‘Paradiso’ – written by Francesca Scanacapra #BookReview @FrancescaScana2 @rararesources

Growing up is never easy, imagine growing up in a post – war place…

Synopsis

Italy, 1937. In a tiny village in rural Lombardy, GraziellaPonti is born into a loving family. 

Though they are not rich and life is full of challenges, they are content and safe, surrounded by the tightly-knit community of Pieve Santa Clara. 

But when the shadow of World War Two falls across the village with the arrival of Nazi soldiers, nothing in young Graziella’s life will ever be the same again. 

Paradiso is Graziella’s story. It charts her loves, losses and triumphs as she grows up in post-war Italy, a country in transformation, freed from the shackles of dictatorship yet still gripped by the restraints of the Catholic church. 

Paradiso is inspired by true stories told to Francesca Scanacapra by her Italian family and set in locations where she spent much of her childhood. It is a deeply affecting novel which sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Italy’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live in extraordinary times.

This stunning historical read is perfect for fans of Dinah Jeffries, Rhys Bowen, Victoria Hislop, Angela Petch and Heather Morris.

My review

Graziella is living with her loving parents in a small village in Lombardy, Pieve Santa Clara. Her life is not full of money, but is full of love.
But when Nazi soldiers start to appear as World War 2 is getting more grip on the world, it’s obvious that life as everyone knew is over.
While Graziella is growing up in a new world, she has to learn to cope with love, loss and facing the aftermath of a war that changed the course of everyone’s life.

Whenever a story is taking place somewhere in Italy, the author already has my interest. But of course the story itself has to be able to keep it! otherwise I would like a lot of stories! 😊

Graziella is a young girl living without worries at ‘Paradiso’, the name they gave her home. But her worriless life quickly changes as the World War is approaching.
I was somehow in awe how Graziella reacted to all the changes in her young life. Being evacuated from her hometown and to live with the nuns, losing people she loved, picking up the pieces after war, it’s not easy for adults, image how this would be for a little girl.
Yet Graziella, even if sometimes in despair, holds on to the little things of life and does her utterly best to remain positive.

The first few chapters had some difficulties to keep my attention, but before I knew, the whole story gripped my attention.
I was relieved the story wasn’t completely focused on the war, but also showed us the aftermath. It’s easy to think that life goes on as before the war, but the author manages to show is that such a great, negative event has many implications.
People grieve on their own way over losses, but still have to learn to slowly move on and actually live again.

Seeing Graziella growing up towards a young responsible woman was something that warmed my heart. No matter what she has been through and is still facing, she has her head on her shoulders and is not afraid to take her own initiative. Reading about her while she is discovering all kind of feelings, like grieve or that first blooming love, made me feel like I was standing beside her every step she was taking.

The fact that the author inspired the book by true stories told by her family, made it feel more real too.
There is no sugar-coating, but also not overly dramatizing the events that are taking place. The emotions are real, not too fast – paced.
The only thing I kind of missed, was the feeling of a proper ending. In one way, it was the perfect ending, but on the other hand, I would have loved to read *just more*! I was not ready to say goodbye to these lovely, real characters yet!

‘Life’s A Beach’ – written by Portia MacIntosh #BookReview @PortiaMacIntosh @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks

When the wedding of your sister is the easiest thing happening.

Synopsis

Sun, sea and inescapable exes…


Peach is excited to hear that her sister, Di, is getting married. Of course, she would have preferred her little sister to be engaged to someone she’s known longer than a week – and the fact that his name is Charles doesn’t bode well – but who is she to judge?! Afterall, her own love life is non-existent, and who doesn’t love a destination wedding…?

Whisked away to the gorgeous Italian coast, Peach assumes her role as chief bridesmaid and, despite her reservations about the groom, she tries to ensure everything goes to plan.

But weddings are never straightforward affairs… throw in some unexpected guests in the form of ex-boyfriends and one night stands, and soon enough there is more drama than a reality tv show.

Can Peach keep the show on the road, or might she end up in a whirlwind romance of her own…?

