The Unexpected Inlander – Kellyn Thompson

Welcome back everyone, at a time when we have a global pandemic, why not read a book about how the world come back to order after a worldwide war?

That’s pretty much what this is. It’s a book set about 40-50 years after a global world has ripped through the world destroying a lot of it and leaving an organised society that lives in sectors. Sounds a bit like Hunger Games right?

Well it’s not like Hunger Games! At least I didn’t think it felt like that.

We spend the whole time in the old US (the Western Sector) and follow two characters. Chris is the main character, however Jenna plays a large role in the book and is fairly pivotal to Chris, his personal development and even his professional development.

Given Chris’s job working for the government as an assassin you’d assume he’d be pretty sold on his government and whole heartedly agreed with everything they stand for. Pretty early on you get a sense that he believes in the government but is also open to hearing other views and at times disagreeing with how things currently work.

Jenna on the other hand grew up being told the government is authoritative, controlling and should be overthrown. Not exactly a recipe for a great relationship right?

Funnily enough, together they’re able to learn and develop and in a way the changes Chris is offered towards the end of the book are a perfect fit for him. I think for anyone who didn’t start with his mindset, let alone go through the learning he did, they would have struggled in that situation. Chris? I can picture him totally succeeding and being amazing at it.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Four Letter Feelings by Lasairiona McMaster. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

The Secret Letters – Taryn Leigh

Welcome back everyone, South Africa is a country I feel a bit of an affinity for. I’ve dated a South African, I love their accent (especially the Afrikaans one!) and in some ways, their country is SO SIMILAR to my own but at the same time, SO DIFFERENT!

My major grievance with this book was how little a part the letters played. I don’t think we even heard about a letter until almost halfway through the book. Given the blurb almost entirely revolved around the letters I really expected them to play a much bigger part.

I think when we learn about the first incident and her healing process, the letters should have been mentioned. Even if not too many details were given, just enough to know that they’d played a part in her healing process would’ve been good.

I also had some concerns with was the editing. There were a few moments where I stumbled a bit because of typo’s, or other minor grammar errors. I’m by no means perfect myself. But these were noticeable enough to frustrate me a little bit.

The story was interesting enough, characters complex and grey enough that these minor errors felt glaring. I really enjoyed the depth to this story, making those errors feel like a bit of a let down even though they really are quite small.

With some more writing experience and a good editor to work with, I really do think Taryn can write some amazing books. This is one of the few books where I actually read the author’s acknowledgment and I’m so glad I did. So many parts felt too real and like they were coming from a little while back that it felt like it had to be real. And it was.

This book is inspired by true events, although it’s still a work of fiction. And that just reinforces the security and lifestyle aspect of South Africa that I’m highly conscious of.

In terms of being a book worth reading. I do feel like it is! Reading about the impact of rape and a country with a strong rape culture is important. It’s also the second book in a row where I’ve read an attempted rape scene. What’s going on?!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Thursday (or maybe Friday) I’ll be reviewing Pirates Persuasion by Lisa Kessler.

The Lawson Sisters – Janet Gover

Welcome back everyone, I’m finally getting onto some Aussie author’s and I’ve been lucky enough to start it with a good one! YAY!

To give you an idea on why I was surprised in the location for this book, I’ve only ever known the Hunter Valley to be a place for wineries and breweries. Having it as the prime location for a horse breeding set story was a bit of a shock for me.

Although I know some of the locations by name, and I’ve visited some, I’m not familiar enough with the region to know how accurate the descriptions were. Since the author spent time in the region while writing it, I’d assume they are on point.

Some people have marked this story as a romance, yet I feel it fits under women’s fiction a bit better. Purely because it felt like the majority of the story focussed on the sister’s relationship, their grief and their family stud farm.

The focus on the emotional growth and development of all the characters (Liz, Kayla and Mitch) is amazing. By having little snippets of the past shown it allowed me to add a little bit of knowledge and context to how the characters are feeling today as I went. They were also timed perfectly and only showed the tiny bit that would add value.

