Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Travel

Let It Snow Sue Moorcroft 5*#Review @AvonBooksUK @SueMoorcroft #Festive #FamilyDrama #Romance #Travel #Friendship #Relationships #Music #Switzerland #BlogTour #BookReview

#LetItSnow

Family means everything to Lily and Zinnia Cortez and, growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.

So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’s always believed. She is, in fact, the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.

Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known – an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a Christmas market or two along the way…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I’m starting to get in the festive vibe now, well it is the last day of September, and this story is a festive gem. The conflicted romance between two likeable protagonists, Lily and Issac, is at the heart of this story. Rather like a festive ‘pass the parcel’, it has so many layers, with a surprise every time you peel one-off.

There is a family drama, as Lily’s search for the other half of her family, raises hidden secrets in the other half. There tumultuous consequences. for Lily, Zinnia and their mothers. This story is wonderfully contemporary, internet dating and same-sex relationships are interwoven into the complex plot, which adds to the story’s authenticity.

A significant part of the story takes place in Switzerland, where Lily and some of the villagers, take their choir to deliver some quintessentially British Christmas cheer. This is where the title really comes into its own, The ambience, food and scenery are beautifully vivid.

The darker themes explored in this story are a good contrast to the festive frivolity and fun, It reads perfectly as a standalone, even though it features characters from the Middledip series.

The perfect book to get you in the festive mood. With family, friends and sparkling romance wrapped beautifully in a snow covered world.

#SueMoorcroft

Award-winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. She’s won a Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award and been nominated for others, including a ‘RoNA’ (Romantic Novel Award). Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice-chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and editor of its two anthologies.

She also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.

The daughter of two soldiers, Sue was born in Germany and went on to spend much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus. She likes reading, Zumba, FitStep, yoga, and watching Formula 1.


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

Intimate Strangers Lasairiona E. McMaster 4*Review @QueenofFireLas @rararesources #NewAdult #ContemporaryRomance #InternetRomance #ComingofAge #BookReview #BlogTour

#IntimateStrangers

Is there such a thing as too perfect?

Lisa Millar wasn’t supposed to fall in love with a guy on the Internet. But she did.

Other than living over five thousand miles away in America, AJ Williams is seemingly her perfect match. Strikingly handsome, musically talented, plays hockey and has a typical college-guy life.

In a moment of carpe diem, Lisa flies from Ireland to Alabama to surprise her internet-beau and finds herself face to face with an inconceivable reality that she couldn’t possibly have prepared for.

How well can you truly know someone you meet online?

Will true love win out, or will AJ’s secret life be too much for Lisa to bear? 

Paperback Amazon Amazon Kindle Amazon UK Kindle Paperback UK

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

My Thoughts…

The blurb for this book attracted me, even though I don’t usually read new adult romance, anymore. I need to think back thirty-nine years, to recognise how I would react in these circumstances, and whether I would risk everything for love, on the strength of an internet acquaintance.

There wasn’t internet in the 1980s, but I still changed the course of my life for love, after a short acquaintance, and so, the main character Lisa’s motivations are something I can relate to.

This contemporary romance is well-written, with an easy to read, style. The youth of the characters and the initial decisions they make are often immature, reading this now, but perfectly in keeping with their age group and intended audience.

Honest and relatable, this story does present our internet lovers with plenty of conflicts, which test their feelings and motivations. The twisty plot tells an engaging story, and the characters are authentic.

The first in the Lisa Millar series, it will be interesting to see what happens next.

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

Facebook Blog Twitter

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

The Day We Meet Again – Miranda Dickinson 4*#Review @HQStories @wurdsmyth #BlogTour #BookReview #TheDayWeMeetAgain #serendipity #Romance #SelfDiscovery #Travel #Friendship

#TheDayWeMeetAgain

Phoebe’s adventure is waiting. Sam has to deal with his past so he can move on with his future. But will love wait, while life happens?

Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station.
Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures,
meeting the love of their lives wasn’t in the schedule.
So they make a promise: to meet by the statue of Sir John Betjeman
in twelve months’ time if they still want to be together.

But is life ever as simple as that?

