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Trail of Secrets by Nora LeDuc | Review Tour 

@NoraLeDuc @GoddessFish #TrailofSecrets

I am delighted to join the review tour for Trail of Secrets by Nora LeDuc today! My thanks to Marianne & Judy at Goddess Fish Promotions for the chance to join and the wonderful review copy!

About the Book

Who killed the vivacious, Emily McGuire and laid out her body at the water tower? Orderly, rule-follower Mia McGuire is the least likely person to answer this question. Mia’s life has taken a downward spiral with her sister Emily’s murder, the breakup with her boyfriend, and losing her editing position. But when the homicide investigation crawls, Mia can’t stand by doing nothing. She hires the problematic Lucas Davis to help her find the truth.

After suffering trauma from a shooting on the job,  Lucas Davis resigns from the local force. Once known as a daredevil in his small Florida town, he has become an embarrassment to his dad, the police chief. When Mia offers him investigative work, he quickly accepts the job to prove he still possesses the skills and guts to solve the case. Together, these two unlikely sleuths form an intimate bond and are determined to beat the odds. They set out to bring a terrifying killer to justice before he targets them next.

I Thought…

If your favoured reading material is a compelling tale with a good sprinkling of mystery, duplicity, manipulation, obsession, anger, hatred, violence and murder, then feel free to read Trail of Secrets by Nora LeDuc.

Mia McGuire’s younger sister Emily has been found dead but who killed the vivacious, fun-loving young woman? Amenable, sweet, and reliable Mia is the least likely person to answer this question. Mia’s life has taken a downward spiral since Emily’s murder as she struggles to cope with the breakup with her boyfriend and losing her editing job. But with the murder investigation moving at such a slow pace, Mia feels the need to chivvy things along. She hires the problematic but charming Lucas Davis to help her find out the truth.

Lucas has resigned from the local police force after suffering from trauma resulting from a shooting. He has become an embarrassment to his police chief dad so he accepts the investigative work offered to him by Mia, to prove he still possesses the grit, skills and nerve to solve the case. Together, the two unlikely sleuths form an intimate bond and work together to try to identify the perpetrator before they become the next victims.

The novel was told from the perspective of Mia and I was drawn into this novel by Nora LeDuc’s clever writing. I was never bored but instead, was lured deeper and deeper into this really engrossing tale.The author managed to turn whatever I was thinking completely upside down as I tried to guess the murderer’s identity. The plot and the storyline were both fascinating in themselves but the sizzling romance between Mia and Lucas really made this a special read for me. I fully appreciated the skill shown by the author in creating a perfect balance between the mystery and the spiciness and tenderness of the story.

Packed with nuance and superb twisty moments, I really didn’t know where the story would end up and the solution, when it came, was terrific and hugely satisfying. Trail of Secrets is a book that is certainly well worth reading.

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

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

Nora grew up in rural New England where she currently lives with her family. She enjoys visiting and spending time with her friends, the Winettes, in Florida, where she continues to write. Trail of Secrets is her sixteenth book. Her next story is already in progress.

You can find Nora on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook and her website: Noraleduc.com. She also contributes to the Romance Gems’ Blog every month.

Amazon buy link:

Giveaway!

Nora LeDuc will be awarding a $25 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!

October 7: Brianne’s Book Reviews
October 7: Sharing Links and Wisdom
October 14: Locks, Hooks and Books
October 14: Long and Short Reviews
October 21: Lost in a Book After a Day of Social Work
October 28: Fabulous and Brunette
October 28: writing is my oxygen

Until Next Time, 

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Featured

The Fixer Upper by Maggie Mae Gallagher | Book Blast 

@magmaegallagher @GoddessFish #TheFixerUpper

I am delighted to join the book blast for The Fixer Upper by Maggie Mae Gallagher today! My thanks to Marianne & Judy at Goddess Fish Promotions for the chance to join and the wonderful review copy!

