The Makings of a Lady – Catherine Tinley

Welcome back to another round of book tour week! I’ve yet again managed to snag a spot in the blog tour on the day the book is released. YAY!!! I’m finding this experience super exciting and I don’t feel like such a geek knowing that there are other’s out there who are as into books as I am. So thank you to all my readers who make me feel included!

Alrighty, so the first thing I noticed about this book was that it’s publisher is Harlequin and Mills and Boon. Now this might seem trivial but over the last 12 months I’ve read a bunch of books that have been published through them (is it weird that I remember that?) and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. So I immediately got excited about what was in store for me with this one. And I wasn’t let down!

Now this one is the third book in the series but it’s one of those series where the books can be read as standalone books or in order. In my case I haven’t read the other two books so I read this one as a standalone. But I think I want to go back and read the other two as well!

So we start off with Olivia who is pretty nervous because she’s hoping her crush loves her and is going to propose to her. Except he doesn’t. He asked to walk with her because he’s leaving her for Australia with no words of love or devotion. Which obviously breaks Olivia’s 18 yr old heart. And like most people after they experience their first real heartbreak, she closes herself off from men not wanting to be hurt again. Which I completely understand. Once you’ve been hurt it’s really hard to open yourself up knowing that you might get hurt like that again.

Fast forward 4 years and she’s suddenly faced with Jem again, after 4 years of no contact. On the same day as he’s set to arrive though she also meets another gentleman who immediately catches her eye. And even manages a sneaky kiss! And cue the manly jostling of Olivia’s attention, made all the more awkward because Olivia doesn’t know Jem is interested in her because he doesn’t know if she’s interested in him, because she doesn’t know he’s interested in her. And OMG please stop the merry go round! Personally I’ve never experienced this. I’m a very straight forward person and if I like someone I’ll make sure they know it. So to read this cringe worthy over analysis and self destructive behaviour really had me wanting to smack their heads together going “you both like each other! Now talk it out!”

Obviously I couldn’t do that, so I had to settle with obsessively reading this book to finish it within 4 days to know who Olivia ends up with. They both seem to have moments where they are sure of their feelings for one another, but then they over analyse and let silly comments from others make them doubt the other’s feelings. And of course George constantly mooning over Olivia doesn’t help matter’s much. It’s obvious he’s vying for Olivia’s hand in marriage and she doesn’t seem to be pushing him away. So will she give up on ever understanding Jem and settle for George who she obviously doesn’t love?

Or will she use the same courage she had when she escaped captivity to tell Jem how she feels and see where things go from there? Well as it turns out it’s Jem who finally grows a pair and does something. Only to leave her again with no explanation of how he’s feeling. Which then put’s Olivia onto the backfoot again when someone mentions he’s going to marry one of her friends. By this point I was ready to scream at Olivia for lacking some self-confidence and assurance.

Anyway, after another couple of unfortunately encounters for Olivia she FINALLY get’s to hear Jem tell her that he loves her. And of course he stuffs up his proposal so she refuses him, which is good because it prompts him to propose in a much more romantic way that she then readily accepts.

My only criticism with this book is that I really would have liked an epilogue. Just to tidy up those loose ends, let us see Olivia and Jem some time later say on their wedding day or something to really solidify that happily ever after. The excitement, the hanging onto the edge of your seat and staying up late so you can know what happens next is great. But I feel like I really needed that extra little bit of closure. Especially since this is the final book in the trilogy.

Otherwise, yet another Harlequin book has not let me down! As I knew I would, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’m sure anyone who’s a fan of exciting, regency romance novels will love this one.

Thank you for reading. Next week I will be reviewing “Chasing Ghosts” by Madalyn Morgan as part of a book tour. I did warn you that there’d be a few! Lol, but don’t worry I have some of my TBR booking coming up in a few weeks. I look forward to seeing you next week, but don’t forget to scroll down to read about the author and some extra goodies!

Author Bio

Catherine Tinley writes heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She has loved reading and writing since childhood, and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, NHS management, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now works in Sure Start. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cat, and dog.

The Brilliant Game – A. Gavazzoni

Welcome back all, I hope you’ve been looking forward to this review because I’ve been looking forward to sharing it with you!

This is the final instalment of Behind the Door and Lara’s Journal and I can honestly say I enjoyed reading this one and was cursing my Kindle when it was taking forever to download so I could get started.

So this one picked up a little bit after Lara’s Journal ended but not before Simone’s daughter was freed. Following on from the previous book I can tell you that you’re in for one hell of a ride!

