Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquess – Jenni Fletcher

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Welcome back everyone, I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year break. I know I’ve released a few posts, but this is my first review in TWO WEEKS!

You might have seen that I read this as part of the Reindeer Readathon, that’s because I like to try and read books at least 4 weeks in advance of the review date so I don’t have to stress. Because we all have too much stress in our lives to begin with.

I read this entirely at home (except for the day I finished it, I will admit I took it to work with me that day) because it was a physical ARC (thank you Jenni Fletcher for shipping this to me!) and I hate bringing books to work with me because I inevitably damage them. Yet when I got to the last portion of the book (and I’d just finished another book on my Kindle) I knew I had to bring it in with me.

Whenever I was away from this book, I was thinking about what was happening between Amelia and Cassius. How were they reacting to each other, what were they going to do next, what could happen now since they’re married, and I’ve got a good portion of the book to go? Etc etc etc.

Given it was set at Christmas time I was obviously going to love that aspect of the book. Yet there were some very modern issues of depression and self-worth that were openly discussed and explored. Not only did the characters discuss these issues (maybe not in those terms, but they did) they also coloured all their actions and interactions.

It was fascinating to me seeing such a “modern” thing as mental health be addressed headfirst in a setting where I wasn’t expecting it. Because of this I got the sense that Jenni was trying to say that mental health has always been an issue. Just maybe not talked about in the same was that we talk about it now.

I read this as a standalone, and it can be read as a standalone, but I’ve just (as I’m writing this review) discovered that it’s part of a trilogy that’s been written by 3 different authors! I know I keep coming back to Jenni’s work, but I might consider getting the others to see how their stories play out!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I’m reviewing Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley by Kelly Miller.

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Give Me a Christmas – Zoe Ann Wood

Welcome back everyone, after Monday’s sad story that didn’t end as I was expecting I’ve gone back to a sweet romance.

I wasn’t expecting was for Iris to be so normal. By that I mean, she has a regular teaching job, she gets by but isn’t making millions and she’s working towards her career dreams. This type of character just didn’t add up to me when the blurb said she had a billionaire ex-boyfriend.

Normally in romances if billionaires are involved, they are dating each other, or the whole point of the story is that they unexpectedly get to know someone regular and end up together. You don’t normally find stories where there’s already history with the ex!

The fact that Finn seems to have grown up since they were together feels like a good thing. Iris is constantly surprised by it and struggles to accept that he’s being genuine. Which is totally understandable.

Zoe does an amazing job of drip feeding us bits and pieces of their past which kept me hooked. I wanted to know what happened between them, why did they break up, how long were they together for, is the dispute with the parents really as bad as it’s made out to be, how will Finn react when he finds out etc etc etc.

I was left hanging to the end to get all my questions answered. Although Zoe kept you on the line by answering one or two questions at a time, while raising more. I wasn’t left feeling like it was a rush to answer all the questions at the end, but I was still kept hooked.

I’d say this is one of her better sweet romances, and I think that comes down to her maturity as a writer developing now that she’s got a few books published in this genre. I feel like (and I’m not a writer so I don’t know for sure) it’s easier to create the right kind of drama in a paranormal romance compared to a sweet romance. So I can understand why it took Zoe a few books to find that groove and settle into it.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing A Deal with her Rebel King by Michelle Styles. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Single All the Way – Elaine Spires

Welcome back everyone, after a busier November than I’d anticipated I’m kicking off the Christmas month with a book set over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

This one ended up being a bit of a disappointment to me. I went into it expecting a romantic comedy and was left quite underwhelmed. The story itself was mostly fine. It was the delivery that didn’t quite do it for me. However, as an inspiring, life lesson kind of read this is amazing.

The first thing I need to say about this book was that its chapters were “days”, meaning some chapters took me an hour or so to read. I think this could have been done better if the days were “parts” to the book, and the character’s points of view were the chapters.

I think this would give the reader a cleaner point where they could stop reading rather than hoping they remember what was said when they put it down halfway through a conversation because you don’t know when the next natural break is.

The next point I was to talk about is the amount of characters used. Usually, the books I read follow one or two characters and might alternate their points of view between those two characters. Or, you might have a few other characters thrown in, but the point of view sticks to the main two characters.

In this book I couldn’t figure out who the story was meant to be about and (if I can remember correctly) the point of view alternated between 10+ characters. The only other book I’ve come across that uses to many characters is Game of Thrones, and George R.R. Martin has a chapter to each character, titled as the character’s name, making it easier to follow. In this case the character changes happened at mini breaks in the chapters and because of the amount of characters used, I often struggled to figure out who I was reading about.

