books, reviews

Book Review: Goodbye, Orchid – Carol Van Den Hende

From 14th February the publisher is offering Goodbye, Orchid at a special price. So keep an eye out if you want to treat yourself.

GOODBYE, ORCHID is one of the most anticipated 2020 fall reads: Buzzfeed l Parade l Travel+Leisure and featured in Popsugar, Bookstr, Frolic, LA Times, Chicago Tribune and more.

Winner: 2020 American Fiction Award l Pinnacle Achievement Award l IAN Best First Novel 50-80K words l Royal Dragonfly.

“Page-turner” “Breath of awe” “Tugs on your soul”

What happens when an entrepreneur suffers an accident that changes him forever and he has to decide: to love his woman, will he need to leave her?

One July morning in Manhattan, handsome athlete and entrepreneur Phoenix Walker accompanies his love, half-Asian beauty Orchid Paige, to the airport. Neither believes today is goodbye.

But soon after Orchid leaves, disaster strikes.

Phoenix wakes in the hospital, broken, forever changed.

Now, he’s faced with the hardest decision of his life. Does he burden the woman whose traumatic childhood makes him feel protective of her? Or does true love mean having to say Goodbye, Orchid?

Rising from ashes is hard. Leaving the one you love is harder.

CAROL VAN DEN HENDE is an award-winning author who pens stories of resilience and hope. Her novel Goodbye, Orchid has been recognized as the 2020 American Fiction Award winner for urban fiction, and 2020 Pinnacle Achievement Award winner for multicultural fiction. Plus, it’s been named one of the most anticipated fall reads by Buzzfeed, Parade, and Travel+Leisure.

She’s also a speaker, strategist, Board member and Climate Reality Leader. One secret to her good fortune? Her humorous husband, fun-loving twins, and rescue cat, who prove that love really does conquer all.

Please sign up for Carol’s newsletter at carolvandenhende.com/contact or linktr.ee/cvdh

My thoughts:

I was kindly sent a copy of this book to review by the author but all opinions remain my own.

This was an interesting read, especially for me.

About two years before we met, my now husband had an accident and broke his spinal column, leaving him a paraplegic, reliant on a wheelchair to get around. He doesn’t like people feeling sorry for him and his injury hasn’t stopped him living his life at all. He plays a full contact sport, works, drives, travels and got his Masters degree.

So seeing how much Phoenix struggles to come to terms with his injuries in Goodbye, Orchid, was different. Through my husband I’ve met lots of disabled people, mostly his teammates, and none of them are still wrestling with their disabilities, most of them have moved on from that point.

I can understand Phoenix’s reticence to involve Orchid in his life after the accident, it can be a lot and some people don’t handle it well. Your whole life shifts and not everyone can adjust to the new reality. But Phoenix was wrong – Orchid proves to be a stronger person than he gave her credit for. Yes she still carries the trauma of her parents’ death in a car crash, but she also has strong feelings for him and wants to be in his life.

We can’t read each others’ minds and Phoenix isn’t a great communicator – preferring to shut down. Once he realises he needs to be open, then he and Orchid can fall in love again.

A moving and engaging story about love, thinking you’re protecting someone and getting it wrong.

blog tour, books

Cover Reveal: A Secret Scottish Escape – Julie Shackman

Escape to the beautiful Scottish Highlands for a heartwarming and feel good cosy romance that will whisk you away from lockdown!

When Scotland’s sleepiest hamlet becomes the centre of hot gossip, Layla Devlin finds herself caught in a mystery…

When Layla’s fiancée has an unexpected heart attack and dies – in another woman’s arms, no less – Layla is determined to pack up and leave Loch Harris, the village she’s always called home. But an unexpected inheritance and love for her quiet corner of Scotland send her down a new path.

