Tag Archive | romance

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 πŸ˜‰

ARC supplied by netgalley and publishers.

No More Words, Kerry Lonsdale

No More Words, Kerry Lonsdale

No More Words: A Novel by [Kerry Lonsdale]
Genre: general fiction ( adult), women’s fiction

Sigh….women’s fiction yet again. Outdated, publishers, lets get rid of it.

Anyway, the book. Well, its Kerry Lonsdale, I love her writing.
She delivers a story that I can get engrossed in, that’s full of twists and surprises and keeps me guessing. And wow – this book did all that and more.
I didn’t realise it was a trilogy when I requested, but I’m not ready to leave this family yet so I’m really glad there’s more. As this story does end but there are lots of unanswered questions, I assume it’ll be Lily and Lucas that are main characters in next books, that we see the story from their pov maybe? That will fill in some of those blanks.

When we first meet them we can see their family is one of those perfect on the outside, dysfunctional on the inside, where appearances and money are all. ( what my Nan would call silk purse and no knickers….)
We see them as children, with parents that really want the perfect family image wise, but not the actual bother of raising them, although Olivia’s dad seems to adore her, and give her time he won’t spend on her siblings. Even so they get dropped off/dumped on family friends for the whole summer at a very young age. Lily is only five the first time we meet them, being left with near strangers for six weeks! Maybe that’s less shocking in US where summer camps are popular, but in UK that’s certainly unusual.

Then we meet them years later, Olivia mainly, and Josh, Lily’s son. He really was the star, his part so well written it was easy to believe in him, to feel his frustration, his fear for his mum, he really was a joy to read.
I liked how we see them change, how slowly Josh starts to trust Olivia, how she goes from wanting no-one in her life, to rely only on herself and yet by the end she and Josh are so close. It was good too seeing how her past impacted on her life, understanding why past actions of herself and others affected the person she is now. I hope we see that in the next two books, I’m really puzzled over Lucas, and of course I want to know where Lily and Josh have been all these years.

Stars: Five, another Kerry Lonsdale Classic and a real treat to read. Kept me engrossed, guessing ( wrongly mostly), on a mix of giddy highs when things went right, and tears when they didn’t right til the end.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Glitter, Abbi Glines

Glitter, Abbi Glines

Glitter by [Abbi Glines]

Genre: Romance,

Historical Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

Oh this was fun, I’ve enjoyed several of Abbi’s contemporary romances ( despite being way older than the characters…) so was keen to see how she’d handle this. And it was great, a fun read, little genteel drama, wonderful characters, and solidly set in the time period. Except for – biscuits. Abbi, we don’t ever eat those biscuits for breakfast, now or then. What you call biscuits is closer to what we would call a scone and eat with butter and jam for tea. High tea or when visitors call back then of course. Biscuits and gravy for breakfast is not British, its US and every time I read it ( and it comes up multiple times) I felt it jarred.
Anyway, other than that I really enjoyed this story, it had all the typical hallmarks of a historical romance. The traditions, the era, the shock when someone steps outside the norm. I think Miriam’s aunt would have found it way more difficult to be accepted in society being a) American and b) ignoring so many of society’s conventions. But for the book’s purpose it was fine, worked well and I adored her. She was exactly what Miriam needed.
Added to the romance was that issue of the brothers and their relationship. Then of course there’s the whole reason Ashington was looking for a wife now in the first place. That made the book into more than a simple romance, into a story with some added depth and drama.
I did feel the end was very abrupt, even with that lovely epilogue, and the brothers relationship seemed to have changed on a sixpence, went from one extreme to another in an instant. I’d have liked to understand more about Nathaniel’s thinking and change of heart.

Stars: Four, an enjoyable historical, an entertaining read with a couple of surprises.

ARC supplied by Netgally and publishers

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 πŸ˜‰ 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

Unforgettable You, Marci Bolden

Unforgettable You, Marci Bolden

Unforgettable You by [Marci Bolden]
Genre: Romance, general fiction ( adult), women’s fiction

Sigh….women’s fiction yet again. Outdated, publishers, lets get rid of it.

