Blog Tour – Jingle Bells in June (Little Duck Pond Café) by Rosie Green

I have read and enjoyed every book in the Little Duck Pond Café Series, and since starting my blog, I’ve reviewed lots of them.  I first discovered this gorgeous series via Kindle Unlimited and was then thrilled to discover that she works with Rachel Gilbey for her Blog Tours.  If  you’d like to look at some of my previous reviews, here are a couple of links for you to follow Snow Falls Over Sunnybrook and Chocolate Cake for Breakfast.

I am grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources and Rosie Green for my digital ARC which was gifted to me in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Mackenzie Morris, newest recruit at the Little Duck Pond Café, is the perfect addition to the team. But beneath her smiles, Kenzie is hiding a dark secret. It’s the reason she fled to Sunnybrook, desperate for a fresh start that would help to lay the ghosts that haunt her.
The challenge of turning her hobby into a business is a welcome distraction, and to her relief, she finds that her range of quirky pottery mugs and vases appear to be in demand. Alone and scared when she arrived, she’s slowly making friends and starting to feel as if she belongs. Meeting a lovely guy called Aidan seems to confirm this and it looks as if love might be on the horizon.
But then Kenzie makes a devastating discovery that threatens to crush her new-found happiness. Aidan is the one person she yearns to confide in. He’s also the one person who can never know the truth . . .

Purchase Link

Review

Although The Little Duck Pond Café books form a series, they are each easily read as standalone stories.  If this was to be your introduction, I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed. Kenzie Morris is a wonderful addition to the café, she is a creature of habit, regularly laying flowers on a grave in the next town and helping out wherever she can. Sadly, Kenzie is missing her best friend, Rachel and daughter Poppy, who suddenly disappeared from her life when they were at their most vulnerable.  Not a day passes when Kenzie doesn’t worry about their fate. 

When she meets handsome stranger Aidan, there’s an immediate attraction which draws them both together, but as they get to know each other better, Kenzie realises that a dark secret will keep them apart.

I absolutely loved this book!  It honestly felt like the series was coming of age as it dealt with some difficult topics as Kenzie’s background was slowly revealed.  I instinctively felt her heartache and desperate need to discover what had happened to her friend. We also catch up with Ellie and a maturing Maisie who reminded me of dealing with my daughter, all those years ago.

Rosie writes some of the loveliest characters to whom I am immediately drawn, and Kenzie is definitely a breath of fresh air.  In spite of her past, she is a happy positive force who I would love to be friends with.

Author Bio  

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. Look out for ‘Sun, Sea & Strawberry Shortcake’, a sunshine-filled drama full of fun and mystery, out in June 2022 and including the return of character favourites, Ruby and Hudson.

Follow Rosie on Twitter

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Blog Tour- The Viking She Would Have Married by Lucy Morris

Lucy Morris is a new, to me author, and I am a sucker for anything Viking related, so I jumped at the chance to be part of this tour.  I certainly wasn’t disappointed with my decision and will keep my eye out for the other books in this series.

I am grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me onto this tour and for my digital ARC which was gifted in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

In close quarters… With the Viking she’d loved and lost

A Shieldmaiden Sisters story—with her family fallen on hard times, Valda’s forced to join the crew on Halfdan Ulfsson’s merchant ship as he sets sail on the treacherous silk route. But this handsome jarl’s son is the man she’d planned to wed, until his bitter betrayal. Knowing she can never trust him, she must focus on saving her sisters…and not the intense connection that still burns between them!

Passion erupts when these bold, spirited Vikings are reunited!

Purchase Links

Books to Read

Harper Collins

Review

If, like me, you are a fan of Viking stories, then I can wholeheartedly recommend this book.  If you’re not, or haven’t read any, then this is a great place to start.  Starting off in Viking stronghold, Jorvik (now known as York), we meet the feisty and determined Valda who is desperate to earn money in order to help her family buy a farm.  Despite the fact that her mother and sisters are all shield-maidens, they are not recognised by the Jarl and have been left to live in poverty.  As Valda secures a spot on Halfdan’s merchant ship, she should feel confident that she will be able to help her family, but she’s filled with trepidation as she fights her feelings for the man she once loved.

