Dreaming under an Island Skye by Lisa Hobman @LisaJHobmanAuth @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Dreaming under an Island Skye by Lisa Hobman. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of this gorgeous book.

Is there really such a thing as a second shot at true love?


After three wonderful years of marriage, librarian Juliette Fairhurst’s heart is shattered when her husband, Laurie, is taken from her much too soon.
Devasted, Juliette decides to take a sabbatical and reconnect with her mother’s birthplace, the village of Glentorrin on the picturesque Isle of Skye.
Welcomed by most of the villagers, Juliette throws herself into an idyllic community life, taking on the role of temporary summer guardian at The Lifeboat House Museum; a role that offers her the perfect escape from the tragedy of her real life.
During her time on the island, Juliette clashes with brooding single dad and artist, Reid Mackinnon and is befriended by his son Evin and dog Chewie. It’s clear that divorced Reid is struggling and scarred by his own painful experiences.
Can these two lost souls find a lifeline to rescue each other?
Or will their pasts scupper their second chance at real happiness?

Purchase Link – HERE

My Review…

When I read the synopsis for this book I knew it was one that I definitely wanted to read. I wanted a book that would whisk me away and give me a good story with a sense of place. This book definitely did that!

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I absolutely fell in love with her descriptions of Skye. It is a place that is on my list of places to visit one day. Her descriptions are gorgeous not just of the island but also of the community that she has created, warming, welcoming and one that sounds idyllic, well for the most part. As with any community, there is always the odd soul who likes to put a dampener on things.

Juliette finally realises that she needs a break from her life and those around her. She has been going through the motions of living after the death of her husband and while people have been supported she feels the time is right to take time out for something different. Skye is very different from her life in the Cotswold’s where she is a librarian.

A few months will give her a chance to be herself, to be in a place where no one knows that she is still grieving and where people feel lost for words when they meet her. She makes arrangements to visit and it not just a random visit as she does have family connections to the island from years ago.

It is often mentioned that when you have been at your lowest, you are more likely to see the signs of it in others. This is the case for Juliette when she actually looks at Reid for the first time. Well, I say the first time, but it wasn’t. They didn’t exactly hit it off the first time! But she can recognise the signs of someone who is struggling and so as is her nature she tries to reach out to him.

A story of friendship and understanding, as well as misunderstanding, follows. A story of hard choices and heartbreak gives a wonderful story to escape into. The characters that the author has created sound, on the whole, to be a wonderful lot and I could see myself really enjoying the odd night at the pub with them!

This is such a wonderful book that delivered so many good things and also had such a wonderful sense of understanding to it. Dealing with loneliness, guilt, apprehension and loss and yet at the same time having a sense of wanting to move forward. Given what could have been a hard storyline for a reader, the author has taken it in a more positive way making it an uplifting read. I adored this book and if you love your contemporary romance then this one should be right up your street. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Lisa Hobman has written many brilliantly reviewed women’s fiction titles – the first of which was shortlisted by the RNA for their debut novel award. In 2012 Lisa relocated her family from Yorkshire to a village in Scotland and this beautiful  backdrop now inspires her uplifting and romantic stories.

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Many thanks for reading my review, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor @jennie_ensor Relaunch #contemporaryfiction #bookreview and #extract

I am delighted to be helping out Jennie Ensor with the relaunch of her book Not Having It All. THis was a book I read last year and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. Jennie is also holding a GIVEAWAY over on her Facebook Page, more details below.

Here is the new cover and I absolutely love it 😍

This is the story of four middle-aged people who are definitely NOT having it all. Meet Bea, Kurt, Maddie and Colin.

Senior lecturer Bea Hudson juggles her job at the ‘Psycho Lab’ with looking after her demanding five-year-old daughter, badly-behaved dog and next-to-useless au pair. When her chief exec husband is sent overseas and she’s left without childcare, Bea turns to best friend Maddie for help.

Kurt, downing whiskies in his hotel room as he imagines what his wife is up to, is convinced that Bea is becoming a little too friendly with Maddie. With characteristic obsession he enlists his neighbour’s help in a secret surveillance operation.

Found-object artist Maddie longs for a child of her own with a man she can trust – and he must love cats.

Divorced, risk-averse Colin is a senior manager at ‘the nation’s number one pussy insurer’. When he meets Maddie in a lift he’s smitten, and resolves to displace Maddie’s feline companions on her sofa. But he starts to fear that Maddie sees him only as ‘a handy stud with a fat wallet’.

Can Bea and Kurt find happiness again? Can Maddie and Colin risk falling in love?

