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Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café by Jessica Redland | Book Review Tour 

I am delighted to join the blog tour for Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café by Jessica Redland today! My thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for my stop and the review copy!

About the Book

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café
 
Cosy up with a mug of hot chocolate for some festive sparkle from bestseller Jessica Redland.

Everyone is getting into the festive spirit on Castle Street – snow is falling, fairy lights are glistening and Christmas shopping is underway.

But for Tara Porter, owner of thriving cafe, The Chocolate Pot, this is the most difficult time of the year. From the outside, Tara is a successful businesswoman and pillar of the community. Behind closed doors, she is lonely.

With a lifetime of secrets weighing on her shoulders, she has retreated from all friends, family and romance, and shut her real self away from the world. After all, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. She’s learnt that the hard way.

But as the weight of her past becomes heavier and an unexpected new neighbour moves onto the street – threatening the future of her cafe – Tara begins to realise that maybe it’s time to finally let people back in and confront her history. It could just change her life forever…

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café was originally released as Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café. Now re-released with a new title and new cover, this version has been freshly edited and features several new chapters.

My Thoughts

Tara Porter is the owner the Chocolate Pot Café in Castle Street located in the North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitsborough. I met her in another Whitsborough Bay book, Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes. Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café is complete in itself, and you don’t need to have read any of the others in the series to enjoy it.

The Chocolate Pot Café is always busy as it’s very popular and also does extremely well at Christmastime. However, Tara finds the festive period something of a struggle as it sees the return of painful memories – she split from her family on Christmas Day and married her ex husband, Garth Tewkesbury on New Year’s Eve. This year, the Café is the venue for wedding and engagement party, so Tara is going to be rushed off her feet, though she will spend Christmas day itself with her giant house rabbit, Hercules, for company. Adding to her difficulties and woes, Jed Ferguson, the former owner of the building that now houses her Café, is back in town…

I easily warmed to Tara who had a sad and harrowing past. She was reluctant to let people into her life as a result of previous hurts and humiliations, thus spending the last fourteen years practically living as a recluse with only Hercules for companionship, unwilling as she was to emotionally engage with others except whilst working in her Café.

I adored the charming setting of Castle Street in the North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, especially as I have lived near the area myself. Tara’s Chocolate Pot Café was one of a group of shops on the street and the proprietors of them all complemented this delightful story. Jessica Redland’s descriptions were perfect and I dreamt of walking down the cobbles and popping into the various shops located there.

The Christmas theme was extremely enchanting with it’s festive allure and the story’s overall tone was mostly snug and magical, bringing with it all that delicious chocolatey goodness and sweet, heady aromas. Along with the pleasing characters, dashes of a smouldering romance and an abundance of scrummy sounding treats, there were also some quite dark and shady parts, heart breaking incidents, and touching moments. All in all, Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café is a lovely, heartwarming, as well as an emotional novel that I have no hesitation in recommending. I look forward to reading more from Jessica Redland.

Thank you to Jessica Redland, Boldwood Books and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this novel at my request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

Follow Jessica : Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog | Bookbub Mailing list sign up 

Buy Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe

Amazon UK  

Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!

Until Next Time, 

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Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes by Jessica Redland | Book Review Tour 

I am delighted to join the blog tour for Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes by Jessica Redland today! My thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for my stop and the review copy!

About the Book

Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes
 
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

It’s December on Castle Street; the fairy lights are twinkling, snow has settled and the festive season is in full swing.

For Carly, the owner of Carly’s Cupcakes, it’s the busiest time of year getting everyone’s Christmas treats ready on time. However with her clumsy sister, Bethany, as a co-worker, it’s proving a difficult task. They say you shouldn’t mix work with family. Maybe they have a point…

As Christmas approaches, Carly is also eagerly awaiting the return of her best friend to Whitborough Bay. Liam has no idea he’s been the object of her affection since their schooldays. After years of pining after him, can Carly pluck up the courage to finally tell him how she really feels by 25th December?

Could a little festive magic make all of Carly’s wishes come true this Christmas…?

A heartwarming, short festive story of friendship and family from bestseller Jessica Redland. You can find out what happens to Carly next through exploring her best friend Tara’s story in Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café.

This is a new and updated version of Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes which has been previously published.

My Thoughts

Although I haven’t yet read any of Jessica Redland’s other novels, including any from this Whitsborough Bay series, the attractive cover design of this one caught my eye and I thought the premise of the book sounded wonderful. Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes was a lovely story and I especially liked the protagonist, whom I found to be caring and efficient, if rather long-suffering, as well as being someone to whom I could really relate. Carly’s hapless and disorganised sister, Bethany, has been working alongside her in the cupcake bakery for four months and the contributions from Bethany were appreciated as she attempted to master the art of decorating sponge cakes.

