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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?

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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?

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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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 

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


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 . . .


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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18 November 2021

Book Review: A Simple Wish by Rosie Goodwin *AD gifted

Zaffre sent me a free finished copy of A Simple Wish by Rosie Goodwin.

Well, Rosie Goodwin well and truly destroyed my heart again. The Winter Promise is the third Precious Stones book and like the rest of the books in the series is a standalone linked by a common theme. And it was beautiful.

A Simple Wish by Rosie Goodwin book cover


Ruby Carter works hard in her parents' bakery. Whilst life isn't easy, she's happy enough - her gentle mother protects young Ruby from her cruel father and loves her unconditionally. So, when her mother falls seriously ill, Ruby is heartbroken. Then, from her deathbed, her mother reveals that Ruby was adopted.

Stricken by grief and alone with the violent man she called her father, Ruby feels she has no choice but to flee. At just fifteen, homeless and alone she is relieved when a kindly stranger named Mrs Bamber takes pity on poor Ruby and welcomes her into her home.

But soon, Ruby learns Mrs Bamber is not as generous as she first seemed - she forces Ruby into a life of crime as a jewel thief in Birmingham's jewellery quarter. With nothing to her name and nowhere to go Ruby has no choice but to go along with it, despite the guilt and shame she feels. But Ruby is determined that she will atone for what she's done, and be reunited with her birth parents.

Ruby's only wish is to find her family.

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Source: Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, desperation, betrayal, love, lies.

It was raining outside when I first picked up this book. Proper chucking it down, dark and gloomy and cold. It was a miserable day. And honestly? Rosie Goodwin books were made for miserable days. The sprawling saga stories take you on a journey where you feel every emotion and leaves you at the end feeling like a bit of a different person.

I had a blanket, a hot water bottle, a big pot of tea, a plate of custard creams. And I settled in.

From the very start, the vivid descriptions dragged me into Emerald's world. I felt her shock and her sorrow, and I felt her desperation.

For a story that slowly unfolds, the pace is amazing. I couldn't have put this book down if I wanted. So so much happens between the first page and the last, and the way the characters change felt very natural. It was almost exhilarating, and the danger in the plot really drove the tension.

Emerald is the main character, but I did warm to a few of the side characters - I wouldn't say no to reading more about them. But poor Emerald for much of the book is surrounded by people who don't want the best for her and who manipulate and use her. All she wants is family, and it was pretty heart-breaking to see her lose the one she knew, try to find her biological family, and try to piece together a found family. She goes through some very low points and seeing her get through them, seeing her resilience, filled my heart with hope.

This book isn't one to rush - usually a book of this length would take me four hours, I'd be done in a morning. But I lingered with A Simple Wish, I spent the whole day cooried up in my blanket, taking my time with Emerald's story and getting through far too much tea. It was a perfect way to spend a Sunday.

I know I've said it before, but Rose Goodwin is like the Catherine Cookson this generation. Her books are beautiful and all I really want is for them to be a lavish two part sprawling drama so I can fall into the story on screen too.

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17 November 2021

Book Review: White Wedding by Carla Luna *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of White Wedding by Carla Luna ahead of the blog tour.

I enjoyed this book so freaking much. It made me feel just about every emotion under the sun and oh boy was it worth it. Grab some tissues.

This is the third Blackwood Cellars book, but they can absolutely be read on their own. I don't feel like I missed out on anything, but I did like the peeks we got at other members of the Blackwood family.

White Wedding by Carla Luna book cover

Take one lavish holiday wedding. Add one evil ex and his bridezilla. And toss in a smoking-hot chef from the past. It’s a recipe for disaster.

Victoria Blackwood has spent years trying to redeem herself after falling victim to a blackmail scheme that cost her father thousands. So, when he insists she coordinate a big Christmas wedding at her family’s winery, she can’t say no. Even if the groom is her ex, and the caterer just quit.

For Rafael Sanchez, a last-minute call to cater a huge society wedding is a golden opportunity. If he can prove he’s up to the challenge, his brothers might entrust him with more responsibility in the family catering business. But when he meets Victoria, he can’t believe his eyes. Five years ago, they had a passionate fling that rocked his world. Until she left him with only a fake name to remember her by.

To pull off the perfect wedding, Victoria and Rafael can’t afford to get caught up in the past. But keeping things professional won’t be easy, not when the attraction between them burns hotter than Christmas in July.

