The Cosy Little Cupcake Van by Annette Hannah

Official blurb from Amazon

Camilla’s delicious cakes are the talk of her little village. If you need a perfectly iced mouthful of joy, Camilla ‘Cupcake’ is your woman. But after losing her mother, she finds her home and her business in jeopardy. She needs a little helping hand…

Thankfully her friends are always there for her, and when she is given an old ice cream van, Camilla’s dream of a cupcake delivery service is born. Now she can bring happiness – and buttercream frosting – to the whole town.

But when her ex Blake appears back on her doorstep, Camilla must decide if she can trust him again or if her heart might belong to someone else…

Review

I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Last summer, twitter led me to a wonderful book by Annette Hannah, Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Café.  This book takes up the gauntlet and follows one of the characters as she battles with life’s challenges.  Although this is a standalone story, I would certainly recommend reading both.

Camilla is an instant hit with the reader, it’s impossible not to love her sweet nature or empathise with the sadness of her situation.  As Camilla finds herself having to start from scratch, her friends, new and old, rally around to help make sure that she has a future to look forward to.

It was lovely to revisit with Lucy, Dom, Gracie and the rest of the gang from the Signal Box Café, but it was a treat to meet so many new characters, especially Blake, Aunt Edie and Ged.

At its core, this book examines the heart’s ability to rebuild trust after the most devastating of traumas.  What Camilla has to handle, besides losing her mother, is a daunting list and the story is a testament to good friends and the human spirit.

There are so many lovely elements to this story, but a special mention has to go to the cheeky liver birds.  I found myself smiling each time they featured.

Annette Hannah has definitely found a winning formula and I look forward to her next offering.

Learn more about Annette Hannah here.   Follow Annette on Twitter.

Blog Tour – Mr Right Across The Street by Kathryn Freeman

Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was supposed to give her time and space from all the disastrous romantic choices she’s made in her past. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window…for her.

Bar owner Luke Doyle has his own issues to deal with but as he shows Mia the sites of her new city he also shows her what real romance looks like for the first time. And when he cooks up a signature cocktail in her honour, she realises that the man behind the bar is even more enticing than any of his creations. And once she’s had a taste she knows it will never be enough!

Purchase links Amazon UK Amazon US

Review

I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Mr Right Across the Street is another Kathryn Freeman smasher!  Always offering a slightly steamy, happy ending, it’s easy to see why her books are so popular. Even though a happy ending is on the cards, the reader has to accept that there will be no instant payoff.

As the synopsis explains, this book is about Mia Abbott and Luke Doyle.  They are both bearing the battle scars of poor relationship choices and still forging ahead with the intention of throwing themselves into their new businesses.  Their courtship is both gentle and unique, Mia has been burned in the past and has no intention of allowing another man to control her life or her destiny.  Luke cannot believe that after years of meaningless hook-ups, he’s finally attracted to someone on more than a physical level.

Of course, nothing runs smoothly in real life, so why should fiction be any different?  There are hurdles to jump and objections to overcome.  Exes to deal with and nerves to calm.  In fact, this book has everything that you could be looking for in a romantic fiction title.

Special mention has to be given to the lovely senior romance.  Finding someone special, at any age, is not an easy task, so taking that leap is a scary step.  If you want to know more, then this book is available for you to enjoy yourself.

Author Bio

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a sexy hero. 

With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

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Publication Push – Our Little Secret by Rachael Stewart

A little secret sexy fun
Under the Tuscan sun!

It’s her best mate’s wedding week – and Faye Davenport is celebrating with a skinny dip under the Tuscan moon. Except she’s not alone. The sexy Italian dish is Rafael Perez – her mate’s off-limits older brother. But now it’s too late. This illicit, irresistible fire is already out of control…

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Review

I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is another steamy tale from Rachael Stewart and it oozes sex appeal.