This is a story of what-ifs and maybes – and how one decision can change your life forever…

Waterstones Foyles Amazon Hive.co.uk

#TheDayWeMeetAgain

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

My Thoughts…

A chance meeting at Sir John Betjeman’s statue in St Pancras station seems serendipitous, but Sam is on his way to the Scottish Isles and Phoebe is off to France for the trip of a lifetime. Both are searching for something, their journeys more emotional than geographic, but something happens at the station, but will it have a happy ending?

The two main characters are lovely, but also frustrating, they both have emotional damage, and anxiety, which in some ways increases as the story progresses. The setting and cast of characters for their travelogue is wonderful and gives the story authenticity and depth, as they start to realise the true purpose of their year away from their everyday lives.

The twist stops this story from being predictable. The last part of the book shows how the couple have developed emotionally but is it enough for them to live fulfilled lives?

A story of self-discovery, friendship and love, with just a hint of magic.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, Romance, Travel, Victorian Romance

The Lady Traveller’s Guide to Happily Ever After Victoria Alexander 5* #Review @MillsandBoon @VictAlexander #millsandbooninsiders #victorianromance #historicalromance #travel #ladytravellerssociety #bookbloggers

Can she find her Happily Ever After…

For the past seven years, Violet Branham has enjoyed the luxury of travelling the world as an independent woman, and confining her awkward past to a distant, if painful, memory. But now she has been summoned home to England over a stipulation in the will of her late uncle, the Earl of Ellsworth, one that decrees she lose everything unless she reconciles with the man who broke her heart and ruined her life—her husband.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The fourth book in the ‘Lady Traveller’s Society’ series, this reads perfectly as a standalone. The story of Violet and James, who married after a scandalous moment, to appease society. They lived apart, for the next six years, until the demise of Richard, Earl of Ellsworth, and his will. Forced to live together again, have they changed? Will they learn to be a couple? Or are they destined to lose everything?

Divided into two main parts, the first covers the reunion and the makings of a lasting romance are hinted at, but only if Violet, maintains her independence, and James puts aside his arrogance, and pride, to follow her, and find out who she truly is.

Part two follows the couple across Europe in an amusing, romantic journey to their happily ever after. The main characters are well written and reflect the opportunityof the era they live in. The three elderly matchmakers are also a delight.

The perfect late Summer read. An atmospheric journey across Europe, with gentle romance and witty dialogue.

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Suspense, Travel

Deep Blue Kristy McCaffrey 5* #Review #ThePathwaySeries @McCaffreyKristy #BookReview #Sharks #Adventure #Romance #Suspense #Marine #DeepBlueBlitz #DeepBlue @LoveBooksGroup #Environment #Conservation #Travel #LoveBooksTours

In the deep blue ocean lives an ancient predator…

Dr Grace Mann knows great white sharks. As the daughter of an obsessed shark researcher based at the Farallon Islands, Grace spent her childhood in the company of these elegant and massive creatures. When a photo of her freediving with a great white goes viral, the institute where she works seeks to capitalize on her new-found fame by producing a documentary about her work.

Underwater filmmaker Alec Galloway admires Dr Mann and jumps at the opportunity to create a film showcasing the pretty biologist. As he heads to Guadalupe Island in Baja California Sur for a three-week expedition, it’s clear that his fan-boy crush on Grace is turning into something more serious. But even more pressing—Grace’s passionate focus on the sharks just might get her killed.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I’ve always been fascinated, with sharks. This authentically detailed story, which features them and their conservation is what drew me to this book. Aside from the sharks, there is adventure, friendship, rivalry, romance and suspense, all intertwined into an easy to read, enthralling story.

The setting and the vivid imagery that creates it makes you feel part of it. The sharks are unique characters, and you empathise with them. The human characters are also believable. Grace is dedicated and driven but still vulnerable. Her love and respect of the creatures she studies is evident and makes her likeable. Alec is similarly driven. Their attraction is inevitable, and passionate, within the claustrophobic surrounding of the expedition ship. This intensifies feelings and gives their romance, impact.

There is an element of suspense in this story, both from the unpredictable nature of the sharks and the humans, who are in some cases, deceitful and secretive. The filming of the sharks and the danger it involves keeps you turning the pages, as you head into the deep blue ocean, with Grace and Alec.

Kristy McCaffrey has been writing since she was very young, but it wasn’t until she was a stay-at-home mom that she considered becoming published. A fascination with science led her to earn two mechanical engineering degrees—she did her undergraduate work at Arizona State University and her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh—but storytelling has always been her passion. She writes both contemporary tales and award-winning historical western romances.