There was never any doubt that this was a romantic story, the sizzle between Valda and Halfdan was immediately obvious, but their connection was much deeper than sexual chemistry. Their shared memories were very close to the surface and her determination to be fiercely independent was at odds with his desire to protect her and keep her safe.

I found the descriptions of life on the merchant ship filled my imagination and it wasn’t difficult to picture the sights, sounds, and smells as they made their way along the silk route.  As they encountered the hostile raiders, I could feel the tension rising as their lives became vulnerable in the foreign lands.

This was an enjoyable escape and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Author Bio

Lucy Morris has always been obsessed with myths and legends. Her books blend sweeping romance with vivid worldbuilding to whisk you away to another time and place filled with adventure. Expect passion, drama and vibrant characters.

Lucy lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves Terry’s Chocolate Oranges and Irn-Bru. In her spare time she likes to explore castles with her family, or drink bubbly with her friends.

Social Media Links

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Blog Tour – Sweet Love and Country Roads by Camilla Isley

Having read a few books that I found mentally challenging, I was in the perfect mood for another treat from Camilla Isley.  Her writing is reliably light-hearted with a healthy dollop of sizzle with plenty of fun in between.  I have read a few of her previous books and particularly enjoyed her Christmas standalones. You can check out a couple of my reviews by following these links Opposites Attract and Home for Christmas.

I am grateful to Rachel’s Random Reads and Camilla Isley for the digital ARC which was gifted to me in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Falling for the wrong cowboy never felt so good . . .

Samantha Baker is a high-flying movie producer living in New York City. She loves her shoes, drinking cosmopolitans, and wouldn’t trade the comforts of city life for anything in the world. But when her job is put on the line, Samantha has no other choice than to move to the middle of nowhere to straighten out the filming of her latest romantic comedy blockbuster.

Her new country home has no Starbucks, no Pilates, and the one pub in town has never heard of appletinis—only serves beer and whiskey neat. On the plus side, the views are scenic. And not just for the aerial shots, as the local eye-candy provides a welcome distraction.

At least until Samantha discovers a native cowboy, Travis Hunt, is the source of all her troubles…

And the battle begins.

Each has something the other wants, but as Samantha and Travis go head to head, they might discover the endgame has changed. When hate turns to heat, all becomes fair in love and war for these two sworn enemies who’ve been playing a game of hearts.

But will a roll in the hay be enough to make Samantha decide there’s no sex in the city and convert to country living? 

Purchase Links

Amazon

Apple

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

Google Play

Review

Having spent a few years living in Texas and then Colorado, I can certainly appreciate the attraction to a cowboy!  Movie producer Samantha Baker takes the role of spoilt, city-loving problem solver seriously and she is the perfect candidate to go up against country loving cowboy, Travis Hunt.  This book had everything that I needed and easily soothed my need for a happy ending.

Of course, the happy ending is not offered on a plate; the reader has to put the effort into the story and follow the slow burn of this mismatched, opposites attract couple.  That said, the payoff is all that you could hope for and I just loved it.

Emerald Creek is a wonderful setting and the supporting cast adds to the mystique of small-town living.  The White Hart may be a bar that doesn’t mainline Cosmo’s but I would happily perch on a barstool and sip on a cold beer.  Especially if I could chat with Amber and the rest of the gang.

Camilla Isley writes the books that lovers of romantic fiction want to read.  Her characters are well defined and there’s plenty of humour along the way.

Author Bio  

Camilla is an engineer who left science behind to enter the whimsical realm of romantic fiction.

She writes contemporary rom-coms. Her characters have big hearts, might be a little stubborn at times, and love to banter with each other. Every story she pens has a guaranteed HEA that will make your heart beat faster. Unless you’re a vampire, of course.

Camilla is 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.

