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18 January 2022

Book Review: The War Girls of Goodwill House by Fenella J. Miller *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The War Girls of Goodwill House by Fenella J. Miller ahead of the blog tour.

I love love love stories about women in World War 2. I love how their whole lives were changed and suddenly they had responsibility and power they weren't afforded before. And I love books that explore all of the messiness this brings. The War Girls of Goodwill House was amazing.

The War Girls of Goodwill House by Fenella J. Miller

Lady Joanna Harcourt and her daughter Sarah discover their life of luxury at Goodwill House is over. Because with Lord Harcourt away fighting, the Harcourt girls are facing financial ruin.

Lady Joanna is terrified of losing their home, but for Sarah, this means her dreams of becoming a doctor are over. Headstrong Sarah isn’t one to quit! War or not, she’s determined to find a way to save her home and follow her dreams– whatever it takes!

Dashing RAF officer Angus Trent might just save the day. The new RAF base at Marston will soon be full of young women all hoping to serve their country, and Goodwill House will make the perfect home for them. But can Sarah convince Lady Joanna to agree to her plan?

Angus has never met a woman quite like Sarah – courageous, brave, unwavering. She has a huge task ahead of her, but if anyone can do it, his war girl can.

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: War, family, privilege, love, hope.

I think this was exactly the book I needed to read right now. From the moment I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.

Sarah and her mother Joanna come from a life of privilege. They haven't had to do much in the past and it's the absence of Lord Harcourt that really drives the plot. He's controlling and bigoted, and leaves them very much in the lurch. The two women are rattling around a mansion, trying to survive on what meagre money they have. For them, the war is a massive expanding of their horizons. As much as they are still confined to the house, they have greater freedom in small ways. Joanna leading committees and Sarah studying medicine and volunteering with St Johns.

I have to say that the characters are not inherently likeable, and that was something that I actually enjoyed a massive amount. As the story goes on and you learn more about them, they worm their way into your heart. I loved the way they broke down their own barriers and prejudices, and how curious they truly were about those around them.

I was prepared for WAAF and Land Girl shenanigans, I was ready for the conflicts of a group of women force together and pushing themselves harder than ever before. And although this didn't come to fruition, I was not disappointed. I loved the exploration of family themes, respect, and privilege. And when Sarah's grandmother appears, the tension between the characters exploded.

I liked the gentle slow burn romance that grows between two of the characters. Despite the age gap (which isn't big by any means) it is built on mutual respect and attraction. I thought the characters worked really well together as a couple, and I loved the small signs of care and affection between them.

I did feel like the ending was pretty abrupt, so I am desperate for more. The story is so engaging. As much as I didn't like many of the characters in the beginning, I am well and truly invested and by the end I loved them all. I can't wait for book two, and to see what happens to Sarah in London.

The War Girls of Goodwill House by Fenella J. Miller blog tour banner

Fenella J. Miller is the bestselling writer of eighteen historical sagas. She also has a passion for Regency romantic adventures and has published over fifty to great acclaim. Her father was a Yorkshireman and her mother the daughter of a Rajah. She lives in a small village in Essex with her British Shorthair cat.

17 January 2022

Book Review:The Greek Billionaire's Love-Child by Sarah Morgan

When I saw The Greek Billionaire's Love-Child by Sarah Morgan on the community bookshelf in the big Tesco I couldn't resist. There's obviously someone local who's donating their older Mills & Book (this is my second decade old find in as many weeks) and if it's for a good cause then of course I'm going to pick it up.

I'm actually surprised I hadn't already read The Greek Billionaire's Love-Child, as Sarah Morgan is one of my favourite romance authors. I'm going to put it down to having only picked up my first Mills & Boon Medical a year ago.

The Greek Billionaire's Love-Child by Sarah Morgan Mills & Boon Medical Romance Book Cover

Accidentally pregnant with the billionaire doctor’s baby...

Six months of bliss with gorgeous, high-flying paediatric surgeon Nikos Mariakos leaves children’s nurse Ella head-over-heels in love…until Nikos unexpectedly ends the relationship. Later that same day Ella’s pregnancy test turns positive, and it is only then she discovers – from a celebrity magazine! – that the father of her baby is also a billionaire!

On learning Ella is expecting his love-child, everything changes for Nikos. This rich Greek playboy is back on the children’s ward, and back into Ella’s life. Determined to be a full-time dad, taking Ella as his convenient wife seems his only solution…

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Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Love, care, secrets, family, forgiveness. 

From the very first line, I knew I would love this book. We're straight in the action of the emergency room, in a tense situation, where the couple are working together. And the way the realisation hits Ella just... It takes your breath away. And it was so easy to understand her feelings.