I adored the charming setting of Castle Street in the North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, especially as I have lived near the area myself. The Christmas theme was extremely enchanting with it’s festive allure and the story’s overall tone was so snug and uplifting, bringing with it all that delicious homemade baking and the heady aromas of sugar, icing and cupcakes, not to mention the snow angels!

This was a beautifully written, heartwarming story of love, friendship, community spirit, dreams, second chances, and forgiveness. Dashes of sparkling romance and friction kept things fizzing and everything was wrapped up very nicely in the end.

A wonderful novella with a really strong Christmas feel, this is a book that I will certainly be recommending to friends and family.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Boldwood Books via Rachel’s Random Resources and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

Follow Jessica : Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Blog | Bookbub Mailing list sign up 

Buy Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes

Amazon UK  

Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!

Until Next Time, 

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Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay by Katie Ginger | Book Review Tour 

I am delighted to join the blog tour for Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay by Katie Ginger today! My thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for my stop and the review copy!

About the Book

 
Grab your strawberries and cream and get ready to return to the beautiful Swallowtail Bay!
 
Summer is in full swing and the locals are getting excited for the launch of the Swallowtail Bay strawberry food festival. But will all run smoothly when festival organiser Hetty’s heart is torn between lord of the manor John Thornhill and successful bakery owner Ben?

My Thoughts…

Although I haven’t yet read the first book in Katie Ginger’s wonderful ‘Swallowtail Bay’ series the attractive cover design of this one caught my eye and I thought the premise of the book sounded fabulous. Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay was a really lovely story and I especially liked the main character, event planner Hetty Colman, to whom I could really relate. She was rather amusing, feisty and confident and I loved the Summer theme with it’s festive charm and watching Hetty and John’s relationship bloom. It was such fun overseeing them plan the strawberry festival. I wanted to be right there alongside them, especially when it came to the food tasting. The story’s overall tone which was so snug and uplifting, bringing with it all those delicious foodie treats.

This was a beautifully written, humorous story of love, friendship, dreams, accepting help, and overcoming obstacles. A dash of sparkling friction kept things fizzing and everything was wrapped up very nicely in the end.

A wonderful read with a really strong sunshiny feel, this is a book that I will certainly be recommending to friends and family.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Rachel’s Random Resources and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

KATIE GINGER lives in the South East of England, by the sea, and she really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay is her fifth novel. The first, Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay is available now. Her debut novel The Little Theatre on the Seafront was shortlisted for the Katie Fforde Debut Novel of the Year award, and her stand-alone Christmas novel Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage was a US Amazon bestseller. When she’s not writing, Katie spends her time drinking gin, or with her husband, trying to keep alive their two children, Ellie and Sam. And there’s also their adorable King Charles Spaniel, Wotsit (yes, he is named after the crisps!).

Follow Katie: www.keginger.com | Facebook  | Twitter | Instagram

Buy Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon AU | Amazon CA 

Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!

Until Next Time, 

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The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill | Blog Tour | Book Review 

I am delighted to join the holiday blog tour for The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill today! My thanks to Harlequin Publishing for the invitation to join. I was gifted a copy of The Summer Villa to read in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Info and Rating  

THE SUMMER VILLA
Author: Melissa Hill
ISBN: 9780778359982
Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Publisher: MIRA Books                                                                                                Genres: fiction, contemporary, women’s                                                                Rating: 5 stars

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Book Summary

When a little white lie becomes the story of your life, what if the truth comes out?

For three women, it’s a life-changing trip: one finds the man of her dreams, another discovers inspiration amidst Italian food and culture, while a chance encounter with a handsome local ushers in the ultimate life change for the third. But most importantly, it’s the beginning of a deep and lasting friendship between all three.

Now years later, Kim Weston – entrepreneur and owner of internationally successful Italian food and lifestyle business, The Sweet Life – has bought and restored the tumble-down villa to its former glory – and plans to reopen Villa Dolce Vita as a wellness/cultural retreat – a fitting honor to the root of her business inspiration.

To celebrate the villa’s grand opening, she and her Italian business partners are throwing a huge three-day party; flying a group of family, business and media contacts to the Amalfi Coast to join in the celebrations. And most importantly, the (still) close friends who started the journey with her: Annie and husband Nate, whose love story began at the villa, and single mum Eva, whose son was the result of an ill-advised Italian fling.

But in the run up to the planned weekend in Italy, it becomes clear that not everyone is happy about the party, nor are they on board with such ambitious plans for the location. And, as Villa Dolce Vita’s grand relaunch draws closer, old memories and past secrets come to light, and the three old friends are forced to question if anything that happened on that first fateful trip to the villa is at all what it seemed.

I Thought…

The Summer Villa, an engagingly sweet summer escape, saw me relaxing in a pretty villa in Italy – it was certainly an enchanting read! I revelled in losing myself to Melissa Hill’s fabulous novel. The characters were amicable and convivial, though flawed, but still a real pleasure to get to know.