A story about love, relationships and second chances, perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Jojo Moyes, and anyone who loved Bridget Jones’ Diary or Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. If you enjoy novels with depth, heart and laugh-out-loud humour, you’ll love this razor-sharp romantic comedy like no other.

My Review…

How on earth does Bae Hudson juggle being a neuropsychologist on the brink of a breakthrough with being a wife, mum and friend? Well, I soon found that it isn’t easy for her as I read Not Having It All!

Bea is fraught and struggling. A serious career and research means she has to spend time at work to be seen as someone serious about her career. If she reduces her hours she could very easily be side-lined and her funding may disappear. Her husband also has a demanding job, often working away from home for periods. This time he is in Turkey because “he is the best man for the job”. With both of them in full time careers the housekeeping and looking after Fran, their daughter falls to Polish au pair Katie.

Along the way, I also met Madelaine, Colin, Nigel and Allie. They all have roles to play in one form or another. It seems they are also having some sort of crisis in their lives. This is at times a hilarious read as it includes such a cross-section of people. Whether they are having a midlife crisis, feeling guilty about working too much or feeling downright unappreciated, they all seem to be having problems of some sort. Life can be a pain sometimes as pressures easily mount, making mountains out of molehills and often just needed to be looked at from a different perspective or to have recognise the struggles of others. The author has taken everyday worries and wrapped them into a fabulous story that held my attention.

I liked the format or this book as it is told in journal entries, notes or emails from each of the respective characters. It felt that it added to the busy lives of those concerned. Yes, it is unusual but, it worked very well as I got to see different sides to each of the characters. It also meant that the story moved along at a good pace but also that it didn’t feel rushed.

I really enjoyed Not Having It All. I liked how it reflected today’s modern and fast world and also was upbeat and had a good level of humour that kept it from falling into a more serious read. I loved that I actually laughed out loud on several occasions.

Not Having it All is one I would Definitely Recommend.

Extract…

Emails between Bea and Allie

From: Bea Hudson (bhudson9@blueyonder.co.uk)

Sent: 12 June 2018 10.40pm 

To: Allie Loff (allie53@outlook.com)

Subject: Crisis at home 3

Hope Ray calmer by now?

Sorry to hear that my suggestion re gradual exposure didn’t work. Those emus sound nasty, it might be better to stay well away from now on.

Today’s crisis as follows:

I was trying to make Fran eat more than three spoonfuls of Rice Crispies and at the same time trying to find my laptop with the slides for the presentation I’ve cobbled together about the Phobia Group’s latest non-findings before rushing to catch a fast train to Birmingham.

Me: What are you playing at, Francesca? I’m in a hurry. I can’t wait here forever while you finish that. If you don’t hurry up, you’ll have to go to Little Lanes without your breakfast.

F: (banging her spoon on table) No!

Me: What do you mean, no?

F: I don’t like Little Lanes. I want to stay here!

Me: You can’t, I have to be at a conference in three hours.

F: No!

She picks up her beaker of orange juice and chucks it at me. I’m standing next to the table, three feet away, an easy target. The beaker bounces off my collarbone and rattles to the floor. A gush of cold liquid drenches my shirt.

I’m so shocked I can’t utter a word, let alone a shriek. Fran leaps up from her chair and runs out of the kitchen faster than I’ve ever seen her move. The juice seeps under my bra, down my stomach into a puddle at my feet. My white linen shirt is covered in several large, bright orange splodges. I pull off shirt and skirt and fling them in the sink, then have an urge to run upstairs after Fran and slap her.

How dare she do such a thing? Whatever happened to the smiling, affectionate little girl who used to jump onto my lap and hug me as we watched Mr Bean, or grab my hand and kiss it at the Waitrose checkout?

I lean on the sink, head in hands, not giving a toss that I’m in the kitchen with the blinds open wearing only a bra and knickers in full view of the neighbours. When I finally go upstairs, Fran is sitting on the floor playing with a headless Barbie.

Me: Why did you do that?

F: –

Me: Come on, tell me. I want to know.

F: I don’t know, Mummy.

Me: (yelling) How can you not know!

F: (looks at me in horror)

I take a deep breath, imagining a tropical beach and a gentle breeze cooling my bare skin.

Me: You must not throw things at people on bicycles – and you must not throw orange juice at Mummy. Especially you must not throw orange juice at Mummy! She loves you very much and tries to do what is best for you and Daddy. Sometimes what she does won’t make sense to you, but you must know that she is doing the best she can. Do you understand?

Fran: (looks at me as if I had thrown juice at her)

Me: I love you very much, Frannie. I’m not going to hurt you. But I’m not going to let you behave like that in my house. (That last bit is what Kurt says when he’s angry with her.) Don’t you dare do that again, or there’ll be no more trips to the beach.