Escape to the stunning Italian coast with bestseller Portia MacIntosh. Perfect for fans of Sophie Ranald and Mhairi MacFarlane.

My review

Peach is left a bit flabbergasted when her sister Di decides to getting married to a man she barely knows.
But of course, the only thing that matters, is Di’s happiness. And if that means that Di is going to marry a man named Charles, so be it. especially when the wedding will be taking place on a beautiful Italian coast!
However, some of the other guests are not Peach’s best friends. And when a one night stand appears to be also attending, together with ex – boyfriends, the wedding itself seems to be the least of her worries, even if she keeps on having her own reservations.

Whenever I read a story written by this author, I know I will enjoy every bit of it!

And with this story, it already starts with the first chapter! At first I was a bit confused, thinking I missed a few pages because when we meet Peach, she is looking at a wedding venue for her wedding. So I was nearly freaking out.
But my worries were unjustified. Because when it’s made all clear, I was laughing at loud, wishing I could be doing the same thing!
And the prelude to her one night stand was something funny yet also sweet. So when the guy just disappears, I was as disappointed as Peach was, because the click and sparks just flew over the pages!

Peach is just a wonderful character to get to know. She is an amazing and loving sister. Because even if she doesn’t understand why Di wants to get married so quickly and she discovers something about Charles, all she wants is that her sister is happy. And that means Peach puts her own not so positive thoughts aside, spending time with Di’s friend even if she absolutely loathes her.

And Matt… is there any other man that would match even more perfectly for Peach? I’m not telling you too much about Matt, because I want you to discover him all by yourself!

However… how lovely (or not…) the characters were, it was the whole adventure that made me laugh, relax and have a blast!
This story is full of hilarious misunderstandings, unfinished business and people appearing out of the blue with the wrong reasons of being there. However confusing it may seem at some point, all the pieces of the puzzle fall perfectly together.
And the ending of this book… I cannot say more than just ‘WONDERFUL’!!!!

This author managed AGAIN to write a story that was impossible to put away. And yes, I gave up my sleep for it, so after finishing the book, I was in a cranky mood because the lack of sleep and because I already finished it!

I found this a very entertaining, funny book. Even if some characters took some time to like/love, they all were characters I wanted to be happy.
I cannot wait to read more from this author, knowing that each book of her is something I truly enjoy!

‘Second Chances At First Love’ – written by Zoe Allison #BookReview @zoeallisonauth1 @rararesources

Is second time’s a charm?

Synopsis

Eva Mathers is a successful woman, except for when it comes to matters of the heart. When she returns home to Yorkshire as a pending divorcee, she realises her childhood friend and first love Damon Evans is also newly single. It’s a pity he’s never noticed her romantically and had no idea that she was in love with him at school. But at least they can support each other as friends again.

Damon is attempting to adjust to life sharing the kids with his ex. His reconnection with Eva is strong, but she was always too good for him and made her indifference clear after they drifted apart during their younger years. In any case, she still seems to be hung up on her charismatic ex-husband. Eva is hiding things from Damon, secrets from her past. He wants to be there for her, so why can’t she let him in?

Eva is dealing with trauma, but she won’t confide in her loved ones. Can Damon help her break down her walls before it’s too late and they miss their second chance at first love?

My review

After her divorce, Eva Mathers returns back home to her parents. Not only did her marriage not make it, but she is still dealing with a trauma.
The last thing she needs is match-making mothers, trying to not too subtle to make Eva meet with Damon Evans. Especially when Damon is her first, but also unrequited love.
Damon is also adapting to his new life, after divorcing his wife and not being able to spend as much time with his kids as he used to.
Quickly Eva and Damon become friends again, even if neither of them know what they meant to each other in the past. And it’s obvious that the attraction is still there. But can these two people with broken hearts get a second chance at their love? Or is the past truly in the past and are the walls too high to break down?

As this was a rather short story, compared to what I am used to read, I was a bit afraid the pace would be too fast.
But I had no reason to worry, because it was just perfect!

