Tag Archive | love story

A Home in the Sun, Sue Moorcroft

A Home in the Sun, Sue Moorcroft

A Home in the Sun by [Sue Moorcroft]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance, Women’s Fiction

Ahhh, boo, hiss, spit. That awful outdated category AGAIN. One day..please?

Anyway, wow what a read. Sue is one of the few authors I’ve found that can juggle so many threads in a story, and weave them neatly into an engrossing tale. Often when I read books with multiple threads they feel disjointed, too busy, but here its just perfect, opens up parts of the characters that would otherwise be hidden.

Judith, divorced from the awful Tom and found new love in Malta. Her life is happy she thinks, her stepson who she adores, brought up since he was nine, often visits, and she lives with the gorgeous Giorgio. Slight hiccup due to the heavy religion and legal issues in Malta, but they’re in love and work round it. Then as things do, it all falls apart and heartbroken, she sadly can’t face her life there and comes back to the UK. That starts another fabulous thread, but Malta is still there in the background.
Adam is renting her UK house, he’s also divorced ( what a deliciously horrible woman his ex is, I do love characters like that, they add so much extra!) and lives with his son, who in his early 20’s. Adam also had past issues to deal with, the divorce, a horrible accident, trying to run his business, and of course now Judith wants her home back….
I really felt for Adam over his disability, I know from disabled friends his experience wasn’t unique – it happens way more than we would like to think. I was lucky, my husband never made me feel “less that” after my leg amputation, but many marriages break up as partners can’t deal with it. We put way too much emphasis on “perfection” IMO.

I just loved the way the story played out, the little things, Fingers the snake ( fabulous), when Judith went to throw some weed found down the sofa into the fire….Judith’s mum and the care home staff ( yes, Lovie/Love instead of names gets used all the while in these places. I just wish all care homes were like this one.) Judith’s sister Molly, and her husband – what is it with those males, so sexist. Sadly there are a lot of them about it seems.
I loved that Malta and the people there were always in the background, I wondered if perhaps Giorgio’s actions were a product of what had happened, how depressed and upset he was, how much he was keeping inside.
I understood Kieran and Bethan, I had similar issues at the same age, and my parents reactions were pretty much the same as hers. All these little things, all these multiple plots, wrapped up into a wonderful story that once more kept me reading “just one more chapter” til it was far too early in the morning to be reading but I needed to know how it ended!

Stars: Five, Its a wonderful mix of drama, tragedy and lightened with some very real humour.

ARC supplied by Netgally and publishers

Isn’t it Bromantic?, The Bromance Book Club is back … it’s time to find out more about our favourite Russian! Lyssa Kay Adams

Isn’t it Bromantic?, The Bromance Book Club is back … it’s time to find out more about our favourite Russian! Lyssa Kay Adams

Isn't it Bromantic?: The Bromance Book Club is back ... it's time to find out more about our favourite Russian! by [Lyssa Kay Adams]

Genre: Romance

Vlad, I think we all adore him. He’d got a lot of hidden depth, he’s supportive, emotional, loves animals…and his wife. Yep, at the end of the last book we met Elena, and discovered Vlad has been married for six years! How do his best mates not know that? How do we not know that? So many questions.
Its a fun read, as usual the boys kind of bumble through, correcting each others mistakes, using romance books as their guide. Wish more blokes would do that!
Vlad has stayed away from them for months, making excuses, avoiding them, almost ashamed to admit he loves his wife, but she wants to go back to Russia. He’s been waiting so long for his happy ending, and when he finally cracks the lads are determined with their help he’ll get it.
Its a fun read, so much going on that actually at times I felt there was almost too much happening. The whole Elena’s father mystery and repercussions was just a bit too much for me. It fitted but I think it would have been better without it almost, or to have that as a very thin background story. But…that’s just me.
As always the characters are fab, Vlad and the lads, their wives and girlfriends, The Losers, Neighbour cat and Neighbour dog, and my favourite – The Cheeseman. Oh I loved the idea of the underground cheese movement! I loved the book within a book too, and how the lads used past books to analyse and help Vlad not only with his romance with Elena but the romance book he’s writing. Of course its full of those double entendre lines too, that made me smile so much.
I’m so glad Vlad finally got to the bottom ( smirk) of his digestive issues….made me laugh in earlier reads but he needed to get it sorted for him and everyone around him.
It has a kind of manic, slightly rushed ending but as ever all ends well, the guy gets the girl and everyone is happy. That’s what I want, I like some angst along the way but a HEA is why I read romance.

Stars: Four, another fun read. I was half in love with Vlad before, now its all the way 😉

ARC supplied by netgalley and publishers.

The Queen’s Spy, Clare Marchant

 

The Queen’s Spy, Clare Marchant

The Queen’s Spy: A new and gripping Tudor historical fiction novel for 2021 by [Clare Marchant]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

aaaand Women’s fiction again. Why? Time to lose this genre.

