What I read in May.

This was a busy month for assignments, and of course there were two birthdays. I did manage to get some reading done though.

Firstly I read Fearne Cotton’s book Happy. A nice and relaxing read, full of inspiring ideas and ways to unlock what is going on inside your head.

The other book I read was Whispers From The Earth by Taz Thornton. A lovely little book of stories from our own culture, here in the UK.

Review of Meet Me In London by Georgia Toffolo.

This book is published by Mills and Boon and is clearly in the Romantic Fiction genre.

The story centres around Victoria Scott and Oliver Russell. She’s a budding fashion designer, working in a pub to make ends meet, he’s the heir to a department store empire. Naturally there is a little tension when they first meet, but that doesn’t stop Oliver asking Victoria to be his pretend fiancé for the sake of his sanity, as well as to keep his mum from constantly trying to meddle in his non-existent love life.

She agrees as Oliver has offered to showcase her fashion designs at the opening of his new store. Victoria does have some qualms about the store opening and she uses her influence to have Oliver invite the traders from the local area set up stalls in his store on opening day.

To convince Oliver’s parents that this relationship is real Oliver insists that they have dinner with his parents. This has Victoria worried, they are only a fake couple, is it fair to dupe his parents in this way? After meeting them, and hitting it off with them right away, Victoria is more concerned than ever that what they are dong isn’t right.

The lines between fake relationship and real feelings begin to blur, for both of them. But just as everything appears to be going in the right direction for them both, Victoria’s past rears its head, and Oliver’s cousin finds out her secret, threatens to expose her unless she leave Oliver. Believing she’s doing the right thing, Victoria calls off the arrangement and heads home to Devon.

Both Oliver and Victoria are miserable by Victoria’s decision, but will either of them push their pride aside and reach out to the other before it’s too late?

I did enjoy this book, I wasn’t sure if I would as I had read some negative reviews by people so wasn’t sure what to expect. The storyline is in keeping with the Mills and Boon remit, so if you love this publishers titles you won’t be disappointed.

The story is set in the run up to Christmas so it’s obviously an excellent choice to read at this time. I do feel that you could read this book at any time of the year though; it is part of a series by the same author so reading this at any time of the year would not feel out of place.

A lovely read. Enjoyed it very much.

Saturday’s Read – Claimed By Rafa by Denna Holm.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with this book. I hadn’t read the first one so had no idea what I would be reading about in terms of the plot. The first few pages were still not enough to convince me this was a sub genre I was really interested in. I’ve never read this kind of book before – fantasy and sci fi, yes, but not this particular type. My first thoughts were that I would read the first chapter and see how I went.

The first chapter bypassed me long before I even realised, I think I was about six chapters in before I remembered what I was going to initially do. Once I realised that this particular book was not too dissimilar to any other sci fi or fantasy novel I had got about half way through.

I really did enjoy the story line and the twists and turns the author has weaved into it. Usually I will write about how believable the characters are, and so on, but that won’t do here. The characters are obviously not the usual female/male, but they do have a love story unfold. That blossoming romance that stutters and starts, just like any other romance novel, played out just how you would expect. The storyline isn’t drenched by it though, it is very much a secondary aspect to the storyline and I actually found that very refreshing.

The action within this novel is probably quite tame, but that suited me just fine. I think that is exactly what had me hooked, the lack of blood and gore and battles every other page.

Without reading the first book in this series I can’t say either way how it relates to the second, other than the fact that some of the characters are in both books. There were a couple of occasions where I was left wondering about something, but it certainly wasn’t anything major. This is definitely, in my opinion, a book you can read as a stand-alone.

Superbly written and very thoroughly researched, in the sense that it makes complete sense, the characters and plot flowed well. There are some darker moments when dealing with Aaliyah’s past, but they aren’t too graphic and they are essential to the storyline. They were written with care and compassion too, which is a credit to the author.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and definitely recommend it.

I read and reviewed this book for Reedsy Discovery.

https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/claimed-by-rafa-denna-holm

Review of From Venice With Love by Rosanna Ley.

I received this book from the publisher for review to coincide with publication day. Then I got sick and everything got put on the back burner. Anyway, review is here now.

The title is a bit misleading, you do expect the story to be set in Venice, but only about a third of the story is set there. That said, this does not detract from the storyline.

Joanna is on the brink of divorce and returns home to her sister, Harriet, and their Mum. They live on a farm in Dorset and despite its rundown appearance, Harriet is determined to handle everything on her own. She is suspicious when Joanna turns up, but also relieved.

