The Summer of Going Topless – Liz Davies

Welcome back everyone, I’ve had a busy couple of months and we’ve still got a few more weeks (maybe a month) of busyness. Today I have a contemporary romance that may or may not appeal to you as the heroine is in her mid-late 40s.

I know not everyone likes reading romance novels when the main characters could be your parents age. I mean ew right? No one wants to think of their parents like that!

What I really loved right off the bat was that Candice was real. In every sense of the word. She’s not a perfectly fit size 8 (my American friends that’s like a size 2 for you I believe), she has some grey hairs, her fashion sense is a bit outdated and her body isn’t holding up like it used to. She even went through a messy divorce that left her lonely, especially when her kids grew up and moved out.

Although Candice went through almost a complete make over, none of it was triggered by a desire to be young and pretty or to impress a guy. Her car broke down, so she got a new one. Her normal hairdresser was out, so the step in one did something a bit different. These were catalysts for change that she rolled with and only did what she was comfortable with and I loved it.

I’m all for, if you’re not comfortable with who you are, how you look or how you feel then do something about it. But I’m also massively against changing who you are to fit in or to impress someone else. For example, even though society, my family and my partner all tell me I should dye my hair to hide my greys. I’m adamant that I want to age gracefully. That’s my choice.

Candice’s choice was to take control back of her life and live it to it’s fullest because you only have one. And I love it! This message of body positivity, acceptance and being who you are is so important for people to read. And I love that this is being addressed in an age group that’s probably feeling quite self-conscious about how they look thanks to marketing and social media.

Thank you for bringing us a real book, with a real character!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; I have my monthly wrap up at the end of the week. And next week I’ll be reviewing Babe Driven by Lizzie Chantree. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it. 

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Give Me a Day – Zoe Ann Wood

Welcome back everyone, today I’ll be reviewing the sequel to Give me a Dream. Each book within this series is a standalone book with no characters appearing in the following books, so don’t feel like you need to read the whole series if only one or two books sound good to you.

I was a surprised at how Sebastian and Lori met, and the ongoing strife caused by how they met. Although, I was impressed by how much Lori was considering her safety while travelling alone in a foreign country.

Throughout their time together they slowly build up to a full-blown romance which appears to be going along at a natural pace. But of course, the characters personalities get in the way of things working out which then makes it hard for them.

I did find the ease of access to someone else’s bank records and the willingness to share it a bit weird. That might be my banking background going “NOOOO!!!! NEVER SHARE THOSE DETAILS!!! AND HOW THE HELL DID YOU GET A HOLD OF SOMEONE ELSE’S BANK STATEMENTS?! ISN’T THAT ILLEGAL?!?!?!”

My stress levels got a little bit of a hit, but it did calm down quickly.

Without spoiling the ending, I was robbed of the planning phase that makes it so special. But at the same time, it was kinda sweet, but kinda presumptuous of what the answer would be.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The Summer of Going Topless by Liz Davies.

When You Were Mine – Lisa Swift

Welcome back everyone, after escaping Rachel’s tours for a very brief break I’m on back on another one!

This one sounded really interesting and I was wondering where this could possibly go. Does Maggie know Ibby is gay? Did Ibby become gay later in life? How does the rock star disrupt their lives?

I think I got almost half-way through the book before I figured out how the rock star disrupts their lives. Once the reveal happened, I felt silly for not realising sooner. All the signs pointed that way, but it wasn’t quite clear enough for little ‘ol me to figure out.

However, once the reveal happened my brain started ticking and guessed the surprise twist right at the end!

Given how bad my guesses have been recently I didn’t put a lot of stock in it. But it sat there. Even when Maggie made a comment that should’ve blown my guess out of the water. I kept on wondering if I’d be proven right. And my patience was rewarded!

Outside of that long drawn out process this was a surprisingly clean romance. The closest you get to anything raunchy happening is some kisses (in PG rated areas) and a hand that slips up the back of a top.

Given how many of the romances I’ve been reading lately get quite descriptive, this was a nice change. Especially because the time otherwise taken up with describing said sex scenes was better spent unpacking and exploring the emotional reactions to our four main characters.

You’ve got Ibby who’s gay and struggles to date, Maggie who’s a relationship counsellor with no romantic life to speak of, Jordan who seems to be emotionally lost and poor Amelia who’s only 13 (she turns 14 by the end of the book) and struggling to come to terms with teenage hormones and a changing family dynamic. This spoke to me on so many levels. As I’m sure anyone who’s gone through a “broken” family situation could.

The raw emotions felt like they really reflected what people would feel like in the real world if they were in those situations really made this book. I loved reading this and I hope all the subtle social messages come across to anyone who reads it. Which I urge you to do! And share with any kids you have in your social circles!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing The Summer of Going Topless by Liz Davies. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lisa Swift is a romance author from West Yorkshire
in the UK. She is represented by Laura Longrigg at MBA Literary Agents.
Her first book is due to be published by Hera Books in August
2019.

As Mary Jayne Baker, Lisa also writes romantic comedies for Aria Fiction. Lisa is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Sunshine over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett

Welcome back everyone, after a hectic schedule last week with my July Wrap Up and 3 reviews going live, you’ll find this week to be much quieter. A lot like today’s book.

Following on from Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle we’re now into summer and following Iggy. I think I’ve picked up a trend that the love interests for our characters will be coming from London and discovering the delights of a quiet countryside town and castle.

