*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

*BLOG TOUR* Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell.

What if you had nowhere to call home for Christmas?

When Fee Winters books a winter break at the remote Black Cherry Retreat in the small town of Pine Ridge, Tennessee, it’s with the idea that the peace and quiet will help her recuperate from her hectic life as a photographer.

But what she didn’t bank on was meeting Tom Chambers and his huge, interfering yet lovable family.  With them, could Fee finally experience the warmth and support that’s been missing from her own life – and maybe even find a place to call home in time for Christmas.

Fee Winters finds herself at the Black Cherry Retreat, where she is seeking quiet time to be alone in order to recuperate from a trauma she experienced whilst working as a photographer in war zones. She does not come from a large, supportive family and therefore relies on herself to fix her own problems.

Tom Chambers is the owner of the Black Cherry Retreat, a man also seeking solace at his quiet retreat. He is equally recovering from trauma in his life, shutting himself off from everyone but his family.

Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat follows both Fee and Tom as they find in each other something that neither realised was missing from their lives. Both are pushed outside of their comfort zones as they begin the slow recovery process, helping each other with a little romance thrown in for good measure!

I really enjoyed Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat, both Fee and Tom are well rounded characters, with interesting back stories. I enjoyed watching them evolve as they both attempt to recover from their individual traumas, helping each other and falling in love along the way.

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to 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.

Author Bio

Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee.  A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels.  After more than three decades of marriage to her American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after.  Over the last twelve years she’s been multi-published and sold over 25 novels.  She also writes short stories for women’s magazines.  She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

Book Review: How (Not) To Marry A Duke by Felicia Kingsley

My latest review is of How (Not) To Marry A Duke by Felicia Kingsley.

One minute, Jemma Pears is a struggling theatrical make-up artist in London.  The next, she’s been left a vast fortune by her estranged grandmother.  The catch: she must marry a man with a title to inherit.  Jemma thinks this is truly impossible: she’s a romantic, searching for true love, not just a convenient marriage…and besides, where wicked she even find a titled guy?

Enter Ashford, the new Duke of Burlingham.  His legacy: massive debts that he must pay back immediately or risk the bank seizing his assets.  Or worse: his mother’s wrath!

When their lawyer hears of their situations, a secret match is made despite their mutual hatred of each other: through marrying Ashford, Jemma can inherit and Ashford can pay back his debts immediately.  Problem solved.  That is, until their marriage is leaked to the press and everyone finds out…

Now they have to play out the charade for at least a year or risk going to jail for fraud!

A hilarious pretence ensues and Jemma must battle against a crazy mother in law, a stuffy aristocracy, and finally, and most surprisingly of all, confusing feelings for Ashford…!

I was looking forward to reading How (Not) to Marry A Duke as it looked like it would be a light-hearted, opposites attract type novel.  Thankfully I was not wrong!  This is a novel about two people from two very different worlds, who find themselves married; Jemma in order to inherit a life changing sum of money from her grandmother, and Ashford to pay off the debts left behind by his dead father.

There are no surprises here – Ashford and Jemma could not be more different, and being forced into such a stressful situation only accentuates their differences.  You know what they say though, opposites attract!  I really enjoyed this novel, it was lighthearted and fun, following these characters as they essentially torment each other!  If I was to have one criticism though, it would be that the ending felt quite rushed.  A few months of events are crammed into a few short chapters before we finally reach our happy ending.  Jemma’s stubbornness was also a little too far-fetched for my liking.  However, these things did not detract from my enjoyment of the novel.  I am therefore more than happy to recommend it for a chilled out Sunday afternoon reading!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖

Thanks to Netgalley and Aria for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

*BLOG TOUR* A Village Affair by Julie Houston

Today it is my pleasure to share with you my review for A Village Affair by Julie Houston on her blog tour.

Cassie Beresford has recently landed her dream job as deputy head teacher at her local, idyllic village primary school, Little Acorns.  So, the last thing she needs is her husband of twenty years being ‘outed’ at a village charity auction – he has been having an affair with one of her closest friends.

As if it weren’t enough to cope with, Cassie suddenly finds herself catapulted into the head teacher position, and at the front of a fight to ward off developers determined to concrete over the beautiful landscape.

