Sunday, 31 March 2019

Blog Tour Review: A Country Rivalry by Sasha Morgan

A Country Rivalry by Sasha Morgan
Pubished: 19th March 2019 
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 267
Available on Kindle and in Paperback
Rating: 4/5

Life in the beautiful Cotswolds village of Treweham could never be described as boring, but the arrival of a documentary film crew means that things are even busier than normal.

For the ever-so dashing Lord of the Manor Tobias Cavendish-Blake and his new wife Megan, it’s a great advertising opportunity as they’ve recently opened up their home, Treweham Hall, to the public. And for the chef at the local pub The Templar, Finula, the arrival of the brooding director Marcus Devlin, means her love life is looking up.

Whilst at the racing stables, jockey and trainer Dylan Delaney is hoping the exposure will help him find new owners and horses for him and his partner Flora to train. But there is more to Marcus Devlin than meets the eye, and he has very personal reasons for heading to the Cotswolds.

And once his plans become clear, life in Treweham may never be the same again. 

A Country Rivalry is Sasha Morgan’s second novel and follows on from A Country Scandal published last year. It can easily be read as a standalone as Ms. Morgan provides a brief background to each of the characters stories in the first few chapters. Just like her previous novel Ms. Morgan has managed to weave together the stories of eight characters to form this novel, something which I feel takes great skill as each character does have a distinctive voice so once you’ve worked out who’s who it’s an enjoyable read.

The main focus of A Country rivalry is the arrival of Marcus Devlin and his film crew stirs up daily life in Treweham. Centring his life around Treweham Hall and the Cavendish-Blake family does Marcus have his own reasons for portraying Tobias in a bad light and what will happen with his budding romance with Finula when the real reason he’s here comes to light. Along with this story we also find out more around Tobias’s brother Sebastian and see the development of the relationship between Dylan and Flora.

I did feel in this book there were perhaps too many characters and leaving some out for another book may have been a better option. The brief mentions of Gary and Tracy Belcher, lottery winners from the previous book didn’t add much too this story but made me remember I loved them in the previous book and would to know more about them.

This is an entertaining read which kept the drama going right until the last page. Sasha Morgan has really brought the village of Treweham and its inhabitants to life and I can’t wait to read more from her.

Thank you to Aria for sending me a copy to review and inviting me on the blog tour.

About the Author

Sasha lives in a rural, coastal village in Lancashire with her husband and Labrador dog. She has always written stories from a very young age and finds her fictional world so much more exciting than the real one.

Follow Sasha:  
Twitter: @SashaMorgan_
Facebook: @SashaMorganAuthor

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Saturday, 30 March 2019

Blog Tour Review: The Summer of Chasing Dreams by Holly Martin

The Summer of Chasing Dreams by Holly Martin
Published: 29th March 2019
Pages: 328
Available on Kindle and Papaerback
Rating: 5/5 

A joyously romantic, feel-good summer read that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love. Eva Blue is about to go on a trip of a lifetime, but one adventure she didn't count on was falling in love...

Eva is quite content with her life in London. In her job as a cover designer, she works at home, and often in her cosy pyjamas. She's happy to stay in her safe little world and not explore much outside of it.
She is the opposite of her mum, a free spirit who craved finding adventure and thrills in all corners of the world. But on the day her mum’s will is finalised, Eva finds a list of all the dreams her mum wanted to achieve in her life. Things she never did because she fell pregnant with Eva.
Eva decides these dreams will not go unfulfilled — she is going to be brave and complete them for her mum. As Eva has no experience travelling the world, she hires a guide to go with her on this holiday.
Gorgeous but rude Thor Anderson is not the person she would choose to accompany her on this journey, but somehow she gets stuck with him. As they discover the world together Eva starts to think he might not be as bad as she first thought. She is swept away by Thor's kindness and mischievous sense of humour. But will it be a simple holiday romance or could this wonderful adventure lead to so much more?

I’ve read and enjoyed most of Holly’s previous book’s but The Summer of Chasing Dreams is by far my favourite, its just sheer perfection on every page.

Eva is content with her life, spending most of her time in her cosy little flat working as a cover designer, that is until she discovers an old bucket list her mother had written before she had Eva. Longing to fulfil her mother’s dreams Eva decides to step outside of her comfort zone and embrace the world via her mother’s list.

Her trip doesn’t get off to the ideal start as she’s paired with handsome Thor as her tour guide, someone she previously thought of as rude and arrogant.  As the trip progresses Eva realises, she may have misjudged Thor and hiding behind the rugged exterior is a kind and caring man whom she can’t help but be attracted to. But will this holiday romance be the start of something special or will it fizzle out before they reach home turf.

