Someone to Kiss – Jamie Anderson

This book contains:

  • Mental health issues (anxiety, depression, addiction, narcissism and probably a few more)
  • Toxic workplace depicted as a manipulative and abusive boss
  • Casual sexual encounters, including affairs
  • Sexual assault to various degrees from making someone uncomfortable through to rape (the rape is discussed, including some of what happened).

The primary character we follow throughout the book is Kate, a 43-year-old single woman desperate to share her life with someone. While she tries to come across as a confident woman who knows her self-worth and who she is, in reality, she’s highly insecure and easily triggered into self-destructive behaviours.

We also get the occasional chapter from the perspective of Julie (Kate’s best friend) and Ben (Julie’s older brother) to help us get more depth to what Kate’s going through and what’s happening around her.

We start the story with Kate drunk at a New Years Eve wedding deciding that she’s going to find someone to kiss by the following NYE. Over the course of the following 12 months, we follow Kate as she enters the realm of online dating trying to find herself a boyfriend.

Over that time there are many other challenges that pop up, and she needs to navigate each of these as best she can.

When Rachel sent this out she labelled it as a romantic comedy, so my expectations of what I’d be getting out of this book was more along the lines of something from Rich Amooi (who’s books are hilarious by the way!) or Camilla Isley. What I ended up reading was quite different to my expectations.

That’s not to say that it wasn’t amusing, or that it was bad!

It’s just something I’d label as more of a fiction and romance book. A bit of equal parts. The reason I would take the comedy part out is that the expectation people place on a comedy is to spend most of the time laughing, and this is much to serious for that.

With heavy themes discussed (just check out the trigger warning section above) I don’t think it’s appropriate or correct to label this as a comedy.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s great to see more mature aged women as the lead character in a romance, while also depicting the struggles of online dating, especially as an older woman. But I also enjoyed reading about how subtle people’s reactions and responses can be to those who don’t know what happened to them. And of course, the way each character placed blame on themselves for things outside of their control and how they navigated through to acceptance that they’re not to blame for what happened to them.

Author Bio

Jamie Anderson is based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. A proud Canadian and Saskatchewanian, she wanted to set her first two novels in the place she was born and raised.

She works in content marketing, has a certificate in professional writing and has done a smattering of freelance writing, character development and copyediting over the past several years.

She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, and has been reading for longer than that. She lives happily with her mountain of books, her TV and her two plants. Sign-up to Jamie’s newsletter for news on her followup romance novel Love, Julie. You’ll also receive exclusive deals, special offers and a FREE copy of Jamie’s sweet, uplifting novella Running from Christmas as a welcome gift!

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The Love Island Bookshop – Kate Frost

This book contains:

  • mentions of suicide
  • mentions of a car accident death
  • discusses the effect of death of a loved one on us.

Freya works in a publishing house in London but needs a change after some difficulties she’s experienced in the past few years. She’s emotionally lost and distressed but isn’t sure how to help herself. Even when she moves to the Maldives she struggles to come to grips with everything that’s happened in the past few years.

Aaron is a dive instructor at the resort Freya moves to. He’s handsome, charming, friendly and is there for Freya in ways people haven’t been recently.

Zander is the mysterious playboy who owns the resort and finds it exceptionally difficult to let anyone in, or release control of the bookshop he’s hired Freya to run.

After a difficult few years, Freya applies to be the love island barefoot bookseller on an exclusive Maldives resort island. She lands the job and moves across the globe from London to the Maldives where she instantly makes friends with a roommate, Drew, and handsome Aaron.

As her relationship with Aaron grows deeper, she finds herself learning more and more about the playboy millionaire Zander, and it’s nothing like she expected. He’s kind, considerate and slowly letting her be more involved in decisions about the bookshop, letting her live her dream of running a cosy bookshop in a dream location.

