Genre: Women's Fiction

#BookReview
Forever Friends by Sarah Mackenzie
@readforeverpub @GrandCentralPub #foreverfriends

#BookReview Forever Friends by Sarah Mackenzie @readforeverpub @GrandCentralPub #foreverfriendsTitle: Forever Friends

Author: Sarah Mackenzie

Series: Cranberry Cove #1

Published by: Forever on December 10, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Forever, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

Perfect for fans of Susan Mallery and Jill Shalvis, two mothers — one pregnant, one sending her child to college — form an unlikely friendship, finding love, hope, and a new start at life in this charming, laugh-out-loud read.

Single mom Renee Rhodes seems like a woman who has it all together — perfect house, perfect kid, perfect yard. But now that her daughter is away at college, she doesn’t know what to do next. Without weekly PTA meetings and after-school chauffeur duty, Renee isn’t sure who she is anymore. What she is sure of is that she probably shouldn’t be crushing on her new boss, who couldn’t possibly be interested in a middle-aged mom….
Sadie Landry is drowning in the stay-at-home mom life. With a toddler running wild, a husband who is growing more distant by the day, and a mother-in-law who has a comment on every-little-thing, Sadie is one mommy-and-me class away from losing it. When she learns that she is pregnant again, Sadie knows that something has to change for the sake of her family — and her sanity.
After a birthday party bake-a-thon nearly turns into a three-alarm fire, Renee comes to her neighbor Sadie’s rescue with comfort, competence, and a killer pie recipe. With their unlikely friendship and a newly hatched plan to open a bakery, can Sadie and Renee finally have the lives they’ve always dreamed of?


Review:

Heartwarming, charming, and uplifting!

Forever Friends is a lighthearted, engaging tale that takes you on a journey to the idyllic Cranberry Cove and into the lives of the middle-aged, single Renee and the frazzled, young mother Sadie as they discover together the importance of taking chances, finding contentment, discovering one’s true self, and embracing the future.

The prose is fluid and smooth. The characters are kind, supportive, authentic, and endearing. And the plot is a sweet, compelling tale about life, love, family, friendship, communication, self-discovery, happiness, and romance.

Overall, I would have to say that Forever Friends is an emotive, thoughtful, cosy read by Mackenzie that does a beautiful job of reminding us just how important, powerful, and meaningful female friendships can truly be.

 

This novel is available December 10th.

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

                                        

 

 

 

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

 

About Sarah Mackenzie

Sarah Mackenzie lives and writes in New England.

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway
Eve’s Christmas by Julie Butterfield
@juliebeewriter @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway Eve's Christmas by Julie Butterfield @juliebeewriter @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway Eve’s Christmas by Julie Butterfield @juliebeewriter @rararesourcesTitle: Eve's Christmas

Author: Julie Butterfield

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 257

Format: eBook

Source: Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Working for a department store where Christmas arrives in August, Eve prefers her own festivities to be low key with nothing more complicated than an oven-ready turkey and frozen peas while she spends the day in her pyjamas. Unfortunately, this year her husband has invited his best friend to visit, the glamorous and sophisticated Abby, and Eve reluctantly decides that she needs to inject a little sparkle into their laid back and slightly shabby Christmas. So the celebrations are upgraded to include champagne and canapes along with homemade gravy and organic turkey and plans are made for a Christmas that looks as though it has emerged from the pages of a glossy magazine.

But even the best-laid plans can go wrong and as Eve struggles with her mini Yorkshire puddings and an interfering cat, she is suddenly faced with an unexpected guest and an explosive secret that threatens to put her vision of a perfect Christmas in jeopardy.


Review:

Sweet, dramatic, and festive!

Eve’s Christmas is a charming, angsty tale that takes you into the life of the hardworking, creative Eve who after striving to impress her husband’s best friend and create the perfect Christmas quickly discovers there’s no such thing as perfect when all her well thought out plans are upended when jealousy rears its ugly head, long-hidden secrets are unearthed, and an uninvited guest turns up.

The writing is warm and light. The characters are kind, determined, and genuine. And the plot is an entertaining mix of family, friendship, life, love, manipulation, miscommunication, excessiveness, and the unfortunate environmental consequences of the holidays.

