Let’s start…

What’s more to say about my blog about books I’ve read?

Well, this is my blog about books I’ve read 😀.

I always liked reading books, and it all started on a very silly way… It’s always good to blame my dad, so he is the cause of my reading addiction.

When I was still a little girl, a looooooong time ago, I saw him always going to the bathroom with the newspaper. One day I wondered why he did that, so I took a book and tried to see the fun of that.

And since that day, you can find everywhere in the house a book of mine.

A while ago, I had the opportunity to review some books, and now a new opportunity came to post them on an own blog.

So here we are, my own blog!

I read books, and I will post my thoughts about them.

Some books I’ll like, some I won’t like that much…. but you can be sure that I’ll give you my personal and honest opinion about them.

I hope you enjoy reading it!

‘A Wedding At Hedgehog Hollow’ – written by Jessica Redland #BookReview @JessicaRedland @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks

Nothing is what you thought it was…

Synopsis

It’s time for the wedding we’ve all been waiting for…

Life at Hedgehog Hollow is never dull, although Samantha hopes that the new year ahead will be a little less chaotic as she prepares to marry the love of her life, Josh. But disaster strikes when she checks the rescue centre’s bank account after the festive season and discovers it has been emptied. Who would do such a thing, and why? With the future of Hedgehog Hollow now in jeopardy, planning a wedding has lost its shine.

Phoebe is desperate to escape the shadow of her family, infamously known for their attacks on Samantha’s beloved rescue centre. Could the kindness of the Hedgehog Hollow team be the chance she needs for a fresh start, or will her family’s secrets continue to drag her back?

My review

After several incidents, Samantha is ready to marry the love of her life Josh at Hedgehog Hollow. But tragedy strikes again and Sam discovers that the rescue centre’s bank account has been plundered. And that means that the future of the centre is  at risk, and planning a wedding is the last thing on Sam’s mind.
While everyone thought the horrible attacks from the Grimes family were finally over, everyone is stunned when realization dawns that volunteer Phoebe is a member of this horrible family. Is phoebe involved with the shenanigans or is she also a victim of this family, trying to escape the horrors she is enduring for years?

I always used to think I would never cry over a book. But then several years ago (around 10 years ago I think), reading a book (title isn’t important), I surprised myself that a tear left my eye. But then I thought that one tear didn’t count as actually crying.
And not so long ago I discovered this amazing author (yes Jessica, I am talking about you!) and I turned into a sobbing woman, unable to stop crying and even after finishing the book, my thoughts about it making me cry all over again!
I have NEVER spilled so many tissues as while reading one of her books (colds included!)

We already knew what an amazing character Sam is, after everything she has been through, she still can forgive the people that hurt her. And even if she is struggling to be on top of everything, she won’t turn away from someone in need, being a hedgehog or a person.
My heart ached seeing how Sam is still trying to cope with the fights she had to fight, not only against the Grimes with a serious grudge, but also her own family, when they turn to her for every little bit.

But it was also sweet to see how everyone around Sam start to realize that Sam isn’t a member of an emergency service and just like everyone needs her hand for help, now it’s time again to offer Sam a helping help, as things are going all over again terribly wrong.
And seeing all these helping hands, warmed my heart.

However… I found this not only Sam and Josh’ story, but more Phoebe’s story. In the previous book we already discovered the link, and of course I had already made my mind.
And then we got to know her story, and all the waterworks started…
While discovering her past, I found it so but so hard to understand how horrible, ugly, nasty, selfish people can be… (see, I’m only thinking about it and I am already crying again…)
When little Phoebe learns that her dad met a new woman, she hopes that she will finally have the loving family she dreamed of.

Reading not only how Tina and the Grimes treat Phoebe, and seeing how her once loving dad is changing completely, broke my heart in tiny tiny little pieces…
I cannot grasp how good people can change because of a woman and her evil plans.
And how ruthless people can be, even when it has effects on their own flesh and blood (poor Hailey…) I have never despised a whole family so much as I despise the Grimes family…

But no worries, there were so many marvellous parts too! Seeing how Phoebe takes care of those who really deserve it (like little Darcie and her former neighbour Rosemary) and seeing her get out of her shell and see that there are good people too, making her believe in that things can go the right way for her too.. it warmed my heart.

And seeing how even the most unexpected person shows her heart and behaves like she should, was a nice extra addition. (But, I have to be honest, I will never truly love her like I love all the other characters of this series!)

Seeing Sam and Josh together makes it impossible for me now to settle for a relationship that will never stand up to this lovely couple. So yes Jessica, I will blame you for me becoming a crazy cat lady in the future (or cat and hedgehog lady)!
Both have their issues, but they are just so perfect!

Despite all the horrible things that we are reading about, they all disappear because of all the love our characters are surrounded by. Love for your partner, love for your family members, love for friends, love for animals and especially love for those who haven’t received enough love in their lives…
And maybe there is even love that is not out there yet? I really hope so for Phoebe!!!