While I hate on the fact that I had to read about Freya travelling to the Maldives and how amazing it is (all because we had to postpone our own Maldives trip from last yr and we still can’t even visit another STATE!), I couldn’t help but fall in love with the descriptions of the islands. I can’t say how authentic they are, but I could picture them so clearly from Kate’s descriptions!

I forgot to read the blurb before going into this book so I felt for a while there that this couldn’t possibly be a romance. That was of course after the initial bit, but then there was so long where it felt like it wasn’t going to be that I was impressed, but also a little confused.

If I’d read the blurb I might not have had that confusion, but I don’t always make my reading experience easy!

The way Freya stood up for herself and didn’t jump to any conclusions along the way was admirable. Her integrity throughout the book was amazing and at a level I think a lot of people lack but should probably aim towards. In the end she gets an amazing happy ending that she definitely deserves!

Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Kate Frost is the author of best-selling romantic escape novels (The Baobab Beach Retreat, A Starlit Summer, The Greek Heart and The Amsterdam Affair), character-driven women’s fiction (The Butterfly Storm series and Beneath the Apple Blossom), and Time Shifters, a time travel adventure trilogy for children. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where she also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates.

Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, young son, and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Frodo. As well as writing novels, she’s also the Director of Storytale Festival, a new city-wide children’s book festival that she co-founded in Bristol in 2019 with the ethos of making books accessible to all and encouraging children and teens to read, write and be creative. Kate feels incredibly lucky to spend her days writing and being immersed in books.

Always and Forever at Glendale Hall – Victoria Walters

This book contains:

  • multiple references to car accident deaths.

Anna is the little sister of Brodie, the Glendale minister, but she leads a very different life to him. All because she blames herself for the car accident that nearly killed her when she was 13. She’s spent her adult life travelling and working in lots of different places, but she isn’t happy, and she can’t figure out why, or how to be happy.

Cameron returned home to Glendale to become the farm manager. He’s withdrawn, quiet and not the same guy who left for uni a few years ago. But there’s something about Anna that sets him off and brings out glimpses of the guy everyone remembers from before uni.

Anna loses her job in Glasgow and ends up having to take her brother up on the job offer of housekeeper at Glendale Hall. She doesn’t want to, but she has no where else to go to work and she’s just booked a trip to Ibiza in a couple of months that she needs to fund.

After almost being run over by Cameron, literally, Anna and Cameron find themselves constantly thrown into each other’s paths. From dinner parties, social events, work and even a combined hen’s and bucks party, there’s no escaping each other and their attraction.

This hit me in such a personal way that I really wasn’t expecting.

Just before starting this book some things happened in my own life that are so eerily similar to Anna that it got to me a few times. The discussions around our relationships with our family, our inability to communicate how we’re feeling about certain events or things makes our relationships so difficult.

The way Victoria is able to discuss how small minute body language, lack of discussion etc all impact our memories and interpretations of how others feel about certain events or people. Everything she said felt like it rang so true for how we feel in those situations.

And yet, that moment when you can finally talk about it with other people, and the people involved, breaks the box we feel like we’re in and lets us move past it. The moment is amazing but also so emotionally draining and can be so difficult that it’s awesome we were able to experience that with Anna.

Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. She’s the author of three novels, THE SECOND LOVE OF MY LIFE, SUMMER AT THE KINDNESS CAFÉ, and COMING HOME TO GLENDALE HALL. She has been chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for an RNA award. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star, and her books have won wide reader acclaim.

Victoria is a full-time author. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry, and loves books, clothes, music, going out for tea and cake, and posting photos on Instagram.

Four Letter Feelings – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, knowing how much Lasairiona discusses mental health, you’d think I’d have been prepared for this book. I wasn’t.

The emotional battles Jeremy goes through is like nothing I could have guessed at based on what we learnt about him in the Intimate Strangers and AJ Williams trilogies. Also, one of the major things that might’ve hinted at the content (ok, told me outright) is the blurb.

