Love Heart Lane – Christie Barlow

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed my review of Second Chance at the Ranch as much as I enjoyed reading it.

I chose to participate in today’s Book Tour because it sounded like such a sweet and sad story that I just wanted to know what happened!

Story overview

Felicity starts this story waiting to speak to her manager to get some time off just after the new year. Given that she works in a department store, this is when sales are rife and it's super busy.

Felicity's dreading having to ask for time off since the new management isn't people focused. Surprisingly, she manages to get time off, but only because her grandmother had just passed away.

Meanwhile, as the day continues we learn about her now ex-boyfriend. She's kicked him out of her apartment and is mentally preparing for the trip to her Scottish hometown of Heartcross.

While Felicity travels home she's wracked with heartache on account of Fergus, her childhood sweetheart. However, we don't have long to wait to see what kid of reception she gets from him. Since she unexpectedly runs into him within hours of getting home in the middle of a blizzard.

Their greeting is even colder than Felicity imagined it might be. But then again, she did run away more than 8 years previously. And this it the first time they are seeing each other since then.


My thoughts

At this point, reading about how cold Fergus is towards Felicity. It had me wondering what she could possibly have done to him that was so awful that he held onto his grudge that long. Throughout the book I was wracking my brain to try and figure it out. In response to my patience I was slowly drip fed the answers I was starving for. And boy was I surprised!

I was treated to a lot of heartache, quite a few arguments, tension between friends, a runaway child, disaster and a community spirit that left me emotionally exhausted. With an ending that felt like it really brought the story together.

At times you can reach the end of a story and it feels like the author has rushed a relationship, just to get the happily ever after. But this one didn't feel like that, which is great.

Instead, it felt like the natural progression of friendships that finished things off in the perfect way. Without being over the top JUST to get that happily every after. Because of this I'm super eager for the sequel Foxglove Farm to come out!


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I will be reviewing The Earl's Irresistible Challenge by Lara Temple.

Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author info

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty's Countryside Dream, Lizzie's Christmas Escape, Evie's Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Love Heart Lane. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia. 

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world.

          

Check out the other views on this Blog Tour

Miao-Shan: The Awakening – Gary Morris

Welcome back everyone, this weeks book is another author request. This time from an author who only has one other published book, so you might not have heard of him.

But if you haven’t, you should give him a go because this is a book unlike any I’ve ever read before. It’s based in Hong Kong and includes a fair bit about the Chinese culture and history which is fairly new to me.

Story overview

The story begins at the end of the 19th Century in Hong Kong with a small and happy family. Only to have the parents murdered in the first chapter and a rampant display of racism between the local Chinese people and the “Gweilo”, or English, people.

Typically both races believe the other to be savages purely because they do things differently. Of course, you'd be forgiven for thinking this is the main theme of the book. However, it’s not the key theme so I’m going to leave that there.

Lei's need for revenge against the Triads as the long survivor of her family is what we learn to be, the key theme of the story. As such, she learn's Kung Fu to become calmer and to learn empathy.

However, her thirst to hurt "bad people" means she never quite reaches that goal. Instead, she ends up accepting her fate and became an almost merciless killer in her quest for vengeance.


My thoughts

Throughout the story Lei chooses to fight back against those that want to oppress others. And this, I believe, is something many people don't have the courage, and or, the skills to do. So good on her for standing up for what she believes in!

However, the examples we see of Lei's excessive force does scare me a little. But only because that lack of compassion or regard for human life is what typically forms the basis for a sociopath's personality.

And typically speaking sociopaths can’t change who they are or how they react to things. They can learn to mimic emotions, but they can’t feel them the same way most people can. So how can Lei truly learn and display compassion if she's unable to truly feel it?

Surprisingly enough, she does find the ability to be compassionate. And the time she finds this ability is what truly surprises me. It's at this moment that we really get to explore the difference between revenge, and justice. Can she live with the knowledge that she caused destruction and the loss of hundreds of lives.