Beside the ugly people of that horrible family, was there something I didn’t like about this book? Well yes… because of this book, I didn’t do anything else of the things I should have done at home. And I had to throw away CONSTANTLY my tissues!

Honestly, each time I think this author cannot get any better, but each time she exceeds my impossible high expectations and delivers a book that tears me apart but also makes me believe in the magic of love.

‘No Ex Before Marriage’ – written by Portia MacIntosh #BookReview @PortiaMacIntosh @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks

When your ex is getting married but divorce never got through…

Synopsis

It’s not over until someone says ‘I do’…

While her friends join the “Wife Club” one by one, Poppy feels like that part of her life is done and dusted. Already married and divorced she’s not desperate to go through all that again.

But what if her divorce never actually went through…?

After a shock revelation Poppy not only discovers she is still married, but that Zac is about to have his second wedding!

Coming face to face with her (almost) ex-husband after six years apart is never going to be easy. And when Zac panics and tells his new wife-to-be that Poppy is family, things can’t get much worse as she is welcomed with open arms as part of the wedding party!

As the memories flood back, can Poppy really leave the past where it is? And can she watch the first love of her life walk down the aisle to say ‘I do’ once again?

My review

Poppy feels that her best friends are getting more and more away from her. Slowly they are all getting married, and are doing ‘couple things’ all together, making feel Poppy excluded from just… everything and make her feel humiliated in awkward situations, like Rachael’s wedding.
unfortunately, Poppy’s situation is that of being married and already divorced, and while she is not that desperate to do it all over again, she surely misses that feeling of being a part of a couple. 

But then the unthinkable happens… apparently Zac and she are still married, while Zac is about to get married again!
Having no other option than chasing her (almost) ex – husband, she finds herself being a member of the wedding party, as Zac, after the initial shock, tells everyone Poppy is a cousin.
But being again close to Zac, make old memories resurface, the good ones, but also the bad ones. And with Zac being her first love of her life, can she see him getting married to someone else? 

Reading a Portia MacIntosh is a recipe of success, no matter what! So reading this book was really not a difficult choice to make! Of course I would read it!
And it surely did not disappoint at all! But I have to admit, there were some moments that broke my poor heart… 

When we meet Poppy, we do not know her full story, so slowly we are seeing glimpses of her past, seeing how she got where she is now.
And even if initially it was a bit confusing, because how could she be to married AND divorced such a great guy that Zac appears to be?
But those flashbacks made me understand everything Poppy had to endure, and see her at her lowest. 

However, Poppy somehow picked up the pieces again, and tries to find her happiness again, even without the man she loved by her side. Not only what happened in the past with her broke my heart, but the way her best friends behave, well, if those were my friends, I wouldn’t want to have them in my life!
Nevertheless, Poppy wouldn’t be the amazing character she is, if she would do that. Instead she keeps her mouth shut, to keep the peace. 

Her partner in crime is Kat, a brand new friend that Poppy met at her friend’s wedding and I found it wonderful to read how they immediately clicked! Everyone should need a Kat in their life! 

I found it bittersweet to see Poppy and Zac together. Because there is so much left unsaid, yet there is still so much what concerns feelings. Initially I could not see why this lovely couple, so perfect for each other, gave up on each other, but the more into the story, the more I understood it. 

But I found it also a hilarious story, because not only it was funny to see how everyone believed the unlikely story of Poppy being in MI6, but also Kat’s input was just great!

Having the wedding set in a castle, is something every little girl (or adult woman) dreams of, so having this wedding (that we, honestly, do not want to take place) have such an amazing setting, elevated this story even more!
And then when mysterious things are taking place, well, that is just the cherry on top of the cake.

When I finished this wonderful book, I had a sentiment of contentment, because the author showed us not only the beautiful moments of a relationship/marriage/… but also what happens when it all goes wrong.
But no matter what happened in the past and in the present, if something is meant to be, despite several detours, it will always find a way!
And is there something more hopeful than that message?

‘Wishing Under A Starlit Skye’ – written by Lisa Hobman #BookReview @LisaJHobmanAuthor @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks

Getting back in the game is never easy…

Synopsis

Glentorrin bakery owner, and lone parent, Caitlin Fraser, is single and finally ready to mingle.
With her daughter, Grace, about to become a teenager, and her friends all settling down, Caitlin decides she deserves a shot at happiness too.
Resisting the pull of dating apps, Caitlin embarks upon a series of disastrous singles events where she bumps into fellow villager, and astronomy buff, Archie Sutherland, who is nursing his own past secrets.
When Grace’s best friend’s father, handsome Lyle Budge, asks Caitlin to dinner, things progress quickly and she has a taste of what their future as a family could be, much to both their daughters delight! But when Archie makes a shocking discovery, and he turns to Caitlin for help, she soon discovers Lyle isn’t the sharing type, meaning prickly ultimatums loom for everyone.
Will wishing upon the stars over Glentorrin help Caitlin to figure out her way forward? Or is her hunt for romance like a once in a lifetime comet, easily missed in the blink of an eye?

