Women’s Fiction

#BookReview
The Playboy Bachelor by Rachel Van Dyken
@RachVD @ForeverRomance

Synopsis:

She’s no Sleeping Beauty. And he’s definitely no prince . . . Margot McCleery could have lived her whole life without seeing Bentley Wellington again-her ex-best friend and the poster boy for Hot, Rich Man-Whores everywhere. But Margot’s whiskey-augmented grandmother “buys” Bentley at a charity bachelor auction, and now suddenly he’s at her door. Impossibly charming. Impossibly sexy. And still a complete and utter jackass. Bentley’s just been coerced by his grandfather to spend the next thirty days charming and romancing the reclusive red-haired beauty who hates him. The woman he abandoned when she needed him the most. Bentley knows just as much about romance as he knows about love-nothing. But the more time he spends with Margot, the more he realizes that “just friends” will never be enough. Now all he has to do is convince her to trust him with her heart . . .


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Emotional, enchanting and sweetly romantic!

This is a second chance romance that combines the pompous, rich Bentley and the lonely, scarred Margot in a well-crafted plot full of entertaining hijinks, deep introspection, exquisite tension, palpable chemistry, sexy innuendoes and unconditional love.

The characters, including a whole slew of meddling supporting characters are intriguing, likeable, funny and well-developed.  And the writing use a past/present style to create an engaging, lighthearted tale about letting go, being brave and learning to trust that will definitely leaving you smiling by the end.

Once again Van Dyken has written a modern-day fairy tale that has a lot of heart and has the handsome prince not only bringing the beautiful princess back to life but finally getting the girl he let slip away.

This is the second book in the “Bachelors of Arizona” series and what a great series it is shaping up to be. If you haven’t had a chance to read my review for “The Bachelor Auction”, book #1 in the series, be sure to check it out HERE.

Thank you to Forever Romance – Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Rachel Van Dyken, visit her website at: rachelvandykenauthor.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @RachVD

#BookReview
Mothers And Other Strangers
@ginasorell @PGCBooks

Synopsis:

“My father proposed to my mother at gunpoint when she was nineteen, and knowing that she was already pregnant with a dead man’s child, she accepted.”

Thus begins this riveting story of a woman’s quest to understand her recently deceased mother, a glamorous, cruel narcissist who left her only child, Elsie, an inheritance of debts and mysteries. While coping with threats that she suspects are coming from the cult-like spiritual program her mother belonged to, Elsie works to unravel the message her dying mother left for her, a quest that ultimately takes her to the South African family homestead she never knew existed.


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Heart-wrenching, engrossing and deeply moving!

This is an intriguing novel that highlights the enduring physical and psychological effects parents can have on their children and emphasizes just how important guidance, affection, respect and love are in child development.

The prose is eloquent and fluid. The characters are fragile, tormented and raw. And the plot is a subtle journey into one middle-aged, woman’s life as she tries to discover her true self and find some form of closure and happiness while piecing together all the secrets and sins of a mother she never truly knew.

Overall this is an incredibly thought-provoking, gripping, beautiful debut by Sorell that does a remarkable job of illuminating the complex bonds and emotional ties between mothers and daughters.

About the Author

Born in South Africa and raised in Canada, Gina Sorell now resides in Toronto, and lives in a world of words. Some of those words are: writer, namer, creative director, artist, daughter, sister, wife and mother.
After two decades as a working actor of stage and screen in NYC, LA, and Toronto, Gina decided to return to her first love–writing, and graduated with distinction from UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Gina likes to balance out the long solitary hours of novel writing, with her work as a Creative Director of Eat My Words, a SF based branding firm, where she collaborates all day long with innovators and entrepreneurs whose identity she establishes with only one word, their name.

Thank you to PGC Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following links.

                                            

For more information on Gina Sorell visit her website at: ginasorell.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @ginasorell

#BookReview & #BlogTour
Dreaming of Venice by T.A. Williams
@TAWilliamsBooks @canelo_co

Synopsis:

Find love, friendship and prosecco – in the magical city of Venice

Life is tough for Penny. A dead end job in a London café, a boyfriend in Australia (what could go wrong?) and an art career going nowhere. But then Penny is approached with an extraordinary proposition.

It isn’t going to be easy but, if she can pull it off, she will turn her life around and at long last see the fulfilment of her dream – to visit Venice. And, just maybe, find true happiness with the handsome man of her dreams.

But can dreams come true?


Book Rating: 8/10

Lighthearted, humorous and magically romantic!

This is a charming story that highlights that no matter how challenging life might seem at times things always seem to work out and reminds us that sometimes dreams do come true.

The characters are sweet, supportive, dependable and quirky. The prose is expressive and polished. And the plot is an enchanting mix of drama, emotion, entertaining mishaps, loss, love; as well as an insightful view into the City of Venice, including the food, the culture, the architecture, the history and the art.

