Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Non-Fiction, Travel

In SatNav We Trust Jack Barrow 4*#Review @JackBarrowUK #Travelogue #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours #Life #History #England #nonfiction #travel #InSatNavWeTrust

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a travelogue through the historic counties of England, with an engaging often humorous narrator. The book takes the form of a diary as he journeys through England with his truck (Mileage given at the start of each chapter), his tent and his thoughts on life and its mysteries.

Whilst travelling, the author shares his thoughts on aspects of life and his beliefs. Not all of these will be relevant to the reader, but if you like to understand others, there’s intrinsic value in this. Full of historical interest, authentic characters and vivid imagery this is a lovely book to read.

The only thing that’s missing is illustrations of the journey or photographs which would have added to the shared experiences.

Jack Barrow

Jack Barrow is a writer of books and blogs about ideas based on popular philosophy in modern life. He is a critical thinker but not a pedant. He has an interest in spiritual perspectives having been brought up as both a Mormon and a Jehovah’s Witness. He’s not sure, but he believes this particular  ecclesifringical upbringing makes him a member of a pretty exclusive club. He is also fascinated by science. At the same age as his parents were taking him to church services, he was also watching Horizon documentaries and Tomorrow’s World, becoming fascinated about science and technology. Perhaps around the time of the moon landings, when he was six or seven, he came to the conclusion that, sooner or later, people would realise that the sky was full of planets and stars, science explained the universe, and that there was no God looking down. He really thought that religion’s days were numbered. Declining congregations seemed to back that up, but since then there has been a growth in grass roots movements that seem to indicate people are looking for something to fill the void left by organised religion. He now has a particular interest in the way people are creating their own spiritual perspectives (whatever spiritual means) from the bottom up using ideas sourced from history, folkloric sources and imagination. Rather ironically it was members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who first introduced him to the landscape of Wiltshire, with its stone circles and ancient monuments, which later kindled his interest in spiritual beliefs taken from more ancient perspectives.

He has also written a novel; The Hidden Masters and the Unspeakable Evil is a story of a group of magicians who discover a plot to build casinos in Blackpool and so turn the resort into a seedy, tacky, and depraved town. During this hard-drinking occult adventure, with gambling and frivolous trousers, Nigel, Wayne and Clint travel north on Friday night but they need to save the world by Sunday evening because they have to be back at work on Monday morning.

Jack lives in Hertfordshire, England, where he earns a living writing about things in engineering; this usually means photocopiers and bits of aeroplanes. He shares his home with R2D2 and C3PO, occasionally mentioned in his blog posts. People used to say he should get out more. At the time of writing he is currently shielding from the apocalypse, having been of a sickly disposition as a child, and wondering if he will be able to go to a live music pub ever again.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Romance, Travel

Under a Siena Sun 5*#Review @TAWilliamsBooks @canelo_co @rararesources #UnderaSienaSun #publicatonday #Romance #Travel #Siena #Italy

Lucy needed a change of scene. She didn’t expect the change of a lifetime.

Doctors Without Borders has been Lucy Young’s life for the past four years. After being rescued from a conflict zone, she’s making a change from saving lives under gunfire to practising medicine in safe, serene Siena.

Now treating wealthy patients at a private clinic, she’s never felt less comfortable. She’s used to helping those in dire need – not those in need of a nip and tuck. Her turmoil grows when she encounters injured tennis star David Lorenzo, whose smiles make Lucy forget her aversion to the rich.

She’s soon falling for the sportsman but is she losing herself in this world of excess? All she’s ever wanted was to help the underprivileged, so can her future lie in Siena at the clinic – with David?

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

My Thoughts…

This author is always good for romance, storytelling and travel. This book has all of these, but this is more than a lighthearted romantic travelogue. Lucy is a dedicated doctor working in war-torn areas of the world. The beginning sets the scene for her recent life.

Life in Italy is idyllic but conflicted for Lucy, the social inequality of healthcare disturbs her, as does her role in it. The romance with a rich reclusive man is intriguing and realistic. Vivid imagery and first-hand knowledge describe the setting, which is a sensory delight.

The perfect Summer escapist read, especially as I am writing this review amid rain and thunder.