My review

Now that her daughter Grace is a teenager, bakery owner Caitlin Fraser and single but finally ready to mingle.
As dating apps aren’t really her thing, she decides to go to single events instead. But each event turns out to be disaster… AND she keeps on meeting the same fellow villager, Archie Sutherland.
But will it be Lyle Budge, Grace’s best friend’s father, be the one that Caitlin will end up with? Being a single dad himself, he surely understands the struggles, and the teenagers are over the moon with the prospect of being sisters for real.
However, when Archie turns to Caitlin for help after a shocking discovery, Caitlin realizes that no matter how good someone looks on paper, jealousy is never a good character trait.
And that makes Caitlin wonder if she lost her opportunity for finding love…

From the very start, I was amazed by Caitlin. Through a flashback, we see how much Caitlin wants to be a mother. And instead of waiting for the Perfect Man, that will or will not arrive, she decides to become a single mother.
Even if her own mother doesn’t agree with her choice, Caitlin perseveres, and has Grace.
And what an amazing mother she is! It’s not easy being a single mother and running a bakery, but she manages it all.

I understood both her wishes, in the past of wanting to be a mother, and in the present, wanting to find someone to share her life with. Doesn’t everyone want to have someone by their side?
But even while she is on the dating scene again, her main concern remains Grace. Whatever man she will date, he will need the approval of Grace. And he should accept and respect the choice Caitlin made.

So when Lyle enters the scene, I could see the appeal. Yes, he is a good looking man, and both daughters are best of friends. There is some chemistry, but I have to admit that I was Team Archie from the beginning…
Even if is there is nothing more going on, and Caitlin is now ‘officially’ dating Lyle, I kept my fingers crossed for another match.
And even if I was rooting for Archie, I was happy for Caitlin of daring to date again. But rather quickly it’s also clear that there is something ‘off’…

When Archie received shocking news, he turns to Caitlin for help. And while the shock left me also flabbergasted, his tale also showed just how amazing he was. There isn’t a thing he wouldn’t do for his friends and family. And even when he is in too deep, he wants to do the right thing.

I have read several books by this author, and this story takes us back to Glentorrin, seeing old friends again. But this story can be perfectly read as a standalone!
And maybe, just maybe, this is my favourite one in this wonderful place!
In this book, we see the strength of a young woman, the love of an amazing mum, the wish for not feeling lonely and courage of taking that terrifying step.
But we also learn that sometimes what we need is right in front of us, but we just cannot see it.

While reading, I wished I could jump into the book and be there on this adventure, together with all the amazing characters. 
I laughed (those terrible dating events!), I cringed (a few awkward moments), I felt the love just jumping out of each page.
And the main characters, and new entries made my heart expand and made me fall in love with them!

It is lovely to see how the high expectations I had for this book were not only fulfilled but the author managed to even exceed them all!
There are only a few authors that make me read a book in just one session, and yes, this author is now part of that privileged list!

‘Heartcross Castle’ – written by Christie Barlow #BookReview @ChristieJBarlow @rararesources

A castle of her dreams, Prince Charming included or not?

Synopsis

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what

A second chance…

When her grandfather Marley passes away Grace Power discovers she’s been left the beautiful but crumbling estate of Heartcross Castle. As a single mum of three, Grace has no idea what she’s going to do with it – but who can say no to a roof over their kids’ heads and a chance to get away from past hurts?

And a forever home

Heartcross Castle is full of secrets – especially a lost security deposit box that holds the truth to everything… But when celebrity chef Andrew Glossop sets his eyes on the castle and, to make matters worse, mistakes Grace as the new housekeeper, Grace tells him there is absolutely NO CHANCE he is getting his hands on her home.

Devastated to have got it so wrong, Andrew will do anything to make it up to her – but is she willing to listen?

My review

As a teenager, Grace Power ran away after a row with her grandfather and never looked back. Now she is in an abusive marriage and mother of three lovely boys. When then she receives the information that she inherited Heartcross Castle from her grandfather Marley, she sees this as the perfect opportunity to give her sons the life they all deserve.
But Heartcross Castle isn’t the majestic building it once was, and keeps secrets that no one knows about…
And then there is celebrity chef Andrew Glossop, who has his eyes set on buying the castle and initially thinks that Grace is the new housekeeper. After that misunderstanding, Andrew wants to make up with Grace, but while Grace is fighting over every penny, Andrew doesn’t seem to grasp how people without the wealth he has, live their lives…

If fictional communities with all their characters would be real, and I would be able to move to such a place, I know that Love Heart Lane would be on top of my list!