Overall, Eve’s Christmas is a cosy, heartfelt, witty story by Butterfield that reminds us that we often lose perspective of the true meaning of Christmas and that being surrounded by family, friends, and those we love is more important than any beautifully wrapped gift we may find under the tree.

 

This book is available now.  

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

 

 

About Julie Butterfield

Julie Butterfield belongs to the rather large group of 'always wanted to write' authors who finally found the time to sit down and put pen to paper - or rather fingers to keyboard.
She wrote her first book purely for pleasure and was very surprised to discover that so many people enjoyed the story and wanted more, so she decided to carry on writing.
It has to be pointed out that her first novel, 'Did I Mention I Won The Lottery' is a complete work of fiction and she did not, in fact, receive millions in her bank account and forget to mention it to her husband - even though he still asks her every day if she has anything to tell him!

 

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

 

Giveaway:

Win a paperback copy of Eve’s Christmas. (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
Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage
by Rosie Green @Rosie_Green1988 @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage by Rosie Green @Rosie_Green1988 @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage by Rosie Green @Rosie_Green1988 @rararesourcesTitle: Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage

Author: Rosie Green

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 240

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When Jess Thornton’s dad was lost at sea, the family coped in different ways, alone in their grief. Now, her mum seems to be going off the rails and her sister, Isla, who moved to France, is now back and determined to get their old family home on the market. But the last thing Jess wants this Christmas is for renovations to start on the house. It’s sure to stir up all sorts of memories she’s desperate to avoid. And to make things worse, Isla appears to have hired the most obnoxious builder in the world to do the work. Jess could ignore the fact that women seem to be putty in his hands. But what she finds harder to ignore is the frisson she gets every time she squeezes past him in the mess that is now their beloved old home! Can the family finally start talking and find a way to move on from the past this Christmas?


Review:

Encouraging, warm, and emotive!

Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage is an amusing, tender tale that takes us to the town of Lower Luckworth and into the life of the kindhearted, lonely Jess Thornton as she juggles a demanding sister, a mother who seems lost, a handsome contractor, and a life without the father she loves dearly.

The writing is heartfelt and light. The characters are grieving, flawed, genuine, and sentimental. And the plot is a delightful blend of humour, heart, family, friendship, attraction, chemistry, support, misunderstandings, secrets, tender moments, and magical surprises.

Overall, Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage is an amusing, uplifting, festive tale by Green that is an adorable mix of sweet romance, family drama, and holiday cheer.

 

This book is available now. 

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

 

 

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

 

About Rosie Green

Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little.

Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by 'the baddies'.

Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all - unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Rosie's brand new series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. The latest, 'Bonfires & Hot Chocolate at the Little Duck Pond Cafe', is out now.

Watch out for 'A Winter Wedding at the Little Duck Pond Cafe', which will be published Christmas 2019.

Rosie is also writing a full-length, standalone book for Christmas 2019, entitled 'Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage'.

 

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway
The Perfect Fit by Mary Jayne Baker
@MaryJayneBaker @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway The Perfect Fit by Mary Jayne Baker @MaryJayneBaker @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway The Perfect Fit by Mary Jayne Baker @MaryJayneBaker @rararesourcesTitle: The Perfect Fit

Author: Mary Jayne Baker

Series: Love in the Dales #2

Published by: Mirror Books on September 21, 2018

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Format: eBook

Source: Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 8/10

 

Synopsis:

‘A wonderful book with a great story and a sparky, unusual voice. I loved it!’ KATIE FFORDE

Escape to the frost-sparkling Yorkshire Dales for some festive fun under the mistletoe! A saucy comedy-romance with more than a sprinkle of Christmas spice – this will lift your spirits and your excitement level!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for costume shop owner Becky Finn. Leaving London to move back home to the twinkly rural village of Egglethwaite, she plans to build a new life for herself with fiancé, Cole.

Keen to raise funds for the struggling village hall she loved as a child, Becky finds herself at the head of a colourful group aiming to revive the Egglethwaite Christmas pantomime. But when that festive feeling sets in, she discovers there’s more to panto than innuendo and slapped thighs.

