The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French

REVIEW

Wonderful story of love, life and starting over.

When Stella, Winnie and Frankie take a weekend vacation together they come away with more than a suntan. Buying a villa on a Greek island seems like the perfect way to start life over when everything seems to be falling apart. Taking on the Bed and Breakfast gives focus to their lives but nothing ever goes according to plan.  Add in Gin, Rock Stars, playboy businessmen, ex-husbands, and a temperamental Aussie artist and you’ve got yourself an hilarious mix of trouble, love, romance and heartache.

Kat French at her best.  I have read many books by this author now, in a range of styles, and her talent knows no bounds. This book had me reading well into the night as I just couldn’t put it down.  There are surprises along the way and at times I felt like I could be there on the island with them.  Loved Jesse, although I did want to knock some sense into him a few times, but that’s what I love in a character…the need to occasionally inflict pain on them to get them to see clearly and stop messing around with our heroine’s heart! What can I say about Gav except…bless his heart!

If you need a holiday book, one to sit in the sun and wile away the hours, then this is perfect…just make sure you have a G&T in hand!

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

A Greek island solves all life’s problems…doesn’t it?

Winnie, Stella and Frankie have been best friends forever.
When their lives unexpectedly unravel, they spontaneously decide to buy a gorgeous B on a remote Greek island.
Drenched in hot sun, Villa Valentina is the perfect escape
from reality. But when Winnie meets Jesse, their brooding
neighbour, she finds that Greece is full of its own complications – not least how attractive he is…

Meanwhile, Frankie and Stella are discovering that Villa Valentina has its own secrets – starting with the large supply of gin in the cellar and the arrival of a famous rock band. A band with one very good-looking member who just might distract Frankie from thoughts of her husband…

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34016826-the-bed-and-breakfast-on-the-beach)

Hidden – Bone Secrets #1 by Kendra Elliot

REVIEW

I first read this book in 2014 and since then have read the entire Bones Secret series, Callahan and McLane Series, and have recently listened to the Mercy Kilpatrick Series via audible. I have now decided to start back at the beginning and listen to them all from the start.  Although these are three different series, characters from all three appear in each.

In Hidden we meet Lacey Campbell, a forensic odontologist, who is called to a scene where a body has been found in the walls of an apartment building. Memories surface and dread fills Lacey when evidence is found that leads back to an old friend who was murdered.  Jack Harper, former police officer and current owner of the building, finds himself embroiled in the investigation as links are made to an old case. When Lacey becomes the target of the current killer, who appears to be connected to the former case, Jack steps in as protector and soon the chemistry between them cannot be tamed.

Lacey is a strong female lead and has the right amount of sass to bring Jack to his knees. Jack is happy with his life as a renowned playboy but something about Lacey makes him want to be a one-woman man.  When Lacey’s life is in danger, Jack knows he will do anything to protect her.

We also meet Detectives Mason Callahan and Ray Lusco, reporter Michael Brody, Dr. Victoria Peres, and Jack’s friend, Alex Kinton . Look out for these characters in future books in all the series’.

This romance suspense is filled with action, intrigue and of course romance.

Read on kindle, Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Kate Rudd

Rating 4/5

Synopsis 

Eleven years ago, the Co-Ed Slayer murdered nine female college students on the Oregon State University campus. Lacey Campbell barely survived his attack, but he killed her best friend, Suzanne, whose body was never found.

Now a forensic odontologist analyzing teeth and bones for the state medical examiner, Lacey is devastated when she identifies Suzanne’s remains at a crime scene. She finds comfort in the arms of ex-cop Jack Harper, and sparks fly between them even as a new reign of terror begins. Someone is killing the witnesses who sent the Co-ed Slayer to prison a decade ago. All the evidence points to the Co-ed Slayer as the culprit, only he’s long since dead. So who’s the new killer? And is Lacey next in line to die?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15096138-hidden)

Matt: The Callahan Brothers – Callahan Brothers #2 by Emily March

REVIEW

Exciting and entertaining.  This is the second book in the Callahan Brothers series and is based around the eldest son, Matt.

Matt finds himself mixed up with delectable Torie Bradshaw believing her to be her twin sister Helen.  Working for the CIA is never easy, throw into the mix guns, traffickers, and a sexy woman with a James Bond fetish, and it is downright impossible.

Torie Bradshaw is the black sheep of her family.  The bad girl, the “evil twin”. But when a stalker makes her a target she heads to the only person who can keep her safe. Unfortunately she is not his favourite person.

The connection between Torie and Matt is explosive, literally, but the longer they spend together the more they realise that attraction and love knows no bounds.  Torie is a carefree, witty woman who shows a tough outer shell but inside all she really wants is to be accepted and loved for who she is.  I loved the continual James Bond references. Having grown up watching the films I could relate to each and every one.  Which girl doesn’t dream of being the bond girl who finally tames him?!  The ending is brilliant.  He couldn’t have done it better!

