Blog Tour – Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett @Tr4cyF3nt0n @orbitbooks #CompulsiveReaders #BlogTour #BookReview #EmilyWildesEnclyclopaediaOfFaeries

This book is almost a million miles from my usual preferred genres, but I decided that in 2023 I would push my boundaries, a little, and challenge myself to read outside my usual styles.  I’m ever so glad that I made that decision.

Thanks to Tracy Fenton at Compulsive Readers and Orbit Books for my advance reading copy, gifted to me via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Enter the world of the hidden folk – and discover the most whimsical, enchanting and heart-warming tale you’ll read this year, featuring the intrepid Emily Wilde. . .

Emily Wilde is good at many things: she is the foremost expert on the study of faeries; she is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encylopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby

But as Emily gets closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones – the most elusive of all faeries –  she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all – her own heart.

 Filled with enchanting magic, heart-warming romance and a heroine you can’t help but love, Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries is the perfect read for fans of The Ten Thousand Doors of January and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

‘A darkly gorgeous fantasy that sparkles with snow and magic, this book wholly enchanted me’

Sangu Mandanna, author of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

‘Forget dark academia: give me instead this kind of winter-sunshined, sharp-tongued and footnoted academia, full of field trips and grumpy romance’

 Freya Marske, author of A Marvellous Light

‘The ideal book to curl up with on a chilly winter’s evening. . . this book is an absolute delight.’

Megan Bannen, author of The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Review

This is a wow book.  I would probably have left it on the shelf if I hadn’t decided to push my boundaries.  What a great decision that was.  There was no gentle entry into the world of mythical creatures as we join Emily on her journey to Hrafnsvik.  I decided that it was somewhere in the region of Iceland, but it could be anywhere in the Scandinavian world.

Emily is studying the lives of the Hidden Ones, those most elusive members of the faerie world.  As I turned the pages, I was transported back to my childhood, reading the works of Enid Blyton.  My older self had forgotten how enchanted I once was by tales from the faerie kingdoms. But this is not a book aimed at children; the stories are significantly darker and there’s plenty to unsettle even the most stoic of readers.

What I hadn’t expected was that at the very heart of the story, buried deep within this magical world, would be a love story. Nothing over the top with hearts and flowers, just a simple connection that would strengthen as the story picked up the tempo. 

Emily is a singularly studious type who is determined to be recognised amongst her peers as a respected knowledge on the faerie world.  To achieve this, she is convinced that she should have no dealings with the rather odd, Wendell Bambleby.  In fact, she doesn’t quite understand how he’s become so respected when he does little more than over-indulge in food, alcohol, and women.

This is definitely a book that I hadn’t realised that I needed to read. I was gently pulled into a different dimension where magical happenings were the norm.  Where changelings could live in a human household and faerie kings could be trapped inside a tree.

Despite the setting in the mythical realm, the messages remained the same as in our world, and it all came down to good triumphing over evil. Despite making a rather poor first impression, Emily’s kind yet determined nature created friendships that would help and support her when she most needed it most.

Take a leap of faith, like I did, and escape to a land of faeries where magic is just a wish away.

Take a look at the other stops on this magical tour

Blog Tour – Promise Me by Jill Mansell @JillMansell @RandomTTours @HeadlineFiction @Headlinepg #BlogTour #BookReview #JoyWithJill #PromiseMe

I often speak about preferred and favourite authors, but Jill Mansell definitely holds the title of original and ultimate.  From her first book, I was hooked and a loyal reader. I always look forward to January as I know that a new book will be published soon.  To then discover that the rather lovely Anne Cater from Random Things Tours organises Jill’s blog tours, all my Christmases came at once. If you’d like to read some of my previous reviews, please click on these links: It Started with a Secret and Should I Tell You?

I am grateful to Random Things Tours and Headline Review for arranging this blog tour and for my advance reading copy, which was gifted to me in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Fate’s about to make mischief…

One minute Lou is happily employed, with a perfect flat. The next, her home and job have gone. Suddenly she has to start over.

The last thing Lou wants is to move to a tiny Cotswolds village. She certainly doesn’t intend to work for curmudgeonly eighty-year-old Edgar Allsopp. But Edgar is about to make her the kind of promise nobody could ignore. In return, she secretly vows to help him fall in love with life again.

Foxwell is also home to Remy, whose charm and charisma are proving hard to ignore. But Lou hasn’t recovered from the last time she fell for a charmer. She needs a distraction – and luckily one’s about to turn up.

