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20 October 2021

Book Review: Highland Games by Evie Alexander *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Highland Games by Evie Alexander ahead of the blog tour.

When was the last time a book made you so giddy you lost your voice? When you laughed so hard on public transport you fell off your seat? When it warmed your heart so much you just about melted? 

Because Highland Games by Evie Alexander will do all of the above.

Highland Games by Evie Alexander book cover

Welcome to Kinloch, and the hottest winter Scotland’s ever seen...

Zoe’s always played it safe, just as her parents wanted. But when her great-uncle dies and leaves her a ramshackle cabin in the Scottish Highlands, she decides it’s time to change her life.

Upping sticks seems like a good idea in her cosy flat in London, but the reality is very different. There’s no electricity or running water, the roof leaks and there’s no front door. If that wasn’t bad enough, she’s moved up in the depths of winter and her scorching hot neighbour wants her out.

Rory’s got a fifty thousand tonne problem. If he can’t make Kinloch castle profitable, he’s out of a job. He needs a clear head, but there’s someone living in the cabin he saw as his own and she’s turned his world upside down.

Rory needs Zoe out of Scotland, and out of his life. The trouble is, she has no intention of leaving.

Let the games begin…

Amazon UK | Amazon US

Add Highland Games by Evie Alexander to Goodreads button
Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, escape, nature, friendship, love.


This book will put the most ridiculous smile on your face.

I must have highlighted about a quarter of this book on my kindle, there are so many excellent quotes and scenes that made me laugh. And gasp. Oh my. I was giddy, inescapably caught up in the story from the first page.

Highland Games is such a fun read, and made me laugh out loud so many times. The tone of the writing, the style of the storytelling, is engaging and humorous. The scene with the cows and the cabin had me laughing so much I slid out of my chair, honestly I felt a bit like Zoe at that point.

Zoe takes every challenge in her stride, even when people are meddling and making it more difficult for her. I loved her resolve, her joy for life, her determination. She's creative and generous, and I loved her for it. She's not perfect, she has flaws and insecurities, and I related to her so freaking much.

Rory is a grump, and he's so arrogant and entitled at times! Like dude, chill. It's not yours, you can't have it, back off. And yet I loved him too. I did think he went too far at times, but he had the self-awareness to realise it himself too and that helped make up for it. He's so guarded and afraid of love and connections, and my heart ached a bit for him.

Together, Zoe and Rory are sizzling. There are some massive bumps along the road with this romance, but it was never frustrating. If anything, I looked forward to the next bout of shenanigans. 

The setting is magical, and as small as it is, it also felt almost epic. The cabin was small, but the sky was endless. The town was small, but the community heart was like a balm to the soul.

I want to escape to an off grid cabin by a loch, please. Please.

This contemporary highland romance was perfect in every way.


Highland Games by Evie Alexander blog tour banner


Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Highland Games, Shortbread and more…
(Open UK)

Prize is a signed copy of Highland Games, Exclusive postcard and bookmark, Personalised heart & Shortbread.
Highland Games by Evie Alexander blog tour giveaway


*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.

16 October 2021

Book Review: The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery *AD gifted

I was provided with a free copy of The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery ahead of the blog tour.

Yep, I'm jumping straight into the festive romances early. I can't help it, after the past couple years I need all of the happy endings I can get. And The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery fit the bill just right.

The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery book cover

'Tis the season to fall in love.

A year since she was dumped by her fiancé, the last thing Reggie Somerville wants is to come back home for Christmas. But when her parents announce their plans for a lavish Christmas wedding she has no choice. She expects to face town gossip, she does not expect to run into her first love Toby, or deal with the feelings he stirs in her…

Dena Somerville is single and pregnant-on purpose. Wanting a family her way she's determined to do it alone. She didn’t expect the distraction of a handsome musician checking into her inn-and one snow-kissed moment-to make her question what she really wants this Christmas…

As the Christmas wedding draws closer, these two sisters may just find the most unexpected gift of all—love.

Fall in love with this sparkling festive romance from international bestselling author Susan Mallery

Add The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery to Goodreads



Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, love, belonging, Christmas.


This book is like a Hallmark film come to life. I freaking loved it.

