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26 June 2022

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

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

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

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

A knight’s protection…

That she doesn’t want… Or need?

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

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

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

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

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can't wait to see what Melissa Oliver comes up with next.
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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.

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

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

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

The Lost Laird from Her Past by Jeanine Englert

A second chance...

With her first love!

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

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

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

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

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

Oh no, another perfect historical romance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

25 June 2022

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

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

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

A Harvest Murder by Frances Evesham cosy mystery book cover

One unexplained disappearance is strange, but two are sinister.

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

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

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

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

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23 June 2022

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

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

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

The Forgotten House on the Moor by Jane Lovering book cover

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

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

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

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

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

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Source: Purchase | Blog Tour | Review Copy

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

BRB planning a holiday on the North York Moors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21 June 2022

The Way Back Almanac - Half Way Check In

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

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

The Way Back Almanac 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Way Back Almanac 2023

A contemporary seasonal guide back to nature

by Melinda Salisbury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20 June 2022

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

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

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

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

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

Safety in his arms?

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

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

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Source: NetGalley | Review Copy 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


16 June 2022

Book Review: The Missing Girls of Alardyce House by Heather Atkinson *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Missing Girls of Alardyce House by Heather Atkinson ahead of the blog tour.

This book? Just... Wow. It took me completely by surprise and I couldn't have put it down if I'd tried. It's a gripping mystery, with so many twists and turns that you're never quite sure what the truth is.

The Missing Girls of Alardyce House by Heather Atkinson book cover

Edinburgh 1880. When Amy Osbourne’s parents are lost at sea, she is forced to leave her London home and is sent to live with her aunt and uncle at the opposite end of the country.

Alardyce House is depressing and dreary, her aunt haughty and cruel. Amy strikes up a friendship with her cousin Edward but his older brother Henry is just as conceited as his mother, and a mutual loathing develops between him and Amy. 

As her weeks of mourning pass, the realisation begins to dawn on Amy that her aunt has designs on her inheritance and the candidate she favours to be her niece's husband fills Amy with horror. Struggling in this strange, unwelcoming environment, Amy begins to suspect that something isn’t right at Alardyce House. 

There are rumours below stairs of a monster on the loose, local women are being brutally attacked and her cousin Henry is the prime suspect. Alardyce House is full of dark secrets and Amy isn’t sure who she can trust…

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

Content warnings: Misogyny, torture, pregnancy, confinement, death of parents, grief. 

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

This. Book.

I am struggling to review this book without swearing because it blew my mind.

This book surprised me so much. I thought I knew what I was getting myself in for, and then I picked it up on a Saturday morning and didn't even stop to make a cup of tea. The Missing Girls of Alardyce House was incredible.

Amy goes through so much in this book. She's a pretty messy character, she's complicated and disgraced herself in the past, she's vulnerable and more naïve than she believes. Watching her be manipulated was really something - at every turn no one can be trusted, everyone has their own motivations and secrets. The romances are passionate and steamy, the pace fast from the tension and secrets. I loved the take on the upstairs/downstairs trope, the whole forbidden aspect of one of the relationships really raised the stakes.

I loved that there was the barest thread of the spiritual. It really suited the setting, the time period, and it leant an extra unreliable-ness to the narrative that added to the mystery and how other characters interacted.

This book is dark. It's a dark mystery, and horrible things happen over and over again. Take not of the content warnings. I wasn't expecting it to be as dark when I went in. Honestly, thank goodness for the thread of romance that lightened it up, as unexpected as it was.

And that ending?! I am still shocked.

This was an unforgettable historical mystery and I wouldn't hesitate to read another book by Heather Atkinson. The Missing Girls of Alardyce House was truly outstanding.

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Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime fiction genre.  Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family, including twin teenage daughters, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland.  Her gangland series for Boldwood, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow begins with the title Blood Brothers.

14 June 2022

Audiobook Review: The Change by Kirsten Miller *AD Gifted

HarperCollins Audio sent me a free audio-copy of The Change by Kirsten Miller via NetGalley.

When I finished this book I spent a good ten minutes screaming into a cushion. The Change made me feel things, it made me feel anger and pride, I was inspired. I freaking loved it.

