To the Stars and Back – Camilla Isley

Welcome back everyone, from the wilds of Tanzania we’re back to western countries. Specifically, Los Angeles in America with a nobody engineering professor and a famous Hollywood actor.

I started this one on a Friday night after writing up a bunch of stuff for my professional blog and some more notes for my assignment. By Sunday morning I was finished. And no, I didn’t read all day Saturday, I was actually busy studying!

I think after the emotional intensity of Outlander and Game of Thrones finishing, I just needed something light-hearted and easy. And this fit into that need perfectly.

It had the girl at the lowest point in her life having a chance meeting with a famous actor who she doesn’t even know exists. He falls for her quiet beauty and the fact that she doesn’t know who he is. Romance blossoms. He stuffs it up royally in an attempt to protect her from his world.

And of course, the grand gesture and pursuit to make it all work out in the end. But what I loved about this gesture was that he did the little things that count. Not some big grand showy thing that money buys. He did things that were meaningful to her.

Why can’t more guys be like this?

I definitely needed this break in something uplifting before jumping into the next book, coz that’s another heavy one. So this was a great break, quick, easy win for me that just worked on so many levels for me. Including the fact that the writing just felt so natural that I didn’t feel like anything was forced.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Heart of Stone by Ben Galley thanks to a Write Reads tour! Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

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

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

You can find her on the socials below as well as BookBub and Pintrest.

Giveaway - Win a To the Stars and Back Tote Bag (UK only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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.

The Bastard – Lisa Renee Jones

Welcome back everyone, after a brief step back in time we’re back into modern times. This time in America where we have a mix of romance and suspense.

I found myself underwhelmed with this story as a whole. It had some great moments that captured my attention. But at the end of it I found I wasn’t dying to read the next book. Considering the last book I got from NetGalley I immediately bought the rest of the series this was a massive let down.

It’s not that the writing wasn’t good. We had a great mix of past and present, twists popping up at the right time etc. But I felt like I just didn’t really care. I feel like maybe there was some emotional buy in missing right at the start of the book.

If I had that buy in, I think I would’ve liked this a lot better.

Would I read the next book if it was given to me? Probably, but only if I felt like I had nothing else to read.

I’m kinda hoping that I just wasn’t in the mood to read this style, or at all when I read this. It would make me feel better about not really being interested given how highly it’s rated on Goodreads. But it just didn’t do it for me. Sorry.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley.

The Baobab Beach Retreat – Kate Frost

Welcome back everyone, after a romance set in England we’re now moving to where I wish I could be. A beautiful beachscape on the coast of Tanzania.

I really enjoyed reading this novel as it had a great mix of beachy-ness, emotional recovery, discovery of a new romance and heartbreak. These don’t necessarily happen in that order, or just once. But it felt like a really good balance.

There were parts of this story I was a little surprised with and didn’t really think it fit what I knew of the characters personality or how you’d react to what she’s been through. But I guess that’s something I can’t control, and those choices I didn’t like were a very minor blip in the story, so I quickly got over it.

Having worked in hotels when I was younger and having friends who have lived and worked in resorts, I wasn’t surprised by some of the stuff Kate described as going on. In fact, I was surprised it wasn’t worse based off what my friends told me!

I think the main thing that confused me about this story was that Baobab Beach Resort doesn’t really play much into the story until right near the end. So much so that it took me a few minutes of reading when it was first encountered because I realised that was the books namesake.

And the worst part of the book? Reading about a beautiful beach, snorkelling and the chill lifestyle while winter sets in and I have to go to work every day. How is that fair?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I will be reviewing The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.


Author Bio

Kate Frost writes character-driven women’s fiction and romances, alongside Time Shifters, an award-winning time travel adventure trilogy for 9-12 year olds. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University where she’s also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates. She has eight books published, including her Greek and north Norfolk set series, The Butterfly Storm. The Baobab Beach Retreat is the first in what will be a series of foreign-set romances. Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, their five-year-old son (who still loves waking up before 5am), and their cute and chilled out Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Giveaway - Win a paperback copy of The Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost (open internationally)

*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.