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, betrayal, secrets, responsibility, love.

Excuse me while I ugly cry, because this book did things to my feels.

Oh Victoria. Poor Victoria, she didn't deserve what she had to go through. But she is so resilient, and I loved her. I loved her drive and her passion and her generosity. Even when her hand was forced, she still did her best.

I thought Rafael was the perfect other half for Victoria. I loved how their differences made them perfect for each other, even if they tried so hard to deny their feelings for various reasons. I just really want him to cook for me, because the FOOD oh my goodness the food. A plate of nachos just didn't cut it.

The antagonists in this book are bloody awful, in the best of ways. I hated them. Also I am completely on Victoria's side when it comes to people called Ben - sorry guys, they're dicks. I was so furious on Victoria's behalf at how she was treated by her ex and his girlfriend, and by her own parents. Especially her father, he's a special type of arsehole.

Family is messy, and White Wedding explores this in a marvellous way. I loved the contrast between Victoria's family and Rafael's family, it made the differences all the more stark.

Also, can we talk about how gorgeous the cover is? It's simple and eye catching, and I love the simplicity. The colours are gorgeous and it's not what you'd expect from a slightly Christmassy romance. 10/10 for design!

I enjoyed White Wedding by Carla Luna so much that I've added the author's other books to my TBR, and I'm excited to read the other Blackwood Cellars stories, because this family has me intrigued.

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Carla Luna writes contemporary romance with a dollop of humor and a pinch of spice. A former archaeologist, she still dreams of traveling to far-off places and channels that wanderlust into the settings of her stories. When she’s not writing, she works in a spice emporium where she gets paid to discuss food and share her favorite recipes. Her passions include Broadway musicals, baking, whimsical office supplies, and pop culture podcasts. Though she has roots in Los Angeles and Victoria, B.C., she currently resides in Wisconsin with her family and her feisty Siberian cat.

16 November 2021

Book Review: An Italian Scandal by Cecil Cameron *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of An Italian Scandal by Cecil Cameron ahead of the blog tour.

This book took me completely by surprise, and I was whisked away to a steamy historical Italy. I loved every moment and couldn't put it down.

An Italian Scandal by Cecil Cameron book cover

A captivating story of romance, passion and adventure set in nineteenth century London and Italy.

London 1859. Carina Temple has put away the stifling black crepe demanded by the death of her father – but with it she has also cast aside society’s expectations of what a single young lady should be and do.

When Carina’s uncle summons her to Belgrave Square to inform her that her reputation is ruined, thanks to a certain Lord Danby, he tells her that she must travel to Italy until the gossip recedes and a suitable match can be found for her.

But Italy is a tempestuous place – her grandmother and cousins soon tell her of the fault lines between the states and the dangerous rebels fighting for freedom. Chief among these is Ben Mavrone – and when he and Carina meet, he distrusts her society pedigree, and she considers him a violent extremist.

When trouble comes to Carina’s door, it is Ben who saves her – reluctantly – and as they go on the run, they must learn to understand each other to stay alive.

Meanwhile back in England, Carina’s family has plans for the life Miss Temple should lead – if she ever returns…

An Italian Scandal is based on Cecil Cameron’s own family history and is perfect for fans of the Bridgerton series.

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, betrayal, secrets, responsibility, love.

I couldn't put this book down.

I even propped it up and tried to read while knitting, which I absolutely do not recommend. Because I lost about five stitches in three rows and ended up just giving up and myself giving over to the story. An Italian Scandal deserved every part of my attention.

I loved Carina and how we saw her change through the pages. She is headstrong and I loved seeing her grow into herself. This book feels like an epic adventure as we follow Carina's escape to Sicily and all that occurs. It's a dangerous time, and the pace of the story was driven by the historical setting.

This book was surprisingly steamy. I went in expecting romance, but I wasn't expecting it to be quite so sizzling. It was a very welcome surprise, and I feel it really fit with Carina and how her world was explored. I think the overall tension of the story helped every emotion feel heightened.

Despite the fact that this is set in the mid 18th century, there was something rather Downton Abbey about this - I think it was the mix of style and tone in the writing. It felt polished and refined and almost of a bygone era. And I loved it.

The story tackles class differences, political differences, society's expectations, and it does it beautifully. It was so easy to get caught up in the story and in Carina's slowly changing beliefs.

