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17 December 2021

Series Crackdown: Festive Edition Readathon Prompts

I love taking part in Series Crackdown and I am yet again super excited! The Festive Edition runs from Friday 17th of December to Monday 27th December. I'll be working five of those days but hope it will be quiet enough for a sneaky audiobook in the background.


Series Crackdown: Festive Edition Readathon Prompts


The Prompts

I'm working over Christmas, so I don't know how much reading I'll get done. I have a few ideas for books for my TBR that can fit a few of the prompts at once so I can tick off multiple squares with each book just in case.
  • Red Cover
  • Set in Winter/Christmas
  • Read by the Fire
  • Foil on the Cover
  • Magic
  • Given/Received as a Gift
  • Includes a Celebration
  • Want to Finish Before 2022

TBR

These are all books that were already on my extended TBR, so this is the perfect excuse to squeeze them in. Also, three of them coincidentally have red on the cover in some way, and I can switch the telly over to the Birchwood fire on Netflix while I read.
  • Hero in the Highlands by Suzanne Enoch
  • Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
  • Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson
  • These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan

I am excited for all four of these books to be honest! None of them are mid-series, and one of them is a standalone, but hey ho. This festive edition of Series Crackdown is all about some end of year cramming for me.


Hero in the Highlands by Suzanne Enoch was very kindly gifted to me by an internet stranger, and the cover is a gorgeous red clinch. I'm an absolute sucker for a highland romance, and this is a Suzanne Enoch book that I haven't read yet.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao sounds absolutely incredible. The dustcover is fiery reds and oranges, the naked hardback is foiled, and it promises magic galore. I also have it on audiobook, so it will keep me company while I'm doing chores and between calls at work.

Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson is probably the book I am most excited about because it's freaking Juno Dawson, and it's Christmassy. I definitely want to finish it before Christmas, never mind before 2022! It also has some gorgeous purple foil on the cover.

These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan is the book that's going to fit the celebration prompt - I asked around and apparently it has a ball and a wedding! The naked hardcover is also foiled, and it features magic.

The Photo Challenge

I can't remember when I last posted on Instagram, but I'm going to use this challenge to post every day and get back into the swing of things for the new year.

  • Your Series Crackdown TBR
  • Festive Cover
  • Christmas Lights
  • Current Read
  • Christmas Tipple
  • Most Anticipated 2022 Read
  • Christmas Traditions
  • Books and Chocolate
  • Day Off - Merry Christmas!
  • Santa Brought Me...
  • Series Crackdown Wrap-Up

This year I'm hoping to do every prompt, because for once Santa is bring me at least one book. Woo!


Wish me luck, because I will need it.


Will you be taking part in Series Crackdown?
What are your festive reading plans?

 

09 December 2021

Book Review: Tempted By The Runes by Christina Courtenay *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Tempted By The Runes by Christina Courtenay ahead of the blog tour.

After reading Whispers of the Runes earlier this year, I was desperate to read the next. For all that this is a series, they can easily be read as standalone or out of order with only mild spoilers.

Tempted By The Runes by Christina Courtenay book cover

Born centuries apart. Bound by a love that defied time.

She couldn’t believe her eyes. The runes were normally so reliable and she had never doubted them before.

Madison Berger is visiting Dublin with her family for a Viking re-enactment festival, when she chances upon a small knife embedded in the banks of the Liffey. Maddie recognises what the runes on the knife’s handle signify: the chance to have her own adventures in the past. 

Maddie only intends to travel back in time briefly, but a skirmish in 9th century Dublin results in her waking up on a ship bound for Iceland, with the man who saved her from attack. 

Geir Eskilsson has left his family in Sweden to boldly carve out a life of his own. He is immediately drawn to Maddie, but when he learns of her connection to his sisters-in-law, he begins to believe that Fate has played a part in bringing them together. Amidst the perils that await on their journey to a new land, the truest battle will be to win Maddie’s heart and convince her that the runes never lie… 


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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

Content Warnings: Violence, blood, threat of sexual assault.

5 Word Review: History, friendship, danger, travel, love.


Trust me, you need this Viking time travel romance in your life.

I loved Maddie. I loved how she could hold her own, even out of her own time. Her curiosity was such a huge part of her personality and really helped drive the plot. I loved her distrust Geir, and it was justified to start with!

Geir is very headstrong and has such a tough interior, but deep down he's a teddy bear. He's so gentle and caring and thoughtful, it warmed my heart right up. I think that the only thing I didn't like about Geir was his manipulation at the beginning. I completely understand where he was coming from with his actions, but I do wish he'd perhaps been more honest with Maddie about how he knew of time travellers. Maddie of all people would have understood!

I thought they were great together, this couple work so well.