Mr Temptation – Rachael Stewart

Welcome back everyone, I feel like I’m flitting between various tours, NetGalley books and author requests and never quite working on my TBR pile. And this one is no different. Rachel has brought another Rachael Stewart novel to her tours so I just had to give it a go.

I don’t know what it is about Rachael’s writing that I enjoy. But whether it’s erotica, NA or straight up romance I find myself drawn into the stories and feeling like I’m right there with the characters.

In her latest novel (I got to read an ARC copy so I was super excited!) we moved into a straight up romance with Zara (BTW that’s the second book I’ve read this week with a main character called Zara) and Daniel.

In a way this was a fairly standard romance story in that Daniel is a bit of a playboy but ends up falling for the girl who’s just been heartbroken. Yet unlike a lot of these types of stories I felt really invested in what Daniel was going through emotionally.

This helped me go from “I’ll just read it for a bit before sleep and pace myself to make sure I don’t finish this before next week” on a Wednesday evening. To “O crap… I only have 2 chapters and an epilogue left… well so much for pacing myself with this one…” on the bus home on Thursday.

I did find myself throughout this book, especially towards the end, rooting for Daniel and subconsciously telling him what to do to win Zara back. And at the same time subconsciously telling Zara that she needs to get over it and just trust him!

I guess that tells you that I enjoyed the book. And that I apparently have no self-control when I should be studying…

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing The Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.


Author Bio

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

Despite a degree in Business Studies and spending many years in the corporate world, the desire to become an author never waned and it's now her full-time pleasure, a dream come true. 

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

Giveaway - Win an eCopy of Mr Temptation by Rachael Stewart (open internationally)

*Terms
and Conditions
 –Worldwide
entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The
winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and
will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7
days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all
entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition
entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties,
with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the
giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time
I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or
delivery of the prize.

Make him Howl – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, after my first NetGalley request last week we’re back to Zoe’s Shift series. At this point in time when I’m writing this (in very early April!) this is the last book in the series available.

After reading Bearly Married, Trust the Wolf and Truth or Bear I was used to a certain level of excitement, drama and romance all blending together to form a captivating story. Even though Zoe’s quality of writing was still up there with the other books, I felt it was written a bit differently.

Since we’re following on from the end of Truth or Bear our lovers are separated thanks to Parker being kidnapped. Even though we’re a month on from where we left off, Gabriel hasn’t managed to find any promising leads to find Parker. Although this separation was great for building up Gabriel’s feelings for Parker. It meant that the rest of the story had to adapt to suit it.

Zoe has even given us a playlist to listen to while reading Make him Howl

Throughout most of this book I felt like it was a bit flat emotionally compared to the rest of the series. There were certainly peaks of drama and excitement. But not to the same levels as the other books.

After finishing that story, I feel like it could have been done better as a novella. That way it cuts out the flatter sections or could have at least condensed it. Leaving us with all the good filled bits!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Mr Temptation by Rachael Stewart. Continue to read further down to find out about Zoe, and don’t forget to check out the reviews for the other books in the series.

Author Bio

Zoe Ashwood is a romance writer with a passion for sweet stories with a sexy twist. While she’s always been a reader, Zoe’s writing used to be limited to diary scribbles and bad (really bad) teenage poetry. Then she participated in NaNoWriMo 2015 and never looked back.

Some 400,000 words later, she’s still in love with the art of making up stories—and making her characters fall in love. Trust the Wolf is her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Zoe works as a literary translator. She’s happily married to her best friend and has two small boys who are as stubborn as they’re cute.

She’s active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but her newsletter or Facebook Group are the best way of keeping in touch! She's also on Pintrest so you can check her out there or through her socials below.

Group

Tuscan Enchantment – Kate Zarelli

Welcome back everyone, today’s review takes us into the wilds of Tuscany and its history, both recent and long gone.

