Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Romance, Travel

Rome for the Summer Lynne Shelby 5*#Review @LynneB1 @AccentPress #Romance #writers #artists #histfic #arthistory #Italy #Rome #SummerRead #RomefortheSummer #love #secrets #lies #trust #Relationships #travel #Friendships @rararesources #BookReview #BlogTour

Kate Harper has always loved the painting that has hung in her parents’ dining room for years, never suspecting that it is worth a fortune. When her art dealer boyfriend cheats her family out of the proceeds of the painting’s sale, she is left devastated and alone.

Kate discovers that two hundred years ago, the girl in the painting, Charlotte Browne, ran off to Rome with the artist who painted her portrait, but her eventual fate is unknown.

Hoping to uncover the mystery of what happened to Charlotte, Kate seizes the chance of a summer job in Rome, where she strikes up a friendship with artist Jamie Taylor.

As they explore the city and start to piece together the surprising secrets of Charlotte’s life, Kate finds herself wondering if summer in Rome can mend a broken heart…

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

If you enjoy your romance with an art historical twist, this lovely story set mainly in Rome provides the perfect escape. Kate decides to take a summer job in Rome when her boyfriend proves untrustworthy. Working at a historical house previously home to nineteenth-century English artists and writers is an excellent way to heal and try to solve a mystery.

I enjoyed the gentle romance between Kate and Jamie and the incredible sense of place this story has. The historical mystery revealed through journal entries adds authenticity and interest to the contemporary novel. The author brings Rome in the summer to vibrant life, and the art history and historical detail make this an engaging read.

I loved the romantic conclusion too.

Lynne Shelby

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing (re-released in e-book as Meet Me In Paris), won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and her fifth novel, Love On Location, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novelists’Association Award – the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy.

When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city with her writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband and has three adult children who live nearby.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

The Wednesday Morning Wild Swim Jules Wake 5* Review @Juleswake @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #BlogBlitz #BookReview #Women #friendship #romance #trust #family #romcom #YorkshireEscapes

She’s trying to figure out her future.

He’s trying to forget his past.

But with the help of some unlikely friends, young and old, and a scruffy dog who just can’t help getting into trouble, a new community is formed – just when they all need each other the most.

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I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher.

My Thoughts…

This story admirably showcases this author’s skill in taking relatable characters in everyday circumstances and bringing out what is unique in each person and situation.

Ettie is still searching for a career that suits her. Initially, she appears to lack commitment and drive, but the reader soon appreciates this is not the case. I enjoyed getting to know Ettie and the friends she met whilst wild swimming. Each character has a unique story that emerges and adds to this read’s motivational and uplifting quality.

Dominic is driven and determined to make a success of his latest project, whether he enjoys it or not. His past tragedies define him, and meeting Ettie challenges him to think again. Their friendship and romance are lovely and full of humour, misunderstanding and passion. The many engaging elements in this story make it the perfect read to help you relax.

Jules Wake

Jules Wake is the internationally bestselling author of over ten books including The Saturday Morning Park Run. She also writes as Julie Caplin and her Romantic Escapes series has hit the bestseller charts around the world.

After reading English at the University of East Anglia, Jules Wake worked in PR where she honed her fiction writing skills on press releases.  She’s now a full-time author and what better job is there than making stuff up! It certainly beats housework.

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

The Village of Happy Ever Afters Alison Sherlock 5*#Review @AlisonSherlock @BoldwoodBooks #RiversideLane #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #Rural #Community #SecondChances #Village #Friendship #Cotswolds #Dreams #bookandtonic #TheVillageHappyEverAfters

Molly Hopkins has happily watched all of her friends’ dreams come true on Riverside Lane.

Deciding to follow her passion for baking, Molly with the help of her friends takes the plunge and opens a Tea Garden in the village hoping to make it a summer to remember!

Meanwhile, after a rather public end of his marriage, Logan Armstrong trusts no one but his beloved Grandad. He just wants his brief stay in Cranbridge to be as quiet as possible. But his Grandad has other ideas; he dreams of seeing the old watermill working again which might just mean Logan has to ask the village for help.

