Clover Cottage – Christie Barlow

Welcome back everyone, I feel like my schedule is starting to normalise a little and get under control which is awesome. Especially because today we’re returning to Love Heart Lane.

Although the blurb gives a sense that Rory and Allie will get a happily ever after with the phrase “the place that will always bring them back to each other”; for a lot of this book I didn’t think that was going to happen. I got so caught up in the emotions that they were both experiencing in the moment that I forgot this is a romance.

We know romances always end up with a happily ever after. Yet Christie’s writing had me so involved and felt so life like that I totally forgot about it! In real life happily ever after’s don’t always happen. So it made sense that maybe it wasn’t going to happen this time either.

It’s not that common that a writer can get me so involved in a romance story that I forget it’s a book and not someone’s real life. Or am I just comparing that to Married at First Sight? (Yes, I watch it coz my partner loves it and its currently mid-way through the series.)

Either way. The troubles that Rory and Allie go through are so normal. Career changes, the progression of a relationship, living situations, family issues etc. Every couple will have gone through one of more of the issues which makes it so relatable. In a way it made me feel better about the times my partner and I have disagreements (so, like every weekend?) because every couple has those moments.

I loved getting caught up in the moment and being with them as they worked out their next steps while learning more about themselves and growing as people. They each had a valuable lesson to learn and they both learnt it and moved forwards with it. It was so amazing to read.

The only thing I didn’t really like about it was that it felt like there was one thing too many that they had to work through as a couple. When I got to it, I was like “I could see the set up for this, but really? ANOTHER thing for them to figure out?” It just felt like it was a tad too much and made me drop out of the story for a moment.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Shatterglass by Tamora Pierce. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Christie Barlow is the international bestselling 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, Love Heart Lane and Foxglove Farm. 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, Canada & Australia.

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being.

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The New Guy – Kathryn Freeman

Welcome back everyone, after a few reviews for books in a series we’re back to a standalone contemporary romance set in London.

One of they key differences between this book and many other romances I read is that the woman is the one in a position of power in the relationship. Not only is it Sam that instigates a conversation with Ryan initially. She’s the one that sets out how their relationship plays out after that.

Throughout the book we read how Ryan is feeling, and it’s strangely insecure. Being a girl, I don’t know if many guys feel like this in relationships, but it was great to have such a strong male lead who was also so in touch with his emotions and what he wants from a relationship. While also being honest with himself about how he truly feels rather than trying to hide behind walls.

In many ways I respect what Sam has achieved and sympathise with what she’s had to go through thanks to Damien. Yet I also think she was a little silly to get involved with someone she worked with. Something my dad always told me growing up was to never get involved with someone I worked with because society always makes the woman out to be worse off.

At the same time, if you’re falling for someone that hard why should you have to deny your heart?

And then my logical business brain switches on being like “aren’t there laws against this in England?” coz I know there are here in Australia. Even for small businesses like Sam’s.

The way Kathryn wrote about both Ryan and Sam’s emotional turmoil and their insecurities kept me enraptured the whole way through. I kept wondering when they’d finally talk openly and honestly, what would happen after they’d done that? Would Ryan keep working for Sam? If he did, how would their relationship end up?

Rather than trying to sort through that minefield I think Kathryn did the right thing for the story and left it on a high. But also open for the reader to decide how they want their love story to play out. Does it end up a fully open office romance? Does it go down in flames? Is it a fairy-tale ending?

Who knows? You get to pick what you want!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I’ll be reviewing Jennifer Macaire’s final Alexander book, The Eternal Banquet. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Game Changer – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, after finishing the Lisa Miller series earlier in the year I’m now starting the AJ Williams series. The same events, but from AJ’s perspective.

I was wondering how much this series could offer me as I’ve read a couple of books that were written after another book but from another character’s perspective. Normally I find these books quite repetitive and boring.

Somehow, Lasairionas writing makes it work. I think having most of the book focus on AJ’s thoughts or his interactions with people when Lisa wasn’t there made it work. Instead of rehashing what’s already been said from Lisa’s perspective, we get an insight into AJ’s mind, bipolar and all.

We also get an insight into AJ’s relationships with others. Especially Jeremey.