I’m going to kick off this review with some things I didn’t like. The way Kate has written her character’s thoughts and conversations made me feel like I was reading a regency or Victorian romance. The formal way the character’s spoke to each other is something that you just wouldn’t come across in modern times.

For a good while there I thought it was set historically (obviously having forgotten what the cover looked like) until Antonia set setting up a laptop. That really threw me! And I had moments like this happen throughout most of the book.

The other thing that really bugged me was how easily Lorenzo switched from being a man whore to be a one-woman man who is dumping his fiancé. Like that was just so sudden it didn’t feel natural. And the same kind of thing happened with Antonia. Can someone REALLY fall in love so deeply they will change who they are within a few days?

I know romances aren’t meant to be realistic, but this was just over the top.

On the other hand, Kate’s ability to describe a location is amazing. I feel like I knew a fair bit about Tuscan history (thank you Assassins Creed!) yet I didn’t know that there were literal castles there.

The ravages of time and WWII haven’t been left out either. There was a great nod to those poor souls who lost their lives because of that war which I thought was brilliant. The moments when characters interact with the memorial to those was probably the most emotionally realistic the whole book got.

If Kate were to write a historical romance I feel like she’d nail it with her ability to emotionally draw you into a place. And she can already write in the same way people of the past spoke. But for a modern romance?

It’s not quite hitting it for me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I will be reviewing Zoe Ashwood’s latest (yes I’m finally getting to it!) novel Make Him Howl. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Kate Zarrelli is the romance and erotica pen-name of Katherine Mezzacappa. Kate is Irish but now lives in Carrara in Northern Tuscany, between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea, with her Italian husband and two teenage sons. She writes historical, erotic, feel-good and paranormal fiction, set all over Europe, and in her spare time volunteers with a used book charity of which she is a founder member. You can follow her on Facebook at Kate Zarrelli books or on Twitter @katmezzacappa.

Giveaway - Win a Little Carrara Marble Heart Pendant (open internationally)

Can be engraved with the winners initials

*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.

The Wrong Kind of Love – Lexi Ryan

Welcome back everyone, after making the next stop on The Time for Alexander series train, we’re back to modern America. I wasn’t in greatest of places when I read this, in that sinusitis had kicked in real bad and I couldn’t concentrate or really do too much. But since I couldn’t fall asleep, I decided to read. So please excuse anything that’s a bit vague, I did read this while not being able to concentrate properly.

I really enjoyed reading this relatively clean romance that had a surprisingly large focus on depression and how that impacts those around it and how society views those that suffer from it.

In this case you’ve got one person who is open about the fact that they have depression but suffers from people’s perception of her mental state because of it. And on the other hand, you’ve got someone who’s lost someone to depression and doesn’t know if they can handle that in their life again.

Given depression wasn’t mentioned at all in the blurb I wasn’t really expecting it. But at the same time, the references aren’t over the top or what I would consider triggering. But you never know with these things.

Also, I loved this one so much after finishing it that I jumped onto NetGalley (this if my first one that I’ve officially requested and received!) to grab the next book in the series only to discover that #5 was available for request but none of the others.

So, what did I do?

I went onto Amazon.com.au and bought books #2-4 so I can read those before #5 in case I get approved! Fingers crossed I get approved so I can read and review it along with the rest of the series!

Thank
you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing
Make him Howl by Zoe Ashwood.

Probably the Best Kiss in the World – Pernille Hughes

Welcome back everyone, we’re in for a double review day today because I really wanted to read this book as well as the Time for Alexander series. So you get to enjoy this bonus review!

I found this one mostly easy to read and enjoyable. But the articles that were randomly dotted throughout the story really threw me off. I found that I’d be really hooked on the story, powering through and then I got stopped by some article about Lydia, her younger sister. Am I meant to be caring about her sister? Is her sister somehow super important to the overall story?

By the time I got to the end I could see how Lydia was important in helping Jen become more self-aware and confident enough to follow her dreams. But I don’t feel like the articles added anything to the overall story, so I’m not sure why they are there.