The small details bring this story truly alive. I could picture perfectly Maddie securing her hair with an intricately carved bone pin. I could feel the weather, the elements, on my skin. The descriptions are amazing and bring everything to life brilliantly. It was almost like I was wandering there myself.

I thought the extra layer of mysticism added by Maddie's fortune telling with runes was very clever, especially with how it added to her inner turmoil.

Tempted By The Runes by Christina Courtenay is perfect for fans of Outlander, Vikings, and The Last Kingdom, and the details make for the perfect historical(ish) romance.
Tempted By The Runes by Christina Courtenay blog tour banner

Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings. Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014), and the RNA Fantasy Romantic Novel of the year 2021 with Echoes of the Runes. Tempted by the Runes (time travel published by Headline 9th December 2021) is her latest novel. Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

Giveaway to Win a signed paperback copy of Tempted By The Runes, a pair of silver Thor's hammer earrings and a Thor's hammer Christmas tree bauble 
(Open INT)

*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.

Tempted By The Runes by Christina Courtenay giveaway



Book Review: My Lucky Night by Olivia Spring *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of My Lucky Night by Olivia Spring ahead of the blog tour.

Need a quick read to get you in the Christmas mood? Look no further. Put on your Christmas playlist and . Although this can be read as the second book in the My Ten-Year Crush series, it's a perfect novella in its own right.

My Lucky Night by Olivia Spring book cover

She hates Christmas. He’s about to change her mind…

Cassie isn’t a fan of Christmas. After a string of unlucky incidents during the festive season—including getting dumped—this year she decides to spend the day at home. Alone. No men. No complications. 

But then her nightmare boss demands she track down this year’s most coveted Christmas gift—and the only person who can help is an annoyingly sexy Frenchman she’s just met.

Nicolas might look hot, but Cassie can tell he’s also arrogant, irritating and in love with himself. Exactly the kind of guy she hates. Plus, he’ll only help her find the gift if she helps him with something in return... 

Could Cassie’s festive fortunes finally be about to change? Can she learn to love Christmas again? And will Cassie get lucky in more ways than one?

Set against a gorgeous London backdrop with sparkling lights, Christmas markets and mistletoe, My Lucky Night is a fun, sexy enemies-to-lovers romcom novella that will give you all the feels! Ideal for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Mhairi McFarlane.

Read as a standalone novella or as book two in the My Ten-Year Crush series.

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Christmas, Santa, family, love, passion.


I love a cynical Scrooge of a heroine in a Christmas story. Is there anything better than watching them succumb to the joy of the season? Watch their heart melt as they fall in love?

From the very first line I was here for Cassie's lack of Christmas cheer. Paired with Paul's innocent child outlook on the world, the start of the book had me gasping for air I was laughing so much. If I'd had a drink it would have come out of my nose.

Queues. 
If there was one thing I hated more than queuing, it was queuing at Christmas.

Cassie's personality shines through every page of the story, and she's an easy character to fall in love with. I could see little parts of me in her, and it put a nice smile on my face. And had me wanting to pick up a colouring book in the evening. Her boss is a real piece of work and I hated him, although without him we wouldn't have Nicolas and Cassie pushed together.

Nicolas is... The hot rude guy. At least until Cassie gets to know him a bit better. I loved his wicked wit, the way he had a retort of everything Cassie threw his way.

I loved every time Cassie and Nicolas clashed. There is so much passion, oh boy. The back and forth banter between them is amazing.

This is a short but sweet Christmas romance that will have you feeling all of the joy of the season. It's kind of like a Hallmark film and will fill you with the warm fuzzies.


My Lucky Night by Olivia Spring blog tour banner

Olivia Spring is a British, London-based writer of contemporary women's fiction, sexy chick lit and romantic comedy. Her uplifting debut novel The Middle-Aged Virgin, which was released in 2018, deals with being newly single in your thirties and beyond, dating, relationships, love, sex and living life to the full.

In addition to The Middle-Aged Virgin, Olivia has published The Middle-Aged Virgin in Italy, Love Offline, Losing My Inhibitions, Only When It's Love and the sequel When’s The Wedding? 
Olivia’s seventh novel, My Ten-Year Crush, was published in September 2021 and book two in the series, My Lucky Night followed in November 2021.

When she's not writing, Olivia can be found enjoying cupcakes and cocktails and of course, seeking inspiration for her next book!

Book Review: A Winter Wedding at Mistletoe Gate Farm by Helen J Rolfe *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of A Winter Wedding at Mistletoe Gate Farm by Helen J Rolfe ahead of the blog tour.

Grab a mince pie (or any baked goods really) and a glass of mulled wine, and settle in for a heart-warming story of festive joy. This book will put a massive smile on your face, it is so full of love. And it's perfect for reading in the run up to Christmas. You may even get ideas.