Now Layla finds herself facing a whole new kind of drama. Rumours swirl that a celebrity has moved into Coorie Cottage and Layla is determined to have him headline her opening night at local music venue The Conch Club. But the reclusive star is equally determined to thwart Layla’s efforts. Rafe Buchanan is in hiding for a reason, and soon his past comes to Loch Harris to haunt him…

Amazon UK

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Publication Date – 21st May 2021

I am a contemporary romance author from Scotland, who is obsessed with stationery and handbags.

I am married with two sons and have a poodle cross Romanian rescue puppy called Cooper. A Secret Scottish Escape is my fifth book.

I trained as a journalist and studied Communication & Media. When I’m not reading or writing, I love getting out for long walks, listening to music and watching romcoms.

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Not Quite Out – Louise Williamson*

William Anson is done with relationships, thanks. He’s starting the second year of his medicine degree single, focused, and ready to mingle with purely platonic intentions.

Meeting Daniel, a barely recovered drug addict ready to start living life on his own terms, might just change that.

There are two problems.

One: William isn’t out.

What’s the point in telling your friends you’re bisexual when you aren’t going to date anyone?

Two: Daniel’s abusive ex-boyfriend still roams the university campus, searching for cracks in Daniel’s recovery.

No matter how quickly William falls for Daniel, their friendship is too important to risk ruining over a crush.

William is fine with being just friends for the rest of forever.

Well, not quite.

Content warning This book includes references to abortion, PTSD, drug addiction, abusive relationships, and self-harm.

My thoughts:

I really felt for Will, being 19 and at uni is tough enough without trying to come to terms with your sexuality and come out. I know, I’ve been there.

But I’m now in my 30s so a lot more time has passed, those late teens/early twenties are tough.

Plus Will’s new friend, Dan, has a lot going on too, an abusive hovering ex, a drug habit he’s trying to kick and no family to support him. So Will is trying to provide that support while wrestling with his feelings and worries.

The book is very thoughtful, like its protagonist, and his other friends, Peter, Cas and Lilley are also dealing with the things life likes to throw at you, and uni, so there’s a lot going on around Will.

A sweet, sensitive, heartfelt portrayal of working out who you are, what you want, and where you fit in to the world. Friendship, love, pain, heartbreak and joy are all in the mix.

Really worth reading and then pressing a copy into the hands of a young person you know who looks like they could use some solidarity.

*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 Dream That Held Us – Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang*

“The Dream That Held Us took me on an exquisite exploration if a love that crosses boundaries of time and culture.” Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House and You’ve Got My Number

“Deeply imbued with a certain wistfulness and haunting sense of loss brought out by the end of a glorious summer… Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang’s latest novel is a sensitive andskilful exploration of love, longing, and whether life sometimes relents to give us second chances.” Osama Siddique – author of Snuffing Out the Moon

“This book carries a universal message about love and finding your way in the world. I loved it.”
Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House and You’ve Got My Number

Another stunning Anglo-Indian love story from the author of The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017.

October 1985, Ash Misra leaves a blood-stained Delhi for Oxford University. Haunted by a terrible
secret, he just wants to forget. Music and fresh violence bring him to fellow student and amateur violinist, Isabella Angus, but duty and the burden of history keep them apart.

A quarter of a century later against the background of the global financial crisis, Sir Peter Roberts, former Master of Woodstock College, receives a letter from Ash for Isabella. They are no longer young but they had made a tryst with destiny; old terrors and suppressed desires return.

Amazon UK
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Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang is a British author whose work focuses on cultural and historical fault lines
and has strong international themes.

Rhiannon was born and grew up in Yorkshire and has studied, lived and worked in Europe and Asia. She read Oriental Studies (Chinese) at Oxford University and speaks Mandarin and Cantonese.

Rhiannon lives in a former farmhouse in rural England with her
family.

Novels
The Woman Who Lost China, Open Books 2013
The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017

Short Story Anthology

Hong Kong Noir, Akashic Books 2019

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My thoughts:

This was a beautiful, moving book about a love that spans decades, taking in marriages, divorce, children and heartbreak.