Secrets never stay hidden for long in Foxwell, nor are promises always kept. And no one could guess what lies ahead…

Praise for Promise Me

‘Jill has a great gift for characterisation – nuanced, interesting, believable people

but created with a charming lightness of touch . . . wisdom and emotional

intelligence’ MARIAN KEYES

‘Like a little blast of sunshine – uplifting, heartwarming and supremely feelgood’

SOPHIE KINSELLA

‘Reading Jill is always such a joy’ VERONICA HENRY

‘One of my favourite writers’ KATIE FFORDE

‘Jill Mansell is the queen of feel good romance’ Sunday Express

‘The queen of witty, heart-warming, feel-good love stories’ Red

‘Jill is an expert at creating characters who you can’t help but root for, and this

latest bunch are some of her best’ Heat

Review

This is another five-star read.  The gentle way that I was transported into Lou’s world was captivating and I immediately felt that she was a person I would love to be friends with.  Her heart was full of kindness and that simply overflowed into her daily life. It was perhaps those qualities that had brought her to a career as a carer.

Conversely, we also meet Edgar.  He was almost the polar opposite of Lou and his life reflected the behaviour that he displayed.  A disgruntled curmudgeon is an accurate description, but you can also add manipulative and ungrateful to his portfolio. Living a lonely life in a gorgeous but tired house, he has no friends and no prospect of making any.  He does, however, need help and he sees an opportunity when he meets Lou.  He offers her a job, but she declines as she already has one that she loves.  Or at least, she thought she did. Determined to secure her services, Edgar makes her an outrageous promise in order to close the deal.

Edgar is a complex character whose life experiences have contributed to his unpleasant demeanour, but Lou sees through his bluster and resolves to bring joy to his life. 

Lou’s best friend since school days is Sammy; a local musician who just needs a break to find the stardom that he dreams of.  His older brother, Remy, is a drop-dead gorgeous architect who Lou has carried a torch for, forever.  However, she’s done with gorgeous men and now wants to enjoy her life away from any drama.

Once again, Jill Mansell has created a set of characters to capture the imagination. There are slight echoes of a story with a similarly grumpy old man, but this story is so much more than a single dimension.  There’s every kind of emotion mixed into this very special book.

I loved all the characters, but it was Lou and Sammy that captured my imagination.  They both shared a vulnerability that left them open to people trying to take advantage. Not just Edgar, Tom also tried to manipulate Lou into bowing to his will.  Similarly, it was the uber-successful music execs who thought that they could make Sammy bend to their demands. Fortunately, they are both made of stronger stuff than was immediately obvious.

When I reached the final pages, I had felt every emotion possible.  I had cried and laughed, but more importantly, I felt satisfied that the ending was perfect.  I always know that I’m in safe hands with Jill Mansell’s writing and she’s never let me down yet.

I do hope that Jill will take us back to Foxwell and maybe give us a glimpse of what the future holds for these wonderful residents.

Author Bio

Jill Mansell has been writing Sunday Times bestsellers for over twenty years, most recently

Should I Tell You? Her hobbies include exploring the Cotswolds and the south west of

England, scouting for locations for future books, and discovering brilliant new restaurants

along the way. She lives in Bristol with her family.

Social Media Links

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Take a look at the other stops on this gorgeous tour

Blog Tour – Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn by Jessica Redland @jessicaredland @rarareources @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #HealingHeartsAtBumblebeeBarn

If you’re new to my blog, you may not know that Jessica Redland is one of a growing number of authors whose work I just love.  The list is growing but in fairness, I find that I hold those authors to a higher standard.  Unfair? Perhaps, but I want to make sure that my recommendations are genuine. I have been fortunate to take part in a large number of blog tours for Jessica and if you’d like to read some of my previous reviews, there are a couple of links here: Snowflakes Over the Starfish Café and Christmas Miracles at Hedgehog Hollow.

Once again, I am grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for arranging this wonderful tour and for my advanced reading copy, which was gifted to me via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Welcome to Bumblebee Barn, home to wonderful animals, stunning views and spectacular sunsets – and resident young farmer, Barney.

While Barney loves his life at Bumblebee Barn – a farm that has been in his family for generations – he’s struggling to find someone to share it with. The early mornings quad biking through muddy fields and the long hours looking after the crops and animals are proving to be a deterrent to finding love.

