Format: ARC

#BookReview
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
@Lisa_See @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See @Lisa_See @ScribnerBooks @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Island of Sea Women

Author: Lisa See

Published by Scribner on March 5, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A new novel from Lisa See, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and family secrets on a small Korean island.

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

This beautiful, thoughtful novel illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge, engaging in dangerous physical work, and the men take care of the children. A classic Lisa See story—one of women’s friendships and the larger forces that shape them—The Island of Sea Women introduces readers to the fierce and unforgettable female divers of Jeju Island and the dramatic history that shaped their lives.


Review:

Poignant, absorbing, and impactful!

The Island of Sea Women is a heart-wrenching, pensive tale that sweeps you into a country ravaged by Japanese Colonialism, WWII invasion, American occupation, rebellion, oppression, political upheaval, and economic instability.

The story is set on Jeju Island from the 1930s to present day and is a generational tale of friendship, grief, sorrow, guilt, history, family, culture, courage, loss, hope, sisterhood, as well as the responsibilities, life, and indomitable spirit of the haenyeo.

The prose is vivid and eloquent. The characters are diligent, resilient, brave, and authentic. And the plot is a skillfully crafted read that moves seamlessly from past to present as it unravels all the personalities, struggles, atrocities, dangers, motivations, and complex relationships within it.

The Island of Sea Women is truly a perfect blend of historical facts, compelling fiction, and palpable emotion. It’s a beautifully depicted, fascinating, heartbreaking, unforgettable tale that does a remarkable job of highlighting See’s incredible knowledge and passion for a time and place that is often unknown, forgotten or overlooked.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                        

 

 

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

 

About Lisa See

Lisa See is the New York Times bestselling author of The Island of Sea Women, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird LaneSnow Flower and the Secret FanPeony in LoveShanghai GirlsChina Dolls, and Dreams of Joy, which debuted at #1. She is also the author of On Gold Mountain, which tells the story of her Chinese American family’s settlement in Los Angeles. See was the recipient of the Golden Spike Award from the Chinese Historical Association of Southern California and the History Maker’s Award from the Chinese American Museum. She was also named National Woman of the Year by the Organization of Chinese American Women.

#BookReview
The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper
@andrewpyper @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper @andrewpyper @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Homecoming

Author: Andrew Pyper

Published by Simon & Schuster on February 26, 2019

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Bestselling author Andrew Pyper returns with a riveting psychological thriller about how the people you’ve known your whole life can suddenly become strangers.

What if everything you knew about the people you loved was a lie?

After the death of their absentee father, Aaron and Bridge Quinlan travel to a vast rainforest property in the Pacific Northwest to hear the reading of his will. There, they meet up with their mother and troubled sister, Franny, and are shocked to discover the will’s terms: in order to claim their inheritance they must remain at the estate for thirty days without any contact with the outside world. Despite their concerns, they agree.

The Quinlans soon come to learn their family has more secrets than they ever imagined—revelations that at first inspire curiosity, then fear. Why does Bridge have faint memories of the estate? Why did their father want them to be sequestered there together? And what is out there they feel pulling them into the dark heart of the woods?

The Homecoming is at once a gripping mystery, a chilling exploration of how our memories can both define and betray us, and a riveting page-turner that will have you questioning your very existence.


Review:

Mystifying, unique, and eerily disconcerting!

The Homecoming is a darkly intense, unconventional thriller that takes us into the life of the Quinlan family as they find themselves isolated, vulnerable, confused, and terrorized by an unknown threat.

The prose is calculated and taut. The characters are complex, mysterious, and tormented. And the plot unravels quickly into a horrifying tale of dreams, secrets, manipulation, perception, betrayal, violence, murder, and the shadowy corners of familial life.

Overall, The Homecoming is a spooky, deliciously, uncomfortable reading experience that gets darker and murkier with each page you turn and is a chilling reminder that monsters of one form or another actually exist and in a world where science and technology are advancing at an alarming rate anything is possible.

 

This novel is available now.

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

                                        

 

 

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

 

About Andrew Pyper

Andrew Pyper is the author of nine novels, including the forthcoming THE HOMECOMING (February 2019). Among his previous books, THE DEMONOLOGIST won the International Thriller Writers award for Best Hardcover Novel and was selected for the Globe and Mail’s Best 100 Books of 2013 and Amazon’s 20 Best Books of 2013. LOST GIRLS won the Arthur Ellis Award and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Three of Pyper’s novels, including THE HOMECOMING, are in active development for television or feature film. He lives in Toronto.