The Change by Kirsten Miller audiobook book cover

The change is coming…

Nessa: The Seeker
Jo: The Protector
Harriett: The Punisher

With newfound powers the time has come to take matters into their own hands…

After Nessa is widowed and her daughters leave for college, she’s left alone in her house near the ocean. In the quiet hours, she hears voices belonging to the dead – who will only speak to her.

On the cusp of fifty Harriett’s marriage and career imploded, and she hasn’t left her house in months. But her life is far from over – in fact, she’s undergone a stunning metamorphosis.

Jo spent thirty years at war with her body. The rage that arrived with menopause felt like the last straw – until she discovers she’s able to channel it.

Guided by voices only Nessa can hear, the trio discover the abandoned body of a teenage girl. The police have written off the victim. But the women have not. Their own investigations lead them to more bodies and a world of wealth where the rules don’t apply – and the realisation that laws are designed to protect villains, not the vulnerable.

So it’s up to these three women to avenge the innocent, and punish the guilty…

The time has come to embrace The Change.

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Source: NetGalley | Review Copy 

Content Warnings: Sex trafficking, misogyny, murder.

5 Word Review: Power, responsibility, justice, revenge, punishment.

This book made me feel things. Mostly anger and sadness, but oh boy is there power in that.

The Change was phenomenal.

January LaVoy does a wonderful job narrating the story - each character had such distinct voices that I was sure it was a full cast audiobook. I am off now to search for more of their work, because they're a new favourite audiobook narrator.

I loved all of the characters, but Harriet was my favourite. She's sick of everyone's shit, she's living for herself, and I am here for it. I am envious of her garden, of her knowledge, and I'm inspired by her drive. She's so driven and subtle (and not so subtle) and I just... When I grow up, I want to be Harriet Osborne. She is the punisher and deserves that title.

Nessa is such a wonderful maternal figure and I really felt for her bearing the brunt of responsibility - she was the one that could talk to the dead and that is such an incredible pressure. She seeks out those who have lost their voice and returns it to them, revealing the ghastly secrets of their deaths. She offers such precious closure.

I love what Jo did for other women. I love that she created a safe space, nurtured it, protected it. She is the protector, and I loved how she channelled her very warranted rage.

This book can get very, very dark at times. It doesn't shade away from violent misogyny, and it explores the dangers of it. I was so glad that there were moments of humour and friendship to lighten the mood, and I smiled and laughed with the characters.

If you were a fan of Big Little Lies or loved The Sanctuary by VV James then you will love this story of power, protection, and punishment.

I can't wait to read more by this author.

09 June 2022

Audiobook Review: Come Here Often? by Ellie Center *AD Gifted

Bookouture Audio sent me a free audio-copy of Come Here Often? by Ellie Center via NetGalley.

I have to admit to totally picking this one based on the cover. It just looked fun, and I have to be honest if I got on an exercise bike I too would probably end up lying legs akimbo behind it.

Come Here Often? by Ellie Center audiobook cover

My name is Kat and I have a confession. For the last week, I’ve been secretly living in the gym.

Let me set the scene for you… It was my first day working out. Ever. My idea of cardio is lifting Dunkin’ Donuts, but as if exercising wasn’t bad enough, listen to what happened next. In the space of minutes, my boyfriend dumped me over the phone and my boss fired me.

Cue a Code Red panic attack. Now, no matter how hard I try, my anxiety stops me from physically walking out of the door, back into the hot mess of my life.

So now I’m stuck in this health club, spending night after night sleeping on massage tables, escaping security guards and hiding from my ex. Flirting with personal trainer Marcus, who’s carved like a Greek god and has a smile that makes my stomach flip-flop, is the silver lining to this craziness.

But what happens if I get caught? Can I finally sort my life out? And how personal is too personal when it comes to personal trainers?

This fresh and funny page-turner is for anyone who has ever lost their spark, struggled with anxiety, or prefers pie and lattes to pilates. Perfect for fans of Beth O’Leary, Emily Henry and Jo Watson.

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Source: NetGalley | Review Copy 

5 Word Review: Anxiety, lies, belonging, exercise, resilience.

I had so much fun reading this book - it's the perfect comedy to brighten your day, or even your week.

