*BLOG TOUR* War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm by Rosie Clarke

Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm by Rosie Clarke as part of her fabulous blog tour!

Cambridgeshire – March 1939

As the clouds of war begin to gather in Europe, the Talbot family of rural Blackberry Farm will be torn apart, just as so many families all over the world will be. Life will never be the same again.

Whilst in London, the Salmons family will feel the pain of parting and loss.

Brought together by war, the two families become intertwined and, as the outlook looks bleak, they must draw on each other’s strength to fight through the hard times.

Lizzie Johnson and Tom were sweethearts until a mistake caused a terrible rift. Lizzie takes herself off to London to heal the pain in a glamorous new job but she still loves Tom. His pride has been hurt – but deep down inside Tom still cares. Can they find happiness before their chance is gone and the whole word is swept into the terrible madness of war?

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you will know that I am a huge fan of Rosie Clarke’s Mulberry Lane series so when I was offered the opportunity to read War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm, the first in a new saga series, I jumped at the chance! I am pleased to confirm that I was not disappointed – Rosie Clarke knows how to write a good saga series!

In this first novel we are introduced to Lizzie and Tom, childhood sweethearts who are living under the cloud of a looming war. When a shocking incident occurs, Lizzie finds herself fleeing her home and heading for London where she aims to throw herself into her hairdressing. She has always wanted to compete with her hairdressing, and when she finds herself safe lodgings and a good salon, she finds herself attempting to heal, despite pining for her lost love with Tom.

Tom is hot headed and sometimes struggles to contain his anger. But he knows he would never hurt Lizzie, and he finds himself caring for her, despite what has happened in the past. As war becomes inevitable, Tom finds himself longing to bring Lizzie back home, away from the city in order to keep her safe.

I really liked both Tom and Lizzie’s characters – their thoughts and actions are very fitting for the time period but it was nice to see Lizzie’s ambitions shining through, despite what has happened to her. Rosie Clarke’s real success in her storytelling is her characterisation, and War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm is no exception. The themes of family, love and loss run strongly through her novels and they are clear to see here. The love and support within the Talbot family is beautifully described which left me keen to know more about other family members. It was also nice to see the clear contrast between rural and city life in 1939. With the Mulberry Lane series being set in London, I actually really enjoyed reading more about rural life in Britain as war started to become a certainty for all.

I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you all – I personally can’t wait for the release of the next in this historical saga series!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Rosie Clarke and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be part of this fabulous blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase Link

Amazon UK

Author Bio

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Shop Girls of Harpers and The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is an RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire.

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*BLOG TOUR* The Girl from Bletchley Park by Kathleen McGurl

Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of The Girl from Bletchley Park by Kathleen McGurl as part of her fabulous blog tour!

A country at war. A heartbreaking betrayal. 

1942. Three years into the war, Pam turns down her hard-won place at Oxford University to become a codebreaker at Bletchley Park. There, she meets two young men, both keen to impress her, and Pam finds herself falling hard for one of them. But as the country’s future becomes more uncertain by the day, a tragic turn of events casts doubt on her choice – and Pam’s loyalty is pushed to its limits…

Present day. Julia is struggling to juggle her career, two children and a husband increasingly jealous of her success. Her brother presents her with the perfect distraction: forgotten photos of their grandmother as a young woman at Bletchley Park. Why did her grandmother never speak of her time there? The search for answers leads Julia to an incredible tale of betrayal and bravery – one that inspires some huge decisions of her own…

If you follow my blog, you will know that I am a big fan of WWII fiction – having a split timeline novel is a great way of reading about something more contemporary whilst also following a story from the past. Kathleen McGurl has managed to write the dual timeline in a very effective way. The characters in both timelines are loosely linked, but the stories are obviously so different that there is no room for confusion. I also liked the fact that she has kept the total number of characters to a minimum. I sometimes find dual timeline novels a little confusing if there are too many characters involved – I find myself losing the thread of each story, so I am pleased to confirm that this did not happen with The Girl at Bletchley Park!

