blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Kingswater Summer – Jo Lambert

KIERA
Newly returned from backpacking around Europe, Kiera Merrick has landed a dream job – working
for actress Stella Wynter, helping set up a memory room at Penmarra, her beautiful riverside home just outside Kingswater.

JAKE
Jake Paterson is currently staying with Stella after filming the final series of his popular TV drama. He
is trying to work out how to get his co-star and long-term girlfriend Rachel Tyler back after she
walked out on him. But Jake soon finds himself drawn to Kiera, developing feelings for her that have
no place in his life. He realises painful choices will eventually have to be made. And someone is going
to get hurt.

TOM
Stella’s godson, hapless Tom Armytage is also staying at Penmarra along with girlfriend Chantal. He
dreams of becoming a successful property developer and hopes Chantal’s dynamic presence will
boost his ambitions. To impress her he boasts that he is heir to all of Stella’s wealth.

CHANTAL
Chantal Porter is a woman used to getting her own way. Tom is her ideal partner; weak and easily manipulated. Listening to him talk about his inheritance, she likes the idea of being Penmarra’s next
mistress. But Stella and Jake’s close relationship gives her cause for concern. Who is he? And could
he be a threat to her future ambitions?

As Jake comes to a difficult decision and sets off for London to sort things out with Rachel, a heart broken Kiera is left to watch helplessly as Chantal puts in place a plan to secure Tom’s inheritance.
One that will change Stella’s life for ever.
Set on the south coast of Cornwall, A Kingswater Summer is a story of love, deception, and family secrets…

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Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of the city of Bath. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. She has been writing since 2008. Her
first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in rural West
Somerset, were followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain was published 2017.
In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her debut A Cornish Affair, set in North Cornwall was published in 2019 under their Ruby Fiction imprint.

Her latest novel A Kingswater Summer is the second of a three-book series. The first, Shadows on
the Water, was published in 2020. Both books can be read as standalone stories.
When she isn’t writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog. Jo loves travel, red wine and music and long as it has a great melody and lyrics. Oh, and she often takes the odd photograph or two…

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My thoughts: my grandmother was from Devon and I have an abiding love for the West Country, and especially the wild beauty of Cornwall. So I was excited to read a book set in that part of the world.

This started out as a conventional ‘woman finding her place in the world’ book, but as Kiera becomes involved with retired actor Stella Wynter and her family at Penmarra, she’s drawn into a plot that could have terrible consequences.

This was really enjoyable and I liked Kiera a lot – she was clever and realistic. I could easily imagine her among the locals of Padstow or St Ives, working several jobs and wondering whether she should move away. I have friends from Cornwall and that’s something they go back and forth on a lot, so I recognised the dilemma.

I really liked Stella, and would love a prequel with more of her glamorous showbiz life, all those objects Kiera is cataloguing could tell some fantastic stories I imagine. And lovely little Erik (what? You didn’t think I’d forget to mention the canine character did you?) who knows which people are not to be trusted. Smart dog.

I even liked Jake – a much more complex figure that he first appears. I don’t think he actually enjoyed acting, he seems very conflicted about his career, so moving to Cornwall might just be what he needs.

A really enjoyable, smart thriller and rom com (all those misunderstandings) rolled into one.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Bookshop of Second Chances – Jackie Fraser

Thea Mottram is having a bad month. She’s been let go from her office job with no notice—and to make matters even worse, her husband of nearly twenty years has decided to leave her for one of her friends. Bewildered and completely lost, Thea doesn’t know what to do. But when she learns that a distant great uncle in Scotland has passed away, leaving her his home and a hefty antique book collection, she decides to leave Sussex for a few weeks. Escaping to a small coastal town where no one knows her seems to be exactly what she needs.

Almost instantly, Thea becomes enamored with the quaint cottage, comforted by its cozy rooms and lovely but neglected garden. The locals in nearby Baldochrie are just as warm, quirky, and inviting. The only person she can’t seem to win over is bookshop owner Edward Maltravers, to whom she hopes to sell her uncle’s book collection. His gruff attitude—fueled by an infamous, long-standing feud with his brother, a local lord—tests Thea’s patience. But bickering with Edward proves oddly refreshing and exciting, leading Thea to develop feelings she hasn’t experienced in a long time. As she follows a thrilling yet terrifying impulse to stay in Scotland indefinitely, Thea realizes that her new life may quickly become just as complicated as the one she was running from.

My thoughts: this is a rather charming rom com set in a small Scottish town. I loved Thea, she was so funny and relatable. Who hasn’t, when it’s all going wrong, longed to inherit a house, money and a library miles away and get to start over?