On the other hand, Jen and Jakob’s relationship was sweet and endearing even though I don’t like how Jen went about starting her relationship with Jakob. I’m not a fan of cheaters, and I don’t think we should be glamorising those who cheat and that they can still get what they want from life.

But I also get that sometimes you do just get carried away, and before you know if shit’s gone down that you regret. I just wish she’d been more upfront about all that with Jakob and Robert.

The fact that Jen and Jakob’s relationship centres around beer was quite entertaining to me. Especially since there were references to stereotypes that women don’t like beer and couldn’t possibly understand beer. I loved that this felt like a subtle dig that women can do stuff men can as well. Specially considering if you go back far enough in history, it was actually the women who brewed beer first.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, if you haven’t already checked out Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire, I think you should. And next week I will be reviewing The Wrong Kind of Love by Lexi Ryan. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Pernille Hughes is a RomCom author and mum, whose debut novel was SWEATPANTS AT TIFFANIE'S, soon to be followed by PROBABLY THE BEST KISS IN THE WORLD (April 2019). Previously her writing has been printed in The Sunday Times and the fabulous SUNLOUNGER summer anthologies. Find out about her new books at www.pernillehughes.com

Pernille (pronounced Pernilla) studied Film & Literature at uni and took her first job in advertising, having been lured by the temptation of freebies, but left when Status Quo tickets was as good as it got. After a brief spell marketing Natural History films, she switched to working in Children's television which for a time meant living in actual Teletubbyland, sharing a photocopier with Laa-Laa.

Now, she lives in actual Buckinghamshire, sharing a photocopier with her husband and their four spawn. While the kids are at school she scoffs cake and writes RomCom stories in order to maintain a shred of sanity.

You can also find Pernille on Bookbub and Pintrest.

Son of the Moon – Jennifer Macaire

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed my review of One?. I found it difficult at times as an Aussie but still enjoyed it, but time to get back to a series I’m really enjoying, the Time for Alexander series!

Writing Style

The first thing I want to say is that it seems Jennifer has either gotten over those overly direct sentences, or she got a new editor for this book that managed to get rid of almost all of those annoying, jarring sentences. YAY!

That left me being able to focus more on the story rather than feeling like I was thrown out of it because of a string of short sentences that just felt weird to read.

Overall, I feel like there’s a maturity to Jennifer’s writing that hasn’t quite been there with the first two books. And I’m loving it. It feels like the story is more cohesive and purposeful rather than a string of great ideas and plot points strung together.

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the first two books. It means that I found this book much easier to engage with which meant I could enjoy it much easier and quicker.

Initial Thoughts

I’m struggling to remember what exactly happened at the start, but I remember that I was a little on edge wondering if Ashley and Alexander would find their son. Given there are 7 books in the series I wasn’t sure if this quest was meant to span all those books or whether there’d be more to their story if they found him.

After a harsh climb up a mountain pass, they were met by an old man who welcomed them but seemed to be delaying and delaying them seeing their sun. Which of course made me wonder if their son was even still there or had yet again been stolen away from them.

What they discovered was certainly not what they, or me, were expecting which brought about another question. What were they going to do now?

And that’s what drove the rest of the books story.

Final Thoughts

As usual, I finished this book dying for the next book. Which makes me think, if anyone wants to know what they should ever gift me (in case you were wondering), get me this series with matching covers in paperback. Coz this is a series I will come back to again in the future (I can already tell) which mean’s I want it in my burgeoning library for proud display.

I’ve mentioned already that I really engaged with this book better than the first book. I loved the battles, I loved that Ashley sacrificed for love and I love that she’s willing to ask for what she really wants. A full life with Alexander where they can live in peace without the people from the future killing them and erasing them from history.

This really brought me back to the start of the first book which made me wonder if this was a clue as to what was happening then. Maybe, maybe not. I’ll have to wait to find out.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Probably the Best Kiss in the World by Pernille Hughes. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

Giveaway - $10 Amazon gift certificate and mug (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.