9/10

#BookReview
Hide and Seek by Mary Burton
@MaryBurtonBooks @JoanSchulhafer

#BookReview Hide and Seek by Mary Burton @MaryBurtonBooks @JoanSchulhaferTitle: Hide and Seek

Author: Mary Burton

Series: Criminal Profiler #1

Published by: Montlake Romance on April 23, 2019

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Romantic Suspense

Pages: 344

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Mary Burton, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

She’s hunting. He’s watching.

Special Agent Macy Crow is a survivor. After a vicious hit-and-run nearly kills her, she gets right back to work, and now she’s gunning for a spot on the FBI’s elite profiling team. As an audition, she offers to investigate the recently discovered bones of Tobi Turner, a high school girl who disappeared fifteen years ago.

While investigating with local sheriff Mike Nevada, a former colleague and onetime lover, Macy discovers a link between Tobi’s case and several others that occurred around the same time as her disappearance. As Macy interviews victims and examines old cases, she uncovers a sinister picture of a stalker who graduated to sexual assault—and then murder.

Macy and Nevada race to put this monster behind bars before he can come out of hiding. But the murderer’s had years to hone his skills, and soon Macy herself becomes a target. She’s no stranger to pain and terror, but will Macy’s first profiling case be her last?


Review:

Darkly intriguing, incredibly menacing, and briskly paced!

In this compelling first installment in the Criminal Profiler series, Hide and Seek, Burton has written a tortuous whodunit where cases from the present and the past will intertwine, suspects will be abundant, and danger will lurk just around the corner.

The writing is tight and tense. The characters are astute, consumed, dependable, and persistent. And the plot keeps you on the edge of your seat as it submerges you, page after page, into a world of murder, abduction, arrogance, rape, violence, terror, deception, palpable chemistry, and a side of steamy romance.

It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of Mary Burton’s stories, and like all of her previous novels I’ve read, Hide and Seek keeps you engrossed, guessing, and without a doubt wanting more.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                  

 

 

Thank you to Mary Burton and Joan Schulhafer Publishing for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Mary Burton

New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist Mary Burton is the highly praised author of twenty-six romance and suspense novels and five novellas. She lives in Virginia with her husband and three miniature dachshunds.

 

#BookReview #BlogTour
A Wedding on Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale
@emilyharvale @rararesources #LilyPondLane

#BookReview #BlogTour A Wedding on Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale @emilyharvale @rararesources #LilyPondLane

#BookReview #BlogTour A Wedding on Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale @emilyharvale @rararesources #LilyPondLaneTitle: A Wedding on Lily Pond Lane

Author: Emily Harvale

Published by: Crescent Gate Publishing on March 26, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 154

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Emily Harvale, Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The Angel Bell is ringing for Mia and Jet’s Big Day – but will the Wedding of the Year go without a hitch?

Every bride wants the perfect wedding and Mia Ward is no exception. But she is the only bride in Little Pondale and everyone in the village has ideas for her Big Day. Drowning in suggestions, Mia needs some help.

When she bumps into childhood friend, Breanna Wright on a shopping trip to London, Mia’s convinced it’s Fate. Breanna’s only ambition was to be a wedding planner with her own business, The Wright Wedding … so Mia doesn’t hesitate.

Breanna’s now got three months to plan a wedding where the sky’s the limit, budget-wise. She should be over the moon. Especially as she’ll get a chance to see old friends again, including her first love. There’s just one tiny hitch … Breanna doesn’t have a wedding-planning business.

She should tell Mia there has been a slight mistake, but as usual Breanna’s life isn’t running smoothly and she could really use a break. And when you’ve dreamt about planning weddings all your life, how difficult can it be?

Will this be the chance Breanna’s longed for? Or will Mia’s Dream Wedding be Breanna’s biggest disaster yet?


Review:

Light, amusing, and addictive!

A Wedding on Lily Pond Lane is a warm, delightful tale that picks up right where Return to Little Pond Lane left off taking us back into the lives of Mia, Jet, and the whole Little Pondale gang, including newcomer Breanna, as the village prepares to celebrate the upcoming Cross nuptials.

