The Bastard – Lisa Renee Jones

Welcome back everyone, after a brief step back in time we’re back into modern times. This time in America where we have a mix of romance and suspense.

I found myself underwhelmed with this story as a whole. It had some great moments that captured my attention. But at the end of it I found I wasn’t dying to read the next book. Considering the last book I got from NetGalley I immediately bought the rest of the series this was a massive let down.

It’s not that the writing wasn’t good. We had a great mix of past and present, twists popping up at the right time etc. But I felt like I just didn’t really care. I feel like maybe there was some emotional buy in missing right at the start of the book.

If I had that buy in, I think I would’ve liked this a lot better.

Would I read the next book if it was given to me? Probably, but only if I felt like I had nothing else to read.

I’m kinda hoping that I just wasn’t in the mood to read this style, or at all when I read this. It would make me feel better about not really being interested given how highly it’s rated on Goodreads. But it just didn’t do it for me. Sorry.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley.

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The Baobab Beach Retreat – Kate Frost

Welcome back everyone, after a romance set in England we’re now moving to where I wish I could be. A beautiful beachscape on the coast of Tanzania.

I really enjoyed reading this novel as it had a great mix of beachy-ness, emotional recovery, discovery of a new romance and heartbreak. These don’t necessarily happen in that order, or just once. But it felt like a really good balance.

There were parts of this story I was a little surprised with and didn’t really think it fit what I knew of the characters personality or how you’d react to what she’s been through. But I guess that’s something I can’t control, and those choices I didn’t like were a very minor blip in the story, so I quickly got over it.

Having worked in hotels when I was younger and having friends who have lived and worked in resorts, I wasn’t surprised by some of the stuff Kate described as going on. In fact, I was surprised it wasn’t worse based off what my friends told me!

I think the main thing that confused me about this story was that Baobab Beach Resort doesn’t really play much into the story until right near the end. So much so that it took me a few minutes of reading when it was first encountered because I realised that was the books namesake.

And the worst part of the book? Reading about a beautiful beach, snorkelling and the chill lifestyle while winter sets in and I have to go to work every day. How is that fair?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Friday I will be reviewing The Bastard by Lisa Renee Jones. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Kate Frost writes character-driven women’s fiction and romances, alongside Time Shifters, an award-winning time travel adventure trilogy for 9-12 year olds. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University where she’s also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates. She has eight books published, including her Greek and north Norfolk set series, The Butterfly StormThe Baobab Beach Retreat is the first in what will be a series of foreign-set romances. Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, their five-year-old son (who still loves waking up before 5am), and their cute and chilled out Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

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Mr Temptation – Rachael Stewart

Welcome back everyone, I feel like I’m flitting between various tours, NetGalley books and author requests and never quite working on my TBR pile. And this one is no different. Rachel has brought another Rachael Stewart novel to her tours so I just had to give it a go.

I don’t know what it is about Rachael’s writing that I enjoy. But whether it’s erotica, NA or straight up romance I find myself drawn into the stories and feeling like I’m right there with the characters.

In her latest novel (I got to read an ARC copy so I was super excited!) we moved into a straight up romance with Zara (BTW that’s the second book I’ve read this week with a main character called Zara) and Daniel.

In a way this was a fairly standard romance story in that Daniel is a bit of a playboy but ends up falling for the girl who’s just been heartbroken. Yet unlike a lot of these types of stories I felt really invested in what Daniel was going through emotionally.

This helped me go from “I’ll just read it for a bit before sleep and pace myself to make sure I don’t finish this before next week” on a Wednesday evening. To “O crap… I only have 2 chapters and an epilogue left… well so much for pacing myself with this one…” on the bus home on Thursday.

I did find myself throughout this book, especially towards the end, rooting for Daniel and subconsciously telling him what to do to win Zara back. And at the same time subconsciously telling Zara that she needs to get over it and just trust him!

I guess that tells you that I enjoyed the book. And that I apparently have no self-control when I should be studying…

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing The Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost. 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.

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The Wrong Kind of Love – Lexi Ryan

Welcome back everyone, after making the next stop on The Time for Alexander series train, we’re back to modern America. I wasn’t in greatest of places when I read this, in that sinusitis had kicked in real bad and I couldn’t concentrate or really do too much. But since I couldn’t fall asleep, I decided to read. So please excuse anything that’s a bit vague, I did read this while not being able to concentrate properly.