I kind of get Will’s behaviour but in a way also feel like this rings very true of the media attention Meghan Markle has been getting. We don’t really know who the real Will is in a lot of situations, while others are quick to judge, and blame based on potential lies others are spreading.

I enjoyed his childlike humour, fun and excitement. But I also admired his wisdom in knowing when to leave a woman alone to figure out what’s happening in her head compared to when to push and tell her the truth.

I feel like the mystery of “who leaked Will’s presence to the media?” was a little obvious, and surely the family should’ve figured out who it was before they did. I feel like that could have added more mystery with tension arising between the couples Iggy and Will and Arthur and Lucie. From how Arthur behaved I feel like he would have been defending their mother and fighting for her to stay while Iggy and Will would have been adamant that she was a bad influence.

But that’s my take on it and I don’t know yet if it happened this way to set things up for Tristan’s book or not. I mean, I’m assuming that’s coming yea?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance by Laurie Benson. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others.

Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.

When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants.

Sarah is the author of the Butterfly Cove, Lavender Bay and Bluebell Castle trilogies, published by HQ Digital UK.

Willow – Grace Parks

Welcome back everyone, today I have two special reviews for you so please look out for the other one as well! One is a bit of a rom-com while the other is a fantasy romance.

I was really looking forward to this one and for some reason thought it was called “Can a socialite and a technophobe fall in love?” I guess the first line of the blurb really stuck in my memory!

I had liked this book, but I can’t say I loved it. The storytelling was captivating, the characters felt real. But I feel like a certain level of detail was missing to really suck me in. This was most evident where the couple got together in what felt like the space of two chapters.

I got to the end of the second last chapter and felt like, story development wise I was probably sitting around the 75-80% mark. The characters were on their way to becoming a couple and meeting halfway. But they still had some work to do.

When I happened to scan the percent and see 94%, I was a bit shocked. When I checked how many chapters I had left, I saw I only had the one left. My first thought was “o, is this series one where we follow the same two characters? I got the feeling each book would follow a new couple.”

Not only was I treated to the quickest get together I think I’ve ever read, making it highly dissatisfying. It was probably one of the more teenage types of get togethers. It didn’t feel like the character’s I’d gotten to know, and it didn’t feel like it suited the rest of the book.

Literally, up until that last chapter I was really enjoying it. But that rushed ending felt like someone went “o crap! I’m reaching my word count but don’t want to cut anything out. How can I wrap this up quickly?!” and then left it at that. If you don’t mind rushed endings that leave you feeling bewildered, you’ll be fine! Otherwise just be prepared for that rushing at the end there.

Don’t forget to check out Lure of Obsession by Lisa Kessler which I also reviewed today. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I’ll be reviewing Sunshine over Bluebell Castle by Sarah Bennett. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and my first extra giveaway hosted by me (supplied by the author).

Author Bio

From Grace, with Love… Grace Parks is a sweet romance/ chick lit author with a penchant for the happily ever after.

Giveaway – Win 1 of 2 e-copies of Willow thanks to Grace (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 Proud Book Reviews 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 be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Proud Book Reviews will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

The Wedding Planner – Eve Devon

Welcome back everyone, after a regency romance last week we’re back into modern day. But this time we stay in the same country. Just centuries later.

Within 2 pages of starting this book all I could think was “o god, I really hope people don’t see me like this!” I’m a straight talker, I don’t beat around the bush, I call things as they are, I’m the person you can trust to give you the absolute brutal truth, I’m absolutely independent and hate needing others. But I’m also fiercely loyal to those I love. And this pretty much sums up Gloria to a tee.

Granted we don’t learn about the loyalty until a bit into the book. It’s still pretty obvious that she’s uniquely her and for some reason is apologetic about it. I get not being like that to the point of driving people away. Like Gloria I’ve gone through some work to not be like that either. But I will never understand why people don’t value those traits.

When romance does creep up on her she doesn’t know what to do about it. But what I REALLY love about this romance is that he doesn’t try to change her. Seth accepts who she is and loves her BECAUSE of those traits many people don’t like.

Little things like seeing the fight come into her eyes and working out what she’s thinking, and it just makes him love her more is amazing. Romance and love to me should be about accepting the other person for who they are. Faults and all. So I love that this story really embraced that and never tried to be like “maybe you should tone this down” or “well if you had have just kept your mouth shut that wouldn’t have happened”.

I enjoyed this story all the way to the end and in a way see some of my own relationship in this story. Although in our case we were both scared to take the plunge but realised about the same time we actually did want to. It’s super weird reading a book that you feel like could almost be written about you and your life but in a way great to see people embrace and love Gloria for who she is.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing I Will Follow Him by Holly Tierney-Bedord. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

My name’s Eve Devon and I write sexy heroes, sassy heroines and happy ever afters…

Growing up in locations like Botswana and Venezuela gave me a taste for adventure and my love for romances began when my mother shoved one into my hands in a desperate attempt to keep me quiet during TV coverage of the Wimbledon tennis finals.

When I wasn’t consuming books by the bucket-load, I could be found pretending to be a damsel in distress or running around solving mysteries and writing down my adventures. As a teenager, I wrote countless episodes of TV detective dramas so the hero and heroine would end up together every week. As an adult, I worked in a library to conveniently continue consuming books by the bucket-load, until realising I was destined to write contemporary romance and romantic suspense myself. I live in leafy Surrey in the UK, a book-devouring, slightly melodramatic, romance-writing sassy heroine with my very own sexy hero husband!