The writing is witty and crisp. The characters are charismatic, quirky, and lovable. And the plot is a wonderful blend of drama, emotion, hilarious mishaps, banter, unconditional friendship, and true love.

A Wedding on Lily Pond Lane is the seventh and perhaps final story in the Lily Pond Lane series. And even though it would be bittersweet to say goodbye to all the characters we’ve come to know and love over the entire series, it is, however, still a lovely way to catch up with the whole gang and give Mia and Jet the happy-ever-after ending they undoubtedly deserve.

 

This book is available now. 

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

 

 

And don’t forget to check out the other books in the series!

 

                     

                   

 

About Emily Harvale

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing... and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She's an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, "I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings." When she isn't writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies - and will do anything to avoid both.

 

 

Thank you to Emily Harvale and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

#BookReview #BlogTour
Return to Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale
@emilyharvale @rararesources #LilyPondLane

#BookReview #BlogTour Return to Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale @emilyharvale @rararesources #LilyPondLane

#BookReview #BlogTour Return to Lily Pond Lane by Emily Harvale @emilyharvale @rararesources #LilyPondLaneTitle: Return to Lily Pond Lane

Author: Emily Harvale

Published by: Crescent Gate Publishing on February 26, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 184

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Emily Harvale, Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Life couldn’t be better for Mia and her friends in Little Pondale – until tragedy strikes…

Mia Ward is on cloud nine after a magical Christmas and New Year and she isn’t the only one. Everyone on Lily Pond Lane seems to be living in blissful harmony. Until tragedy strikes… not once, but twice. And as Hettie Turner points out: ‘Bad things always come in threes.’

Whilst the other residents of Little Pondale are wondering what might happen next, Mia is busy worrying about her friends and trying to help them with their grief. But she needs to be careful. Just when she thought she had everything, there’s a very real chance she might lose the only thing she truly wants.


Review:

Quaint, cozy, and mysterious!

Return to Lily Pond Lane is a beguiling, heartwarming tale that takes us back once again to the village of Little Pondale and into the lives of all the characters we’ve come to know and love over the previous five novels as they now have to bond together to overcome loss, tragedy, and unexpected illnesses.

The writing is smooth and effortless. The characters are kind, supportive, and fun-loving. And the plot is a charming, at times heartbreaking mix of family, friendship, adversity, heartache, touching moments, and small-town living.

Overall, Return to Lily Pond Lane is another wonderful addition to the fantastic Little Pond Lane series that’s not only a quick, easy, delightful read but one I highly recommend.

 

This book is available now. 

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

 

 

And don’t forget to check out the other books in the series!

 

                     

         

 

About Emily Harvale

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing... and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She's an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, "I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings." When she isn't writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies - and will do anything to avoid both.

 

Thank you to Emily Harvale and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

#BookReview
Finding Hope at Hillside Farm by Rachael Lucas
@karamina @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview Finding Hope at Hillside Farm by Rachael Lucas @karamina @PGCBooks @panmacmillanTitle: Finding Hope at Hillside Farm

Author: Rachael Lucas

Published by: Pan Macmillan on March 26, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 428

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Finding Hope at Hillside Farm is a heartwarming tale of loss, love and new beginnings by Rachael Lucas.

Hillside Farm, nestled in the rolling hills of the Welsh countryside, is a safe haven for Ella. Working with her aunt Bron, she runs her own business, sharing her love of horses to help those in emotional need. Living on the remote farm, and with just the horses and her aunt for company, Ella thinks she has finally found a place where she can forget her own past and find peace.

But the arrival of a small girl called Hope and her father Harry changes everything. As Ella helps the pair come to terms with their loss, she realizes she too deserves happiness. But is it too late to find it?


Review:

Warm, poignant, and delightfully entertaining!

Finding Hope at Hillside Farm is a sweet, charming story about accepting the things you cannot change, letting go of the past, forgiving one’s self, and embracing the future.

The writing is well turned and fluid. The characters are flawed, lovable, and genuine. And the plot is a heartfelt, alluring tale of heartache, loss, grief, guilt, hope, friendship, family, forgiveness, courage, community, second-chance romance, and the healing power of animals.