With the release of Deep Blue, Kristy is launching The Pathway Series, a project she’s been developing for years. Each book will combine her love of animal conservation and environmental awareness, while also shining a light on unique and diverse locations around the world. Come along for high adventure with honourable heroes, determined heroines, and Kristy’s trademark mysticism.

An Arizona native, Kristy and her husband reside in the desert where they frequently remove (rescue) rattlesnakes from their property, go for runs among the cactus, and plan trips to far-off places like the Orkney Islands or Machu Picchu. But mostly, she works 12-hour days and enjoys at-home date nights with her sweetheart, which usually include Will Ferrell movies and sci-fi flicks. Her four children have nearly all flown the nest, and the family recently lost their cherished chocolate Labrador, Ranger, so these days a great deal of attention is lavished on Ranger’s sister, Lily, and the newest addition to the household—Marley, an older yellow Labrador they rescued in early 2018. Both dogs are frequently featured on Kristy’sInstagram account, so pop over to meet her canine family.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

Website Newsletter Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Posted in Author Guest Post, Blog Blitz, Friendship, Romance, Suspense, Travel

Deep Blue Kristy McCaffrey #ThePathwaySeries @McCaffreyKristy #GuestPost #Sharks #Adventure #Romance #Suspense #Marine #DeepBlueBlitz #DeepBlue @LoveBooksGroup #Environment #Conservation #Travel #LoveBooksTours

In the deep blue ocean lives an ancient predator…

Dr Grace Mann knows great white sharks. As the daughter of an obsessed shark researcher based at the Farallon Islands, Grace spent her childhood in the company of these elegant and massive creatures. When a photo of her freediving with a great white goes viral, the institute where she works seeks to capitalize on her new-found fame by producing a documentary about her work.

Underwater filmmaker Alec Galloway admires Dr Mann and jumps at the opportunity to create a film showcasing the pretty biologist. As he heads to Guadalupe Island in Baja California Sur for a three-week expedition, it’s clear that his fan-boy crush on Grace is turning into something more serious. But even more pressing—Grace’s passionate focus on the sharks just might get her killed.

Amazon UK

Kristy McCaffrey – Guest Post – Deep Blue

Thanks so much for letting me stop by today. My background is in engineering, but I’ve been writing since I was very young. When I was raising my kids, I wanted more flexibility with my schedule so I decided to hone my writing skills and pursue publication. Today, I write contemporary adventure romances and award-winning historical western romances.

Here’s the blurb for DEEP BLUE:

When a photo of Dr. Grace Mann freediving with a great white shark goes viral, the institute where she works seeks to capitalize on her new-found fame by producing a documentary about her work. Underwater filmmaker Alec Galloway admires Dr. Mann and jumps at the opportunity to create a film showcasing the pretty biologist. But can he keep her safe when her passionate focus on the sharks repeatedly leads her into danger? 

Ideas come from everywhere, and I usually only have a general inkling about plot and characters in the beginning. I’m not a big outliner (although I’m trying to do more these days), so I start researching my subject and writing at the same time. There’s a lot of back and forth as I build plot and characters to complement each other. Because of this, my first drafts usually require a lot of revisions on the second pass (for instance, in DEEP BLUE I came to realize that several scenes were out of order—my brain knew I needed them, it just didn’t know where). After that, a third pass is for general clean-up. At that point, I’ll send it to beta readers, incorporate their comments, and then ship the manuscript to my editor. After I revise based on her comments, it goes to my proofreader. Most of my projects are self-published, so I do the formatting for ebook and print myself, and during this process, I’ll clean-up any last-minute grammar and logic issues that might pop up. Finally, the book is ready to be published.

One of my keeper books is THE EIGHT by Katherine Neville, a complex story of a magical chess set woven around historical events. I’m never without the non-fiction WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES by Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes, an excellent resource on the female psyche. I refer to it again and again. For pure escapism, you can’t go wrong with Ann Charles’ DEADWOOD series, filled with paranormal shenanigans, humour, and romance. I’m in love with all her characters.

I grew up reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy because that was on my mom’s nightstand, so I devoured Marion Zimmer Bradley and her epic Darkover books, as well as Anne McCaffrey’s (no relation) Dragonriders of Pern series. I was also obsessed with all things King Arthur. But when I was in high school, I read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and that book really showed me the dynamic that can occur in a great romance. So, while I certainly love to write love stories, I also need a big story behind it, and by that, I mean a highly thematic element. I’m also fond of including a bit of the ‘other’—a blend of paranormal and mysticism—so that often slips into my books.