Can Molly finally overcome her lack of confidence and believe in her abilities to make the tea garden a success?

Will Logan discover that Molly might just be the one to mend his broken heart? And will both of them realise that life is for living and loving?

Over a long hot summer in Cranbridge, perhaps everyone’s dreams of a happy ever after can finally come true.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Molly is everyone’s friend but sometimes feels she is too willing to help others. Logan is in the village to heal after a relationship breakup. Staying with his grandad seems the perfect place to hide. Molly’s friends persuade her to open a tea garden. As she works with her friends and Logan to realise her dream, she realises that she is valued and others will help her if she asks. Logan is not looking for love, but his friendship with Molly is rewarding, and there’s a possibility of more if he can learn to trust again.

I enjoyed the sense of community this story offers with the relatable characters and the character development of Molly. The gentle romance between Molly and Logan is lovely, and meeting characters from previous books makes this an uplifting read.

Alison Sherlock

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village, and book one The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts was published in July 2020 and book two The Village of Lost and Found in March 2021. The Village Inn of Secret Dreams in September 2021.

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Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Travel

The Single Dad’s Christmas Proposal Ella Hayes 5* Review @EllaHayesAuthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #MillsandBoonInsiders #Romance #festive #parenting #relationships #Chamonix #Paris #Christmas #MillsandBoonTrueLove #HarlequinRomance #TheSingleDadsChristmasProposal

A life-changing winter escape!

Extreme snowboarder Dax is no stranger to a challenge. Still, nothing could have prepared him for his greatest challenge yet: fatherhood! Six-year-old Yann was kept a secret by his late mother. Now Dax is determined to make up for lost time. But with a work commitment in Chamonix, he needs a step-in nanny…Will Simone say yes to Dax—and a Christmas to remember?

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

My Thoughts…

Dax is an extreme snowboarder with a tragic past and a six-year-old son he has just met. Single mother Simone has an understanding of what Dax is experiencing. Their children are friends. Dax needs someone to take care of his son at Christmas in Chamonix. Is Simone willing to be that person?

The Parisian setting for the couple’s first meeting is atmospheric and magical, drawing the reader into the story’s festive ambience. Their first meeting sparks an attraction even though they don’t initially realise the significance of it. Simone and Dax are lovely characters who have to overcome their emotional barriers to find happiness. The romance is gentle, and the conflicts, to their being together, authentic.

This story has everything you want in a festive romance, characters you believe in, heartwarming emotion and a happy conclusion.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Romance, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Sunlight Over Crystal Sands Holly Martin 5*#Review @HollyMAuthor #BlogTour #BookReview #RomCom #Holiday #SunlightOverCrystalSands

Love is in the air on the sun kissed sands of the Cornish coast, where the sea sparkles and romance sizzles on golden beaches. This stunning new novel by Holly Martin, bestselling author of Ice Creams at Emerald Cove, is guaranteed to steal your heart this summer.

Lyra Thomas has dreamed of living on Jewel Island ever since she first visited its breathtaking shores. And now her dream has come true – she has her own little cottage and a brand new job. But when Lyra sets out for a bike ride to explore her new home, a mishap has her crash-landing at the feet of the very handsome Nix Sanchez.

A true gentleman, Nix comes to Lyra’s rescue. His face is so familiar and yet they are strangers. But the more they talk, Lyra feels as though she has known Nix forever. What follows is the most magical night of Lyra’s life… until the spell is broken when the next morning she finds Nix has gone.

Feeling foolish Lyra vows to be more careful with her heart from now on. She’ll pretend Nix never existed. But destiny has other ideas and in a perfect twist of fate Lyra will discover that Nix Sanchez is impossible to forget…

Escape to sundrenched Jewel Island this summer where love, laughter and the thrill of adventure await. This gorgeous, romantic, feel-good read is perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jill Mansell and Sue Moorcroft.