I'm the type of person that has Channel 5 every day in December to catch all of the Christmas films, and I settle into the Netflix Christmas Universe every evening for a re-watch of A Christmas Prince or The Holiday Calendar. On weekends I watch Hjem Til Jul over and over so I don't need the subtitles any more.

I'm a simple being. I love Christmas. Bring me all of the festive.

The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery fit the bill just right.

This was a perfect return to hometown romance, and I loved how the complications of the tropes caused all sorts of complications in the story. We had a return to Reggie's hometown for the first time since the breakdown of her relationship, and a second chance at love, and I loved the shared history, the resentment, the care that it brought. Wishing Tree is a small town where everyone knows everybody, and their business. And it's also festive AF.

I have to say that out of the two sisters, Dena was my favourite. I loved her personality and her drive and how she thought she had it all worked out. She's independent and happily defying expectations, and I loved to read it. Reggie was excellent too, and the moments of her with Belle were so cute and heart-warming - reminded me of me with my own Belle.

Family in books tends to mean mess, and there was plenty of it to go around. I liked the drama and the petty squabbles and the deep love.

The setting in this book really leans in to the festive. Christmas is SUCH A BIG DEAL and  I wanted to so desperately to experience it at Wishing Tree. It's the perfect Christmassy setting and was a gorgeous backdrop to the story.

I am glad that this is part of a series, as I definitely want more! The Christmas Wedding Guest is sure to fill your heart to bursting with feel good festive cheer.

The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery blog tour banner

Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of books about the relationships that define women's lives—romance, friendship, family. With compassion and humor, Susan keenly observes how people think and feel, in stories that take readers on an emotional journey. Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, Susan's books have spent more than 200 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, thanks to her ever growing legions of fans.

Critics, too, have heaped praise on "the new queen of romantic fiction." (Walmart) Booklist says, "Romance novels don't get much better than Mallery's expert blend of emotional nuance, humor, and superb storytelling," and RT Book Reviews puts her "in a class by herself!"

Although Susan majored in Accounting, she never worked as an accountant because she was published straight out of college with two books the same month. Sixteen prolific years and seventy-four books later, she hit the New York Times bestsellers list for the first time with Accidentally Yours in 2008. She made many appearances in the Top 10 before (finally) hitting #1 in 2015 with Thrill Me, the twentieth book in her most popular series, the Fool's Gold romances, and the fourth of five books released that year.

Susan lives in Seattle with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Her heart for animals has led Susan to become an active supporter of the Seattle Humane Society. Animals play a big role in her books, as well, as she believes they're an integral component to a happy life. Visit Susan online at www.SusanMallery.com.

12 October 2021

Book Review Log Book by Jennifer Gilmour

I was provided with a free copy of Book Review Log Book by Jennifer Gilmour ahead of the blog tour.

This is a beautiful paperback book will all you need to keep your reading records offline.

Book Review Log Book by Jennifer Gilmour

You can set a reading goal, rate and review books, take plenty of notes, and indulge in a little creativity. I thought it was excellent, and it is the perfect gift for any bookworm.

Even the cover is pretty, and hints at the slight artistic touches throughout the log book.

I thought I'd share a bit about what to expect in the Book Review Log Book, and my plans on how I will use it. This is going to be my 2022 reading record offline, and I've already started filling in some sections and using the notes pages.

Amazon UK | Amazon US


To Be Read

Sketch the book ends onto the shelf.

This is the first thing you come to, and I thought it was awesome. I'm not majorly creative or artsy myself, but this keeps it simple while leaving room for you. It's a double spread of blank shelves with some botanical decorations to the side, with lots of room for adding you own book spines.


Book Release

Write the books you are looking forward to coming out.

Here we have another double page spread, this time a year to view for you to write down everything you're excited about. I've already started filling mine in ready for next year, and it's very handy for me because my memory is like a sieve and I'm always forgetting what I have my eye on or have pre-ordered.


Read 50 Books

Colour in a square when you've finished a book.

This is a single page spread filled with fifty squares to colour in as you finish a book. There is space at the bottom to enter six genres so you can see at a glance your reading tastes - if I coloured mine in based on this year I think I'd be surprised at the genres other than romance that I read.

I think 50 is a great goal - it's a little under one book per week, which I think is easily achievable with audiobooks and a Netflix ban.


