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.

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.

Give me a Dream – Zoe Ann Wood

Welcome back everyone, for those of you who followed the Shift series by Zoe Ashwood you’ll be familiar with the author of this book. But she’s hiding under a different pen name as this is a completely different style!

We’ve moved away from paranormal romances into the realm of sweet romances. There’s a common theme of romance, but just a different style of romance. I’m not too sure if I’ve read a true sweet romance before, so I’m not sure I have anything to judge this book by in its respective genre. However, I did have many aspects that I liked, and a few I didn’t quite like so much.

What I did like was the strong theme of equality and the need to be environmentally conscious. One of my main issues with equality (well one of a few…) is that women are often given equal opportunity for jobs (in developed countries) but we’re expected to behave a certain way.

Zoe addressed this astutely by having a really strong female lead who’s respected and loved for who she is. Ballsy behaviour and all. When many women in real life probably find this wouldn’t happen. I wish we didn’t live in a world where people were judged because of their sex, race, religion or any other difference you can think of. We’re all people wanting to same things (general themes) from life so why can’t we just move on and let it happen?

What I didn’t like so much was how little story there was outside of the romance. It’s a little bit like those cheesy porn movies where the “plumber” or whatever comes over to fix something and the housewife inevitably has sex with him and there’s not much else to the story. This had a great telling and development of the romance building between Ava and Daniel. But outside of their romance there really wasn’t anything to the story.

As I said, I don’t think I’ve read a true sweet romance before. So, I’m not sure if this is something I don’t like about the genre of this story. Do you know?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries.

Ms Sommersby’s Second Chance – Laurie Benson

Welcome back everyone, after a very busy couple of weeks we’re back into a nice routine of two reviews as week. Today’s novel is taking us back to regency Bath, which is interesting because I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Bath before.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a habit of picking up regency/historical romances partway through or near the end of a series. This one is no exception. How do I keep doing this to myself?!

Luckily, I tend to do it with stories that have enough separation that it doesn’t ruin it. That is also true of this one. Although I did think it was going to be raunchier than it ended up being right at the start. I mean, Laurie did set us up with Clara and Lane fantasising about each other when they first met. So, it’s safe to assume it’s not going to be G or PG rated (I’m thinking Australian standards with those, I think the US is more relaxed than us with their ratings so not sure what the equivalent is, sorry!). Since they're an older couple than normal (not that like 40 is old) it kind of explains why it went that way so quickly.

I loved the romance that was built and how they got to know each other in such a relaxed, informal and natural way. Sometimes these can feel a little forced. But I loved how Laurie had them running into each other. Or remembering little details and so trying in the hopes they’d see the other person. It gave it a sweet feel that many regency romances lack but really worked for their story.

The one thing that frustrated me was the development of the business side towards the end. If I say much more, I’ll totally spoil it for you, but I do think it could have been done better. I honestly felt like I was screaming in my head for them to do what they did coz it was so obvious. Both times!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Give me a Dream by Zoe Ann Wood. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Laurie Benson is an award-winning author who writes flirty and frisky Regency romances. She began her writing career as an advertising copywriter, where she learned more than you could ever want to know about hot dogs and credit score reports. Now, she is happy to put that behind her and spend her time writing stories that take her and her readers on a romantic adventure. When she isn’t at her laptop avoiding laundry, Laurie can be found browsing antique shops, going on ridiculously long hikes, or sitting in her car on the school pickup line. She lives with her husband and two sons in a house filled with testosterone—even her bunny is a boy.

You can find Laurie on Pinterest and various social media channels.

Giveaway - Win 2 paperbacks of His Three-Day Duchess by Laurie Benson (open internationally)

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entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The
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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.

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.

Giveaway - Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card (open internationally)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*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
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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.

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.

Birth of the Mortokai – D.G. Palmer

This debut novel by D.G. Palmer sounds like it could be a good one. With it’s release today it’s your opportunity to grab a copy now.