I haven't read any of the other Heritage Cove books, but I definitely will be. This can absolute be read on its own but now I'm curious about the rest of the population of the village!

A Winter Wedding at Mistletoe Gate Farm by Helen J Rolfe book cover

It's almost Christmas in Heritage Cove - the village tree is all lit-up, the bakery is full of festive treats, the tea rooms and waffle shack are welcoming locals inside out of the cold, and for some of the residents of the Cove, snow might not be the only thing they're wishing for this year...

Tilly is overjoyed when an estranged relative comes to Heritage Cove wanting to make amends. But as she lets him in to her life and Tilly’s Bits ‘n’ Pieces - the shop she owns and loves - her friends aren’t so sure whether everything is quite as it seems.

Benjamin’s parents run Mistletoe Gate Farm, selling Christmas trees, wreaths and mistletoe. Benjamin has always thought his family was as firmly rooted in the ground as the rows of Norway Spruce and Fraser Firs. But when he finds a letter that rocks his world he realises he may not be able to do anything to prevent the changes coming their way.

Benjamin and Tilly have been falling for one another since the summer but will family complications put an abrupt stop to what is looking like a burgeoning romance?

With festive cheer weaving its way through the Cove as two local favourites plan their wedding, there’s more than one relationship that could receive a little Christmas magic…

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Love, community, Christmas, wedding, friendship.


I wish I was the barest smidgeon as creative as Tilly is. She's like a living Pinterest board and I am jealous. She's also such an utterly good person that you can't help but love her. I would love to delve into her shop and find some treasure.

Tilly is lovely. She's so kind and generous and wickedly creative (have I mentioned yet? The jealousy of a fictional character is real).

Benjamin is just as bloomin' lovely. With his family farm, it could be all to easy for him to be cynical and sick to death of Christmas. He cares so much for his family, for everyone around him, and it really does just give you hope for humanity. Seeing his worry for his parents hit me right in the feels.

This book made me so hungry. It is absolutely perfect for reading in a coffee shop as you take a break from shopping. I wished so bad I was sat by the window in a coffee shop with a flavoured latte and a mince pie.

I loved the exploration of community in this book. I've got a feeling it's a running theme in the Heritage Cove books, and one I'm all too eager to read more about. It's the kind of place you want to live yourself, picturesque and lovely, and filled with lovely people. Like a little slice of very British paradise, complete with sometimes grim weather.

This story bring Christmas to you. From the festive feels to the decorations, the mince pies to the community spirit, I am ready for a wonderful Christmas. And I can't wait to read more of the Heritage Cove series.


A Winter Wedding at Mistletoe Gate Farm by Helen J Rolfe blog tour banner

Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women's fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Characters often face challenges and must fight to overcome them, but above all, Helen's stories always have a happy ending.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen's books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

04 December 2021

Book Review: Cinderella and the Scarred Viscount by Sarah Mallory *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Cinderella and the Scarred Viscount by Sarah Mallory ahead of the blog tour.

A Cinderella inspired story? Yes please! It has been such a long time since I've read anything by Sarah Mallory and now I have regrets because I have been missing out.


Cinderella and the Scarred Viscount by Sarah Mallory book cover

An imperfect proposal…

But a perfect match?

Major James Rossington, Viscount Austerfield, survived Waterloo, but can he survive the Season as London’s most eligible bachelor?

Convinced his battle scars make him unlovable, and to escape Society’s matchmakers, Ross proposes a wedding in name only to shy, sensible Carenza Bettridge. Liberated from her cruel stepmother and bullying half-sisters, she blossoms into a confident, altogether desirable woman.

He promised Carenza a convenient marriage, but inconveniently finds himself wanting more…


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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, betrayal, marriage, belonging, love.


I love a good Cinderella retelling - and this one was excellent.

Throw in a marriage of convenience? Nailed it!

Carenza is like a ray of sunshine. She is so good and generous you can't help but like her. She's selfless almost to a fault and it broke my heart with how her step-mother treated her, especially as her father loved her so much.

Ross is scarred both inside and out, and pretty bitter because of it. It was amazing to see him mellow, and he was such a kind person behind his tough exterior.

Both of these characters deserve love, even if they don't believe it themselves.

I loved how both characters were reserved and insecure, and how together they worked through it and truly blossomed. They were so supportive of each other, and it really warmed my heart. They build each other up and help to fight back against the barrage of put-downs they've both experienced. This is an emotional read, and I loved the care it took when exploring Ross's PTSD.

This book was so easy to read. I picked it up and I got lost in a beautiful romance, I was there with the characters watching their love grow. I read this in a single sitting and loved every second.

