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, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

What Next? Shari Low 5*#Review @sharilow @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #WhatNext #selfdiscovery #Romance #Friendship #secrets #bucketlist #Marriage #Relationships #BlogTour #BookReview #romcom #boldwoodbloggers

Two weeks, four friends and one big bucket list of secrets to unravel…

Val Murray and her best friend, Josie had been planning a ‘Thelma and Louise’ bucket list style holiday.
Now Josie is gone, and Val needs to make the trip before it’s too late.
But Val doesn’t want to do it alone, so she enlists the help of her nieces, Carly and Carole, and their best pal, Jess, who jump at the chance to join Val on a trip of a lifetime.
What Val doesn’t realise is that Carly, Carole and Jess are all at turning points in their own lives, nursing crushing secrets, lies and betrayals.
Somewhere between Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York they all hit a crossroads and have to decide if they want to return to the lives they left behind or let Josie’s last wishes take them on a brand new adventure.

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

My Thoughts…

It’s clear from the heartwarming nature of this story that these characters are special to the author. I love the beautifully flawed quality of the characters that make them so relatable. Carly and her friends are off on a road trip with Aunty Val. This bucket list adventure has many surprises, but the strength of the friendship and familial connections are at its heart.

I love the characters, the often hilarious things that happen to them and the poignant moments that make it authentic. I enjoyed every moment, and I hope it won’t be their last adventure together.

Shari Low

Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 25 novels, including One Day In Summer and My One Month Marriage and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Friendship, Motivational, New Books

Dreamy Days and Random Naps Mawson 4*#Review @MawsonBear @OdysseyBooks #PictureBook #Lovebookstours #BlogTour #Motivational #BookReview @lovebookstours @igbooktours @KellyALacey #DreamyDaysandRandomNaps #MondayBlogs

Mawson Bear awakes and ponders on the art of creative napping. Scotland the Brave imagines doing great deeds. Professors Caddy and Bree hold the highest hopes for their visionary inventions. Samantha sees wondrous things all around her. The Seekers journey all the way to the edge of the world, being sure to return, of course, by bedtime.

Flop down and relax awhile with Mawson and his drowsy friends. Refresh the soul in the tranquillity of simple joys and innocent dreams.

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

#Mawson

My Thoughts…

Having read ‘She Ran Away’ by Mawson, I knew that this picture book would have messages and thoughts for adults and children. Mawson and his bear friends discuss the importance of dreams and napping. The photographs reflect the text and are lovely. Following your dreams, remaining hopeful and giving your mind a rest from everyday routine and problems are recurrent themes.

This book promotes mindfulness and is an excellent thought-provoking discussion tool for children and adults.

Mawson is a big-hearted, soul searching Writer-Bear. His little books are stuffed with moments of happiness for frazzled grownups. Ever since he can remember, Mawson has loved to sit atop a cushion and ponder about this baffling world he has found himself in. Friends approach him about their own dilemmas. They seek instant answers that will make everything all right. Mawson does he is best by pondering even more deeply. But he often falls asleep and wakes as baffled as ever.

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Why not slow down and relax a while with Mawson’s friends in their cosy, whimsical world. Refresh the soul in the tranquility of innocent hours and simple joys.

Read my review of She Ran Away From Love

Posted in Book Review, Motivational, New Books, Non-Fiction, Poetry

The How  Yrsa Daley-Ward 4*#Review @PenguinUKBooks #YrsaDaleyWard #TheHow #BookReview #Instagram @yrsadaleyward #MondayBlogs

A treasure trove of inspiration and an invitation for personal renewal from the acclaimed author of bone and The Terrible

We still dream though, don’t we? We are gifted with a way into ourselves, night after night after night.

Yrsa Daley-Ward’s words have resonated with hundreds of thousands of readers around the world: through her books of poetry and memoir bone and The Terrible, through her powerful writing for Beyoncé on Black Is King and through her always-illuminating Instagram posts.