Overall, Finding Hope at Hillside Farm is more than I ever expected. It’s an effortless, uplifting, beautiful tale by Lucas that reminds us that life is truly precious and should always be lived to the fullest.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                   

 

 

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

 

About Rachael Lucas

Rachael Lucas juggles working as an author, coach, and freelance writer with the aid of quite a lot of tea. She and her partner (also a writer) live by the seaside in the North West of England with their six children.
She is the author of Finding Hope at Bramble Farm, My Box-Shaped Heart, Wildflower Bay, Coming Up Roses, and Sealed With a Kiss.

#BookReview
Midnight at the Wandering Vineyard
by Jamie Raintree @jamieraintree @GraydonHouse @HarlequinBooks

#BookReview Midnight at the Wandering Vineyard by Jamie Raintree @jamieraintree @GraydonHouse @HarlequinBooksTitle: Midnight at the Wandering Vineyard

Author: Jamie Raintree

Published by: Graydon House on March 26, 2019

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Books

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The follow-up to Raintree’s sparkling debut Perfectly Undone, MIDNIGHT AT THE WANDERING VINEYARD brilliantly meshes the provocative relationship fiction of Jennifer Weiner with the nuanced family dynamics of Karen White in this story of a young woman who reconnects with her estranged best friend to complete their teenage bucket list, but the man who came between them years ago reappears to challenge their bond once again.

A young woman at a crossroads in her life returns home to her family’s vineyard in California when tragedy strikes and reconnects with her estranged childhood best friend. They decide to complete the bucket list they created the summer they were 18, the summer that saw their friendship torn apart. But when the man who came between them all those years ago reappears, it challenges their fragile new bond and pushes each woman to confront past hurts and buried truths.


Review:

Evocative, affecting, and heartfelt!

Midnight at the Wandering Vineyard is a heartwarming, touching story that immerses you in a tale about confronting the past, taking risks, being true to one’s self, following your heart, and the importance of never losing sight of your own wants, needs, and dreams.

The writing is vivid and impassioned. The characters are flawed, genuine, and endearing, And the plot is an exceptionally absorbing tale about life, loss, heartbreak, forgiveness, friendship, family, community, courage, happiness, and unconditional love.

Overall, Midnight at the Wandering Vineyard is an uplifting, emotive, alluring story by Raintree that reminds us that everyone that enters our lives, no matter the length of time, shapes and defines us. It is beautifully written, lushly depicted and like a good wine should definitely be savoured.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

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

 

About Jamie Raintree

Jamie Raintree is voracious student of life, which is why she became a writer, where she could put all that acquired information to good use. She is a mother of two, a wife, a businesswoman, a nature-lover, and a wannabe yogi. She also teaches writers about business and productivity. Since the setting is always an important part of her books, she is happy to call the Rocky Mountains of Northern Colorado her home and inspiration.

#BlogTour #BookReview
The Hookup Handbook by Kendall Ryan
@KendallRyan1 #bestfriendssister #friendstolovers #standalone

#BlogTour #BookReview The Hookup Handbook by Kendall Ryan @KendallRyan1 #bestfriendssister #friendstolovers #standalone

#BlogTour #BookReview The Hookup Handbook by Kendall Ryan @KendallRyan1 #bestfriendssister #friendstolovers #standaloneTitle: The Hookup Handbook

Author: Kendall Ryan

Series: Escorts Inc. #2

Published by: Dream Press on March 19, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 296

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Kendall Ryan

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

My love wand is on a strike.

As bad as that blows, pun unintended, it’s ten times worse for me. I’m a male escort, but not just any escort, I’m the escort. The one with a mile-long waiting list and a pristine reputation that’s very well-deserved.

Only now, I’m on hiatus. Because after years of pleasing women all over the city, my man missile decides to get finicky. And the only woman he wants? Someone I can never have—my best friend’s younger sister, the nerdy and awkwardly adorable Sienna.

She’s working at the agency this summer, keeping me organized, handling paperwork, and most importantly, keeping me on track to finish writing my book about sex and intimacy, which is due to my publisher in thirty days.

She thinks I hate her, that I don’t want her here. The truth is much more twisted. I get hard every time she walks into my office. Her wide blue eyes and pouty mouth drive me wild with desire, and if she stays, I’m not sure how much longer I can stay away from her.