I can't wait to see what Cecil Cameron writes next, as this was a fantastic debut.

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Lady Cecil Cameron OBE grew up on the Scottish border near Jedburgh, daughter of the Marquis and Lady Lothian. Her grandmother came from Naples and is the inspiration behind her writing. Cecil read renaissance history at London University and subsequently worked for Save the Children in Vietnam and the UK. Married to the Chief of Clan Cameron, she was made an OBE in 2002 for services to children.

15 November 2021

Book Review: A Match Made In Venice by Leonie Mack *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of A Match Made In Venice by Leonie Mack ahead of the blog tour.

I had always wanted to go to Venice anyway, but now I am even more desperate to go. And especially in winter.

A Match Made In Venice by Leonie Mack book cover

Escape to the breath-taking beauty of Venice – The City of Love.

When pragmatic, sensible and resolutely single Deirdre York (Didi to her friends) is sent to Venice for work she is determined not to be taken in by the romantic clichés. Winter in the floating city may be breathtakingly beautiful, but she’s here with a clear purpose and will not let the magic of Venice distract her.

Piero Zanetti is the epitome of the handsome yet tortured artist. Heart-broken by the end of his love affair with a glamorous opera singer, he has lost his ability to work, and his inspiration has drained away, along with his zest for life.

But Didi needs Piero working – she has been tasked with commissioning him to do a glass centrepiece for a luxury department store Christmas display – some how Didi has to cheer Piero up or at least find him a new muse…

As Didi and Piero slowly become friends, and as Venice starts to melt Didi’s heart and gently nudge Piero out of the blues, something special begins to happen. Can Venice – the City of Love – work a Christmas miracle and help Didi and Piero to find their happiness at last…

Leonie Mack is back with the most gloriously romantic escape, perfect for all fans of Mandy Baggot, Jo Thomas and Carole Matthews.

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Venice, glass, family, love, art.

This was the romantic comedy I needed. A Match Made In Venice by Leonie Mack was wonderfully cheering and perfect for reading as the evenings draw in ever closer. I loved that although it was festive it wasn't too Christmassy, and the magic was all about the setting than the time of year, accentuated with the soft glow of fairy lights.

Didi is a pretty messy character. I did love the inclusion of her diabetes, and how it shaped her as a character, it was always there but it wasn't the sum of her. She was definitely braver than me eating a seafood restaurants with a shellfish allergy though! To be fair, I wouldn't have been able to resist the delicious foods that were described.

Piero is... Also a mess. He's an idealistic and dramatic Romantic, and it makes for drama. And I am here for drama. He's also a bit of a fool and doesn't think things out very much before he acts, which led to some of the sweetest moments of quiet romance, the kind that almost hurt because the swell of love fills you up as you read.

There are so many sweet moments in this book. When Piero installs Didi at the flat in Venice I really loved the way she was forced to take a break and explore. You could feel the tension in her mellow as the story progressed, and both characters opened up wonderfully.

Family dynamics are cleverly explored, and it was great to see resentment soften and families come back together again.

I have to say though that this book made me hungry. It had me contemplating whether the jar of salmon paste in the cupboard would do the trick when all I could think about was baccalà mantecato. Get yourself a nice antipasto spread to enjoy this book with, otherwise you will be left with an empty, sad stomach.

This was perfect, and I will absolutely read more books by Leonie Mack. They're on my auto-buy list now.

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Leonie Mack is an author of romantic comedies with great international locations. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings!

09 November 2021

Book Review: Never Fall for Your Fiancée by Virginia Heath *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Never Fall for Your Fiancée by Virginia Heath ahead of the blog tour.

I've had a good run with Virginia Heath books this year, and with Never Fall for Your Fiancée it continues. The book was such raucous fun, the shenanigans and secrets had me with a massive grin on my face the whole time I was reading.

Honestly, this author brings so much joy and humour to their historical romances, and I don't think I'll ever tire of it. I am here for the banter.

Never Fall for Your Fiancée by Virginia Heath book cover

The trouble with lies is they have a tendency to catch a man out.

The last thing Hugh Standish, Earl of Fareham, wants is a wife.  But since the only way to keep his mother’s matchmaking ways at bay is the promise of  impending nuptials, Hugh takes the most logical action: he invents a fake fiancée.

