The Wedding Planner – Eve Devon

Welcome back everyone, after a regency romance last week we’re back into modern day. But this time we stay in the same country. Just centuries later.

Within 2 pages of starting this book all I could think was “o god, I really hope people don’t see me like this!” I’m a straight talker, I don’t beat around the bush, I call things as they are, I’m the person you can trust to give you the absolute brutal truth, I’m absolutely independent and hate needing others. But I’m also fiercely loyal to those I love. And this pretty much sums up Gloria to a tee.

Granted we don’t learn about the loyalty until a bit into the book. It’s still pretty obvious that she’s uniquely her and for some reason is apologetic about it. I get not being like that to the point of driving people away. Like Gloria I’ve gone through some work to not be like that either. But I will never understand why people don’t value those traits.

When romance does creep up on her she doesn’t know what to do about it. But what I REALLY love about this romance is that he doesn’t try to change her. Seth accepts who she is and loves her BECAUSE of those traits many people don’t like.

Little things like seeing the fight come into her eyes and working out what she’s thinking, and it just makes him love her more is amazing. Romance and love to me should be about accepting the other person for who they are. Faults and all. So I love that this story really embraced that and never tried to be like “maybe you should tone this down” or “well if you had have just kept your mouth shut that wouldn’t have happened”.

I enjoyed this story all the way to the end and in a way see some of my own relationship in this story. Although in our case we were both scared to take the plunge but realised about the same time we actually did want to. It’s super weird reading a book that you feel like could almost be written about you and your life but in a way great to see people embrace and love Gloria for who she is.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing I Will Follow Him by Holly Tierney-Bedord. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

My name’s Eve Devon and I write sexy heroes, sassy heroines and happy ever afters…

Growing up in locations like Botswana and Venezuela gave me a taste for adventure and my love for romances began when my mother shoved one into my hands in a desperate attempt to keep me quiet during TV coverage of the Wimbledon tennis finals.

When I wasn’t consuming books by the bucket-load, I could be found pretending to be a damsel in distress or running around solving mysteries and writing down my adventures. As a teenager, I wrote countless episodes of TV detective dramas so the hero and heroine would end up together every week. As an adult, I worked in a library to conveniently continue consuming books by the bucket-load, until realising I was destined to write contemporary romance and romantic suspense myself. I live in leafy Surrey in the UK, a book-devouring, slightly melodramatic, romance-writing sassy heroine with my very own sexy hero husband!

The Determined Lord Hadleigh – Virginia Heath

Welcome back everyone, we’re back again today with another review for you this time with a regency romance. I swear this northern hemisphere summer is bring a lot of great releases with it!

We begin the book with Tristan’s point of view which is unusual for a romance. Normally the romances I read are from the girls’ point of view in the beginning although the guys will often be brought in after the first or second chapter.

One of the things that struck me once we jumped over to Penny’s point of view was how stubborn she was being when people were just trying to make it easier for her to get back on her feet. They weren’t trying to control her life, just give her time and options. So I really didn’t understand why she refused all help and cracked it at those that did try to offer her help.

One of the things I loved was that both Tristan and Penny could talk things through rather logically and see the other persons point of view. After they’ve calmed down from their own stubborn stance. They even helped each other get over some pretty bad memories which were holding them back from their futures.

I mean, if you’re going to be with anyone you want to be with someone who can help you through those tough times don’t you?

There were a few moments where I found myself disconnecting from the writing and having to re-read the sentence a few times for it to make sense. It wasn’t too often, but it felt like maybe some punctuation or something was missing. I couldn’t really nail down what it was, but it didn’t take me long to figure out what the author meant.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Believe in Me by Ella Quin. Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.

Giveaway - Win 2x e-copies of The Determined Lord Hadleigh by Virginia Heath (open internationally)

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which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not
responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Storms over Babylon – Jennifer Macaire

Welcome back everyone, we’re back to Ashley and Alexander in the Time for Alexander series. I swear I become more and more obsessed with this series with every book I read. Please hurry up and let me read the next three!

I chose to stay up on my flight to Brisbane to read this one instead of sleeping. To put this into context, I normally go to bed about 9pm and my flight took off at 9.30pm. To say I was dead tired when we arrived in Brisbane a couple of hours later is an understatement.

