Book Review: High Blue Sky by Victoria Connelly

I usually adore Victoria Connelly’s novels and after reading the first one in this series, I was excited to read the next instalment, High Blue Sky. Thanks Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy to read so I could give my unbiased review.

Book Review: High Blue Sky by Victoria Connelly

Book Cover for High Blue Sky by Victoria Connelly
High Blue Sky by Victoria Connelly

Title: High Blue Sky (2nd book in the House in the Clouds series)

Author: Victoria Connelly

Genre: Women’s fiction, romance

Release Date: 5th October 2021

Purchase:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/High-Blue-House-Clouds-Book-ebook/dp/B096KDLB6X

US – https://www.amazon.com/High-Blue-House-Clouds-Book-ebook/dp/B096KDLB6X

Blurb

What would you sacrifice to be with the person you love?

Summer has arrived and it’s over a year since strangers Abigail and Edward bought Winfield Hall at auction and restored it together. Now, two new tenants are about to join them at their beautiful Georgian home.

Workaholic Harry Freeman has forgotten what it is to relax so when he meets healer, Aura Arden, and learns to meditate with her, he can’t believe how good he feels and he soon finds himself falling for her. But, with her bare feet and crystal beads, Aura’s not a big hit with Harry’s old-fashioned parents, and he finds himself torn between the people he loves most in the world.

It isn’t just Harry and Aura finding love. Summer has woven its spell over Edward and his brother Oscar, and both are making a play for Abi. But Abi isn’t happy at having to choose between these two very different men and, when Oscar’s behavior spirals out of control, she realizes that some decisions can have devastating consequences.

High Blue Sky is the second novel in the heart-warming trilogy from the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.

My Thoughts

This was a return to the idyllic location of Winfield Hall in Sussex to catch up with the owners, Edward and Abi. While it continued to follow the slow burn will they/won’t they theme between this pair and revealing more about the relationships they have with their respective siblings, the main focus was the newest residents, Harry and Aura. Harry is a workaholic feeling the stress of overwork and the expected high standards of his family and Aura is the opposite with her free-thinking attitude and love of crystals. It wasn’t long before the adage of opposite attracts came true and the chemistry between the two bloomed.

Victoria Connelly is the queen of immersive sensory descriptions as I discovered in the Book Lovers Series, and she used this in the scenes with Aura and her crystals. I found myself breathing in time with the characters as Aura instructed Harry on meditation and her calming influence leapt off the page. I imagine the audiobook would be even better for this, and it rekindled my fascination with the crystals I have dotted about my room. Her shared interests with me made her an easy character to like and though she may have come across as dreamy and hippy like, her backstory provided an emotional read about new beginnings, and transformations.

The conclusion made my heart race and left me eager to read the next one. It is going to feel a long wait.

Would I recommend?

So far I haven’t read a novel by this author I have not loved and all of them belong on my forever shelf. This one did not disappoint. Though it could be read as a standalone, the reader would gain more by reading the first one, The House in the Clouds, beforehand. With delightful characters, exquisite storytelling and a stunning location, these books never fail to be a joy to read and pure escapism for sunny days or cuddling under the duvet with your favourite beverage.

Author Biography

Photo of Victoria Connelly
Victoria Connelly

Victoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

 Social Media Links –

www.victoriaconnelly.com

Instagram: @victoriaconnellyauthor

https://www.instagram.com/victoriaconnellyauthor/

Facebook: @victoriaconnellyauthor

https://www.facebook.com/victoriaconnellyauthor

Twitter: @VictoriaDarcy
https://www.twitter.com/victoriadarcy

Other blogs on this tour

Happy reading!

Love

Book Review: The Daughter’s Choice by S.D Robertson

Book Review: The Daughter’s Choice by S.D Robertson

The Daughter’s Choice by S.D Robertson

Title: The Daughter’s Choice

Author: S.D Robertson

Publisher: Avon

Genre: General fiction, woman’s fiction

Release Date: 30th Sept 2021

Purchase: smarturl.it/TheDaughtersChoiceEB

Blurb

Is her whole life built on a lie?

Rose has always been close to her father. Her mother died soon after she was born, so it’s been just the two of them for as long as she can remember.

But a chance encounter days before she’s due to get married leaves Rose questioning everything she has ever known.

The man she trusts most in the world has been keeping a secret from her.