Firstly Peter’s sister isn’t connected to any of the murders and gets released. At first I couldn’t believe this because how else did Peter escape? And how else could he have known when to kidnap Simone’s daughter? And then I thought, maybe Peter has another accomplice? Maybe a guy? Maybe that’s how the sperm samples aren’t related to Peter’s sister.

That certainly felt more plausible than Peter being adopted since it was never mentioned in any of the previous books. And surely if Peter was adopted that would’ve come out sooner. I mean, it’d just have to right? Which means Peter’s sister and the receptionist are now out of the running for being the killer. Which leaves us with the ex-boyfriend; although he seems to have dropped off the map so I think we can scratch him off as well. So really we’re left with Peter Hay, Carl and Edward.

And somehow I couldn’t see Carl being responsible. I mean he really doesn’t feel right for this. He goes to Simone honestly looking for help. He’s in crisis over what happened with Lara and needs to absolve his guilt over her death. To begin with that’s in the form of getting her to read his memoir and analysing the possibility that he purposely killed Lara. Then he is given a copy of Lara’s story, her whole life on paper for him to read and really understand why she was who she was. Except facing those details can be tough so I understand why he’d need someone else, a third party, to read it along with him.

During this book we’re introduced to two more possible candidates for all the murders. A necrophiliac that Simone had previously treated, and John, one of Lara’s lovers. Even though when the necrophiliac angle was introduced because Peter’s DNA didn’t match the semen found on the body it just didn’t feel right. This necrophiliac was one who sought out already dead bodies. Unless of course he was brought in as the accomplice who would get rid of the bodies? But I dunno… It just didn’t feel right to me.

John on the other hand went of the rails a bit once he read Lara’s Journal. So I could see him killing people. But again, he didn’t know Simone previously, so why was he attacking people and leaving them on her doorstep, and why attack her patients?

Now normally I would like to leave some mystery to the book so you can enjoy the full impact when you read it for yourself. But there’s a few things I need to tell you because OMG! Adriana really left it to the last minute making me feel like there’d need to be a fourth book just to give me the answers I wanted!

But, instead she made it so that it all came out during Peter’s trial in the final chapter of the book so you’re only left with a couple of pages to process what’s happened. Although I’m not a big fan of Tolkien’s writing style where it takes 5+ pages to describe a leaf falling. I would have felt a little bit better with A LITTLE bit more time to have the reveal occur and see how everyone responds to it. I think one more chapter would have REALLY made this book amazing.

But Adriana really leaves you on tenterhooks that whole way through. Guessing, and guessing who could be behind the murders. How could Peter be innocent but not innocent? How did it take the FBI until the last minute, and even then it took Simone to figure out and expose what had happened?

I definitely feel like I need longer to just sit and process everything that came out in the last chapter of this book. So I think I should take a day before I start a new book.

I hope you enjoyed reading the final review on this trilogy and I honestly think you should give this trilogy a go if you enjoy books with suspense, sex and romance.

Thank you Adriana for giving me to opportunity to read your series. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all 3 books the whole way through!

Lara’s Journal – A. Gavazzoni

Welcome back all, as promised I have the next instalment of Behind the Door for you! Now something that I often find when reading book series is that they get repetitive and a bit boring so sometimes I go into these with a grain of salt when the first book has really grabbed my attention.

But I didn’t need to with this one. I was really unsure how we could continue on from the previous book when the killer has fled the country and we’ve solved the murder. Other than literally just reading Lara’s side to her relationship with Carl (which I wanted to read anyway) I wasn’t sure what else could be done. Like really, what would you have done if you were the author? Because I am a big fan of, if you’ve gotten it right don’t ruin it by trying to make more money out of sequels when you had never planned on writing them.

Now the set up for this book is no where near as good as the set up for the third novel so I get the feeling that Adriana finished the first book intending to wrap it up there. Then really wanted to share more. Whereas the ending of this book is a total, blatant set up for a third book. Which I don’t mind because it show’s there’s a plan. And she’s ended it on a cliff hanger. And I am a TOTAL sucker for a good cliff hanger!

Anyway I feel like I’ve jumped ahead because I’m SOOOO eager to read the next book! Like normally I’d space it out a bit to give you guys, my readers, a bit of variety but I don’t think I can with this one.

ANYWAY! I must move on to give you reason’s why I liked this one so much! So we start off with a girl hooking up with a guy at a nightclub and having sex in the bathroom. Since I thought this was Lara, whatevs! Only, it turns out it’s Simone, and she’s slept with her friends cousin! How completely unlike Simone! But then again she had been kidnapped and drunk A LOT of wine and it’s not like she’s in a relationship. So she can totally live her life the way she want’s to!