So when his sister, Fizz – desperate for Barney to find his soulmate – sees an advert for Love on a Farm, a new reality TV show to help farmers find love, he has nothing to lose by applying. Afterall, he isn’t meeting anyone suitable down the traditional route and surely he won’t be picked anyway…?

Thrown into the chaos of reality TV, Barney could never have expected that his whole life would be turned upside down, with buried secrets to be uncovered and his heart on the line. With his family and friends rooting for him, could the magic of Bumblebee Barn heal his broken heart and help him find love on the farm?

Purchase Link

Review

When Jessica brought her Hedgehog Hollow series to a close, I was one of countless readers who felt a loss at saying goodbye to the gorgeous characters that had been created. I know that it was a difficult decision to close the series, but it was the right one.  We then move to Bumblebee Barn which aptly refers to healing hearts and this was the best tonic for anyone mourning the end of the hedgehogs.  Written as a standalone book, there are some cameos from familiar characters and the opportunity to ensure that life is moving in the direction that we all imagined.

Surprisingly, I found myself again reading a book with a reality TV theme.  I am not a fan, but I’m wondering whether it’s a book genre that I should embrace.  We meet young farmer Barney who has been rather unlucky in love but that may have something to do with his choice of girlfriend.  Several things that they all have in common are being blonde, high-maintenance, and disinterested in farming life. Barney’s sister, Fizz wants nothing more than for him to find happiness, so she persuades him to enter into a new, farming-related, dating show.

This brings us to Amber, a hard-working television producer, she specialises in shows set in the countryside.  For a mixture of reasons, she takes the job after being reassured that this reality show is different to anything that she’s seen before; there will be no manipulation of events.  Amber has her own reasons for disliking the reality format and ironically, that is one of the reasons that she takes the job.

With a supporting cast made up of lovable, likeable, and distinctly detestable characters, the scene is set for love to hopefully find a way to reach Barney. I laughed, I groaned, and I became a little tearful as the story unfolded.  Jessica really is an incredibly skilled author, and her army of fans is well-earned.

Barney and Amber have both had several false starts in the race to find love, but they remained hopeful that there was someone out there for each of them.  As much as I adored Barney, I was particularly drawn to Amber.  She had suffered terrible betrayals and had certainly placed her trust in the wrong men. Her unyielding love for her family, and in particular her sister, was the reason that her heart had been broken in the past, yet she never questioned her loyalty.

This is billed as a standalone story, but I am hoping that we may return to Bumblebee Barn and see what’s happening and discover more beautiful sunsets and sunrises.  I loved this escape and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Author Bio

Jessica Redland writes emotional but uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast where she lives with her husband, daughter and sprocker spaniel. Her Hedgehog Hollow series, set in a hedgehog rescue centre, takes readers into the beautiful rolling countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

Social Media Links

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Newsletter Sign Up  

Bookbub profile

Check out these amazing bloggers and take a look at their stops on this fabulous tour

Blog Tour – Berlin Calling by Lilo Moore @leoniemauthor @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #RomCom #BerlinCalling

When Rachel Gilbey invited me onto this tour, I was intrigued to see how Leonie Mack would transition from writing romantic travel fiction to creating a far steamier storyline. I am delighted to say that she coped brilliantly and this Euro romp is a risqué tale of life behind the scenes of a fictional version of Eurovision.

I’m grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources for the blog tour support and for arranging my advance reading copy which was gifted to me in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

The song contest is hotting up, on and off the stage!

Rose writes twee pop, smiles a lot, and believes in magic and rainbows. When the cheesy love song she wrote is chosen for the European Song Contest, her luck seems to be turning around – especially when a chance encounter leads to the hottest one-night stand of her life. It’s almost too bad she’ll never see him again.
But then Rose discovers it wasn’t a chance encounter. The hot German DJ with the sexy deep voice is her rival for song contest glory.
Grumpy Emil is incredibly talented and the song he spins with his sister could be a winner, even if he doesn’t appreciate the playful spirit of the contest. As the continent falls in love with Rose and Emil’s competitive banter on social media, they must hide their history from the press or risk losing credibility – and a future songwriting career.
With an anonymous gossip out to ridicule the colourful contestants and a plot to undermine European public broadcasting bubbling under the shiny surface, Rose must be strong in the face of criticism and stand up for everything the contest means to her.
If this Canadian girl can save the contest, maybe she can believe that her feelings for Emil are the real deal.