Whenever you pick up a novel by Williams you always know it’s going to be a warm, passionate, fascinating novel about an idyllic place in the world that you can’t help but want to see, visit and experience once you’ve finished it and this book is no exception.

About the Author:

My name is Trevor Williams. I write under the androgynous name T A Williams because 65% of books are read by women. In my first book, “Dirty Minds” one of the (female) characters suggests the imbalance is due to the fact that men spend too much time getting drunk and watching football. I couldn’t possibly comment. Ask my wife…

My background, before taking up writing full time, was in teaching and I was principal of a big English language school for many years. This involved me in travelling all over the world and my love of foreign parts is easy to find in my books. I speak a few languages and my Italian wife and I still speak Italian together.

I’ve written all sorts: thrillers, historical novels, short stories and now I’m enjoying myself hugely writing humour and romance. My most recent books are the What happens… series. What happens in Tuscany reached #1 in the Amazon.uk Romantic Comedy chart and What Happens on the Beach, the last in the series, came out in July. Chasing Shadows is still romance, but with the added spice of a liberal helping of medieval history, one of my pet hobbies. I do a lot of cycling and I rode all the way to Santiago de Compostela on a bike a few years back. This provided both the inspiration and the background research for Chasing Shadows.

I’m originally from Exeter, and I’ve lived all over Europe, but now I live in a little village in sleepy Devon, tucked away down here in south west England. I love the place.

Thank you to T.A. Williams and Canelo for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                      

For more information on T.A. Williams, visit his website at: tawilliamsbooks.com

or follow him on Twitter at: @TAWilliamsBooks

#BookReview
Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay by Jill Mansell @JillMansell @Sourcebooks

Synopsis:

Love is in the air in St Carys, but you’d never know it – the people of this seaside town are very good at keeping secrets…

The man Clemency loves belongs to someone else. She has to hide her true feelings – but when she ropes in an unsuspecting friend to help, wires start to get crossed.

For the first time in Ronan’s life his charm has failed him in winning over the woman he wants. Loving her from afar appears to be his only option.

Belle seems to have the perfect boyfriend, but something isn’t quite right. And now a long-buried secret is slowly rising to the surface.

The truth has a funny way of revealing itself, and when it does St Carys will be a very different place indeed…


Book Rating: 9/10

Captivating, warm, lighthearted and funny!

This is an engaging, romantic story that reminds us that sometimes things happen for a reason and happy ever afters really do exist.

The prose is polished and beautifully descriptive. The setting is charming and quaint. The characters are sweet, lovable and real. And the plot is a wonderful mix of humour, heart, emotion and courage.

This is, ultimately, a story about life, love, loss, heartbreak, family, acceptance, happiness and discovering one’s true self, and once again Mansell has proven when in comes to writing moving, heartfelt stories with characters you can’t help but fall in love with she’s one of the best!

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Sourcebooks, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

                                          

For more information on Jill Mansell, visit her website at: jillmansell.co.uk

or follow her on Twitter at: @JillMansell

#BookReview
After the Fall by Julie Cohen
@julie_cohen @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

From the author who brought you Dear Thing, Julie Cohen, comes After the Fall — a poignant, beautifully heartbreaking novel about what it means to be family, the ties that bind us, and the secrets that threaten to tear us apart.

When an unfortunate accident forces Honor back into the lives of her widowed daughter-in-law, Jo, and her only granddaughter, Lydia, she cannot wait to be well enough to get back to her own home. However, the longer she stays with Jo and Lydia, the more they start to feel like a real family. But each of the three women is keeping secrets from the others that threaten to destroy the lives they’ve come to know.

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could destroy the “normal” family life she’s fought so hard to build and maintain.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love―or the loss of everything that matters most to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will be forced out in the open in a single dramatic moment that leaves them all asking: is there such a thing as second chances?


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Thought-provoking, reflective and deeply moving!

This is an intriguing novel that emphasizes the enduring mental and emotional anguish that can be caused by underlying grief, secrets, guilt, family dynamics, sexuality struggles, friendship and loneliness and emphasizes the importance of acceptance, closure, forgiveness and love.

The prose is expressive and clear. The characters are consumed, troubled, wounded and real. And the character-driven plot interweaves the lives of these three generations of women as they learn to cope, survive, support and love each other unconditionally.

This truly is an absorbing, emotional novel that is incredibly captivating and will tug at your heartstrings from start to finish.

This is the first novel I have ever read from Julie Cohen but I can tell you it definitely won’t be my last.

About the Author:

 

Julie Cohen grew up in Maine, USA, and studied English at Brown University, Rhode Island and Cambridge University in England. She moved to the UK permanently to research fairies in Victorian children’s literature at the University of Reading, and then taught English at secondary level. She now writes full time and is a popular speaker and teacher of creative writing. She lives with her husband and their son in Berkshire. She is also the author of Dear Thing and Where Love Lies.