My only problem was figuring out who’s point of view, and when, I was reading at any given point in time. It only took me a page or so to figure it out, but it still tripped me up and took me longer, and more brain power, than I would’ve liked.

If it had character names and say a year at the start of each chapter, I think that would’ve really helped keep me fully involved in the story rather than trying to figure out who, and when, I was following. This would’ve been especially important the first time since I wasn’t expecting to be thrown into the past, so it took me a few pages to figure out I was reading about the past, not a dream or something.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll be reviewing Battle Magic by Tamora Pierce.

Naughty or Nice – Rachael Stewart

Welcome back everyone, after a fake dating story last week we’re onto a hidden romance set in the lead up to the Christmas period. With 24 days to go until Christmas is here, how many more Christmas themed books do you think I can squeeze in?

With Rachael being the author, I knew I’d be in for some explicit sex scenes, yet I found it wasn’t as full on as I was expecting. Yes, there was still some graphic sex but nothing that made me too uncomfortable while reading on the bus. Because of course the sex scenes start when you get on the bus and end just before getting off in peak hour.

I mean, why couldn’t they have the decency to happen when I’m at home alone where no one could potentially read over my shoulder? I’m not complaining. Just making a comment that every book I read that has sex scenes seems to be timed to be explicit when I’m on a packed bus in peak hour.

The book itself kept me captivated (I read it in 3 days, and the third day only needed like 30 mins to finish the book) and kept me thinking about how tricky family and business relationships can be. Yet the one message that really stood out (there’s always a message for me in Rachael’s books) was men’s reactions to women.

Specifically, there was a scene where Eva left a part to go to the bathroom assuming Lucas would follow, and he did. When we changed to his perspective after the encounter his thoughts included references to the look she was giving him that was filled with lust and desire and that she wanted him to follow her.

In a world where SJW (social justice warriors) run rampant I can imagine how many women would be jumping up and down shouting “#METOO” and all sorts of other nonsense (I’m not against the movement, but I do believe SOME people take it too far) along the lines of “how dare he assume that’s what she wants?!”. Yet all I could think in response to that thought was “these actions are going to kill the behaviour men exhibit that is so sexy and masculine. Those women are going to push the scale so far to the other end that men are going to be scared to even look us in the eyes in case they get persecuted.

I believe there is a time and a place for those movements and thoughts. One of the times where it’s not appropriate is in a romantic setting. So long as the guy listens when a girl says no then I’m all for the kind of behaviour Lucas displayed when seducing Eva. It was hot, masculine and sexy as hell. A guy who knows what he wants and goes after it while respecting her boundaries is awesome and should be celebrated!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing the sequel to Single All the Way by Elaine Spires. 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.

The Perils of Autumn – Rusty Blackwood

Welcome back everyone, after a few false starts I finally got here with this review!

I honestly thought going into this that the story would have more emphasis on Duff Taylor and his past. I swear I re-read the blurb when I wasn’t far into the book and it had more emphasis on Duff than when I read it on the back cover of my jacket after finishing. Yet the entire story revolved around Autumn and her relationship with Cyril.

As a romance story, it’s quite good. Autumn goes through quite a journey, has ups and downs, moments when it feels like Cyril and Autumn wouldn’t make it. Which is the typical arc of a romance story so that’s all good. Yet there was nothing about this book that really drew me in and kept me in.

If you’re looking for a book on the side, or maybe you don’t have a lot of time to read some having something you can read a little bit of as and when you have the time, this book is perfect for you.

In terms of the writing, I think the way the dialogue is written is one of the ways I couldn’t fall into the story. My dad was about the same age as Autumn in the same years and yet he doesn’t sound anything like Autumn or any of the other characters.

The dialogue felt really stilted, formal and more like it belonged in the 50s or earlier. Speaking to my dad he doesn’t remember the feel of how people speaking feeling formal back then. But he did admit he doesn’t really remember (granted that was almost 50 years ago) so he’s not 100% sure. Yet, when I think on how a lot of the movies, I’ve seen set in the 60s, 70s and 80s speak, they are all a lot more relaxed than this was written so I’m really not sure.

