7.5/10

Book Review: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

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The Official Synopsis:

“They think I am still a little girl who is not capable of being a Queen.”

Lord Melbourne turned to look at Victoria. “They are mistaken. I have not known you long, but I observe in you a natural dignity that cannot be learnt. To me, ma’am, you are every inch a Queen.”

In 1837, less than a month after her eighteenth birthday, Alexandrina Victoria – sheltered, small in stature, and female – became Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Many thought it was preposterous: Alexandrina — Drina to her family — had always been tightly controlled by her mother and her household, and was surely too unprepossessing to hold the throne. Yet from the moment William IV died, the young Queen startled everyone: abandoning her hated first name in favor of Victoria; insisting, for the first time in her life, on sleeping in a room apart from her mother; resolute about meeting with her ministers alone.

One of those ministers, Lord Melbourne, became Victoria’s private secretary. Perhaps he might have become more than that, except everyone argued she was destined to marry her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. But Victoria had met Albert as a child and found him stiff and critical: surely the last man she would want for a husband….

Drawing on Victoria’s diaries as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter as well as creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, brings the young queen even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

This is a fascinating interpretation about the life of Alexandrina Victoria, a young, sheltered girl who became the Queen of England at the age of eighteen, and her dependence and close relationship with the then mature Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne.

It is a story about familial responsibilities, monarchical duties, coming-of-age, friendship, and love.

Queen Victoria’s early reign was during a time when government was in turmoil, the parties in power were changing and the populace was highly critical of the choices and decisions made by the monarchy, and although she was small in stature and seemingly immature she possessed a confidence and strength beyond her years.

The prose is clear and fluid. And the story line takes us into a short time in Queen Victoria’s life when she may have had a strong reliance, attraction, and reverence for the British statesman, Melbourne.

Overall, even though this book is only centred on Victoria’s life from her early teens to her marriage proposal to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in her early twenties, it is quite intriguing and captivating and definitely a good choice for anyone interested in the British Monarchy.

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

This novel is due to be published on November 22, 2016.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

For more information on Daisy Goodwin, visit her website at: daisygoodwin.co.uk

or follow her on Twitter at: @daisygoodwinuk

Book Review: Holiday with a Twist by Shannon Stacey

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The Official Synopsis:

After a messy breakup, Leigh Holloway is ready to start her life over. Until her parents put the family home on the market and call her back for one final, memory-making Christmas. The last thing she wants to do is deprive her mom of the perfect holiday, so she’ll lie her way through the visit and worry about her future in the New Year. Too bad the only bar in town is owned by a guy she seriously wronged in high school. 

Leigh’s best friend broke Croy Dawson’s heart, and Croy knows it was Leigh’s fault. They’ve never liked each other, but Croy isn’t cruel: he’d never turn away a pretty woman in need of some family-Christmas fortification. He doesn’t expect her to drink just enough candy-cane martinis to tell him her secrets—and he definitely doesn’t expect to get caught up in her holiday madness. 

Despite the surprising love and laughter, Croy and Leigh can’t escape the truth: he can’t walk away from his family obligations and she has a life and career to reboot. But anything is possible if your holiday comes with a twist…


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Sweet, charming, and delightfully romantic! 

This is a lighthearted, contemporary romance filled with holiday revelry, familial dynamics, friendship, heartbreak and new love.

The writing is fluid. The main characters are fun, easygoing, appealing, and endearing. And the plot has just the right amount of drama, sexual chemistry, and happy ever after we look for in a holiday read.

Overall, this is a quick, engaging novella that reminds us that Christmas is all about family and home really is where the heart is.

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

This novella is due to be published on November 21, 2016.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

For more information on Shannon Stacey, visit her website at: shannonstacey.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @shannonstacey

Book Review: I See You by Molly McAdams

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The Official Synopsis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Molly McAdams’ powerful new novel offers one of the most memorable love triangles in fiction since Twilight—perfect for fans of New Adult fiction like Jamie McGuire, Abbi Glines, and Tamarra Webber. 

