and Soul’ is an amusing, poignant romance with a refreshingly original plot. Professionally Becky is a successful fixer of people’s lives. Unfortunately, her love life needs repair. Charlie is a particularly challenging client, who reluctantly engages her, to save his career as an artist.

Arty details, add authenticity to the story and Becky and Charlie’s relationship is a lovely mix of conflict, humour and gentle romance.

Claire Huston

Claire Huston lives in Warwickshire with her husband and two children. Art and Soul is her first novel. A keen amateur baker, she enjoys making cakes, biscuits and brownies almost as much as eating them. You can find recipes for all the cakes mentioned in Art and Soul at www.clairehuston.co.uk along with over 100 other recipes. This is also where she talks about and reviews books.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance

A Country Dilemma Sasha Morgan 5* Review @Aria_Fiction @SashaMorgan_ #Romance #Village #Rural #Relationships #SecondChance #BlogTour #BookReview

For Christie Newbury, moving to the Cotswolds as the new owner of The Templar, a quaint countryside inn, was supposed to be a dream come true. But then her husband drops a bombshell that turns her life upside down.

Architect Daniel James has just one month to find the perfect home. When his search takes him to the village of Treweham, his instant attraction to the Templar’s beautiful – and newly single–owner is a distraction he can’t afford.

Christie needs an expert’s eye. Daniel needs a place to stay. It’s only a business deal – but it has never been more tempting to mix business with pleasure…

Welcome back to Treweham, a village of scandal and secrets.

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

My Thoughts…

I’ve enjoyed the first two books in this series, and ‘A Country Dilemma’, is a fitting ending to the trilogy. In many ways, this is my favourite book, perhaps because I am familiar with many of the characters, yet still, get to enjoy a new story, with new characters too. The story is standalone, and you are given the necessary backstory to enjoy it, but it’s such a good series, for those who like country life, with all its peculiarities. Treat yourself, and read all three books.

The main focus of this story is Christie the new owner of The Templar, and Daniel, a soon to be single dad who wants a good place to bring up his daughter. The attraction is instant, but the conflicts are many, and there is much angst and a veritable roller-coaster of emotions before the resolution.

The style of this story is a fusion of romance and bonkbuster romance. The romance is sensual, rather than gentle, but it fits with the contemporary storyline, and works well, especially for those, like me, who enjoy Zara Stonely, Fiona Walker and Jilly Cooper books.

Believable, complex characters, who fit the setting, without becoming stereotypical. A picturesque, recognisable, rural setting. Coupled with a simple, but effective plot, make this an enjoyable, escapist read, written in an easy to read style full of visual imagery.

Writing a series – Guest Post by Sasha Morgan

The beauty of writing a series is that you can really allow your characters to grow and develop.  You’ve more scope, without the boundaries of just a single novel.  Very often ideas spring from one story, which can nicely lead into the sequel, and so on.

I think it’s good to have some form of continuity.  When picking up a book from a sequel, it’s like reacquainting yourself with old friends and re-connecting.  Familiar places, events and characters give a sense of reassurance and help the reader settle into a pleasing read; because if you liked the first story, then chances are you’ll also enjoy the ones that follow.

I think it’s important though for each book to also read as a stand-alone in its own right.  As sequels aren’t always read in the right order, it could prove rather confusing and a touch disorientating if the story was relying on the reader to have read the previous books.  Very often readers aren’t even aware that a certain book is in fact part of a sequel, as reviews have proved.

It’s crucial to pitch the right amount of background knowledge.  Enough to fill in the reader, but not appear too repetitive.  Also, this enables the reader to want to read all the books in the series – they’ve grown attached to the characters and want to discover their own storylines.

The only downfall in writing a series is having to say goodbye to the characters when you’ve finally completed writing it.  I’ve just finished the last, ‘A Country Dilemma’ is the final book in the Treweham Hall series.  I’ll so miss Tobias Cavendish-Blake and the goings-on at Treweham Hall, not to mention slipping into The Templar for a glass of fizz and spying on the locals.  They’ve become real to me!

I’ve just started a new book, this time set in rural Lancashire where I’m from.  Hopefully, this will be the bedrock for a whole new series.