Eva is the kind of character you immediately like and make a connection with. Of course her current situation isn’t a happy one. She is “freshly” divorced, is living back with her parents, and then there is this big unknown trauma she is also carrying around.
And having a meddling mother, playing Cupid doesn’t help things. Especially when the mother is matching Eva with her old crush.

And it’s her old crush that makes this story so recognizable! Each and every one of us had that one crush that was unrequited! So it’s obvious that some of those old feelings resurface when Eva and Damon meet again.
However not only the old feelings resurface, but also the insecurities… And also that is that many readers can relate to! Are my feelings growing too fast? Is he/she feeling the same way or does he/she only see me as someone to pass time with? And is he/she not out of my league? No matter how old/ young you are, these questions are always playing around in your mind.
And reading how the counterparty is struggling with the same questions, was some kind of relief, knowing that even the hottest guy around is the same!

Damon truly is the hottest guy around, and yet there is this vulnerability around him, because he is not afraid to show and express his feelings. He does not hide how hard is struggling with not being around his kids. But he also shows what an amazing man he is, by reassuring Eva, but also showing how kind he is, even if it involves his ex – wife.

There are a few misunderstandings, and also when Eva’s trauma is revealed, heart – breaking moments. Yet there are so many sweet moments, that made my heart melt.
But this story shows us that it’s never too late for a chance at love, even a second chance at love!
And the author manages to explain that communication is the key to everything. If the characters dare to ask questions, dare to express their feelings, the reward can be exceptionally big.

I found this a lovely story about two people in a not so great moment in their lives, but finding each other again is the start of something new. And before I knew, I found myself devouring this sweet story!

‘Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff’ – written by Della Galton #BookReview @DellaGalton @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks

Can producing a date show be also finding you love?

Synopsis

There’s someone out there for everyone… you just need to know where to look…

All NEW from bestselling author Della Galton.

Unlucky in love Poppy Allen is the producer of a brand-new TV show, ‘Date for a Day’ – think ‘Take Me Out’ meets ‘It’s a Knockout’!

Lovelorn contestants must perform a series of seaside challenges to win the hand of the starring lady and a ‘Date for a Day’.

Left heartbroken when Stephen, her childhood sweetheart eloped with her best friend on her hen night – Poppy has no plans to risk her own heart again. Besides, she’s far too busy filming contestants against the backdrop of the beautiful Bluebell Cliff Hotel and the stunning Jurassic Dorset coastline.

However, when sabotage on set threatens to stop shooting, Poppy discovers soulmates can be found in the most unexpected places…

My review

Poppy Allen is the producer of a brand new dating show, ‘Date for a Day’. Together with her director of photography Dave she is making the pilot episode, with her sister Alice as the starring lady. The contestants must perform a series of challenges, hoping that they will win over Alice.
Poppy is happy that her sister is putting herself out there, but her own heart is well locked away, after her childhood sweetheart eloped on her hen night with her best friend.
But will the beautiful Bluebell Cliff Hotel be the perfect setting for Poppy to open her heart again?

The thing I truly love about Della Galton’s books is that they all take place in beautiful places. I was already familiar with the Bluebell Cliff Hotel, so I was ecstatic of returning there!

Discovering how Poppy got her heart broken and has been betrayed by who she thought was her best friend, was a very sad moment.
So I understood why she has built huge walls around her heart, avoiding a broken heart all over again. However, even if I understood her, I knew it wasn’t a healthy situation…


A character like Poppy is just made to be loved… She is a good friend, a loving daughter and the best sister anyone could imagine.
Even if Alice is ‘only’ a stepsister, Poppy sees her and her stepfather as ‘real’ family and she loves them both with whole her heart. And there isn’t a thing she wouldn’t do for Alice, even if that means she has to put her own attraction towards one of the contestants aside, purely for Alice’s happiness.

If there is one place just perfect for Poppy to learn to trust and love again, it just has to be Bluebell Cliff Hotel!

It was lovely to see old characters again, and have the confirmation that none of them have changed a bit! Mr. B. is as weird as usual, and the bickering between him and maître d’ Phil are reason for laughing at loud, even if for the production it was reason of desperation!