Three women, Kim, Annie and Colette, all fleeing from their problems at home, pitch up at a crumbling villa in Italy, called Dolce Vita. The women all form a close bond, and their lives are forever changed. Five years later, successful entrepreneur Kim decides to buy and restore the charming villa, and along with some business associates, is now planning a three-day grand opening. It will be a perfect opportunity for the three great friends to reunite and spend some time together enjoying themselves on the Amalfi coast. Naturally, everything does not go as planned – secrets are unearthed and old memories are dredged up, all resulting in oodles of melodrama.

Melissa Hill has written a divine story that is bursting at the seams with vivid and exquisite descriptions of Italy and Villa Dolce Vita. All of the characters were adeptly developed and I often found myself wishing I could be there along with my new friends, Kim, Annie and Colette.

I thoroughly enjoy books with strong friendship themes so The Summer Villa was a perfect read for me. The author’s writing was just as I expected it would be, first-class, and the perfect pacing and compelling plot-line all added a touch of style to the novel.

With its exciting resolution, this is one story you won’t want to miss! Very highly recommended without any hesitation to anyone looking for their next great read.

Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin - MIRA and the author, Melissa Hill for the complimentary copy. This is my honest and totally voluntary review.

Meet the Author:

MELISSA HILL lives in south Dublin with her husband and daughter. A USA TODAY and international #1 bestseller, she is the author of 13 novels, including The Gift of a Charm and A Gift From Tiffany’s. The Gift of a Charm was a USA TODAY bestseller. Hailed “the queen of the big plot twist,” she combines all the warmth and humor of contemporary women’s fiction with plots that keep readers guessing from page to page. Melissa also cowrites forensic thrillers with her husband, Kevin, under the pseudonym Casey Hill, featuring crime scene investigator Reilly Steel. For more information, visit www.caseyhillbooks.com

Social Links: Website//Facebook//Twitter//Goodreads

Purchase at: Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Amazon // IndieBound // Harlequin // Walmart // Target // Google

Until Next Time, 

Featured

Finding Frances by Kelly Vincent | Book Review Tour | Giveaway 

I am delighted to join the review tour for Finding Frances by Kelly Vincent today! My thanks to Marianne & Judy at Goddess Fish Promotions for my stop and the review copy!

This post is part of a virtual review book tour organised by Goddess Fish Promotions, a Contemporary/ YA novel available now. 

Kelly Vincent will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card! Come back every day to interact with Kelly and to increase your chances of winning. Thanks for stopping by and lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

See below to sign up for the GIVEAWAY.

About the Book

Retta Brooks thinks her life is on track after convincing her overprotective mom to stop home-schooling her and allow her go to Buckley High. She comes home from a night out with friends to find that her whole world has changed, and she has extremely hard decisions to make. Not to mention finding the answers to questions some people would rather she not know. Is she strong enough for what lies ahead?

Read an Excerpt…

I observed the room while I ate. There seemed to be a lot more talking than actual eating. And kids were moving around all over the place, table to table, chatting with different people.

Then I watched the cowboy from Media Studies— Jack—walking purposefully toward me. Was he going to talk to me?

“Hi,” he said when he stood before me.

“Hi.”

“Why don’t you come sit with us?”

My face warmed. Did he think I was pitiful for sitting all by myself? And did I want to sit with him and his friends? What if they were all country like him?

He laughed. “Don’t worry, everybody’s nice.”

Now I was embarrassed by my overly long silence. “Okay, that sounds cool.” Then I added, “Thanks.”

“We’re over in the east corner, by the fire exit.”

I stood up—the chair screeched again—and picked up my tray. We snaked around tables to get to the corner table. He sat down, and the only open chair was next to him, so I set the tray down and squeezed in between him and a girl with long, blonde hair. A different one from the girl in English. There were lots of blonde girls here. I faked a brave face just as Jack said, “Hey, guys, this is Retta.”

My Thoughts…

Kelly Vincent’s Finding Frances is a wonderfully insightful and intriguing coming-of-age story about a girl searching for her family’s history.

As the story opens, Retta Brooks is being home-schooled by her apparently obsessive and possessive mum, Jenny. Retta has managed to persuade her mum to send her to the local Comprehensive – Buckley High School. Although language geek Retta has not mixed with others, be they either children of a similar age or adults, nevertheless, she manages to find herself a few friends on her first day. What follows is a fascinating and exciting tale as the reader gets a glimpse into the life of a girl being allowed to grow-up surrounded by both friends and foes. But there is one massive problem – Jenny. Retta’s mum hasn’t always been totally honest with her, so Retta dives headlong into her mother’s past, desperate to seek the truth about her mum and consequently, herself. But what will those discoveries reveal, and to what end?