#BookReview
Bad Influence by Stefanie London
@Stefanie_London @SourcebooksCasa

#BookReview Bad Influence by Stefanie London @Stefanie_London @SourcebooksCasaTitle: Bad Influence

Author: Stefanie London

Series: Bad Bachelors #3

Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on February 26, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Sourcebooks Casablanca, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

 

Synopsis:

He’s the bad bachelor who inspired it all…
Annie Maxwell had her whole life figured out…until her fiance left her when his career took off. If that wasn’t bad enough, every society blog posted pictures of him escorting a woman wearing her engagement ring. To help the women of New York avoid guys like her ex, Annie created the Bad Bachelors app. But try as she might, Annie just can’t forget him…

For bank executive Joe Preston, his greatest mistake was leaving the love of his life when she needed him most. Now, all he wants is to make things right–and she won’t have him. But when Annie’s safety is threatened by a hacker determined to bring down her app, Joe is the only one she can turn to. He’ll have to lay himself on the line to prove to Annie that he’s a changed man. But will their hard-won bond survive the revelation that Annie is the one pulling the strings behind Bad Bachelors?


Review:

Dramatic, emotional, and sizzling!

Bad Influence is a heartwarming, passionate, second-chance romance that takes us into the lives of the resolute, intelligent, Annie and the charismatic, hardworking Joe as they discover that even though they let each other slip away once, the heart wants who the heart wants, and some things are worth fighting for.

The writing is smooth and crisp. The characters are smart, lovable, and alluring. And the plot is a wonderful blend of life, love, familial pressure, friendship, sizzling romance, introspection, happiness, and a little danger.

Bad Influence is the third and final story in the Bad Bachelors series, and even though it’s a little bittersweet to say goodbye to the characters we’ve come to know and love from the previous novels, it is nevertheless a lovely way to catch up on the whole gang and give Annie and Joe the happy-ever-after ending they deserve.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                           

 

 

Thank you to Stefanie London and Sourcebooks Casablanca for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Stefanie London

USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance with humour, heat and heart. Also llamas.

Originally from Melbourne, Australia Stefanie now lives in Toronto, Canada with her wonderful husband. She loves to read, collect lipsticks, watch zombie movies and drink coffee.

Her bestselling book, Pretend It’s Love, is a 2016 Romantic Book of the Year finalist with the Romance Writers of Australia.

#BookReview
Stroke of Luck by B.J. Daniels
@bjdanielsauthor @HarlequinBooks

#BookReview Stroke of Luck by B.J. Daniels @bjdanielsauthor @HarlequinBooksTitle: Stroke of Luck

Author: B.J. Daniels

Series: Sterling's Montana #1

Published by HQN Books on February 19, 2019

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Harlequin Books

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

He’s hoping to bury the past. She’s ready to settle the score.

The Sterling Ranch’s season opening isn’t going so smoothly. With the ranch’s lodge full of guests and a Montana blizzard threatening, Will Sterling needs help—and he needs it fast. So when his childhood friend Poppy Carmichael agrees to lend a hand, he’s grateful for a second chance…and more enticed by the woman she’s become than he cares to admit.

For Poppy, it was supposed to be a retreat full of horse rides and hoedowns—with a side of showing Will what he’s been missing all these years. But as the snow deepens outside, the guests’ suspicion and mistrust turn sinister inside, catching Will and Poppy in the crosshairs.

Weathering the storm in each other’s arms is all too easy for Will and Poppy, but will a confrontation with a killer mean their reunion is short-lived?

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author B.J. Daniels starts her Sterling’s Ranch series off with a bang in this suspenseful story of romance and revenge.


Review:

Gripping, menacing, and taut!

Stroke of Luck is a seductive, riveting whodunit that takes us to Glacier Park, Montana where the strong, confident Poppy is determined to show her unrequited teen crush precisely what he missed out on, and the easy-going, rugged Will is struggling to keep his visitors and those he loves safe with a killer on the prowl.