But I did smash out like 90% of the book in that couple of hours on the plane. And man was it good! I actually checked how long I had left to finish the book because I didn’t want to have to stop to get off the plane. Luckily, I finished the book with 5 minutes of my flight to spare.

If you’re familiar with the previous books (not just my reviews of them) then you might remember that Plexis was told all his questions about Ashley would be answered on his death bed. Well, Ashley is faced with the knowledge of when he’s meant to die alongside Alexander being adamant, he doesn’t want her to save him.

Well in this book we get to discover how Plexis dies, along with Alexander a few months later. Knowing that there’s a fantasy element to this story and just loving Ashley’s relationships with Alexander and Plexis and that this is only the 4th of (currently) 7 books, I was left wondering when this book would end.

Well, spoiler alert! (not really) It ends When Alexander dies, and his kingdom begins to crumble with Ashley and her family fleeing the violence. As soon as I was finished, I was like “NOOOO!!!! I want more!” So rest assured, once the 5th book comes on tour I’ll be jumping for a spot to give you more deets!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, tomorrow
(yes you read that right!) I will be reviewing The Determined Lord Hadleigh by Virginia Heath. Continue to read
further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.


Author Bio

Jennifer Macaire lives with her husband, three children, & various dogs & horses. She loves cooking, eating chocolate, growing herbs and flowering plants on her balcony, and playing golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St. Peter and Paul high school in St. Thomas and moved to NYC where she modeled for five years for Elite. She met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

Giveaway - Win a $10 Amazon gift certificate (open internationally)

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entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The
winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and
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then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants
aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry
is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with
the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway
organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will
delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of
the prize.

Foxglove Farm – Christie Barlow

Welcome back everyone, we’re back into the world of romance. Yes, I know. I can’t stay away for long! Who knew being an adult automatically made me like romance?

I think I forgot between reading the blurb and starting this book that it wasn’t about Polly. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m not 100% sure I did read the blurb… I may have just seen it was the sequel to Love Heart Lane and jumped on board.

After the initial shock and “damn I’ve been jibbed” feeling upon discovering that our couple for this book was in fact the married Isla and Drew. I jumped into reading to see what could be in store for them. And I can tell you it was quite an adventure!

I smashed this book out in about a day sitting by the fire while my partner finished his book. When he finished his book and wanted to put Netflix on I was like “ahhh… how’s about you put something on that you wanna watch so I can keep reading?” How sociable am I? For a Saturday night you’d think I’d put in more effort than that!

But no! Foxglove Farm was more important. Isla and Drew seemed to get hit with problem after problem and it was tearing their relationship apart. So much so that I was starting to wonder how this could possibly be a romance given the genre typically means a HEA is a requisite.

I mean, the only romances that haven’t ended with a HEA are ones where it’s one in a series following those two characters. I’ve never seen it with a stand alone or in a series where you swap characters every book.

By the time I got to the end of the book in bed on the Sunday morning (yea the partner slept through another like 2 hours of me reading) I felt emotionally relieved for Isla and Drew that their story was over. I mean WOW! Kudo’s for them for getting through all that given how societal “norms” almost broke up their marriage.

I loved the fact that Isla stuck by him even when she hated him because she knew him well enough to know more was going on. And I loved how blatantly Christie puts these issues out there. Mens health is something that’s definitely not talked about much (especially among the men I know) but it’s so important. I’m not sure about your own countries, but I know in Australia suicide is the leading cause of male death between the ages of 15 and 44.

That to me is a sobering fact and one we should all be working to fix by normalising talking about your emotions and everything that’s weighing down on you. I hope over time more writers will include this in ways that works towards normalising it. And I hope we all do our part to help normalise it for the men in our lives.

I’m sorry to end on a sad note but I really liked and appreciated Christie throwing this in and talking about. Even if she didn’t mean to make a statement it resonated with me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, after my June Wrap Up I will be reviewing Storms over Babylon by Jennifer Macaire. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.


Author Bio

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty's Countryside Dream, Lizzie's Christmas Escape, Evie's Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Foxglove Farm. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia. 

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being.

Heart of Stone – Ben Galley

Welcome back everyone, after a disappointing romance last week I moved onto a war novel. And this isn’t any old war novel. This is a fantasy war novel!

I hadn’t looked this book up before agreeing to review it, so other than the blurb I really didn’t know anything about it. All I’d really gleaned from the blurb was that there was going to be a war and a golem. Past that I didn’t know what to expect.

What I discovered is a story that follows three sides of a war with the golem, who is strangely human like, stuck in the middle. As it was quite heavy on the war and spy aspects, I did find myself at about half-way through needing to stop and read a couple of feel good romances. I think if the book had been split over a duo or trilogy, I wouldn’t have needed to do that.

But when the book is three times longer than most of the books, I read these days I did feel that I was getting emotionally drained. If you love war type books you probably won’t find that you’ll need something lighter. But since this was the first war novel I read with no romance, or anything else light, in it I did need that break.

From about ¾ of the way through the book I realised how all the pieces would fit together and some of how it would all play out. That doesn’t mean that I was able to predict the ending. With this being a fantasy novel, you never know what can be possible making guessing endings extremely difficult.

I would have loved a little bit more at the end to really wrap it up. Maybe a few years later? I found myself feeling like I was missing some small detail about the story when I was reflecting on what I’d read to be able to write this review for you.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing the fourth instalment of the Time for Alexander series, Storms over Babylon by Jennifer Macaire. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Don't forget to check out the other bloggers reviewing Heart of Stone!

Author Bio

Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.

Check out Ben's other books also on tour for the next 10 days

To the Stars and Back – Camilla Isley

Welcome back everyone, from the wilds of Tanzania we’re back to western countries. Specifically, Los Angeles in America with a nobody engineering professor and a famous Hollywood actor.

I started this one on a Friday night after writing up a bunch of stuff for my professional blog and some more notes for my assignment. By Sunday morning I was finished. And no, I didn’t read all day Saturday, I was actually busy studying!

I think after the emotional intensity of Outlander and Game of Thrones finishing, I just needed something light-hearted and easy. And this fit into that need perfectly.

It had the girl at the lowest point in her life having a chance meeting with a famous actor who she doesn’t even know exists. He falls for her quiet beauty and the fact that she doesn’t know who he is. Romance blossoms. He stuffs it up royally in an attempt to protect her from his world.

And of course, the grand gesture and pursuit to make it all work out in the end. But what I loved about this gesture was that he did the little things that count. Not some big grand showy thing that money buys. He did things that were meaningful to her.

Why can’t more guys be like this?

I definitely needed this break in something uplifting before jumping into the next book, coz that’s another heavy one. So this was a great break, quick, easy win for me that just worked on so many levels for me. Including the fact that the writing just felt so natural that I didn’t feel like anything was forced.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Heart of Stone by Ben Galley thanks to a Write Reads tour! Continue to read further down to find out about the author and any extra giveaways available.

Author Bio

Camilla is an engineer turned writer after she quit her job to follow her husband on an adventure abroad.

She’s a cat lover, coffee addict, and shoe hoarder. Besides writing, she loves reading—duh!—cooking, watching bad TV, and going to the movies—popcorn, please. She’s a bit of a foodie, nothing too serious. A keen traveler, Camilla knows mosquitoes play a role in the ecosystem, and she doesn’t want to starve all those frog princes out there, but she could really live without them.

You can find her on the socials below as well as BookBub and Pintrest.

Giveaway - Win a To the Stars and Back Tote Bag (UK only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter
using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random
via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or
email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources
reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged
18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is
used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the
exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway
organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s
Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for
despatch or delivery of the prize.

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 Storm. The 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.

Giveaway - Win a paperback copy of The Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost (open internationally)

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Conditions
 –Worldwide
entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The
winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and
will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7
days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative
winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as
part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be
shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This
will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the
prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the
data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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.

Giveaway - Win an eCopy of Mr Temptation by Rachael Stewart (open internationally)

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and Conditions
 –Worldwide
entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The
winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and
will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7
days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all
entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition
entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties,
with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the
giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time
I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or
delivery of the prize.

Tuscan Enchantment – Kate Zarelli

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.

Giveaway - Win a Little Carrara Marble Heart Pendant (open internationally)

Can be engraved with the winners initials

*Terms
and Conditions
 –Worldwide
entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The
winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and
will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days
then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative
winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as
part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be
shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This
will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the
prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the
data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.