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maggie Mae Gallagher will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

About the Book

Abby Callier is more in love with Shakespearean heroes than any real man, and she’s beginning to wonder if there is life for her outside the pages of a book. It doesn’t help that her esteemed parents tend to view her as they would one of their science experiments gone wrong. On the eve of finishing her dissertation, she escapes her staid existence to live in the house she inherited from her Great Aunt Evie in the small town of Echo Springs, Colorado. Because, let’s face it, when a woman starts comparing her life to horror films, it might be time for a break.

Sheriff Nate Barnes believes in law and order and carefully building the life you want. In his spare time, he has been remodeling his house in the hope that one day it will be filled with the family he makes. But Nate doesn’t like drama or complications and tends to avoid them at all costs. And yet, when Miss Abigail Callier, his newest neighbor, beans him with a nine iron, he can’t help but wonder if she might just be the complication he’s been searching for all along. It doesn’t hurt that he discovers a journal hidden away by the previous tenant and decides to use Old Man Turner’s advice to romance Abby into his life.

Abby never expected her next-door neighbor, the newly dubbed Sheriff Stud Muffin, to be just the distraction her world needed. The problem is she doesn’t know whether she should make Echo Springs her home, or if this town is just a stopover point in her life’s trajectory. And she doesn’t want to tell Nate that she might not be sticking around—even though she should because it’s the right thing to do, the honest thing—because then all the scintillatingly hot kisses with the Sheriff will come to an abrupt halt. Did she mention that he’s a really great kisser?

I Thought…

A beguiling, delightful and bewitching tale of romance and new beginnings told with passion and zest.

Following on from her Great Aunt’s Evie’s passing and in a bid to escape her parents controlling ways, hoping to steer her life into a direction of her own choosing, Abby Callier has decided to temporarily relocate to her Great Aunt’s old Victorian house in Echo Springs, Colorado. There, she meets Nate Barnes, a charming and extremely sexy Sheriff and neighbour and they both feel an instant, dynamic attraction to one another. They also both think that their lives currently lack completeness or at least that certain something.

I loved down-to earth, straightforward, though flawed, Abby who tended to wear her heart on her sleeve. And kind, good-natured and amiable Nate, who was inclined to be more assured, orderly and methodical.

I really appreciated the author, Maggie Mae Gallagher’s easygoing style of writing. With its amusing dialogue there were many hilarious, laugh-out-loud moments, particularly when Nate’s Great Dane, Rufus was around.

The sizzle and desire between Abby and Nate kept things hot and spicy as I swiped through the pages on my e-reader and I finished The Fixer Upper in only a few hours!

A fantastic, sparkling, steamy read which was well worth the time invested and totally deserves my five stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Maggie Mae Gallagher via Bookfunnel at my own request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About The Author

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.
Visit her on social media here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MagMaeGallagher/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/magmaegallagher
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7846308.Maggie_Mae_Gallagher
Twitter: https://twitter.com/magmaegallagher
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/maggiegallagher
BookBub Author Page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/maggie-mae-gallagher

Don’t miss these exciting titles by Maggie Mae Gallagher!

The Mystic Series

REMEMBER ME: https://amzn.to/2GuwEpY
CASKET GIRL: https://amzn.to/2Dmw9MD

The Cantati Chronicles

RUPTURED: https://amzn.to/2GueJ2L
ANOINTED: https://amzn.to/2Gu0Xgm
ASCENDED: https://amzn.to/2VRGSpz

And if you like your romance with a bit of spice and kink be sure to check out Maggie Mae Gallagher writing as Anya Summers on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Anya-Summers/e/B01EGTVRKC/

Amazon Buy Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Fixer-Upper-Maggie-Mae-Gallagher-ebook/dp/B07STXM5LF/ref=sr_1_1

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-fixer-upper-maggie-mae-gallagher/1132011648

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-fixer-upper-15

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maggie Mae Gallagher will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N 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!