The writing is sharp and crisp. The characters are complex, secretive, and intriguing. And the plot is a passionate tale filled with twists, turns, familial drama, red herrings, secrets, lies, danger, sexual attraction, mayhem, delicious food, and steamy romance.

Overall, Stroke of Luck is an action-packed, sultry, satisfying start for the new Sterling’s Montana series by Daniels that keeps you on your toes, warms the heart, and leaves you eager for me.

 

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 B.J. Daniels

B.J. Daniels’ life dream was to be a policewoman. After a career as an award-winning newspaper journalist, she wrote and sold 37 short stories before she finally wrote her first book. Since then she has won numerous awards including a career achievement award last year for romantic suspense.

She lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, two Springer Spaniels, Jem and Spot, and a temperamental tomcat named Jeff. When she isn’t writing, she snowboards, camps, boats and plays tennis.

 

And thank you, B.J. Daniels. Not only did I get to enjoy the story but my family got to enjoy some of Poppy’s Guest Ranch Brownies.

 

          

#BookReview
I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
@KinsellaSophie @randomhouse

#BookReview I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella @KinsellaSophie @randomhouseTitle: I Owe You One

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Published by Dial Press on February 5, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 448

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Random House, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella, an irresistible story of love and empowerment about a young woman with a complicated family, a handsome man who might be “the one,” and an IOU that changes everything

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?


Review:

Sweet, comical, and delightfully uplifting!

I Owe You One is a charming, heartwarming read that takes us into the life of the thoughtful Fixie Farr as she struggles to keep her family’s home goods shop thriving while juggling an on-again/off-again relationship with her high school crush, two overbearing, older siblings, and a back-and-forth IOU with a handsome businessman.

The prose is well turned and light. The characters, including all the supporting characters, are unique, amusing and reliable. And the plot is a smart, engaging tale full of quirky mishaps, tricky moments, awkward situations, delicious chemistry, romantic drama, self-reflection, and the intricacies of familial relationships.

Overall, I Owe You One is another light, refreshing, entertaining read by Kinsella that’s perfect for fans of insightful, witty, contemporary romance novels.

 

This book is available now. 

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

                                        

 

 

Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella is a writer and former financial journalist. She is the number one bestselling author of Can You Keep a Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number and Wedding Night, the hugely popular Shopaholic novels and the Young Adult novel Finding Audrey. She lives in London with her husband and family. She is also the author of several bestselling novels under the name of Madeleine Wickham.

#BookReview
Strip Me by Margay Leah Justice
@GalleryBooks

#BookReview Strip Me by Margay Leah Justice @GalleryBooksTitle: Strip Me

Author: Margay Leah Justice

Published by Pocket Star on February 11, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA

Pages: 330

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Gallery Books, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

This sizzling and passionate romance follows two men whose lives are turned upside down by their intense mutual attraction.

Sam Richmond is a workaholic in danger of becoming the very man he despises—his father. Stressed and sick with worry, he’s desperate to shake off the shackles that bind him to his current path and embark on a life lived only for himself.

His friends are determined to pull him out of his funk and decide to drag him to a strip club that caters to both men and women. Sam is shocked when he develops an attraction to the show’s male headliner: Rico McIntyre. The two men end up in a backroom for a private lap dance that ends up being a game-changer for them.

Because, despite the fact that they both identify themselves as heterosexual, they decide to explore their strange attraction for one another—if only for one night. But one night quickly becomes another and then another, until a misunderstanding tears the two apart. Both men attempt to forget about the other, only for life to unexpectedly reunite them.

Can Sam and Rico embark on a relationship and come to terms with their new understandings of themselves and who they love? Or are they doomed from the start?


Review:

Quick, fervent, and salacious!

Strip Me is a passionate tale that takes us into the lives of Sam and Rico as they learn the power of attraction, how to embrace their sexuality, and embark on a budding relationship that will require a lot of understanding and trust.

The writing is racy and precise. The characters are charismatic, handsome, and intelligent. And the plot is an alluring tale full of familial drama, sexual innuendoes, flirty banter, sizzling chemistry, friendship, heartfelt moments, and love.

Overall, Strip Me is an easy, provocative, steamy read by Justice and even though I thought it ended a little quickly, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that perhaps we’ll get an opportunity to check back in with these characters once again in a later novel.

 

This book is available now.