More secrets about the family Callahan are revealed in this book and they explain a lot of the bitterness held by Mark towards his father.  Branch is real piece of work.  How he could ever think his boys would have any respect for him, especially after the stunt he pulls, is beyond me.

Listened to via Audible. Narrated by Jeffrey Kafer

Rating 4/5

Synopsis

Strong, independent Torie Bradshaw doesn’t like playing the damsel in distress, but when a stalker’s sadistic threats finally frighten her into running, she knows of only one hero to call on for help: Matt Callahan. The sinfully sexy spy had saved her once before. Surely he’ll play her champion again. If only they hadn’t parted under such…unfortunate circumstances. 

Matt has barely recovered from the last time he tangled with Torie. When she invades his private sanctuary bringing danger, drama, and a designer dog with her, he wants nothing more than to send the beauty packing. He’s busy battling old ghosts and more recent wounds. But Matt can’t deny his protective instincts or the fact that this troublesome woman has gotten under his skin. So when a killer comes to call, Matt faces a startling reality—he’s about to  lose all the things he never thought he wanted.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22922286-matt)

 

 

The Grand Reopening of Dandelion Cafe -Cherry Pie Island #1 by Jenny Oliver

REVIEW

An enticing tale of love, family and believing in yourself.

Annie essentially ran away from her childhood home to escape the mistakes of her past, but when she is left the Dandelion Cafe in her father’s will she has no choice other than to return.  She does, however, have the choice on whether to stay or not.

Matt ran away from his past too, only now his past doesn’t want anything to do with him.  Leaving his son, River, behind was a mistake that Matt is now trying to amend but River is not going to make it easy for him.

Throughout the book, Annie is very undecided about what she wants for her future.  She is torn between her design business and not letting go of the cafe. She has friends on one side encouraging her to give it a go and family on the other (her brother) telling her to get rid.  she also has the same choices to make as far as Matt goes…does she stay or does she go?

There are some wonderful characters in this story. Martha, Ludo and River at the cafe, Annie’s friend, Holly, her mother, Winifred, who has some very good words of wisdom when needed.  And let’s not forget her brother, Jonathan, who for being a doctor is a bit of an idiot and definitely a coward (I refer here to the tree incident!).

A lovely summertime read.  Perfect for relaxing in the garden and just letting your mind drift away to Cherry Pie Island.

Rating 4/5

Synopsis

When Annie White steps back onto Cherry Pie Island, it’s safe to say her newly inherited Dandelion Café has seen better days! And while her childhood home on the Thames-side island idyll is exactly the same retreat from the urban bustle of London she remembers, Annie’s not convinced that Owner of The Dandelion Cafe is a title she’ll be keeping for long. Not that she can bear the idea of letting her dedicated, if endearingly disorganized staff lose their jobs. Plus café life does also have the added bonus of working a stone’s throw away from millionaire Matt and his disarmingly charming smile!

One (shoestring budget) café makeover, a few delightful additions to the somewhat retro menu and a lot of cherry pie tastings later, The Dandelion Café is ready for its grand reopening! But once she’s brought the dilapidated old café back to life, Annie finds herself wishing her stay on the island was just a bit longer. She always intended to go back to the big city…but could island living finally have lured her back home for good?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24914827-the-grand-reopening-of-dandelion-cafe)

Shopping for a CEO’s Honeymoon – Shopping for a Billionaire #14 by Julia Kent

REVIEW

I think I love Andrew and Amanda a little bit more with each book I read.  Amanda is definitely Andrew’s soulmate and doesn’t take any of his overbearing, egotistical nonsense, although she has plenty of ‘ammunition’ following the gun awareness course!

Definitely an interesting way to spend your honeymoon. Although I can’t believe with that many rooms in the house they couldn’t find one without a workman in it. Lots of decisions and future plans made.  Loved Andrews declaration about his feelings when he holds Ellie.

Great to see my other favourite couple, Declan and Shannon, making an appearance along with little baby, Ellie. Shannon is a natural at motherhood. I remember those day of blowouts, I don’t care what the nappy/diaper manufacturers say, there is nothing that holds it in! Terry also makes a flying visit, I’m hopeful we will see more of him in the future and that he gets his own happy ever after.

Besides a very brief scene with Pam, there are no parents in this book.  I love Maria and James but sometimes they have a tendency to dominate.  It was really nice to just have the ‘kids’ and focus on their stories.

Looking forward to the next instalment in this brilliant series.

Synopsis

He says we never had a proper honeymoon. 

So, instead, he’s giving me… a prepper honeymoon? 

Who knew billionaire preppers were a thing? 

I guess I’m about to find out. 