I liked Thea’s friends, the locals, even the bickering Charles and Edward, especially Edward. Supposedly grumpy but secretly charming.

A really fun, enjoyable read.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Eight Perfect Hours – Lia Louis

What if you fell in love

… and then he disappeared?

When Noelle and Sam’s lives collide one snowy evening, they spend eight perfect hours stuck side by side believing that they’ll never see each other again.

But soon their lives become entangled in ways they never expected – and it’s going to change everything…

My thoughts: this was a lovely, sweet, very enjoyable rom com. I loved all the ways Noelle and Sam collided, and the fact that they had been just missing each other for years was charming. I didn’t like slimy Ed and was very glad he got caught out and ditched. I also loved Noelle’s friends, Charlie and Theo – they were so supportive and generous, even while dealing with their own problems.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Mismatch – Sara Jafari*

For a young woman who just wants to get her first kiss out of the way, a rugby player seems like the perfect mismatch. But a kiss is never just a kiss. . . .

Now that Soraya Nazari has graduated from university, she thinks it’s time she get some of the life experience that she feels she’s still lacking, partly due to her upbringing–and Magnus Evans seems like the perfect way to get it.

Whereas she’s the somewhat timid, artistic daughter of Iranian immigrants, Magnus is the quintessential British lad. Because they have so little in common, Soraya knows there’s no way she could ever fall for him, so what’s the harm in having a little fun as she navigates her postgrad life? Besides, the more she discovers about her mother’s past and the strain between her parents, the less appealing marriage becomes.

Before long, Soraya begins to realize that there’s much more to Magnus than meets the eye. But could she really have a relationship with him? Is she more like her mother than she ever would have thought?

With unforgettable characters at its heart, The Mismatch is a gorgeously written coming-of-age story that shows that love can be found in even the most unexpected places. 

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Win a copy via Qamar Tours Twitter (US only, ends 17th August,please see the tweet for details)

Sara Jafari is a London-based British Iranian writer whose work has been longlisted for Spread the Word’s Life Writing Prize and published in gal-dem and The Good Journal. She is a contributor to I Will Not Be Erased and the romance anthology Who’s Loving You. Jafari works as an editor and runs TOKEN magazine, which showcases writing and artwork by underrepresented writers and artists. The Mismatch is her debut novel.

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My thoughts: for a debut novel this was incredibly accomplished and read like it had been written by someone much further along in their career. It was touching, thoughtful and highly enjoyable.

While I’m not Muslim, a lot of my friends are, and some of the things Soraya was dealing with – the conflict between her faith, culture and modern secular society are things I’ve definitely discussed with my friends. Choosing whether or not to wear a hijab, pray five times a day, eat halal, all of these and more. Relationships – absolutely. Every one of my friends has done it differently, some choosing to go down a more traditional route and others finding different paths. And I think it’s something a lot of people can relate to. Even if you’re not religious.

Soraya felt like a friend, like someone I know. She struggles to find her place in life, what to do after uni (me too, English Lit grads are famous for being a bit lost I think) and tries to fight her attraction to Magnus – I know his type too.

I liked the contrasting chapters – moving between Soraya and her mum, between their lives and their hopes, between Iran and the UK. I felt it gave me a much greater understanding of where Neda was coming from, what her worries were. I didn’t take to Hossein though – but I don’t think it’s easy to love someone so lost to themselves, who treats their family the way he does and Neda is incredibly strong. The ending filled me with so much hope for the whole family – there can be forgiveness and redemption but it might take time. I honestly really loved this book and yes, I got a little teary at the end. I can’t wait to see what Sara writes next.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Did You Miss Me? – Sophia Money-Coutts

You never forget the one that got away, do you?

Nell Mason is extremely happy with her life – or at least, that’s what she tells herself. She’s lucky to have a high-powered job as a lawyer, even if it does come with an eccentric set of billionaire divorce clients. And she’s absolutely fine living with her sweet, if slightly dull, boyfriend Gus in their London flat where they have very sensible sex once (OK, sometimes twice) a week. She’s definitely not stuck in a rut.

But when Nell bumps into childhood friend and first love Arthur Drummond who broke her heart fifteen years ago, she’s more than a little shaken. The seemingly perfect life she’s worked so hard for starts to feel, well, less perfect. Maybe Nell’s been kidding herself all these years. Can she ever get over her first love?

My thoughts: this was a fun rom com, with lawyer Nell working crazy hours for her completely awful boss, then having to temporarily move back to her parents’ home in the wilds of Northumberland to take care of her dad and his broken leg after her mum leaves him. Along the way she rekindles a friendship with her teenage boyfriend Art.