And the truth will leave her with an impossible choice…

My Thoughts

Rose is on a pampering weekend before her wedding to her childhood sweetheart when she befriends a stranger, Cassie. While Rose believes this is a spontaneous meeting and appreciates the fledgling friendship, Cassie and the reader know differently, giving this story the tension needed to keep my attention and desire to keep turning the page. Without the endless questions in my mind of Cassie’s motive and clue searching, it would have been easy to pass the beginning of this novel which focuses on Rose’s life as something I had read before where a girl has a close relationship with her father and is set to marry. But that insight and the anticipation of Rose’s life imploding made this story different and highly readable.

In contrast to Rose’s tale, Cassie’s life was full of adventure, freedom and secrets. I became immersed in her world despite not trusting her narration. Her recollections of places she’d visited and S. D Robertson’s ability to draw me in to these locations made me love the globetrotting experience and added extra places on my must-see places wishlist.

When secrets were revealed and further twists ensued, family loyalty was put under pressure and choices needed to be made. I enjoyed seeing all aspects of the truth and the satisfying conclusion.

Would I recommend?

This is the first book by S.D Robertson and am tempted to add his back catalogue to my TBR list based on the strength of this read. It’s an emotional, and intriguing novel that shows the depth of relationships in families and the consequences of decisions made. If you love family dramas with tension and twists, this is one to try.

Author Biography

Photo of S.D Robertson
S.D Robertson

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Book Review: Annie’s Autumn Escape by Debbie Viggiano

Hello October! Autumn is here with winds, rain and falling leaves so what better time to share my review for Annie’s Autumn Escape by Debbie Viggiano.

Book Review: Annie’s Autumn Escape by Debbie Viggiano

Annie’s Autumn Escape by Debbie Viggiano

Title: Annie’s Autumn Escape

Author: Debbie Viggiano

Publisher: Unicorn Publishing Ltd

Genre: Woman’s fiction, Romance

Release Date: 1st October 2021

Blurb

Annie’s big birthday is looming.  Sixty!  She feels half that age, even if the mirror tells her otherwise.  Hubby Keith promises her a birthday to remember, and doesn’t let her down, but packing his suitcase to shack up with a forty-something isn’t quite the memory Annie wants to make.  Suddenly she’s single and – as an empty nester – very, very alone.  The Bucket List she and Keith had promised to work their way through is but a dream, until besties Bella and Caz rally around Annie and whisk her away for a trip that will be remembered for ever. Dubai. But it’s not all skyscrapers, bling, sand dunes and sheiks. As the sun sinks over the horizon of Jumeirah Beach… might there also be love?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annies-Autumn-Escape-laugh-out-loud-romantic-ebook/dp/B09BNWKKP3/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Annies-Autumn-Escape-laugh-out-loud-romantic-ebook/dp/B09BNWKKP3/

My Thoughts

Eat your heart out Shirley Valentine. There is a new holiday romance to love and remember. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading this, but the opening chapter’s clever observations of a long marriage tugged me into Annie’s life. It was great to see an older protagonist and though I’m only in my forties her menopausal rage, hot flushes and general clumsiness was highly relatable and provided many Brigit Jones-esque laughs, chuckles and drama in this story of self-discovery and escapism after a marriage breakdown.

Dubai must be the go to location at the moment as it’s the third book I’ve read this year using this setting, but I had not seen it presented in this light with the bling, touristy spots and over the top destinations. I wanted to go there to experience the luxury, the camels and the sunsets like the trio of friends and, of course, the potential love interest Mr Butler.

All the characters were well developed and relatable with realistic dialogue and banter. The trio of friends highlighted the need for friendships outside a marriage for support in times of need and when complications are thrown your way. The dementia storyline was tackled with care and showed the surreal nature of the disease and the chuckles it can provide alongside the heartache.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this novel is a great start to this autumnal season. It’s an enjoyable romp with a swoonsome hero, a stunning and blingy location, and full of humour adding to the chemistry in this second chance romance. Grab a copy when you need to escape these cooler and darker evenings.

Author Biography

Photo of author Debbie Viggiano
Debbie Viggiano

Prior to turning her attention to writing, Debbie Viggiano was, for more years than she cares to remember, a legal secretary. She lives with her Italian husband, a rescued pooch from Crete, and a very disgruntled cat. Occasionally her adult children return home bringing her much joy… apart from when they want to raid the fridge or eat her secret stash of chocolate.
Tweet @DebbieViggiano or follow her on Facebook!