Well, this was a fabulous read, one I was totally lost in, reading “ just one more chapter” til way too late….
I loved the past best, though enjoyed the present story too. I enjoyed how what seemed like two totally separate tales slowly began to meld.

Mathilde was such a defensive, prickly character, when Rachel was hoping for an open loving sister. Its hard though, one of them always knowing the other existed, whilst living an idyllic childhood, but poor Mathilde having spent her life thinking her dad was dead, and living as an itinerant. No fixed home, always being moved on, with a mum that’s badly traumatised by the past, its no wonder she’s so closed.
Slowly though Rachel, Fleur, Rachel’s five year old, and the house begin to weave some magic around her and she starts to open up. Of course the delicious Art Historian Oliver helps too!

From the past there’s Tom, what a wonderful character. Fled England as a child and now as an adult finds himself trying to take refuge here. Tom was taught herbal lore and remedies by his adoptive mother, and it stands him in good stead. His problems mean so many jobs just aren’t available to him, but by chance he comes to the eye of Walsingham, and those make him the perfect spy for Elizabeth 1.
I so enjoyed this historical parts, the days to day issues, the remedies, the thread involving the vanilla plants that ran through the current day story too. Seeing Tom painting his triptych as his life unfolded was magical, and then finding it later and seeing Matty, Oliver and Rachel trying to find out the story was interesting. Art really does tell a tale and before photography was one of the only ways of recording events in a visual way.
There were some happy times and some tragic ones, along with a view of how little choice most folk had in their lives, how one moment you were secure and in favour, the next in prison, possibly facing the scaffold. Its an interesting period in history, one I’m reasonably familiar with and I really enjoyed seeing how the Babingdon plot may well have played out.

Stars: Five, A lovely tale, gentle romance but for me the magic was this historical side, and seeing how eventually Tom’s story came to light.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

How to Talk to a Goddess, (The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic 2), Emily Croy Barker 

 

How to Talk to a Goddess, (The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic 2),
Emily Croy Barker 

How to Talk to a Goddess and Other Lessons in Real Magic by [Emily Croy Barker]

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Sci-fi and fantasy

Its so long since I read book one that I decided to reread it. I remembered parts but discovered there was much I’d forgotten, and found that it was still as much fun as first time round.
Then I went straight on to read this and I think having refreshed my thoughts via first book made it easier to get into Nora’s mind, to follow why she chose certain actions. I was a bit sad for her parents who would once more get plunged into a mysterious disappearance, but really, how could she explain it? I think at least leaving them a note would have been kind, even if they don’t believe it.
I liked that Nora’s return was not seamlessly easy, and very believable. I wondered how after accidentally slipping into that world she’d be able to repeat it, and it was done in a way that felt natural.

I loved this book, the first is still my favourite by a small margin, but this has some great parts. I did like the things that happened, good and bad, to Nora and Aruendiel, the separation, the jealousies ( I love a good jealous issue!) I wasn’t so keen on the Goddess parts, and of course that’s a huge part of the story. It wasn’t that I disliked that part, I just felt Nora became someone else at times, and I wasn’t convinced she’d have acted in the way she did.
I’m glad the Faitoren were brought in and a resolution found, that tied up any lose parts from earlier and allowed the story to move forward.
I enjoyed meeting Aruendiel’s friends, and how they pulled together in dangerous times. The magic, I love that, loved the workings of the spells, loved the whole idea but then at heart I can’t help wishing there was magic in the world…..
Its a fun read, a worthy follow up and I would still like more from this world. I think Nora, Aruendiel and their friends could still have lots of adventures.

Stars: Five, A fabulous read, worthy follow up. And please Emily, more??

ARC supplied by author

An Endless Cornish Summer, Phillipa Ashley

 

An Endless Cornish Summer, Phillipa Ashley

An Endless Cornish Summer: Escape with the perfect, heartwarming and uplifting new summer book from the Sunday Times bestselling author by [Phillipa Ashley]

Genre: Romance,Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

ah,ahh Women’s Fiction again….its 2021 people.

Well, its a sweet story, stretches credibility to think Rose could find her donor that easily, then just find the perfect place to stay, make new friends etc, but -its fiction. It makes for a sweet read, gentle romance, and of course the Cornish setting is beautiful. There’s a few bits of drama creep in but nothing very heavy, its very much a gentle beach read.
I really liked Rose, she’d been through so much. She still worked hard though, and got into her chosen field, and now she’s off exploring more of history. Nigel and the YouTube links – that made me laugh. There are people like him everywhere, convinced the answer to everything is on a conspiracy site, and that people who’ve studied a subject in depth are simply wrong, misguided, simply need showing the error of their beliefs. Primary source materials, peer reviewed papers, all pale into comparison against a website set up by someone’s cousin’s, friend’s, brother, who knows absolutely whats right because he went to evening classes in extra terrestrials…or math. Something like that 😉 Covid has brought loads out!
Characters are like-able, Cornwall is gorgeous and I want to go out on a boat. Preferably with a lovely handsome man of course!