Futures are uncertain, unpredictable—like ink spilled across the purest surface. Nearly imperceptible ripples move and flow until a unique stain is formed. The ink is permanently imbedded in the surface…

During one wild night in college, Jentry Michaels is a tidal wave of ink that brands Aurora Wilde’s soul. An unparalleled stain she can’t forget despite the many months that have passed—and despite the distraction she’d hoped she would find in her new relationship with Declan, the charmer who captured her heart soon after. Jentry has irrevocably touched her soul, and he is intertwined in her present and future in ways she never fathomed. Now Aurora is faced with keeping that night hidden though it feels as if the ink has indelibly etched their story across her skin.

When Declan is confronted with his own personal demons, Aurora must decide if she will continue to hold tight to their relationship and a safe, reliable future with him, or if she will turn to Jentry—the guy she can’t forget no matter how hard she tries.…


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Angst-ridden, passionate, and extremely emotional!

This is a love triangle that takes you on a psychological rollercoaster ride of tension, heartache, guilt, regret, romance, and true love.

The writing is well done. The characters are distressed, hesitant, bewildered, and young. And the plot is told from differing perspectives, and moves back-and-forth between past and present, to create a deep connection and understanding of the relationships between the characters and the circumstances surrounding the predicament they find themselves in.

Overall, this is an enjoyable, easy read full of drama, chemistry, unexpected twists, surprising turns, seduction, and all-consuming love.

Thank you to Edelweiss, especially William Morrow, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book is due to be published on November 1, 2016.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaIndigoBook Depository

For more information on Molly McAdams, visit her website at: mollysmcadams.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @MollySMcAdams

Book Review: A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

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The Official Synopsis:

Art restorer Emily Price has never encountered anything she can’t fix—until she meets Ben, an Italian chef, who seems just right. But when Emily follows Ben home to Italy, she learns that his family is another matter . . .

Emily Price—fix-it girl extraordinaire and would-be artist—dreams of having a gallery show of her own. There is no time for distractions, especially not the ultimate distraction of falling in love.

But Chef Benito Vassallo’s relentless pursuit proves hard to resist. Visiting from Italy, Ben works to breathe new life into his aunt and uncle’s faded restaurant, Piccollo. Soon after their first meeting, he works to win Emily as well—inviting her into his world and into his heart.

Emily astonishes everyone when she accepts Ben’s proposal and follows him home. But instead of allowing the land, culture, and people of Monterello to transform her, Emily interferes with everyone and everything around her, alienating Ben’s tightly knit family. Only Ben’s father, Lucio, gives Emily the understanding she needs to lay down her guard. Soon, Emily’s life and art begin to blossom, and Italy’s beauty and rhythm take hold of her spirit.

Yet when she unearths long-buried family secrets, Emily wonders if she really fits into Ben’s world. Will the joys of Italy become just a memory, or will Emily share in the freedom and grace that her life with Ben has shown her are possible?


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Warm, sentimental, and charmingly sweet!

This is a lighthearted contemporary romance story that touches on life, love, family dynamics, secrets, loss, guilt, art, and delicious food.

The characters are complex, genuine, and likeable. The writing is well done. And the plot takes us on an emotional, soul-searching journey from the restaurants and art galleries of Atlanta to the ancient villages and beautiful landmarks of the sprawling Italian countryside.

Overall, this is a nice, pleasant, easy read that will leave you daydreaming of Italian food, Italian art, not to mention Italian men.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

This story is due to be published on November 1, 2016.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaBook Depository

For more information on Katherine Reay, visit her website at: katherinereay.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Katherine_Reay

Book Review: I Kill by Lex Lander

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The Official Synopsis:

WHEN SHE WAS TAKEN FROM HIM HE WENT AFTER HER AND SEALED HER FATE – HIS TOO

Racked by guilt over his accidental killing of a young Italian girl, contract killer André Warner has effectively retired himself from his ‘profession’ and taken to drink and other palliatives, while sinking slowly into a mire of depression.

A contract in Tangier to assassinate an Arab drug trafficker lures him out of retirement and self-pity. Soon after his arrival he encounters attractive American widow, Clair Power, and her precocious sixteen year-old daughter, Lizzy, who bears such a striking resemblance to the girl Warner killed that his waning anguish is instantly rekindled. He attempts to assuage it by embarking on a fling with Clair which brings him into conflict with a mysterious Dutchman named Rik de Bruin, who also appears to have designs on her.