With its fair dolloping of typical teenage angst including; anxieties relating to acceptance; fitting-in; first love; and friendships, to name only a few, Kelly Vincent’s Finding Frances was a great read. The author’s characterisation was spot-on, regardless of whether the particular individual curried favour with me or not, as all had their relevant parts to play. Apart from Retta, who was clever, surprisingly outgoing and respectful, I also liked Jack for his perseverance and good-nature. I took rather a dislike to Retta’s Aunt Samantha virtually from her first emergence, as she appeared mistrustful and secretive, and I couldn’t quite shake off that feeling.

The plot was evenly paced – quick enough and easy to follow, but never allowing for boredom or tedium to take root, holding my interest perfectly. Kelly Vincent’s writing was elegant and mature, not always seen in the YA genre. The ending was unexpected though fulfilling, and it befitted the story.

Overall, Finding Frances is a delightful novel and I recommend it with confidence, so please don’t miss out!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Goddess Fish Promotions at my request and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

Kelly Vincent wrangles data weekdays and spends the rest of her time playing with words. She grew up in Oklahoma but has moved around quite a bit, with Glasgow, Scotland being her favorite stop. She now lives near Seattle with three cats who definitely help her write her stories. She’s also working toward the Red Earth Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at Oklahoma City University.

Author Links: Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | Website | Instagram

Book links:

Giveaway!

Kelly Vincent will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

Click below to enter and good luck!

Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!

March 9: Andi’s Young Adult Books
March 9: Enchanting Reviews
March 16: Lost in a Book After a Day of Social Work
March 16: The Avid Reader
March 23: Fabulous and Brunette
March 23: Brianne’s Book Reviews
March 30: Harlie’s Books
March 30: Phoebe’s Rainbow World

Until Next Time, 

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Beyond the Margin by Jo Jackson | Book Review Tour | Giveaway 

@rararesources @JoJackson589

I am delighted to join the blog tour for Beyond the Margin by Jo Jackson today! My thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for my stop and the review copy!

This post is part of a blog book tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources, a 244 page contemporary literary novel available now. 

Giveaway to win signed copies of Beyond the Margin and Too Loud a Silence by Jo Jackson. (UK only)

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win signed copies of Beyond the Margin and Too Loud a Silence by Jo Jackson (UK only). Thanks for stopping by and lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

See below to sign up for the GIVEAWAY.

About the Book

 
Is living on the edge of society a choice? Or is choice a luxury of the fortunate?
 
Joe, fighting drug addiction, runs until the sea halts his progress. His is a faltering search for meaningful relationships.
 
‘Let luck be a friend’, Nuala is told but it had never felt that way. Abandoned at five years old survival means learning not to care. Her only hope is to take control of her own destiny.
 
The intertwining of their lives makes a compelling story of darkness and light, trauma, loss and second chances.

My Thoughts…

Beyond the Margin by Jo Jackson was a truly exceptional read.

The story follows the journeys of Michael Joseph (Joe) McCurdy and Nuala who live their lives generally shunned and misunderstood by society – one through choice, and the other because of circumstance.

The story is told via alternating chapters narrated by the two main characters, Joe and Nuala. The author writes with wonderful clarity. I loved the descriptions of the places, nature, countryside, coast, animals and lifestyle where the main characters lived, particularly in the case of Nuala, during her time at the farm cottage in rural Ireland, in the first part of the story.

Both Nuala and Joe were vividly and sensitively portrayed, and all of the characters were varied and real, each with their own recognisable personality.

Although there was tragedy, grief, loss and death aplenty, this was balanced by events which were somewhat more uplifting. I adored the arrival of collie puppy Clemmie in Joe’s life, and for Nuala, for whom reading was a pleasure, there was the beginnings of a heartwarming bond between her English schoolteacher, Mrs Leafe.

Beyond the Margin was definitely a page-turner, desperate as I was to learn the fates of Nuala and her father. This could easily have been a deeply depressing novel but within this story there was also hope and redemption. Jo Jackson created characters who I could not help but care about.

Elegantly and maturely written, I would recommend Beyond the Margin to anyone looking for a good read about families. A fulfilling cocktail of raw, punchy, and captivating delight!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel, at my request, from Rachel’s Random Resources and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

Jo Jackson reads books and writes them too. Having worked with some of the most vulnerable people in society she has a unique voice apparent in her second novel Beyond the Margin. She was a nurse, midwife and family psychotherapist and now lives in rural Shropshire with her husband. She loves travelling and walking as well as gardening, philosophy and art. Her first novel Too Loud a Silence is set in Egypt where Jo lived for a few years with her husband and three children. Events there were the inspiration for her book which she describes as ‘a story she had to write’.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads |

Purchase/Book Links: Amazon US * Amazon UK * Jo Jackson * Goodreads *

Giveaway!

Giveaway to win signed copies of Beyond the Margin and Too Loud a Silence by Jo Jackson. (UK only)

Click below to enter and good luck!