Cinderella and the Scarred Viscount by Sarah Mallory blog tour banner

Sarah Mallory is an award-winning author who has published more than 30 historical romances with Harlequin Mills & Boon. She loves history, especially the Georgian and Regency. She won the prestigious RoNA Rose Award from the Romantic Novelists Association in 2012 and 2013. Sarah also writes romantic historical adventures as Melinda Hammond. Sarah lived for many years on the Yorkshire Pennines, taking inspiration from the wild and rugged moors. Then in 2018 she fell in love with Scotland and ran away to live on the rugged North West Coast, which is proving even more inspiring.

03 December 2021

Book Review: Gaming Hell Christmas by Amanda McCabe and Kathy L Wheeler *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Gaming Hell Christmas by Amanda McCabe and Kathy L Wheeler ahead of the blog tour. 

This was a delightful Georgian duo of festive romances to keep you warm on a winter night, and they were so much fun to read. I've read (and loved) Amanda McCabe before, but Kathy L Wheeler was new to me. I was thoroughly impressed by this and will definitely be reading more.

This is the first volume in a series of stories, and I will absolutely be reading them all.

Gaming Hell Christmas by Amanda McCabe and Kathy L Wheeler book cover

GAMING HELL CHRISTMAS - VOLUME 1: Mysteries abound at the newest Hell in town.


A Gift for the Duke's Illegitimate Daughter by Kathy L Wheeler

Miss Alexandra Blessing, the Duke of Winsome’s illegitimate daughter longs for anonymity and a home of her own where her younger half-siblings don’t commandeer every moment of her day. Escape is imminent—right after her family’s annual Christmas fete.

But Alexandra is missing from the ball, and Theodore Millburn must find her before he loses something important: his chance for love.


The Merry Widow's Christmas Adventure by Amanda McCabe

Annabelle, Lady Ranstruther, after a year of lonely widowhood is ready for new love—and she knows exactly who she wants—her wild friend, the gorgeous William, Lord Deansley. She fears he doesn't want her, until they meet again at the exclusive, discreet gaming hell la Sous Rose, at Christmas.

Will it mean a future of love—or the end of all her dreams?


Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Love, Christmas, pleasure, secrets, society.


Both stories are pretty short, I'd say novella length, and I really liked how these two stories linked so closely together, and that we see the main characters of each through different eyes. The length means that they're perfect for dedicating an entire day to - Read A Gift for the Duke's Illegitimate Daughter in the morning/afternoon and The Merry Widow's Christmas Adventure in the evening. You won't regret it.

I loved the way the prologue set up the close relationship of the girls, and it made me excited to explore their stories.

A Gift for the Duke's Illegitimate Daughter by Kathy L Wheeler

I loved it.

Alex's home life isn't the best in terms of her relationship with her family, but this made her fierce friendships with the girls of Miss Greensley's all the more wonderful. The contrast really showed the relationships for what they were in such a clever way for a novella.

This is a pretty exhilarating read, especially as you get to the end. There was so much scope for a miscommunication trope and I am so so glad that the author avoided it. The characters talked to each other for the most part, even if they did keep secrets. It was more an absence of communication than a misunderstanding of it.

The way that Millburn fell for Alex hit me right in the feels, I'm not gonna lie.


The Merry Widow's Christmas Adventure by Amanda McCabe

I do love a second chance romance.

The passion between Annabelle and Will is pretty much instant. I loved that their history was shared with a small flashback, and all of the conflicting feelings that brought.

They felt a bit like star-crossed lovers, and I was fully behind them getting together. They belong together. Even if Anna's step son is doing everything in his power to destroy her happiness.

I liked how this story played with the boundaries of society, and how through Anna's place as a widow we got to see more of the less proper parts of society than we did with Alex's story before.

Gaming Hell Christmas by Amanda McCabe and Kathy L Wheeler blog tour banner

Amanda McCabe wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen--a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject...)
 
She's never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers' Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion.  She lives in Santa Fe with a Poodle, a cat, a wonderful husband, and a very and far too many books and royal memorabilia collections. 
 
When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network--even though she doesn't cook. 
 
Amanda also writes as Laurel McKee for Grand Central Publishing, the Elizabethan Mystery Series as Amanda Carmack, and the Manor Cat Mystery Series as Eliza Casey.
 


Kathy L Wheeler loves the NFL, the NBA, musical theater (don’t ask how her how many times she’s seen Phantom of the Opera (12); or Wicked (7), travel, (Europe, Grand Cayman, Mexico, All over the US), reading (practically a book a night), writing (25 published books and counting) and karaoke (well… what can I say). She assists other authors in critiquing, formatting, and creating covers for their publishing dreams.
She writes contemporary and historical stories where the heroines save themselves and the heroes who honor their courage with suspense and humor.
She migrated from Texas, to Oklahoma to the Pacific Northwest with her musically talented, lawyer husband, her adorable dog Angel (who lives up to her name…mostly).