Social Media Links

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TikTok

YouTube (Free Audiobooks)

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Blog Tour – Beach House Summer by Sarah Morgan

I have read, enjoyed, and reviewed a few books from Sarah Morgan, and she has quickly become one of my go-to authors.  I love the way she creates characters and scenarios that work really well together.  Of course, there’s always time for a little romance, but the reader has to be patient as character development is key.  If you’d like to look at some of my previous reviews, there are links here; A Wedding in December was my first and The Christmas Escape was my most recent.

I am grateful to HQ Stories from Harper Collins for my digital ARC, which was gifted via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

A marriage in the spotlight

Joanna Whitman’s high-profile marriage held more secrets than she cares to remember, so when her ex-husband dies, she doesn’t know what to feel. But when she discovers that he’s left behind a pregnant young woman, Joanna is forced to act. She knows exactly how brutal the spotlight on them both will be…unless she can find a way for them to disappear.

A beach house hideaway

Ashley Blake is amazed when Joanna suggests they lie low at her beach house in her sleepy Californian hometown. Joanna should be hating her, not helping her. But alone and pregnant, Ashley needs all the support she can find.

A summer of new beginnings

Joanna’s only goal for the summer is privacy. All Ashley wants is space to plan for her and her baby’s future. But when an old flame reappears, and secrets spill out under the hot summer sun, this unlikely friendship is put to the test…

Review

I liked Joanna Whitman from the very start, I felt her vulnerability and was hoping that she would find her way through the mess that her departed husband left behind.  Ashley took a while longer and I was puzzled by Joanna’s determination to protect her from the paparazzi.  Of course, I should have known better and trusted this terrific storyteller to steadily provide the missing pieces of information.

I do enjoy a second chance story and Beach House Summer certainly delivered.  Joanna has returned to the town where she grew up.  Technically, her childhood home but the actual home has long been razed to the ground and a new, luxury beach house now stands in its stead.  Despite this, there are elements of the location that continue to remind her of her childhood summers at the beach.  More importantly, she remembers spending time with twins Mel and Nate, her best friend and one-time boyfriend.

Silver Point, California and Otter’s Nest were easily imaginable.  I have a love for small-town America and adored the idea of having a luxury home as a bolt hole – maybe in another life!  The residents of Silver Point were wonderful, and the way they stood up to the journalists, protecting Joanna and Ashley, was enough to make me grin with delight.

Of course, to reach a happy ending, it has to be worked for and boy was the terrain tough when it came to discovering more about Joanna’s past, including her stepmother.  Although there is a happy ending, it’s hard to predict what that may look like, but I was left happily contented.

This is a great story and another one that helps confirm Sarah Morgan as a preferred author.  Escape to California, it’s a wonderful trip.

Author Bio

Sarah Morgan is a USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of romance and women’s fiction. She has sold over 21 million copies of her books and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe.

Sarah lives near London, England and when she isn’t writing or reading, she likes to spend time outdoors hiking or riding her mountain bike.

Social Media and Weblinks

Website

Facebook

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Blog Tour – Finding Love on Sunshine Island by Georgina Troy

I discovered Georgina Troy after receiving an invite onto her blog tour for one of her Boardwalk by the Sea series.  I thoroughly enjoyed the story but was sad that I’d joined in the middle of an ongoing series, here’s a link to my review.  For that reason, I was thrilled to join this tour at book one and I’m already looking forward to the rest of the series.

I’m grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for the digital ARC which was gifted via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Welcome to the Sunshine Island – where the beaches are golden, the lifestyle is perfect and anything is possible.

Piper Le Brocq is happily single after the disastrous ending of her engagement eighteen months before. The only man in her life is Jax, her best friend and cousin, who spends his life teaching locals how to forage and taking tourists on boat trips around the island. Her days are filled with helping out at her mother’s guest house and selling her glass mosaics at The Cabbage Patch emporium in Trinity.

Piper loves living on the Sunshine Island, where the neighbours look out for each other and visitors are welcome. So, when handsome guest Alex Cooper arrives at the guest house to check up on his grandfather, she welcomes him to the sunny island. And when he needs help after his grandfather is injured, she’s quick to get involved.