Silly me jumped into this without ever reading the blurb, I just knew it was about Jeremey and I wanted to read it. Don’t make my mistake.

I read a good portion of this book (the really heavy hitting parts) in one day and found myself quietly crying and having to wipe away tears so I could keep reading. The level of emotion Lasairiona is able to convey with her characters is like nothing I’ve ever read before. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT go into this book expecting a cute love story about a jock that’s in touch with his emotions.

This is so much heavier than that, in all the right ways. The topics of toxic masculinity, mental health, the impacts of mental disorders on those close to them, grief, overdoses, estranged family and coming to grips with your emotions are all explored in this book. I feel like a few of them will continue to feature throughout this trilogy. (This is a trilogy right? I feel like it needs to be…)

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Monday I’ll be reviewing Widows Vow by Rachel Brimble. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Lasairiona McMaster writes sassy, classy and badassy women and strong, yet vulnerable men. She challenges reader’s expectations by openly dealing with mental health issues, often exploring tough-to-handle topics and ‘taboos’ and books with a whole lotta heart.  

She can either be found enjoying a gin and lemonade by the Irish sea, or baking sweet treats in her kitchen while singing at the top of her lungs.

When she’s ‘home’ in Texas, and isn’t eating fresh-popped popcorn while buying things she has absolutely no need for in Target, she can be found at Chuys eating her body weight in chips and queso and washing it down with a margarita swirl.

You May Kiss the Bridesmaid – Camilla Isley

Welcome back everyone, do you remember From Thailand with Love? I reviewed it earlier in the year and it’s the book in the First Comes Love series that made me go back and buy the first few books I’d missed.

Well this is the NEXT book in the series! I’ve yet to go back, but this was coming on tour so I had to jump on board!

We’re still following the Knowles twins. Both in the sense that the female protagonist is Summer Knowles, and because it’s set at Winter’s wedding. We finally get to see what happened with Summer and Lana’s ex from Summer’s perspective, and boy was I not expecting that!

I never expected to feel sorry for Summer and yet I did. Maybe not so much for what she did to Lana. But for the treatment she receives from everyone else. That is, everyone except Archie.

Meet cute where Archie thinks she’s Winter and we’re off!

He protects her from the worst of the cattiness the girls try to throw her way while somehow making himself out to be the best possible boyfriend material in front of her parents. Obviously without them knowing what’s going on!

The way Winter interferes with their relationship is comical. And yet it gives Archie the shove he needs for their romance to take it to the next level. Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t the best it could have been. Although, that’s kind of the point of a romance isn’t it? For you to be left going “NOOOO!!!!” about the timing?

When it all finally comes together Camilla was able to surprise me yet again! I won’t spoil it for you, but I wasn’t expected that ending!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I‘ll be reviewing the final book in the Bluebell Castle trilogy, Starlight Over Bluebell Castle by Sarah Bennett. 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 BookbubPinterest and the below socials.

Always Been You – Lasairiona E. McMaster

Welcome back everyone, I feel like I’m kinda getting back into my groove. Having a couple of weeks not having to work 50+ hours certainly helped!

I’ve gotten to the final book in the AJ Williams trilogy, meaning I’m also at the end of both Lisa’s and AJ’s stories. In a way I’m glad it’s the end. Purely because 6 books about the same two people can be a lot. But I was also super pumped about finding out his side of that final turbulent book.

I spent a fair while wondering how much we’d see, including how he’d get divorced. I gotta say I wasn’t as emotionally invested in this book as some of the others. I think this comes more from how eager I was to know his side of the Mexico trip and his divorce than anything else.

Overall, I found myself underwhelmed by the emotional upheaval AJ went through and the way it was written. Other than the moments involving Lisa (much of which was taken directly from her books), the emotional rollercoaster that I’m used to experiencing just wasn’t there.