It was a bad time to realise that she was in love.

Ella is so strong, and hun I would run away to a house boat too. She's fierce and clever and sticks to her morals. She has such a huge sense of betrayal after what she found out about Nikos, and who wouldn't? 

Nikos is as talented as he is hot-headed. And boy does that lead to passion. I just wish he'd been straight with Ella from the start, they could have been perfect together that much sooner. I understand why he kept the secrets he kept, and without them the story wouldn't be what it is, but open communication would have benefitted them so much. 

I loved the way the narrative switched between Ella and Nikos, how they battles against their own inner turmoil and misunderstandings. I loved the sexual tension between them, and how much they cared for each other. Even if they did resent that mutual care at times. 

This book is perfect for fans of Private Practice and Grey's Anatomy. 

This is apparently the first book in the Billionaire Doctors series, but I can't find the following books anywhere. I'm guessing they are out of print, but this one is available on kindle for anyone else who wants a ridiculous smile on their face, and at only £1.99 it's a real bargain.

15 January 2022

Book Review: No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh ahead of the blog tour.

I said last year that I'd be keeping an eye on Portia MacIntosh, so when I got the opportunity to join the blog tour for No Ex Before Marriage, I jumped at the chance. And I was not disappointed.

No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh book cover

It's not over until someone says 'I do'...

While her friends join the "Wife Club" one by one, Poppy feels like that part of her life is done and dusted. Already married and divorced she's not desperate to go through all that again.

But what if her divorce never actually went through...?

After a shock revelation Poppy not only discovers she is still married, but that Zac is about to have his second wedding!

Coming face to face with her (almost) ex-husband after six years apart is never going to be easy. And when Zac panics and tells his new wife-to-be that Poppy is family, things can't get much worse as she is welcomed with open arms as part of the wedding party!

As the memories flood back, can Poppy really leave the past where it is? And can she watch the first love of her life walk down the aisle to say 'I do' once again?

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Source: Purchase | Blog Tour | Review Copy

Content Warning: Miscarriage, grief, bereavement.

5 Word Review: Friendship, marriage, grief, secrets, love.

I knew that picking up another Portia MacIntosh book would be the perfect escape for a winters night, and No Ex Before Marriage proved that point. It's perfect for a coorie up with a fluffy blanket and some hot chocolate.

Poppy was marvellous. She is so strong against what she's going through, and how the people around her (especially her supposed friends) treat her. I wanted to give her a big hug, and when she met Kat I was delighted.

I loved Kat, together with Poppy they bring out the best of each other, even with the wild shenanigans. I want them both as friends, it would be such a laugh.

I absolutely detested Poppy's ex-husband Zac, the lying sack. I don't understand why he felt the need to keep his previous marriage secret. Starting off a marriage with a lie? That's never going to end well.

I will say that it did take me a while to get properly into the story. It was a little unsure until about 20%, it wasn't quite as light-hearted as I had expected, and then all of a sudden I couldn't put it down.

I loved the way the story built, and the way it shaped Poppy. The writing style was so visual. I could practically see this in my head like I was watching a film. And it would make an excellent rom-com film. The tropes of the story really played into the cinematic feel, and even though the themes of the story could get heavy at times, it was so well balanced against the comedy and sheer joy it brought out in me.

I loved the mix of settings, and I feel like everything that came before made me love the island more.

I flew through this book, and it's only made me even more excited to see what Portia MacIntosh writes next.

No Ex Before Marriage by Portia MacIntosh blog tour banner

Portia MacIntosh is a bestselling romantic comedy author of 16 novels, including The Plus One Pact and My Great Ex-Scape. Previously a music journalist, Portia writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real life experiences.

14 January 2022

Book Beginnings: The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder *AD gifted

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

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

I am currently reading The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder (AD - gifted).

The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder book cover

In a faraway time, in a kingdom of magic, a baby was born to the last king and queen of Andar.

I was sent a free review copy of The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder.

I love the fairytale vibes to this first line. I think it sets the scene for a gender-flipped re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty perfectly and it has me excited for the story ahead.

I love the details on the cover. All at once it's a simple concept yet it's really busy. You know what you're getting, straight away you have those hints of the fairytale it is inspired by. I love the vibrancy of the roses and of the blood.

I feel like this is going to be a pretty easy book to read when it comes to writing style, and I can't wait for the adventure to start.

Fi shook her head, chasing away thoughts of spindles and relics and beautiful boys with rose-red lips who disappeared like ghosts.

This is from page 56 in my review copy.

I am intrigued. This sentence just... It makes me wonder, probably as much as Fi.

I am excited to read this story, and I do have pretty high expectations. Wish me luck!