 

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is due to be published on May 2, 2017. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Julie Cohen, follow her on Facebook at: julie-cohen.com

or on Twitter at: @julie_cohen

#BookReview
The Rome Affair by Karen Swan
@KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks

 

Synopsis:

Another compulsive, page-turning novel from the internationally bestselling author of The Paris Secret.

The glamorous capital city of Italy is brought to startling life in The Rome Affair, a compelling summer novel by Karen Swan.

1974 and Elena Damiani lives a gilded life. Born to wealth and a noted beauty, no door is closed to her, no man can resist her. At twenty-six, she is already onto her third husband when she meets her love match. But he is the one man she can never have, and all the beauty and money in the world can’t change it.

2017 and Francesca Hackett is living la dolce vita in Rome, leading tourist groups around the Eternal City and forgetting the ghosts she left behind in London. When she finds a stolen designer handbag in her dustbin and returns it, she is brought into the orbit of her grand neighbour who lives across the piazza – famed socialite Viscontessa Elena dei Damiani Pignatelli della Mirandola. Though the purse is stolen, Elena greets the return of the bag with exultation for it contains an unopened letter written by her husband on his deathbed, twelve years earlier.

Mutually intrigued by each other, the two women agree to collaborate on a project, with Cesca interviewing Elena for her memoirs. As summer unfurls, Elena tells her sensational stories, leaving Cesca in her thrall. But when a priceless diamond ring found in an ancient tunnel below the city streets is ascribed to Elena, Cesca begins to suspect a shocking secret at the heart of Elena’s life.


Book Rating: 10/10

Brilliantly clever, mesmerizing, and unequivocally unputdownable!

This is an absorbing, enigmatic tale about all-consuming love; the lengths we will go for it and the unimaginable and limitless things we will do in the name of it.

It is predominantly set in the idyllic city of Rome and takes us into the lives of the rich and glamorous and reminds us that not everything is always as it seems and behind the majestic palaces, priceless jewels and designer clothes often lives a lot of loneliness, deception, sex, temptation, secrets, scandals, heartbreak and tragedy.

The prose is expressive, vivid and flawless. The characters are multi-layered, sympathetic and unique. And the plot is a wondrous travel guide to the city of Rome itself, the culture, the history, the food; as well as an intriguing mystery, an emotional drama and a beautiful love story.

Karen Swan’s books always entertain me, beguile me and transport me to another time and place and immerse me so thoroughly into the feelings, lives, and stories of her characters that I never want to leave and this novel is no exception. I loved this story and I can honestly tell you I will be patiently or not so patiently be eagerly awaiting her next novel.

If you haven’t checked out my review for Karen Swan’s previous title “The Paris Secret”, you can find it out HERE, and if you haven’t read anything by Karen Swan before you’re definitely missing out!

Thank you to Karen Swan and PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

The first paperback will be available on May 2, 2017 and other editions will be available shortly thereafter.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

For more information on Karen Swan, follow her on Facebook at: Karen-Swan

or on Twitter at: @KarenSwan1

#BookReview
The Paris Secret by Karen Swan
@KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks

 

Synopsis:

Not every door should be opened . . .

With stunning locations and page-turning tension, The Paris Secret is an intense and gripping tale from bestselling author Karen Swan.

Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades.

High-flying fine art agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to assess these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and discover who has concealed them for so long.

Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren’t all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family’s affairs – but just what is he hiding?


Book Rating: 9/10

Compelling, emotional and deliciously mysterious!

This is a riveting tale that sweeps us into the glamorous world of art and takes us on a journey to find the true provenance of precious paintings that have been concealed for decades.

The story is predominantly set in Paris during both the latter part of WWII, as well as present day and is filled with mystique, familial drama, heartbreak, secrets, deception, history, abuse, self discovery, exotic locales and of course a little bit of romance.

The prose is precise and vividly descriptive. The characters are complex, independent and affluent. And the plot uses a present/past style to not only build suspense and tension, but to create depth and understanding to the personalities, motivations and relationships within it.

I have to admit that when it comes to Karen Swan I’m a little bit biased. I’m a huge fan (as you can see)! To me her books are like a cosy jumper, every time I pick one up I know I can snuggle down for the whole day and be immersed in a story that will captivate me, make me smile, probably make me laugh, and possibly even make me cry and this one was no exception.

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

For more information on Karen Swan, follow her on Facebook at: Karen-Swan

or on Twitter at: @KarenSwan1

#BookReview
White Sand, Blue Sea by Anita Hughes
@hughesanita @StMartinsPress

Synopsis:

Olivia Miller is standing on the porch of her mother and stepfather’s plantation style villa in St. Barts. They have been coming here every April for years but she is always thrilled to see the horseshoe shaped bay of Gustavia and white sand of Gouverneur’s Beach. This trip should be particularly exciting because she is celebrating her twenty-fifth birthday and hoping that Finn, her boyfriend of four years, will propose.