Falling in love was not in the script! But as opening night grows closer, she starts to wonder if the panto will ever make it to the stage and, with handsome co-star Marcus on the scene, if she has chosen her right leading man…

The perfect stocking-filler gift!


Review:

Funny, warm, and entertaining!

The Perfect Fit is an amusing, lighthearted tale that takes us to the Yorkshire Dales and into the life of the optimistic, lovable Becky Finn as she meanders through all sorts of highs and lows, from moving home, a long-distance relationship, reviving the village Christmas Pantomime, and the unexpected feelings for her fellow leading man.

The writing is comical and fluid. The characters are sweet, quirky, and endearing. And the plot is a jolly, big-hearted tale full of tricky situations, tender moments, humorous mishaps, self-discovery, friendship, family, community, romance, and holiday cheer.

Overall, The Perfect Fit is another humourous, uplifting, charming tale by Baker that’s a true wintery treat with its engaging characters, festive storyline, and barrel of laughs.

 

This book is available now.  

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

 

 

About Mary Jayne Baker

Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country... and she's still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature, she dallied with living in cities including London, Nottingham and Cambridge, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales, where she first started telling stories about heroines with flaws and the men who love them.

 

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

 

Giveaway:

Win signed copies of both books in the Love in the Dale series (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.

 

 

#GuestPost #Q&A
Love is a Rebellious Bird by Elayne Klasson
@JKSlitpublicity

#GuestPost #Q&A Love is a Rebellious Bird by Elayne Klasson @JKSlitpublicityTitle: Love is a Rebellious Bird

Author: Elayne Klasson

Published by: She Writes Press on November 12, 2019

Genres: Women's Fiction

Pages: 336

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Who is it we love and why do we love these people? Toward the end of her life, Judith asks these questions, trying to understand why she chose Elliot Pine to love. Why, for sixty years, did she persist in loving someone who never gave as much as he was given? In her quest for understanding, she writes her story to this exceptional man. Meeting as children in Chicago, they move to opposite coasts. Elliot embarks on a remarkable legal career in Washington and New York while Judith raises her children alone in California, after tragedy. Coming together again and again throughout their lives, their love is never equal, Elliot defining the terms of the relationship.

 

“A beautifully written tale of enduring love by a master storyteller.”

— Jill G. Hall, author of The Black Velvet Coat & The Silver Shoes

 

And Now a Little Q & A with Elayne Klasson

 

Can you tell us where the title of this work came from?

The title comes from the opening line of The Habanera, the aria sung by Carmen in Bizet’s great opera of the 1870s. Flamboyant Carmen sings of how you can’t control love. When love does come, you may not want it. However,  “…you call him quite in vain if it suits him not to come…”. There is also a lyric in The Habanera saying “love has never, ever, known a law…” which is fitting and ironic as Elliot, the object of Judith’s love, is a prominent lawyer, for whom the law serves as a type of religion. This is actually the first and fourth title! I abandoned it originally after a friend in publishing dismissively said, “no one likes opera.” But then, after trying two other titles, went back to the original. I love opera. 

 

Why did you choose to write this novel in second person – to have Judith speak directly to Elliot?

I found that after the book was nearly complete, I questioned who Judith was telling her story to. I wasn’t happy with this being told to an anonymous audience. I thought Judith could finally be honest with Elliot by telling the story to him..addressing him even if there was a possibility he might not hear her. She had, for so long, been afraid to express her true feelings to him. If Portnoy hadn’t already done it so perfectly, I might have had it be in a long therapy session! 

 

Childhood love is often dismissed as naive, but Love is a Rebellious Bird follows lovers from childhood throughout their mature lives. Why do you think it’s important we discuss and acknowledge love at every stage of our lives?