I really enjoyed reading this relatively clean romance that had a surprisingly large focus on depression and how that impacts those around it and how society views those that suffer from it.

In this case you’ve got one person who is open about the fact that they have depression but suffers from people’s perception of her mental state because of it. And on the other hand, you’ve got someone who’s lost someone to depression and doesn’t know if they can handle that in their life again.

Given depression wasn’t mentioned at all in the blurb I wasn’t really expecting it. But at the same time, the references aren’t over the top or what I would consider triggering. But you never know with these things.

Also, I loved this one so much after finishing it that I jumped onto NetGalley (this if my first one that I’ve officially requested and received!) to grab the next book in the series only to discover that #5 was available for request but none of the others.

So, what did I do?

I went onto Amazon.com.au and bought books #2-4 so I can read those before #5 in case I get approved! Fingers crossed I get approved so I can read and review it along with the rest of the series!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Make him Howl by Zoe Ashwood.

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Probably the Best Kiss in the World – Pernille Hughes

Welcome back everyone, we’re in for a double review day today because I really wanted to read this book as well as the Time for Alexander series. So you get to enjoy this bonus review!

I found this one mostly easy to read and enjoyable. But the articles that were randomly dotted throughout the story really threw me off. I found that I’d be really hooked on the story, powering through and then I got stopped by some article about Lydia, her younger sister. Am I meant to be caring about her sister? Is her sister somehow super important to the overall story?

By the time I got to the end I could see how Lydia was important in helping Jen become more self-aware and confident enough to follow her dreams. But I don’t feel like the articles added anything to the overall story, so I’m not sure why they are there.

On the other hand, Jen and Jakob’s relationship was sweet and endearing even though I don’t like how Jen went about starting her relationship with Jakob. I’m not a fan of cheaters, and I don’t think we should be glamorising those who cheat and that they can still get what they want from life.

But I also get that sometimes you do just get carried away, and before you know if shit’s gone down that you regret. I just wish she’d been more upfront about all that with Jakob and Robert.

The fact that Jen and Jakob’s relationship centres around beer was quite entertaining to me. Especially since there were references to stereotypes that women don’t like beer and couldn’t possibly understand beer. I loved that this felt like a subtle dig that women can do stuff men can as well. Specially considering if you go back far enough in history, it was actually the women who brewed beer first.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, if you haven’t already checked out Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire, I think you should. And next week I will be reviewing The Wrong Kind of Love by Lexi Ryan. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

Pernille Hughes is a RomCom author and mum, whose debut novel was SWEATPANTS AT TIFFANIE’S, soon to be followed by PROBABLY THE BEST KISS IN THE WORLD (April 2019). Previously her writing has been printed in The Sunday Times and the fabulous SUNLOUNGER summer anthologies. Find out about her new books at www.pernillehughes.com

Pernille (pronounced Pernilla) studied Film & Literature at uni and took her first job in advertising, having been lured by the temptation of freebies, but left when Status Quo tickets was as good as it got. After a brief spell marketing Natural History films, she switched to working in Children’s television which for a time meant living in actual Teletubbyland, sharing a photocopier with Laa-Laa.

Now, she lives in actual Buckinghamshire, sharing a photocopier with her husband and their four spawn. While the kids are at school she scoffs cake and writes RomCom stories in order to maintain a shred of sanity.

You can also find Pernille on Bookbub and Pintrest.

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Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett

Welcome back everyone, we’re moving a bit out into the English countryside this week although we’re sticking to the romance genre. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but I have a bit of a thing for historical settings and a countryside castle fits into that. I just had to give it a read to see how a castle was described, used and managed in these modern days.

Writing Style

For some books I find this really hard to describe, and this is one of those books. It almost felt like at times it was character driven, while at others it was driven by the story or the location. I don’t know if there’s a technical description for it, but I found the balance of all those different approaches really relaxing.

This let me just absorb what was on the page and feel like I was there with them as much as possible. I did find myself wishing I could enjoy reading them in the bath, but by the time I realised I wanted that it was too late to run a bath. And unfortunately, I don’t own a portable bath to travel to and from work in (not that I’m sure that’s socially acceptable?) to get my extra level of relaxation that way.