I picked up the audiobook on a Saturday morning as a companion for my chores and accidentally listened to it all instead of saving some for my commute. The performance by Kate Handford was excellent, she really brought Kat to life.

Kat very quickly burrowed under my skin. I felt for her so much, and the portrayal of her anxiety  At the beginning I was like oh no, Kat but by the end I was cheering for her. The ups and downs of the story and Kat's position had me on the edge of my seat. Kat is so driven, and so good, and so scared. And I feel that.

This book had me examining my relationship with my body, exercise and alcohol. Kat is prone to using alcohol as a crutch for her anxiety and err... Guilty as charged.

This book was so freaking motivating. I'm recovering from Covid and this gave me that push to jump back in to movement. Unlike Kat, I'm not signing myself up to a swanky gym, I just don't have the money. But I did start a new Fitness Blender program, and that's exactly what I needed.

The ending tugged at my heart strings so much, and my heart soared for Kat and all that she had accomplished. Come Here Often? is the perfect pick-me-up when you're feeling down.

08 June 2022

Book Review: Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter ahead of the blog tour.

It has been so long since I last read a historical novel like this, and I have no regrets. It's a true adventure, a thrill to read, and will leave you breathless.

Wolf of Mercia by MJ Porter book cover

As a lone wolf inside a Wessex stronghold, Icel must ensure his own and Mercia’s triumph.

Icel is becoming a warrior of Mercia, but King Ecgberht of Wessex still holds the Mercian settlement of Londonia and its valuable mint.

King Wiglaf of Mercia is determined that the last bulwark be reclaimed from his sworn enemy to complete his rehabilitation as Mercia’s rightful ruler.

In the heart of the shield wall, Icel suddenly finds himself on the wrong side of the battle and thrust into the retreating enemy stronghold where he must take on the pretence of a Wessex warrior to survive and exact a cunning plan to bring down the Wessex force cowering behind the ancient walls.

His allegiances are tested and the temptation to make new allies is overwhelming but Icel must succeed if he’s ever to see Tamworth again and bring about King Wiglaf’s victory, or will he be forced to join the enemy?

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Belonging, survival, loyalty, action, history.

I am a sucker for political intrigue, and this book has it in spades. I loved all of the politicking and plotting and the inherent danger all around. Add in coming-of-age themes? It was perfect.

This story is so tense, the plot driven forward at an incredible speed by all that is happening. Icel is very much pushed and pulled like the tide has hold of him, and it helped deepen his character, there were so many layers. I loved Icel's reluctance at what was thrust upon him, and how he worked through it. There is action at every turn and we're treated to a blow-by-blow account. If your favourite parts of Lord of the Rings were the battles then you're in for a treat.

I loved that the tension was broken up by banter between the characters. As a reader I really felt like I was in the middle of a group of friends at times.

I feel like I did miss out on some of the backstory and history of the characters by not reading the first book, but if anything that has just made me want to read more. I'll definitely be going back and reading the first story in the Eagle of Mercia Chronicles.

I will definitely be reading more of this series, it's perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell's The Warrior Chronicles. Wolf of Mercia felt almost like an epic journey and I was breathless by the end.
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MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, and in Viking Age Denmark. They were raised in the shadow of a building that they believed housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia – so their writing destiny was set. The first novel in their new Anglo-Saxon series for Boldwood Son of Mercia was published in February 2022.

03 June 2022

Book Review: Lord of Worth by Philippa Jane Keyworth *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of Lord of Worth by Philippa Jane Keyworth ahead of the blog tour.

Lord of Worth by Philippa Jane Keyworth

London 1776: Lord Worth is busying himself restoring his family fortunes and burying any feelings he still harbours for the woman who rejected his proposal.

The fact that the lady in question—Lady Rebecca Fairing—happens to be his sister’s best friend, his niece’s godmother, and present at every Societal gathering of consequence is… unfortunate. 

Meanwhile Rebecca fears she made the wrong decision in rejecting James Worth, but when he assures her he won’t be renewing his proposal, she is forced to accept her choice. It doesn’t take long for the eligible Lord Worth to attract other suitors, among them Lady Sophia, daughter to Society’s most notorious gossip, Lady Goring.

Rebecca knows she must step aside and allow James to find happiness, but when she senses all is not as it seems in the Goring family, she can’t help but intervene.

As James and Rebecca work together to unearth Societal secrets, deal with scheming matriarchs, and face villainous highwaymen, they find themselves more in each other’s company than ever before. 

Will they continue to bury their feelings for one another, or will they finally realise what it means to love?

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About the Ladies of Worth series

The Ladies of Worth series is a historical romance series of novels set in 18th century. From the gaming hells of London to Bath’s fashionable Pump Room, the Ladies of Worth series opens up a world of romance, wit and scandal to its readers. With formidable heroines and honourable heroes who match each other wit for wit you’ll find yourself falling in love with the Ladies of Worth.

Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy | Purchase

5 Word Review: Love, society, misunderstanding, family, belonging.

I absolutely flew through this book and I couldn't put it down. I love a second chance romance, the rekindling of an old flame and the recognition of missed chances.

Rebecca is headstrong and outspoken, and very much ahead of her time. I loved her drive and her loyalty.

James is so awkward. I want to wrap him up and coddle him. He's so desperately in love with Rebecca and it leads to all sorts of misunderstandings. He a bit lost and unsure about how to act around her, and Rebecca naturally sees his actions as those of someone who doesn't love her. It was the sweetest misunderstanding, really.

When it comes to Rebecca and James together, although they're not together often I was practically shouting Now kiss! at my kindle. The story is pretty slow paced, perfect for a lazy afternoon, and the plot focuses more on society and perceptions than chest heaving romance. For me it was a welcome change of pace, and very subtle.

Lord of Worth has everything you need for a fun romance and a story to thrill. I loved the villains of the piece and how they were written, they truly were despicable.

I haven't read any of the previous Ladies of Worth books, but I read the description of Lord of Worth and I couldn't resist. You can absolutely read this book as a standalone like I did and not lose out on much, but I will be going back and reading the first two because I enjoyed it so much. And I want to know all of the history and backstories.

Also, can we talk about that cover? It's so striking! And this book includes a glossary, which I found very helpful as I don't read many Georgian romances.

This was a fantastic historical romance, and I can't wait to read more by this author. Don't you love it when you find a new favourite?

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Philippa Jane Keyworth, also known as P. J. Keyworth, writes historical romance and fantasy novels you'll want to escape into.

She loves strong heroines, challenging heroes and backdrops that read like you’re watching a movie. She creates complex, believable characters you want to get to know and worlds that are as dramatic as they are beautiful.

Keyworth's historical romance novels include Regency and Georgian romances that trace the steps of indomitable heroes and heroines through historic British streets. From London's glittering ballrooms to its dark gaming hells, characters experience the hopes and joys of love while avoiding a coil or too! Travel with them through London, Bath, Cornwall and beyond and you'll find yourself falling in love.

Keyworth's fantasy series The She Trilogy unveils a world of nomadic warrior tribes and peaceful forest-dwelling folk. Explore the hills, deserts and cities of Emrilion and the history that is woven through them. With so many different races in the same kingdom it's become a melting pot of drama and intrigue where the ultimate struggle between good and evil will bring it all to the brink of destruction.

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Lord of Worth
(UK Only)

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

Book Review: The Viking She Would Have Married by Lucy Morris *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Viking She Would Have Married by Lucy Morris ahead of the blog tour.

After their amazing debut, Lucy Morris has become an auto-buy author for me. I see them on the Mills & Boon website and I click to order. And do you know why? Because their books are perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

So perfect that I've already read The Viking She Would Have Married three times, and I have no regrets. I am here for Valda and Halfdan, and I can't wait to read the rest of the Shieldmaiden Sisters stories.

The Viking She Would Have Married by Lucy Morris

In close quarters…

With the Viking she’d loved and lost

A Shieldmaiden Sisters story.

With her family fallen on hard times, Valda’s forced to join the crew on Halfdan Ulfsson’s merchant ship as he sets sail on the treacherous silk route. But this handsome jarl’s son is the man she’d planned to wed, until his bitter betrayal. Knowing she can never trust him, she must focus on saving her sisters…and not the intense connection that still burns between them!