*Terms and Conditions – UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!

Until Next Time, 

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A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison | Blog Tour | Book Review 

I am delighted to join the blog tour for A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison today! My thanks to Harlequin Publishing for the invitation to join. I was gifted a copy of A Love Hate Thing to read in exchange for my honest review. 

Book Info and Rating

Hardback, 464 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Inkyard Press
ISBN 133501604X (ISBN13: 9781335016041)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Romance / Contemporary                             Ages 13 And Up

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Book Summary

A fantastic enemies to lovers romance about an It girl whose world is upended when a boy from the past moves into her house after tragedy strikes. For fans of Ibi Zoboi’s Pride, Mary H. K. Choi and Samira Ahmed. Wattpad author Whitney D. Grandison’s traditional publishing debut.

When they’re stuck under one roof, the house may not be big enough for their hate…or their love.

When Tyson Trice finds himself tossed into the affluent coastal community of Pacific Hills, he’s ready for the questions, the stares, and the total feeling of not belonging in the posh suburb. Not that he cares. After recovering from being shot and surviving the mean streets of Lindenwood, he doesn’t care about anyone or anything. He doesn’t even care how the rest of his life will play out.

In Pacific Hills, image is everything. Something that, as the resident golden girl, Nandy Smith knows all too well. She’s spent most of her life building the pristine image that it takes to fit in. After learning that her parents are taking in a former childhood friend, Nandy fears her summer plans, as well as her reputation, will go up in flames. It’s the start of summer vacation and the last thing Nandy needs is some juvenile delinquent from the ’Wood crashing into her world.

Stuck together in close quarters, Trice and Nandy are in for some long summer nights. Only, with the ever-present pull back to the Lindenwood streets, it’ll be a wonder if Trice makes it through this summer at all.

I Thought…

Whitney D. Grandison writes very enjoyably about friendship and love in this coming of age story.

After recovering from being shot, seventeen-year-old Tyson Trice finds himself living with the well-off Smith family – Maxine (Max) and Parker their daughter, Nandy and adopted Thai son, Jordy. Having spent most of his life, so far, surviving the rough streets of Lindenwood, Trice, as he likes to be known, doesn’t care about anyone or anything. Meanwhile privileged Nandy has spent most of her young life concerned about her image and status in her hometown of the Pacific Hills, California. Having just discovered that her parents are bringing a juvenile delinquent into the family home Nandy fears for her summer holiday plans, as well as her well-cultivated, golden girl reputation. With the two of them living under the same roof, will the house be big enough for all their hate and love?

A Love Hate Thing is told from the alternative viewpoints of Nandy and Trice, an approach that generally works very well for me in this type of story. I anticipated having some problems identifying with both of the main characters, not being a part of the intended audience or target group, although I was surprised to find that this wasn’t the case.

It was fascinating to learn about Trice and Nandy’s former close friendship when they were both aged nine. Both Nandy and Trice face real prejudices as they get to know each other again. I found that protagonist Trice’s viewpoints in particular, were a revelation both in the trauma of his past and the way he believes himself to be undeserving of better things. Whitney D. Grandison’s portrayal of loyal and intelligent Trice being catapulted into Nandy’s world of the über-rich is engrossing and poignant, especially as image and conventionality in Pacific Hills are everything. Trice’s strength and gentleness is arresting as is the need to hide his ingrained grief with impassiveness and a hard exterior.

I gradually grew to enjoy the character of Nandy. Although she displays class prejudice towards Trice in the beginning, I understood where her opinions stemmed from. Her friendliness, kindness, and welcoming nature gradually shone through. I really relished reading about Nandy’s diverse and congenial group of friends which was a very strong element of the novel for me.

Nandy and Trice each struggled with their vulnerabilities and it was interesting to watch them let down their guards as the story progressed. A Love Hate Thing is a gritty character driven story about the potential for change. It is about love, acceptance, friendship, loyalty, trust, and second chances. It also takes a good look at the problems society has with race and social status.

From the first chapter till the last, I found myself connecting with this compelling story. From Nandy and Trice’s personal development to their relationship with one another, I felt as though I knew them personally.

Read A Love Hate Thing if you are partial to a good coming-of-age story full to the brim with interesting characters, strong on bittersweet and sugarcoated friendships and plenty of angst.

Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin-Inkyard Press and the author, Whitney D. Grandison for the complimentary copy. This is my honest and totally voluntary review.

Meet the Author:

Whitney D. Grandison was born and raised in Akron, Ohio, where she currently resides. A lover of stories since she first picked up a book, it’s no surprise she’s taken to writing her own. Some of her works can be found on Wattpad, one of the largest online story sharing platforms, where she has acquired over 30,000 followers and an audience of over fifteen million dedicated readers. Connect with Whitney on Instagram or Twitter.

