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?

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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 Book Review, Bookstagram, New Adult Romance, Romance, Romantic Suspense

Trust In You Julia Firlotte 4* #Review @juliafirlotte @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksTours #Intrigue #Summer #Love #comingofage #FallingForYou #Secrets #RomanticSuspense #NewAdultRomance #Kansas #TrustinYou #Bookstagram #BookstagramTour #Instagramjolliffe01

From the moment she met him, Ella Peterson had questions. As always, though, she’s too shy to ask.

Older and sexy as hell, mysterious Adam Brook soon sweeps sheltered Ella off her feet; but is he as perfect as he appears to be, or is there more to him than he’s telling her?

When events spiral out of Ella’s control, she learns the person she needs to rely on most is herself and her instincts on who to trust in the future.

It’s just that her instincts are screaming at her to trust Adam; it’s what he tells her that makes that a problem.

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This is the first book in the Falling for You series and ends with a ‘happy for now’ conclusion.

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

My Thoughts…

Ella is eighteen and naive. Life’s not been easy for her, bullied at school, losing her father and uncle, and then emigrating with her sisters to Kansas to live on her deceased uncles farm, has left her hurting and vulnerable.

Being teased by some local young men reminds her of past bullying and makes her shy and withdrawn. An instant connection with one of group unsettles her. Told entirely from Ella point of view in the first person, the reader feels everything she does, and it makes the story immersive and intense. From a slow start, the story soon becomes addictive reading. Ella is an engaging character, easy to empathise and like.

Her emotions and motivations are well described and portray a young woman on the brink of falling in love perfectly. The precarious financial situation Ella and her sisters are in, draws them into a world they are both unfamiliar with and unprepared for.

The explosive chemistry between Adam and Ella make the love scenes, hot and passionate. Adam’s secrets lead to conflict and danger for Ella. Ella’s vulnerability is an underlying theme, and some of the situations she faces, are disturbing. Her character development is notable and makes her character believable and relatable.

The plot is intriguing and makes reading the next book in the series a must.

Julia Firlotte

Julia is an avid reader of all things romance, and she has read hundreds of books across a variety of sub-genres and began writing her own novels in 2018. Four books are currently in various stages of editing and completion, the first of which is finished and will be on sale in spring 2020.

Julia has always been passionate about languages and fiction and has a degree in Languages And Trade and an A-Level in English Literature. When Julia is not writing or editing her own novels, she usually has her nose in books by other authors and is otherwise kept busy caring for her family, going to the gym and carrying out her day job. Julia lives on the South Coast of England with her two children, husband and cats.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, New Adult Romance, Romance, Suspense

Trust In You Julia Firlotte 4* #Review #Author #Interview @juliafirlotte @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #Romance #Suspense #Intrigue #Summer #Love #comingofage #FallingForYou #Secrets #NewAdultRomance #Kansas

From the moment she met him, Ella Peterson had questions. As always, though, she’s too shy to ask.

Older and sexy as hell, mysterious Adam Brook soon sweeps sheltered Ella off her feet; but is he as perfect as he appears to be, or is there more to him than he’s telling her?

When events spiral out of Ella’s control, she learns the person she needs to rely on most is herself and her instincts on who to trust in the future.

It’s just that her instincts are screaming at her to trust Adam; it’s what he tells her that makes that a problem.

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

My Thoughts…

Ella is eighteen and naive. Life’s not been easy for her, bullied at school, losing her father and uncle, and then emigrating with her sisters to Kansas to live on her deceased uncles farm, has left her hurting and vulnerable.

Being teased by some local young men reminds her of past bullying and makes her shy and withdrawn. An instant connection with one of group unsettles her. Told entirely from Ella point of view in the first person, the reader feels everything she does, and it makes the story immersive and intense. From a slow start, the story soon becomes addictive reading. Ella is an engaging character, easy to empathise and like.

Her emotions and motivations are well described and portray a young woman on the brink of falling in love perfectly. The precarious financial situation Ella and her sisters are in, draws them into a world they are both unfamiliar with and unprepared for.

The explosive chemistry between Adam and Ella make the love scenes, hot and passionate. Adam’s secrets lead to conflict and danger for Ella. Ella’s vulnerability is an underlying theme, and some of the situations she faces, are disturbing. Her character development is notable and makes her character believable and relatable.

The plot is intriguing and makes reading the next book in the series a must.

Author interview: Julia Firlotte – Trust In You Blog Tour

What inspired you to write ‘Trust in You’?

My husband had a business trip to Kansas and commented that many American’s had found his accent attractive, this lead me to imagining the opening scene of my novel of an innocent British girl who had moved there and was teased by a group of locals, the novel grew from there.

How do you create your characters?

I usually visualise the scenes in the book first, and then as my characters develop personalities, the scenes usually get re-written several times to fit. I also use the Myers Briggs Personality Types to aid my character development in a realistic way.