Pam is a young woman who knows her numbers. When she finds herself being offered a position at Bletchley Park thanks to her math skills, she is keen to throw herself into the work knowing that in some small way she will be helping the war effort. Having signed the Official Secrets Act, Pam takes the confidentiality of her work very seriously, not even discussing what she does with those she works with. When she meets two young men, both of whom try to catch her eye, she finds herself experiencing freedom and love for the first time. Working at Bletchley Park could never be that straight forward though!

Julia, Pam’s Granddaughter, is struggling to find a good balance in her life, as she tries to look after her sons, maintain a successful business and keep her marriage alive in the face of her husbands jealousy at her success. When her brother gives her a box of photographs of their late Grandmother, she is keen to find out more about Pam’s time at Bletchley Park, something none of them knew anything about. Finding out more about her Garndmothers incredible life might just help Julia re-evaluate her own life choices.

This was such a lovely novel that really brings to life the important work that was carried out at Bletchley Park – in so many novels the focus is on frontline fighting, whether that be soldiers or pilots, so it’s nice to see the work that was going on behind the scenes being highlighted in this way. I really enjoyed following the characters in both timelines. They were believable, well rounded characters for whom I had empathy. I could really understand Julia’s position as a mother, wife and a business woman, and I really felt for her as she fought to create balance between her numerous roles in life. Pam also really fascinated me – I loved her morals in terms of her commitment to the job as well as her commitment to secrecy. She understood the importance of her role in the war, and she relished that.

I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you all – it will make you want to learn more about Bletchley Park and its significance in the war effort, whilst also providing you with lovely character stories.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Kathleen McGurl and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Author Bio

Kathleen McGurl lives near the coast in Christchurch, England. She writes dual timeline novels in which a historical mystery is uncovered and resolved in the present day. She is married to an Irishman and has two adult sons. She enjoys travelling, especially in her motorhome around Europe.

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Book Review: Beach Read by Emily Henry

Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of Beach Read by Emily Henry.

TWO WRITERS, ONE HOLIDAY. A ROMCOM WAITING TO HAPPEN…

January is a hopeless romantic who narrates her life like she’s the lead in a blockbuster movie.

Gus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.

But January and Gus have more in common than you’d think:

They’re both broke.

They’ve got crippling writer’s block.

And they need to write bestsellers before summer ends.

The result? A bet to swap genres and see who gets published first.

The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely…

Set over one sizzling summer, Beach Read is a witty love story that will make you laugh a lot, cry a little and fall head over heels. For fans of The Flat Share and If I Never Met You.

January Andrews is a romance writer with writers block. She has always had a romantic view of the world, despite the traumas she had faced with her parents, their love for each other never ceased to amaze or inspire her. A sudden loss made her question everything.

Augustus Everitt is also an author, and a successful one. He also just so happens to be January’s nemesis from college. Ever critical of her work, January can’t help but despise Gus, even if she can’t quite forget that one night…

When January and Gus find themselves living next door to each other, each with their own demons to fight and severe writers block, a flippant writing bet might be just the thing they both need.

Beach Read is not your typical romance novel. January and Gus are both troubled souls who are each trying to make sense of their pasts. The bet becomes a lifeline for them both, as they seek to learn each others chosen genres while spending more and more time together.

Beach Read is full of loss, anger and confusion. But it is also full of love, family and longing. There’s some hot and heavy scenes but also some tender and emotional moments that are beautifully captured by the author. I haven’t read anything by Emily Henry before but Beach Read will certainly not be the last novel of hers that I read.

I am more than happy to recommend this novel – if you want some serious character chemistry with great backstories, then this could well be the book for you!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Purchase Link

Amazon UK

*BLOG TOUR* Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop by Jessica Redland

It is my pleasure to bring you my review of Jessica Redland’s Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop, as well as helping to kick off her fabulous blog tour!

Sometimes you just need a little Christmas magic to make your wishes come true…

When master chocolatier, Charlee, takes the leap to move to the picturesque seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, she is determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and set up a chocolate shop.