Buy Links: HarlequinAmazonBarnes & NobleIndie BoundKoboBooks-a-MillionGoogle Play

Until Next Time, 

Featured

Hanami and Hazakura by V. C. Buckley | Review Tour 

@vccbuckley @GoddessFish #Hanami

I am delighted to join the review tour for two books Hanami and Hazakura by V. C. Buckley today! My thanks to Marianne & Judy at Goddess Fish Promotions for the chance to join and the wonderful review copies!

This post is part of a virtual book tour organised by Goddess Fish Promotions. V. C. Buckley will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

See below to sign up for the GIVEAWAY.

About the Book

“I am no princess… I am Yakuza,”

SAKURA SHINTANI is the heir to the Dragon Clan—Japan’s most notorious crime dynasty. But can she keep this fact a secret from the annoying brats of Oniyuri Academy?

She must try to master her demons while trying not to hurt anyone. But having the face of an angel puts her on everyone’s radar… including the arrogant heir to Asia’s most powerful tycoon, KENJIN KIYOHARA. He senses the danger, but Sakura is too interesting to be left alone.

Excerpt

He snatched her backpack and swung it around his shoulder.

“Hey!” she protested, lunging for it.

Jin stepped aside, evading her grasp. He smiled to himself, taking long strides toward his car. He could hear her feet going after him.

Mr. Fujimaru was already by the car, holding the door open. His guards stood waiting like goons by the sidewalk.

“Look,” she said, grabbing his elbow before he could duck into his car, “I don’t care if you rescued me. I am not going with you! I don’t even know you!”

Her words cut right through him.

She lunged for her bag again, but Jin threw it into the farthest corner of the back seat.

He looked at her tilting his head down, their height difference apparent. He thought about what she said.

She doesn’t know me? His forehead creased. Was he really that invisible to her? He felt like someone had just slapped him across the face. He took one long look at her before ducking into his car.

He was confused. Any girl would jump at the chance to be with him—she should have been honored and groveling at his feet for rescuing her! What was wrong with her?

He felt her slide into the seat next to him, her knees slightly touching the side of his thigh. But before he could think, she reached across him, leaning her upper body against his lap to grab her bag. Jin froze.

She straightened back up, clutching her bag to her chest. Her eyes met his with a piercing glare, and a wave of heat suddenly swept over him.

Jin looked away, landing his gaze on her reflection on the car door window. Even with an angry face, she still looked so beautiful.

Jin smiled, tilting his head to the side to get a better look. I should stop this, he told himself, but it was too late. She was too interesting to be left alone.

My Thoughts on Hanami

If your favoured reading material is a compelling tale with a good sprinkling of romance, love, humour, action, determination, positive attitude, imperfection, bitchiness, evil and relationships then Hanami by V. C. Buckley is a must-read for you as you will adore this book!

Right from the get-go there was so much happening in this wonderful tale of love and romance! I was totally taken with the two protagonists Sakura and Jin in this breath-taking and action-packed story. I loved stunning mafia princess Sakura for her amazing zest for life, her strength of character and her incredible poise, even in the face of extreme adversity. For his part, twenty-year-old Jin was incredibly sweet, terribly good-natured and a real romanticist.

Author, V. C. Buckley had really worked wonders with all of the characters in this fabulous story and I was very fond of most of them: Sakura’s Granddad, Mr Shintani; Nobu, one of Sakura’s personal guards; Jin’s friends,Vaughn and Jason; the downtrodden Scot and classmate, Yuna Lerwick; even the brilliantly named and nattily dressed teacher, Mrs Selfridge, to name only a few.

Even the less personable ones – particularly bitchy classmate Miyu and Sakura’s evil Uncle Ryuu – still had very good parts to play and did not dampen my enthusiasm for this fascinating tale.

Aside from the brilliant cast of characters, another selling point of Hanami was the awesome plot. It moved along at a really wicked pace and I loved the author’s general writing-style. There was no room for repetitiveness or boredom here!

The story was, for the post part, highly entertaining with plenty of humour and comedic moments. There were however, some serious issues as well, such as coping with with absent parents, dealing with awkward relationships and coping with class, race and wealth differences. There were some intensely violent scenes to contend with, too. I was completely drawn into this novel right from the start, relishing all of the absolutely priceless scenes and also the more shocking ones.

I was rooting all the way through, not just for Sakura herself, but for most of the other delightful characters also and V. C. Buckley rounded things off very masterfully which I fully appreciated. It was very hard to say goodbye to them and I found myself wishing many of them well for the future.

I recommend Hanami without a flicker of hesitation, so don’t miss out!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Goddess Fish Promotions at my own request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Hanami – Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

V.C. Buckley was born in an isolated government facility and shipped off to an Island in Southeast Asia where she grew up braving tropical thunderstorms and warding off evil villains. At sixteen she was discovered by an agent and jetted off all over the world. Her stories come from gritty moments of her childhood to the glitz of her travels. She now lives in Manila with her husband, two kids and an herb garden that has hijacked her balcony.