September 2:

1: Fabulous and Brunette

2: Christine Young

3: Books to Light Your Fire

4: fundinmental

5: Romance Novel Giveaways

6: Danita Minnis

7: All the Ups and Downs

8: JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder

9: Sharing Links and Wisdom

10: Long and Short Reviews

September 3:

1: Literary Gold

2: Readeropolis

3: Lampshade Reader

4: Full Moon Dreaming

5: Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’

6: It’s Raining Books

September 4:

1: Harlie’s Books REVIEW

2: Our Town Book Reviews REVIEW

3: Read Your Writes Book Reviews

4: BooksChatter

5: FUONLYKNEW

6: The Avid Reader

7: Two Ends of the Pen

8: Hearts and Scribbles

9: T’s Stuff

September 5:

1: Iron Canuck

2: Linda Nightingale, Author…Musings

3: Straight From the Library

4: Welcome to My World of Dreams

September 6:

1: Brianne’s Book Reviews REVIEW

2: Locks, Hooks and Books

3: Dawn’s Reading Nook

4: Joanne Guidoccio

5: Let Me tell You a Story

6: Author Deborah A Bailey

Until Next Time, 

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves | Review

About the Book

‘The most riveting, rewarding, refreshing novel I’ve read in years’ – Barbara Delinsky, bestselling author

What if you had a second chance at first love?

Annika Rose likes being alone. She feels lost in social situations, saying the wrong thing or acting the wrong way. She just can’t read people. She prefers the quiet solitude of books or playing chess to being around others. Apart from Jonathan. She liked being around him, but she hasn’t seen him for ten years. Until now that is. And she’s not sure he’ll want to see her again after what happened all those years ago.

Annika Rose likes being alone. Except that, actually, she doesn’t like being alone at all.

The Girl He Used to Know is an uplifting novel full of surprising revelations that keep you turning the page. Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Gail Honeyman, Jill Santopolo and Sliding Doors.

‘Tracey Garvis Graves has crafted an incredible story with a unique premise and characters… this book is beautiful.’ – Colleen Hoover, #1 New York Times bestselling author of It Ends with Us

‘I adore Tracey Garvis Graves’ work.’ – Sarah Pekkanen, best-selling co-author of The Wife Between Us

My Thoughts

Tracey Garvis Graves has totally astounded me with this evocative and emotional story. I haven’t read any of the other books by this author and so I had no real expectations other than the reviews I had seen and the plot synopsis. I was not prepared for the emotional suffering this book inflicted on my heart!

“The Girl He Used To Know” was one of the best love stories I have read for some time that had me enthralled from the start.

One of the things that made this book special was Annika Rose. As the main character, she was so easy to relate and warm to. I could completely identify with her social awkwardness and her many other issues – from being unsure of what those around her were thinking, to the constant need to scrutinise other people and copy their behaviour in an effort to fit in and be accepted as normal.

For his part, I loved Jonathan’s level of patience and understanding. He put others’ expectations aside even though he didn’t know how he could help Annika.

Tracey Garvis Graves created a set of characters with such complexity and depth, helping to make this love story quite special. There are so many books in this genre that, inevitably, comparisons will be drawn, however, this was a totally and fabulously unique story for me.

The book is told from the point of view of both Annika and Jonathan, going back and forth between their time in college and the present. As Annika and Jonathan alternately tell their respective stories, the reader gets to know more about the two of them and the events that caused their separation. The reader then comes to understand Annika’s problems, how she has been able to overcome them and how they have both developed as individuals.

Even though there were instances when this was a difficult read for me, I loved where Tracey Garvis Graves took her story, right through to its conclusion.

I know I have found another author to add to my ever-growing list of favourites. I thoroughly recommend this book as it is definitely worth a read.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Orion Publishing via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

The Little Book Café by Georgia Hill | Review

About The Book

Amy’s Story

Escape to the seaside for a new three-part series for fans of The Canal Boat Cafe and Willow Cottage

Amy, the manager of The Little Book Café, is a hopeless romantic who had her heart broken, but quietly refuses to give up on love.