Reading how a show is being produced was something new for me, but I liked reading how much there is to be taking in account, and it made me realize there is a lot of responsibilities to take! and it shows also that no matter how many precautions you take, there is always an inevitability!

But the aspect of this book I liked the most was seeing how Poppy dared to put herself out there. Not that she starts to date or flirt with every man that passes, but she is looking around her, to see if there is someone that she feels attracted to.
Of course I had a hunch who would be absolutely perfect for Poppy, but of course it cannot ever be that easy.

This was a very entertaining, lovely story about finding love and family and what we wouldn’t do for them. But it’s also about daring to take that one step, that yes, could be breaking your heart but on the other hand could bring you love and happiness!
Sometimes, all you have to do is dare to speak up, because you never know what the outcome will be!

‘The Secret Notebook’ – written by Julia Wild #CoverReveal @juliawildauthor @rararesources

And now it’s time for another cover reveal!

Synopsis

When Izzie Dean’s beloved nan, Molly Blackshaw, passes away, Izzie returns to the Blackpool bungalow where she grew up, to say goodbye once and for all. When Izzie’s homecoming reunites her with her first love, Justin Swift, every emotion that Izzie has repressed since the day he broke her heart comes rushing to the surface. But then an unexpected discovery changes everything.

Between the pages of the battered secret diary Molly kept during WWII, Izzie discovers a story of love, heartbreak, and the incomparable hardship of life in a world at war. Reading her grandmother’s words soon puts her own story into perspective, and suddenly Izzie realises that the only thing holding her back from happiness, might be herself. Now she just has to convince Justin that they deserve a second chance at forever…

About the author

Lancashire born, I moved to Bedfordshire in the late seventies, married and started a family. I’m a past Hon Sec of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, have been a member since 1993 when I joined their New Writers’ Scheme as a probationer. That came about after winning a week’s historical writing course on the strength of the first chapter of my third Poldark-era romance. The tutor on the last day loved the story and handed me details of the Romantic Novelists’ Association – she said I absolutely must join as they would be able to help me towards publication. 

Some four years later my first published book, Dark Canvas, won the RNA’s New Writer’s Award in 1997, the sixth, Illusions, won the RNA’s Romance Prize in 2003.

After working in the local library service for 18 years, during library cut-backs I took the leap to become self-employed as a writer and worked on releasing my backlist as eBooks for Kindle. 

Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing Charlotte Ledger when she pulled me from the writing wilderness and have now signed a three-book deal with One More Chapter.

The Cover

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

Talking about heart-breaking moments…

Synopsis

Every family has its secrets, and at Hedgehog Hollow there is no exception…


It was always Samantha’s dream to run her beautiful rescue centre, Hedgehog Hollow, full-time. But just as her wish comes true, she becomes a victim of her own kindness when she finds herself with a house full of guests – all with their own problems and secrets – looking to her for support.

When her self-absorbed cousin, Chloe, unexpectedly turns up at the farm – swiftly handing over her baby to Samantha to care for – trouble is definitely brewing. Especially as Chloe won’t tell anyone why she’s left her husband, James…

As Samantha juggles new hedgehog arrivals, family dramas and her own health challenges, it soon becomes clear that she needs to start putting herself first for once. Little does she know that life-changing secrets from the past are about to unravel and turn their lives upside down…

Return to glorious Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a heartwarming, emotional but uplifting story of family, friendship and moving on from the past.

My review

It seems that Samantha has finally have her wish come true. Not only is she now running full – time Hedgehog Hollow, she is also happily engaged with the love of her life Josh.
However she does not have the peace and quiet she needs, because suddenly she finds herself with a house full of people with all their own problems and secrets, looking for Sam’s support.
Not only is Josh’s father and girlfriend staying at the farm, but also Sam’s self – absorbed cousin appears out of the blue, after leaving her husband without any explanation and just assumes that Sam will take care of baby Samuel.