Social Media Links

TWITTER:   @DebbieViggiano

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/debbie.viggiano.5/

INSTAGRAM: debbieviggiano

WEBSITE: www.debbieviggiano.co.uk

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Dystonia Around the World readathon update:

The challenge is over with the end of Dystonia Awareness Month but 14 books were read and one I had to give up on. I wanted to read more but it seems dystonia has robbed me of my ability to read a book at least a day. You can support Dystonia UK and view my challenge here. Thank you all who supported me and shared/retweeted posts all month. Dystonia awareness makes a huge difference to fundraising, diagnosis and research.

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Book Review: A Gingerbread House by Catriona McPherson

Book Review: A Gingerbread House by Catriona McPherson

A Gingerbread House by Catriona McPherson

Title: A Gingerbread House

Author: Catriona McPherson

Publisher: Severn House

Genre: Psychological thriller

Release Date: 1st July 2021

Purchase Links

US Amazon link https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0727850016

UK Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-House-Catriona-McPherson/dp/0727850016/

Severn House: http://severnhouse.com/book/A+Gingerbread+House/9193

Blurb

An invitation you can’t refuse. You should . . .

When shy, lonely Ivy meets a woman who claims to be her long-lost sister, she knows it’s too good to be true. She decides to trust Kate anyway. She wants a family. She wants someone to love.

She’s making a mistake.

Ivy enters Kate’s fairytale cottage, deep in the heart of Scotland . . . and she doesn’t come out.

She’s the first to go missing.

She won’t be the last.

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, Tash’s journey is just beginning . . .

My Thoughts

This novel is split into two distinct threads; one following Tash who discovers a disturbing family secret and the other is the disappearance of three women. Tash’s story has a gangster-type feel as she conspires to expose her findings but in her own way while the other women’s tales are disturbing, eerie and give the story a darker fairytale-like quality which made me keep turning the pages until the end. The characters were distinct from each other but were all inflicted with the feeling of something missing in their lives allowing them to be manipulated in meticulous ways.  I wasn’t sure how the threads would collide but when they did the midway, the story picked up speed towards the thrilling and satisfactory conclusion.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a new author for me but I enjoyed the story they weaved to produce this unique, thrilling psychological thriller set in a Scottish landscape. I’m excited to add Catriona McPherson back catalogue.

Author Biography

Catriona McPherson

Born in West Lothian and educated at Edinburgh University, Catriona McPherson has been a full-time fiction writer since 2001. She is the multi-award-winning author of the Dandy Gilver historical mysteries, the Last Ditch mysteries and a number of standalone psychological thrillers. She lives in northern California.

Social Media Links –

http://catrionamcpherson.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Catriona-McPherson/171725286218342

https://twitter.com/CatrionaMcP

Other blogs on the tour

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Book Promo: Dark Water Sacrifice by

I’m excited to share the details for a book that is sitting on my TBR waiting for me to read, Dark Water Sacrifice by Zach Lamb.

Dark Water Sacrifice by Zach Lamb

Title: Dark Water Sacrifice

Author: Zach Lamb

Publisher: DarkStroke

Genre: Horror

Release Date: 17th May 2021

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-Water-Sacrifice-Zach-Lamb-ebook/dp/B08Z8P3173

US – https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Water-Sacrifice-Zach-Lamb-ebook/dp/B08Z8P3173

Blurb

A parent’s guilt. Desperate choices. The ultimate cost.

The dark water has always called to the Blackwell family.

Devastated by the loss of his daughter, Adam Blackwell flees his hometown of Scarsville, Georgia. 

Something lurks beneath the churning black waters, and its patience is running out.  

Two years later, his father is dead and has left him everything, including the lake where Adam’s daughter drowned. Now, Adam must return to the last place he ever wanted to go and settle the affairs of the man he blames for everything. 

The time has come for the next sacrifice, and it will stop at nothing.

Adam believes it will be a short trip to get the house ready for sale. But the closer he gets to the lake, the more memories return from the worst day of his life.

Living in the past is dangerous, but there is nowhere to hide when the past comes back for you.

Staying in the family home, Adam hears small footsteps in the dark. Soon after, he hears the voice of his daughter. She wants him to join her in the depths of the black lake.