It’s the perfect plan – until Hugh learns that his mother is on a ship bound for England to meet his ‘beloved’. He needs a solution fast, and when he collides with a mysterious beauty, he might just have found the answer to his prayers.

Minerva Merriwell is desperate for money to support her sisters, and although she knows that posing as the Earl’s fiancée might seem nonsensical, it’s just too good an offer to refuse.

As the Merriwells descend upon Hugh’s estate, the household is thrown into turmoil as everyone tries to keep their tangled stories straight. And with Hugh and Minerva’s romantic ruse turning into the real thing, is true love just one complication too many?

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Secrets, lies, family, society, love.

This book. It filled me with sheer joy. I loved every part of it and it brought me to tears with how much it made me laugh. It is such a fun read and perfect for brightening even the darkest of days.

Hugh tries so hard and puts so much effort into hiding his true self, and boy was I exhausted reading it. I loved seeing Minerva pick him apart and tear down the walls he'd built. I'm not sure I understand why he didn't want to be seen as such a good man, to me it came across as a very clever look at toxic masculinity and how it can be countered.

Minerva is amazing. She's so talented and special, and I loved her deep love for her family. She has had so much responsibilities and life has not been easy for her. Her determination shone through. With her sisters she ended up in the difficult position of being both a sibling and a parent, and it gave great depth to her character as she tried to navigate that.

When it comes to Hugh and Minerva together, goodness me. There is banter and passion and an attraction that they try to deny. It's so much fun, and the slow build up and the change from admiration to love is perfection. The charade that they try to play out definitely complicates things in the most fun way, and made it easier for lines to become blurred.

The setting is wonderful too, and I loved the contrast from where Minerva came from and where she ended up. They're like opposite ends of the spectrum. It led to certain characters being called out about their privilege and challenged about how they conduct themselves, which I thought was excellent.

Have I said how fun this story? I feel like I haven't stressed enough how utterly entertaining Never Fall for Your Fiancée is.

Virginia Heath is queen of putting a massive smile on my face, and I don't think I'll ever turn down the chance to read one of their books. Prepare for your heart to be filled to bursting.
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When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Twenty-two books and two Romantic Novel of the Year Award nominations later, and it still takes her forever to fall asleep.

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08 November 2021

Book Review: A Festive Fling In Stockholm by Scarlet Wilson

I got a notification on my kindle that an author I'd read a lot of had released a new book, so naturally I bought A Festive Fling In Stockholm by Scarlet Wilson straight away. I have zero regrets.

This book is absolutely perfect for a cosy evening in. Grab some mulled wine and some chocolate, and prepare to have your heart filled to bursting. It was magical.

A Festive Fling In Stockholm (Mills & Boon Medical) (The Christmas Project, Book 4) by Scarlet Wilson book cover

She’ll have to break his rules…

…To win his heart!

Stepping into Stockholm City Hospital, visiting specialist Dr. Cora Campbell expects to ruffle a few feathers.

But she doesn’t expect the brooding head of midwifery, Jonas Nilsson, to get under her skin! 

Surrounded by the charm of the city’s ice-kissed festivities, their electric chemistry is proving impossible to resist. Cora relishes the challenge to break down Jonas’s defences… and to show him it's time to take a chance!

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Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Christmas, love, life, belonging, change.

Content Warnings: Medical procedures, pregnancy.

I want to visit Stockholm so freaking badly, and now especially in the run up to Christmas.

Cora hates Christmas, it's a time of trauma and sadness for her. My heart broke for her, I just wanted to reach out and give her a hug. She is so driven, so intelligent and intuitive. And generous too, I loved how she made time for everyone. I will never not be jarred by reading a character named Cora - it's not a name commonly used and is part of my own name. I have to say, I did thoroughly enjoy this Cora.

Jonas is a very proud man, although he has his own issues. He is fiercely protective of his staff and his patients, resistant to change, and does everything by the rulebook. It was great to see him mellow a bit, become less brash and angry. He shows his love through small acts and gifts, and it was so cute. 

The romance in this book is so tentative and sweet, and I loved the care that grew between Cora and Jonas. The slow move from antagonising each other to working together was amazing. I loved seeing them be vulnerable with each other, to open up about their insecurities.

As much as this is a medical romance, it also very much a festive romance. It had me longing for fairylights and cold nights and hot drinks and cosy clothing.

This book though? I need more. I want to read about these characters forever.