I got out Fran’s picture book, made a cup of tea and took a shower. I couldn’t think straight, didn’t know what to do – I couldn’t face trying to get Fran in the car again after what happened last time. I was about to call Katie and ask her to come over early, then remembered her 10.30am hospital appointment (NHS, so no telling how long she’d be).

So I called Maddie. 

Maddie drove over (took less than an hour, so must have been at 90mph), told me I must go to the conference. She would stay and look after Fran, so I could call Katie and tell her she wasn’t needed this afternoon.

Thank heavens for Maddie! When I got back to Godalming this evening, Fran was a sweet little girl again, eating out of Mad’s hand – in both senses! They were sitting side by side on the sofa sharing a plate of bread with peanut butter. I’m not sure who was enjoying it most. Mad likes her food, that’s for sure. Actually, I was a bit taken aback to see them sitting so companionably together. Not jealous, exactly. Well, just a little.

Fran jumped up and wrapped her arms round me and said she was sorry she had been so horrible. I was touched, though I think Maddie put her up to saying it.

The three of us spent the evening together. Maddie cooked dinner and Fran showed me drawings she’d done. Mad had got her drawing deep sea fish from photos on the web, scary-looking creatures with enormous serrated snouts. I told her they were fabulous and she looked so pleased. She was a totally different child to the one I was with this morning – it’s so confusing.

Maybe she feels bad about throwing the juice. Or maybe it’s because Maddie is great with children. She has so many child-friendly skills that I lack. She talks to Fran differently to me, as if she’s a child herself. Yet she can be firm enough to get Fran to do what she wants, even helping to dry the dishes!

I sat in a daze, letting Mad take over, enjoying the peace – no fighting about how much ice cream Fran can have, how much TV she can watch or when she has to go to bed. And M’s such a wiz at practical things – on top of looking after Fran, she fixed the wonky gas ring, wound up the kitchen clock, put the damp remover thingies in the cupboards and swept away the bits of cobweb hanging from the hall ceiling that I keep forgetting to tell Katie about.

After we’d said goodnight to Fran, Maddie joked that I should be married to her instead of Kurt. I said yes, a wife would be much handier – Kurt does nothing around the house except watch TV, make a mess and demand food, back rubs and sexual favours (gross exaggeration, of course). We couldn’t stop laughing. It was almost as funny as years ago when the chemistry teacher at St Mary’s stopped in the corridor, blew her nose and farted (even louder than Dad used to after a helping of Mum’s stew).

Just at that moment, Kurt rang. I couldn’t speak so Mad answered, still chortling. She said I was busy, could he wait a minute? He said, ‘Please, I’d like to talk to my wife, is that too much to ask?’ and hung up.

He still hasn’t called back, which is just as well. He can stew in his own sour juice, imagining whatever he likes. By now he’s probably cooking up visions of Mad and I in bed together, getting up to no good 😨

Anyway, Maddie has offered to come over and look after Fran whenever I need her to. She loves the space and light here, she can paint out on the terrace and do her yoga in the living room. I might take her up on her offer next month, when preschool ends. Then (thank God) there’s only the summer to get through before Fran starts school full-time in September.

xx

About the Author…

A Londoner with Irish heritage, Jennie Ensor began her writing career as a journalist, obtaining a Masters in Journalism (winning two awards) and covering topics from forced marriage to accidents in the mining industry. She isn’t afraid to tackle controversial issues in her novels, either: Islamic terrorism, Russian gangsters and war crimes in her debut BLIND SIDE (a psychological mystery blended with a love story), domestic abuse and sexual exploitation in her second, THE GIRL IN HIS EYES.

Her third novel NOT HAVING IT ALL, a relationship comedy, is an excursion to the brighter side of life. A new edition was published in January 2021.

Ms Ensor’s poetry has appeared in many publications including Poetry Salzburg Review, Ink Sweat and Tears. Her poem ‘Lost Connection’ placed second in the Breakout Prose category of the Fish Lockdown Prize in 2020. In her spare time (?) she reads, walks and attempts twice-weekly yoga. She regularly cycles the punishing hills of north London and at the end of the day enjoys collapsing with a bar of chocolate/glass of strong alcohol in front of a TV crime drama.

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GIVEAWAY –  A prize draw to celebrate the relaunch will be held at 6pm on 23 February on Jennie’s FB page  https://www.facebook.com/JennieEnsorAuthor (the giveaway post is pinned to the page). 