Sasha Morgan

Sasha lives in a rural, coastal village in Lancashire with her husband and Labrador dog. She has always written stories from a very young age and finds her fictional world so much more exciting than the real one

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Read my reviews of the other books in the series:

A Country Scandal (Formerly Scandal), A Country Rivalry

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel

The Christmas Holiday Sophie Claire 5* #Review @HodderBooks @SClaireWriter #Romance #Festive #Rural #Village #Provence #grief #secondchance #BookReview #Holiday

Can a trip away lead you home?

After a bad break-up, eternal optimist Evie Miller has moved to the small village of Willowbrook to finally pursue her dream of opening a craft shop. Unfortunately, with money worries and an ex-boyfriend determined to track her down, her fresh start isn’t going entirely to plan.

Jake Hartwood is also looking to escape his past. Haunted by the loss of his wife, he’s determined not to get close to anyone again – and the last thing he wants is to be celebrating this December.

Hoping to avoid the festivities, Evie and Jake arrange to escape Christmas together as friends in Provence. But will the magic of the season change things between them?

And what happens if one of them starts to feel something more?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Evie is an optimist, despite the lack of support from her parents, the tragedy she has suffered, and the abusive relationship she is still trying to escape. Jake has lost the love of his life and finds going on without her difficult. The village of Willowbrook gives Evie a chance of a new independent life, and Jake the chance to hide away until he feels strong enough to carry on. The only problem is Christmas, which brings back painful memories for both.

Evie and Jake’s relationship has a less than auspicious start, but a friendship builds out of their mutual suffering, and escaping together for Christmas offers a solution to both their problems, but is friendship what they want? Or is a holiday romance inevitable?

Heartwarming romance and emotional conflict with a festive twist, set in a lovely English village, and fabulous Provence. The intensity of grief and loss is explored during Christmastime, sensitively, whilst keeping a positive, uplifting ethos. The characters are believable and individual and the settings bring the story to life. A lovely wintery story is written in an easy to read style by a consummate storyteller,

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Romance

Unwrapping The Innocent’s Secret Caitlin Crew 3* #Review @megancrane @MillsandBoon #Romance #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonModern #festive

Self-made billionaire Pascal Furlani prides himself on his rigid emotional control. So it infuriates him beyond measure that he can’t forget the forbidden passion he once shared with breathtakingly innocent Cecilia Reginald. This Christmas, he’s determined to shake off those memories…until they shockingly come face-to-face! Seeing Cecilia again blindsides Pascal, while their still-searing chemistry electrifies him. But her six-year-old secret? Will change their lives forever…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

There are parts of this romantic story that I like, and others that are less convincing.

What I like are the characters. A courageous woman who puts her child first, whatever the cost to herself. A tormented billionaire, with so much emotional baggage, his whole life is about overcoming his past, and getting back at his birth father. This is good for his career, and bank balance, but leaves him an emotionally barren man.

The concept of the secret heir is less believable and that makes what follows less enjoyable. The ending is lovely and gives the story a lovely festive, hopeful twist.

Posted in Book Review

Forever at Conwenna Cove – Darcie Boleyn – 4* Review

Following heartbreak, Zoe Russell found a haven in Conwenna Cove. As the owner of the village diner and a volunteer for the local greyhound sanctuary, she’s happy with her peaceful life.

Local surfer Nate Bryson plans to leave Conwenna and see the world. He wants to shake off his reputation as a ladies man and start again somewhere new. Before departing, Nate decides to raise funds for the dog rescue home as a way of giving back to the community.

When Nate approaches Zoe to help with the charity event she sees there’s more to him than meets the eye. Nate can’t believe he’s failed to notice the kind and beautiful woman right before him. But can two such different people ever be together, especially if one of them is determined to leave?

Amazon UK

Amazon

 

My Thoughts…

This book reads well as a standalone, even though there are previous books in the series, which I haven’t read. It’s a gentle-paced, romantic read, full of friendly characters and the setting’s beautiful imagery.

Zoe runs the local dinner at Conwenna Cove; she’s dedicated her life to it, since settling in the cove after a disastrous marriage. Unwilling to face any more rejection and low in self-esteem she is slow in making friends but does befriend a rescue greyhound who she gives all her love, only to lose her.
Nate escaped to the cove when his father died suddenly, working at his paternal uncle’s cafe he comes to terms with his grief and feels able to restart his life. Despite their, emotional baggage Nate and Zoe connect, but with one leaving and other scared to have her heartbroken is their love only a beautiful dream?

The plot is predictable, but the characters are authentic and make it worthwhile reading, with a beautifully written conclusion.

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