Next thing we know one of her reliable crazy patients has attacked his mistress, wife and the club his mistress works in so Simone has to rush home. Just in time to find out that the cousin is a crazy stalker. Just what she needs when she’s still recovering from being kidnapped!

Within a couple of weeks of returning like 3 or 4 of her patients have turned up dead, the FBI don’t know whether to suspect her or Peter Hay (the guy that kidnapped her). And I was tossing up between the stalker boyfriend, the new receptionist, Peter, Peter’s sister, Carl and Edward as to who the guilty party could be! Now to give you a bit of an idea where’s why I suspect each of them:

  • Stalker boyfriend rocked up then everything turned to shit for Simone in a way that’s different to before which suggests someone new
  • The new receptionist doesn’t seem to smile, is happy to take the job of someone who was just killed. And no one died until after she started…
  • Peter Hay because you know, he did kidnap her and kill all those other people!
  • His sister, for revenge against Simone for Peter having to flee the country, and poison is typically known to be a female choice
  • Carl because both times he entered Simone’s life shit hits the fan
  • And finally Edward, with him I don’t really have a tangible reason why, it’s just a gut feeling

Since this book ends on a cliff hanger I never get to find out who the one responsible for this round of deaths is. But my main suspects are the new receptionist and Peter’s sister but with her I feel that Peter would have to be involved somehow. Ideally my gut is telling me the receptionist and Peter’s sister are either one and the same or somehow linked.

So now that I feel like I’ve turned into a bit of a conspiracy theorist I’ll let you go! And I look forward to sharing my next review on “Master the Marchioness” by Em Brown next week.

Dangerous Waters – Anne Allen

Welcome back to another Guernsey Book novel by Anne Allen. I read this one accidentally when I was meant to read A Family Divided. And I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed this book right from the get go and was really intrigued by the combination of historically accurate information that was woven into the story in way that made it feel seamless.

We start off with our main character Jeanne returning to Guernsey for the first time in 15 years and she’s experiencing a panic attack due to the reminder of the death of her parents, which she witnessed. I can’t say I’ve experienced this myself but I can empathise with her because it can be quite difficult to return to somewhere that was tarnished with difficult memories. Unfortunately some guy decides to be a bit of a dick and accuses her of being drunk when she stumbles due to her panic attack. Luckily, she has some family friends on the island that she is staying with who support her upon her return. Even though she doesn’t seem to want to lean on them too much it’s good that she’s got them there for her when she needs them. Some people have a support system and choose not to use them, while others desperately need them but don’t have them. Out of both of these options, I’d definitely rather have the system and not need it so that when I need it I know it’s there for me.

She manages to get herself settled in her grandmothers cottage (she passed on and that’s why she’s returned) while she prepares the place to sell, since she has no intention of staying in a place with so many bad memories. While staying here she discovers a number of recipes going back to her French restaurateur ancestors which inspires her to write a cooking/ romance novel based on her families history on Guernsey Island during the war.

While researching for her novel and managing the renovation of the cottage she learns some dark secrets about her families past, including a love affair with a German soldier, while also working on hypnosis to regain memories of the night she witnessed her parents murder. I personally found this fascinating to read about because I have a little bit of a love affair with history and love learning about something I didn’t know about previously. During this time she dates her crush from high school until she starts to feel a little uncomfortable and stalked. At which point she ends things and accidentally ends up dating the guy who accused her of being drunk when she first arrived. And I can’t blame her for this given the relationship she got out of not long before coming back to Guernsey. Given that experience I’m all for date around casually, and when you feel ready commit. Don’t commit just because for once a guy is ready to commit! What if he’s crazy and you end up in an even worse position than you were in before? So it made me happy when she recognised what SHE wanted and followed her gut feeling, her head and her heart. Which luckily all agreed on the one thing, to dump the high school crush and move on to the nice guy you’ve been having lunch with.

One thing leads to another, and he ends up looking after her and protecting her from the people who killed her parents. The people who killed her parents even tried to kill her but luckily her love interest saves her and brings her to safety. I really feel for her when this happens, because not only is she terrified of being in a boat after her parents death. But the same people who killed her parents also try to kill her on a boat. And by a stroke of luck she’s able to call her new boyfriend to come and save her. After he saves her it doesn’t take much to sort out the mystery of her parents killers and bring them to justice.