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Stranger Times by C.K McDonnell @TransworldBooks #fantasy #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Stranger Times by C.K. McDonnell. This is a brilliantly mad and quirky book and was ideal for a bit of pure escapism. My huge thanks to Bantam Press for accepting my request to read via NetGalley.

Here is more about the book…

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There are dark forces at work in our world (and in Manchester in particular), so thank God The Stranger Times is on hand to report them . . .

A weekly newspaper dedicated to the weird and the wonderful (but mostly the weird), it is the go-to publication for the unexplained and inexplicable.

At least that’s their pitch. The reality is rather less auspicious. Their editor is a drunken, foul-tempered and foul-mouthed husk of a man who thinks little of the publication he edits. His staff are a ragtag group of misfits. And as for the assistant editor . . . well, that job is a revolving door – and it has just revolved to reveal Hannah Willis, who’s got problems of her own.

When tragedy strikes in her first week on the job The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious investigating. What they discover leads to a shocking realisation: some of the stories they’d previously dismissed as nonsense are in fact terrifyingly real. Soon they come face-to-face with darker forces than they could ever have imagined.

The Stranger Times is the first novel from C.K. McDonnell, the pen name of Caimh McDonnell. It combines his distinctive dark wit with his love of the weird and wonderful to deliver a joyous celebration of how truth really can be stranger than fiction.

My Review…

This is one of those weirdly, quirky, slightly eccentric, mad-cap books and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It one that was highly entertaining.

Hannah has left her husband, she is has gone from being a socialite as such married to a man with plenty of money but who doesn’t know how to keep it on his pants. She now searches the bargains in the food aisles and hoping she will soon find a job.

One interview is at The Stranger Times newspaper, a paper that reports weird and wonderful stories. Alien abductions, Elvis being alive, you know the sort! More esoteric rather than mainstream to say the least. But, it is a job. If the paper wasn’t weird enough then the other employees are definitely filling the void that is left, in a rather fun way.

The story itself is of two deaths. The first is that of a homeless man, the second is a suicide. Both are quickly dealt with by the police. One officer, however, is not convinced and neither are the staff at the paper. What follows is a mix of chases, strange occurrences, weird events and even weirder circumstances as the hunt for the truth pans out.

This is such a fun read and it was one that caught me by surprise as I didn’t read the synopsis before picking it up. I mean I did read it when I first looked at the book, that was several weeks before I started reading it though. The surprise was one that had me wondering what on earth was happening and wondering where the story was going, but through this, I still found myself eagerly turning the pages of this quirky and bizarre story that is a mix of urban fantasy and mystery.

I completely enjoyable read that had me sniggering to myself on several occasions. It has characters that I adored and I am really looking forward to seeing what this series hold in the future. A fun read and one that I would defiantly recommend.

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Lake House by Christie Barlow @ChristieJBarlow @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

What an absolute pleasure to share my review today for The Lakehouse by Christie Barlow. This is part of the Love Heart Lane Series and I have loved every book. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of Christie’s latest book.

Here is more about it…

There’s a newcomer to the village of Heartcross and she’s never been more in need of a friend. Ella is ready to start afresh ––and that could mean there’s love on the horizon in the form of the gorgeous Roman, the local water taxi driver. Every day Roman is there to ferry Ella to the restaurant on the other side of the lake and every night he makes sure she gets home safe. But Roman has secrets of his own…
Can the Love Heart Lane community offer Ella a chance of a new life? Or will the ghosts of her past catch up with her?

Purchase Links Amazon UKUS

My Review…

What an absolute treat to be back in the village of Heartcross in the 5th book in the Love Heart Lane series. The focus for this story is on Ella. After losing her parents, her fiances disappearing, her inheritance all gone she is definitely on a low. She is struggling with life and it takes her good friend Callie to give her a hand up. Callie insists that Ella comes to live in Heartcross with her.

As anyone who has read any of these books knows, Heartcross looks after those who are struggling and it wraps them in its fabulous embrace. The author really does nail the sense of community and friendship.

Callie has lined Ella up with a job in The Lakehouse, a bistro that is accessible by boat only. Enter the gorgeous Roman as he ferries visitors, friends and workers to and fro from the island. Like Ella, he has had his problems, while Ella’s seem to be settling, Roman’s are still causing heartache. Becoming friends is something that both characters gravitate to and as they say, a problem shared is a problem halved.

Now as much as I adored these two characters I have to mention the fabulous Delores. Wow! She is a brilliant character and I absolutely adored her, she could have very easily taken over as she is definitely a handful, in a very good way. I am impressed by how the author kept her under control. The emphasis is on Roman and Ella, and as is appropriate in love stories there are some choppy times.

