Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Giveaway, Humour, New Books

The Spa Break Caroline James 4*#Review @CarolineJames12 @0neMoreChapter_ #Friendship #SecondChances #Heartwarming #age #women #selfdiscovery #humour #uplit #ContemporaryFiction #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources #TheSpaBreak #giveaway

A weekend at the spa will leave four old friends with a whole lot more than they’d bargained for…

The glossy brochure promised a serene experience of total tranquillity and rejuvenation, but what best friends Bridgette, Emily, Serena and Marjory get is a weekend that upends their lives!

There for a girls’ weekend to celebrate Bridgette’s impending seventieth birthday, the spa soon has these spicy sexagenarians realising that there are unexpected benefits to age and experience and that over the hill certainly doesn’t mean out of the game…in any respect…

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I received a copy of this book from the author.

My Thoughts…

Four friends go on a weekend spa break to celebrate a birthday; all are older and feel their lives are not what they want them to be. The spa setting is full of colourful characters and new experiences, which help the four friends to find themselves again and move on positively.
The women are believable characters that the reader cares about, brought to life with detailed backstories and their spa experiences. The humour is plentiful, with pertinent, poignant moments that resonate. It’s escapist and uplifting.

CAROLINE JAMES

Best-selling author of women’s fiction, Caroline James, has owned and run businesses encompassing all aspects of the hospitality industry, a subject that often features in her novels. She is based in the UK but escapes whenever lockdown allows. A public speaker, which has included talks and lectures on cruise ships worldwide, Caroline is also a consultant and food writer. Caroline writes articles and runs writing workshops, is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association, the Society of Women’s Writer & Journalists and the Society of Authors. In her spare time, Caroline can be found walking with Fred, her Westie and in summer, wild water swimming. In winter, when not working, she relaxes with her head in a book and hand in a box of chocolates.

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Giveaway to Win a Fred the Westie soft toy and a personalised box of chocolates (UK Only)

Click on the giveaway link to enter.

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

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

The Village of Happy Ever Afters Alison Sherlock 5*#Review @AlisonSherlock @BoldwoodBooks #RiversideLane #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #Rural #Community #SecondChances #Village #Friendship #Cotswolds #Dreams #bookandtonic #TheVillageHappyEverAfters

Molly Hopkins has happily watched all of her friends’ dreams come true on Riverside Lane.

Deciding to follow her passion for baking, Molly with the help of her friends takes the plunge and opens a Tea Garden in the village hoping to make it a summer to remember!

Meanwhile, after a rather public end of his marriage, Logan Armstrong trusts no one but his beloved Grandad. He just wants his brief stay in Cranbridge to be as quiet as possible. But his Grandad has other ideas; he dreams of seeing the old watermill working again which might just mean Logan has to ask the village for help.

Can Molly finally overcome her lack of confidence and believe in her abilities to make the tea garden a success?

Will Logan discover that Molly might just be the one to mend his broken heart? And will both of them realise that life is for living and loving?

Over a long hot summer in Cranbridge, perhaps everyone’s dreams of a happy ever after can finally come true.

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I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Molly is everyone’s friend but sometimes feels she is too willing to help others. Logan is in the village to heal after a relationship breakup. Staying with his grandad seems the perfect place to hide. Molly’s friends persuade her to open a tea garden. As she works with her friends and Logan to realise her dream, she realises that she is valued and others will help her if she asks. Logan is not looking for love, but his friendship with Molly is rewarding, and there’s a possibility of more if he can learn to trust again.

I enjoyed the sense of community this story offers with the relatable characters and the character development of Molly. The gentle romance between Molly and Logan is lovely, and meeting characters from previous books makes this an uplifting read.

Alison Sherlock

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village, and book one The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts was published in July 2020 and book two The Village of Lost and Found in March 2021. The Village Inn of Secret Dreams in September 2021.

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

Villa of Second Chances Jennifer Bohnet 5*#Review @jenniewriter @BoldwoodBooks #Friendship #Life #Family #SecondChances #Wedding #Love #FrenchRivera #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #VillaofSecondChances

Everyone deserves a second chance…right?