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39868621-shopping-for-a-ceo-s-honeymoon)

Model Boyfriend by Stuart Reardon, Jane Harvey-Berrick

REVIEW

An emotional roller-coaster ride of love that spans oceans but always comes home.

I absolutely loved Nick and Anna’s story in Undefeated and I’m so glad that Stuart and Jane brought them back to us again in this book.  I was a bit uncertain, apprehensive almost, about reading Model Boyfriend because the end of the the first book left them in such a happy place that I didn’t want to have bad things happen…call me a hopeless romantic if you must, I am! But trust me when I say that I so glad that I did.

Nick has retired from rugby and finds himself a complete loose end.  Having nothing to do just doesn’t sit right with him, but what can he do? When he is asked to pose for a sports calendar for charity he reluctantly agrees and finds that he actually quite enjoys it. But the road to modelling is paved with very uneven bricks and even Nick ‘The Rocket’ Renshaw stumbles along the way.

Anna is amazing. She is supportive, loving and understanding, sometimes a little too much.  Half the time I didn’t know if I wanted to hug them both or bang their heads together!

As well as being a love story it also touches on a couple of hard hitting issues – Drug addiction in athletes and the acceptance of gay sportsman in rugby.  As a romance novel reader and not much of a sports person I have never really given much thought to these issues, but following the problems with Nick and Grégoire I now have an awareness of these issues and how they can effect people.  I loved the way Grég dealt with his issue on the bus.

Brendan, oh Brendan! What can I say about this highly charismatic character except I think I will miss him the most.  He is such a bright, shining star, the voice of reason, and the shoulder to cry on.  I am so immensely happy with the way things turned out for him.

Although Model Boyfriend can be read as a standalone it would be much better to read Undefeated first, and if you haven’t read it yet…why not? A wonderful sports romance that will have your heart racing and the tears flowing (Chapter 36, I’m saying no more!)

(Please read my review for Undefeated by Stuart Reardon and Jane Harvey-Berrick)

And as an added bonus there are modelling shots of Stuart Reardon interspersed throughout the book…sigh!

Rating 5/5

Synopsis

“What’s it like dating one of the most beautiful men in the world? A man whose face is on every magazine and ad campaign?

Not as much fun as it sounds, as Anna Scott is about to find out.

Retired from rugby at the age of 33, injured and bored, Nick is given the chance to enter the high stakes world of fashion photography as a model.

But behind the glittering façade lies an ugly reality: drugs, alcohol, all the deadly sins, and people willing to sleep their way to the top.

It’s a tough life and tougher on relationships.

Nick needs to learn to navigate the treacherous path quickly or risk losing it all—including the woman who has become his reason for living.

In this glamorous world, there is no room for error. Being a MODEL BOYFRIEND has never been harder.

Can nice guy Nick find his way through, or will he be tempted to risk it all? Because the one thing he despises is failure.

He’s a lot more than a pretty face.”

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40550491-model-boyfriend)

All the Hidden Truths – Three Rivers by Claire Askew

REVIEW

A compelling fictional story that follows the lives of three different women in the wake of a school shooting.

Moira Summers, the mother of Ryan Summers, who on May 14th walked into his college and shot 13 girls before turning the gun on himself.

Ishbel Hodgekiss, the mother of Abigail Hodgekiss, the first girl to be shot by Ryan Summers.

DI Helen Birch, lead investigator in the Three Rivers College Shooting.

The story is told from the point of view of all three women, from the day before to several weeks after, leading the reader through the thoughts, sleepless nights, family upset and the difficulties that emerge from such a sudden and violent incident.

I was uncertain, to start with, as to whether this book would hold my interest.  The subject matter is quite upsetting but the behind-the-scenes insight into the police enquiry, the bereaved families and the unknown answers really made me stop and think about how I would cope in this situation, whether it was as a victim’s relative, the mother of the murderer, or as a support worker to the family.  I’ll admit I tried not to dwell on any of these thoughts for too long and could actually relate, in part, to the two mothers.  As a mother of two boys (11 & 13) I know that they can plug into whatever screen is currently at hand and not talk to you for hours, sometimes only appearing when their tummies tell them to.  It is difficult to find the right balance between overbearing, nosy and intrusive, and giving them space, privacy and, most importantly, trust.

The end of the book really got to me.  Lots of secrets are revealed from all three women during the course of the story but for me it was the last chapter.  I’m not sure it would have made any difference.  I think that if someone has worked that hard and been that focused on doing what Ryan did, then nothing is going to stop them.

I would just like to say that I don’t know why Ishbel stayed with that complete idiot (polite word!) and to do what he did at the vigil, I think I would have ripped his eyes out!

Rating 4/5

Synopsis

This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself.

But no one can say why.

The question is one that cries out to be answered – by Ryan’s mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families’ secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame… the truth seems to vanish.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39683130-all-the-hidden-truths)