Birth of the Mortokai is a young adult coming of age fantasy adventure novel. Trigger warning: this novel contains descriptions of albinism, a real genetic disorder that affects 1/17,000 persons worldwide per year.

Daniel Welsh was born different—and to Daniel, to be different means to be alone. But what if he’s wrong?

Born an albino with a photographic memory, Daniel Welsh never expected to fit in. Yet, when he is approached by Trinity—a young girl who definitely isn’t human—she reveals a whole new world where he might just belong. Ariest is a place where his features aren’t a disability or the mark of a freak, but rather a trait of powerful mages born of human-faerie unions. His father is a renowned war hero and swordsman, his mother is a human doctor, and that makes him a powerful mage that’ll tip the scales. Magic is real—and so is the threat it brings.

Trinity and her father, a battle mage, aren’t the only ones to have discovered Daniel and his gifts hidden in the human realm.

The Shade have awakened.

Enemies to the fae realm long thought dead have been lying in wait for their moment to strike. Young mages like Daniel are the perfect morsel for their starving appetites and they start their killing spree without delay with the nearest unsuspecting mage boy. Daniel cannot sit idly by while monsters take innocent lives, so he will embrace a destiny he is only just beginning to understand… even if it means losing a life that’s finally worth living.

You can buy it now on Kobo and Amazon!

US
UK
AU

Author Bio

Currently residing in London, England, D.G. Palmer writes in the Spec Fiction genre, using his imagination to create vivid worlds and captivating characters.

An avid reader and player of video games, in the past, he was part of table top roleplaying groups where he nurtured his storytelling by penning several story arcs.

Feel free to follow him on Bookbub and Pinterest. If you wish to receive updates about his latest books, event dates and other exclusive news, sign up to The World of D.G. Palmer and enter his mind. He warns it can be a mess sometimes, so make sure you wipe your feet on the way out – you never know what you might take with you.

You can buy it now on Kobo and Amazon!

US
UK
AU

Reclaimed by her Rebel Knight – Jenni Fletcher

Welcome back everyone, after spending some time in beautiful Croatia, I went back in time to medieval England for some good old romance!

This is my second Jenni Fletcher novel and I loved the first one, so I was sure I’d love this one too. I will have my moment to complain in that I loved receiving a signed paperback copy of The Warrior’s Bride Prize. I felt so special when that arrived, but I had to make do with an e-copy this time around.

But I digress so back to the story!

Constance and Matthew got married five years ago and haven’t seen each other since. That is until he comes back to England to collect her and stir up a rebellion. By this point in time she’s built up some well-deserved anger towards this arrogant guy who made all these life altering decisions about her life without even having spoken two words to her outside of the marriage ceremony.

I can’t even stand one case of this happening, so she definitely displayed better manners than me to actually get through a conversation with him without yelling at him. But reading about how she gave him a chance, them talking things out, slowly discovering things about each other etc really had me hoping they’d make it.

The passion they showed for each other was subtle in most cases and reflected how I believe people who’ve been hurt in the past, or don’t know how to show emotions because they were never exposed to them growing up would. It was great to read those relationship dynamics grow and develop over time in a way that is reminiscent of what happens today.

But Jenni also included specific details that made all these interactions feel real for the time period they were set in. Things like the male dominance, inheritance laws etc. It all felt so natural, while being historically accurate which was amazing. I can’t image the amount of research that goes into ensuring that happens. But I appreciate it all the same.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review. On Friday I will be reviewing two books (OMG why did I agree to so many books?! Or more importantly, why are there so many good books coming out now?!) Willow by Grace Parks and Lure of Obsession by Lisa Kessler. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Jenni Fletcher is Scottish by birth, but now lives in Yorkshire where she writes Medieval, Roman, Victorian and Regency romance novels. She studied English at Cambridge and Hull University and now teaches Creative Writing at a small university in the north of England. 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.

Giveaway - Win 3x US paperback copies of Reclaimed by her Rebel Knight (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.