Luckily, she finds the perfect location for Charlee’s Chocolates on beautiful Castle Street… Now she just has to refurbish it in time for Christmas!

With a useless boyfriend and countless DIY disasters, Charlee doesn’t know if she’ll make it in time. With no ‘traditional’ family to support her, she feels lost in her new surroundings and the secrets of the past are weighing her down.

But the warmth and festive spirit of the Whitsborough Bay community will surprise her, and when plumber, Matt, comes to the rescue, it might be that all of Charlee’s dreams could come true this Christmas, and she could learn what family really means…

Escape to Castle Street for the perfect uplifting, festive read from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland. Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop was originally released as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. Now re-released with a new title and new cover, this version has been freshly edited and features several new chapters.

Firstly, I know what you’re thinking – it’s October. Christmas is so far away! Well that is simply not true, there’s only just over ten weeks to go until the big man makes an appearance down our chimneys! So with that in mind, I was more than happy to read my first official Christmas novel of the year!

Charlee has lost her grandparents, so with nothing holding her back, she finds herself following her boyfriend Ricky to the beautiful Whitsborough Bay. With her inheritance providing her with the opportunity to finally open her own chocolate shop just like her grandfather did, Charlee is so excited when the opportunity arises for a shop on the picturesque Castle Street.

With Ricky being less than helpful, and Charlee faced with numerous obstacles, she begins to wonder if her dreams of opening her chocolate shop before Christmas were misplaced.

Firstly I think I should say that whilst this novel is focussed on a chocolate shop opening at Christmas, it is not entirely a Christmas novel. So there should be no guilt felt when reading this book in October! I really enjoyed Charlee’s character – the way that she dealt with her relationship with Ricky was a little irritating (I think another person may have moved on a little sooner), but when you understand her position, that she has no family, you begin to understand why she is reluctant to let go of him. Her passion for her craft is lovely, and her ambition really drives her forward with the opening of her shop. Of course, Matt the plumber also adds a little something to the mix!

Whitsborough Bay sounds wonderful – it is the perfect location for Charlee’s Chocolates, and the atmosphere of Castle Street really comes across through the pages. The sense of community and belonging is exactly what Charlee needs in her life! In fact, we could all do with a Castle Street in our lives!

I am more than happy to recommend this novel to you all. It’s filled with chocolate, friendship, community spirit and Christmas! What more could you want as we enter Autumn and start the countdown to the Christmas festivities! Even better, Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is book one in the Christmas on Castle Street series! I look forward to revisiting Castle Street soon.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Jessica Redland, Boldwood Books and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this fabulous blog tour and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase Link

Amazon UK

Author Bio

Jessica Redland writes uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community set in Yorkshire where she lives. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and her Hedgehog Hollow series takes them into beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds. 

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*BLOG TOUR* Snug in Iceland by Victoria Walker

Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of Snug in Iceland by Victoria Walker on the first day of her fabulous blog tour!

Rachel Richards is stuck in a rut. Her boyfriend Adam barely notices her most of the time and her life in London isn’t as exciting as it should be. When the company she works for, Snug, asks her to oversee the opening of a new store in Iceland, she jumps at the chance for a change of scenery. Exploring Reykjavik with the help of Icelandic tour guide Jonas, Rachel discovers that life is out there waiting to be lived. As she falls in love with Iceland, she begins to see what is important to her and wonders whether the life she left behind is what she wants after all…

Rachel Richards loves her job. She also loves her boyfriend, Adam. But she’s feeling more than a little neglected, so when she is offered the opportunity to oversee the setting up of a new store for her company Snug, she jumps at the chance! Even better is that the new store is in Iceland! Excited to see a new city, and with high hopes that a little time apart will shake up her relationship with Adam, Rachel throws herself into life in Reykjavik. With the help of Icelandic tour guide Jonas, Rachel’s eyes are truly opened to a new way of life, forcing her to really think about what she wants from life. With Adam really lacking in the boyfriend department, maybe the handsome Jonas and her new surroundings will show Rachel that she needs a new direction for her life.