When the waters rise, Adam must decide whether he will begin the slow process of healing and somehow find peace between the world of the living and the dead—or become the next Dark Water Sacrifice… 

Author Biography

Author Zach Lamb

Zach Lamb is a fictionist who creates thriller, horror and dark fiction stories. He is the author of The Suicide Killer and Dark Water Sacrifice. Zach has an MFA in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University. He lives with his wife and kids in the non-fictional town of Ellerslie, Georgia, named after the fictional character Captain Ellerslie from the Waverley Novels.

Social Media Links –

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Zach_LambAuthor

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Zach-Lamb-Author-102039438275213

For reviews and more information on Dark Water Sacrifice why not visit the other blogs on this tour.

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour, I am looking forward to reading this as soon as I can.

Love

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Book Review: Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

Today, I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for Invite Me In by Emma Curtis. It’s been a while since I’ve jumped into a psychological thriller so I was excited to be asked to be part of this tour. Scroll down to see whether it was as creepy as the simple but effective cover dictates.

Book Review: Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

Title: Invite Me In

Author: Emma Curtis

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Genre: Psychological thriller

Release Date: 22nd July for ebook and 2nd September 2021 paperback

Blurb

‘Emma Curtis is the queen of the unputdownable thriller’ – Nuala Ellwood

The heart-pounding new domestic thriller from Emma Curtis, the acclaimed author of ebook bestsellers One Little Mistake, The Night You Left and Keep Her Quiet.

To those who think they know her, Eliza Curran has it all: two healthy children, a stunning home and a wealthy, adoring husband. No one would guess the reality of her life: trapped in an unhappy marriage to a controlling man, she longs for a way out. When she takes on a new tenant, her life changes unexpectedly. Dan Jones is charming and perceptive, and quickly becomes a close friend to the whole family. But Dan’s arrival threatens to tip Eliza’s fragile world out of balance. And when someone has as many secrets as Eliza does, the smallest slip could destroy everything . . .

Readers are loving INVITE ME IN:

‘An absolutely captivating read, this is a superbly plotted thriller that will keep you guessing right until the end…highly recommended’

‘A rollercoaster ride to the very end. I can’t imagine how the author plotted it all out, there is so much brilliance in the final chapters’

‘Invite Me In is sensational, gripping with plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading long into the night’ ‘A cut above other thrillers’

My Thoughts

This novel jumped in with a strong start where Eliza met the good looking, empathetic and likeable Dan and it promised to be a thrilling read when tension and questions instantly built along with her nerves of arriving home late. Her husband, Martin, is controlling and a classic villain to hate but with Eliza’s own secrets and unreliable narration, and other manipulative characters this book kept me on edge with the insecurity of not knowing who to trust and where the story was leading.

I connected with Eliza and was emotionally invested in her happiness and longed to rescue her from the grips of her unhappy and abusive marriage to give her the happy ending she deserved. I guessed part of the conclusion early on but there were enough unpredictable twists and turns for this not to interfere much with my enjoyment of the book.

It has many threads and themes, including alcohol and emotional abuse which are dealt with effectively and with accuracy.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this well written psychological thriller with intriguing characters would be enjoyed by fans of Sophie Hannah. I’m thrilled to have Emma Curtis’ back catalogue to explore and add to my to-be-read list.

Author Biography

Author Emma Curtis

Emma Curtis was born in Brighton and now lives in London with her husband. After raising two children and working various jobs, her fascination with the darker side of domestic life inspired her to write her acclaimed psychological suspense thrillers One Little Mistake, When I Find You, The Night You Left and Keep Her Quiet.

 Find her on Twitter: @emmacurtisbooks

Other blogs on this tour

Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Book Review: Someone I used to Know by Paige Toon

Today, I’m excited to share my review for Someone I used to know by Paige Toon on its publication day. Though I have seen many books by this author, I have never read one but this blurb drew me in as did the simple but beautiful cover. Scroll down to see what I thought.

Book Review: Someone I used to Know by Paige Toon

Book Cover Someone I used to Know by Paige Toon

Title: Someone I used to Know

Author: Paige Toon

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Genre: Women’s fiction, romance

Release date: 24th June 2021

Blurb

So much can change in half a lifetime…

 Then

 At fifteen, George is the foster brother Leah never asked for. As the angry, troubled boy struggles to come to terms with his circumstances, Leah finds herself getting drawn closer to him. Theo’s wealthy family have mysteriously pulled him out of boarding school and he’s now enrolled at the local state school with Leah and George. When their worlds collide that summer, the three teenagers form a bond they believe will be unbreakable. But life doesn’t always go to plan…

 Now

Shocking news brings Leah back to Yorkshire, baby daughter in tow. But Emilie’s father Theo isn’t with them, and George has unexpectedly returned. After half a lifetime, have they healed the scars of their pasts? Will coming back home set their hearts in a different direction?