This time, our heroine is the best mate of the bride, and the bride’s uber wealthy and drop-dead gorgeous brother provides the love interest.  As they discover their mutual attraction, they agree that their liaisons must remain top secret or the bride will be devastated.  This subterfuge sets the scene for some risqué rendezvous, and some suspicious relatives.

Racheal Stewart writes under the Mills and Boon Dare title.  Her books always provide romance with a sexy edge and Our Little Secret certainly delivers on the title’s promise.  However, it’s the fully clothed relationship that sees the romance blossom from a secret to an opportunity to explore the possibility of finding a deeper connection.

This is a fun tale and some of the situations that their subterfuge finds them in, are evocative of scenes from classic sitcoms.  In particular, I enjoyed the way Rafael’s mother found love away from her toy-boy obsession.

If you fancy escaping to sunnier climes with a sexy guy, then this is the perfect treat.  I mean, we’re all adults, aren’t we?

Author Bio

Rachael Stewart adores conjuring up stories for the readers of Harlequin Mills & Boon and Deep Desires Press, with tales varying from the heartwarmingly romantic to the wildly erotic.

She’s been writing since she could put pen to paper as the stacks of scrawled on A4 sheets in her loft will attest to, and the lovingly bound short stories that her father would run off at work and proudly share out with his colleagues. Thinking it was a pipe dream to be published one day, she pursued a sensible career in business but she was really play-acting, achieving the appropriate degree and spending many years in the corporate world where she never truly belonged. Always happiest when she was sat at her laptop in the quiet hours tapping out a story or two. And so here she is, a published author, her full-time pleasure, a dream come true.

A Welsh lass at heart, she now lives in Yorkshire with her husband and three children, and if she’s not glu ed to her laptop, she’s wrapped up in them or enjoying the great outdoors seeking out inspiration.

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Giveaway to Win an e-copy of Our Little Secret by Rachael Stewart (Open INT)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box 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 I reserve 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 passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Blog Tour – Opposites Attract by Camilla Isley

First law of magnetism: opposite poles attract.

Single mom Vivian has been burned by love once before, and her job as a divorce lawyer has presented enough evidence to convince her there are no good men left in New York City.

The worst offender is her new neighbor: Dr. Lucas Keller, a couple’s therapist whose piercing blue eyes and flawless dark hair are just as annoying as his bad temper.

But when Luke starts poaching Vivian’s clients by saving their marriages, she makes it her mission to force him out of the building to save her practice. But it’s Luke who gives her the perfect opportunity when he proposes an unexpected bet.

With their offices at stake, Vivian and Luke play the field of love in a fierce battle of wits that quickly turns hot and personal, especially when Vivian’s daughter gets involved. Now, taking down Luke has become more than business for Vivian. It’s become a pleasure—and soon, Vivian and Luke will realize how pointless it is to fight the laws of attraction.

Purchase Links

Opposites Attract is available for Free from these outlets

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Review

I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a lot of fun. Luke and Vivian started off on the wrong foot and it got swiftly worse from there.  The premise of enemies to lovers is not a new one and there’s plenty of room for more in the genre.

As a high-powered divorce lawyer, Vivian is understandably annoyed when her office neighbour, Luke steals a client from under her nose.  She doesn’t believe in second chances at love and is determined to protect her clients from his meddling ways.

Luke is a therapist who believes that mediation is the solution to most of life’s personal problems, he has no second thoughts when it comes to saving a marriage that is failing due to lack of communication.

Things become difficult when Vivian’s daughter asks Luke for help with a personal problem. 

For the sake of her daughter, Vivian calls a temporary end to hostilities as they agree on a wager which would either see Luke sticking around for good or relocating and getting out of Vivian’s life.

I don’t believe it would be a spoiler to hint at the happy ending to this book, after all, it’s the journey and not the destination that provides the entertainment.