The contract on the drug merchant is cancelled with no explanation given, but Warner, now seriously involved with Clair, is more relieved than disappointed. Their budding romance is not destined to blossom however. Clair disappears and Warner is landed with the role of de facto guardian to Lizzy.

In tracking down Clair, Warner crosses a line that brings him into conflict with the local police and he is deported from Tangier with a distraught Lizzy in tow. Back at his Andorra villa she slowly recovers from her mother’s disappearance and launches an assault on Warner’s good intentions. Her increasingly provocative behavior disturbs yet excites him, and when Rik de Bruin pitches up in Andorra and begins to take an interest in Lizzy too, Warner gets possessive the only way he knows.

Too late, alas, to save Lizzy from an unspeakable fate.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Incredibly disturbing, faced-paced, and highly suspenseful!

This a dark and gritty thriller full of murder, power, violence, drug abuse, child pornography, manipulation, dominance, corruption, and sexual exploitation.

The writing, itself, is well done, well plotted, and exceptionally shocking, chilling, and creepy. However, I found the characters really hard to like. The main character, André, is a hitman with loose morals and very few redeeming qualities, and the supporting characters are dangerous, vulnerable, and cunning.

Overall, this story is not for the squeamish, but if you like seedy, macabre page turners this is definitely the novel for you. 

About the Author

Lex Lander is a British-born thriller writer who was raised in France, earned his degree in French and Italian in New Zealand and currently lives in Montreal. Lander is the author of the first volume in the André Warner series, END AS AN ASSASSIN, published by Kaybec on May 1, 2016as well as the thriller, ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER JACKAL, published by Kaybec in 2013. And Vol III in the André Warner series, THE MAN WHO HUNTED HIMSELF, will be published by Kaybec in the autumn.

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

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

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And if you get a chance, follow the blog tour for this novel and check out some of the other interesting reviews!

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Book Review: The Adventures of Austin the Cornish Miner – The Morgawr and the Bad Knockers by Karen M. Hoyle

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The Official Synopsis:

Spirited and adventurous children’s book series follows the adventures of a Cornish tin miner and his magical friends.
Two naughty Knockers -grubby trolls who wear miners boots and eat pasty crusts for those of you who don’t know- have been stealing from their community. With no-one else to turn to, it is up to Austin to help his friends out and bring the thieves to justice. However, things take a dangerous turn when the knockers take something explosive and Austin is forced to embark on a very different adventure which will take him underground through perilous tunnels and out into the wild sea.

With the help of new friends, in the shape of sea serpents and Bramble, a female knocker who used to be a wrestling champion, Austin finds himself in a race to save the lives of the magical underground world- but will he succeed? Enjoy the ride as the Cornish coast provides another dose of adventure and magic that children and adults alike with enjoy and remember for years to come.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Adventurous, humorous, and incredibly imaginative.

This is an amusing children’s story where magical creatures interact with the human world to solve problems, teach morals, and engage in comical escapades.

The setting is the rugged landscape of the Cornish coast, complete with miners, caves, villagers, and sea creatures. The characters are creative, unique, and intriguing. The illustrations are clear and are a good representation of both the characters and the ongoing action. And the plot builds nicely with some twists, turns, and exaggerated mishaps and hijinks that keep you thoroughly engaged.

Overall, this is a fun, easy read that will entertain children everywhere!

Author Spotlight: Karen M. Hoyle

Writing in general: When I am not writing children’s books I am normally writing in some other capacity. I believe that creativity can be used in any part of your life and writing whether it is for work, for business or for pleasure is one of those things that leaves a unique sense of achievement as well as a physical part of you that someone else can read and pick up what you are thinking. Challenge yourself to be more creative with what you write on Facebook, or your Christmas cards or even a really dramatic resignation letter!.

The Outdoors: I think I was born with a gene that requires me to be outdoors as much as I can. I love walking the dog, exploring beaches even just working outdoors on my laptop in the garden. The fresh air seems to give me freedom to think and also to get away from anything that is causing any stress. I am lucky to live in Cornwall where I have a huge variety of outdoor pursuits to enjoy. I think being Cornish means being outdoors and enjoying your surroundings maybe more than most. I have played hockey for over 30 years and my love of sport has given me friends, something to shout at when the Olympics is on, and being outdoors being competitive and staying fit.

