Unshackled – Rachael Stewart

Welcome back all, I hope you’re looking forward to this bonus post. I chose to participate in this book tour because domestic and family violence is a topic that is rarely discussed in it’s dirty and truthful facts and I was interested to see how Rachel Stewart addressed this. However reading this novel I was really surprised and I was really happy to read how Rachael wrote this.

When signing up for this book tour I was given all these warnings about how domestic violence is portrayed in this novel, and that it might be tough to read etc to I was expecting to read some pretty gruesome details. But I was pleasantly surprised when the details were kept to a minimum and we explore the aftermath of these events rather than the events themselves. So I commend Rachael for this, it allows for the book to be pleasurable to read while also addressing real life issues and concerns that many people face. I also liked the fact that she didn’t explore just the physical aspect of domestic and family violence, but also the mental and financial control that can play a part in these circumstances.

So let’s get into the nitty gritty of the book then! We start of with Abi when she first meets Emma and it’s instant attraction. Only problem is Abi has never been attracted to women before. So what is she meant to do? Having known women who were only attracted to men and then met a particular woman who attracted them and resulted in a relationship I was curious to see how Abi would deal with these emotions and the confusion it would inevitably bring along with it. What I quickly figured out was that this seemed to be a matter of love at first sight kind of deals and that Abi was sick of living under her step fathers rule but didn’t know how to leave that control without loosing her lifestyle.

So what is Abi to do? Every time Abi and Emma hook up and her stepfather finds out about it Emma get’s punished. Physically. So not only is he controlling Abi’s access to money and therefore her lifestyle, he is also emotionally, financially and physically controlling Emma in order to garner more business deals to increase his current wealth. Up to the physical control Emma is ok with this as she chose to lead her life like that, however she never intended for a guy to control her physically. So when that starts happening she’s prepared to walk away.

After a fair bit of drama where both Abi and Emma are abused further by Abi’s stepfathers associates they finally seem to make the break they are looking for. Only to have the good doctor and stepfather find them and break in to physically take control of them once again. Luckily Abi seems to have been able to keep her head clear and calls for help which results in the physical safety of both women.

I can’t begin to imagine what real life victims of domestic violence go through before they choose to finally leave, or what they go through emotionally afterwards. I’m glad Rachael showed me a little bit about what they could potentially go through. Her writing style really wrapped me up in the story and got me involved to the point where I made my partner cook dinner just so I could finish the book.

I just wanted to know it ended ok, and I wanted to know what happened to both women after experiencing that. In a way I’m glad Rachael didn’t try to explore their emotional and mental states after going through that trauma as I’m sure it wouldn’t do it justice compared to what those victims actually feel. But I’m also kinda disappointed because maybe then it’d help make people realise that there are more forms of domestic and family violence than just the physical abuse.

Without giving too much away, I really enjoyed reading this novel and I’m glad I decided to go ahead with this one as I know it’s a topic not many people are willing to face. It’s almost like people try to brush this topic under the carpet so I commend Rachael for addressing it head on. And I hope for those people that read this they can gain some form of insight into the various forms of domestic and family violence and can be more empathetic to those who find themselves trapped by these situations.

Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers reviewing this book this week, details below:

If you’re interested in reading this book (and I recommend that you do) you can find it at the following locations, so I’ve included the link to Smashwords here for you.

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.

One Summer Weekend – Juliet Archer

This one is a pretty new book and I feel honoured to bring you a review about it. Today I’m going to start with a quick blurb about the book then I will get into my thoughts about this one!

I began reading this book at the start of the Queens Birthday long weekend, for those of you not in the Commonwealth that basically means we get an extra day off work just the Queen of England wants to celebrate her birthday. Which for us Aussies just means we get another day to drink and relax. This year I took the opportunity to have a mini-getaway with my partner since we won’t be having a mid year holiday together. And because we are a super cute and romantic couple our mini-getaway was basically spent walking around Daylesford in rural Victoria before I spent a good 2 hours or so soaking in the spa bath having my glass of wine topped up regularly while he watched UFC on the tv.

Now I’m gona guess that some of you are probably thinking “but what has that got to do with this book?”. For me, everything. I believe that the time and place you read a book can really impact how you enjoy it. Since this book is shorter (or at least it felt shorter) than most of the books I’ve been reading recently I felt a great sense of achievement when I realised I’d read like half the book while relaxing in the bath. And since Daylesford is a really quiet, romantic type of town (after you get through the stupid tourists that seem to forget that there are other people around) made especially so by our secluded villa with a fireplace (since it’s winter here the fireplace was very much appreciated!).

So already being in a romantic frame of mind I felt I was really able to enjoy this short, sweet story between a modern day woman fighting against the “old school” mens club mentality by building her career off of coaching them how to manage their companies better. And then we also have a guy that initially comes across as your typical young playboy who’s had too much money and power all his life and is enjoying it much to much to ever contemplate changing or listening to an attractive woman.

What I thought was a great twist was that it seemed that for once the man was more in tune with his true feelings than the woman was. And that the woman was all wrapped up in her own past, insecurities and negativity to be able to move forward. Even when the object of her past that is holding her back reappears and tries to make things worse she manages to wake up an triumph against it. Which of course, since this is a romance novel means the happy couple end up together.

How they got together in the end irked me a little bit because they end up deciding that they will just up and take time off work without any notice or planning. I don’t know if this annoys be because of my OCD need to plan those types of things out. Or whether it’s because I feel like I’m often left having to pick up the pieces when someone decides 2 weeks to a month out from their holiday that they are going to go away regardless of what is happening at the time. But I guess it’s just a novel so I shouldn’t read to much into that aspect of it.

The rest of it was beautifully written, simple and allowed me to really just relax and enjoy my romantic weekend away which wouldn’t have been complete if I didn’t have a good book.

Now that the long weekend is finished I will see you next week with a review of another Guernsey Novel. This time it is “Dangerous Waters” by Anne Allen.

Also, don’t forget to check out the other blogs participating in this Book Tour, the author bio (below) and you can enter a draw to win copies of “The Importance of being Emma” and “Persuade Me” (also below)!

Author Bio

Juliet Archer writes award-winning romantic comedy for Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction. She has been known to spend many happy hours matching irresistible heroes with their equally irresistible chocolate counterparts – watch out for the dark nutty ones!

Her debut novel, The Importance of Being Emma, won the Big Red Read Book of the Year 2011 Fiction Award and was shortlisted for the 2009 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance. Her second novel, Persuade Me, was shortlisted for the 2011 Festival of Romance Best Romantic Read Award.

Juliet’s third book, One Summer Weekend, is out in June 2018. You can also read her short stories: Incense & Insensibility in the Choc Lit Love Match anthology, and Love Rules in Choc Lit’s Kisses & Cupcakes anthology.

Juliet was born and bred in North-East England and now lives in Hertfordshire. She gives talks all over the UK and in the USA about the classic authors who inspire her work. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors and the Jane Austen Society. Her non-writing career has spanned IT, acquisitions analysis, copy editing, marketing and project management, providing plenty of first-hand research for her novels.

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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