My Thoughts

This is my first Paige Toon novel but it will not be the last; I loved it. Not only do I love her style and voice, she has the ability to bring the characters to life and delves deep into their emotions. The beginning chapter grabbed me and I knew it would be a fantastic read. The story follows Leah, who has a large family despite none of them being her blood except her parents, as she returns home and has to face her past before she can move on. I grew up on a staple diet of Home and Away when Pippa and Tom, with their ever-changing foster kids, were the stars of the show. The chapters set in the past where troubled children were growing up on an alpaca farm reminded me of this and kept me turning the pages. Not only did I fall in love with the characters, I also fell in love with animals and the many intriguing facts I discovered about them were a bonus to the story.

The dual timeline of the novel works well and allowed me to understand the dynamics of the unlikely friendship between Leah, Theo and George. Each have their own issues to deal with as teenagers which have a big effect on their adulthoods. I connected with them deeply, making this a heart-breaking, emotional but also uplifting unputdownable read with unexpected twists and turns.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this is a lovely, emotional and uplifting novel and a delight to read. It shows all sides of the fostering system and how people can make a huge difference to other people’s lives. I will not forget the characters, or farm and is one for my forever shelf. I’m so glad I discovered a new author to catch up with and will look forward to more in the future.

Author Biography

Paige Toon

Sunday Times bestseller Paige Toon was born in 1975 and grew up between England, Australia and America. A philosophy graduate, she worked at teen, film and women’s magazines, before ending up at Heat magazine as Reviews Editor. Paige is married, has two small children and lives in Cambridge. She is the author of eighteen novels which have sold 1.5million copies worldwide. In 2016, The One We Fell in Love With, was selected for the WH Smith Zoella Book Club. Follow Paige at @PaigeToonAuthor and sign up to the Hidden Paige at www.paigetoon.com.

Thank you Random Things Tour for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy for read so I could give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Happy reading!

Love

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Book Review: The House in the Clouds by Victoria Connelly

Today I’m excited to share my review for the first in a new series by Victoria Connelly, The House in the Clouds. I first became aware of this author during a blog tour last year, for the delicious The Book Lovers series and I fell in love with her world building. This title and blurb offered a beautiful and whimsical read. Scroll down to see if this novel matches my high expectations.

Book Review: The House in the Clouds by Victoria Connelly

The House in the Clouds by Victoria Connelly

Title: The House in the Clouds

Author: Victoria Connelly

Publisher: Cuthland Press

Genre: Women’s fiction

Release date: 8th June 2021

Blurb

Artist Abigail Carey has always dreamed of a life in the country and, when Winfield Hall comes up at auction, she’s desperate to make the place her home. The only trouble is that businessman, Edward Townsend, has exactly the same idea.

With its position high on the Sussex Downs, Winfield is a stunning house, but it hasn’t been a home for a long time and there’s a lot of work to do to restore it to its former glory. It’s going to take a lot of time and money, so Edward and Abi decide to take a risk and share the house, each living in their own wing.

But can these two strangers agree on a vision that suits them both? And will free-spirited Abi ever get the rather reserved Edward to reveal the secret he’s been hiding for so long?

The House in the Clouds is the first novel in a brand new trilogy from the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0947KVVNS

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0947KVVNS

My Thoughts

What a lovely welcome to Winfield House; it was a beautiful pleasure to read and a strong start to this new series. Victoria Connelly has a talent for painting locations, characters and scenes with her words and brings them to life as showcased in this novel. She uses all the senses in her descriptions, making reading her work a very holistic experience. I could taste the food, breathe in the refreshing air of the Sussex Downs and visualise the stunning house through Abigail’s eyes, making me fall in love with it, too. As an artist and designer akin to Emma Bridgewater, Abigail’s point of view is amass of texture, light and hue. Her bohemian relaxed nature is a contrast to Edward’s view of the world where his emotions are held close, but when snippets of his true nature slip through, the chemistry between the two main characters is a joy to read.