I just finished THE UNHONEYMOONERS by Christina Lauren, a fun, sexy rom-com. Check it out if you haven’t. It’s a great read. And I just started RECURSION by Blake Crouch, and I’m hooked. It’s a sci-fi flavoured novel about scientists trying to download our memories so they can be saved for patients who later suffer from dementia. And, of course, it goes horribly wrong lol.

My favourite author moment is always finishing a project. The entire process of creating a book from start to finish is incredibly hard, so when I have my novel in hand, at last, I can finally relax and feel proud that I didn’t quit.

For my entire career, it’s been, my husband who has encouraged and supported me. He’s not a writer, but he has always been a big cheerleader for me. He also financially supported me for ten years before I was able to get my career out of the red. I can’t thank him enough.

Kristy McCaffrey has been writing since she was very young, but it wasn’t until she was a stay-at-home mom that she considered becoming published. A fascination with science led her to earn two mechanical engineering degrees—she did her undergraduate work at Arizona State University and her graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh—but storytelling has always been her passion. She writes both contemporary tales and award-winning historical western romances.

With the release of Deep Blue, Kristy is launching The Pathway Series, a project she’s been developing for years. Each book will combine her love of animal conservation and environmental awareness, while also shining a light on unique and diverse locations around the world. Come along for high adventure with honourable heroes, determined heroines, and Kristy’s trademark mysticism.

An Arizona native, Kristy and her husband reside in the desert where they frequently remove (rescue) rattlesnakes from their property, go for runs among the cactus, and plan trips to far-off places like the Orkney Islands or Machu Picchu. But mostly, she works 12-hour days and enjoys at-home date nights with her sweetheart, which usually include Will Ferrell movies and sci-fi flicks. Her four children have nearly all flown the nest, and the family recently lost their cherished chocolate Labrador, Ranger, so these days a great deal of attention is lavished on Ranger’s sister, Lily, and the newest addition to the household—Marley, an older yellow Labrador they rescued in early 2018. Both dogs are frequently featured on Kristy’sInstagram account, so pop over to meet her canine family.

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” – John Muir

Website Newsletter Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Posted in Biography, Book Review, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Travel

The Oshun Diaries – Diane Esguerra 4* #Review @DianeLEsguerra @EyeandLightning #NonFiction #Biography #SocialBiography #Culture #religion #Africa #BookReview #GuestPost @rararesources #memoir

#TheOshunDiaries

High priestesses are few and far between, white ones in Africa even more so. When Diane Esguerra hears of a mysterious Austrian woman worshipping the Ifa river goddess Oshun in Nigeria, her curiosity is aroused.

It is the start of an extraordinary friendship that sustains Diane through the death of her son and leads to a quest to take part in Oshun rituals. Prevented by Boko Haram from returning to Nigeria, she finds herself at Ifa shrines in Florida amid vultures, snakes, goats’ heads, machetes, a hurricane and a cigar-smoking god. Her quest steps up a gear when Beyoncé channels Oshun at the Grammys and the goddess goes global.

Mystifying, harrowing and funny, The Oshun Diaries explores the lure of Africa, the life of a remarkable woman and the appeal of the goddess as a symbol of female empowerment.

#RachelsRandomResourcesBlogTour

The Oshun Diaries Trailer

Readers can order the book from the Lightning Books website at 30% off (with free UK p&p) if you enter this code at checkout – BLOGTOUROSHUN

Eye Books

Amazon UK

Amazon

#TheOshunDiaries – #BookReview

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

My Thoughts…

The cover of this book draws you in, it is vibrant and interesting and makes you want to see what’s inside.

The book is in two parts, the first associated with the meeting with the Austrian Oshun priestess in Africa, and the second with other worshipers in Florida. The professional writing style is easy reading, even if some of the content, especially in the second part is complex. The prose reads like a fictional story, full of vivid imagery, authentic characters and amazing content and events. Its historical details provide a believable setting for the diaries and it resonates.

The African experience is insightful and political, it gives meaning to some of the headlines of the time that I recall. The meeting with the charismatic, dedicated priestess, is enthralling, and it is a page-turning read.