I love this series and the sense of coming back to friends I get whenever I pick a new book up. The author really has made the village of Heartcross something special and the characters are definitely unique. The only problem with this book is that I didn’t wan tit to stop, I finished it far too quickly!

I am going to say that all of the books work well as stand-alone, but read in the order you get so much more out of them. There are relationships and events that have happened in previous books that show the links between friends and community and it is this that makes the books very special. Also, you would be missing out on more fabulous reads.

Another book in the series that I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Christie Barlow is the author of ten bestselling romantic comedies including A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Clover Cottage. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.
Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
When Christie isn’t writing she enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.
Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.
Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland @JessicaRedland @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #contemporaryfiction #bookreview #PublicationDay

I am delighted to be one of the Blogger to open the Blog Tour and share my review today for New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland. This is the second book in this gorgeous series and I adored it. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my e-copy of this book and for my spot on the Blog Tour.

I also want to wish Jessica a very Happy Publication Day xx

Here is more about it…

With new arrivals comes new responsibilities…
The sun is shining, wild flowers are blooming and Hedgehog Hollow is officially open for business.

For Samantha, the proud owner of this beautiful rescue centre, life has never been busier. But with an influx of new hogs and hoglets to take care of, not to mention a full-time job and ongoing family issues, can she accept the possibility that she has taken on more than she can handle?

Fortunately, she has the love of her life, Josh, by her side for support and encouragement. But Josh has his own family troubles to deal with. And soon he must decide if he’s ready to do the one thing he swore he’d never do – forgive his father.

For both Samantha and Josh it’s a season of change and for figuring out whether the past can ever truly be forgotten.

Escape back to wonderful Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting read full of love, hope and forgiveness.

Purchase Link – HERE

My Review…

If you have already read the first book in this series, then you know that Samantha is going to run a Hedgehog Sanctuary, and continue the dream of Gwendolen and Thomas. This second book begins on the official opening day of the sanctuary, although there are already a few prickly residents being looked after.

Samantha is not alone in this venture, she has the lovely Josh by her side. These two work well together and while this book sees them taking a step forward together in their relationship. But stepping forward is difficult when there are things that make you uncertain, that make you doubt yourself.

I adored the first book, it had a wonderful warmth to it, this second book continues that heartwarming theme, that also has some very anxious moments and definitely throws up more than a surp[rise or two. Things that have happened in the past for Josh and Samantha individually is still around, things do need sorting properly but they have to find the time, patience and courage. Everything happens in its own time.

I really enjoyed the way the backstories of these two characters still had more to share. It added a sense of intrigue to the story as well as filling in pieces that help to give more of an understanding to the characters.

As this is not just about people but also hedgehogs, there are some gorgeous little stories about some of those that need help. There are also some moments that make you frown and also get sad. I do like how the author has kept things realistic with the rescues, not every rescue is going to have a happy ending, but I have to say the way the book finished left me with a lump in my throat.

The author has once again given me a gorgeous book to read, filled with wonderful characters and has developed them further. I know there is still more to come and there are some other characters that have more to tell. I know I have focused on Samantha and Josh, and in some ways, this is very much their story, but there are also many other brilliant characters. After all, you can’t run a sanctuary by yourself, can you?

A gorgeous story that if you really must read as a stand-alone would work, but you would be missing out on such a wonderful start to a series that should be read to get the full picture. Once again I came away from this book learning more about hedgehogs.

A stunning story, with fabulous characters and, is just a gorgeous book to settle down with. I adore this series and can’t wait for the next book. I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Jessica Redland is the bestselling author of ten novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

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The Villa of Dreams by Lucy Coleman @LucyColemanauth @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #contemporaryfiction #romance #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Villa of Dreams by Lucy Coleman. This is an author who is a regular on my blog and I do enjoy her books a lot. She also writes under the name Linn B Halton, and again the books are fabulous.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources fort my spot on the Blog Tour and also my e-copy of this brilliant book. Let me show you more…

Synopsis…

Seren Maddison left behind a rainy Britain to follow her dreams and live and work in Lisbon. The vibrancy, the beautiful scenery and the sunshine, made her fall in love and she knew, instantly, that it would be her forever home.

International artist Reid Henderson has homes in Lisbon and London. Following his painful divorce, his dream is to turn his luxurious home into an art school and gallery.

When Seren and Reid first meet there is an instant attraction, but they are both people who have been hurt, and each have dreams that are so far apart, they aren’t even on the same page. 

Can they enjoy one summer of happiness together, as life bestows a gift of memories to cherish for the rest of their lives? Or is their destiny to chart a path into the future, in a home where dreams can come true?