About the Book

Filore, a treasure hunter with a knack for riddles, is busy running from her own deadly curse, when she pricks her finger on a spindle. Bound to the sleeping prince Briar Rose with the spindle's magic - and chosen as the only person who can wake him - Fi is stuck with the prince's ghost until she can break his ancient curse and save his kingdom.

She's going to need a partner. A warrior huntswoman with an axe to grind (literally), Shane couldn't care less about curses and ancient texts. But instead of riches, the two girls find trouble.

Dark magic, witch hunters, nightmarish beasts - and of course, curses - all stand in their way as Fi and Shane undertake the dangerous journey into a forgotten kingdom where the sleeping prince's body waits.

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What are you reading this week?

13 January 2022

Book Review: XOXO by Axie Oh

I bought XOXO by Axie Oh from Fairyloot when they released a gorgeous hardback edition with the most beautiful naked cover ever. And when it arrived I put it on my shelves and err... There it languished.

Until Twitter decided it should be my first read of 2022.

ANd guys? Why didn't I read it sooner? It was amazing, and I loved it so much that I added all of the author's other books to my TBR and searched everywhere for other k-pop romances.

XOXO by Axie Oh book cover

Jenny’s never had much time for boys, K-pop, or really anything besides her dream of being a professional cellist. But when she finds herself falling for a K-pop idol, she has to decide whether their love is worth the risk. A modern forbidden romance wrapped in the glamorous and exclusive world of K-pop, XOXO is perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Maurene Goo.

Jenny didn’t get to be an award-winning, classically trained cellist without choosing practice over fun. That is, until the night she meets Jaewoo. Mysterious, handsome, and just a little bit tormented, Jaewoo is exactly the kind of distraction Jenny would normally avoid. And yet, she finds herself pulled into spending an unforgettable evening wandering Los Angeles with him on the night before his flight home to South Korea.

With Jaewoo an ocean away, there’s no use in dreaming of what could have been. But when Jenny and her mother move to Seoul to take care of her ailing grandmother, who does she meet at the elite arts academy she’s just been accepted to? Jaewoo.

Finding the dreamy stranger who swept you off your feet in your homeroom is one thing, but Jaewoo isn’t just any student. Turns out, Jaewoo is a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world. And like most K-pop idols, Jaewoo is strictly forbidden from dating anyone.

When a relationship means not only jeopardizing her place at her dream music school but also endangering everything Jaewoo’s worked for, Jenny has to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love.

XOXO is a new romance that proves chasing your dreams doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your heart, from acclaimed author Axie Oh. 

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Source: Purchase

5 Word Review: Music, family, expectations, fame, love.

Put together a K-pop and cello playlist, gather some snacks (because this book will make you hungry) and settle in for the cutest romance ever.

This book is beautifully written. I looked forward every day to picking it up, and once I had picked it up I didn't want to put it down. The writing style is so easy to read, and I so easily fell into Jenny's story. I loved the small details that built up the world around the characters, and how the scenery effortlessly changed as Jenny moved from America to South Korea.

I loved the journey Jenny took, how she lost herself then found herself, how she grew and matured. It's a real coming-of-age arc set against a massive change in Jenny's life, and she rises to the challenge wonderfully. I loved watching her chase her dreams, and how those dreams evolved. She has such personal strength and talent, and so much potential.

Jaewoo also loses himself, and I loved seeing Jenny help him navigate his way back, even if neither of the characters realised it at the time. Together they make an adorable couple.

The friendships in this book were incredible too, even if some of them feel very unlikely at first. Those initial impressions and first meetings really stuck with me as I read, and I could look back on them maybe not so fondly by the end. Jenny's assumptions were definitely wildly wrong at times.

The exploration of family themes was amazing too. Every issue XOXO tackled it, it tackled perfectly. It's messy at times, and just like relationships are in real life there is tension and secrets and conflict and friendship and love.

This was the sweetest YA romance I think I have ever read. I loved the way both characters grew into themselves and faced their worries and the barriers against them. The ending was so so perfect, and everything wrapped up amazingly, but I would absolutely read more. Jenny and Jaewoo are an OTP I could never get bored of.

11 January 2022

Pondathon II: The Quiet Pond's Story-Driver Readathon

I am so excited for this almost year-long readathon. I've taken part in readathons hosted by CW before and I utterly ADORE the creative aspects of them. I'm particularly excited to use this Pondathon II to really push myself to reading more diversely when it comes to romance, as that is perhaps the least diverse of the genres I read.