Eva is a character that I could really resonate with, she’s perfectly happy in her life with her small circle of friends and cosy day to day routine. It isn’t until her mother dies that she realises maybe its time to live a bit more and have some adventures. I loved that when she decided to go on her trip she threw caution to the wind and went as big as you can get. Singing on top of the Eiffel Tower must really have taken some guts and I love that she became more and more adventurous as the trip when on, maybe that had something to do with Thor being by her side who knows. It really left me with a feeling that we can achieve anything we want if we really put our minds to it and I found that very uplifting.

For me Holly Martin has always been able to create magical chemistry between her characters but in this book she’s hit on the perfect romance. The sizzling chemistry between Eva and Thor was wonderful to read about and made even better by some of the world’s most magical destinations.
Holly has managed to capture the beauty of the places Eva and Thor visit so it really felt like I was alongside them which was wonderful for me as being a home bird I’ll probably never visit them for myself.

This book truly is something special and I think everyone should read it, it up-lifting, heart-warming and humorous and shows that whoever you and wherever you love really is all you need.

Thank you so much to Holly Martin for sending me a copy to review and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour, keep writing wonderful lady.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Blog Tour Review: Hetty's Secret War by Rosie Clarke

Hetty's Secret War by Rosie Clarke
Published: 19th March 2019
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 336
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

In 1939, with the world on the brink of war, one women faces a future more uncertain than she had ever imagined...

Living in Paris, with the threat of war becoming all the more imminent, Hetty knows if she wants to stay safe, she must make her way home immediately. So she makes her way to the ports, hoping to secure one of the last places on the boats headed for England. But on her way she finds newly orphaned little girl who needs her help, and care.

And so Hetty, with little Kristina, finds herself sheltering at Chateau de Faubourg, where they are both welcomed by Countess de Faubourg and her dashing son Pierre... But the gilded walls of the Chateau hide secret war work of the most dangerous kind - but Hetty knows she owes it to the gami Beth - orphaned as a child, Beth is coming of age and determined to do her bit for the war effort.

Caught up in a whirlwind romance, she marries only to become a war widow....and one expecting a baby who will never know his brave father. Can she find happiness again? Hetty - desperately trying to make her way back from Paris to her beloved family in England, a fateful and tragic encounter brings Hetty to Chateau de Faubourg where she joins the resistance and risks both her heart and her life fighting for charismatic resistance leader Stefan Lefarge...

However dark the times, courage, determination and the power of friendship can overcome the hardships of war.

I’m a huge Rosie Clarke fan so was delighted to be asked to review Hetty’s War after I love the previous book in this series The Runaway Wife. Despite being the third book in the series it can eaily be read as a standalone as Rosie Clarke has given enough details at the beginning to come up to date with the story.

In this book the focus has moved on from Annabelle to her younger sister Hetty. In the previous book Hetty ran away to Paris to be with her artist lover, which is where we find her at the beginning of this book. No longer with her lover Hetty’s found herself working in a fashion house and loving her life in Paris, so much so that when news of war breaks out, she refuses to go home to England. Remaining in Paris despite good advice from her friends shows that Hetty’s still young and na├»ve like she came across in the previous book. Eventually Hetty’s makes her way out of Paris and finds herself at the Chateau de Fauberg where she becomes part of the French Resistance with the gorgeous Stefan, a man Hetty seems drawn despite all the warning signs that it will all end in tear.

Although Hetty’s story is the most prominent in this book she is not the only woman who we read about. Georgie has recently lost her husband Arthur and is struggling with the guilt that maybe if she’s loved him more, he’d still be alive. The story follows Georgie on an emotional rollercoaster as she once again meets up with the love of her life and experiences true happiness if only for a short time.

The third woman’s story is Beth’s, a young girl who was taken in by Annabelle in the previous book when her mother dies. Feeling indebted to Annabelle Beth feels she must stay and help in her hotel, but she longs to go out into the world and experience new things.  A chance meeting with a young solider provides Beth with a new job and the possibility of romance.
I loved all three of these stories, each of these women experience a lot of heartache throughout this book and its wonderful to watch them grow and become stronger because of it. Hetty was a real revelation as initially she comes across as just a spoilt child, but she really shows a strength of character and kindness when she’s pushed to her limits.

I really enjoyed reading Hetty’s Secret War, having known very little about the French Resistance it was fascinating to read about the secret missions and hideaways. Rosie Clarke really seems to have captured the uneasy and dangerous atmosphere surrounding the missions. I think this has been balanced out perfectly with romance throughout the book and made Hetty’s Secret War a book which was very difficult to put down.

Thank you so much to the publishers for sending a copy for me to review via Netgalley and inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

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: @AnneHerries
Facebook: @RosieClarke

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Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Blog Tour Review: Magnolia House by Angela Barton

Magnolia House by Angela Barton
Published: 29th January 2019
Publisher: Choc Lit UK
Pages: 333
Available  on Kindle
Rating: 5/5 

Rowan Forrester has it all – the happy marriage, the adorable dog, the good friends, the promising business and even the dream home after she and her husband Tom win a stunning but slightly dilapidated Georgian townhouse in London at auction. 