Stars: three, Its a fun read, easy to follow but a little light for me.

ARC supplied by Netgally and publishers

For the Wolf, Hannah Whitten

For the Wolf, Hannah Whitten

For the Wolf (The Wilderwood Books Book 1) by [Hannah Whitten]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

I was so looking forward to this but the beginning…well, I had to restart a few times because, honestly, it was a slog. Once past that though it was a fantastic read, I’m so glad I didn’t give up, and I really want the next book Now!

I loved the Wilderwood scenes, they really were the best part. The slow burn romance, the Fife and Lyra interactions, the other characters, descendants of those caught in the past, and of course, the Wilderwood. A wood like no other, sentient, but focused on survival at all costs, and that’s meant the deaths of second daughters in the past.
What I wasn’t keen on was the Neve, Kiri part of the story, at least in the early stages. When the end grew near the two parts melded and became one but until then it was as if I was reading two different stories, only tangentially connected. It was hard jumping from one story arc to the other.
There were some terrific characters here, some horrific moments in the Wilderwood, and lots of things to learn, superstitions and stories, some of which were true, others not. I hadn’t read the connection to Red riding Hood, thankfully, as I don’t like re-imaginings of traditional stories and would have not requested this. To me, the only connection really is superficial, Red’s name and cloak, the woods and Eammon being known as The Wolf.
Its a fantastic read, once past the beginning I was gripped. Its very intense at times, lots of gritty drama and details, and the fabulous slowly unfolding romance. I am so hoping its not long to wait for more!

Stars: Five, If you struggle at first, stick with it, its so worth it. Fabulous, dramatic, intense story. And a gorgeous slow burn romance.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Echoes of the Heart, L.A. Casey

Echoes of the Heart, L.A. Casey

Echoes of the Heart by [L.A. Casey]

Genre: Romance, general fiction ( adult)

I’ve enjoyed several of this authors books, and of course the rock star romance genre and second chance stuff always hooks me. I enjoyed this but not quite as much as I expected.
My heart broke for young Risk, and for how good Frankie was with him. Then when they were older I understood Frankie’s reasons for pushing Risk away, I agreed with them even, and yet somehow it irked me. I couldn’t understand how Risk didn’t see it, why he was so resentful.
He was all about everyone leaving him, very focused on that even years later. Still, you need to walk in someone’s shoes to truly understand their actions. Both Risk and Frankie were still clearly very much in love.

The big thing that breaks them was something I struggled with, I really didn’t see why it was such a problem. Though of course there has to be something doesn’t there or we’d get a very bland romance, and I’m all about the break up dramas….

Frankie’s mum, Michael, and the problems they had with her illness were heartbreaking. Its such a cruel disease, so hard on families more so than the person affected. Living bit not living, her mum, his wife and yet not that person. Tough and they were so good with her. For many its just too much to deal with, but they stuck by her no matter how hard.

I loved the other lads in the band, the band issues, the drug problems and the rabid fans. For me they all belong in a proper band read, and make the book stand out.

Its a fun read, just didn’t quite grip me as much as others I’ve read. I loved the setting, Southwold is about 50 miles from e, and a place I’ve holidayed at many times. It was fun to read it as the setting for fiction romance.

Stars: Four, a fun band read, great characters, brilliant setting!

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Dance into My Heart, Maddie James

Dance into My Heart, Maddie James

Dance into My Heart (A Harbor Falls Romance Book 3) by [Maddie James]

Genre: Romance,

I wanted an easy light read. Sometimes I want historical, sometimes fantasy, sometimes deep, dark drama but yesterday I was in the mood for a gentle romance. This story is definitely that – but for me a little too sweet and gentle.
The characters and settings are good. I loved the small town camerarderie. Rick’s idea of the cafe bar sounded perfect. I know the US is a lot less strict that the Uk about planning but getting all that done in a month. Can that really happen? I so wish it could here, six months would be a good deal, but with council planning., sites visits, 101 forms to fill in it can be far, far longer. Life would be so much easier, more fun if it was only a few weeks.
Gracie has been through such a trauma, and is still recovering. Grief takes different times, some folk need just a few months, others like Gracie still feel after years. Then Rick and Iz come into her life. They turn it upside down, Iz is adorable, precocious as girls that age can be, but fun. And when she talks about her mum that’s so sad, poor kid.
Rick feels attracted to her right from the start, even though they get off on the wrong foot. Slowly their lives intertwine and mingle.
I enjoyed the story, but it didn’t have me gripped, it was just a little too light, almost twee, at times and I need a bit more drama. There is some towards the end, the sweet spot in books where just as everything seems to come together it falls apart. It isn’t really enough for me though. As always though its perfect for others, not everyone wants drama, we all like different things about stories, so though its not a reread for me it could be perfect for you.