Purchase Links

UK

US  

Review

This fun story hits the ground running with heroine Rose penning a winning song that is chosen to represent the UK in the upcoming European Song Contest.  High on the emotion of her success, she embarks on a one-night stand that is the best night of her life.  It’s a shame that she’ll never see him again.

When Rose discovers that her sexy conquest is a rival for the competition, she takes to Instagram and TikTok to create a social media rivalry and a huge helping of banter. Hot German DJ Emil, her one-night stand, enters into the spirit of her social media activity and there is soon a huge following for their snipes and hilarious exchanges.

There was nothing not to enjoy about this story.  I love to hate Eurovision and I was pleased that Berlin Calling poked fun at the political element that has become a huge part of the voting process. The behind-the-scenes elements cast a light on the bonding that happens between the performers, their camaraderie, and their whirlwind schedule of parties and photo opportunities.

Rose and Emil are seriously hot property, and their chemistry is definitely sizzling, but it’s their private relationship when they discuss each other’s backgrounds, that reminds us that there is still a lot that needs fixing in this world. Rose is a Canadian representing the UK and we discover that Emil is from Kosovo yet representing Germany. Whilst gently touching on these elements, the rest of the story is fun-filled and there’s plenty of gossip to be had.

I am now definitely in the mood to join Graham Norton and Sam Ryder in Liverpool. I loved escaping to the Euro-Village and helping to track down the identity of @eurogossip. If you don’t mind your romance being a little racy then this is a wonderful escape and a lot of fun.

Author Bio

Lilo Moore is the steamy romantic comedy pen name of travel romance author Leonie Mack. She lives among vineyards in Germany, creating fictional worlds and counting down to her next trip.

Social Media and Weblinks

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Mailing List

Take a look at the other fabulous bloggers on this tour

Blog Tour – Tilly’s Tuscan Teashop by Daisy James @daisyjamesbooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #PublicationDay #TillysTuscanTeashop

As a result of both poor timing and a busy blogging schedule, I’ve only read a couple of books by Daisy James, but I’m completely aware of her work and her faithful readers. I did manage to sneak onto the blog tour for Christmas at the Cornish Confetti Agency and you can read my review here.

I’m grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources for the blog tour support and for arranging my advance reading copy, gifted to me in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Welcome to Tilly’s Tuscan Teashop, the first book in a brand new series from the author of the Hummingbird Hotel and the Cornish Confetti Agency series.

When photographer Natalie Nicholson’s beach hut studio – and everything she’s spent the last two years working on – is destroyed in a fire, she doesn’t think things can get any worse. Until she sees her boyfriend Josh Clarke on Instagram frolicking on a palm-fringed Balinese beach with a fellow cabin crew member.

Devastated and heartbroken, she heads to Italy to help out at her sister’s English teashop in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, where she encounters sun-dappled hilltop villages with attractive terracotta bell towers, cobbled piazzas housing world-famous art and architecture, and a national fixation with getting from A to B as quickly as possible whether in a glamourous Ferrari, a scarlet Vespa, or a snail-like ape.

With handsome local filmmaker-cum-waiter Matteo Ferretti on hand to guide her, can Tilly learn to ditch her workaholic ways and embrace the Italian pursuit of la dolce vita? Or will she miss out on her chance at a happy-ever-after?

Purchase Links

US

UK

Review

As the first in a new series, this was a wonderful introduction to a lovely set of characters with business units based in beach huts on the English Riviera.  Photographer Tilly favours monochrome photography and a minimalist lifestyle, what she doesn’t realise is that removing colour from her world has taken some of the joy from her life, and her days have become a little stale.  As tragedy strikes and her beach hut is destroyed, she also discovers that her boyfriend is having a very public affair. Nursing a broken heart, Tilly agrees to head to Italy and take over the day-to-day running of her sister’s teashop.

It’s impossible not to love Tilly, her positive attitude is the polar opposite of her monochrome lifestyle. She’s the kind of character who brings a little sunshine with her, wherever she goes.  Sadly, she’s unaware of her own effect on the people around her.  As she arrives in the Tuscan village, she discovers that her mode of transport is a bright red Vespa, not the little run-around that she was expecting.  She meets the very handsome Matteo, working as a waiter, but has no interest is risking her heart again.

Tilly throws herself headlong into boosting the fortunes of the struggling tea shop and adds a little magic to the pretty Tuscan village as she makes friends and a rather grumpy enemy. I really enjoyed following the progress of the tea shop and felt hungry as I read about the wonderful Afternoon Teas being served.