I was so excited to read this novel – Reykjavik and Iceland are at the top of my travel list (if I ever manage to get back on a plane – pandemics are the worst!), so I was keen to soak up every part of this novel in the hope that Victoria Walker would be able to transport me there. I am pleased to confirm that she succeeded. Her description of Reykjavik and its surrounding area were just beautiful. I wanted to be on the tours with Rachel as she explored the beauty of Iceland (I’d have also quite liked to have been with her tour guide – Jonas sounds delicious!)

The story though really was lovely. It was nice to follow a female character who was driven – rather than giving up the amazing opportunity in order to please her boyfriend, she grabbed it with both hands and really followed it through. Of course there is romance in this novel, but I really enjoyed how this was actually a novel about a woman looking for something more from her life, and actually making it happen for herself.

I am more than happy to recommend this novel – if the beautiful cover doesn’t draw you in, then I hope my review has!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Victoria Walker and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this fabulous blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase Link

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Author Bio

Victoria Walker lives in the Malvern Hills with her husband and two teenage children. She is an avid reader of contemporary romance but tempers this addiction by being a member of a book club where she is often surprised by her enjoyment of other genres. She also loves sewing and knitting and Scandinavian dramas.

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*BLOG TOUR* From Ireland with Love by Liz Hurley

Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of From Ireland with Love by Liz Hurley!

Nick Byrne knows she’s the sensible one of the five Hiverton sisters. Independent, motivated, and successfully running her own business – she has never settled for anything less. And certainly, never used her family estate to give her a leg up.

But as an investigation is launched into her trading company, Nick’s world begins to crumble. Suddenly out of work, her mind wanders to her father – what would he do? She hardly knows anything of her orphaned parent and longs to find answers – some which will hopefully guide her.

With her newly gifted dog for company, Nick sets off to Ireland to retrace her family history. However, the high-flying city girl soon learns that every adventure comes with a few surprises – even in the shape of a romance.

Will Nick discover more about her father’s hidden past – or will she take home more than she bargained for?…

Be inspired by this feel good romcom, for fans of Trisha Ashley and Cathy Bramley.

From Ireland with Love is the fourth book in the Hiverton sisters series, and an excellent addition to this wonderful series!

Nick Byrne is the brains behind the money in the Byrne family. She had already found her way in the financial world when she and her sisters discovered that they had inherited the Hiverton estate. With her sister Ariana now the Countess of Hiverton, and Nick and remaining sisters now titled as Ladies, Nick finds herself in charge of the Hiverton estate finances amongst her other clients. When an unexpected (and she believes entirely unwarranted) FCA investigation forces her to close the doors on her business, Nick finds herself on a road trip to Ireland in the hope that she will be able to find out more about her beloved father’s past. With no family outside of her sisters, Nick is keen to identify some long lost family.

Gabe St Clair has a lot of family. He adores his mother and his twin brother Rafe, along with his half sister Freya. However his father and his other three half siblings are questionable individuals. Family loyalty counts for a lot though, so until Gabe and Rafe can afford to break away they find themselves doing their fathers bidding. When Game is sent to Ireland to spy on a business competitor he begrudgingly follows his family’s orders. Grateful to realise that his target hasn’t arrived, Gave finds himself drawn to Letta. He finds himself drawn to her as he helps her seek answers about her father.

I am such a fan of the Hiverton sisters series, I really have enjoyed them all! Lucky for you I have reviewed them all – feel free to check them out!

A New Life for Ariana Byrne

High Heels in the Highlands

Cornish Dreams at Cockleshell Cottage

Nick has been one of my favourite Hiverton sisters, and that was something I really didn’t expect. She’s always come across as really stuffy to me, but what this novel has done is really show us the real Nick. Rather than being stuffy and uptight, she is burdened with the financial responsibility of her family. Following the loss of their parents, the Byrne sisters had a tough time staying together. Nick therefore takes this responsibility seriously, as she never wants her family to go through those times again. She is fiercely protective of those that she loves.