With her friends Tash and Emma, not to mention their shared love of books and delicious cake from the café next door, Amy might just find the courage to fall for a real life romance this time…

Amy’s Story is the final instalment of The Little Book Café series so wrap up warm this Autumn and treasure this wonderful book.

My Thoughts

Author, Georgia Hill, has written another wonderful, sweet romance about life in Berecombe. Although I have not read the first two books in this series, I have read another of her fantastic books: ‘Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Café’ so I was expecting great things from this one. The first book was ‘The Little Book Café: Tash’s Story’, followed by ‘The Little Book Café: Emma’s Story’.

This was an easy, light read so I did not feel disadvantaged in any way not having read books one and two first, though it would have been preferable to me if I had read them in their intended sequence. 

Any book, either set in a bookshop or a café, will be of special interest to me, as was this one, with the added touch of a lovely book cover!

“The Little Book Café” is a feel-good story of romance, friendship and community spirit, but also angst and upset, set in Berecombe, a quaint seaside town in Devon, England. Most of the drama takes place in the bookshop/cafe where Amy, the protagonist, is the manager.

Georgia Hill has drawn some very likeable characters in this novella. Amy is very endearing, trustworthy and dependable, although a little lacking in self-esteem and I adored the touches of humour that added some interest to the story.

Georgia Hill’s writing style is really engaging and it was a good read particularly for the interplay of the different characters – the close friends, the bossy mother, the famous author and the stream of local towns-folk. With plenty of ups and downs along the way, I loved it!

Although the conclusion of the story was no great surprise, it was still a very fulfilling ending to a wonderful book that regularly had me laughing-out-loud and was, all-in-all, a very worthwhile and well-balanced read. This book was a perfect accompaniment to a large slice of chocolate cake and a cup of tea!

Thanks to NetGalley, HarperImpulse and the author, Georgia Hill, for my free ARC of The Little Book Café in exchange for an honest review.

#NetGalley #TheLittleBookCafé

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Amazon links to the first two books in the series

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Happy Reading!

The Summer Retreat by Sheila Roberts | Review

About The Book

Join USA TODAY best-selling author Sheila Roberts for a seaside escape to the beaches of Moonlight Harbor.

Celeste Jones has plans for a perfect summer with her boyfriend (and hopefully soon-to-be fiancé)—until he dumps her to be with the woman he’s had on the side for months. Heartbroken and furious, Celeste resolves to move on. When the going gets tough, the tough…okay, the not-so-tough go to the beach.

As soon as school lets out for the summer, she waves goodbye to her first-graders, packs up her bikini and heads for Moonlight Harbor, where she knows her big sister, Jenna, will receive her with open arms. Jenna could probably use some help at the Driftwood Inn, and Celeste is happy to do chores around the place in exchange for a relaxing summer escape. She just needs something—or someone—to distract her from her troubles.

Finding The One can be tricky, and Jenna is determined to make sure Celeste gets it right this time around. Not that Jenna’s an expert. She’s still trying to sort out her own love life. But if both sisters listen to their hearts, eventually they’re bound to discover that life—and love—is good at the beach.

My Thoughts

A Lovely Tale of Romance

Are you looking for a fantastic romance novel to take to the beach this Summer? Well, look no further because this is it! What a lovely and exciting book this was and a perfect and refreshing change from my usual, favourite genre.

“The Summer Retreat” is the third book in the ‘Moonlight Harbor’ series by best-seller author Sheila Roberts, the first book being ‘Welcome to Moonlight Harbor’, followed by ’Winter at the Beach’.

Although I’ve seen many of the author’s books around in my local library, the supermarket, and in bookshops, this is the first one I’ve read (I think) and I was not disappointed.