My Dog: Eleven years ago a spaniel shaped ball of fluff arrived in my life. Bailey snuggled up to me and instantly I was a mum to the cutest thing that just wanted love (and food) and just to please me endlessly. I bought Bailey to give me reason to go outdoors more but she has given me so much more as a companion with a crazy spirit and we have certainly had a huge amount of adventures. It is when I am out walking and playing with Bailey that I get a lot of ideas for my books, her playfulness and childlike enthusiasm is what I pick up on. The simplest things seem magical to Bailey and they also are to children.

Speaking and Presenting: I have done a lot of speaking and presenting at events over the last few years and I love the interaction with the people in the room. Writing a book is a one-way experience, me to them. But delivering a session for a group of people in a room goes two ways. I enjoy exploring people’s ideas and taking them places with a few suggestions that they may not have even considered. I like the fun and interaction that people’s characters can provide. Am I picking up clues for characters for books? maybe, but I pick up human nature more than anything. The shy person who comes out of their shell when encouraged and welcomed by a group or the loud person who inevitably can be proven wrong or shown that confidence doesn’t mean being the loudest. I like educating people with the bit of knowledge that I have that they don’t, but equally I learn a lot in return.

karenmhoyleauthorKaren M Hoyle was born in Newquay, Cornwall and grew up with Cornish magical tales all around her. A writer through her career in public relations, Karen wrote her first book ‘The Adventures of Austin the Cornish Miner The Rescue of The Dweeble Stone’ in 2004. The book stayed in a moving box for eleven years before resurfacing and finally being published in 2015. Karen has also written poetry, winning a poetry competition aged 13 which is now showcased at the British Museum. Karen now sees writing as a fundamental part of her future and mixes children’s writing with writing books and blogs related to her profession. Karen continues to live in Cornwall with her writing companion Bailey the Cocker Spaniel who likes to delete items from Karen’s laptop when bored.

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

This book is due to be published on October 18, 2016.

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

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For more information on Karen M. Hoyle, visit her website at: theadventuresofaustin.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Austintheminer

And if you get a chance, check out some more reviews at these other Blog Tour stops!

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Book Review: Dark Tide by Elizabeth Haynes

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The Official Synopsis:

Elizabeth Haynes, author of the bestselling debut Into the Darkest Corner, returns with a tense, gripping thriller about a woman caught in an underworld of corruption and murder…

Genevieve has finally achieved her dream: to leave the stress of London behind and start a new life aboard a houseboat in Kent. She’s found the perfect vessel: Revenge of the Tide. She already feels less lonely; as if the boat is looking after her.

But the night of her boat-warming party, a body washes up, and to Genevieve’s horror, she recognizes the victim. She isn’t about to tell the police, though; hardly anyone knows about her past as a dancer at a private members’ club, The Barclay. The death can’t have anything to do with her. Or so she thinks…

Soon, the lull of the waves against Revenge feels anything but soothing, as Genevieve begins to receive strange calls and can’t reach the one person who links the present danger with her history at the club. Fearing for her safety, Genevieve recalls the moment when it all started to go wrong: the night she saw her daytime boss in the crowd at The Barclay…


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Dark, engrossing, and chillingly deviant!

This is a character-driven psychological thriller that emphasizes the dangers and risks involved with mixing and mingling with the criminal underworld.

The main character, Genevieve, is lost, lonely, and naive. And the supporting characters are seedy, complex, and ruthless.

The story is told in first-person narration and uses a past/present style to give insight and context into the precarious situations developing and unfolding.

The writing is well done. And although the plot in the first half of the novel is a little slow, the second half is definitely more compelling, intriguing, and full of tension.

Overall, this story is not action-packed or extremely fast-paced, but it is still a captivating read.

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

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

For more information on Elizabeth Haynes, visit her website at: elizabeth-haynes.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @Elizjhaynes

Book Review: Riding a Strong Wind by Robertson Tait

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The Official Synopsis:

A collection of romantic short stories set in glamorous locations from Italy to the Caribbean, passing through Scotland and Santa Barbara. Nine fairy tales for grown-ups.

Villa d’Este: A handsome TV personality is bewitched by a mysterious young beauty.