Little Miss Overachiever says she’s here to help? Fine. I’m going to put her nerdy, curvy tush to work.


Review:

Passionate, frisky, and sweet!

The Hookup Handbook is a charming, enticing tale that mixes the intelligent, hardworking Sienna who’s determined to help her new boss meet his deadlines this summer but not fall for him, and the cocky, successful Case who may just take the risk and act on his feelings for his best friend’s little sister who seems to be able to help him with more than just his career woes.

The prose is humorous and light. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are unique, friendly, and engaging. And the plot sweeps you away into a steamy storyline filled with snappy banter, shameless flirting, palpable chemistry, friendship, family, light drama, romance, and the ups and downs of life as an escort.

Overall, The Hookup Handbook is another fabulous addition to the Escorts, Inc series by Ryan complete with sexy characters, an entertaining storyline, and a dreamy happy-ever-after ending.

 

This book is available now.

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

                              

 

 

 

About Kendall Ryan

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

 

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

 

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway
Summer on the Italian Lakes
by Lucy Coleman @LucyColemanAuth
@aria_fiction @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman @LucyColemanAuth @aria_fiction @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman @LucyColemanAuth @aria_fiction @rararesourcesTitle: Summer on the Italian Lakes

Author: Lucy Coleman

Published by: Aria on February 5, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Aria, Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Bestselling Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping – and steamy – love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling… Not only does she have writer’s block, but she’s a world-famous romance author with zero romance in her own life.

So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer’s retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda – owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson – could this be just the thing to fire up Brie’s writing – and romantic – mojo?

Brie’s sun-drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer’s very own happy-ever-after…

Escape the January blues with this sun-drenched, heart-warming story from the bestselling author of Snowflakes Over Holly Cove.


Review:

Winsome, engaging, and lush!

Summer on the Italian Lakes is the uplifting, humorous story of Brie, a young romance writer who heads to Lake Garda to help out at a writing retreat even though her own heart, focus, and self-confidence are in tatters after a recent, public breakup.

The writing is beautiful and vivid. The characters are endearing, intriguing, and authentic. And the plot is a wonderful mix of life, love, family, friendship, light drama, self-discovery, romance, and all the ins and outs of writing a novel.

Overall, Summer on the Italian Lakes is another sophisticated, tender, intriguing tale by Coleman that once again highlights her phenomenal ability to sweep you away to another place through her passion and knowledge for its food, landscape, and culture.

 

This book is available now.  

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

 

 

About Lucy Coleman

From interior designer to author, Linn - who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman - says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Harper Impulse (Harper Collins) and Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

 

Thank you to Lucy Coleman and Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

Giveaway:

Win a Chocolate dipping set (UK only)

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

#BlogTour #BookReview #Excerpt
The Military Wife by Laura Trentham
@LauraTrentham @StMartinsPress

#BlogTour #BookReview #Excerpt The Military Wife by Laura Trentham @LauraTrentham @StMartinsPressTitle: The Military Wife

Author: Laura Trentham

Series: A Heart of a Hero #1

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on February 5, 2019

Genres: Women's Fiction, General Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

 

Synopsis:

An emotionally layered novel about family, loss and what it means to be a military wife.

Harper Lee Wilcox has been marking time in her hometown of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina since her husband, Noah Wilcox’s death, nearly five years earlier. With her son Ben turning five and living at home with her mother, Harper fights a growing restlessness, worried that moving on means leaving the memory of her husband behind.

Her best friend, Allison Teague, is dealing with struggles of her own. Her husband, a former SEAL that served with Noah, was injured while deployed and has come home physically healed but fighting PTSD. With three children under foot and unable to help her husband, Allison is at her wit’s end.

In an effort to reenergize her own life, Harper sees an opportunity to help not only Allison but a network of other military wives eager to support her idea of starting a string of coffee houses close to military bases around the country.

In her pursuit of her dream, Harper crosses paths with Bennett Caldwell, Noah’s best friend and SEAL brother. A man who has a promise to keep, entangling their lives in ways neither of them can foresee. As her business grows so does an unexpected relationship with Bennett. Can Harper let go of her grief and build a future with Bennett even as the man they both loved haunts their pasts?


