*BLOG TOUR* No Place Like Home by Maxine Morrey

Today it is my pleasure to be a stop on the blog tour for Maxine Morrey’s latest novel, No Place Like Home.

Two hearts. One home?

Eleanor Laing has a very good reason to want to stay single: her last relationship put her in danger.  And she’s worried that while the physical scars will heal, the emotional ones never can. So, travelling to Kansas for her best friend Sandy’s wedding, Eleanor’s in need of some time alone.  And Sandy’s brother Ben’s rural and idyllic ranch seems like the perfect place for it.

Ben comes with his own baggage – a failed marriage in his past, and a big question mark over his future – and he knows the feelings he had for Eleanor belong firmly in the history books.  But, sitting on his porch with her, he’s never felt more at home.

Both of them swore they were better off alone…yet is it possible that two broken hearts could come together to heal?

I could not have been happier to have been asked to take part in this blog tour.  I really love Maxine Morrey’s novels, and in particular the new direction she has taken (I love her light hearted romance novels, but I am really loving her newer, grittier novels – check out my review of Second Chance at the Ranch)

If i’m honest, i’m not sure the blurb really does this novel justice.  There is a darker side to this novel which is not really covered there, but it explores the after effects of domestic abuse and how it can affect someones future.  Ellie Laing is such a strong character, but this novel really highlights how the strongest of people can be broken, even when there are no longer any physical signs of pain.  I loved the character of Ellie.  She is beautiful and resilient, fighting against the things that have happened to her in the hope that she can build herself a normal life.  In order to do so, she works hard whilst surrounding herself with her closest friends, Sandy, Kate and Zak.

Ben is a highly successful musician who also happens to be Sandy’s older brother.  Sandy and Ellie were so close, next door neighbours who were relied on each other and each others families as they grew up together.  Even when Ellie and her family returned to England, their bond remained.  As a result, so did Ben and Ellie’s.  Their easy closeness, like family, pulls them together at such important times in their lives when they really need each other.

The characters in this novel are so well thought out.  Maxine has really brought them to life, particularly by bringing their internal pain to the forefront.  We are often not defined by our happy times, but by how we cope with pain and suffering and I feel that she captures this within her novel perfectly.  Ben and Ellie’s budding romance is beautifully flawed by indecision, lack of confidence and concern about how things will change.  Its realistically imperfect, just how all relationships are.

I loved this novel, and am more than happy to recommend it to you all.  If you haven’t already discovered Maxine Morrey, then this is your chance!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📕

Thank you to Maxine Morrey and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour, and for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel.

Author Bio

Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten.

As time went by, she continued to write, but ‘normal’ work often got in the way.  She has written articles on a variety of subjects, as well as a local history book on Brighton.  However, novels are her first love.

In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK’s ‘Write Christmas’ competition with her first romantic comedy, ‘Winter’s Fairytale’.

Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words loves to read, sew and listen to podcasts.  Being a fan of tea and cake, she can (should!) also be found doing something vaguely physical at the gym.

Follow Maxine Morrey

Website: http://www.scribblermaxi.co.uk

Twitter: @Scribbler_Maxi

Instagram: @scribbler_maxi

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MaxineMorreyAuthor

*BLOG TOUR* A Rebel at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for A Rebel at Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble.

One woman’s journey to find herself and help secure the vote.  Perfect for fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.

1911 Bath. Banished from her ancestral home, passionate suffrage campaigner Esther Stanbury works as a window dresser in Pennington’s Department Store.  She has hopes and dreams for women’s progression and will do anything to help secure the vote.

Owner of the prestigious Phoenix Hotel, Lawrence Culford has what most would view as a successful life.  But Lawrence is harbouring shame, resentment and an anger that threatens his future happiness.

When Esther and Lawrence meet their mutual understanding of life’s challenges unites them and they are drawn to the possibility of a life of love that neither thought existed.  With the coronation of King-Emperor George V looming, the atmosphere in Bath is building to fever pitch, as is the suffragists’ determination to secure the vote.

Will Esther’s rebellious nature lead her to ruin or can they overcome their pasts and look to build a future together?