And if you, dear reader, would read my previous reviews you know how much I fell in love with the previous main characters. So of course it would be difficult to fall even more in love with new people! But let’s be honest, falling in love with the characters Christie Barlow manages to write, is as easy as breathing…

Grace is a woman that gave me mixed emotions… When we get first to know her, I  truly pitied her. The man who was supposed to love and cherish her, appears to be the total opposite. And his violent streak finds too often Grace. But having no escape, she endures it, also for her children’s sake.

But mess with her children, and a real lioness appears out of nowhere. And that made me proud of her and like her even more.
She doesn’t care what is done or said to her, but her children shall not be on the receiving side of violent shouts or worse!

When back at Love Heart Lane, old emotions resurface easily, but Grace is also afraid how people react when they see who has returned. And seeing Grace having these emotions, makes her a more realistic character. Because haven’t we all made once a wrong decision in our lives, and being afraid that people would be telling you “I told you so” or don’t want to have anything to do with you?
But we’re at Love Heart Lane, do I need to tell more?

And then there is Andrew… a famous chef, having a privileged life and not accustomed to have kids around, is now on the receiving side of little pranks Grace’s twin, Freddy and Joey invent.
I know that I shouldn’t, but I found it hilarious to see how Andrew was struggling with it!
But on the other hand, it was also nice to see how Andrew starts to realize how privileged he has been living, and learns that not the whole world revolves around him.

And the most heart – warming bits… I just loved seeing how two lovely people, with different lives, find each other. Grace learns Andrew what real life is like, and Andrew shows Grace what potential she has. And the more they are together, the more the attraction grows and made me a very happy reader!

A special mention has to made for Grace’s sons… the twins Freddie and Joey are hilarious, but also very grown – up for their age. They have seen ugly things in their young lives, but now living in the castle, and being boys of their age, was wonderful to see.
And then there is sweet little Billy… This little boy completely stole my heart! At one point in the story, his actions brought me literally to tears!

This was again a masterpiece of the author, a wonderful read about second chances, facing the past and finding old loved ones, meeting new loved ones. But also showing strength and making decisions not always made with your head, but with your heart, which eventually is always the right thing to do!

‘Her Legendary Highlander’ – written by Nicole Locke #BookReview @NicoleLockeNews @rararesources

Two broken people, one important quest

Synopsis

Her rugged prisoner

…becomes her fiercest protector

Capturing legendary Highlander Malcolm of Clan Colquhoun was Andreona’s last chance to win her tyrannical father’s respect. Instead he orders them both to be killed! Resigned to her devastating role as the family outcast, she and her prisoner escape and continue on his quest to return a treasured heirloom. They find solace in their unexpected passion, but haunted by a lifetime of betrayals, will either dare to hope it could last beyond their journey?

My review

Andreona’s only wish is to win the respect of her father and being able to return home. So when she is able to capture Highlander Malcolm of Clan Colquhoun, she sees her opportunity to get her wish. But her tyrannical father doesn’t respond as Andreona expected, on the contrary, he orders to have his own daughter killed.
A strange alliance is made as Andreona joins Malcolm on his quest to return a treasured heirloom. Both Andreona and Malcolm have been hurt and betrayed, in the past and present, but will they be able to trust each other on their mission? And will the unexpected passion between them turn into something more important? Or will the scars of the past make them too afraid to wish for happiness?

And so we have arrived at the last chapter of this quest… and of course it wouldn’t as I expected if there wouldn’t be a lovely romance in it too!

In many stories, there is one of the main characters with a sad tale, but in this one, both main characters have a past that have scarred them.

Andreona is an illegitimate daughter, wanting nothing more than her father’s approval and love. But what she doesn’t know, is that her father is a cruel man, and he doesn’t care at all about his daughter.
And when Andreona realizes this, it’s obvious that her world falls apart.
But I admired her when she stands up again, keeps her head high, and decides to now make her own future.

Also Malcolm’s story is a very sad one. Not only what happened to his friend when they were younger, but also his feeling of being a failure, broke my heart.
Not only is he still feeling guilty about what happened then, but his feelings also caused a rift between him and all his brothers.
And it saddened me reading how Malcolm was even refusing his brothers’ help when needed.

However… putting these two broken persons together, was the best thing that could happen to both of them. Even if language was sometimes as issue, being together was what they both needed. Not only for the quest to succeed, but mainly to let the old wounds heal and being able to forgive and look forward to a happier future.

I loved reading about Andreona’s strength, determination and also acceptance, and loved reading how Malcolm, even if being a strong man, literally, also has this vulnerability.

Maybe this story isn’t my favourite in the whole series, but it was still a joy read! And seeing how it all comes to an end, and seeing old friends again, was exactly what I needed!

‘A Spring Surprise For The Cornish Midwife’ – written by Jo Bartlett #BookReview @j_b_writer @rararesources @bookandtonic

When your greatest wish is impossible and then suddenly a surprise…

Synopsis

Brand new from the top 10 bestselling author of The Cornish Midwife.