And man, those bluebell descriptions reminded me of the park behind the house I grew up in. But for me it was a field of daisies not bluebells. Not quite as fancy. But you still get the whole running in a field of flowers feeling which is amazing. So those descriptions brought me back to those childhood summer days where I’d read in amongst the flowers and my dad would almost trip over me coz, he couldn’t see me coz the flowers were so tall.

Those were good times so it’s nice to remember them sometimes.

Initial Thoughts

I was a bit confused as to what was happening in the first 2-3 chapters because it didn’t label the time to show we were covering certain days across winter with months between them. Once I realised this, I was OK, especially since it was pretty much entirely based in spring/early summer after that.

Since I’d been held on tenterhooks waiting for this book to arrive, I was ready to dive straight in and get immersed in the story. And I found this super easy to do, especially with a glass of wine on hand late on a Saturday afternoon and throughout Saturday night.

This book felt like a really great reading companion for a weekend night, which I really haven’t felt like I’ve had for quite some time.

Final Thoughts

Throughout the whole book I found myself picturing the countryside, the types of stones used, the layout of the castle, all those dogs running around and how picturesque it must be. Living somewhere like this would be a dream for me. Minus the money issues of course.

To read about how the other half live was mesmerising for me. But what I really liked were the moments when Lucie and Arthur were able to recognise their own faults and do something about them. They may have needed help sometimes to see their own faults. But they didn’t run away, gloss over or hide from them in in fear of what others would think of them.

Except a small moment from Lucie. But I can understand that and respect her for making sure Arthur found out the truth from her regardless.

My only fault with this book was the ending. I wanted more than like the 2 pages of them meeting up and making up to know what happens to them. An epilogue would have been perfect to wrap it up nicely. Unless it’s a series? Is it a series?

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward on tour thanks to Write Reads. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

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 the forthcoming Bluebell Castle trilogies, published by HQ Digital UK.

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No Place Like Home – Maxine Morrey

Welcome back everyone, after trying out a brand-new genre for me last week with Tom Stone: Day of the Dead, we’re back to the familiar today. Since I enjoyed Second Chance at the Ranch, I thought I should try out another of her books with Rach Random Resources when it became available.

Writing Style

The writing style is actually very similar to Second Chance at the Ranch, which I realised as I wrote that is pretty obvious. I mean it’s the same author, why did I expect anything different?

Anyway, the main thing I liked about her descriptions of the location was the way that she wrote about the Kansas landscape. I love those quiet country landscapes and just being able to sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of wine (or two…).

But really, you can totally lose yourself in your imagination of these places and the emotions going through the characters. It was mesmerising and I actually found myself for once wanting more descriptions of the landscape rather than what was happening between the characters.

But she also keeps you totally engaged and hooked on whats happening between the characters all the way through. And she even addresses the topic of domestic violence in what I feel to be a great way. It’s raw, it feels honest and it addresses the aftereffects that victims experience.

Initial Thoughts

Pretty much straight off the bat I was a bit concerned about the topic of domestic violence being perpetrated with no context or meaning. That didn’t really sit well with me because it’s a topic often portrayed in a way that glorifies it.

But we quickly progressed to her being saved by the cops and moving in with a friend. And then we fast forward through time a little bit.

Final Thoughts

Overall I really enjoyed this one. It was mostly calming, and when my mind is whirling with my projects at work and the assignments I need to get done. I really needed that balance.

The fact that this story was told over a period of a few years, with the characters not knowing how to move forwards from friendship. Or if they even should. Felt really real to me.

The speed at which they came together didn’t really feel real. But then again, I’m not really the type to jump so fully into something like that so maybe it’s just me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Summer of the Viking by Michelle Styles. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten.

As time went by, she continued to write, but ‘normal’ work often got in the way. She has written articles on a variety of subjects, as well as a local history book on Brighton. However, novels are her first love.

In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK’s ‘Write Christmas’ competition with her first romantic comedy, ‘Winter’s Fairytale’.

Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words loves to read, sew and listen to podcasts. Being a fan of tea and cake, she can (should!) also be found doing something vaguely physical at the gym.

Below are links to Maxine’s social media, including Pintrest.

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An Impossible Thing Called Love – Belinda Missen

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed the summery feel of The Italian Retreat on the Italian Lake. This week’s review isn’t quite so summery, but it does involve two countries again, and a holiday fling.

Writing Style

I quite enjoyed the way this one was written. There was a magical feel to it that made me wish I had the guts to up and move to London, like I wanted to for a while there.