Anyway, the book. This type is like catnip for me so I really expected to love it. Maybe my expectations were too high but I was underwhelmed. Its a good read, don’t get me wrong, just not the glued to the page story I expected.
The plot is neat, has a good mix of characters, though Carrie must be superhuman to do all that mostly alone AND look after her mother in law who has early dementia….having worked in B and B’s as a kid I know how much work is involved. Carrie needed more help!
I liked Carrie, she was so caring, and I understood how close she was to mama. Will was lovely too, and the attraction between the two was obvious. I did like that there was heat without the inevitable endless sex scenes often found. I like sex scenes as much as any other reader but sometimes they just overtake the story. It’s nicely balanced here. I loved that we had a couple of unpleasant characters too, they always add an edge to the story, though I’d have liked to see a bit more nastiness from them!
Its hard to say just why this wasn’t a five star for me, all the elements were there but it just didn’t grip me, didn’t keep me glued to the page. Then when things go wrong, well, I didn’t understand why either of the characters acted as they did. Will especially, head in the sand or what? It didn’t feel right after him having been so caring and supportive. I would have expected Carrie to phone too, not just afterwards, but before there was an issue. It just didn’t gel with the characters I thought I knew.

Stars: Three, a good book, just not one that lit real sparks for me.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Chasing the Italian Dream, Jo Thomas

Chasing the Italian Dream, Jo Thomas

Chasing the Italian Dream: Escape and unwind with bestselling author Jo Thomas by [Jo Thomas]
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance, Women’s Fiction,

Sometimes a book ticks all the right boxes but for whatever reason just doesn’t fit. That happened here for me.
I went in expecting to love this story but wasn’t convinced by the romance, didn’t understand how they could let so long go between them when both felt so strongly. I didn’t really understand why the need for the competition, but that could be because the women’s place in this story felt as if it had come from the fifties.
Maybe Italy in the rural areas really is like that? It just jarred me though, in the same way as yet again that outdated category of Women’s Fiction does. Why? Why alienate a huge swathe of potential readers. Men read romance, men write romance…

I wasn’t really keen on either main character, Lucia annoyed me so much at times, she was high handed and seemed to see everything for how it affected her. In contrast some of the secondary characters ere really interesting and lifted the story for me. The food descriptions were mouth watering, and I could smell the pizzas, the sharpness of lemons, and the bittersweet Limoncello – I love that stuff. Those parts kept me reading, Lucia didn’t. I wasn’t convinced by the ending.

Stars: Three, a pleasant read, some good parts even if Lucia annoyed me πŸ˜‰

ARC via Netgally

The Getaway, A holiday romance for 2021 – perfect summer escapism!, Isabelle Broom

The Getaway, A holiday romance for 2021 – perfect summer escapism!, Isabelle Broom

The Getaway: A holiday romance for 2021 - perfect summer escapism! by [Isabelle Broom]
Genre: Romance, women’s fiction ( adult)

Bah humbug, women’s romance again. I hate reading that in categories, so outdated.
|Anyway, this was fun. Poor deluded Kate, after a disastrous 30th birthday she’s going through a break up of epic proportions. She’s been with her ex for 8 years and the end blindsided her. Her friends, parents don’t know how to help get her out of the mire she’s in, depressed, in tears. She’d just lost her job too, not that it was something she liked but it was a job. Big brother Toby comes to the rescue, takes her off to Croatia to help him and his husband Filippo with the new hostel, and they seriously need that help!
I loved Toby and Filippo, loved the island of Hvar and the people. Kate finds that she’s not the disaster she thought, she does have talent and discovers a field she enjoys and is good at. I loved her personal growth, her build up of self belief, the way she was able to look back and see she wasn’t the person her ex portrayed.
Of course she meets someone new. The gorgeous Alex, who’s not without his own problems. I did find the coincidence of their meeting and what she knew a tiny bit hard to believe….but its book-land! I also found that once there she was able to let go of the past 8 years with her ex pretty quickly. I didn’t want her to wallow but I did feel she moved on faster than I expected. Maybe that’s just book timing, its set over a short period but for me I was a little surprised.
There’s fabulous descriptions of life on the island, great characters, and lots of twists in the story, some of which had me cheering and yet tearful too. I enjoyed reading this story, it didn’t keep me gripped to the page, I did read over a few periods, but that’s me not the book.