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

                                

 

 

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

 

About Margay Leah Justice

Margay Leah Justice currently lives in Massachusetts with one of her daughters, a cat, and a myriad of characters who vie for her attention and demand that their own stories be told.

#BlogTour #BookReview
The Good Friend by Jo Baldwin
@jokbaldwin @RedDoorBooks #TheGoodFriend

#BlogTour #BookReview The Good Friend by Jo Baldwin @jokbaldwin @RedDoorBooks #TheGoodFriendTitle: The Good Friend

Author: Jo Baldwin

Published by RedDoor Publishing on February 21, 2019

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 304

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: RedDoor Publishing

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Heavenly Creatures meets The Hand That Rocks the Cradle in this exciting debut novel about friendship, love and jealousy.

Once upon a time they were best friends. They were all friends. So when Jenny moved to Australia to focus on her swimming career, she not only lost Kath, but her soul-mate Tom. It was for the best. Or so they said. Now, eight years later, Jenny seeks out her childhood friend and heads to rural France where Kath has settled. At first the women fall back into a close relationship, but before long strange and malicious behaviour leads Jenny to realise the truth: that Kath has played a clever game all along to manipulate and control those around her. And Jenny is her biggest victim.

Set against the glorious backdrop of the Languedoc lavender fields, The Good Friend is a beautifully written psychological drama about love, lies and a dangerous obsession. Because once the truth is revealed, there’s no going back…


Review:

Ominous, slick, and unnerving!

The Good Friend is a slow-burning, character-driven thriller that delves into just how much our relationships and friendships can define us and highlights just how parasitic and manipulative some of them can truly be.

The prose is edgy and tense. The characters are complex, deceptive, and vulnerable. And the plot builds steadily creating tension, suspicion, and unease as it unravels a sinister tale of friendship, love, secrets, lies, deception, jealousy, violence, and revenge.

Overall, I would have to say that The Good Friend is a brooding, malicious, atmospheric tale that kept me riveted from start to finish and had an ending that left me, in a good way, completely unsettled.

 

This book is available on February 21, 2019.

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

 

 

Thank you to RedDoor Publishing and Jo Baldwin for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jo Baldwin

Since completing a degree in French, Jo Baldwin has spent a large proportion of her life in France, first in Paris where she worked in magazine publishing, and later in the Languedoc where she has a holiday home. Jo now lives in Oxford with her husband and three children and works in educational publishing.

 

 

 

For more information on Red Door Publishing visit them at:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

#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.

 

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway
The Secret to Falling in Love
by Victoria Cooke @victoriacooke10
@HQDigitalUK @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke @victoriacooke10 @HQDigitalUK @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke @victoriacooke10 @HQDigitalUK @rararesourcesTitle: The Secret to Falling in Love

Author: Victoria Cooke

Published by HQ Digital on February 9, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 198

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Lifestyle journalist and thirty-something singleton Melissa hashtags, insta’s and snapchats her supposedly fabulous life on every social media platform there is.

That is until she wakes up on her birthday, another year older and still alone, wondering if for all her internet dates, love really can be found online? The challenge: go technology free for a whole month!

Forced to confront the reality of her life without its perfect filters, Melissa knows she needs to make some changes. But when she bumps into not one, but two gorgeous men, without the use of an app, she believes there could be hope for love offline.

If only there was a way to choose the right guy for her…


Review:

Sweet, warm, and romantic!

The Secret to Falling in Love is the humorous, heartwarming story of Melissa, an independent, single, thirty-five-year-old whose ready to settle down and have a family, but after online dating proves fruitless and inspiration comes in the form of The Matrix she decides to go entirely unplugged for thirty days to see if love might actually find her offline.

The writing is effortless and light. The characters are intriguing, supportive, and genuine. And the plot is an enchanting mix of friendship, family, light drama, awkward moments, tricky situations, swoon-worthy romance, and the endless ups and downs of dating.

Overall, The Secret to Falling in Love is a fresh, uplifting, timely tale by Cooke with some beautiful imagery and a storyline that will definitely leave you smiling.

 

This book is available now.  

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

 

 

About Victoria Cooke

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, 'The Secret to Falling in Love,' in 2016.

 

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

 

Giveaway:

Win an ARC of The Secret to Falling in Love and a box of Belgian Truffles (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.

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