First love can be brutal and so it is for Isabella and Ash – he must return to India and an arranged marriage, devastating Isabella.

Twenty five years later Ash sends a letter via the former master of their college, asking Isabella to see him. Will their love be rekindled, despite her husband and children, despite their very different lives?

Beautifully written and tender, this was a truly touching and sweet 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: Meant To Be – Louise Leaman*

After a spate of terrible boyfriends, Jess is sure she’s found her perfect man in dependable – but occasionaly dull – Tim. But when her grandmother, tasks her with retrieving a family heirloom from a local auction she finds herself face to face with a charming stranger, Guy.

Guy has already bought her grandmother’s precious necklace and whilst Jess desperately tries to buy it back from him, he somehow convinces her to go out on a date instead. Ridiculous.

But Guy has the necklace and Jess’s grandmother’s health is declining rapidly. Jess has no choice but to indulge Guy and go on a date with if only to get the necklace back. But when she and Guy hit it of on their date Jess’s dependable happily-everafter is thrown of track…

Louisa Leaman was born, raised and now lives near Epping Forest. She studied Art History at Leeds University before becoming a teacher working with children with special needs.

After winning the Times Education Supplement’s New Writer’s Award, she turned her hand to writing books for children. Louisa currently writes content for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, but has also been published in the Guardian, the Observer, the Independent and The Times Educational Supplement.

Her interest in the arts is often inspiration for her plots and her first book, The Perfect Dress, was inspired by the V&As large wedding dress colection and fulfils her dream of writing romantic fiction.

When she isn’t busy writing or rearing her three lively children, she paints portraits, takes long walks and spends far too long browsing vintage clothing shops.

My thoughts:

This was a fun, sweet rom com, with a family history kept secret at the heart of it. Jess’ grandmother Nancy doesn’t talk about her past but it’s all tied up with the necklace her grandmother made, a priceless heirloom that a jewellery trader Guy gazumped Jess at an auction for.

As Jess attempts to get the necklace back for Nancy, who’s dying, she unravels the story of the women in her family, and the necklace. She’s also starting to fall for Guy, despite her steady (and dull) boyfriend Tim.

*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 Runes of Destiny – Christina Courtenay*

Separated by time. Brought together by fate.
Linnea felt a shiver travel the length of her spine.

It hadn’t been a joke – the runes really had shown her destiny.

Indulging her fascination for the Viking language and losing herself in an archaeological dig is just what
Linnea Berger needs after her recent trauma. Uncovering an exquisite brooch, she blacks out reading
the runic inscription, only to come to, surrounded by men in Viking costume, who seem to take re-
enactment very seriously.

Lost and confused, Linnea finds herself in the power of Hrafn, a Viking warrior who claims her as his
thrall and takes her on a treacherous journey across the seas to sell her for profit. Setting sail, she confronts the unthinkable: she has travelled back to the ninth century.

Linnea is determined to find a way back to her own time, but there’s a connection forming with Hrafn.
Can she resist the call of the runes and accept her destiny lies here …

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Christina Courtenay writes historical romance, time slip and time travel stories, and lives in Herefordshire (near the Welsh border) in the UK. Although born in England, she has a Swedish mother and was brought up in Sweden – hence her abiding interest in the Vikings.

Christina is a former chairman of the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several awards, including the RoNA for Best Historical Romantic Novel twice with Highland Storms (2012) and The Gilded Fan (2014).

The Runes of Destiny (time travel published by Headline 10th December 2020) is her latest novel.

Christina is a keen amateur genealogist and loves history and archaeology (the armchair variety).

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Giveaway to Win a signed copy of The Runes of Destiny and Plushy Raven (Open INT)

My thoughts:

This was a really enjoyable take on the time travelling romance, with Vikings not Highlanders.

When Lianna digs up an old brooch on a dig her uncle is running, she’s thrown back in to the 9th century – and promptly taken by a local tharl as a slave, luckily his much nicer brother claims her and although he’s planning to sell her, he treats her kindly and protects her from the threat of rape from his deeply unpleasant brother.