Pondathon II: The Quiet Pond’s Story-Driven Readathon. A small spade and watering can are crossed with vines wrapped around it frame the words Pondathon II. Three little forest sprites - one with a leaf on its head, another with twigs on its head like antlers, and a mushroom on the other’s head - sit on the words ‘Pondathon’.

What is the Pondathon?

Pondathon II is a story-driven and gardening-themed readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of the Pondathon II readathon is to read books to earn plants and decorate your own little garden so that we can restore the forest together. More information about the readathon can be found here.

Information about Joining the Pondathon

You can sign-up to the Pondathon II readathon here. The readathon starts on January 10th 2022 and ends on December 11th 2022; sign-ups are open across the duration of the readathon.

You also get to create your own Pond animal character for the Pondathon, and create your own character card!

If you’d like, create a blog post, bookstagram post, booktube video, Twitter thread, or whatever medium you wish, with '#PondathonII' in the title or your tweet. Share the character you have created and your character card!

Link back to this post so that new friends can find the readathon and join in as well.

My Pond Character

Corazzz, Observer of Stars

My Pond Character is Corazzz, and she is a very tired little fox who cannot sleep at night, and so lies in the clearing and stares up at the stars. By day she forages and reads to the mushrooms.

My Pondathon TBR

There are a lot of books in general on my TBR (it's out of control to be honest) but these are the ones I want to absolutely focus on for this readathon. And, they're mostly books I already own. A couple will be rereads (how could you NOT reread Get A Life, Chloe Brown over and over?) but mostly when I'll be aiming to complete a series or read an author's backlist.

I will definitely read a lot of books that are not included on this list, because I am a huge mood reader. There books are listed in Author > Series order, and I will be picking them up at random.

I know that this is a pretty expansive TBR, but it's for the entire year. Wish me luck!

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings (Anthology)
Her Majesty’s Royal Coven by Juno Dawson
Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Act Your Age Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
Splinters of Sunshine by Patrice Lawrence
Only a Monster by Vanessa Len
Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim
Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman
This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura 
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

Will you be joining in with Pondathon II?

10 January 2022

Book Review and Giveaway: Her Legendary Highlander by Nicole Locke *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Her Legendary Highlander by Nicole Locke ahead of the blog tour.

This is the story I've been wanting to read since I read The Maiden and the Mercenary last year. And oh my goodness, once again Nicole Locke has done it - Her Legendary Highlander is magnificent.

Her Legendary Highlander by Nicole Locke book cover Mills & Boon histroical

Her rugged prisoner...

Becomes her fiercest protector!

Capturing legendary Highlander Malcolm of Clan Colquhoun was Andreona’s last chance to win her tyrannical father’s respect.

Instead he orders them both to be killed!

Resigned to her devastating role as the family outcast, she and her prisoner escape and continue on his quest to return a treasured heirloom.

They find solace in their unexpected passion, but haunted by a lifetime of betrayals, will either dare to hope it could last beyond their journey?

Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Family, danger, betrayal, love, understanding.

Oh no. My heart. It's full.

Yet again we have Nicole Locke's signature detail filled historical romance, where the world comes vividly alive around you as you read. Her Legendary Highlander is a continuation of the Lovers and Legends miniseries, but each book can be read as a standalone.

I freaking loved Andreona. I loved her drive and her determination, and how she kept trying to prove herself even as she was lied to and betrayed. She goes through a lot of hurt because of her family, but she comes out stronger for it.

Malcolm is on a quest that anyone who has read Lovers and Legends miniseries will recognise. I found him so easy to warm to and I have to admit I fell much faster than Andreona. I was smitten with this romantic hero and grinning like a Cheshire cat.

The back and forth between Andreona and Malcolm is amazing. It was so easy to get caught up in the banter, watch the passion and attraction build slowly. It means that when they do finally acknowledge their feelings it's even sweeter. I loved the way that despite the dishonesty they've both been afforded in their past, they learn to trust each other. It was truly heart-warming.

I loved the way the story was set against a journey. As much as the characters were physically travelling, they were also undertaking a massive personal journey, almost like a pilgrimage to discover their true selves.

I'd recommend them to anyone who likes historical romance and slow burn romances. The added tension of the enemies to lovers trope is *chef's kiss*. This is perfect for fan of Reign, especially if your favourite parts were when Mary and Bash ran away.

Her Legendary Highlander by Nicole Locke blog tour banner

Nicole first discovered romance novels hidden in her grandmother’s closet. Convinced hidden books must be better, Nicole greedily read them. It was only natural she should start writing them (but now not so secretly). If she isn’t working on the next book in her historical series, she can’t be found. No, seriously. Because she’s always working on the next story!

Giveaway to Win a Signed Copy of Her Legendary Highlander
(Open Internationally)

Terms and Conditions – Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.