Celeste Jones is a primary school teacher and as the summer term has just come to an end, so has her relationship with her cheating boyfriend, Emerson. To drown her sorrows and re-evaluate her life, Celeste decides to visit her sister, Jenna who lives in a quaint town on the Washington coast where she runs the ‘Driftwood Inn’.

This was a well paced and very touching romance that had me hooked, even before I had swiped my e-reader to take me to the second page.

Sheila Roberts has drawn a pleasant, easy-going and genial character in Celeste. However, at thirty-six and a half, she thinks it’s about time she finds herself a husband who will not cheat on her and she has plans to settle down, have a family and live happily ever after.

“The Summer Retreat” was such a delightful, though predictable, tale  and once I had started reading, I found I was totally invested in the story. It held my interest right until the fulfilling conclusion.

I will be reading the first two books in the series and I eagerly wait to see what Sheila Roberts is going to be releasing next. This is a must-read for anyone who loves women’s fiction or romance novels, so you need to order your copy!

Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin – MIRA and the author, Sheila Roberts for the free advanced copy. This is my honest and totally voluntary review.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Four Stars

Happy Reading!

Pisces Hooks Taurus by Anyta Sunday | Review

About The Book

It’s a time for searching, and a time for finding, Pisces: keep casting your line and you will hook what you’re looking for.

Zane has it all planned out: land the perfect Meet Cute, fall in love, and live happily ever after.

Should be simple enough if he put his mind to it. A little creativity and some thinking outside of the box, and voila, he’d be married to the woman of his dreams.

It would be perfect.

And it would be before his visa ran out.

But why are his feelings running wild now that the pressure’s on? Why is his picture-perfect plan turning into a muddled mess of morphed metaphors he can’t make sense of any more?

Just as well he’s met an English professor to help. And even though their first meet is anything but cute, this down-to-earth teacher may just be the realist Zane needs to ground him and give him a shot at love after all.

Don’t cast your line too wide, Pisces. Your perfect catch may already have bitten.

Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love #4) is an MM opposites-attract romantic comedy featuring an unapologetic romantic and a broken realist.

More wit, banter and bad puns – and even more heart-stopping slow burn!

Can be read as a standalone.

Tropes: friends-to-lovers, slow burn, will-they-or-won’t-they

Genre: New Adult, lighthearted contemporary gay romance

My Thoughts

This is book four in a series named ‘Signs of Love’ and it was such a delightful little love story! The other books are ‘Leo Loves Aries’ and ‘Scorpio Hates Virgo’, followed by ‘Gemini Keeps Capricorn’.  “Pisces Hooks Taurus” is the only book from the series that I’ve read and I was happy to have read it as a stand alone.

Although I would say that this novel is light, funny and uplifting, it also has strong themes centred around recognising vulnerabilities and personal improvement.

Anyta Sunday’s character development was really good. Zane was very offbeat and unique and also pretty likeable. Beckett, so well drawn by the author, was quieter, more down to earth and reliable. Their romantic adventure was wonderfully charming and amusing. Much of banter between them had me laughing-out-loud on many occasions.

There were many things that were fantastic in this book. As well as the beautiful character detail, there was the slow-burn romance, the humour and the innuendo.

For me, Anyta Sunday showed such talent in this inspiring and delightful tale. This is my favourite kind of romance – one written with imagination and with real characters who, though flawed, gradually develop a real connection with each other.

I really loved the story and the journey on which I was taken throughout “Pisces Hooks Taurus” and I was rooting for Zane and Beckett from the offset. Though there was sexual tension and a touch of eroticism, this was nevertheless, a classic romance that was deeply enchanting and so full of truth that I didn’t want it to end.

Thank you, Anyta Sunday. This was a great read and so extremely worthwhile. 

[Thanks to NetGalley and the author, Anyta Sunday, for my free ARC of  Pisces Hooks Taurus in exchange for an honest review.]

#PiscesHooksTaurus #NetGalley

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Four Stars

Happy Reading!