The only person who won’t be here is her father, Sebastian, who she hasn’t seen in twenty years. He’s a well-known artist and crisscrosses the globe, painting and living in exotic locations like Kenya and China. When Sebastian walks unexpectedly walks through the door and floats back into Olivia’s life like a piece of bad driftwood she never knew she wanted, she starts to wondering if her world is too narrow. She questions the dreams and the relationship she’s always thought she wanted. But there seems to be more to the story than an innocent fatherly visit, and Olivia must decide if love is more important than truth.

Set on St. Barts, the jewel of the Caribbean, WHITE SAND, BLUE SEA is a heartwarming story about romance and adventure, and most importantly, about knowing yourself, and what makes you happy.


Book Rating: 7/10

Charming, engaging and lighthearted!

In this new novel by Hughes we are transported to the beautiful island of St. Barts complete with pristine beaches, exquisite restaurants, designer boutiques, and million-dollar yachts and are swept into a story that delves into the complexities of maternal, paternal and romantic relationships and highlights the importance of honesty and communication.

The writing is descriptive and smooth. The characters are an appealing variety of young and mature; unsure and grounded; stable and peripatetic; loved and secure. And the plot is a sweet journey about discovering oneself, appreciating what you have, letting go of the past and the power of unconditional love.

Overall, this is an enjoyable, easy read that is a nice choice for a relaxing, sunny afternoon.

About the Author

ANITA HUGHES is the author of Monarch Beach, Market Street, Lake Como, French Coast, Rome in Love, Island in the Sea, Santorini Sunsets, and Christmas in Paris. She attended UC Berkeley’s Masters in Creative Writing Program, and lives in Dana Point, California where she is at work on her next novel. 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on April 11, 2017. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                          

For more information on Anita Hughes, visit her website at: anitahughesbooks.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @hughesanita

#BookReview
It Happens All The Time by Amy Hatvany @AmyHatvany @AtriaBooks

Synopsis:

From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times best-selling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.


Book Rating: 8.5/10

Intense, emotional and extremely impactful!

This is a heartbreaking story that delves into the devastating and enduring physical and psychological effects of acquaintance rape and reminds us that sometimes good people make bad decisions and do bad things.

The story is narrated from two different perspectives and uses a past/present style to give both depth and understanding to all the relationships and connections between the characters. 

The prose flows seamlessly. The characters are young, multi-layered and sympathetic. And the plot is engrossing, fast paced and full of ups, downs, tension and drama.

This ultimately is a deeply moving story about friendship, trust, sexual dynamics, power, violence, betrayal and revenge and even though the subject matter is incredibly dark I highly recommend it.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Atria Books, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on March 28, 2017.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoBook DepositoryB&NKobo

For more information on Amy Hatvany, visit her website at: amyhatvany.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @AmyHatvany

#BookReview
City of Friends by Joanna Trollope #JoannaTrollope @PGCBooks

Synopsis:

She glanced at her phone again. There were appeals from the girls, from her colleagues, a text from Steve reading with uncharacteristic imperiousness, ‘Call me.’ She couldn’t. She couldn’t call anyone . . . She leaned forward, gripping the edge of the bench, and stared at the ground. God, she thought, am I losing my mind? Is this what happens when you lose your job? 

The day Stacey Grant loses her job feels like the last day of her life. Or at least, the only life she’d ever known. For who was she if not a City high-flyer, Senior Partner at one of the top private equity firms in London? As Stacey starts to reconcile her old life with the new—one without professional achievements or meetings, but instead, long days at home with her dog and ailing mother, waiting for her successful husband to come home—she at least has The Girls to fall back on. Beth, Melissa and Gaby. The girls, now women, had been best friends from the early days of university right through their working lives, and through all the happiness and heartbreaks in between. But these career women all have personal problems of their own, and when Stacey’s redundancy forces a betrayal to emerge that was supposed to remain secret, their long cherished friendships will be pushed to their limits.


Book Rating: 8/10

Thought-provoking, intriguing and deeply moving!

This is Joanna Trollope’s twentieth novel and once again she has written a mature story that delves into the complexities and inevitability of change on relationships, both familial and friendship, graciously.

The characters are strong, ambitious, troubled and real. The prose is smooth and sophisticated. And the plot is an engaging mix of depth, emotion, determination, acceptance, communication, love and support.

Overall I would have to say this is an enjoyable, satisfying story that highlights the difficulties and struggles women still face today when juggling high-powered careers, marriage and motherhood and reminds us how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Publishers Group Canada, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links. 

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoBook DepositoryKobo

For more information on Joanna Trollope, visit her website at: joannatrollope.com

%d bloggers like this: