Believe in Me – Ella Quinn

Welcome back everyone, we’re still firmed locked in the past, in this case still in regency times. This book came to me in my first Bubbles & Books Book Box and it was a beautifully unexpected regency romance story.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but it’s apparently been a while since I read a regency romance. Looking back through the books I’ve read this year I realised it’s been 3 whole months! Considering how many regency romances I’ve read in the past I can’t believe it’s been so long.

Looking up this book to log it on Goodreads I discovered that it’s the 6th book in the Worthingtons series. How is it that I keep coming across regency series by starting on the 4th or more book in the series?

One of the things I love about regency romances is the glamour, the structure in society and the courting that goes on. The first thing we learn about Augusta is that she spurns societies strictures that ladies can’t be educated. Not only has she already sought private correspondence tuition on a variety of topics. But now she wants to go to Uni, which doesn’t happen for women in that time period.

The fact that she’s able to meet a guy who also believes that women should be educated and is enamoured by her knowledge and skills. I’m glad that she’s able to find a guy like this, even though it’s super unlikely to have actually happened.

Surprisingly, later in the book we went from a nice cruisy pace of luxury travel around Europe to a mad dash with a possible kidnaping, murder and international fiasco looming. So much so, that I found my own heartrate picking up and reading the pages as if the book was about to burn away in my hands without me being able to finish the book.

The ending even threw me another twist that gave the book an even sweeter than I anticipated.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing The Wedding Planner by Eva Devon.

If you're interested in getting yourself one of these amazing boxes you can head on over to Bubbles and Books and use the code ANTHEA10P to share the love! I'm personally loving

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)

*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.

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)

*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 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.

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)

*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.

Make him Howl – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, after my first NetGalley request last week we’re back to Zoe’s Shift series. At this point in time when I’m writing this (in very early April!) this is the last book in the series available.

After reading Bearly Married, Trust the Wolf and Truth or Bear I was used to a certain level of excitement, drama and romance all blending together to form a captivating story. Even though Zoe’s quality of writing was still up there with the other books, I felt it was written a bit differently.

Since we’re following on from the end of Truth or Bear our lovers are separated thanks to Parker being kidnapped. Even though we’re a month on from where we left off, Gabriel hasn’t managed to find any promising leads to find Parker. Although this separation was great for building up Gabriel’s feelings for Parker. It meant that the rest of the story had to adapt to suit it.

Zoe has even given us a playlist to listen to while reading Make him Howl

Throughout most of this book I felt like it was a bit flat emotionally compared to the rest of the series. There were certainly peaks of drama and excitement. But not to the same levels as the other books.

After finishing that story, I feel like it could have been done better as a novella. That way it cuts out the flatter sections or could have at least condensed it. Leaving us with all the good filled bits!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Mr Temptation by Rachael Stewart. Continue to read further down to find out about Zoe, and don’t forget to check out the reviews for the other books in the series.

Author Bio

Zoe Ashwood is a romance writer with a passion for sweet stories with a sexy twist. While she’s always been a reader, Zoe’s writing used to be limited to diary scribbles and bad (really bad) teenage poetry. Then she participated in NaNoWriMo 2015 and never looked back.

Some 400,000 words later, she’s still in love with the art of making up stories—and making her characters fall in love. Trust the Wolf is her debut novel.

When she’s not writing, Zoe works as a literary translator. She’s happily married to her best friend and has two small boys who are as stubborn as they’re cute.

She’s active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but her newsletter or Facebook Group are the best way of keeping in touch! She's also on Pintrest so you can check her out there or through her socials below.

Group

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.

Bearly Married – Zoe Ashwood

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed my latest author request. I read this one directly after Truth or Bear because I just needed more. More shifter stories, more of this world. And of course, knowing who the main characters are I was interested to see how they’d start.

So, I signed up to Zoe’s newsletter list so I could grab a free copy AND know when new books are coming out, in case she doesn’t want me reviewing them anymore… Let’s hope that doesn’t happen coz I really like this series!


Writing Style

Going into this one I thought it was a short story, not a novella. So, I was expecting the pace to be quicker than it was. I realised pretty quickly when the story wasn’t moving along quick enough and there was a layer of romantic build up, but also tension.

So, don’t be fooled like I was!

Silly me thought I would finish it on my way to work then smash out the 2 other reviews I needed to write and this one on my way home, and the following days commute. Needless to say, that was taken up by this one coz the story was gripping!

The sweetness of Christine really draws you in. Especially when it’s contrasted so nicely with Alexandre’s stern, serious and desperate disposition. The way Zoe had their personalities building and developing together was so sweet. And very reminiscent of a shorter story. So I’m glad to kept this one to a novella rather than a novel.


Initial Thoughts

I was a bit confused to begin with since I thought Alexandre and Christine’s marriage was arranged, as in their parents arranged it for them. Not arranged as in Alexandre sought heiresses and interviewed them until he found one, he was interested in. So, I was a little thrown by that.

I was also thrown a little bit by how much control/input Christine had to the organisation of the marriage. But the fact that she still had some spunk to her was awesome.

I’m not going to say anything more on this now, because otherwise I’ll ruin the book for you!


Final Thoughts

If you’re reading this one as a prequel (like you’re kinda meant to) it gives you a hint of what’s to come with the series. But on a much tamer level.

Whereas if you’ve read the series (or what’s out so far) like I have. You’ll probably find yourself wondering if a certain evil person will pop up in this book.

If that’s you. Give up. It’s not happening.

I was hoping it would coz I wanted to understand them better. But it proved futile so please don’t get your hopes up.

I also found that this story followed a romance kind of story plot, rather than a paranormal one. I don’t know if I can quite explain it. But all the paranormal books I read tend to have a slightly different feel to the straight romances I read. And this felt closer to a straight romance to me.


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