Beyond Farwin Wood by Drea Damara | Review

About The Book

For fans of The Princess Bride and Stardust

Anything Can Happen on Blinney Lane.

Agatha Blinney’s curse is unleashed when Franci Doltman dresses up as her favourite movie star. Now the store-owners on Blinney Lane must rally together to save Franci before the possession claims her forever.

Valerie Millville is tired of her controlling mother, disappointing men, and being misunderstood. Determined to escape her life on Blinney Lane, she and troublemaker Ricky Allister volunteer to find a cure by venturing inside one of the cursed weeping books.

From mythical lands to peculiar allies to other worldly creatures, Valerie learns not all stories are written in stone—or even in one dimension. Can she and Ricky save Franci in time or will their friend become another casualty of the curse that binds Blinney Lane? Will Farwin Wood show them secrets undiscovered or are mysteries merely in the eye of the beholder? Get ready for an adventure that will transport you into the pages of a fantasy world beyond reality.

My Thoughts

This book “Beyond Farwin Wood” is the second novel in this series – ‘The Blinney Lane Books.’ I was really impressed with this novel, although I have not read very many books from this genre, nor I have read, the first book, entitled ‘The Weeping Books of Blinney Lane.’

Drea Damara’s creative skill in writing showed as this super, imaginative, tale of fantasy and adventure flowed well from the start, even when the story was moving between the different worlds.

The story mainly concentrated on Valerie, Franci, Ricky and Ranthrop, though their family and friends from Blinney Lane also feature in the tale.

The characters were colourful and so well drawn, building in part, from those in the first book, but also focusing on a number of different ones. I particularly liked Drea Damara’s portrayal of Valerie who was so free-spirited, independent and single-minded.

The plot was very well executed and didn’t feel forced or overdone. I was impressed that the story was good as a stand-alone read. The clever story-telling was so absorbing that I found myself not wanting to reach the end of the book, even though I needed to find out what was going to happen with the characters that I had started to get to know.

I would recommend this captivating and absorbing tale of adventure and I hope that the author, Drea Damara, is writing more in the ‘Blinney Lane’ series.  

*[Thanks to BHC Press and the author, Drea Damara, for my free ARC of Beyond Farwin Wood in exchange for an honest review.]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Four Stars

Happy Reading!

The Secret Life of Mac by Melinda Metz | Review

Book Synopsis

Inspired by the true story of a kleptomaniac cat who stole his way into America’s heart . . .

HE’S THE CAT THIEF OF LOVE

MacGyver the tabby is feeling very pleased with himself. His human, Jamie Snyder, has found the perfect packmate—and it’s all thanks to Mac. By stealing personal items from the home of Jamie’s handsome neighbor David, the matchmaking cat brought these two L.A. singles together. Now, while the newlyweds are off on their honeymoon, MacGyver is ready for a well-deserved cat nap. That is, until he meets his cat sitter Briony. Like most humans, she’s hopeless when it comes to romance. And Mac can’t resist a challenge . . .

SHE’S FOUND THE ESCAPE CLAWS

Briony feels terrible about leaving her fiancé at the altar. When her cousin Jamie offers her the chance to cat sit MacGyver, the runaway bride leaps at the chance to cuddle up with the only male creature she trusts herself around. But MacGyver has other plans. He lures Briony to a friendly neighborhood retirement community—run by a charming young hottie named Nate. Briony and Nate hit it off instantly. But Briony’s still not sure she’s ready for a relationship. And Nate’s got problems of his own—someone is sabotaging his community.

Crazy humans. Why can’t they follow their instincts and go after the love they deserve? MacGyver is on the case. And this time, he’s not pussyfooting around . . .

RAVES FOR TALK TO THE PAW

“Filled with romance and adorable kitty antics . . . a light and cozy read!”

—Modern Cat

“Surpassingly cute story of a matchmaking cat determined to pair off his human with a neighbor through the power of stinky laundry.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Whimsical . . . fans of cozy romances will root for these . . . appealing characters.”