But will Sam be able to keep fixing everything, while the only thing she should think about is her own health? And what will the effects be of the secrets that are bound to be discovered?

Starting to read a book by Jessica Redland is like when a child enters Disneyland for the first time. I was excited, almost jumping up and down from joy!
If there is a fictional couple I truly adore, it’s Sam and Josh. So I sat back, ready for a lot of lovely, sweet moments between these characters.

After everything Sam has been through I the previous books, I was hoping that all the misery would be gone by now and she could finally focus on her happily ever after. But it’s quickly clear that fate has more in store for Sam…
Instead of the much required rest, she finds her house full of people in need of help. Having Josh’s father Paul, Beth the girlfriend and two small children, was something Sam was barely coping with, but when her cousin appears on her doorstep, it’s a recipe for chaos.

Chloe was not my favourite person previously, so initially I was a bit disappointed the focus would also be on her. I couldn’t imagine myself liking Chloe for a reason, because let’s be honest, Chloe is the perfect example of a self – absorbed person, always having things her way.
And in those first chapters, my dislike was only confirmed. She appears out of the blue, without any explanation, just saying that she left her husband.

Through flashbacks and moments when Chloe finally starts to open up, it’s clear she has been traumatised by something that happened to her. And thanks to those flashbacks, I started to like Chloe a little more, bit by bit, until she became a person I pitied but also someone I just wanted to give a hug and tell her that no matter what happened, she is loved and deserves to be loved, even by me.
Not only the way she has been betrayed by people she trusted and broke her heart, but also the consequences she had to face afterwards, it literally made me cry! And let me tell you, I don’t cry very easily over books! Even now, thinking about it again, is giving me glassy eyes, full of tears…

Also Sam is still facing the demons of what she had to endure lately. Instead of taking things easy like she should, she finds herself again with a full plate, and the way she reacts to it, was also a reason for heart – breaking moments. But I was so happy to read that Josh was by her side, and I honestly believe that his love for her, could just fix everything.

I think I have to stop reading any book by Jessica Redland… I cannot cope with all the times my heart breaks over a sad event, finding myself crying over it, with people looking at me awkward because they don’t understand the emotions I am going through…

This author managed again to write a beautiful story, even making it possible to change my opinion of someone I truly disliked.
Beside the heart – breaking moments, there are so many joyful moments too. Just whenever Sam and Josh are together, my heart filled with contentment.
And okay, I’m going to be honest, I am a total hedgehog – lover now!

This next chapter shows us that no matter what, when you’re surrounded by people that truly love you, nothing is insurmountable. I was heart – broken while reading, but also smiling over the sweeter moments, and I fell even more in love with the beautiful couple that Sam and Josh make. And I even love more characters now!

But please my dearest Jessica, I cannot take any more drama for Sam… I just want her to be happy with Josh and the hedgehogs! The epilogue was not something I expected and it surprised me in a bad way, because I am a bit afraid of what else Sam is going to have to endure! Can’t she just have her happily after yet???

‘Death Of A Texan’ – written by Cat Hickey #BookReview @CatHickey4 @rararesources

When a wish for more exciting jobs as a PA is granted…

Synopsis

A grieving widow. A sketchy admirer. An adoring boyfriend.

But one of them is up to no good.

Chloe’s new life in Costa Rica seems perfect: her relationship with Mateo is heating up, and her career as a private investigator is off to a good start. She only wishes that her cases were more interesting than the lost dogs or cheating husbands she’s been hired for so far…

She gets her wish when a dead body lands, almost literally, at her feet. Hired by the highly strung Elena Vargas to follow her husband, Victor, Chloe discovers that not only was he cheating on his wife – he’s been murdered.

As Chloe delves deeper into the mystery surrounding Victor’s death, she uncovers secret after secret. The danger becomes all too real when she narrows in on the killer’s identity. Someone is following her everywhere, and threatening notes arrive on her doorstep.

As if that’s not bad enough, her relationship with Mateo begins to unravel, and his coworker, Jaime, seems intent on convincing her that Mateo is a cheater.

