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Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

Title: Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found

Author: Emma Davies

Genre: Romance

Opens: It was late night opening at the library, and Lucy Picklescott had a whole thirty-five minutes to herself before she was due back for the rest of the afternoon shift.

Blurb: Twenty-four-year-old Lucy needs a fresh start. Forever single, frustrated with her studies and dreaming of writing a novel she can’t start, she gives up everything to run home and get a job in a little library in the leafy village of Tilley Moreton. Lucy loves reading books almost as much as she loves fixing other people’s problems, so starting a book club seems like the perfect opportunity to do both. As she meets her new members, it’s clear she’s going to have her work cut out for her. One by one everyone at the book club starts the journey to their happy ever afters – even Lucy.

My Thoughts: The subtitle for Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found is ‘a heart-warming feel good romance novel’, and that’s exactly what this book is. Lia, Hattie, Callum and Oscar all turn up at the library to join the book club. Each of the characters take it in turns to tell the story so it is a good way for the readers to know what is going on in each life before the rest of the cast do. Lia is the sole carer for her mother who has Alzheimer’s; Hattie is a single mum whose daughter has just started school and she wants to make friends; Callum wants to make something of his life but his family and lack of confidence is holding him back; while Oscar (who was my favourite character) is a widower missing his wife. Their stories all intertwine as the group becomes friends and each of them hits a low point before realising they don’t have to face this alone, that they have their book club friends to lift them up and help them crawl back out of their pit.

Lucy’s Book Club for the Lost and Found is a wonderful feel good story with depth. It covers quite contemporary issues such as caring for the sick and elderly, broken relationships, single parenthood and unemployment. Each of the sub-plots have closure although happy ever after is not necessarily riding off into the sunset. Overall, five strangers become five good friends and I certainly recommend the book, and will read more of Emma Davies’ work.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

With thanks to Bookouture Publishing and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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Title: Sweet Dreams, Baby

Author: C.J. Carmichael

Genre: Romance

Opens: Three weeks had passed since Portia Bishop mailed the letter she should have sent almost a year earlier. Three very long weeks.

Blurb: Three weeks ago, Portia Bishop mailed a letter to the father of her baby, Saddle Bronc rider Austin Bradshaw. It’s a letter she should have written a long time ago—like when she first found out she was pregnant, shortly after she ended things with Austin, dropped out of college, and went running to her family in Marietta, Montana.

Austin has loved Portia since he first laid his eyes on her in college. A year ago, he convinced her to do something impulsive and very romantic. Now, as he opens her letter, Austin has two reasons to return to Marietta–win back the heart of the woman he still loves and convince her he’s a good bet for a forever man and father.

My Thoughts: I have to confess it was mostly the cover that first drew my attention to this book, followed by the blurb. I have previously read, and enjoyed, another of author C.J. Carmichael’s books – Snowbound in Montana – so I knew I would be in for another good read. I was not disappointed.

Austin arrives in Marietta in response to the letter mentioned in the blurb. He has NO idea he is a daddy until he sees Portia opening the door of the Chocolate Shop where she works, holding a baby. He thinks at first she is babysitting, but she tells him the truth and he gets to hold his son for the very first time. And so the story continues – they are both so young – and so in love but both are scared of committing for different reasons. They are each wanting to make the noble sacrifice for the other, despite being miserable over the sacrifice, and they are both wanting only the best for their son, which may not be the best for them. Lack of communication ensures there is lots of misunderstanding and this angst is played out against a backdrop of three other secondary stories. The Chocolate Shop is in danger of having to close down due to a nasty landlord, there are missing family jewels and fundraising is needed to raise money for the burnt down rodeo stadium.

I loved Austin he is smart, still in love, sporty, strong, considerate and always willing to pitch in and help out where needed – even making chocolate! Portia is very mixed up – with a split home behind her, and feeling rejected by her father she doesn’t want her son to come from a broken home – not even thinking that by not giving him one at all she is letting history repeat. She has been keeping secrets from her family as well as Austin and as the secrets unravel she finally has enough peace and confidence to start making decisions.

Sweet Dreams, Baby is the twelfth and final book in the series and reads perfectly as a stand-alone as I haven’t read any of the other books. Something I plan to remedy.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

With thanks to Tule Publishing and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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Talk of the Town by Rachael Johns

Title: Talk of the Town

Author: Rachael Johns

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Opens: Megan McCormick froze at the sound of a car door slamming outside.