Gus, Nell’s pretentious and quite frankly annoying boyfriend, was the sort of person I actively try to avoid so when Nell and Art start to bond again, I was very pleased. I loved Nell’s family – her dad and his drinking buddies made me laugh, and her mum and her chickens. I obviously loved Wilma the dog, even when she’s a bit of a canine perve.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Meeting Point – Olivia Lara

What if the Lift driver who finds your cheating boyfriend’s phone holds the directions to true love?

‘Who are you and why do you have my boyfriend’s phone?’

‘He left it in my car. You must be the blonde in the red dress? I’m the Lift driver who dropped you two off earlier.’

And with these words, the life of the brunette and t-shirt wearing Maya Maas is turned upside down. Having planned to surprise her boyfriend, she finds herself single and stranded in an unknown city on her birthday.

So when the mystery driver rescues Maya with the suggestion that she cheers herself up at a nearby beach town, she jumps at the chance to get things back on track. She wasn’t expecting a personalised itinerary or the easy companionship that comes from opening up to a stranger via text, let alone the possibility it might grow into something more…

Come on this 5* journey to love, laughter and back again, perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Josie Silver and Sally Thorne.

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As a child, Olivia not-so-quietly ‘observed’ (AKA bothered with countless questions) her grandfather — who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania — edit hundreds of books. And when he wasn’t editing, he read. Everything, all the time. Just like her father, who wrote short sci-fi stories, and was set on building the largest library she’d ever seen and her mother who’s never found without a book…wherever she goes. Her love for words came naturally, and after studying marketing, communications & photography, Olivia worked as a journalist for a newspaper and news television network in Romania.

An unapologetic citizen of the world, she spent a few years in Greece, Sweden, France, before settling in sunny California with her photographer husband and young daughter, where she works in marketing and writes. Oh, and let’s not forget the ever-growing menagerie that completes the family: Pumpkin, the Maine Coon mix, three black cats and a siamese kitten.

When she’s not writing or thinking about writing, she reads (across genres), watches old movies and collects vintage books, vinyl records, and eerie paintings. She loves traveling (and can’t wait until she can do it again, safely), swimming, biking, hiking and of course, photography.

SOMEDAY IN PARIS, her debut, published by Aria Fiction/Head of Zeus in May 2020 became a B&N, Apple, Kobo and Amazon Top 100 Bestseller and was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel Awards 2021. Her second novel, THE MEETING POINT, a contemporary romcom set in Northern California, is set to be published as an e-book on September 2, 2021 and in paperback in December 2021 in the UK and March, 2022 in the US.

Keep up with Olivia: twitter || instagram || facebook  Website

My thoughts: this was a lovely, sweet rom com set on the California coast, where two people share one amazing day, by text. A year later Maya returns to see if it was more than just a single day, but something real.

I loved Maya, I hated her crappy boyfriend and mean boss. I was thrilled she decided to hunt out “Max” in Carmel, and then bicker her way round the Bay Area with Ethan Delphy (a name and a few other things perhaps inspired by a certain trilogy of films…) and I am a secret sucker for a happily ever after, just like Maya.

Basically this was a delightful read, made me want to go back to California, and explore a bit I don’t know at all. Curl up with this love story and enjoy being somewhere magical and beautiful, where it’s not freezing cold and raining. And where a text could change everything…

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: One Lucky Summer – Jenny Oliver

The best kept secrets are waiting to be found…

With an air of faded splendour, Willoughby Hall was an idyllic childhood home to Ruben de Lacy. Gazing at it now, decades later, the memories are flooding back, and not all of them are welcome…

In a tumbledown cottage in Willoughby’s grounds, Dolly and Olive King lived with their eccentric explorer father. One of the last things he did was to lay a treasure hunt before he died, but when events took an unexpected turn, Dolly and Olive left Willoughby for good, never to complete it.

But when Ruben uncovers a secret message, hidden for decades, he knows he needs Olive and Dolly’s help. Can the three of them solve the treasure hunt, and will piecing together the clues help them understand what happened to their families that summer, all those years ago?

A glorious summer read with a delightful cast of characters from the bestselling author of The Summer We Ran Away.

My thoughts: this was a lovely read, with a wonderful cast of characters; sisters Olive and Dolly, who need to talk more, mad Aunt Marge, Ruben and his daughter Zadie – in need of getting to know one another better, and Dolly’s work partner, Fox, who she finds incredibly annoying.

Back when Ruben, Olive and Dolly were kids, the girls father, a treasure hunter, left them a mysterious treasure hunt across the vast de Lacy estate. Now Ruben’s hoping to sell up and they decide to solve this final set of clues. Tragedy forced them apart, and forced them to grow up fast. Can they find their way back to who they used to be?