Escape to the Villa in the South of France with Top 10 international bestseller Jennifer Bohnet, for an uplifting story of family, love and second chances.

Run by sisters Rebecca and Delphine, Villa Sesame is a popular venue for small intimate weddings on the sparkling French Riviera. Beautiful terraces and a horizon pool all over look the Mediterranean setting the scene to make memorable days and dreams come true.
When recently widowed Delphine unexpectedly announces her desire to retire and live a different life, Rebecca feels her own life could be slipping into free fall.
How can she possibly carry on with the business without her sister at her side? Could this be the beginning of the end for Villa Sésame and Rebecca’s life as she knows it?
As the guests gather for the June wedding of Freya and Marcus, Freya’s two childhood friends bring their own problems to the villa and cousin Verity has her own agenda.
But it’s the arrival of a certain guest who throws Rebecca’s whole world into turmoil and she finds herself asking the question, where do I go from here?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The Villa of Second Chances is a heartwarming tale of new beginnings. I like that the female protagonists are older with a life full of experiences. Freya and Marcus hold their second marriage at the Villa, owned and run by two sisters, Rebecca and Delphine. It is a time of change for the sisters. Freya’s two childhood friends from Dartmouth are attending the wedding, one newly bereaved.

Long-held grudges and secrets and the renewal of old acquaintances make this an absorbing story full of poignant moments. Believable characters have unexpected connections that reveal themselves as the story progresses, making it a satisfying read.

The settings are vibrant and add to the story’s uplifting quality.

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of 16 novels, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

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

Starting Over at Primrose Woods Jill Steeples 4*#Review @jillesteeples @BoldwoodBooks #BoldwoodBloggers #Uplit #Friendship #SecondChances #BlogTour @rararesources #BookReview #StartingOveratPrimroseWoods

Abbey Carter should be feeling on top of the world. 

She has the home of her dreams – a picturesque cottage just walking distance from her beloved Primrose Woods. She has a job she loves, great friends, and most exciting of all – a wedding dress hanging in her wardrobe ready to be worn.  So why does she feel so lonely… 

Lizzie Baker loves her job at the Treetops café in Primrose Woods, and she loves being a grandmother even more. If only she could face her fear of flying and see her granddaughter in person rather than on a screen.

Rhianna West is head over heels for her boyfriend Jay. She just wishes he could see her more regularly. His excuses are starting to wear thin, and Rhi’s dreams for the future are beginning to fade.

Can the fun and friendships, the picture-perfect scenery and rolling seasons in Primrose Woods help the women find the happy endings they deserve? After all, anything is possible if you dare to dream…

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

My Thoughts…

This story features three women, drawn together in friendship living in the idyllic Primrose Woods. The importance of friendship, second chances and finding the courage to overcome your fears are themes explored in this emotional story. I like the three women, and their friendship dynamic is believable. The characterisation is relatable, as are the conflicts the women face. Its vibrant characters and good use of vivid sensory imagery make this an engaging read.

Jill Steeples

Jill Steeples is the author of many successful women’s fiction titles – most recently the Dog and Duck series – all set in the close communities of picturesque English villages. She lives in Bedfordshire.

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Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

The Single Dad’s Christmas Proposal Ella Hayes 5* Review @EllaHayesAuthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #MillsandBoonInsiders #Romance #festive #parenting #relationships #Chamonix #Paris #Christmas #MillsandBoonTrueLove #HarlequinRomance #TheSingleDadsChristmasProposal

A life-changing winter escape!

Extreme snowboarder Dax is no stranger to a challenge. Still, nothing could have prepared him for his greatest challenge yet: fatherhood! Six-year-old Yann was kept a secret by his late mother. Now Dax is determined to make up for lost time. But with a work commitment in Chamonix, he needs a step-in nanny…Will Simone say yes to Dax—and a Christmas to remember?

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

My Thoughts…

Dax is an extreme snowboarder with a tragic past and a six-year-old son he has just met. Single mother Simone has an understanding of what Dax is experiencing. Their children are friends. Dax needs someone to take care of his son at Christmas in Chamonix. Is Simone willing to be that person?