I will definitely be reading the other three The Christmas Project books, I loved the glimpses of some of the other characters that the other books focus on, and I think that the project the hospital does is amazing.

06 November 2021

Book Review: Red Roses by Katie Ward *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Red Roses by Katie Ward ahead of the blog tour.

I feel like I need a holiday after reading Red Roses by Katie Ward, it was A RIDE and so much happened.

Red Roses by Katie Ward book cover

Autumn is stuck in a rut and desperate to escape the fears that bind her to the life she’s grown to hate. Back home and living with her parents after university with a degree that seems to count for nothing, she knows something has to change.

After a chance meeting with a stranger at the beach, she makes the spontaneous decision to move to Dublin and chase her dreams. However, what Autumn doesn’t realise is that she has just made the decision that will lead to her death.

But does a short life have to mean an unsuccessful life? Will she be able to make it count?

Red Roses is a compelling and uplifting story that shows the true beauty of life, love and friendship.

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Death, family, friendship, change, life.

Well, that was a surprise.

The beginning of this book is hauntingly written. Even as I read the last word, I could still picture that freezing beach, the waves, the vivid rose petals. The descriptions in the whole book are lush and evocative. It did take me a while to settle in to the writing style, but I was quickly addicted to the story and seeing where Autumn would end up next.

At the beginning Autumn takes a chance and relies on fate - and honestly? Same, girl. Sometimes you just need to make that leap and see what happens. I loved that her family came round and supported her quickly and that she could live her spontaneous life.

So much happens in Red Roses, it really is a ride. It is fast paced, and it doesn't let up. Autumn's life is full of... Everything. She accomplishes so much in such a short time, and it left me breathless. A lot of things seem to fall into place for her, and I loved how the narrative subtly played with the concept of fate. It's a real roller coaster of a read.

This story, like Autumn's life, is very much a success. And I really want to visit Dublin.

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Book Review: Christmas At The Village Sewing Shop by Helen Rolfe *AD Gifted

I was provided with access to a free copy of Christmas At The Village Sewing Shop by Helen Rolfe ahead of the blog tour.

I am deep in my Christmas reading now, and this one surprised me. I went in expecting cosy, feel-good family and I was completely thrown by how messy and complicated it was at times. Christmas At The Village Sewing Shop by Helen Rolfe was excellent.

Christmas At The Village Sewing Shop by Helen Rolfe book cover

Can three sisters stitch their family back together?

Loretta loves running the little village sewing shop in Butterbury. Some of her most precious memories are sitting with her three daughters Daisy, Ginny and Fern, stitching together pieces of material - and their hopes and dreams.

But this Christmas the family is coming apart at the seams: Fern feels like she's failing at motherhood and marriage, Ginny's passion for her job as a midwife is fading, Daisy is desperate to prove she ' s changed since her wild younger years - and most of all, Loretta seems to be hiding something...

As they come together to create a new festive quilt, the bond between the sisters begins to heal. But when Loretta reveals the real reason she's brought them all home, can the sisters mend the quilt, and their family, in time for Christmas?

Full of kindness, community and festive magic, this is a treat to curl up with this Christmas! Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Jenny Colgan and Ali McNamara

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Source: Review Copy | Blog Tour | Purchase | Kindle Unlimited

5 Word Review: Family, community, Christmas, expectations, creativity.

When we first meet Loretta in the sewing shop, everything seems to be wonderful. We sharp find out that below the surface it isn't all rainbows and butterflies, and I loved how the story unfolded and the family found a way to bring themselves back together.

The story is told from multiple perspectives, and it gave us a deeper understanding of the characters. I loved being in their heads and seeing how they felt, then having what other characters thought of them displayed. It was beautifully written and a clever way to explore how people can hide their srtuggles and hurt behind a shining exterior.

I don't want to pick favourites, but I think I liked Fern's story the most. My heart broke for her and the immense pressure she put on herself, and out of all of the characters I was rooting for her the loudest. She may not be the most able with a needle and thread, but she is nonetheless amazing.

I loved the crafting angle of this story, it had me itching to dig out my Christmas cross stitch baubles that I'm supposed to be saving for December. I settled for digging out some wool and making pom poms so I can add some to my own tree when it goes up.

Christmas At The Village Sewing Shop by Helen Rolfe was very creative, and I loved how it brought everyone together, as both a community and a family.

How was it that with three sisters to talk to she only ever shared her deepest feelings with friends these days?

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