Midwife Jess knows she’ll never have a baby of her own, but she’s determined to still be a mum. So Jess decides to foster, providing love and support for children who desperately need it – something Jess never had as a child when she was in foster care.

Jess loves caring for the precious babies who come into her life, but letting them go again breaks her heart every time – can she really be a mum after all?

But then Jess finds a surprise on her doorstep – a newbornbaby! As the search for the missing mum begins, Jess cares for the precious babe day and night. She desperately wants to reunite mum and baby, but knows that when the day comes, her own heart will shatter.

My review

Midwife Jess truly loves her job and couldn’t imagine doing something else. But she also knows that she will never have her own baby to love and cherish. Her infertility is also the reason her marriage with Dom ended.
However, she is determined to give children her love and support and is ready to become a foster parent. She wants to give those children everything she didn’t have while she was in foster care herself even if it will break her heart each time when she has to let them go.
And then one day, a new-born baby is left  on her doorstep… while the search for the missing parents are taking place, Jess takes care of that lovely baby, giving him all the love she has, with the help of her friends, and Dexter, the man who helped her becoming a foster parent.
But how will Jess be able to give the baby back if and when the parents will be found? Because one thing is for sure, her heart will be broken beyond repair..

I started to read the series and fell in love immediately with the character of the first story. Then I read the second story, and I fell in love with that character too. When story number 3 came out, I read it, and guess what… Jup, fell in love with her story too!
So what would you think happened after I read this next chapter?
All I can say is, the more I read about the Cornish Midwives, the more I fall in love with all the characters, the place, the job and just everything!

Not to diminish the love and care I had for the other midwives, but Jess’ story opened my eyes even more about realizing how amazing Jess truly is.
Of course, she has her flaws, but she definitely has her heart at the right place!

Have a great wish of becoming a mother myself (biological clock definitely ticking here in Belgium!) I cannot imagine how I would feel if my dream would get crushed by infertility… And seeing your marriage end because of it, is making everything even worse for Jess.

Jess didn’t have an easy childhood, being a foster child herself, and as a result she finds it very difficult to let someone in.
But it’s her experience of being in foster care, that makes her want to give children in the same situation that what she lacked.
And I admired her for her choice.  I can only imagine what’s it like to be in the system, but Jess’ history and her current situation gave me some clarity of how it all works. And just like Jess, I think I would struggle to give any child back after taking care of him/her.

Seeing Jess taking care of Teddy, was so sweet to read about. It is obvious what an amazing mother Jess would have been, even with some initial struggles. But this story wouldn’t be so great if Jess couldn’t count on her friends for any kind of help.

And there is also the help of Dexter. Dexter… what can I say about him? Even if he shouldn’t, he is there every time Jess needs him, even if he has his own problems. Not only him being there, but also being so kind and understanding, made me fall in love with him!

There is although one thing that irritated me… and before the author freaks out, it has nothing to do with the story, but it’s about one character, Dom. From the previous books, it seemed that Jess and Dom were the perfect couple until the news about the infertility. But in this story, we got to see how Dom really is. And honestly, my feelings of dislike, changed into despise and to end in actual hate.
I just cannot grasp how someone could do all those things to lovely Jess…

But luckily there was Riley and little Teddy to lighten up my dark feelings. Are there children cuter and more adorable than these two???

I absolutely loved reading this story. There are so many different aspects the author managed to address, without making it confusing or too ‘teachy’.
Our lovely main character has many issues and problems she has to solve, but even when she makes a wrong decision, she makes them with the right intention.

The love in all its aspects warmed my heart. We have friends who love each other, but there is also love for a child, a broken love, a love that maybe is worth the risk etc.
It was wonderful to read how someone can love a child unconditionally even if it’s not your own flesh and blood. I think that if the world was filled with people like Jess and Dexter, there wouldn’t be one child who would feel unloved.

Is there a limit on how many times someone can say they loved a story? Because if it’s not obvious by now… I LOVED IT!!!

‘A Nose For Mischief’ – written by K.T. Lee #BookReview @KTLeeWrites @rararesources

Something fluffy and the start of a whole new and unexpected adventure

Synopsis

When materials engineer Zoey Butler lands her dream job at Future State Energy, she believes her research in renewable energy will make headlines. Unfortunately for her, she’s right. Zoey is working on her latest experiment when FBI Special Agent Alexis Thompson and her K-9 partner, Waffle, raid Future State and arrest the head of the development for fraud. Zoey helps the FBI find answers in the aftermath, but she soon finds herself jobless and unemployable. Desperate and out of options, she reaches out to Alexis, the one person who knows Zoey was duped like everyone else.

Liam Graham is an FBI special agent and instructor at Riverbend K-9 Academy. When Alexis brings in a new recruitwith an unusual background, Liam pairs her up with Tasha, a dog in need of a handler to stay in their competitive program. Zoey is thrilled to put her past behind her and give the mischievous rescue dog her own second chance. However, shortly after she arrives, the FBI realizes the Future State case is far from closed. And Zoey may be the key to solving it.