Review:

Absorbing, moving, and incredibly uplifting!

The Military Wife is a tender, heartfelt story that delves not only into the emotional and psychological struggles and hardships of being part of the military and the effects they have on both the enlisted themselves and their loved ones, but also the patience, understanding, support, and trust required to maintain a relationship and individuality under those conditions.

The prose is effortless and well turned. The characters are scarred, genuine, and endearing. And the story is a mesmerizing tale about life, loss, love, forgiveness, grief, familial drama, friendship, community, courage, resilience, and moving on.

Overall, The Military Wife is a beautifully written tale with a lovely mix of hope, grit, emotion, and romance that exceeded my expectations. It’s an impressive start to the “A Heart of a Hero” series and I can’t wait for the publication of book #2.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

 

EXCERPT:

Chapter 1

Present Day

Winters in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, were temperamental. The sunshine and a temperate southerly breeze that started a day could turn into biting, salt-tinged snow flurries by afternoon. But one thing Harper Lee Wilcox could count on was that winter along the Outer Banks was quiet.

The bustle and hum and weekly rotation of tourists that marked the summer months settled into a winter melancholy that Harper enjoyed. Well, perhaps not enjoyed in the traditional sense . . . more like she enjoyed surrendering to the melancholy. In fact, her mother may have accused her of wallowing in it once or twice or a hundred times.

In the winter, she didn’t have to smile and pretend her life was great. Not that it was bad. Lots of people had it worse. Much worse. In fact, parts of her life were fabulous. Almost five, her son was happy and healthy and smart. Her mother’s strength and support were unwavering and had bolstered her through the worst time of her life. Her friends were amazing.

That was the real issue. In the craziness of the summer season, she forgot to be sad. Her husband, Noah, had been gone five years; the same amount of time they’d been married. Soon the years separating them would outnumber the years they’d been together. The thought was sobering and only intensified the need to keep a sacred place in her heart waiting and empty. Her secret memorial.

She parked the sensible sedan Noah had bought her soon after they married under her childhood home. Even though they were inland, the stilts were a common architectural feature up and down the Outer Banks.

Juggling her laptop and purse, Harper pushed open the front door and stacked her things to the side. “I’m home!”

A little body careened down the steps and crashed into her legs. She returned the ferocious hug. Her pregnancy was the only thing that had kept her going those first weeks after she’d opened her front door to the Navy chaplain.

“How was preschool? Did you like the pasta salad I packed for your lunch?”

“It made me toot and everyone laughed, even the girls. Can you pack it for me again tomorrow?”

“Ben! You shouldn’t wantto toot.” Laughter ruined the admonishing tone she was going for.

As Harper’s mom said time and again, the kid was a hoot and a half. He might have Harper’s brown wavy hair, but he had Noah’s spirit and mannerisms and humor. Ben approached everything with an optimism Harper had lost or perhaps had never been gifted with from the start. He was a blessing Harper sometimes wondered if she deserved.

“Where’s Yaya?” She ruffled his unruly hair.

Of course, her mom had picked an unconventional name. “Grandmother” was too old-fashioned and pedestrian. Since she’d retired from the library, she had cast off any semblance of normalcy and embraced an inner spirit that was a throwback to 1960s bra burners and Woodstock.

“Upstairs painting.” Ben slipped his hand into Harper’s and tugged her toward the kitchen. Bright red and orange and blue paint smeared the back of his hand and arm like a rainbow. At least, her mom had put him in old clothes. “Yaya gave me my own canvas and let me paint whatever I wanted.”

“And what did you paint?” Harper prayed it wasn’t a nude study, which was the homework assignment from her mom’s community college class.

“I drew Daddy in heaven. I used allthe colors.” The matter-of-factness of his tone clawed at her heart.

No child should have to grow up only knowing their father through pictures and stories. Her own father had been absent because of divorce and disinterest. He’d sent his court-ordered child support payments regularly until she turned eighteen but rarely visited or shown any curiosity about her. It had hurt until teenaged resentment scarred over the wound.

Noah would have made a great dad. The best. That he never got the chance piled more regrets and what-ifs onto her winter inspired melancholy.