Blurb: Lawson Cooper-Jones has two priorities in life – his son, Ned, and the survival of the dairy farm that has been in his family for generations. Despite the best efforts of the town matchmakers and the determined pursuit of local girl Adeline Walsh, Lawson’s heart belongs still, and only, to his late wife. But when a flat tyre strands Lawson and Ned in nearby Rose Hill, he’s surprised to find a woman living alone in the old general store of the deserted town. Ned immediately forms a bond with the beautiful stranger called Meg, and Lawson is surprised to find himself captivated by her too.

Although shy at first, Meg starts to open up to him about the haunting secrets of her new home and, with Lawson unable to get her out of his head, they agree to investigate the history of the old building together. Soon they find their friendship has bloomed into something more. But when meddling Adeline makes it her mission to uncover the truth about the newcomer and her real identity is revealed, Lawson and Meg’s budding romance comes crashing down. Can they both learn to forgive in order to claim a future for their damaged hearts?

My Thoughts: TALK OF THE TOWN is a Rural Romance, a genre that is a firm favourite of mine. Author Rachael Johns is also a favourite of mine – she belongs to an elite group of authors that I call my ‘Grocery List’ Authors – Love their stuff so much that if they published their grocery list I would read it!

Meg has a past – a past that she wants to stay hidden. In her mind the best way to do that is hide away in an old General Store in a small ghost town with one other living resident near a slightly larger rural community and keep to herself. The story opens with her lurking alone in her home when a small whirlwind called Ned forces his way into her house and her heart – closely followed by his dad!

Of course this wouldn’t be a romance without conflict – and there is conflict in bucket loads! Lawson is in conflict with having feelings about a woman other than his late wife, and Meg has conflict with revealing the truth about her past. Topics covered as the story unfolds are the very relevant issues such as those dairy farmers face today, drugs in society, single parenthood, disabilities, remote medical access and attitudes towards convicted criminals who have served their time and just want a new start and the chance to move on.

There are some wonderful characters – both dead and alive – and certainly at least one handkerchief moment. Rachael Johns communicates both sides of living in a small community. The good is how the community pulls together in a crisis and will support each other when someone is in trouble; the bad is how gossip, petty power struggles and out and out meddling can affect people. Needless to say – good does win out – and the past is settled and the future looks bright for now as the characters make it to the end of the story. I do hope that Tab gets her own story in the future as I would love to revisit this town.

For more about the author – Click Here

A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.

With thanks to Harlequin Books and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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Title: Kakadu Sunset

Author: Annie Seaton

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Opens:

The three over-sized trucks in front of Ellie Porter’s small red sedan were loaded with pipes and earthmoving equipment, and they’d slowed her trip home along the Arnhem Highway from Darwin Airport.

Blurb:

Helicopter pilot Ellie Porter loves her job. Soaring above the glorious Kakadu National Park, she feels free from all her family problems. But when returning from a search-and-rescue mission she spots some unusual excavation works hidden at the back of her old family property. She is immediately very concerned because Kakadu being a National Park mining is not allowed. She decides to ask a few questions about the earthworks which immediately bring her into the radar of people who will stop at nothing to get their own way.

My Thoughts: Being a Darwin girl of some 40 years – and knowing the Kakadu Park area very well, I have to say I approached the setting very critically. I need not have worried – Aussie author Annie Seaton nailed it!!! Other than one little quibble about the location of her MacDonald’s in Darwin City and Darwin’s Mitchell Street being called Mitchell Avenue everything else accurate – as is the magnificent scenery and the ever present danger of Crocodiles – don’t go swimming in the rivers here!!! But every beauty spot has its snake; and KAKADU SUNSET’s snake is human with ruthless henchmen, political corruption and the very topical subject of mining and fracking. Love, bribery, kidnapping, physical maiming and murder are all set in the background of this beautiful wilderness. But it is not all doom and gloom because enter stage left our handsome hero – Kane, former military helicopter pilot suffering PTSD. He’s drop dead gorgeous but suffers from vivid flashbacks and a deep fear of flying.