This a novel about love and family, but also about discovering who you are. Sometimes we all need a little reset to enable us to really learn about ourselves. I am so happy to recommend this novel, but I insist that you read them all!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thank you to Liz Hurley and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this fabulous blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of the novel in exchange for my honest review.

Author Bio

Finalist for the 2021 Romantic Novelists Association Debut Romantic Novel Award for A New Life for Ariana Byrne

Liz Hurley writes exciting and heart-warming stories that will make you cheer and laugh. Her heroines are overflowing with grit, gumption and good old-fashioned gorgeousness!

Author of
Dear Diary, a prequel to the Hiverton Sister series.
A New Life for Ariana Byrne. Book 1 / Hiverton Sister series
High Heels in the Highlands. Book 2 / Hiverton Sisters series
Cornish Dreams at Cockleshell Cottage. Book 3 / Hiverton Sisters series.

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Book Review: In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

I am please to bring you my review of In Five Years by Rebecca Serle.

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan has been in possession of her meticulously crafted answer since she understood the question. On the day that she nails the most important job interview of her career and gets engaged to the perfect man, she’s well on her way to fulfilling her life goals.

That night Dannie falls asleep only to wake up in a different apartment with a different ring on her finger, and in the company of a very different man. The TV is on in the background, and she can just make out the date. It’s the same night – December 15th – but 2025, five years in the future.

It was just a dream, she tells herself when she wakes, but it felt so real… Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four and a half years later, when Dannie turns down a street and there, standing on the corner, is the man from her dream…

In Five Years is a love story, brimming with joy and heartbreak. But it is definitely not the love story you’re expecting.

I firstly must admit to having had this novel for quite some time. For whatever reason, it just hadn’t jumped out at me over other novels I have in my TBR pile. However, I am making a concerted effort to read novels that I’ve been ignoring and this made it to the top of the pile. How silly was I waiting for so long!!

Dannie Kohan is all about numbers and statistics. She lives her life in a logical manner, and leaves very little to chance. She is a lawyer with a very clear career plan, she has a boyfriend David who she knows is just about to propose and she’s happy in their New York apartment. They’ll be engaged for the appropriate amount of time before getting married and starting the rest of their lives together.

The only problem is the dream. The most vivid, realistic dream she’s ever experienced. Five years from now, she will be in a loft apartment with another man, and a ring on her finger that is NOT her engagement ring from David. But it is all just a dream right? Fast forward to four and a half years later, and all of a sudden Dannie meets the man from her dream and he just so happens to be her best friend Bella’s new boyfriend.

This is a story about how sometimes, planning your life just isn’t enough. Life gets in the way and it throws curveballs that you just cannot plan for, no matter how hard you try. It’s a story of love and loss, it’s a story about setting yourself free of life’s constraints and learning how to love and live freely in order to make the most of your life.

What a lovely novel this is! I loved it, and I am gutted that I left it so long until I picked it up to read. So I am more than happy to recommend this to you all – go grab yourself a copy!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

*BLOG TOUR* Escape to the Hummingbird Hotel by Daisy James

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Escape to the Hummingbird Hotel by the fabulous Daisy James!

When florist-to-the-stars Abbie Coleman catches a glimpse of her boyfriend through the window of Tiffany’s, she couldn’t be more excited. Keen to share her happiness, she organises a huge surprise party for all their family and friends… except things don’t quite work out as she expected, and instead of planning a flower-filled wedding, she finds herself single, and fired from a job she loves.

Desperate to escape her heartbreak, she jets off to her aunt’s quirky Hummingbird Hotel on the gorgeous island of Corfu. Little did she know that instead of spending her time lounging by the pool, drinking cocktails, and soaking up the sun, she’d be stepping into the role of the island’s newest hotelier.

The arrival of unexpected guests sends Abbie into a tailspin of panic, and she’s forced to turn to snippy, but charismatic, vineyard owner-turned-chef, Nikos Angelopoulos, for help. Why does the kitchen fill with smoke whenever she makes coffee? Why is there a naked man swimming in the pool? And why do the hotel’s toiletries turn their guests’ hair pink?