T.A.Wiiliams

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

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

Gone With The Waves Brian David Bruns 4*#Review #BrianDavidBruns #Travel #Romance #romcom @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #GoneWithTheWaves #TravelTuesday

He’s emerged as a swanky, tuxedo-wearing, cruise-ship rock star. But will it be enough to win his girlfriend’s heart?

Brian would walk the plank if it plucked Romina from her awful bottom-of-the-boat job. But knowing that their only way out of the hellish working conditions is to beat ships at their own game, he bids her adieu to learn the competitive trade of art auctioneering. And though he takes his fair share of hard knocks, he’s finally hitting the big time.

Becoming a master auctioneer, he lives like a cigar-smoking king aboard elite luxury liners with access to anything he wants. But when he returns victorious to whisk his love away to better things, Romina mysteriously refuses. And he worries that, in chasing his ambitions—regardless of good intentions—he may have lost her forever…

Can Brian persuade Romina that the world is their oyster, or will she push his grand vision overboard?

Gone with the Waves is the dramatic conclusion to the Gone with the Waves romantic comedy series, entirely of real events in the author’s life. If you like charming humor, conflicted hearts, and more twists than a whirlpool, then you’ll adore Brian David Bruns’s sweeping odyssey.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The final book in the Gone with the Waves series continues Brian and Romina’s tempestuous relationship whilst they both sail the high seas usually separately. There are emails from Romina and entries from Brian’s diary which show how hard work is on a ship, and how lonely a long distanced relationship is.

The world of an Art Auctioneer on a ship is a fascinating and glamorous one. They have the potential to make lots of money and enjoy the high kudos that goes with it. Brian risks all to succeed.

Love is rocky, and monogamy is difficult, but differences in culture mean that the love story sails on. This is a true love story, but does it have a happy-ever-after? It depends what you mean by happy and forever, but the ending surprised me.

This is full of quirky anecdotes, vibrant characters, and vivid imagery. You can experience life, love and travel without leaving your home when you read this series.

Brian David Bruns has adventured in over 60 countries to gather material for his books and won dozens of literary awards, including the USA REBA Grand Prize. Since his debut, Cruise Confidential, became a national bestseller, he has been featured on ABC 20/20, CBS Inside Edition, and in articles translated for a dozen nations.

Bruns writes of his global experiences with a self-mocking wit, an astute insight into human behavior, and a love of quirky history. After several years residing in Dracula’s hometown (yes, really), he and his Romanian wife now live in Las Vegas with their two old rescue cats, Julius and Caesar.

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Read My Review of Book 1 : From Romania With Love

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Read my review of book 2: Wet Orpheus

Amazon UK

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

Wet Orpheus Brian David Bruns 4*#Review #BrianDavidBruns #Travel #Romance #romcom @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #WetOrpheus #GoneWithTheWaves #TravelTuesday

He chose her over the company. He’s about to find out the real cost of romance…

Brian’s love for Romina may be strong, but he’s sailing into troubled waters. And he’s even prepared to endure torturous months apart working like a dog on another ship, if it means he can get them back together. Though he’s unprepared for the sadistic challenges his cruel new boss implements to break him body and soul.

Enduring extreme anti-Americanism, food deprivation, and 100-hour-long work weeks, Brian’s only beacon of hope is the messages sent from his soulmate. With her emails to sustain him, he vows to stay the course and outsmart the higher-ups of the cruise-line giant.

Can Brian survive the stormy conflict threatening to drown his hopes of reuniting with Romina?

Wet Orpheus is the second book in the wild Gone with the Waves romantic comedy series, entirely of true events in the author’s life. If you like insider accounts of work below deck, heart-aching emotion, and passionate love stories, then you’ll adore Brian David Bruns’s tale of overcoming impossible odds.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

After discord and separation, Brian and Romina meet again in Romania for a well deserved holiday. Each of these chapters starts with an entry from his diary, which shows how he is feeling. The chemistry is still there, his closeness with her family is evident, but he worries about the future once they return to work on separate ships. The writing is descriptive and touches on the revolution and how it affected Romina. The differences in culture and language provide some humorous and thought-provoking moments.