“I’m sure he would have loved your painting.” Luckily, Ben didn’t notice her choked-up reply.

He went to the cabinet, pulled out white bread and crunchy peanut butter, and proceeded to make two sandwiches. It was their afternoon routine. Someday he would outgrow it. Outgrow her and become a man like his daddy.

She poured him a glass of milk, and they ate their sandwiches, talking about how the rest of his day went—outside of his epic toots. His world was small and safe and she wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Her mom breezed into the kitchen, her still-thick but graying brown hair twisted into a messy bun, a thin paintbrush holding it in place. Slim and attractive, she wore paint-splattered jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt that read: I make AARP look good. Harper pinched her lips together to stifle a grin.

“How’s your assignment coming along?” Harper asked.

“I’m having a hard time with proportions. It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure my man’s you-know-what shouldn’t hang down to his kneecaps.”

Harper shot a glance toward Ben, who had moved to the floor of the den to play with LEGOs. As crazy as her mom drove her, she was and would always be Harper’s rock. The irony wasn’t lost on her. As hard as she’d worked to get out of Kitty Hawk and out of her mother’s reach when she was young, she’d never regretted coming home.

“It’s been a while for me, too, but that’s not how I remember them, either.”

“A pity for us both.” Her mother pulled a jar of olives out of the fridge and proceeded to make martinis—shaken, not stirred. She raised her eyebrows, and Harper answered the unspoken question with a nod. Her mom poured and plopped an extra olive in Harper’s. “How was work?”

Harper handled bookkeeping and taxes for a number of local businesses, but a good number closed up shop in the winter. “Routine. Quiet.”

“Exactly like your life.”

Harper sputtered on her first sip. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I hate seeing you mope around all winter.” Her mom poked at the olive in her drink with a toothpick and looked toward Ben, dropping her voice. “He’s been gone five years, sweetheart, and you haven’t gone on so much as a date.”

“That’s not true. I went to lunch with Whit a few weeks ago.”

“He was trying to sell you life insurance. Doesn’t count.”

Harper huffed and covered her discomfort by taking another sip. “What about you? You never date.”

 “True, but your father ruined me on relationships. I have trust issues. You and Noah, on the other hand, seemed to get along fine. Or am I wrong?”

“You’re not.” Another sip of the martini grew the tingly warmth in her stomach. Their marriage hadn’t been completely without conflict, but what relationship was? As she looked back on their fights, they seemed juvenile and unimportant. It was easier to remember the good times. And there were so many to choose from.

She touched the empty finger on her left hand. The ring occupied her jewelry box and had for three years. But, occasionally, her finger would ache with phantom pains as if it were missing a vital organ.

“You’re young. Find another good man. Or forget the man, just find something you’re passionate about.”

“I’m happy right where I am.” Harper hammered up her defenses as if preparing for a hurricane.

“Don’t mistake comfort for happiness. You’re comfortable here. Too comfortable. But you’re not happy.”

 “God, Mom, why are you Dr. Phil–ing me all of sudden? Are you wanting me and Ben to move out or something?” Her voice sailed high and Ben looked over at them, his eyes wide, clutching his LEGO robot so tightly its head fell off.

“You and Ben are welcome to stay and take care of me in my old age.” Her mom shifted toward the den. “You hear that, honey? I want you to stay forever.”

Ben gave them an eye-crinkling smile that reminded her so much of Noah her insides squirmed, and she killed the rest of her drink. She was so careful not to show how lonely she sometimes felt in front of Ben.

“Harper.” Her mom’s chiding tone reminded her so much of her own childhood, she glanced up instinctively. Her mom took her hand, and her hazel eyes matched the ones that stared back at Harper in the mirror. “You’re marking time in Kitty Hawk. Find something that excites you again. Don’t let Ben—or Noah— be your excuse.”

Harper looked to her son. His chubby fingers fit the small LEGO pieces together turning the robot into a house. She had built her life brick by brick adding pieces and colors, expanding, taking pride, until one horrible day she’d stopped. Maybe her mom was right. Was it time to build something new?