I got the feels in all the right moments, just as intended. Yet I found myself just waiting for all the moments with Lisa to see what AJ was thinking and feeling. When you’re reading a book, I don’t believe you should be waiting for moments to happen. Instead, I think you should be enjoying the moment you’re in and the story.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Dance of the Heart by Lisa Kessler. 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.

The Gin Lover’s Guide to Dating – Nina Kaye

Welcome back everyone, I’m sorry for being a bit sporadic recently. But I need to try and balance everything in my life which is proving difficult at the moment.

It took me almost 2 weeks to read this book, through no fault of its own! The writing was well done, the character was interesting and there was a lot of difficulties she had to face and work through. It was purely that I was lucky to find 45minutes each day to read. So it just took me forever!

One of the things I enjoyed about Liv was how real her struggles were. Much of it was out of her control, yet her reactions to them was within her control. The one I understood the most was her struggle to keep her apartment.

Having a background working in debt recovery I had one perspective that wasn’t as dire as the book made out. Especially since she never seemed to talk to the bank. So unless the UK is DRASTICALLY different to Australia. Since I knew someone who worked in this field in the UK for a few years and their process wasn’t too different to Australia’s. Which kept throwing me a bit.

Since most people don’t have this insider knowledge, I highly doubt anyone else will have that issue.

The rest of the book blended gin, emotional growth and development, workplace romance and online dating into a great story. Who Graham is was a little obvious, but the impact he had to Liv and the overall story was great.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; I don’t think I’ll make my scheduled review for Monday. So please stay tuned to Twitter or Facebook to see when my next review goes live. OR you could sign up so you get an email letting you know it’s ready for you! Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Nina Kaye is a romantic comedy author who writes fast-paced, entertaining reads with a deeper edge. Nina started writing her first novel when she was 17 (locked in her room, supposedly studying). It was a short-lived experience that ended as soon as Nina’s exams did, but the dream of writing never left her.

Nina Kaye is a romantic comedy author who writes fast-paced, entertaining reads with a deeper edge. Nina started writing her first novel when she was 17 (locked in her room, supposedly studying). It was a short-lived experience that ended as soon as Nina’s exams did, but the dream of writing never left her.

Summer in Provence – Lucy Coleman

Welcome back everyone, after finishing off the second quartet from Emelan we’re back to Earth with a romance that doesn’t seem quite so perfect.

Like many books, this one spans quite some time. Unlike a lot of books, it spans from March 2018 through to December 2020 with a few pit stops along the way. As soon as I saw this structure in the contents, I knew a lot would have to happen and that I’d probably love it. Especially since I’m a fan of the authors previous works.

The journey Lucy follows in this book is one many couples go through. Having been together since they were in school, getting married and buying a house shortly after graduating uni, they never really had a chance to be young and free. They never dated around, never did the gap year traveling thing.

In Fern’s case, she hasn’t slept with anyone other than her husband.

In many ways they grew up and matured together without discovering and forming their own individual identities. I believe this is what “rushing into things” means. In this case it leads to a gap year in their marriage. A year away from each other, their jobs, their home and everything they’ve known so far.

It’s a year to discover who they are separate from each other before coming back together to continue life as they’d previously known it.

Of course, what’s the point of a story if there’s no drama, right? Well, with love interests, discoveries of new talents, family hiding secrets etc this book is filled with slow burn drama that boils over into an amazing ending. There’s one detail I don’t like about how Aiden behaves. But if I tell you what it is it’ll ruin the book for you.

I also loved the ending and the discussions had around marriage, what it means and why people get married. At the time I read this I was chatting to a friend about that very topic and in so many ways Lucy captured the very essence of what we were saying.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Light of the Spirit by Lisa Kessler. Continue to read further down to find out about the author 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 – including Summer on the Italian Lakes, Snowflakes over Holly Cove, The French Adventure and A Cottage in the Country. She is 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, working in the garden, or practising Tai Chi.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she is an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the SoA and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

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.

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