The plot is emotional, heart-warming, and it deals with mental health issues sensitively. I wasn’t sure how sharing a house with strangers would work but it does and Winfield Hall provides a stunning location that grows in the imagination. The walled garden is somewhere I would love to own myself.  I kept reading to discover the reasons behind both the character’s actions and the revealing of secrets but also for the enjoyment of the prose, setting and company. I was disappointed to reach the end because I needed to know more. With several threads left open and the introduction of side characters who I need to get to know better such as Abigail’s sister, Ellen, I can’t wait to read the next in the series.

Would I recommend?

Yes! It’s beautiful and is a wonderful escape from the hassles of life. Like the The Book Lovers series, this novel will be on my forever shelf so I can return to Winfield Hall again for companionship and contentment. It’s perfect for a sunny day lying in the garden or cuddled up under the duvet when the seasons change.

Author Biography

Author Victoria Connelly

Victoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

 Social Media Links

www.victoriaconnelly.com

Instagram: @victoriaconnellyauthor

Facebook: @victoriaconnellyauthor

Twitter: @VictoriaDarcy

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and the advanced copy to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

Love

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Book Review: The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday by Kiley Dunbar

If you ask a roomful of book lovers what their dream would be, the majority would admit to longing for a bookshop of their own. The blurb for The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday by Kiley Dunbar, promised to ignite this dream and I couldn’t wait to read.

Book Review: The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday by Kiley Dunbar

Book Cover for The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday by Kiley Dunbar

Title: The Borrow A Bookshop Holiday

Author: Kiley Dunbar

Publisher: Hera

Genre: Women’s fiction, romantic

Release date: 5th May 2021

Blurb

The Fully Booked Bookshop Café invites literature lovers to run their very own bookshop … for a fortnight.

Spend your days talking books with customers in your own charming bookshop and serving up delicious cream teas in the cosy café.

Bookworms, what are you waiting for? Your holiday is going to be LIT(erary).

Apply to: The Fully Booked Bookshop, Down-a-long, Clove Lore, Devon.

Jude Crawley should be on top of the world. She’s just graduated as a mature student, so can finally go public about her relationship with Philosophy professor, Mack.

Until she sees Mack kissing another girl, and her dreams crumble. And worse, their dream holiday – running a tiny bookshop in the harbour village of Clove Lore for two weeks – is non-refundable.

Throwing caution to the winds, Jude heads down to Devon, eager to immerse herself in literature and heal her broken heart.

But there’s one problem – six foot tall, brooding (but gorgeous) Elliot, who’s also reserved the bookshop holiday for two weeks…

As Jude and Elliot put their differences aside to run the bookshop, it seems that Jude might be falling in love with more than just words. Until she discovers what Elliot is running from – and why he’s hiding out in Clove Lore.

Can Jude find her own happy ending in a tiny, tumbledown bookshop? Or is she about to find out that her bookish holiday might have an unexpected twist in the tale…

Purchase Links

AMZ: https://amzn.to/30a8F8w

Kobo: http://bit.ly/308giMP

Apple: http://apple.co/3q8A4Ch

My Thoughts

I read this novel on May’s bank holiday Monday when the windows were rattling in the wind and rain. It was just what I needed and provided a much-needed escape to a delightful Devonshire village. It gave me everything I wished for when reading the blurb and more. 

Jude put her life on hold in her teens to care for her gran, so when the opportunity to have her life back arises, she flounders until the chance to run a bookshop for two weeks. The beginning chapters focused on her life pre-bookshop and offered a good insight into the life of a young carer and the impact it has on their lives. It was refreshing to read a book that highlights this as well as dyscalculia, a form of number dyslexia. Her caring family were a delight to meet. The pace of the book picked up when she arrived at the bookshop and met Elliot, who is not your average bookseller. The chemistry between the two was a joy to read, as were the interactions with the other characters. Aldous, the dog was a wonderful addition to the bookshop.

The characters brought to life by Kiley Dunbar’s words, were quirky, had depth and unique qualities about them, making them very memorable. The location, based on Clovelly, was perfect and I could visualise the cobbled steep hill and the nooks and crannies of the bookshop. I did not want to leave because there was so much to explore. It had everything I needed including a bakery. Elliot was a hero of my dreams, with his tattoos, book nerd tendencies. His secret was well written and though I guessed some of it, it did not detract from the read. The only issue I have is there is no such place called Fully Booked Bookshop. I did not want this book to end and reality to loom over me again.

Like many books that involve a bakery or café, this book made me fancy scones with jam and cream, so be prepared if you can. An afternoon tea would complement this novel perfectly.

Afternoon tea with scones

Would I recommend?