 

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

 

About Laura Trentham

LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

#BlogTour #BookReview
The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister
by Meghan Quinn @AuthorMegQuinn @InkSlingerPR

#BlogTour #BookReview The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister by Meghan Quinn @AuthorMegQuinn @InkSlingerPRTitle: The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend's Sister

Author: Meghan Quinn

Published by: Meghan Quinn on January 3, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 336

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: InkSlingerPR

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

How do you date your best friend’s sister? Easy. 

Step one: Pretend you want her to set you up with someone else. That will bring the two of you closer.

Step two: Go on date with lots of random women, proceed to get stupid drunk and talk about your best friend’s sister, thus gaining the courage to finally make a move.

Step three: Randomly show up at her apartment and confess your love. Women love that, right?

It all seemed so simple. A fool-proof three step process that will guarantee the love of you life to fall madly in love with you. 

At least–that’s what I thought was going to happen. But my attempts to win over Julia Westin backfired in more ways than I can count. The thing about Julia? She’s smart–really smart–and her wicked gaze cuts through all the charm I’ve tried slinging her way. She’s not interested in games, my gifts, or my stories. She might want me too; but she’s not giving in that easy…


Review:

Sultry, entertaining, and sweet!

The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister is a passionate, charming tale that mixes the caring, hardworking Julia who’s determined to use all her knowledge and expertise to find the perfect match for her brother’s best friend, and the delectable, successful Bram who has finally decided to take the risk and act on his feelings for his best friend’s little sister.

The writing is titillating and crisp. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are fun-loving and engaging. And the plot sweeps you away into a sassy, push-pull storyline filled with witty banter, shameless flirting, sizzling chemistry, friendship, family, romance, and light drama.

Overall, The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister is a fabulous read to kick off the new year. I enjoyed the characters, I enjoyed the storyline, and I loved the swoon-worthy happy-ever-after ending!

 

This book is available now.

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

 

 

 

About Meghan Quinn

USA Today Bestselling Author, wife, adoptive mother, and peanut butter lover. Author of romantic comedies and contemporary romance, Meghan Quinn brings readers the perfect combination of heart, humor, and heat in every book.

 

 

Thank you to InkSlingerPR and Meghan Quinn for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

#BookReview
The Temp by Michelle Frances
@PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Temp by Michelle Frances @PGCBooks @panmacmillanTitle: The Temp

Author: Michelle Frances

Published by: Pan Macmillan on December 26, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 448

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A new gripping psychological thriller from Michelle Frances, bestselling author of The Girlfriend.

Carrie is a successful TV producer in a high pressure job. She’s talented, liked, and well-respected. She and her husband, Adrian, an award-winning screenwriter, decided years before that they didn’t want children. But now, just as they’re both at the pinnacle of their careers, she has discovered she’s pregnant, and is shocked to discover that she wants to keep the baby. But in a competitive industry where time off is seen as a sign of weakness, Carrie looks at the prospect of maternity leave with trepidation.

Enter Emma, the temp, who is everything Carrie could wish for as her cover: smart, eager, and charming. Carrie fears that Emma is manoeuvring her way into Carrie’s life, causing turmoil in both her work and her marriage. The problem is everyone else adores Emma…

Increasingly isolated from Adrian and her colleagues, Carrie begins to believe Emma has an agenda. Does she want her job? Or is she after even more?

A twisting thriller about ambition, deception, and betrayal, The Temp will leave readers hanging on until the very last page!


Review:

Compulsive, unsettling, and surprising!

The Temp is a character-driven, pacey thriller that takes us into the life of Carrie, a middle-aged TV producer who finds herself struggling to juggle new motherhood, a successful career, a secretive husband, and a temp who seems determined to make her position a permanent one.

The writing is taut and polished. The characters are consumed, unscrupulous, and driven. And the plot is a twisty, suspenseful tale of power, betrayal, ambition, suspicion, obsession, violence, and the complex world of tv production.

Overall, The Temp is another intricate, sinister, edgy novel by Frances that reminds us that anger and resentment fostered over a long period of time can often have devastating consequences.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                            

 

  

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Michelle Frances

Michelle Frances has worked in television drama as a producer and script editor for fifteen years, both for the independent sector and the BBC. The Temp is her second novel, following her bestselling debut, The Girlfriend.

 
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