Stars: Three, great holiday read, sweet romance, and great portrayal of personal growth

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

Play For Me, The Balefire Series Book One, Tam DeRudder Jackson

Play For Me, The Balefire Series Book One,
Tam DeRudder Jackson

Play For Me: The Balefire Series by [Tam DeRudder Jackson]
Romance
Genre: romance, general fiction

Well, rock/film star romance is my catnip – but there’s an awful lots of it around and much is just No, No, No for me so I’m cautious. However this was a fun read and I enjoyed it, but sadly it lacked the magic spark to make it into a great read for me.

I liked Clio and her friends, they were very clearly written, I could feel the bond between them.
Jack and the band though? They should have been such a big part of the story but I felt they were lacking, too one dimensional in the case of Jack, and the band barely featured and yet it was such an important part of Jack’s life. Without the band its just another romance with a guy who puts his career first it feels.
I enjoyed her parents role, felt very real – until the end. That didn’t fit for me.

I would have liked more about the actual pregnancy, her struggles to decide what to do. More about Jack as a father, more about his heritage, otherwise why mention it?
I was really confused that Clio didn’t get more upset about the events towards the end of the novel when Jack’s away, I’d have been far less forgiving that he just seemed to drop everything. Who can’t find time for at least a daily text? I felt Clio had been so strong til then and she just rolled over. β€œ Oh, you were away doing important manly stuff of course, its fine, I’ll just mind the baby, sort out finances, deal with work on my own” – that’s how I felt her reaction was, like a caricature of a 50’s housewife. Or maybe I’m just too judgmental πŸ˜‰

The novel had so much potential, a good story line with the separation of her and Jack and the angst that caused, the support of her friends and her struggles to cope, her parents and the pregnancy issues, but I just felt that it needed a bit more edge for me. But of course others don’t need that, will love it as is. Horses for courses.

Stars: Three and a half, its a fun read but I wanted more edge from it.

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers

A Secret Scottish Escape, Julie Shackman

A Secret Scottish Escape, Julie Shackman

A Secret Scottish Escape: The most heartwarming and feel good read for women of 2021! by [Julie Shackman]
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Arrgghhhh, women’s fiction Again! Why? Its an outdated category IMO.

Anyway, the book. Its billed as romance but in reality there’s very little. In fact for most of the book the male lead doesn’t even seem to like Layla.
Layla herself drives very close to the nosey and interfering, rather than concerned neighbour. Its needed for the story, but there were times when, like Mask, I would have been intensely irritated by her actions.
Mask was very rude to her, I was amazed she continued to try to help him. I did understand why when all was revealed of course, but until then he came over as some surly, rude guy.

The plot flows along nicely, there’s the tragic death of Layla’s fiance at the start, and the awful situation it happened, but it left her free to pursue setting up her dream, which of course involved her dad and his band-mates, and led to another story line with them.
I did feel she managed to set the club up incredibly easy, IRL of course there’s be endless council inspections, licenses to sort, building regs and appeals to get round….but book land is different thank goodness. Sometimes I wish real life was more like that, innovation gets stifled by the constant legal issues…..

As the story continues it gets more complex , with another story line popping up. I felt that was pretty real but they way it was resolved felt wrong, I just couldn’t see it happening that way after the long while the grudge had been held. Still, as ever others won’t bother about that – we all have different opinions.

The romance almost doesn’t happen until the end, but the story itself is fun. I would have liked a bit more romance, we get a nice epilogue but for me I needed more in the story itself.

Stars: Three, its a fun mystery but a bit thin as a romance read.

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

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