—Publishers Weekly

My Thoughts

THE SECRET LIFE OF MAC by Melinda Metz appears to be a sequel to the ‘Talk to the Paw’ which was published last year. This quaint little romance story is something slightly unique as it is told from the point of view of a tabby cat called McGyver (Mac), alongside two other characters, Nate and Briony. Mac is on a mission to make the people in his life happy, either romantically, generally or where there are friends involved.

This was an easy, light read so I did not feel disadvantaged in any way not having read ‘Talk to the Paw’ first, though it would have been preferable to me if I had read them in sequence.

This book is a romantic comedy where Mac acted as the matchmaker. As well as being wildly humorous and funny, it is also a tale about personal development and self-discovery. There’s even a mystery linked to the retirement home which added to the interest of this sweet tale.

Most of this story was told from the viewpoint of Briony and Nate.  Nate had some personal issues that he needed to deal with, helped along by Briony who had woes of her own. All of the characters had something to offer and the mystery was concluded very well.

All in all, THE SECRET LIFE OF MAC by Melinda Metz was a charming, sweet and worthwhile read.  

Thanks to NetGalley, Kensington Books and the author, Melinda Metz, for my free ARC of The Secret Life of Mac. My honest review is entirely voluntary.

#NetGalley #TheSecretLifeOfMac

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Four Stars

Happy Reading!

The Lost Son by Prue Leith | Review

#TheLostSon @PrueLeith @QuercusBooks @MillsReid11

Book Synopsis

Gripping family drama from household name Prue Leith. Perfect for fans of Penny Vincenzi and Barbara Taylor Bradford.

The Angelotti family reels when the lost son, given up for adoption in the war, traces his birth family and returns to the fold, with devastating consequences.

As poverty-stricken newly-weds, Laura and Giovanni Angelotti were forced to put their first child – a boy – up for adoption. They have had other children since, and their first little Italian café has become a restaurant empire, but Laura is still haunted by thoughts of the baby she lost.

Tom is a successful businessman enjoying the fast-paced City lifestyle – until his best friend and business partner is killed in the 9/11 attacks and his world turns upside down. Searching for meaning in his life, he decides to track down his birth family: the Angelottis.

But Laura has been keeping an explosive secret about Tom’s parentage that means his reappearance in her life is bitter-sweet. She may have found her son, but will it be at the cost of everything it has taken her fifty years to build?

Advance Praise

Leith has really hit her stride as a writer and uses her own considerable catering experience . . . skilfully interweaving emotional drama with food fashions – Daily Mail

An enjoyable, well-written love story – Good Housekeeping

Prue Leith knows about colour and flavour and this has lots of both . . . a delicious family saga – Daily Mail on The Food of Love

My Thoughts

This is book three in a series named ‘The Food of Love Trilogy’ and it was such a delightful and emotional read! The other books are ‘The House at Chorlton’ followed by ‘The Prodigal Daughter’. “The Lost Son” is the only book from the food dynasty series that I’ve read and I was happy to have read it as a stand alone.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a devoted and loyal Prue Leith fan, I’ve read one of her books before – ‘The Gardener.’

This multi-generational family saga has something for everyone. It has love, ambition and achievement in spades and is incredibly uplifting. It also has strong themes centred around family discord, sexuality, loss, addiction and tragedy. It is about recognising vulnerabilities and personal improvement.

Prue Leith’s character development was enviable. All of the characters were very well drawn however, if I were to pick a favourite it would have to be Tom. He has had to deal with so much heartache in his life that it would be virtually impossible not to have a huge amount of empathy for him. Anna, although not without some of her own horrors and personal issues, was very likeable, warm, forthright and was very much her own person. Prue Leith’s portrayal of Jane and the other baddies, notably, Mario and to some extent, Susan, was perfect. Obviously, they were pretty hateful, but they added even more excitement and spark to create an extra dimension to the story.