Stars: Three, a little light for me, I needed a bit more depth and drama.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

The Midnight Bargain, C.L.Polk.

The Midnight Bargain, C.L.Polk.
Magic meets Bridgerton in the Regency fantasy everyone is talking about…

The Midnight Bargain: Magic meets Bridgerton in the Regency fantasy everyone is talking about... by [C. L. Polk]
Romance
Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy

I wasn’t sure about this book at first, but quickly became hooked and I loved it.
Its a mix, a magical world, but historical in the sense that women are property, and horrors, no matter how talented magically once married they lose that. As spirits can enter unborn children and take over women have to wear a collar to lock out their magic and therefore lock out any harmful spirits. Not just while they are pregnant, but from their wedding day to the end of their childbearing years. Beatrice is horrified, she is talented, thinks the system unfair and would fair rather keep her magic and remain unmarried. However her families future depends on her making a good marriage, thanks to some poor investments by her father, a fact she’s only just become aware of.
Poor Beatrice, stuck between a rock and a hard place. Her only hope is to continue her magical education in secret and get good enough to convince her father she can help mend the families fortunes that way…
There are some great characters here, a lovely mix of friendship and the usual Mean Girls, as Beatrice isn’t quite from the top drawer. I was surprised how things with Ysabeta developed, loved it, it wasn’t what I expected. Ianthe, who couldn’t love him. One of the few forward thinking men of the time, who was prepared to try to understand what Beatrice had issues with. Like most of us, whats accepted as norm isn’t questioned, and though he knew Ysabeta has problems with it he hadn’t really though about it from a woman’s view. Of course he’s in the minority, and his mother certainly doesn’t share his views.
The star for me was Nadi, the luck spirit. I adored her, she made the book really special, her relationship with Beatrice. They both cared about the other, where convention said spirits needed to be kept in place, and didn’t have those sort of feelings.
Its a gentle romance, beset with society problems and a really fun read. I loved the magic, loved the problems that cropped up, loved the gentle mean girls stuff. It ends neatly, everything wraps up with a neat epilogue, and I’d love to read more from this world, see how the things develop with these characters and maybe others a couple of years down the line.

Stars: Five, a really magical read and I love this world. C L Polk, please write more!

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Home on Folly Farm, The perfect uplifting romantic comedy for 2021, Jane Lovering

Home on Folly Farm, The perfect uplifting romantic comedy for 2021, Jane Lovering

Home on Folly Farm: The perfect uplifting romantic comedy for 2021 by [Jane Lovering]

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

I love Jane’s books. On the surface they’re a cute, HEA story but when you get into them there is so much more. This one is set in rural Yorkshire, small sheep farm, and was so well described I felt I was there, alongside the characters. It covers so much, teen pregnancy, depression, drug taking, coping with the loss of children, so many interwoven subjects, and all handled sensitively, and in such a way that they don’t drag the story down, don’t depress the reader but made me want to know more about the characters. And it’s full of quiet, subtle humour like this “ a bit like being haunted by Reebok” in relation to Thor and his trainers….you have to look for some of it or you’ll miss is, its so cleverly done.

I loved Dora – but then we’re seeing her via her own voice, so of course events are skewed to her perspective. I hated Cass to begin, in fact for the greater part of the novel, but again as we see at the end I’m viewing her through Dora’s perspective, not exactly unbiased. Nat, lovely, lovely Nat, quiet but firm, brilliant tutor, and not just to Thor. And of course that brings me to Thor, who was a fabulous character. I loved seeing his transformation from sullen, bored, preteen to excitable, normal twelve year old boy.

The sheep rustling scene is one that will stay with me, Thor and his Vlog followers, gang of teens dragging their parents out of bed at 4am for an adventure, and to rescue web famous lambs Flick and Knife – yep, Thor named them. I had tears running down my face, had to keep rereading as the words blurred, it was hysterically funny.
I hate when a book promises “ you will laugh out loud” because I find that rarely delivers, but this scene, well, it was just what I needed in these grim Covid days. An unexpected bonus.

Its a fabulous story, with so much real life packed in, so much abut human psyche, how we react to others, become whats expected. By the end I felt I really understood the characters, and could see events with a different eye. The same things happened, the same results, but the characters weren’t the dislikable, selfish ones I thought, but had reasons for acting that way and when Dora understood that it really improved her life and relationships too. The months on the farm transformed all of them, they all ended in a better place.

Stars: Five, a gem of a read, Jane’s wonderful writing, delivering another perfect story, pathos and humour, love and disasters, all in one great novel.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

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