The final thing I want to mention is the feel of the book. When I finished this book, I left it feeling like “romantic comedy” is the wrong way to market it. Instead, I think it should be marketed as a story that shows the trials and tribulations people face in their everyday life. The key messages I felt resonating with me were that of acceptance and love for all — including yourself, forgiveness, honesty and communication.

Even though it wasn’t quite the fun read I thought it would be, I finished it with more of a life lesson, key take away kind of feel. If you want to read about how different people face a range of issues (sexuality, grief, guilt, family secrets, being single later in life etc) then this is an inspiring read I urge you to read.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Lasairiona E. McMaster’s The Good in Goodbye, the sequel to Intimate Strangers. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine's keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels.

Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series - Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.

Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019! 

Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

A Christmas Kiss – Eliza Scott

Welcome back everyone, getting into the Christmas spirit for me involves a lot of Christmas lights, heat, bars and enjoying our porch or pergola with my partner. Yet for most of the Western world it involves snow, roaring fireplaces and cold.

This book for me gave me everything I’ve ever wished for at Christmas. A small rural town, a cosy cottage, enough snow to toboggan and make snow men and of course a gorgeous dog. At some point in my future I want to spend a Christmas in a town and cottage just like Livvie and Zander do.

With both our characters running away from their pasts and coincidentally running into each other before being snowed in it gives us the perfect backdrop for a nice, cosy, romantic Christmas love story. The drama that’s in this story were quite predictable, as with many romances, yet still enjoyable.

I’m sure many romance readers out there would agree with me, when we read a romance you anticipate that there’s going to be some predictability in the story since they all tend to follow the same formula. Yet, the great part isn’t in not knowing what’s coming, it’s in how the author build the suspense, draws you into the story emotionally and then reveals it bit by bit. Eliza did this well by setting the scene, revealing bit by bit what we kinda knew was going to happen.

OK. I’ll admit. When the first twist happened, I actually thought it was going to be the other person. Yet when Eliza stopped, swapped to the other character and revealed one tiny little clue I realised my mistake in assuming which twist it was going to be. Which gave me that little bit of surprise I wanted. What more can you ask for with a romance?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing You, Me and the Movies by Fiona Collins. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Eliza lives in a 17th-century cottage on the edge of a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and two mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or working in her garden. Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off by a visit to a teashop where she can indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and cake.

Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heart-warming stories with happy endings.

Check out Eliza's socials, including BookBub:

US Author Page

UK Author Page

Zapata – Harper McDavid

Welcome back everyone, we’re going from a cold Cornish winter setting to Mexico! I already feel warmer just thinking about Mexico.

Well the first thing I want to say is, when you get to about the 70% mark put on a full-on action movie like John Wick 3. Why do you ask? Well, I spent some time on the couch reading a good portion of the last third of the book while my partner watched John Wick 3 and the fight scenes perfectly matched the intensity of what I was reading.

To give you an idea, this is the This is War of books. This is the type of book I can see made into a movie and becoming a date night favourite. It has enough romance for the girls, while being action packed enough for the guys to love it, while also not over the top to the enough that the guys hate it.

Yes, I’m stereotyping couples. But that’s coz I’m thinking of my relationship and the types of movies we can truly enjoy that satisfy both our preferences.

Yes, the book includes kidnapping, human trafficking, the sex slave trade, drug use, various other criminal activities and unthinkable circumstances. So, if any of this triggers you, avoid this book! And I really do mean that!

If you love the excitement, not knowing what’s going to happen and those full-on action-packed stories that make you feel the adrenaline pumping through your body. Then you’ll probably love this.

For a debut novel I am amazed at the quality and I can see myself (and my partner who doesn’t normally read much!) loving her novel! I likened this to Matthew Reilly to him, but where the writing is a little bit more mature and the content is DEFINITELY more mature. But just as fun, action orientated and engaging as his books.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing #Jerk by Kat T. Masen. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

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As a child, Harper McDavid watched her mother ride the roller coaster of writing books, swearing she’d never do it herself. But some things are just hardwired, and luckily for Harper, the world has moved on beyond typewriters and ten-pound manuscripts.

Harper’s gritty romantic suspense incorporates her own background in science and engineering and work experience along the border. The result is a collection of hardhat-wearing heroines that occasionally employ the use of the little black dress.

Harper is the mother of three daughters and lives in the foothills of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a fat cat. Her free time is spent traveling the world in search of that next story and perusing her local library for funny book covers.

Intimate Strangers – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, I feel like I’ve had some emotionally charges romance reads this month and today is no different. I mean. Wow. Just wow!