The Parisian setting for the couple’s first meeting is atmospheric and magical, drawing the reader into the story’s festive ambience. Their first meeting sparks an attraction even though they don’t initially realise the significance of it. Simone and Dax are lovely characters who have to overcome their emotional barriers to find happiness. The romance is gentle, and the conflicts, to their being together, authentic.

This story has everything you want in a festive romance, characters you believe in, heartwarming emotion and a happy conclusion.

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

The Village Inn of Secret Dreams Alison Sherlock 5*#Review @AlisonSherlock @BoldwoodBooks #RiversideLane #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #Rural #Community #SecondChances #Village #Friendship #Cotswolds #Dreams @bookandtonic #TheVillageInnofSecretDreams

Brand NEW from the bestselling author of The Village Shop For Lonely Hearts.

After escaping her parents’ unhappy marriage to sleepy Cranbridge a long time ago, Belle Clarke dreams of staying at The Black Swan Inn forever.

But with the rundown Inn threatened with closure, Belle may be forced to leave, unless a buyer can be found … quickly.

So, when her oldest friend Pete Kennedy returns from working abroad with a plan to save the Inn, Belle should be overjoyed. The trouble is, Pete has some rather radical ideas for the renovation which Belle disagrees with.

But when a snow storm hits, Belle and Pete are forced to put aside their differences and work together to help the village.

Can Belle realise her dreams to stay in Cranbridge and can Pete ever stop running from his past?

As they try to save The Black Swan Inn, secrets are revealed and just maybe they’ll finally find out how they really feel about each other.

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

My Thoughts…

Belle and Pete are the main focus of book three in the Riverside Lane series. Belle is in danger of losing her home, and Pete returns to the village after years away and becomes the unlikely saviour of the pub and Belle, but his offer seems to lead to more conflict. Pete is Belle’s friend, but their relationship dynamic suggests they are more than this. They don’t see themselves as a couple, but their family, friends and the wider community do.

This is a romantic story with realistic conflict and humour. Likeably flawed main protagonists and the supporting characters give the village authenticity. Like the other books in the series, it explores contemporary issues through the characters in an insightful way.

This uplifting story weaves community spirit, friendship and romance into its idyllic but lifelike village setting.

Alison Sherlock

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village and book one The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts was published in July 2020 and book two The Village of Lost and Found in March 2021.

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

Starlight Cottage K.T.Dady 4*#Review #PepperBay @kt_dady @rararesources #IsleofWight #Friendship #family #Romance #secondchances #community #BlogTour #BookReview #StarlightCottage #mentalhealth

Welcome to Pepper Bay. A small close-knit community where you’ll find chocolate box cottages, quaint shops, drama, friendship, and love.

Snuggle down with this cosy, feel-good, comfort read that whisks you away to a beautiful bay on the Isle of Wight.

The Pepper Bay books are standalone stories that intertwine with recurring characters.

Starlight Cottage – Anna Cooper and Jake Reynolds both live at the luxury London building, River Heights. The only difference is that Jake lives in the penthouse, and Anna lives in a tent on the roof.

When Jake finds out, he offers Anna a chance of a new life in his grandmother’s childhood home in Pepper Bay, and she decides to take the opportunity to see if she really can make a fresh start somewhere else.

The beauty of Pepper Bay, with its quaint shops, chocolate box cottages, and all of Jake’s closest friends, immediately fills Anna’s heart with nothing but love, and it isn’t just Starlight Cottage that she finds herself falling in love with.

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

My Thoughts…

The first meeting between Anna and Jake isn’t promising, but it introduces the characters succinctly and adds some lovely touches of humour and poignancy. Max the dog is a lovely character, the perfect friend, and matchmaker. Pepper Bay proves to be their salvation, with its caring, kindly intrusive community and coastal beauty. Both characters have emotional journeys to travel to reach their happy place, and the reader is immersed in their story and wants them to get there.

This is a gentle romance with believable characters that is an engaging read.