01 December 2021

Book Review: Honeybee Cottage by KT Dady *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Honeybee Cottage by KT Dady ahead of the blog tour.

This is part of a series, although all of the books can easily be read as standalones. I will definitely be reading more as I thoroughly enjoyed Honeybee Cottage. Cosy up in a nest of cushions and prepare to hurt from smiling.

Honeybee Cottage by KT Dady book cover

Welcome to Pepper Bay. A small close-knit community where you’ll find chocolate box cottages, quaint shops, drama, friendship, and love.

Snuggle down with this cosy, feel-good, comfort read that whisks you away to a beautiful bay on the Isle of Wight – Perfect for fans of Christie Barlow, Phillipa Ashley, and Holly Martin.

The Pepper Bay books are standalone stories that intertwine with recurring characters.

The last time Joey Walker watched Josh Reynolds leave Pepper Bay was three years ago. She decided there and then that the next time he visited she would never in a million years, even if her life depended on it, sleep with him ever again. She was done with secretly being in love with him. She couldn’t keep falling into his arms every time he was around. Josh was never going to see her as anything more than a holiday fling, or a sure thing. She had made her decision and had happily stuck to it, but only because he wasn’t around. She soon realises just how hard keeping him at arm’s length actually is when he unexpectedly turns up just before Christmas.

Josh had always loved Joey, but he knew she never took him seriously. She had no reason to. Growing up, he only went to his grandmother’s family home in Pepper Bay for the summer. As an adult, he knew that the world viewed him as a playboy heir to his grandfather’s millions. This year, he was determined to prove just how reliable he could be. He was back, and on a secret mission to get Joey to fall in love with him, because she was all he had ever wanted.

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Friendship, community, family, belonging, love.


Cottagecore, but as a contemporary romantic comedy.

I never knew it was what I needed, but er... It was. And it was perfect.

Pepper Bay is like the most perfect place ever. I want to move there, please. Specifically to the cosy cottage. The story is barely barely Christmassy, so perfect for picking up now.

This is the type of rom-com to make your grin so big it hurts your cheeks. By the end my muscles ached from smiling so much, and honestly? I felt a bit sad. I didn't want the sheer jot of this story to end. It is so sweet and fun and perfect for reading on a rainy day. You can't help but be cheered up by it.

The old-friends to lovers trope worked beautifully for Josh and Joey, and the way the story switched back and forth between them had me addicted - I loved the fact that I could see the whole story before the characters, that I knew their feelings even if they were still figuring them out themselves.

KT Dady is a new to me author, but one I will definitely be reading more of. Honeybee Cottage was excellent!

Honeybee Cottage by KT Dady blog tour banner

Author, reader, mum, chocolate lover, and a huge fan of a HEA. I was born and raised in the East End of London, and I’ve been happily writing stories since I was a little girl. When I’m not writing, I’m baking cakes or pottering around in my little garden in Essex, trying not to kill the flowers. I’m the author of contemporary romance, middle-grade, and the thought-provoking thriller about mental illness, The Focus Program.

Book Review: Beauty and the Reclusive Millionaire by Rachael Stewart *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Beauty and the Reclusive Millionaire by Rachael Stewart ahead of the blog tour.

I freaking love Rachael Stewart, they're one of my favourite romance authors. So naturally I jumped at the chance to read Beauty and the Reclusive Millionaire. As you'll find in my review, I was not disappointed.

Beauty and the Reclusive Millionaire by Rachael Stewart book cover

An unforgettable Greek escape…

With the man she never forgot! 

A-list actress Catherine Wilde has it all, but behind closed doors she is fighting personal battles. So the chance to escape to the private Greek island of her best friend’s brother, Alaric, offers the tranquillity she craves.

Except seeing Alaric again sets her heart rate soaring.

Life might have changed him, but he can still make her feel alive—and when the torch she once held for him reignites, it’s impossible to ignore!

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Fame, fortune, love, forgiveness, belonging.


Can I go to a private Greek island please? And just... Relax? This story had me sighing so much, in the best of ways.

I'm a sucker for a Beauty and the Beast inspired story anyway, but I thought that Beauty and the Reclusive Millionaire by Rachael Stewart was marvellously done. I liked how modern it was, how it played with the forced proximity storyline. You won't find any beasts here, Alaric is much more of an angsty inner-torture hero, but you will find an excellent take on a familiar theme.

I liked the way they kind of danced around their shared past and their attraction for each other, and how their personalities could clash at times. It helped drive the passion and made the ending when it all settled all the more satisfying.