I agree that childhood love is often dismissed. Yet, I think these formative relationships in pre-adolescent and teen years are crucially important to who we become and how we view ourselves in relationship to others. I am in such awe of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend and the subsequent 3 books in her Neapolitan Quartet. She explores relationships formed in the character’s early years and how this put a deep mark on the women the girls in the quartet become. In Love is a Rebellious Bird, Judith had such admiration and adoration and compassion for Elliot as a kid, no one else could ever match up. She says in the novel that her feelings for him, even when they were young, become the definition of what love is. Similarly, the rejection she experienced from Elliot and others in their elementary and high school years, left marks on her, perhaps forever. I think the sometimes cruel rankings kids give each other, may stay with us. I went to my 50th high school reunion recently. It was a large Chicago high school and a surprisingly well-attended event. And while there were many surprises, the crowds and cliques were still firmly in place.

 

You have lived in a variety of locations over the years, from the midwest, to Barbados, to California. Has this sort of worldliness influenced your approach to writing or the way you understand your characters?

Perhaps the years in the midwest, the Caribbean, and northern and southern California has convinced me of the importance of our universal search for love. I’ve been a columnist in both the Caribbean and California, and it is obvious that everyone wants to be “seen” and understood through intimate relationships. I interview people for most of my columns and I know how much people (old, young, disabled, athletes, professionals, working class) want to be heard and how rarely we listen deeply to each other. I also know that coming into people’s lives at a particular age means we never get to know the person they were in earlier stages. My husband and I recently moved to a different area of California, four hours south of the previous town we’d lived in. I feel sad that no one really knows who we were earlier, just as I can only guess at the rich and juicy lives of the people we are meeting now who are in the later stages of their life (sixties, seventies, beyond). Who were the babes? The powerful men? What were the tragedies? The accomplishments? 

 

While this is your debut novel, you have extensive experience a columnist and journalist. What was your experience in this transition?

I have been writing fiction for twenty-five years. Plowing away at it. My idea was that if I kept writing, I’d keep getting better and eventually, I’d get read. I won a few awards, writer’s residencies, but got very little recognition. But I kept writing fiction because I love doing it. I love creating characters and populating a world with them. But novels take years to complete, and I live inside them. Writing columns and features is another matter completely. It allows me to finish something in a few hours and have that sense of completion and see it in print the next week. It also allows me to broaden my world by talking to real people..not just the ones in my head!

 

Do you find that your background in psychology and studying human behavior has aided you in your writing, especially your fiction writing?

I really do love talking to people and trying to figure out what makes them tick. The act of giving someone your undivided attention, is a successful one in both a therapeutic sense as well as in writing and in life. For years, I taught a university course called, “Frames of Reference,” in which I would lecture psychology students on the various therapeutic schools: analytic, behavioral, humanistic. But I always stressed that the most successful therapeutic method is to truly listen deeply, giving the person the honor of being really paid attention to. I think this works in newspaper interviews and in fiction writing. In fiction, I try to really listen to the character’s voice and what they might be saying and feeling. Sometimes the characters come from real life as I remember them, sometimes they are completely imaginary. But I try to listen respectfully.

 

“A deeply touching story that moves deftly through the decades to a sweet and graceful finale.”

— Carl Alasko, Ph.D., author of Beyond Blame and Emotional Bullshit (Tarcher/Penguin)

 

 

This novel is available now.

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

                             

 

 

Thank you to Elayne Klasson and JKS Communications for being featured on my blog today!

 

About Elayne Klasson

ELAYNE KLASSON is the author of Love is a Rebellious Bird. She went to university and graduate school in the Midwest—Ohio State University and the University of Michigan with a Masters of Public Health and then a PhD in Psychology. She has lived in Barbados, West Indies, first working as a health-care consultant with Project Hope and the U.N. in the Caribbean; then, several decades later, as a writer and columnist for the Barbados Daily Nation. Her professional career has largely been in academia at San Jose State University, with her research and clinical area of expertise being the severely mentally ill. A recent transplant to the Santa Ynez Valley, she is a popular lifestyle newspaper columnist. Elayne has also appeared on San Francisco public television as a restaurant critic. She is married to David, a scientist. Between them, they have five children, all grown.