Desperately trying to figure out what’s going on, Chloe becomes more and more enmeshed in a sordid world of lies, sex, and murder.

Who can Chloe really trust? And can she catch the killer before she becomes the next victim?

My review

Chloe is very happy with her new life in Costa Rica. Being together with Mateo is just perfection, and she has started a new job as a private investigator.
Only does she wish that her cases would be a little more interested than cheating husbands or lost animals.
When Elena Vargas hires Chloe to follow her husband, the investigation quickly changes from a cheating husband to a dead husband, dead as in murdered.
The more Chloe investigates, more secrets come out and more dangerous the situation gets.
And on top of it all, also on a personal level things are going the wrong direction.

Will Chloe find the truth about the murder of Victor Vargas? And who can Chloe truly trust? And where will the relationship with Mateo go?

Having read the first book, I was happy to read about Chloe again.
We find her now with a new job, the past put behind her and happy with Mateo. Of course I understand that finding lost animals or trying to catch cheating husbands is not the most exhilarating job as a private investigation.
So when one of her client’s husband is found dead and also murdered, I was kind of happy. Not because I am a terrible person, but because it would give Chloe the much needed change of work.

When she and her team, with all people we already know, are investigating the death of Victor, it’s quickly obvious that there is so much more going on than just a cheating husband.
As the situation quickly deteriorates, Chloe also have to face the fact that she does not know who to trust anymore. Mateo is showing behaviour similar to her ex fiancé and that makes her uneasy.

I have to say, again the author managed to write a story that put me totally without a clue. I had no idea who was the murderer or what else was going on. Because Victor Vargas was an even more disgusting man than thought!

If I have to be totally honest, there were some aspects I didn’t like that much. When a character from the previous book reappears and Chloe does not do the right thing, it made me raise my eyebrows. In one way I understood Chloe, as she needed someone in her corner, but on the other hand, the things she ends up doing aren’t that 100% legal.
And also how her relation with Mateo evolved made me a bit sad. But I hope that there will be a third part and that it outcome will be the one I want!

Overall, this book gave me everything I expected, with some sickening twists I did not see coming. It kept my attention, making me wonder who was involved in what way and how the culprits would be discovered and get what they deserve.

Again Costa Rica is shown in all its beauty, but again the dark story takes me on a trip I wouldn’t be actual part of myself. Yet I had the urgency to keep on reading!

‘Every Little Breath’ – written by Keri Beevis #BookReview @keribeevis @rararesources

When the past is coming back for revenge.

Synopsis

How much could one phone call change your life?

‘Only you can save her. If she dies, it is your fault.’

When radio presenter, Casey Fallon, answers a call she assumes it is a prank. But then a woman’s body is discovered, and she finds herself up against a cruel and calculating killer who wants her to find his victims before they take their last breath.

Fifteen years ago, Casey was a key witness in the trial of serial killer, Steve Noakes, and her evidence helped put him behind bars for the murders of five women.

Someone remembers what happened that summer. Someone who is desperate for revenge. Someone who won’t stop until Casey has been punished.

‘You saved a life once. Can you do it again?’

The game is just beginning…

Number one bestselling author Keri Beevis is back with a breathtaking new psychological thriller which is simply too good to miss. It’s the perfect read for fans of authors like Clare Mackintosh, Cara Hunter, Paula Hawkins.

My review

Casey Fallon was fifteen years ago a key witness in the trial of a serial killer. As the killer was also the father of her boyfriend, that also meant the end of her relationship.
Currently she is working as a radio presenter and is avoiding steady relationships. When one day she receives a weird call on the radio, she thinks it’s just a prank. But when a woman’s body is found, it’s clear that someone remembers what happened fifteen years ago and is looking for revenge and will not stop until Casey has been punished for her involvement.

When I finished reading the prologue and the ‘Then’ bit, I thought I already had an idea who the new serial killer would be.
But that didn’t diminish my eagerness of reading the complete story!
And was I happy that I did!

