Posted in Book Review

The French Adventure – Lucy Coleman 5* Review

 

Suddenly unemployed and single, Anna escapes to her parents’ beautiful house in France for a much-needed recharge – and to work out what she wants to do next with her life now her carefully mapped out plan has gone out the window.

Anna gives herself 6 months to recuperate, all the while helping renovate her parents’ adjoining gites into picturesque B&Bs. But working alongside the ruggedly handsome Sam on the renovation project, she didn’t expect for life to take an unexpected, if not unwelcome, twist…

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My Thoughts…

The setting for this story makes it special from the beginning. Anna is at a crossroads in her life, she has a plan and thought it was working out but soon discovers it isn’t. Arriving at her parents’ French B&B gives her chance to heal from her toxic relationship and plan her next move. Anna’s journey is more than a hop over the channel, it brings her into contact with Sam, her polar opposite, he doesn’t plan and doesn’t see the need to finish everything he starts,  yet they manage to work together renovating two smaller properties on their parent’s estate. There are lots of renovating tips as the story progresses, which increase the story’s visual impact, very useful also if you want to do any house renovation. 🙂

Sam has a tragic secret, which blights his life,  his attitude frustrates Anna, but she can’t help but like him, maybe because of their differences. There’s a mystery to solve and some lovely characters to meet, and there’s Karl, Anna’s ex-boyfriend who won’t leave her alone, but is this more about saving face than a broken heart? Anna’s journey of self-discovery is at a realistic, gentle pace but the setting combined with the possibility of romance and the mystery Anna and Sam have to solve makes this an easy to read, page-turner, with a believable outcome.

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

Here’s an extract from The French Adventure…

‘Karl sidles up to me. Nestling his body up against my back, he wraps his arms around my waist to give me a hug. I continue to unwrap a few cheeses and lay them out on a platter, laughing as he buries his head in my hair. We always come back to my place after a night out. He lives like a bachelor, and his fridge is never stocked.

‘You’re very quiet tonight, Anna. Anything I should be worried about?’

I tried to join in with the spirit of the film, but with my head filled with so many conflicting emotions, it was hard to concentrate. I’m on the brink of challenging him about our situation and telling him how unhappy I am with the way things are. Tonight, all I could think about was how I would begin that conversation. But there’s an underlying problem. Assuming that Karl immediately wants to do the right thing and make me happy, rather than risk losing me, what if I don’t suddenly feel my life is complete, after all?

What if things don’t fall nicely into place? It’s like I have this disconnect. I want to love him; I want this to be right. However, I can’t engage until he’s proven beyond any doubt whatsoever that he loves me. Only then will I truly know how I feel and hopefully be able to say that back to him.

‘I’m… tired. That’s all.’

‘Hey,’ he turns me round so he can stare into my eyes. I have a cheese knife in one hand and a piece of kitchen towel in the other. ‘I don’t like to think of my girl overdoing it. If you need to take some time off the boss is saying yes.’

When he looks down at me with that look on his face, it’s a different Karl I see. There is a vulnerable streak there, a softness to him that never shows at work.

‘I’ll be fine. It’s only that… sometimes I’m not sure what the future holds.’

Damn it, Anna, why do you have to soften it? Ask him outright! Or are you scared you won’t get the answer you think you want?

‘The future is bright, I can promise you that. We’re going to be trailblazers, Anna. You’re going to love being driven around in a Porsche and taken to the best restaurants. And it’s not just my success we’re talking about here, Anna, we’re a team. Your parents are going to be very proud of their daughter’s achievements.’

I stare back at him, trying hard to hide my bitter disappointment.

‘I just want to be happy, Karl, and have a good work/life balance. Work is only a part of it.’

He looks at me and emits a slow sigh.

‘I see this as a start, and my aspirations go way beyond that. I don’t want a mediocre life, I want it all – for us. One day I’m going to run my own company and prove to my father I have what it takes.’

I met Karl’s parents once, and that was enough. I felt uncomfortable in their company as if I wasn’t good enough for their son. Which was bad enough, but the way his father treated him was appalling. He kept asking questions and challenging every single little thing. I knew Karl was embarrassed and we hardly spoke a word on the journey back home.

‘Money and material things don’t necessarily bring happiness, Karl.’ I catch his eye, even though I can see he doesn’t want to listen.’

Lucy lives in the Forest of Dean in the UK with her lovely husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy. Her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Lucy won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.

Posted in Book Review

4* Review: More – Keren Hughes

More  eBook

Poppy - Blurb

Drake Anderson is all the man Annalise Duncan ever wanted…

Annalise has it all. The perfect husband. The perfect son. The perfect life. After the father of her son Ayden abandoned her to be a single parent, she finally felt like she hit the romance jackpot. Her boss, Drake Anderson, turned out to be more than just a friend. He’s the love of her life, and an amazing stepfather to her son.

But the picture perfect marriage is merely an illusion…

After seven wonderful years, Drake leaves. He doesn’t give her a reason, or even the courtesy of a return phone call. Six months go by without even a single acknowledgement. Annalise is devastated. Her heart and soul belonged to Drake, and he was the only father Ayden ever knew. She’d dedicated her life to him and the family they built together, and she isn’t willing to let that dream go easily.

When Annalise spots Drake out at a café with a woman, her heart shatters all over again. But it’s not what Annalise thinks. He isn’t cheating on her. There are things about leaving that Drake just can’t or won’t explain. Some things should remain a secret.