Yet, the more she gets to know Alex the more mysterious he seems, and Alex isn’t the only one keeping secrets from her.

Pre-order Link

Review

This is a charming story that is packed with potential for the rest of the series. Piper is devoted to her family, and she has no interest in finding a man, her track record in the romance stakes has taken her off the market and she’s more than happy with her Mum, her Gran, and her cousin Jax.  That is until she meets visitor Alex Cooper who catches her attention creating a whole range of problems as they get to know each other.

Whilst this is romantic fiction, the story tackles a tragic storyline as we learn about the truth behind Piper’s grandmother’s divorce.  Not everything is as it may seem, and Alex’s grandfather holds the key to being able to lay the past to rest.

I loved everything about this book, it was cute, fun, and honest.  Whilst I knew how the romance would turn out, it was fun following the twists and turns that led to the finish line.  I would love to visit The Cabbage Patch and lose a few hours looking at and learning about local crafts.

I’ve never visited Jersey, but I’m sure that I would thoroughly enjoy escaping there.

Author Bio  

Georgina Troy writes uplifting romantic escapes and sets her novels on the island of Jersey where she was born and has lived for most of her life. When she was writing her first novel she realised there were hundreds of places on the small that would make perfect romantic settings and when she discovered that no one else had at that time written a romance set on the island she decided to do it herself.

Social Media Links  

Facebook

Twitter  

Instagram

Bookbub profile

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Blog Tour – The Italian Job by Kathryn Freeman

Kathryn Freeman is another author that I discovered through the Choc-Lit publishing house, and as a result, I’d read quite a few before I started blogging and more since.  If you’d like to look at my previous reviews, there are a couple of links here Mr Right Across the Street and The Beach Reads Book Club.

I am grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources for the digital ARC, which was gifted to me, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Dream job. Dream house. Fake fiancé. 

A year in a gorgeous Italian castle…

When Anna Roberts’ life implodes, an online search leads her to an ad for the ultimate dream job – management of a gorgeous castle on the shores of Lake Como, accommodation included. The only catch? Anna can’t do it alone…

…With the last man on earth she’d choose!

The castle owners will only accept a couple as caretakers, which means Anna needs a man on her arm at the interview. Enter her neighbour, Jake Tucker. Though Anna and Jake have never seen eye-to-eye, Jake’s had a rough few years and an escape to Italy sounds ideal. Yet, when they get the job and jet off, Anna and Jake face an unexpected challenge. Pretending to be a couple is difficult … but pretending the tension simmering between them doesn’t exist is quickly proving impossible!

Purchase Links

Link UK

Link US

Review

Wow!  This story packed a punch, it was obvious just from the synopsis which direction this story was going to take, but nothing prepared me for being completely sucked into the gorgeous, sizzling romance.

There’s a past history between Jake and Anna.  Jake has a reputation for being a bad boy after his father died during his teenage years and then a stint in prison.  Anna is the daughter of a senior police officer, now retired, but very much aware of Jake’s chequered past.  They have both formed opinions about each other with Anna seeing Jake as a no-hoper and Jake viewing Anna as a snooty sort.  So, when Anna has to ask Jake for a massive favour, it’s clear that it could be a recipe for disaster.

I just loved both of the characters in this gorgeous story of pre-conceptions and the attraction of opposites.  Jake and Anna were captivating, and I found myself willing them on to a happy ending.  Of course, there are more characters in the story and each one was likeable and wonderfully introduced and developed.  When I say each one, I make an exception for Nigel who was vile!

A special mention has to be given to the food. My mouth was watering as I imagined dining in the castle kitchen, sampling Anna’s amazing dishes. I have always imagined that a trip to Italy would centre around food, and this story didn’t disappoint.

Lake Como and the surrounding Italian villages caught my imagination and I had visions of being skippered across the lake in a beautiful, varnished boat.  The sort that we see in Bond films and action movies.

This is a gorgeous book, and I cannot recommend it enough.