How do write authentic dialogue?

As my characters develop, the dialogue usually flows very easily from what ever scene it is in my mind at the time. Of course, Beta readers and my editor also have input in this process.

What comes first when you write a story, characters, plot or setting? Is this the same for every story?

I come up with the opening scenes of novels and scenarios of how my characters meet extremely easily, it’s the main plot of the stories I often need to spend more time developing.

What made you want to write romantic suspense? Is this a genre you enjoy reading?

I enjoy reading all types of romance novel, usually verging on the darker side of life rather than romantic comedies and chick lit. The first draft of Trust In You was therefore much darker and more of a bully-romance, but after feedback from Beta readers, the story kept changing as I listened to the characters. Parts of this changing the story process is what made the novel a romantic suspense, at various stages I also didn’t know what was going to happen next, I let the characters guide me. I also had so much content, this is why the novel turned into a trilogy.

Would like to write in any other genres? If so, which ones appeal to you?

Aside from romance, I also love historical fiction authors such as Phillipa Gregory, Alison Wier and Colleen McCullough and have read a lot of young adult vampire sci fi – quite a mix! If I were to write a novel in a different genre, it would be a Tudor and Stuarts drama, but even then, I’d have to squeeze in a love story somewhere, that’s just who I am.

‘Trust in You’, is the first book in the ‘Falling For You’, series, can you tell us a little about the other books in the series?

Trust In You is written from Ella’s perspective based on her experience of moving to America and getting sucked into a criminal underworld which she suspects her wealthy boyfriend Adam is involved in. Many aspects of Adam’s life are intriguing and he gives very little away, leaving both my heroine and readers with many questions.

The next novel is Faith In Him number 1.5 , because it is all about Adam and not told from Ella’s perspective. The timeline of the novel starts just before Trust In You is set and then continues on moving the story forward. It is not simply the same story told from the Hero’s perspective, there is far more to the novel than that, but I can’t say more to avoid spoilers.

The final novel in the series is called Believe In Me, it is referred to as novel two because it continues from Ella’s perspective and the first chapter is included at the end of Trust In You. Ella and Adam’s friend Dan become closer as Adam tries to keep his distance from Ella to keep her safe, but this throws a spanner in the works as is usual in Ella’s world and the tables turn. Ella develops into a confident young woman and the series concludes in a confrontation with the criminal underworld that will have readers gripped.

I’m also playing with the idea of a further novel in a new series all about Dan.

You can see all of the book covers on my website.

Julia Firlotte

Julia is an avid reader of all things romance, and she has read hundreds of books across a variety of sub-genres and began writing her own novels in 2018. Four books are currently in various stages of editing and completion, the first of which is finished and will be on sale in spring 2020.

Julia has always been passionate about languages and fiction and has a degree in Languages And Trade and an A-Level in English Literature. When Julia is not writing or editing her own novels, she usually has her nose in books by other authors and is otherwise kept busy caring for her family, going to the gym and carrying out her day job. Julia lives on the South Coast of England with her two children, husband and cats.

Website Facebook Facebook Group:Romance Chit Chat  Twitter Goodreads Instagram

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance

That Long Lost Summer – Minna Howard 4* #Review @Aria_Fiction @MinnaHowardMary #Romance #Family #Friendships #Secrets #Summer #HolidayRomance #BlogTour

A gorgeous and bittersweet romance set in the South of France, about an old passion rekindled and the choice between family loyalty and a great love.

Flora and Hugo are devoted to their children, but when their girls leave home for university, their lives seem empty. Hugo is cold and distant, leaving Flora unsure what their future holds. When they are invited to a friend’s villa in the South of France, Flora hopes the summer sun and gorgeous setting may bring them closer together. In a crumbling, picturesque villa in the luscious French countryside, they are introduced to Susie, Matt and their friends. Flora is surprised to meet Xavier, her old flame, who she fell in love with one long lost summer when she was eighteen. They parted suddenly all those years ago, leaving Flora wondering, what if…

Handsome, passionate, sensitive, Xavier is so different from her reliable, predictable Hugo. Both Flora and Xavier have moved on with their lives, but is there something that still lingers between them? Or will Flora’s devotion to her children, and her loyalty to Hugo, show her where her true heart lies…

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

My Thoughts…

A thoughtful story of first love, mature love after children have flown the nest and friendship all in a vividly described South of France setting.

Flora and Hugo are trying to find what life means for them, now their daughters have left the family home. Flora is determined to power through her sense of loss, but Hugo is uncommunicative, distant and lost. When they are invited to stay in France by old friends, Flora sees it as a new opportunity for them as a couple but Hugo it seems has other plans.