They undertake an epic trip across the continent and sea to what is now Istanbul, the better to sell their furs, amber and thralls. On the way Lianna learns a lot about the world in the 800s, from the food to the gender politics and slowly begins to fall in love with the taciturn man who “owns” her.

It was a really interesting, fun, entertaining read and I’ve already ordered another of the author’s books as I liked this so much.

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

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random
Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Blog Tour: No Room at the Little Cornish Inn – Nancy Barone*

Rosie Anderson was hoping to whisk her young son Danny away for a lovely Christmas with family, far from the hustle and bustle of her life in London.

But then her boss at the head office – aka Susan the Sacker – suddenly assigns her to go in
incognito and save a tiny inn in Cornwall from being closed permanently. Rosie doesn’t know why The Old Bell Inn is performing so badly but it’s on her to sort it out!

Hours in the car later, Rosie arrives at the inn to find she’s been double booked – there are no rooms left. And she isn’t there for more than a minute before she’s butting heads with the manager, Irishman Mitchell Fitzpatrick. He seems to dislike her on
sight, so it’s confusing that he seems to get on so well with Danny…

But if he’s as terrible as his reputation, Rosie will have to be the one to fire him.
This really isn’t the Christmas Rosie was dreaming of. But maybe, just maybe, it could be a whole lot more…

A sweet and uplifting Christmas romance, No Room at the Little Cornish Inn is perfect for fans of Philippa Ashley, Holly Martin and Jenny Hale.

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Nancy Barone Wythe grew up in Canada, but at the age of 12 her family moved to Italy. Catapulted into a world where her only contact with the English language was her old Judy Blume books, Nancy became an avid reader and a die-hard romantic.

Nancy stayed in Italy and, despite being surrounded by handsome Italian men, she married an even more handsome Brit. They now live in Sicily where she teaches English.

Nancy is a member of the RWA and a keen supporter of the Women’s
Fiction Festival at Matera where she meets up once a year with writing friends from all over the globe.

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My thoughts:

This was a lovely, romantic, will they won’t they, of course they will, sort of book, with a Christmas setting in lovely Cornwall (one of my favourite places to visit), in a rustic country hotel.

Rosie is all stressed out being forced to spend Christmas “inspecting” this hotel and trying to find dirt on the manager for her ghastly boss. Plus her son’s birthday is on Christmas Eve and she feels bad about him not getting to have a party. Luckily everyone at the inn is actually delightful and Danny suddenly has all these adults who adore him, and horses to ride. Rosie discovers the supposedly terrible manager is really a delicious hunky Irishman and kind too. What is her awful boss on about?

Sensing a conspiracy Rosie starts to investigate and tries hard not to fall in love. But, as this is Christmas rom com, she fails and soon there’s kissing under the mistletoe and it’s lovely.

A lovely warm hug of a book, perfect for this cold and wet Advent, so snuggle up under a warm blanket with your favourite seasonal drink and enjoy.

*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

Book Blitz: Just for Christmas – Emily Harvale

Could this be true love? Or is it just for Christmas?

Finding an abandoned dog beside the road isn’t the Christmas surprise interior designer, Molly Ford is hoping for. But when the local vet can’t find a space for the bedraggled dog, Molly makes a rash decision.

The problem is, she’s spending Christmas with her brother, Terence, and his girlfriend is allergic to dogs, so the bundle of wet fur, which Molly has named Miracle, might not be the only one needing a home this Christmas.
And Miracle causes chaos wherever he puts his paws. He pees on the Christmas tree, shreds the Christmas presents and eats the honeyed ham. That’s just the first night.

