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02 July 2022

Book Review: A Leap of Faith For The Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of A Leap of Faith For The Cornish Midwife ahead of the blog tour.

Sometimes you find the unexpected when you leap into a book without reading the blurb - I picked this up having only seen the cover, and that was enough for me. Look how pretty it is. The contents inside fully live up to it and I loved A Leap of Faith For The Cornish Midwife.

A Leap of Faith For The Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlettbook cover

Midwife Izzy is devastated to learn that her beloved grandmother is dying. Abandoned as a baby by her own mother, her grandparents have been the only family Izzy has ever known and she wants to spend every last precious moment with them.

New locum vicar, Noah, is a wonderful support – kind, considerate and always there for Izzy whenever she needs a shoulder to cry on. But secretly Noah is battling his own doubts about his faith – how can he offer Izzy comfort if he doesn’t truly believe his own words?

When Izzy and Noah are brought together to support grieving parents, Noah reaches breaking point. He can't stay in Port Agnes and live a lie. But Izzy is adamant it’s the only place she can be….

Will love find a way or will Izzy's hopes of a future be dashed?

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, faith, love, loss, belonging.

Get the tissues ready, you will need them. This book will make you feel every emotion.

This is the fifth book in the Cornish Midwife series, but I jumped right in having not read any of the previous ones. This can absolutely be read as a standalone as it seems each book focuses on a different character, but I will definitely be going back and reading the rest of the books so I can find out the rest of the stories.

My heart went out for Izzy - she was an instant favourite for me, I loved reading her story. She's going through so much and she really rises to it. She's so passionate and caring and generous, you can't help but love her and root for her.

I freaking loved Noah. I didn't think I would at first because I'm always a bit wary of religion, but I loved his drive and how he was always chasing a challenge. I loved seeing him work through his own crisis of faith, and open up his faith to others and support them however he could.

I loved Frankie's positivity, how even though she was so understandably sad she was still a light to those around her. I want more of her story because the bits told in A Leap of Faith for the Cornish Midwife made me really care for her and her happiness.

The narrative switches between Frankie, Noah and Izzy, and I loved their vibrant personalities and how it shone through their perspectives. I always knew who I was reading, the characters were well developed and stood apart from each other.

This book is absolutely perfect for fans of Call the Midwife, for those days where you want your heart to be both torn to shreds and full of love. It's a ride, and best enjoyed with a hot cup of tea and a whole box of tissues. I can't wait to go back and read the rest and end up a sobbing mess again, because it was so cathartic and the hope and happiness in the story more than made up for the sad times.

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Jo Bartlett is the bestselling author of over nineteen women’s fiction titles. She fits her writing in between her two day jobs as an educational consultant and university lecturer and lives with her family and three dogs on the Kent coast. Her first title for Boldwood is The Cornish Midwife – part of a twelve-book deal.

26 June 2022

Book Review: A Defiant Maiden’s Knight by Melissa Oliver *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of A Defiant Maiden’s Knight by Melissa Oliver ahead of the blog tour.

It's been a while since I read any books by Melissa Oliver so I was eager to jump right in to A Defian Maiden's Knight. And it fully lived up to my expectations, I loved it.

A Defiant Maiden’s Knight by Melissa Oliver mills & boon historical medieval romance book cover

A knight’s protection…

That she doesn’t want… Or need?

Joan Lovent may be losing her sight but she refuses to lose her independence too.

So when Sir Warin de Talmont tells her it’s too perilous to be out alone in the city, she doesn’t pay him any heed.

But with threats surrounding them, she begins to value his protection and helps with his dangerous work in return.

If only the powerful connection between them wasn’t so impossible to ignore!

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy 

5 Word Review: Family, love, loyalty, generosity, intrigue.

Excuse me while I grab some crusty bread and a glass of wine - it's time for more historical romance and I know from past books that this author will have me craving certain snacks.