This is a wonderful book and one I know will revisit again and again so once I get a paperback version, it will love on my forever shelf. It has become one of my favourite books in this genre for the plot, setting and style, not only for this year but ever. It’s quirky, has unique characterisations, an idyllic location and a hero like no other to swoon over. Forget Mr Darcy (even Colin Firth’s adaptation) tattooed book loving Elliot is my ideal book man. I will look into Kiley Dunbar’s other novels because I loved her writing style.

Author Biography

Author Kiley Dunbar

Kiley Dunbar writes heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.

Kiley also works as a senior lecturer, teaching creative writing at the Manchester Writing School. One Winter’s Night is shortlisted for the RNA Romantic Comedy Novel Award 2021.

Social Media Links –


Website and newsletter: http://www.kileydunbar.co.uk/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI8wM4Fmkbyg4S_XGSnfUCA

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kileydunbar

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KileyDunbarAuthor/

Other blogs on this tour

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for the advanced copy to read so I could give my honest opinion.

Happy reading and stay safe!

Love

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Book Extract: Raven Fire by Emma Miles

Today, I’m excited to be part of the blog tour for Raven Fire by Emma Miles and share an extract of this fantasy novel with you. This is the 4th book and final instalment in the Fire Walker series.

Book Cover Raven Fire by Emma Miles

Title: Raven Fire

Author: Emma Miles

Release date: 1st May 2021 Kindle edition and paperback 11th May

Genre: Fantasy

Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/Raven-Fire-Fire-Walker-Book-4-ebook/dp/B091TYD38X/

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Raven-Fire-Fire-Walker-Book-4-ebook/dp/B091TYD38X/

Blurb

Is prophecy real; can Arridia and Joss defeat a god?

Evil never sleeps, and neither can the fire spirits who have guarded Kesta and her family so faithfully for more than fourteen years. United in a desire for peace, the four lands beneath the sky have enjoyed relative stability, but under the surface stirs unrest. Greed, ambition, disquiet, rebellion; and the ever-present threat of Geladan’s crazed god discovering she has been fooled.

Quiet Arridia is a Raven Scout, dedicated to the principles and hopes of her parents. When an opportunity presents itself to come home, she grasps it, longing to settle and find the love she has patiently waited for.

 Fun-loving Joss is drawn to the court of Elden with all its colour, noise, and intrigue; but has he taken on more than a young man can survive?

Raven Fire is the final part of the breath-taking Fire-Walker saga.

If you could, would you dare to change the world?

Book Extract: Raven Fire by Emma Miles

This extract is taken from chapter four, where we follow young Joss – son of Fire-Walker’s protagonist, Kesta – as he navigates the dangerous court of the King of Elden. With him is his faithful adopted brother and bodyguard, Alikan.

Joss swallowed back his ale and smoothed down the front of his dark-blue jacket. His training kicked in as he surveyed the room before stepping further in. King Bractius sat at the high table, laughing loudly with the Jarl of Southport. Bractius was drinking from a large, ornate tankard carved from the bone of an enormous animal and traced in gold. Joss startled, his eyes narrowing. Had the king forgotten it had been a long-ago gift from the murderous delegation from Geladan? Bractius’s astute brown eyes travelled around the hall even as he joked with his subordinate. He’d allowed his sandy beard to grow long, plaited and held by silver beads. Queen Ayline was standing apart, Eleanor at her side. The young princess was wearing an elegant gown that hugged her slender figure, and Joss raised an eyebrow.

Alikan nudged his arm hard, and Joss only just avoided splashing ale over his expensive clothes.

‘Hey!’

‘Keep your eyes in your head.’ Alikan scowled.

Joss grinned. The king’s hall was an array of very tempting young woman, but Elden wasn’t the Fulmers, as his parents were fond of reminding him. There was a sudden buzz in the conversation, and many turned toward the main doors. A man strode in with a retinue of Borrowmen warriors on his heels. Bard of the Borrows and captain of the Undine, Temerran’s striking red hair seemed untouched by grey despite the years he’d accumulated. His green eyes sparkled with mischief as he bowed to both men and women on his way to present himself to the king. Temerran’s first mate, Nolv, was a more sombre figure, in practical loose clothing of salt-splashed grey.

‘Your majesties.’ Temerran gave a low and flamboyant bow. The man never forgot to include the queen, and despite her dislike of the Borrowman, Ayline flushed and smiled.