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway
Magic Under the Mistletoe
by Lucy Coleman @LucyColemanAuth
@aria_fiction @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman @LucyColemanAuth @aria_fiction @rararesources

#BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman @LucyColemanAuth @aria_fiction @rararesourcesTitle: Magic Under the Mistletoe

Author: Lucy Coleman

Published by: Aria on September 5, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Aria, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Christmas and romance are in the air…

It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.

So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?

Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!


Review:

Heartfelt, festive, and romantic!

Magic Under the Mistletoe is a lovely, character-driven rom-com that sweeps you away to the city of Cardiff and into the lives of the devoted, workaholic Leesa and the arrogant, successful Cary as they discover that there may be more to their relationship than just work, pretend feelings, and fake dating.

The writing is warm and light. The characters are hardworking, complex, and supportive. And the plot is an irresistible, wintery treat bursting with heart, humour, self-discovery, secrets, heat, spirit, chemistry, Christmas cheer, and familial drama.

Overall, Magic Under the Mistletoe is another cosy, uplifting, delightfully enchanting story by Coleman that is the perfect holiday choice for any blustery afternoon read.

 

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 Aria and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.

 

Giveaway:

Win a Signed paperback copy of Snowflakes over Holly Cove and Christmas Pamper Pack. (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
The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley
@lucindariley @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Sun Sister by Lucinda Riley @lucindariley @panmacmillanTitle: The Sun Sister

Author: Lucinda Riley

Series: The Seven Sisters #6

Published by: Pan Macmillan on October 31, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 848

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Pan Macmillan, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

Synopsis:

The Sun Sister is the sixth epic story in the Seven Sisters series by the number one international bestseller Lucinda Riley.

To the outside world, Electra D’Apliese seems as though she is the woman who has everything: as one of the world’s top models, she is beautiful, rich and famous. But beneath the veneer, and fuelled by the pressure of the life she leads, Electra’s already tenuous control over her mental state has been rocked by the death of her father, Pa Salt, the elusive billionaire who adopted his six daughters as babies from around the globe. Struggling to cope, she turns to alcohol and drugs to ease the pain, and as those around her fear for her health, Electra receives a letter from a complete stranger who claims to be her grandmother . . .

In 1943, Celia Arundel arrives in Nairobi, Kenya, to join her new husband on his family coffee plantation. After a sheltered upbringing in England, she is astounded and horrified by the antics of her fellow ex-pats in the infamous Happy Valley set. Then Bertie, her husband, brings home the daughter of the Chieftain of the local Maasai tribe to live under his protection due to kidnap threats from a neighbouring tribe, and a strange bond begins to form between them . . .


Review:

Informative, expressive, and engaging!

The Sun Sister, the sixth instalment in The Seven Sisters series, is set during the 1930s through to 2008 and sweeps you back and forth between the bustling streets of NYC to the beautiful plains of Kenya as Electra, the youngest, most discontent D‘Apliese sets out on a journey with the help of some new friends to overcome her addictions and unravel her parentage.

The prose is sincere and descriptive. The characters are multilayered, vulnerable, and lonely. And the absorbing, heartfelt plot is an incredibly moving tale of fame, fortune, substance abuse, familial drama, self-discovery, love, loss, grief, friendship, racial segregation, courage, hope, as well as a little insight into life in Kenya during its colonialism by Great Britain.

Overall, The Sun Sister is another epic saga by Riley at just over 800 pages, but with a timely, astute, present tale and a fascinating, immersive, past tale the pages seem to turn themselves. It is truly hard to believe that this series is close to its end, and I think for every reader whether they’ve been a die-hard fan and read them all or merely a part-time connoisseur whose been swept away by only one or two the fact that there is only one more left to come is truly bittersweet.

 

This book is available now in the UK (US/CAN May 19, 2020).

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

                                

 

 

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

 

About Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley was born in Ireland, and after an early career as an actress in film, theatre and television, wrote her first book aged twenty-four. Her books have been translated into over thirty languages and sold over ten million copies worldwide. She is a Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author.

Lucinda’s novels include The Seven Sisters, a seven-book series telling the story of adopted sisters and based allegorically on the mythology of the famous star constellation. The first three books, The Seven Sisters, The Storm Sister, and The Shadow Sister have all been No.1 bestsellers across Europe, and the rights to a multi-season TV series have already been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

To read about the inspiration behind The Seven Sisters series, please visit thesevensistersseries.com

When not writing, travelling or running around after her children, she loves reading books that she hasn’t written with a glass or two of Provençal rosé!