And that forced proximity? It turned up the heat! The sexual tension between Catherine and Alaric was incredible. That they couldn't avoid each other properly on the beautiful island really amped everything up and drove the pace at an astonishing speed.

Rachael Stewart is a favourite for a reason, and I can't wait to see what they write next.


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Giveaway to Win a prize including 3 Rachael Stewart Paperbacks, Heart Post Its and more
(Open INT)

Prize Contains:
  • 3 x paperbacks:
  • And:
    • Cute Sloth Coffee Cup Place Mat
    • Novelty Pen
    • Heart Post-Its

Beauty and the Reclusive Millionaire by Rachael Stewart giveaway prize


*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.

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29 November 2021

Book Review: The Viking's Stolen Princess by Sarah Rodi *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Viking's Stolen Princess by Sarah Rodi ahead of the blog tour.

I'm a sucker for a Viking romance. I love that the hero is generally a grump, all big and brawny and rough on the outside but soft as owt on the inside. And The Viking's Stolen Princess did not disappoint.

The Viking's Stolen Princess by Sarah Rodi book cover. A rough viking embraces a woman with brown hair and a white dress from behind.

A kidnapped royal…

Could be the Viking's undoing!

After Brand Ivarsson of Kald abducts Anne of Termarth on the eve of her wedding, the Viking’s consumed with only one thing: revenge against her loathsome betrothed.

But confronted with the stunning princess, so foreign to his world, Brand’s captivated not only by her beauty, but by her spirit and her kindness.

Is Anne his prisoner…or is she the one who’s captured his scarred heart?

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, danger, love, protection, friendship.


Enemies to lovers AND grump and sunshine? Sign me right up. Is there a better pairing of tropes out here? Combine with a lot of force proximity on horseback and you know you're onto a winner.

I loved Anne's headstrong ways, and how she was so generous. She was always looking to protect others and help them, even to her own detriment, Honestly she's a bit of an angel.

Brand is so fiercely loyal, and I would love him to fight in my corner. He's protective of Anne as much as he resents her at times because of their past, which only he remembers.

Both characters have complicated thoughts on love and marriage. But the passion between them? Wow. That first kiss was excellent, it felt like there was so much build and and a growing awareness between them.

This is like a super charged slow burn. We spend a lot of time with Brand and Anne alone which makes the romance feel slow, especially at the beginning, and the forced proximity of their travels really amps up the pace in general and means that everything - emotions, events - goes faster. I think a lot of it feeling like a slow burn is Brand's memories of Anne, she has been in his head for a long time.

I very badly want more from this author. I loved how they brought the history alive with every page, I loved the small details like how a princess wouldn't know how to dress as a peasant. Little things that made the world so vivid.

This was an outstanding Viking romance.

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27 November 2021

Book Review: Christmas at Snowflake Lodge by CP Ward *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Christmas at Snowflake Lodge by CP Ward ahead of the blog tour.

I didn't know what to expect as I headed into Christmas at Snowflake Lodge as CP Ward is a new to me author, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely read more of their work. Although this is part of a collection of books, it can easily be read as a standalone, as they seem to be linked only by theme in that they're all Christmassy.

Christmas at Snowflake Lodge by CP Ward book cover

Plumber Jessica Lemond is determined not to follow in her parents footsteps by living off her famous grandfather's fortune. However, when the old timer himself elopes to Scotland with suspicions over the recent death of his much younger third wife hanging over his head and a private detective on his tail, it is left to Jessica to follow and clear up the mess. Happy to escape from her nightmarish lodger Doreen, she heads to the remote Snowflake Lodge with her young trainee Kirsten in tow.

However, Snowflake Lodge - with its oddball staff and very dodgy plumbing - is not how it appears in the brochure. Among the beautiful Scottish scenery, and with more hot chocolate and mince pies than she can possibly handle, can Jessica find something she didn't even know she was looking for?

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

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


Christmas at Snowflake Lodge was a massive amount of fun, and perfect for the season.

Reading this kind of felt like watching a Hallmark film, in the best of ways. Even the cover has that feel about it. Christmas at Snowflake Lodge has a bit of everything, and it is very entertaining.

I know it says right there in the blurb that Jessica's lodger Doreen is a nightmare... But honestly that's holding back. She is a vile person and so freaking selfish. I was so glad that Jessica was able to escape from her for a bit, although I wouldn't trust Doreen as far as I could throw her when it comes to the state she'd get the place. RIP Jessica's flat.

Jessica is an excellent character - I loved her outlook on life and how she fell into her profession. I also loved the chance she took on the unassuming Kirsten, who wants to learn and question everything (even if it is in a flat tone).

As someone who has recently stayed in an old remote hotel in Scotland, it made me want to go back so badly. The settings really come to life with Jessica's sense of humour, whether it's a comment on a phone box (in London) or a quip about the toilets (anywhere).