All I know is that I enjoyed it, I just didn’t love it or feel like I just had to keep reading at any point in time. Even when I knew I had less than 12 pages left.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Christmas Kisses on Hollywell Hill by Jackie Ladbury. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Top ranking romantic fiction author Rusty Blackwood, who chose her plume de nom by combining the colour of her russet hair with her husband’s great, great, Scottish grandmother’s maiden name, was born in St.Thomas, Ontario, Canada on October 5th, and grew up on her paternal grandfather’s farm in the County of Elgin, located in the south-western portion of the province of Ontario.

She acquired her love of literature while still in elementary school where she entered her original compositions into county fairs, school contests, and whatever venue allowed participants in the writing field. She has carried that love ever since and has put it to use many times since becoming a professional writer in 2001.

From the time of youth she has loved the Arts in their many unique forms, she is a graduate with honors in Interior Decorating & Design. She spent many years on the south-western Ontario stage performing with her family’s country music band: The Midnight Ramblers, followed by the country – rock – blues band: ‘MIRAGE’ as an accomplished vocalist, bassist, and rhythm guitarist. She now resides in the cultural city of St. Catharines, Ontario.

Check out Rusty’s socials on BookBub and the ones below:

Zapata – Harper McDavid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author Bio

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

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

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

Tuscan Enchantment – Kate Zarrelli

Welcome back everyone, today’s review takes us into the wilds of Tuscany and its history, both recent and long gone.

I’m going to kick off this review with some things I didn’t like. The way Kate has written her character’s thoughts and conversations made me feel like I was reading a regency or Victorian romance. The formal way the character’s spoke to each other is something that you just wouldn’t come across in modern times.

For a good while there I thought it was set historically (obviously having forgotten what the cover looked like) until Antonia set setting up a laptop. That really threw me! And I had moments like this happen throughout most of the book.

The other thing that really bugged me was how easily Lorenzo switched from being a man whore to be a one-woman man who is dumping his fiancé. Like that was just so sudden it didn’t feel natural. And the same kind of thing happened with Antonia. Can someone REALLY fall in love so deeply they will change who they are within a few days?

I know romances aren’t meant to be realistic, but this was just over the top.

On the other hand, Kate’s ability to describe a location is amazing. I feel like I knew a fair bit about Tuscan history (thank you Assassins Creed!) yet I didn’t know that there were literal castles there.

The ravages of time and WWII haven’t been left out either. There was a great nod to those poor souls who lost their lives because of that war which I thought was brilliant. The moments when characters interact with the memorial to those was probably the most emotionally realistic the whole book got.

If Kate were to write a historical romance I feel like she’d nail it with her ability to emotionally draw you into a place. And she can already write in the same way people of the past spoke. But for a modern romance?

It’s not quite hitting it for me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, on Monday I will be reviewing Zoe Ashwood’s latest (yes I’m finally getting to it!) novel Make Him Howl. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Kate Zarrelli is the romance and erotica pen-name of Katherine Mezzacappa. Kate is Irish but now lives in Carrara in Northern Tuscany, between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea, with her Italian husband and two teenage sons. She writes historical, erotic, feel-good and paranormal fiction, set all over Europe, and in her spare time volunteers with a used book charity of which she is a founder member. You can follow her on Facebook at Kate Zarrelli books or on Twitter @katmezzacappa.

One? – Jennifer Cahill

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed reading about my first book box last week. This week I’m back to an author requested review, and I never know what I’m going to get with these ones!

Writing Style

I really wasn’t a fan of the way Jennifer wrote this one. So much so, I wrote to her letting her know the issues I was having with her writing style. My main problem was that it was too stilted and formal for how people really talk.