#BookReview #BlogTour
The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae
by Stephanie Butland @under_blue_sky @StMartinsPress

#BookReview #BlogTour The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland @under_blue_sky @StMartinsPressTitle: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

Author: Stephanie Butland

Published by: St. Martin's Press on October 9, 2019

Genres: Women's Fiction

Pages: 416

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

For fans of Josie Silver’s One Day in December, The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is a wholly original, charismatic, and uplifting novel that no reader will soon forget.

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that—just in time—saved her life. Now, finally, she can be a normal twenty-eight-year-old. She can climb a mountain. Dance. Wait in line all day for tickets to Wimbledon.

But first, she has to put one foot in front of the other. So far, things are as bloody complicated as ever. Her relationship with her mother is at a breaking point and she wants to find her father. Then there’s Lennox, whom Ailsa loved and lost. Will she ever find love again?

Her new heart is a bold heart. She just needs to learn to listen to it. From the hospital to her childhood home, on social media and IRL, Ailsa will embark on a journey about what it means to be, and feel, alive. How do we learn to be brave, to accept defeat, to dare to dream?

From Stephanie Butland, author of The Lost for Words BookshopThe Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae will warm you from the inside out.


Review:

Moving, inspiring, and heartfelt!

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is a pensive, tender novel that takes us into the life of the courageous, optimistic Ailsa Rae who after living a sheltered, timid life due to a congenital heart defect is struggling to recover, adapt, relearn, and become more adventurous after a heart transplant saves her life.

The writing is direct and sincere. The characters are charming, authentic, and amusing. And the plot using an intriguing mixture of narration, letters, newspaper articles, blog posts, and emails is a delightfully witty, bittersweet tale about life, love, loss, family, friendship, self-discovery, happiness, and taking chances.

Overall, The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is a thought-provoking, romantic, touching tale by Butland that does an exceptional job of highlighting the demand, necessity, and importance of organ donation, and has just the right amount of laughs, tears, endearing characters, and heartfelt storyline to be completely absorbing.

 

This book is available now. 

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

                                                     

 

 

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

 

About Stephanie Butland

STEPHANIE BUTLAND lives with her family near the sea in the North East of England. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and when she's not writing, she trains people to think more creatively. For fun, she reads, knits, sews, bakes, and spins. She is an occasional performance poet and the author of The Lost for Words Bookshop.

#BookReview
The Christmas Party by Karen Swan
@KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview The Christmas Party by Karen Swan @KarenSwan1 @PGCBooks @panmacmillanTitle: The Christmas Party

Author: Karen Swan

Published by: Pan Macmillan on November 1, 2019

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 474

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The Christmas Party is a delicious, page-turning story of romance, family and secrets, by the Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Swan.

When Declan Lorne, the last remaining knight in Ireland, dies suddenly, an ancient title passes with him. But his estate on Ireland’s rugged south-west coast is left to his three daughters. The two eldest, Ottie and Pip, inherit in line with expectations, but to everyone’s surprise – and dismay – it is the errant baby of the family, Willow, who gets the castle.

Why her? Something unknown – something terrible – made her turn her back on her family three years earlier, escaping to Dublin and vowing never to return. So when Willow quickly announces she is selling up, her revenge seems sweet and the once-close sisters are pushed to breaking point: in desperation, Pip risks everything to secure her own future, and Ottie makes a decision that will ruin lives. It’s each woman for herself.

Before moving in, Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, negotiates throwing a lavish party at the castle just days before Christmas – his hello, their goodbye. But as their secrets begin to catch up with them, Ottie, Willow and Pip are forced to ask themselves which is harder: stepping into the future, or letting go of the past?


Review:

Beguiling, quaint, and heartwarmingly festive!

The Christmas Party is an alluring, heartfelt story that sweeps you away to the beautiful, rugged coastline of southwest Ireland in winter and immerses you into the lives of the Lorne family as they endure a great loss, accept the things they cannot change, confront the past, repair strained relationships, take chances, and embrace the future.

