Eight Goodbyes by Christine Brae

REVIEW

Oh WOW!  What an amazing book from start to finish.  I felt a bit like Simon going on the Ferris wheel while reading this book, excited and nervous, emotional with every turn, but so glad I took the chance when it was finished.

Christine Brae is new author for me and I’m so pleased I tried this one (ok, having Stu Reardon as the cover model may have swayed my decision!) The character’s are wonderfully written, Tessa with her carefree ways, and Simon with his ridged determination.  Tessa is a lovely character.  She has had to deal with the loss of her parents and this has caused an emotional drawback for her when it comes to falling in love.  Simon knows, as soon as he lays eyes on Tessa, that she is the one. And so begins the journey that sees the couple meeting and parting in different locations around the world over the course of several months.

This is such a beautiful story and I’ll admit I was on tender-hooks at some stages and sobbing like a baby at others.  Simon is an adorable man and fully deserved to fall in love, it is such a shame that time was lost but maybe it was needed.   Tessa had to deal with everything the only way she knew how and it worked for a while but whether you believe in destiny or not, these two belonged together.

Keep the tissues handy, you will need them by the end of part 1, most of the way through part 2 and again for part 3! Loved it!

RATING 5/5

Synopsis

When Tessa Talman meets Simon Fremont for the first time, not only is she attracted to him, she’s intrigued by how different their lives are. He’s a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded—while she’s a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they agree to meet in places around the world, while continuing to live on opposite sides of the globe.

Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa begins to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.

Just as Tessa finds the courage to go after her own happily ever after, the unthinkable happens, separating them in ways they never imagined. 

To move forward, she must let go of the past, and determine once and for all if love is truly more powerful than the pain of goodbye.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29493317-eight-goodbyes)

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

REVIEW

This is a new author to me and I really like finding out whether I will enjoy an authors work or not.  It took me a while to get into this book.  There are a lot of characters, and it was a little confusing at first trying to remember who was with whom and how they were connected, but after the first couple of chapters I soon had it sorted.

The story is about nine friends, who spend every New Year’s eve together.   This year they have hired a lodge and cabins in the Highlands of Scotland.  The only other people around are Heather – the manager, Doug – the Gamekeeper, Liam – the handyman, and two unexpected Icelandic travellers. To say that nobody has the New Year that they are expecting is an understatement!

This is a mystery with a twist. Not only do we not know who the murderer is until the very end, we also don’t know who the victim is.  It certainly was an interesting way of writing the story that keeps the reader wondering  and trying to piece information together about who either party could be.  There is a lot of backstory about the characters throughout this book which does have relevance when it is all tied together but I wouldn’t say that there was anything definitive to give the game away, but that is just me.

The story is told from the point of view of three of the female ‘friends’, as well as Heather and Doug. It also switches between the past and the present, which adds some more intrigue to the story as we still don’t know who has died.  Very well written in that regard.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it is well written and has some very interesting characters. I will be reading more by this author in future.

Rating 4/5

ARC Review – Courtesy of Netgalley

Synopsis

The Hunting Party is the author’s first crime novel and is described as combining elements of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (HarperCollins) and The Secret History (Penguin) by Donna Tartt.

The novel follows a a tight-knit group of Oxford university alumni as they celebrate New Year’s Eve in the wilderness of the Loch Corrin Estate in Scotland. A HarperFiction spokesperson said: “In these wild, white climes the group reminisce, go deer stalking, and hide friendship-destroying secrets, secrets that set a razor-sharp sequence of events in motion, culminating with a broken body in the snow.”  

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37642030-the-hunting-party)

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

REVIEW

Perhaps not as well known as Jane Austen’s two previous books, Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice, Mansfield Park is still none the less enticing and intriguing.  The unrequited love that Fanny has for Edmund is evident from an early age and continues into adulthood.  The emotional pain and torment she experiences when Edmund becomes attracted to Mary Crawford and everyone becomes excited over her received proposal  from Henry Crawford,  can be felt through the pages.  As an outsider, Fanny observes things that others do not and she is very intuitive about human nature.  She has both the Crawford siblings pegged from the very start and, although there are signs of jealousy, it is far more about their character that she distrusts than her own feelings towards Edmund.

Fanny’s return home is a very emotional experience for her and not at all what she expected. There is little love shown from either of her parents and it is not surprising that her thoughts soon return to Mansfield Park and the extended family she has there.