In the ‘Then’ part I really felt sorry for Casey. While she is thinking about how her relationship with Gareth is going, she finds herself witnessing how his father is trying to kill a woman.
Obviously she does the right thing, but this event has a huge impact. Not only does she understand how a seemingly normal man has a wicked secret, but also she becomes more frightful. And the way Gareth reacts, only reinforces her feelings.

Even if the ‘then’ was something terrible to read about, the present was even more terrifying. We get a glimpse of how the killer thinks, and his thoughts are just horrible.

There are so many cringe – worthy moments, where I was doubting what I wanted to do. Put the book away, because of the horror? Or keep on reading, hoping for the victim that rescue was nearby?

Even is Casey is faced again with a serial killer, that is not the only blast from the past she gets. When she contacts the police, little does she know that Finn will be coming in her life again, the same police officer that was there fifteen years ago.
And this re – meeting with Finn is what takes the pressure off the whole story.

I can say so much about this book, but then I would give too much away, and the less you know before you read it, the better.
What I can say that there are many twists, and I found myself suspecting everyone that made an appearance.
But when the truth came out, I can honestly say that I didn’t see *that one* coming!

To say this was an entertaining story, would be wrong in so many senses. But I can assure you it will be nearly impossible to put the book away. Whenever I did it, for the necessary sleep a human needs, I found myself keeping pondering over this story, trying to figure it out.
This is a real page – turning story, with many moments that gave me goosebumps, but also lighter moments, giving the opportunity to digest everything.

‘Primrose Park’ – written by Christie Barlow #BookReview @ChristieJBarlow @rararesources

Could that spark really just be all imagined?

Synopsis

Vet Molly has always been career driven and focussed on caring for her animals, but when she meets a gorgeous Mystery Man at a conference and their connection is off the charts, well, one night off work won’t hurt anyone…except the next morning he’s vanished and all Molly knows about him is his first name.

Three months later, back in Love Heart Lane, everyone loves the story of Molly’s amazing one-night stand. It’s so unlike her! But when Mystery Man turns up walking his dog through Primrose Park and their night together seems to mean nothing to him, Molly needs her friends and neighbours more than ever. And especially when she’s left with the most unexpected of surprises…

My review

Vet Molly is ready for the next step in life. Her career is going all well, and her love and care for animals is well known around Love Heart Lane. And now she thinking about having a child of her own. Only problem, she is not in a relationship, as her friends point out. but there are other options right?
When on a conference she meets this hot new man, sparks immediately fly around and they spend the night together.
But the morning after the man just disappeared and all Molly knows he’s name is Cam and he’s a dentist. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack!
Three months later Molly is still thinking about the vanished Mystery Man, but is flabbergasted when she sees him walking around in Primrose Park with his dog. However the meeting is not what she expected as his behaviour is the total opposite compared with their first meeting.
Being a bit heartbroken, Molly needs the support of all her friends, especially when it’s clear that there is more in store for her!

I already loved all the characters of Love Heart Lane, so I knew I would be in for a treat! But no matter how much I knew I would enjoy reading this next chapter, it surprised me all over again!

Molly is a character I immediately liked. She truly cares for animals and is not afraid of a new adventure, like learning how make dogs behave. She has also her head on her shoulders. She didn’t have the easiest start in life, but after being adopted by the kindest people, she knows how lucky she has been.
After her night with Cam, I sometimes felt that she was acting a bit naïve. Because it was just a one night stand, and she has been glorifying the whole event a bit too much. However I loved her optimism!
On top of it all, I found it really sweet how she makes sure that Darling (don’t let the name fool you!) has a place to stay, and how she starts to care about Dixie, an elderly lady finding herself against her own will in a care home.
The way she befriends Dixie, without an ulterior motive than just the kindness of her heart, it’s just too sweet! And the lengths she goes to give Dixie the birthday she wishes!