After the holiday they go their separate ways. This is an insightful but painful time for Brian. His fears and realisation of how much he cares are poignant.

The description of cruise ship hierarchy is informative, and there are plenty of anecdotal moments and memorable characters cruising in the Caribbean. Romina’s emails keep his fantasy alive amidst the hard, relentless work aboard ship.

This is a literary portrait of a man in love. Its sensory imagery draws the reader into the book, which has a real-life love story full of pain and passion at its heart.

Brian David Bruns has adventured in over 60 countries to gather material for his books and won dozens of literary awards, including the USA REBA Grand Prize. Since his debut, Cruise Confidential, became a national bestseller, he has been featured on ABC 20/20, CBS Inside Edition, and in articles translated for a dozen nations.

Bruns writes of his global experiences with a self-mocking wit, an astute insight into human behavior, and a love of quirky history. After several years residing in Dracula’s hometown (yes, really), he and his Romanian wife now live in Las Vegas with their two old rescue cats, Julius and Caesar.

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Read My Review of Book 1 : From Romania With Love

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

The Eliza Doll by Tracey Scott – Townsend 4*#Review @authortrace @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TheElizaDoll #1980s #FamilyDrama #Love #Friendship #relationships #SelfRealisation #BlogTour #BookReview

Ellie lives in a campervan with her dog, Jack, selling her handmade dolls at craft fairs. There is one doll that she can’t bear to finish until she comes to terms with the truth of what has happened.

The Eliza Doll is an uncompromising family drama about upheaval, off-grid living and living on the dole in 1980s England.

Set in East Yorkshire and Iceland from the eighties to the present.

WildPressedBooks Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a poignant story of a women’s life. It is part historical as it traces her time as a young woman in the 1980s with elements of family drama and relationships too. This is a relatable story of hardship, love and loss. It shows the relentless push forward of time and the fleeting quality of life.

Ellie appears to have muddled through life, but when she suffers unbearable tragedy and feels her best years have gone, she is easy to empathise. The grief process and the need to be valued for yourself underscores this story.

The flashbacks to the 1980s brought back memories for me too.

This engaging, lyrical story is full of angst and love with a believable and hopeful ending worthy of the main character.

Tracey-Scott-Townsend is the author of six novels — the most recent The Vagabond Mother (January 2020) and Sea Babies (May 2019) — all published by Wild Pressed Books and Inspired Quill Publishing. Reviews often describe her novels as poetic or painterly.

She is also a poet and a visual artist. She has a Fine Art MA and a BA (Hons) Visual Studies. She has exhibited paintings throughout the UK (as Tracey Scott). She has a long career as a workshop facilitator with community groups and in schools.

Tracey is co-director of an up-and-coming small independent publisher, Wild Pressed Books, which has a growing roster of authors and poets.

Mother of four grown-up children, Tracey spends as much time as possible travelling the UK and Europe in a camper van with her husband and two dogs, writing and editing while on the road. 

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

From Romania with Love Brian David Bruns 4*#Review #BrianDavidBruns #Travel #Romance #Romania #romcom @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

He found his one-and-only on land. But now that they’re at sea, will passion stay full steam ahead?

Brian never thought a single conversation could steal his heart and expand his world. But when he strikes an instant connection with a Romanian beauty, he gets swept up in a hilarious, carefree, romantic escape to her native Transylvania. So when she must leave to work on a cruise ship, he impulsively dons his sailing cap and follows her aboard.

Though he was unprepared for the grueling onboard training of new hires, his determination to be with her surpasses his awkward American moments. But as the reality of long days and seasick nights sets in, dark secrets surface that threaten to pull their courtship under…

Will Brian need a lifejacket to keep his relationship afloat?

From Romania with Love is the first book in the delightful Gone with the Waves romantic comedy series, entirely of true events in the author’s life. If you enjoy travelogue-like settings, witty banter, and reckless hearts, then you’ll adore Brian David Bruns’s continent-spanning adventure.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Humour, romance, secrets and travel are the components of this romantic comedy based on the author’s real-life experiences. The author has written the best-selling series Cruise Confidential, and this is a spin-off concentrating on his romance with the love of his life Romina.