Word Cloud

Add words that inspire you as you read.

A single page with some faint clouds as a background, and some silhouetted birds, I think this is a lovely idea. Sometimes when I'm reading there will be a turn of phrase or a word used in a different context than I'm used to and I'm like Oh. Now I have a place to note it down.


Book Review

There are 100 pages for you to fill with your thoughts on the books you've read, and you can enter a fair bit about them too. I think the space for a cover image (and the size is shared too) is a fantastic touch. When I fill it in I will probably print the covers in batches once a month and go to town with a glue stick.

  • Cover Image
  • Title
  • Author
  • Date Started
  • Date Finished
  • Format
  • Rating
  • Quotes
  • Personal Review
At the end of the section there's a lovely note to congratulate you.

Notes

A place for your thoughts and scribbles.

Between here and the end of the book are plenty of lined pages for notes and scribbles. I'll likely use this to compile TBRs and note down challenges and blog post ideas.


If you head on over to my instagram, you can find photos of the contents.


About the Author

Jennifer Gilmour is an author and advocate for women in abusive relationships, using her own experiences of domestic abuse as a catalyst to bring awareness and to help others. Jennifer has published two publications, Isolation Junction and Clipped Wings which have both been Amazon Best Sellers and received awards. Jennifer speaks at events across the UK and continues to raise awareness through her blog posts, public speaking, radio interviews and social media. 

Most Informative Blogger Award 2018 (Bloggers Bash Annual Awards)
UK & European Award for using Social Media for Good 2019 (Social Day: Social Media Marketing Awards) 

Jennifer says: “Together we are Louder”.



08 October 2021

Book Beginnings: We Can Be Heroes by Kyrie McCauley

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

I have the Worst Cold Ever right now, everything hurts and I can't stop coughing. Not too sure I trust my negative PCR so I'm staying in despite the result. I had hoped to visit a bookshop this week with it being Bookshop Week but alas I cannot.

I am currently reading We Can Be Heroes by Kyrie McCauley (AD - gifted).

We Can Be Heroes by Kyrie McCauley book cover


MERIT LOGAN: Welcome, listeners, to We Can Be Heroes, a podcast made for survivors of violence in the tradition of the "Take Back the Night" rallies that began in the 197s and continue to this day.

I was sent a free review copy of We Can Be Heroes by Kyrie McCauley

It's an interesting start. I'm not sure what I think about the podcast transcript, but it has piqued my interest.

I love the cover, I think it's gorgeous and clever.

I feel like this is going to be a pretty tense read, and uncomfortable at times. It's a story about the intersection of gun violence and misogyny - how could it not be uncomfortable? But I am looking forward to it.

MERIT LOGAN: What happened to Cassandra Queen? If you ask the sheriff of Bell, it was young love gone awry - and Nico Bell wasn't an abusive killer, but a lovesick Romeo.

This is from page 56 in my review copy.

OK, so I love the format of the story, the mix of podcast transcript and prose. It makes the book so quick to read, it gives so many different angles to the story.

I freaking love it. And I'm hoping to be punched in the feels.

About the Book

“Welcome to Bell, proud home of Bell Firearms for two hundred years, and where five months ago, the teen heir to the Bell fortune took his father’s guns to school and killed his ex-girlfriend, Cassandra Queen.” —WE CAN BE HEROES PODCAST

Beck and Vivian never could stand each other, but they always tried their best for their mutual friend, Cassie. After the town moves on from Cassie’s murder too fast, Beck and Vivian finally find common ground: vengeance. They memorialize Cassie by secretly painting murals of her around town, a message to the world that Cassie won’t be forgotten. But Beck and Vivian are keeping secrets, like the third passenger riding in Beck’s VW bus with them—Cassie’s ghost.

When their murals catch the attention of a podcaster covering Cassie’s case, they become the catalyst for a debate that Bell Firearms can no longer ignore. With law enforcement closing in on them, Beck and Vivian hurry to give Cassie the closure she needs—by delivering justice to those responsible for her death.


Add Have You Seen Me? by Alexandrea Weis to Goodreads button


What are you reading this week?


07 October 2021

Book Review: The Cosy Cottage In Ireland by Julie Caplin *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Cosy Cottage In Ireland by Julie Caplin ahead of the blog tour.