Zoey offers to go back to Future State to help the FBI end things once and for all. Only this time, she’ll have Liam and Tasha for backup. But, the problems at Future State are more explosive than any of them suspect.

My review

Zoey Butler is a materials engineer who believes that she has found her dream job at Future State Energy. But then the FBI raids Future State and arrests are made for fraud. And that means that Zoey now is jobless…
Desperation makes people do strange things, and Zoey is not an exception. She reaches out to FBI Special Agent Alexis Thompson for a job, as Alexis knows that Zoey was duped like everyone else.
Thus Zoey finds herself recruited by the FBI and is ready to start at Riverbend K-9 Academy. And with the job, is Tasha included, a dag in need of a handler.
But then the FBI discovers that Future State is not yet a closed case… and Zoey offers to go back to the place to help out, together with Liam Graham, another FBI Agent and also instructor of the K-9 Academy and both their dogs, Tasha and Tank.
Little did they expect that things would end up being so explosive, and we are not only taking about the chemistry between Zoey and Liam…

If people would describe me, concerning pets, they would immediately say that I am a cat – person. But that doesn’t mean I don’t melt whenever I see a cute dog! So for me, it was very obvious that I would read this story!

Zoey is the kind of character you immediately like. It’s obvious she is a lovely person, and always sees the positive in people. Even when losing her job, she cannot see one of the people she used to work with, to be to blame.
But she also has a certain fire in her. I found it awesome how she dared to write to the FBI claiming that they give her a job, as they were the reason she lost the last one!
I cannot think of one person who would have the same guts!
And I admired her when she just packs and accept the job at Riverbend K-9 Academy, not knowing what was in store for her.

I have to admit, the Academy was nothing what I expected it to be. First of all, I was surprised how easy it was for Zoey to get there (because according all those TV  -shows I watched, it’s not an easy task to enter a FBI – Academy).
And even while everyone is working very hard at the Academy, there is also a feeling of calmness. Everyone knows what to do, and does it, without getting overly stressed or freaking out.
But they absolute take their jobs seriously! Proof is how they handle the Future State case…

I don’t think I’ll ever understand how you can train dogs into smelling specific things, and not only that, I think you need a lot of patience, and that is not something I am known for.

Both Tasha and Tank are very well trained, and when working, their focus is literally on the smelling only. However, dogs will always be dogs and when off duty, they were both those cute dogs you just want to cuddle all day!

I found it fascinating how Zoey and Liam go to the crime scene, and infiltrate to discover what is going on. When I am in my ‘detective modus’, I see everyone as a potential suspect, so I was trying to figure out myself who the culprit was.
Even if there are a few blasts in the tale, the reason behind it wasn’t as malicious as I initially thought.

This was a very entertaining story, showing us a side of investigation I didn’t consider much. There is suspense, question marks that I wanted to be answered, an overload of cuteness (dogs, people, I am talking about the dogs!) but also a little bit of romance…
Yes, obviously there is chemistry between Zoey and Liam, but their attraction isn’t pulling the spotlight away from the real work. It’s just a nice in – between, making it an even lighter story.

I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did (I expected a certain level of enjoyment, but not as much as I effectively had!) and I am very curious to read what the next adventure for Zoey, Liam, Tasha and Tank will be!

‘Daughter Of The Sea’ – written by Elisabeth J. Hobbes #BookReview @ElisabethHobbes @rararesources

The power of love can never be underestimated

Synopsis

On a windswept British coastline the tide deposits an unexpected gift…

It was the cry that she first noticed, the plaintive wail that called to her over the crash of winter waves. Wrapped only in a sealskin, the baby girl looks up at Effie and instantly captures her heart. She meant only to temporarily foster the young orphan but when news reaches Effie that her husband has been lost at sea, and months pass without anyone claiming the infant, she embraces her new family – her son Jack and her adopted daughter Morna.

Effie has always been an outcast in her village, the only granddaughter of a woman people whisper is a witch, so she’s used to a solitary existence. But when Midsummer arrives so too does a man claiming to be Morna’s father. There’s no denying Lachlan is the girl’s kin and so Effie is surprised when he asks her to continue looking after his daughter, mysteriously refusing to explain why. She agrees, but when he returns six months hence she pushes him for answers. And Lachlan tells a story she never anticipated … one of selkies, legend, and the power of the sea…

My review

Even before losing her husband, Effie never fitted in the village life. So she doesn’t really mind living on her own, with her son Jack.
But one day, the most unexpected thing happens. Because on the coastline near her place, she discovers that the wails she hears are those of a baby girl, wrapped in a sealskin.
Being a mother, Effie doesn’t hesitate to take the child in and look after her.
When Midsummer arrives, a stranger appears, claiming to be the child’s father. The man, Lochlan, wants Effie to look after his daughter and he will check on them every six months. Effie, loving the girl like she was her own, accepts but wants to answers to her questions.
But she never expected that Lachlan will start telling her stories about selkies, legends and mysteries of the sea…

Being an adult, you know that things like mermaids, witchcraft and other mystical creatures do not really exist. But even if in my mind I know they are not real, it is always something that intrigues me. ‘What if’ is never far away when I start to think about it.