There were many things that were fantastic in this book. As well as the beautiful character detail, the plot was really absorbing. It was fascinating to read the detail behind the family’s successful business adventures, all of them being food related. Some of the references to food made my mouth water – from cheese soufflé to Thai fish-cakes, roasted veal and orange, almond and polenta cake.

I was also particularly impressed by the way Prue Leith introduced more modern themes, brilliantly building on the family saga trope. The diversification into the street food scene was absorbing to read about and the enthusiasm of Anna and Sebele was really infectious. Again, the food delights were enticing – the Chicago sliders, Napoli pizza, and Peking ducked stuffed pancakes. The pacing was terrific and there was never a moment when I felt as though I was losing interest as is the case with some rambling sagas.

For me, Prue Leith showed such talent in this inspiring and delightful tale. This is one of my favourite kinds of romance – one written with imagination and with real characters who, though flawed, gradually develop a real connection with each other.

I really loved the story and the journey on which I was taken throughout ‘The Lost Son’ and I was rooting for Tom and his long lost family from the offset. Though there was so much loss, grief and angst this was nevertheless, a modern, classic saga that was deeply rewarding and so full of truth that I didn’t want it to end.

This would be a super book choice for fans of Penny Vincenzi and Barbara Taylor Bradford.

Thank you, Prue Leith. This was a great read and so extremely worthwhile. 

[Thanks to NetGalley, Quercus Books and the author, Prue Leith, for my free ARC of The Lost Son in exchange for an honest review.]

#TheLostSon #NetGalley

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

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Double Fudge and Danger | Erin Huss | Review

Double Fudge & Danger (Cambria Clyne Mysteries Book 3)

Double Fudge & Danger by Erin Huss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“Double Fudge & Danger” is book three in the series of the Cambria Clyne Mysteries of which I look forward to reading more. It is a delicious mixture of mystery, romance, family, and friends and a fun, fast and interesting read. I haven’t read the other books in this series yet, however, I don’t think that this spoilt my enjoyment of this novel. That said, there is nothing more exciting than picking up a book that is the first in a new series.

Since taking the job of an on-site apartment manager, single-mum Cambria Clyne’s life has been one wild ride.

When the manager of the apartment building next door, Violet Pumpkin, goes missing, Cambria steps in to help run the property development and can’t resist helping with the police investigation. However, the more Cambria digs, the more she discovers Violet had been anything but honest in her dealings and more suspects than Cambria could imagine start to surface – the stressed property owners, a dodgy pizza delivery guy, the drunken rooftop walker, the mysterious Clint Eastwood look-alike lurking around, or one of the angry residents who received rental increases the day before Violet vanished. Then there’s still the business of doing her own job, parenting a lively three-year-old and choosing between the two men in her life. Cambria has a lot to deal with – not that that’s ever stopped her before! 

Who is telling lies? Can anyone be trusted? Will Cambria find Violet before it’s too late, or will she be the next apartment manager to go missing? 

Erin Huss’ delightful writing style is well-paced and complemented by clever, witty opening phrases introducing each chapter. She has created an eclectic and quirky group of residents in this apartment complex some of whom were annoying but helped to make the story as good as it was. However, it was great that they all pulled together and relied on each other as good friends do. Cambria’s two handsome love interests add some romantic and spicy entanglement. Written in the first-person narrative and sharing Cambria’s innermost thoughts, Erin Huss includes some wonderful witty banter and vivid descriptions. Although being disorganised and a bit of a worrier, the extremely likeable Cambria demonstrates admirable inner strength and her desire for eating copious amounts of double fudge or any other flavour of ice-cream was astounding, as were her attempts at mothering her feisty and outspoken daughter.

The book had a natural, steady pace and I was kept guessing right until the surprising reveal. Delightful and entertaining, “Double Fudge & Danger” is a quick, light, highly recommended read for all cozy mystery fans.

{Thank you to Hidden Gems for the free copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.}



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Happy Reading!