As the weeks pass, she learns more about her neighbours and about herself.  I loved the way Daisy James used the food and colours of Tuscany to revive Tilly’s flagging life.  There’s plenty of fun and even some skulduggery to overcome as Tilly finds the joy that she’s been missing.

This was an ideal book for the cold January nights as it brought some sunshine and lots of fun into the chilly season.  So, hop on a Vespa and escape to Tuscany, you know it makes sense.

Author Bio

Daisy James loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. She especially likes to create sunshine-filled settings in exotic locations – the Caribbean, Tuscany, Cornwall, Provence – so she can spend her time envisioning her characters enjoying the fabulous scenery and sampling the local food and drink.

When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Daisy would love to hear from readers via her social media.

Social Media Links

 Twitter   

Facebook  

Instagram

Check out the rest of the stops on this sunny tour

Blog Tour – A Love to Last a Lifetime – by Clare Swatman @clareswatman @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #PublicationDay #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #ALoveToLastALifetime

Last summer I read my first book by Clare Swatman and immediately fell in love with her style of storytelling.  Originally published as How to Save a Life, the Night we First Met was close to perfection and I was completely enchanted by the story.  You can read my review here.

I’m grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for arranging this tour and for the advance reading copy., which was gifted to me via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below

Synopsis

The one that she wants…

Adam Bowers; handsome, funny and with the charm of a rock star, from the moment she laid eyes on him, teenage Erin was smitten. But first loves don’t always last, and after a whirlwind romance, Erin and Adam go their separate ways. Yet, Erin never lets go of the feeling that Adam may have been her soul mate…

The one that she needs…

Greg fell in love with Erin in their first week at university. Solid, trustworthy and hopelessly devoted to Erin, he knows he’s better for her than the feckless Adam, who is forever leaving Erin broken-hearted, before winning her back with his charm. As far as Greg is concerned, it’s easy to promise the world, but it’s harder to love someone for a lifetime.

The one that got away…

Years later Greg and Erin are married, and although life hasn’t always been easy, Greg’s love for Erin has never dimmed. But when Adam comes back, in desperate need of Erin’s help, everything changes.  Erin starts to wonder whether fate is trying to tell her something…

Will Erin risk it all for the man she had thought was ‘The One’?

Purchase Link

Review

My heart went out to Erin as I understand the attraction of the one that got away, it’s an ache that whilst dull, never really leaves you.  Of course, you can show it the proverbial door, but need to be sure that your heart is ready to let go.

The relationship that Erin shared with Adam had all the signs of the infatuation that comes from young love.  The desperation and need to spend every moment together and the fear of missing something important that may let another person in.  As the pages turned, her passion was palpable, and I completely understood her obsession.  However, if you’ve read the synopsis, it was a love that was destined to fail.

We then meet Greg who brings the adoration that is usually associated with a new puppy.  Happy to pick up whatever crumbs Erin is offering.  He’s loyal and seems completely flawless.  Their relationship should have been everything that was needed to exorcise the spirit of Adam, but something caused the door to her heart to remain slightly open.

I loved the way Clare stripped back the layers of both relationships and slowly revealed the truth.  There is no such thing as perfect, that’s something that the mind and memory create.  The moments may feel euphoric, but the truth is usually hidden near the surface. The story picks at the scab that has formed over Erin’s relationships and while painful, the truth slowly emerges and proves to be cathartic.

On a personal level, I was soothed to read about Erin’s work with dementia and music. We used favourite tunes to bond with Mum until her slip into the awful grip of Alzheimer’s cut that final tie.

I don’t believe in spoilers and won’t reveal the ending other than to promise you that she chooses someone who will always have her best interests at heart and will never let her down.  That love is definitely one to last a lifetime and one that we all have in us.

This is a must-read book and I cannot recommend it enough.

Author Bio  

Clare Swatman is the author of three women’s fiction novels, published by Macmillan, which have been translated into over 20 languages. She has been a journalist for over twenty years, writing for Bella and Woman & Home amongst many other magazines. She lives in Hertfordshire. Before We Grow Old, was published in January 2022.

Social Media and Weblinks

Facebook   

Twitter

Instagram

Newsletter Sign Up

Bookbub profile

Check out the other stops on this wonderful tour

Blog Tour – Sunrise with the Silver Surfers by Maddy Please @maddieplease1 @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #SunriseWithTheSilverSurfers

One of the many perks of working with Rachel Gilby’s Random Resources is the opportunity to discover new to me authors. Maddy Please is one such author and I have loved her since the first book.  Like another Boldwood author, Judy Leigh, Maddy Please highlights women in their older years and repeatedly proves that life doesn’t end when the grey hairs begin to show.  If you’d like to read some earlier reviews, you can follow these links: The Old Ducks Club and Old Friends Reunited.