Although it may be part of the Romantic Escapes series, The Cosy Cottage in Ireland can absolutely be read as a standalone. All of the series can, and you can read them in any order without missing out. If you're feeling down look no further, because this book will cheer you right up.

The Cosy Cottage In Ireland by Julie Caplin book cover

Snuggle up in your favourite armchair and take a trip across the Irish sea for comfort food, cosy cottage nights and a heartwarming romance…

Talented lawyer Hannah Campbell is after a change in her workaholic Manchester life – so on an uncharacteristic whim she books herself a place at the world-renowned Killorgally Cookery School in Country Kerry.

But on her first night in Ireland, sampling the delights of Dublin, Hannah can’t resist falling for the charms of handsome stranger Conor. It’s only when Hannah arrives at her postcard-pretty home at Killorgally for the next six weeks that she discovers what happens in Dublin doesn’t quite stay in Dublin …

Nestled amongst rolling green hills and breath-taking countryside, the cookery school throws Hannah and Conor together – for better or worse.


Add The Cosy Cottage In Ireland by Julie Caplin to Goodreads



Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Food, Ireland, cooking, expectations, love.


Warning, this book will make you hungry.

Read The Cosy Cottage in Ireland by Julie Caplin after a good meal, relax with a glass of wine by the fire.

I loved Hannah. I loved how she was pushing herself out of her comfort zone, it reminded me of me when I was trying to find myself. And just like me, Hannah got herself into some errr... Situations. It was excellent. She changes so much between the pages as she embarks on her culinary journey.

Conor is arrogant and cynical but he has reason to be. He's a complicated man who is trying to escape the spotlight, and he's quick and harsh to judge others. As unfair as I thought his treatment of Hannah was after Dublin, I wholly understood it. This book doesn't rely on the misunderstanding trope, rather it plays with the characters omitting certain details, and I thought it felt really fresh.

The first meeting between Hannah and Conor gave me such a giggle, and I loved how they came together. After that I loved the battle of wills between them, the sneers and glares and growls. And the tentative olive branch, the slow understanding? Perfection. 

I loved the scenery, how Hannah saw the world around her. I loved that she would pull on her walking boots and get out there, and that I could go with her. Her voice as a character was so expressive, it was easy to feel how she felt.

The writing is gorgeous and evocative. As much as I could feel the settings come alive around me, I could almost taste the food and wine and smell the fresh air. This was like a holiday in a book, an escape to another country.

I'll definitely be checking out more of the Romantic Escapes series.


The Cosy Cottage In Ireland by Julie Caplin blog tour banner


Julie Caplin, formerly a PR director, swanned around Europe for many years taking top food and drink writers on press trips (junkets) sampling the gastronomic delights of various cities in Italy, France, Belgium, Spain, Copenhagen and Switzerland. It was a tough job but someone had to do it. 

These trips have provided the inspiration and settings for her Romantic Escapes series which have been translated into fifteen different languages.

The first book in the seven strong series, The Little Café in Copenhagen, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

06 October 2021

Book Review: Snug In Iceland by Victoria Walker *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Snug In Iceland by Victoria Walker ahead of the blog tour.

I looked up halfway through reading this book and I was utterly shocked that it was not snowing outside.

Snug In Iceland by Victoria Walker boo cover

Rachel Richards is stuck in a rut. Her boyfriend Adam barely notices her most of the time and her life in London isn’t as exciting as it should be.

When the company she works for, Snug, asks her to oversee the opening of a new store in Iceland, she jumps at the chance for a change of scenery.

Exploring Reykjavik with the help of Icelandic tour guide Jonas, Rachel discovers that life is out there waiting to be lived.

As she falls in love with Iceland, she begins to see what is important to her and wonders whether the life she left behind is what she wants after all…

Add Love on Location by Lynne Shelby to Goodreads



Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Relationships, work, responsibility, friendship, care.


Snug in Iceland is the perfect book to snuggle up with as the evenings draw in.

Rachel was excellent. I loved her drive and her passion, and how open she was to change and adventure. I felt so sorry for her at times, and how lonely she appeared at times. She has a wicked drive and creativity though, and even if I didn't agree with all of her actions I couldn't help but get fully behind her.