The prose is evocative and well turned. The characters are distressed, vulnerable, genuine, and troubled. And the story is an engaging tale about life, loss, love, grief, familial drama, community, friendship, forgiveness, nostalgia, duty, and romance.

Overall, The Christmas Party is another lovely, absorbing, magical treat by Swan that reminds us to always live life to the fullest and surround ourselves with those we love.

 

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 Karen Swan

Karen Swan began her career in fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest outside Sussex, England, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs.

An internationally bestselling author, her numerous books include The Rome Affair, The Paris Secret, Christmas Under the Stars, and The Christmas Secret. 

Photograph by Alexander James

#BookReview
Right after the Weather by Carol Anshaw
@carolanshaw @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview Right after the Weather by Carol Anshaw @carolanshaw @SimonSchusterCATitle: Right after the Weather

Author: Carol Anshaw

Published by: Atria Books on October 1, 2019

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 7/10

 

 

Synopsis:

The author of the “graceful and compassionate” (People) New York Times bestseller Carry the One presents a new and long-awaited novel exploring what happens when untested people are put to a hard test, and in its aftermath, find themselves in a newly uncertain world.

It’s the fall of 2016. Cate, a set designer in her early forties, lives and works in Chicago’s theater community. She has stayed too long at the fair and knows it’s time to get past her prolonged adolescence and stop taking handouts from her parents. She has a firm plan to get solvent and settled in a serious relationship. She has tentatively started something new even as she’s haunted by an old, going-nowhere affair. Her ex-husband, recently booted from his most recent marriage, is currently camped out in Cate’s spare bedroom, in thrall to online conspiracy theories, and she’s not sure how to help him. Her best friend Neale, a yoga instructor, lives nearby with her son and is Cate’s model for what serious adulthood looks like.

Only a few blocks away, but in a parallel universe we find Nathan and Irene—casual sociopaths, drug addicts, and small-time criminals. Their world and Cate’s intersect the day she comes into Neale’s kitchen to find these strangers assaulting her friend. Forced to take fast, spontaneous action, Cate does something she’s never even considered. She now also knows the violence she is capable of, as does everyone else in her life, and overnight, their world has changed. Anshaw’s flawed, sympathetic, and uncannily familiar characters grapple with their altered relationships and identities against the backdrop of the new Trump presidency and a country waking to a different understanding of itself. Eloquent, moving, and beautifully observed, Right after the Weather is the work of a master of exquisite prose and a wry and compassionate student of the human condition writing at the height of her considerable powers.


Review:

Slow burning, sobering, and forlorn!

Right after the Weather is an affecting, perceptive novel that takes us into the life of Cate, a middle-aged, lesbian, set designer whose life is riddled with disappointment and multiple, complex relationships that are strained and never fully satisfying.

The prose is edgy and raw. The characters are multilayered, frustrated, and dissatisfied. And the somber plot is a reflective tale with a side of violence that’s full of life, loss, infidelity, forbidden love, familial dynamics, friendship, assault, and the instability caused by the 2016 US election.

I have to admit this was a really hard one for me. There is no doubt that Anshaw can write and write beautifully about how hard, gritty, and even depressive life can truly be. And even though I am confident that some readers will absolutely love the tragic gloominess of Right after the Weather, unfortunately for me I couldn’t quite connect with the characters and the story was a little too dispiriting to enjoy it as much as I would have liked.

 

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 Carol Anshaw

Carol Anshaw is an American novelist and short story writer. Her books include Carry the One, Lucky in the Corner, Seven Moves and Aquamarine. Her stories have been anthologized in The Best American Short Stories in 1994, 1998, and 2012. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts (1992). She has won a National Book Critics Circle Citation for Excellence in Reviewing, an NEA Grant, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, a Carl Sandburg Award and Society of Midland Authors Award. Her newest novel, Right after the Weather, is forthcoming in October from Simon & Schuster.

Anshaw is also a painter. She divides her time between Chicago and Amsterdam.

Photography courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

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