My only criticism, if you can even call it that, is that the ending seemed to short.  The whole story is about Fanny’s feelings for Edmund but when she does finally ‘get her man’ it is such a small section at the very end.  I suppose in a way it does actually fit with Fanny’s character as it is very matter-of-fact with no heirs and graces, just like Fanny.

A very endearing and captivating story

 RATING 4/5

Synopsis

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen’s most profound works.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45032.Mansfield_Park)

Bossy Nights by Liv Morris

REVIEW

A great older man – younger woman story.

Barclay Hammond is Thirty-Seven years old and the new CEO of Hammond Publishing.  He is not a playboy, he just hasn’t found the right woman to settle down with. That is until he meets Twenty-One year old, fresh out of college, Tessa Holly.  Tessa is looking for a job in publishing but knows the right and wrong ways to go about.  Landing a job at Hammond Publishing is her dream but what happens when the dream job and dream man clash?!

This book sizzles with sexual tension and not just because Tessa is a virgin or because of the age difference, although I think in this is negligible these day, plus at my age (43) Barclay is hardly an “older man”.  I think that the way the characters are written is what makes the connection between them ramp up a few degrees.  With Tessa’s sweet Southern attitude and Barclay’s gentlemanly approach , mixed with his scorching hot body (yes, I was picturing Stuart Reardon -cover model –  throughout this book!) the couple are destined to be together.

The story flows well and the tension is kept high.  There is not an over-abundance of sex in this book but there sure is a whole lot of build up to it!  If you are after a book that has no cheating, no ex-girlfriends coming to cause trouble, but gets you a little hot under the collar (and elsewhere) then this should work for you.  Great to read on a hot summer’s day!

RATING 4/5

Synopsis

I’ve landed in New York City with my resume in one hand and my V-card in the other. The resume? I’ll give to any man on the street. The other? Well… I won’t settle for anything less than lightning bolt chemistry and so far no one has flipped that switch.

Until I meet Barclay Hammond, CEO of the most prestigious publishing house in NYC and the city’s most eligible bachelor.

He’s commanding.
Charming.
Gorgeous.
And my new boss.

The raw attraction between us is off the charts. Late nights together in the city, the looks he gives me across the boardroom table make him impossible to resist. I want him to be the one and he wants me too…

There’s only one BIG problem. Sleeping with your boss is strictly forbidden at Hammond Press.

Who knew losing it would be so complicated? 

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34038337-bossy-nights)

One Hot Summer by Kat French

REVIEW

An absolutely fantastic story with an amazingly eclectic group of characters.

Alice McBride is the lovely girl-next-door who gave up her dreams for those of her husband, who now, as a famous T.V. star, feels the best way to repay his wife is…to have an affair with his co-star.  Living alone at the Manor house she adores, Alice struggles to make ends meet, so decides to rent out the property and live an Airstream caravan in a secluded part of the grounds.

Robinson Duff is a famous country singer who has given his wife everything she could ever want, she finds that the best way to repay Robinson is…to have an affair with his best friend. Needing to get away and clear his head, Robinson rents the manor house and wants nothing but peace and quiet.

Alice and Robinson have both been through the ringer and deserve to have a little happiness. The mutual attraction between the pair is undeniable and the inevitable happens, but both have set their ground rules and it is only for the summer.  As the summer progresses so too does their affection for each other and the longer they continue the harder it is to say goodbye.  When unexpected visitors turn up, Alice and Robinson have to bring their summer romance to an end but neither can go back to what they had before.

I absolutely adored this story.  Not only were Alice and Robinson great characters but I have to take my hat (or wig) off to Naimh, Hazel, Ewan, Dessy, Jase and not forgetting Stewie. Good supporting characters really help to bring the story to life and that is one thing that Kat French does brilliantly.

A perfect summer read that will have you laughing, crying and swooning sometimes all at the same time!

RATING 5/5

Synopsis

Alice McBride’s husband Brad is super famous, totally gorgeous . . . and having an affair with his co-star. And now it’s splashed across all the newspapers.

After kicking Brad out, Alice decides to rent out her beloved home for the summer. And the last person she expects to arrive at Borne Manor is a sexy cowboy called Robinson.