I was lucky enough to read and review the first book in the Pennington’s series, The Mistress of Pennington’s last year, so was very pleased when I was offered the opportunity to read and review the latest instalment in this series.  I really do enjoy revisiting places and getting to know characters that previously only played a small role.  This novel gave me just that.  I found myself back at the prestigious Pennington’s department store located in Bath, the setting for the first book in this series.  We are given the opportunity to check in with Elizabeth Pennington and Joseph, which is always lovely as we get to see where characters we have grown to love are at in their lives.  A Rebel at Pennington’s brings Esther, a window dresser at Pennington’s, to the forefront of the story.  A friend of Elizabeth’s, we learn that Esther is a staunch supporter of the suffragist movement and is keen to enable women’s progression in society at a time when they didn’t yet have the vote.  Kicked out by her own father for her beliefs, she is fiercely independent and forever fearful that if she were to let a man into her life he would attempt to hold her back.

Lawrence Culford is a very successful businessman, and widowed father of two beautiful children.  Despite his adult successes, his own upbringing has scarred him making him shy away from love.  Lawrence and Esther find themselves pulled together by their mutual support of the Cause, but also by something deeper – we follow them in this novel as they both attempt to overcome their own internal barriers to really work together, both in life and love.

I love novels set in years gone by.  I am a big fan of history, yet I have actually read very little about the suffragists and suffragettes.  Historical fiction such as A Rebel at Pennington’s intertwines a beautiful fictional story with the factual events of the past, ensuring that we are able to learn something new whilst immersing ourselves in such a wonderful, vivid story.  Rachel Brimble really brings this story to life with the vivid descriptions of Pennington’s and Bath, along with a group of flawed but well-rounded characters who you can really relate to, despite the decades separating us.  I really enjoyed this novel, and do not hesitate to recommend it to you – if you enjoy novels featuring strong, independent women (and equally strong, independent men) then you will love this series.  I look forward to reading the next one!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Rachel Brimble 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.

Author Bio

Rachel lives with her husband their two daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK.  Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eith books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victoria romances with eKensington/Lyrical.

In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store.  The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018.

Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest.  When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family.  Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.  She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers.  Rachel would love to hear from you!

 

*BLOG TOUR* Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow

Today I am pleased to say that it is my stop on the blog tour for Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow.

Welcome to Love Heart Lane…

When Flick Simons returns to the small village of Heartcross she only expected to stay for a few days.  The white-washed cottages of Love Heart Lane might be her home, but the place holds too many painful memories, and of one man in particular – Fergus Campbell.

When a winter storm sweeps in, the only bridge connecting the village to the main land is swept away!  As the villagers pull together, Flick finds herself welcomed back by the friends she once left behind.  And as the snow begins to melt, maybe there is a chance that Fergus’s heart will thaw too…

Love Heart Lane is the first book based in Love Heart Lane, and I am pleased to confirm that it will not be the last!  It is the first novel that I have read by Christie Barlow, and I really enjoyed exploring the village of Heartcross and getting to know its inhabitants.  As you all know, I am a fan of authors who revisit places in future novels, as it often means that we get to learn about new characters, or find out more about characters we have fleetingly met, whilst also hearing about the characters we already know and love.  So as I’m sure you can imagine, I am already sitting waiting to read Foxglove Farm so that I can revisit Heartcross!

Anyway, back to Love Heart Lane.  Flick Simons is a woman living in the city, far away from her home, escaping a past full of tragedy and loss.  When her beloved Grandmother passes away, she finds herself back in her childhood home with her mother, grieving and faced with regret about the time she has lost with her Grandmother.  When the village finds itself cut off from the outside world, and Flick finds herself unable to return to the city, she is forced to face up to what, and who, she left behind.  Flick finds herself in the centre of a village which is pulling together to rescue itself, surrounded by friends and loved ones who, despite her running away years ago, welcome her back into their fold with open arms.