Joan is very much the defiant maiden of the title - she is so strong willed and independent even as her condition rallies against her. Her encroaching blindness isn't the end of her world, and she strives to make it a better world for those less fortunate, her generosity with the Church was amazing. She has such a strong spirit.

Warin is the very definition of a knight. He's brave and driven and chivalrous and loyal, and I love that it was this that brought him and Joan together.

I loved the slow growing attraction between them, the way they both fought against it at first. Their attraction grows from getting to know each other, and I love relationships that build that way. The banter between them is excellent.

The story isn't just romance - I loved the threads of intrigue and mystery that went along with Warin's position in the Knights Fortitude.

The writing in this book is beautiful, a real pleasure to read. The setting is brought to life so vividly that I felt like I was there in the market streets from the very first page - and I was hungry. Get yourself some crusty bread and a juicy apple for this book because you will need snacks.

I can't wait to see what Melissa Oliver comes up with next.
A Defiant Maiden’s Knight by Melissa Oliver full blog tour banner

Melissa Oliver is from south-west London where she writes historical romance novels. She lives with her lovely husband and daughters, who share her passion for decrepit, old castles, palaces and all things historical.

Melissa is the WINNER of The Romantic Novelist Association’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers 2020 for her debut, The Rebel Heiress and the Knight. 

When she's not writing she loves to travel for inspiration, paint, and visit museums & art galleries.

Book Review: The Lost Laird from Her Past by Jeanine Englert *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Lost Laird from Her Past by Jeanine Englert ahead of the blog tour.

I loved the first book in the Falling for a Stewart series, Eloping with the Laird, and I'd easily recommend both books to everyone. They can easily be read as a standalone romance. The Lost Laird from Her Past by Jeanine Englert was perfect.

The Lost Laird from Her Past by Jeanine Englert

A second chance...

With her first love!

Lady Brenna Stewart is grateful to be saved from her burning carriage—only her rescuer is Laird Garrick MacLean, the man she once loved and lost!

He seems determined to protect her from the unknown enemy pursuing her across the Scottish Highlands.

But, bitterly hurt by his past betrayal, she needs answers. Why did he abandon her? And how can she keep her heart safe now, when the connection between them is as strong as ever…

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, power, betrayal, loyalty, love.

Oh no, another perfect historical romance.

I loved Brenna. She uses her femininity as a shield and everyone underestimates her for it. She's clever and capable, and I loved seeing her confront her fears.

Garrick has messed up in his past, and horrible things have happened. My heart ached to watch him work through his grief for his family and his home. Even he was guilty of underestimating Brenna at times, when he knew her best.

We all know I'm a sucker for a second-chance romance, and I enjoyed this one so freaking much. I loved the distrust from their past and how it brought a hesitancy to every interaction. Brenna's anger at Garrick is so understandable, he did not behave well when he first disappeared and left Brenna to wonder at his fate. The journey of their romance is perfect.

I loved that we got to see peeks of Moira in this story too, and how her life has changed once she married the man she loved and escaped her father's power-grabbing clutches.

This was an excellent romance in and excellent series that filled me with the warm fuzzies and left a huge grin on my face. I can't wait to read more by Jeanie Englert.

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Jeanine Englert’s love affair with mysteries and romance began with Nancy Drew, Murder She Wrote, and her Grandmother’s bookshelves full of romance novels. She is a VIVIAN® and Golden Heart® Finalist as well as a Silver Falchion, Maggie, and Daphne du Maurier Award Winner in historical romance and mystery. Her Scottish Highland historical and historical romantic suspense novels revolve around characters seeking self-acceptance and redemption. When she isn’t wrangling with her characters on the page, she can be found trying to convince her husband to watch her latest Masterpiece or BBC show obsession. She loves to talk about books, writing, her beloved rescue pups, as well as mysteries and romance with other readers. Visit her website at

While Away the Hours in Scotland Giveaway!
(Open to UK / US)

Whether it's too cold, too hot, or too rainy where you are, you can while away the hours with the first two books in the Falling for a Stewart Series: Eloping with the Laird and The Lost Laird from Her Past! Your prize also includes two Scottish blessing bracelets, one for you and one for a friend, and some lovely book swag! Happy reading! 