Warm, fun, funny and enjoyable, this is peak summer holiday reading. Even if your summer holiday isn’t really happening.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Beach Reads Book Club – Kathryn Freeman*

Welcome to the Beach Reads Book Club…where love is just a page away…
When Lottie Watt is unceremoniously booted out of her uptight book club for not following the rules, she decides to throw the rulebook out the window and start her own club – one where conversation, gin and cake take precedent over actually having read the book!
The Beach Reads Book Club soon finds a home for its meetings at Books by the Bay, a charming bookshop and café owned by gorgeous, brooding Matthew Steele, and as the book club picks heat up, so too does the attraction between Matt and Lottie.
If there’s anything Lottie has learned from the romances she’s been reading, it’s that the greatest loves are the ones hardest earned.
A love letter to chicklit, romance, romcoms, whatever you want to call them!

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US AMAZON

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a sexy hero.
With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

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My thoughts: I loved this, as a former member of various book clubs I totally agree with Lottie – the best ones are where you read fun books and have a laugh. Yes, literary fiction is great but sometimes you just want something light and enjoyable – much like this book itself! There’s romance, snogging and more! I loved the book club members – Audrey and her gin especially made me laugh, and I really wished I had some delicious cake to eat while reading this.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Lord Seeks Wife – Heather Barnett*

Take 1,000 women, add one earl and whip into a media frenzy.

Reclusive academic Lord Noblet de Beeble doesn’t want to get married but his overbearing mother, Lady Caroline, is insisting he must. When he places an advert for a wife in the Situations Vacant section of his local newspaper, the national press pick up the story. A desperate Noblet calls on his handsome younger brother, Henry, to help him navigate the subsequent media frenzy.

Among the hordes of hopeful candidates to descend on the village of Gently Rising is the beautiful and mysterious Mia Wild, who befriends local primary school teacher, Alice Brand. Alice has been looking for something to spice up her life, but getting embroiled in a very public wife-hunt wasn’t what she had in mind.

In a summer packed with suspicious exes, snobbery, social climbers and sausage rolls, Gently Rising will bear witness to a public courtship like no other. But who will come out on top?
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Heather Barnett has been making things up and writing them down ever since she could hold a pen. She studied English and French at the University of Leeds and has written at every opportunity since, from copywriting to stand-up comedy and sketches. Her influences span Jane Austen and Douglas Adams at one end of the alphabet through to PG Wodehouse at the other. Her debut novel, Acts of Kindness, was kick-started with the help of sessions at the Faber Academy and Arvon Foundation, and then regularly impeded by her two attention-seeking cats. She is head of marketing at an agency in Oxfordshire.
Heather’s debut novel, Acts of Kindness was published in March 2021. Lord Seeks Wife is a hilarious romantic comedy and is her follow-up book.
Please visit Heather’s website to read more. Follow Heather on Twitter  & Instagram 

My thoughts: this was hilarious, do not read while eating or you’ll choke. I was really glad I was reading it alone as I’m pretty sure I was laughing so hard I snorted. Honestly I was having so much fun reading this.

Poor Nobby, not only saddled with a horrible name, he also has an overbearing mother who won’t let the fact he doesn’t actually want to get married stop her from encouraging him to find a wife. He goes about it in a very practical manner – placing a job vacancy in the paper and then chaos ensues.

If you need a light hearted, very silly book, with a splash of romance (I was thrilled for lovely Derek especially), then read this book.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Secrets on the Italian Island – T.A. Williams*

Read my review of Second Chances in Chianti

Her work has got in the way of relationships before – but never like this
Anna’s job as a geologist takes her all over the world, including to the beautiful island of Elba, where she’s sent to look for precious metals. And the island isn’t the only thing that’s gorgeous – she can’t believe her luck when she meets windsurfer Marco and sparks fly.
But Anna must keep her role on Elba a secret to avoid upsetting the locals, which means lying to Marco even as they grow closer. When her old friend Toby visits, Anna suddenly finds herself torn between the attentions of the two men. However, Anna’s not the only one keeping secrets.
Is Marco being entirely honest with her? And why did Toby really come to visit?
A fun and escapist romance, perfect for fans of Lucy Coleman and Alex Brown.
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I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-
since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy
little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.
The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my
readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

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My thoughts: I really enjoyed this sunshine soaked rom com, especially as getting away to Italy is currently a pipe dream. The plot was engaging and entertaining, the writing flows smoothly and kept me involved in the narrative. I liked Anna, and her friendship with George the dog (and his human!). A thoroughly delightful read for the summer.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.