Fergus Campbell is Flick’s childhood sweetheart, and father to the beautiful Esme.  He is less pleased to see Flick again – when she ran away to the city, she ran away from him too.  Having finally recovered from his heartbreak, he is less than happy to find her back in the village, forgiving her seems an almost impossible task.

This is a novel about love, friends and family.  Its about loss, but it’s also about what you can find when you are forced to re-evaluate your life, whilst overcoming obstacles.  It’s about forgiveness, and it is about admitting when you were wrong.

I really enjoyed Love Heart Lane.  I loved watching a wealth of characters pull together in a time of need, forgetting past wrongs to really achieve something together.  Of course I love a bit of romance thrown in, but this was also a novel about how important friendships are, and family.  It is about discovering that you do not have to cope alone – there is always someone there if you are willing to let them in. I am more than happy to recommend this novel if you enjoy a light read, full of family, friends and romance!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Christie Barlow 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 book in exchange for my honest review.

Author Bio

Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Love Heart Lane.  Her writing career came as somewhat of a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams.  The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA and Australia.

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for http://www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world.

Website: http://www.christiebarlow.com

Twitter: @ChristieJBarlow

*BLOG TOUR* Second Chance at the Ranch by Maxine Morrey

I am very pleased to say that today is my stop on the blog tour for Second Chance at the Ranch by Maxine Morrey.

It’s never too late for a second chance at love in this uplifting and warm-hearted romance.

It’s never too late to find love…

When Juliet Scott falls for ruggedly handsome Pete while away travelling, she never imagines how different her life will be to that of her sister, successful and beautiful model Hero.  Based on a cattle station in the vast Australian Outback, Juliet’s life is now simple, down-to-earth and honest, and the perfect antidote to the chaotic celebrity lifestyle that Hero leads in the UK.

With her striking brunette hair, perfect posture, and mesmerising green eyes, it is no wonder Hero has come so far in such a superficial industry.  But when tragedy strikes, Hero finds herself in the arms of her sister, recuperating from a terrible accident on the other side of the world.

With her modelling career in tatters, and her scars more than just skin deep, Juliet worries that Hero will hide behind the mask she wears forever.  But does Australia have something, or someone, to offer that London never could?

Well…what can I say.  I am a fan of Maxine Morrey’s, having already read Winter’s Fairytale, The Christmas Holiday and The Christmas Project (click the links to check out my reviews), all of which I loved.  So I was excited when I discovered her newest novel, Second Chance at the Ranch.  This is a very different novel to Maxine’s previous offerings.  It is a little harder, a little more emotional – it doesn’t have the light-hearted edge that her other novels have.  Please do not think this is a bad thing – the grittier nature of this novel really adds to its appeal.

Hero is a top class model, with the glamorous life to match.  Her beauty is unrivalled, making her highly sought after worldwide.  When her sister Juliet falls in love with Pete and moves to the Australian outback, Hero finds herself torn between two worlds; one glamorous but superficial, and the other rough and simple but full of love.  When Hero has a tragic accident she finds herself following her sister to Australia as she tries to put back the pieces of her life.  She also finds that she can no longer hide from a past that she has spent a lifetime protecting herself from.  I am pleased to confirm that whilst this novel does have a sad side, I am pleased to confirm that we also have some romance!

I really loved all of the characters in this novel.  Hero is such a beautiful person, both inside and out.  Despite living in such a superficial world, she still retains a sense of realism.  Her anchor to the real world is her sister Juliet, another lovely, well-rounded character.  She pushes her sister to reveal her true self not only to her, but to others too.

This novel is full of sadness, tragedy and pain, but it is also the story of a sisters bond, recovery and love.  Whilst there is romance in this novel, I really felt the love between Hero and Juliet – a bond that really could not be broken.  I could not be happier to recommend this novel!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖 📕

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

Author Bio

Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten.

As time went by, she continued to write, but ‘normal’ work often got in the way.  She has written articles on a variety of subjects, as well as a local history book on Brighton.  However, novels are her first love.

In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK’s ‘Write Christmas’ competition with her first romantic comedy Winters Fairytale.

Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words loves to read, sew and listen to podcasts.  Being a fan of tea and cake, she can (should!) also be found doing something vaguely physical at the gym.