Told informally and inclusively the reader shares the author’s love story, which has the same ups and downs, as travelling on the cruise ships. This is a delightful tale with an abundance of angst, laughter, poignancy, and romance. Being based on reality gives the story a unique appeal.

Brian David Bruns has adventured in over 60 countries to gather material for his books and won dozens of literary awards, including the USA REBA Grand Prize. Since his debut, Cruise Confidential, became a national bestseller, he has been featured on ABC 20/20, CBS Inside Edition, and in articles translated for a dozen nations.

Bruns writes of his global experiences with a self-mocking wit, an astute insight into human behavior, and a love of quirky history. After several years residing in Dracula’s hometown (yes, really), he and his Romanian wife now live in Las Vegas with their two old rescue cats, Julius and Caesar.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Noir, Travel

The Bellhop Only Stalks Once Cat Hickey 4*#Review @CatHickey4 @darkstrokedark @rararesources #CrimeFiction #noircrime #MurderMystery #BlogTour #Book Review #RachelsRandomResources

Lies, secrets, and a sinister plot hide in broad daylight at the heart of the Club Pacifica.

A beautiful tropical resort, exciting new friends, and a handsome guest liaison – it’s the perfect getaway for Chloe, a free-spirited Baltimore girl just getting to know herself. But the vacation of a lifetime quickly takes a dark turn when a young, overly flirty bellhop starts following her everywhere. It gets even worse when he disappears, and Chloe is the sole witness.

As bellhop after bellhop goes missing, she struggles to figure out what’s happening. When suspicion falls upon her, Chloe must not only try to rescue the kidnapped bellhops, but also to clear her name.

Complicating things further is the relationship she forms with Mateo, Club Pacifica’s guest liaison. Charming and easygoing, he is everything that her fiancé at home is not, and she finds herself fighting a growing attraction to him. But can he be trusted?

She soon discovers that she’s landed herself in a world of secrets, and, worse, that these are not just those of others, but also the secrets she keeps from herself.

Can she find her way through all the lies to finally discover the truth before it’s too late?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has intrinsic dark humour with vivid characters and lots of action. The plot is imaginative with good use of sensory imagery. The pacing is frenetic at times, as the bellhops disappear without a trace. Chloe, investigates the mystery, but who can she trust?

Chloe is a likeable character on an emotional journey. Despite the abductions and accusations that define her holiday, it lets her step back from her life. Finally discovering she wants something different.

Fun, danger, mystery and romance are all found in this engaging and unusual story.

Cat Hickey has a Master’s degree in Biology, and teaches Anatomy and Physiology at a university in Baltimore, MD, USA. She writes light-hearted mysteries and thrillers that are based, partly, on her extensive travels around the world. She is also an avid yogi who teaches aerial yoga and practices aerial circus arts, and spends the rest of her time with her four rescue animals, which consist of three cats and a horse.

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Posted in Book Review, Romance, Travel

The Maid’s Best Kept Secret Abby Green 4* #Review #TheMarchettiDynasty @abbygreen3 @MillsandBoon #Romance #BookReview #TheMaidsBestKeptSecret #MillsandBoonModern #MillsandBoonInsiders

The secret’s out…
…but the scandal’s still to come!

Shy housekeeper Maggie Taggart considers herself immune to rich, powerful men – her tycoon father’s rejection has taught Maggie to avoid them at all costs. Until she meets enigmatic billionaire Nikos Marchetti, and is totally enthralled by his potent masculinity! The pleasure that virgin Maggie finds in his arms is astonishing – as are the consequences…

Maggie is determined her newborn son won’t want for anything. But when Nikos uncovers her secret, and their sizzling chemistry explosively reignites, it’s clear they have unfinished business…and Nikos is determined to claim them both!

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Who doesn’t love a little romance? This story has a fairytale quality about it. Recently bereaved Maggie is working in her mother’s former role as a housekeeper for an absentee owner. The remote estate is the perfect place to come to terms with her grief. Then she meets Nikos, and the romance begins.

I love the first meeting, so romantic if a little unlikely, but isn’t that why we read these stories?
Sensual writing portrays their attraction beautifully, but is this just one night?