Passion erupts when these bold, spirited Vikings are reunited!

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy | Purchase

5 Word Review: Family, love, history, honour, loyalty.

I was so excited to pick this book up and read Valda's story, especially after reading A Nun For The Viking Warrior last year where she featured on the edges of the story as part of Jorund's retinue.

I knew a little of Valda, but she wasn't viewed so favourably by Amée when I first met her as a side character. But in her own story? I want her as my bestie. I could never keep up of course, she's an incredibly talented shieldmaiden. I loved the layers of her character, from fierce warrior to loyal sister to insecure young woman. She was complicated and messy and felt her emotions with every part of her being, her pride is a massive part of her.

Halfdan is just a freaking gem. He's a Viking warrior and trader crossed with a golden retriever, and I am here for his endless love and loyalty. He is so generous to everyone around him and always looking to do the good thing, the right thing.

This is a finding-each-other-again, second chance romance that takes a while to build. I loved the simmering tension between Valda and Halfdan as they confronted their past, the way a smoulder turned into a burning flame.

Yet again, Lucy Morris has brought he historical setting vividly to life. I was nauseous from the smell in Jorvik, cold to my bones on the beach from the storm, I felt like I could breathe deeper when we reached Halfdan's settlement. It was so easy to slip into the world, and I almost felt like I was walking through it with the characters. There are so many small details in the writing that add substantial depth to the setting, making it all the more real.

This is perfect for fans of Vikings or The Last Kingdom, and even Black Sails as time is spent at sea.

I can't wait to see what Lucy Morris writes next, because every book so far has been incredible. I've read them all multiple times and I love getting lost in the past she has brought to life so vividly, with all of the danger and passion included.
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Lucy Morris has always been obsessed with myths and legends. Her books blend sweeping romance with vivid worldbuilding to whisk you away to another time and place filled with adventure. Expect passion, drama and vibrant characters.

Lucy lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves Terry's Chocolate Oranges and Irn-Bru. In her spare time she likes to explore castles with her family, or drink bubbly with her friends.

01 June 2022

Book Review: The Secret Couple by J. S. Lark *AD Gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Secret Couple by J. S. Lark ahead of the blog tour.

There were so many twists in this thriller that I never knew what was coming next. I read it on a single evening as the rain poured down outside.

The Secret Couple by J. S. Lark book cover

Someone knows what they did…

A laugh.
A touch.
A lingering look.

A dead body.
An affair.
A crime years in the making.

Alison knows she’s in too deep. But behind closed doors, no one is who they seem…

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

5 Word Review: Secrets, danger, power, vigilante, family.

The blurb for this book really gives nothing away - I went in barely knowing what I was in for. Which turned out to be perfect for such a twisting psychological thriller.

Alice is a lot more trusting than I thought she'd be, given her past, especially with Luke. It was weird and jarring but set everything up excellently. It made the tension build quicker, it made the atmosphere very claustrophobic - there is a lot of emphasis on Luke physically, each little touch and expression noted. I have to say - Alice's relationship with alcohol had me taking a long hard look at myself. I thought she was very relatable, even if she had me pondering her motives and her past. And Luke? A total enigma, but a dangerous feeling one.

I loved the writing - it's very different from what I'm used to and it lulled me into a false sense of security before stunning me with every twist and turn of the plot. The beginning of this book had me intrigued - the story builds slowly, so slowly, and draws you in and all of a sudden it's flying past. There are clever hints dropped throughout the story, from character reactions and flashbacks, to crossword clues and answers.

The Secret Couple made me really want to visit Bath. The beginning, where they explore a bit, had me itching to jump on a train, even though it'd take a good five hours and multiple changes from where I live.

I will definitely be checking out this author's back list! I need more. The Secret Couple was a quick read that's perfect for a dark night.

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Jane is a coffee, chocolate and red wine lover, and a late-night writer of compelling, passionate, and emotionally charged fiction. 

Jane's books may contain love, hate, violence, death, passion, a little swearing, and an ending you are never going to forget.