Website:https://www.vcbuckley.com
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/vcccbuckley
Twitter:https://www.twitter.com/vccbuckley
Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/v.c.buckley

Goodreads Author Page:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17167092.V_C_Buckley
Goodreads Book Page:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36250218-hanami
Amazon Author Page:http://amzn.to/2FhqxCH Bookbub:https://www.bookbub.com/authors/v-c-buckley

Buy links:

My Thoughts on Hazakura

Hazakura opens with Sakura experiencing nightmares following her Uncle Ryuu’s attack on her and Ryuu himself remains in hospital fighting for his own life, trying to recover from his near-fatal injuries. But somebody stabs him, too. Who considers him that much of an enemy, even more than Sakura-san?

 Meanwhile, Jin’s dad has made an important decision – he has decided that he would like to retire as he has turned seventy and intends to hand the family’s business empire over to Jin. Jin is alarmed at the proposal as he hasn’t even finished the Oniyuri Heirs program yet. His father also intends to remarry, much to Jin’s horror as he hates his father’s mistress – Pam.

While these events are unfolding, a young woman steps forward claiming to be Takara Shintani, Ryuu’s daughter, unbeknown to the rest of the Shintani clan. Takara thinks one of the Shintani clan killed Ryuu and she is going to make it her mission to find out who.

 Hazakura is another great story told in alternating chapters with Sakura and Jin as the protagonists. The couple remain united however, Sakura has very grave concerns that Jin’s background, upbringing and general lifestyle are so different to her own and many people seem to believe that he is her ultimate weakness. Will he be able to cope with a permanent relationship with the beautiful mafia princess?

 For me, Hazakura was equally as action-packed and thrilling as Hanami and I loved the fabulously crafted, artful and fulfilling ending that really had my mind working overtime. I highly recommend this book and its prequel without any shadow of doubt.

I received a complimentary  copy of this novel at my own request from Goddess Fish Promotions and this review is my own unbiased opinion.

Hazakura – Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Giveaway!

V.C. Buckley will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Click below to enter and good luck!

Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!

October 15: books are love
October 15: Our Town Book Reviews
October 22: Sharing Links and Wisdom (both books)
October 22: The Reading Addict
October 29: White Sky Project (both books)
October 29: Brianne’s Book Reviews (both books)
November 4: Iron Canuck Reviews and More (both books)
November 4: Fabulous and Brunette (both books)

Until Next Time, 

Birdie & Jude by Phyllis H. Moore | Blog Tour 

@phyllishmoore @rararesources #Birdie&Jude

I am delighted to join the blog tour for Birdie & Jude by Phyllis H. Moore today! My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for the chance to join and the wonderful review copy!

Book Summary

A moving novel of loss, regret, denial, and discovery on Galveston Island, from the author of Opal’s Story and The Ember Months.

Birdie has lived to regret many of her decisions, but she doesn’t regret offering a stranger, Jude, shelter from an approaching hurricane. Their serendipitous meeting will form a bond that will change their lives forever.

In a character driven story with memories of the protests and inequality plaguing the 1960’s, Birdie’s reached middle age and questions her life. Jude is striking out on her own, but has been derailed by a fatal accident claiming her only friend. Although their backgrounds and lives are vastly different, they recognize something in the other that forges a friendship.

As their relationship solidifies, they share glimpses of their pasts. Birdie is a product of the ’60’s, an aging hippie, with a series of resentments. She had a sheltered childhood in an upper class family. Her parents longed to see her make the Texas Dip at the Mardi Gras ball. Jude, however, entered foster care as an infant. Her parents, victims of a murder/suicide, left her and her siblings orphaned and separated.

There is something about their connection that strikes Birdie as familiar. Can souls know each other in different lives? Birdie struggles with the awareness that she has had regrets and hasn’t lived an authentic life, while Jude faces an uncomfortable truth about her own. It has all the feels.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07BLMR63Y

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BLMR63Y

I Thought…

Birdie and Jude was a lovely though emotional and heartbreaking story about two women who meet by chance on the beach just before the arrival of a hurricane. What followed was an incredibly moving novel about the difficulties each of them has had to face in life and how these events have shaped them, as well as an exploration of their new found friendship since their meeting.

Written in alternating chapters, I loved Phyllis H. Moore’s writing style which was very easy to read. Both characters were well portrayed and very engaging but I felt more of an affinity with Birdie than with Jude. I understood Birdie more whereas there were times throughout the book that I found myself doubting Jude and certainly there was more of a mystery about her. This feeling continued until all became clear towards the end.