Cam had my feelings switching from loving to hating and backwards! At the conference, I found him funny and irresistible. But then he left and when he sees Molly again, he acts like a cold prick! I just wanted to strangle him! And even after that, he goes all hot and cold with Molly! Talking about frustrating men! But I have to admit, at one point (I’m not going to say when, because when you’re reading the book yourself, you’ll know what I’m talking about!) I had my heart broken when he had his own heart broken…
But anyway, there are plenty of moments that also his kind character emerges, making me forget the way he acted before.

Again Love Heart Lane shows what an amazing community it is, as when everybody helps out when Primrose Park is destroyed. And Molly’s friends are the kind of friends you want to surround yourself with. Everybody in this beautiful place is there for each other, and nothing is too much to ask for.
Of course there are also some moments I wish I could just strangle certain characters, but the prevailing sense while reading was one of belonging, or at least wanting to belong in this beautiful setting with amazing people!

‘The Single Mum’s Book Club’ – written by Victoria Cooke #BookReview @VictoriaCooke10 @rararesources

When a not so conventional book club becomes so much more.

Synopsis

Three friends, three single mums, one quest to find love…

It’s 8:30am and I’m already utterly exhausted. My son has lost his football boots, my daughter is ready for school dressed only in her vest and knickers, and of course, my 1-year-old has filled his nappy for what feels like the tenth time this morning.

As for my husband? He’s decided marriage doesn’t suit him, and well… buggered off.

All hope of ‘me time’ has but dwindled to sipping half a glass of wine whilst shouting after the kids. But everything is about to change.

I’m taking control of my life! I’ve joined… a book club.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. ‘Wow… live a little.’ But my fellow book clubbers, Amanda and Janey, are my lifelines. They understand the daily struggle because they’remothers too.

And in between the prosecco, Doritos and googling everything about Mr Darcy on SparkNotes, they’ve convinced me to go on a date with my boss.

A single mum of three looking for romance… what could possibly go wrong?

A gloriously funny and relatable read for anyone who just needs a little more ‘me time’. Fans of Why Mummy Drinks and Has Anyone Seen my Sex Life? will snort with laughter at this utterly hilarious and heart-warming read.

My review

Stephanie is a divorced mother of three, struggling with practically everything. Taking care of her kids, having an ex – husband who can be a real prick sometimes, and trying to make the end of the month, it can be a real hardship.
So when she starts a book club together with Amanda and Janey, women living nearby, it may not seem the most exciting hobby she could start. But quickly the Book Club becomes more than just that, because being mothers too, they understand each other’s situation better than anyone else.

So when Stephanie starts a part time job, it’s the women that persuade her to date her boss. Because being a single mum, struggling to keep everything afloat, dating your boss, nothing can go wrong, right?

When you are someone who loves to read, is there a book that would suit you better than a book about a book club? So I was really curious and enthusiast when I started this book by Victoria Cooke. And I was surely not disappointed when I finished it!

Stephanie is a woman who truly adores her kids and dog, but sometimes it can all be too much. And normally you have your friends around you to help out, but the people who she thought were her friends, turned out to be the kind that dump you rather than help you out…
So when she finds an ally in Janey, I was happy that she has found someone that understood her and wouldn’t hesitate to give a helping hand.
And when Amanda joins the club too, I felt it was a perfect match.

When Stephanie starts her new job at a vet, it’s just even a more perfect story! Not only because Edward is truly the most amazing, perfect character, but because this is a real 5 – for – the – price – of 1 bargain!
We have friendship, family, romance, animals and growth in one and the same story!

Beside all the above problems, there is also a dramatic event that Stephanie has endured as a child, that she is still struggling with. Even if this was truly dramatic, it added an extra layer to all the funny, quirky, entertaining moments.

Not only was this book fun to read, but it shows us also the power of friendship, how the right people by your side can elevate you, give that extra boost to just chase your dreams. And that love is always worthy of taking a chance, even if it is your boss!

Yes, the actual book club is not the most important aspect of this book, but does it matter? Because I enjoyed reading this story, seeing how Stephanie became more relaxed thanks to her friends. And I had so many funny moments, finding myself laughing and smiling all the time.
The author managed to write a story that was funny, sweet, a bit dramatic but overall a real joy to read!