Seren and Reid may be about to discover that love is as much about what you are prepared to give up, as what you are prepared to keep hold of.

Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to sun-drenched Portugal where true love really can conquer all, and home is where the heart is. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley, Holly Martin and Sue Moorcroft.

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

My Review…

First up, how gorgeous is that cover?

Lucy Coleman has once again done a fabulous job as she transported me to Portugal. Seren decides that working for her father is, well, not working. She has only wanted his approval but when she realises that will never happen she decides that she must do what is right for her.

Seren and her friend Judi made a pact and it is now the right time for Seren to embark on her own plan. To save enough to buy a small place where she can earn enough to get by and still have the time for her art. The Almada area Portugal and the view from her little flat of the Christo Rei monument are exactly where she feels she needs to be.

Her job is hectic as she sets about organising a fashion show that incorporates art, fabric, music and photographs doesn’t give her much social time. She focuses on her job, getting to know some of the area and working towards her dream. A dream that didn’t take into account meeting, Reid.

This is a wonderful book that took me into the heart of Almada. This author really does know how to set the scene, from views to food, art, architecture, tradition and social views and opinions and for me this is what makes her books so good. The details to surrounding helped to sweep this reader up completely.

The plot for the story is one that gradually emerged. I learnt more about Seren, her home life and why her decision to move was the best thing. Starting afresh and in a new country is daunting and this did come across well as did the cultural differences.

The author provided a plot that wasn’t straight forward. Not wanting any romantic attachments is one thing but when the spark is there can you really do anything to stop it. More importantly, is how do you prove that your past has been dealt with?

A wonderful read and one for contemporary fiction and romance readers who like to be taken to a different country. Gorgeous and heart-warming but with an ominous will they / won’t they vibe. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Summer in Provence and Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

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Christmas at the Little Waffle Shack by Helen J Rolfe @hjrolfe @rararesources #romance # festivefiction #bookreview

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot onthe Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book xx

I am absolutely delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers to open the Blog Tour for the totally scrumptious Christmas at the Little Waffle Shack by Helen J Rolfe. This is an author who is a regular feature on my site as I have read and reviewed several of her books. This latest one is just perfect for buying today (Sunday) and snuggling down to read this afternoon, or any time.

Let me show you more by starting with the cover…

Synopsis…

Heritage Cove is in full swing for the festive season and as the temperature dips, who will be lucky in love this Christmas?

It’s December in Heritage Cove and along with the village Christmas tree, frosty mornings and the promise of the most wonderful time of the year, the new waffle shack is about to open. And its owner isn’t a stranger to the Cove, because after all this time, Daniel is back to make amends with his brother Harvey – as well as a few other locals he might have offended along the way.

Fairly new to the village, local blacksmith Lucy has kept up the pretence of being with her ex for the sake of his gran but she’s fed up with all the lies. Determined to come clean and live the life she wants to live, she’s devastated to find that her attraction to Daniel is tainted by the fact he’s hiding a few things of his own. And his secrets are ones she isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to get past.

Heritage Cove is full of friendship and community; it’s a welcoming place people visit and never want to leave. But will it work its magic for Daniel and Lucy?

A festive read packed with Christmas romance, love and second chances, this is Book 2 in a series of standalone novels set in Heritage Cove, the little village by the sea…


Purchase Link

My Review…

When a mystery log cabin is built no one in the village knows who it belongs to or what it will be. That is until Daniel meets the local blacksmith Lucy for a sign for his new shop, yeah you guessed it he will be making and selling waffles. Sparks aplenty with this story and not just from the forge either!

Daniel has a few hurdles to get over as not everyone will be thrilled at his return to the village. Villages being what they are comments are made and though most are meant for the best, some are definite warnings! Can a person really change and can they turn things around?

The author has such a wonderful way of describing her settings and also food. I mean waffles, toppings, sauces, icecreams and yes this book should not be read on an empty stomach! It seems that with all this mention of sweet things there is something that balances it out and this is the blacksmith’s descriptions. I liked how the author doesn’t just mention a piece of metal being shaped, but a specific material and why it was chosen, yeah I think there is some good research in this to add another plus to an already great story.

So, Christmas, Waffles, handmade gifts, friends, trees, decorations and animosity in the air between Daniel and his older brother. What actually happened in the past does eventually start to emerge, but finding the right time and place is problematic given the busy run-up to Christmas.

This is a gorgeous read that has plenty of Christmas feels, heartwarming moments, the tension between characters, sparks and sparkles galore and waffles… oh yes the waffles! Sorry! If you are after a festive fiction that you will not want to put down, well apart from to pick up a waffle, then this is a book that should be on your list. I absolutely recommend this one.