Country music star Robinson has had his own share of heartache, and he’s come to Borne Manor to escape from it all. Neither Alice nor Robinson are looking for romance, but the spark between them can’t be ignored.

Could a holiday romance help heal their broken hearts? And what will happen when their long hot summer together comes to an end?

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28674518-one-hot-summer?ac=1&from_search=true)

Room Mates – Roommates #1, 2, 3 & 4 by Kendall Ryan

REVIEW

A great variety of friends-to-lovers stories that will set your heart racing and pulse jumping. Each of these stories is a standalone as none of the characters appear in the other books.  Whether you are looking for best friends who final realise their attraction, or a one night stand who turns up in the unlikeliest place you will not be disappointed.

Book 1 – The Room Mate

Cannon Roth has had a string of bad relationships and the last one was the worst.  coming to the end of his medical training but with no real focus, Cannon decides that now is the time to leave women alone and concentrate on his career.  Easier said than done when his sister, Allie,  has to perfect answer to his accommodation situation – her best friend, Paige.

Keeping their hands to themselves proves to be a struggle but with the lingering thought of Allie constantly between them they really do try (Honest!).

Cannon has had to be the man of the house for so long and finds the role hard to give up. His main purpose is to help support his mum and sister. His heart is definitely in the right place.  Paige has pretty much given up on men.  She works, she looks after her dog, and that is pretty much it.  Cannon turns her world upside down.  A lovely story about friendships, relationships and trying to please everyone.

Book 2 – The Play Mate

Evie Reed needs a man and the man she needs is her brother’s best friend Smith Hamilton.  Believing that she never has to see him again, Evie tries to initiate a one-night stand with Smith only to find out afterwards that he has just agreed to work alongside her brother, the same brother that she is now working with.  Sharing a small office proves difficult for the pair to keep to themselves. Only the though of Cullen, Evie’s brother, can extinguish the fire and even that doesn’t put the flames out completely.

Evie and Smith are hilarious in the way they go about things.  Evie sneaking into his room, Smith capturing her in the copy room, disaster was bound to strike and the couple have to prove they have what it takes to make it.

Book 3 – The House Mate

Max Alexander is living the high life. His own business, great friends, and no lack of female company. That is right up until the moment his 1 year old baby daughter is dropped on his doorstep.  Trying to juggle work, home and the baby proves too much, so Max applies for a nanny.  Enter Addison. Having given up her dream of being a teacher to support her ex, Addison finds the perfect solution in the role of nanny for Max but the attraction between cannot be tamed and soon lines are blurred between employer/employee and lovers.  I loved Max and Addison’s story.  The connection they had romantically and the similarities in parenting techniques made for the perfect couple.

Book 4 – The Soul Mate

If you believe in Fate, Karma or the power of souls mates then you will love this one.

Bren is a commitment phobe, but she is also a woman with needs.  Deciding to have a one-night stand seems like the solution to her problem. That is until she meets Mason Bentley. Sneeking out of his apartment may have been the stupidest thing she has ever done but that is when fate steps in.  Believing that she may be pregnant, Bren’s best friend makes an appointment for Bren to see her doctor.  There is never a good time to see your one-night stand who may be the potential father of your child but when it is with you legs in the air and his fingers where they shouldn’t be, is certainly not ideal. Mason has been desperate to find Bren since the most amazing night of his life and when she finally drops back into his life his decides he his going to hang onto her with everything he has. But how do you convince a commitment phobe to commit? Another lovely story of love, separation, heartbreak and taking a chance.

RATING 4/5

Synopsis

Life is smooth sailing until these new roomies find themselves stuck between a rock and a very hard place. 

Because lusting after the one person you shouldn’t ever mess around with–your new roommate is like cardinal rule number one. 

Get ready for 4 complete friends-to-lovers rom-com standalones. 

The Room Mate – Her best friend’s younger brother moves in and despite being off-limits, he is oh-so-tempting. 

The Play Mate – Her older brother’s best friend becomes the financial backer to her lingerie company then these two office-mates decide to become play mates. What’s the worst that could happen? 

The House Mate – He’s the hot single dad, and she’s the new live-in nanny. This is swoonworthy perfection if you like single dad romance! 

The Soul Mate – The smoking-hot one-night stand she was never supposed to see again? She’s pregnant, and he’s her hot doctor. 

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37517255-room-mates)

 

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)