Jonas is so lovely and sweet, although he doesn't seems to have boundaries down. I did find it a bit cringe at first, but it was also part of his charm and quickly grew on me. I wanted a gentle shoulder touch, a peck on the cheek. He's such a pure soul, and seems so surprisingly innocent at times.

I do have to admit that there is a bit of a cheating storyline, which usually would be an instant nope from me. But in Snug in Iceland it worked? I wasn't that put off by it? If anything I was kind of abso-freaking-lutely behind it? I wanted Rachel to have the love and respect she deserved and I was happy to look past her deeds for it.

I looked up halfway through reading this book and I was utterly shocked that it was not snowing outside. I was so deeply drawn into the world that I was disappointed that I wasn't wrapped in ten layers hiding in a remote cabin from a snow storm. The writing is excellent and will instantly transport you around Iceland.

This is a book to read on a long cold night, with a glass of wine and a cosy blanket. It's gorgeous and heart-warming and perfect for winter. I will definitely be reading Snug in Iceland again.

Snug In Iceland by Victoria Walker blog tour banner

Victoria Walker lives in the Malvern Hills with her husband and two teenage children. She is an avid reader of contemporary romance but tempers this addiction by being a member of a book club where she is often surprised by her enjoyment of other genres. She also loves sewing and knitting and Scandinavian dramas.

04 October 2021

Book Review: A Nun For The Viking Warrior by Lucy Morris *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of A Nun For The Viking Warrior by Lucy Morris ahead of the blog tour.

Remember how much I loved The Viking Chief's Marriage Alliance, the author's debut earlier this year? and I did a five favourite quotes? And it was utterly perfect and amazing?

Well, how dare this book be so perfect too.

A Nun For The Viking Warrior by Lucy Morris book cover Mills & Boon historical romance

Forced to wed the warrior

Falling for the man…

Noblewoman Amée Évreaux had pledged her life to God, until her father promised her in marriage to thundering Norseman, Jorund Jötunnson.

After escaping her overbearing father, Amée vows never to fall under another man’s thumb, but her resistance to being Jorund’s wife turns to desire as she gets to know her intriguing new husband. For beneath his fierce exterior she’s glimpsed an unexpectedly pure heart.

If only she can penetrate the fortress that surrounds it…

Amazon UK | Amazon US

Add to Goodreads button

Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Control, love, cruelty, family, betrayal.


The gentle giant of my dreams is here, and I am in love.

We meet Amée first, and she is an excellent heroine. I loved her story - she has had a messy, complicated life and it's made her a messy, complicated character. I loved the scenes of her inner turmoil whether it be about her faith or her attraction to Jorund. She has a great sense of duty to those under the care of her estate, and the conflict she felt when coming up against Jorund was excellent.

And Jorund? Possibly my new favourite romantic hero. I freaking loved him. I loved that he was tough and rough and gentle and caring all at once. He was as generous as Amée and together they made the most wonderful pair.

This is a fast paced romance, with a bit of everything you need for a good story. The romance was enticing, the passion was sizzling, and the action was breath-taking.

I thought that the historical setting was exquisite. I loved the small details that brought the world to life, the different constraints placed on different characters by society and how that helped shape their world. Life was hard, justice was harder, and A Nun for the Viking Warrior really brought the world to life.

This is perfect for fans of Vikings or The Last Kingdom.

I can't wait to see what Lucy Morris writes next, because her first two books have been truly phenomenal.

A Nun For The Viking Warrior by Lucy Morris blog tour banner

As a little girl, Lucy Morris was obsessed with myths and legends. She regularly escaped into the adventures of her imagination, with characters who were strong and fierce. Now fully grown she finds she can't forget the stories plaguing her mind and has to write them down. A book by Lucy Morris will sweep you away on a historical adventure filled with vivid characters haunted by their pasts. Her books will have you flying through her pages, desperate to reach her characters passionately romantic happily ever after. 

She lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two young children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves gin, bubbly and Irn-Bru. A member of the UK Romantic Novelists' Association, she was delighted in 2020 to accept a two-book deal with Harlequin after submitting her story to the Warriors Wanted submission blitz for Viking, Medieval, and Highlander romances.

Writing for Harlequin Historical is a dream come true for her and she hopes you enjoy her books!