In The How, Yrsa gently takes readers by the hand, encouraging them to join her as she explores how we can remove our filters, and see and feel more of who we really are behind the preconceived notions of propriety and manners we’ve accumulated with age. With a mix of short, lyrical musings, immersive poetry and intriguing meditations, The How can be used to start conversations, to prompt writing, to delve deeper – whether you’re on your own or with friends, on your feet or writing from the solace of home.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Original personal thoughts give the reader a chance to share the author’s ideas for a healthy self. Written in a mix of exercises, ideas, and personal experiences, the book explores life’s challenges and how to attain your best self. There is an underlying honesty that is refreshing. The author doesn’t profess to have the solutions but suggests they are within each of us if we take the time to look.

There is an absorbing balance of lyrical musings and notes that keep the reader engaged. I particularly like the idea that dreams are important for happiness, and imagining what you want to be in as many details as possible brings it closer to fruition.

This book can be enjoyed on many levels and has a wide reader appeal.

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

The Cosy Cottage in Ireland Julie Caplin 5*#Review @JulieCaplin @0neMoreChapter_ #RomanticEscapes @rararesources #Ireland #CookerySchool #CelebrityChef #lawyer #Romance #Travel #HolidayRomance #TheCosyCottageinIreland #BlogTour #BookReview @Juleswake

Snuggle up in your favourite armchair and take a trip across the Irish sea for comfort food, cosy cottage nights and a heartwarming romance…

Talented lawyer Hannah Campbell is after a change in her workaholic Manchester life – so on an uncharacteristic whim she books herself a place at the world-renowned Killorgally Cookery School in Country Kerry. But on her first night in Ireland, sampling the delights of Dublin, Hannah can’t resist falling for the charms of handsome stranger Conor. It’s only when Hannah arrives at her postcard-pretty home at Killorgally for the next six weeks that she discovers what happens in Dublin doesn’t quite stay in Dublin …

Nestled amongst rolling green hills and breath-taking countryside, the cookery school throws Hannah and Conor together – for better or worse.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Dublin is brought to life in an atmospheric and visual way in the first few pages of this story. Hannah and Conor’s first meeting is full of humour and simmering passion. When this becomes something more, it seems like a natural progression even though it is out of character for Hannah.

There’s a well-described rural setting for the cookery school, with an eclectic mix of course attendees reminiscent of Bake-Off. that add variety with their believable dynamic. The romance has obvious chemistry but is conflicted as Conor has secrets, Hannah is so attracted to him, but she doesn’t want to be just another conquest. The story even has an intriguing mystery.

Gentle romance, humour and vibrant characters make this an engaging, romantic escape.

Julie Caplin

Julie Caplin, formerly a PR director, swanned around Europe for many years taking top food and drink writers on press trips (junkets) sampling the gastronomic delights of various cities in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Copenhagen and Switzerland. It was a tough job but someone had to do it. 

These trips have provided the inspiration and settings for her Romantic Escapes series which have been translated into fifteen different languages.

The first book in the eight strong series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Will They, Won’t They? Portia MacIntosh 5*#Review @PortiaMacIntosh @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #RomCom #BookReview #BlogTour #WillTheyWontThey #Family #festive

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The opening chapter gets the reader’s attention in this story of relationships and self-discovery. Emmy is a believably flawed protagonist who learns what matters to her when she returns to her home town amid sadness and scandal. The shallowness of celebrity status and the intrusiveness of social media are explored. The story is set in the prelude to Christmas with the focus on a local pantomime. This book showcases quintessentially British humour, which I loved balanced with moments of poignancy. The romance is secondary to the family drama and Emmy’s self-realisation journey.

The characters are varied and relatable, and the festive setting gives the story an extra sparkle.

Portia MacIntosh

Portia MacIntosh is a bestselling romantic comedy author of 16 novels, including The Plus One Pact and My Great Ex-Scape. Previously a music journalist, Portia writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real-life experiences.

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

The Little Blue Door Francesca Catlow 4*#Review @FrancescaCatlow @SilverWoodBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #TheLittleBlueDoor #CorfuwithCatlow #SelfDiscovery #Loss #Love #Romance #Friendship #Family #Travel

In the post-pandemic world Melodie feels lost and alone, desperate to find something to remind her of her previous life. She sets out on a trip to Corfu to reconnect with happier times, only to be haunted by memories and events from the past. While travelling Melodie meets an intriguing and handsome man who has the potential to change her future. However, will the young girl from the plane with piercing green eyes be the one to open the door to Melodie’s fate?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a story of contrasts. It is emotional, filled with knowledgeable descriptions and immerses the reader in life on Corfu. I’ve read many stories about this island, but the contemporary edge and originality make this a little different. It’s Melodie’s story of returning to Corfu in the aftermath of the global pandemic we are currently living through.