He wants his old life back, but Annalise won’t accept anything but the truth…

Drake has to find a way to convince his wife, his Cariad, to take him back, but it may mean facing a truth he wanted to keep hidden. He must prove to Annalise that despite his past, he wants her…

More.

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Flowers - Buy Links

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Flowers - My Review

More

This is a passionate love story, told from both points of view, so there is plenty of dramatic irony, where we know what is happening but the other person doesn’t. This is an intensely personal story. You share every moment of passion, cry every tear and join in with the laughter. If you enjoy a poignant romantic read, then this is definitely worth reading,
Annalise and Drake are both good people, they don’t always make the right decisions but their intent is always honest. This isn’t a glamorous story, their lives are normal and when tragedy strikes its impact is greater because of this.
I liked the honesty of this story and the unexpected twists but its intenseness makes it difficult to read at times but definitely worthwhile.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

More by Keren Hughes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


More by Keren Hughes

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Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: Spirits of the Season – Eight Haunting Holiday Romances

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Paranormal Blurb

Upon a Ghostly Yule: A Victorian Christmas Short Story by Amanda DeWees, Daphne du Maurier Award–winning author of historical romantic suspense. When the ghost of a willful 18th-century beauty takes possession of spirited young Felicity Reginald at a Victorian Christmas house party, mystery and danger follow… but so does romance.

Saving Laurel by Raine English, USA Today bestselling author and winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award. A ghost from the past helps a tortured actress find love at Christmas.

In the Holiday Spirit by Angeline Fortin, award-winning author of time-swept Highland romance. Fate and a hauntingly helpful hand combine to bring Alice a Christmas gift she never dreamed of, wrapped in a New York Christmas.

Romantic fiction that takes the road less traveled to happily ever after with Kaidan: Snow Bride by Athena Grayson. It’s 1969 and Yukiko wants a modern man, but her nature only grants her one night. Can the snow witch break her curse to find love with an American soldier who has a life of his own?

Sapphire Ridge by Aileen Harkwood, bestselling author of paranormal romance and the Breens Mist witches. What does it take to lay her Christmas ghosts to rest? A sexy Scotsman with a mission.

Mistletoe & Magic: A Hidden Coast Holiday Romance by Lynda Haviland, multi-series author of paranormal romance. A small-town girl, a handsome actor, a romantic old inn–and a ghost trying to destroy the season.

Her Ghost of Christmas Past by debut author Afton Moss. Emma is sure she’ll finally get an engagement ring for Christmas this year. But the handsome ghost of a Civil War captain searching for his lost love has other plans for her and a Savannah bachelor.

Bandits Hollow: A Holiday Romance Novella (Robbin’ Hearts Series) by Diane J. Reed, bestselling author of contemporary romance with a magical touch. What happens when a fortune teller can heal everyone’s heart but her own? Leave it to a spirit who haunts Evangeline Tinker on Christmas Eve to show her how eternal his love really is.

Paranormal Buy Links

Amazon UK
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Paranormal My Review

Spirits of the Season: Eight Haunting Holiday Romances

This is an easy to read festive collection of short stories and novellas, with a ghostly or paranormal twist. There is something to appeal to everyone in this book, whether you are fan of the festive season or not. Perfect for the commute to work or a snatched hour by the fire, these stories will let you escape to another era, time zone or even world.

Upon a Ghostly Yule – Amanda De Wees
A Victorian Christmas romance, this story has all the right ingredients for historical romance lovers. A courageous heroine snubbed by society through no fault of her own, a gallant hero, and a jealous so called friend. The paranormal twist is in the form of ghost, whose own unhappiness affects Felicity the heroine, in an alarming way.

Saving Laurel – Raine English
This contemporary Christmas story has Laurel returning to house where she grew up, with the intention of selling the estate and moving on. Already apprehensive about returning to her home she has to face echoes of the past, before she can move on with her life. Enhanced with vivid imagery and tender romance, this story is perfect for all the Christmas romantics like me.

In the Holiday Spirit – Angeline Fortin
This story perfectly captures the hopeful spirit of the Christmas season. Fearful of being hurt again Alice avoids commitment and resists all attempts by her matchmaking Grandma to start living life to the full again. She falls at the feet of a man to die for but is it just her clumsiness, or something more? Great characters and visual imagery make this one of my favourites in this anthology.

Kaiden: Snow Bride – Anthena Grayson
An unusual, romantic fantasy tale for the festive season set in Japan in the 1969- 1970.

Sapphire Ridge – Aileen Harkwood
Laying old ghosts to rest proves far more adventurous than Nikki would have imagined. Vivid disaster scenes and enlightening flashbacks in this fast paced story hold your interest. The paranormal element in this story is subtle and adds an exciting twist to an already emotional story.

Mistletoe and Magic- Lynda Haviland.
Like all ‘Hidden Coast romances’ this story interweaves supernatural elements into a contemporary world setting in a believable way. A surprise guest at Hannah’s empty inn, changes her plans in a charming and unexpected way. Full of romance and ghostly happenings this is a delightful read.

Her Ghost of Christmas Past – Afton Moss
This is a lovely romantic tale of ghosts, lost love and soul mates. Is love eternal, who knows but this story certainly makes you think about the possibility?

Bandits Hollow – Diane J Reed.
A western romantic tale where, the past haunts the present and echoes of magic and the supernatural enliven an everyday setting.

Enrich your festive season with magic and ghosts I recommend reading this anthology in the shadow of the Christmas tree lights.

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

Spirits of the Season: Eight Haunting Holiday Romances by Amanda DeWees
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Spirits of the Season Eight Haunting Holiday Romances by Amanda DeWees

Amanda DeWees

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