*BLOG TOUR* Island of Secrets by Diane Demetre

Today it is my pleasure to bring you Island of Secrets by Diane Demetre, as part of her blog tour.

Two love stories separated in time.  Two women following their dreams.  In a paradise littered with painful secrets, will love turn the tide?

1973.  Cecilia “CiCi” Freemont has a restless soul and the voice of an angel.  Leaving her privileged upbringing behind, she chases her dreams to the sandy beaches of an unspoiled Hawaiian paradise, Harbor Island.  But life takes an unexpected turn when she falls for the island’s heir-apparent and her newfound adventure becomes too much to bear…

2017. Investigative journalist Tina Templeton has dedicated herself to the pursuit of truth.  But when she inherits Harbor Island, her career plans take a confusing twist.  Managing the sprawling island estate is a tough business even with the help of ageing cabaret singer, CiCi Fremont.  Especially when a massive ecological disaster threatens to destroy her beautiful beaches – and the responding coast guard captain steals her heart.

As the investigation into the disaster reveals a 40-year-old mystery that could change their lives forever, will Tina find love among the secrets, or will CiCi’s painful past dash her dreams on the rocks?

I regularly enjoy a dual timeline novel, and this was no exception. In fact, it was probably a little easier to read, because rather than having two stories set in different eras running at the same time, they are very clearly defined and separated.  In part one we find ourselves in 1973 following CicCi Freemont, a free-spirited young woman who unexpectedly finds herself on Harbor Island, a Hawaiian paradise that is seemingly separated from civilisation.

In part two we move forwards in time to 2017 where we meet Tina Templeton, an Investigative Journalist.  When she unexpectedly inherits Harbor Island from her uncle, Tina finds herself back on the island where she spent many happy childhood summers.  Taking on the responsibility of managing such a historic island comes with its own difficulties, particularly when Tina finds herself joint owner with her brother Sebastien, a man with his own agenda.  With the arrival of the mysterious cabaret singer, CiCi Freemont, and the huge ecological disaster that appears to be happening on her beaches, Tina finds herself fighting to save the island that she never expected to call home.

CiCi and Tina are two very different characters, which I feel helps to differentiate between the two time periods.  CiCi can be described as a free-spirit, someone who is trying to escape her privileged but stifling upbringing.  I think it is clear that she is a little lost in the world, struggling to find where she fits and what she really wants.  Tina is very ambitious: she knows what she wants, and she strives to achieve it.  When she finds herself unexpectedly back on Harbor Island following the death of her beloved Uncle Dickie, she is thrown off course, and made to question everything that she has come to know about both herself and what she really wants from her life.

Island of Secrets is beautiful novel about love, loss and finding yourself in the most unexpected of places.  Harbor Island is a lost gem; it is a Hawaiian paradise hidden from the world, with traditional practices, untouched by the outside world.  It is the perfect setting for such a lovely novel.

I am more than happy to recommend this novel – I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Diane Demetre and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for asking me to be a part of this blog tour.

Author Bio

Diane began her career as a school teacher before moving onto the entertainment industry as a choreographer, director, event manager, dancer and actress, working in television and live theatre, and managing multi-million dollar productions.

Following her onstage career, she spent many years as a stress & life skills therapist, keynote speaker and presenter, appearing on national radio and television.

When she launched into a writing career, Diane’s debut erotic romance series, the Dance of Love was voted Luminosity Publishing Readers’ Choice Best Books and Best Covers for 2015 and 2016.

Her romantic suspense, Retribution won the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Pro Award 2017 for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Diane loves to write genre-busting stories with a twist.  Her works are packed with emotional punch and featured empowered heroines who live life to the fullest, much like the author herself.

 

Book Review: Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey

My latest book review is another Christmas tale – Winter’s Fairytale by Maxine Morrey.

Let it snow, let it snow, let is snow…

A few weeks before Christmas and a sudden blanketing of snow has closed the roads and brought public transport grinding to a halt, stranding Izzy miles from home and in desperate need of rescuing.