I find stories of this type a bit like a sorbet; the perfect palate cleanser after a more involved read. I certainly enjoyed the ride and would recommend it for anyone who is looking for a little light relief. Not all books need to challenge the reader, sometimes they need to simply raise a smile and provide a happy ending

Author Bio

Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband on an adventure abroad.

She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

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Giveaway to Win 3 x e-copies of the Beach Reads box set

(Open Internationally)

Giveaway

Enter here

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box 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 passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for 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.

Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly

Official blurb from Amazon

Swan Lake is divided into the black acts and the white acts. The Prince is on stage for most of the ballet, but it’s the swans audiences flock to see. In early productions, Odette and Odile were performed by two different dancers. These days, it is usual for the same dancer to play both roles. Because of the faultless ballet technique required to master the steps, and the emotional range needed to perform both the virginal Odette and the dark, seductive Odile, this challenging dual role is one of the most coveted in all ballet. Dancers would kill for the part.

Ava Kirilova has reached the very top of her profession. After years and years of hard graft, pain and sacrifice as part of the London Russian Ballet Company, allowing nothing else to distract her, she is finally the poster girl for Swan Lake. Even Mr K – her father, and the intense, terrifying director of the company – can find no fault. Ava has pushed herself ahead of countless other talented, hardworking girls, and they are all watching her now.

But there is someone who really wants to see Ava fall . . .

Review

I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Erin Kelly is another author whose work I wait impatiently for.  Her style of writing always grips me, and I have to keep reading to know what happens next.

Watch Her Fall takes the reader deep into the world of classical ballet, a mostly alien territory, for me.  I’ve always admired the strength and talent of ballet dancers, alas I was moved to the Morris Dancing class as considered to tall and clumsy for the finer discipline that is associated with this genre!

The story is told from several viewpoints and pulls no punches when describing the rigours and sacrifices needed to reach the required perfection of first ballerina.  Ava’s character is easily sympathetic, she is trapped under the Svengali hold of her father.  He calls all the shots including her access to money.  Whilst Ava is sympathetic, she has no problem treating company dancers in a rather dismissive way and that behaviour is at odds with the readers’ instinct to care.

It’s Ava’s desire to be the best that sees company dancer, Juliet, take a career ending fall.  Ava’s guilt, over the incident, is assuaged by allowing the youngster to recuperate in her minimalist yet palatial home as she embarks on the world tour of Swan Lake.

I found this book to be intriguing and that intrigue soon turned to gripping suspense.  The careful introduction of the additional characters lends depth and texture to the story. There are the usual twists that are expected of a good thriller but as the truth of what’s happening dawns on the reader, all of the prior scenes flood back like watching a movie.  Erin Kelly is a gifted storyteller and manipulates the reader perfectly.

I hope that you will enjoy this book as much as I did, you won’t be disappointed.

Learn more about Erin Kelly here.   Follow Erin Kelly on Twitter.

Blog Tour – Dreaming Under an Island Skye by Lisa Hobman

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 here

Review

I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wow!  This book grabbed my attention from page one.  I simply inhaled this beautiful story and found myself laughing as well as crying as the story unfolded.  Reviewing will be hard because I want to shout about it, but I don’t want to give any spoilers.

Juliette is a gentle soul who wants to escape from the rut that she’s fallen into following the untimely passing of her husband, her soul mate.  The romance in their first real meeting is the stuff of fairy tales; it’s easy to understand how devastated she must be.

Reid is initially abrasive, but as the story goes on, he is clearly a more complex character who is carrying a world of woes on his shoulders.  His son Evin, along with the lovable Hungarian Viszla, Chewie, bring a light relief to his woe filled life.

There is a wealth in the supporting characters as Juliette navigates through her heartache.  Special mentions must go to Morag and Caitlin, the kind of women that offer unreserved support with no strings attached.  I struggled to hold back the tears that formed when Hamish talked of his wife; they shared such a deep and everlasting love story.