Author, reader, mum, chocolate lover, and a huge fan of a HEA. I was born and raised in the East End of London, and I’ve been happily writing stories since I was a little girl. When I’m not writing, I’m baking cakes or pottering around in my little garden in Essex, trying not to kill the flowers. I’m the author of contemporary romance, middle-grade, and the thought-provoking thriller about mental illness, The Focus Program.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

Meet Me in Tahiti Georgia Toffolo 4*#Review @ToffTalks @MillsandBoon #Romance #SecondChances #memories #Tahiti #BookReview #MeetMeinTahiti #MeetMe #MillsandBoonInsiders @AvrilTremayne

Where there’s always a second chance at first love…

Zoe has spent her life facing battles: fighting her parents for independence, struggling with her feelings for local bad boy Finn and, after a car accident at eighteen, adjusting to the fact she would not walk again. She remained strong until the day Finn, the person she thought she could trust, broke her heart… Now a successful travel writer, Zoe is excited to review a new luxury hotel in the beautiful South Pacific – until she meets its owner…

Finn was never good enough for Zoe. He knew it. Zoe’s family knew it. The village of Hawkes Cove made sure he knew it. Proven when he let her down in the worst way possible. Now a successful businessman, he thought his past was behind him, until a journalist turns up to review his new resort…

As Finn shows Zoe the exotic wonders of the islands both face the fact their shared past might just be the beginning of a future. But only if Zoe can win the biggest battle of her life…facing up to her heart’s desire.

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

My Thoughts…

Set in romantic Tahiti, Zoe and Finn meet again after twelve years and find that the attraction still burns brightly between them but are they brave enough to overcome past differences? Zoe is a travel writer who explores holiday resorts to discover their accessibility. Zoe’s story is a journey of self-discovery, coming to terms with her past and taking a second chance at love with Finn. The story features Victoria, Lily and Malie and is told from Zoe and Finn’s viewpoints.

The setting is well described, and the friendship dynamic between the women is pivotal to the story and well written. This is an enjoyable chapter in the Meet Me series, humorous, poignant and romantic.

Read my review of Meet Me in London

Read my review of Meet Me in Hawaii

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

A Family Affair Julie Houston 5* #Review @JulieHouston2 @Hoz_Books @Aria_Fiction #Family #Friendship #Romance #SecondChance

Joining the family business was never going to be easy…

Frankie Piccione is done running away from her responsibilities, well for now anyway. Having escaped Westenbury after suffering a shattered heart, it’s time to take up her place on the family board. Piccione’s Pickles and Preserves needs Frankie. Frankie knows she can make the business work. But with her brother Luca and the new, rather attractive, Cameron Mancini watching her every move, she’s going to have to come up with something special to get them off her back and recognising she belongs on the board just as much as they do.

With the help of her Aunt Pam and best friend, Daisy, Frankie is thriving with her new sense of purpose. Until someone from her past walks right back into it…

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

My Thoughts…

This story took me a little longer to get into than the previous books about Westenbury, but it’s emotional, insightful and wonderfully romantic. When I finished, it was one of my favourite books in the series.

Frankie returns to the family business after two years away. Her motivations for leaving are understandable and easy to empathise with. Pam sees Frankie as her second daughter. Pam’s story takes place in the 1970s. The seventies are well-described, especially the differences in attitudes and prejudices in comparison with the present day.

The characters are relatable, and the pacing keeps the reader engaged. This is a family centred story with pertinent social history and two believable and satisfying love stories.

Julie Houston

Julie lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire where her novels are set, and her only claims to fame are that she teaches part-time at ‘Bridget Jones’ author Helen Fielding’s old junior school and her neighbour is ‘Chocolat’ author, Joanne Harris. After University, where she studied Education and English Literature, she taught for many years as a junior school teacher. As a newly qualified teacher, broke and paying off her first mortgage, she would spend every long summer holiday working on different Kibbutzim in Israel. After teaching for a few years she decided to go to New Zealand to work and taught in Auckland for a year before coming back to this country. She now teaches just two days a week, and still loves the buzz of teaching junior-aged children. She has been a magistrate for the past nineteen years, and, when not distracted by Ebay, Twitter and Ancestry, spends much of her time writing. Julie is married, has a twenty-four-year-old son and twenty-one-year-old daughter and a ridiculous Cockerpoo called Lincoln. She runs and swims because she’s been told it’s good for her, but would really prefer a glass of wine, a sun lounger and a jolly good book – preferably with Matthew Mcconaughay in attendance.