That doesn’t mean she’s looking to bump into Rob and spend a cosy weekend holed up in his swanky flat watching London become a winter wonderland!  Because Izzy and Rob have history…

Six months ago, they were standing in the vestry of a beautiful country church, while best man Rob delivered the news that every bride dreads on their big day.

But at the time of year when anything is possible, can Rob and Izzy let go of the past and let Christmas work its magic? Or will this be one holiday wish that Izzy lets walk right out of her life…

I have had Winter’s Fairytale sat on my Kindle for a while now, and after reading Second Chance at the Ranch (review coming in January, keep your eyes peeled!) I felt the need to read more of Maxine Morrey’s work.  I was looking for a light-hearted Christmas tale, and that is exactly what she has delivered with this novel.

Izzy has had a rough few months, going through something that no bride should ever have to go through: being left at the altar.

Rob is the best man who had to deliver the devastating news that Izzy’s fiancé would not be joining her on their wedding day.  Izzy has therefore spent six months avoiding him, wanting no reminders of that fateful day.  Fate, however, has others ideas!  A snow storm and no way of getting home forces Izzy into Robs swanky London flat for the weekend, making her face both him and her past.

Set during a particularly romantic time of year, Winter’s Fairytale is a story about ensuring you don’t allow your past to define you; that you look forward rather than back, and that love can be found in the most unexpected of places.  Of course, being stranded with a handsome, kind man in a snowstorm does help!

I am definitely happy to recommend this novel; if you are looking for a novel full of family, romance and Christmas then this definitely the novel for you.  Grab a copy, a glass of wine and sit by your Christmas tree.  Enjoy!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

*BLOG TOUR* New Arrivals at Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for New Arrivals at Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke.

1943 Mulberry Lane, London.  In the midst of another bleak winter, life is hard for the residents of The Lane.

When Rose Merchant arrives at Mulberry Lane, she is carrying a secret that haunts her.  How can she tell her landlady, and the Lanes’ matriarch Peggy Ashley that she is the daughter of a murderer?  As Rose learns that she is amongst friends she gradually learns to trust and even to love.

But when Peggy’s estranged husband Laurie returns home for good, both Rose and Peggy’s lives are once again turned upside down.

Can they both find their way through the heartache to find happiness?

I was so excited to be invited to read New Arrivals at Mulberry Lane and participate in the blog tour, by Victoria Joss at Aria.  I have been following Rosie Clarke’s Mulberry Lane series since the beginning.  If you’re not already aware of Rosie’s Clarke’s Mulberry Lane series, then please find below my previous reviews;

The Girls of Mulberry Lane

A Wedding at Mulberry Lane

Mulberry Lane Babies

I hate to be predictable but I love historical novels set during WWII!  More than that though, I love the characters that Rosie Clarke has created within this series of novels.  Peggy Ashley leads a group of strong women who in the face of adversity work hard to keep their families safe, whilst cementing the independence that they have come to rely on while their men are away fighting for their country.  New Arrivals at Mulberry Lane introduces us to a new character, Rose Merchant, who joins the Lanes, alone and lost.  Alone and lost until she meets Peggy that is!  She was a subtle character introduced to an already strong group of female characters and I feel that she really added to the dynamics of the Lanes.  Our old favourites also returned in this novel; Maureen, Ellie and Anne.  In addition, some of the men are starting to trickle back from the their war efforts; Gordon, who is tragically injured, and Laurie, who has been discharged from his secret wartime work under a dark cloud.  Their return changes things for women on the Lanes, and not always in a positive way

New Arrivals in Mulberry Lane can be read as a standalone novel, but I would much rather recommend that you read all four novels in this series.  I am already looking forward to reading book five in this series!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Victoria Joss at Aria, and to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

Rosie is happily married and lives in a quiet village in East Anglia.  Writing books is a passion for Rosie, she also likes to read, watch good films and enjoys holidays in the sunshine.  She loves shoes and adores animals, especially squirrels and dogs.

Follow Rosie

Twitter handle: @AnneHerries

Facebook: @RosieClarke