I’m honestly not sure how accurate AJ’s thoughts are of bipolar, never having suffered it myself, but I hope it’s as accurate as possible. Reading his thoughts go backwards and forwards, questioning, the self-doubt. It made him more relatable and it made me wonder about what I know is to come in future books.

Some of the major incidents in this book gave me a whole different view of what happened. Some of the things that happened, when explained from Lisa’s perspective left me confused. Meaning when I got to read what happened to AJ it made total sense. It also gave me a lot more empathy for him than I had when reading Lisa’s book.

I can’t wait until I get to read what happens next and how AJ handles it himself.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing The New Guy by Kathryn Freeman. 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.

From Thailand with Love – Camilla Isley

Welcome back everyone, after having to force myself to finish the last book I read I had a great time jumping into the fifth book in the First Comes Love series. Of which I read and reviewed the 4th book, To the Stars and Back last year.

Within 2 pages I fell in love with Winter and the antics she was getting up to. By the time I finished reading the first day (can’t remember how many chapters that was…) I knew I was going to love this book. How could I not when I found myself laughing so much in such a short period of time?

As I got further and further into the story, I loved Winter more and more. She’s so sassy, confident and focussed against all odds. How could I not love it? Even some of her plotting had me cracking up coz it’s exactly what I’d do in her position.

Logan’s side also had me chuckling. Yet once they’re out on their expedition and the exciting stuff happens, I found myself loving him as well. I don’t want to ruin the book by talking about how exciting this is. But I’d like to compare it to Indiana Jones, maybe a bit of the Mummy in there too.

I flew through this book and didn’t even care that my partner wanted to watch a YouTube video and the next morning stay in bed rather than be with me while we were at a hotel celebrating our 8-year anniversary. Why? Coz it meant I got to read some more!

After finishing this book, I made the decision that I needed to read the rest of the series and went and bought the collection of the first three books. Sometime in the future you’ll see those reviews. I’m just not sure when that’ll happen just yet.

If you love romance, humour and action/drama in your stories then you need to go and buy this and read it RIGHT NOW. Each book in the series is a standalone. There is a minor detail in this book that would slightly (not really since it’s a romance) ruin the 4th book. But otherwise you don’t need to worry about reading them in order.

Just go and get this and read it now! GO!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Wednesday I’ll be introducing a new series of posts and on Friday I’ll be reviewing Breathe of Passion by Lisa Kessler. 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 check out Camilla on her various social media accounts including BookBub and Pinterest.

Giveaway – Win a From Thailand with Love Tote Bag (open internationally)


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*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.

When Polly met Olly – Zoe May

Welcome back everyone, I’ve got another Rach Random Resource tour for you today. And it’s another Zoe May novel.

I’m starting to get the feeling that Zoe is great at coming up with ideas and stories. But personally, I feel like the execution was a little lacking. I never found myself falling in love with this book. Pretty much the whole way through I found it wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t reading it coz I was loving it. I was reading it to bring you this review.

Technically speaking there’s nothing wrong.

You’ve got a strong female lead, Polly. You’ve got a male lead who’s in touch with his emotions, Olly. You’ve got a father figure that helps the female lead find her way and looks after her, Derek. You’ve got a gay best friend only looking out for the female lead and adds an element of flair, Gabe.

Yet I didn’t connect with or fall in love with any of these characters. In fact, I actually hated Gabe. I didn’t think he had a place in the story and felt his character needed more reason to be there other than to critique and push Polly. Even his critiquing and gayness annoyed me. He felt like the type of “friend” that I’d cut out of my life in 2 seconds flat and that he was gay just to have the representation in the book rather than adding value.

It felt like Olly had almost no story time. I think I was about halfway through and it felt like he’d had all of one meetings worth of air time. For a male lead I was expecting much more angst, drama and revelations to happen. When they did, it felt rushed and like it was maybe just meant to be there, but Zoe hadn’t had time to do it earlier.

Personally, what could’ve made this book great was having Olly’s side included in the story. Not every love story needs it. But a lot of the drama, angst and feeling that might have made me fall in love with the story and characters might have happened if Olly’s perspective was included.