Author Bio

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to write a book. It may have had something to do with my obsession with reading romance. Real-life interfered and I headed off in a different direction – into the world of science, becoming a pharmacist before joining the pharmaceutical industry. I did end up writing, but it was about disease and medicines. Decades later, I’m finally doing what I always wanted to do.

With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), all the romance in my life is 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.

Social Media Links  

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Facebook  

Twitter  

Giveaway to Win a PB copy of The Italian Job by Kathryn Freeman (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 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.

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Arc Review – The Witchs Tree by Elena Collins

I missed the boat on the blog tour for this book, I thought I’d hit send on the email, but I didn’t. Elena Collins is a pseudonym for the wonderful Judy Leigh whose books I always want to read and have me in stitches.  I was intrigued by this departure in style, and I loved every element of it.

I am grateful to Boldwood Books for gifting me a digital ARC, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Published on 17th May 2022 by Boldwood Books

Purchase link

Synopsis

As a love affair comes to an end, and with it her dreams for her future, artist Selena needs a retreat.  The picture-postcard Sloe Cottage in the Somerset village of Ashcombe promises to be the perfect place to forget her problems, and Selena settles into her new home as spring arrives.  But it isn’t long before Selena hears the past whispering to her. Sloe Cottage is keeping secrets which refuse to stay hidden.

1682

Grace Cotter longs for nothing more than a husband and family of her own. Content enough with her work on the farm, looking after her father, and learning the secrets of her grandmother Bett’s healing hands, nevertheless Grace still hopes for love. But these are dangerous times for dreamers, and rumours and gossip can be deadly. One mismove and Grace’s fate looks set…

Separated by three hundred years, two women are drawn together by a home bathed in blood and magic. Grace Cotter’s spirit needs to rest, and only Selena can help her now.

Review

I feel like I have read a few dual timeline books recently, and I have enjoyed them all.  This is the first one that has taken me back to medieval times and I found it compelling.  The writing is as I would have hoped but there was no sign of the comedic hand that is certainly the author’s usual style.

Even though the title suggested the fate that could befall Grace Cotter, I found myself crossing fingers and toes that she would find a happy ending, despite the way that she was treated by the very people that she endeavoured to help.  It’s almost impossible to imagine a life without mod-cons, reading about life in 1682 reminded me how fortunate we are with even the most basic of conveniences like medical care and hot water. The thought of living in a time of so much superstition was honestly chilling.

As we jumped forward to the present day, I was moved by Selena’s tragic loss and completely understood her need to flee her hometown and find sanctuary in the Somerset countryside.  The cottage was easily imagined as the descriptions take in every last detail.  I thoroughly enjoyed imagining Selena’s landscapes and envisioning the sights that she saw as she visited the local beauty spots.

One of the gifts that Judy Leigh never fails to demonstrate is her ability to develop a character to its full potential with expert ease.  She may make it look easy, but I know it’s not.

Whilst elements of this book seem desperate and hopeless, I found the overall story to be positive and uplifting. 

Author’s Amazon Bio

You may have read some of my novels writing as Judy Leigh, uplifting stories of the lives of older women and the possibility of second chances.

I’m so excited to introduce you to my dual timeline stories under the name of Elena Collins: the name is a tribute to my grandmother who was a teller of stories and fortunes and she had healing hands.

These new novels bring together three things I love: delving into history, exploring stunning locations and evoking the possibility of the supernatural. They are tales of people’s lives then and now, and there will be some spine-tingling moments.

I love writing, travelling, reading, music and theatre. I have an MA in Professional Writing. When I’m away from my desk and my three black cats, you’ll find me researching my next novel in some of this country’s most beautiful locations and beyond.

Blog Tour – The Memory Keeper of Kyiv by Erin Litteken

I was drawn to this book because of current events in Ukraine.  My family take a dim view of me reading or watching anything related to wartime, as I was brought up being very aware of the consequences of war by my parents who lived through WWII.  In particular, my dad pulled no punches when describing the full horrors.  As a result, I cry, a lot, when exposed to any graphic imagery.  Naturally, I didn’t tell anyone what I was reading and spent a couple of nights melting into tears.