I do see reading as an escape from day to day life, the Isle of Skye provided a beautiful setting for this story and I hope that this review will encourage you to read this gorgeous book.

Author Bio –

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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The Forever Girl by Jill Shalvis

Official blurb from Amazon

When Maze returns to Wildstone for the wedding of her estranged bff and the sister of her heart, it’s also a reunion of a once ragtag team of teenagers who had only each other – until a tragedy tore them apart.

Now reunited as adults, secrets and resentments are intertwined with incredible childhood memories. Unexpectedly, the group instantly fall back into their roles: Maze their reckless leader, Cat the den mother, Heather the beloved baby sister, and Walker, a man of mystery.

Life has changed all four of them in immeasurable ways. Maze and Cat must decide if they can rebuild their friendship, and Maze discovers that, rather than fading with the years, her long-held attraction to Walker has only grown stronger…

Review

I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have read a few books by this author now and have enjoyed each one.  Forever Girl takes a close look at family dynamics.  Despite the family in question comprising of natural and foster kids, the relationships are complex and the story hints at a dark secret.

Gathered back in their hometown, Maze, Heather and Walker have returned to attend the forthcoming wedding of their sister Cat.  Whilst Cat is the birth daughter of their foster parents, their connection is no different to a blood family.  An argument, with Maze, had caused the siblings to go their separate ways and that fight casts a dark shadow over the reunion.

As they learn to rub along together, the old relationships come to the fore.  Cat is the one trying to ensure that everyone is happy.  Heather is the one who they all want to look after, but it’s with Maze and Walker that the bigger secrets lie.

The presence of Maze’s boss, acting as her plus one, is not enough to prevent the chemistry between them from coming to the fore.  What happened in Vegas must stay in Vegas; nothing can allow their secrets to be revealed.

I thoroughly enjoy Jill’s style of writing and can almost imagine her books being thrillers; she writes in such a way that the reader only learns a fraction of the truth, at a time.  This certainly keeps the reader engaged and I was eager to see how the story plays out.  I don’t believe that it’s a spoiler to say that the end, justifies the means and the final chapters bring the story to a most satisfying conclusion.

This escape took me to California, and it was a wonderful trip.  I hope you enjoy meeting the Forever Girl.

Learn more about Jill Shalvis here.   Follow Jill on Twitter.

Publication Push – Second Chances in Chianti by T.A. Williams

Alice thought her future was set in stone, until her past came knocking…

Alice Butler starred in a successful US sitcom until tensions in the cast and crew caused the show to be cancelled. Now, five years later and working towards her dream job in art history, she’s called back for a revival of the show. It can only end in disaster, surely?

Flown to a villa in Chianti to meet with the rest of the cast, Alice must decide where her future lies – with her boyfriend, David, who laps up the Hollywood company, or with the mysterious Matt, who shies away from public attention?

Purchase here

Review

I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

One of the many joys, of reading books by T.A. Williams, is the wonderful descriptions of the locations he chooses.  This is no exception and I thoroughly enjoyed my Book Escape to Chianti.

There is a strong list of supporting characters, in this story as Alice navigates her way between her former life in Hollywood and her newly earned doctorate in Art history.  When offered the chance to return to Hollywood, rather than find a position with her doctorate, she finds support for both options.

The cast of her former sit-com are mostly eager for her to return, as is her boyfriend David.

The meeting to discuss the possibility of a return to filming takes place at a villa, in Chianti, belonging to the producer of the sit-com.  The neighbour at the Villa is the smoulderingly handsome Matt, who defends his privacy and intrigues Alice.

I really liked the character of Felicity Winter and found myself imagining which current Hollywood A lister she could be based on.  It’s this friendship that proves to be key in Alice’s decisions about her future.

In all of this, I haven’t mentioned Guinness, Matt’s adorable Labrador and the reason that Alice and Matt first become aware of each other.  Guinness features heavily in this story and I recall beautiful black labs from previous books by this author.