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

My Thoughts…

Jewel Island is an idyllic setting for book 4 in the series. Lyra and Nix feature in this story, which also includes cameos from characters in the previous books. Lyra finds trusting others difficult. Nix has secrets too. Their meeting is chaotic and comical, but embarrassment and laughter soon turn to passion and intimate revelations as their unexpected attraction unfolds. Life and its conflicts intervene and send the couple on a romantic adventure full of conflicts, humour and misunderstanding.

This engaging story immerses the reader in life on Jewel Island and its iconic hotel with relatable characters, fun, and lots of romance. It’s addictive and uplifting reading and the perfect book for a summer afternoon.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Romance

Meet Me in Hawaii Georgia Toffolo 4*#Review @ToffTalks @MillsandBoon #Romance #SummerLove #Hawaii #BookReview #FridayReads #MeetMeinHawaii #MeetMe #MillsandBoonInsiders @rach_b52

Where an ocean of love awaits

Malie Pukui doesn’t believe in happy ever after. After a tragedy caused her to flee her family and friends in Devon she found a fresh start in Hawaii. Here, working at a surf school, she can give back to those in need and try to overcome the greatest loss in her life.

Moved around foster homes throughout his childhood, Todd Masters has worked hard to be able to offer a brighter future to young disadvantaged children. Now he has his own charitable foundation working with a surf school in Hawaii, a job he loves, but he still can’t put his past behind him.

When Malie rescues Todd from the sea a spark ignites between them, and the two wounded souls find a common ground. But amidst the surf, sunsets and sizzling kisses, can Malie let go of her past and risk something she’d locked away forever… her heart.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Malie’s story, set in sunny Hawaii, is the second book in the Meet Me series. It’s easy to imagine the setting from the vivid description and sensory imagery. Malie’s life seems idyllic, and on a superficial level, it is, but deep down, Malie is suffering from grief and guilt and needs space away from her devastated parents to survive. Todd is outwardly successful with a caring heart, but his difficult early life means personal relationships are problematic and best avoided.

A growing friendship with chemistry and humour draws the couple closer to love, but their internal conflicts are many and make trust difficult for them both. Contemporary issues highlighted knowledgeably and positively makes this more than a conflicted and glamorous romance.

The enduring and strong friendship group surrounding Malie keeps her grounded and moving forward, knowing they want her happiness. This book moves on convincingly from the first story set in London and anticipates the next Meet Me book.

This is an engaging, romantic story with a contemporary focus and a perfect, escapist setting.

Read my review of Meet Me in London

Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, New Adult Romance, Novella, Romance, Romantic Suspense

Trust Me Candace Hutton 4*#Review @authorcandace @rararesources #Novella #BlogBlitz #Romance #BookReview #AManhattanMarriageNovella

Brooke Anderson never pictured herself as a divorcee at twenty-eight. But when she mentions getting a post-nup to her husband Garrett after one deliciously sex-filled year, he promptly serves her with divorce papers. Admittedly, she could’ve told him about how her father left her and her mother homeless when she was young, and how she’s never been wired to trust anyone. Especially those closest to her. Now, all she wants to do is avoid anywhere he might be so she won’t have to face him again.

But she’s not the only one who can’t seem to trust.

Garrett Call grew up with parents who married for money and wants no part of a life that puts material possessions above love. He reinvented himself in college, complete with a new last name so he couldn’t be tied to his family’s lucrative business. He never even told Brooke the truth. Admittedly, he could’ve handled the issue of a post-nup better with his ex-wife. Maybe he didn’t count on how much he was going to miss having her in his life. 

When their best friends’ wedding forces the exes to see each other again, a dangerous man from Garrett’s world threatens Brooke’s life. And they realize the only way to save themselves is to finally learn to trust each other.

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

My Thoughts…

This story will appeal to readers who enjoy sensual new adult romance with elements of romantic suspense. The main theme is trust and how important it is to relationships. As the series title suggests, it is set in Manhattan and is a distinctly North-American romance. I enjoyed the characters and the pacing. The suspenseful element builds as the story progresses, but it’s the sensual romance that defines it.

This is a quick read with relatable characters, romance and a hint of danger.