The book dealt with some difficult subjects with sympathy and clarity, but never diminishing their importance. It briefly touched on issues of sexuality, racial prejudice, inequality, self-doubt and loss among others. The author’s exquisite writing had me in tears, in parts, but there were also humorous moments to balance these.

I was engrossed in the story-line right until the fulfilling, though bitter-sweet ending which was something of a surprise, although all of the clues were there. This was a wonderful page-turner with a real warmth to it. I highly recommend this very worthwhile read.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my own request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

Author Bio – Phyllis H. Moore wants to live life experiences more than once: doing it, writing about it, and reading about it. The atmosphere of the south draws her in and repels her. The characters are rich with dysfunction and redemption, real. She’s had two careers and two retirements.

 Both careers gave her inspiration for her novels: The Sabine Series, Sabine, Billy’s Story,  Josephine’s Journals and Secrets of Dunn House, Opal’s Story, Tangled, a Southern Gothic Yarn, and The Bright Shawl, Colors of Tender Whispers, The Ember Months, Birdie & Jude, and an anthology of spooky short stories inspired by real places and events, The Bridge on Jackson Road. In 2018 she also released a new genre for her, A Dickens of a Crime, a Meg Miller Cozy Mystery. She has authored one nonfiction book, Retirement, Now What? Phyllis has been published by Caffeinated Press in the anthology, Brewed Awakenings 2, Fifteen Tales to Jolt Your Mind Awake. She blogs on her web site http://www.phyllishmoore.com. Follow her on Pinterest and Facebook.

Phyllis is a retired social worker and former owner/operator of a small bed and breakfast. She’s lived in the rural areas and cities of south Texas. She currently lives on Galveston Island with her husband, Richard.

 Social Media Links – https://www.facebook.com/phyllishmooreAuthor/

https://www.pinterest.com/corazone/

http://www.phyllishmoore.com

@phyllishmoore


Be sure to check out the rest of the bloggers on the blog tour!

Until Next Time, 

Flawless by Jennifer McGill-Sadera | Book Review 

@jennifermcgillsadera @lolasbooktours #flawless

I am delighted to share my opinion for Flawless by Jennifer McGill-Sadera today! My thanks to Lola at Lolas Book Tours for the invitation and the wonderful review copy received from Jennifer!

Book Summary

Nobody’s perfect. Except Lia Copeland. She’s flawless. And worshipped. And hated. From her perfectly proportioned figure and enviable bone structure to her instinctual talent for clothing design and cavalier attitude, Lia’s the woman every other woman wants to be and every man wants to have. Catapulted from sigh-maker in the high-school halls to superstardom in the fashion world, she makes it look easy. A girl like that has everything; every reason to be happy. Then why does Lia Copeland just want everyone to leave her the hell alone? A story about the choices made in the wake of travail and tragedy, it explores relationships with all their messy and marvelous moments and magnifies the beauty, wonder and endurance of first love.

You can find Flawless on Goodreads

You can buy Flawless here:

Amazon (Kindle) * Amazon (paperback)

I Thought…

Flawless was an amazing novel!

It was edgy, racy and suspenseful but it was also sad and melancholic. The book told the story of Lia Copeland and her time as an adolescent. She had such a unique bunch of friends who shared her romances and her fun times, her adventures and her sorrows. They helped her to work out the point of life.

Jennifer McGill-Sadera has drawn a super set of characters in Flawless. They were all very individual, yet they all managed to fit together, which is rare, I think, but works really well in the novel. As I read Flawless I couldn’t help but reflect on my own life, remembering certain songs, sayings and places that have meaning and impact on me. It was very easy to relate to this novel as a whole and I attribute that to Jennifer McGill-Sadera’s lovely writing style. She beautifully articulated so many heartfelt emotions of love, loss, hurt, forgiveness and tragedy to name just a few.

Flawless was not a quick or light read by any means, but it did make me think and feel. Really packing an emotional punch, I highly recommend Flawless if you want to read a novel that will resonate with you for a long time.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from the author, Jennifer McGill-Sadera. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤 🖤

About The Author

Jennifer McGill-Sadera first worked in the publishing industry as a junior copywriter for NAL/Penguin. She has written and edited for newspapers and magazines as a free-lancer and on the staffs of major women’s publications “Woman’s World” and “Redbook.” Her New Adult novel “Flawless” is her first published book, though she admits to writing three previous unpublished books “just for fun.” A nature lover, she recently became a certified horticulturist and has a side business designing flower gardens. She and her husband live in upstate New York with their two kids, two dogs and a lop-eared rabbit, who, incidentally, has a starring role in “Flawless.”

 You can find and contact Jennifer here:

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.sadera 

– Twitter: https://twitter.com/jennifersadera 

– Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7313826.Jennifer_McGill_Sadera 

– Librarything: http://www.librarything.com/profile/jennifer.Sadera 

Until Next Time,