A special mention should be given to the food, from the delights of the Villa to the tiny restaurant in the village, I found my mouth watering as each meal was described.

The twists that follow Alice’s story are beautifully framed with the range of Italian settings that are described perfectly.  As the weather here turned icy, it was wonderful to feel the virtual sun on my skin.

Author Bio

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

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

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Cover Reveal – A Secret Scottish Escape by Julie Shackman

Escape to the beautiful Scottish Highlands for a heartwarming and feel good cosy romance that will whisk you away from lockdown!

When Scotland’s sleepiest hamlet becomes the centre of hot gossip, Layla Devlin finds herself caught in a mystery…

When Layla’s fiancée has an unexpected heart attack and dies – in another woman’s arms, no less – Layla is determined to pack up and leave Loch Harris, the village she’s always called home. But an unexpected inheritance and love for her quiet corner of Scotland send her down a new path.

Now Layla finds herself facing a whole new kind of drama. Rumours swirl that a celebrity has moved into Coorie Cottage and Layla is determined to have him headline her opening night at local music venue The Conch Club. But the reclusive star is equally determined to thwart Layla’s efforts. Rafe Buchanan is in hiding for a reason, and soon his past comes to Loch Harris to haunt him…

Pre-order links UK US

Publication Date – 21st May 2021

Author Bio

I am a contemporary romance author from Scotland, who is obsessed with stationery and handbags.

I am married with two sons and have a poodle cross Romanian rescue puppy called Cooper. A Secret Scottish Escape is my fifth book.

I trained as a journalist and studied Communication & Media. When I’m not reading or writing, I love getting out for long walks, listening to music and watching romcoms.

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Blog Tour – The Little Swiss Ski Chalet by Julie Caplin

It’s time to pack your bags and head to the breathtaking, snow-covered peaks of the Swiss Alps for velvety hot chocolates, delicious cheeses and a gorgeous love story…

Food technician Mina has always believed that chocolate will solve everything – and it’s just what she needs when her latest relationship mishap goes viral!

So with her bags packed and a new determination to sort her life out, Minna decides to drown her sorrows with the best hot chocolate in the world at her godmother’s cosy Swiss chalet. Chocolate: yes. Romance: no. Until she has a run in on an Alpine train with a mysterious but oh-so-gorgeous stranger…

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Review

I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Little Swiss Ski Chalet is the perfect cure for the hangover from bingeing on Christmas books.  Still packed with joy, hot chocolate and romance but no mistletoe!  I didn’t have a hangover, is that possible? 

Julie Caplin has created a gorgeous book using the backdrop of an idyllic Swiss ski resort.  The characters are all rather wonderful, but Amelie and Johannes deserve a special mention.

I have never been skiing, despite living in a ski resort for four years, but that’s another story!  I completely got the ski and après ski vibe; the camaraderie of finding and making new friends with a shared interest.

Mina is a beautiful soul, filled with a lust for life that should be celebrated.  It was sad to read the elements where she questioned that wonderful spirit of adventure; the world needs more Minas, not fewer.

Luke is a wonderful romantic lead, his joy for life and his belief in serendipity is a pleasure.  Even when serendipity gets a helping glimpse of its destination. 

The food that was mentioned had my mouth watering and the chocolate was decadent.  I could almost imagine attending the tours but was glad I was only imagining, as I would need to be fitted with casters, to get around, if I sampled it all.

The tone of this book had a gentle innocence to it, Mina and Luke’s relationship was steadfastly built on genuine friendship.  A perfect foundation for a lasting partnership.

Author Bio

Julie Caplin, formerly a PR director, swanned around Europe for many years taking top food and drink writers on press trips (junkets) sampling the gastronomic delights of various cities in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Copenhagen and Switzerland. It was a tough job but someone had to do it. 

These trips have provided the inspiration and settings for her Romantic Escapes series which have been translated into fifteen different languages.

The first book in the seven strong series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

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