Candace Hutton

Candace Hutton was born and raised on books. She spent a great deal of her teenage years in libraries and bookstores and still tries to sneak off to them as often as possible. Some of her other favorite things are coffee, puppies, and the smell of rain. You can connect with her on Twitter @authorcandace

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Friendship, Mystery, Romance

Buried Treasure – Gilli Allan #Paperback #CoverReveal 4* #Review @gilliallan @RandomTTours #Romance #Mystery #Friendship #BuriedTreasure

Jane thinks he sees her as shallow and ill-educated. Theo thinks she sees him as a snob, stuffy and out of touch.

Within the ancient precincts of the university, the first encounter between the conference planner and the academic is accidental and unpromising. Just as well there’s no reason for them ever to meet again.

But behind the armour they’ve each constructed from old scars, they’ve more in common than divides them. Both have an archaeological puzzle they are driven to solve. As their stories intertwine, their quest to uncover the past unearths more than expected.

Treasure is not always what it seems.

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

My Thoughts…

I love to read something a little different this story is a mix of genre. There is a gentle slow-burning romance ridden with internal obstacles to its success. There is a historically rooted mystery that draws the couple together, when it seems, in the beginning, they have nothing in common, except that they irritate each other. There is also a strong emotional thread in this story, as the first part of the book reveals, why Theo and Jane are unwilling to trust again, this poignancy makes the characters easier to empathise.

This story has a believable contemporary setting that is well researched and has intrinsic interest. Character-driven Jane and Theo’s flaws and emotional baggage make them authentic. The subsidiary characters are also realistic.

This is an engaging, intriguing romantic mystery set against a politicised contemporary background.

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real-life supplanted the imaginary kind.  

After a few false starts, she worked longest and most happily as an illustrator in advertising and only began writing again when she became a mother. 

Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.

All of her recent books TORN, LIFE CLASS, FLY or FALL and BURIED TREASURE have gained ‘Chill with a Book’ awards.

Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is now also a writer.

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

Buried Treasure – Gilli Allan 4* #Review @gilliallan @rararesources #BlogTour #Romance #Mystery #Friendship

Their backgrounds could hardly be further apart, their expectations in life more different. And there is nothing in the first meeting between the conference planner and the university lecturer which suggests they should expect or even want to connect again. But they have more in common than they could ever have imagined. Both have unresolved issues from the past which have marked them; both have an archaeological puzzle they want to solve. Their stories intertwine and they discover together that treasure isn’t always what it seems.

Amazon UK

Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

I love to read something a little different, this story is a mix of genre, there is a gentle romance. which is slow-burning, ridden with internal obstacles to its success. There is a mystery, with historical roots, that draws the couple together, when it seems, in the beginning, they have nothing in common, except that they irritate each other. There is also a strong emotional thread in this story, as the first part of the book reveals, why Theo and Jane are unwilling to trust again, this poignancy makes the characters easier to empathise.

The believable setting is contemporary and well researched, and has intrinsic interest. Your primary focus is always on Jane and Theo in this character-driven story. The subsidiary characters both past and present are complex and realistic. The flaws and emotional baggage carried by the two protagonists make them authentic.

An easy to read, engaging romance with an intriguing mystery set against a politicised contemporary background.

Gilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real-life supplanted the fiction.

After a few false starts, she worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist, and only began writing again when she became a mother. 

Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.

Currently published by Accent Press, each of her books, TORN, LIFE CLASS and FLY or FALL has won a ‘Chill with a Book’ award.

Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is also a writer. His most recent work, published by William Collins, is ‘Viking Britain’.

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Mental Health, Romance

The Unfinished Garden – Barbara Claypole-White Narrated by Ana Clements, Paul Heitsch #OCD #MentalHealth #Grief #Family #Friends 5*#AudiobookReview #BlogTour @bclaypolewhite @rararesources @audibleuk @SpokenRealms #TheUnfinishedGarden

A love story about grief, OCD, and dirt 

Tilly Silverberg is rebuilding her life with her young son, Isaac, one potted-up plant at a time. Since her husband’s death, gardening has become her livelihood and her salvation. Hiding out in the North Carolina forest, she wants only to be left alone with Isaac and her greenhouse.