The conflict and uncertainty of the inevitable consequences of their passionate night are enjoyable reading. Nikos is vulnerable despite his money and power, and this endears him to the reader. Maggie is courageous and kind you want them to find, the love they deserve.

This is a lovely romantic story with a magical ending. Perfect for those of us who believe in the fairytales.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Motivational, Travel

The Women Who Ran Away Sheila O’ Flanagan 5*#Review @sheilaoflanagan @headlinepg @RandomTTours #Women #Secrets #TheWomenWhoRanAway #weekendreads #SaturdayMorning

Deira isn’t the kind of woman to steal a car. 

Or drive to France alone with no plan. But then, Deira didn’t expect to be single. Or to suddenly realise that the only way she can get the one thing she wants most is to start breaking every rule she lives by.

Grace has been sent on a journey by her late husband, Ken.

She doesn’t really want to be on it but she’s following his instructions, as always. She can only hope that the trip will help her to forgive him. And then – finally – she’ll be able to let him go.

Brought together by unexpected circumstances, Grace and Deira find that it’s easier to share secrets with a stranger, especially in the shimmering sunny countryside of Spain and France. But they soon find that there’s no escaping the truth, whether you’re running away from it or racing towards it . . .

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story is an addictive mix of relationships, serendipity and travel. Deira and Grace are running away, but more from themselves than anything they leave behind. Deira’s relationship is ruined, left for a younger, more malleable model. Grace is bereaved. Even in death, her husband still expects her to follow his wishes.

The women meet serendipitously and end up travelling and solving the treasure hunt together. The women are strangers and diverse in age and personality, but that proves to be fortuitous. The age difference allows a new perspective on the other’s life and a wealth of experience in Grace’s case.

The locations are brought to life through eloquent descriptions and give the story a vivid setting. This is a journey of self-belief and realisation, which makes this a heartwarming and motivational read.

Shelia O’Flanagan

Sheila O’Flanagan is the author of bestselling charttoppers, including Her Husband’s Mistake, The Hideaway, What Happened That Night, The Missing Wife, My Mother’s Secret and All For You (winner ofthe Irish Independent Popular Fiction Book of the Year Award).

After working in banking and finance for a number of years, Sheila’s love for writing blossomed into curating stories about relationships in all their many forms.

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

A Sunset in Sydney Sandy Barker 5*#Review #HolidayRomance @sandybarker @0neMoreChapter_ #Romance #Travel #Holiday #Sisters #ASunsetinSydney @rararesources #BlogTour #Book Review

How far would you go in the name of love?

Sarah Parsons has a choice ahead of her. After the trip of a lifetime she’s somehow returned home with TWO handsome men wanting to whisk her away into the sunset.

Pulled in two directions across the globe, it’s making life trickier than it sounds. Her gorgeous American, Josh, wants to meet Sarah in Hawaii for a holiday to remember. Meanwhile silver fox, James, plans to wine and dine her in London.

It’s a lot to handle for this Aussie girl, who had totally sworn off men!

Join Sarah after her adventure in One Summer in Santorini, for the heart-warming and uplifting third novel in The Holiday Romance series.

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I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter and the Author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The love triangle that left us guessing at the end of One Summer in Santorini is back, and it’s decision time for Sarah. You need to read book one to find out how she meets James and Josh, but there is enough backstory to clue you into her dilemma.

The story takes place in London with James, Hawaii with Josh and then New Zealand and Australia. The travel is descriptive and gives this romantic comedy its edge. Sarah is a little like a child in a sweet shop wanting both, having both and then not sure which she likes best. However, her emotional journey is insightful. She decides, but is it who you thought? I confess to being slightly disappointed with her choice, but it’s the right one for her.

The characters are flawed and relatable there are lots of humorous moments which are easy to visualise and then there’s the romance what more do you need? Lovely.

I’m a writer and traveller with a lengthy bucket list and cheeky sense of humour, and many of my travel adventures have found their way into my books. I’m also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover, and a coffee snob, though my writing is mostly fuelled by copious mugs of strong, milky tea (no sugar).

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