This story is one of those tales that suck you immediately in.

It’s very easy to like Effie. She has lost her husband at sea, and even if there were things she could do to make her life easier, she wants to stay true to herself. And if people do not accept her for who she is, it’s their loss.
I also admired her courage and determination to take care of the baby girl she has found. It would be an easy option to let the girl go into foster care or an orphanage. But she doesn’t hesitate to take the girl and take care of her.
And as the months pass by, she sees Morna as her own daughter too. That shows again what a kind character she is.

Initially I found it very difficult to like Lachlan. He appears out of nowhere, disappears like it’s nothing, leaving his girl behind for another six months. Just like Effie, I had so many questions…
But the more of his life is being told, the more my heart melted.
Being what he is, isn’t an easy task and he wants to do the right thing, but it isn’t always his choice.

The more Effie and Lachlan get to know each other, the more obvious the chemistry between them is obvious. And seeing how they both are accepting the differences between them, somehow made me believe that there is still hope for mankind.
And not only the difference between Lochlan and Effie, but also Morna being more like her father than expected, and Jack not being exactly like other kids, doesn’t diminish the love these lovely and adorable kids receive.

This story is filled with love, but is also the quest of a woman, finding a place she belongs to.
And even if her search will cause heart – breaking decisions and moments that made me angry at her, it was clear to understand where she is coming from.
But mainly and most important, this story is filled with acceptance. Acceptance for who not only you are, but who your loved ones are.
And do differences really matter when there is love?

‘Hustle’ – written by Owen Mullen #BookReview @OwenMullen6 @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks @bookandtonic

There is one family you don’t mess with…

Synopsis

What was meant to be a straightforward jewellery heist goes horribly wrong, and the thieves are forced to take a hostage to make their escape. But when they discover their prisoner is the infamous Nina Glass – one of the bosses of the most dangerous criminal dynasty in London – they soon realise they have made a terrible mistake.

Greed wins out over good sense and the gang decide to make the best of a bad situation. They send Luke Glass a ransom note. But messing with London’s top crime dynasty is a serious error. Now Luke must track down the gang who abducted his sister before they carry out their brutal threats.

The Glass family have other problems. The crooked cop they have on their payroll – DCI Oliver Stanford – makes an unwelcome discovery. The insider they had all presumed dead, may in fact have survived, and still be feeding information to the police. 

Under attack from all sides, and desperate to save his sister, Luke has the reputation and survival of the crime dynasty in his hands – is this the end of the Glass family?

My review

The Glass family rule the crime world in London with a firm hand. Luke Glass and his sisters Nina and Charley have a hand in everything that happens in London’s underworld.
They are feared by enemies and friends, and nobody with a brain cell would think about doing something against a member of this powerful family.
And then the unthinkable happens… what started as a jewellery heist, turns into taking Nina Glass as a hostage. And the thieves find it a marvellous idea to send a ransom note to Luke…
But Luke Glass wouldn’t be Luke Glass if he would let some insignificant scumbags play him and his family.
And Nina’s abduction is not the only worry Luke has… because suddenly the whole family is being attacked from all sides.
Will Luke manage to save his beloved sister from the brutal threats? Or will this be the start of the fall of the Glass Empire?

Even if the Glass family is a criminal family, I have a soft spot for them…
No member of the family or in their close circle is afraid of using violence, but they always use it for a just cause. They don’t just kill or start a fight for the fun of it, but only use it when someone has been doing them wrong. Yes, I know that a criminal family is always in the wrong, but you get what I am saying, right? 😀

And what I truly like about Luke, his family always comes first. In the previous part of this series, the entrance of Charley was a shock, but now that it’s obvious she truly is hi sister, he didn’t hesitate to give her her own place in the Glass Dynasty.

The criminal world, especially when it’s like the Glass’ world, has always been a fascinating one. How does someone know who is trustworthy? How can you reign your empire and keeping everyone in line? And how to react when everything seems to go  for the worse?
All these aspects are taken care of in this book. And even if some reactions left me a bit flabbergasted, I knew somewhere that it would be a typical reaction from the Boss of the Underworld…

The thieves – turned – into – captors do for sure have several screws loose… and they are proof of how one worse seed can turn a whole operation totally over the top crazy. Out of the three criminals, there was only one I pitied, but how can one person fight off the other ones?