For a light, easy to read romance that you don’t have to get too caught up in this is a great read. I just felt like it was missing something for my brain and heart to really engage. My only other issues with this book have hopefully been resolved (I’ve been told they have) and they were caused because I read an advanced copy not a final edit version. So, I won’t be taking those into account with my score.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Street Magic by Tamora Pierce. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Zoe May lives in London and writes romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She spent her twenties living in London, where she worked in journalism and copywriting before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple’s top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as ‘a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery – fresh and very funny’.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading.

Fateful Coincidence – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, we’re finally up to the final book in the Lisa Miller trilogy! Which, by the way, will be followed by a trilogy from AJ’s perspective!

The first and major thing I need to say about this final instalment is that it has all the feels. I don’t know how Lasairiona does it, but man she writes the feels well! I read most of this book outside on the couch with Bones and found myself needing his cuddles at multiple points as I slowly cried from everything Lisa had to experience.

I think I’ve mentioned this before. But I’m not a crier. That scene at the end of the Notebook? No tears. Any other moment in film history that typically sees people crying. No tears.

This book? Tears. At like 5 different points in time.

The strength Lisa had to have to get through all this is amazing. If I was in her position, I don’t think I could have coped as well as she did. Although she’s also got a much larger and available support system than I have.

Which brings me onto something I’m glad Lasairiona included. Which is how Lisa treats the men in her life. She’s lucky to have such amazing guys who want to be there to support her and help her trough everything she’s going through. But she’s kinda clueless and insensitive to what they’re feeling.

I can’t say how without ruining the book. But I did have a thought of “Really? I know he’s a great guy and won’t complain. But common decency says you shouldn’t lean on him for this. That’s just cruel and unusual punishment no one deserves.” So, it made me super happy when Chelsea brought it up and told her how selfish she was being.

The only other thing I want to say about this book (because, honestly, it’s genius and finish are too epic to put into words) is that Lisa has WAY better friends than I do! But I’m also older, less sociable, generally introverted and dump friends as soon as they show the first hint of being fair weather friends. How can I get friends like hers?

If this sounds like something you might like, make sure you check out the reviews for Intimate Strangers and The Good in Goodbye because this is a trilogy that MUST be read in order! Once I’ve read and reviewed AJ’s perspective, I might come back to discuss the best way to read the two trilogies. Coz I have a feeling my reading order might change once I’ve read them too.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, I’m back with my series review tomorrow, and then again on Monday with The Cottage on Wildflower Lane by Liz Davies. 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.

When Adam Met Evie – Giulia Skye

Welcome back everyone, from sci-fi set in England’s cold countryside to the hot extremes of my homeland’s outback. What a change of pace!

I love reading books set in my homeland as I can imagine the landscape, the feel of the country, the people etc. Having forgotten that this one was set in the Aussie Kimberly region was a nice surprise for me when I started reading it.

But as usual when it’s not an Aussie writing it, I find little thing’s I’m not happy with when my country is written about. For one, why was there no camel tours mentioned when they were in Broome? Don’t they know that’s one of biggest tourist attractions for that area? A sunrise/sunset camel ride tour along the beach?

The arid feel, the dry landscape, the red earth. That was all pretty bang on. I liked that Giulia didn’t try to describe the landscape and its famous sites in too much detail as that’s something that’ll get caught out by someone who’s been there.

However. Right near the end of the book she tripped up by (and this is my interpretation of what was written) having Evie wake up at Uluru, take a brief walk along Kings Canyon and have breakfast at Alice Springs. FYI, Kings Canyon is a 4-hour drive north of Uluru with Alice Springs being another 4 hours northeast of Kings Canyon. Literally a quick check on Google Maps could have avoided that mix up.

I’m hoping this is corrected in the published version since I read an advance reading copy.

That’s a whole day of travelling just to get to Alice Springs from Uluru. If you have an early breakfast at Uluru, go to Kings Canyon for a walk around then continue to Alice Springs for a late dinner then yes it could be done in one day. But that’s not what I took from the way it was written.

Aside from that one little thing (which in the grand scheme of the book is nothing!) the writing was well done. I felt like I could feel the heat beating down on my skin and hear the birds and wildlife around me as if I was there with them.