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Guest Post: The inspiration behind the Family Affair – Julie Houston

It was the evening before the very first lockdown back in March last year and I was getting desperate. I’d stared at a blank screen for several days but nothing was forthcoming. I knew I had a good eight months to write this novel – my ninth for Aria Head of Zeus – but to be absolutely honest I really didn’t have a clue what direction this new story would take.
And then, a seed, a little germ of hope and inspiration was planted: why wasn’t I using my own Italian heritage as a basis for the story? I knew then that I was going to write Frankie Piccione’s story.
My own grandmother was born Madeleine Scaramuzza and was the daughter of Antonio who’d left Naples to find work in the woollen mills here in Yorkshire. In my home town there are many Italian and Sicilian families and those I’m friendly with are wonderfully warm and extremely sociable as well as great cooks and hosts! I immediately headed down to my Sicilian friends, Joe and Luanda and, armed with notebook and pen, almost drafted the first plan there and then. They told me of wonderful Sicilian food, but especially the crema limon (lemon curd) that Frankie would eventually take on in the quest for manufacturing the best preserve at her Nonno Angelo’s factory. They gave me insights into Italian families and sayings, including the lyrical “bedda mia” – my beautiful one – that Joe’s mum uses all the time when greeting her family.

I’ve loved writing this story. I wanted to embrace the idea of economic migrants coming from different parts of the world – India and Italy – and how they worked hard to establish themselves in the north of England: Frankie’s grandfather, Nonno Angelo, with his pickles and preserves company and Daler’s Indian grandfather with his sandal factory. Both had to overcome prejudice, but fought against the odds to do exceptionally well in their chosen industries. I wanted to show how Pam, introducing a bit of seventies nostalgia, found herself part of the Piccione family at the age of just sixteen, and the prejudices she also had to fight against from her stand as a woman in a company dominated by men at the top.

But mainly, I just loved writing two parallel love stories – Frankie’s and Pam’s – one starting in the seventies and one just two years earlier, but both coming together and bang up to date by the end of the book. I fell a little bit in love with both Rob and Daler. I hope the reader will too!

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

A Summer of Second Chances Carol Thomas 4*#Review @carol_thomas2 @ChocLituk @rararesources #SecondChance #Summer #Romance #Friendship #Humour #RomCom #BlogTour #BookReview #BankHolidayWeekend #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation #ASummerofSecondChances

Does first love deserve a second chance?

Ava Flynn sometimes feels like the clothes donated to her charity shop have seen more life than her, but ‘maximum dedication for a minimal wage’ is what it takes to keep her mother’s beloved wildlife charity, All Critters Great and Small, running – especially in the village of Dapplebury, where business is certainly not booming.


But when Ava’s first love, Henry Bramlington, returns to the village, suddenly life becomes a little too eventful. Henry escaped Dapplebury many years before, but now he has the power to make or break the village he left behind – All Critters Great and Small included. Can Ava trust the boy who ran away to give both her and her charity a second chance?

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I received a copy of this book from Choc Lit in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a charming and heartwarming story about second chances and village life.

Ava runs the charity shop in the village of Dapplebury, forsaking her true vocation. The village needs rejuvenation, but at what cost to its heritage and the surrounding wildlife? Henry returns to the village after years away and history with Ava. He has the power to change the village but will this be a good thing?

The romance is gentle and fraught with conflict. The village characters are relatable, and there is a believable village vibe. The plot has humour, mystery and surprises. The animal characters are the stars.

A lovely summery story full of community spirit, friendship and love.

Carol Thomas

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively Labrador. She has been a primary school teacher for over twenty years and has a passion for reading, writing and people watching. When she is not in school, chasing after her children, or stopping her dog from eating things he shouldn’t, she can be found loitering in cafes drinking too much tea and working on her next book.

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