When Terence’s best friend, Chance offers Molly and Miracle a place to stay for Christmas, Molly is ecstatic. She doesn’t mind at all when he informs her there are strings attached. She’d rather like a festive fling with gorgeous Chance.
Now Molly’s in for another surprise. Chance is about to pop the question. Except it’s not to Molly. In fact, he needs her help to get the dilapidated cottage he’s bought, all clean and sparkly in time for his girlfriend’s impending arrival on New Year’s Eve.

But as Molly and Chance grow closer, spending time together beneath the stars in a winter wonderland and enjoying the Christmas festivities, they realise they have feelings for each other.

Could this be true love? Or is it just for Christmas?

Amazon UK
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Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a
happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good
friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to
her website.

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star.

When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Just A Girl – Becky Monson*

What happens when the right girl and the right guy meet at the wrong time?

One thing that can be said about Quinn Pearson is that she has a knack for doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Like, the worst time ever. Take her job for instance. One little slip of the tongue using the mother of all swear words while reporting the news, and suddenly she finds herself with over 18 million views on YouTube and her employment in jeopardy. If that wasn’t bad enough, when she meets the man of her dreams, she nearly chokes to death on a powdered sugar donut.

Thankfully for Quinn, the dashing Brit, Henry, finds her near death experience quite charming. But just when Quinn thinks her luck is going to change, she finds out her timing is all wrong again. Henry is off limits. Or is he?

Maybe it’s time for Quinn to quit settling for what life hands her. Perhaps it’s time for her to become more than just a girl.

Amazon UK
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By day, Becky Monson is a mother to three young children, and a wife. By night, she escapes with reading books and writing. An award-winning author, Becky uses humor and true-life experiences to bring her characters to life. She loves all things chick-lit (movies, books, etc.), and
wishes she had a British accent.

She has recently given up Diet Coke for the fiftieth time and is hopeful this time will last… but it probably won’t.

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Giveaway to Win 2 x $25 Amazon Gift Cards (Open Internationally)

My thoughts:

This is a really fun, cute read, about falling in and out of love, finally standing up for yourself and friendship.

Quinn works in television, where she has to be put up with her sneering colleague, Moriarty, and a strangely familiar anonymous bully, until her new boss, Henry, says she doesn’t have to.

Problem is Quinn and Henry have been on a few dates, and now he’s her boss, and the station has a policy about dating. Quinn gets all in a flap, especially when the “Date Our Producer” segment goes ahead and she and Henry realise they’ve gone and fallen in love!

Luckily Quinn’s loyal, and occasionally very annoying (Thomas), friends are on hand to offer advice, alcohol, pizza and sympathy.

This is a really enjoyable, engaging and funny book and Quinn is a very real protagonist, she feels like she could be one of my friends!

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

****Terms and Conditions****** –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all
valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the
competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random
Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Blog Tour: The Snow Song – Sally Gardner*

Women imprisoned by superstition, chained by guilt.

Perched on a mountain in a land of ancient forests is a village, rife with secrets. Cut off from the outside world it is run by the elders, men to whom tradition is all.

Edith lives alone with her alcoholic father who is forcing her to marry the village butcher. But she is in love with a shepherd who promised to return to her.

As the village becomes isolated in a sea of snow, Edith loses her power of speech. And it is this enchantment that will have far-reaching consequences, not only for Edith but for the whole village.

My thoughts:

This is a beautiful, magical fairy tale set somewhere in snowy Northern Europe, I could see elements of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, as well as modern feminist retellings of other fairy tales in Edith and her story. Which is how Edith’s own stories work, weaving together the old and the new.

Edith is the only woman, who finds strength in the midst of terrible heartbreak, to stand against the butcher and his cruelty (he seems a Bluebeard figure, there’s no explanation as to what happened to his previous wife) in the small village where fear, tradition and the elders (all men) hold sway.

Edith’s bittersweet winter in the forest (where the East of the Sun… came through strongest for me) enables her to return to the village and start to put things right, with her father, for her friends.

Lyrical, moving and with the gentlest of hope for the future at its ending, this is a stunning new fairy tale for this winter and those to come.

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