Review of This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens.

It was very surreal reading this book that is mostly set in 2020 and there is no mention of COVID, obviously!

I instantly loved Minnie Cooper – what a name! – she was just what you would want in a character for this genre. Quinn Hamilton started out as a decent sort of guy, but for me, he went down hill fairly quickly. His personal issues did explain a lot and I was torn over whether I thought they were the reason he was the way he was, or whether he used them as an excuse to hide behind when it came to intimacy.

The to-ing a d fro- ing from present day to the past was a little annoying, I totally got why the author had written chapters in the past tense and they did flesh out the background of both Minnie and Quinn, but I just wasn’t a fan of that style in this instance.

There are lots of comical moments in the book, and it isn’t dripping with saccharine sweetness, so it’s a perfect light-hearted read.
On the whole I think lovers of the romcom genre will love this book. Definitely recommended for lovers of that genre.

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.

Review of When Polly Met Olly.

I fully expected this book to be heavy on the romance. Why wouldn’t it be, it is a romance novel after all. I was pleasantly surprised to find the romance was not over loaded and that the wit and humour the main character oozes is what drives this story forward.

Polly lands a job at To The Moon And Back dating agency. She’s actually a photographer, but not landing any lucrative commissions has meant she’s had to take jobs that aren’t anything remotely to do with photography in order to get by.

Derek, her boss, is a sweet guy and when he asks Polly to pretend to be a potential client for one of his business rivals in order to better understand the competition, Polly wants to do her best for him. But when she actually meets Olly, the owner of Elite Love Match there’s a connection between them, leaving Polly feeling a little disconcerted by the obvious chemistry that was sparking between them.

When Polly Met Olly was a lovely read. It wasn’t too heavy on the romance, despite it being set around a dating agency. Polly is the kind of character that you warm to straight away. She’s clever, witty, humble, and genuinely wants to do her best for everyone she’s involved with, in whatever capacity.

The story takes a little while until we see the blossoming of romance between Polly and Olly, but to me, that felt like the right thing. It allowed the background story to tell itself, without the writer having to add bits on here and there for the reader to make sense of what’s happening. The story flows well and the characters all work well together too.

A well written, witty romance novel that doesn’t drown the reader with love and romance.

Highly recommended.

Review of End Of The Line.

I read this book in a day. Once I picked it up I couldn’t stop. The storyline pulled me in deeper and deeper, my need to find out what would happen next driving me onwards.

The End Of The Line is a thrilling tale of magic and the depths people will go to in order to harness the raw power of it, even summoning a demon. But for Amanda Coleman magic is the root of all evil. Her father was a powerful Abra – the name given to powerful, magical practitioners- he used his power to get what he wanted, both for himself and others, by using Amanda and her mother’s blood to enhance his abilities. But one day Amanda snapped and killed him, earning her the legendary title of Abra killer.

Amanda and her associates are con artists and they go on heists for their criminal boss, but when he dies and a younger newcomer takes over the gang the crew are hired to trap a demon and banish it in a remote part of Siberia. The cost of doing so will take everything they have, including the lives of their loved ones.

Well worth a read. Highly recommended.

The Signature Of All Things.

The Signature Of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I think the first I need to say about this book is that it is very well written, which is not too surprising given Elizabeth Gilbert is the author.  I expected something along the lines of Eat, Pray, Love,  but got something entirely different.  I suppose I assumed that this author was typecast and I never really thought of her writing anything remotely different to that book.  But this book, The Signature Of All Things is so different and I believe different in a very good way.

The book follows the life of Alma Whittaker and it is very heavy on botanical terminology.  When I first realised this I did wonder if I would see the book through, it is very long and not particularly gripping.  I do believe, however, that the author’s creativity draws us in and we cannot help but read on, wanting to know what happens next.

I would not go as far as to say this is a riveting read, although it is an enjoyable tale nevertheless.  It certainly is no hearts-and-flowers-love-story, which is very much my cup of tea, but it is an enjoyable read that you will want to see through to the end.  I don’t think it is big on drama, although there are fascinating tales within this book that I found enjoyable – tales from other characters that Alma encounters.

If you enjoy the work of this author then you absolutely have to read this book.  If you are looking for something similar to Gilbert’s best-selling novel you certainly won’t find it here in this book.  The book is very different form her most popular book and that in itself is a good thing.

Recommended.

**** 4 stars.

Review Of House At The End Of Hope Street.

 

 

 


This book was awesome. I loved it.

 

The book centres on Alba who we meet right at the very beginning of the book. Alba is in a dark place and is wandering aimlessly around Cambridge one night when she suddenly finds herself outside of number eleven Hope Street. She is very puzzled as she has never encountered the house before, although she is certain she has been this way countless times. There is something about the house that draws her to it, draws her up the garden path and up to the front door where she finds herself knocking on the door. She is let in without hesitation by a woman named Peggy. It soon becomes apparent to Alba that this is no ordinary House. There is something uniquely special about it. Alba, along with the other women who are staying at Hope Street, is nudged in the right direction when it comes to finding out the truth about her life and the choices she needs to make.

The book is a delight to read. It has a fantastic array of famous characters in it all more than willing to give advice to the women who stay at Hope Street. I found that the book was well written and easy to enjoy. It had all of my favourite ingredients – hope, love, joy and a happy ending.

 

I would highly recommend this book and am happy to give it a five star plus rating.

 

*****+

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READ.