And then as with any romance novel she wins the guy, her career kicks off and her family life takes a massive turn for the better. Although the following books don’t follow the same character’s; some of the characters we met in this book will also feature in the rest of the series. I’ve mentioned this in the “Family Divided” book, but I really enjoyed reading both these books and definitely plan to come back to this series to finish reading it. If you enjoy romance novels with a bit of history woven in you will probably like it one.

Thankyou for reading this weeks post, and I will see you next with for “The Wedding Season” by Samantha Chase. As always, please visit the actual post (I’d love to know how many people are reading these posts!), like, comment and share.

Behind the Door – A. Gavazzoni

A Gavazzoni contacted me to read this book and I’m really glad she did. I’m not sure if she’s read my blog, but if she has I can see why she thought I’d enjoy it. Yes it had some graphic sex scenes in it (be prepared for way more than Fifty Shades of Grey). However the focus of this book was the psychology behind the characters which is something I really enjoy. Even in my job I love to be challenged. I even commented that I was getting bored at work recently because it was all making sense and I had to quickly get some easy stuff done due to a really tough deadline.

With the boring work having to be done I found myself constantly thinking about what could possibly be driving these characters, why were they reacting in certain ways? How were they all linked? Why did my gut tell me that such and such a character had more to them than it sounded like? So this definitely kept my mind active when I really needed it.

We start off this book with Simone who is a psychiatrist lecturing in New York and was interrupted by a lawyer; Carl; which I thought was odd. Lawyers don’t tend to hang around those types of conferences, and if they do want to speak to a psychiatrist then they’d make an appointment or call them to their office. Then when he didn’t pressure her to drop everything and focus on what he needed to meet his court deadline, it made me wonder what was going on. Not that you’ll find out until right near the very end!

Due to Carl approaching Simone to help him with his court case the book takes two different approaches. One is Mark’s story about Lara which he has written as a manuscript while the other is the murders happening in Simone’s home town that start to impact her in her day to day life and her psychiatry practice. At this point I started to wonder if the two stories were intertwined or if this was just the beginning of a series to really explore both avenues.

I won’t go into what happens in this story too much because I think it’d ruin the intensity for you. But basically someone starts murdering women in Simone’s home town while she’s working on the manuscript Carl gave her. The murderer even leaves a dead body on Simone’s doorstep which freaks everyone out. And eventually Simone is kidnapped and tortured by the murderer. While held by them she figures out who they are and is able to report them to the police when she is rescued days after her kidnapping took place.

Meanwhile we get to read Mark’s manuscript alongside Simone (this is where all the graphic details are) to find out what actually happened between Mark and Lara. Mark sounds like a decidedly normal and kinda boring guy, while Lara sounds like she has a LOT of mental issues that have been left unresolved that she doesn’t seem to want to work on. Simone diagnoses her as sadomasochistic with ADHD tendencies that resulted in an addiction to adrenaline. That addiction is what seems to control her life as we know it and ends up being what killed her.

The thing that I really liked about this book that a few other books I’ve read recently hasn’t really done when talking about these kinds of topics is that it showed the bad as well as how to combat it. Yes, Lara’s mum was awful and sold her off and didn’t act like a mother should. However her friends and the rest of her family supported her in any way that they could, including supporting her to leave those situations. Unfortunately for her it seems it was all too late to “fix” what happened, but it was good to hear about others that are willing to do the right thing. Including getting restraining orders, which I feel many people in those situations are too scared to do. I also liked the fact A. Gavazzoni explored how these events impacted those around Lara which is something most people tend to shy away from.

So although the sex scenes were a bit too graphic for my liking, I really liked the fact that Simone then explored the psychology behind these behaviours. In these situations it’s the psychology, the thought process and the analysis that really gets me involved and hooked. And A. Gavazzoni nails this aspect of her writing and I love it. I got so hooked on the what and why the events occurred that I almost ditched my boyfriend on a Friday night to finish the book! Which is unheard of for me, especially since it was game night for my footy team which I always watch.

If you like brain teasers and can get through the sex scenes I think you’d really enjoy this book just like I did.

Thank you for reading, next week I will be participating in another Book Tour, this time with a brand new release called “One Summer Weekend” by Juliet Archer. I look forward to seeing you then.

The Family Divided – Anne Allen

Welcome to my first ever Book Tour! I hope you enjoy it, so please like and share this if you’ve enjoyed the experience!

So I was silly enough to read the first book in this series before reading this one as scheduled so I’ve felt like I’ve been on a big deadline finishing reading this one to stay on track with my weekly posts. So I will be posting about the first week next week. So if you’ve liked the sound of this book and Anne’s writing, tune in next week to read more about this series.