Their Mum has lost her way since their Dad died, she is a shadow of her former self and is hard work for Harriet alone. She has a tendency to ring tradesmen up and have them come up to the farm with a view to doing work that badly needs doing. Between the two sisters they just about manage to stop their Mum from ringing around the area, trying to get work done on the rundown farmhouse and surrounding area.

One evening Joanna discovers some old letters in the attic. The letters are from a young woman who may or may not be related to Joanna and her family. Joanna becomes entangled with the Emmy story and this leads her to Venice, Lisbon, and then onto Prague.

She also gains an admirer when her visits to the three cities from Emmy’s letters are a chance for her to create three travel guides. Nicholas becomes intrigued by the walks that Joanna has created, and by Joanna herself. The pair start emailing one another, discussing the walks, as well as flights of fancy.

Harriet, meanwhile, has been exploring the world of online dating. Joanna’s return gives her the chance to go out and meet some of the men she has been chatting to on a dating site. She’s also discovered a prowler, this leads to an alarming discovery. She enlists the help of their faithful neighbour, Owen, who is in love with her -unbeknownst to her of course!

This book would make a good holiday read – even staycations need a good book for us to get into. It has just the right blend of humour, intrigue, and realism to keep you entertained, whether you’re staycationing, or need a good book to read, this book has it all.

Definitely recommend.

Review of Before We Get Carried Away by M. Jane Early.

Before We Get Carried Away

As soon as I started reading this book I knew it was going to be something special. I began reading it on the morning of one day and finished it the following morning. I think I would have had it read sooner, but real life kept me away from it.

The main characters, Jordan and Daniel, are great. Often with this calibre of character – a superstar – there can be an element of conceitedness in that particular character, but Daniel was down to earth and this makes him oh so endearing! Jordan is a lovely character too. Although she is very stubborn, she has good reason to be so and this helps to endear her to the reader.

The author put so much detail into all of the characters, this really came through in the narrative. The same can be said about the area in which the story is based. The author has researched everything superbly and this really adds to the calibre of the characters and their surroundings.

The story is very in-depth, both of the main characters are explored in great detail and this adds so much to the storyline. The way they act, how they react, all of this makes sense because the author has put so much detail into this story.

The author has done a brilliant job at capturing the attention of the reader with her very real and loveable main characters, plus a sprinkling of secondary characters who are a delight also. Naturally there are one or two unsavoury characters that cause mischief and mayhem, but they are very much background characters – that said, they also have as much depth and dimension as the main characters.

The storyline fits in really well with the modern-day, again, so much attention to detail really brings this story alive. The sights, the sounds, the pace of life in this particular city. How life works in Los Angeles, all the details have been interwoven with the story giving the reader a clear view of the lives of Jordan and Daniel.

In a nutshell, this is a perfect feel-good read, highly recommended for anyone who loves this genre. It is very well written and highly researched, the attention to detail is second to none.

This book is rated as a five-star read and an absolute MUST for all romance novel readers.

SUPERB!

Reedsy link – https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/before-we-get-carried-away-m-jane-early

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Review of A Forged Affair by MaryAnn Clark

forged-affair

 

I started reading this book aware that it is part of a series, but it is easy to read as a standalone book. To begin with I found the pace of the storyline quite slow, the author’s illuminative writing allowed me to picture the area of France that the book is set in, but at first I felt swamped by this.

Sticking with the story I found that after I had the first chapter under my belt the storyline opened up a lot more, the characters started to flow a lot more freely and I began to get a feel for them.

At first I wasn’t sure if I liked the protagonist, she came across as cocky. I soon learnt that this showing off that Niki was doing was a mask to hide her pain, and that warmed me to her.

Niki’s relationship with Didier was uncomplicated at first, her desire to help him out was really endearing. Her need to stand up to the bullies on his behalf really won me over. Her relationship with Luc was really complicated and this had me very frustrated right the way through the book. That said, the complications were as a result of her pain and therefore quite understandable.

During the first chapter, when I felt the story was slow, I was really certain I was not going to enjoy this book. After about the third or fourth chapter I found that the emotions of all concerned had got me gripped, I have to admit that this did surprise me.

The author has carefully woven a rather surprising story of love, friendships, heartache and an utterly independent woman who you will find endearing but frustratingly stubborn at the same time.

Her descriptive account of the area really helps to set the scene for this story. The characters are both likeable and believable, although some of the background characters lacked dimension at times. That said, this did not take anything away from the storyline, nor did it interfere with the flow of the story.

I found this book enjoyable and thought provoking. Niki’s character caused me to ponder what it would be like for a young female to be travelling around France and then to dive headfirst into a friendship with a man she has just met.

I enjoyed the author’s writing style, her knowledge about the area of France that the book is set in and the activities that the characters are involved in comes across very well. I would definitely recommend this book to family and friends.