Not to mention, having the characters thoughts written out word for word rather than summarised or hinted at kept interrupting the flow of the story. But what made the flow worse for me was that we’d change character perspectives with no break to signify there’s a change.

Most books that I read that change perspective will have say a line going between the paragraphs, or one of those cute little images (say, a leaf). Or at the very least, a much bigger gap between the paragraphs. This didn’t have that, so it was just suddenly, I was following someone else.

This one is probably very minor if you’re British. But being an Aussie I don’t know the postcode system over there and Jennifer was using the postcodes as a way to signify where we were landmark wise in the story. I was left going “what is SW4? What is EC1?” because to me they mean nothing. It feels like me saying to you “o you should totally check out the Ferris Wheel at 3008!”

Seriously, how many of you know what I’m talking about right there?

Minor problem if you’re British, bit of a waste of space if it’s not explained; which it’s not but Jennifer has said she’s open to feedback and will be writing the sequel slower so it’s less stream of thought and more structured so it’s not difficult to read which is awesome! Being her first book, I think she’s done a pretty good job if my only problems are things an editor can fix!

My Thoughts

I already mentioned that all my problems with this book stem from a lack of editing. Other than that, I had some fun reading a very Sex in the City style book set in the early 2000s rather than the 90s. Given I was born in the 90s, this made it much more relatable to me.

Something else I really liked was the way Jennifer openly discussed the pressures women feel to get married, have kids but still hold a highly successful full-time career. We might be getting to really seeing that part (possibly?) but she’s hinted at it and we see and hear it in all of Penelope’s thoughts.

I especially connected with this because I personally have started to feel the pressure because I don’t want kids, but I do want my career. And I hate that people do that. Getting married, having kids and having a career are all very personal choices that every individual should be able to make without feeling judged. So, I love that this theme is starting to come through, whether it was intentional or not I’m not sure.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing the third instalment of The Time for Alexander series, Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire.

Summer on the Italian Lakes – Lucy Coleman

Welcome back everyone, today’s review is along similar lines to last week’s book in that they are both modern day romances. I chose to participate in this tour because it sounded like it might be a bit of a romance, but at the same time not really since our main character, Brie, needed to get over writer’s block.

Writing Style

I found this story to be really digestible and easy to read. And given how stressful my work life was while I read this book, I needed it. I found I was easily able to jump in and out of this story without being so hooked on “OMG what is going to happen next?!” while being just hookish enough to make sure I had something to look forward to.

I did need to make an effort to read more by the end of the book. But I assure you this had nothing to do with the writing style and everything to do with me trying to finalise some touches on my site since my developers had just finished.

I really looked forward to the times I could read so I could enjoy some light-hearted romance that had a few tense moments. These moments reminded me that it doesn’t matter how good or bad your life is to the public eye. You’re the only one who can really know how you’re feeling and it’s up to you to let people in to help you through those tough times.

Initial Thoughts

To start off with I couldn’t understand what had happened. Had Brie just been dumped? Had something happened to turn her into an emotional wreck?

Then when she turned her life around from her binge eating spree, I started to think she’d meet someone, and they’d go to Italy so she can get her groove back.

So, when she practically got forced out of the country by her agent to help someone who clearly doesn’t like her I started to wonder what could possibly come out of this story. But I persevered since Rachel hasn’t steered me wrong before with these types of stories.

Final Thoughts

By the end of the book I will admit I was a bit distracted and was reading in bursts of like 5-10 minutes in between work taking over my brain. But right near the end (I had like 5 percent left to read) I chose to stay late at work so I could keep reading while I ate breakfast to read.

I’m not sure the ending is very believable. But I guess that’s why it’s a romance book isn’t it? We don’t exactly read these to read about something that actually happens in real life.

We read these types of books for the flair, the drama and the ridiculously crazy ways people fall in love and make it work.

So, in that way I found it really enjoyable and reckon most people would enjoy this even if you’re not too big into romance since it’s not over the top.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing An Impossible Thing Called Love by Belinda Missen.

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 and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s 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 or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

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

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

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