The conclusion of this book, of what happened to each character, didn’t come as a total surprise. But the actions Nina made, both made me like her (her sense of protectiveness towards one of the captors) but scared me also to shit (when one secret it revealed and what she does next…).
But her character also showed that in the end, even criminals are just people like you and me. They just want to be loved and taken care of, and take care of their loved ones. But once trust is broken, how can there be love?

There was one character that took some time to link to the rest of the story. I had a hunch, but seeing the unfortunate climax revealing the connection, and confirming my suspicion, showed me again how sometimes bad luck can cross your path.

This book is not for readers who are squeamish or are hoping that the brutality will be covered. It shows us just how the criminal world works, and to face the consequences when you mess with the wrong people.
But it also shows a close family, that would do anything for each other, no matter if you aren’t always on the same page…

Even if this genre isn’t my usual cup of tea (I’m a romance girl all the way), the Glass family managed to get me intrigued by their gripping, gruesome tale. And even if I never want to meet this family in real life, I cannot wait for the next instalment!

‘The Good Man’ – written by A.S. Kelly #BookReview @askelly_writes @rararesources

When love doesn’t come easy…

Synopsis

Once upon a time, there was a solitary, grumpy man who would spend his days watching the world around him without ever attracting any attention to himself.

Once upon a time, there was a man who stood aside, imagining he could live someone else’s life and dreaming of something which would never be his; yet he wasn’t ready to give it up.

Once upon a time, there was a man who loved a woman. His only wish was to watch her achieve her dreams – without knowing that the only dream she ever wanted to achieve was him.

Once upon a time, there was a woman afraid that no one would ever be able to love her – without knowing that there was a man who had loved nothing but her for his entire life.

That man is me: Reid Johnson. And that woman is her: my deepest secret. Fine, so I have a few secrets – but it would be best not to reveal them, as they could take everything I have away from me. And without those secrets, I’d have nothing to dream of.

There are two things you should know about me before deciding whether or not to read this story:

I’ve never been the person everyone thinks I am.

I’ve never been the man she believes me to be.

My review

Reid Johnson is not known for his sparkly character. On the contrary, if you would look up ‘grumpy’ in the dictionary, you would find his picture below the description.
But behind his grumpy character, and desire to be left in peace, there is one woman he loves unconditionally. And for Sloan, the only thing Reid wishes is that she achieves her dreams. Sloan is the only woman he has ever loved and ever will love.
But what Reid doesn’t know is that there is only one man that Sloan ever loved and will love. And that man is Reid Johnson. However, how can someone ever fall in love with Sloan as she isn’t ‘the perfect woman’?
And no matter what they feel for each other, Reid knows that the secrets he is keeping, will only push Sloan away and that is not a risk he is willing to take…

While reading this story, I quickly realized that there was something special about our main characters.

First of all, Reid isn’t the kind of guy that you immediately like. For strangers, his behaviour may be even be considered rude, but as a reader, we get to know also his thoughts and we know that his behaviour is more a way of protecting himself for getting hurt.
I found it sweet to see how Reid has always loved Sloan (don’t worry, this isn’t a spoiler!). Even if he made some mistakes in the past, he always looked out for her. And when he knew he couldn’t be the man by her side, he did the next best thing, being there as a friend.

Of course, he screwed up big time, but even when the truth came out, I always kept in mind he always did everything keeping Sloan’s best interest at mind.
Even if some of his behaviour made me frown, making him look stalker-ish, I always had in the back of my head that Reid didn’t always act like a normal person would.

Reading about Sloan, left me with many questions. I couldn’t understand where her thoughts would come from, because there was no indication that could justify her thinking.
There were some small hints making her thinking that no one would ever look at her a little bit more reasonable.  But it’s only towards the end that the full extend of her past and current situation made sense.

And for me, that waiting for Sloan’s reality was taking too long. Yes we know something happened to her, but what and when and why? Those questions kept lingering through my mind a little bit too long.

And this, together with the secrets Reid’s kept, even if understandable at some length, but still not okay, made me not love this story to the full extend. I liked it, yes, and I felt the pain of the characters. But it didn’t sweep me of my feet completely.

This was a part of a series that could be read as a standalone but the other Johnson family members that already had their story make important appearances. And it was a an extra turn off that in Reid’s story there is the suggestion what happened previously, but a small explanation would have been maybe better than a just ‘you know what happened there’. Because if you haven’t read the previous parts, like me, no you don’t know what happened. And that frustrated me a little bit…

But globally, I enjoyed reading this story, about two people, both thinking they are not worthy of love, finally realize that those feelings are mutual. And I liked seeing how Reid, ever against any change, wasn’t bothered with the changes Sloan brought, because those changes gave him everything he ever wished for.
And I loved the gesture he made in the end, that went against every fibre in his body, just to show Sloan how far his feelings for her truly extend.

Most important after finishing this book was that I liked how even people that can be seen as ‘odd’ or ‘strange’ or ‘antisocial’ and ‘broken’, find the perfect matching, missing piece of their puzzle.