The warmth of her Greek friends, their way of life, and her memories allow her to heal and look to the future as she experiences a heartfelt journey of self-discovery. There is a slow-burn romance with themes of friendship and family drama.

It’s an exploration of modern life with a vivid setting and well-crafted characters and relationships.

Francesca Catlow

Francesca Catlow loves to travel. Born and raised in the heart of Suffolk, Catlow has travelled extensively in Europe with her French husband and, more recently, their two young children. Of all the places she’s been it is the Greek islands that have captured her heart. She visits as often as family commitments allow.

She has previously written plays alongside being a lyricist and performer. This book is the first in a series.

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

What Now? Shari Low 5*#Review @sharilow @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #WhatNow #selfdiscovery #Romance #Friendship #Marriage #Relationships #BlogTour #BookReview #romcom

The follow-up sequel to the bestselling ‘What If?’ from Shari Low


Twenty years ago, Carly Cooper went on an epic quest to track down all the men she’d ever loved and lost in the hope that one of them was her Mr Right.

Now, two decades and two teenage sons later, she thinks she might have got it all wrong.

As the years have passed, lots of things have changed, leaving Carly asking ‘What Now?’

With a divorce and an empty nest on the horizon, Carly sets off once more to Los Angeles with her band of trusty girlfriends, to find the carefree, wild and adventurous Carly Cooper that she used to be.

On this latest quest, Carly discovers a few home truths and has to decide If her marriage is worth saving or is there a new happy-ever-after out there, just waiting for her…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

What Now? is the sequel to What If? the story that began it all. It is feisty, fresh and funny with standout characters, emotion and relatability. Carly’s life after almost twenty years isn’t quite what she imagined. Her sons are everything she wanted, but her marriage is over after years of making do. Her vulnerability is undeniable when Mark her soon to be ex-husband arranges to take the boys away on the family holiday they always promised themselves.

Carly’s caring friends organise a trip to LA to stop make her realise that proves to be a revelation and forces her to confront past decisions. There is so much to love in this story, especially the friendships, the laughter and the romance.

A lovely escapist read full of emotion and laugh out loud moments.

Shari Low

Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 25 novels, including One Day In Summer and My One Month Marriage and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Guest post, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, Mystery, New Books

Just Bea Deborah Klee #GuestPost @DeborahKlee @rararesources #homeless #uplit #selfdiscovery #mystery #BlogTour

Sometimes you have to stop trying to be like everyone else and just be yourself.

Bea Stevens and Ryan O Marley are in danger of falling through the cracks of their own lives; the only difference between them is that Bea doesn’t know it yet.

When her world is shaken like a snow-globe, Bea has to do what she does best; adapt. Homeless man Ryan is the key to unlocking the mystery of her friend Declan’s disappearance but can she and Ryan trust one another enough to work together? 

As the pieces of her life settle in new and unexpected places, like the first fall of snow, Bea must make a choice: does she try to salvage who she was or embrace who she might become?

Just Bea takes the reader on a heart-warming journey from the glamour of a West End store to the harsh reality of life on the streets and reminds us all that home really is where the heart is.

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Just Bea -Homelessness Guest Post Deborah Klee

I was inspired to write Just Bea as there were two occasions when women I knew said that they were tempted to offer a temporary home to a homeless man. The first was a single woman whose two children had left home for university. She came across a young man, a similar age to her absent son, who was living in a tent. It was winter and her heart went out to him. She seriously considered offering him a home rent free, until her children talked her out of it as they didn’t want their mother putting herself at risk.

Several years later a gentle, caring woman who lived in my village told me about a homeless man who had been sleeping rough in our neighbourhood. This was an unusual occurrence in our little community. This woman befriended the man, buying him food and giving him books to read. As she came to know him better, she was tempted to offer him a room in her house. Again, friends and family advised her not to do so as they felt it was unsafe.

I can understand how a compassionate woman might be persuaded to invite a homeless man into her home. Bea Stevens, the protagonist in my story has more reason than most: Ryan, the homeless man, is known and trusted by her friend Declan, Bea has had too much to drink at the office party and so her judgement is impaired, she spilt hot chocolate over Ryan’s sleeping bag, and it is snowing heavily.