This book is perfect for fans of The Summer Job, we have the same (albeit much more capable) hotel work/life antics.

I had so much fun reading Christmas at Snowflake Lodge, and I will definitely be reading more by this author.


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CP Ward is an author from the UK who currently lives and works in Japan. For more information, please visit http://www.amillionmilesfromanywhere.net/cp-ward.html 

26 November 2021

Book Review: The Knight's Convenient Alliance by Melissa Oliver *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Knight's Convenient Alliance by Melissa Oliver ahead of the blog tour.

Remember how much I enjoyed The Return of Her Lost Knight by Melissa Oliver? Well I enjoyed The Knight's Convenient Alliance just as much! Although this book kind of follows on as we discover Brida's story, it can absolutely be read on its own. Although I don't know why you'd want to do that.

The Knight's Convenient Alliance by Melissa Oliver book cover. A medieval woman with long brown hair is gently embraced from behind by a slightly scruffy looking knight, they hold hands with the barest of touch.

The only man who’s tempted her…

Now poses as her husband!

When an injured knight arrives on Brida O’Conaill’s doorstep, the village assumes he’s her long-lost husband.

But her only previous connection to Sir Thomas Lovent was an intense shared moment at a tournament years ago.

Brida maintains the pretence while she nurses him, yet once he’s back to full, virile health, she cannot reveal Thomas is not her husband - or that she’s unmarried! - when everyone is expecting them to act like husband and wife…


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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Secrets, honour, community, danger, love.


Another outstanding historical romance from Melissa Oliver! She really went - fake dating but make it historical. And I loved it.

Brida is headstrong and desperate. She knows what she wants, and it isn't a life in a convent. I loved the way she's built a place for herself in the community, and the way the people of the town rally around her. We also get to see peeks of Gwen from The Return of Her Lost Knight, who is am amazing friend.

Thomas is pretty rash, but he's grown up a lot since the prologue of the book and I loved the intrigue he brought to the story.

The mess that Brida's lies get her in really were the best kind of shenanigans, especially as Thomas leaned right into it. And I loved how it slowly built love from the secret attraction they held for each other.

I loved the instant chemistry between Brida and Thomas, the way they both get under each other's skin and defences. It leads to some excellent banter between them, a lot of teasing, and So Much Sexual Tension. For being pretty short, this definitely felt like a slow burn. The anticipation was amazing.

As always, the historical setting was lush. The pages transported me back in time and the small details kept me there. There is obviously a huge amount of research into the minutiae of the period and it really is wonderful to read. It makes the story come alive around you.

I loved this romance so much.

I've said it before and I'll doubtless say it again, Melissa Oliver is an author I'll be keeping an eye out for. I can't wait to read more.

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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.

Giveaway to Win 3 x paperback copies of The Knight's Convenient Alliance
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*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.
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25 November 2021

Book Review: Snow-Kissed Proposals by Jenni Fletcher & Elisabeth Hobbes *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Snow-Kissed Proposals by Jenni Fletcher & Elisabeth Hobbes ahead of the blog tour. 

This was on my wishlist anyway because both Jenny Fletcher and Elisabeth Hobbes write amazing historical romances, and I was very excited to read this. I'm a sucker for a Christmas romance, and I was not disappointed.

I loved both stories so much, they really are the perfect festive duo of Victorian romances to warm your heart.

Snow-Kissed Proposals by Jenni Fletcher & Elisabeth Hobbes book cover.  A blond woman and a redheaded man embrace, faces almost touching, snow swirling around them.

A snowy Victorian Christmas

Two festive short stories!


In The Christmas Runaway by Jenni Fletcher: wilful, independent heiress, Fiona MacKay, impulsively runs away to a remote Scottish tower where she’s trapped in the snow with equally headstrong, deliciously dishevelled Angus Drummond.


In Their Snowbound Reunion by Elisabeth Hobbes: fifteen years ago, Amy Munroe and Anthony Matthews were cruelly parted, and each blames the other. When Amy becomes Anthony’s new housekeeper, their passion is reawakened!

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Christmas, family, snow, belonging, love.

This delightful duo of Victorian romances were so different, and yet so excellent. I loved both of them and honestly couldn't pick a favourite.

These will definitely be part of my annual Christmas reading in the coming the years, they are re-read worthy.

Both stories look at similar themes of family and belonging, and I loved how each approached the same conclusion different - you can build your own family out of friendship.

The Christmas Runaway by Jenni Fletcher


I loved the sunshine/grump vibes from this story.

Urgh I freaking loved this. Fiona reminded me so much of one of my all time favourite characters (Alexia Tarabotti) with her gumption, and I fell just as much in love with her as Angus did. I loved her, every part of her. She is so impulsive and so scared, and I loved seeing her vulnerability.