I like Flora and the cast of friends and new acquaintances, that gather at the villa. Hugo is harder to like, his attitude towards Flora grates, and his actions are selfish. However, like all the characters he realistic, and his behaviour is the necessary excuse for Flora to question her long marriage’s future validity when she meets her first love unexpectedly.

The story flows well and keeps its secrets until the end. Although the ending is not unexpected and may disappoint some, it is realistic and fitting. A gentle story that contrasts first and mature love.

Minna has had an exciting career in fashion journalism and now writes full time, whilst enjoying time with her grandsons and working as an occasional film and TV extra. She lives in London.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance

One Last Greek Summer – Mandy Baggot 5*#Review #BlogTour @Aria_Fiction @mandybaggot #Greece #Greek Islands #Corfu #Romance

Beth Martin is 31, newly divorced and wondering just what life holds for her…

Best-friend, Heidi, is adamant that all the answers lie in Corfu – the island where the girls partied away their youth. So cue a trip to a sun-drenched Greek island, ouzo cocktails, a trip down memory lane… and Alex Hallas, the man Beth has never quite forgotten.

As they dance under the stars, the sand beneath their toes, old feelings begin to resurface and Beth might just have a chance to take back her life. If they can learn to love the people they’ve become…

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

My Thoughts…

There is always a generous comic element in this author’s stories, and this one illustrates it perfectly. Beth’s divorce is absolute, and her co-workers are throwing her a ‘Divorce Party’, to mark the occasion. Immediately, you appreciate how well Beth is liked, especially by her best-friend Heidi.

Rekindling, the freedom, high spirits and the simplicity of being twenty-one, on holiday, is their goal for Corfu, at thirty-one. Their adventure takes in the beauty of the Greek Island, even with accommodation disasters, wicked Mothers and having ten extra years of emotional baggage. The chance of romance and self -realisation beckons, and provides the reader with a humorous, picturesque, poignant and romantic trip to Corfu.

Realistically flawed characters, most of whom you warm to, a vividly described setting, a lovely dynamic between Beth and Heidi, whose friendship has strengthened over the ten years. The romance is expected, but no less sweet and makes this a perfect holiday read.

Mandy Baggot is an internationally bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK, with her husband and two daughters.

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Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Romantic Comedy

A Perfect Cornish Summer – 5* #Review -Phillipa Ashley @AvonBooksUK @PhillipaAshley #Cornwall #Summer #PublicationDay #Family #Coastal #RomCom

Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…

For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).

When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life forever.

Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The author’s love of Cornwall and all things Cornish is evident in this story. The characters of Porthmellow harbour are authentic, and all have a story to tell and secrets to keep.

Sam loves the food festival, it gives her a focus away from the family drama and helps promote the harbour town she loves. Sam and Gabe have history and working in close proximity threaten more than the festival.

Lots of characters and a taste of their stories make this a complex but interesting book. You know that you will meet them again as the series progresses.

At its heart, this is a story of community, the inherent closeness that means everyone takes an interest in each other’s life, sometimes this is intrusive, sometimes comical but nearly always well meant and important for the harbour to survive.

A charming story full of heart, secrets and love, looking forward to the next one.

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction

Swallowtail Summer – Erica James – 4* #Review @orionbooks @TheEricaJames #SwallowtailSummer #FamilyDrama #Friendship #Norfolk #Holidays

They thought they were friends for life – until one summer, everything changed . . . 

Linston End on the Norfolk Broads has been the holiday home to three families for many years. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together.

But widower Alastair has been faced with a few of life’s surprises recently. Now, he is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made – and the changes it will mean for them all. For some, it feels like the end. For others, it might just be the beginning . . .

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


My Thoughts…

When you look at a group of friends what do you see? The answer is you only see what they want you to. Rather like a swan in the water, the surface may seem smooth and easy going, but underneath the water, there is a furious paddling of feet, and turmoil, hidden from the casual observer.

‘ Swallowtail Summer’ is like this, three friends who have known each other since they were young, spend holidays together at a beautiful house in Norfolk, later they include their wives and eventually for some of them their offspring, but then someone dies and the following year even though they know it will be different they are unprepared for how different.

The beginning of the story introduces the characters; shows how they interact with each other and reveals some of their motivations. Even though this is a lot to assimilate and is slow-paced, it’s worth persevering, as it makes the rest of the book easier to follow. Allowing you to appreciate the complex characters and their diversity and secrets.

It is interesting to see how the characters interact, and how the group dynamics remain largely unchanged until Orla dies. This life event forces the group to change. The story’s essence is, will the friendships and family relations survive the need to change?

All of the characters are realistically flawed and many are not likeable, but this doesn’t detract from the story, just makes it more realistic. One of their favourite holiday activities is to search for Swallowtail butterflies. Their elusive quality equates to the finiteness of happiness, love and youth. It makes the story an interesting, but poignant read, with a lovely Summertime, feel.

Published 18 April 2019