Despite all the chaos, the Hummingbird Hotel works its magic on Abbie, and she finds herself with a decision to make. Will she return home to the drizzly grey skies of London? Or will she take a leap of faith and embrace the new opportunities that little corner of paradise has to offer, and maybe, just maybe, discover a sprinkle of romance along the way?

Abbie is an amazing florist, working for FlowerEssence under her wonderful boyfriend Dan, who she knows is going to propose (she saw him going into Tiffany’s so she is certain it is happening!).

When she unexpectedly and rather brutally finds herself single and jobless, Abbie is left feeling completely lost. When she discovers that she has inherited the Hummingbird Hotel from the Aunt she has never met, she finds herself on a plane to Corfu in a daze, ready to sell the property to potentially fund her dream of an English cottage with beautiful garden, whilst also hoping to learn more about the Aunt who had been absent from her life.

Set in the beautiful Corfu, Daisy James paints a vivid picture of the peaceful Hummingbird Hotel, as well as the neighbouring vineyard. You can really immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings, whilst absolutely understanding Abbie’s predicament. She has spent the last year believing that her relationship and her job would replace her dreams of working at a famous garden (Kew was up there on the list!) as well as owning her own English cottage and garden. With family secrets playing on her mind, and her life in London looking a little bleak, maybe Corfu is just what she needs.

With a potential romance thrown in for good measure, this novel offers you everything that you want from a light hearted romance novel. There is some drama, family secrets, a beautiful setting (truly, this novel makes me want to get on a plane to Greece) and a beautiful resolution. This is the perfect summer novel, and i am more than happy to recommend it to you all. Like me, you may not be heading to foreign shores this year but don’t let that stop you dreaming of them. Grab yourself a cold glass of wine and a copy of the Escape to the Hummingbird Hotel – let me know what you think!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Daisy James and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy of this novel. This review is my own honest opinion.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

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Author Bio

Daisy James loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. She especially likes to create sunshine-filled settings in exotic locations – the Caribbean, Tuscany, Cornwall, Provence – so she can spend her time envisioning her characters enjoying the fabulous scenery and sampling the local food and drink.

When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Daisy would love to hear from readers via her Facebook page or you can follow her on Twitter @daisyjamesbooks or on Instagram @booksdaisyjames.

Book Review: Year One by Nora Roberts

Year One

I am very pleased to bring you my latest book review, Year One by Nora Roberts.

As this world ends, a new one begins.

From number one New York Times bestseller Nora Roberts – an epic, apocalyptic tale of good and evil, love and loss.

With one drop of blood, the old world is gone for ever. And in its place, something extraordinary begins…

They call it The Doom – a deadly pandemic that starts on a cold New Year’s Eve in the Scottish countryside. There’s something mysterious about the virus and the way it spreads. As billions fall sick and die, some survivors find themselves invested with strange, unexpected abilities.

Lana, a New York chef, has the power to move things and people with her will. Fred can summon light in the darkness. Jonah, a paramedic, sees snatches of the future in those he touches. Katie gives birth to twins, and suspects that she has brought fresh magic into the world, along with new life.

But The Doom affects people differently. Along with the light, a dark and terrifying magic will also rise. As the remaining authorities round up the immune and the ‘Uncannies’ for testing, Lana, Katie and others flee New York in search of a safe haven. The old world is over, and Year One has begun.

So there is no getting away from the fact that this novel centres around a pandemic, and in a rather brutal way. So my timing at reading this novel was possibly not the best. However, given the fact that this was released before our own pandemic experiences, I think that we can forgive Nora Roberts and focus on her writing!

Year One starts in a dark and sinister way – The Doom, a mysterious virus, sets off a chain reaction that decimates the human race, save for a select few. Of those that survive, some find themselves developing magical powers, with those individuals choosing to follow either the light or the dark.

As governments fall and society crumbles, a group of immune and ‘Uncannies’ set off to find a place to build a safe community, as war and brutality threatens to close in on those remaining who seek peace. We follow these individuals as they seek to rebuild what was so cruelly taken away from them.