As Emmy came across new locations she would marvel at the simplest of things. This really made me connect with her because I do this as well when I travel. The simplest of things grabs me attention and I just want to know more because it’s somewhere different and I want to know how it differs to what I’m used to.

Also, a holiday fling that actually wants to stay in contact just has a magical quality to it. The touches of that magic scattered throughout the story really kept me engaged throughout the whole book.

Initial Thoughts

Right at the very start of the story I thought we might have been in some ancient Viking town or city during a festival. That just shows how recently I’d read the blurb doesn’t it? Coz it was, in actual fact, set in Edinburgh in like 2010 NYE.

One of the magical qualities of this book was the way Emmy and William hit it off as he helped her after receiving a punch in the face. They just seemed to have instant chemistry and it seemed a given they’d get together. Until they parted ways and didn’t exchange numbers or emails or anything.

When they kept running into each other I started to think maybe it would work out. But then it all seemed to fall apart. I felt really bad for Emmy at this point. I’ve lost a good friend when they stopped responding so I can empathise with how she would’ve been feeling. And it made me connect to her even more.

Final Thoughts

I really liked that the issues that pop up in real relationships was what made these ones difficult. Lack of communication, a feeling of getting left behind, not wanting to look like you can’t hack it. And even the desire to prevent someone else from ruining the relationship so not talking about that person.

If I hadn’t have read a tinsy bit of the acknowledgement (I normally skip these) I wouldn’t have realised that this is actually one in a series. So, I will likely try and ferret out those books and add them to my every growing (it was already ridiculous) TBR pile.

Seriously, if someone could just pay me a decent salary to not work and just get through my TBR pile then maybe I will get them all read along with the rest of the series for those that I liked.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing The Consequence of Loyalty by Trey Stone.

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

Author Bio

Belinda Missen is an award-winning and best-selling author, screenwriter, and freelance writer from Geelong, Australia. She lives with her car-obsessed, but wonderful husband, two loopy cats, and more books than she cares to count.

In late 2017, Belinda signed a six-book contract with HQDigitalUK (HarperCollins). A Recipe for Disaster was released in August 2018. An Impossible Thing Called Love appeared by magic in November 2018.

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The Secret to Falling in Love – Victoria Cooke

Welcome back everyone, I hope you weren’t disheartened by last week’s review. Today I have another Blog Tour, and I’m happy to say I enjoyed this one!

Story Overview

In this book we essentially follow our main girl, Mel, while she’s doing a challenge for work where she had to go completely technology free for a month and she how it changes her life.

With technology, she often ignored her surroundings and wasn’t having any luck finding any dates. Without technology she ended up with two guys essentially vying for her attention.

My Thoughts

When Mel writes her article about how we’re tied to our devices I couldn’t help thinking I’d already read this somewhere. But given how true it is I’m sure I have outside of books! But then for her boss to decide because it’s so well received that she has to go technology free and just enforces it without even giving her a chance to let her family and friends know
felt a little drastic!

But then again it’s a story so it worked.

The face that we then learn that a date she ends up with was completely set up by her boss really set me off. Seriously, isn’t that like illegal? So when Mel decides she’s going to quit once she can find a new job it felt amazing! Girl power all the way!

After that things got a little dicey for me. I didn’t feel as engaged as I wanted to be. But I can definitely say I was more engaged than I have been with some of my other reads.

Did it feel generic? A little bit.

Final Thoughts

The good news is girl power feels like the stronger theme throughout this book to me than the romance angle and I really loved it. I feel like now I’m getting closer to 30 I’m seeing more and more women settle because they feel like they need to be married and popping out kids.

So, for Mel to decide she’s ok being single and happy is amazing. I wish we preached this message more. Life’s happiness isn’t all about the value of the ring on your finger, how many kids you have etc. So, to read this message in a modern novel was great.

I wish more writers could include this in their books for more people to read. It’s empowering and I’m sure it embodies what most parents want for their kids. To make sure your happiness comes before pleasing others.

My last thing was I wish there was a TINY bit more to the epilogue! I just wanted to see the friends and family’s reaction to that final thing and I would’ve been happy!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I will be reviewing The Writing Retreat on the Italian Lake by Lucy Coleman.

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

Author Bio

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education.

She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling.

Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man.

Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016.

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