I’m grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for my advance reading copy, which was gifted to me via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Newly single at sixty, Elin Anderson decides it’s finally time for an adventure of her own. With her marriage to tedious Tom now officially over, Elin plans to visit the family she hasn’t seen in years. First stop: Australia!

But going home is harder than Elin thought. Everywhere she turns Elin sees brightness and colour, which only makes her own life seem even more drab and beige. How has she let herself fade away?

Determined to have some fun, Elin reluctantly agrees to join The Silver Surfers – a group of seniors who travel the coast, only caring about their next big adventure. Because life’s too short to watch the ocean when you could be making waves…

There’s only one catch – her road trip companion, Kit Pascoe. Kit is a man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word fun and makes it clear to Elin that this adventure will be subject to his own strict rules.

But with every new day, Elin slowly begins to rediscover who she really is. And she’s certain that rules are meant to be broken…aren’t they?

Purchase Link

Review

This time, Maddie Please transported me to Australia and the sights that I have only seen in magazines or on the TV.  We are introduced to Elin who left the Australian shores and married decades before.  She has never been back to visit her home and family.  Her insipid husband had started a new life with a much younger model and was again experiencing the joys of fatherhood.  Sadly, he was failing to find the joys and Elin firmly believed that it wasn’t her problem. She’s now sixty and single and is determined to recapture the feelings of her life in Australia.

I just adored Elin and had multiple laugh-out-loud moments.  She was hilarious with the right mixture of self-deprecation and a genuine lack of guile. Her relationship with her sister has remained strong as a result of virtual and physical visits to the UK. As I mentioned, this was Elin’s first trip back to Oz and her first time meeting her sister’s partner, Shane. He was the epitome of what I would imagine as a ‘beach bum’; laid back with a lackadaisical attitude to work and commitment.  Conversely, we meet Shane’s brother, Kit.  Initially, he is charm personified, but then Elin sees another side to him which is somewhat less attractive

So, if you’ve read the synopsis, you’ll know that Elin and Kit are thrown together as they set out to recover a motorhome that Elin’s aunt and uncle cannot drive home.  This is where the greater story evolves, and we get to know Elin and Kit more deeply.

I was completely captivated by Elin and Kit’s adventure.  The descriptions of beauty spots, tourist attractions, and sunsets were a love letter to anyone dreaming of an Antipodean adventure.  I could almost hear the surf breaking on the sand and imagine the joys of an extended road trip with someone who makes you laugh.

This is a joyful book that I absolutely adored.  Another win for the more mature woman and a gorgeous helping of sun, fun, and sexy adventures. What a wonderful escape this was, I would love to go back!

Author Bio  

Maddie Please is the #1 bestselling author of novels including The Old Ducks’ Club and Sisters Behaving Badly. Having had a career as a dentist and now lives in rural Devon where she enjoys box sets, red wine and Christmas. She will be taking a new direction in her writing for Boldwood with joyous tales of older women.

Social Media and Weblinks   

Facebook

Twitter  

Instagram  

Newsletter Sign Up  

Bookbub profile

Check out the other stops on this fabulous tour

Blog Tour – The Backup Plan by Jill Shalvis @jillshalvis @eternal_books @IsabelleHPG #BlogTour #BookReview #PublicationDay #TheBackupPlan

I have become a fan of Jill Shalvis having discovered her writing via NetGalley.  Her style is thoroughly engaging, and I always escape into the stories that she creates.  Invariably, she writes about ordinary people with an innate sense of the real world.  Her writing focuses on the people and not their bank balances. If you’d like to read some of my earlier reviews you can follow these links: The Summer Deal, The Forever Girl, and The Family You Make.

I received a digital advance reader copy of this book via NetGalley and a Blog Tour invite, along with a gifted copy via the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below. 

Synopsis

Could an unexpected windfall be the gift of a lifetime?

Alice never expected to inherit the falling-apart-at-the-seams old Wild West B&B she once considered home, nor did she expect that she’d have to share it with two strangers.

Except they weren’t always strangers. Once upon a time, they were friends.

One is her ex-BFF Lauren. The other is Knox, the only guy to ever break her heart.