Talk about an emotionally draining read!

If anyone wants to see how an emotional rollercoaster should be written, I suggest reading this book and making notes. I really wasn’t expecting it to be QUITE so dramatic. Especially throughout the whole book.

Given that Lisa met someone online I was anticipating there to be a certain level of emotional stress leading up to them meeting for the first time. But that was just the start of it! There were a few other hits in there as well as the comedic release you need during those highly charged moments.

Lisa’s sarcastic and confident (even if she doesn’t feel it most of the time) attitude made her highly amusing. Especially when we also got to read along with the conversations she was having in her own head. As we only follow her, we don’t get to find out what’s going through AJ’s head.

In this case I really don’t think having AJ’s side of events is needed. There are quite a few stories where you need both sides. However, the way Lasairiona has written this means it’s perfect as it is. And having AJ’s side would probably just ruin it.

I’m scheduled to review the follow up book The Good in Goodbye in December. So make sure you subscribe to my mailing list if you want to know the moment that review goes live!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Wrapped up for Christmas by Katlyn Duncan. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did - with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself 'home', with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

Project Duchess – Sabrina Jeffries

Welcome back everyone, after reviewing Zoe Ann Wood’s first sweet romance I’m on to my first approved NetGalley review! Which means I need to tell you that I got this book for free in exchange for an honest review (I always give honest reviews but I don't want to get in trouble for not explicitly saying this).

I’m pretty excited about this one because it’s the first one I requested to read and got approved for. The other’s I’ve requested I got rejected for, so this feels like a milestone for me. And the story was a pretty good milestone one as well. It would’ve sucked if my first approved book wasn’t great.

Luckily it was good!

A scoundrel who isn’t a scoundrel. An innocent who isn’t so innocent. A murder that’s possibly not a murder. There were a few different layers to this book that I found really engaging. Although there were a couple of moments where I wasn’t sure which story was meant to be more prominent. The romance or the murder?

The story is written in third person from either Grey’s or Beatrice’s point of view. However, there were a few points where we seemed to shift mid chapter. Mostly it only switched characters at the end of a chapter. Or if it did change mid-way through there was an obvious break in the chapter to show the change. Which made it a bit weird when it swapped part way through.

I quite liked this, but for those wanting a pure romance, you should be prepared for the murder investigation aspect. Unfortunately, I was left hanging at the end. I didn’t get the closure I wanted as to who murdered who and why.

On the romance front, however. The ending was very satisfying. So much so that I’ve gotten a copy of the sequel which is due for release in February 2020. So make sure you come back to find out if that carries as well!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I will be reviewing When you were Mine by Lisa Swift.

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.

Lure of Obsession – Lisa Kessler

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 romcom while the other is a fantasy romance.

This one is the fantasy romance, yay!

I do love a good mixture of gods, myths, legends and the modern world and this one has that. This is the first book in the Muse Chronicles series which follows modern day women who have the power of one of the nine ancient Greek Muses woken in them. That means they are driven to inspire the current generation to create, develop and progress.

But we also find out that they had guardians to protect them from the forces that would harm them. And those forces would be those dedicated to freeing the old Titans, including Kronos. Those followers trying to kill Mel, the personification of the Muse of Tragic Poetry, is what draws her guardian Nate to her.

We’re then gripped up in the crimes being committed by the followers of Kronos as they try to eliminate all the Muses for their own gains. I’m not quite sure how Lisa managed to get such a great balance between romance, comedy, mystery and a crime story but she did.

The whole way through I found myself totally falling in love with each of the characters more and more and loving the banter. I’m not sure if the humour was intended to be such a big part of the book but I found myself laughing at the sarcastic comments, overtures and the regular jokes being bandied about. I’m hoping I can keep reading this series because I found myself really enjoying it.

Don’t forget to check out Willow by Grace Parks 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 any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Lisa Kessler is a Best Selling author of dark paranormal fiction. She's a two-time San Diego Book Award winner for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror and Best Published Romance. Her books have also won the PRISM award, the Award of Excellence, the National Excellence in Romantic Fiction Award, the Award of Merit from the Holt Medallion, and an International Digital Award for Best Paranormal. 

Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and magazines, and her vampire story, Immortal Beloved, was a finalist for a Bram Stoker award. 

When she's not writing, Lisa is a professional vocalist, and has performed with San Diego Opera as well as other musical theater companies in San Diego.

Stay up-to-date on new releases and giveaways by subscribing to Lisa's newsletter. You can check out Lisa on her social media and on Pinterest.

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