I loved this novel. The storyline is complex in places but easily followed. I loved the magical elements to this novel, but I also loved how it was set in the real world. The brutality described and experienced within this novel is, at times, difficult to swallow. However I think that is because as the reader, you believe that this really could happen if governments were to fall. Without law and order, society would fall apart. Fear can be a dangerous emotion, and this is something that Nora Roberts really highlights. How we deal with that fear sets apart those who follow the light, and those who follow the dark.

Nora Roberts paints the most colourful pictures with her words. The locations are vivid in my imagination and the characters are well-rounded and believable. The end of this novel left me wanting to know more. I am invested in these characters and where the story will take them. I can not wait to read book two, Of Blood and Bone! So if you love dystopian fiction and you are looking for your next read, I highly recommend that you grab yourself a copy of Year One!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

*BLOG TOUR* The Love Island Bookshop by Kate Frost

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Kate Frost’s new novel, The Love Island Bookshop!

A dream job, two handsome men, one destructive act. Will Freya’s opportunity of a lifetime end in tears?

When Freya leaves her publishing job in London to be a barefoot bookseller in the Maldives, it’s the push she needs to move on from her sadness and reignite her passion for life.

While resort owner Zander is charming, it’s handsome dive instructor Aaron who befriends her when she needs it most. But all is not what it seems and there’s trouble brewing in paradise.

Taking a chance on happiness is harder than she imagined. Can Freya let go of her heartache and allow herself to fall in love again?

Freya makes a huge life decision – to quit her job and leave behind everything she knows for a job that is coveted by many – a barefoot bookseller on a luxurious island in the Maldives. What’s not to love?! I know that would be my dream job (although my husband and sons may have something to say about me running off to the Maldives for a few months!). With no ties keeping her in London and a job offer on the table, Freya is soon on a plane, leaving behind the grey humdrum, and heading towards paradise.

On her arrival, Freya finds herself in a luxurious island resort, where she, and she alone, will be responsible for the set up and launch of a bookshop in the most idyllic location. The resort owner Zander, former boyband member with a reputation, puts his faith in her to realise his dream of owning an exclusive bookshop in paradise, adding yet another piece of luxury to his already luxurious resort. Zander is direct, with a very clear vision of what he wants. He doesn’t suffer fools lightly, and Freya finds herself working hard to meet his goals and please him.

In contrast, Aaron, a dive instructor at the resort, is laid back and easy going. She quickly finds herself building a friendship with him at a time when she could have become lonely, despite the friendly staff and beautiful location.

Two very different men, one beautiful island and a dream job – something many of us can only dream about! Naturally none of it is plain sailing, and it would be boring if it was! Kate Frost has created a wonderful character in Freya. It would be easy to be jealous of Freya, however the way she has been written means that you find yourself rooting for her – you want the island, the job, and the relationships she forms to work out for her. Zander and Aaron are also both great characters in completely different ways – character progression is clear for them both, and i really enjoyed following them both. There are some twists in the novel that really work, and they certainly took me by surprise! It would also be remiss of me not to mention the location – Kate really brings to life the stunning, tropical location. She almost made me believe i was there!

I am more than happy to recommend this novel – it’s a great piece of escapism, and perfect for a summer read. So grab a copy, your sunglasses and a chilled glass of bubbles and lose yourself in the Maldives with Freya!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Kate Frost and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

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Author Bio

Kate Frost is the author of best-selling romantic escape novels (The Baobab Beach Retreat, A Starlit Summer, The Greek Heart and The Amsterdam Affair), character-driven women’s fiction (The Butterfly Storm series and Beneath the Apple Blossom), and Time Shifters, a time travel adventure trilogy for children. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where she also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates.

Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, young son, and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Frodo. As well as writing novels, she’s also the Director of Storytale Festival, a new city-wide children’s book festival that she co-founded in Bristol in 2019 with the ethos of making books accessible to all and encouraging children and teens to read, write and be creative. Kate feels incredibly lucky to spend her days writing and being immersed in books.

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