Years ago, each of them independently helped the same woman, never expecting that it would link them together forever. And now Alice, Lauren, and Knox, all broken in their own ways, must find a way to get along with each other. According to the woman’s will, they must renovate the inn as a team for one year, or else lose their inheritance.

Stuck together, they make a list of rules to keep the peace. The rules may not be that effective, but if they can weather the storm, they might find something they didn’t even know they were looking for – acceptance, real friendship, and maybe even true love.

Review

As the synopsis explains, this is a book about broken friendships and how difficult it can be to recover a relationship and trust once it’s lost. We are introduced to three characters whose lives had been deeply connected to the now-deceased Eleanor, who had been instrumental in the paths that their lives had taken.  Possibly the most poignant was Lauren, who was Eleanor’s estranged great-niece and had been brought up thinking that Eleanor hadn’t cared for her.

The book gently examines the relationships between Eleanor and the three former friends.  For both Alice and Knox, she had represented a maternal influence that they had both needed at that time. 

Brought back together as the result of a specific bequest in Eleanor’s will, they are instructed to live and work together, for one year, in order to restore her former home; a rundown farmhouse that had featured in two television shows.  They were provided with a generous budget to tackle the renovations before choosing a management company to run the farm as a tourist destination for the fanbases of the former shows.  At the end of the year, they would each inherit a third of the revenues generated from either the sale of the farm or its ongoing operation as a hotel.

A fragile truce is called as they all agree to the terms and set about the task in hand.  A set of rules is written, and they all agree to abide by those rules in order to keep the peace. Then the fun starts!

I loved each of the three characters, as well as getting to know more about Eleanor.  Even as the truth of her influence was uncovered, I was intrigued to understand more about her.  Alice, Lauren, and Knox were beautifully drawn, and I could almost imagine them in the room with me. Jill Shalvis doesn’t shy away from exploring every element of human relationships and laying them out for the reader to get a true understanding of the characters.  As the secrets of their estrangements came to light, I was definitely rooting for them to find peace and rekindle their relationships.

This is a wonderful book that I really didn’t want to end.  I think this may be my favourite yet and I can highly recommend it.

Author Bio

Multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is … mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning heart-warming and full of humour novels wherever books are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Social Media and Weblinks

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Website

Check out the other stops on this fabulous tour

Blog Tour – There’s No Place Like Home by Jane Lovering @janelovering @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #TheresNoPlaceLikeHome

Jane Lovering is one of my favourite authors and I have followed her work from her debut award-winning book to her most recent offerings.  She’s taken me all over Yorkshire and even introduced me to vampires! Even though her earlier books were top-notch, I have to say that I think this could be her best yet. If you’d like to read some of my earlier reviews, you can follow these links: A Seagull Summer and The Forgotten House on the Moor.

I am grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for my advance reading copy, which was gifted to me via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Isabel, Izzy to her friends, has got nothing left to lose when she makes the bravest decision of her life.

A month living under canvas on the Yorkshire Moors with five strangers wouldn’t normally be her idea of a good time, even if there is prize money to be won at the end of it, but she’s all out of options.

Joining her in this wild goose chase, being filmed for a TV show, are farmer Seb, whose marriage is creaking but who is desperate not to lose his family. Sheltered Ruth who needs an opportunity to show she can make her own decisions. Glamorous socialite Kanga, who has been living a lie. American Junior who has his own secret that has led him there. And last but not least, mysterious and brooding Mac, who Izzy can’t help but be drawn to.

As the fickleness of nature tests them all to their limits, this disparate group come together to face the challenge. But when Izzy finally tells them the truth that has brought her out on the Moors, will that be the end of their adventure, or the beginning of her future? Because what Izzy really needs is a place to call home, and someone to share it with could be even better…

Purchase Link    

Review

I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this premise as I am not a fan of reality TV shows and actively avoid them unless they feature sewing or pottery.  Of course, I put my trust in Jane Lovering’s writing and was rewarded with this thought-provoking story.

Izzy is the lead character, and despite her defensive attitude, she really appealed to me.  Her vulnerability, caused by her fractured relationship with her family and tenuous personal life, really captured my imagination.  In no time at all, I was fully on her side and hoping for a positive outcome.

The setting of the story is the Yorkshire Moors and I certainly felt like they were an additional character in the book.  The stark vistas and the detailed descriptions brought a genuine feeling of being part of the action. Thankfully, despite an accidental dip in a stream, I remained dry but still shivered at the thought.