Terms and Conditions – UK & US 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.

25 June 2022

Book Review: A Harvest Murder by Frances Evesham *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of A Harvest Murder by Frances Evesham ahead of the blog tour.

This book was the cosiest of cosy mysteries. It's the kind to curl up with under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate with all the trimmings. It's perfect for a rainy day when you need to get lost in a good story.

A Harvest Murder by Frances Evesham cosy mystery book cover

One unexplained disappearance is strange, but two are sinister.

In Lower Hembrow, an idyllic village nestled beneath Ham Hill in Somerset, the villagers are preparing to enjoy the autumn traditions of the rural English countryside until Joe Trevillion, a curmudgeonly local farmer and the father of six children, vanishes.

When Adam Hennessy, the ex-detective proprietor of The Plough, the village's popular Inn, investigates, he finds ominous undercurrents beneath apparently harmless rumour and gossip.

Meanwhile, a vicious campaign of vindictiveness forces Adam and his three amateur sleuth friends to dig deep into the secret lives of their neighbours to expose the source of a cruel vendetta and prevent another death.

As they uncover the disturbing truth, the friends learn they must also lay their own past lives to rest before they can hope to make their dreams for the future come true.

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Community, secrets, family, mystery, belonging.

Grab yourself a nice hot drink and settle down for a cosy mystery that's all about community spirit. I kind of wish I'd read this in autumn, as the setting is perfect for getting you ready for fall. It may be midsummer but I am ready for cold rain and falling leaves.

I'm pretty sure this is apart of a series, but I don't feel that I've lost out by reading A Harvest Murder by as a standalone. The characters were fleshed out with history and their own stories and dramas. I feel like Adam was the main character, but his narrative time is shared with his friends so much that's it's more an ensemble. And I loved it, I loved the variety of perspectives we saw.

I loved all of the small dramas that thread through the story, the messiness of personal relationships, friendships and family life. So much is happening that you can't help but keep reading - you need to know how it's all going to end.

I loved the setting, the way that the village itself was almost a character, and particularly the hotel. I loved how much care the proprietor Imogen put into the place and its grounds, how generous she was with her time. The setting is so idyllic, and I want to go and have a pint in The Plough.

This is perfect for fans of Midsomer Murders who are looking to get their teeth into a new mystery, and it is very very British. And I will definitely be reading more by Frances Evesham.

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Frances Evesham is the bestselling author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea murder mysteries set in her home county of Somerset, and the Ham-Hill cosy crime series set in South Somerset.

23 June 2022

Book Review: The Forgotten House on the Moor by Jane Lovering *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Forgotten House on the Moor by Jane Lovering ahead of the blog tour.

We already know that Jane Lovering is an auto-buy author for me, so I jumped at the chance to join the tour for The Forgotten House on the Moor despite having the book pre-ordered. And yet again, it was an easy five star masterpiece.

The Forgotten House on the Moor by Jane Lovering book cover

Mystery, mayhem, a manor house and a generous serving of romance... 

When police knock on Alice Donaldson’s door at 4am, she knows the news won’t be good. There’s been an accident involving her ex-husband Grant, and as his existing next of kin, they need her help.

Grant is missing up on the North York moors, but the Grant Alice knew could barely be persuaded out on a walk around the block. What on earth possessed him to go on a hike in the middle of the night?

Alice soon finds herself working with Grant’s girlfriend Jenna and Jenna’s gorgeous ‘Lord of the family Manor’ brother Max, to find out what has happened, and what caused Grant’s accident at The Fortune House – the spooky house out on the moors.