That’s a lot for anyone to bear, let alone someone who’s only about 18-20 years old. I can’t imagine the guilt gnawing at her conscious and how difficult it would be to get to sleep each night knowing that she cut those lives short.

So knowing that she had to live with that for eternity I can sympathise with her need to leave China and be somewhere else. Somewhere different where she can come to terms with everything she’s done.

Gary has told me since reading Miao-Shan that there is a second book for me to look forward to. And I will, because I want to know what she does next!


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review. On Friday I will be reviewing Second Chance at the Ranch by Maxine Morrey.

Yes you read that right! This Friday! I look forward to seeing you again then. But don’t forget to read a little bit about this week’s author Gary Morris below.

Author info

Gary Morris

For most of my working life, I was in the collectables field. First dealing in stamps and then in antiques. I have always had a love for Asian art and history. Particularly Chinese and Japanese. I have also directed and produced a computer game.

I started writing fiction professionally in 2010, during which time I wrote two complete novels, of which Miao-Shan is the second one. At the end of 2010, I returned to the property industry, without having acquired an agent. For the next six years, I wrote part-time.

I currently have two other books completed (one an unusual spy thriller, and the other a time-travelling paranormal fantasy), but neither is ready for publication yet.

          

A Greek Affair – Linn B. Halton

Welcome back everyone, after reading about Satan and the history of man I thought we could do with a change. So today’s review is going back to a romance novel.

Story Overview

Like with many a good romance novel we start some years in the past to set the scene of what our main character is going through. In this case Leah has just come home with her two year old baby to discover that her husband, her daughters father, has abandoned them and left them with a ridiculous amount of debt. 

Fast forward 7 years and she’s finally managed to pay off all the debts, avoided the cottage being foreclosed on and feels like her life is finally on the up and up. In this case we come back to her right as she’s about to win an award for the best travel blog!

Because of this win she gets more offers to stay at hotels for free to review them on her blog. Personally, I think this is pretty cool, but at the same time so many people are doing this it’d be pretty hard to make a living off of blogging alone. 

Not only did it surprise me that she can earn enough money from her blog to get by, I was also massively surprised that she gets over 1 thousand individual hits a day! I’m lucky if I can crack double digits when a new review goes up! That’s not to say I’m not grateful for all those who have followed me and so might be reading my reviews from their emails. I just have no idea how many of them are reading them.

Anyway! I digress! One of the offers Leah gets is to go to Athens for a few days. That in and of itself would be amazing for me. Some of the sites she visits are on my bucket list and the way Linn wrote about the places and described them made me feel like I was there.

When I see photo’s online I always think that they are photo-shopped or enhanced, but the way Linn described it really stuck into my imagination. Which meant I now have even more possible locations I didn’t know about on my list of places in Athens to visit!

While Leah is in Athens, she meets Daniel who is renting one of the villa’s she’s been asked to review and somehow, she ends up connecting with him both emotionally and physically. 

After a second trip to Athens to see Daniel and get some more photo’s the drama really begins. And this time it involves Antonio(the ex-husband) and Daniel. I spent probably a good quarter of the book trying to figure out what could be happening, who Leah was going to end up with and what would happen to Rosie (the daughter).

My Thoughts

Needless to say, I found a number of surprises along the way, but I really enjoyed them.So much so that this morning when I was meant to start work, I decided to spend another 10 minutes reading while I ate my breakfast just, so I could finish the chapter where Leah and Antonio talk for the first time in over 7 years! I was hooked, and I needed to know what went down with that phone call. 

The thing that irked me a little was that at the end of the last chapter it says “TheEnd” yet I knew from looking at the contents that there was an epilogue. It made me feel cheated a little, coz if I hadn’t have looked at the contents, I wouldn’t have known there was a little bit more. And that little bit more wraps it up beautifully! Why would you trick your readers into thinking there’s nothing else when you want them to finish the story? So when you read this one,make sure you read the epilogue after it says “The End”!


Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I will be reviewing Miao Shan: The Awakening by a new author Gary Morris.

Continue to read further down to find out about the author, see who else is reviewing this book and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton - who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman - says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.
Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

          

Giveaway to Win Rose wine and chocolates (UK only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please click the image to open the Rafflecopter box to enter. 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.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Warrior’s Bride Prize – Jenni Fletcher

Welcome to a bonus review for you. Today is the day that Jenni Fletcher's "The Warrior's Bride Prize" is released and I gota say. I really enjoyed this one! I read this while holed up in bed exhausted and trying to recover so I'm really glad I got to do it with a good book.

Overall this book spans only a handful of days, but in quite a bit of detail which is different to most of the books I've read recently. We started off with Livia in a carriage to a fort near Hadrian's Wall to meet her soon to be husband. Along the way when she's fairly sure her, her daughter Julia and her main are getting close to their destination they are stopped. Eager to find out what the hold up was after hearing voices but no fighting Livia steps out and comes face to faces with the man she believes to be her future future.

I think we all wish we had that moment when we come face to face with a guy who looks so perfect you can't help but fall in love straight away. Except I don't believe that that really happens. I believe that attraction is possible at first sight. I know I had that with my partner when I first saw him. But surely they don't have a full on attraction so quickly? Not enough to try and ruin their lives? Surely?

Then reading about how they struggled through fighting their attraction while she had to try not to kill her newest fiance was a struggle. For both of them. Which was actually quite amusing for me. This meant every time I laughed at their awkwardness I ended up in coughing fits that then hurt. But I'm hoping that tells you how funny I found those moments. There is obviously some emotional connections, but they had to fight their way through all their social awkwardness and mistakes they made with each other.

And of course right as they finally seemed to connect; Livia's past comes in the way and makes it impossible for them to move forward. Only to have Livia ignore Marius's wishes. But lucky she did, coz that made him realise how much he loved her. And in typical manly fashion he lies and pretends to hate her to get her to leave the dangerous frontier so that he can concentrate on fighting and surviving. I know if I was in her place I would be completely pissed and would struggle to accept him if he came grovelling back. So at this stage I was starting to wonder if this would be the first book in the series. Because surely it'd be one hell of a journey for Livia to forgive Marius?

Given the way the book ended I don't think there'd be a second book. But I did finish it wishing there was more. Even if it didn't follow Marius and Livia it could follow Scaevola. Or maybe Julia some time in the future? I dunno, but I really want to read more about these two. I loved the way Jenni wrote this story and it totally hooked me in throughout the whole time. The major thing that sucked was that I kept almost falling asleep while I wanted to read. Now that I've had a chance to read her writing style I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.

Now if you haven't picked this up already, I think you should go and buy this book, take a couple of sick days (ok maybe don't fake it...) and buy this one to read immediately! Worst comes to worst, put this on your Christmas wish list for someone to buy for you.

If you're interested in buying this one, you can get it via the Amazon and Barnes and Noble links below as well as iBooks and WHSmith.

And finally, a bio about our wonderful author who I hope to have the pleasure of reading more of her books 🙂

Jenni Fletcher was born on the north coast of Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire, where she writes Medieval, Roman and Victorian romance novels.

She studied English at Cambridge University before doing an MA on Women and Literature in English and a PhD on Victorian & Edwardian literature at Hull. After realising that she was better at writing than teaching, she worked in a number of administrative jobs whilst trying to finish her first book, which was rejected. Thinking there must have been some mistake, she then wrote another, which was fortunately accepted by Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Her favourite Jane Austen novel is Persuasion and her favourite Brontë is Anne. If she had to choose a romantic hero it would be John Thornton, but maybe that’s just because she’s Northern.

If you'd like to follow Jenni (which I already am on Twitter, coz I wana know when new books are coming out!) you can follow her on the below pages:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JenniFletcherAuthor/

Twitter: @JenniAuthor