There’s an eclectic mix of characters who each add layers to this engaging story.  The loudest was certainly the glamourous socialite, Kanga.  Her attitude and Instagram lifestyle were anathema to me but are becoming the new normal in many aspects of life. Former farmer Seb was hoping to prove to his wife that he wasn’t controlling, while Ruth was looking to show that she was capable of taking charge. Their opposing yet aligned ambitions were fun to follow. I had a particular soft spot for American cameraman Junior who was hiding a mysterious secret. However, it was the darkly broody Mac that I felt drawn to.  His gentle, yet sometimes caustic, friendship with Izzy slowly gave her confidence while empowering him to share more of his own life.

This was a book that I had to force myself to put down.  I could have happily kept on reading through the night, but I had to work. The story is original and engaging, and I was fully invested in the task presented to the team. I’m not a lover of life under canvas, but I thoroughly enjoyed escaping to the moors.

Author Bio  

Jane Lovering is the bestselling and award-winning romantic comedy writer who won the RNA Novel of the Year Award in 2012 with Please Don’t Stop the Music. She lives in Yorkshire and has a cat and a bonkers terrier, as well as five children who have now left home.

Social Media and Weblinks   

Facebook

Twitter  

Newsletter Sign Up

Bookbub profile

Check out the other stops on this wonderful tour

Blog Tour – A Laird in London by Catherine Tinley @catherinetinley @rararesources #BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway #ALairdInLondon

Having read and enjoyed a number of Catherine Tinley’s lovely stories, it was a no-brainer to take my place on the blog tour for this follow-up to A Laird for the Governess, where we met Angus’ brother as he fell in love.  Once again, I was transported back to the era that has found commercial fame through the Bridgerton franchise on TV.   But you can forget about the well-groomed men of the Ton once you discover what the Hebrides has to offer.

I am grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources and Catherine Tinley for the invite and support, along with the advance reading copy, received as a gift in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

There’s a new Laird in town

Will he leave with a wife?

Angus MacDonald has just arrived in London to reclaim his land when he rescues Lady Isabella Wood from a cattle stampede! Their instant attraction is undeniable, but Isabella must wed this Season and Angus isn’t looking for a bride. His wild Hebridean home is a world away from London Society, so Isabella is completely out-of-bounds. Even if their connection is unlike anything he’s felt before.

Purchase Link

Review

After my last visit to the Hebridean home of the MacDonald family, I was left hoping that there would be further stories that would follow the rest of the family, my hopes were certainly answered as we discovered the exploits of the Laird in London.  With their lands having been gifted away after the Highland Clearances, Angus MacDonald is determined to recover ownership of the land from the elusive landowner who hides behind his agent. With his sister by his side, Angus arrives in London and soon realises that in order to access the circles that the landlord moves in, he needs to join society and become a member of the Ton. 

Isabella leads a double life; a member of London Society in the Spring and Summer, she would rather be with her brother enjoying life on their boat and getting her hands dirty.  Sadly, her elder brother has different ideas and commands that during this season, she finds a husband and joins polite society.

This is a beautifully constructed story that highlights the giant differences between those born with a silver spoon and those without.  The decadent attitude to buying clothing and gambling are symptoms of how incredibly fortunate those who made up London Society really were.  While Angus and his sister were more than equal financially, it took some time to have their presence accepted, but once it was, they would become the talk of the town.

The internal battles that both Angus and Isabella fought were tantalising and I found myself willing them both to ignore what society dictated and throw caution to the wind.  As their obvious attraction smouldered, it became a matter of when rather than how they would get together.  This was a delicious tale of attraction overcoming the restrictions of what society demanded.

With Angus having a spirited sister and Isabella a strong and misunderstood brother there’s plenty of scope for a return to the Hebrides.

I loved everything about this book and can’t wait to see what Catherine writes next.

Author Bio  

Catherine Tinley is a multi-award winning author of witty, heartwarming historical romance. Her first novel, Waltzing with the Earl, won the Rita® Award for Best Historical Romance in 2018, while Rags-to-Riches Wife won the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romance 2021 as well as the HOLT Medallion, and A Waltz with the Outspoken Governess won the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romance 2022.

She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, Sure Start, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now manages a maternity hospital. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cats, and dog and can be reached at catherinetinley.com on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Social Media Links

Link Tree

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of A Laird in London (Open INT)

Click here to enter

*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.

Check out the other stops on this fabulous tour