I am grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for gifting me a digital ARC, via Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review.  You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

In the 1930s, Stalin’s activists marched through the Soviet Union, espousing the greatness of collective farming. It was the first step in creating a man-made famine that, in Ukraine, stole almost 4 million lives. Inspired by the history the world forgot, and the Russian government denies, Erin Litteken reimagines their story.

In 1929, Katya is 16 years old, surrounded by family and in love with the boy next door. When Stalin’s activists arrive in her village, it’s just a few, a little pressure to join the collective. But soon neighbors disappear, those who speak out are never seen again and every new day is uncertain.

Resistance has a price, and as desperate hunger grips the countryside, survival seems more a dream than a possibility. But, even in the darkest times, love beckons.

Seventy years later, a young widow discovers her grandmother’s journal, one that will reveal the long-buried secrets of her family’s haunted past.

This is a story of the resilience of the human spirit, the love that sees us through our darkest hours and the true horror of what happened during the Holodomor.

May we never forget, lest history repeat itself.

A share of proceeds will be donated to DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

Purchase Link  

Review

Considering that this is a debut novel, I must commend Erin Litteken for creating this tragic, haunting, and yet uplifting story.  I was immediately pulled into Katya’s tragic world and learned about an element of history that I had been oblivious to. 1930s Ukraine sounds like the hell on earth that my dad described to me, and I found the descriptions of the dreadful treatment of the Ukrainian farming families abhorrent.

This book works in a dual timeline format.  We hear from Katya and her family and then switch to a more modern-day perspective from newly widowed Cassie in 2004.  As the result of an horrendous car crash, which took her husband’s life, Cassie’s daughter, Birdie, has not uttered a word. Assured that there’s nothing physically wrong with her, Cassie knows that it’s just a case of waiting and hoping.  She returns to stay with her grandmother, Bobby, to both bring Cassie nearer to her mother and to keep a watchful eye over her grandmother’s deteriorating health.

I found that the switching between timelines helped me reconcile what I was reading with how little I had known about the previous Ukrainian struggles.  I followed Katya’s desperate story and then found respite in Cassie’s world.  I then found myself eager to return to Katya and praying for some easier experiences for her and her family.

The connection between Bobby and Birdie is quite magical and I found their relationship to be completely uplifting.  As Cassie works her way through her grandmother’s journal, the truths of the horrors that she witnessed are brought to the forefront and the revelations have a massive impact on their lives.

This is not an easy read, by any standards, but it is an essential read and I am grateful for the opportunity to be an advance reader and to help spread the word about this precious story.


Author Bio  

Erin Litteken is a debut novelist with a degree in history and a passion for research. At a young age, she was enthralled by stories of her family’s harrowing experiences in Ukraine before, during and after World War II. Her first historical fiction title, drawing on those experiences, will be published by Boldwood in June 2022.  She lives in Illinois, USA with her husband and children.

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Please see below for the details of the other stops on this tour.

Blog Tour – Summer at the French Café by Sue Moorcroft

There have been a few Social Media posts, recently, asking people to identify their favourite author of romantic fiction.  I can honestly say that Sue Moorcroft is mine.  I discovered her writing after moaning on Twitter that I’d read all the books by Jill Mansell and Katie Fforde, and they only seem to publish one per year.  It was Katie who suggested that I read Sue’s books and the rest is history. 

I find myself more critical of Sue’s writing as I am always determined that my reviews are unbiased.  I am delighted to say that this is another wonderful story that allowed me to escape reality for a few hours.  As I write this review, the news is full of the horrors in Ukraine, and I certainly needed this distraction.

I’m grateful to Rachel’s Random Resources and Avon Books for the digital ARC received in exchange for my honest review. You can read my thoughts below.

Synopsis

Sparkling sun, strolls in the gorgeous French countryside, that first sip of cool, crisp wine – Summer is Kat’s favourite season. And this year should be no exception…

As soon as Kat Jenson set foot in the idyllic French village of Kirchhoffen, she knew she’d found her home. Now she has a dreamy boyfriend, a delightful dog and the perfect job managing a bustling book café in the vibrant Parc Lemmel.