The locals tell all manner of ghoulish stories about The Fortune House, which Alice is not minded to listen to. But before long, things take a turn for the strange and Max and Alice have a new mystery to solve. While all the while Alice can’t help hoping she might meet the requirements to be Max’s ‘Lady of the Manor’ at his country pile, Hatherleigh Hall.

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Source: Purchase | Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, ghosts, history, secrets, mystery, love.

BRB planning a holiday on the North York Moors.

Like all of Jane Lovering's previous books, this is a love letter to the North. The setting is beautiful, and beautifully described.

Alice is such a lovely person, even when it comes to the husband who left her seemingly without a thought. Alice is a bit of a disaster though - when she first makes her way to Fortune House she err... Doesn't do so well. I could feel myself cringe when she said she hadn't brought food or water, and I got a headache alongside her. I loved how welcoming and nice she was to Jenna, and honestly I want both of them as my friends.

Grant is er... Grant. And I can't say much more without revealing spoilers.

I loved the hint of the supernatural, Max's investigations and musings. Max himself is very driven, and very different from Alice. Together they were so sweet at times, and went together so well. And then every so often there'd be a conflict, a challenge, that highlighted the differences between them. But they worked through them in the sweetest ways.

I liked how ghosts as a concept were explored - the types that go wooo, the memories of the past that rear up, the imprints of past relationships. I thought it was very cleverly written.

As always, I also bought the audiobook. Rose Robinson narrates the audiobook and yet again does a wonderful job bringing the characters to life.

The ending was perfect, and this book left my soul feeling full. Jane Lovering has done it again, another perfect book.

I think that the blurb sums this book up perfectly: Mystery, mayhem, a manor house and a generous serving of romance... This book was the perfect read for anytime.
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Jane Lovering is the bestselling and award-winning romantic comedy writer who won the RNA Novel of the Year Award in 2012 with Please Don’t Stop the Music. She lives in Yorkshire and has a cat and a bonkers terrier, as well as five children who have now left home.

21 June 2022

The Way Back Almanac - Half Way Check In

I thought now, the summer solstice, was the perfect time to check in with how I'm getting on with The Way Back Almanac 2022, and share my thoughts on The Way Back Almanac 2023 (because I will absolutely be buying next years too).

This morning I stood in the sea up to my knees and watched the sun rise. I took time to breath and take in my surroundings: the smells, sights, sounds, tastes, textures. My soul felt so full. And this book has been teaching me how to embrace nature even from the city centre, and find that connection again.

The Way Back Almanac 2022

I have to admit I have fallen behind on the book club - some I just couldn't get in to, some I just couldn't make time for. Life is hectic right now and as much as I would love to devote more time to the book club reads, I find that romance is calling my name more often than not. And who am I to turn down a happy ending? I did utterly adore The Outrun by Amy Liptrott though, it gave me a lot to think about and it's a book I will definitely read again.

Even if I am neglecting the official book club reads, I am making more space for books I usually wouldn't read. I have a book on identifying trees and a book about stone circles in Cumbria on the go, and I have a book on the pre-history of Britain and trig points in Northumberland lined up. My non-fiction reading is definitely expanding.

I have had a lot of fun getting out at night too. I have gazed at the full moon and the darkness of the new, I have watched an eclipse, and I have gasped at meteor showers. It's been fun, those night-time adventures.

I've had fun with the recipes, although I've had to modify a few to make them nut free. I must have found the biggest celeriac in existence, because I got six bowls of soup out of mine and still had half of it left.

Making space and time for myself has been really needed this year, and I really needed the guidance.

Now is the perfect time to start thinking ahead to next year. I will definitely be following along again, and I can't wait for more growth and self-care and small magics.

The Way Back Almanac 2023

A contemporary seasonal guide back to nature

by Melinda Salisbury

The Way Back Almanac, the first almanac designed for modern city-dwellers, returns in 2023!