Also, for those of you who may be new to my reviews be warned, I may spoil a few things but I also try to keep the mystery there for you so that you won’t know everything that happens if you choose to read these books yourself.

So into the book!

Reading this one I found that it did change who it followed from the first book, and when I was told about this series I was advised that each book can be read as a stand alone book and I agree with them. There were a few characters from the first book in this book as well so it was nice to see how their lives had progressed over time.

This book is the fourth book in the series so I fully plan to go back and read the second and third books. Which already tells you that I liked this book! (And the first one!) This book follows Charlotte; an English aristocrat, owner of a publishing company and a first time writer; and Andy a local architect. This couple is a little older than the first book, and I like how Anne adjusted her writing to suit them.

Charlotte is visiting Guernsey to recuperate so she can go home and focus back on her writing as she’s experiencing a pretty bad bout of writers block. While visiting La Folie she hears about Andy wanting to solve an old family mystery which has resulted in his father being shafted out of his rightful inheritance. Andy obviously isn’t so crash hot on the idea of some hoitey toitey rich English woman nosing around his families past but reluctantly agrees to let her research as Jeanne, a close family friend assured him that Charlotte is a great researcher and would be invaluable.

Given how reluctant Charlotte was to admit she was attracted to Andy and how much Andy resents Charlottes upbringing and money it felt impossible for them to come together. Especially as both had been married and burnt in the past. Having experienced being burnt in the past I can totally understand being reluctant to jump into something new and exciting. And Anne really does explore the various reasons for being nervous and the to-ing and fro-ing that happens when you meet someone new, and you don’t want to come across too strong but at the same time want to make sure they know you’re interested.

I really enjoyed reading how Charlotte had to battle with her own personal battles, researching the German Occupation for Andy, figuring out her feelings for Andy and interviewing the elderly to solve multiple family secrets hidden in Andy’s families past.

Throughout this book I felt myself cringing at the awkward moments between Charlotte and Andy, feeling for Charlotte with how her mum treats her since for a long time I felt I had a very similar relationship with my mum and at the same time was telling Charlotte that she was being an idiot and needed to just face her fears head on and embrace the changes to her lifestyle! Sometimes money, position and comfort aren’t everything in life and when it’s not you just need to embrace the change, roll with it and enjoy the ride. Which thankfully Charlotte decides to do.

While experiencing this roller coaster ride with Charlotte I felt myself I was trying to figure out what the hell happened with Andy’s grandfather and father to cause all the issues we’ve heard about. So when we finally find all the details out by the end of the book I felt like I should be jumping up and down in excitement and jubilation over FINALLY getting the answer I’d been craving since the start of the book.

The only thing I would’ve liked to get out of the book that I didn’t was to find out how it went with Andy’s dad’s claim to the family estate. Also, I would have preferred for the language used when characters talk to each other to be less formal and more colloquial since it just didn’t quite feel right.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. If you have enjoyed it stay tuned for next weeks post on “Behind the Door” by A. Gavazzoni and I will come back to “Dangerous Waters”which is the first book in the series in a few weeks.

On a final note, for those of you who regularly read my posts through your emails I would love it if you’d click on the links to visit the actual page. I know sometime’s it seems a little silly but I’d love to see how many of you are enjoying these posts and I can’t do this if you haven’t visited the actual posts. If you have the time, please do visit the pages so I know if you’re enjoying my posts as much as I enjoy sharing my thoughts with you.

Until next week, and don’t forget to check out the info below about the author, series and even a chance to win a holiday!

The Guernsey Novels

Anne Allen’s fascinating book series, The Guernsey Novels, comprises six standalone novels. All the stories in her novel series, take place predominantly on the island of Guernsey and are linked by characters popping up from one book to another.

They provide an ongoing story of a ‘village’ spread, so far, over 6 years. Each book is standalone with fresh new lead characters with their own links to the German Occupation during World War 2, having an impact on the present.

The Guernsey Novels are a mix of mystery, family drama, and love story and influenced by the author’s love of the island where she spent many happy years. Guernsey itself is always a main character in the books, offering a gorgeous backdrop to all the sorrows, joys and tragedies she describes.

The Guernsey Novels are available from all leading bookstores:

Book #1 Dangerous Waters

Book #2 Finding Mother

Book #3 Guernsey Retreat

Book #4 The Family Divided

Book #5 Echoes of Time

Book #6 The Betrayal

Author Bio

Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea.

Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there’s more time to write and Anne has now published six books in The Guernsey Novels series. She will be publishing her seventh novel later in the year.

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