Angus is honestly just as scared, but he won't admit it to himself and hides behind a grump exterior. It was lovely to see him soften around Fiona

I loved the romance and the intense chemistry between the characters. I loved how their perceptions of each other changed. But boy does Angus have some grovelling to do!

The Christmas Runaway delves into how messy families can be, and I liked the extra layer of complication it added to it all.

The highland setting felt almost like an extension of the characters, and I loved how the extremes of the weather forced their hands at time. There was a touch of forced-proximity and a hint of the forbidden too, which added to all of the feels. 

This was the perfect highland Christmas romance.


Their Snowbound Reunion by Elisabeth Hobbes


Oh, how my heart broke for Amy at the beginning!

This was just a perfect second-chance romance.

It has the cosiest of vibes and made me want to decorate the whole house and bake mince pies. As it was, I settled for buying some Christmas decorations from Etsy and putting the Birchwood Fire on Netflix on the telly.

I loved the way this story examined family and found family, and how love is something that can changed. I loved the sense of community and how everyone came together and supported each other even if they were in the dark about certain characters actions.

This has some of the cutest festive scenes ever, and I want so badly to pick holly to decorate the mantel and skate around on a frozen fountain. I have no doubt that I'd cut myself on the holly and come off with a lot of bruises from falling, but still. I really want to. There was something nostalgic about this book, and it felt even more so through Anthony's children.

Snow-Kissed Proposals by Jenni Fletcher & Elisabeth Hobbes


Jenni Fletcher is the award-winning author of 15 historical romances. She has been nominated for 4 RoNA Awards and won the Libertà Books Shorter Romantic Novel Award in 2020. She lives in Yorkshire with her family and can be contacted via Twitter @JenniAuthor.

Elisabeth’s writing career began when she finished in third place in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in 2013.  She was offered a two-book contract and consequently had to admit secret writing was why the house was such a tip.  She is the author of numerous historical romances with Harlequin Mills & Boon covering the Medieval period to Victorian England, and a Second World War romantic historical with One More Chapter. She lives in Cheshire because the car broke down there in 1999 and she never left.

19 November 2021

Book Review: Hiding In The Smoke by Ofelia Martinez *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Hiding In The Smoke by Ofelia Martinez ahead of the blog tour.

It's been a long time since I've read anything quite like Hiding In The Smoke. Years, in fact. And oh boy was it a treat.

Although the first part of a series it stands up on it's own and I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking for something particularly steamy. I'll be reading on for sure.

Hiding In The Smoke by Ofelia Martinez book cover

Sofia

One night.
No cuddling.
No sleepovers.

These are the rules I live my love life by. Running a business as a bar owner leaves no time for relationships—or their drama. But when I meet international rock star Brenner Reindhart, he makes me want to break all the rules . . .


Bren

Keeping Industrial November at the top of the best-selling charts for over eight years has taken a toll on me, and I’m ready to slow down.

I’ve been burned by love before, and I’m finally ready to try again. I think Sofia Ocampo might just be the one. Only, she has no plans to ever be in a relationship.

Aware she has no interest in it, I still give her my heart.

I can only hold my breath and hope she won’t break it.


This high-steam, contemporary rock star romance contains adult content with some taboo elements not suitable for all readers. Read responsibly. All novels in the Industrial November on Tour series can be read in any order.


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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Lust, independence, respect, fame, love.


Well THAT was hot. This book will definitely keep you warm at night.

Sofia is a strong independent woman who doesn't need anyone, and especially any man, in her life. She's got it sorted and is successful in her own right.

Bren is a rock star used to women falling at his feet. He's arrogant and used to being in charge.

Sofia and Bren were such an unlikely couple and yet they worked so freaking well.

From one night of steamy passion it's like their love ignites, even though Sofia especially does her best to deny and avoid it. I think Bren is mostly attracted to Sofia's disdain of him at first. Not being worshipped is new to him. But it very quickly develops to more. The chemistry between them is amazing, and I loved to see Bren compromise and humble himself a little.

“One night. No strings. No repeats. No sleeping over.”

This was an excellent steamy romance and I'll definitely read more by this author.

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Ofelia Martinez writes romance with Latinas on top. Originally from the Texas border, Ofelia now resides in Missouri with her partner and their dog, Pixel.

She loves good books, tequila, and chocolate. Though she identifies most with Makoto Kino, she proudly shares a birthday with Usagi Tsukino. When not writing, you can find Ofelia making visual art.

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Giveaway to Win 3 x Paperback copies of Hiding in the Smoke by Ofelia Martinez 
(Continental USA only)

*Terms and Conditions – Continental USA 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.

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