New to the area, successful software developer James Nealy needs a garden. On a solitary mission to reclaim his life from irrational obsessions and relentless compulsions, he has a plan: to conquer his greatest fear. Dirt. One glimpse—or two—of Tilly’s garden, and he knows she holds the key. But when he asks her to take him on as a client, she refuses.

After a family emergency pulls Tilly and Isaac back to her native England, she’s quietly happy, because nothing has changed in her childhood village. Or has it? Her first love is unexpectedly single, her mother is scheming, and her best friend is keeping secrets. Then James appears on her doorstep.

Tenuous at first, but gradually taking root, James and Tilly forge an unlikely bond. As they work together to rescue a garden choked by neglect, they unearth each other’s secrets, each other’s fears, each other’s hopes—and maybe, a shared second chance.

Media Reviews

“Claypole White does not merely write about people with mental illness—she inhabits them.”  Lee Smith, New York Times bestseller author

“Claypole White’s gift is her ability to put us into the troubled minds of her characters in a way that helps us not only understand them but fall in love with them as well. We discover that while their minds may be different from ours, their hearts are the same.” Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author

“A fabulous debut novel, The Unfinished Garden easily earns Romance Junkies’ highest rating of five blue ribbons and a recommended read status for its unpredictable originality! So good!” Romance Junkies

The Unfinished Garden is a powerful story of friendship and courage in the midst of frightening circumstances … I highly recommend this wonderful love story.” Bergers’ Book Reviews 

“Claypole White … conveys the condition of OCD, and how it creates havoc in one’s life and the lives of loved ones, with style and grace, never underplaying the seriousness of the disorder.” Romantic Times

Amazon UK

Amazon

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

My Thoughts…

I enjoyed this audiobook, and it is interesting to review a narrated book.

The story’s main themes are Mental Health Issues, primarily Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), bereavement, grief and coping with loss. This is also partly a family drama, as Tilly has to return to England for a time to help her mother. Tilly experiences guilt over her husband’s death, this and her need to be both mother and father to her son, are common reactions to the death of a partner. Friendship and romance are also intrinsic to this varied, emotion-driven story.

James’ life is governed by OCD, he hopes to confront his fears, to lessen the condition. He associates gardens with loss, and the start of his compulsive behaviour, he wants Tilly to help him overcome his fear of dirt and all gardens represent to him.

Tilly is torn between her feelings for her first love, who turns up in her village when she returns, and a new relationship with James. The story is written with insight and sensitivity. Tilly is courageous and kind, even when life throws another curve ball her way, she is easy to root for. James is lovely, he understands his current limitations but hates himself for them. He is attracted to Tilly and senses, she is keeping secrets and hiding her vulnerability through her reclusive behaviour.

The pacing is gentle, the emotional insight of the main characters, particularly Tilly and James, complex and intensive. You experience James’ OCD and explore how it constrains his life. His point of view is sometimes exhausting to read but is authentic and enthralling, and James is easy to like.

The characters and setting are vividly described, and the character flaws and motivations easy to understand. The story flows well, and the conflicts are both external and internal. Narration brings out the internal musings of James and Tilly, more directly than just reading the book. The narration is good, however, I would have preferred James’ dialogue to be spoken by the male narrator who reads his point of view.

This is an emotional read, James’ attachment to Tilly and Issac, seems to occur quickly, but this is because she holds the key to his aversion therapy, on one hand, and Tilly and Issac represent the family he wants to complete his life but doesn’t think he deserves.

A well-written thought-provoking, story that holds your interest, despite the complexity intensity and length of the novel.

Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Born in England, she works and gardens in the forests of North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Her novels include The Unfinished Garden, which won the Golden Quill for Best First Book; The In-Between Hour, a SIBA Okra Pick; The Perfect Son, a Goodreads Choice Awards Semi-finalist; Echoes of Family, aWFWA Star Award Finalist; and The Promise Between Us, a 2018 Nautilus Award Winner.

Barbara is an OCD advocate for the nonprofit A2A Alliance, which promotes advocacy over adversity. To connect with her, please visit www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com 

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