‘Why don’t you sleep in my spare bedroom tonight?’ Bea blurted out and immediately regretted it. She didn’t know anything about him. But he was a close friend of Declan, and she owed it to Declan. It was too cold for Ryan to sleep outside.

            Ryan looked as though he too was surprised by her suggestion. ‘Because you’re a single girl. A slightly inebriated single girl. I’ve got a little sister, about your age. I would be telling her not to let a strange man into her home on any account – no matter what the circumstances.’

            But he’s not a stranger, Bea thought, and then she decided if Declan trusted him, then so could she. ‘Please. It would make me feel better about spilling hot chocolate on your sleeping bag. I could pop it in my washing machine and it’ll be dry by the morning.’

            ‘I’m not sure. This’ll be the booze a talking. You’ll wake up, forget you invited me in, and scream blue murder.’

            They looked at each other, each weighing up the risks. The snow whirled in the light of a street lamp and Ryan pulled his jacket closer around him. ‘I’d better be off. This isn’t going to let up.’

            ‘That settles it,’ Bea said. ‘Come inside before we both freeze to death.’

One day when I was walking across London Bridge on my way to work, I noticed a young Mediterranean looking man huddled in a blanket. I looked closely at his face and imagined him as a tour guide, a gondolier on a Venice canal, anything but a homeless man. He could have been anything. Anyone. He mattered. At that time, I was too shy to talk to him. Further along the bridge I noticed a woman ask another homeless man whether he would like a tea or coffee. I chased after the woman and asked her whether her offer was welcomed by homeless people or refused. She assured me that it was always appreciated. From that day on, I have always offered to buy a drink and sometimes food for the people I meet who are living on the street. It has also helped me in my research. One man told me that by listening to him I had given him all that he needed.

Everyone who becomes homeless has a story. It is easy to fall through the gaps as Bea and Ryan discovered in Just Bea.

Deborah Klee

Deborah has worked as an occupational therapist, a health service manager, a freelance journalist, and management consultant in health and social care.

Her protagonists are often people who exist on the edges of society. Despite the very real, but dark, subject matter her stories are uplifting, combining pathos with humour. They are about self-discovery and the power of friendships and community.

Just Bea is her second novel. Her debut The Borrowed Boy was published last year.

Deborah lives on the Essex coast. When she is not writing she combines her love of baking with trying to burn off the extra calories.

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

Villa of Sun and Secrets Jennifer Bohnet 5* #Review @jenniewriter @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodblogtour #multigenerational #familydrama #SouthofFrance #audiobook #VillaofSunandSecrets @rararesources

It’s never too late to live the dream…

Carla Sullivan’s 50th birthday is fast approaching when her whole world is turned upside down. Discovering her feckless husband is having yet another affair and following her mother’s death, she is in need of an escape. Finding an envelope addressed to her mother’s estranged sister Josette in the South of France gives Carla the perfect plan.

Seizing the moment, she packs her bags and heads to Antibes to seek out the enigma known as Tante Josette. But as the two women begin to forge a tentative relationship, family secrets start to unravel, forcing Carla to question her life as she has always known it.

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I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I read the digital book in 2019. The audiobook edition brings the characters to life in an engaging way. Carla’s character is easy to empathise, as she comes to terms with her family’s secrets. The narrator differentiates between the different characters and genres believably. This story is easy to listen to and perfect to escape with.

The author’s knowledge and love of France come through clearly in this story. The setting is vivid, beautiful, and sometimes in sharp contrast to the revelations at the villa.

This is a multi-generational family drama. Carla’s life isn’t easy, an unfaithful husband, looking after her sick mother, and an empty nest, something needs to change. Uncharacteristically she takes an opportunity to visit Antibes and her estranged aunt.

Forgiveness, love, relationships and secrets, are interwoven into this engaging story. It’s a chance to see an ending as a new beginning. The issues explored are emotionally draining, but the outcome is hopeful and makes the angst worthwhile.

The characters are flawed, sometimes they lack the courage to take the first step to something better, but they are easy to empathise and believable. The setting is a lovely contrast to the drama and emotions, and the story’s ending is heartwarming.

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women’s fiction titles, 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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