Amsterdam: Walking home from his night-shift through the red light district, the last thing he expected was an offer of eggs and coffee.

Santa Barbara: “He landed in Tokyo, Japan with a great California tan, a lot of fitness and no shoes.”

Rain in Rome: The slippery slope of love in the Eternal City.

Barra: A remote Scottish island casts its spell on a troubled American movie star.

Florence – La Certosa: “In the distance a church bell peeled, perhaps from the Certosa itself, and the atmosphere seemed somewhat surreal … It looked so old, so ancient. It was not hard to imagine oneself to be back two or three hundred years, drinking wine and watching the dying sun burn the clouds into every kind of crimson.”

Montmartre: He pitched his song in Paris and found he made a hit.

Amalfi Coast: Poor but hopeful, two young lovers find joy and upset on the beaches of Southern Italy.

Tobago – Having Lost The Boy: Down and out on a tropical beach, there was one more thing he could salvage.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Light-hearted, sweet, and romantic.

This is a collection of short stories that takes you on a journey through life, love, and passion, and reminds us that sometimes things really do happen for a reason.

The prose is exquisitely descriptive. The characters are charming, appealing, and endearing. The plots are unique, although they share the standard contemporary romance, happy-ever-after ending. And the settings are magical, taking you to the luxurious beaches and vineyards of Italy, to the museums and landmarks of the City of Light, to the picturesque countryside of the Scottish Highlands.

This truly is a warm, easy read that is a nice way to spend an afternoon

Thank you to Robertson Tait, the author, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

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Book Review: Now That It’s You by Tawna Fenske

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The Official Synopsis:

Talented chef Meg Delaney hasn’t spoken to her cheating ex-fiancé, Matt Midland, for two years. Ditching him at the altar after blurting out “I can’t” instead of “I do” would sour any relationship. But now, just as Meg is finally ready to bury the hatchet, she learns closure is permanently off the menu. And the kicker? Matt’s brother, Kyle, is back in her life, stirring up feelings that are equal parts guilt and lust.

Meg was the best thing that never happened to Kyle. He couldn’t make a move on his brother’s girlfriend—even if Matt didn’t value her nearly enough. The situation is even more complicated now that Meg’s bestselling aphrodisiac cookbook has spawned a legal battle with the Midlands. Maybe he should stay away. But love, like family, plays by its own rules. And the one woman he shouldn’t want might be the only one who’s perfect for him.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

Sweet, melancholic, and engaging!

This is an empathetic contemporary romance story that encompasses familial dynamics, love, loss, grief, guilt, and delicious food.

The writing is good. The characters are charming, troubled, and likeable. And although it gets a little bogged down with the constant focus on the unscrupulous behaviour and character of Matt, the rest of the plot flows nicely and is filled with a good mix of heartbreaking drama, character dialogue, and romantic liaisons.

Overall, this is a light, amusing, easy novel that is an enjoyable read.

Thank you to NetGalley, especially Montlake Romance, for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

This story is due to be published on September 6, 2016. Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

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For more information on Tawna Fenske, visit her website at: http://www.tawnafenske.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @tawnafenske

Book Review: Sorrow Road by Julia Keller

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The Official Synopsis:

From the small towns of Appalachia they came, the young men who joined the fight for liberty in World War II. Now they are elderly, and some of them―like Harmon Strayer, father of prosecutor Bell Elkins’s former law school classmate―suffer from Alzheimer’s. When Harmon dies in an Alzheimer’s care facility from what appear to be natural causes, Bell confronts a mystery that brims with questions about memory, grief and the lethal cost of burying the past. During a winter of record snow and cold, Bell and the people of Acker’s Gap, West Virginia, face isolation and hardship―and the threat from a killer who preys upon the old and the sick and the helpless.


Book Rating: 7.5/10

This is an atmospheric, character-driven, murder mystery that reminds us that sometimes one reckless event can have long-lasting repercussions.

The plot is well developed, suspenseful, and tragic. The writing is well done and remarkably descriptive. And the characters are highly complex, damaged, and in some cases depraved.

Although this is not an extremely fast-paced thriller, it is definitely entertaining and an enjoyable read.

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 August 23, 2016. Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

For more information on Julia Keller, visit her website at: http://www.juliakeller.net/

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