The pace moves quickly with the tension steadily building as the reader gets to know what’s going on and where the danger is coming from before Ellie and Kane. That doesn’t mean to say there aren’t a few twists and turns just to prove that maybe you didn’t know it all. Each of the characters are realistic – including the support cast – you can feel the worry, the fear, the sickness and the anger. The building up of the romance between Kane and Ellie is not the main focus, it is part and parcel with the suspense – one doesn’t overpower the other. Another of the layers to the story is the fact that Annie feels passionate about conservation and the environment. It comes through the story strongly – but she doesn’t pick you up and shake you about it. Indigenous land rights also add to the tapestry of the story.

KAKADU SUNSET is the first in a trilogy based on the three Porter sisters – and I have the next one – DAINTREE – in my hot little hand. In all honesty, if you like romantic suspense that grips you and won’t let you go, then do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy of this book.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

 

I have also posted this review over on Book Charmers

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Title: April’s Glow

Author: Juliet Madison

Genre: Romance

Opens: If there was anything worse for April Vedora than being stood up, it was being stood up on April Fools’ Day

Blurb: Distracting herself from a string of bad luck and a disastrous love life, bubbly April Vedora throws herself into her new business – April’s Glow, a candle store in seaside Tarrin’s Bay. The enchanting scents and colourful atmosphere provide a safe haven, but outside business hours she’s clueless about her personal life.

When a mysterious loner moves in next door, she can’t help but become intrigued, and ex-soldier Zac Masterson is equally fascinated by April. But both have sworn off relationships, and while April avoids her emotions by keeping busy and sociable, Zac hides away from the world – and his past.

My Thoughts: APRIL’S GLOW is the 4th book in the Tarrin’s Bay series and as you would expect for a book set in April – Anzac day and a returned service man are woven into the story.

Both April and Zac are wounded spiritually – they need time to heal their hurts, but they also need to learn that they can move on with their lives – that it is alright to move on. When Zac moved next door, they both started to bounce off each other as they each recognised hurt in the other. The story is told from both perspectives – so the reader learns what issues each of the two neighbours are struggling with before they do. They firstly connect by talking – at all hours of the day and night:

You’re up, I’m up. Might as well talk.

April wrote: Why not just talk over the fence?

Zac replied: Because I’m naked."

Gradually, even though their initial impressions of each other are less than favourable, comes the realisation that maybe they do have things in common after all, followed by attraction so strong that the two of them are both terrified of allowing themselves to become vulnerable. Can a candle maker and an ex-service man make it as a couple? What do they need to do to make it happen?

I loved April, in one sense she is very like me in that she sometimes says what’s on her mind not realising she’s said it aloud. Her relationships with her parents, however, are not like mine – especially the one with her father. Sometimes your personal experience can affect your outlook on life, and her relationship with Zac was certainly influenced by her relationship with her father. I loved how this thread played out, and the message that it gave – was very well done. I couldn’t imagine myself dealing with some of the issues that these two faced – but deal they did – and being a romance the reader knows that (well hopes they know that) a happy ending will eventually arrive. What kept me riveted to the pages was to find out if they would make it, and how on earth they surmounted their challenges to get there.

APRIL’S GLOW is a 5 star read – I loved the story, I loved the characters and I loved the two furry minor characters, Romeo and Juliet :)"

For more about the author – Click Here

A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.

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Title: The Fairy Tale Bride

Author: Scarlet Wilson

Genre: Romance

Opens: Lisa Renee pushed the last dress into place …

My Thoughts: THE FAIRY TALE BRIDE is a novella and the first in the Montana born Bride series of connecting stories by different authors that are set around the upcoming wedding of a local girl turned celebrity.

Being a novella the author Scarlet Wilson doesn’t have a lot of time to expand on the characters and develop a lot of background, But Scarlet managed to deal with the constraints very well. Being set in a small town in Montana where everyone knows everyone else’s business adds to the story because background information is given to the reader by gossiping locals. Lisa Renee owns the Marietta bridal salon. Her aim is to find the perfect dresses and accessories for brides and their attendants. Now a local girl made big in Hollywood is coming home to have her wedding away from the big smoke. With her comes two spoiled petulant Hollywood starlets who have rejected every bridesmaids dress in every store in the big city. Can Lisa Renee find the perfect frocks for these two before she kills them, or the bride does!!!