The second part of the book is equally as honest and detailed, this is where the author truly understands what she is exploring. It is an interesting read, with the first part with its astute political comment, is the best part of the book.

A recommended read, if you enjoy adventure, culture and spiritual experiences.

#BackCover
Guest Post – Diane Esguerra – Goddess for the #MeToo Era

Looking for a ballsy, bewitching goddess with green credentials to follow? Then look no further: Oshun, the ancient river goddess of the Yoruba people of West Africa, is the one for you.

        Sure, there are plenty of cool female deities around to choose from – if goddess worship is what you’re into. Amaterasu No Kami, the Japanese Goddess of the Sun and theAborigine Holy Goddess Mumuna -Who-Made-Us-All, have sizeable followings. Even old favourites like the European Great Mother and Diana and Isis the ancient deities of Rome and Egypt still appeal to a surprising number. So, what is it about Oshun that makes her so special?

Well, for a start she’s not only a goddess of love but also of female empowerment. And she’s prepared to defend to the death women’s right to be respected by men and treated as their equals. If she sees them being given a hard time her anger can be volcanic. Yet with her love of gold, honey, bathing and carrying a mirror around to admire her beauty, Oshun is quintessentially feminine and proud of her abundant sensuality.

She’s a hard worker, too, who played a key role in the Yoruba creation myth. According to the legend, primordial male gods pushed aside the female ones – including Oshun – and decided they would go about creating the earth themselves. They failed miserably. Oshun set herself up as the ringleader of the female deities and protested vigorously on their behalf to the chief deity, Olodumare. He/She gave the order that the female deities should be given the chance to have a go at creation, too. And as it turned out they made a much better job of it, and the earth as we know it came into being.

Indeed, the chief divinity was so impressed with Oshun’s efforts that He/She issued an oracle to the effect that only stupid people think a woman won’t amount to anything in life, and that negative language should never be used against women. The divinity even goes so far as to say that men should kneel and prostrate themselves before women as they have to shoulder the massive responsibility of giving birth to humankind.

Compare this respectful, life-affirming ancient African myth to the creation myth in the bible. Here, not only is Eve held responsible for tempting Adam, and therefore triggering humanity’s fall from grace, God also decides to make her well and truly suffer for it – giving the green light to the patriarchal societies that inevitably followed:

To the woman, he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain, you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:14-16)

While we’re on the subject of children, Oshun is also a fertility goddess who has the power to grant them. During the annual Oshun Festival which is held in the goddess’s birthplace – the Sacred Groves of Oshogbo in Oshun State, Nigeria – women come from as far away as China in search of a cure for infertility.

Nature is deemed precious in Oshun’s Sacred Groves. Hunting is forbidden, fishing too – even the trees can’t be chopped about. Woe betide the person who attempts to do so!

To get a closer idea of how this goddess might appear in human form look no further than Beyoncé. The most famous black female singer on the planet once appeared at the Grammy’s channelling the goddess. This multi-talented, beautiful and sensuous woman isn’t afraid to speak out for women’s rights and against injustice. And in the video which accompanies the track Hold Up on her Lemonade album, she writhes around and levitates in water before emerging in torrents of it and descending a long flight of steps in a golden gown. She then proceeds to roam the neighbourhood smashing open fire hydrants with a baseball bat in Oshun-like anger at her husband Jay Z’s alleged infidelity.

But you don’t have to be a famous singer to tap into the power of this very special goddess. Dress yourself in yellow or gold, light a candle, place a few of Oshun’s favourite items nearby: a bowl of water; a mirror; peacock feathers; honey; a couple of oranges, and then summon the goddess with the following incantation: Yeye, Ye Ye O…Yeye, Ye Ye O…Oshun.

Sit back and enjoy!

#BlogTour
#DianeEsguerra

Diane Esguerra is an English writer and psychotherapist. For a number of years, she worked as a performance artist in Britain, Europe and the United States, and she has written for theatre and television. She is the recipient of a Geneva-Europe Television Award and a Time Out Theatre Award. She is previously the author of Junkie Buddha, the uplifting story of her journey to Peru to scatter her late son’s ashes.

She lives in Surrey with her partner David.

Twitter

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of The Oshun Diaries (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  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 despatch or delivery of the prize.

Rafflecopter Link for Giveaway

#TheOshunDiaries