But through it all, the irresistible joy of her pupils, the reality of keeping her teenage children on the straight and narrow, her irrepressible family and friends, and the possibility of new love, mean what could have been the worst year ever, actually might be the best yet…

I was very excited when I heard from Julie Houston and she told me about her new novel, A Village Affair.  When you live in a village, you are all to aware that everyone around you knows a lot about you, sometimes too much!  A Village Affair highlights both the good and bad sides to this.

Cassie Beresford is very happy.  She has a long, loving marriage, two wonderful teenage children and she is just about to start her dream job as Deputy Head Teacher at her local primary school.  So it comes as a shock when she finds out in front of the whole village that her husband of 20 years, Mark, has been cheating on her with her best friend Tina.  To add insult to injury, she then finds herself in the position of Head Teacher the day before term starts.

In the face of all of this stress and trauma, Cassie also finds herself at the forefront of a fight with some developers who are seeking to build on the local green belt land surrounding the village.

The number of challenges that unexpectedly face Cassie take her through many emotions, as she seeks to find her place in the world again whilst fighting a number of battles.  A Village Affair is a story about a women who has to find herself when she thinks she is lost.  It is a story about reaffirming relationships, forging new ones and discarding broken ones.  Cassie is a strong independent woman, she just doesn’t know it yet!

I am more than happy to recommend this novel.  I really enjoyed following Cassie and her family as they faced these intense challenges, overcoming them together.  If you are looking for a novel with a bit of heart, this is the novel for you.  Let me know what you think!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Julie Houston, Netgalley and Aria for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you also to Vicky Joss as Aria for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

About the Author

Julie Houston is the author of The One Saving Grace, Goodness, Grace and Me and Looking for Lucy, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle Number 1 bestseller.  She is married, with two teenage children and a cockerpoo, and like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village.  She is also a teacher and a magistrate.

*BLOG TOUR* Mistletoe & Mystery by Daisy James

Today it is my pleasure to be a stop on the blog tour for Mistletoe & Mystery by Daisy James.

Welcome to the Cotswolds Festive Feast cookery course…

Fresh off the successful opening of the Paradise Cookery School in St Lucia, Millie Harper is headed to the Cotswolds for Christmas!

Co-presenting Claudia Croft’s famous Festive Feast cookery course at Stonelea Manor is a dream come true for Millie…as is reuniting with gorgeous estate manager Zach Barker.

But arriving in a winter wonderland Millie learns the manor is under a mysterious threat. It’ll take a holiday miracle, but Millie is determined to save the school and get Zach under the mistletoe to finally finish what they started in the Caribbean!

I was very happy to be given the opportunity to rejoin Millie Harper, following her return from St Lucia where she had successfully opened the Paradise Cookery School for famous chef, Claudia Croft.  Mistletoe & Mystery is the third book in The Paradise Cookery School series, a series that I have thoroughly enjoyed.  I must admit that I was a little disappointed when I discovered that this novel would be set in the Cotswolds….I have nothing against the beautiful Cotswolds, but I really have enjoyed the St Lucia setting of the previous two novels.  I shouldn’t have worried though – a book set at Christmas really should be in a cold, snowy, magical English village and so it didn’t disappoint!

I have really loved following Millie, a woman who at the beginning of the series doubted herself following a harsh break up.  She doubted herself both as a person and as a chef.  Opening the Paradise Cookery School in St Lucia really made her character flourish as she gained confidence in her own abilities.  Mistletoe & Mystery continues to see Millie grow as a person, and we also get to see if her relationship with Zach could grow into something more.  We also get the meet the elusive Claudia Croft, as she opens her home to Millie.  There is of course some plot twists thrown in, which are full of emotion as we learn more about the owner of the Paradise Cookery School, a company we have grown to love across the three novels.

I am more than happy to recommend this novel (along with the previous novels, Sunshine & Secrets and Confetti & Confusion) – all three could be read as standalone novels, but personally I would recommend reading them all.  Let me know what you think!

Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖

Thank you to Netgalley and Canelo for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you also to Ellie Pilcher at Canelo for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.

Links to Book:

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

 

Author Bio

Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the north east of England.  She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plot lines.  When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter.  She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china teacups are a must.