When she is not making brides happy Lisa Renee is up in the local hospital’s paediatric ward volunteering with the sick children. Her sister Grace died of Leukaemia and she realised the importance of having someone not medical around to read, listen or just hold a hand and care. Lisa Renee is giving back to the hospital what she received. She is reading a fairy story to a child with cancer when Dr Adam Brady first spies her. Adam is new to Marietta, he recently had a huge lottery win but after paying his out his huge education debt and loans he is not rolling in money. That doesn’t stop people from being friends with him just to get their hands on the loot. He hopes no one will recognise him and so learn to like him for who he is rather than what they can get out of him. Lisa has a kind heart despite tragedies in her near past, Adam is devoted to saving lives and helping people despite the money. Of course they’re going to fall in love. Trouble is if they don’t start to confide in each other things could go pear-shaped.

Its very size means that THE FAIRY TALE BRIDE is a fast read – that it is charming and funny with a little bit of drama as well is the icing on the wedding cake.

For more about the author – Click Here

B – Great – I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.

With thanks to Tule Publishing and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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Title: The Patterson Girls

Author: Rachael Johns

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Opens: ‘Dad.’ The word slipped from Lucinda Mannolini’s lips on a whisper as she emerged from gate 21 at Adelaide Airport and spotted her father…

Blurb: How can four sisters build the futures they so desperately want, when the past is reaching out to claim them? When the Patterson daughters return home to Meadow Brook to be with their father after their mother’s death, they bring with them a world of complication and trouble. The eldest sister, obstetrician Madeleine, would rather be anywhere but her hometown, violinist Abigail has fled from her stellar career, while teacher Lucinda is struggling to have the children she and her husband so desperately want. The black sheep of the family, Charlie, feels her life as a barista and exercise instructor doesn’t measure up to that of her gifted and successful sisters. Dealing with their bereft father who is determined to sell the family motel, their loves old and new and a series of troublesome decisions doesn’t make life any easier, but when they go through their mother’s possessions and uncover the shocking secret of an old family curse, they begin to question everything they thought they knew.

My Thoughts: It is the first Christmas since their mother died so Lucinda, Madeline, Abigail and Charlie all come home from various parts of the world and Australia to support their dad through the season and help out in the family motel at its busiest time. The reader soon learns that although the sisters all keep in touch with each, they have also each kept secrets from their siblings. These secrets are gradually revealed to each other as the story progresses; however the reader is privy to them from the start. I love it when I know a secret and hug it to myself gleefully which added to my enjoyment of the story; if more enjoyment was possible.

One aspect is not revealed to the readers though – the Patterson’s curse. Oh we are told what the curse is but is it real? And if it is, can it be removed? If the curse is real, then it has serious impact on the lives of all four women. As each sister takes it in turn to tell their personal story as well as the story of what is happening back at the family motel they start to look at their lives, their loves, and their struggles and start to question whether their current life, and loves, are what they really want.

The Patterson sisters are real, they just leap out of the pages at you, and each character has her own strengths, weaknesses and quirks. They are a real family unit of siblings, they fight each other, the laugh with each other and they cry together, then they fight some more. I could relate to all of them at one level or another, which really helped draw me into the story. The emotions are described incredibly – the laughter, the joy and even the despair. These sisters are not characters on the pages of a book – they live and breathe. THE PATTERSON GIRLS is one of Rachel John’s best books ever, and I know I keep writing that, but she is just going from strength to strength and always seems to press the right emotional buttons for me. And by emotional I mean yes I laughed, and yes I cried. There are some clever twists and turns, and each sister has a barrier to break down before they can find the happiness that has eluded them. The men in their lives are all very gorgeous as well – as are the support characters, Dad Sal and their crazy Aunt. Every facet of the story is well thought out and connects beautifully, not one unnecessary thread anywhere in the story.

I have been following Rachel Johns on Facebook as she wrote this book so the anticipation has been great – and she managed to feed out little hints of what might be in the book, idea’s and ‘what about this’ scenarios. She also keeps her fans in touch with the creative processes of character building of not just this book but all her current works by posting pictures of yummy men to see if her followers like them. Sometimes asking us all if we like our men with tattoos, with a shirt or without a shirt. Of course we are always willing to help her out with this!

You must read THE PATTERSON GIRLS, and then go and read all her other books.

For more about the author – Click Here

A – Excellent Stuff – a real page turner and hard to put down. I carved out extra reading time just so I could finish it. This book got carted into the bathroom with me, read over meals, read at work, and/or kept me up late at night. If this author has more work, I will certainly read it.

With thanks to Harlequin MIRA and the author via Netgalley for my copy to read and review.

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