‘Temerran.’ The king gave the Bard the courtesy of standing but didn’t move to greet him. ‘How good of you to come.’

‘It honoured me to be invited,’ Temerran replied.

Movement caught Joss’s eye, and he turned to see his parents slipping in quietly through a side door. As ever, his father wore perfectly tailored black, but his mother had chosen a bright red, and unlike the women of Elden she allowed her long dark hair to fall loosely around her shoulders. Despite their discreet entrance, they stood out like hawks in a flock of doves.

Doroquael gave a sudden squeal and flew out of the torch in which he’d been hiding. Joss’s hand twitched, readying to draw power, before he realised the fire-spirit was excited, not alarmed. Alikan took a step forward, putting himself between Joss and the room.

‘It’s okay, Ali.’ Joss’s heart beat just a little faster as he squeezed through the crowd, hurrying toward the main doors through which Doroquael had vanished.

One of the king’s stewards loudly announced, ‘The Icante of the Fulmers.’

The Icante stepped in, wearing a pale cream dress with a sky-blue cloak wrapped around her shoulders. Unlike her daughter, the ruler of the Fulmer Islands had her steel-grey hair coiled artfully about her head. The warrior Gilfy flanked her, along with the Fire-Walker, Eidwyn. Her new apprentice, Vivess, and the formidable scout, Heara, followed behind. Despite being in her sixties, Heara moved with energy, her bare arms still tight with muscle. As far as he could see, Heara was the only one who’d dared bring weapons into the king’s hall; her two long knives tucked into her belt.

Joss appraised his grandmother’s new apprentice before moving forward again to meet them. Vivess had lighter hair than most of those in the Fulmers, a dark chestnut, almost red where it caught the light. She was about Joss’s age and had one grey eye, one green.

‘Grandma.’

‘Joss.’ Dia’s serious expression melted into a joyful smile and she halted to hug him. ‘Are you well?’

‘I am.’ Joss waved a hand at Doroquael. ‘Calm down!’

The fire-spirit ceased his noisy buzzing and made himself small, coming back to Joss’s shoulder.

‘Did Grandpa not come?’

Dia’s smile faded, and anxiety squeezed Joss’s heart. ‘Your grandfather was a little unwell. Joss, I’ll catch up with you as soon as I can, but it would be rude of me not to go straight to the king.’

‘Oh, of course.’ Joss’s face warmed, and he glanced around, realising many eyes were directed his way. ‘I’ll find you in a moment.’

Dia Icante smiled, then turned to continue to the high table. Heara gave Joss a huge grin and a thump on the arm as she passed. Alikan ducked in time to miss the scout’s hand as she tried to clip him around the head.

Despite his laughter, Joss felt uneasy. His grandmother had seemed worried.

Author Biography

Author Emma Miles

I often get asked when I knew I was a writer; the answer is always. A writer is what I am, it’s in my soul. There have been times in my life when I couldn’t write, and times when my writing has been the only thing that kept me going. I think I always longed for something deeper from life, something more meaningful, and I found it in my imagination and in the music of words.
It was poetry which first caught my attention, and whilst my younger cousins called for ghost stories it was animals I first wrote of. I think I gravitated toward fantasy because of the freedom it gives, I could create my own worlds and decide my own rules. My Wind’s Children trilogy was born from an image that came to me whilst daydreaming, of a young man sitting alone below a bridge. I didn’t know who he was; it turns out neither did he, but we found out together.
I’m now working on my eleventh book and love writing more than ever, it’s an addiction, an obsession, but one I now share with my wonderful writing family. My beta readers, my editor, and you, my readers, having you with me on my journey means the world to me.
I write as much as I can around work, but I also try to squeeze in a ridiculous amount of hobbies! I’m a wildlife photographer and do a little archery. I paint, sculpt with clay, withies and driftwood, preferring to be outdoors if I can. I still have a love for the theatre, having started out in life studying backstage crafts, and a great love for language. I speak a little French, Romanian and Italian, ma non molto bene!

Thanks for reading this. If you read any of my books and love them, please come say hello and tell me, you’d be surprised at how much that means to an author.
Take care of yourself.
Em x

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/EmmaMilesShadow
https://mobile.twitter.com/EmmaMilesShadow

Other blogs on the tour.

If you would like to find out more about these books and author, why not visit other blogs on this tour especially Mai Musings who has reviews for all the books in the series.

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to this tour. This series is firmly on my TBR pile and will review once I have caught up.

Happy reading!

Love

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