About the Author…

Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries where she thinks her readers might like to escape to.

Social Media Links –
Helen loves to hear from readers so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. She can be found at: Website Facebook Twitter Instagram

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A Christmas Wedding at the Castle by Eliza J Scott @ElizaJScott1 @rararesources #romance #festivefiction #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for A Christmas Wedding at the Castle by Eliza J Scott. This is part of the Life on the Moors series and yes you could read it as stand-alone, but obviously it works better if the series is read in order.

My huge thanks as always to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this gorgeous book.

Let me show you more…

Synopsis…

Do you believe in fate? Livvie Weatherill does…

This time last year, if anyone had told Livvie Weatherill she’d have fallen in love and would be making plans for her Christmas wedding to Zander Gillespie, she would have laughed in their face. If they’d gone on to say they’d be planning to have their wedding at the imposing Danskelfe Castle, she’d have laughed even louder!

But it would seem fate had plans for her…

Since moving to the pretty moorland village of Lytell Stangdale Livvie is happier than she’s ever been. She’s living with Zander and she’s working at her dream job as a wedding dress designer at Romantique with her friends, Kitty and Violet. It’s fair to say, she’s enjoying immersing herself in village life, from romantic walks in the countryside, to meeting friends at the quaint Sunne Inne. And she can’t think of anything better than rounding off the day cosying up with Zander.

Life is sweet.

Her blossoming friendship with Freda Easton, the endearing but reclusive elderly lady who lives down the lane, has taken everyone by surprise. But Freda has a secret and, in a turn of events no one could predict, she finds herself grateful for Livvie’s fierce loyalty, cementing their friendship further.

Just when things seem to be running smoothly, a face from the past arrives on the doorstep casting a shadow over Livvie’s wedding plans. Adding to the drama, an icy blast of Arctic air brings heavy snowfall to the village, covering the moors in a thick blanket of snow.

Is their love strong enough to withstand the challenges thrown at them? Will they get their magical Christmas wedding?

Join Livvie and Zander – and all the usual characters – for a sparkling Christmas full of love and laughter in Lytell Stangdale.

Purchase from – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link) or Amazon US.

My Review…

Oh my goodness what a fabulous festive fiction read this was and also brilliant to be back in Lytell Stangdale. The author focuses on Livvie and Zander, but don’t worry the rest of the gang are still here. I mean a hen do without the girls just wouldn’t be right!

I love these stories from life around Lytell Stangdale. I always feel like I am sitting down to catch up with the locals and the stories. Not only do I get to find out about Livvie and Zanders wedding, I also get to discover some secrets as well. Why exactly does Freda keep to herself for example and what is the full story.

This is a gorgeously written story that has once again transported me to the Yorkshire moors and the village community of this series. Yes you can read these as stand aliens but you would be missing out I some wonderful tales and relationships.

One thing I do find is that the dynamics between the characters of a so realistic. As I read the conversations I can also visualise the characters sat there with the obligatory cup of tea or glass of Prosecco . Chatting and laughing as good friends but very much there when needed.

This is another wonderful read and the author has left some tantalising steps for future stories. This is heartwarming, humorous and just a gorgeous read that I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Eliza is proud to be a member of the RNA. She lives in a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and two mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or working in her garden, fighting a losing battle against the weeds.

When she’s not reading or gardening, Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off by a visit to a teashop where she can indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and cake.

Her biggest weakness is ginger biscuits dunked in tea.

Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heartwarming romance stories with relatable female characters. She enjoys exploring the dynamics of female friendship, with a key feature of her books being how women pull together and support one another when things get tough.

Eliza’s novels will always have happy endings.

Social Media Links –

TwitterInstagramFacebookBlogBookbubAmazon Author Page: UKUS

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In the Sweep of the Bay by Cath Barton #InTheSweepOfTheBay @CathBarton1 @LouiseWalters12 @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for In the Sweep of the Bay by Cath Barton. This is a lovely and delightful novella that I adored. My thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

Let me show you more…

Synopsis…

This warm-hearted tale explores marriage, love, and longing, set against the majestic backdrop of Morecambe Bay, the Lakeland Fells, and the faded splendour of the Midland Hotel.

Ted Marshall meets Rene in the dance halls of Morecambe and they marry during the frail optimism of the 1950s. They adopt the roles expected of man and wife at the time: he the breadwinner at the family ceramics firm, and she the loyal housewife. But as the years go by, they find themselves wishing for more…

After Ted survives a heart attack, both see it as a new beginning… but can a faded love like theirs ever be rekindled?