But in the blink of an eye, Rowan’s picture-perfect life comes crashing down around her and she is faced with the prospect of having to start again. 

To make ends meet she begins a search for housemates, and in doing so opens the door to new friends and new beginnings. But could she be opening the door to new heartbreak too?


I loved Angela Barton’s previous novel Arlette’s Story so was really looking forward to reading Magnolia House, it may be a different genre but once again Ms. Barton has succeeded in creating a richly detailed and emotional story.
When Rowan and her husband first see Magnolia House its love at first sight, together they do a wonderful job of renovating it and bringing it back to its former glory. Everything is perfect for Rowan and husband Tom, until one frightful evening when Tom has a heart-attack and dies. Now Rowan’s facing life alone in the huge house it doesn’t seem so perfect, after months of soul-destroying heartache Rowan finally decides it time to move on and turn Magnolia House into three separate flats. The arrival of new flat-mates Mason and Nora, marks the start of a new beginning for Rowan but will it be a happy one?
Rowan is a lovely main character she’s fun, warm-hearted and creative about to start the next phase of her life when everything falls apart. Yes she grieves for a long time but then she decides its time to move on and build a future for herself, I really admired her resilience and determination to make her little business work. For me though the star of the book was Mason, he added some fun and humour back into Rowan’s life and with brother James the possibility of romance. He was there for Rowan when the story takes a darker turn and provides the ideal confidante.
Magnolia House was a wonderful emotional read. I cried along with Rowan at the beginning but also found myself laughing at some of the situations Rowan ends up in and I loved the intrigue and mystery behind the letters Rowan received. For me this was a perfect novel full of heartbreak, romance and mystery, Angela Barton really brought Magnolia House to life and I loved it.
I highly recommend Magnolia House, it’s a book I know I will read again for sure. I’d like to thank the publishers Choc Lit for sending me a copy to review and Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour. 

About the Author

Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children and adorable four-year-old twin granddaughters. Angela is passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction and loves time spent researching facts for her novels. Having signed publishing contracts for three of her completed novels with Choc Lit’s new imprint, Ruby Fiction, Angela is excited to be working alongside such a lovely team.
Angela and her husband, Paul, recently moved to France and planted a lavender field. She’s looking forward to spending more time writing in the beautiful Charente countryside working from her new writing room, a beautiful shepherd hut. Angela is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Nottingham Writers’ Studio.

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Sunday, 17 March 2019

Blog Tour Review: She's Mine by Claire. S. Lewis

She's Mine by C.S. Lewis
Published: 5th March 2019
Publisher: Aria
Pages: 4848
Available on Kindle
Rating: 4/5

She was never mine to lose…

When Scarlett falls asleep on a Caribbean beach she awakes to her worst nightmare – Katie is gone. With all fingers pointed to her Scarlett must risk everything to clear her name.

As Scarlett begins to unravel the complicated past of Katie’s mother she begins to think there’s more to Katie’s disappearance than meets the eye. But who would want to steal a child? And how did no-one see anything on the small island? 

She’s Mine is the debut novel of Claire S. Lewis. While Scarlett is sleeping on the beach, Katie the little girl Scarlett is supposed to be watching goes missing. With Scarlett’s involvement with the disappearance coming under suspicion, Scarlett knows she’ll have to work out what really happened to Katie herself and as she begins to unravel the mysteries surrounding Katie and her mother, she’s not sure what to believe anymore.
This is a twisty psychological thriller which is split between two narratives, the present day and the past. It was not a book I instantly loved as I felt the start was a bit slow and I felt the story lacked urgency which I would expect with a missing child story, the police investigation was very lack-lustre and clumsy. After a steady start the story and the pace increased to create a more dramatic storyline which had me gripped until the shocking ending.
Scarlett was not the most likeable of characters, she often used information she had to her own advantage and you could never be totally sure she was being completely honest, but I think that’s the beauty of this novel is working out who is telling the truth,  something I changed my mind about throughout the book and I found kept me reading.
The best part of the story for me was the narrative from the past which explored the relationship between the twins through key moments in their lives linked to photographs. I found their relationship fascinating and wanted to find out more, more than I wanted to find out what happened to little Katie.

About the Author

Claire Simone Lewis studied philosophy, French literature and international relations at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge before starting her career in aviation law with a City law firm and later as an in-house lawyer at Virgin Atlantic Airways.  More recently, she turned to writing psychological suspense, taking courses at the Faber Academy. She’s Mine is her first novel. Born in Paris, she’s bilingual and lives in Surrey with her family. 

Follow Claire:   
Twitter: @CSLewisWrites
Facebook: @CSLewisWrites

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