We were given enough descriptions of the blossoming and developing romance to feel enraptured by it. But not enough for it to drag on. It was well balanced and perfectly mixed with the descriptions of the landscape to allow me to feel like I was on the journey with them. It’s exactly what you want when you want a destination romance read to take you away from your dreary life and see another place without leaving the comfort of your couch.

It even reinforced my desire to travel the top end properly like they did. It’s been a dream for a while and my partner and I have talked about getting a camping trailer and touring the country to see these remote places. It’s something I’m probably going to push for more than I have in the past.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Rise of Gaia by Kristin Ward. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Italian-born Giulia Skye spent her childhood watching classic Hollywood films and thinking up her own romantic stories. After two decades working in TV production, she knew turning those stories into novels would be much more enjoyable – and far cheaper – than turning them into films. She still keeps her hand in TV production but is at her happiest being a stay-at-home mum, spending time with her family, growing her own vegetables and conjuring up sizzling stories about sexy heroes meeting fiesty heroines who aren’t always as they at first appear.  When Adam Met Evie is her first novel, Book 1 of her “Take a Holiday” series.

New Beginnings at Glendale Hall – Victoria Walters

Welcome back everyone, I can’t believe we’re in February already and that today’s review is the 3rd one for the month! Especially because it’s only the 5th!

I haven’t read the first book in this series, but I didn’t feel like I needed to in order to understand and enjoy this book. There are some series where you must read the books in order, or even if they say you don’t need to, you kinda do. Victoria has done a wonderful job of writing this story in a way that truly is standalone yet can also be read in a series.

One of my favourite parts of this story was that it didn’t feel like an obvious romance, while we also knew that it was so Emily had to get her happily ever after. Unlike most romances, I wasn’t 100% sure of who she was going to end up with, or how.

Because of this, it felt like Victoria wrote a novel about loving oneself, how to learn to put yourself first, how to chase your dreams and stand up for what you deserve. I feel like so many young girls are so obsessed with finding love and having a family that they don’t take the time to make sure that person is right for them.

Emily is forced to do just that, and I love her exploration and her confidence to do just that. While also knowing when to say, “I don’t have room for a relationship right now, but if you’re right for me you’ll give me the time I need.”

Given what I found and loved about this book I have a feeling that I’ll go back and read the first book at some stage. It was nice and easy to read while still being engaging, interesting and insightful. It was just such a great mix of everything that makes a romance book great.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I’ll be reviewing Legend of Love by Lisa Kessler as part of my series reviews. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. Her moving debut novel THE SECOND LOVE OF MY LIFE was chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for an RNA award. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star. Her heart-warming new novel SUMMER AT THE KINDNESS CAFE is available to download now.

As well as being an author, Victoria also works as a Waterstones bookseller and buys far too many books there. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry (named after Harry Potter). Victoria is not only obsessed with books but loves buying slogan tops, mugs and notebooks, and posting them all on Instagram.

You can discover more about Victoria – and find pictures of Harry the cat – by following her on social media.

Getting Dirty – Rachael Stewart

Welcome back everyone, as you can probably tell I’m in a massively busy review period. I mean, 3 reviews and a wrap up post in one week?! What have I gotten myself into?

I had a bit of a slow start to reading this one without the travel time to and from work but that’s going to be normal for me this yr now that I’ll be working from home more. I ended up finish this off on my flight to Perth which I think was 4 hours well spent.

Like many of Rachael’s books this was marketed as an erotica, yet it didn’t feel like one to me. Yes, there was explicit sex scenes. Yet the sex felt like it was a part of how Ash and Coco shared their feelings and emotions.

The way Rachael made this happen was how she included both Ash and Coco’s thoughts and feelings before, during and after those encounters. By adding that depth to the sex it felt like it had its place and really added to the story in a meaningful way rather than just to add some spice.

Another thing that’s consistent across Rachael’s novels is a message she’s trying to convey. They could be about domestic and family violence, addiction or any number of themes. For Ash and Coco, I felt the themes of trust and communication in relationships.

Although I also got a sense she was including how money, power and social status can impact and define relationships. Including those between family and friends. It was a powerful reminder that these simple things that we often take for granted can make or break relationships.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I’ll be reviewing Of Night and Dark Obscurity by Nicola Italia. 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 e-copy of Getting Dirty by Rachael Stewart (open internationally)


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*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.