“A tender and moving study of a marriage” Alison Moore, author of the Booker short listed
The Lighthouse

Purchase Links:

Louise Walters Books: https://www.louisewaltersbooks.co.uk/shop-1

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3ez3EwP

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3k7aVF6

Foyles: https://bit.ly/2U0o3Bs

Book Depository: https://bit.ly/3ka6d9Hhttps://bit.ly/3ka6d9H

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2U5Nm5c

My Review…

This is a wonderfully written story about Ted and Rene and their life in Morecombe. They are the main characters but others do come and pause a while. In some respects this is a story about falling in love, getting married and falling into the routines of life, but it feels like much more than that.

This is such a lovely story and I found myself really caring about the characters, this feels odd as the book is only 100’ish pages long. This gives an indication as to the wonderful ability of the author to draw the reader into a story quickly.

The story itself spans decades and has been cleverly laid out, given the overall length I didn’t feel like things had been skipped over but I still felt the heartbreak and heartwarming feeling that I would expect in a longer novel.

In the Sweep of the Bay has a quietness to it and it also feels very realistic. Normal people living normal everyday lives, basically very similar to this reader and many others, not too much drama or dramatics. Just getting on with life just as other people do. I think this is why I think this story works so well.

This is a story that is a lovely little read and that has been so well written. One for lovers of contemporary and literary fiction and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Cath Barton lives in Abergavenny. She won the New Welsh Writing AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella in 2017 for The Plankton Collector, which was published in September 2018 by New Welsh Review under their Rarebyte imprint. She also writes short stories and flash fiction and, with her critical writing, is a regular contributor to Wales Arts Review. In the Sweep of the Bay is her second novella. 

Social Media:

TwitterWebsiteLouise Walters Books

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The Heat by Sean O’Leary #TheHeat #SeanOLeary @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Heat by Sean O’Leary. This is a quick-ish read and a first for me by this author. My thanks to Emma for arranging my copy and for my spot on the Blog Tour. Let me show you what this book is all about…

Synopsis…

Jake is a loner who works nights in a Darwin motel and lives at the YMCA. He’s in love with Angel, a Thai prostitute who works out of the low-rent Shark Motel.

A vicious murder turns Jake’s life into a nightmare. He must fight for his life on the heat-soaked streets of Darwin and Bangkok in the wet season to get revenge, and to get his life back

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link) also –

Amazon AUS US Australian Bookseller

My Review…

This is a reasonably quick read and the story took me to Australia, not the gorgeous scenic side either. The main protagonist is a young man, a drug user, I suppose what you would consider to be a drop out.

The author has created a story that has a slow feeling pace but is also quite compelling reading. Taking the reader into the murkier world of drug use, prostitution and corruption. However, this young man does have more to him that first glance suggests.

The further into the story I got the more intriguing I found it. It has a moralistic sense to it as the main character tries to do what is best after the death of one of his friends.

The feeling I got from this was that it wasn’t a story about doing what was right, although that is part of the story. It is also about self discovery and also laying some demons to rest.

I did like this slower paced story, it is told from the perspective of the main character and this gives a more personal feel to this story. It is gritty given some of the subject matter involved but also it has a heartwarming sense of justice to it.

A story for contemporary fiction readers and I do think it also crosses into literary fiction. This is a human interest story that I found to be very addictive, I don’t think this will be for everyone but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would be more than happy to recommend it.

About the Author…

Sean O’Leary has published two short story collections, ‘My Town’ and ‘Walking’.  His novella ‘Drifting’ was the winner of the ‘Great Novella Search 2016’ and published in September 2017. He has published over thirty individual short stories and is a regular contributor of short fiction to Quadrant, FourW, Sudo, Close to the Bone (UK) and other literary and crime magazines. His crime novella ‘The Heat’, set in Darwin and Bangkok, was published in August 2019. Drifting and The Heat are both available on Amazon. His interviews with crime writers appear online in Crime Time magazine.

He has worked in a variety of jobs including motel receptionist, rubbish removalist/tree lopper, farm hand, short-order cook and night manager in various hotels in Sydney’s notorious, Kings Cross. He has lived in: Melbourne; Naracoorte; Sydney; Adelaide; Perth; Fremantle; Norseman; Geraldton; Carnarvon; Broome; Yulara; Alice Springs; Kakadu; Darwin and on Elcho Island-Galiwinku. He now lives in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, thinks that test cricket is the greatest game of all and supports Melbourne Football Club (a life sentence). He writes every day, likes travelling and tries to walk everywhere.

Social Media – Facebook Website Instagram

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