But when she learns her boyfriend isn’t all he seems, it’s the start of a difficult summer for Kat. Vindictive troublemakers, work woes and family heartache follow, and the clear blue sky that was her life suddenly seems full of clouds.

Then she gets to know the mysterious Noah, and her sun begins to shine brighter than ever. But Noah has problems of his own – ones that could scupper their new-found happiness. Together, can they overcome their many obstacles, and find love again?

The perfect summer read for fans of Trisha Ashley, Sarah Morgan and Carole Matthews.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Kobo

Apple books

Amazon US

Review

With the vibrant yellow cover, Summer at the French Café was always going to create the warmth of a summer’s day as Kat and Noah’s story unfolded.  I was immediately drawn to Kat, her job at the book café in Park Lemmel sounded idyllic, as did the village of Kirchhoffen.  The opening pages set the scene as Kat’s romantic future implodes with the revelation that her boyfriend isn’t as available as he had seemed.  The fallout of this revelation will resonate throughout a huge part of the story, but it is certainly not the main theme.

Kat is a capable, independent woman whose childhood was affected by divorce, leading her to feelings of both abandonment and displacement.  Despite that, she has developed a better relationship with her stepbrother, Solly, since he arrived to spend the summer working at the Parc.  It’s Solly’s roommate, Noah that helps Kat to move on from her heartache and push forward with the book café.

Noah has his own issues as he is dealing with his own familial heartache having arrived at the Parc, hot on the heels of his ex-wife and his daughter Clemence.

I just love romantic fiction, I doubt anyone who follows my reviews will be surprised by that statement, but I love it when a story brings a couple together and unites them early on.  Seeing them work together and battle through their challenges as a couple is somehow more romantic than some other tropes.

There is a strong supporting cast in this story, and I just loved the way they all fell into place.  Kat’s relationship with her father was the perfect motivation for Noah’s determination to remain part of Cle’s life. Sadly, it’s this determination that Kat is sorely missing from her life; nobody has ever seemed to put her first, a fact that she finds hard to reconcile.

Part of the joy of Sue Moorcroft’s writing is her ability to create fabulous, well-developed characters who are instantly believable.  Her stories are often complex and deal with some serious aspects of life. She doesn’t pull her punches as difficult topics are explored, but it never feels like heavy going as she steers the story to its perfect conclusion.

I enjoyed my escape to France and am already excited about the next book from this wonderful author.

Author Bio

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author. She’s reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle UK and Top 100 on Kindle US. She’s won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Novel of the Year, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary.

Her novels, short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.

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Cover Reveal – The Only Exception (Love in the Comptons book 2) by Claire Huston

I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of the cover reveal for this gorgeous new book from Claire Huston. The artwork seems to scream romance and I’m delighted to be part of the book tour, next month.

Synopsis

Lucinda Green knows something is missing from her life. But what? Her catering business is enjoying modest success and she loves her cosy house, even if she does have to share it with her irritating ex-fiancé.

Whatever’s making her unsettled and edgy, Lucinda’s certain that a lack of romance isn’t the problem. How could it be when she doesn’t believe in true love?

But Lucinda’s beliefs are shaken by a series of electric encounters with Alex Fraser, a newly-notorious actor who gradually proves himself to be infuriatingly funny and smart, as well as handsome.

Not that any of that matters. Because Lucinda doesn’t believe in all that ‘The One’ nonsense. That’s the rule.

But doesn’t every rule have an exception?

This uplifting grumpy-meets-sunshine romance is perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Phillipa Ashley and Milly Johnson.

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Publication Date: 7th June

Author Bio

Claire Huston lives in Warwickshire with her husband and two children. She writes uplifting modern love stories about characters who are meant for each other but sometimes need a little help to realise it.

A keen amateur baker, she enjoys making cakes, biscuits and brownies almost as much as eating them. You can find recipes for over a hundred sweet treats at clairehuston.co.uk. This is also where she talks about and reviews books.

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