Beautifully illustrated throughout, each month includes sections on stargazing, gardening tips, seasonal vegan recipes, home organization or crafting ideas, digital wellbeing practices, rituals, book club reads, folklore or ancient wisdom as told by modern people from different walks of life, and free space for your own writing, notes or recipes.

  • Harvest your own home-grown micro greens, windowsill radishes or rooftop carrots.
  • Celebrate seasonal citrus with PiƱa Colada Bars or relieve the heat of midsummer with Lithuanian beetroot gazpacho.
  • Sew your own foraging pouch for May-time foraging or make a bee bath for thirsty July bees.
  • Create a phone photo journal of your favourite patch of local green.
  • Make your own Wake-Up Shower Fizzers or May Day Dew Face Wash.
  • Watch the 120-meteor-per-hour Geminid Shower to see out the year in Way Back style.

This interactive and treasured item will gently encourage creativity, fulfillment and ultimately a way back to yourself.

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If you were to compare 2022 and 2023 editions, there isn't a massive amount that's different - and I like that. The structure is the same, but the content is what changes. There is a different line-up of books for the bookclub, and different interviews and writings.

The illustrations in 2023 are different and if I dare say are even more gorgeous than the first one.

This book would make the perfect gift for anyone in your life who misses natures, loves the small wonders of the world, and wants to experience personal growth.

If you want to experience proper growth next year, then pre-order The Way Back Almanac 2023, read it when you get it, and get planning. If there is one thing I've learned following this year's Almanac, it's that life gets in the way. I want to take part more thoroughly next year so I'll be putting the prep in.

I have included Amazon links about but I would recommend going straight to the author's store where you can pick up a signed copy.

20 June 2022

Book Review: The Vet's Unexpected Hero by Traci Douglass *AD Gifted

Mills & Boon sent me a free e-copy of The Vet's Unexpected Hero by Traci Douglass via NetGalley.

When I saw this on NetGalley last year I requested it straight away. And then life got in the way and for ~reasons~ I ended up not picking this up until now.

But now that I've finally got round to reading The Vet's Unexpected Hero by Traci Douglass I am kicking myself, because it was amazing! And it turns out that it sounded so up my street that as well as requesting a review copy, I bought a copy myself. No regrets about having multiple copies, big regrets about not reading it sooner.

The Vet's Unexpected Hero by Traci Douglass Mills & Boon medical romance book cover

Safety in his arms?

In this First Response in Florida story, vet Lucy is happy with her quiet, ordered life.

Until a tropical storm threatens her Florida Keys animal sanctuary, and the arrival of gorgeous, yet guarded, emergency medic Jackson Durand brings disorder – and desire!

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Source: NetGalley | Review Copy 

5 Word Review: Loyalty, care, danger, love.

This was such  fast-paced romance that I am still trying to catch my breath. I couldn't put this book down and read it in a single sitting.

Lucy's love of animals is a massive part of her - she's so caring and so driven to give that care. I thought the portrayal of her OCD was really well done, and loved how the story explored her daily life with it. She's had a tough past and is out of a bad relationship, and is trying to protect herself.

Jackson is admittedly a bit of a douche at first. He's arrogant and distant, especially when it comes to love. But when it comes to caring for others, he can rival Lucy. He's fiercely protective and full f ambition, always looking to work that bit harder.

Both are so quick to forget to care for themselves, that when they're together and trying to care for the other, it's just so freaking cute. Whether it's Jackson giving Lucy a hug because he thinks she needs one, or Lucy chewing Jackson out about caring for his wound.

This story is so fast paced. The imminent danger really drives the tension up, and the close quarters that Lucy and Jackson find themselves in is irresistible. Theirs is a burning passion fuelled by forced proximity, and instant attraction, danger outside, and their generous caring natures. I am here for it.

I will definitely be reading the next First Response in Florida story Her One-Night Secret, there was the barest peek of Stacy at Luis in this book and I liked what I saw.

She posed a puzzling challenge, and he did love a challenge.